A Good Yarn

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Short Weeks

Short weeks are a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it's great to have a short work week and to get to the weekend so quickly. On the other hand, it's hard to get five days work done in three days. It probably didn't help that I had social obligations every night this week, so I couldn't stay late to work.

On Wednesday I got to see the cute Beatle:

I saw Paul McCartney when he was in town three years ago. The tickets are pretty expensive, but he's a Beatle for pete's sake! I figured I'd better take my chance. Turned out to be one of my favorite concerts ever - he was so enthusiastic and still has a great voice. He played a ton of Beatles and Wings hits as well as some of his solo stuff that I've liked over the years. Just loved the show.

This one was still really good and I enjoyed it a lot, but it was quite different. He played some of the big hits (including Live and Let Die which was my favorite from the first concert), but he played a ton of earlier and lesser known Beatles stuff too. Songs that you know and recognize, but weren't necessarily #1 hits. He also played a lot of songs from his new album which sounded really good - I may have to pick that one up. Again, the tickets cost a lot, but he definitely puts a lot of money into the presentation - there was a wall of small video screens right behind the band and a wall of bigger screens behind the entire stage. These screens had different images and colors for every song. Really interesting visuals. There were also three huge screens showing Paul and the band on all sides of the stage so everyone could see. The lighting was also really cool and different. Last time he had some funky dancers opening the show, which I found very lame. This time he had a DJ playing his music as club music. That went on way too long. I'm not sure that crowd was the best crowd for dance music, either - I saw people in their 70s at the show, having a great time during Paul's set. After the DJ there was a short video showing the life of Paul McCartney from birth to playing the Super Bowl this January and Red Square. It seems pretty egotistical to show something like that at your concert, plus I think anyone who's coughing up the dough to see this show pretty much knows the story. Everything else was great, though.

Thursday night I took another Holiday card class at Archivers. This one was with Paper Salon materials. We made three different cards:

Very cute and vintagey, don't you think? I really liked their designs and I'm going to make some of these for my cards this year. They also gave us a little purse to hold our cards:

Last night I was on babysitting duty for Bill and Beth. I was going to take the kids to Zoo Boo, but they close at 7:30, so we didn't have time. So, we decided that we'd make jack-o-lanterns instead. I took them to this pumpkin patch that Bill and I took Red a couple of years ago that's really cute and has a haunted house and stuff on the grounds. Just as we pull up, the guy says he's closing. After two strikes, I was a little nervous, but we went to the grocery store and picked out pumpkins and everything worked out fine. Each kid got to draw a face on their own pumpkin and dig the seeds and goo out of the pumpkin. I cut the faces. I forgot to bring my camera, so I didn't get any pictures of the glowing pumpkins.

I received another set of markers from the Stitch Marker Swap:

I actually used these beads on some jewelry and some stitch markers that I made, so I obviously love them! These are nice and big rings for when I make big needle projects, which I don't have a lot of. Thanks, pal!!

I also received some yarn in the mail:

It's Andean Silk from Knit Picks. I mentioned before that my sister, Laura, asked me to make her a hooded cardigan, so I'm going to use this yarn. Laura is very sensitive to scratchy yarn, but this should be fine. It's 55% superfine alpaca, 23% silk, 22% merino wool. It feels really nice and soft against my bare skin. I need to find where I wrote down her new measurements (she's lost quite a bit of weight) so I can get started on this!

I'm ready to start a new project because I FINALLY gave the Hearts sweater to Saralee, along with the little hats and socks I made to match. She was ecstatic! When she saw it she grabbed me and gave me a huge hug and then ran and showed her husband. I'm so glad she liked it. Her granddaughter won't be able to wear it this winter because it's so over-sized, but hopefully next year.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Thanks, friends

Thanks to everyone for their very kind words of comfort over my grandmother's death. I really appreciate the support. The funeral was very sad, but also very nice. There were a couple of stories about my nana that made me cry and laugh at the same time. You know how it goes. I feel so much better now that the funeral is over. There was just a lot of stress about the whole trip and the funeral and now that it's over, there's a release. If that makes any sense. I got to see some of my more distant family members, which was nice - especially seeing my second cousin, Phoebe. As I may have mentioned, when I was growing up, I used to spend almost my entire summers between my two grandparents house - I lived in Sioux Falls and they both lived just over the border in southwestern Minnesota. When I was at Nana's house, Phoebe and I spent a ton of time together, so we were really close. I haven't seen her in years - I know I haven't seen her at least since I graduated from law school, possibly even before that. She looked FANTASTIC. She's got beautiful long red hair and it still looks the same. She was very thin and stylish and just gorgeous. I wish we could have spent a little more time together. I was helping my great aunt (whose house I used to love to visit as a girl - she was the only grown woman I knew who wasn't married and didn't have children) get her coat on and leave and Phoebe left before I got back.

The weekend in Sioux Falls was much better than I feared. I picked up my aunt on the way to Sioux Falls and she was much calmer than I thought she'd be. She was actually pretty calm throughout the weekend until the funeral itself. She mentioned she's taking Zoloft now and I really think it's made a huge difference. My mom and my uncle both seemed to be doing pretty well too. It was really nice to have my brother there with me. A lot of times he and I can't go back to Sioux Falls at the same time because of scheduling issues, but it's so nice to have him with me. We're so different than the rest of our family and so much like each other. And obviously so close.

Last time I was in Sioux Falls I checked out a craft sale and found out there's a bead store downtown, so I decided to check it out on Saturday. It's a nice store and I managed to find a few things I can use. Then I met my brother at the used book store. We used to bring all of our books there for years and trade them in for new books. You used to be able to get a pretty good deal if you were trading in instead of getting cash. A few years ago they really cut the amount they were willing to offer, so I haven't been there in a while. Greg and Michael found a ton of good stuff and I picked up Celtic Knits and one of the Outlander books. That night we met my sister Kerry for dinner at a Japanese Steakhouse. Sioux Falls with sushi - I never thought it would happen. The teppanaki was really good and the sushi was pretty good. Only beer and wine, though, which kind of sucked. We also got to see Kerry's new house - she closed on the day I left Sioux Falls last time, so I only got to see the outside. I'm so proud of her for buying her own home!!

We were a little disappointed that we had to miss the Vikings/Packer game on Sunday. It's usually the highlight of the season. At half time I was glad I wasn't there and I may have left the game early. Surprisingly, the boys actually found some heart and came back and won. I'm still kind of shocked and bet it was pretty exciting in Metrodome. I hope they win a couple more games now that I'm back.

The dogs were in a kennel while I was gone and got groomed before I picked them up. They are so pretty and soft! I couldn't get good photos, but here's so bad ones:

I've been busy knitting up the leftover yarn from the Heart Sweater for Saralee's granddaughter too. Here's yet another hat from Tadpoles and Tiddlers:

I think this hat will be way too big for her. The hat patterns in this book do not have any gauge or measurements listed in the patterns. They all call for the same yarn, though, and each of them came out a different size. I don't think I'll be making any of them again. I decided to make socks instead:

These are from 50 Baby Booties to Knit. The patterns are all for babies, but since this is bigger yarn, I think it'll fit a toddler. I didn't follow the pattern after I turned the heel - I decided to decrease the gusset stitches the way I normally do on a sock, knit the foot longer, of course, and then do the toe the way I normally do too. As you can see, they're a bit different. I ran out of yarn before I finished the toes on the second sock, so I ripped back to the heel and re-knit the heel and toe in white. I'll rip out the first sock and do the same so they match.

I've also been busy buying yarn again. Last spring when I got 1000 Great Knitting Motifs, Ben and Red both requested a scarf with the snake motif on it. It hought it would be cool to make a scarf with the head on one end, the tail on the other and the body all around the back. This chart is supposed to be used on a sweater, so it's pretty large. I figured if I made it in fingering weight, I could use it for a child's scarf. Believe it or not, I don't have plain fingering weight for this in stash, so I went shopping:

The scarves will be black with a red and green snake. I knit the scarf through the head and decided it was still too wide for a little boy, even with this yarn. So, I changed the chart a bit and cast on 10 fewer stitches. I haven't gotten as far, but I think this will work well. Now we'll see if I can churn out two of these before the snow flies. It's getting colder around here, but it's still in the 50s today.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Saturday was our monthly TC AK Knit Together. We met at Yarn Cafe this month. It was a smaller group, which was kind of nice, because it was easier to talk together as a group. I didn't buy any yarn, but I did pick up a couple of patterns and signed up for a trip to Mexico. So, I spent way more money than I've ever spent in one day on yarn - even at Maryland Sheep and Wool. I think it'll be an awesome trip though. Mexico in January will be very nice.

I saw this new movie:

Such a great movie. It was filmed in black and white and the cinematography was GORGEOUS! I think I've mentioned that I'm taking a film class right now and we've been watching some classic films, also in black and white. This film fits right into that tradition - in particular the use of cigarette smoke to create character and mood. For today's society, it's somewhat disconcerting to see Edward R. Murrow light up for the evening telecast. But it reminded me of Bogart in "The Maltese Falcon." I'm a huge fan of David Strathairn from his work with John Sayles and he turns in another great performance. I'm too young to have memories of Murrow, but I have seen clips of him over the years and it seems like Strathairn captured his bearing and attitude as well as his speech patterns. He portrays Murrow as a very serious journalist who takes no pleasure in his conflict with Joe McCarthy. I'm a huge, huge fan of George Clooney (I've seen all but one of his movies since 1994 when he started getting good roles), so it's no surprise I enjoyed his performance. But this really is a departure for him. He put on a little weight and does not rely on his charm and looking out from under those eyelashes or dimpled smile seduction. With the talent shown by this film and "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind", I fear that Clooney may turn his attention solely to directing and I won't be able to drool over him on film much longer. I saw a prominent local television news anchor in the theater when I saw this, and was behind him and his wife as they walked out and they seemed to enjoy the film also.

Do you remember this project:

Project Name: Poncho
Pattern Source: Stitch 1 Knit 1
Yarn: Moda Dea Dream
Yarn Source: Michael's
Date Started: 1/25/05
Date Completed: 10/16/05

I originally started this poncho as a special request from Alexis for a pink, furry poncho. After I knit the first half, I realized it was going to be way too small for her, so I set it aside and bought her the poncho she originally saw at Limited Too. I decided to pick this poncho back up again and finish it up. I'm hoping it will fit Katie. I haven't decided whether I'm going to put the fringe on the bottom or not.

This has been a very difficult week. My grandmother passed away, but the funeral isn't until next week. My car also died on me last weekend. After spending a couple of days trying to figure out what is wrong with it and trying to get it repaired, I've now faced the fact that I'll have to get a different car. So, now I've gotta try to find something that doesn't cost a lot but is reliable. On top of all of that, the beginning of the week was pretty stressful work-wise. I had to take a trip up north for a home visit on Monday and was able to borrow a car from Bill. It was a gorgeous drive. I wished I could take some pictures to post, but I just couldn't capture the beauty. My photos are never as lovely as Cara's and seem pretty pathetic. Then last night on the way to my film class, Bill's car had a "check engine" light, so I drove back home and had to miss class. And last, and definitely least, the Vikings are just pathetic. It's so not fun to be a season ticket holder right now.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Meet the New Boss....

Same as the Old Boss.

Although he doesn't like the name, I did see "The Boss" on Wednesday night:

It was a second stop on his solo acoustic tour. It was quite a bit different from the first stop. This time he played Northrop Auditorium on the U of MN campus. The acoustics were fantastic. He sounded so good. It was a much more intimate setting than the Xcel Center, which he played last time. He played a ton of instruments - a bunch of different guitars, a grand piano, an electic piano, a pump organ, harmonica, ukelele and a string instrument that sat on his lap - I can't remember what it's called. It was really impressive. A lot of it was really Dylan-esque. Personally, I prefer the rocking Bruce, but I enjoyed the unplugged version too. He even played Thunder Road unplugged. The only bad thing was the woman sitting directly behind me. It was a more serene, quiet show and audience, but this woman was "Whoa"ing during every song. Despite her excitement to see Bruce, she was talking through a big part of the show. She was so loud, the people in front of me turned around and gave her the evil eye and confronted her after the show. I also think she was eating sandwiches or something because I heard a lot of paper crinkling and smelled tuna. Nevertheless, still enjoyed Mr. Springsteen.

I finished reading "The Secret Life of Bees". I really liked it a lot. It's an easy, fast read. The story really draws you in and you truly care about the characters. I'd recommend this one. I started reading our next Book Club selection, which I have no hope of finishing in time:

Looks pretty interesting.

I received a set of stitch markers for the October Stitch Marker Swap:

The picture doesn't capture how pretty the blue beads are. Thanks, I love them!!

I'm loving this fall. It's moving way too quickly, though. I haven't even unpacked my winter clothes yet, but I have bought enough new clothes to sort of get me through the chilly days. I've definitely got to unpack more though. I was hoping to take some pretty fall foliage pictures, but this is what the trees look like around my house:

I think the flooding rain we had last week, including high winds, led to the leaves falling before they had fully changed. I'm going to start keeping a camera in my car, though, because I think I'll find some pretty leaves around town. I tried a new hiking trail yesterday and there was some pretty spots on the trail. I don't think I'll do that trail again today, though, because there was a lot of big hills and now my right calf muscle really hurts - I don't think I use that muscle enough. I'll definitely go back again some time, though, because it was a great trail.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Hat City

It's been a busy couple of weeks. It's getting close to normal again, though, so I thought I'd take a little time to blog. It's really my own fault - I create this horrible cycle. I have all of these deadlines and get super busy trying to get everything done in time. Then things loosen up a bit and I'm so tired from having been so busy that I don't get much done. And then the deadlines hit me again and I get super busy again. I've gotta figure out a way to be more productive in the down times so that the up times aren't so frantic.

It probably hasn't helped that I have had a few extra things on my calendar - I had a mandatory training for the Ramsey County GAL program - several evenings of training. I also had a couple of CLEs over the last week. I'm also taking a film class this fall. It's a great class and I'm really enjoying it, but I do have to try to squeeze in watching the films for class. I'm really paying close attention, so I don't knit during that time, either.

I have gotten a couple of things done, though. I knit a couple of hats with the yarn left over from the Heart Sweater:

These are both patterns from the same book - Tadpoles and Tiddlers. It's so weird because I had to shorten the first hat because the pattern called for such a long length. The second one, however, is really short. It's more like a beanie than a hat. I would have ripped it out and knit it longer, but that's all the green yarn I had, so it's going to be short.

Also did a couple of beading projects. These will look familiar, because I've made them before:

I made another turquoise necklace for my sister Kerry's birthday. She's blond and blue eyed, so blue looks awesome on her.

Another mother's bracelet, this time for my own mother. I went to Sioux Falls for her birthday this weekend and she absolutely loved this. She loved the sparkle of the crystals and admired it often. I think it's the first thing I've ever made her that I really felt like she loved.

On Friday I got to see this long-awaited film:

Loved it! I love Wallace & Gromit and it was so awesome to see them on the big screen. You could occasionally see the finger prints in the clay - so cool! Gromit was just absolutely delightful. The kids all loved the movie and there was alot that the adults found enjoyable too.

When I was looking for the movie poster, I found this print, which I may need to buy for my office:

Sunday, October 02, 2005


I received another set of stitch markers in the Stitch Marker Swap.

These are from Jen. They're really cute, aren't they? I think the green one is my favorite. I like the leaves too - yesterday I saw a bracelet made with those leaf beads and thought it was really cute.

I saw this movie on Friday:

Really good movie! It really draws you in and makes you think. It does have some violence (obviously) and some explicit sex scenes, so it's not for everyone. It's interesting to see how violence begets violence, which begets even more violence. It's based on a graphic novel and I think it retains a very good visual style. It doesn't look like the drawings, but there are frames that look like they could be in a graphic novel. I'm not a huge Viggo Mortenson fan, but he did a really good job in portraying a man who starts out as a low-key family man and ends up very differently. There are some great supporting performances from Maria Bello, William Hurt, Ed Harris and the kid who plays Viggo's son.

Saturday I had lunch with Beth and Bill and took a nice walk along the Mississippi River - it was a gorgeous day here. The leaves are changing, so it looks beautiful, but it was really sunny and warm. I met up with Kerry and we knit at our favorite coffee shop. I actually finished up another couple of quick projects:

Project Name: Easy Hat
Designer: Judy McDowell
Pattern Source: Yarn Label
Yarn: Northern Lights Handpaints
Yarn Source: Northern Lights Handspinner's Guild
Date Started: 10/1/05
Date Completed: 10/1/05

Comments: I bought this yarn at the Shepherd's Harvest in 2004 from the Northern Lights Handspinner's Guild booth. It is Blue Sky Alpacas yarn - 50% wool and 50% alpaca. It was handpainted by the Spinner's Guild. Proceeds from the sale of the yarn went to Heifer International. I bought two skeins so I could make a hat for myself, but when I wound them into balls, I decided to make two children's hats for charity instead. I don't think I'd wear such a colorful hat and the two skeins aren't really close enough colors. I ran out of yarn knitting the first hat, so I made the second hat 2 stitches smaller and ended up a couple of extra yards, so I don't think they were both the same length. I made both hats in one day - I don't usually like knitting with size 15 needles, but it is nice to finish up a project so quickly!

After working on the same projects for so long, I'm in the mood for some quick projects. I should have something else to post after today, too.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

More Fun

Last Sunday was fun, finally!

It seems like it's going to be a long season, but at least I got to see one win.

After the game, Greg and I went to a concert to benefit victims of Hurricane Katrina. One of my favorite bands, Cowboy Mouth, who is from New Orleans, was scheduled to play, but they had to cancel due to one of the band members' mother dying. This guy stepped in for them:

That's Dave Pirner, mostly known as the lead singer of Soul Asylum and former boyfriend of Winona Ryder (post-Johnny Depp and pre-shoplifting). Dave's from Minneapolis, but he lives in New Orleans now. The played mostly his solo work, but Dan Murphy from Soul Asylum joined him onstage for a couple of Soul Asylum classics. The headliners were these guys:

That's the Violent Femmes. There were also a few other bands playing earlier, but we decided to get the kids and go out to dinner before going to the concert, which was held at Target Center. It was one of the weirdest concerts I've ever been to. It was all thrown together in just a couple of days. They had Target Center draped off into a smaller venue, as they routinely do for smaller shows. However, when we arrived during a set by The Some-Burbs (members of The Suburbs, but not everyone), there were about 100 people there. It was sparse, man. It was like being in a nightclub, but you're in this big arena. It was really fun, though. It gave the evening an intimate feeling, because you're right there in front of the stage (or at least we were) and when the bands spoke, they spoke right to the audience. Of course, this gave some chowders the license to be obnoxious and yell stuff out, but I guess that happens at large shows too. I think the low turnout was due to the lack of time to promote the show because the Violent Femmes played at First Avenue a few weeks back and that show sold out, so I know there are a lot of fans around here still. It was a good show and I'm glad I went. They said they raised over $20,000 that evening, though I'm not exactly sure how.

Monday I received some yarn in the mail. I traded Nyxxie my leftover Berella Muskoka from Mariah for some Knit Picks Shine.

It's a really nice, soft yarn. I want to make some sort of shell/tank out of it. Of course, it's turning cold around these parts (although we're having a final summer-like weekend this weekend), so I'll probably wait until spring for that.

Wednesday night I attended another concert:

Harry Connick, Jr. played piano and Branford Marsalis played sax. It was a fun night. You could tell these guys just loved playing together and they're obviously two of the top jazz musicians today. I missed Harry's singing, but he promised he'd be back. As always, he was charming and witty between songs. It hardly seems fair that one man could be so handsome, so talented, so debonaire, so wealthy and successful. And he's been married to a Victoria's Secret model for years and has a nice family. Connick and Marsalis are chairs of a Habitat for Humanity project to rebuild their home town of New Orleans.