A Good Yarn

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

It was a knitty Christmas!

I'm back from So Dak. As always, the time flew by. On Christmas Eve I spent a little time in downtown Sioux Falls checking out a couple of stores. I started at the Bead Co. I fell in love with a stone bead bracelet in the store and decided to make my own as a Christmas present to myself. It was a very quick and fun project:

I also finally had time to relax and do some knitting. I have the Lucky cardigan almost put together - probably another day or two of sewing. I totally messed up on one of the fronts - I made it one repeat too short. There's no way I was going to rip it out and re-knit, so I just eased it in during the sewing together. I know that's not the best way to handle it, but I just really want to finish this project up. My sister said the cardigan fits her the way she wanted. She wanted to add some buttons, so I think I'll go with toggle buttons and loops, since I wasn't knitting buttonholes into the bands. I received a couple of knitting-related gifts for Christmas. My niece, Alexis, gave me this wonderful calendar:

So cute and so nice that she thought to get it for me! I also received this from my step-mom:

Yeah! I'm gonna block EVERYTHING! I haven't tried it out yet, but I can't wait to do so. Hopefully I'll have some time this weekend. You can see the book I got from Beth and Bill on top of the box there - it's called "Simply Homemade". There are some really cute projects in there I can't wait to make.

My sister, Laura, also gave me a stack of magazines. These are ones that I either already have or can't use - if anyone is interested in one or more, let me know and I'd be happy to mail it to you.

VK knit.1 Fall/Winter 2005
Sew News Jan 06
Handwoven Nov/Dec 05

Cast on Nov 05 - Jan 06
Creative Knitting Jan 06
Knitters Fall 05

If you want any of these magazines you can either leave a comment or email me at rdladd@arnan.com.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone is having a lovely Christmas Day. It's balmy warm here in Sioux Falls - It's 32 today and was 41 yesterday. I'll share my knitting related Christmas present when I get back home, but I thought I'd post about a couple of movies I saw. I forgot to post about this movie last week:

I'd give this one a mixed review. There are a lot of different characters and storylines about oil in the middle east and American foreign policy. It's a complex subject and can't be told easily, so perhaps the film is purposefully very confusing. Maybe you're not meant to exactly track everything, but rather get an overview that no one has clean hands in this situation. In the second half of the film I got really into it and was on the edge of my seat by the end of the film. I'd definitely like to see it again and see if I can connect the dots a little more. There are a number of good performances, including one of my all time favorites, George Clooney. Another really interesting performance. A world away from the charming Dr. Ross.

I have a tradition of going to the movies on Christmas Eve and this year I saw this one:

Loved it! Such a gorgeous movie and a great story. The opening scenes in Depression-era New York are visually stunning. Other than a few scenes with Kong and Ann Darrow together, the special effects are great. The many creepy monsters in the film were really effective (even the Geiger-like fallic monsters). I was completely caught up in the love story between Ann and Jack as well as the relationship between Ann and Kong. The only thing I didn't care for was Jack Black's performance. I'm a big fan of Jack Black, but I thought he was wrong for the part of the selfish director.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Bad Blogger

I'm a bad blogger. No, not because of the infrequent posts - y'all are used to that. It's because I've had plenty of blog-worthy photo-taking opportunities and failed to take a single picture. And everyone loves pictures on the blog. I'll steal snaps off the 'net if I can.

Last week the Twin Cities AK group had a nice holiday get together. We had lunch at Rock Bottom Brewery and then saw The Nutcracker.

I'm not as big into dance as I am the other arts, but I quite enjoyed it. The costumes and sets were gorgeous and there were some really nice performances. Since we were already downtown, Kerry and I decided to make a day of it and stick around for the Holidazzle parade:

It was FREEZING, but the lights sure were pretty! I got a chance to sit and knit for a little bit too, which has been in short supply this month. I am not trying to finish anything by Christmas, but I am knitting a couple of things for Christmas presents. I gave Katie the poncho and she absolutely loved the fuzzy pink softness of it. And it fit perfectly - so all's well that ends well with the poncho! I didn't quite finish the snake scarf, so I wrapped it anyway and gave it to both Red and Ben. I explained that I was going to make two of them so they would each get one. I'm not sure they really got it - they seemed a bit non-plussed by the balls of yarn attached to the scarf. Red did say about 10 times "I get the black one. I get the black one." I think they'll like it once I finish them up. I took my sister's top down hooded cardigan off the needle and put it on a string so she can try it on after she opens it up. So, here's its blog debut:

I tried it on myself and am much happier about it than I was while I was knitting it. The hood fits really well and the yarn is very soft and warm. I was worried I was knitting it too loosely, but it looks good. My sister is quite a bit smaller than me, so I had to try it on without anything underneath, so I decided not to take a picture of that for the blog. I can't wait to see what she thinks of it.

Otherwise I haven't been knitting much. I got all the presents wrapped and made fudge for my mom. Michael and I exchanged presents with Bill and his family as I mentioned and had a great time. Red gave me a fleece scarf. He proudly said, "I made it." I must have looked confused because he said, "I cut the fringe." So sweet! His grandma took him shopping for his gifts and she told me that the fabric store lady asked him who all the fleece was for because he was buying 3 strips of it. He replied, "My mom, my step-mom and my dad's girlfriend." Too funny. I'm sure the fabric store lady was picturing some sort of Jerry Springer-like situation. I was kind of sad he described me as his dad's girlfriend rather than his girlfriend, but a few days later he told me something and made me pinky-swear not to tell "the adults", so I must still have some status as something other than "the others."

I'm heading out for Christmas with my mom and step-mom, sisters, etc. I hope everyone who celebrates it has a wonderful Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

It's the Holidays

So, I'm busy doing a million things to get ready. I'm mostly done with the shopping, but I haven't wrapped many of the presents. I started making my cards, but I haven't written any of them out yet. I'm cutting way, way down on the baking this year - just my mom's favorite (fudge), my nephew's favorite (pretzels) and everyone's favorite (chocolate chip cookies). I'm babysitting tomorrow night, so we may decorate some sugar cookies, too. As you can see, not much knitting is getting done. So, I swiped this meme from Chele's blog instead. Feel free to swipe it from me.

Act your age: 37 and almost exactly 1/2

Born on what day of the week: Monday's child is fair of face. No really, I was born on a Monday.

Chore you hate: Really all of them. I guess the one I hate the most is mowing the lawn.

Dad's name: Jim

Essential make-up item: I never really get this question, because if I'm going to put on makeup, I'm putting it all on. I'd never just put one thing on. If I don't have enough to do the whole thing, I just go without.

Favorite actors/actresses: So, so many. If I had to choose one, it'd be Johnny Depp.

Gold or silver: silver.

Hometown: I live in St. Paul, MN so when people ask where I'm from, I say St. Paul. But I grew up in Sioux Falls, SD so I guess that's my hometown in the sense of that.

Instruments you play: none

Job title: Attorney, Mediator, Guardian ad Litem

Kids: Just puppies

Living arrangements: Me and the dogs in a small house in the Highland Park neighborhood of St. Paul.

Mom's name: Anne

Number of socks you own: Lots. In fact, too many for my dresser to hold, so I have a laundry basket next to the dresser just filled with socks. I'm crazy that way.

Overnight hospital stays: So far as I can remember, none. I've been told when I was born I did, though.

Phobia: I'm pretty scared of snakes, although when I was a docent at the zoo, I sort of faced that fear and am more calm about it. I'm also sort of scared of heights.

Quote you like: Never cry over something that can't cry over you.

Religious affiliation: None.
Siblings: 2.

Time you woke up today: 7:00 a.m. Let the dogs out, moved the car so the street can be plowed and then went back to bed. It's great to be self-employed.

Unusual habits: I make up all sorts of little rules for how I do things and have a hard time breaking my own rules. Like I always read blogs on bloglines alphabetically, not by which ones I'm most interested in. Or when I clean, I start in the kitchen and work my way around the house in a circle. Or when I pick out something - like jeans to wear or pajamas or a towel to dry off with, I have to pick whatever is on top, not pick and choose. Yep, I'm a little OCD.

Vicious thing you've done: Vicious is a pretty strong word and implies an intent to injure. I hope I've never done anything with the intent to hurt someone else. I can be pretty vicious in my sarcastic comments and perhaps they have been overheard and hurt someone's feelings. Like once when I said I'd rather set my hair on fire than stay at someone's house another day - I think she may have overheard me say that.

Worst habit: Eating something sweet after almost every meal.

X-rays you've had: Teeth. My ankle when I sprained it in Iceland - they thought it might be broken. I think that's it.

Your favorite season: Fall, by far.

Zodiac sign: Cancer.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Part III

Ok, here's the final part of my post. It was a while coming. As promised, there are pictures of my latest yarn acquired. I was at The Yarnery to pick up some birthday presents and had to pick up a couple of skeins.

This is some Malabrigo that I just couldn't resist. Look at those colors! They only had one skein, so I'm thinking maybe a child's hat.

This one was in the clearance room, so I couldn't resist it either. Misti alpaca is just to die for! I just love rubbing this against my cheeks or my neck. And that chocolate brown is gorgeous!

I've done a little bit of knitting. I'm getting close to finishing the first snake scarf:

I'm also sewing together Lucky. I still need to block the second sleeve, though. I also have to knit the tie, which I started. I HOPE I remember to block that sleeve tonight. I'm through the yoke on my sister's top-down cardi also, but it's hard to take a photo because it's on a pretty short circular. I hate putting it on a string because it takes so long to get back on the needle, but maybe I'll just put it on a long need temporarily.

I also finished up "Crewel Yule". Yep, it's a quick read. It wasn't the best entry in this series. As always, I enjoyed reading about the needlework business and I like the main characters. As others have noted, this was very poorly edited. There were several grammar or punctuation problems, including missing partial or full sentences. There also were a few places where the wrong character name was used. The mystery was interesting, but wrapped up inprobably quickly. The main characters interviewed each of three suspects and then immediately deduced the killer. If you already read and enjoy this series, this one is ok, but if you want to check it out, start with one of the earlier books. I started our next book club selection:

I haven't read enough to draw any conclusions yet, but what I've read is very interesting and well-written.

I've spent most of the rest of my time doing my Christmas shopping. I'm most of the way done, but I'm a bit stuck on what to get my dad. He's so hard to buy for. I've got some ideas, though. I started wrapping presents. I had a few social engagements, too. It was Kerry's birthday this weekend, so we had a very nice dinner to celebrate. I also took Red and Michael to Lava Links for a little mini-golf and videogame playing. They were laughing like schoolgirls, so I think they had a lot of fun. And of course, there was a Vikings home game this weekend. These last few games have been so much more fun! Funny how winning is like that. The fantasy football season is winding down as well. I'm in 4 leagues this year. I'm eliminated from the playoffs in one league and I'm in first place in the other 3. Let's hope I can do well in the playoffs.

As always, I've also been cuddling with this cutie-pie and his buddy:

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Part II

I lied. This is going to be a three part post - there's just too much goodness going on around here to be contained in one post!

I got a very nice package from my Secret Pal 6 - Jenny! First off I got this cutie-pie!

Isn't he adorable? I don't have any alpacas, either, so I love it! You can also see the very pretty card that Jenny enclosed. I also got some real alpaca:

It's called "Iris Garden" and was spun from one of Jenny's LYSO's own alpaca. So soft and lovely - I just love alpaca! It's so warm too, which I need right now because it's below zero around here - ouch!

She also included this matching Filatura Di Crosa mohair blend. I was thinking about making wrist cuffs with the alpaca, but this yarn matches so well, I may do something with these two together, instead. Hmmm.... so many possibilities! She also enclosed a couple of skeins of one of my favorite yarns:

I LOVE those colors!!! Thanks for being a great Pal, Jenny!!

And as promised, here's a picture of the necklace I made Beth for her birthday:

It's a little longer than I wanted, but I got on a roll and just used up all the pearls I had in the mix.

I've also been doing a bit of reading. I finally finished "Pope Joan". This book received a mixed reaction at book club, but I really liked it. Some folks didn't like the love story that was included, but I'm a sucker for a love story, plus I understand why you had to include something since if Pope Joan did exist, she died after getting pregnant, so she somehow has to end up a pregnant Pope. I thought the book was really well written - sort of written in a history style. It really piqued my interest about the political history of the middle ages and the history of the Popes in that time. It's a period of history I really know nothing about. I've also been watching "Rome" on HBO, so on Thanksgiving morning I spent quite a bit of time reading about pre-Roman Empire and the middle ages on the internet. If you like historical fiction, I'd recommend this book. I decided to pick up an easy knitting related book, next:

I've really enjoyed this series - I love mysteries and it's set in a Minnesota yarn/needlework store - what's not to like? This was released last year, but it was a hardcover for the first time. I couldn't see spending that much money on it, but I was able to find a used copy for a good price. This time the action isn't set in Minnesota, but so far I'm enjoying it.

I'll finish up with my other yarn acquisitions next time.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Part I

OK, it wasn't a short week, but it still just zipped past! I have a lot to post about and not a lot of time to post, so I'm going to break this into two posts.

I'll start with a couple of movie reviews. I finally saw this, after dying to see it for so long:

Yep, loved it. Hoffman was brilliant as Capote. I just love how he carries himself at the beginning of the film like he owns the place - where ever it is he goes. By the end he's a totally broken man. He's such a complex person - intelligent, flamboyant, insecure and yet completely self-possessed, single-minded, selfish. People were obviously drawn to him - there are a lot of scenes in the movie where he's holding court at one party or another, but he's also so self-centered and infuriating. It's an amazing performance. I also thought the guy who played Perry Smith was really good. It's also a complex character - someone who is very sympathetic and vulnerable but also a cold-blooded killer with very little remorse. There are a lot of really good supporting performances and the story of both the killings profiled in "In Cold Blood" and the intersection of mid-America and the New York literati is also really interesting.

I also saw this re-release:

I'd give this one a mixed review. It's not my cup of tea. It's a Michelangelo Antonioni film from 1975. I have a hard time with the European films of the 60s and 70s. I'm more comfortable with the traditional Hollywood narratives and filmmaking. This film is very ambiguous. There's very little dialog - you're quite a way into the movie before the first line is spoken. I admire the film a lot - I imagine that particularly in 1975 it was really daring to make a film like that, which also bounces around in time and with strange camera angles and different points of view. It's very disconcerting. I don't like things that are that abstract though - in books and in film, I like things that are warm, not cool. I like an emotional component. The Passenger is famous for a 7 minute shot at the end of the film that starts in Nicholson's hotel room and moves out the window, into a courtyard and then eventually back into the hotel room. It is a very cool shot.

I also have been busy with shopping. I have a few birthdays in my life and of course the holidays, so I checked out the Gift Shop in the Minnesota Textile Center. There was some pretty neat stuff there. Not surprisingly, I found more things for myself than gifts for others - why am I always so much easier to shop for? I also made a stop at a yarn store and picked up some stuff for me.

In my next post, I'll include my newest yarn purchases, my very cool package from my Secret Pal and the necklace I made for one of the birthday presents. I haven't knit a stitch since Wednesday - between the beadwork, housework and other tasks and social obligations, I haven't had much time.