A Good Yarn

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I finished up my Bead Soup Bracelet last weekend:

Project Name: Bead Soup Bracelet
Designer: Earthfaire Original Design
Pattern Source: kit
Yarn: Kreinik Metallic Thread
Yarn Source: Earthfaire
Date Started: 8/23/07
Date Completed: 8/26/07

Comments: As I mentioned before, I knit this kit up as a purple Project Spectrum kit for the current color grouping. It was an easy and quick knit - I'd say this would be a perfect first project if someone wants to try knitting with beads. The kit easily has enough materials for another bracelet (except the clasp) even with my rather large wrist.

I've also been working on my Tomato and have finished up to where you cast on for the front. I wanted to try it on at that point to make sure it was big enough.

Sorry for the bizarro cropping on it. I wanted to crop out as much of my uncovered bits as possible. It's really hard to take a picture of yourself - you bloggers who are able to do it well are much admired in my book! Anyway, it was hard to try on Tomato with the needle still in, even with a really long needle, because the needle part isn't flexible at all. But it definitely isn't too small - it may be too big. I'll have to slip it on a string and try it on again later. I think I'm going to throw in the bust darts that have been featured in Kniting Daily, so at the point where I think I need to start the darts, I'll try it on again.

I've posted pictures before of a Frankenstein on the front of one of the houses in my neighborhood. I noticed a couple of weeks ago that he had been re-dressed:

That street was under construction for a while, so I couldn't drive on it. I'll bet this was the decoration for the 4th of July though. It still cracks me up when I drive by and see it - I'm easily amused.

And finally, some of the sock club yarns I've gotten recently.

Last month's Amazing Threads shipment was a skein of Rio de la Plata yarn:

I originally got a green/orange/gold colorway that reminded me very much of my parents interior decorating circa 1977. Jenna was nice enough to trade with me for this darker colorway that suits me much better. I'm still not sure if I'll use this yarn, though. It's a very nice, soft yarn, but I'm not crazy about barber stripe yarns.

This month we got this yarn from Amazing Threads:

These are definitely more my colors - yay! As you may recall, I knit a sweater for Jason with Tofutsies last spring. It's a very nice yarn, with a nice drape, but I'm not sure I want to make socks with it. It didn't have a lot of give, so I'm worried about stretchiness. Also, it's a very thin yarn and I tend to knit loosely, so I think I'd have to go down to at least a size 0 needle. Maybe I'll make another baby item with this yarn instead.

And finally from the Sweet Sheep Project Spectrum Club, we got this bit of lovely purple:

It's not as blue as it looks in that picture. I have a really hard time capturing anything with red in it with my camera.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Weekend Update

Another weekend that was jam packed full and just flew by!

Friday night I volunteered to help staff the Minnesota Knitter's Guild booth at the State Fair. A couple of my knitty girlfriends and I had a fun time knitting on display and encouraging people to join the Guild:

There are a lot of really beautiful items on display in the Creative Activities building - gorgeous knitting, beautiful beadwork, stained glass, dichroic glass, quilting, crochet, scrapbooks, just about anything you could put your hands to. It's worth the trip to the fair to check this stuff out.

After our shift, we checked out a few of the other attractions - like the food! One of my favorite things to get at the fair every year is the Gizmo sandwich:

Yummy! It's a loose meat sandwich (ground beef and sausage) with a marinara sauce and melted mozzarella on a bun. If you're not a vegetarian, try one when you're out there.

Another of my favorite things to seek out at the Fair is the Crop Art. I'd never seen or heard of such a thing until I found it one year in the horticulture building and ever since I've been quite taken with it. I was quite taken with this one:

That picture is all made up with different kinds of seeds, people!! Isn't that amazing? Some of the pictures are almost photorealistic. Sometimes they're very rough and homespun looking. Either way, I love them. There are always portraits done. There are always political statements and it seems like most seed artists are liberal, because they tend to be of liberal politicians or unflattering to conservatives. There was a great one of Dick Cheney and another one of the Wizard of Oz with Bush, Cheney, Rice and Gonzales (good riddance, by the way) as the characters. There were two of Al Franken - this one was my favorite:

If you're not from Minnesota, you may not be aware that Al Franken is running for the US Senate. Against Norm Coleman, who is much despised by the liberals in Minnesota. I really hope Al wins, not only because I hate Coleman's policy positions and tendency to just do whatever is politically expedient for him, and not just because I think Al is incredibly smart and has great common sense, but also because he's a close, personal friend:

OK, not really. I went back out to the fair on Sunday with my brother and Michael and Bill and his family and Al was out there, so I got my picture taken with him. But he initiated the clinch, not me! The man's in show business AND in politics, he knows how to persuade an audience/voter!

In between my two trips to the fair, I had to get up really early on Saturday and pick up Bill and his whole family (not only his wife and kids, but also his parents and his siblings and their families) at the train station. After everyone was finally back home or at least on their way home with their own vehicle, I was exhausted, so I took a nap. Which totally screwed up my sleeping patterns for the rest of the weekend. Oh well. Then I had to head into the office and do some work for the rest of the day. I came home and watched the Vikings pre-season game and knit my Tomato sweater. It's kind of fun to knit something purple while was "The Purple".

Friday, August 24, 2007


Oh boy, this week has flown by, but I'm so glad to see it go. Bill has been out of town and I cover for him when he's gone. We've had monsoon rains for the entire time he's been gone, which means all sort of telephone problems for me to deal with for him (ok, he's helped me by phone, but still). I hate stepping outside my area of comfort to try to do things I'm not sure of. But the sun is shining today and he's coming back tomorrow, so all returns to normal!

I did start a new Project Spectrum project. As you may recall, my goal for this year's PS KAL was to do a pair of socks for each color grouping and a bead knitting project for each grouping. August is almost over and I haven't started another pair of socks, but I did start my bead knitting project:

This is the Bead Soup Bracelet from Earth Faire, obviously in a purple colorway. I am liking it so far, but I'm afraid I didn't string enough beads on my thread for my big wrists. We shall see when I finish it up this weekend.

I've been on another yarn buying binge for the last couple of months and it's got to stop now. I have far more yarn than I'll be able to knit, but when I try to figure out what I can get rid of, I don't want to get rid of it all. Plus, I need to stick to my budget better. My New Year's Resolution for this year was to stick to my budget. And I've failed every single month since then to stick to my craft supplies budget. Well, I'm DETERMINED to change that for the last 1/3 of the year. For September through December, I'm not blowing the budget! I've committed to everyone here on the internet, so I've got to stick to it. So, I'm going to gradually post my purchases to draw out the blog fodder.

First up - I fell in love with the Babette blanket when I first started seeing it on blogs. It calls for 22 skeins of Koigu, which is just more than I wanted to spend for a crocheted blanket. Maybe if it was a wedding present, but I think it'll just be for me. So, I went in search of something cheaper. I had pretty much decided on getting the Knit Picks bare yarn and dyeing up the colors when I saw that Elann had RYC Cashsoft 4 ply on sale. That is one of my favorite yarns! And it really wouldn't be that much more than the Knitpicks Bare, if you factor in the cost of the dye, too. Plus I wouldn't have to spend all that time dyeing it up. Cashsoft is just incredibly soft and wonderful to work with. So, I decided to go with that yarn. The only hitch is that it comes in lovely, tasteful Rowan colors, not the bright pink and green and turquoise of the originally Babette. I decided that it didn't matter. I've already made a lovely, bright blanket in the Mitered Square throw, let's go a little more classic with the Rowan. So, I got the colors I could from Elann, bought a few more from The Yarnery and then got a few more on sale (yeah!) from Jimmy Beans. I just need one more skein - I'm thinking "spa", a light blue color. If anyone has a spare skein of RYC spa in their stash they want to get rid of, let me know. Otherwise, I'll just keep looking. If necessary, I'll just buy it full price somewhere online and pay for shipping (ugh). So, anyway, here is my yarn for Babette:

More than likely I won't be starting this until after Christmas. I want to make that last pair of PS socks, finish up my Tomato sweater and get my Christmas knitting done before I start any other projects. Christmas is just four months from tomorrow, so I have a feeling that I won't be starting Babette until then.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Knits for All Seasons

The other book I got to review was The Yarn Girls' Guide to Knits for All Seasons:

This is the newest installment in the “Yarn Girls’ Guide” series. These books are pattern books of basic, classic knitwear designs for newer knitters. The first book was aimed at the brand new knitter and this book gives that knitter slightly more challenging garments to knit up as her skills have increased over the years. Unlike the previous entries in this series, this book is strictly a pattern book, with only one section at the back on finishing technique. That section does include very clear, easy to understand instructions with nice illustrations of sewing techniques and how to pick up stitches.

As the title implies, the book includes designs appropriate for all weather and the patterns are organized by season. Each section has six women’s patterns (mostly sweaters, though there is the dreaded knit skirt and dress too), two accessory patterns and two men’s sweater patterns (like most men’s sweater patterns, they would be perfectly nice for a woman, also). I always hear complaints that there aren't enough patterns for men, so it's nice to see this need being met. These are the type of sweaters the man in your life would actually be willing to wear, too.

In each section, the designers change the color palette and materials they knit with, to suit the season. Spring and summer have silk blends, rayon, linen and cotton, with the summer designs a little more revealing. The fall and winter sweaters are the more traditional wools and alpaca. All of the designs use high end, beautiful yarns.

The majority of the patterns are knit in worsted weight or thicker yarn, calling for size 7 – 9 needles. There is one funnel neck, raglan sleeve sweater in Blue Sky Alpaca that calls for a size 5 needle. The designs range from a halter top for summer to pullovers and cardigans. Almost all of them are strictly stockinette stitch, although there are some basic cables and a little bit of color change on a few of the designs. These are very basic, classic designs that would be good for gift knitting, since they would be relatively quick and safe – I don’t think anyone would object to wearing most of these designs. My biggest objection to the designs, though, is the size range. Most of the women’s sweaters are 32” to 40” in the bust. That’s pretty small. Since the designs are pretty basic, upsizing them wouldn’t be that difficult, but it’s disappointing that the designers didn’t include those larger sizes in the book.

The instructions seem to be pretty straight forward and easy to understand. Each pattern includes detailed schematics, giving measurements not only for chest width, but also shoulder to shoulder width, neck width, armhole length, neck depth, total length and sleeve length and width at cuff and upper sleeve. These detailed schematics really help with blocking and customizing fit for yourself. Each pattern is accompanied by a very clean, clear picture of the garment being worn by a model – these are not artsy, beautiful shots, but it allows you to clearly see how the garment looks on a real person and what details you may want to see. Most of the designs have more than one picture showing different views of the garment.

If you’ve been a fan of the other Yarn Girls’ Guide books, you won’t be disappointed by this one. All of the designs are very classic, wearable garments. They are easy to knit if you have a basic understanding of knitting. There wouldn’t be a lot of challenge for an experienced knitter and the women’s sweaters do not go up beyond a 40” chest. However, I think this would be an excellent place to start if you’re looking for something to knit for a holiday gift (it’s almost that time, you know!).


Monday, August 20, 2007

Weekend Update

It was a gloomy, rainy weekend around here, but I quite enjoyed it. I guess I live in the right place, because I much prefer to be chilly to hot. I quite enjoyed slipping my feet into my fleece-lined slippers - so comfy!

Friday night I had a chance to hang out with Red for a while, so we went to the comic book store and browsed and bought a few comics. Saturday I had apheresis at the Red Cross, so I spent the afternoon hooked up to the machine, reading a book (I'm reading the 3rd Outlander book, Voyager). Saturday night was the monthly get together for one of my knitting groups. We ordered in some food and had a great time gnoshing and knitting and gabbing. I finally started the second red cabled sock.

Sunday I had a nice Indian dinner with a friend and we saw this movie:

The movie stars Anne Hathaway as a young Jane Austen and James McAvoy as a young Irish lawyer, Tom Lefroy. It's a fictional account of Austen's love affair with Lefroy and it's supposed inspiration for Pride and Prejudice. As a piece of classic romance, it's satisfying, but it's probably not very accurate. Overall, I enjoyed the film, but not a lot. I'm not a huge Anne Hathaway fan and although I am a big McAvoy fan, I didn't think he was quite right for this part. I'm not sure what it was - he seemed too modern or just not completely believable. Speaking of too modern, I noticed a quick flash of Jane Austen's thong under her nightgown in one scene - gee, I didn't know thongs were around at the beginning of the 19th century. Around the middle of the film I was really bored and it was feeling very predictable. However, the film did redeem itself for me in the last third. I knew how the film must end because of what I know about Jane Austen and her life, but I didn't know exactly how they were going to get there and it took me along on that ride. I was very caught up in the lovers and their struggles. The film captured a lot of the feelings of a Jane Austen book and made me want to steep myself in Austen then and there. So if you're an Austen fan, I'd say this is worth checking out.

I also started a new project for Project Spectrum last week:

The Tomato sweater from "No Sheep for You." I'm knitting it from some 1824 cotton I had in my stash (yay! Stash Knitting!!) When I started this project it was still kind of hot out, so I didn't want to knit a big wool piece. Now that it's cooling off, I know I'm going to regret starting a summer sweater so late in the season. I'm sure by the time I'm done, it'll be far too cold to wear a short sleeved cotton sweater. So far I like how it's coming out, though.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Romantic Hand Knits

I was lucky enough to get a couple of books to review, so I'll post my thoughts on them here. First up is Romantic Hand Knits:

The sub-title of this book is “26 Flirtatious Designs that Flatter Your Figure” and that’s a good overview of the book. Most of the designs in the book are very body-conscious, figure hugging garments, from spaghetti strap tops to skirts and accessories.

The book is divided into garments that are “above the waist”, “below the waist” and “accessories”, with each design named for a romantic film, which thrills a movie-lover like me. The designer/author, Annie Modesitt, suggests slipping the film the design was named for into your DVD player while knitting it up, which sounds like a lovely way to pass an afternoon.

My favorite section of the book is the first, “above the waist”. There are sweaters of many different styles and shapes – there’s a little something for anyone which also means everything isn't going to work for you. The sweaters include a couple of tank tops (one of them has a knit in shelf bra, which I’m intrigued by), a few pullovers that are all fairly tailored and close fitting but not immodest, an embroidered cardigan, a lacy cardigan and my favorite, a wrap cardigan. All of these sweater designs come in a very wide range of sizes, from around 24” to 56” bust sizes. As a big girl, I appreciate being able to knit anything that might catch my eye in this book. There are also a couple of tutorials on embroidery and crochet techniques, which are used in some of the designs.

Less enticing for me was the next section of the book, “below the waist.” Personally, I think knitting a skirt is a little nutty. In the 80s I wore plenty of sweater dresses and some fine gauge knit skirts, but it seems like knitting has a tendency to sag around the bottom once you sit in it a few times and unless you have a lovely, curvy bottom, a knit skirt isn’t all that flattering. My favorite of the skirts is the one on the cover. I wouldn’t knit it for myself, but that model does look lovely and curvaceous. Like the sweaters, the skirts are generously sized for petites and pluses alike, so if you would like to knit yourself a skirt, you can probably find one you’d like here. Besides skirts, there are also several dress patterns, if you’re really ambitious and want to clothe yourself in knits from head to toe.

Speaking of head to toe, the last section is “accessories”, with knits to cover your head, your toes and a few parts in between. There are lacy thigh high silk stockings, elbow length gloves, a couple of structured hats and a few other accessories. There’s a scarf made with Tilli Tomas Disco Lights that makes me wish I had waited to knit my Disco Lights scarf until I had this pattern! In this section there are a couple more technique primers – one for lace knitting and one for millinery techniques, to help you knit up those hats.

Throughout the book, there are very clear, pretty pictures of each project. Each garment is shown modeled in an artful, lovely picture, but there are also close ups of details. The pictures both help you see how the garment will look but are also beautiful to look at. Each pattern also includes a detailed schematic, so you can tell how your knitted pieces are shaped and what size they are.

Overall, I think whether you like this book or not depends on your own personal taste for the garments. It’s a very well put-together book, with clear photos and diagrams. The patterns come in a large range of sizes, which should work for almost every knitter. But the close fit and highly detailed features may not suit everyone. If you like something more simple and classic, skip this book. There are some technique instructions, but this book wouldn’t really suit a person trying to learn how to knit. There also isn’t a lot of prose, it is almost strictly a pattern book.

I'll review the next book, which is completely different, next time.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Summer TV

If you sit down and knit, you actually get things done! What a concept. I finished the first of my Drops Alpaca Socks:

They fit really well, but I'm afraid they're a little too small and the tension when they're on the foot is too much. Here's the side view:

When they're off the foot, they look so incredibly skinny. I tried them on several times while I was knitting, which is really unusual for me, because they looked way too skinny for my feet. I think it's just that they draw in on the sides when you switch from reverse stockinette for the top of the foot and regular stockinette on the bottom of the foot. Plus the cabling of course draws in too. I have no problem getting them on and off, so they're probably ok.

I knit the hat and this sock while getting caught up on my summer tv shows. I really enjoyed the Fringe Festival, but I missed my tv shows. I'm such an addict. Since the new fall schedule is starting up in about a month, I figured now would be as good a time as any to do my annual review of the summer tv schedule.

A couple of shows started this spring and finished earlier this summer that I enjoyed. On FX there was "The Riches" with Minnie Driver and Eddie Izzard as a couple of Travelers, Irish American gypseys who run scams. They and their family run away from the rest of their clan and assume the identity of a suburban family called The Riches. It was a bit wacky, but I really liked it. Driver and Izzard were fantastic as very complex, full characters and despite the fact that they were scam artists, you really came to care about the family. I look forward to that one starting up again.

Speaking of Travelers, there was another show on ABC called "Traveler" that wasn't about a Traveler but rather a mysterious man called "Will Traveler" who sets up his two best friends when he blows up a museum. It was a pretty interesting show, but it's been cancelled, so don't worry if you missed it.

The Tudors played on Showtime - it's about King Henry VIII and the rest of the Tudor family. Henry VIII is best known for all of his wives and so the emphasis is definitely on the budoir, but there is also a fair amount of political intrigue thrown in. I love Historical Fiction, so this was worth watching for me. It sparked an interest in learning a little more about some of the characters and Jonathan Rhys Meyers was a very sexy King Henry (Meyers is an Irishman, but I don't think he's a traveler).

A show I sampled and didn't care for on Showtime was "Meadowlands". It was a dark and spooky show about a community of people who are all in witness protection. I think it wanted to be like "Twin Peaks" or something of that ilk, but it just didn't work for me.

Another show that I didn't care for this summer that has now been cancelled is "John from Cincinnati" on HBO. It was written by David Milch, whose done fantastic stuff like Deadwood and NYPD Blue, but this one just didn't click with me. It was about a family of surfers and this stranger who comes into their life. Lots and lots of wackiness ensues and it was all just too weird and nonsensical but still boring for my tastes.

One last show I tried this summer and didn't like was "The Starter Wife" on USA Network. Debra Messing played the newly separated wife of a Hollywood producer who's trying to start all over alone. The writing was just awful.

New shows that I did like and would recommend are:

Damages on FX. Glenn Close plays an attorney who hires a fresh young associate played by Rose Byrne. Their big case is a shareholders lawsuit against a rich businessman played by Ted Danson. I like Glenn Close and Ted Danson's work in this show where no one is quite who they seem to be. There are all sorts of little twists and turns that keep me coming back to this one, although it's really a dark and depressing view of human nature. I like it, but don't love it.

Mad Men on A&E is also a little dark and sad. It's set in 1960 in the world of advertising. That's a period of American History where things were starting to change in a huge way. The production values are fantastic - the costumes are gorgeous, the sets are beautiful and everything is shot like a little movie. It's fun to see little differences in the way things used to be - like the smoking of course. The characters in this show are also deeply conflicted and I'm still interested in seeing what will happen next. Another one that I like, but don't love.

A show that I do love is Flight of the Conchords on HBO. It's about a novelty song duo from New Zealand and they're sad little lives in New York. They are truly fish out of water and they express themselves through their hilarious folk songs. This is really an odd show, but I think it's really, really funny and always look forward to each episode.

Burn Notice on USA Network is another show that I really like. It's about a CIA agent who has been "burned" - basically kicked out of the agency. Since being a spy is pretty much your entire life, when you're burned, you don't have much left. He's dumped in his home town of Miami to contend with his ex-girlfriend, who is an ex-IRA member and rather fond of explosives, his mother who he has a conflicted relationship with and another ex-agent who just wants to drink and sleep around and have fun, but is willing to help out every now and again. It's a fun summer show. It fits in well with the other USA shows I've been watching this summer - Monk and Psych.

The other new show I've watched this summer is one that I actually can't stand, so don't ask me why I've watched it. It's called The Lot and is on Fox. I don't generally like reality tv, but there are a couple of shows that I do watch. Since this was basically set up like American Idol (which I sometimes watch) except in the world of film, I decided to check it out. The films they made were not very good or fun to watch. However, there was one guy that I did think was pretty talented and one guy from Minneapolis, so I sort of kept watching just to see how they would do. They've both been eliminated now, but all that's left is the final show to see who wins, so I figure why not just finish it off. I don't think they'll renew the show next year, but if they do, don't waste your time.

The other reality show that I watch in the summer that I'm totally and completely embarrassed to admit to is "Big Brother". This is the 8th year it's been on and every single year I say it's a horrible show and I'm not going to watch it and every year I get sucked in again. This is the worst year ever, though, so this year I really mean it. I'm already sucked in and want to know who is going to win, so I'm going to finish up this year, but I really mean it. Next year I'm not watching!

I watched the second and last season of Hex on BBC America and it's also sort of a guilty pleasure. It's about a boarding school in England - one of the students is the son of Satan and another one is an angel sent to kill him and save humanity. Yes, it is as silly as it sounds. Some of these shows I would never give a second look during the regular tv season.

The other returning shows I've been watching are "The Closer" on TNT and Entourage and Big Love on HBO. This may be the best season of The Closer ever. I'm really enjoying it.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Men Seldom Make Passes

Now that I'm back into my normal day to day, I finished up the hat to match my multi-directional scarf:

Project Name: Basic Cable Hat
Designer: Christine Quirion
Pattern Source: Stitch n Bitch Nation
Yarn: Artyarns Handpaint Stripes
Yarn Source: Three Kittens Needlearts
Date Started: 7/30/07
Date Completed: 8/13/07

Comments: I bought this yarn at Three Kittens during the LYS Treasure Hunt in 2006. I fell in love with this black/purple/gray colorway. I then bought two more skeins on Knitswap, but the two different "dyelots" (they don't use dyelots with Artyarns - each batch is unique) didn't really match, so I made a scarf with the two skeins and then this hat with the third. They do look ok together, though. This skein was significantly softer than the other two skeins, though. It was a real pleasure to knit with. I have quite a bit of yarn left over so I may make something small like baby booties from the leftovers.

In other news, I got new glasses last week:

Sorry I look so cranky. It's really hard for me to take a picture of myself, plus the sun was sort of in my eyes. I'm going to just stop now and not pick apart everything that's wrong with me in that picture, in the hope that if I don't point it out, you won't notice it. ANYWAY! These glasses aren't all that much different than my last pair to the average person. However, they look really different to me. I have been wearing wire rimmed glasses for a while, so it's been a while since I wore plastic rims. It looks weird when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Today I finally figured out who I think I look like:

Midge from Vertigo. Which is just perfect, because I totally identify with Midge. The smart and sensible business woman who is totally in love with Jimmy Stewart. Only Jimmy Stewart is obsessed with the blond bombshell, Kim Novak. Who is totally wrong for him and will be his undoing.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

I'm Back!

OK, I'm done fringing now. Well, I may go to one more show tonight, but I'm pretty much done. I saw 30 different show, the Macbeth show twice. There were a lot that I liked a lot and only one that I didn't like. Even that one had some nice things going for it. So, it was a good year. I'm tired, though. Going to work then directly to a couple of shows and getting home late is really hard. I like to have a little down time to unwind. And I hardly knit a stitch the whole 10 days. There was knitting content in one show I saw, though - it was a one man show in which the guy talks about his life of petty crimes, including stealing a mail bag. He finds a handknit pair of baby booties in one of the packages and is devastated by guilt.

Yesterday I spent the day at the Irish Fair, carding people who wanted to buy beer. It was so hot and humid! I felt like I was stewing in my own juices. Gross, I know. I did bring something mindless to knit during slow moments and knit up this bib:

I had to knit the second strap and work in the ends when I got home last night, but I still knit it all in one day - pretty good for me! Now I just need to find a button to sew on it. I think I may send it to my sister for my nephew, Jason. You probably already know the specs, but in case you're curious:

Project Name: Baby Bib O' Love
Designer: Kay Gardiner & Ann Shayne
Pattern Source: Mason Dixon Knitting
Yarn: Sugar 'n Cream
Yarn Source: JoAnn's, I think
Date Started: 8/11/07
Date Completed: 8/11/07


Saturday, August 04, 2007

Thank you, friends!

Thanks to everyone who sent kind words and supportive thoughts to me, my brother and our community. It really has been such a surreal experience.

I had my first experience finding a new route around the bridge on Thursday night. The Fringe Festival has started and Thursday I was going from one theater in South Minneapolis to another one in North Minneapolis. The easiest and fastest way between those two points is 35W, but now you can't get over the river that way. Weird! so, I drove through downtown and took backstreets.

On the way home from the theater, I had to drive down University Avenue to get to 94 so I saw the bridge. What a sad, horrendous sight! Coming up to the bridge, there were several huge satellite trucks. That's not something you usually see in Minneapolis. Everything was heavily guarded - there are tons of police officers guarding the area to make sure no idiots try to climb down there. The first thing you see as you look at the entrance ramp to the highway is nothing. The road isn't there any more. Really, really weird. The you notice that the road is still there, it's just way, down below and at a steep upward then downward angle. They haven't done anything on the bridge yet - everything's been concentrated on recovery efforts in the river. So, it still looks the same as it did when it fell. All the cars are still sitting there. So scary and spooky looking. It was just really hard to see that.

Yesterday I was driving back to my office one of my usual routes, up 35W, but getting on 94 heading east right before the bridge. That's now the detour route, so of course traffic isn't moving all that quickly in that area. Gives you plenty of time to look over toward the bridge area. You can't see the actual bridge from there, but you definitely see the activity. I think I saw 6 helicopters coming and going around there. Again, these are sights we don't see in our nice little metro area. Life is very surreal, as I said.

I found out one of the women who died on the bridge is Native and her mother works for the tribe I work as a GAL for. A guy at Brugger's told me his father in law was one of the workers on the bridge and happened to be taking a cigarette break when it collapsed, so he wasn't on the bridge. He joked, "who says cigarettes kill?" Anyway, that's the end of my bridge talk, at least for now.

As I mentioned, the Fringe has started, so no movie reviews for a couple of weeks and very little knitting. I get an ultra pass and try to see as many shows as possible. It's so much fun! In the past, I've reviewed the Fringe shows I've seen, but I'm not sure any of my regular readers (that huge crowd of people!) are all that interested in that, so I'm going to skip it this year. But if you're interested in my thoughts on any of the shows or want a recommendation for something to see, drop me a line. I will say this - I'm pretty sure I've seen my favorite show already. Macbeth's Awesome Scottish Castle Party written by and starring the fabulously talented Joseph Scrimshaw. As you can probably suss out, it's a hilarious version of Macbeth, poking fun at theater snobs and rubes who enjoy interactive theater at the same time. I laughed almost the entire hour. It's playing every night at 7:00 and 8:30 at the Black Forest Inn on Nicollet. I'd like to see it every night. If you see one show this Fringe, make it this one. If you want someone to go with, let me know and I'd be happy to meet you down there. If you want to see something else or just want a personal introduction to Fringing, let me know and I'd be happy to do that too.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Continuing On

Since I'm self-employed, I generally can set my own hours and my typical work day starts later and ends later than most. On most days, I don't get home until around 7:00, so I don't watch the local news at 6:00. But yesterday afternoon I went to the eye doctor and I couldn't use a computer while my eyes were still dilated, so I went home early and took a nap. I woke up shortly before 6:00 and still couldn't use the computer, so I switched on the tv and shortly into the newscast there was breaking news about the bridge over the Mississippi River on 35W between the University of Minnesota and downtown collapsing. Luckily before I turned on the tv, I had called my brother, so I knew he was already home from work. Because that's the very bridge he drives to and from work every day. I can't even imagine how devastating it would be if my brother were one of the victims of this collapse. I couldn't turn off the news coverage last night - it was like 9/11 or Oklahoma City. My mind just can't wrap itself around the idea that a major bridge like this can just suddenly collapse without any warning. It's another reminder of how fragile life is and just out of nowhere shit happens. So be nice to each other and live your life to its fullest. It's hard to return to a normal day to day life, but that's life too - tragedy strikes, but the world keeps spinning. So, here's the knitting news.

I finished my Multi-directional Scarf:

It's too hot to get a picture of me wearing the scarf. Here are the specs:

Project Name: Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf
Designer: Karen Baumer
Pattern Source: On the Web
Yarn: Artyarns Handpaint Stripes
Yarn Source: Knitswap blog
Date Started: 7/21/07
Date Completed: 7/30/07

Comments: This was a Project Spectrum project. Since it was so close to the end of July, I chose a purple and black project to span two color groupings, but I ended up finishing before the end of month anyway. This is a simple, easy to knit pattern. When I was knitting the last section, I started to think that maybe I misunderstood the directions to decrease on every row, so I ripped out and started decreasing every other row. And it started becoming misshapen, so I ripped again and started decreasing every row and it worked perfectly. I'm a complete idiot (and again showing my inability to comprehend geometry). Follow the directions - they're right as are the 100s of people who have made this scarf. The Artyarns Handpaint Stripes yarn is really lovely. I found a knot in one of the skeins, but otherwise it appears to be really high quality. It's pretty expensive, though, so I'm not sure I'd invest in it again.

I have another skein of this yarn that didn't quite match the other two, but I didn't need it for the scarf at all. So, I decided to make a mostly matching hat:

The weird thing about that is that besides the difference in color, it also feels different. This skein feels decidedly softer than the other two did.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Exciting News!

I have exciting news. I am completely caught up on my Bloglines posts! I know, that may not be that exciting for you, but it certainly is for me. It's been a really, really long time since I've been completely up to date on my blog reading.

Ok, if you're not wowed by that news, how about this - I'm done with my Weeping Willow Shawl! Here it is pre-blocked:

Before I got my clothing steamer, I prefered to wet block everything. I still like wet blocking the best for lace, so that's what I did - put it in the washer and soaked it in the water, then spun it out a bit so it wasn't soaking wet any more. Then I got a chance to use my new foam blocks and pinned it all out:

I love the foam blocks. I'm so glad I finally took the plunge and bought them. As you can see, I'm not that good at geometry and didn't put the middle of the shawl at the halfway point of the blocks, so I ended up going over the edge on one side. What an idiot I am. I was too lazy to take it all out and move it over, so I just rolled up a towel next to the block and pinned the end to the towel. Here's a close up of the lace being blocked:

I probably could have blocked it out even more, but I am always afraid of stretching it too much. I think it looks ok at this gauge, though. Once I have it completely dried and unpinned, I'll get someone to take some action shots.