A Good Yarn

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Another new project

I haven't knit a sweater for myself in a while, so I decided it was time to do that again:

It's the Mr. Greenjeans sweater from Knitty. I'm using some Blue Moon Fiber Arts yarn called Peru. It's an alpaca, merino, silk blend that I just love. Very soft and cushy. The colorway I'm using is one of the Raven colorways called Thraven. So far I'm happy with how it's going.

I got to see a sneak preview of Alex Gibney's newest documentary this week:

For those who aren't familiar with Hunter S. Thompson, he was a writer, best known for creating what is known as Gonzo Journalism. He's most associated with his columns for Rolling Stone magazine and his books such as "Fearing and Loathing in Las Vegas" and "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail." Thompson inserted himself into his stories, becoming a part of the story, and wrote from his own personal perspective. I guess you could say he was the first "imbedded reporter". He took vast quantities of drugs and injected outlandish fiction into his stories. The film does a great job of looking at Thompson's life, from his early days riding with the Hell's Angels for a controversial book he wrote about the group, through his peak writing for Rolling Stone and travelling with George McGovern during the 1972 presidential election, through his final decision to commit suicide after Bush was re-elected in 2004. Johnny Depp sort of narrates the film by reading passages from Thompson's work, and there are tons of interviews with his two wives and son, writing colleagues such as Tom Wolfe, Douglas Brinkley and Jann Wenner, and political figures such as George McGovern, Jimmy Carter and Pat Buchanan. It's highly entertaining and again shows how the more things change, the more they seem the same - the late 60s seem so similar to the period we're in now. I really wish Thompson was around now to write about this election. I think he would have loved Barack Obama. I also have to say I loved the soundtrack. The film uses the music of the era - huge hits that everyone knows - to punctuate what's happening on screen. I guess it's sort of like a movie I don't like, Forrest Gump, but I liked the wink Gibney seems to give in the song choices.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Happy Summer!

Well, it's officially summer and it sure feels like it around here. It's sunny and warm and humid. I've been partaking in the usual summer activities, too. Sunday we went to a baseball game:

Ben's team got to run onto the field with the Saints and participate in warm ups and such:

Ben's #13. The rest of us got to sit back and enjoy the game.

Even though the Saints lost, I wasn't too sad because they lost to the Sioux Falls Canaries and I still feel loyalty to my hometown. Plus, I got to sit outside and knit and watch baseball - how fun is that?

Summer also means Summer of Socks. On Saturday I cast on for my first (hopefully not only) pair of the KAL:

These are the Leyburn socks knit in Colinette Jitterbug. The colorway is Kingfisher and this picture doesn't do it justice. It looks just black and blue in that picture but there's a wide variety of purples and some green in there too. I really love it. It's my first time using Jitterbug and I really like it. It feels nice and soft and I like the fabric it makes.

And because summer is so short, I also picked up this yarn:

It's a Minnesota Vikings colorway from Chestnut Bay Fibers. The picture again doesn't capture the purple very well. It's a true Vikings purple, though. The yarn is a superwash merino and it feels so soft and cushy. I'm putting this one away until football starts in the fall again, though. Chestnut Bay will dye any team colors for you, so if you're foolish enough to support a sports team other than the Vikings and want some yarn of your own, check them out!

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Thursday, June 19, 2008


I saw a couple of movies last week. First was:

It was pretty good. Not as good as Iron Man, but not bad. Edward Norton has finally won me over. The first movie I saw him in was Primal Fear. He got incredible reviews and was touted as the next big thing. I thought he was just ok. Overrated. But over time, he's really won me over. I've really liked him in The Illusionist, The Painted Veil and this film, so he's officially off my list of actors who kind of bug me. Norton plays Bruce Banner, who everyone probably knows turns into The Incredible Hulk because of his exposure to high levels of gamma rays. There were little nods to the tv show, which I was a huge fan of back in the day, and the comic books, which I really liked. I felt like it was just a little too much action, though. Tim Roth plays Blonsky, who turns into The Abomination. The climactic battle scene between the Hulk and the Abomination felt like a rip off of the Transformers battle scene from last summer's movie - or like Godzilla, as my brother pointed out. It just wasn't all that interesting to me and the movie felt like it dragged out. If you're a fan of super heroes, comic books and big action films, I'd say check it out. If that stuff isn't your cup of tea, skip this, but go check out Iron Man - I'm telling you, it's a great movie!

The other movie I saw was this:

I didn't care for this one. I really wanted to like it. I've been a big fan of M. Night Shyamalan. I liked Signs and The Village even though I may be one of the few. Didn't see the last one. I checked out the reviews for this one and some of my favorite critics liked it, so I thought I'd give it a shot. The writing was just terrible. If you sit and think about the plot and what happens for any amount of time, the whole thing just falls apart. And I've been a big Mark Wahlberg fan, but he sounded so wooden and stiff reciting these incredibly lame lines. The idea was pretty good - some sort of biological disaster is causing people to kill themselves. The opening sequence where you first see something taking hold of people and them killing themselves is pretty scary and creepy. But then it all sort of unravels. There were a few moments of suspense, but it really wasn't very scary or suspenseful and I don't blame him for not wanting to be a one-trick pony, but there isn't some sort of trick twist ending, either.

And I finished up a book:

I've heard so many great recommendations for this series and I finally picked up the first one. The main character is Stephanie Plum, a woman who becomes a bouny hunter because she really doesn't have many other choices. Her first assignment is to capture Joe Morelli, a former cop accused of murder who also happens to be sort of an ex-boyfriend. Plum is a great character and the writing and pace of the story are great. The mystery kept me guessing most of the way through the book and I liked how everything got wrapped up. I'm assuming Morelli makes his way into future novels, and I'll be looking forward to reading his, Stephanie's and her family's further adventures.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Thank you Elizabeth!!

I participated in the Special Swap this go around and got my package this week from the awesome Elizabeth. I'm a little late reporting this great package because I forgot to tell Elizabeth my new address, so I had to wait for the box to be forwarded from my old office. It was well worth the wait, though! The theme this time was "Sweets" and this group of gifts was indeed sweet!

From the top left, there's a spindle and some fiber to get me started (apparently Elizbeth doesn't think I buy enough yarn - I've gotta start on the fiber too), a couple of cookbooks that look amazing - some cupcakes and muffins and all chocolate recipes, and next and winding back down, a jackpot of candy - I seriously think my eyes sprang out of my head like you see on cartoons when I opened the box and saw all that candy (it's pathetic, really, that an almost 40 year old woman would be that excited by candy), I ate one of those Reese's as soon as I took the picture, in between the Twix and Mounds you can see some beautiful earrings and stitch markers that Elizabeth made just for me - love them!, on the middle left, there's an adorable cupcake magnet (which will be gracing my cubicle shortly) and a nice magnetic notepad. And the creme de la creme on the bottom left is a skein of Sundara sock yarn. You know you want a better look at that beauty.

I've never seen Sundara in person, but I now know why it's so popular. It's a really soft, lovely yarn and the picture does not adequately capture the rich, bold colors of that green colorway. It's gorgeous and I love it!! I loved all of the fun ribbons that everything was tied up in too - I'll be reusing those ribbons on my cards, too, Elizabeth. Thanks again for such a fantastic package - everything was perfect.

I also wanted to let everyone know about a project The Yarnery is doing. Here are the details:

The Yarnery is very excited to let you know about The Promise Blanket project. We are asking anyone and everyone to knit a square made of fingering weight superwash sock yarn and send it to us. Then we will sew the squares together into at least one blanket (more if you’re generous) to auction off for charity.
The charity we have chosen is the Women’s Advocates, Inc., which provides shelter and resources for women and their children who are victims of domestic violence. Something that shouldn’t exist, but sadly does. Domestic violence affects too many families and if the proceeds from our project can help even one woman start anew we’ve made a step in the right direction.

Inspired by Socks In The Cities and Knitalong: Celebrating the Tradition of Knitting Together by Larissa Brown and John Martin Brown, we are hoping to create a beautiful blanket knit by people near and far. We will display the blanket(s) in our store and online and hold the auction on Saturday, August 16, 2008. The auction will be open to knitters and non-knitters, with all of the money going to the Women’s Advocates, Inc.

If you would like additional information about the Yarnery, the blanket, or the Women’s Advocate visit yarnery.com for links. If you have any questions please email me at sitckal@gmail.com.

We would appreciate your help in any of the following ways:

*A 7 ½ square made of sock yarn (the Knitalong book has a pattern - you can find it in our store or at the library).

*Donate any of your left over fingering weight sock yarn to The Yarnery, 840 Grande Ave., St. Paul, MN 55105

*Mention our project with a link on your website, blog, store, class, etc.

*If you are in the Twin Cities, MN area please join us at The Yarnery on July 20, 2008 from 6:30 - 8:00pm for an “old-fashioned” sewing bee to seam the blanket together.

Thank you for your support and good will.

I knit my square, and I hope you'll all do the same:

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

So Much Goodness!

Sorry it's been so long since I last posted, but so many good things have been going on!! I don't even know where to start. Last weekend I went to the drive in but I'm not even going to review those two films. I saw the new Indiana Jones movie, but Bill got to the movie late and he was bringing the food, so I spent a good 20 - 30 minutes dishing up food for the kids and getting everything together, so I feel like I didn't see the film well enough to do a review. My impression of it is that if you like the Indy films, you'd probably like this one. I enjoyed most of it, but I thought the end was a little too hokey, a little forced and wrapped things up a little too neatly. I'm a big Shia Lebeouf fan, and I liked him in this movie, so if they start a new series with Shia, I'll probably keep going. The other movie was the new Chronicles of Narnia movie. I never saw the first one and I only read the first couple of chapters of Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe as a pre-teen, so I really didn't understand what all was going on. I think this one is another one where if you're the intended audience, you're probably going to like it, but otherwise, eh. Not bad, but nothing earthshaking.

I managed to finish a project that I never even got a chance to introduce to you all.

Project Name: Holding Hands, Feeding Ducks Scarf
Designer: beforesunrise
Pattern Source: A Time to Knit blog
Yarn: Malabrigo Silky Merino - Purple Mystery Colorway
Yarn Source: The Yarnery
Date Started: 5/22/08
Date Completed: 6/6/08

Comments: This was a super quick project, primarily because I had a two-day CLE and I knit on the scarf through about 3/4 of it. I absolutely love this pattern and would love to do it again with a variegated yarn. I know the picture looks like a blue scarf, but it actually is an absolutely stunning color of purple. The red tones just would not show up in the pictures. You can see it a little better on the Malabrigo website, but they still didn't capture how striking the color is. I used 2 skeins of yarn and it's 64" long. I used a size 9 needle and cast on 33 stitches. It is 5.25" wide. This is a fantastic yarn - just as soft as you'd expect from Malabrigo and with a nice sheen from the silk. I would definitely use it again. Here's a closeup of the stitch pattern:

I also got to see one of my favorite bands last week:

In case you don't recognize those guys, it's REM. I've seen them quite a few times and I'd put this show close to the top of their best. As I (and the bands I grew up with) age, I find it interesting to see how the tock stars are handling the approach of middle age. I have to say, age hasn't phased Michael Stipe a bit. He still looks fantastic, long and lanky and bendy and energetic. The band played a great mix of old stuff and new songs off their latest album. I haven't bought the new album yet, but I definitely will after seeing this show - it sounds like a good one. Here's the set list for the other REM fans out there:

Living Well’s The Best Revenge
These Days
Disturbance at the Heron House
What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?
Hollow Man
Shaking Through
Man Sized Wreath
West of The Fields
Star 69
The One I Love
Final Straw
Sweetness Follows
Let Me In
Walk Unafraid
Horse To Water
Bad Day
I’m Gonna DJ
Supernatural Superserious
Welcome to the Occupation
Losing My Religion
Fall on Me (w/Johnny Marr)
Man on the Moon

The highlight of the week, though, happened in the same spot two nights earlier:

It was an incredible speech and I felt so lucky to be part of such an historic occasion. And the fact that the candidate that I feel so passionate about actually got the nomination made it even more spectacular. That never happens! I didn't take a ton of pictures, but I did take a few, which I'll share in case you're interested. It was my first time seeing Michelle Obama and I love her and I'm kind of obsessed with her purple dress, so I took a lot of pictures of the couple together. Here they are coming out to the roaring crowd:

Oh my gosh, they look so good together!

Here's the candidate, giving his amazing speech. The cheer when he announced he was the nominee was deafening!

And I couldn't resist this last one at the end, when Barack puts his arm around Michelle - the intimacy and love of the gesture was touching.

And I was even more happy about my latest yarn purchase:

It's from Black Bunny Fibers and a portion of the price goes to the Obama campaign. Yay!!

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