|You scored as Luna Lovegood. You're an extreme introvert and because of this, are also a deep thinker. You ponder things others would never dream of pondering and stand with your beliefs without backing down. You find it more valuable to daydream than to socialize, because there's so much more going on in your head than others'. Most people don't understand it, but you seem to prefer it that way.|
30 March 2007
25 March 2007
Here are the socks I've been working on, complete and ready to wear, shown on both sides for your viewing pleasure.
As you can see, they are pretty close to matching, though I didn't even bother to try and get them to match. This is only the third pair of socks I've made for myself, and I think they turned out quite well. The yarn is Opal Tiger, which I've had for a couple of years (at least - I knew I'd get around to it one of these days!), and the pattern is the pattern I use for nearly every pair of socks I make, the Socks for the Whole Family pattern from Yankee Knitter. I worked on them mostly during lunch hours at work, and occasionally while watching a movie or TV program. I finished one in February, and the other one this past Friday night. (I have now completed more things already since January, than I have some years for the whole twelve months!)
Not only that, but ...
A couple of weeks ago, when it was my birthday, Karen and Sebastian were very apologetic, because the gift they wanted to get for me had not arrived in time. I know how that feels as the gift giver, because you don't want someone to think you were too lazy to get something in time. But as the gift recipient, I enjoy receiving gifts later, 'cause it's a lot of fun.
Tim went up to spend the morning with Sebastian today, and brought back two birthday packages for me. One was a bag full of little samples of fancy shampoos, hand creams, etc., and a nice Walk Around the World for Breast Cancer pin from Avon (which as it turns out, was for me from a friend of Karen's. Nice, huh?). Then there was a larger package, and when I opened it, I laughed out loud, because here's what was inside:
I'm not sure you can see what it says, but it's Shut Up and Knit" - is that great or what? The Molly hanger is modeling it, because I am in no condition to model anything, since I've been prepping for three days for a medical procedure tomorrow (nothing major, just annoying). But I think Molly does quite a nice job of showing it off, don't you? (Yes, I know I have glare from the flash. Don't push your luck right now by pointing it out to me ...)
I cannot tell you how much fun it was to open the packages, and how the shirt cracked me up! It says the same thing on the back, so I can spread the message coming and going ...
Between finishing my socks, and opening my packages today, a weekend that was otherwise less than stellar turned out to be pretty good after all. Thanks Karen, Seb, and Lucy!*
**Lucy is their sweet kitty cat. Like ours, she helps to send cards and give gifts.
22 March 2007
Today I had one of those experiences that make you think to yourself, "Duh." This one was related to knitting. I walked down to Sophie's Yarns during my lunch hour, because a) it's less than a 10-minute walk, b) it was a pretty day, c) I wanted to pet the cat that lives there, and d) it's yarn store! There was a woman there, who had laid out several afghan squares of varying colors and patterns, and was working on joining them to make an afghan for an upcoming auction to benefit one of the elementary schools nearby. (On an unrelated note, remember when elementary schools were grade schools?) Anyway, she was making slow but steady progress, and when I commented on how nice the individual squares looked, she said that different customers had knitted different squares, and she had come in to put it all together.
And do you know what she was using to do it? Well, instead of trying to find a color that would coordinate with the various shades of the blocks, or using the ever popular goes-with-everything-black, she was using a subtly shaded variegated yarn. The really intriguing thing was, that of the pieces she had already worked, the yarn looked really great, like it had been individually chosen for each piece. When I saw this, it was a light bulb moment. Because one of my, ahem, "long-term projects" is a block afghan, and I've always wondered once it was finished how I'd decide what color to use to put it together. I had sort of assumed black or dark brown, which would be fine. But [someday] when I actually get to the point of finishing it, I think I'll at least consider variegated yarn.
You're probably thinking, wow she's a real rocket scientist, but it was a revelation to me ... and I can't wait to tell my friend Sharrie, who usually experiences these "Duh" moments with me. Inevitably, one or the other of us will see something, and be amazed at what a good idea it is, and then realize that it's, well, bloody obvious!
You may remember that I mentioned last week that Tim had brought home a copy of The Natural Knitter: How to Choose, Use, and Knit Natural Fibers from Alpaca to Yak, by Barbara Albright. Well, I loved the book! And rather than reinvent the wheel, so to speak, I encourage you to visit Carol's blog, and read her review, because she says it all much better than I could. The book is not just a great read, it's aesthetically very pleasing, sort of like a coffee-table knitting book, if you will. One thing that is encouraged is taking advantage of the numerous small farms, companies, etc., who are trying to be socially conscious while providing quality products. As a matter of fact, she advocates trying to find the places that are local, not just for the convenience, but as an act to preserve the environment. A couple of days after that, a friend sent me this link: http://www.localharvest.org/store/wool.jsp, which is not just fun to browse, but will let you take a look to see what's near you, or just out there in the universe if you are interested.
Moving to yet another topic, it seems that everyone is wearing their thin skin these days. I've noticed in some of the knitting blogs I have read this week, both bloggers and some of their readers seem to be taking things very personally. I even read a comment on one blog where the commenter said that they "shouldn't have to read this kind of trash," because they disagreed with the blogger's opinion. Which begs the question, was this person being forced to read the blog at gunpoint, and threatened with immediate death if they held a different opinion? I read, hear, and watch a lot of stuff every single day, and unless it's something that I am required/obliged to pay attention to, I just skip the things that don't really interest me, or that upset me, or that cause me such aggravation that it's not worth it.
On another blog, someone was criticized for saying that they really enjoyed working with yarn that had some silk content. In the comments to that post, several people seemed to take offense because they didn't like/couldn't afford silk yarn, and accused the blogger of being a yarn snob. (I always suspect that these are the same people who are always making prounouncements like, "Well, a knitter would never do/say something so unkind. Knitters are nicer than that.")
Anyway, it's just an observation on my part. And if it offends you, well then stop reading ...
I noticed that this is my 99th post, which means the next one will be number 100 ("Duh"). Who knows what golden nuggets I'll have to dispense in that one ... I mean, anything could happen!
20 March 2007
(You may have noticed that my bouts of religious zeal have very little to do with actual religion. What can I say, it works for me.)
Anyway, when we moved to Philadelphia, we were introduced to an aspect of St. Joseph's Day that we were not acquainted with:
These are incredible. They are similar to a cream puff, except the pastry isn't exactly puff pastry, like in a cream puff. They are filled with ricotta cheese and chocolate chips. You can get them here at the Termini Bros. bakery in the Italian Market on St. Joseph's Day only, and the place is so festive, it's worth it just for the experience, even if you don't want to get a zeppole. (Now, why someone wouldn't want to get a zeppole is beyond me, but that's their business ...) As far as I'm concerned, the zeppole gives St. Joseph some extra recognition on his feast day, and the best part is, you don't even have to go to church to get one!
(You may have also noticed that I particularly enjoy events related to food. See parenthetic comment above.)
As you may or may not know, March 19 is also the traditional return of the swallows to San Juan Capistrano, California. Which leads to a favorite family story. My niece Lauren was driving from her college in Santa Barbara late one Friday evening down the freeway in California, to visit her parents in Orange County for the weekend. She called my sister late at night, upset because she was lost, and had missed her exit. My sister said to let her know where she was, and she could give her directions to get home. But Lauren was so upset, my sister realized she would need to drive to wherever she was calling from, and let her follow my sister's car home. So she said, "Well, OK, I'll come and get you. Where are you?" To which Lauren replied, "I'm just off the exit for San Juan Cappuccino."
I tell ya, it just writes itself.
17 March 2007
16 March 2007
As I suspected, the evening of my birthday was just as great as the day was. Tim baked a marble cake with homemade chocolate frosting with slivered almonds, and we had that with ice cream. Yum! He also gave me a beautiful necklace, so the birthday combo of cake and shiny things was perfectly accomplished!
I got a few knitting related things, such as Victorian Lace Today, which I had looked at a few months ago, and really loved. But since I am a beginner (being kind to myself here) at lace, I figured it wasn't really practical. But Tim said maybe it would inspire me - which now that I think of it, makes perfect sense. Because it is an inspiring book. I would be happy if I could do any of the designs, even poorly.
I also got a wood swift, which is made of cherry, and is beautiful. It's also good for me, because I don't really have room for an umbrella swift, and this one breaks down easily and stores in a bag on a shelf or someplace. I had asked for a ball winder, and was going to save and buy myself the swift. I had sent Tim some pictures of ball winders, so he would know what I was talking about, and there were also swifts in the pictures. He said the swift was nicer-looking, so he got me that, because "don't they do the same thing?" Ask me if I care that he doesn't know the details of the winder/swift relationship. :-)
A friend gave me a gift certificate to Rosie's, which is always a good thing. I'll just have to make the sacrifice and go choose something. (This falls into the category that my sister refers to as White Man's Troubles ...)
I also got great (though non-knitting) gifts from the cats and from some of my other friends. So don't cry for me, Argentina, it was a fun birthday! And, since in our family, you have your birthday day, and your birthday week, I'm still enjoying my birthday week, thank you very much.
I do have to say that I didn't get as much knitting done as I'd thought I would, at least not yet. Yesterday I spent more time than I had planned trying to balance the checkbook (grr), and then met a friend for lunch. Then I spent a good part of the evening on the checkbook, and finally got to a point where I could live with what the bank was telling me ...
But today since I have that out of the way, I have plans for some things around here, baking some soda bread, and working on the second sock I'm knitting. I figure tomorrow I should work on the Shamrock Shawl, being St. Patrick's Day and all ...
And finally, please join me in a chorus of Happy Birthday to my friend Carol, whose birthday is today. Her Etsy shop, Black Bunny Fibers, just turned a year old a couple of days ago, and today is her day, so she has lots of reasons to celebrate. I only met her about a year ago, but I consider her one of my dearest friends, and have learned more about knitting, yarns, and patterns from her in this past year, than in all of my previous years on my own.
Happy Birthday, Carol, and many, many, more!
14 March 2007
Anyway, today is my very own birthday, so YAY! I love birthdays in general, and mine in particular. Because as I always tell people, the alternative is much less attractive to me. And I feel qualified to say that, having had the alternative try to sneak up on me a couple of times.
I know so many people who get really freaked out by their birthdays, and to be honest, it intrigues me. And every time someone asks me if I'm "turning 29 again"
I will admit though, that it is easier for me to remember my birthdate, than my age. I mean, if someone asks me my date of birth, I can rattle it off to them in record time. If someone asks me my age, I always have to stop, think of my birth date, and do the math. And I always think that it gives the impression that I'm trying to think of what I can say, that they might believe. I always say my actual age after I've figured it out, it just takes me a minute to get there ...
Anyway. Today is my 51st birthday, for those of you who may be wondering. (For the record, on the actual day of my birthday, I can always easily remember how old I am ...)
It has been a most excellent day so far. It was unusually warm here today (about 78 degrees), and really sunny. I went to the gym, and then we had sour cream pecan coffee cake from a French patisserie near our house, with some coffee. Then we drove to New Hope, which is about an hour's drive on a day like today, when there is no traffic, and it's not a weekend. It was really great to be out, just walking around for the heck of it, on such a nice day. We walked across the bridge to Lambertville, New Jersey. (Which, because I'm apparently 5 emotionally, I always think is so much fun - walking to another state and back in one day!) And I just finished my birthday dinner of vegetarian barbecue (Tim's is the best); then later, we'll have birthday cake and presents. Now, if I was ignoring my birthday, would I have had such a nice day in the middle of the week? Not very likely!
And so, I see no reason to stop celebrating birthdays. And I really don't mind getting older. Sure, I hope that I won't end up disabled, or seriously ill, and that I'll be able to be independent, etc., the older I get. But I'd much rather be where I am, and who I am, than worry about getting here in the first place.
13 March 2007
But I've decided to try and think of the good/neat things, and that it would be worth it to share those. Thinking of them will be useful, but "writing them down" will be good for me, I'm sure of it. And lest you think I'm going to become Little Mary Sunshine, talking about goodness and light all of the time, please keep in mind that I have been cynical for as long as I can remember, and see no reason to stop now.
So here, in random order, are the things over the past week that are worth writing about.
1. Eunny Jang was named the new editor of Interweave Knits. Which I think is interesting, because her blog is both interesting and fascinating to me, because she not only has a lot to share, but the patterns she has designed are pretty cool, even if not something I am ready or interested in knitting. (Yes, that sentence is too long. I'm too lazy to break it up. Deal with it.) IK is one of my favorite knitting/craft magazines, and I will be curious to see what she brings to it.
2. My sock is making slow but steady progress, as is the Shamrock Shawl. I've only had to rip back twice in the last week on a row in the shawl, and then it was a result of missing a stitch in the count. Which is progress, since when I started it, I had to nearly always do the lace rows four or five times over.
3. My friend Lisa drove in from the 'burbs on Sunday to spend the day, and we had a blast. We had lunch, then walked around town, mainly window-shopping and people-watching, while maintaining our high opinions of ourselves as infinitely more attractive, witty, and fun than anyone we passed. Kinda like Snarky Soup for the Soul.
4. Sebastian spent the weekend, and I amused myself torturing him. (Don't worry, he can give it as much as he can take it.)
5. Doughboy came home! And though I didn't see him yet, I'm glad he has returned, after about a month of visiting his grandmother in suburban Virginia. I'm sure he enjoyed being spoiled, and barking at deer in her backyard, but I missed him.
6. My niece confirmed that she and her husband will be coming again for Easter, which is fun in general, but also means our tradition of Easter eggs with themes in poor taste (which of course we think are just hi-larious) will continue! We all look forward to this as one of the highlights of the year. Hopefully, I will be able to get some photos to post here, for everyone to enjoy. Or be appalled by, but either way, it's all good.
7. Tim brought me a copy of a new (to me at least) book, The Natural Knitter: How to Choose, Use, and Knit Natural Fibers from Alpaca to Yak, by Barbara Albright. I haven't had a chance to give it a good look, but the dust jacket has yarn and animals on it, so I know I'll at least like that ...
8. I am through with work for this week, since I am taking tomorrow through Friday as vacation days, with no particular plans. Ahhhhh ...
9. Cake. Marble cake. With chocolate fudge frosting.
10. My stitches came out without any problem, and you can hardly tell that I even had any. Not that I was worried about being disfigured or anything, but I was curious as to how noticeable it would be. And of course, my doctor is a laff riot - when he took off the bandage, and was removing the stitches, he said, "Oh. I guess my hand wasn't as steady as I thought it was." Then he had to sit down and laugh. Nothing like surgical humor to get you through ...
OK, there are probably other things, but I think ten is a nice round number. And I do feel somewhat better, as it was fun to think of them, and also I like to write, so I got to do some writing. Which I think is the real reason I enjoy this blog. I feel like I can write, and people can read it or not. (Not my problem if they don't recognize brilliance when it's staring them in the face. Geez.)
And, not to end in a downer fashion (a la Debbie Downer), but I feel it's only fair to give a little bit of time to the opposing view.
1. The time change is stupid, and it sucks, and I'm betting that there's not going to be that much energy saved as a result of it.
2. I really don't care what Donald Trump thinks about anyone or anything. Ditto for Rosie O'Donnell, Tom Cruise, etc.
3. Yes, supermodels are too thin. Yes, many girls and young women have eating disorders or poor self-esteem. But if you pick up a copy of Vogue, what do you think you're going to see? It's not a self-help publication. Would I like to see people who look more normal and diverse in fashion magazines? I guess. But I've never cared that much what the models actually look like.
So ... did you like incommunicado better????
06 March 2007
O, dess a little girl.
My father used to love to tell that knock-knock joke. I don't know if it was because it really amused him, or because it really annoyed my mother ("Oh for God's sake, it's not even that funny"). But anyway, the whole time I was knitting my Odessa hat, I was thinking of that joke ...
And finally, Blogger, in all of its beneficience, has allowed me to post pictures. (Sheldon Jackson be praised!) And so without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I present my finished Odessa, fetchingly modeled by a medicine ball:
Here's a (blurry) close-up of the beads knitted in, and the view of the top:
Once the pattern stopped giving me fits, it was actually pretty easy to remember. And when I finally got going, it really didn't take too long to finish it, which is a landmark for me.
So here are the details for any of you who may care:
Of course, lovely though it is, it's too small for my head - actually, it would be a lovely beaded yarmulke, should I ever decide to become a Jewish man ... I *think* that I may try it again sometime, and add a couple of pattern repeats, and make it a little deeper. But that's a "someday" thing. Right now, I'm just pleased with the final product, and that I have a birthday or Christmas gift already!
And so, you are probably asking yourselves, What is she knitting now??? Well, as previously mentioned, sock #2 of the pair I started, and have been working on during lunchtime at work. That's still my "new" project (as in, for every new project, try to finish something that I started and set aside). I decided since it's March, and St. Patrick's Day is in March, I would revisit a Shamrock Shawl that I started shortly after St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. I bought the kit from Catherine Knits, after seeing some photos of completed ones. At the time I started it, I had never really tried any lace knitting, and though it's not entirely lace, it was enough for me to start it over ... several times. Since I have been wanting to tackle some lace projects, now that I'm a somewhat more confident knitter, it seemed like a good place to start.
One thing that would amuse me, if it didn't annoy me so much, is that apparently at the time I started, I didn't know how to uncurl circular needles after taking them out of the package. As a result, the needle is going every which way, which I will have to resolve soon or someone will pay!! (Probably Tim.)
That's all for now. As you were.
04 March 2007
1. Girl Sleuth : Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her, by Melanie Rehak. This book was a lot of fun to read, and really interesting to boot! I was a big Nancy Drew fan as a kid, though I will admit that I was always puzzled as to why her "roadster" wasn't just called a car. Also, I will admit that for years as a kid, I thought "sleuth" was pronounced "slee-uth," until one day when I actually came across the word with pronunciation in the dictionary. But I digress.
This book talks about the creation of Nancy Drew - not just who created her, but why, how, and what she was supposed to be about. At the same time, it manages to be a social history of life in the U.S., a sort of history of publishing, and a sort of women's history as well. One thing I found particularly interesting was not just that Carolyn Keene was not a real, single individual, but that anyone who was hired to be Carolyn Keene was prohibited from revealing it by the Stratemeyer Enterprises, owners of that series as well as a few others. It reminded me of the old Hollywood studio system, where certain stars "belonged" to studios, and were prohibited from working for other ones.
I would recommend this book to anyone who was/is a Nancy Drew fan, or just interested in how writers write. Though it is academic in nature, it's an enjoyable read, and you come away with a whole new view of Nancy and her mysteries.
2. Beautiful Lies, by Lisa Unger. I had read a review of this one somewhere, and thought I would give it a try. It's a suspense novel, and a really good read. The premise is that one day, a young woman who lives in New York City, notices that a little boy is walking into the path of an oncoming car, and she manages to whisk him out of harm's way just in time. She is of course, hailed as a heroine, and appears on local news casts, as well as in newspaper stories describing her action. Then one day, she opens an envelope in the mail, containing an old newspaper clipping, with a photo of a woman, man, and little girl. The woman looks just like her, and the story is about the woman's murder, and the little girl's subsequent disappearance. There is a note enclosed with the clipping that says simply, "Are you my daughter?"
From there, the story goes in all kinds of directions, as the main character tries to figure out who she is, which turns out to be a lot harder than she expected. As usual, there's a conflict between the woman's current boyfriend, and a new man that she meets, but it plays out in an interesting fashion. By the end of the book, you realize that hardly anyone in it was who they seemed to be. It's an enjoyable and pretty quick read.
3. Letters from Yellowstone, by Diane Smith. Oh, do I love this book! It's the story of A.E. Bartram, who signs on to an expedition to Yellowstone in 1898 to document the plants in the park. The surprise for the other researchers is that A.E. Bartram is Alexandria Bartram, and none of them has any idea that they have added a woman to their research team. The book is written in epistolary format, which gives you the points of view of each member of the expedition.
Many of the themes are ones still being discussed today: how to handle tourism, what kinds of transportation should be allowed in the park, whether or not to allow hunting, how best to preserve the area without completely outlawing visitors, and how much growth - as far as building and commercial development - should be permitted in the park.
The writing is really impressive, given that the author is giving voice to several characters, as well as moving the story along in a reasonable fashion. As is the case when you hear different people talk about the same event, your opinions and allegiances shift among them the whole time. This is a book I can imagine reading again sometime in the future.
In other news ...
I finished the Odessa hat this past Wednesday evening, and it doesn't look half bad. I have been trying since Thursday evening to post pictures for you to oooh and ahhh, but Blogger won't let me. I either get returned to the screen to upload photos, with the various fields blank again, or I get an error message. I do promise that if I am ever again able to show you pictures, I will!
After my frustration on Thursday, I moved on to something else, and finished sock #1 of the pair I'm knitting for myself. I'm really pleased with how it looks, and have started the second one. Usually I try to knit both socks more or less at the same time, i.e., the cuff of one, then the cuff of the other, then the leg, and the rest. These socks are being knit one at a time because a single skein of the yarn makes a pair, and I have neither the equipment or the patience to divide it in half. Perhaps someday I can post a photo of the socks. Perhaps not. I guess we'll all just have to wait and see.
03 March 2007
Today I stopped at Rosie's, and there was a woman looking around, who said she was from Texas, where "they don't have yarn." I asked her where in Texas she was from, and she said College Station, "right outside of Houston." She seemed kind of overwhelmed by all the yarn she was seeing. Which was even more than usual, since they had gotten in a couple of shipments in the past week. (Especially Koigu - I've never seen so much Koigu in one spot!) I don't know if she ended up buying anything or not, but I left Rosie's and decided to walk over to the bookstore and say hi to Tim. He happened to be at the information desk, and there was another employee there, who mentioned that his mother worked in a yarn store. I asked which one, thinking he meant here in Philadelphia, but he said, "Oh, back home in Houston." Interesting, n-est-ce pas? But maybe since Texas is such a big state, "right outside of Houston" is a lot further than I'm thinking it is ... or maybe she just doesn't get out much ...
Anyway, if you're in the area, remember to mark your calendars for June 26!
01 March 2007
But enough about me (yeah, right), March has a lot of other things going for it:
1. It's also the month of Carol's birthday, as well as Lisa's (the owner of Rosie's), and my friend Sharrie.
2. It has St. Patrick's Day, as well as St. Joseph's Day (zeppoles!).
3. It is a month that has never involved any surgical procedures, or recoveries from said procedures (for me, that is. I'm sure others have had surgery during March ...).
4. The first day of spring is in March, but you are also just as likely to get a blizzard sometime during its 31 days.
5. Daffodils usually bloom, or at least begin to bloom, during March. And I love daffodils, though I have no luck growing them in the garden.
6. I was baptized in March, thereby saving me from limbo, especially since now the pope has eliminated limbo. (So tell me, where do all the unbaptized babies go if they die?? And where are the ones who were already there?? Huh?? Answer me that one, pope!)
7. Sometimes, Easter falls in March ... and when it doesn't, Easter is usually shortly after the end of the month, so you start to see chocolate bunnies and peeps during the month. I am always cheered up by chocolate bunnies and peeps. (Peeps that look like baby chicks. Because I am a Peeps Purist.)
8. The saying goes that March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb. I don't really care either way, since I like lions and lambs, and would be happy to see either/both of them at any point during the month.
And of course, other things that I am not thinking of at the moment. But I'm sure by now you get the idea. So have a good March, even if you are not lucky enough to have been born in it!