Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Just Another Manic Monday

Except, you know, it's Tuesday, but whatever.

Last Tuesday morning, we went to the National Zoo and saw the Baby Panda. He kept falling off the branch he was climbing on and generally being too cute for words. (There's lots more pictures if you click on the photo)

And here's how Birch is going!

as you can see, she is getting big. Also, I'm now down to 143 stitches (out of an original 299) and so she's starting to really move, and grow quickly. I hope to finish her soon.

AND! Dan refinished the coffee table! See how it looked before?

See how nice it is now?!

And... here's a picture of my local pub in Manchester, where Dan worked as a barman and we had some really really good times. I'm feeling nostalgic. I spent a lot of time (and a lot of money!) here...

Sunday, January 29, 2006


I didn't go to Stitch 'n Bitch today.

I worked on grad school applications.

I hate this.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Yarn Recomendations...

So, I had a friend tell me yesterday that I've ruined her, because I taught her how to knit using Peace Fleece yarn because "now nothing else measures up to my standards".

I told her I could name a few that would, because I'm EVIL.

So, this list is mainly for her, but you know, if you want to know what I love, here it is!

In general, anything Rowan does is top-notch. And, I am, as you know, a Rowan-whore.

I'm particularily addicted to Kidsilk Haze, because it's soft and fuzzy and comes in yummy colors and has a million yards in a ball and looks good in intricate lace AND garter stitch.

Kid Classic is good and soft, and for nubby yarns, you can't go wrong with Yorkshire Tweed. I'm assuming the Scottish Tweed is similair in it's awesome-ness, but I haven't used it yet. And for soft, smooth buttery small gauge knitting, 4 ply soft is HEAVEN.

Plus, there's the whole high-end RYC (Rowan Yarns Classic) with cashmere blends that make me swoon. YUM YUM YUM.

Noro is awesome. Especially Silk Garden.

Manos del Uraguay is very PC, being hand-dyed and spun by a small collective in Uraguay. And it's soft and the spinning and dying are slightly uneven, making it even more lovely.

Fiesta Yarns, especially La Luz are quality.

La Lana is beautiful and quality and hand-dyed using plant life and Luisa is so knowledgable about what she does and is awesome.

Colinette can be really awesome, but some of their novelty stuff grates on me (but it's all high quality, just me and novelty yarn... gargh). I love their kits though--I love the way they blend color and texture. (Someday maybe I'll finish my Vintage Vest. Maybe)

Good, basic, workhorse yarns are Cascade 220 and Plymouth Galway and Lamb's Pride (well, anything by Brown Sheep really).And if you want/need to knit something washable for a baby, I really do like Encore.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Progress report

Dan bought me this at a used book store last weekend. It now hangs in our living room and is from WWI! How cool is that?! (Sorry for the flash reflection)

And the birch, she grows...

Friday, January 13, 2006

Secret Pal 7

Oooo... Questionaire time!

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand?

I'm a fiber snob, not a brand snob. I like high quality, natural fibers, but just because it's expensive doesn't mean it's good... you know what I mean?

2. Do you spin? Crochet?

Um... I'm trying to spin. I do crochet.

3. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

I have wine gift boxes that display them attractively on my knitting table.

4. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I learned how to knit 7 years ago this month. I consider myself to be an advanced knitter.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

Mmm-hmmm. I've had issues linking to it in the past, so try this. If it doesn't work, let me know, ok?

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

I like spicy. Chanel No. 5. My favorite lotion and bubble bath that Body Shop so heartlessly only did for a limited time was "Ginger Lily". Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

Mmmm... chocolate covered cherries make me melt.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?

I sew. I embroider. I dither and dather. I like making stuff, but little projects, not necessarily something that can be named.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I'm all over MP3s. I'm all over music. I was raised on folk and classic rock. Listen to a lot of new folk (The Nields, Dar Williams, Eddie from Ohio etc) and classic/outlaw country (which is what happens when you marry a Texan). I've also been getting into world music. (Paris Combo, Bebel Gilberto, Suba, Anything Putumayo puts out)

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?

Navy blue and pale pink. I love great in brown and love earthtones in general. Yellow makes me look ill.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

1 husband. 2 gerbils.

12. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

All of the above. Except ponchos, because they look kinda weird on me.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?

I am a Rowan whore. I like wool. Kid Silk Haze makes me drool.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

Cheap acrylic that feels like plastic.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?


16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?


17. What are you knitting right now?

Birch shawl is getting all my attention at the moment.

18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?


19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?

Depends on the project. I use both on a regular basis.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

Hardwood, then bamboo.

21. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

Sadly, no.

22. How did you learn to knit?

I took a non-credit, taught-by-peers class in college.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?

How long have I been knitting?

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?

Leela from Futurama

25. What is your favorite holiday?

Christmas, followed by Thanksgiving.

26. Is there anything that you collect?

Hobbies, books

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

Interweave Knits, Vogue Knitting, Rowan, Rebecca

I have Knitters but I'm not renewing.

28. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on?

More of the RYC pattern collection (except Weekend. My last SP gave me that and it just whetted my appetite!) And anything by Elizabeth Zimmerman (except The Opinoinated Knitter as I have that already)

29. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?


30. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

Yes. I'm too lazy to measure them again, but my last SP questionnare is in the "About me" link and the answers there.

31. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)


Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Nearing the end of my first ball of Kidsilk Haze and encountering an unholy number of knots.

So very frustrating!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Back from Wisconsin! (with a lesson about cheese!)

So... I got back from Wisconsin at the crack of yesterday after a lovely vacation and visit with the fam and drinking with my friends from high school. In addition to the sadness of leaving vacation and facing work again, I heaved a sad sigh as I climbed into the car to go to the airport because I HAD FORGOTTEN TO BUY CHEESE CURDS! I mean, how could I forget such a thing? Such a beautiful yummy thing as cheese curds? Such a reminder of home as you can really only get them in Wisconsin?!

But, my fear and sadness was for nought, as well, I hadn't completely forgotten that ALL AIRPORTS in Wisconsin have a cheese shop in them (seriously. I'm not kidding. The Appleton Airport doesn't even have a McDonald's, but they have a cheese shop!)

So here they are:

Now, some people DON'T KNOW what cheese curds are! Hmmmm. Ok, so when you make cheese, you have milk and some flavorings, and you add an enzyme and it makes the milk curdle. So you have CHEESE CURDS. And then you push all the curds together and drain off the excess fluid (called whey) until you have a big block or maybe a wheel and then you age it. CHEESE! (Incidentally, tofu is made almost the same way, but with soy milk and a different enzyme). And cottage cheese? Curds and whey.

So cheese curds are a really mild cheddar cheese (because they're fresh and haven't been aged at all) and because they're so fresh, they're a little salty and if they're REALLY fresh, they squek when you bite into them. Seriously. Love.

My dog also likes them, because they're dog-sized bites of cheese.

Then we got home and Dan's mom had sent us this!

A Shiner Bock nightlight. Sweet.

Also, I did some knitting! (of course!)

I cast on for Birch while sitting in the airport in Baltimore. And ALL THOSE stitch markers had everyone wondering what I was knitting, because there were LOTS AND LOTS of knitters catching that flight to the twin cities! It was great! And we had fun hanging out at the gate.

And people think I'm knitting jewels or something into my Birch, but nope, just lots and lots and lots of stitch markers.

It's shaping up, no? I think the main reason people think I'm using jewels is because I'm using those awesome stitch markers that my secret pal gave me (I'm also using the yarn she gave me!)