on knitting and healing and other stuff

Archive for March, 2007

Yarnscape with Needles

Posted by Janis on March 25, 2007

yarnscape.JPG I believe I mentioned the yarn awaiting me when I returned from spring break? Here it is:  in back, the Shaker box (handcrafted by Dad, I must add – gorgeous, isn’t it?) is full of the Rowan Felted Tweed, Wool Cotton, and Scottish Tweed needed for the Floral Lace Shawl (VK), then left to right we have Jo Sharp Rare Comfort in rosehip for the Scarf Style scarf,  a Debbie Bliss Pure Silk in rose, Opal Tiger (roar), Misti Alpaca Lace (Swallowtail Shawl from IK), Kid Merino in chocolate because Sue had such a great price on it at Littleknits, and my yarn-tourism skein from Leadville, Colorado:  Lonesome Stone handpainted in “Mighty Fine Pine,” made in Fraser, Colorado — wool and mohair, yum! The new Addi Lace needles are there, too. Can’t wait to take those for a test drive!

I figure that combined with what I just ordered from Knit Happens (what a sale!!!), I have enough yarn to– well, I’ll have enough yarn. Period. For me, for gifts, for covering the walls throughout the house should I decide to, for knit therapy. I’ll be the healthiest woman on the planet. ‘Bout flippin’ time, too.

I decided to forego the Alpaca Show this weekend, and instead chose the rather mature course of staying home and doing our income taxes. I know how to have fun on a Saturday night, that’s for sure. Woo hoo. Turbo Tax! Receipts! Girl Scout cookies and milk! Completely out of control… BUT – they are finished. And we get a nice refund. (Why does it seem like I’m getting a prize when we get a refund? It’s our freakin’ money!) It will pay for our little anniversary snorkelling get-away in May. (“Snorkelling” here means  — well, snorkelling — mask, fins, water, fish, coral. It just sounds naughty.)

(OK, I gotta confess. It didn’t look like any of the vendors listed at the Alpaca Show were actually selling yarn. That’s why I didn’t go. I wanted to pet those alpacas, sure — but what if there wasn’t any yarn?)


Posted in In the Stash | 2 Comments »

3 Things I Thought I’d Never Say…

Posted by Janis on March 25, 2007

1) “When we pick out the new sofa, it has to match the table we already have with the shelf that perfectly fits the worm binder with my needles in it.” Yeah, ’cause a big blue Bass Pro Extreme Jumbo Worm Binder is the home decor accessory of the season!

2) “I don’t mind being in the car for fifteen hours straight. I’ll knit.” Why do we only live 15 hours from Colorado? It seemed so far away before I took up knitting…

3) “These #10 needles are so big and awkward. I like the #1 Addi’s much better.” This exciting discovery has led to rethinking all the beautiful patterns in Interweave Knits back issues that I rejected out of hand because the needle size required was less than a US8. It’s a whole new world out there…

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Long Time, No Post

Posted by Janis on March 23, 2007

It’s been ages since I’ve posted, and it’s pretty grim to return to the whiff of stale blog. Time to freshen this up, post some updates, talk some knitting.

Spring break happened — thank God for the teaching life! Great skiing, great family time, and even some good knitting AND a surprise yarn shop find — I feel better than I have for months. Really refreshed – no, renewed – that’s the word. Renewed. While I was away, St. Louis turned green and springy, bloomy and flowery. My fledgling bulb bed in the front yard has some grape hyacinth and dwarf iris in bloom, with more shoots ready to go for tulips and things I don’t remember planting. Or weeds? It’s still sparse, needs spreading and naturalization, but it’s cheering nevertheless. The forsythia bush at the side of the house is in full bloom and the pro-gardener neighbors’ brilliant daffodils are a sight for sore eyes.

I also returned to find much BOOTY in the way of yarn and books I had ordered a while back — wheee! The yarn (well, one box of it) was a back order from before Christmas from WEBS — I had ordered the stuff to make the Floral Lace Shawl in Vogue Knitting Fall ’06, which I think is just gorgeous. Now I have about 6 months to make it before it’ll be in season to wear.

This brings me to my latest brainstorm, which I’m sure is far from an original idea, but here goes. I’m thinking I’ll make up a calendar for the projects I want to do, so maybe they’ll be finished in time for the season they’re designed for. I know, I know — bold thinking here — a calendar! — but it just might work.

I have a long and sordid history of affairs with calendars, especially the attractive ones — you know the type: good looks, sleek lines, sexy fonts for the printing — I go weak in the knees just describing the perfect one. And so I bring it home, admittedly often paying too much, and at first it’s great. I mean, fantastic calendar! I get out my special pens to share with it, I see it constantly, do all the little things to make the relationship click. Then after a few weeks, something happens… I don’t know, it just isn’t… exciting anymore. I stop opening it up, maybe even ignore it or leave it for long periods in the bottom of a bag or my desk. The thrill is gone. Somehow I manage to get everywhere I’m supposed to be (for the most part), but I miss the company of that good-looking creature and the promise of being truly organized. Not enough to go back to the jilted one, usually, but in a few months I’ll start all over again. I’ll see a particularly hot one in the book store and WHAM — I’m in lust again.

So for this knitting calendar, I’m going to outfox myself. I’m going to use the plain old iCal or just print out some calendar grids on white paper. Yeah, that’ll work. Or maybe I’ll look for a pretty little journal or notebook of some kind — uh oh…

rileyhatcrop.JPG anniehat.JPGyarnhat.JPG There is a certain kind of hat that looks good on everyone – and everything. This little crocheted beret belongs to my niece Hannah (I didn’t make it, but someone did), and gives a certain “je ne sais quoi” to both Riley and Annie, not to mention the skein of Wool-Ease we’d been making pom-poms with. (Pom-poms: gateway drug to actual knitting…)

More soon, including a report on an Alpaca Fair field trip tomorrow! Can’t you just smell the fiber?

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Meet the Blog Bird & My Knitting Chica

Posted by Janis on March 8, 2007

image001.jpgThe elegant bird on the left is Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, “Pearl” for short. She is an Araucana and quite interested in knitting, especially when the elegant bird on the right is making Squiggle hats. That is Trish, my “knitting chica,” as Orestes dubbed her, my One Skein secret pal from the great state of Washington.

Joining a secret pal round in the knitting world is kind of like getting a pen pal, a secret Santa, and — if you’re very lucky — a real friend in the end. I was a fairly new knitter when I signed on for the One Skein round, and there are so many things that my Knitting Chica introduced me to:

* Sock knitting! I don’t know how long it would have taken me to take the plunge if it hadn’t been for Trish’s wonderful gifts of the “Two Socks Soar” book and sock yarn. Considering I had a deep phobia of double-pointed needles, it might never have happened if not for her.

* Sari silk and a great story… The first package Trish sent me had two skeins of beautiful Himalaya recycled sari silk and wool, just what I’d been eying online for months. I called my mom to tell her about my treasures and she finally said, “If you’re so excited about it, why do you keep calling it ‘sorry’ – what’s wrong with it?”

* Alpaca, alpaca, alpaca, alpaca (4 skeins!). * sighhh * Enough said.

* Best of all, Trish shares her adventures with the SPD’s (Secret Pal Daughters), husband, chickens, Yarn Yoga group, and knitting in these great emails that feel like real chats. Now that is a gift.

* How could I forget the Bass Pro Extreme Jumbo Worm Binder? Trish is responsible for this wondrous innovation in organizing (and possibly saving!) my knitterly life!

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Off the Needles & Into the Post

Posted by Janis on March 7, 2007

The Sock Exchange socks are finished, washed, dried, and in the post — whew! Remind me next time that I’m not great at knitting on a deadline. (As if the holiday knitting would have been any indication…) Knitting for a knitter is a bit nerve-wracking, as well, accustomed as I am to knitting for friends and family who knit not and notice not mistakes and imperfections in my humble work. (Been teaching Shakespeare again — sorry!) But I have learned several important things in the process and they are:

1) I actually counted rows (kacha-kacha) AND measured for somerset’s socks, instead of just measuring. And guess what? The two socks match. Uh-huh, they are the same size. Who knew?

2) Making myself crazy picking the absolutely one perfect sock yarn in the world for my partner probably wasn’t as important as I thought it was. I used Mountain Colors Bearfoot and enjoyed it, but in the end, I think I’d have been happier with my good old Trekking.

3) I’m glad I picked a pattern I’d done successfully before. That cut some anxiety out of the equation.

Now I’m just hoping they fit well…

Posted in On the Needles | Leave a Comment »

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Posted by Janis on March 6, 2007

dadnpup.jpgSeventy-eight years ago today, my father made his entrance into the world. It wasn’t easy: it had been a hard winter in Iowa, and my grandfather had to drive my very-pregnant grandmother into town on a horse-drawn bobsled. There was snow over the fencetops that year, they say. Grandma stayed in a house in town until Dad arrived, healthy and hefty at over 12 pounds. He was the fourth boy in the family, though the third had drowned at age two, not long before Dad was born.

Dad grew up, went to school, served in Korea, went to college on the G.I. Bill, met my mother and married her. He was a chemist for the Highway Department for over forty years, in that quaint custom we once had of being loyal to our employers. He’s been involved in Boy Scouts since my brother was a Cub, and helped more boys achieve the rank of Eagle Scout than I can count. He’s an accomplished woodworker and skier, and can make a pot of chili, an apple pie, or a stack of pancakes that’d make you weep.

Above all, he is the best father a daughter could have. Dad taught me to work hard, play hard, and learn something new every day. He and Mom have given me all I need to be happy in this life by their fine example. He is and will always be my hero.

In another week or so, we’ll be heading out to Colorado for our annual ski trip, now in its 25th year. We’ll meet up with my brother, his wife, and the adorable nieces for a much-needed recharging of family spirit. I can’t wait…

* Many thanks to my cousin Larry for scanning all the family pictures for us.

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Equal Time for Cats?

Posted by Janis on March 1, 2007

Cat-people pals are asking if their moggies can be featured here. I love cats, just can’t have ’em at home with the three blog dogs. It would be great fun to have them here, though, so send those digital pix this way. Watch for Pookie and Vinnie in this space soon…

Also — a contest to celebrate spring and the completion of stash organization (except for the 6 skeins I picked up at the Hearthstone Knits sale on Tuesday).

Posted in Bloggish | 2 Comments »