Saturday, November 22, 2008

November Knitting

I'm trying to write this entry, and since the sun is streaming through the window I can't sit on the couch, because the sun would be in my eyes. so I was sitting in the round chair (we call it the Mushroom Chair)and Subi hops up and pushes me out of the chair! Headbutts her way in behind me and pushes me out! It's more cat-shaped than it is human-shaped, but How Rude
Here's Subi now occupying the Mushroom Chair
Subi in the Mushroom Chair

Last night I got to go to my spinning meeting, which is now bi-monthly (YAY!) and I got to work on this:
purple merino

Which I'm spinning into a lightweight single, like this:
purple merino on bobbin

And there was a woman there who had a Bosworth Charkha Wheel that sits on your lap, or in front of you on the floor, and I got to try spinning some cashmere on it. Very cool and portable, but I think I'll stick with my Lendrum ;)

Also got to wear this hat I made, out of some leftover Manos in the Lava colorway, held with Moda Dea Aerie.
november 003 It's my Monk Hat pattern, which is available for free, linked on the right.

It looks really cute with my new redish/orange coat!
I also got to play the "Settlers of Catan" Card Game, which I haven't seen before. We have the board game, but this is a two player card game. It was fun, but it takes a long time!

It was my Mom's birthday yesterday, and she waited till then to open the package I sent her. She loved her neckwarmer :)
Here's a pic of the February Lady sweater in progress!
The largest size knit on size 6 (instead of 8) needles is working out well to be about a medium. I'm about ready to measure to see if I can start the lace part now!
Feb Lady Sweater

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sienna Swirl, Part Two

Today I sent my beloved Sienna Swirl off to my mother in NC who hopefully will love it as much as I do. I don't know if it will go with any of her coats, and I have never known her to wear a scarf, let alone a neckwarmer, but she sort of kindof hinted that she might like one when she saw my black one, and she likes the yarn I chose.
I am totally in love with the buttons!

siennaswirl 004

I got them at this wonderful little shop in Hampden called RedTree, where they sell gorgeous over-priced home furnishings, awesome jewelry, and other stuff I want but cannot afford. The yarn is Berroco "Jasper", 3 skeins double-stranded, on a size...10? needle I think (maybe 10.5).
You can find the pattern and see my original black one by clicking the link to the Swirl Neckwarmer in the sidebar.

In other news, I tried to go to my spinning night last night, as the last I heard we were doing it twice a month now, and I got all my stuff packed up and drove on over and found a dark store :( That's the second time this has happened to me THIS WEEK. First with my knit night and now this. I'm going to try to go to new (to me) knit night in Hampden on Tuesday, wish me luck!

I work at The Celtic Knot tomorrow... Carole is hoping the shop will be sold by thanksgiving, so this will probably be my last time working there. I will really really miss it :(

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sorry about the Hiatus

Don't think anyone actually reads this thing anymore, but then again I don't do much to promote it either.
Once of the things I have been working on this year though is trying to NOT feel guilty about not posting. I am not defined by my blog.
Looking back though, this has been a very exciting year for our country, and I wish I had blogged more :P C'est La Vie.

It's been an exciting year so far for Joe and I as well, not least of which was moving into a new HOUSE (still renting, but at least it's not an apartment!). A cute 3-bedroom rowhouse in a quiet suburban neighborhood, fairly convenient for work and shopping. It has a finished basement, which Joe calls his "Man Cave" even though it's mostly what could be called a "Family Room".
We had a small housewarming party, and a large Halloween party recently, and have been very pleased with how well the house is suited to entertaining. People congregated in the kitchen, the livingroom/dining area, out on the deck and in the basement. We're hoping to have the fireplace working by the time it gets cold enough to turn on the heat.
I have some complaints about the kitchen (no storage or counter space), but other than that it's everything we need and more! There's still a few important pieces of furniture to buy, but I'm sure it will come together nicely eventually.

Here's some pictures of the house, with and without Halloween Guests. Click an image to see the rest of the set.

Living Room into Kitchen

Messy Yarn Room
Yarn Room
Snake Wall in the Man Cave
Snake Wall

Joe is gone for the month :( But that means I'm getting tons of knitting done! My February Lady Sweater is coming along beautifully, in Elsbeth Lavold Silky Wool. I'm doing the largest size but on a size 6 needle, and aiming for a medium-sized sweater when I am done. Wish me luck.
I also stopped by Spinster Yarns in Lauraville, MD yesterday, which is lovely, and the owner Andrea is very very nice :) I anticipate returning many times, as her tastes seem to be fairly in line with my own. I also stopped into the adorable bookstore cafe upstairs, and the new Neil Gaiman book threw itself off the shelf at me and I had to take it home. It came with a free coffee too! I am jealous that my friends live within walking distance of the cafe and the yarn shop!
Here's my current WIPs
Simple Pleasures

This is a double-knit earflat hat for Joe, out of handspun bulky alpaca from fiber I got last Xmas, and some awesome Malabrigo Chunky I bought while in NC. It's going to be warm as hell!
autumn08 027

The alpaca was a bit of an adventure, as it spins entirely differently from the wools I had been spinning. I got the hang of it though, and the navajo-plied result is wonderfully light and fluffy!
Handspun Black Alpaca

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Damn You Demon Cat!

Ugh! Subi is such a freak! She was all cute and nice and trying politely to wake me up for work at 7:30 (cat's don't understand weekends), by nuzzling my neck and purring and murring, then she cuddled up with me and was being all nice and cuddly from 7:30 till 9:30, purring and kneading and such, and then all of a sudden she clamps her teeth onto my wrist! I threw her off and she attacked me three more times with full teeth and claws before I threw the comforter over her and wrapper her up until she calmed down. I swear I think our cat has neurological problems or something! What a beast! Now my arms are all scratched up :( I am bigger than her! She is supposed to fear me! Not charge at me after I throw her off!

I think that Subaru is in league with Basement Cat!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Busy weekends make for shorter weeks

Joe just left :(
He'll be gone about 10 days, more or less depending on how well the job goes. The good part is he will be on base the whole time. The bad part is he will be living in a tent in a dangerous country, climbing big stuff and messing around with all kinds of cables and equipment. The flight is about 14 hour too, which totally sucks.
I get to enjoy some peace and quiet though, it's nice not to have to tv on all the time!
I just had a piece of cheese and a glass of Instant Breakfast for dinner. I guess that's better than the cookies and ice cream I was craving...
I totally don't feel like being domestic and cleaning the kitchen and doing the laundry like I should do tonight. Maybe in a little while.

It feels like Friday, but it is not. I don't know what I want to do tomorrow yet. I'll probably just stay home and watch What Not to Wear and knit.
Saturday is the Baltimore Pride Festival, and R and I are going to go out to lunch and go shopping and go to the parade/block party and who knows what else :) Should be a blast! Sunday will probably be pretty lazy.
I should make some plans for during the week to make it go faster. Who wants to hang out?!

It's not even July yet and the summer feels like it is going by too quickly. It doesn't help that Joe will probably be gone for most of August :( So we can't even go camping or anything then. I am looking forward to our trip to PA in early September, but I'd also really like to go for a weekend or overnight trip to Assateague Island or really just to the beach anywhere. If you are going to the beach, CALL ME!! I have lived in MD for almost 3 years and I haven't been to the ocean once. (OK, we went to Ocean City when I was 9 and we were visiting my grandparents, but that doesn't count.)

Last year we were SO GOOD about getting out of the house: mountain biking, hiking a bit, etc, and I haven't gotten to go at all yet this year. I went with him and his coworker when they went rock climbing a little while back, and that was a little bit of hiking, but since I don't really rock climb it was a bit boring in the middle.
I was the official photographer, here's some pics! These were at "king and Queen's Seat" in a state park in Bel Air.

Also, we saw wild snakes humping!

Last weekend was pretty busy!
We Stayed with R&B Friday night so we wouldn't have to worry about parking for Hon Fest on Saturday. In the morning we had omlettes and yummy mango-chicken sausage and lattes and cake (which I was too full to eat). Then we went out into the jungle heat!

We didn't stay out long, it was too hot for us and the dogs, even with frequent air conditioned breaks. I did buy an awesome bright green and black sundress, a shell button necklace, and a hot pink plastic monstrosity to go with my Silver SpaceGirl outfit!
After a brief nap we headed over to Melissa's house for a Beer-Tasting-BBQ! More pictures are on Mary's flickr . I need to start taking my camera more places! Joe has brought mine with him on his trip, and his is very bulky though, so I guess I'll do without for now :(

After dinner we got all dressed up and went dancing at the final Elektroshock! This was lots of fun, and I got to wear my silver vinyl mini kilt and bodice with hot pink thigh-highs and stripper heels and my pink plastic necklace. Joe got tired early though, and I had to work on Sunday, so we left a little after Neska's set.

Sunday we were going to go see "The Happening", but we ended up getting Five Guys and renting "Semi Pro" instead. (Semi Pro SUCKS btw, don't bother! I was so bored I got up and cleaned the fishtank in the middle of the movie)
OK, this is long enough. Out for Now!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Futons, Socks, and Another Scarf-otis

Lots has been going on in Sarah-Land lately.
J and I finally turned our backroom/overgrown closet into a usable space, just in time for a Memorial Day party! (That was kindof the point actually, we didn't want people to feel like they had to be stuck in the livingroom). We are really loving it now: very comfy, bright, futon, usable table, a place to hide the mountain bikes.. it's great!
Here's the tour:

backroomright *Notice yarn stash under desk*

backroomleft Huge coffee table, perfect for craft parties!

I also cut all my hair off! Short hair is definitely IN this summer, all my friends are cutting their's off!

Also, we got a new snake! This is Dolores (so named because she has a frown on her head)

Adding to our collection, we are now up to 6 pythons.
Aggie (the biggest)
Aggie While she may look scary in this picture, she's actually a big sweetheart who loves to come out of her cage to play and snuggle!


Baby Leonard (Lenny)

Penelope (Penny)

and I can't find the pictures of Cider, but she looks a lot like a bigger version of Penny.

OK now for some knitting content...
Here's what my Tess Superwash is becoming! Another Scarf-Otis (scarf-size Clapotis). While I hated how boring the first one was to make, I love wearing it, and I really think it is one of the best patterns for showing off varigated yarn. Here she is, working up nicely on my size 7 ebony needles.
Tess scarf-otis WIP

Also on the needles is the Twisted Tweed sock pattern in Trekking XXL
twisted tweed sock WIP

I've been trying to work for one hour per day on something crafty, whether it's blogging about being crafting, making stitch markers, knitting, spinning, ANYTHING. Hopefully soon I can coordinate a monthly craft night with the girl friends and get some use out of the new room!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sienna Swirl and Navajo Plying

So my second Swirl Neckwarmer, "Sienna Swirl" is done, except for the buttons and weaving in ends. I don't have the buttons yet though, so it's a good thing I don't plan on giving it away any time soon ;)
It's hard to get a good picture of dark browns at night inside!


This scarflet came out a little smaller than the alpaca one, and I needed to adjust the scallops accordingly. There are only about 2 single crochet stitches between each button loop, and only 8 double crochet in each scallop. Maybe I used a smaller hook last time? I don't know.

I've also been procrastinating on finishing some Alpaca I have been spinning for a hat for J, because I am not yet completely comfortable with Navajo Plying on my Lendrum DT. I can do it fine on a spindle, but the wheel is another entirely different ball of yarn ;) So, while I had a few days off recuperating from getting my wisdom teeth out, I spun up some singles from a random batt I had lying around, got some tips from the Ravely girls and practiced! While on heavy painkillers! Much better than my 1st attempt, still not perfect, but I have 2 more oz of that same wool and 4 more of something similar. Good thing it is no longer hat season, so I'm not in a rush!
hyacinthyarn 007

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

MDSW 2008!

This was my third visit to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, the East Coast's biggest fiber festival! I look forward to the festival all year, and usually pick up some luscious yarn and my spinning fiber for the year, as good spinning fiber is hard to come by in person around here.

I also love meeting and talking with all the other Yarnies! I even got a very cute knitting tattoo (temporary) from Gale, the photographer for the new book Shear Spirit, and she posted a pic of me wearing it on the book blog! Turns out she also photographed my Dragon Scarf when it was donated to the Orphan Foundation 3 years ago! Knitting makes the world such a small, cozy, place :)

Here's what I got! (unfortunately no pictures from the festival itself)

Yummy handdyed Merino from Gale's Art in Georgia. After I bought this, at least 4 people stopped me to ask where I got it! I bet they were sold out by Sunday! (but you can buy on Etsy!)
8oz of the purple/gren/gold and 4oz of the pinks
may 001

Also 4oz of Black Blue-Face, overdyed with pinks and greens
may 003

8oz of equally-luscious Stormy Mountain Fibers Merino
Handdyed merino

My annual purchase from Tess Designers Yarns: 8oz of handdyed superwash merino, for another scarf-clapotis. I love her colors and yarns so much I would go just for their booth! I wish they had a better website though!
Tess Superwash Merino

5oz of BUTTERY angora, silk, wool, alpaca from Wild Meadow Angora
I bought a few batts from them 2 years ago and have been hooked! Their fiber spins itself, it is a dream to work with!
may 008

A Sheep Tape Measure, since we only have the all-black ones at the shop
may 009
More of my favorite Ebony Needles (Susanne's)

AND a purchase I almost missed out on and am super excited about:
The Perfect Wool for a special cable project! 2 lbs worth! ssshhh it's a secret sweater! I wanted something fairly local, undyed, sustainable and supportive of small business, but also affordable, and this wool from Mangham Manor Farm in Virginia was it :)

I had a fabulous time this year and am completely thrilled with my purchases! Did I mention the weather was gorgeous?! Couldn't have asked for a better day :)

I found a template I can tolerate for now

Still working on making it pretty and adding links, but I'm feeling happy enough with it to make new posts :)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Under Construction

Don't quite know where I'm going with this yet, just know it had to change. Work in Progress, comments appreciated.

Personally I don't like the sidebar being a solid color.

Blogger vs Wordpress

So I'm re-vamping the blog, and was considerin moving to Wordpress. I'd heard really great things about it, but so far it's really not adding up:
Wordpress does not:
allow free (or easy) CSS modification
allow flickr badges
have easy-to-use sidebar options

Wordpress does
have better comment format, but not nearly as good as LJ, which I already use for non-knitting content.
have multi-level blog options built in, like built in pages.

Please check out both versions of this blog, and let me know what you think! I've heard from some people that white on black text is hard to read, but I disagree think it looks much more interesting (and that's how I prefer the other blogs I read as well, including my LJ friends page)
Keep in mind I cannot change the colors of the wordpress blog without changing the template, only the top picture

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Quiet Weekend

Sorry to those who read both my LJ and this blog, I've been doubling up lately.
I don't know if I needed the alone-time or what, but due to motivation and finances my weekend is turning out to be very mellow and quiet.
I stayed in last night and did some housework, then knit while watching Pursuit of Happiness and What Not to Wear, and I fully enjoyed myself. The only disappointments of the night were a bad choice in white wine on my part, and not paying enough attention to my knitting and having to rip back 3 rows twice in one movie.
Yesterday Subi woke me up at 8:30 in the morning, which turned out to be not so bad, as it was a truly gorgeous day and I had my tea and breakfast out in the warm spring air on the deck, and had plenty of time to check email, make a white bean and cucumber salad, and enjoy myself before heading over to the yarn shop for a few extra hours of work. It was a very slow day, but I enjoyed getting to sit and knit with Jess, and chat about Ravelry and the Sheep and Wool festival coming up, even if being there did mean I couldn't spend the day outside.
I came home to this view from my deck:
springsunset 001
springsunset 009
springsunset 002
springsunset 013

Then my dad called, and I got to chat with him about news, politics, religion, the environment, and everything else for about 2 hours which was really nice. I also bought a plane ticket to go up and see him for a weekend, as I haven't seen him in nearly a year.
By then it was after 10pm, and I didn't feel like spending the possible $50 to come out tonight when I'm trying to save cash for the fiber festival.

Saturday, April 05, 2008


I haven't posted anything of substance in months! I'm going to try to post AT LEAST once or twice a week now. Sorry, no real knitting content in this post, but I promise to have fibery goodness in next weeks post!

J is going away on one of his trips for the month, starting Wednesday, so I will have more time to post. It's hard to get anything done when he's around, as he's a cuddle monster and is always in my lap (not that I'm complaining).

Friday night J and I went out to dinner with two other couples to a lovely Italian restaurant on Charles St called Sotto Sopra. It's on the expensive side, but I felt the food, the setting, and the service were worth the price. I had duck raviolli in a sweet, reduced veal broth, with a goat cheese and arugula salad with dried cherries. I had creme brulee for dessert. We also got a bottle of wine called a Vernaccia, from San Geminano, Italy. It was light and fruity, but also had a nice dry crispness that was perfect with my meal. We're probably going to pool our cash and buy a case of the stuff.

The ritual of going to dinner at a fancy restaurant is still fun for me: the table arrangement, the order the waitress takes our orders in and serves us, the wine ritual... We remarked how it was both nice to be taken seriously at a nice restaurant, but sad because it means we're getting old!

A few weeks ago I was really proud of us, as we spent the whole weekend cleaning the house top to bottom (except the backroom which only got tidied a bit). The house stayed that way for about a week. Now it's back to it's regular messy state. It's just so hard to devote precious free time to doing stupid mundane things like dishes and laundry and tidying up, even though we feel better after they are done. I can cook and decorate and grow things and knit and all that fun domestic stuff, but when it comes to housework, I throw in the towel ;)

I've been watching the weather the past few weeks as I was anxious to get my Calla Lilly bulbs in their pot. I have Caladium in another long pot as well. I only get partial sun, but I'm hoping for a luscious colorful deck this year. I'm also planting herbs, lettuce, and spinach.

Calla Lillies-to-be

On Easter I made Spinach Quiche! It was my first quiche, but I learned from my mom that to avoid a soggy quiche you need to pre-bake the crust:

Spinach, onions, bell pepper, swiss and cheddar cheese.

Spinach Quiche

I also have some pretty pictures over on Flickr from when J, M and I went to Longwood Gardens in PA. My camera battery died soon after we got there, so I used M's camera for most of it:

longwoodorchidwall orchid8

When J gets back we'll start new-apartment hunting in earnest. We'd really like to rent a house, but we'll see what we can find. We want a place with 3 bedrooms, or 2 bedrooms and a finished basement so the snakes can have their own room and I can still have a studio. I wish we could afford to buy, but it's not going to happen this year.

Tucked behind Old Ellicott City, a bit down the river is Oella. The apartments in Oella that they built in the old mill look absolutely gorgeous, and are in a wonderful location, but are ridiculously priced! We were pretty sad to discover we couldn't afford to get something there in a space we could use. I'd still like to tour them though.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Meander Scarf

The image of melting ice and snow meandering down the mountains, filling the rivers and winding away to the sea, was my inspiration for the rivulets of cool blues and greens looping across this scarf. The colors and spiraling pattern will have you thinking about Spring, but its two cozy layers will keep you nice and warm during those last cold-snaps!
I wanted to create a stitch pattern that was rich and organic in appearance, but geometric enough to lend itself well to knit stitches. The Greek Key design fit the bill, being a squared spiral, and is a perfect motif to use with Double Knitting. Double Knitting is an extremely versatile technique that creates a reversible, double-thick fabric, ideal for flat pieces such as scarves.
The double-knitting technique is explained in the pattern, but a brief tutorial can also be found HERE
Meander Scarf

Pattern available for purchase! $5.00

Length: 72 inches
Width: 5 inches

[MC] Cascade 220 Heathers [%100 Peruvian Wool; 220yd per 100g skein]; Lake Chelan (sea green), color# 9451, 1 skein
[CC] Cascade 220 Heathers; [%100 Peruvian Wool; 220yd per 100g skein]; Mallard (blue) ; color# 2448, 1 skein
1 set US #7/4.5 mm straight needles

20 sts/28 rows = 4” in stockinette stitch using one color
17 sts/18 rows = 4” in pattern (Double-Sided stockinette stitch using Meander Chart)

meander 5

meander scarf 2
Meander close-up

Also on Ravelry!