Wednesday, February 28, 2007

In which Lilah gets a castle...

...and would pee on me if she could.
Entirely fed up with the lack of tray-bottom convenience in Lilah's cage, and fully aware that my big bunny will only get bigger, and armed with a desire to pamper her, I set out on Saturday with Rachel to buy my fluffy little princess a new hutch. I had intended to purchase this one at PetSmart -- pretty, convenient, loved the little ramp -- but was convinced by Joanne to check out a local pet supply store first where she had gotten a wonderful cage for a great deal for her two buns. So off to Plaistow we went where we found a two story beauty with a little hidey house, floor tray and ramp -- and it was only $30 more than the other! After putting the girl on the phone to butter-up daddy, we left the store with excited anticipation, visions of a happy bunny bounding from floor to floor kicking up her heels in delight racing through our oh so little human minds.

She hates it.
She won't go up or down.
When we let her out, she poops and pees all over the floor to let us know her intense indignation.
Stupid rabbit.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Secret Pal 10 Questionaire

This is my first time taking part in the Secret Pal exchange, so I am very excited! Without further ado, here are my responses to the questionaire...

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I hate acrylic (yup, I'm a yarn snob), love wool, alpaca, angora.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
Well, i have a needle holder I made for my straights, but my poor dpns are in a pencil box and my circs float from basket to bag.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I've been knitting for abotu 1 1/2 years and taught myself with the help of the videos on

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?no

5. What's your favorite scent?
lavender laender lavender!

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
mmm...chocolate. major sweet tooth. I like gummi things, too.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I spin, sew, and do some beading as well.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I like a mix of pop, country, mainstream type rock, r&b -- NO rap

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
I'm a red girl, but I love most colors. I cannot wear yellow, but use it liberally in my decor.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? I am married, two young children, 4 cats, 1 dog, i angora rabbit

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?yes, yes, yes (if I had them), and not anymore

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? socks, sweaters

13. What are you knitting right now? socks, sweater for daughter, hat for nephew, and a captain Underpants doll.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? yes!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
for socks, i do like my dpns or magic loop, but I prefer to make my sweaters seamless in possible on circs. a nice metal like addis, or even susan bates dpns for socks are nice with most yarns I use, although I have many bamboo as well.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
yes to both

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
sweater knit for my s-i-l, not yet seamed. my second projects ever.

18. What is your favorite holiday? toss up between halloween and thanksgiving

19. Is there anything that you collect? YARN! lol

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? Twisted Sisters Sock book, Victorian Lace Today, Wicked from Zephyr(?). I have a subscription to Interweave Knits

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? fair isle colorwork

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? YES! I am a women's 7 1/2 - 8 shoe

23. When is your birthday? August 16th

Sunday, February 25, 2007

So much for FO about FO February?

Sadly, I am going to have to add in some pictures of some of my finished objects later, as I was silly enough to give many of them away before I got any pics! ARG! I am on a quest to finish up many of my UFOs before I start my Rogue sweater -- my reward. I have been lured by the pull of a few certain yarns to make a few small projects in the meantime, and had a few requests to fill, but all in all I am feeling pretty productive lately. Here are the knitting FOs, not necessarily in order...

1. Olive green hat in Yarn Art wool on sz 8 addis, originally slated for the SHIPS project, but Jason liked it, so I gave it to him. Simple ribbed brim stockinette. Made it up as I went along.
2. Black Knit Picks Wool of the Andes hat on size 8 addis, made for Jim in a rib and mock cable design -- again, made it up as I went along. Jim stole the olive green hat to wear for a few days, which clued me in to the fact he needed a hat and I was a neglectful wife! (Hubby is camera shy, so Jacob was good enough to model.)

3. Sock blocker sock, in my own Triple-Scoop in Merino Tencel. LOVE THIS STUFF. Just a quickie, but my blocker needed a new outfit.

4. Multidirectional scarf in Wisdom Poems in a blue and purple colorway. I loved knitting this, mindless, but interesting enough not to be boring and the yarn was so fun. Alas, I gifted it to Sinead and intended to get a modelled shot, but let her get out of the house without it! ARG!
5. Handspun Hat for my niece, Ciara. Also let her leave without a pic. what is wrong with me?? thankfully my sis-in-law was good enough to snap this pic for me. This is the hat from my last post. It looks FAB on her, don't you think? Done in a 2x2 rib, made up the decreases as I went.

6. Party Lace Scarf for my sister in a 50-50 cashmere silk blend with swarovski crystals. AWESOME. Stacy loved it. YAY.

6. My own handspun scarf knit in the Harlots One Row scarf pattern. Love it! It is a mix of fibers -- BFL, BL, mohair, and angora and was a bit scratchy at fist but now that the angora has bloomed it is very comfy and super warm. I may have actually finished this in Jan. but I don't think I ever blogged it.

I also accomplished quite a bit of spinning recently.
1. The BRAIN FREEZE gifted me by Gina and hand dyed by Amy King. I had hoped to cast this on fr socks while at spa, but no such luck yet. Need to get a few more things off the needles anyway -- including the 3 other pair of socks I have started.

2. My hand-dyed pygora in red w/ a touch of purple. I only had 2 oz. of this amazing fiber, so I spun it into a lace-weight single so I hopefully can get a full project out of it. It is pictured here with a small skein of llama plied with baby alpaca destined to be a super soft sscarf for hubby. I have been searching since October for just the right fiber to ply with the llama I purchased at the Freyburg fair, and came across this baby alpaca at Yarn and Fiber. Perfect.

3. SPin to knit pal's yarn and my self-striping yarn from Indigo Moon batt, pictured next to the Spunky Eclectic lollipop batt I will be sending to her as well.

Of course, all this productivity doesn't coem without a cost.

Yup. That is a hole in my finger from knitting. Oh well!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Feb. Chapter Two -- SPA!

OMg, where do I start? Spa was so fun -- simply overwhelming! And WAAYY too short. Next year, I definately want to get there for Thursday. As it was, I arrived late Friday night -- 11:30 pm -- and thankfully found Gina, Chris, and Ericka in the main conferene room. (I wasn't looking forward to the prospect of sleeping in the lobby, as Gina had the room keys! lol) They were on their way to their rooms at that point, and after saying good-bye to our favorite couple, Gina and I stayed up chatting until 1pm. Luckily, Gina had a massage appointment first thing in the morning on Saturday, which helped me get my lazy behind out of bed. If your taking notes, make sure you put this down -- I LIKE BED. SLEEPING GOOD. I am not a morning person, but I must say I was so excited for the day, that I found it much easier to get up, and we had ordered room service for breakfast which was just lovely.
So back to the conference room we went, wheels in hand. We claimed a spot and I ran off to the vendor room. I had a grand plan of getting all of my pygora (only 2 ounces!) spun into a lace-weight single over the weekend, but there as so much to see and so many sounds that my scattered little brain often found it hard to focus. So I just kept wandering back into the vendor area! My favorite vendors were the Woolen Rabbit (shocker, huh?) and Amy King of Spunky Eclectic fame. I made a sheepish confession of being a blog-stalker. I so admire her talent. She has a fabulous way with color, and I pray I can make as much a success of my business as she has of hers. She was SWAMPED all weekend, and was having a good laugh at all of us 4, 5, and 6 time browsers. I got a fantastic hand-thrown, hand-painted sheep travel mug (another weekend goal), some lovely roving for my spin to knit pal, and a skein of funky sock yarn in the Breathtaking colorway for me (Noolie got the same color!).

I fell in love with a chunky zippered cardigan pattern and yarn Gina and Noolie both purchased from her, but my chosen colorway, Red Maple, was only available in worsted, not chunky, so it will have to wait until she can dye up a special order for me. I just couldn't wrap my mind around another colorway after seeing this one.
Now, speaking of Noolie, I got to meet her! yay!
This is a pic of Gina showing Julie how to draft (Chris is on the left)...

We palled around with her, Carole, and Brenda, both of whom are now new friends. They were fantastic to talk to and sit and knit and spin with. It is so wonderful to meet people who share the same passions and are just GOOD PEOPLE. Fantastic.
I had a few other sightings of Island Pond Spinner friends, ran into Doug, owner of my loaner-tradi and "the man" refurbing my wheel, and even got to say "hello" to the lovely Cheryl of SeedStitch. Her hand-spun, hand-knit alpace silk shawl was amazing! (And Cheryl, if you are reading this, your new haircut is GORGEOUS!)

I must say the pictures on her blog (or mine!) do her little justice. In person, this lady is simply stunning.
I collected quite a few other treasures; wool hand carders from a weaving studio in town and some fleece from the free table to practice on, and a peg loom for the kids (no pic)...

an amazing batt of layered multi-colored roving from Indigo Moon (sadly, she is giving up the business!). I purchased 8oz. and spun a skein of singles for my pal without separating the colors, and then took the remaining batt and spun it after separating the colors and drafting them out seperately. I am thrilled with both.

I couldn't stop STARING at the ball of self-striping yarn produced by technique number 2 and had to cast it on already for a hat for my niece. The colors are screaming her name. Isn't it coming out great? Singles again, btw. Now that I've acheived a lace-weight in my spinning, I am forcing myself to go back to the thicker yarns. This is not easy! I'm going to try to alternate weights on a regular basis so that I don't get too stuck. Also, I have had so much fun knitting with soft wool singles lately such as Malarigo and Poems, that I really wanted to replicate this in my spinning.
I also bought 1lb -- 1 lb! -- of charcoal black superwash lambswool laps from Goose Pond (I believe it comes from the Jaggerspun company) that I can't wait to play with, but I definately need to form a plan for. mmmmmm such squishy goodness.

The last purchase was on a trip to Knit Wits on Sunday. Poor Gina was struck with a terrible migraine, so while she napped Ericka, Chris and I explored a few of the local shops and I got this great merino silk yarn for 50% off! This is sure to make a wonderful soft scarf for a lucky recipient next Christmas.
And are you ready for more? Oh yeah, I got an HOUR MASSAGE and my first ever pedicure...A CHOCOLATE PEDICURE. sigh. need I say more?
Tne in for Chapter 3 --Finally FO FRIDAY!!!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

February 2007, Chapter One -- Jason

Whew, do I have a lot to cover. Dyeing, spinning, knitting, JASON, oh my.
We'll start with my boy...
I finally got to see him on Sunday, Feb. 11th. There was a small gathering at my mom's and I, of course, had to run off and cry like a baby after I finally got to hug him. we had a great time and the most amazing thing? He's still the same. No shell shock, maybe a bit more serious, but still able to laugh and joke and be himself. I am so encouraged seeing how well he is handling everything. And OH YEAH, he has seen everything. He had some videos -- most I chose not to watch. Bad stuff, but he is OK. All that matters to me right now. Some pics from our day...

The beautiful brunette constantly at his side is his GF Amber, the dark haired beauty shoving food in her mouth is my gorgeous sister Stacy...

And the blonde is my mom, the man to the right of her is my dad.
On Thursday and Friday, Jay and Amber came to stay with us for a few nights (YAY!) and he was barely in the door before I presented him with the helmet liners everyone knit for his platoon (finally found out the real name of his "team" -- they also call it his "clip", meaning the team he goes out on missions with). He was thrilled with them, and I could tell very impressed that that many people cared enough to do this for him and them. I even got the overnight Express mail package from Caroline (blogless) the same day, and his eyes opened even wider...and them met Nichole to pick up two more...and again, impressed. YAY! Thank you so much everyone for helping me to do this special thing! Even though they may only get a month or so out of them before the warm weather comes in, the impact of your kindness and love will last them throughout their tour of duty. Thank you from the deepest depths of my heart.
Here is Jay modeling a liner knit by Kendra...

...and lookin' thug...

I waited until Jason was asleep for the night on Friday, and then left for SPA (Chapter Two -- you'll hear about that tomorrow...). He and Amber left early the next morning, and we had one more visit with him on Monday when they came for lunch. I will meet the family in Manchester tomorrow morning (Thursday) to say good-bye, and begin holding my breath once again until he returns home safe and sound FOR GOOD. At least I know he is leaving and taking many prayers and much love with him.
until tomorrow...

Friday, February 09, 2007

On the mend

Finally on the road to recovery, but I think I may have overdone it a bit the past few days. After sitting around for days staring at my out-of-control-never-been-messier house, I tackled the living room and laundry on Wednesday, posting items to etsy at intervals when I would sit to rest. I spent the morning yesterday dyeing the yarn I still had to finish up for wholesale orders and A Knitter's Garden.

And today, it is off to Rachel's school to help out with the Valentine's Day lollipop sales. Fun stuff! I am exhausted, but welcoming the return of health. I HATE strep throat. It is amazing to me that a bug that hits such a small little insignificant part of one's body can cause such a breakdown throughout the entire system. Suckage.
soooooooo....knitting news? Well, lots of good stuff really. First, Gina's new pod-cast is up. YAY! Always a great listen, so head on over there to check it out. She recently made me a WONDERFUL gift of an exclusive pattern for Sereknity! How cool is that? I plan to cast-on for it myself this weekend with my first handspun and might give you a peek or two as it works up, but I plan to use the pattern as a feature in the store's "grand opening." I was going to shoot for March 1st, but I am now behind a bit, so I may make it March 15th -- the Ides of March -- as that tickles my English teacher funny bone. But soon! Seriously, very soon!
The folks a One Planet put a wonderful write-up about my products on their blog! How cool? Among todays many shipments, I will be sending them a bunch of stitch markers and a few orifice hooks as well. Hope they like them! It's about time I got some of that space filled and updated.
As for put-two-sticks-together-and-wrap-some-soft-fluffy-thready-stuff-aound-it actual knitting, I am almost done w/ helmet liner #2 -- just have to pick up the face ribbing. The lovely Blogless Amanda was kind enought to lend me her size 8DPN's at knit group on Wed. night so I could finish the crown decreases. (oh, didn't I mention that? Never too sick to sit and knit. And man, Ericka, did you miss a fun night! More later.) Including liners in hand and those confirmed completed, I have 29 liners accounted for! I'm certain one or two more may also be in the mail, so provided they all get to me in the next 12 days, the goal will have been met. YAY!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!

Jay still has no clue, and I can't wait to present him with these little gems of knitted love and support. Makes me all squishy inside.
Anxiously awaiting SPA Knit and Spin, I have also cast on an olive drap simple hat for the SHIPS project to be donated at spa. The folks who organize the event are big supporters of SHIPS and our troops, so I hope to bring a couple of hats to donate and this is also where any extra helmet liners I may get will end up. The hats are a great mindless item to take with me when waiting for the kids at karate and such. I am working this one up in a 80% wool/20% acylic blend called Charisma by a company called Yarn Art that I bought at A Knitter's Garden for $4.50.

$4.50!!! For 80% WOOL! 220 yards!! Crazy. The kids will totally be getting sweaters out of this stuff. It has a very nice hand and drape, and no pilling whatsoever. I really really like it. Seriously --- call Joanne, or if you are in the area, check out a shade card. Good stuff. Think about it -- you could do an adult sweater, 6-7 balls, for under $30!!! In wool! Sorry -- I'll stop now.
I also got to welcome my friend Stacy to Wednesday nights knitting group in Manchester. Hopefully we didn't shock her too much, but everyone was in rare form that night! I haven't laughed so hard since Grand View! Too much fun. She said she wants a list of all our blogs links and such so she can check us out -- not sure if that is good or bad! hehehe
ok, I'm out -- time to shower and attempt to feel human.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

He's home!

Pics from Jim's cell phone...


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

If mama ain't good, ain't nobody good...

...and mama ain't good! I got #^$% strep throat again! After Jacob recovered from his bug, Rachel was feverish for a few days (hence the lack of posts) and come Sunday evening, I knew I was next. Odd tho, that the kids didn't have strep, and I do. I'm really beginning to think I'm a carrier, and it is just there waiting to flair up. I WANT MY TONSILS RIPPED OUT!! UG.
So no pics today, but a short update on other happy happenings. Jason's plane will be arriving in Manchester today!! YAY!! Of course, I won't be there in my present state -- this is the last thing the poor boy needs -- but Jim is taking the kids out of school to meet him at the airport with the rest of the family. He'll be home for a full 15 days before he has to fly back, so I'm sure I will have lots of time with him. As for our helmet liner drive, counting what I have in hand,and those that I know are on their way or in progress, I'm nearly posotive we will meet our goal of 30! YAY! We may even have a few extra, which I will bring to SPA for the SHIPS project to be sent to other soldiers. I can't wait to give these to Jay, and can't thank you all enough. Your support is huge -- it really helps to keep us going. I'll get a pic of all the liners for the next post.
Now for an electric skein winder update...much to Jim's frustration, after cannibalizing 3 appliances -- a sewing machine, electric buffer, and a fan -- none of the motors were successful. Aside from scary sparks and smoke, the motors either had too much power, or not enough. I really thought he was on to something with the fan motor, but it just wouldn't turn the wheel. So, hopefully, after taxes have some in and bill shave been caught up, we'll be able to spring for "the real thing." It is still helping immensely just to have the winder, even as a manual, tho.
In shop news, I finally sent One Planet some new items, and will be sending them some stitck markers and a bit more fiber this week (or weekend, as the case may be). For those who liked the Macintosh and Grand Canyon yarns, they are listed there, and I also delivered a few skeins of this to Yarn and Fiber in Windham, NH. I have another wholesale order to send out to a yet to be revealed on-line shop that I'll tell you more about when they are ready to open.
And now I'm going to take a nap.