Thursday, November 30, 2006


It's over! I know I need one more post but all I can think is "It's OVER"! This means November is over and December means holiday shopping. shit.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Etsy ate my brain!

I spent so much time prowling etsy today. I started out looking for presents but then I remembered a necklace I saw on someone's blog months ago and tried to find the vendor. Turned out to be an excellent method of procrastination cuz nothing else got done today. I don't even have enough time to write a proper post.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Threading Beads onto Yarn

I'm making the Beads of Earth scarf from Scarf Style for my mom. I hope she likes it because I've already managed to draw blood working on it and I haven't even cast-on yet. Step one is to string 357 beads onto the yarn. I started with a "Big Eye" beading needle and found that they weren't kidding about the hand sharpened ends. I lost count of how many times I stabbed myself with it before I remembered the "Flexible and Magnetic" needle I bought. That one worked much better. It is thinner and flexible enough that I was able to wrap it around my finger to get a good grip. The other thing that helped was separating the four plys of the yarn and threading half through the needle from one side and the other half through the other side. Once I figured that out threading the beads went much quicker.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Ithaca Farmers Market

My last Finger Lakes post!

Here's the waterfall we found when we couldn't find the market -

I have serious market envy. It's bad enough their supermarket can kick our supermarkets ass but their farmers market rules too. We went there for breakfast and ended up spending about $70. That's without buying any of the excellent looking organic vegetables or herbs or meat or hard cider and wine. I even resisted the yarn. Instead we bought a freshly made flat bread covered in apples and cheddar from this guy, who brought his own wood-fired oven
Had an excellent apple cider donut (or two), Dv bought a new belt (totally unrelated!). Tried the corn fritters from the macrobiotic stand and bought this cutting board from Raintree Farm

The other side is perfect but I really like that evil little face in the lower right corner on this side. It is made of walnut and buckthorn. Buckthorn is an "invasive weed tree" but it makes for a pretty board (and it's dead now!).

Sunday, November 26, 2006

This is all I've got

I saw the most ridiculous car yesterday. Start with a Ford Aerostar van, add a hood scoop and flames and replace the Aerostar nameplate with one that says Pornstar. I saw the driver (track suit, cheesy gold sunglasses) of the Pornstar walking alone toward it and heard him say "To the Pornstar!". Honest.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

25 down, 5 to go

I can't tell you how happy I am that I only have six posts left to NaPlaBloMe. I have hundreds of posts waiting for me in bloglines. Maybe that's why I've barely turned on my computer these past few days and have been knitting. I'm turning the Brooks Farm Duet I picked up at Rhinbeck into a Clapotis. 176 rows done, 323(?) to go!

Friday, November 24, 2006

More Finger Lakes Yarn Pr0n

Amazing how many posts I'm getting out of a weekend trip. I even have one more post after this one too. Anywho While I was up there I visited two local yarn shops. Knitting Etc in Ithaca and Finger Lakes Fibers in Watkins Glen. Both carried several local hand dyed and spun yarns. At Knitting Etc. I picked up a skein of Anne -and two skeins of Eden by the Fibre Co.
Eden is soft and wonderful. The sheen from the silk gives it a bit of iridescence and make this color look like a Morpho butterfly. Really pretty and much richer in person.

At Finger Lakes Fibers I picked up a skein of spindle spun yarn by Kathy Halton. It was the day before my spinning class and I couldn't resist it. It is just so even and hey, it was on sale because it's green (naturally dyed with goldenrod and indigo).

Thursday, November 23, 2006

What are you thankful for?

I'm happy my mom is nuts. Today she made muffins, cookies and two pies (and no we didn't have a lot of people over). Mmmm doggy bags. Everyone should have a crazy baker in their life.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Andrea & Martha starting in Yarn Pr0n

As soon as Dv let it slip that we were going up to the Finger Lakes I started trying to remember which yarn companies are up there. It didn't take long to think of Schaefer Yarn. From the time they said we could stop by I vacillated between fantasizing about all the yarn and worrying about how much I would spend. The business is run out of Cheryl & Erich Schaefer's home and looks no different from the neighbors' save for the employees' cars crowding the driveway. Inside it's clear from first whiff what they are doing. The place is a vinegar scented rainbow. I was given a retail price list and headed in the direction of the wool room (a walk-in closet, complete with cat). The yarns are organized by color or name but not both (make sense? It didn't to me either.). [Dv is watching the latest Harry Potter and I'm being horribly distracted. Does Rita Skeeter make anyone else miss Madeline Kahn? OK, back to the yarn] The only yarn I knew I wanted was Anne, I had a whole list of colors I was hoping for but there was no Anne. A yarn rep was there the day before and had scooped up almost all of it save for a few skeins that were hidden away under a table. So back to the wool closet for more fondling. Eventually I settled on a skein of Andrea in Eleanor Roosevelt and a huge 9oz skein of Martha in Mary Breckinridge. Martha is Schaefer's new yarn made of 80% lambswool, 10% cashmere and 10% dehaired angora. It feels wonderful and looks like it will have very nice stitch definition. Of course I haven't the foggiest idea what to do with it and it is so new they don't have any patterns for it. Oh, crap it's getting late. Damn you Harry Potter! Better cut to the yarn pr0n.



Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Wreck the Halls

Dv brought me up to the Finger Lakes because he knows how relaxed I feel up there. The Finger Lakes are a group of lakes in upstate NY. The wineries are primarily located on the edges of Seneca, Cayuga (impossible to say w/o thinking of cartoons) and Keuka Lake. Because they are so close together you can go to several wineries in a day. Just pick a lake and the wineries are one after the other. The hardest part is trying to remember which wineries you didn't like last time. Or maybe it's keeping your eyes on the road. There are dozens of small waterfalls everywhere. How could you not relax sitting in a car going from one wine tasting to another gazing at the lake or waterfalls in between? "Deck the Halls" is how. It's a very popular event where people buy a ticket that gets them a grapevine wreath and then they go to each winery to collect ornaments and enjoy food & wine tastings. Sounds nice enough but people go to this thing planning to get trashed. Normally DtH is the just the first weekend in December but because it is so popular they added a weekend in November. We didn't find out until we got there - Whoops. The only good thing was that most of them rented limos so we didn't need to worry about being killed. You should have seen the limos, I think I saw one "normal" limo. There were tons of stretch SUVs including a Durango w the license plate DA RANGO (da is right), 2 stretch Hummers (the really big one's license plate was GODZILA), a stretch Charger, a stretch pick-up(!). Clearly I don't need to tell you about the group of woman wearing matching plastic grape-bunch necklaces for you to tell this is a classy crowd. We started on the less popular (and lucky for us popular doesn't necessarily equal best) side of the lake and were able to go to several wineries that weren't participating and a few participating wineries that weren't overwhelmed. We did skip one because we could hear a woman's drunken screaming while we were still at the previous winery. Things didn't get bad until after lunch. Several places were so loud we just turned around and left but there was one that Dv really wanted to try. The place was crazy inside but we wedged ourselves in at the tasting counter and I was promptly served wine in a dirty glass with a fruit fly in it! Ah, good times. Despite all the nonsense we managed to go to enough places that weren't insane and I had a good time. The entire weekend was like that, stuff kept coming up that could have ruined it but then it worked out. Dv was even sick as a dog on Friday but managed to recover fast enough to show me a good time.

I was going to post about Schaefer yarn today but I screwed up the pics (damn white balance). I will do my best to post about it tomorrow. In the meantime here's a shot of the one of the lakes (Seneca, I think).

Monday, November 20, 2006

right round like a record baby

I found out about the spindle spinning class at Flying Fingers about a week before Rhinebeck. Even though I desperately needed guidance if I was to have any hope of using a spindle successfully I hemmed and hawed over it. Then I saw the fibers and spindles at Rhinebeck. The next day I signed up. I am so glad I did . Anna Upton of Maupston Design Studio taught the class. She clearly loves to spin and teach. The $75 class fee included a box filled with bags of natural colored bluefaced leicester and tussah silk, dyed merino, two bobbins of her own hand spun singles (for the plying lesson), written instructions and knitting needles that we used to convert the box into a lazy kate. She also gave us two silk hankies and some hand-painted bluefaced leicester to play with. The only extra fee was for the spindle. She brought an assortment of Kundert spindles for us to choose from. In three hours she taught 3 drafting techniques, woolen & worsted spinning, plying a balanced yarn and finishing. I left the class so excited that I was spinning in the car later that day. I would write more but that box of fiber is calling to me.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Happy Happy Joy Joy

I am having a great birthday weekend. So far there have been wine tastings in the Finger Lakes, a trip to Schaefer Yarn, more wine, yarn shops, a spindle spinning class (shockingly quite fun). OK, gotta go, I think I hear a glass of eggnog and some more gifts calling my name. More tomorrow!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Scary Sides

Dv took me out to a new (to us) place for a pre-birthday dinner today. I ordered the crab cakes. They came with "RWB" slaw and sweet potato fries. I didn't worry about what RWB meant. I should have because my cole slaw had blue cheese in it. On purpose. Cheese IN cole slaw. WTF? At least the crab cakes and sweet potato fries were cheese free and quite yummy.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Eye Candy Friday - It's Gorges

Taughannock Falls

Can't blog for long today so I'll just leave you with the pic. For a sense of scale look for the two people on the bridge.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Afghan Envy

I want to knit an afghan. A big cozy thing made out of whatever insanely colored stuff appeals to me. The sort of yarn that just doesn't lend itself to clothing like oh, I dunno, Colinette. Or maybe some sublimely comfy Malabrigo. Kureyon looks incredible knit up into Lizard Ridge. I'd have one of those on my needles as soon as I saw the pattern if it wasn't for one little thing. I'm clumsy, I live with someone who is, well, lets just say I've threatened to buy him a sippy cup more than once and then there are the cats. Two lovable, hairball hacking, shedding balls of surprises. I'm not about to hand wash an afghan whenever one of us has a gravitationally challenged moment. I'm horribly jealous of all the people on the Lizard Ridge KAL. Do they really have spill & hairball free homes? are they only going to use their afghans for show (heresy!)? are they just insane in denial? Feel free to tell me about the great hand-dyed *washable* yarns out there and shut me up. Until then I'll just contemplate making a blanket from sock yarn.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I'm losing it

I was all set to blog about Barbara Walker's Charted Knitting Designs and how I lucked out and got a hardcover copy of it for $4.50. There's only one teeny-tiny little problem - the book actually cost me $23. Somehow I completely forgot that I spent that much until I was checking my credit card statement. I know I was shopping late one night and my purchases represented a fit of pique on my part but I can't explain the discrepancy between the prices. Maybe I dreamt the bargain price (it wouldn't be the first time I was bargain hunting in my dreams). At least I don't drink and shop. I'd probably be struggling to explain my new mail-order bride to my husband right now if I did. Moving on. The book showed up yesterday and it's fabulous. I could go on and on about all the great designs but I suspect I'd just be preaching to the choir. I have to say I do love that the charts are handwritten. I think the subtle variations help to keep me from going all cross-eyed. The spider at the beginning of the twisted-stitch chapter is so lifelike even its chart is menacing. I need to find a use for it. Maybe on a bag for a spindle? I've already found the cable pattern that I liked in one of Louisa Harding's pattern books. Since it was the only thing in the LH book I would use my new book has saved me about $16 which brings the cost of it down to $4. See the $4.50 price wasn't a crazy dream it was a premonition! Ah, nothing like desperately justifying my lunacy. As long as we are on the subject of lunacy there is one truly special pattern hidden right at the end of the aptly named Uncharted Miscellany chapter. Behold the Mask!
She even includes instructions for adapting it to a ski or halloween mask.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Furry Blue Insects

I saw the oddest little fly today. It looked exactly like a baby-blue pill (the kind you pick off your clothes) with wings. Sadly my google-fu is failing me and I have not yet identified it. I caught it and took this craptastic camera phone pic. Of course the pic is no help at all unless you count reminding me that i need a new sweatshirt.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I don't want to blog today.

Ages ago my sister and I convinced my parents to take in another cat. The latest was a kitten and once we convinced our mom we brought her to the vet. The vet told us she was too young to be fixed and to come back in a month. We kept her indoors but Zig hadn't accepted her role as an indoor cat. One night before the month was up she snuck out and came back pregnant. She had two kittens and we kept them. Siren bonded with my dad over a mutual love of the recliner, and Bear shared an ice cream craving sweet tooth with my sister. Zig was a tough creature being kept here against her will, she wouldn't look you in the eye and would cut you if you looked at her funny. Naturally she bonded with the teenager in the house (me). It's 15 years later and they have all hit old age at the same time. Siren was the first to get sick. He developed a thyroid problem and it's now under control. Then Bear lost a lot of weight. The vet thinks it's a kidney problem but we've caught it early and are treating it. Everytime something happens with them my mom tries to prepare me for the worst. I know she wants to protect me but I don't need any help worrying. Mom doesn't just worry about the worst happening, she completely expects it. All year I've been listening to her hint at the end and now Zig is sick too.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Terra by the Fibre Co.

I saw Terra by the Fibre Co. in person at the Brooklyn General Store. Gorgeous colors. They are richer than the Webs pics but those are the only ones that show the duotone colors. I really need to come up with an excuse to buy some of the dark indigo. At $16/hank I'm not about to buy it without a plan.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I would make a lot more gifts if they were all this well received.

Die big fuzzy ball! You're mine now!

Oh, you want to see the toy?

OK, but no touching! It's mine!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Macodes Petola

My first contribution to Eye Candy Friday. This is Macodes Petola, a terrestrial orchid with beautiful sparkly green-gold veins.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Does Calamari Felt?

These days you can get yarn made from tofu leftovers, corn, doll heads, shrimp & crab shells and who knows what else. So I can't possibly be the only one who scanned the latest Webs email, saw something-quid thought, for just a split second, SQUID YARN?!? Can I?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Last-Minute Fabric Gifts : A Book Review

When I saw this addition to editor Melanie Falick's growing list of books I was quite excited. 2004's Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson quickly become a staple of the internet knitting world. Her designs are beautiful and combine classic shapes with appropriate and attractive materials. She often exploits her chosen yarn's attributes to create something greater as is the case with the Child's Rainbow Scarf and many other designs. I expected more of the same from Last-Minute Fabric Gifts by Cynthia Treen and was disappointed.

The thirty projects contained within LMFG primarily emphasize clean lines to the point of boredom with occasional messy attempts at shabby chic. (Notable exceptions to this are the two children's toys in the book. They are both stylized but sweet.) Fully one third of the projects are simply rectangles of fabric with minor variations. There is a sarong (rectangle with ribbon ties), a herringbone scarf (rectangle with applied fringe), a herringbone guest towel (rectangle with applied & self-fringe) et cetera. Fabric choices for the projects are for the most part dull (lots of herringbones, tweeds and the like) and sometimes puzzling as is the case for the bed sheet-esque sarong and guest towel that looks like a scarf. Occasionally a project starts with an interesting idea but doesn't take it anywhere. The tie pouch falls into this category. It is a cute idea for recycling out-of-fashion ties that is marred by clumsy finishing.

Quick projects need either beautiful materials or interesting details to transform them into great gifts. LMFG offers neither. The only project that works perfectly as-is to create something greater than the sum of its materials and the amount of effort required are the Felted Rocks. With that exception I don't think there are any items I would make as instructed in this book. It is worth flipping through at your local book store. You might see a project with potential but it will be up to you to transform it into something interesting and gift-worthy.

Instructions for the felted rocks can be found here.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day! Now with Knitting Content!

No more idiotic commercials, no more ugly signs stuck into the grass at every intersection, no more trees being killed to weigh down my poor mailman and tell us that candidate x is going to let all the baby rapists out of prison and candidate y is a baby rapist. happy happy happy. And of course you have to love those old school voting machines we still have in New York. There is something very satisfying about the sound of those little metal levers.

Since my knitting is channeling a Diebold machine and currently at a negative I'll leave you with this screen grab of a video game played on Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The holiday stress begins

Ah, the first weekend in November. This now marks the beginning of holiday negotiations for me. I still haven't gotten over last year's nonsense which leaves me in a foot stomping-ly stubborn mood. I want to be with my family and that's that. Except it really isn't because I am sick with guilt and worry about possible arguments with the in-laws over my decision. I think I need to go play with the buttons I picked up at Rhinebeck from Moving Mud and pretend I don't need to deal with anyone.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Purring w Sleek Sophistication

Only four days into NaBloPoMo and it's already making me edgy. Last night after we watched a movie I freaked out for a second because I thought it was after midnight and I hadn't posted yet. (It was only 10:30, how sad is that?) Then I spent forever trying to figure out how to add a button WITH a link to my sidebar under the new blogger. They make it super easy to add pictures but they don't give you a way to have them link to something. My preferred method for editing html (cut & paste, change a few bits) doesn't work too well since they no longer let you get at the html for anything besides the template. You can only add little bits of code which means I had to go to someone else's blog and find the bit I needed to copy blah blah blah... It drives me nuts when things are dumbed down to the point that you can't do anything. So that's why I had my panties in a twist last post. It's a shame really because up until then I was happy watching a movie with one of my boyfriends in it (Babe, if things don't work out with you and Maggie give me a call. I'm gonna be available if I keep badmouthing IT professionals in my blog.) and I was shopping at Fire Mountain. The shopping doesn't count against the fast. I need stuff for projects already in the works. I think I might have to do a Knitpicks order too. I started working on the Tannenbaum hat despite not being able to find my 2.5mm dpns. So I tried to do it on a 2.5mm 24" circ. I figured if Kristie can make a sock on a 12" circ surely I can make a hat for my ginourmous head on a 24" needle. Turns out, not so much. Anyway, while I was shopping at FM I noticed a new Swarovski color - Crystal Silver Shade Effect. Hmmm, sounds sparkly. What's it like? Of course FM didn't have a description so I googled and found this from an eBay seller;

Like a nocturnal sphinx basking in a pool of shimmering light, Crystal Silver shade purrs with sleek sophistication. The appeal of this new effect lies in its timeless and understated elegance

Still wondering? Well duh, It's clear with a silvery coating on some facets. How could you not get that from the description?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Hey, you know what sucks?

Google's beta blogger. I know big surprise. I only updated to get someone nagging me about it to shut up. Never ever trust someone who works in IT when they tell you something is new and improved. Don't believe what they say about how fabulous the back end is. It's just like internet dating, never trust a back end you can't see.

Anyway, the NaPlaBloMe list has been updated and I'm on it now so I've added the randomizer button to my blog. So go click on it and check out a few other sites. Double points if you find someone who has already missed a day

Friday, November 03, 2006

Wooly Wooly Lust

I've decided to go on a shopping diet. No yarn, no nothin'. After Rhinebeck and way too much online shopping I need to take a breather before the holidays. So what am I doing? Obsessing over everything I can't buy. This yarn from is gorgeous. Normally I don't go for the self-striping stuff but this is different, it's like self-striping yarn by Koigu. Luckily I'm not a fan of pink but if she paired those greens with periwinkle and blueish-purples I'd be all over it like a $2 whore. The other big object of my lust is the queen of all sock of the (every other) month clubs. I've always loved the idea of of-the-month gifts. What could be better than having a box of goodies arrive every few weeks? I'm trying to convince myself that I don't want it and I'd probably end up getting a bunch of ugly colors but who am I kidding? It's STR, I'm sure I could trade the inevitable ugly skein with someone. I'm even obsessing over stuff I wouldn't normally buy like Koigu 123a. The way it looks in a skein is blah but knit up into a Jaywalker and I'm in love. It looks exactly the way some dyes look when they "break" into their individual components. Here's a fun little exercise in frustration I like to play. 1) Go to Grumperina's Jaywalker Gallery. Either page is fine. 2) Browse the submissions nonchalantly. 3) Fall madly in love with a color. 4) Discover that the color is a) discontinued b) mislabeled and therefore a complete mystery c) only available in Germany or d) the product of an independent dyer who is flakier than the cereal aisle at Stop & Shop. Have Fun!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Christmas Knitting: Naughty or Nice?

You can deny it all you want but Christmas is going to be here way too soon. I had all these great ideas for what I would make people but haven't actually cast on for any of the projects. I'm not even sure if I will. Here's the problem. Me & deadlines, we don't get along. Plus if I only make gifts for some people I'm pretty sure other people will pout. And then there's my way of dealing with problems - throw it in the corner for a month (or two). That's not gonna work when we only have 7 weeks to go. Choices, choices. In the meantime I've picked out a bit of Christmas knitting for myself. The Tannenbaum Hat! I've bought the pattern, the yarn has been wound into a ball and hopefully I'll cast on for it tonight. I'm going to try to find some little bells instead of beads to use as ornaments. A tree shaped hat really isn't obnoxious enough, I need it to make noise too. That should also make knitting around the cats more exciting.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Stalling for the sake of NaBloPoMo

I've decided to sign up for NaBloPoMo. I wasn't going to but the blog could use a bit more content if I hope to have anyone find it and hey there are prizes so why not. Since I'm pretty sure I need to pace myself if I have any chance of actually posting once a day I'm putting off my first christmas post in favor of this. NaBloPoMo is going to send my comment to post ratio straight to hell especially since at least one family member has broken her computer to get me to stop pestering her about commenting (she claims it was an accident).

Halloween was pretty good at Chez Greed. The husband carved pumpkins with me without (too much) complaining about how icky they are and I baked an apple pie. I also learned that raw pumpkin is tasty to cats. Who knew?