Sunday, May 27, 2007


It's Memorial Day weekend! I believe this weekend was meant for reflection, but in true American fashion, most citizens turn it into a celebration with food as the centerpiece. So here is my tribute to the red, white and blue:

What is this you ask? Why the red is the strawberries in the brown bowl that DH picked from the garden. The white and blue are two containers with more strawberries--about a gallon and a half or so! This happens about every other day this time of year.
How does this amount to a celebration?
Well, you have to add this:

The plan is to make strawberry mojitos.
We had an impromptu afternoon of going to the movies with Ems, KC and Bird followed by a cookout in the rain.
In reference to the movie--I generally don't prefer my men with eyeliner. However, I will make an exception for this:

I decided that the kitties should celebrate as well so I put a heavy dose of fresh, organic catnip on their turbo scratcher. For those of you who aren't cat owners, this would be like getting your kids liquored up or high only it's not illegal. Also, cats can't get DUI's because they don't drive. I guess if they were to be charged with anything it would be PUI (playing under the influence), EUI (eating under the influence) or SUI (sleeping under the influence). That pretty much encompasses the typical feline day. Now if your cat is a serious mouser, then I guess he could be penalized for being intoxicated while on the job.
Harley was the first to get to the scratcher where he proceeded to act totally foolish.

Then a line began to form.

Looks like Harley got intimidated by Mikey:

who clearly had no intention of relinquishing the catnip!

Next Sammy got into the action!

As you can see by the body language, Greg decided to take control of the situation and get Sammy to move!

Greg seems victorious and he has no intention of giving up the turbo scratcher!

I guess I will have to post this public service announcement next to the turbo scratcher:

Knitting news: I have worked some more on Rusted Root. I love the pattern but don't love the yarn. It sort of reminds me of when I made Maddy's Fetching mitts. The finished product was wonderful, but working with the yarn was a drag. This cotton fleece splits a lot --probably not helped by the sharp points of the KnitPicks needles. It will all be good in the long run though!

And now from the WTF department:

How did this:

Turn into this?

In 3 short years no less! My God! What can the future possibly hold in store for our family!

Kitty Cam:
Duh--I think you've seen it already!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Ta da !

Finally! The Sahara is finished! I still have to wet block it, but the knitting is done and the ends are all woven in! Once it's blocked, I'll model it!

Here are the details:
Yarn: 3 1/4 skeins of Handmaiden Great Big Sea Silk in Pumpkin
Beads: Miyuki 5/0 triangle seed beads in crystal with burnt orange core
Needles: Size 6 and size 4 Addi turbos; size 6 and size 4 KnitPicks options
Modifications: Hip increases were done every 6 rows instead of every 8 rows.

As they say--necessity is the mother of invention and that old adage held true while working on the Sahara. I found the lace difficult to do on my Addis because the points are a little too blunt. I switched to my KnitPicks options needles which worked well. The sleeves, however had too small of a circumference to do this. I thought that I could just knit the difficult row--the one with the knit 3 togs--with my options needles letting the extra length just hang. Then I planned on switching back to the Addis which were 12 inch in length. This didn't work because the needle part of the options set was too long. I stopped in the middle of the row and did a google search for "Magic Loop." I found a couple of good sites and lo, and behold, I finally learned how to do the Magic Loop which I used to finish the lace portion of my second sleeve! I had always wanted to learn that technique, but never took the time to do so!

Now I'm on to two more projects. I've cast on Rusted Root and done 6 rows so far. I like the way the pattern is designed. One thing that is confusing, however, is the fact that the number of stitches in the lace pattern changes on different rows and this is not noted in the pattern. Other bloggers have written that they found this confusing and they ended up frogging because they thought they had made a mistake. After studying the lace pattern, I figured this out before doing something stupid. I also hope to begin my Lily of the Valley Shawl as well. I think it will be easy to manage these projects because of the number of repeats in the patterns. The lace pattern in Rusted Root has 10 rows. If I can knock off 10 rows every other night or so, I will finish in a few weeks. Likewise, the shawl lace pattern has 28 rows. I won't know if I can knock off one pattern repeat in an evening until I start the thing, but that is the plan. I figure I can work on them alternate evenings.

I am knitting Rusted Root in Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece. People seem to love this stuff, but I'm not terribly impressed. It looks nice, but it splits badly when knitting it. I think I would have liked this in Touche' by Berroco or Premier by Classic Elite. Both are incredibly soft and easy to knit! The shawl will be knit in Jaeggerspun Super Fine Merino. I found it at Sarah's Yarns for an incredible price.

I mentioned in an earlier post that Judy at Fabulous Yarn had special ordered some Artyarn Silk Rhapsody Glitter for me. It came on Friday and it is gorgeous!

It is variegated beiges with gold metallic running through it. I hope to make the Stitch Diva Cardi Wrap with this yarn. I think it will be really elegant!

Speaking of glitz--I found a fabulous pair of shoes earlier in the week. I decided to browse through DSW for a lark and found these beaded, open toe pumps in the clearance section.

These shoes are also comfortable! I couldn't help but think how fly they would look with this lace remnant that I bought at G-Street.

I've had that in my fabric stash for at least a year. It is 3/4 of a yard and the remnant cost me about $30. This lace sells for about $200 a yard. There is enough to make a bustier which is what I have planned. There was an article in Threads about corset and bustier construction which showed how the premium ones are made. I know that some of you may think that bustiers and stilleto heels amount to skanky attire, but I would argue that at least it is attire of the high class skank variety and not that of the two bit street ho variety, so that is more than okay!

It felt so good to sleep in today. However after my shower I encountered a minor frustration. From the WTF department--why do lotion manufacturers insist on using pump dispensers that cannot be opened on their products? I got a new bottle of Aveeno lotion and I kept turning and turning the top in the direction indicated by the arrows and the pump just wouldn't work! I tried turning it the other way and still it wouldn't work! I probably wasted 10 minutes trying to get that blasted thing open. Geez! WTF! Who would think this to be rocket science! Fortunately the empty bottle was still in the trash so I fished it out and took the pump from that one! Go Figure!

Kitty items: I know I've mentioned that Mikey is a polydactyl kitty. For those who don't know what that means--It means he has extra toes! Here is a photo of one of his paws so you can see that he is literally all thumbs!

Kitty Cam:
Greg patiently waiting for mom to get dressed!

"Hurry Mommy! How can you resist my cuteness!"

Summer Contest!

There is a summer contest going on at Skeins Her Way which I read about on Pheelya's blog. A requirement of the contest is to list your summer knitting goals on your blog so here goes:

1. Finish Rusted Root which I just started last night.
2. Knit Lily of the Valley Shawl from Lace Style simultaneously with Rusted Root.
3. Finish DH's 2nd Pop Up Paw
4. Start and Finish Annie Modesitt's Silk Ribbed Corset
5. Start and finish the Prosperous Plum Tank
6. Design and knit 2 or 3 chemo caps from Rowan Calmer that I have in my stash.
7. If I've managed all this by the end of the 1st week in August, then I will knit up the Waterlily tunic from Summer 06 (or 05--I can't remember) IK with the Colinette Giotto which I purchased a year ago for that top!

Here's a toast to getting it all done!

If you enter the contest, please tell Ali that you found out about it from MY blog!
Don't you love contests! Rumor has it that they don't count for adding to your stash if you win!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I've been tagged!

PHD Knitter tagged me! I'm not sure whether to thank her or to go TP her house!

Here are the instructions: List 7 random things about yourself on your blog along with the rules then tag seven other residents of the blogosphere to do the same!

Here goes:
1. I run a high school sports league. That's not typical of a musician as we music teachers often find ourselves at odds with the athletic dept. I run a community high school ice-hockey league with 12 teams. Both my son and daughter played ice hockey and if I weren't so friggin old, I would probably do so as well!

2. I like punk music! Again--people have this image of music teachers as only listening to the classics, but my musical taste is rather eclectic. Kid #2 plays in a ska band and he got me listening to punk during all those college visit road trips. The Violent Femmes are my favorite punk band.

3. I hate beer. Hate it, hate it! Even though my son is currently brewing some in our basement I still hate it!

4. I once considered getting a tattoo. That's about as far as it went, however. One hits a certain age and realizes that tattoos don't go with wrinkles.

5. I am a member of DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution). Now I know many of you have this image of DAR members as stuffy old ladies with big hats, but it isn't your grandmother's DAR anymore! (See factoids #2 and 4)

6. I met my spouse on a blind date. This is what we did before the internet was invented!

7. I once spent the night in a funeral home. Don't ask. It's a real long story!

So I've tagged: Eusebius, Adjunct Slave, Elledub,
Knittinreed, and Gay. Please don't hate me! I like your blogs and have come across them through knit alongs and/or webrings!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Hello. My name is Vicki and I have a problem. Isn't that the first step? If you are reading this then you most likely have a similar problem. My problem is not that of just buying yarn--though that is a secondary issue. My problem is thinking that I can do more than I have time for. I plan projects and enhance my stash by purchasing all that I need to complete said projects. This week has been no exception. There are several items that I've been wanting to add to my "to do" list but I was waiting for the right yarn to come along. Lo, and behold, this week it all did!

First of all, I've decided that I need to work on an extensive lace project. This will be an ongoing thing. I've been reading Grumperina's blog and coveting all the lovely lace things she knits. I have discovered during the last few months that I love knitting lace. I just can't do it at knitting group when I'm running my mouth. I purchased the book Lace Style a few weeks ago and fell in love with the Lily of the Valley Shawl.

The pattern isn't that complicated and it's the type of lace pattern that can be easily memorized. I decided to go for it and purchase the yarn. I went to my LYS to find some suitable lace yarn. There were two that I liked but I don't think the weight was quite right. The pattern called for Jaeggerspun Superfine Merino which is 630 yards in a 2 oz. skein. I bought Lacey Lamb which has over 800 yards in a 2 oz skein. The color is beige which is okay but I just don't love it. I'm going to return it because I found that Sarah's Yarns had the Jaeggerspun so I ordered it. The color is called Mushroom and it is the same yarn as in the photo--a very soft taupe--almost white and I DO love that!

I also got my Berroco Pure Merino for the Cable Down Raglan. This is gorgeous yarn. The color isn't quite right in the photo.

This is sort of a caramel color and it will be fabulous with all the olive greens and browns that I wear.

The last purchase was that of some Art Yarns Silk Rhapsody Glitter from Fabulous Yarn to make the Cardi Wrap by Stitch Diva. Judy, the proprietor, special ordered the color I wanted and I still get the 20% off discount. She is so friendly and I recommend checking out her online store. You won't be disappointed! I can't wait for that yarn to arrive! It's one of those that you just have to caress!

Now I have to do some serious goal setting. I have found that participating in the Sahara KAL was great for keeping me on task. I am scheduling my projects with completion dates. I will work on the Lily Shawl one, possibly two nights a week. I figure I can knock off one lace repeat each time. I want to make Rusted Root and finish it by the end of June, then I really want to do the Silk Corset by Annie Modesitt. After that I will begin the Cable Down Raglan. All of those sweaters are top down knits which I think is the only way to go.

I have fallen for the Eyelet Cardigan by Blue Sky Alpacas--so I may have to throw that in there.

I'm half finished my last Sahara sleeve and I plan on working on it the full 2 hours tomorrow during "24." That should complete the straight knitting. I can do the lace on Tuesday!

Kitty Cam:

Greg can be a big bully, but who ever thought he'd resort to guns!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Busy Busy!

Busy day! So busy, in fact, that I knit exactly 136 stitches! Two rows on my second Sahara sleeve! I'll make up for it tomorrow!

Kitty Cam:
I know that I wear my political beliefs on my sleeve, but who knew they would rub off on ALL my family members!

Being that Cosmo dresses in drag (he IS the fashion show kitty, after all), one could assume him to be a liberal!

Sunday, May 13, 2007


I love surprises! Who doesn't? It was so much fun to come home Friday after a burn-out week to find a package from my secret pal!

First there were some fun black and white stationary goodies: a journal, stickers, post-its and ribbon!

Next is a silky bag and a dark chocolate, espresso bar which I will indulge in when I need that afternoon pick-me-up during the week!

What was in the bag? Gorgeous black Malabrigo! I LOOOOVE Malabrigo! I think this skein may become a hat and matching fingerless mitts!

Thank you so much Magic Loop for all your thoughtfulness!

Another Friday delight was my first trip to Curves! What a fun way to exercise! I really felt invigorated and I actually enjoyed the experience! I'm sorry I was unable to go on the weekend! Saturday was taken up by our spring MUSIK workshop. It was a wonderful workshop all about choral techniques for children's choirs and the best part, of course, was being able to hear 5 different choirs. The downside was that I had to get up as if it were a school day and I had to leave the house at 7:30 a.m. Yuck! That shouldn't be allowed on weekends!

Today I shunned my usual Sunday activities which involve cleaning and I took advantage of Mother's Day being a day for mom to relax! I visited my mom and brought her a CD player with some CD's of music from MGM movies of the past --think Bing Crosby, Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers, Judy Garland etc. My mom is almost 86 and she is in hospice care in a nursing home. I can't help but find her existence to be sad. She loves music like the rest of us and I know she was thrilled with the CD player. When I was giving her dinner, she would stop eating and just listen then say "I love that song." I just hope the nurses will remember to turn her music on for her. DH called out and got crab cakes at Timbuktu's for Mother's Day dinner! If you've never had a Maryland crab cake from Timbuktu's, then you've never had a REAL Maryland crab cake! They are the absolute best and they are HUGE! Today was also Bird's 21st birthday. We gave him a home brewing kit along with some smaller items. The rule is that any fermenting will be done in the basement!

Sahara progress: I got the neckline lace done and the seams stitched. It's a beautiful sweater!

I have started the 2nd sleeve and I expect to be done before next weekend!

Here's the latest from the Kitty Cam:

Greg, the King of the Remote Control!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Sheep & Wool continued

I must say that I exercised a huge amount of self-control at the Sheep & Wool festival. I went with a list--mainly looking for yarn for 2 sweaters. One, the Simple Knitted Bodice, was to be knit in Tilli Tomas as I mentioned in my last post. I will go early next year and take care of that one. The other, the Cable Down Raglan from the Sprink IK, is still up in the air. The pattern is shown knit up in Louet Gems Worsted weight merino. I'm debating whether to use merino or cotton for that one. I've learned not to buy yarn for a pattern unless I absolutely love it and nothing really tickled my fancy for that one. Funny--I came across some perfect yarn on Ebay last night--Berroco Pure Merino in Resin which is a goldish kind of color. I love the color and it would go beautifully with all the browns, rusts, and olive greens that I wear! That's it! I will order that!

Of course, I did get sock yarn--Koigu, which I've never seen at the LYS. Gorgeous colors!

I bought yarn for another small project also. I have a pattern for a beaded scarf which I love. I already have some teal cashmere with black beads, but I saw the same scarf knitted up in variegated sock weight merino so I got some with the beads!

I've decided to try drop spindle spinning. I am trying to plan a colonial living history day for our 5th grade next year at school and I thought it would be fun to teach them drop spindle spinning. I picked up a pound of roving and some simple spindles.

Then I got a fancy spindle for myself!

This one came with a kit which included the book and some black fleece. The spindle is made of cherry and brass and it is lovely. This crafter made all kinds of designs and had little stands to display them in.

I bought a book at Borders earlier in the week.

Check out some of the designs!

Ooh la la! Sexy stuff! Gotta love it!

Progress on Sahara is steady. I have finished the first sleeve and I got one repeat of the lace pattern done on the neckline (which doesn't show in the photo). Once I'm done with the neckline, I'll do the other sleeve. The neckline lace isn't knit in the round and every pattern repeat (every 3 stitches) involves a P3tog tbl which is a nightmare! When done in the round as on the sleeves and hem, it's a K3tog tbl which is so much easier. The purl thing is nasty and I'm not liking it. It takes forever. I will make myself finish that part by tomorrow night.

Other news--I joined Curves today! It really seems like a good environment for what I need to do and I have set a goal to go 3 times a week!

I took Mikey to the vet this afternoon for his first glucose test in a month. It was in the high normal range so that's good news. He's gaining weight which shows that the diabetes is getting under control, but he's overweight so he really needs to lose weight! Gee--someone should develop a Curves for Kitties!

I hate to admit that I have no kitty photos today! Who would believe with 4 cats that I couldn't catch one of them being cute!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Sheep & Wool

I know! Boring title, but I feel brain dead and couldn't come up with anything better! The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival was this past weekend. I hadn't been in a couple of years so I decided I needed to go! I was fortunate enough to get into a class on Friday which lasted all day. Cables World Tour taught by Janet Szabo. The work this woman does is unbelievable! We basically did a lot of swatches and I learned quite a lot! Here a a few of the samples:

As I was leaving, I was able to ogle over some of the yarn the vendors were putting up, but the vendors didn't open until Saturday. I learned a lesson this year. If I really want something that I know will be available--go Saturday morning. Period. You snooze, you lose! I knew that Tilli Tomas would have a stand and I wanted some of her yarn for my Simple Knitted Bodice. Her yarn is really pricey and no one discounts it. By the time I got to her stand Sunday afternoon, there wasn't much of a selection. The prices were about 30% off so that's completely understandable. She said she would be there next year, so I'll wait since I probably wouldn't be knitting that sweater up until then anyway!

I know people who have to sneak their yarn purchases into the house so their spouses won't see them. My spouse worries more about me bringing an animal home. It was tempting. I fell in love with Berniece:

She is a 3 year old angora bunny who was looking for a new home. I love watching people spin directly from the rabbits. They just put the bunny in their lap and pluck the hair right onto the spinning wheel!

Of course there were sheep at the festival. My favorites are the Karakuls:

Here is Pheelya fondling a big one!

Don't forget the alpacas!

I particularly like the ones with the punk rock hair!

My very favorite animals at the festival were the llamas! They seem so regal for some reason. I think it's because they look so much like camels!

I'll write about my purchases tomorrow. Of course, no collection of animal photos would be complete without kitties! Here's Bar in his new sleeping place! He found a spot on DH's bedroom chair and has spent the last 5 nights there!