Sunday, March 22, 2009

The week that was. . .

This has been a crazy busy couple of weeks. First I had to get stuff together for the Homespun Yarn Party. Then ended up being a fun event! Even better was the fact that it was at Savage Mill which is right down the street from my house!

Also--My Etsy Shop is up and running. Right now I have listed all my project bags. These came about because I made some for my own personal use and then started giving them as gifts. People started asking for them. I have all my projects in their own little bag. They are perfect for small projects, but I find that I can fit an entire top down sweater along with a skein of yarn in mine so they are really quite versatile. I will be adding coordinating gadget rolls which is like a mini needle roll with 3 sections to hold your stitch counter, cable needles etc. I am also working on some cable needles which can be worn as pendants. I have designed one with a kitty shape (what else!) and the tail forms the cable needle. I hope to make a few out of bronze to see how they go as it is cheaper than sterling silver. I will expand to sterling and gold fill with gemstones.

I did finish my Opulent Raglan and I absolutely love it! Here's the photos:

Here are the details:
Pattern: Opulent Raglan by Wendy Bernard, from Knitscene Fall 2008
Size: XS
Yarn: Bristol Yarn Gallery King George in Chocolate
Needles: KnitPicks Options Size 5 and 6, Addi Turbo, size 6
Modifications: I had to add rows due to the fact that my row gauge was way off. I also added 4 stitches to each sleeve then added two addition decreases along with additional rows on the sleeve flounce.

I'm really happy with this sweater and I'm glad that it is cold enough this week that I will be able to wear it!

Today I will swatch for Sylvi. I am making it in bright red like the model in the photo. I will add pockets to the front and instead of buttons I will make leaf shaped frog closures. The front is just plain seed stitch and I think it needs something that ties it to the design on the back.

I chilled last night in front of cable TV. DH was at an SAR function. I finally saw Sicko. All I can say is "wow!" It's criminal what happens in this country in regard to healthcare. It was quite an eye opener to see how Canada, England and France manage to provide for everyone. One statement by a French official particularly struck me. He said "People pay according to their means and receive care according to their needs." Everything is paid for with taxes and one gets health care without paying a cent. Taxes are quite high in France, but college is free, healthcare is free, daycare is free. All workers get at least 5 weeks paid vacation and are granted additional paid vacation for life events such as marriage, moving etc. Full time employment in France is 35 hours a week. They still have rich and poor people as they are not a communist country. Another statement that I found interesting was "In France the government is afraid of the people. In American, the people are afraid of the government." Apparently the people protest publicly there and the government is terrified of that so they do what they can to prevent it. No wonder they are so laid back there? What was really upsetting was to see that in some places in our country, poor people who cannot pay their hospital bills are sometimes loaded in a cab and dumped on the street near missions in the ghetto where they may get a little help. How can this be? I could go on, but I won't. If you haven't seen Sicko, then by all means do so.

We have been in the throes of MSA testing last week and this week at school. Everything normal grinds to a halt. I've been helping with the testing in the 3rd grade and some of my classes were cancelled in order to do so. All non classroom teachers are pulled to help with accommodations for students who need them. I won't bore you here with my thoughts on this whole thing, but basing a school's performance level on grueling standardized tests are simply wrong. Some kids aren't able to show what they know in this particular format. It's just wrong.

Other news--Ems will be in the Roller Derby. She's psyched! She says it's like playing hockey except she can wear fishnets and make up! Here she is in her skates:

Spring arrived Friday at 7:44 a.m. according to our local meteorologist! So I will spend today putting away my snowmen and putting out bunnies, ducks and chicks! I have two weeks until spring break. We will probably visit the kids in Pittsburgh on Easter since they are working on Saturday.

That's about all for now!

Kitty Cam: Harley always finds the one little sunny spot to bask in.

Friday, March 13, 2009

six feet under - the rainbow of her reasons

Just a little diversion. I saw this episode of Six Feet Under while I was sewing last night. Claire, the artist, has just started a temp office job and she has to wear business attire which she hates--particularly the pantyhose. We all know that pantyhose are of the devil anyway. I so relate to this!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Thank you secret pal!

I got my last package from my SP13 pal and she has spoiled me rotten!

First, there's a totebag from her favorite LYS, Loopy Yarns in Chicago. Then we have a gorgeous skein of Seasilk. There's a lovely little handmade felted bag which had a tube of Chibi needles and some mini embroidery scissors in a leather case. There was an imported chocolate bar, some chocolate covered sunflower seeds and a pack of cacao nibs.

Here's a close up of the felted bag and one of the seasilk:

Thank you so much Michelle! You spoiled me rotten and I've loved all the goodies!

Why is it the comedians get it right?

As usual, it takes Jon Stewart to point out the true state of affairs!

Monday, March 2, 2009


Snow! Real snow! Typical snow average in this area is about 12 inches over the winter. So far we had gotten 2 inches. That was it! I guess Mother Nature figured that she better get on the stick before winter ended. It looks like we've gotten about 6 inches. I'm happy to report that school was cancelled today. I'm also happy that the snow held off until last night as DH and I went downtown to the Caps game at 3:00 yesterday. We typically drive into DC on the weekends, but we were afraid that they would call a snow emergency which means that you cannot park on main roads. If you are parked on one and don't move your car, you get towed and a hefty fine. We drove to Greenbelt and took the metro in. Everyone on the train had Caps jerseys on which was nice. Unfortunately the game totally blew. The Caps are #2 in the Eastern Conference and #4 in the league. They got spanked royally, losing to Florida 6 - 2. Ouch! How can an ice hockey team from the deep south do that!!!

I haven't been up to too much these days. I have been working on my two projects a lot. My Chunky Cabled Tam is going to hibernate until I figure out what to do with it. Here it is in it's current state:

I love this hat on the cover of Knit 1. Mine looks a lot bigger. It is very bulky--two strands of Manos held together on size 11 needles. The pattern called for 3 skeins of Manos and I have run out of yarn! 4 skeins will amount to one expensive hat! When I try this on, the slouchy part of the hat literally hangs down to my shoulders. I think it is just too big. I'll have to take it to my stitch 'n bitch group on Wednesday to ask for advice. I don't know whether I should get another skein and finish it, or to frog back and do one less repeat of the cable to make the top smaller. That would also keep me from having to get another skein. So I've put the tam aside to finish the Opulent Raglan. I am now on the hip increases below the waist.

I love this sweater! It fits like a charm and the yarn is like butter on the skin! It is Bristol Yarn Gallery King George which is 45% merino, 45% alpaca, 10% cashmere. My row gauge is off though. I'm getting more rows per inch. I'm a little worried that this sweater will grown in length when it is blocked. Alpaca has a tendency to do that. Merino has good memory so I'm hoing it will balance out the alpaca. At any rate, I ended up ordering two more skeins of this yarn. I am on the 5th now and only have 3 left. I can see using at least one more on the body so the 8 I bought won't be enough. I hope to get this finished by the middle of March.

I ordered the yarn for Sylvi. According to the yardage, I will need 10 skeins of the yarn I chose. I ordered 11 but Webs only had 10 so I got what they had. I'll have to make sure that my swatch is accurate. I want to do some modifications which might require more yarn. The color I got is called Valentine and they have another red, so I may get some of that and do a dye job.

Cold weather makes me pull out the crock pot. We've had some good stuff from the slow cooker in the last few weeks. Our favorite so far has been Pepperoncini Beef.

Here's the recipe:

1 - boneless chuck roast (mine was 3.5 lbs.)
2 - 14 oz.cans low sodium beef broth
1 - 16 oz, jar pepperoncini
3 or 4 peeled garlic cloves

Make some cuts into the surface of the roast. Slice the garlic cloves and put the slices into the cuts in the beef. Place the beef in the crock pot and pour in the broth and the pepperoncini with the juice. Cook 6 - 8 hours on low. After cooking, pull out the beef and shred with 2 forks. I also pulled out the pepperoncini and removed the stems. Return the pepperoncini and beef to the crock. Serve on crusty rolls. Top with Provolone cheese and put under the broiler for a couple of minutes.

Here is the finished sandwich, served with Provolone and broiled on a Chiabatta roll with some spicy Chipotle mustard!

Good stuff!

Samantha has found her old toys! There is this particular toy that she loves and I can't find them any more. I've bought her a bunch of them over the years and they eventually get destroyed. We found 2 of them in the house. She is like a kid with a security blanket with these things.

She carries it around the house. I'll hear her meowing repeatedly and there she will be with the toy in her mouth. The other day, I noticed this:

Her toy was on the piano stool! Of course the next morning I saw this:

She basks in the sun every morning on the piano stool so I guess she needed her toy to keep her company!

I will leave you with photos of the snow, taken from inside the house!

Kitty Cam: Greg is a little more greedy with his toys. He collects a number of them and puts them in his favorite box.