Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spring . . .

. . . refuses to come to Minnesota. So I shall go find it in Florida. Maybe a few posts while we play in the sun, sand, and surf of Sanibel Island. Otherwise - carry on until April 7.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Would that I Could

After reading so many comments about using the left-over Easter Egg dye to dye yarn, I admit to getting inspired to trying it. I thought it would be another fun "mother/daughter" project for Kathryn and me to try. The good folks who make the Dudley Easter Egg Coloring kits dashed those hopes quickly. It seems they have reinvented a process which didn't need re-inventing. They created a solution where no problem existed. The ruined my plans - again.
In their warped little Easter egg dyeing world, you place the eggs in a little plastic bag and put a few drops of color into the bag and smoosh the color around. First problem - the bags easily rip. Second problem, you can't make half & half color eggs. Third problem, you can't make super saturated colored eggs by leaving one in for a really long time. Fourth problem, not enough color drops. Fifth problem - not enough bags if you wanted to mix colors.The next part of the "Glitter Egg" process is to sprinkle glitter on the eggs once they are in the lame egg holder - not in the kit as shown! First problem - glitter only sticks on the top of the egg - DUH!!! Second problem - if you pick up the egg to put glitter on the other sides, all the glitter either falls off or sticks to your now colored hands (see problem 1 from above). Our work around was to put the glitter in with eggs but since there weren't enough bags, that meant all the eggs were glittery.
In fairness, I guess clean up was easier. But there was no way we were going to be able to stuff yarn into those little glittery bags. Next year I'll buy Paas!
After we finished, she told me she doesn't like hard boiled eggs any more. There are 11 left; we leave on Wednesday. Egg salad anyone?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Best Laid Plans

It's a big day here. A family project, long believed to be only Jon's responsibility, has been turned over to me. Rather, I have stolen it. Instead of waiting until Saturday night, Kathryn and I are going to dye the Easter eggs today.
And they're going to be fancy! Glitter Eggs AND Tie Dye Eggs! I'm thinking this is going to be messy (which is probably why Jon got the job to begin with) and I'm suddenly wishing I had only picked out one of these packages. But - I'm a mom. I can do this. It's a craft - it's in my blood. I'm prepared for anything.
Crap. Crap, crap, crap!! I should probably mention that the real reason behind this "mother-daughter' bonding is not my love of dyeing eggs - I hate it. Nor is it the desire to spend "more" quality time with Kathryn. I see her all the time; we spend plenty of quality time together. The real reason is we can't get out of the house today thanks to springtime in Minnesota and another winter storm. I'll leave you with these reminders of springtime in Minnesota while I go hunt for eggs which will be dyed, a few will be eaten, the rest will be throwm out in a few weeks. Fun, fun, fun!!
Happy Easter?!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Around here, everyone is getting ready for vacation. Even the ones who aren't going!

"Mom, we NEED to go outside with the dog! We NEED to know what Spring Break will feels like!"
"OK, let's try the other door. Damn! Dog's here too! Why do we need a litter box anyway?"
"Leave me alone;I'm working on my base tan like mom."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I'm Dreaming . .

. . . of a White Easter!

And Sanibel Island three days later!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Good for the Soul

A few more days of Lent left; the chance to clear the air, come clean, get things off my chest before Easter. A good time to peel away the plastic and unveil:

The Basket of Shame

This is where things go when I'm bored with them, or they lack a certain - something - to keep me moving on them. Or, more than likely, something prettier or more fun or - green - popped up on the radar and I dropped these like hot potatoes to move on. In no particular order:

The KISS Fake Isle Bag from one of the Knitting Experience Books by Sally Melville. I last worked on this during our knitting group retreat back in January of 2007. It's about 90% done.

If you guessed Fair Isle Jazz from Scarf Style - you're correct. I know this to be at least 3 years old since I started mine when the knitting group girls where all finishing theirs in a class. This is also when I learned that if I never did Fair Isle knitting on flat pieces again, it would be too soon. You may wonder how I learned that without having gotten to the Fair Isle section of the scarf -I did. It wasn't pretty and it's gone. For good.

Looks like we just need a sleeve and neck finishing here. Or that one-armed man from "The Fugitive". It just doesn't seem like this would be that hard. I remember that I got this far in about two weeks. Languishing in the basket has taken 18 months.

Seriously, I'm averting my eyes in shame on this. Sunrise Circle Jacket. Finished pieces. Requires maybe a good afternoon or two of finishing. And I think that's an over estimate as quite a bit is already done. This has been in the basket for 2 years.

But all is not lost. I recovered some missing things in all the bags. My favorite Clip 'n Snip scissors and one size 8 needle in the Fair Isle Jazz scarf bag. Maybe that's why I hated it - only one needle?

Friday, March 14, 2008


. . .is for ENTRELAC.
The French word for "interlaced." If the knitting fairies came and told that I could only knit one technique from here on out, it would be entrelac. I love the rhythm and the counting of the stitches in each individual block. And that progress is not measured on a linear basis, but more by small sections and therefore seems faster. A flat piece can be blocked out to look like an argyle piece - with no texture. Or it can be left to rise and fall like roller coasters or woven baskets.
What I really love are circular entrelac pieces - bags, socks, hats, mittens, sweaters - anything where the back and forth of the pattern just settles you into a circular rhythm all the way around the project, and then back again. The benefit to learning entrelac was teaching myself how to purl backwards, from the front knit side of the piece. This avoids the constant turning involved in working each section. This skill has transferred to other areas where turning work has always been a hassle (heels on socks for instance). I'm a technique knitter - more fascinated by the process sometimes than the outcome. So getting two cool techniques in one shot - that's like a double bonus.

The pictures are of my LONG abandoned Lady Eleanor Stole in Silk Garden #84. While stash diving the other day, my friend Brenda found her hiding in the "basket of shame". Eleanor is actually going to be more of a lap blanket. Someday. Brenda is not allowed near the basket anymore. There are other carcasses in there.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Because I Can

One day last week, Carole bragged about showed us some of her beautiful hand spun yarn. Our hand spinning stories are much the same - except for a few small details. Sure, she spins quite a bit more than I do. And well, yes, she takes better photos than I do.

Lorna's Laces Colorful Stuff

But I can come up with clever names for my hand spun like she does. And just like Carole, I really have no idea what I'm going to make with this stuff. Especially since it's so easy to make big plans for less than 200 yards of something that's sort of thin, but sometimes a bit - "thick-ish".

"I made yarn. Isn't that enough?" - Carole

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Bit More

As stubborn as I am, even Bloggers refusal to upload more than one picture at a time today didn't stop me from this picture-heavy post to show off my favorite acquisition from my Weekend With Vicki. It doesn't really fit into the category of yarn, nor does it fit into the category of a finished project. Yet, it is yarn, and it is finished.

This is the Kveldsro Coat from Simply Shetland - from top to bottom. It's so lovely and perfect for this time of year. Yes, it's just a bit big - 46" chest - but you'd want a jacket big enough to wear a sweater under this time of year.

It has this wonderful detail too - like this little bit of gathering in the back to snug it up just a bit.

And this side vents with buttons to class it up just a bit and to make walking in it easier - especially if you're short, which, I am.

Did I mention the buttons? I'd have bought it just for the buttons. The kit retails at $145 - which doesn't include the buttons. Was $90 a steal at the Needlework Unlimited Sweater Sample Sale? If I hate this thing in a few years, I could rip it out and make three sweaters! and still have 9 buttons left over!

Now the question becomes - how can I get people to ask: "Is that hand knit?" instead of "Did you knit that?"

Friday, March 07, 2008

New Stuff

I picked up a few little goodies for myself and received a few great gifts during Vicki's visit last weekend.KMKat's Klever Kleenex Kozy - I haven't left home without it since receiving it last Friday night! You don't even need to keep the Kleenex in the plastic wrapper - thus eliminating that tell-tale annoying plastic crunching sound every time you reach into your bag for a tissue!

Some Handmaiden Yarns "Double Sea Silk" (70% silk, 30% Seacell) in Woodland color way and,
"Casbah Sock Yarn" (80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon) in Vintage colorway. I picked both of these up at Coldwater Collaborative. She just started carrying it - damn, after I quit!
And at the old fashioned candy store down the street in Excelsior, Simply Nuts & More, a $1.00 bag of my favorite candy. We called these Bull's Eyes growing up.
My "BIG" purchase from Needlework Unlimited kind of requires its own post. I'll save that for another day. There isn't anything left of my fabulous chicken Caesar salad from lunch on Saturday, which leaves me with two wonderful gifts from Vicki.

Fleece Artist "Sea Wool" (70% Merino, 30% Seacell). There's no colorway noted on the tag, but side-by-side with the Sea Silk - the colors are identical. AND - Hand Maiden is a spin-off of Fleece Artist. So, I'm thinking that these two were meant for each other. Like me and Vicki! Regardless, it's sumptuous. A pair of socks with a matching scarf!And then there's this darling little candle. I'm waiting until the porch is open and the official outside knitting season opens. It's perfect porch candle with the little stars all around it. It has a perfect "not-too-strong" scent for reminding me of a perfect weekend too.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Girls & Moms

As the mother of a girl, I'm a firm believer that girls can't have enough "moms" in their life. By that I mean other adult women that they can trust, count on, talk to, laugh with, cry with. I had several such great women in my life as a teenager. They were as important to me as my own mother and they hold a very special place in my heart. I also believe that as the mother of a soon-to-be teenage girl, I need as much exposure to this rare breed as possible. Especially ones who think I'm pretty special. Such is the case with this friend. She celebrated a special birthday over the weekend. I wanted to give her something that was from me, from my heart and from my hands. Given her nature and charm, I knew she'd not only wear a Calorimetry, but she'd wear it everyday and boast and brag about it to everyone she knows.

The Silk Garden is a perfect yarn for late winter into the spring in Minnesota and the blues and greens in the color (#87) show off her eyes of the same color beautifully! And while I know we aren't supposed to bribe children, she's not mine! I can't tell - do you think she likes it?

Monday, March 03, 2008

Comp. 101

At Kathryn's recent school conference we learned that that Mrs. K will spend the rest of the year focusing on story composition in Language Arts. The little I recall of story composition had to do with character development, plot, the protagonist, climax etc. At the 5th grade level, apparently, a good story has a compelling opening, a middle, and a strong or emotional finish.

Compelling Opening: You can start over at Chris' for the Friday evening festivities. I was having fun with food and wine and knitting. But this is the beginning of Saturday's wonderful day. We took Vicki to 318. This is where the Tuesday Morning Knitting group meets. And I got to bring both worlds together by introducing (soon to be a blogger) Brenda, who has heard about my blogger friend for years, to Vicki.
Middle: We chatted and had coffee for a bit and began our yarn-adventure at Coldwater Collaborative, then on to Needlework Unlimited. I'm fairly sure I had the largest purchases at both places but that's a story for another day. (Perhaps a sequel to this composition.)
We ended our yarn store visits at The Yarnery in St. Paul. We met up with Lauri before our stomachs realized we were just steps away from Cafe Latte and Renee! We enjoyed a late lunch, a few beverages, lots of laughs and stories , and some knitting. Vicki and I spent a quiet night at home on Saturday with lots of knitting, "The Osmond's 50th Reunion" on PBS (c'mon - you know you would have watched it too if you had stumbled upon it!), "Radio Days" on TCM and then "Saturday Night Live" until it got un-funny. Sunday morning we took a long walk with the dog and just talked, talked, talked. It was nice, nice, nice.

Strong or Emotional Finish: All too soon the weekend was over and it was time for my friend to leave. But not before snapping a photograph of one of the many things we have in common.

Our daughters: Katie and Katie.

I had a great weekend. I felt like I was on a mini-retreat in my own house. I hope you had a good time too, Vicki!

The End.