Saturday, December 30, 2006

Tree Cozy?

My mother in-law sent me this awesome link of crazy crocheted items. i love the tree cozy. wonder how long it took her to do this?! it's nuts!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

I've downloaded the majority of Prague Christmas photos. There are still a few that are on another card. None are labeled yet. If you aren't completely bored after the first few photos and came make it through 600 snapshots of medieval architecture, you'll find some familar sites from guidebooks (Prague castle in the distance, the Charles bridge).

This one is specifically for Sangeeta.

ARRRH!!! Correction- I can only share 250 photos through Shutterfly. Contact me via email and I'll give you my Shutterfly login if you're interested in seeing all!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Prague Days 2-6

Blogging from the hotel proved to be a bit more difficult than I originally thought! So, you'll get the condensed version of the trip to Prague. It is beautiful and amazing. The architecture is incredible. I would go back in a heartbeat. The Czech people really know how to celebrate Christmas in style!

I'm currently downloading all of our 600 photos. I wanted to share a couple while the bulk is taking 2 hours to download to Shutterfly! Unfortunately I had too many pix for flickr without paying for the pro version.

P.S. - Thanks to Mary for the entry about Prague yarn stores! Unfortunately, I'm reading it after the fact. Alas. I had a lot of projects to work on so I was happy. Thanks again!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Prague Day 1

I searched all day and still no yarn store sighting! I typically have a built in radar for yarn! I'm definitely planning to search again tomorrow.

Although Ben & I are both jet lagged, we did manage to muster enough energy to walk around the city today. I took a ton of photos of the architecture, which is just amazing. We walked up to the main castle, across the Charles bridge and through Old Town. The Christmas market in Wenselas square is awesome! There are Christmas trees and lights everywhere. Vendors are selling a lot of touristy wares, hot wine, cider and hot chocolate. We're heading back there tomorrow to buy some Christmas presents.

So far the food has been decent. We had a traditional Czech meal last night. There's not much for me to eat unfortunately. As expected the Czech restaurants tend to serve mostly pork and beef. Beef goulash and dumplings are very popular. I did pass a veggie restaurant today, so I'm going to stop by tomorrow and check it out. The food is reasonably priced, but as we read in many books before our trip, if you don't watch out they'll charge you for anything and everything! Our water last night was close to $9!

Carp is the traditional Christmas Day meal in Prague. It is only served at Christmas (which is good because isn't Carp a goldfish? :) All the street vendors are currently selling carp by the pound. You can stop at one of these vendor stands, pick out your fish from an enormous tub of water and they will kill it right in front of you so that you can take it home fresh. Apparently it's quite tasty. We've both vowed to be brave and try it at Christmas. As they say, when in Rome...

We bought tickets today to a Christmas Day Mass Concert at a beautiful cathedral here. I'm so excited - it should really be amazing.

Ben is off to aikido tonight for a couple of hours. He's taking the metro there and hopefully will not get lost. The metro is quite nice. We bought 7 day passes today. The passes are good for the tram and bus systems as well.

So far we have not had a difficult time finding English speakers. Almost everyone here speaks at least a little English. I've been trying out my Czech. I can say hello, goodbye, thank you, and excuse me. I'm discovering that speaking is not as respected as in France or Germany. Czechs tend to look at you funny even if you say hello in the language. Alas. I've reverted back to pure English, which seems to please everyone :)

A demain...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I love the Internet

How cool is this? I'm sitting in Zurich Switzerland writing on my blog! We have a 4 hour layover on the way to Prague. Thank goodness we do, as the plane was late taking off from Washington DC. Seems like we were just there this morning and yet we left at 6pm last night! Weird. The airport in Zurich is beautiful. Very clean. Looks just like a big IKEA. We can see the Alps from the airport. I'm still searching for a yarn shop in the terminal. Wouldn't that be a cool business! A chain of yarn stores in airports! I did see a few folks knitting - only elderly ladies though. I thought I'd get a lot more done on the plane, but it was a bit cramped. I was working on a hat, but will frog it again. This is the 2nd time I've tried to make this simple hat and it always turns out too big. The gauge is right. The pattern is simple. For some reason though, I can't seem to finish this simple project. I'm going to rip it out again and just make mittens. On a funny note (well, maybe not so funny), the Swiss security almost took my Denise needle case. They thought it was an electronic device!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

More Silly Quizzes :)

Because my knitting is kinda boring right now, thought I'd carry on the tradition of blog quizzes! Ah, what did we do with our time before the internet!

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Northeast
The South
The Midland
North Central
The West
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Your Famous Last Words Will Be:

"What we know is not much. What we don't know is enormous."

Which Star Wars Character Are You?
Your Result: Yoda

You are a passive green creature with a speech impediment. You always try to find a peaceful resolution to your problems, but also aren't afraid to kick some ass if you need to.

Luke SkyWalker
Jar Jar Binks
Princess Leia
Han Solo
Darth Vader
Boba Fett
Jabba the Hutt
Which Star Wars Character Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Tarot Reading

Not sure I buy into mine :) Sangeeta & Cate both had these on their sites. Thought it was fun:

You are the World

Completion, Good Reward.

The World is the final card of the Major Arcana, and as such represents saturnian energies, time, and completion.

The World card pictures a dancer in a Yoni (sometimes made of laurel leaves). The Yoni symbolizes the great Mother, the cervix through which everything is born, and also the doorway to the next life after death. It is indicative of a complete circle. Everything is finally coming together, successfully and at last. You will get that Ph.D. you've been working for years to complete, graduate at long last, marry after a long engagement, or finish that huge project. This card is not for little ends, but for big ones, important ones, ones that come with well earned cheers and acknowledgements. Your hard work, knowledge, wisdom, patience, etc, will absolutely pay-off; you've done everything right.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Alpaca Cardi C'est Fini!

Yarn: Woven Gems Alpaca
Pattern: Basic Crewneck Cardi from Ann Budd Handy Sweater Pattern Book
Knitting Time: ~1.5 months / weekend knitting

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Friday, December 01, 2006

Belated Turkey Day Photos

We had an awesome Thanksgiving this year (No offense to our families who weren't in attendance). Ben & I traveled to Douthat State Park in Virginia, a truly special place . We stayed in a 1 room log cabin built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corp. Let me tell you, those folks knew how to build things to last! The cabins are in great shape. They've been upgraded in recent years with central heat (thank goodness)and air and newer kitchenettes. Despite these modern conveniences, the cabins still have rustic charm. The stone fireplaces are my favorite.

Needless to say, I got some knitting done while we were gone. I'm finished with the Blue Skys Cotton baby sweater - pattern KP&S. This photo shows my progress. I finished the sweater last night and will post it post blocking.

And, I started on Sangeeta's scarf made of merino wool.

I also blocked my alpaca sweater (will post tonight). I'm so pleased! Blocking rocks! I just have the button bands and tis done.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

One Planet

I haven't loaded my Thxgiving mtn pix yet, so I thought I'd post about an awesome new online yarn store. One Planet Yarn & Fiber has a great selection of yarns from all over the place! Check out the store and their blog.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Updates & Prague

I'm optimistic I can complete the cardi it the next week or so. I'm off to the yarn lounge today as I need help with the neck line - the BO in the pattern doesn't make much sense. After that I just need to put on button bands and a neck and c'est fini!

Ben's wrist warmers were completed by his birthday and he loves them. He's been wearing them to aikido practice each time they are outdoors. They turned out really nice.

There are many projects waiting in the wings. I'm making a baby sweater out of the Blue Sky Cotton. The pattern is top-down from knitting pure & simple and should be fairly easy and fast.

I'm also making a lace scarf for Sangeeta. She bought some beautiful merino, which always tends to fly on the needles.

And, I have several sweaters I'm anxious to start. That probably won't happen till the beginning of the year.

Because I've been working like a dog, I haven't even had time to post about my trip for Christmas! Ben and I are heading to Prague! I've been trying to scout out some yarn shops online, but everything is in Czech. Alas. We were initially going to Paris, as at least I could have spoken the language, but this will be more adventurous right? It's been really funny listening to us learn to say hello and goodbye in Czech :)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Sleeve & Glove = Progress!

Ben's wrist warmers are the project du jour. I had taken a break after knitting all those little fingers on size 2 needles. I have decided to knit all other wrist warmers without fingers. Overall, I'm pleased with the way they're turning out and with the yarn. It's very nice to work with and the irregular stripes of color add interest.

I took off a day from work Wednesday to knit more on the alpaca sweater and watch Grey's Anatomy! I'm sooo hooked on this show, which is sad because it's really just a soap opera. But oh, McDreamy...Ah...Oh yes - back to knitting. One sleeve is complete and the other is in process and I'm still on 1 ball of yarn! I may end up adding to the body of the sweater if it doesn't block out enough, as it needs about an inch added in length.

The photo is a little grainy. The sweater is not really gray, but a nice warm brown. That black and white fuzzy thing in the right corner is not a permanent feature of the sweater. That's Roxy. As you can see, she thinks that everything made of yarn is a new blanket.

On a non-knitting note, take a look at these beautiful roses still blooming in my back yard as the temperature dips to 30/40 degrees! I have no idea what to do with roses over the winter so I just keep letting them grow. One of the bushes is now 8 feet tall. Any rose experts out there? Please forward ideas/advice about whether to prune now or in the spring.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The never-ending sleeve

I haven't fallen into a black hole (unless you call the sleeve of a sweater a black hole) - I'm still knitting the alpaca cardi which seems to be taking forever. Once I can show some progress, I'll post. I'm also making wrist warmers for Ben. His birthday is in 2 weeks so I'm hoping to get them done before then. They're not difficult to knit - it's just finding the time to do it!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Apples and More

It's been a while since I've posted - work is just getting in the way as usual! I don't see it getting any better in the next few months either. I was offered the chance to teach a course at the university and couldn't say no. It will be my first academic course. I'm really excited but also a bit intimidated. Anyways...It will be a busy spring.

This fall has also been busy. Last weekend, Sangeeta, her cousins and I travelled to Grave's Mountain for the Apple Harvest Festival. It was the perfect weather for a festival. We ate Brunswick stew, homemade apple butter and applesauce. I bought a half bushel of apples, which Ben is currently making into apple pies (yum!).

On the knitting front, I've started a cardigan (my first adult sweater!) with the beautiful alpaca I bought at the Fall Fiber Festival. I'm using the Ann Budd book on sweaters for my pattern. If I make the small (which is going to be a fitted cardi), then I should have enough yarn. I have over 1200 yards. However, the fact that my gauge is a little uneven - I consistently get either 51/2 or 6 sts to the inch - is making me fret a bit. Alas, I suppose I can always pull it out if it's too small or I run out of yarn!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Fall Fiber!

Sangeeta, Cate, Courtney, Roz & I proved what hard-core, dedicated knitters we are as we braved the very muddy, windy and cold Fall Fiber Festival yesterday in Montpelier, VA! Despite the weather conditions, I had a great time. We laughed,

ate cold fried chicken (yum!), watched the sheep dog trials
and drank lots of coffee.

I bought some great yarn including 2 skeins of alpaca for a sweater, 8 skeins of wool for another sweater, a skein of beautiful sock yarn and 2 skeins of linen for gifts.

On another note, Sangeeta brought me my contest prize Friday night. I received a bottle of wine, a Stitch & Bitch Calendar, 2 Jo Sharp patterns and 2 skeins of yarn!! Thank you Sangeeta!

Monday, October 02, 2006

ISE - Part Deux

Due to various reasons that are posted on the ISE site (other than the fact that I am a perfectionist :), I've started on a new scarf for my pal. I'm using Noro Cash Iroha, which has to be the most delicate, beautiful yarn I ever worked with. I'm making a simple feather and fan pattern from Dianne's Patterns:
Multiple of 10 sts plus 1 Repeat of 2 rows. Begin with right-side row.
ROW 1(Right side row): *K1, yo, k3, (sl 1, k2tog,psso), k3, yo,* repeat from * to *, end k1.
ROW 2: P.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Scarf Complete

The ISE scarf is complete! I'm so excited. On to blocking tonight. My hope is to get it in the mail by Monday. Pix to come...

The Yarn Lounge knit night was so much fun last night! We dressed in pj's and ate doughnuts, pizza and popcorn. The *best* part of the evening was the chair massage! Thanks to Stewart and Melanie for providing this to us. Elise, the masseuse, was wonderful. I felt so relaxed that I came home and went straight to bed!!

Friday, September 22, 2006

As the scarf grows

The ISE scarf is growing - slowly. I have used 2 balls of Classic Elite and started a 3rd ball last night. Currently, the scarf is 25" stretched. Does anyone know how much growth I can expect from blocking? And, what type of blocking should I use?

I'll head to The Yarn Lounge today to pick up a 4th ball of yarn. I hope this will be enough to finish. My secret pal said she preferred scarves 40" or greater...
The photo unfortunately looks a little like a pile of wool. This pattern is really beautiful and the colors in the Waterlily yarn are fantasic. There are subtle hints of light and dark greens throughout. I'm hoping to finish a good portion of the scarf this weekend and get it in the mail by next weekend. I hope my Pal likes it! She's in Indiana so I'm hoping the merino will help keep her warm this winter.

On another note...
My husband just returned from San Francisco. He never ceases to amaze me. During the course of his week in the city, he somehow scouted out a LYS in order to buy me a gift(maybe he used Map Muse?). He discovered Artfibers, where he picked out a beautiful selection of yarns (the shop owners gave him some interesting looks and thought the yarn was for him because he kept asking about yardage and gauge :).

The first yarn, Kantuta, (and hopefully you can see the colors in the photographs) is a luxurious super baby alpaca. He bought me 2 skeins in color #8 - 94 yds each. The second yarn, Alfabeto, is 76% silk, 19% superkid mohair and 5% wool. I have 2 skeins in color #2. Each skein is 250 yds. It's absolutely gorgeous.

So, the big question now is what should I knit with these yarns??! Ideas are most welcome!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I've been so engrossed in the ISE scarf that I forgot to mention the cool Intarsia class I took Sunday from Nancie Wiseman at Got Yarn in Midlothian. I found Ms. Wiseman to be terribly funny, with a dry sense of humor that is not unlike what I live with day in and day out! Of course, photos will come since I can't download photos onto this stupid laptop (Ben will be back with mine tonight - yay!); but, I was able to finish a little swatch with different colors. Once you get the hang of it, the twisting is not so difficult. Being a continental knitter (well, truthfully, only a continental knitter for the knit stitch and a thrower for the purl stitch), I started off having some difficulties holding the yarn. In the end, I think it might be easier to do the twist while holding yarn in your left hand. Joining new yarn was a bit of a challenge and I'm still not quite certain I have the hang of it. With so many projects waiting in the wings, it might be a while before I actually get around to knitting something in intarsia. It was fun to learn and at least it doesn't look entirely foreign to me.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Knit 10 Rows, Frog 20

I feel a little like Sisyphus today.

Ever have those days when that little voice tells you - "Don't knit lace today. Pick up something easy." Today was one of those times when I did not listen to the voice and continued knitting a lace scarf when I know there's no way in hell I'll figure out where I messed up (a missing yarn over perhaps?!)

I made so much progress on the ISE scarf on the way to Chapel Hill yesterday. I was delighted. I felt confident and bragged about how great a knitter I am because I could easily carry on a conversation for 8 hours in the car while knitting a lacey scarf. I believed I had moved to new knitting heights.

Ha! The knitted object has spoken and reminded me that I was being too confident about how easy lace is! (Didn't the Yarn Harlot write something about being overly confident about your knitting in At Knit's End ?).

Tonight was terribly sad. I ripped back all the work that I completed yesterday. Thank dog I put a lifeline in when I got into the car yesterday morning to go to Chapel Hill!

Ack! It's just a little bit of wasted time right? I think I'm learning that I don't work well under pressure. The deadline for this scarf feels like it's looming out there and I feel some strange need to make the scarf perfect since it's being knitted for a knitter. I have to get out of this mindset or I'll never finish!

Alas. Tomorrow is another day!

Off to read Stiff, a really gorey but hilarious book that will most likely help me forget my knitting woes.

Monday, September 18, 2006

knitting furiously!

i'm writing quickly as i haven't posted anything in over a week! i've been knitting furiously for the international scarf exchange. unfortunately, i can't post my progress b/c the hubby has my computer in san francisco. i'm making this cherry leaf scarf in classic elite waterlily 100% fine merino. the yarn is awesome to work with. can't wait to post a pix.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

eyelet scarf

amy posted a comment about the eyelet scarf (the one that's taking me so long!). it's made from ggh soft kid (70% Super Kid, 25% Nylon, 5% Wool) in lt grey 4. the pattern is from the sept - february special issue of rebecca (no. 2). the pattern is not difficult, it's just one that i can't work on while in the company of others ( still have to count every row!) . thus, it's taking me 6 months to make! it also uses up a lot of yarn. it's 150 g and about 352 rows, mkaing it about 200 cm. i love it so far - just need the push to get it done!

Monday, September 04, 2006

labor day knitting

the holiday weekend has flown by. saturday, i drove to the yarn lounge and knitted for a bit with sangeeta, cate, melanie, roz and chesley. cate's blog has a good post of all the food we ate!

sunday, i walked down to the carytown books knitting group. i used to go quite a bit, but haven't been in months due to all the travelling ben and i have been doing. it just so happens that i returned on a day when rick was cooking hotdogs and hamburgers. it was a great party - pasta salad, brownies and knitting. i also caught up with jill, rick, rosie, becky, ann and natalie. rosie has a new a new puppy too - isn't he cute!?

in between gorging myself on brownies, i did finish the socks i have been working on. they are made with Schachenmayr Nomotta crazy cotton that i bought from cate at the yarn swap. they're so soft and although one is a bit shorter than the other (whoops!), i really like them.

other knitting projects this weekend included a hat for my counsin's children, made with classic elite desert - northern lights - that i bought form the yarn lounge at knit night. and, i blocked the baby sweater i finished a few weeks ago - after washing, it is so soft and snuggly!

tomorrow night, i'll head to southside for knitting at b&n. i'm hoping to start on some wrist warmers for myself made from the misty alpaca sangeeta bought for me a few weeks ago.