Sunday, October 29, 2006

Do You Believe in Psychics?

Normally?...well, normally I'd probably say no, but look at this:

Now, you all know that I did a counted cross stitch for DB and DSIL as part of their shower gift... But, what precious few of you know...ok, maybe 3 people tops, is that I struggled hard with the French Knots on that piece! I ended up at the Monday night meeting getting assistance in trying to learn them for once and for all! I've never been great at French Knots...but here's my chance - Entire landscapes done entirely in French Knots.

(And yes, this was another package from SP :))

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Who's your Enabler?

This question came to me a few days ago...but before I get into that...

I was at Barnes & Noble this evening for a knitting group, and went upstairs to the knitting books. Glanced through them, looking for a couple of things - a neat little book on felting...still looking for this one - and anything I could find on Dyeing. Checked the whole section, couldn't find anything on dyeing. So, went up to the clerk at the desk and said "Do you have a section on dyeing?"

The clerk sorta stared at me as if he wasn't really sure how to respond, so I quickly added "As in 'changing the colors of things'..." There was a definite relieved look on his face! :)

Bad news is he took me back to the exact same place I had been (it wasn't far), I explained I'd already looked there, we went back to the computer - I spelled dyeing for him so he wasn't looking for dying ;) Anyhow, looked it up, nothing in stock, back to the books, another scan, and nothing. Oh well, it was a nice idea. I do have my lovely SP book from Tundra, and I'm definitely excited about that. I also have my handout information from the Natural Dyes class I took at the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival as well.

My friend and I were plotting in email today how we'd like to pick a day and get together and do some dyeing in her driveway. She's dyed reeds for basketry before, but not much with wool or fiber I don't think. We'll have to focus in on a short range of colors we're interested in, since I think 3 dye pots sounds like our max at this point. Will definitely have to do some research and see what we can drum up. Has this wacky idea to see if she can find a big pan full of black walnuts to soak and ferment for a few weeks...yummy browns!

Ok, so back to my original question...Who's YOUR enabler? We each have at least one...some of us have more than one I think. Definitely today I would have to put Tundra in the enabler category with that great book of dyeing recipes. Among other things it's got me thinking seriously about actually DOING some natural dyeing at home.

Janette is DEFINITELY my enabler. Ok, well, Janette is an enabler for many people, but strongly for me as well. I have only to say "I want to make a... but I'm not sure what pattern I want to use." Within minutes I find myself with an email with links to photos, blogs, and patterns. She's doing the research and FINDING all of these fabulous patterns, so all I have to do is knit them!

So, I too have been accused of being an enabler, though I'm not sure I'm as powerful at it as Janette. I think perhaps my greatest strength in that department is in believing that anything is possible, and for just about anyone. So, if someone says "I was thinking about trying ...", I'm right there saying "Go for it, that's not that hard!"

I do have to remember sometimes that we're all at different levels...but then maybe I've always been an overachiever. Since we finally got our first day of "winter" today - it was in the 60's during the day!, I wore my cabled tunic sweater. This was the third knitting project I ever did, right behind the patterned tank top I made myself with relief designs in K's and P's, and the 3 color not quite fair isle Lopi ski sweater I made for my mom! Ok, so I didn't start small. The good news is, 16 years later, that sweater still looks gorgeous! I'll admit, the seaming techniques, well...we just won't discuss the seaming techniques...but for a knitter of 4 months, it was a pretty great effort.

Monday, October 23, 2006

My FIRST Secret Pal Package!!!

Woo Hoo, it's here!!! This is my very first Secret Pal Package and oooohhhh, what a good one!!

So, left a knitting meeting this evening - my mom called about 5 minutes down the road, so we had the half hour drive home to chat. She's persuing a new career possibility and took a civil service test while I was up there in September. She got a message Friday afternoon that she got 100% on her test!! As if that wasn't good enough news, she called the woman back today, and she has an interview on Wednesday! She was reading me the details of the position, benefits, etc, and we can't really see any's a great opportunity, and a perfect time to take it. So, we'll see how the interview goes on Wednesday.

Anyhow, we were just about finished with the guts of this conversation by the time I reached my find a very stuffed looking package in it!! I said "Oooh, it's a package from my Secret Pal!" Well, then I had to explain what a secret pal was, of course :) Told her a bit about the exchange, about my downstream and what I'd sent to her, as well as her reaction (glowing is a mild word for it!). So anyhow, finally made it in to the house, sat down, carefully slit off the card from the top and opened the package...then the FUN began! (Did I mention that I LOVE my new Bluetooth - handsfree and WIRELESS!!)

So, first thing I slit the top, and out popped this LUSCIOUS roving...ah, but not just ANY luscious roving... 8 1/2 oz of ALPACA luscious roving! YUM! Beneath the roving, the rest of the package was wrapped in tissue paper - with blue and green starbursts on it! ;) Further digging found all sorts of nifty toys! 4 Notecards - each with a photo of a knitted item on the cover and a PATTERN for said knitted item inside! You know, while this would be great as a card for someone, I'm just not sure I want to share!

Yarn - 4 balls of Bernat cotton - and yes, you might have noticed, those are my colors! Also a lilac scented candle and incense, as well as a nifty little set of bath gels.

Also lots of TEA! My SP heard my desire to try White Tea and got me a whole box of it! Also, a tin of bulk Formosa Oolong tea, and the special treat - a little sack of Maple Tea!! I'm sipping a cup of it right now! Yummy! What a great Canadian Treat.

Some of the little trinkets in the package included paperclips with flowers on the ends, embroidered tags proclaiming the work to be Hand Knit and Made with TLC, and a small package of tissue paper with baby hand and foot prints on it - for all the stuff I'm making for Ava Rose of course!

Oh, and as for treats, she got me a couple of chocolate truffles - with no carbs! Well, they're really not chocolates - they're actually better - they have lip gloss in them! Chocolate, Vanilla, and Mocha! A pretty amazing gift, since I don't think I mentioned to my SP that I am a total Blistex/Lip Balm junky!

There is also a lovely little sachet - with hand-beaded stitch markers and two lovely buttons!!

Oh, and the coup de grace... a book... Vegetable Dyeing - 151 Color Recipes for Dyeing Yarns and Fabrics with Natural Materials!! AWESOME! And it just so happened the lovely Alpaca in my package was natural white...just perfect for experimenting with Natural Dyes :) Even better, what my SP didn't know, is that on Saturday, I went to a community yard sale, and picked up a two pot ceramic glazed canning pot set!! For $5! So, now I not only have the fiber (as if I didn't have any before - *cackle*), I have the pot, AND I have the cookbook!! Watch out world!

The best part, as I mentioned, is that I got to share it all with DM as I was exploring the package. It was definitely a treat, and even better to get to share it! Off to peruse my book in further detail now...and enjoy the COLD weather! Yep, you heard me...temps supposed to go down to the *40's* tonight!! Will it happen? Hard to say. But, I shut off the A/C and opened the'll be COOL in here in the morning, that's for sure!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Baby Shower Pics!!

Please don't faint. I know, two posts in one day...who would have believed it possible?? Well, as it happens there's a variety of fun things on TV and video, so I'm watching and writing...

As you all know, I put a lot of time into preparing things for my DSIL's baby shower. I arrived in New York (Rochester) two weeks before the shower for a nice visit with family - mom & DH, dad & DW, brother and DSIL... It worked out really well actually, since it gave us time to prepare last minute details, make a few decisions about what we wanted to do, etc. The shower was held at the Lodge at Woodcliff, where both DB and DSIL work (kitchen and front desk respectively). We decided on Rose and Green as the colors - decorating was very classy - cream table clothes and alternating rose and green napkins! In addition, we picked up balloon bouquets for each of the three tables from Wegmans (Never heard of them? Check it out - this was my "hometown grocery chain" growing up - now it's #2 on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For and #1 on Consumer Report's Best Grocery Store Chains list! Ok, enough bragging, but suffice it to say I LOVE WEGGIES!)

Anyhow, balloon bouquets from Wegmans. Cake from a private baker that often does cakes for the University of Rochester where DM works. We had 29 people come to the shower, including my brother, father, and an uncle! Look at all the pressies!!

Visited a little, introducing the new mom to all the people in the room. She did have three friends from work and a friend (Diana) who drove down from Michigan for the party! The food was great! Lasagna, salad, garlic bread, fruit punch, iced tea, fruit bowl... We ate WELL that day!

They got great gifts...pretty much all of the major things that they needed, as well as a few things they didn't. They also did GREAT on hand-made items! Aunt Liz commissioned a friend who quilts to make a baby quilt. Sheena's theme for the baby's room is "Pink Poodles in Paris - Ooh La La!!" What do you think?

In addition, she received three crocheted afghans - one from her friend Diana's mother, one from an old family friend, and one from Aunt Liz, as well as a baby bunting, overalls, sweater and cap.

And then there was all of my stuff :) Bibs, burp clothes, hats, booties, afghan, scarf, and wall hanging.

We did decide as a team (DM, DstepM, and I) that we really weren't interested in playing any "Shower games"...bleah... We did however want to do some kind of door prizes. We settled on a random selection - taped diapers under 6 of the chairs...find a diaper, win a prize! What were the prizes you ask? Well, I should have really taken pictures, but sadly I forgot to. Anyhow, I made two dishclothes with the Mason Dixon "brick" pattern in opposing colors. Also planned to make a linen hand towel... until I finally hunted down the linen yarn - and realized it was $18 a skein!! So, bought one of those for me, and bought a much cheaper cotton yarn to make a hand towel - also M/D.

The other three gifts were courtesy of my dad who is an AMAZING baker! So, he made a loaf of white bread, a loaf of chocolate zucchini bread, and a half dozen homemade cinnamon buns!! So, all door prizes were handmade by one of the two of us. We also "made sure" that Diana got one, since she traveled the farthest to attend (aside from me anyhow) - she got the white was 1/3 gone by dinner that night :)

In addition, Liz and Mary (the Aunts) were kind enough to fashion this lovely bow hat for her! It was pretty funny, since neither Sheena nor Paul had ever seen a similar ritual - so she kept glancing over saying "I really want to know what you're doing over there..." To which we all replied that she'd find out soon enough...

Finally, my dad packed everything into Sheena's Ford Escape, we drove it home, unpacked it, and chatted for a while before everyone else made it back. Later that night, when my brother made it home from work, they started sifting through the piles, sorting, organizing, was quite fun, though admittedly I fell asleep while they were doing it. The next day I headed home, but I understand that once Diana left, they spent an entire day moving everything out of the "office" and transforming it into the nursery. Can't wait to see it when I go home in January (Ava Rose is due January 5th).

It's Looking Up!

Hooray!! My Knitpicks yarn finally arrived!! YESTERDAY! I have to say, I'm still not pleased with the time it took...16 days from order to delivery!! If this is normal service from them, I'm not entirely sure the hassle is worth the savings. I haven't taken a picture, but it IS gorgeous yarn.

I finally found a box for my SP downstream's package today...came home, wrapped like crazy, taped up the package, grabbed my wallet, ran out of the house, dodged traffic to get across the street (in the car), parked, ran into the post office, grabbed a label, wrote it while she ran the package and set up my postage, paid, slapped the label on the box, stepped back, and watched them close the gate. Yep, it was that close. But, it's on it's way! Can't wait till it's received...some nifty fun stuff in there :)

Follow that up by coming home to check MY mailbox, which I hadn't had time for previously, and found a postcard from MY Secret Pal!! Thanks Tundra, it's great!

On further examination (and with a little help from my friends), I see that this lovely "Pioneer Postcard" was manufactured in Canada...and mailed from the greater Toronto area ;) I thought the lilac soap card was a great idea, since clearly sending lilacs would not be possible this time of year...well, probably not any time of year actually, but especially not now.

In other news, I finished the third Guidepost sweater - the blue one! I'm onto number 4 now. This one is green and green/yellow/blue/white variegated. It's going very quickly...started it on Sunday and I'm almost done with the body now! It helps that it's the smallest size :)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Ever So Slowly Retaking My Life

Friends from Georgia have come and gone. I was going to try to put up at least one of my overdue posts this evening, but, well, not happening. Six adults and four little ones. My energy is just sapped.

Did get to work on Guidepost sweater #3. Have used up a number of different balls of various shades of blue yarns. Am up to halfway on one side of the chest/sleeves. Looking forward to a quiet, simple, knitting meeting tomorrow night to just veg.

Still waiting on the yarn from KnitPicks. Checked their website today and it says ETA on the 11th! Jeepers, how the heck do they ship that stuff, by turtle? UPS usually only takes 4 days or so via ground, USPS isn't too bad either... This was shipped on 10/2 with an estimated delivery of 10/11! Oh, and since I can't tell how they shipped it, I also don't know how to expect to receive it...whether I'm looking in my mailbox, trying to be home to receive a knock on the door, or needing to be home by 6pm to get it from the office before they close...

And yes Tundra, I finally figured out approximately what size vest I'm looks like I'll need around 2800 6/0 beads! Wow! Haven't had a chance to look for them yet, but thinking an irridescent green would look great with the maroon yarn. Maybe something that shows up a variety of different shades and colors, but also reflects and changes a bit with the yarn it's up against.

In other news, those who are following my love life (and know that it's currently non-existent) will be intrigued to know that carrying around a 9mo old for a week has me thinking more and more about the possibilities of motherhood...perhaps even if it means single-motherhood! I know, I know, very difficult, very strong statement, but, well, it's out there...

I really will do the Fiber Fest review and Baby Shower recap soon, it's just that I can't manage it tonight, sorry...