Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!!!

Happy Halloween, Knitters!

I don't know if you're as excited as I am, but I can't wait until tonight!! As you see above and below, I have all the yummy candy ready to hand out, my witch hat on, and the traditional "Halloween Tree" set up in the living room....a black tree with fiber optics lights in purple, orange and green...glowing ghosts, bats, and pumpkins hanging off of it. It's sooo cool and the boys love it...when you turn it on, it says, "Booooohhooooooo". (yes, I'm also a bit batty...)

Ben is going as Spiderman this year (although he originally wanted to go as Ben10...the costume is hanging around here somewhere...) and I was lucky to spend the morning with him at his very first school Halloween parade. Unlucky for me later, though, because in a rush to get everyone out of the house, I forgot my camera. Dammit. But, even without pictures, I loved watching Ben and his class sing a "spooky" song and walk around the playground, parading their adorable selves. Then, they were treated to a big table of goodies, freeze dance and stories. Oh, to be young again....

I was up late last night finishing up Tim's costume. Close to midnight, I was going over the checklist of everything he wanted to wear for school the next day (apparently, freshman are still "cool" if they wear costumes...thank goodness!). Green broadcloth tunic? Check. Sword? Check. Gloves with Triforce symbol? Check. Leather-like sling and belt to hold sword? Check. Brown leather elfish hat? Check. Yellow Triforce on upper left hand side of green tunic? Damn! (that's why I was up so late)

Can you guess what he is? (Ericka and Chris probably know this...)

He's Link from the Zelda video game. How do you like my handy work?

In honor of this occasion, I also managed to finish TWO knitted projects:

1. Plain Jane Socks....pattern and mini sock class pdf are soon to come to the blog....knitted using size 1 Knit Picks circs and the Magic Loop method...and Regia's Landscape Storm colorway by Kaffe Fassett. I'll be wearing these babies tonight!

2. Rocketry Dream in Color for the soon-to-be-born baby boy of my pedicurist, Melissa. I used Knit Picks circular needles and KP Swish Superwash in 5 different colors - Baby Blue, Capri, Aloe, Deep Ocean and Dark Navy. I think it came out so cute...

I'm also starting to pack for Grand View....we're leaving on Friday evening (eee!) and we'll be back on Sunday evening (awwww, man!). To be honest, I am dying for a little time without the kids. This week has been torture with working and also doing a million things at home. Once this weekend is over, I think things will be calmer and less stressful. (At least until December rolls around! Shhhesh!

I'm making a promise to myself (and to the kids) that I will finish both of their sweaters while I'm at GV. Both are at least half done (or more) and I just have to get the motivation to finish them. It's getting colder and I'd really love to see all three of my guys in their hand knit sweaters....and hats and mittens.

I'll be posting about "The Month of Mittens" probably on Friday before I leave...or, in the semi-probable event that I'm WAY behind in packing, Monday. There will be a button to grab to place on your blog and, if you put the button on, link to me, and comment that you've added it, I'll put your name into a drawing to win some great yarn! Woo-hoo! Let's see how many mittens we can knit before the end of the November : )

Have a spooktacular night!!!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

FO Friday: Ian's Mug Cozy

Though I'm still in the process of trying to finish up 3 other ufo's at the moment, this one was a "Lovely Interruption Knitting Event"...or LIKE. One of those little knitted items that you just can't pass up knitting, even though you have a deadline of many other ufos.

I knitted this for Ian, who is a caffeine addict and who LOVES his coffee in the morning. Me...I'm more the opposite of a caffeine addict. It's like saying, "Hmmm....I haven't had anyone talk to me at 100 words per second before and I'm horribly bored, so I think I'll give Gina some coffee." Yup...exactly like that. Right, Laurin?


Pattern: Garter Mug Cozies by Cathy Carron, Interweave Holiday Gifts 2007, Page 88.
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Superwash, colorway Dublin
Needle size: US 7, magic loop
Time: Half a day, on and off
Happiness Level: 4 out of 5 was super easy, makes a great cozy, and the yarn is very soft. Ian really likes it.

Here is a close up of the side, where the handle is:

Before I head out to pick up the little guy from PreK, I want to share a pic of him (in his new Spiderman costume and haircut) when I told him how many UFOs I had. He was utterly shocked!

Hope I'll see some of you at Yarn and Fiber Co. tonight!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My Day Knitting Orenburg Gossamer Lace

OMG....I cannot tell you how fantastic a day I had yesterday. Ian generously took the day off so that I could take a gossamer lace knitting class in Newburyport, MA ...with none other than the famous Galina Khmeleva, author of Gossamer Webs: The History and Techniques of Orenburg Lace Shawls.

There were about 8 of us in the class (including Cyndi, Julia, and Kelly and Cheryl from my spinning group) and we were so lucky to have the class at Merrill Place, a historic home near the a lovely inn run by Ruth Ann. The class itself took place here in the dining room...complete with a crystal chandelier!

We had the most delicious lunch: freshly squeezed lemonade, Hot and Cold peanut noodles, chicken ceaser salad, another salad, squash with rice & pears, homemade buns made also with squash (I think), fresh veggies and cheese/crackers. There was also cookies and cheesecake for dessert. YUM! Half of us ate outside on the steps (it was such a gorgeous and sunny fall day) and the other half ate in here on the porch with Galina and her husband. (This was also where the luxury yarn shopping was later on....oooooh!)

Meeting Galina was a treat....she is matter-of-fact, very funny (she had us with tears in our eyes at one point) and extremely talented. She was more than happy to sign books, explain the lace knitting as carefully and patiently as possible and gave me a big hug at the end of the class. I would definitely take another class with her....the three day lace knitting sounded like a blast!....what a wonderful teacher she is.

We were blessed with a nice, long, leisurely lunch after a couple hours of introduction to the history and technique of Orenburg lace knitting and then.....there was SHOPPING!!! I'm kicking myself now that I didn't take a picture of all of the handknitted Orenburg lace shawls she was selling. Why, oh, why didn't I????

I took pics of-

The rainbow color circles of Zephyr laceweight displayed on the table (the yarn some of us used for our triangle lace sample):

Julia taking a picture of me:

Cyndi knitting her lace:

and even this cool stone cat on the porch:

But not shawls...oh, what is wrong with me?

Anyway, I able to finish more than half of the triangular Orenburg gossamer lace shawl sample before we left. The purple Zephyr is just so wonderfull silky and soft....oooh! (This is the border with "tooth" edging, the start of the shawls.) The picture at the start shows a square sample I did using KP Alpaca Cloud...both samples are knit using size 0 needles. (I truly wish I'd used a 1 or 2.)

When the yarn TUBS (yes, tubs) were brought in, there was a frenzy of running, grabbing and fondling yarn. Oh, it was wonderful. The selection was something like this: (90% was laceweight)

-100% superwash merino
-100% quiviut
-Quiviut blends
-100% cashmere

I could go on and on....and the colors!....well, if you love lace and lace yarns.....there was something for EVERYONE! The only thing we felt badly about was that we didn't have enough money to buy everything we wanted.

This is what I got:

55% silk and 45% angora's a 2/32 yarn (meaning 2 ply, 32 wraps of yarn per inch)'s finer than any laceweight I've ever used and I hope I can do it. It's one of my goals to knit my own Gossamer Orenburg lace shawl...we'll see. Remind me in about 2 years, okay? LOL!

Before I forget, I want to say that I'm SO behind on my blog reading, so if I haven't commented lately, please know that I will soon. I'm trying to find a day that I'm NOT working so that I can get caught up. I have to say that, even though I love working at the yarn store, I'm having a difficult time keeping up. I feel like I never see my family because I'm working Friday nights, all day Saturday, half of Sunday and Monday nights....then my knitting night is Wed. Ahhhh!

A good thing is the sock class that I'm teaching is getting less difficult and I've only got 2 more classes. Thank goodness.

Another good thing is that the Friday Night Knitting Club that I'm hosting at the store is getting pretty popular. See the write up and picture of me (ugh...I'm not even smiling!) here.

Hope all is well with you, my knitting friends, and let me know how you think my lace is coming along....

Friday, October 19, 2007

Stockings, Apples and Llamas

Jackie guessed it!!!

I am making 4 Christmas/Holiday stockings for my family. I am pretty sure I won't be done with them by the Winter Solstice or Christmas, but I'm starting them hopes that I might. I got the wonderful pattern for these stockings at the Knit and Crochet Show a few months ago.

This pattern, called Judy's Colors Candy Cane Stockings, is only ONE of many beautiful stocking patterns. I'm also thinking about getting the "Mark","St. Nick" and "Mrs. Claus". Scroll down the page to see the adorable "Racecar" stocking! Such clever patterns.

I'm using the 100% wool yarn, Tove for the pattern. (You can buy some of patterns, this yarn and kits at the Yarn and Fiber Co. store I work at!) The yarn is pretty scratchy, but perfect for stocking and what GREAT colors!

Here are my plans:

Ben: light and dark blue for the candy stripes with the lime green for the cuff/ankle/toe
Tim: light and dark red for stripes, pine green for c/a/t
Me: light and dark pink for the stripes, lilac for the c/a/t
Ian: light and dark green for the stripes, bark brown for the c/a/t

(all our favorite colors!)

Jackie has been gifted the 5 skeins of Merino Style in Cornflower and the second prize winner for the most creative guess goes to.....


Cayli guessed the "Color on Color" scarf from the Scarf Style book which, strangely enough, I thought on the same day I bought the yarn that it would be perfect for that scarf. (I actually tried knitting that scarf once, but the construction was so complicated that I just quit. It's very unique, though) Cayli, make sure ot pick out what yarn you want!! (I'll email you...)

Thanks to everyone who guessed! All of your guesses were so original and fitting for each of the projects you the Log Cabin Blanket (which I love) and the adult Tulips sweater or the Composed Mittens from IK. I also liked Glyn's idea of the knitted Babette and Sonya's idea of the Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket.

I also wanted to share my current spinning project: spinning laceweight llama down.

I bought 8 oz of llama down at the NH Sheep and Wool festival in May from the interesting Lars of West Mountain Farm and it is Soooooo soft. It's almost as soft as cashmere or merino. I've been spinning it off and on for a week, whenever I get a chance, and it's almost spinning itself. I was hoping to spin enough to make a laceweight shawl...which I think I might come close...but I don't think it's thin enough for a 2 ply laceweight. Either I use it as a single or ply which case it will be more like fingering. Anyone have any other ideas?

Last Sunday, the guys and I went to Mack's Apples in Londonderry to pick favorite place. It was such a beautiful day...and extremely busy!

Here are the guys posing in the apple orchard...this is the pic I got after 5 tries.... crazy pics of them all making funny faces.

Ben loves eating apples! (although I spent half my time taking pics and the other half of the time eating all the skin off the apples for Ben...he kept saying..."Mommy, eat the skin off FASTER!")

And, finally, everyone running ahead of me (trying to hold apples and the camera) back to the car. It was so much fun. And the apples....delicious!!!!

Tonight is work again...and the Friday Night Knitting Club....remember to come and visit us if you're free! (5-9:30 pm, Windham, NH) Have a great weekend!!! : )

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Can you guess?


To guess what project I am going to knit using these skeins of yarn.


1. Make sure to leave a comment with your name and email if you don't have a link to your blog.
2. One guess per customer.
3. One prize given for the correct answer. One prize given for the most creative answer.
4. Deadline: Wed, Oct. 17th at midnight.
5. Prizes and correct answer will be blogged on Thursday.


A choice of- 5 skeins of Knit Picks Merino Style (color Cornflower); 3 skeins (4 oz each) of Christopher Sheep Farm wool in Purple Clematis (a purplish burgandy), 100% wool; 1 skein of Louet Euroflax Linen (either sandalwood or terra cottacolor); OR 1 skein of Opal Dreamcatcher sock yarn in a blue #1235 colorway.

Good luck!!!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

My Trip to the Ba-ha-mers

"You're back from the Ba-ha-mers, Mommy?", said Ben when we got home late Monday night. "I cried about you!"

Oh, it was truly, truly fantastic to see my baby boy (and my big boy) again. I didn't realize how much I'd miss them. It was hard to stop hugging. Really hard.

After 12 hours of traveling from the Bahamas Airport to Logan Airport, Ian (who was still sick) and I were exhausted and hungry.

My mom and dad were very thoughtful and had warm food ready for us....and a clean house. It was overwhelming having everyone talk to us at once, but it still made me happy to see everyone well...and in one piece. My mom looked really tired (poor mom!) after the 4 days and I could totally understand why.

(Oh, I forgot to say that Mom and Dad helped the kids to draw pictures for us, that were hanging on the walls, and two sets of balloons to welcome us home. It was great!)

Now, I'm SURE you're wondering...."Well, how was the trip?????"

And my answer comes in two parts:

1. Good
2. Bad

It was GOOD because:

-The scenery was gorgeous, the air was warm and sweet, and the temps were hot, but not a bad hot.

The Sunset

-The hotel was beautiful...and the room was equally nice....we'd hoped for an ocean view, but the view we had wasn't too bad. Everything was amazingly clean and all the staff was very friendly.

Hotel Lobby and Our Room:

Back of Hotel and View from Room:

-The food...oh, the food....the choices were limited (3 choices for lunch and only a couple more for dinner)...but DELICIOUS!!! I can't tell you how much I enjoyed the breakfast buffet, the fresh fruit (with grapes the size of kiwis!) and the Pina Coladas...well, I've never in my life had a better one...and I'm sure I never will. They used fresh pineapples, pineapple juice and coconut milk. Need I say more?

Ian at lunch...looking cute like Ben:

-Most of the company was very enjoyable....I had a great time talking with Ian's co-workers: Jerome, Justin and Phil. We laughed and joked and...they drank. They seemed to have no trouble with my favorite topic of conversation (ah-hem) and, although I shocked Phil's wife with my interests, we continued to joke around about it all weekend. I even played a few games of pool with them and actually got a few balls in...though Ian and I lost pretty much all the games. Oh, was fun.

Justin, Phil and Ian being "sexy"....then Ian and Jerome Lounging:

-The pools couldn't have been better...and after being used to 70 degrees in our pool on a good day....the bathwater temps of the pools there were HEAVEN. I didn't end up going in the ocean, though. There were off and on mini-storms the whole 4 days we were there and the water was pretty choppy. Ian missed out on some good snorkeling....but him and his friends decided to try the snorkels in the pool instead. Weird.

Our Favorite Pool and Ian Jumping in Waterfall

It was BAD because:

-Ian and I were both trying to get over being sick. After the first day, I was all better...though I did have to take my migraine meds twice..ick. Ian stayed sick the whole 4 days and is still trying to get over whatever we had. Poor guy.

-Because of the rough weather, we weren't able to go on the Waverunners....and missed a trip I really wanted to take. It was a tour of the island which included getting to see and visit one of the boats that they filmed Pirates of the Carribean on. I saw pictures, though. Man, we were bummed. I talked to one of the native women there who worked at the "scooter/waverunner/etc. shop" and she told me how nice Johnny Depp was and how friendly the movie crew was. She said that they paid them big money to film there and they even gave out props from the movie as gifts to the locals. I wish I remember her other stories.

-Ian and I had a huge fight on the next to last night. We both said things we shouldn't have...I ran off and cried....he stalked off to drink and smoke. It was terrible.

-There wasn't much shopping to be done. There seemed to be mainly two kinds of shops there. Fancy-Schmancy or Ully-Dully. The FS shops had (with no exaggeration) some of the finest jewelry I've ever seen-way more fancy (and expensive) than any mall jewelry store. Gorgeous emeralds, diamonds, etc. I could drool, but that's all. There were also Perfumes of Paris shops, clothing stores that you'd find on the best streets in NY or California. (FYI...I didn't even try to go into those.) The UD shops had more of "tourist-y" type things like post cards, tshirts, shot glasses, hats, etc. I did manage to find some little huts across the way where local women made shell jewelry and pretty I was able to get a few nice pieces...but nothing that really stood out as awesome.

-The plane ride back was slightly hellish. First, the bus that was supposed to take us from the hotel to the airport (which was only slightly bigger than my house) went to the airport without us. Hmmm....that was interesting. Second, the plane ride from the Bahamas to Miami was a bit bumpy (we had a tiny, tiny plane). Third, the plane ride from Miami to Boston was delayed an hour and then we hovered over Rhode Island for another 45 minutes. ugh. Lastly, when we FINALLY got to Boston, they herded all of us into one place to pick up our bags....where we waited at least a half an hour...and then said, "Oh, uh, actually you should be picking up your bags somewhere else." Everyone was soo angry. We got home at 9:30 pm after leaving the hotel at 9:30 am. Not good.

Ian, Justin, Jerome, Me and Ann Waiting in Miami


All in all, I was glad I went. But missing the kids and all the other stuff really got in the way of the overall good feelings of the trip. I think I had a better time when we went to Punta Cana 5 years ago. I'm happy to be home.

As for knitting...well, I got 1/4 of the first Poseidon sock done....and 3/4 of the plain sock using the new Regia Kaffe Fasset sock yarn. Here's the latter as I was laying on the lounge chairs near the pool. (I found it was a bit difficult to knit in such hot weather...and while swimming. Next year....waterproof knitting!)

Here are some random pics to savor...

1. An unflattering pic of me in a funky yellow helmet when we "tried" to go on a scooter ride:

2. My fav pic of Ian against the stormy skies:

3. View of the clouds from the airplane window:

So glad I'm back and huge thanks to everyone who commented last time and wished me well...and sent healing energy my way. You did good! : )

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Packing and Sneezing

Well, it's official. Ian and I are sick. I thought, in the beginning of the week, that it was just allergies. Then, Tuesday night, Ian comes home early from work (a SURE sign that something is up....he never leaves early if he can help it) looking like death. Almost immediately (within a few hours), I know that I am sick, too. I found out that Ian's co-worker (who is also going on this trip) came back from Amsterdam last week and was very sick. And...then got the rest of the office sick. After infecting everyone, he is totally fine and has already left this morning for the Bahamas. Leaving everyone else sneezing and feeling like shit.

Our get-well-quick plan has been this:

-Lots of sleep
-Lots of vitamin C and zinc
-And, most importantly, 70 boxes of Puffs Plus tissues

I think we should be on the mend by tomorrow night (hopefully) so that we can enjoy at least part of the trip. But, I am really dreading the in-flight congestion. Ugh. Please send us healing energy!!! (thank you!!)

I have lots of pics to show you and I'm barely standing up, so I'll be very brief, if you don't mind. You can fill in the blanks with many attractive and energetic adjectives, okay?

My Finished Sahara

Love the color yarn, love the yarn itself, not too crazy about the huge armholes and wobbly hem, but wore it last night to knitting and everyone else loved it. I'm happy.

My Finished PeaPod Sweater

This adorable cardigan is for Julie's granddaughter-to-be, Clover. I used KP Merino Style in Cornflower. Loved the details, loved the finished look, but one of the charts is so messed up and I had to be REALLY careful reading over the instructions. It was a bit more challenging than a normal baby sweater.

My Finished Dishcloth

Used Sugar N Creme cotton (1 skein) and the Chinese Waves pattern to make this adorable dishcloth. It's on my kitchen sink right now. Both sides are cute.

My Finished Buddy Bag for Ben

I finished this a while ago, but never posted it..well, except on Ravelry....I used 5 or 6 different colors of Lion Brand Cotton Ease to knit this fantastic toddler toy bag. I love it and I think I'm going to make one for myself for my makeup and stuff. It was fun and cute and the instructions are just wonderful. A+ pattern. You can see it HERE.

My New Sereknity Yarn

Here are the newest skeins of Sereknity yarn that I bought from Heather. They are gorgeous and I can't wait to knit them up!!

Rock Lobster

All Hallows Eve

Pumpkin Patch

Pharoah's Gold

Before I go lie down one more time (my parents will be here soon), I want to send many hugs, happy wishes and love to Chris and Ericka, who are my two wonderful friends from the ManchVegas Knitters....they are getting married this weekend!!! I am sooo sad that I'm going to miss their wedding (knitting is encouraged during the ceremony and reception!) and I will be thinking of them while I'm away. I love you guys!!!!

Also, to Jackie: You are going to be an ultra lovely maid of honor this weekend and I know your speech will be perfect. Don't be nervous and I'll be rooting for you. Make sure to get pics of you in your gown and beautiful hand knit shawl!!!

Have a great week to everyone else and I'll have lots to share when I come back on Monday night/Tues. Bye!!!