29 June 2007


Friday night: Left to my own devices I will choose the sappiest movies to watch. Well, perhaps not sappy. But I just watched Never Been Kissed. I quite like Drew Barrymore despite her talking out the side of her mouth. I've always wondered if she had a minor stroke or something. And the male lead (oh, Michael Vartan - guess I should have watched Alias) is cute. But why do I put myself through such things? The little misunderstandings. The romance. The kissing. I've come to realize that life is full of little landmines for those of us who don't have ... standard lives. The mention of any New England town. Happy families. The aforementioned kissing. I know most of us aren't standard. We all have our problems, our losses. But the world is constructed for happy families, whether they are the norm or no. Luckily, we all have our happinesses, I hope, and our gains, too. Some of us are lucky enough to have darling little people in our lives, and dear friends and family.

OK, to redeem myself I've just popped in the new Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightley. I think I prefer the BBC adaptation (come on, Colin Firth as Darcy), but the interiors in this new one remind me of my home, so back to sappy. Why didn't I pop it in sooner?

So, what are your top ten movies?

Mine would be (there are some copouts, I confess):
  • The Philadelphia Story
  • any Jane Austen adaptation - I know, a copout, but what can I do?
  • Casablanca
  • Rear Window
  • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
  • La Belle et la Bete - oh, Jean Cocteau, such delightful flights of fancy
  • the sci-fi fantasy series movies of the age: Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings/Star Wars (at heart I am a geeky girl - hope you're not surprised)
  • So, I Married an Axe Murderer
  • From Russia with Love - my favorite Bond, and there is no one like Sean Connery
  • Xanadu - duh
  • FO: Wisp

    First, the cute pictures...

    Then, the scary one where I ran out of yarn five stitches from the end of my bindoff. Eep!

    Luckily, I had a looong tail on my cast on, so I used some of that. What a nail-biter! I still need buttons and ribbon to properly finish off Wisp, but I am very happy with it in plain stole form.

    See, I told you there would be FOs.

    28 June 2007

    OK, look for the last time (yeah, right)

    Yesyes, that is a bag from The Fold. And we also have a lovely English Ash Nostepinne. Of course, it's difficult to leave without some Blue Moon yarn, though their selection was on the skimpy side for sock yarn, as I'd just missed the Summer Solstice Sale. Now, I'm on the mailing list, so that won't happen again. The Seduction yarn is in the Shale colorway. Very moi, no? I'm thinking arm warmers. Not quite sure why, but that's the current notion.

    And here is Icarus, or at least the start of it. I'm really enjoying the yarn and the color.

    With the nostepinne purchase, I should be set for a while, as I have quite a bit of yarn to wind. Icarus and MS3 should keep me busy, so I won't have new toys to show, just WIPs and, hopefully, FOs.

    With many thanks to the Fug Girls, I have discovered the end-of-days musical: Xanadu!

    26 June 2007


    Keri is saving our collective bacon for MS3 by ordering a cone of Zephyr in Steel for us to share. Thank you, Keri (my enabler)! We both agreed that our original chosen yarns, which were quite similar, were too fine. Zephyr usually clocks in around 30wpi (wraps/inch), and ours were closer to 40. And I think my beads will still work with the new yarn. Unfortunately, I'll be up at the lake for the week, so I'll be a bit behind on the clues, but that will give me time to finish the Icarus I cast on last night with Jennifer's laceweight merino (lovely yarn, BTW). I know, Emily, "Another shawl!?" But this has been on my to-do list for some time, and it's a fairly simple pattern so far. I know the borders will be more complex, which will be fun, too, but sometimes a girl needs something interesting but not too, you know. I also think this is one of the few laceweight shawls that can handle a somewhat variegated yarn, since it has the expanse of stockinette panels. It's beautiful in plain yarn, but you'll be able to judge for yourself shortly. I haven't taken any pictures of my progress yet, as I'm only about fifty rows in, since I just cast on last night.

    In the world just keeps getting weirder files, I received an email from the guy I dated through college and on to Boston. He's in the Chicago area visiting his family for the Fourth, and hearing that shimmer of sound from the cicadas made him think back seventeen years, when we were together. He's teaching at Columbia University, has a young son, and is also in the process of a divorce. Life is so strange. It was a nice email, very him, even after all these years.

    25 June 2007

    Look, again!

    What's that? It's a Nifty Swift, just like the ones I've been stalking online. Only I found it at one of my LYSes. Squee! I used the rest of my Mother's Day gift certificate from Isobel and my parents to buy it. Perfect!

    And here's the potential yarn for MS3 ready to be wound. Even with the swift, laceweight is a night's worth of work when wound by hand (and an empty toilet paper roll - thanks, Island Girl!).

    Here are the beads I found at the only local bead store I could find. It's across the street from "new park" (Isobel's term for any park outside the usual route) on Central Street in Evanston. No website. I thought the smoky glass ones would work best, but they're too small for the crochet hook I bought (size 12, I think). The hematite-style ones could work, though they wouldn't have that dewdrop quality.

    But it doesn't really matter about the beads as I am very displeased with the swatch. I know, I know, the blocking is apalling, but my cast-on edge was a little too firm, and it doesn't matter. You could drive a truck through those YOs! And the stockinette portion is just too open. This is on US3s, and I don't think I'm up for knitting this project on US2s. I'm also very keen on everyone's Zephyr (you know what a sucker I am for silk content in yarn!), so I may have to go that route, but I'm worried that the other 3000+ knitters (yes, you read that correctly, three thousand plus - how cool is that!) have bought up all the Zephyr out there. Someone posted something to that effect on the group over the weekend. Besides, if I go down to a US2, I'm going to be knitting a very fancy scarf rather than a stole. Argh. I do like the dark grey, though, so that's something, as there are only two Zephyr colors that qualify (no way am I doing this with black yarn!).

    20 June 2007


    Chapters of my life yadda yadda yadda. Look what arrived in the mail today!

    Gawd, I love yarny packages. The only thing that would have made it better is if it also contained a Nifty Swift. Or, at the very least, a nostepinne (oh, my, they look a little ... ahem), so I can wind center-pull yarn cakes. Oh, in case you don't know, this is the third installment of the Rockin' Sock Club from Blue Moon Fiber Arts.

    I might even consider making the sock pattern this time, though the yarn would make a lovely shawl for my Grandma. The colorway is called Firebird, and the theme of rebirth/rising from the ashes is quite apropros, no? Well, I think so. Very pretty, cheery, and summery.

    In other delivery news, the papers have been served.

    Oh, and I must share this awesome horoscope from today's Trib (not sure what made me read it): "Virgo. When queried, let people know the intricacies of your craft. If they don't ask, just behave regally, with pride." Um, can do. I do have a post half-written on Craft that I guess I should get back to. Watch this space...

    Starting a New Chapter?

    I'm starting to feel more like a member of the human race.

    Is it due to talking to Emily, Annie, and Ben for absurdly long periods of time yesterday (hi, guys)?

    Is it due to meeting a mom at the park yesterday who moved here with her two-year-old twin boys last year from, yes, Boston? She seemed really nice, and it was great to talk with someone who understands the differences between here and there.

    Perhaps it's the weather, which has finally gotten lovely here for the last couple of days, thanks to a high-pressure system. Think clear, beautiful blue skies and low humidity. Ahhh.

    Perhaps it's randomly reconnecting with an old friend who, gracious me, owns a lighthouse (hi, Ken), thanks to a google-trip to Cape Cod (hi, Susanne).

    It may just be the growing certainty that moving here is the best thing for me and Isobel. But ask me again in January.

    Then again, it may be knitting up Wisp in Laughing Rat's beautiful mohair. Must find some ribbon and buttons!

    It's probably because divorce papers are being served this week (hi, husband). Don't worry. I don't think he reads this.

    Whatever the reason, it's time to start a new chapter in my life, isn't it. I was going to blog about turning a cosmic corner, but I'm a book girl through and through, so chapter it is.

    Now, it's not as if the house has sold or I've found a job or we've agreed on a settlement or anything, but I'm coming to grips with the state of my life. Now, if I could just sleep we'd be all set. Oy.

    And I may even be capable of getting the two boxes of stuff out to my sister in Kabul (hi, Boo). And I will definitely get to the grocery store today - Isobel usually lobbies for Trader Joe's, as they have little carts. Might even wind the Mystery Stole yarn and figure out a bead strategy. Keri, I'll keep you posted - just wish I had a better idea of bead placement in the pattern, but that will be revealed soon enough.

    And, Emily, I'm going to cast on for something not-a-shawl, I promise!

    18 June 2007

    Mystery Stole #3

    I've decided to join the MASSES of cool kids participating in the Mystery Stole 3 Knitalong. Signups are open until 6 July, so what are you waiting for? Don't be scared! Lace isn't hard, though it requires some concentration. If you can do yarnovers and k2togs, you can do lace. If you haven't done any lace knitting before, try something with DK/sport/fingering or worsted weight yarn and big needles. Some folks recommend Branching Out, though the Airy Scarf (or whatever it's called) in Last-Minute Knitted Gifts is easier, I think, and could be adapted to larger yarn/needles.

    So, like I said, what are you waiting for?

    I'm going to use some laceweight merino (Madil Super Due - not much down the google-hole for this one, which is interesting) I picked up on sale a couple of weeks ago. I nabbed a skein of cream and one of charcoal grey.

    Now, which to knit? Melanie, our fearless MS3 leader is doing her stole in white Zephyr with clear beads, so I was leaning towards the cream, though I had intended to knit a shawl of some sorts with it and then try my hand at dip-dying to get a lovely gradation from neck edge to point. But then I thought about how I would get more use out of a grey shawl, though I had bought that with my BFF, who has been my super support through all this crud, in mind, as grey is her thing. I'd really like to use something from the stash, and Melanie says a smooth yarn is better than something with fuzz, so KSH is out. Her white looks so pretty all skeined up with the beads, but I worry about white getting dirty. I suppose I could always dye it later. And I have a skein of Handpainted Yarn's merino laceweight, which is now Malabrigo lace, in black. But there are only 800-some yards, and it's a single-ply, which might cause some anxiety at blocking time.

    I'm going to go with the grey and maybe just gift it to Karen.

    P.S. I can't seem to add pictures right now. Something wonky with Blogger and my "securityToken". Oy. ETA: All better now, apparently.
    P.P.S. The advantage to marrying into a Jewish family, however briefly, is the ability to use "oy" in conversation freely. Before Peter went into rehab this time, I had an entire conversation with my FIL's wife that consisted of "Oy, oy vey." A disconcerting and slightly amusing moment for this shiksa.

    15 June 2007

    Wanna Buy a House?

    My dear house is now MLS #70596343, if you're interested.

    In other news I've started Wisp by Cheryl Niamanth (of Fetching fame for the in-the-know knitterati) with the Laughing Rat mohair. It is going to be sooo pretty, and I've been hankering for something hood-like. I will certainly add the ribbon lacing.

    The Sweet Somethings Little Arrowhead Shawl was packed up and sent to the MIL before I realized I hadn't taken it's picture post-blocking. Shoot. Well, it turned out very nicely, and I may make another one. I did an extra repeat of the body pattern, added a couple more rows to the edging, which did increase the points a little (see Pam Allen's comments in IK - she ran out of time doing the edging and wasn't sure her plan would work out). In the Cherry Tree Hill Supersock, it turned into a decent-sized shawl once blocked. Only other thing to add to this pattern is that Pam's suggested bindoff doesn't work so well. I ended up doing the one from the Flower Basket Shawl.

    I'm planning to do the Faroese-style shawlette from Sweet Somethings with this gorgeous silk-wool, handspun, hand-dyed yarn Mom bought me last weekend.

    13 June 2007

    7 (8) Random Things

    Tanya tagged me with 8 random things. It used to be seven, so let's see what I come up with...

    The Rules:
    1. Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
    2. People who are tagged write a blog post about their own 8 random things and post these rules.
    3. At the end of your blog you need to tag 8 people and post their names.
    4. Don't forget to leave them a comment and tell them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

    So here are my 8 random things:

    1. I'm allergic to eggplant.

    2. I have scoliosis and wore a back brace through high school.

    3. My minor in college was Ancient Greek. I wanted to read The Odyssey in the original. I never did in its entirety, but I learned enough to read some of The Iliad, as we went in chronological order, and The Iliad came first. Told you I was a geek.

    4. I held Isobel all night when she was born. Just couldn't let her go. I wouldn't get a full night's sleep for the next nine months. But she is worth it.

    5. I was on CNN, standing behind Wolf Blitzer, during the 1992 Presidential Debate at Washington University in St. Louis. I wore a bright red miniskirt suit from Benetton that Naomi Campbell modeled on the cover of Seventeen Magazine (or was it Vogue?). I worked for the school paper and somehow wrangled a press pass (I was the copy editor and co-editor of the arts section - not very political). My parents were very excited when I appeared on television, even if I was in the background.

    6. I re-read Jane Austen's novels every year or two. I find new things in them every time I read them. Sometimes I read them in the order they were written, other times in order of personal preference (and that changes every time).

    7. I took ballet/modern dance from the age of three until I left high school. I also did some acting and studied voice. Ooh, yeah, high school triple threat.

    Oh, OK, eight...

    8. My favorite movie is The Philadelphia Story. Yes, I do appreciate the irony of liking a movie wherein the privileged female lead remarries her recovered alcoholic husband at the end. Not gonna happen here. But my favorite movie from my childhood is on Comcast's On Demand right now: Xanadu! A musical with greek muses (see #3), neon halos (auras?), petticoats and leg warmers, roller skating, disco and big band, an animated love song sequence, Gene Kelly, Olivia Newton-John, that guy who never did anything else (Michael Beck, apparently), ELO, and named for a Coleridge poem (I was an English major). Love it! I wonder if my LP is in the basement (the advantage of moving back in with the folks). I believe the VHS tape of the movie is in a box in Gloucester. OMG I forgot about the country music segment of the finale! Just when you think it can't get any better! Best. Movie. Ever.

    I think I've seen this meme on just about every blog I read, so if you happen to be a reader and haven't been tagged, let me know, and I'll make it official.

    E.T.A. Tag, Jenn, you're it! And I'd tag Marissa if she would get herself a knitting blog. Come on, woman!

    12 June 2007

    I'm a cool kid, now!

    Yeah, you thought I was cool for learning Magic Loop (pretty much on my own - check me out). But now I'm on Ravelry! Check it, bay-bee. I'm Purly. Woot, to quote Sandy. This thing is huge. I'm not even sure how extensively cool it is yet, but so far I'm totally wowed. Now I just have to get cracking on my Flickr account.

    Anyway, much in the queue and stash to get into Ravelry. I'm going to be a busy bee.

    In personal news, the house is on the market. I'm really sad about this, but it needs to happen. Wanna buy a house? It's a wonderful house, and we did all the crud work, so the new owner will get to do fun stuff like paint and not worry about burning the house down (wiring was knob and tube, and the roof was badly applied cedar shake).

    Laughing Rat Yarn

    It's my yarn, Mommy!

    Lace Merino in Robin's Egg

    Sock in Pacific

    Mohair in Robin's Egg

    Aren't they beautiful!?! I'm tempted to make these stash pets, but I can't wait to start knitting them up. I think I'm going to use the lace for an Icarus, the mohair for a Sheila Cape, and the sock yarn for, perhaps, socks. I know, what a crazy idea.

    Only problem is I'm not keen on hand-winding 1200yds of laceweight, and my swift and ballwinder are in Gloucester. I'm thinking about getting a Nifty Swift, since I don't love the swift I have (it's one of those metal and plastic ones that clamp to the table). Anyone order from Dream Weaver Yarns?

    Be sure to check out Laughing Rat's Etsy shop. Her yarns are beautiful, and her customer service was great.

    I love the smell of mohair!

    FO: Top-Down Raglan Sweater

    Top-Down Raglan Sweater (my first)
    Yarn: 100purewool Merino Worsted in Sky Blue (can't find this color on their site anymore) - 4.5 skeins
    Needles: Bryspun US8 29"
    New Skills: spit splicing, Magic Loop (I've joined the cool kids now on with this one!)
    Pattern: My own based on EPS

    This sweater made for some good, mindless knitting, as it's all Stockinette in the round. I borrowed some of EZ's percentage method, though not all. I did not decrease the sleeves as much as she would have. Well, I did on the first one, did not like it, ripped and made the sleeves straight from the elbow. This made for a modified bell sleeve, which I like. I keep going back and forth on whether to rip back the body and add some shaping at the sides but am not sure I can face that much reknitting in the summer. The other concern is that it's not long enough in the body. It's not the perfect sweater or anything, but I planned for this to be a throw-on-and-go-out-to-get-the-paper kind.

    My mom doesn't like the pooling, flashing, and striping, since she liked the yarn in the ball so much. I could have alternated skeins every couple of rows, but that seemed like too much work for this sweater. I like the crazy things variegated yarn does, so I don't mind this, but the yarn was pretty wound up. And is it ever soft! What a pleasure to work with this yarn. I know it will pill, but that's OK.

    Oh, it is finished now. The picture was taken when I just had a little more to go on the sleeve. I'll get a "model" shot up some time.

    07 June 2007

    I didn't show this to you, did I?

    Ummm, yeah. That's two pounds of merino/cashmere blend. Bulky weight. From School Products. Marissa, some day we're going to make a date to go there in person! But for now, I'll settle for this. I couldn't resist when this showed up on destash. I'm thinking about a coat of some sorts. My only concern is this would not be a mobile project. I don't think lugging a two pound cone o' yarn to the park would work out so well.

    The issue du jour is gauge, since the yarn is full of spinning oil. I knit up a swatch on US10s and washed it, but the stockinette still seems pretty open. I'm not sure whether to wash the swatch more ... um ... forcefully. Or go down to US9s. I'm usually prety close on gauge (and they recommend US10 or 11*), though, so I think I'll give the swatch a roughing up first.

    And then, of course, I'll have to come up with a plan for what exactly to knit. One idea I had over the weekend was something sort of Jack Sparrow-ish. Yes, I did just watch Pirates of the Carribean over the weekend. I didn't have a whole lot to do except finish the Top-Down Raglan. BTW, that 100purewool yarn bleeds like crazy when washed, but the sweater looks good on the drying rack.

    Anyway, some sort of swashbuckling coat with skirts and some cables in place of the braid closures traditionally found on the chest. I'd be all set for Dress Like a Pirate Day. Hmm, I'm not sure.

    I am getting some other bulky yarn ideas from browsing through Loop-de-Loop. Teva Durham has some great ideas in there.

    *"This one goes to eleven." Hehe. I'm such a geek. Just wait until I do my Eight Things. Thanks, Tanya, I feel I've really joined the knitting blogosphere :)

    05 June 2007


    What would you do the day you got out of rehab? Would you call your daughter? Would you apologize to your soon-but-not-soon-enough to be ex-wife? You might. I'd like to think I would. But not that person.

    I know this is a knitting blog, but I'm at this point where I can knit but I'm having trouble thinking about anything much. I go to sleep and wake up thinking about ... crap. (Sorry, I like to keep the blog clean, so insert the euphemism of your choice.)

    The day I spent paying bills for the house that this man hadn't taken care of, I see on the online bank account that he has just ordered $150 worth of flowers from one of the nicest florists in town (Winston's, for Bostonians). Isobel didn't receive any flowers. Neither did I or his mother. So, that leaves that woman. Or as his mother calls her "his friend". Ugh. Double ugh.

    And the realtor we should go with came in with the lowest estimate. I am so sick of all this. I can't wait for it all to be over.

    In happier knitting news, I'm almost finished with the raglan rollneck sweater. Just a couple of inches to go on the second sleeve. And I'm so bored!!! All I want to do is knit something else. And the problem with top-down sweaters is that you have to do the sleeves attached to the body, which makes things a little awkward.

    So, I started a Little Arrowhead Shawl by Pam Allen from the Summer '06 IK ("Sweet Somethings" towards the bottom of the page) with a skein of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Potluck in the Water "colorway". I'm using US6s, having swatched with US7s and felt it was too open with the sock yarn. The yarn is a treat (my third time knitting a shawl with it), and someday I'll have to make some socks with it!

    I also ordered myself some pity yarn from Laughing Rat's etsy shop: some mohair for something and some merino lace for Icarus in a scrumptious Robin's Egg blue color, and sock yarn in lovely Pacific for something else. Her colors are very pretty, and she offers a number of yarn options and roving. I'll let you know what it's like when I have it in hand, probably tomorrow or Friday.

    So, stash growth continues. As does the book stash! The woman who used to own my house dropped some knitting books off, and my MIL sent them on to me. I'll have to take a picture. The one that I am very keen on is Cheryl Potter's Handpaint Country. I wouldn't have bought it on my own. I think I have some issues with XRX book design. But there are a few designs in there I will knit, and I'm looking forward to learning more about dying.