Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Back among the living... Temporarily

Sorry for the extended absence. It's been a long crazy week. I was in tech all last week, which is never pleasant. To make things even more fun, I apparently forgot how to sleep. I was averaging about 2 hours a night for 2 weeks. I was so exhausted, I just felt stupid all the time. I am happily medicated now, and while I still am not able to sleep continuously through the night, I am managing to get more hours of sleep a night. Someday I will remember how to sleep 6-8 straight hours in a row. Hell, I'd be happy with 5 in a row!

So, I'd like to thank everyone (belatedly) for all the kind comments about my shawl. I was happy with how it turned out, but I wished it was bigger. (says the girl who doesn't swatch) Sadly, it did not place at the state fair.
Here it is... with no ribbon! (and of course, not displayed in any sort of flattering way, AND it's wrong side out!) I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. I was kinda hoping for a third place, or even an honorable mention, but no such luck. However, all was not lost! I did get three other ribbons.
elephant mentioned honorably
The crocheted elephant got an honorable mention.

The dinosaur got a second place ribbon.

Sheep under plastic
And, the sheep puppet won a second place ribbon as well. I was disappointed about the sheep puppet. I really wanted a blue ribbon for him. I had to enter him in the Miscellaneous Knitted Item category. The pastel afghan next to him is what won the blue in that category. Grrrrr....
Ah well, there is always next year!

In any event, I had a great time at the fair.
Swings at the fair

I got to go to the pig races, which are pretty damn funny.

My friend's Dad runs the Birthing Center at the fair. Basically, they artificially inseminate a bunch of cows and pigs so that they are all ready to give birth during the week of the fair. My friend's Dad stays at the fair all week long, delivering baby pigs and cows. And it's all open to the public, so you can actually sit and watch the animals give birth. Last year, I got to see a calf being born. I was fascinated. It was slimy and bloody and gross, and completely amazing. This year, I just missed a litter of pigs being born. They were SO CUTE!

baby piggies!!!
I wasn't able to get a good picture of the brand new babies, but I did get this picture of a litter that had been born earlier in the day. And since I knew the guy in charge, I got to hold one!
baby pig!!
He(she??) was so sweet! I didn't want to give him back. SOOO cute!!! Dr. H said people always come in and say "Oh! They're so cute!! I want one!" And he just calmly points at the mother pig and says "Do you have room in your house for one of those?" It's easy to forget how huge-mungous they grow when you are looking at a tiny little piglet!

I also found this guy
a face only a mother could love
So ugly he was adorable. You can't really see in this picture, but he had these great tusks. Wouldn't he make a great house pet?? :)

So, I guess now that fair season is over, I need to start contemplating... what next. I need to finish up LL's birthday socks. I'm just turning the heel on the second one, so I expect to finish it soon. I showed them to her for the first time today, so I will post pictures of them soon. Then I want to finish up my purple koigu jaywalkers that are languishing at the bottom of my knitting bag. I have a pomotomoose sock that still needs a mate (a completed mate anyways!), as well as an elfine sock that is sadly single. I'm kinda itching to knit some more lace. I've also been thinking about making my first sweater.

Mama E and I are hightailing it to NYC this Saturday for a whirlwind tour. We have big plans to go to School Products and the Point. So, who knows what goodies I might find there. For some reason, I have been obsessing lately about Handmaiden's Sea Silk. I've never actually seen it in person, but in pictures, it looks gorgeous! I may need to hunt some of that down for some lace knitting. Anyone have any suggestions for other "must go to" yarn sources in NYC?

Next week, I will be back in tech hell. I think there is an evil plot to kill the tech staff by opening shows at both theatres within two weeks of each other.

Monday, August 21, 2006


swallowtail blocking

center shawl

corner of the shawl

Friday, August 18, 2006

Found on the web

I was surfing around the blogs the other day and stumbled on these
fish mittens

Aren't these awesome??? I can't wait to make them. The pattern is available for sale at Laurie's blog Issues with Knitting. She also just finished some gorgeous cabled mittens too.

I was also happy to find a Swallowtail Shawl KAL. I found this just in time. I was getting ready to have a knitting breakdown about this shawl. There is an evil, evil stitch in the chart. An evil stitch called P5Tog. FIVE. TOGETHER. Even with my fancy new Knitpicks Options needles, I could NOT deal with this stupid stitch. I couldn't seem to get the needles through all five stitches. And there are tons of them in this pattern. Well, while looking at the KAL page, I read that someone else was having the exact same problem. And ingeniously, she changed it to slip three, purl 2 tog, and then pass the slipped three over the p2tog. Perfect! Now I am back in business and sailing along.

I had some help taking a progress picture.

She just laid down and made herself comfortable... on top of my knitting.

Even without the Poodle's help, I wasn't having the best luck getting a good picture, so this will have to do.


I've got about 20 rows left to knit. I really want to get this finished by Monday so I can enter it in the State Fair And I don't have much knitting time between now and then. Hopefully, after I get through the last few rows of the charts from hell - with the P5tog's taunting me at every turn, it will go faster. I really can't wait to see what this looks like blocked out. I love my yarn, but the color changes kind of obliterate the stitch patterns.

I had a great afternoon yesterday hanging out with Erin, the Cowboy, Jolene and her girls. We sat on Jolene's deck in the sun while the kids played in the yard. Sadly, bad blogger, I forgot my camera. Erin brought her wheel, lots of fiber, and some spindles and taught us how to spin. Amie had taught me once before, but I still have issues with it. Even with Erin, I was having trouble. Erin gave Jolene and I some of her gorgeous hand dyed fiber to play with.Mama E's Fiber
Go check out her shop! She has many beautiful yarns and fiber that she had dyed herself. Love them!

So, last night, in one of my insomniac moments, I stayed up till 3:00 a.m. making thisspinning

It may not be perfect, it may not be pretty, but I spun it!

I have a very busy weekend planned. Saturday, Lolly and I are going to the Innovative Beads Expo. Then I am going to have lunch with my best friend from college who I have not seen in about 15 years. I am SO EXCITED! Tom moved to California soon after college, and I haven't seen him in way too long. After lunch I have plans to hang out with S. for the evening. I have no idea what we are doing yet. I think it will probably involve mini-golf and dinner.

I have two shows on Sunday and then I will be headed to Baltimore next week to open our next show there. Tech week hell. Just what I love.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


I don't know if you can see it, but there is a MISTAKE in my shawl. Right in the center of the picture. There is a yarn over or something missing. I'm not sure what the heck I did wrong. Now, I've ripped back many a stitch on this sucker, but there is no way in hell I'm ripping back to fix that. Despite the fact that it is driving me crazy. It didn't affect my stitch count, so it's staying. And everytime I look at this shawl, my eye will go directly to that spot. Grrrrr....

The happy news is that I just finished the 14 repeats of the "budding lace 2" chart. Finally. It was an incredibly simple chart, very easy to memorize and I was getting really bored with it. So I get to move onto a *NEW* chart tomorrow!

I have a week to finish this in time for the State Fair. Now that I've finished those 14 repeats, I feel a little more confident that I might accomplish this task.

Jolene was kind enough to pick up my HoCo fair entries for me. So I was able to take a better picture of the toys with their ribbons since they were finally released from their plastic tombs.

Ribbon winners

The elephant is propped up on a ball of yarn for photo purposes. (Classic Elite Provence, to be exact!) The pink papers hanging off the backs of the toys are their "score cards." The elephant's score card said that one of the legs is loose - completely true, but since I decided to enter it at the last minute, I didn't really check to see if it needed any attention. It also said "nice ears" um...ok.

The chicken report card said that it had loose threads (again, true - I really need to work on my finishing skills) and "cute toy."

I also received my BIG winnings check.
my big winnings

Hmmm... I think I'll invest it in some gasoline.

On Saturday, I went to Samantha's lemonade stand. It was a huge success! Pictures are here. The weather was absolutely perfect and everyone seemed to have a great time!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Llama Llama Duck

llama llama duck

I figure since the Llama Song is currently eating my brain(again), I would share the love with you all!

I saw these fine feathered (and furry) friends at the Howard County Fair today. I was supposed to go yesterday with the ever fabulous Mama E, but sadly the weather was not cooperating. So I went today, dragging my very patient friend J. with me. He was very cool about me wanting to visit ALL the animals and see ALL the Home Arts entries.

Here's a little collage of sights from the fair.
Day at the Fair
If you would like to see each photo individually, you can go here for a slide show.

I'm a little bummed because I wasn't able to get any pictures of the pig races - which are just about the funniest thing ever. Really people, you haven't lived till you have witnessed the pig races. There were just too many people in front of me to get any decent pictures.

The last photo at the bottom right corner is Jolene's 1st prize shawl.
Jolene's prize winning shawl
Sadly, it is not displayed in all its glory. It seems that not a great deal of effort is made to display any of the entries in any flattering way. They are all kind of heaped on shelves with sheets of plastic over them for protection. Here's my sad little chicken. chicken under plastic

It looks a little like road kill the way they have it laying on the table. J. and I tried to at least flip the ribbon over so it was a little more visible, but it was impossible through the plastic wrap.

My elephant looked a little better in its saran wrap cocoon.elephant

I don't have any knitting photos to share. I'm in deadline knitting mode. I'm working on a birthday gift (Yes LL, it's for YOU!) which I am hoping to actually finish on time. And since it's a gift and since I KNOW LL lurks on my blog, there can be no pictures yet. I'm also really hoping to finish my Swallowtail shawl in time to enter the Maryland State Fair on the 21st.

Have a great weekend everyone! I will be knitting!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Lots To Tell

There has been so much to write about that I've been feeling a little overwhelmed about blogging. And the longer I waited to blog, the more I had to blog about! So, I figured I better get on it or I would be even more overwhelmed.

I am back from my second jaunt to the beach.

This was my own little beach sanctuary. No stress allowed under the red umbrella! Only reading, knitting and eating unhealthy, but extremely yummy beach food. (The white bag behind the chair is the remnants of the cheese steak sub that I have to have every time I go to Bethany. SO good!)

I didn't get to spend nearly enough time under the red umbrella. But what little time I got was heaven.

On Sunday, I woke up to the unhappy site of rain falling. So in an effort to get out of the house, I decided to drive to Ocean City, MD. I hadn't been there in years. Now, I mean no disrespect to anyone, but I am not a fan of O.C. It's got a boardwalk with lots of teeshirt shops, arcades, and rides. Very loud, very busy. And I always feel sticky there. The boardwalk is sticky, it's humid and sticky, there are sticky foods everywhere, I don't want to touch sticky things, sticky, sticky, sticky... That being said, when it looks like a rainy afternoon at the beach, I can handle going to O.C. just to look at everything. And there is plenty to see...
OC art gallery
Noah's Ark in the sand
Yes, that is Noah's Ark - made out of sand. I don't know if it's true, but I hear that this guy does one of these huge elaborate religious themed sand sculptures every night. Demolishes the one he made the previous night, and starts all over again. They are quite impressive. I don't think I've been to O.C. in close to 10 years - and I remember him from 10 years ago. He's still doing it....
the Zipper
This crazy thing is The Zipper. I couldn't believe this ride was still there. About 15 years ago, my eldest brother BEGGED me to go on this with him. I said "No freaking way." Well, he wouldn't let up. Endless begging and pleading. So finally I caved and agreed to go on it. See those little cage things - they spin. See that big yellow center piece? That spins too. Oh, and the cage things also go around that yellow thing as everything is spinning. Way too much spinning. My brother has been dead for 11 years. I loved him with all my heart and miss him terribly. But to this very day - I still have not forgiven him for the day he made me get on this ride! This picture is just for him.

While in O.C. I decided to go looking for yarn. I had already hit the yarn stores in DE, so I figured I may as well find some at the MD beach too. I found one sad "yarn" store on the boardwalk. It was primarily a needlepoint store. Their yarn supply consisted of fun fur, Lionbrand Homespun and some Lopi. That was it. Needless to say, I didn't purchase anything.

Here are some knitting related things that I did manage to accomplish at the beach.

no longer faceless!
Mr. Stegs got a face!

Swallow shawl in progress
I put a few more rows onto the Swallowtail shawl. (Which was hastily pinned out just for picture taking purposes.) The colors are not photographing well. It's a little more vibrant, with more obvious purples in real life. If I manage to get this finished in time, I may enter this in the State Fair.

I also started a new project that is a gift and so I can't take pictures of it yet. But, I will!

I took a few Project Spectrum pictures for August - the neutral month.

beach neutrals

Speaking of Project Spectrum, I had a nice surprise when I got home. I won a contest over at The CraftyModster. She sent me such an amazing package!
awesome package from the Crafty Modster
If you click on the picture, it will take you to Flicker where I have labeled what everything is.
The highlight of this awesome gift is the Project Spectrum August CD. She made a CD with all these different songs that have neutral colors in the title. I LOVE IT! Thank you thank you thank you Crafty Modster!

I am also completely remiss in thanking my July PS postcard swap pal for the wonderful and unexpected package she sent me. Sadly, I don't have pictures, but the very generous Sherri sent me lots of fun purple stuff - purple yarn, a purple soap dish, a purple toothbrush case (which has magically turned into a purple DPN case!) a purple staple puller, and a beautiful purple postcard. So many thanks to Sherri!

The mailman also brought me another fun package today.
Knit Picks Options needles

I have jumped on the Knit Picks Options bandwagon. They are sharp, they are smooth, they are flexible and I'm happy with my purchase. I got 40" cables and US4 tips. I also got some US size 0 DPNS. I transferred the Swallowtail shawl onto them this evening and am quite happy with the nice pointy tips.

Oh... Big News!

I won two ribbons at the county fair. The chicken got second place and the elephant got third place. I actually remembered to take a picture of the elephant before I took it to the fair!

Also, many congratulations to Jolene who won THREE ribbons including a blue first place ribbon for her beautiful shawl.

Speaking of Jolene....

Please, please, please take a moment to go visit Amie's blog. Also take a look at Samantha's page. I know we knit bloggers are a caring loving bunch. If you can help, please do. Also, if you are in the Columbia area, please consider dropping by Samantha's lemonade stand this Saturday.

There's more to tell, but it's time for bed.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Beware the scary faceless Stegosaurus!!!

Mr. Stegs

jurassic knitting

Even The Poodle bows down to the faceless Stegosaurus!

poodle attack

Pattern: Mr Stegs (link opens a pdf file) from xtreme knitting
Yarn: Cascade 220 color 9467
Needles: US size 6

Very quick, very fun knit. I haven't put a face on it yet because I'm very bad at embroidery on knitting. I'm never happy with how it turns out. Also, I need to go buy some black embroidery floss. I'm contemplating taking this to the beach with me and seeing if my dad would be willing to try putting the face on it for me. He's a crazy cross stitcher, so he can handle a needle and floss better than I can.

By the way... If anyone knows of a knitting pattern for a T-Rex can you let me know? My friend is bugging me for a knitted T-Rex.

I am pleased with how well the finishing turned out. I usually have issues with sewing all the pieces together, but this came out pretty well. I lined it with some purple fabric because the stuffing was showing without lining. I didn't sew the lining in, I just cut fabric in the basic shape I needed and held it in place while I sewed the seams and stuffed. I am contemplating making a second one and felting it - just to see how it turns out... I know it will be a more mini-Stegosaurus, but that might not be bad!

I'm actually a little torn about this dinosaur - tomorrow is the day to take in my entries for the county fair. Do I take the dinosaur or stick with the chicken? I'm still leaning towards the chicken.

It doesn't look like the state fair has a limit on how many stuffed toys you can enter, so I may just wait and bring him to the state fair instead. If there really is no limit, I will enter the chicken, the dinosaur and the sheep. Oh... and my crocheted elephant. (I really should take a picture of that since I keep talking about it!)

I am headed back to the beach this weekend, so I probably won't be blogging for a few days. I hope you all have a great weekend. I hear rumor that the heat is supposed to break a bit!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Hi Honey, I'm home!

Yes, I am still alive. Sorry I have been slacker blogger lately. I actually wrote a big long post last week, but I never finished it. So it has been deleted and I'm starting all over!

I just got home from a brief jaunt to the beach.
surf's up

My family has been going to Bethany Beach, DE for over 20 years. I love it there, though it has gotten ridiculously crowded. My parents rent a house on the Salt Pond, which is bay side. It's about 5 minutes from the beach, but the Salt Pond is pretty in it's own right.

This is the view from my bedroom.
view from my room

For some strange reason, I got to be in the master bedroom. It had a balcony overlooking the pond, and this:
aahh the jacuzzi bathtub!

Why yes thank you! I will take the bedroom with the great view and the gigantic jacuzzi bathtub that overlooks the pond!

Staying with my family for any length of time is stressful, but I did manage to have some relaxing time to myself. There was shopping:
Sea NeedlesKnitty Gritty

I love Sea Needles. My family has been going there for years - primarily because they have a huge needlepoint/cross stitch selection. It's a cute little store with a nice variety. However, their sock yarn selection was not terribly impressive. Also, I went there with the intent of buying yarn to make Mariah from Knitty, but I couldn't find anything I really liked. Actually, I found some Cascade 220 in a really pretty charcoal color, but they only had 4 skeins of it. I did buy a skein of Austermann Step sock yarn, but I won't show post a picture because it is probably going to become a gift....

Knitty Gritty in Rehoboth was a nice shop too. I had never been there before. They have a lot of Cascade yarn, but sadly, not the pretty charcoal I am now going to obsess about. Their sock yarn selection was pitiful. I don't know if they just needed to restock, or what, but I was not impressed. But the shop itself was nice.

I also went to the Spinning Wheel in Fenwick (which does not seem to have a website.) There was an incredibly sweet woman working there with whom I chatted with for a very long time. I bought a pair of needles there, mainly because she was so nice. They have lots of Patons yarn there. Not much else.

When not touring the local yarn shops, there was much seaside knitting going on. In some lucky twist of fate, my new IK showed up in the mail the day before I left. (Hooray for Lolly, whose Project Spectrum got a nice write up!!! Hooray for Eunny for her two way cool lace articles!!!) I took the magazine with me to the beach, and had the foresight to pack up some yarn. So I cast on for the Swallowtail Shawl using some laceweight that I dyed at the class I took at MD Sheep and Wool.
sandy shawl
swallowtail shawlswallowtail shawl on the beachknittin' on the beach

Yes, I took a lot of pictures of it! I'm really excited to see how this turns out. The colors in the yarn are very vibrant, but I think it will be ok with the lace pattern. We shall see! This will hopefully be a Christmas gift. (look at me... thinking ahead!)

I also worked on the never ending Jaywalkers. I sooo want to be done with these silly socks!
Jaywalking in Bethany

I don't know why I'm not done with these yet. They are taking FOREVER! I'm tired of working on them. I'm bored of working on them!

I am actually headed back to the beach again this weekend. So hopefully there will much more beach knitting.

Last week when no one was looking, I knit up Mr. Stegs. (opens a .pdf file!) There are pieces of Mr. Stegs on my desk right now waiting to be sutured together. I started to assemble all the pieces, but the stuffing is showing through the knitting in a most unflattering way, so I think I'm going to have to line him. That may be a project for tomorrow and I will post pictures soon.

I have to get my entries together for the Howard County Fair. They have to be submitted at the end of the week. I'm taking the chicken, and maybe my Flower Basket Shawl. I love my FBS, but I'm worried that it's a little small. I am also contemplating taking a crocheted elephant that I made a while ago. But I think I can only enter one stuffed toy.

Well, I'm off to work now, so I shall leave you all with a few more beach shots!

wish I was here!nosy gullHottie lifeguard on the beach
(umm... Yes I did take a picture of the hottie life guard!)