Tuesday, December 21, 2010

10 on Tuesday: ten last-minute gift ideas

1) Baked goods
2) Kits for baked goods (one of my student's mothers used to give me a jar of homemade pancake mix every year... loved it.)
3) A book. (We actually have duplicate copies of our favorite books just so we can give them spontaneously to our loved ones.)
4) A CD. (Almost out of fashion these days, but still appreciated by my older relatives.)
5) A knitting kit: download a fresh copy of the pattern, print it out, find suitable yarn in my stash, and add a pair of needles if the recipient isn't a already a die-hard knitter.
6) Dried fruit. I ordered a huge batch of it from Meduri when they had free shipping just after Thanksgiving, and have been handing out the tins to everyone I didn't think about enough in advance, like my children's gym teacher.
7) Stashed knit goods. I have a spare pair of adult mittens, two pairs of children's mittens, and a couple of scarves. Knit without an obvious recipient in mind, they wait on the bottom of my bookshelf until I have need of them.
8) A DVD.
9) Charitable donation in a friend's name.
10) If all else fails, a gift certificate.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

10 on Tuesday: Ten things on your to-do list

1) See the doctor about a new asthma inhaler.
2) Finish knitting my cousin's fingerless, elbow-length mitts and mail them to Georgia.
3) Finish my mom's Xmas socks.
4) Buy a gift for my sons' violin teacher.
5) Buy a gift for my son's classmate who is having a party on Saturday.
6) Do the laundry.
7) Finish my mother-in-law's scarf.
8) Find the swift and ball-winder, which vanished when we rearranged the guest room.
9) Clean the dining room.
10) Get more sleep!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ten on Tuesday: 10 movies I'd like to see at the theater

Ooooh... is this a wishlist for the movies I wish had been made?

1) Old Man's War by John Scalzi
2) The Moon Goddess and the Son by Donald Kingsbury
3) Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart
4) Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
5) The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
6) Sunshine by Robin McKinley (heck - anything at all by Robin McKinley!)
7) Alphabet of Thorn by Patrica McKillip
8) All of the "Eve Dallas" books by J D Robb
9) Sundiver by David Brin
10) Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde (although I don't how they'd make a movie where each of main characters can only see one color.)

Unfortuately, a quick glance at Carole's site showed that she meant for us to talk about the actual movies available in the theater... so here we go...

1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
2) Skyline
3) Unknown
4) Megamind (which my family has already seen, so I'm probably alone for this one.)
5) Season of the Witch
6) Faster
7) Voyage of the Dawn Treader
8) The Tourist
9) TRON: Legacy
10) True Grit

Of course, if I actually have time to see even half of these, it will be a great December!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ten on Tuesday: 10 ways to simplify your life

Uh-oh... this list is going to be a lot of "do what I say, not what I actually manage to do..."

1) Keep only one credit card.
2) Pay all your bills on time.
3) Cook your meals ahead of time (I do most of my cooking on Sunday and Monday evenings.)
4) Pack your bag at night.
5) Always put your keys in the same place.
6) Charge up your phone and computer every night, too.
7) Do the dishes before you go to bed.
8) Clean out the fridge a couple times a week, and label all the left-overs clearly.
9) Do the laundry every day, instead of twice a week. (I know this doesn't work for most people but it really helps me out!)
10) Get enough sleep that you can think straight!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

When's the weekend getting here?

Answer: for me, sadly not until after 5pm... I have to be at work until then.

Friday, October 22, 2010


I haven't had much time to read this fall, but I did pre-order seven books by my favorite authors that were due out before Winter Solstice, so that they would magically arrive in my mailbox without any further effort on my part.

This did not, precisely, work out as planned.

Barnes and Noble is still working out their protocols for pre-orders, so I kept having to go in and say, "Yes, I know that this book won't ship for another two weeks, but I still want it...." I eventually complained and the problem went away almost immediately. (Hooray for the Help Desk at BN - apparently they actually do stuff, unlike the nitwits at Amazon. I have never gotten an intelligent response from Amazon.)

Yesterday, All Clear by Connie Willis and Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold arrived! Since I still haven't read Blackout, I didn't start with the Willis (although she's one of my favorite writers.) Instead, I carefully did enough work that I could justify taking the evening off, and then settled in.

It's pretty good. It isn't AWESOME like A Civil Campaign or Memory, but it's definitely worth reading. I suspect that I'll like it much better once I read it again, slower.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bella's mittens, but fingerless

Actual knitting content!

My cousin admired the grey and dark blue sets of Bella's Mittens that she saw me making over the summer. She requested cranberry red, elbow length, and fingerless ("hobo style" my aunt calls them.)

I am now almost to the bind-off point of the first mitten, but am stalled by a serious conundrum: should I go back to ribbing for the last 1/2 inch? I'm currently waiting for her input on whether the top should be tight, loose, or tight-but-stretchy.

Flash-distorted color here: it really is quite close to cranberry. (I get a huge kick out of looking like a wooden porcupine attacked my hand...)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ten on Tuesday: 10 things in my freezer RIGHT NOW

Alas, I now am sure about why I signed up for Ten on Tuesday: it forces me to blog at least once a week.

1) frozen yoghurt, in "vanilla" and "pomegranate" flavors
2) all-natural grape popsicles
3) peas
4) puff pastry
5) chopped spinach
6) edamame, both in and out of the pod
7) veggie burgers, about 5 different brands and styles
8) two shrink-wrapped pieces of salmon in chili sauce
9) samosas
10) coconut milk (which was once in a can, but doesn't keep well after opening, so I put it into 1/4 cup containers and froze it.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Ways to have fun on long car rides

1) Food and drink. Something that's neat to eat, not too horribly unhealthy, and easy to share. Grapes and bite-sized pretzels are ideal.
2) If somebody else is driving, a good book.
3) Or knitting.
4) Or crocheting. (My husband does most of the driving.)
5) Books on tape if it's just grown-ups in the car.
6) Read aloud from a "Miss Manners" book - it always makes us laugh, and sometimes triggers a good discussion.
7) XM radio - often it's the only way to follow the Red Sox when we're traveling.
8) Bring some math problems to work on with my husband.
9) Drive at night. You will see the countryside from a different perspective.
10) Have a DVD player for the kids. Seriously, it's the only way to stay sane with small children on a long trip.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ten on Tuesday: 10 reasons to love Autumn

Given that I am currently at home, with a fever and something flu-ish, I am not loving Autumn. But if I stretch my imagination...

1) Watching the leaves turn. I spent my early childhood in upstate NY and those colors still captivate me, every year.
2) Substantial soups are back in fashion.
3) Making fresh bread is suddenly a GOOD idea, because it warms up the kitchen (as opposed to summer, when everyone whines at you for heating up the kitchen.)
4) For that matter, baking anything is praise-worthy.
5) Cooler nights means snuggling up under the comforter and blankets. (I sleep MUCH better when I'm slightly cold.)
6) I sleep better. (See above.)
7) My summer's knitting begins to be appreciated. Wool socks, anyone? Fingerless mitts?
8) It's apple season. Apple pie, apple gallette, apple turnovers, cider, cider doughnuts, hot cider with spices, apple bread, apple muffins...
9) and it's pumpkin season. Pumpkin soup, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bundt cake...
10) Winter is just around the corner.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Recent Reading

Eon: DragonEye Reborn by Alison Goodman: whoever wrote the cover copy should be fired, because I actually put this book BACK on the shelves after reading the insipid description of the plot. I mean... really? 16 year old girl disguised as a boy so she can ride dragons... haven't we been here before? And yet, after reading several rapturous reviews, I finally borrowed my cousin's copy and couldn't put it down for a whole day. It's vivid, brutal, fascinating, and almost nothing like your typical fantasy novel. I'm eagerly anticipating the sequel! (due out in April.)

The Bird of the River by Kage Baker: set in the same universe as The Anvil of the World but requiring no background knowledge to enjoy, this book is surely one of Baker's best. There's no world saving here, just the shaping and improving of a few lives on a slow-moving river boat. The writing is wonderful and the romance is both subtle and heartfelt.

Shadow Pavilion by Liz Williams: I think this is the fourth of the "Inspector Chen" series. I had forgotten most of the plot of the previous book, which made it a bit harder to dive into this one, but overall it was a terrific story. The entire series just seems to get stronger as it gets longer.

Next up? I've got a couple novels by Ruth Rendell waiting to be read, and the library is ordering me another five mysteries by Ellis Peters over Interlibrary Loan.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ten on Tuesday: 10 things in your refrigerator right now

Another easy one!

1) Heavy cream (I have this fantasy that we're going to make ice cream from scratch some evening, and I want to be prepared. I also have Nutella in the pantry for the same reason.)

2) 1% organic milk, for the males in the family.

3) Low calorie soy milk, for me.

4) All the cooked ingredients for a roasted vegetable soup that I haven't actually assembled yet.

5) Left-over cheese pizza. (My younger son likes it for breakfast.)

6) Steamed carrots. (One of the few vegetables my sons will voluntarily eat.)

7) Eggs, both raw and hard-boiled. (The latter is another great "oh-shoot-the-bus-coming-in-six-minutes-eat-something" food)

8) Apples, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, a lemon, part of a honeydew melon, and a grapefruit. (We may dodge the vegetables on occasion, but we all adore our fruit.)

9) Mozzarella, 3 kinds of cheddar, Mahon, Wensleydale, a goat gouda from the local farmer's market, feta, parmesan, and some very old Humboldt Fog. I think we also have some Camembert in there, but I couldn't find it just now.

10) Chilled water in the flask for making seltzer.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ten on Tuesday: 10 ways to have a happy birthday

Well, my birthday was only a few weeks ago, and it was lovely... so I think I have this topic under control!

1) Set reasonable expectations. Not everyone will remember. Some packages may be late. Be grateful for the gifts and cards you do get, and don't dwell on the missing ones.

2) Plan ahead, but don't get fixated on those plans. (We have baby-sitter issues some years.)

3) Sushi makes everything happier, at least for me. (And there's a decent sushi restaurant 2 blocks away from us, so it's very easy to make me happy...)

4) Don't eat so much that you'll be dieting for the next month. Think about how you'll "spend" your calories for the day.

5) Having said that, do indulge to a moderate amount.

6) If "alone time" is an important part of your day, absolutely demand it today.

7) Update your Amazon and Loopy Ewe wishlists at least two weeks before your birthday.

8) As much as your family will let you, sleep late.

9) This is a great day to cast on for a new project.

10) This is also the day that I start seriously thinking about Winter Solstice Knitting...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hugs-n-kisses in sage green

Here's a much better picture of the mitten, now with completed thumb!

Yarn: Berkshire Bulky in a color I think of as sage green, but I believe is actually called "mistletoe"
Needles: size 8 DPNs, wooden
Pattern: Bella's Mittens, modified to be 2 stitches wider, started at Row 16 (instead of Row 1, obviously), and with a hugs-n-kisses cable instead of the horseshoe cable specified in the pattern.

Verdict: I continue to love the yarn and the pattern. I've been gradually tweaking the pattern as I knit these (one modification per pair, thus far.) This is the fourth variant I've done. My next scheduled modifications are to make it fingerless (that should be a no-brainer as long as I plan the cables correctly) and to downsize it for a 6-year-old's birthday present. I was hoping to just knit the same pattern in Berkshire (non-bulky), but the recipient wants the super-squishy-thickness of Berkshire Bulky so I will try to intelligently downsize the pattern.

I've already cast on for the 2nd of the sage green mittens. Then I have to cycle back and knit the second of the light blue ones.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

What I did on Saturday night...

I got almost all the way through a hugs-n-kisses version of Bella's Mittens! (Sorry about the terrible photo... I only had my computer to use as a camera.)

I'll post all the details when I actually finish it...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ten on Tuesday: 10 reasons to watch football

Wow, this is a tough one for me. I don't think I've watched an entire game on TV in the last 15 years.

1) It's good knitting time.
2) It's good for bonding with my officemates (9 men, 1 other woman.)
3) It allows for casual conversation at the salad bar once baseball season is over. (Did I mention that I work with a lot of guys?)
4) It's a great excuse to eat guacamole and chips...
5) ... or salsa and chips....
6) ... or hot cheese dip and chips....
7) ... or veggies with spinach-cranberry dip (don't knock it 'til you try it!)
8) I still have a vague fondness for the Colts. I went to a home game a year or two after they moved to Indianapolis. I think my high school's marching band was featured in the half-time show. This would be the only live pro-football game I have ever attended.
9) I should teach my children about this important American tradition.
10) It's only on once a week, instead of every day (like baseball) so it takes up less of my life.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bella's Mittens in light blue, shorter cuff

Modifications: began pattern on row #16 to make the arm shorter. Added 2 stitches (one rib repeat) to make everything slightly wider.

Details: size 8 DPNs. Berkshire Bulky in Colonial Blue, rather under 1 skein.

I'm suffering from Second Mitten Syndrome, in that I wanted to try out my next set of modifications Right! Now! and so plunged into the light green, hugs-n-kisses mitten instead of dutifully finishing up this pair. No worries - these are intended as Christmas presents, so I'm a good three months early with them.

The alert reader may notice that I haven't finished ANY of the items on my to-do list from June. This is largely because of the move: I have NO idea where Matt's mittens are, or the yarn for Shams, Pix, or Tommy.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Books of the summer, part 3

I left a couple books out of my previous recounting, and read a few more in the meantime:

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, translated by Alison Anderson. I'm conflicted about this book. I know that should have loved it, but reading it at the beach totally spoiled the effect for me. I'm saving it to reread when I'm in a more serious frame of mind.

All the Windwracked Stars by Elizabeth Bear. The first third had me totally lost, and the next two thirds had me entranced. I can't wait for the sequel to come out in February! The book is very loosely based on some Norse mythology, but it all takes place after Ragnarok, which hasn't quite gone according to predictions. One Valkyrie, one steed, and one "tarnished one" survived. So did a huge cache of weapons. The humans are slowly losing ground against numerous environmental and magical woes. Loved it!!!

Black is the Color of my True-Love's Heart by Ellis Peters. Another superb mystery in the "George Felse" series.

The Case is Closed by Patricia Wentworth. I'm pretty sure I've read it before, but I recalled none of the plot, so I'm going to count it as new again. This is one of Wentworth's lesser books, but still entertaining to read. Miss Silver remains my favorite detective from that era of writing!

Song for the Basilisk by Patricia McKillip. I know I read it when it first came out but almost nothing in the plot had stuck with me, so I read it again yesterday. It's not the best of her books, but contains some lovely hints at plot twists that you have to be super-alert to catch. (I wasn't super-alert. The ending was a TOTAL surprise to me.) A bard who has spent 35 years at his school begins to recall his traumatic childhood, and returns to the enchanted, doomed city where he was born.

Overall, I'm a huge fan of McKillip's recent work. Basilisk was published in 1999 and is solidly in her "heraldic tales" period. Her more recent work has shown much more creativity and energy.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ten on Tuesday: 10 things to do before the summer ends

Alas, my students return today: summer is officially over for me. However, we've got some hot weather rolling in, so I guess I can play along with this idea that "summer" still goes until September 21st.

1) Get in the water one more time (lake, pond, stream, pool, or ocean...)

2) Even out my tan. (Too many T-shirts and athletic socks in the middle of the summer, when we were moving. Now I've got a blurry farmer's tan. At least the two weeks at the beach got my feet to catch up with my legs, so to speak.)

3) Take full advantage of the farmer's market. (Actually, I already did that on Saturday, but I have to remember to head back every weekend until they close at Hallow'een.)

4) Mail birthday presents to my aunts. (Almost all of them were born in mid to late September.)

5) Mail thank-you notes. (My birthday was yesterday.)

6) Make fresh-tomato sauce. (I know the tomatoes are past their peak, but I only need a small batch to make me happy.)

7) Eat my fill of cherries and peaches.

8) Drink a cold beer on the porch while watching the sun sets while NOT wearing a sweater. (Running out of time for this one.)

9) Make a batch of popsicles.

10) Get ice cream at Scoop du Jour.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Books of the summer, part 2

I didn't make it to 100 books this summer, but I still have 10 days to go before my job really starts. Well, I'd have to read nonstop to make it to 100, and I don't think that can happen (still a lot of unpacking to do.) Here's a brief wrap-up of all the books I can remember reading...

Midnight Crystal by Jayne Castle. I generally love this series of books, set on the alien world of Harmony, but this seemed like a particularly weak entry in the series. Oh well: I still want a pet dust bunny!

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Steward, illustrated by Carson Ellis. Sadly, I wasn't a huge fan. I thought the first 1/3 of the book was great, but it trailed off rapidly after that. I skimmed the last 120 pages just to see how it ended. If I'm seized with a sudden urge to read the next one, I'll get it from the library.

Catalyst by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Anne Scarborough. Yeah gods and little fishes... it's tragic to see two such talented storytellers churning out sentimental crap like this. It's readable. They can both spin a tale. Yet the overall impression was that I had just thrown away two valuable hours of reading on complete drivel. I will not be reading the sequels.

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber. I got this because it had such a great write-up on The Whatever, but the book was only so-so IMHP. It's amusing to watch the author work in all the traditional gothic elements, but I didn't find the plot all that compelling. I probably won't buy the sequels.

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall. What a lovely, lovely book! It's a simple tale of childhood, but so beautifully told that it just begs to be pushed on all of my friends and family. I've already got the sequel from the library.

After the Funeral by Agatha Christie. While vacationing with my husband's extended family, I came across a pile of old mystery paperbacks. I'm not a huge Christie fan, but this was a nice example of her story-telling skills. I was rather disappointed to spot the solution well ahead of M. Poirot.

Fallen into the Pit by Ellis Peters. I used to be a huge fan of Ellis Peters's Cadfael books, but I had never realized that she had written extensively about England in the 1950s. This is the first book in the series, and just delightful! I don't think I predicted any of the twists and turns in the plot. I immediately set out to find more of them.

Flight of a Witch by Ellis Peters. Another fabulous mystery in the same series. I only spotted the villain about 10 pages before the detective did.

The Knocker on Death's Door by Ellis Peters. Same series as above. A bit weaker on the mystery, but such a lovely piece of story-telling that I didn't mind a bit.

Half-Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls. This was required for my job, but I managed to get through it quickly and enjoy it. I plan to look for the other book in the series when it's back at the library.

My Antonia by Willa Cather. This was my other shot at reading "good literature" this summer, and a thoroughly enjoyable one, too. The book is on the recommended reading list for my students; I try to read one or two off that list every summer, to keep up. Having exhausted the easy ones (ie, the ones I've read before) I had to branch out a little this time. I liked it enough that I checked another one of her novels out of the library this week.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Terrific, gripping story. I immediately ran out and got (and read) the sequels: see below.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. Even better than the first book.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. Not as fun as the first two, and much sadder, but a very fitting end to the trilogy.

Don't Look Back by Karin Fossum. A good story, but the answer to the mystery was telegraphed far in advance of the actual solution. If I can get more of her books from the library, I will.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

10 ways to lighten your mood

Hooray! A topic I can actually speak about with some confidence. (That Bacon Topic just left me cold, since I'm the only member of the family who actually eats it.)

1) Get a hug from a loved one.

2) Snuggle with your dog.

3) Or take your dog for a long stroll, if the weather is nice.

4) Read your children a fun book and make the silly voices and noises and faces while you do so.

5) Call an old friend.

6) Claim the most comfortable chair and knit a few rows on something easy.

7) Cook something delicious but not too fussy.

8) Grab a "beach read" and head to the seated bike at the gym.

9) Blast loud silly music and sing along. Dance if you feel like it. (Violent Femmes and Carrie Underwood are my favorites!)

10) Read a sad book that's guaranteed to make you cry. ("The Wake" by Neil Gaiman always serves this purpose for me.) Afterward, wash your face and eat a bar of chocolate. Strangely enough, this usually makes me feel better.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I don't need a new craft

but this lovely how-to on Basket Weaving has utterly seduced me...

OK, maybe next summer!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

FO: Mittens for Alyssa

I made these in the winter of 2009 but forgot to get a good picture before bestowing them on their delighted recipient. Yesterday she finally remembered to snap a picture and send it to me!

At the time, the colors horrified me. (This picture is rather muting the neon-brilliance of the green.) I couldn't believe that the mittens would work out, and consequently dragged my feet about finishing them. Even Alyssa's frequent and sincere expressions of delight over color and pattern couldn't convince me. I handed them over with a shudder of relief.

She wore them all last winter, and every time I saw them out of the corner of my eye I would think, "Wow! What a stunning pair of mittens!" Then, a moment or two later, I would remember... they're MY design. I let Alyssa pick the colors - and she was right about their effect - but I'm the one who put them together. I should be at least a little proud of them.

So here they are: my unloved, painful mittens. Suddenly I'm so proud of them.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I liked them so much

that I immediately started a second pair of Bella's Mittens. This time I cast on 45 stitches instead of 43, and let those extra two stitches go up the entire hand. It made the use of yarn a very tight thing, but I still had a few yards left after finishing the thumb. This time it fits me MUCH better in the upper arm and wrist, which is exactly what I wanted to achieve. But I don't want blue mittens. So my current plan is to put both pairs away as possible Winter Solstice gifts and eventually make myself a grey or black pair that really fits me. Two of my cousins have also put in orders... Erin wants cranberry red and fingerless, and Kristen has not yet chosen a color.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mittens in August

I've been at a family reunion. Shortly leaving for another one. Knitted the first of several pairs of Bella's Mittens while in New Hampshire.

Still working on the second of the pair. Details to follow.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ten on Tuesday: 10 things to bring on vacation

Wow... sorry, very tired and rushed here. We move in 6 days!

OK, on to the topic at hand: ten things I would bring on vacation with me.

1) My family. (or was that a given?)
2) My knitting. (or was that a given, too?) Something lightweight and easy to knit because I may not be able to check the pattern very easily. Right now I lean toward one-color mittens, simple socks, or a very simple scarf.
3) My camera.
4) My wallet.
5) My wonderful black coat that is almost a rain coat and nicer than a windbreaker and can keep me warm in cold auditoriums.
6) A couple of good paperbacks that I would enjoy reading on the train or beach but wouldn't mind leaving behind if my suitcase got too full.
7) A reading light. I don't sleep well on public transportation and I like to have something to distract me.
8) My phone, which has a GPS unit and can also access the Web. (Since I'm knitting Citron right now, this has proven crucial to my success. No need to print out the pattern when you can just look up the original on Knitty!)
9) If I can, I bring along my favorite pillow. This really helps me get a better night's sleep!
10) A list of addresses of everyone who might like to receive a postcard. If I'm traveling within the USA, I also bring the postcard stamps with me so I don't waste vacation time finding a post office.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ten on Tuesday: 10 things to do instead of watching TV

Well, given that I limit myself to about 10 hours a week of TV (except when I'm sick or injured), I have lots of things for this list!

1) Knit
2) Read a book
3) Cook
4) Bake
5) Clean the house
6) Grade some homework
7) Prep for the next days' classes
8) Sort the mail
9) Play with my children
10) Practice violin and piano

Oh, wait! You probably meant things I do TO RELAX instead of watching TV. OK, I can handle this:

1) Knit something more complex than stockinette, because I could have been doing that in front of the TV.
2) Read a book
3) Crochet, because I can't do it without looking.
4) Cook
5) Bake
6) Play piano
7) Go for a walk
8) Play with my children
9) Dream about next summer's garden
10) Take a hot bath (although I suddenly had an image of a tiny TV mounted over my bathtub... that would be SWEET!)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Moth! (the good kind)

All credit goes to DH for taking this lovely photo of the moth. It wasn't anywhere near my yarn so I didn't panic. (Just realized this photo is actually from LAST summer, but the creature is still beautiful and it's been far too long since I posted any pictures on this blog.)

Anyone know what kind of moth this actually is?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ten on Tuesday: 10 things to take camping

Umm... excuse me? I don't go camping! (At least I haven't in the past 8 years, and I'm perfectly happy with that.)

When I was in graduate school, I went camping perhaps six times. It was fun, but I never fell in love with it. After getting married and having a baby, I had the perfect excuse to quit, and I did.

However, I will exercise my imagination and say

1) tent
2) bug-spray
3) thermo-rest
4) sleeping bag
5) comfy pillow (none of this "use your burr-laden sweatshirt as your pillow substitute" nonsense!)
6) easy knitting
7) fellow camper with guitar or fiddle
8) pinecones to put in the campfire (they make the flames turn cool colors)
9) marshmallows for toasting
10) my family (because if I'm camping, they should be out there, too.)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

What I wish my town had

Having recently done a post about all the reasons to love my town, a few... lacks... occurred to me. I really do love living here! These are just a few suggestions about the next business that should open up in town.

1) a florist, because I like to give flowers to people and I haven't done it in years because it's such a pain to drive to the florist.

2) a bookstore, because I'm into instant gratification when I want a new novel.

3) a used bookstore, so I could browse whenever I felt like it.

4) a movie theater, preferably a second-run or art-house movie theater. Watching movies in the basement of our public library really doesn't fill this gap.

5) a coffee shop. We used to have a lovely one just down from the public library but it went out of business a couple years ago when the rent went up. Dunkin Donuts, while it has a place in my heart, doesn't fill this particular need for me.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My week in Niantic

The real reason I haven't been posting any picture is that I was on vacation in Niantic and forgot my camera cable. Duh! Since we plan to return next summer, I made detailed notes about all the places we ate. Just in case anybody else is curious, I'm sharing my thoughts here:

Saturday: lunch at the Main Street Grille (no website), which was OK. Just OK. The kids loved the grilled cheese. My cobb salad was unexpected (no bleu cheese) but otherwise tasty. Mom and DH were disappointed in their entrees.
Dinner was carry-out from Ilianti's. The pizza was pleasantly un-greasy and not-salty and the service was great. The salads were varied and delicious. I would definitely order from them again.

Sunday: dinner was at The Black Sheep Public House. While the vegetarian options were extremely limited, they were delicious! The rest of us had salmon and crabcakes, both of which were very good. We're planning to eat here again later in the week.

Monday: drove up to Groton to eat at Thai Sawasdee. The food was yummy but a bit salty, and the service was slow (only one guy in the front, poor thing!)

Tuesday: dinner was carry-out from the two local Chinese restaurants, Diamond and Great Wall (neither seems to have its own website). Both would get middling reviews from me. The mu shu vegetable from Great Wall was quite tasty. The General Tso's Tofu from Diamond was also good. All the other dishes were disappointing.

Wednesday: dinner at La Belle Aurore Bistro which was fantastic! Yummy vegetables and fantastic seafood. The vegetarian options were good, too. I wouldn't eat there every day - the butter and olive oil would kill my arteries - but for a treat, this was the place to go.

Thursday: back to The Black Sheep Public House for dinner, because they'd changed their menu and the kids said they made the best grilled cheese. Dinner was fantastic for all of us. They altered the salmon entree just for me because I can't eat shellfish and were really nice about it.

Friday: we got lost on our way to a Japanese restaurant in Old Saybrook, and ended up at a wonderful Thai restaurant instead! Som Siam East Thai (no website) was kid-friendly and served absolutely marvelous food. The service was very good when we got there, but slowed down badly as more customers arrived.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ten on Tuesday: 10 things I like about where I live

I live in a small town in northern Connecticut. Finding ten things I like about it was easy!

1) Walking to everything: library, drug store, market, pizza place, even my dentist is within walking range. In poor weather, I do "cheat" and drive, but I try to make a point of walking when the weather is nice and I don't have to carry 20+ pounds of groceries.

2) The public library is fantastic!

3) The K-2 public school is also fantastic! (The 3-5 school is pretty good... less said about the Middle School, the better.)

4) We have a wonderful day care and pre-school just around the corner.

5) I really love my job, which is what brought me to this town in the first place. I also like my coworkers, almost all of whom live in this town, too.

6) There's a huge shopping complex within a 15 minute drive: Barnes and Noble, Target, Rave Cinemas, CostCo, Sears, and great Japanese and Mexican restaurants.

7) The train stops less than 20 miles away.

8) The airport is less than 30 miles away.

9) There's a farmer's market on The Green every Saturday in the summer and fall.

10) I'm less than an hour away from WEBS.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Knitty, continued

Jewels (a short-sleeved raglan cardigan with no fastenings) - I'm so glad the author showed the version in commercial bulky yarn, 'cause I really like it!

Trout River: I really like the vest without the button-in sleeves.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Drooling over the latest Knitty

in which, as always, I admire the various patterns and make no serious plans to knit any of them.

Note: I couldn't load some of the patterns that are cross-listed with KnittySpin, so I haven't reviewed them here.

Iced: a simple cardigan with no seaming and no buttonholes? Sign me up!

Victoria: another cardigan, this one elegant and refined. I love it but I'll never knit it - all that moss stitch...

Lamina: an elegant and eye-catching scarf. It also has the huge advantage of requiring no grafting. This one looks gorgeous on the model but I'm not sure it would work for me.

Coquille: a shawlette designed for self-striping yarn, but the photo that really caught my eye was the version knit in pure blue. I'm going to wait for the Ravelry updates to see how it looks in more solids before I commit to this one.

Lanesplitter: I will never in my life have the ass to wear a knitted skirt like this one, but I think it's pure genius. Probably my favorite pattern from the whole issue!

Coralie: knitted earrings? Wow... but also useless to me, since I don't have pierced ears.

Plaid: love the socks, hate the intarsia.

Flo the Elephant: love love LOVE it! And hey, I actually do know how to crochet, so the feet shouldn't be a problem for me.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Ten on Tuesday: 10 ways to enjoy summer

I'm currently at the beach and enjoying summer very much, so this should be an easy one!

1) Ocean, lake, pond, or river - get yourself to some water and jump in when the sun is hot!
2) Watermelon
3) Popsicles
4) Reading in the shade
5) Fireworks!
6) Fresh lemonade or limeade
7) Catching up on my favorite TV shows (I love reruns and DVDs)
8) Ice cream in the middle of the afternoon
9) Cold soups
10) Getting up to see the sunrise, then going to back to bed for an hour or two

Friday, July 2, 2010

Sock, lost in action

Somewhere between finishing the first knee sock for Elder Son and trying to locate the camera to photograph it, I lost the sock.

Yup, it's white-gold-green-pink-purple self-striping yarn and it somehow wandered off my bed and got itself tangled up with the clean laundry. Or into a book bag. I'm just praying it didn't end up in the recycling... I did check the trash bins, just in case.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The 100 Book Challenge: 25 down

Yes, I'm trying to read 100 books this summer! (So is my older son, who just finished 1st grade. He has the advantage that his books are 10 to 20% the length of mine.)

This summary isn't complete, but it's a good estimation of the books I have read thus far:

1-7) Carolyn Graham's Chief Inspector Barnaby Series- I've read all 7 books.

8) The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin

9) Ten Things I Love about You by Julia Quinn

10) Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce

11-13) Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan - I've read the first three thus far.

14-21) Barry Maitland's Kathy and Brock series. I think I've read 8 of them thus far. (Confession: I read at least two of them during the spring term, but I'm probably going to count all of them.)

22) House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds

23-24) Burning Lamp and Fired Up by Amanda Quick

25) The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Ten on Tuesday: books to read this summer!

I took the "100 Book Challenge" along with my older son. Thus far I've done a poor job of planning ahead AND keeping track of what I've read thus far, but here's a quick glance at my reading pile:

1) Half-Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls. This isn't my choice, but is required summer reading for everyone who works at my school.

2) Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay. I love his books, own all of them, and cannot wait to dive into this one. It's a fantasy set in a country very like Ming China, but not quite.

3) Malcontenta by Barry Maitland. I've now read all the others in this series; this was the last one to come in via Interlibrary Loan.

4) The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley. I loved, loved, loved the first book in this series (The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie) and can't wait to get my hands on this one. An 11-year-old girl in 1950's England, solving murders like a more cynical Harriet the Spy.

5) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. I know, I know, everyone's reading this one, but the movie was so good that I have to see if the novel can compare.

6) Blackout by Connie Willis. Time travelors, comedy of manners, and London during The Blitz. The first two novels in the series were fantastic - this is the first half of a duology and apparently ends on a cliff-hanger.

7) The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan. I've gotten sucked into the delights of YA fantasy this summer. This series was clearly inspired by the Harry Potter craze, but has its own merits to recommend it. A quick, light read.

8) House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds. Fantastic far-future science fiction, told from the alternating points of view of a pair of lovers who are "shatterlings," or slightly altered clones of the same woman.

9) Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.

10) The Empress of Mars by Kage Baker. While this is theoretically part of her long-running series about The Company, it stands on its own quite well. I adore several of the short stories that developed this world so I hope the novel will be equally compelling.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I promised you scarves

and have then been blathering on about everything else under the sun. Time to fulfill my promise, wouldn't you say?

This is Ishbel, knit from some purchased-very-long-ago silky fingering merino from Sundara. Sorry about the lousy photos... it was 5 minutes before I had to take it off the blocking wires and I had no assistant. I don't recall any details of it, except that the stockinette part seemed to take forever and the lace was over in a flash.

This is a Moebius scarf in Boku, knit for my MIL. I also made a matching one for my FIL but forgot to take a picture of it. His was cream rather than light grey. Knit almost six months ago, they were Christmas presents and I now have no idea what needles or anything else I used to knit them.

I actually should have another scarf for this post, but the photos won't download properly. It's another Moebius scarf. I'll get pictures of it up soon... promises, promises.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

I've joined! What can I say... I'm rarely a joiner, but this idea is too good to pass up. I also joined Summer of Socks and actually have socks on the needles already. (Child size 5, using KnitPicks Felici Sport in the Sticks and Stones colorway. Pictures in a later post, when they actually look like something.)

Ten ways to entertain a child:

1) Cook or bake with them. Even really little kids can mix up an egg in a big bowl. Mine love to sift flour, cream butter, and try to shape the drop cookies onto the tray.

2) Read to them.

3) Make a fort. All you need is a sofa, bed, or table, and a couple of blankets.

4) Legos.

5) Playground.

6) Your local park. One of the ones near us has a little pond with turtles and frogs... the latter will occupy my kids for multiple hours.

7) Birdfeeder on the other side of a closed window. It it isn't squirrel-proofed, that's even better. My cousin, who has pretty serious ADD, when he was about 3 or 4 could be entertained for over an hour by watching the antics of the squirrels on the feeder. My aunt said that the bird feeder kept her sane until he went off to school.

8) Pets, if the kids are old enough to treat them nicely.

9) Let's Pretend.

10) Board games, card games, pen-and-paper games...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Books (and movies) of the summer

The Chalon Heads by Barry Maitland: lovely mystery, 3rd in the series.

The Sea of Monsters and The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan: a quick read, obviously playing off the popularity of the Harry Potter series but with enough original touches to be fun in their own right.

Also, I went to see "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" at our local second run/art house theater. If you're thinking of seeing it, GO SEE IT. Do not be put off by the subtitles... they're well done and the dialogue is slow enough that you won't miss any critical action while reading them.

Monday, June 7, 2010

More sewing wishes

My own project bags? Priceless!

In other news, I am frantically knitting away on an infinity scarf using a set of skeins from The Unique Sheep. The yarn is Verve, the colourway is Peacock (I think!) I am pleasantly stunned by how well the colors are coming out. I'm alternating skeins on the last two rows of each color, which involved some fancy math on my part to figure out how many rows I could actually eke out of each 25 gram skein.

The yarn isn't as soft as I would usually use for a scarf, but it isn't scratchy so I hope it will do.

They've got a lot more suggested combinations up than I remember from my last order... might have to place another order soon!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

FO: More mittens!

My mother once joked that my blog name should have been "The Mitten Mama" and she's not far off.

These mittens were a belated Xmas gift for my younger son's preschool teacher. She is a complete treasure and we try to tell her that a couple of times a year. She loves blues, so I thought that a Cascade Paints would work well for her. It actually pooled terribly but she said that she liked the unpredictability of it. (Do you begin to see why we love her?)

Preschool Teacher Mittens:

Details: Spiral Mittens
Cascade 220 Superwash Paints, in Blues
#3 needles, two 16" wooden from KnitPicks
Summary: LOVED the pattern, hated the way the yarn flashed and pooled. I plan on making these again with a different yarn.

Graduation Mittens (#1)

Details: 4-10 Mitten, from Magnificent Mittens by Anna Zilboorg
Cascade 220 Superwash in lime green, pink, and royal blue
#3 needles, two 16" wooden from KnitPicks
Simple ribbed cuff at recipient's request.
Reversed the pattern and the coloring on the second mitten, to make "mirror image fraternal twins"
Summary: Loved the pattern, loved the yarn.

Little Kid Mittens (Campbell)

I knit these back in March so I don't recall most of the details. Cascade 220 Superwash, I think. I finished knitting them AT the birthday party which is why I only have pictures "in progress."

Next up: scarves!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

FO: mittens + pictures!

Finally, I have my computer and my camera AND my camera-cable in the same place.

These are the mittens I made as a good-bye present for my upstairs neighbor, Elli. She's lived in the apartment above mine for nearly 2 years. She requested brown and "classic" which I interpreted as "cables." Turns out I was right. She loves them.

Details: Cascade 220 superwash - lost the band so I can't remember the name of this brown color.
#3 needles, two 16" wooden from KnitPicks
Pattern loosely based on the Lofty Cabled Mittens with the cuff of the Hugs & Kisses Mittens. I mashed the two together and figured out my own way to make the decreases at the top.
Size: a woman's long and narrow hand. About 7" around and 8" long.
Summary: WIN! I love the way these turned out. I took pretty good notes so I hope to be able to recreate these one day.

Next up, the mittens I made for our neighors' son's birthday. His initials are NS, obviously!

Here's the palm side:

Details: Cascade 220 superwash, in grey and red
#3 needles, two 16" wooden from KnitPicks
Pattern mostly from my own experience, with the alphabet provided by Little Cotton Rabbits
Size: a child age 8
Summary: Pretty much a WIN. The mittens fit him now (June) so I'm afraid they may not fit in November. I liked the speed of knitting the top in only one color; I'll definitely do that again.

I speed-knit a pair of mitts for my step-mother for Mother's Day. Modified the pattern to make the cuff less long, which meant putting the cables closer together... let's just say that it's a good thing she has small hands or I don't think she could actually put these on.

Details: Cascade 220 superwash in grey
#3 needles, two 16" wooden from KnitPicks
Dashing, from Knitty
Summary: Cuff was quite tight, since I spaced the cables closer together. I will use the original pattern next time. I do plan to knit these again. They were quick and made a remarkable visual impact for so little effort.

Finally, another good-bye present. The recipient is in my younger son's preschool class and his father is a colleague.

Details: Cascade 220 Superwash, in tan and red
Pattern mostly from my own experience, with the alphabet provided by Little Cotton Rabbits
Size: a child age 3
Summary: Pretty much a WIN. The pattern worked out perfectly. The recipient turns out to have huge hands so the mittens may not fit him by November. Oh well... he'll be in another state by then.

I actually have MORE pairs of mittens to post about, but I'll save them for another day.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What I'm reading

Nearly everything written by Tamora Pierce. It's a good thing I started with Beka Cooper: Terrier (her most recent novel) as she's become a much better writer over time. I think if I'd started with her first book I might not have made it past the first quartet.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms utterly blew me away. I anticipate it being nominated for many awards next year. Think of it as David Eddings and Roger Zelazny cross-fertilized with Ursula K. LeGuin and you might get close.

I somehow missed the last onslaught of books by the lamentably late Kage Baker. My local library kindly offered up Not Less Than Gods and I ordered two more, which should be arriving by the end of this week. The aforementioned was entertaining but not her best novel. (Right now, I'd say my favorite is The Anvil of the World although other days I might claim it was Mendoza in Hollywood.)

Ally Carter always entertains, and Heist Society was no exception.

I recently discovered the mysteries of Barry Maitland and have been working through them as they free up at the library. The series starts with The Marx Sisters which still might be my favorite of the four I've read.

Similarly with Rennie Airth, although as he's only written three novels I'm already done with his entire backlist. The second novel, The Blood-Dimmed Tide, is definitely my favorite of the trio.

I don't read Nora Roberts (well, I've tried a few, which is to say under 1% of her total list) but I do adore the novels of her JD Robb pseudonym. The latest one at the library was Fantasy in Death and it did not disappoint.

I know I read at least one more author in the past couple months but I can't recall who that was. I might come back and edit this entry tomorrow!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Another mitten finished

and still no photos. My computer, after many Unfortunate Incidents with the repair firm not being able to keep our credit card number long enough to actually charge us for impending repairs, is making its way back across the country to me. I should have it by Wednesday.

I don't do surprise mittens. I tried it on Elli this evening and she pronounced it to be "perfect!"

Then she paid me the ultimate compliment: "Oh my gosh, it looks professionally made."

Yeah, I'm pretty proud of it, too.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Project update (again)

Ishbel: finished, blocked, mailed, received, and admired (WIN)

Dashing: finished, mailed... no word from recipient yet...
Xmas socking ornaments: ditto

Axel's Mittens: finished, delivered, admired (but may be too small by fall - BOO!)

Mittens for Nicholas: just finished weaving in the ends on the second mitten tonight. He and his mother both really liked the first one, so I think is also a WIN!

Mittens for Elli: almost finished the first one when I realized the hand was too tight; ripped it back to the cuff, incorporated 5 more stitches into the pattern, and am working my way back up the hand.

Wild Sock: realized I really should not be knitting socks in Cascade 220, so I'm ordering some yarn from Socks That Rock and will do them over the summer

All the other mittens have their yarn in place, but I need to free up some needles before I can tackle any of them.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Rush jobs

I was on bed rest for most of the past week; my hip had finally decided to complain loudly enough that I had to listen. After the cortisone shot, my hip joint is all better but my surrounding muscles are complaining about the sudden uptake in their use. And so it goes...

Mother's Day loomed. I had no plans, none at all. But I did have lots of time and plenty of yarn (hah! that's an understatement.)

Dashing in 2 days, for The Stepmom. In Cascade 220 Superwash on #3 needles 'cause that's all I could find at the moment I wanted to cast on.

Ishbel, with about 20 rows already knit, completed in 4 days for The Mom. On a really long circular #3 wooden needle from KnitPicks, using Fingering Silky Merino from Sundara in a colorway whose name I've forgotten. I would have called it "Dusky Rose" but I'm sure she called it something much more spontaneous.

Now that both those are safely in the mail, I turned my attention to the birthday party that was... oops, this afternoon. Yeah. Only one mitten got delivered but given that's we had 80 degree weather today, he can wait a couple more days to get its mate. I seriously considered making him glittens but I really needed the recipient in front of me for multiple fittings and that would spoil the surprise. So I've promised Elder Son that he will get some glittens this fall, and I'll work on them when he's around. Maybe after that I can generalize the pattern a bit more.

So that's my Saturday night: reading "The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms", knitting a mitten, and maybe watching "My Life in Ruins" if I can figure out the DVD here.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Sewing? Oh, no!

I want to try making this blouse but will need to lose another 30 pounds, and do many thousands of reps with the free weights, before I can wear it in public.

Being on bed rest is great for the knitting time. I knit Dashing in two days! Now I have to get somebody ambulatory to take it to the PO and mail it to Ohio. My next goal is Ishbel in 4 days, for my mother.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

further updates

Shelter has picked out he mittens: the Selbu mittens from Folk Mittens. She even wants them in the same colors, but done as a fraternal twin set. I haven't convinced her that white cuffs will go grey or brown in about 3 wearings.

Tommy bought my mittens at the charity auction and he's happy with getting them in September before he leaves for college. The pattern is #20 in Mostly Mittens and he wants Bates colors: burgundy and silver.

Mel bought my second set of mittens in the auction, but hasn't picked out a pattern yet.

My "real" computer is still at the shop, so no pics yet...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Project update!

Matt has picked a pattern! It's #11 in Charlene Schurch's "Mostly Mittens." He's requested light blue, royal blue, and white (or cream) as the color scheme.

The Juicy Fruit scarf is almost 20 inches long.

My mum helped me by sewing the buttons on the baby sweater. Now, once I've taken the memorial pics of it, I can hand it over to Brooke and Jeff (and Maxwell, the true recipient.)

Friday, April 23, 2010

This is not a diet blog

and yet it's the thing I think about most these days.

Today was a Good Day. All meals straight from the diet plan except for the small piece of banana bread at 10am.

Yesterday was Not So Good. First there was the chocolate cupcake (dare I believe the website that says it's only 150 calories?) and then I went out for sushi with friends and definitely ate double my allowance of dinner foods.

Kitting continues with no pictures, as my computer is still in the shop. I've got about a foot of the Juicy Fruit Scarf and about 4 inches of the Wild Sock. Still no thumbs on Axel's mittens, but that's on the schedule for tomorrow. Maybe I can also finish the second Xmas ornament and sew the buttons on the baby sweater. (Hey - finishing 3 projects in one day would be AWEsome!)

As to what happened with my Olympic knitting... well, it's a sad tale. Apparently no one in the family likes to wear tube socks. I was almost done with the first sock before my sons told me to rip it back and add in the heel. So the sock languishes until I have time to tackle it again.

So here's the project summary:
Ishbel: 15% done, no deadline for completion
Maxwell's baby sweater: needs buttons; must be done ASAP as the kid is already a month old!
Axel's mittens: need thumbs; must be finished by June 15th when his family moves away.
The Xmas stocking ornament: needs to be sewn up and have the loop made and attached; must be done by December.
Juicy Fruit Scarf: 20% done; no deadline
Wild Sock: maybe 15% done with the first one. (This takes HEAVY concentration so I can't do it casually)
Matt's Mittens: he hasn't even picked a pattern yet
Shelter's Mittens: ditto
Mittens at auction: once I find out who bought them, we'll start discussing patterns and colors

Monday, April 19, 2010

The "i" Diet

It used to be called The Instinct Diet, which I like a lot better.

I'm on day 3. It's been rough. Last night I completely fell apart and ate an entire extra meal (brown rice, pakora, steamed broccoli, and saag paneer) at 9pm so I would be able to sleep through the night.

DH is being a champ about trying it out with me. But when I fell apart, so did he, so now we're both back to Square 1.

I need to make a list of things I will use to reward myself when I do stick to the diet. Here are my starting ideas...

Crochet for Bears to Wear
Berroco's new book on afghans
the new JD Robb mystery
The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag

Any other suggestions for me?

a skein of mini-Maiden to make myself a scarf (pattern unclear as yet)
Enough Cascade Ecological Wool to make Jared Flood's Girasole

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Project confusion (and 100 posts)

I seem to be suffering from Project Confusion.

I have one pair of socks, one half-done scarf, and three more pairs of mittens that need to be done by the end of June. I burned through two pairs of mittens in the past two weeks and thought I was on a roll. Then the confusion hit...

I taught myself to knit backward so I could make an Entrelac Noro Scarf. Knitting backwards isn't bad. Knitting backwards with two colors turns out to be much harder (for me) than purling with two colors.

I saw a pair of Pomotomus Mitts and knew I was going to try them this summer.

I dug out my copy of Top Town for Toddlers and made plans to knit the Cabled Pullover and one of the cardigans.

Oh - and yes, I've nearly finished two mini-stocking ornaments (you'll have to scroll pretty far down the page to see these) and keep plotting to make entire sets as Xmas gifts.

My computer should be back in my hands early next week, so I hope to be able to add some pictures to my 101st blog post!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Christmas Presents

What?!? Yes, it's the middle of April. I just saw this site:


and knew that I would be working on these at the lake this summer, hoping to have a pair for each of my cousins by Christmas time. That got me looking around the Internet for more patterns. I love the idea of making miniature sweater ornaments with the recipient's initial(s) on them, but haven't found the perfect pattern yet.

I've knit several more mittens since the last time I posted pictures, but I'm on a borrowed computer and don't want to mess around with loading the pictures here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Twist Collective (spring/summer 2010)

First of all, my usual gripe: that Table of Contents is impossible to navigate!

OK, now on to the good stuff:

While I disliking the stereotyping in "Knits Men Want" I have to admit that the book sounds intriguing.

"Wallflower" socks - lovely colors, gorgeous pattern, and what looks like some interesting construction details on the heel. It's probably beyond my current level of ability (and patience!) but this would make a fabulous present...

Intrigued by "Goose Rocks" (a hooded cardigan) and in love with "Timpani" (a jacket-style cardigan.)

Adore "Celandine" but must lose a lot of weight before wearing something sleeveless and close-fitting.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The New Knitty

Usually I am all over the new edition of Knitty, making eager lists of everything I will one day knit. This time, however, the only thing that caught my eye was "Emmaline." A short-sleeve cotton top, it is simple and square-necked and might even flatter my larger size.

Maybe it's the never-ending cough + physical therapy for the injured hip that's making me feel so blah.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

20 answers

1) What ended your last relationship?

He didn't think I was important enough to tell that he was going in for fairly major surgery on his wrist.

2) When was the last time you shaved?

This morning. (Off to meet the new physical therapist. Didn't want to scare her.)

3) What were you doing at 8:00AM?


4) What will you be doing in 15 minutes?

Putting the boys to bed.

5) Some things you are excited about?

Getting physical therapy for my injured hip (finally!)
Going to NYC for our wedding anniversary.
Reading the huge pile of books I just got from the library.

6) What is your favorite flavor of Jello-O?

Dunno... I don't really eat it.

7) What do you remember about your prom night?

I refused to go frilly and lacy, so we drove all over the state to find me a very nice, tame dress by Laura Ashley. My prom date borrowed my dad's old tux. My best friend's mom did my hair.

8) Do you have any famous ancestors?

My paternal grandmother claimed to be related to the Stanley who invented the Stanley Steamer but I don't know whether he was a direct ancestor of ours.

9) Last thing you received in the mail?

My contract for next year's employment.

10) How many different beverages have you had today?

four: tea, water, seltzer, and apple juice.

11) Do you ever leave messages on people's answering machines?

Yes, in a very slow, clear voice.

12) Do you draw your name in the sand when you go to the beach?

I haven't done that in years! Will have to try it again this summer. Maybe the boys want to do it...

13) Any plans for Friday night?

A nice dinner with DH and possibly a play, if I can talk him into it.

14) Do you like what the ocean does to your hair?

Yuck! No way! (I thought this was a trick question until I remembered that one of my cousins loves, loves loves her hair after rinsing in salt water for days on end.)

15) Have you ever received one of those big tins of 3 different popcorns?

Yup, just about every year. I share them with the dorm and they last about two days. Then I use the empty tins to store dog food and birdseed.

16) Do you reuse towels after you shower?

Ummm... is this a trick question? Yes, of course. I'm clean when I use it, after all. I wash the towels every weekend. (Honestly, how much water would I have to use to wash two bath towels a day?)

17) Describe your keychain?

One car key, 6 other keys, a mini-Leatherman tool, a mini-flashlight, and my library card.

18) Where do you keep your change?

I keep about $3.00 worth of change in my drawer at work. I keep another $5.00 of quarters and dimes in the car for parking meters. I keep four quarters in my coat pocket for soda emergencies and the rest in the change compartment of my purse.

19) When was the last time you spoke in front of a large group of people?

How large? I'm a teacher so I speak to groups of 9 to 17 students every weekday. I gave a 2-minute impromptu report to 60 colleagues last Monday.

20) What kind of winter coat do you own?

I have a wonderful black wool coat that I got on sale at Macy's last spring. It has slightly belled sleeves and a huge collar that can be turned up or buttoned down. It just covers my butt. It looks like no one else's coat and I adore it.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Olympic Knitting

I just had a dose of sheer genius: I will knit tube socks! No heel to turn! And since my kids' feet grow so fast, this will allow them to keep wearing the socks for several winters. I have some gorgeous sport-weight yarn already skeined up and I'm going to knit toe-up to use every possible meter of it.

I'm shooting for two pairs but will settle for one.

In other news, I'm part-way through two baby sweaters and a scarf and I'm about to rip out a spiral mitten that is just too small. I also need to put thumbs on the Cheshire Cat Mittens, which might even get done tonight.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The strangest salad

Quickly, here's a noodle salad I tossed together to accompany some slow-roasted salmon, salad, and rice... I'm recording this for posterity because I know I'll forget exactly what went into it within a week. (Yeah, I'm tired. The IQ is dropping.)

About 4 ounces of rice noodles, boiled until soft, drained and tossed with two teaspoons of sesame oil
One avocado, finely chopped
About one tablespoon of chopped mint leaves
About one tablespoon of chopped cilantro (leaves and stems)
5 large white mushrooms, sliced
The beet greens and stems that came with three large beets
A lot of finely chopped fresh ginger
2 Tablespoons canola oil

Saute the ginger root and beet stems in the oil until fragrant. Add mushrooms and stir for a couple of minutes. Add beet greens and toss until cooked.

Combine stir-fry with noodles and freshly chopped herbs. Top with diced avocado. Serve immediately.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Well, I got sick on the 2nd, so this year is off to a blasting start. Damn colds.

I hereby resolve to

1) Pay more attention to what I eat. Whether this resolves into full vegetarianism, or becoming a loca-vore, or something else... will be determined later.
2) Become more fit. (Note that I am fairly flexible and active for my age group, but I do almost nothing organized.)
3) Knit more. I'm aiming for 500 to 1000 stitches a day, although some days nothing will happen (like today - no sneezing on the yarn!) and I will make up for it on subsequent days.
4) Don't stab anybody.
5) Read at least 100 books.
6) Listen to more current music.
8) Snarl less.
9) Floss regularly.
10) Be less obsessed with making my lists end on round numbers.