Yarn Slave

Because we're all a slave to our passions

Monday, June 06, 2005

Tomten and Socks Fever

Well, we had a beautiful weekend in Connecticut, but it looks like we'll have to pay now with Thunderstorms predicated for the next day or so. In fact, a brief storm right at game time tonight caused the young one's Little League game to get cancelled. Of course, this was a make-up game, which had also been cancelled due to rain!!

But, despite the rain today, we spent most of the weekend outside.

Madame sure enjoys the nice weather. She really prefers laying out in the grass to just about anything else.

And the young one likes to do his best Tom Sawyer impersonation - I can't get any shoes on him from May to September. We decided that this summer we're going to do a study of the works of Mark Twain, especially Tom Sawyer and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. We're even planning a trip to Mark Twain's house up in Hartford.

Knitting wise, I've really made progress on my EZ Tomten sweater. This picture show it with the back and fronts almost done, but I've now re-joined the fronts and back and may even finish the hood part today.

Taking advantage of the natural light, I searched my stash to try to find a contrasting yarn for the first few rows of the Tomten sleeve and for an I-cord edging. The white, pink, and yellow yarn all match, but I'm pretty sure that I'm going to go with the pale yellow. Just think that it will be the most attractive.

Duchess, though, seems to disagree. After looking the yarn all over, I do believe she likes the pink the best.

Mr. and Mrs. Mallard also appeared to be interested what we were doing. We've had the Mallard family visit us now every Spring for close to 40 years. Now, I know that it can't bee the same pair of ducks all this time, but I do believe that they are descendent.

Well, I ended up starting ANOTHER project. I had joined a group last year, Six Sox Knitalong - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Six_Sox_Knitalong/, but I was too late to make all 6 pairs of socks, and I kept putting off making socks because I've heard that sock-knitting is addictive. Well, let me just say, yes, yes it is. With a new year of socks starting on the list, I broke down and started my first pair. This is the first time I have ever done anything on a size one!!! needle. This pattern is called Chutes and Ladders And is the sock knit-along for June and July. I have this enormous stash of wool/nylon finger weight machine knitting yarn left over from my days of custom sweater business so I guess I'm all set for lots of socks. And I do believe I've found out what everyone will be getting for Christmas this year.

Off to my Tomten and my socks - just have to move the bulldog out of my way, she doesn't understand that it's not HER bed!!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Parades, Picnics, and Eric's Jungle Adventure

Haven't had time to blog for the past week, but I have been busy!

First, last Saturday was the annual North Haven Memorial Day Parade. Since the parade passes the end of our street, and since we are on a cul-du-sac, we're pretty much trapped here for the duration, so I usually make a picnic out of it.

One thing our little town does is offer the kids, and anyone else who wants to, the opportunity to march in the parade. The young one had the opportunity to march with both Little League and the Cub Scouts. As with the 3 big guys, I always tried to steer them to the scouts, as there's always a mob of kids marching with the sporting teams. Unfortunately, Eric took the camera with him, and he was also marching with the scouts, so I don't have very many pictures of the parade. I really wish I could have gotten a picture of the Red Hat Society!!

Eric did get a picture of the WWII Sherman Tank that was one of the first vehicles in the parade. I really, really, really want one of these. No one would cut me off if I was going down the street in this - especially if I started shouting about being a crazed peri-menopausal woman having a hot-flash!!

The parade is only a little over a mile, from the Middle School to the town green, so Eric decided to try taking Duchess and let her march with the Scouts, but all the waiting, line-up starts and hour before the parade begins, got her too tired out, so when the parade passed, she dropped out.

The waiting for the parade to start can be, shall we say, challenging with a groups of Cub Scouts. I know from my days as a den mom. Here's the young one's group as they are getting ready to start out. One of the other Mom's is holding Madame.

Of course, all parade's need a review. Here's the young one at the parade end, saluting as his group passes the viewing stand.

At least, after a week of rain, we had a beautiful, sunny day for the parade. A little too sunny, but as a veteran of many craft shows, I do have a collection of canopies. Here we are, watching the action. Son #1 is standing, Son #3 is sitting with my friend, Darlene, and I'm corralling the bulldog. We decided that next year, we'd do a breakfast - Mimosa's fancy pasties, a fruit tray. Got the idea from the neighbors on the other side of the street. They sure seemed to be having a good time!

Following the parade, we had our annual picnic. Yet another reason that I had no time to blog late last week was because of my latent catering tendencies. I can nver just have one salad with dogs & burgers. No, I have to make at least 4 salads, plus deviled eggs, plus a homemade cake, and on, and on. Well, after a marathon cooking session, I didn't have to cook much for the rest of the week. We still have some food left!!

Eric's Jungle Adventure

Another reason for not blogging last week, was, at least partially due, to what we are now calling Eric's Jungle Adventure. Actually, it was Eric's getting a mild virus infection coupled with a migraine, but since he had gotten several mosquito bites on one of our dog walking excursions over the week end, he was sure that he had West Nile. When I told the nurse, as she was taking Eric's blood-pressure, she politely not laugh. That still did mean that I got the joy of playing taxi mom for all the Little League games and Scout meetings in addition to caring for a sick Mr. Fish!!

Actually, though, the skeeter bites were really just a small part of the Adventure. Behind the soon to be demolished old High School, there is a back driveway, which we call "The Spooky Road". Not really all the spooky, but after dark, well, it IS dark. Anyway, we like to walk down the road as there is normally very little traffic on it.

So, here we are last weekend, walking down "The Spooky Road", when Eric says to me, "Hold the dog's leash." Yes, this is his equivalent of the Redneck's last words "Hold muh beer".

Now, hanging from a tree by the side of "The Spooky Road" os a dead vine. The vine is dead because someone has cut it off at the base, but it is still hanging from the tree. Eric goes over and pulls on the vine, but it breaks!

Not daunted by this little, well, shall we say, WARNING!!! Mr. Fish decides that even though the vine snapped, it is still being held up securely enough for it to support his, a hem, around 200 lbs body as he swings on the vine while giving a Tarzen yell.

I turn and cringe as I fail to stop the inevitable.

Here is what is remaining of the vine as it lies on the roadway.

Here is the spot where Eric bruised his butt on the pavement as the vine came crashing down as Eric's weight pulled it loose from the tree. All he got was one very short "YEOOOOOOOOO" before being cut short when the road hit him. The scary part is, I do believe, somewhere in the back of his fevered brain, Eric still believes that if he'd just held on a bit differently, he would have been successful.

Too bad I didn't have the camera to capture the event live!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Duchie Turns Two

 Today is Duchess's second birthday. Not that we spoil her or anything. Here's a great shot of the birthday girl. My friend, Robin, has astutely pointed out that since we have 4 sons and no daughters, Duchess is our little girl.

She started the day by sleeping in late (as usual).

 Then, she took daddy for a walk.

A special trip to Petco where she got some special dog cookies, a new rawhide chewie, and some Frosty Paws. Then, to McDonalds where she got a double cheeseburger.

 After dinner it was time for the Frosty Paws. But not before a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday.

She did need a bit of help blowing out the birthday candles. The young one had no trouble helping her out.

After all that, she is now sound asleep on my bed!! Of course, this is where she spends most of her evenings.

 As far as my fiber stuff goes, well, I haven't done too much. I did finish the crocheted baby socks for a baby with big feet. It's a nice quick pattern and I will be making this one up again with thinner yarn and a smaller hook.

And I did finish my big, easy scarf. Have some yarn left, so I may make a hat to match the scarf.

 Now, instead of working on my many, many projects, what did I decide to do - why, start another project, of course!!. This is a Tomten baby jacket from Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Without Tears. For those who have never heard of EZ, get thyself to the local library and check out one of her books. She had the most wonderful attitude toward knitting. You can sit and read her books like a novel. Her daughter, Meg Swanson, still carries out the tradition at School House Press. I've done her Baby Surprise Jacket several times, but this is my first attempt at the Tomten. I found an online group which does a lot of EZ knit-alongs, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/knitbabysurprise/?yguid=158145, where I've been inspired. I'll get a picture of my last BSJ and post it here or, of you can't wait, you can see some at http://babysurprise0.tripod.com/id4.html. It's one of the funnest things I've ever done.

Well, guess I'll get back to my Tomten, though I will try to work at least 2 repeats on my Feather and Fan Shawl first. I"ll have to be careful not to disturb the bulldog!!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Too many projects??

I am a process person.

Some people are project people. They like to complete each project before starting another. They work toward an end. Other people, like myself, are process people. We enjoy the process. If we finish something great, if not, not big deal. It's the creating we like, not the end project. Project people never work on more than one thing at one time. Process people will have many projects, all at various states of completion. That's me, lots of projects, ll going at the same time.

But sometimes, even I have to wonder if I don't have, gasp, too many projects going at the same time. I honestly don't know how many projects I have going. I started a lot of my projects as samples for my knitting and crocheting classes (I teach both for my local Adult Ed), and I really like to have samples for the students to look at. My problem is, I'm always finding another project, or I get another idea that I really want to teach, so another project gets started.

And I belong to lots and lots of e-mail lists. Many of those have projects that the group is working on and so many are just too tempting to resist. So, I start yet another project.

Now, I do get the majority of these projects done...eventually. And a lot of my items get donated to different charities. So I guess that I can justify my starting so many things.

Well, my college classes are over with for the summer (I teach Computer Science class, not nearly as much fun as yarn classes!), so I have made a vow that I will try very hard to get as much stuff done as I can. Of course, I've heard that the textbooks are changing again, if you only want to make one set of lecture notes, teach history, it doesn't change every year!! But, until I can get a hold of my boss and actually get the new books, which may not happen till the week before classes start, I'll be working on my personal yarn projects. Yarnslave.com and this blog included.

So, what are some of my current projects??

 Here's my current garter stitch scarf.

I almost always have one of these going. It's my no thought project. This one is one strand of Lionbrand Fun Fur in Turquoise, and one strand of Red Heart Light & Lofty, not sure of the color name, 8 stitches. I'm trying out my new size 35 needles that I got at Wallyworld in Rutland, Vermont, last month when we were on vacation. (Yes, I know my life is just too exciting with all those vacations in Rutland). It is working up real fast, as expected, so I should have this one done in a day or two. Depends on how late I end up staying up tonight.

Next is a pair of crocheted baby socks for charity, not sure where they'll end up. They'll probably go to the monthly charity from All Crafts 4 Charity. The pattern is on the web at http://crochetandknitting.com/babysock.htm.

I'm using Red Heart baby sport and a G hook, but I really think that the socks are way too big for a baby. They almost seem like they'd fit me (Okay, I do have small feet, but). I think I'll try another pair with a C or D hook and a finer weight baby yarn

 This is a class sample that I am determined to finish asap, just because I'm getting tired of it. I love the feather and fan pattern, but being a bit obsessive-compulsive, I have to spend way too much time counting almost every row so I'm sure I'm not messing the pattern up. I'm trying to be very disciplined and knit two pattern repeats every night.

Got the pattern from Solutia - http://www.acrilan.com/patterns/dec02/homespunshawl.html If you see anything here you want, http://www.acrilan.com/patterns.html - print it out quick cause the company has shut down their acrylic fiber plant and the patterns will only be on the net till September. Too bad, I really loved the patterns here. Will miss their new stuff. I did have a lovely chat with a nice lady from Coats & Clark about Red Heart yarn availability. She did assure me that I could get the yarn, but there may be some shortages!! (Heaven forbid!!)

And, my final project that I'll share tonight, by no means all my projects, is my Salt River poncho. http://www.soysilk.com/images/Pattern%20Salt%20River%20Poncho.pdf Easy pattern, but again, it's slow going so I'm trying to do a few rows every night. The pattern calls for a really fun looking soy yarn, but I'm on an extremely limited budget and have just too much RH yarn, so this one will be a stash user-upper. The pattern is in PDF format, so be aware if you decide to download.

Well, better get the young one into bed and actually spend sometime working one my projects rather than talking about working on my projects!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

New blog

Starting a new blog for Yarn Slave