Thursday, December 20, 2007


Alpaca with a Twist, Baby Twist from the Loopy Ewe.

Zen String Serendipity in Morocco and Poseidon

Yarn Pirate
in Solstice and Icicle

Need I say more?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Easy come, easy go

Well, it looks like my career working in a yarn and tea shop has ended as quickly as it began (that's right, so quickly I didn't even get a chance to blog about it.) I was in my favorite LYS a couple of weeks ago and noticed that they were pretty busy, and offered to help. (I'm such a good samaritan when the good deed involves being around yarn.) Anyway, I thought I could tag stuff or stock shelves, but I was asked "Do you want to work?"

The owners are friends of mine and had faith, I guess, that I'd be able to figure out how to use a computer/cash register, measure and serve tea, and answer questions about yarn after not having worked in 20 years, so who was I to disagree? I made it clear that I didn't want to take hours from other people, and I started working at the beginning of December. It's been a lot of fun and I've learned so much (mostly that it's hard work being on your feet for 8 hours a day and trying to find things when you don't know where they are) and enjoyed my experience a lot. Today I was told that I wouldn't be needed any more right now, but would remain on call to fill in for vacations or as needed. That's great; now I can help them out and keep up with what's going on without actually "working" too much! My family has had a field day with that - they don't think Mom ever works.

So with my employee discount, I took home a memento of my life as a yarn shop employee; an Evelyn Clark lace shawl pattern (I'm still considering how to use my beautiful alpaca) and two skeins of Noro sock yarn. All in all, a fine memento of a fun time. I thank Deb, Victoria, Ellen, and Kari for their patience and good natures and know I'll be seeing a lot of you in the future.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Stalking the mailman

has taken on a whole new meaning for me. (And has given me the inspiration to blog after a quite lengthy hiatus.) I called my son to tell him to watch for a package I had sent, since it had gifts in it, including a couple of checks that he would want. He told me that he had lost a key to the mailbox, and one roommate who had already gone home for break had the other one. So his plan is to watch out the window for the mailman and run out and ask for the mail when he arrives. Sounds good to me, and definitely much easier than looking through the house for the key! I hope he can see the mailbox from inside, since it's supposed to snow today. This is one item that's in the box (modeled by the lovely and talented DH). Scott asked for convertible fingerless mitts, and Mom was happy to comply. Especially after hearing that he doesn't wear the hat I made for him last year, because wearing a "matching hat and scarf that your mom made" is not cool. Oh well, who was to know?

The problem with not blogging for awhile is that now I obsessively want to list everything I've done for the last month, and that would certainly not be interesting. I did want to thank my ISE5 pal, Kina, for the wonderful scarf and gifts she sent me all the way from Taiwan. I did thank her on the ISE5 blog, but she was such a pleasure to have as a pal, I want to do it again! I received a beautiful blue lace scarf and other goodies, including a cute kitty coin purse and a pretty fabric bag. The most fun was getting the letter from her written in Chinese characters and then translated to English.

I finished a blanket, hat, and booties for a baby born to one of DH's co-workers, and then managed a couple of pairs of mittens for the Soaring Eagles project. I didn't find out about it in time to do more and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Rachel will receive enough mittens and slippers. I try to do as much charity knitting as I can, even though it saddens me to think about the great need that exists, which won't be much helped by the items I can make.

I'm finishing a hat and mittens I decided to make for a friend's little girl, and then I plan to put aside everything else and at least begin a shawl with this fabulous alpaca yarn I bought from The Loopy Ewe. It's Baby Twist from Alpaca with a Twist (see it here).

The color I got is a deep plum or grape and it's about the softest yarn I've ever felt. (Sheri doesn't have any more of this exact color left if you go to look.) I haven't really had this happen before - feeling an irresistible urge to immediately knit a yarn I've bought - but this one's been sitting on my desk and enticing me for days! I have a sweater in progress, I signed up for a Peace Fleece Everyday Cardigan knitalong at my LYS, and am also planning to join the group knitting the Kauni Cardigan (the two latter projects will begin in January.) So I'm determined to start the alpaca shawl now.

My Dishrag Tag buddies, Sarah-Hope and Cathy-Cate, have recently posted beautiful shawl photos, so I'm determined not to be left behind. I'm planning to start a simple lace pattern (when I decide on one) and just see how it goes.

In the meantime, I finally wore my Mystery Stole, and here it is.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Twenty years ago, at 11:14 AM, I became a mother. It amazes me to see how many changes take place in the first years of life. After all, I'm still the same!
Well, maybe not exactly......

It seems like it was just yesterday that you looked like this: You were a busy, sweet, baby - bright and active.

You were happy and funny and didn't really mind when an interloper came along to share the spotlight (after you finished throwing all of my shoes out of the bathroom window!)

Your athletic exploits ranged far and wide

but usually came back to the water.You've always been willing to share your toys.

You went from neat little boy to rebel with a 'fro.

You kept us guessing all through high school, but you made it through and are now happily keeping all those college professors on their toes.

You are bright and creative and funny; oh, so funny! (Tell me about Margaret Weathers again sometime.) You have so much to look forward to.

Happy Birthday, Scott. We love you.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Charity Update

Last weekend I received a big box of afghan squares in the mail from Laura, who has organized Rebuilding Greensburg - Block by Block. I've mentioned before that I sent some squares to her during the summer, then volunteered to seam a blanket when it looked like she was having trouble finding people to complete them. So we went from this, to this, then this, and finally this, a finished blanket. It was very cozy, warm, and colorful, and I hope it will bring a little speck of comfort to a family who can use a blanket. I count my blessings frequently and am so thankful to be able to help others, even in a small way.

I also finished my ISE5 scarf, and it's all ready to send to my pal, once I pack up a few more goodies. This scarf was a lot more trouble than I had anticipated, but I think it came out nicely. I don't know why I kept messing up the simple lace pattern, but I did and always ended up ripping back many rows to get back on track. It's the Peaks and Valleys pattern from Heatstrings and I used Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in the Fall Foliage colorway. I love how the purple pops out. I think I noticed it every time I came to that section of the yarn. Doesn't take much to entertain me! A Major Award!

My Dishrag Tag buddy and intrepid blogger, Cathy-Cate, has chosen me for a "Nice Matters" award. She says: This award is to be given to "those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world." I appreciate the compliment and will strive to continue to uphold the virtures of niceness. I will proudly display the award logo. Thanks, Cathy. I'll consider carefully and then pass this award on to others.

And now I think I'll go outside and plant my garlic and tulip bulbs. We are having a dry, mild, day and you can't take that for granted around here at the end of October!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A new career?

Last night I attended a Louet trunk show at my LYS, Village Yarn & Tea. Not only were there great yarns and patterns to see and touch, wine, cheese, and friendly people, but I got to be a model! My garment was a lovely knitted tee made from Euroflax linen. I liked the style, but the fabric was still a little bit scratchy from probably not having been washed enough yet. Here's the pattern and what I'd look like wearing it if I was a little (lot) younger and had long, beautiful hair. It was fun; we walked around and people touched, petted, and questioned us about the lovely items we wore.

October sock club items so far:

Yarn Pirate - Killer Bees superwash merino and two pretty fuschia-colored circular needles.I understand that the cables on these are 24" (not including the needles themselves) so they'd be long enough to use for Magic Loop if you were so inclined. I might give it another try, although I prefer two circs in general. But I could save some money by only buying one needle in each size and maybe have enough left for more yarn?

The other yarn I received so far this month is from the Simply Socks Yarn Company sock club. It's Dream in Color Smooshy and the colorway is Brouhaha. I've ordered some other colors of this yarn after hearing how great it was to work with, but I haven't used it yet.

I've also been spending too much time on Ravelry since I received my invitation a couple of weeks ago. It's very cool. Look me up - I'm LaurieB.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

It's a good day

because YP Booty Club sock yarn (and cool circular needles) just arrived in the mail! Very fun color.

And a good time was had by all

at the big party! It's time to get a post on here with a few more photos of Mom's Birthday Bash. The party was fun; it was great to see old friends and neighbors, lots of relatives, and Mom looking so great and happy. Above is the immediate family, and cousins who came from California and Nevada - we were really pleased to have them here.

My sister and I have been having parties for Mom every five years since age 75, so this is the third one. I think it might have been the most enjoyable, too, since we finally wised up and got some teenage girls to help us in the kitchen.Yes, we're not the center of attention, but it's nice not to have to be doing all the work during the actual event. The preparation and clean up are enough. I actually enjoyed preparing the house for the party and am appreciating the (hopefully not temporary) lack of clutter I achieved in a few rooms. We won't talk about the rooms to which I moved the aforementioned clutter.

Even though we don't have any good "crowd" shots, we probably had 60 people over the course of three hours, and much food, wine, coffee, and cake was enjoyed. One nice thing was that all three kids were here, and we got a nice photo of the five of us, which we'll use for our holiday cards this year.

In other news, I finished my afghans for Afghans knitting and my red scarf and sent them off. Here's Buddy modeling one pair of mittens I made. He thinks they're yummy! I also sent this vest, four baby/children's hats, and two little pairs of mittens. You can see them here. And this is my red scarf. (Linking directly to flickr sometimes is a good idea when Blogger isn't cooperating.) I was congratulating myself on being finished with charity knitting for awhile, but then I volunteered to seam an afghan for a family in Greensburg, KS. I made some squares and have been following their progress on Laura's blog. It looked like she needed help assembling these blankets, so I volunteered to do one. I'm waiting for the pieces to come in the mail and then I'll get started.

I'm also going to try some two color knitting on the hats I said I'd make and donate to the Senior Center where my mom volunteers. And that leaves a lot of time to make the scarf for my ISE secret pal, finish the Socktoberfest socks, make the Spindle sock a mate, finish the throw I've been working on for three years, and make a couple of sweaters and a bag. I guess I'd better get busy.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mom

I couldn't let the day pass by without wishing a very happy 85th birthday to my wonderful mother. We had a great party for her on Saturday, but today is the actual day. I'll put some more photos in a later post, but I just wanted to say thank you for being the kind, caring, loving mother and grandmother that we all cherish. You are the best, and we are so lucky to have you.

Lots and lots of love from all of us.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Finished at last!

Mystery Stole 3 is currently blocking. It's been a long process, but I've learned so much from participating. No, it's not perfect, no it doesn't have any beads (I'll tackle that next time) but I think it looks pretty darn good for a first major lace project. When I announced my intention of finishing it today, my DD said "Are you still working on that? You've been doing it since, like, July." Yes I have, and yes I'm proud of myself for finishing it in October.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

New socks, old socks

I ran across news of a contest on this blog (it's so cool how you can be reading a blog, pick up a link to another, and end up referring to a blog you never heard of before). Be that as it may, I decided to participate, partly because of the sock posting I did here already. Also, I realized that I left one pair out of my group photo, so I'll remedy that sometime. The contest is to post a photo of the first sock you made and the last sock you made. I had DD help with setting up the photo, and we got one shot before the camera's battery went pfffft. So here it is.

The blue socks are the first I ever made, using Bollicine Baby Night and a beginners stockinette pattern from Knit Socks! I made them when I first started knitting, about 3 years ago. They're warm and snuggly and I usually just wear them around the house. The colorful socks are Monkeys. I just finished them last week. The yarn is Zen String Harmony in the Opal colorway. So there you go!

Friday, September 28, 2007

In the Eye of the Beholder

In preparation for the 85th birthday party we will have for my mom in just over a week, we've been readying the house; cleaning carpets and windows, painting stairs and hallway, and just generally trying to tidy up. This caused a look at some artwork hanging in the hall, which led to a project that involved reframing and rearranging several pieces. This led to having a space with nothing in it, which caused us to go to the pile of high school artwork our son had left in the basement when he went to college last year. He has always been artistic and has taken art classes off and on, so we had a selection of work to choose from. We ended up reframing one piece that we had displayed previously (orange girl) and finding an abstract piece that I really liked and having that framed. Here they are: (click on each to see larger.)

It was hard to photograph them accurately in the hallway at night, but I did my best. Here they are actually hanging; that was harder due to the narrow hall. But I think he has a certain style and creativity that I enjoy, and I'm happy to show off his work. When he was here a couple of weeks ago with his roommates, they picked up a bunch of his other drawings and paintings to take back to their house with them, too. You can't beat original artwork!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Secret to Finishing Socks

is to have lots of knitting time and nothing else to do. I always finish socks, but I'm not a particularly fast knitter, and it usually takes me a couple of weeks. Well, yesterday I found out that if I just sit and knit (for hours and hours) I can get half a sock done in a day! I don't really recommend the circumstances I had, but it's nice to know.

Here's what happened: My husband was having some trouble with his stomach Friday and Friday evening, but thought it would pass as most things do. He woke me up about 2:00 am with the news that he thought we should call a doctor. He doesn't like to ask for help (what man does?), so I knew it must be something. Long story short, the doctor recommended a trip to the ER, so I started on my odyssey of sitting and working on the sock (which had most of the leg finished) at about 2:45 am.

We worked our way through the ER, and after the CT scan they were pretty sure that the appendix would have to come out. DH was admitted to the hospital sometime that morning (it's funny how the perception of time changes when hospitals are involved) and we continued to wait to find out what time the surgery would be. The surgeon finally secured some OR time about 2:00 pm, and everything went very well. DH spent the night, I came home and had a good night's sleep, and picked him up this morning. He has some teeny bandages and sore muscles, but otherwise is fine. Modern medicine is truly amazing. (No photos - I threatened to take one of him in the attractive hospital gown and socks, but decided not to.)

But here are the socks: Monkeys out of Zen String Harmony, fingering weight in "Opal". The yarn was nice to work with; it's merino and tencel, so looks shiny. I don't know if I could've made the two socks look more similar if I had divided the ball into two originally, (or tried to begin at the same point of repeat in the colors) but I just started knitting the first and then continued on to the second when that one was done. I kind of like the variation; besides, I didn't have a scale to weigh the yarn when I started, so I wouldn't have been able to scientifically divide the yarn into two equal balls. I recently got one, and it's fun to know how much yarn there's left when you're done with one sock. I usually make my cuffs relatively short, and have a lot of yarn left over when I'm finished.

I was worried the other day; I wanted to use the beautiful yarn I got from the Zen String sock club last month. It's sport weight with consequently less yardage than fingering, and since I knit cuff down, I was worried about using more than half of the skein for the first sock. I used the Spindle Sock pattern, and like the way the first one came out (even though I misread the directions for the cables and made a little mistake, I was consistent so I think they look okay. Now I just have to remember to make the same mistake on the second one.

Yes, I do like Zen String. In fact, look what was waiting in the mailbox when I came home last night! Angelina put some yarn up on the website a week or so ago, and I just love the Bambewe, so when I saw the big skein she was selling (blue) and she said she could see it knit into a lacy wrap, I was a goner. The lighter color is this month's sock club yarn, Serendipity fingering. It feels totally soft!

I bought some more Bambewe from the Loopy Ewe when Sheri had it in stock a couple of weeks ago. These are Bart and Louise and Blue Norther colorways. This yarn is 60% merino, 30% bamboo, and 10% nylon and is very nice to work with and wear.

And I found out it pays to link! I noticed that I have a $5 credit in my Loopy Ewe account, and it's there because someone visited their site and opened an account, arriving there by way of my blog! So thank you to whoever did that; it's really fun to realize that someone besides me reads this stuff. And I totally recommend The Loopy Ewe; I have never had a single problem with the (considerable amount of) yarn I've purchased there, their shipping is lightening fast, and Sheri is sweet and always willing to give help or advice. (This endorsement is the opinion of the writer of this blog, and was completely unsolicited!)

Also this past few days: I was invited into Ravelry (I'm LaurieB there) and got my ISE5 secret pal information. Fun, fun!

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Yarn Harlot Rocks!

Yes, tonight I was there amongst the hundreds of knitters at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, WA to see Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. It was great, although I always manage to sit behind someone with too much hair. That's Stephanie behind the podium in the dark; I obviously need a new camera, too. Don't worry, better pictures are to come.

Stephanie is hilarious. I've seen her twice, and she's engaging, earnest, self-deprecating, and funny. But she manages to get her message of this "represent" tour across, illustrated by many examples, the least of which is the ease by which she raised over $300,000 for Doctors Without Borders by simply asking knitters to donate. Knitters are a force to be reckoned with! Knitters are people from all walks of life, and when spurred to action can accomplish just about anything.

Anyway, this time I waited around to get my book signed, and this is what amazed me. Here is a woman who has traveled for hours, speaks for an hour in the evening, then sits for at least two more so she can sign books and converse with hundreds of people. Stephanie doesn't just sign your book. She looks at each person, answers questions, takes photos, poses for more, and shows genuine interest in every comment and proffered piece of knitting. Each person feels as if she (or he) is the only one in the room. And what's even more amazing is the people waiting in line don't seem to mind. They knit, chat, and patiently wait for their turn. It was great.

Thanks to Cheryl for being an awesome photographer.

In other news, I need to thank Sarah-Hope for the super goodies she sent me in our Cotton Commandoes Sister Swap. I got two beautiful dishrags, a skein of pretty self-striping kitchen cotton, and two balls of sock yarn. And look at the cool note card with the knitter on it. So cute! Thanks so much for everything.

More yarn was received this week, and of course more was purchased but I'll update with the photos another day. Time to do some chillin'.