Monday, December 21, 2009


Finally, the shortest day of the year. Now the days will get longer, even as the weather grows ever colder. Cookie baking is almost over. The trees are half put up.

I will put it in writing, I hate putting the lights on my trees. It takes me forever, and by the time I get done I don't feel like dealing with the ornaments. I love how the tree makes the room glow. I like looking at it. I don't even mind taking it down for the season, but I really don't like the initial installation. And this year I couldn't manage to bribe any of the kids with the promise of cookies. (No, they wanted cash. Not in the unemployment budget.) So I'm listening to music, or books on tape, drinking hot cider and sucking it up. The lights are on the main tree, and the ornaments are started. I just haven't made up my mind as to a theme. Antique ornaments, space ships, buildings colors, travel souvenirs, I just don't know. Yes, I know this means I have way too many ornaments. And yes I'm procrastinating by writing this post.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


One of the results of the studio re-org was 7 large bins of WIP. I have been slowly working on turning them into DONE projects. Recently completed a cardigan in SWTC Phoenix. This is one of my patterns. It has set in, 3/4 length sleeves, a shaped torso and garter stitch edging all around. Since I never bother to button a cardi, I didn't put in button holes. Also in the done pile a lace scarf handknit from quivit, a pair of socks in a lace pattern, my own design; a hat in yummy yak yarn with a braided band; and several scarves.

Friday, December 4, 2009

No wonder

Winter seems to have arrived in my neighborhood, or at least it is now consistently below freezing every night in the long range forecast. And after a long relatively warm fall the sudden drop in temps is down right COLD. I actually had ice in my recently emptied water garden containers late this afternoon. (Okay so it rained after I emptied them last week.)

Despite the brilliant blue skies this afternoon, I actually hauled in the planted containers that overwinter in my unheated garage. It is detached from the house so it does get cold, but the plants don't have the temperature shocks of being in the sun and then below freezing temps. It's a block garage and it just seems to stay a fairly consistent temp all winter. The plants live and their clay pots don't break, so I'm happy.

I just looked at the thermometer in the master bedroom and it says that the room is 74 deg F. I know that thermostat downstairs is set for 70. But the upstairs got new thermal paned, tight fitting Pella windows when I renovated it about 9 years ago, so it stays much warmer. No wonder I like working up here.

And the work on UFOs continues. I've been making real progress on the top down sweater from Knitting Classic Style. This is the cover sweater, and I happen to have about 30,000 yards of undyed chunky yarn from the family sheep. Yes this is more than 17 miles of yarn. I need to find more patterns for this weight... Or I need to felt whole flocks of sheep.

Also working on my braided hat from Bijou Basin. Oddly enough the only modification I've made was to graft together the ends of the braid that forms the band. Yes, it was fiddly, and probably a bit anal on my part but there will be no sewn seam on this hat. It feels warm in my hands. And that's pretty nice right now. I really should take some more pictures and post them.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Timeless skills

As I was putting up the tools this afternoon, I thought about where I had learned to do this sort
of work. I remembered that my grandfather had let all of us kids play with his tools and make things, gradually teaching me the basic carpentry skills that I had used for the last two days. Demolition, dad taught me that. How to toe-nail wood into a post, something else I learned from watching him. How to use a hammer, or shovel, Grandpa taught me that, probably by letting me build or make something that I had wanted.

The weather has been clear, sunny and for November warm for the last couple of days. I decided to take advantage of it to repair the last bit of damage remaining from Hurricane Ike last year. Two of the 4x4 posts that support the fence had snapped in the windstorm. I replaced one of them last year to keep the fence standing and keep Rosie, the neighbor's dog where she belonged. And the other post was in the part of the fence that supported the climbing hydrangea, which I didn't want to disturb while it was still leafed out. It took all day to get the materials and replace the one post last year, so I knew what I was getting into this time. Or so I thought.

I gathered all the tools, hauling hammer, nails and level from the basement and shovels and spud bar from the garage. My first surprise was that the old post had been set in concrete, a LOT of concrete. I ended up spending all day digging around the concrete trying to find the bottom. I had a hole 33 inches deep and 4 feet across. I actually called my dad to help me get this chunk of concrete out of the ground, as it weighed several hundred pounds. The second surprise was having to cut down about a third of the hydrangea to be able to get to the post to even start work. I had wanted to leave it in place and work around it the way I had when I installed the fence sections in 2002.

The initial goal had been to have the post replaced and fence repaired by late afternoon but the concrete shot that down. The new goal was to have the fence repaired enough to keep the dog in the yard overnight and finish it this morning. I got the post in and backfilled just before dark yesterday and went back this morning to reattach the rails and replace the two verticals that had been removed. I also had to refill the ramp I had dug in the flower bed to allow Dad and myself to pull the concrete out with a chain.

There are a lot of things that you can teach yourself from reading a book, but it takes hands on experience or observation to know that sometimes the best way to put a board into place to be nailed is to have someone lean on it to hold it in position. My grandpa has been dead for almost thirty years now, but I still find myself using those basic skills that he taught me long ago. I miss him.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

No more counting

The bins of yarn are done. I had to buy a couple of more for the yarn. And I'm starting bin 5 full of UFO. Scary thought that. I'm taking a page from Susan Lazear's blog and listing them as Done rather than To Do.

So I have my first Done object, a baby cap in Red Heart. Yes Red Heart. For gifts to new mothers who have no idea how to care for hand knits, Red Heart is perfect.

The exterior window trim has been painted so that chore is done for a few years. And the tropical plants are migrating to their winter locations. My bedroom is looking rather jungle like with three palm trees in front of the window at the end of the bed.

Now I'm working on the bookshelves and I'm more than half done there. A couple of hours and I should have those finished too. I need to move the drafting board and finish hauling out the nonfiber related stuff underneath. And I will just about be done in the studio.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Four to go

It's a beautiful sunny day, although a bit chilly and I'm still counting. However the end is in sight with only four to complete. I'm working on the worst one at the moment with the Shetland Spindrift. I view Spindrift like a painter looks at paint. So I have MANY different colors to inventory. And of course each one is its own entry on Ravelry. Currently my stash count is at 711 and I expect it to hit near 900 with just the shetland yarns.

Back to the grindstone.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Robin

Today is my baby sister's birthday. And she's old enough to have stopped counting. To celebrate she took the afternoon off and came to my house to knit. Yes she has one FO and is starting her second project. She knit, I inventoried stash and helped her when she got stuck. She is seeing progress so she's happy.

We had much discussion about color preferences. I was laughing that I was surprised at how many warm rusty reds and hot fuschia pinks I was finding in the stash as I have always thought that blue was my favorite color. I have long claimed to hate pink, but have found a lot of it in the bins. She prefers jewel tones, and rich dark colors so much of the stuff did nothing for her. She did admire a crazy ball I had made about 8 or 9 years ago so I gifted to her. Happy birthday (and I don't have to count it. win/win.)

The count continues but the living room is now relatively accessible, so there is progress. As of this writing Ravelry says that I have logged 613 yarns and I have 7 bins to go. I'm hoping to have it completed by the end of the week.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Slow progress

After plowing through 9 bins of yarn on Sunday, I only managed to get through two yesterday although they were both sock yarns. The goal for this afternoon is to get through about seven so that my living room can be used again. Tomorrow is my sister Robin's birthday and she wants to spend the afternoon over here knitting on her second project.

Yes, my sister has decided to learn to knit and has one FO under her belt, a garter stitch scarf in some sort of mohair/fuzzy blend. Her new project is a one ball scarf in another fuzzy yarn in purse stitch and she's finding it a bit more challenging. She can recognize when something is wrong and simply stops and waits for me to help rather than puzzling it out. We'll have to work on that.

Also on my list of projects around the house is getting the wood trim around remaining 9 original windows primed and painted while the weather allows. I scraped and scrubbed/washed them last week. This morning after I voted, I stopped at Sherwin Williams to pick up a quart of oil based exterior primer. I got them primed before lunch and if the weather holds I'll try to get the first coat of paint on them tomorrow. Two coats of paint and I'll be done for a while.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What was I thinking

I've found myself with time on my hands due to a recent layoff. It wasn't unexpected. I work landscape and we're going into fall/winter and running out of work. I already know that I can survive on unemployment. Although I need to find affordable health insurance for the duration.

I had this bright idea to re-organize my yarn studio. I had gotten into the habit of tossing any yarn that comes into the house in there when I want to get it out of sight and the unspun fiber was being piled behind the couch in the living room. Basically you couldn't walk in there. Plus I wanted to organize the library of fiber books. So the first thing I did was pull 19 70 qt bins out of the room along with the misc. bags and baskets that have been holding yarn and UFOs. That gave me space to walk. I pulled the bins that contain fabric or embroidery things. They are moving somewhere else. I sorted out the undyed yarns and put them into 4 bins of their own. Then I started consolidating the spinning fiber. There are 14 bins of various fibers and colors plus a large box of undyed batts from the family sheep. There are bumps of wool that haven't made their way back in here. I need to do something else with them to consolidate. Seriously I do not need to buy fiber and there are 6 fleeces in the house still needing processed plus 2 -3 llama fleeces in the garage.

I spent the day going through the yarn bins, inventorying them, and inputting the information into Ravelry. I have gotten through 8. 5 bins and have about 15 to go. I don't need to buy yarn. This has to be SABLE. On the other hand I'm not finding that much that I didn't know about. I just need to get it all organized. Oh and I'm finding a lot of UFOs and needles. The finish the project pile is growing.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Last weekend I finished a cushion for a bench seat for someone. In late June I had delivered three pillows for this same bench, while I went on to finish the cushion. I sent an invoice for everything with the cushion. Tuesday the client called, supposedly to question the bill, but it quickly became an attack on everything that I had made. It was ugly, it was too thin, the plaids didn't match, made her cry. Never-mind that she selected the fabric and neglected to provide enough to properly cut the cording or do any elaborate matching. The top and bottom had centered plaids, and the cording and sides were cut so that they were each one color and the strips were sew to carefully match the plaid within the cording or sides. There was insufficient fabric to match the sides to the top and bottom panels. And the thickness was exactly what we had originally discussed.

And oh by the way "I didn't receive any pillows." I pointed out that they had been delivered separately several months ago. I was told that I had never sent them. I followed up and my sister had put them in the car herself so the client was mistaken. Not that I wanted to call the woman a liar but the reality is that she called at least once a week until the pillows were completed. I didn't hear anything and concluded that she was happy with them. I didn't hear anything again for weeks until she called about the cushion. Then she called weekly about the cushion, no mention was made of the pillows. She ended the call saying that she would pay me what she owed me but that she was unhappy. (And to date I haven't seen a check.)

Unfortunately I am forced to conclude that this person wants something for nothing and was looking for any excuse to get out of paying the bill. Fortunately I don't sew to earn my living. Nor am I ever likely to do something like this for non-family ever again.

On a happier note, today was sunny and clear and after a week of wet and well below normal temps it was really nice. Blue skies, warm sun and I took advantage of it to clean out the tree beds and plant blue and yellow pansies. They look so cheery.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


In the past week I have knit 1 shell, 1 cardigan, 1 pullover, a scarf and swatched for 2 more sweaters. (And they were all from stash. yay) Now I just have to finish them. Along with the kimono and sweater that are half assembled from last fall. Especially if I want to show them off at my machine knitting classed in two weeks.

And the repaired electronic head for my knitting machine was delivered this afternoon. So now I can swatch patterned stitches too. Unfortunately when I looked at the details on the bill, it appears that they billed me for the replacement part that I had included when I sent it in for repairs. sigh.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Why is it...

That I can build stone walls or install pavers for weeks on end and simply feel sweaty and grubby at the end of the day and pulling weeds for 7 hours is exhausting?

Monday, July 6, 2009


I was talking to my friend Barb this afternoon while I was driving for work to a nursery up in Union County. Thought I would give her a heads up as there seemed to be an unusual amount of State Troopers on the road today and she and Jack were driving home from Arkansas. As I stopped at the intersection of SR 33 and 42 I even said "there's even one here."

I made my turn and kept going. We're chatting away and I glance up into the rear view mirror and crap there's a trooper behind me but the lights aren't on. Barb laughed and asked what he could possibly stop me for because I had just double checked and was actually going the speed limit for once. Glibly I replied, I don't have my belt on. No sooner said than the lights go on behind me.

Sure enough. He asked if I knew what I had been pulled over for. I honestly stated that I had no idea. He said that I had failed to use the turn signal when I stopped at the top of the exit ramp, and that it was a moving violation and would attach points to my license, but that he would be nice and give me a warning instead. However I wasn't wearing a seat belt and they don't give warnings for that. He did ask why I wasn't wearing it and I honestly replied that I had taken it off when I had been in the last nursery because I was scrambling in and out of the truck to load things and had simply forgotten to put it back on. 20 minutes later I was on my way with a ticket for $68 on the seat beside me. So much for anything that I earned today.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Just in time

Hurray! The siding has been repaired on the kitchen gable. It literally took me years to find a handyman willing to replace the aluminum siding on the kitchen after a windstorm took it off. Most people I talked to quoted me prices that would re-side the entire house. I had a box of siding, I just needed the labor to install it.

And now the rain is pouring down in a rather nasty thunderstorm.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Just got back from the TNNA fashion show. There were about 100 items shown on the catwalk tonight and as you would expect there are some that I liked and some that I went "bleh". Overall what I was seeing was stripes, both vertical and horizontal; texture, especially cables and lace; cardigans, more short than anything and with a bit of swing; skirts, a surprising number and especially in suits, and more than the usual amount of men's sweaters. The yarns were much bulkier than last year, and many of the shapes were more fitted.

Of course there were new yarns, the most memorable being "Harley" from Trendsetter. Harley is a carry along yarn with little bits of metal chain dangling from it every so often. Interesting concept, not my cup of tea, but I really liked the shape and fit of the sweater that it was used in.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Great Lakes Fiber Show

After working almost 14 hours yesterday, I got up bright and early this morning to meet up with Barb and Merida to head off to Wooster, Ohio for the Great Lakes Fiber Show. This is an annual event occurring on Memorial Day weekend and we look forward to it after a long winter.

We took Merida's new car a Honda Fit and had been warned that we were only allowed to eat/drink non-staining things in her new baby. In fact we were her first non-family passengers. It was a smooth 2 hour trip and a dry run for our trip IwannaKnit ReTreat in 2 weeks. The car was comfortable, our only concern at this point will be getting 3 knitting machines, accessories and yarn, luggage for 3 people and a cooler in the car for the 4 hour drive.

We hit the festival a little after 10 and planned our attack on the vendors. Merida wanted her first stop to be Noah's Landing as Susan tends to have interesting Habu yarns on clearance from time to time and Merida loves their yarns. Me, I just needed to find some acid green yarn from Fleece Artist, similar to what I used for Barb's stole. My sister loved the scarf I made for her daughter from the leftovers and has indicated that she wants one for herself. We wandered through the 4 buildings running into numerous friends and exchanging many hugs.

I am always amazed by the memory of some of the vendors. Catherine at Knitting Notions commented that I looked so much better than the last time she had seen me at Stitches East last fall, that I had seemed down and not feeling well. Merida reminded me that I had gone to Baltimore with a serious prescription of antibiotics and had slept through most of the drive as I had been recovering from a respiratory infection and high fever the day before. I had forgotten that I was even sick on that trip. Jim from Aunt Aggie's greeted me by name as we arrived. I only see most of these vendors 2 -3 times per year and they remember little things. It's just amazing.

I think we managed to look at almost everything before starting to buy. I am admittedly on a yarn/fiber diet with my change in employment. Being an architect brought home much larger paychecks than a landscape foreman/production manager. So the budget is different and Lord knows that I am not hurting for yarn or fiber to work with. So I made more thoughtful purchases. I couldn't find the yarn for Robin and so bought dye and undyed base yarn and will dye it myself. I love an excuse to play with yarn and color, so this really breaks my heart. Several braids of seasilk/silk and seasilk/wool roving also made the trip home too. All three of us bought three pound bags of undyed/neutral NZ wool for use in class samples at Machine Camp, 3 pounds for $10. What a great deal.

We rounded out the day with a trip to Lehman's Hardware in Kidron. A truly fascinating place to wander through. And after a quick stop across the street for ice cream and we were headed home. We were all tired but happy, it was a good trip.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

We are experiencing technical difficulties, please stand by

The laptop had been acting stupid. You know, slow, doing weird things, the virus software wouldn't update, Windows wouldn't update, stuff kept freezing, just generally acting hinky and making one suspect a virus or spyware. So I took it into be checked out.

It was a good news, bads news report. No bugs or spies, but the operating system needed to be reloaded. Could I do that, sure I've done it before and I know several computer people, so I think "no problem. " Now that I know there are no bugs, I simply back up the system, and use the disks that came with the computer to reinstall the operating system. Then reload the files.

Famous last words... Windows is reloaded, but the hiberation feature no longer works and it's only running, .NET 1.0 and won't install the update to 1.1 and I'm antsy about uploading 2.0 which is what I had before. And to make it better, the portable hard drive sold to me as being perfect for back ups. Nope, it is for synchronization not back ups. I need a to try to copy the files onto a different computer and then transfer them. The second computer won't boot, something about a missing sector. I am so screwed.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I've been busy

It's been a busy couple of weeks. I had cast on for the Reversible Vest from Knit One Below and was making great progress when I ran out of yarn last weekend with literally 27 stitches and 2 inches of knitting to go. And there was no more of that color in my stash. So off to Ravelry I went hoping that some kind knitter would have some in their stash that they were willing to part with. Hurray, last night I got a response and I'm now waiting for the skein to arrive.

In the meantime, I've gone back to work for Creative Spaces Landscape Design and Construction. This week was spent indoors building our garden display for the Home and Garden show here in Columbus. The theme this year is Hooray for Hollywood and our booth theme was Terminator 2, "HOSTA la Vista, Baby". Steve designed a garden full of hostas, rhodedendrons, ferns, evergreens, flowering cherries and tulips. Complete with a waterfall, stream and pond and a garden shed that could have been lifted from the movie. Think of the urban industrial, graffiti covered buildings in the movie. My assignment was to help lay it out and help supervise getting it built. Steve had broken it out into day by day tasks, and was there most of the week to help, especially with building the water feature.

Everything went fairly well except for the water feature which had developed a leak that we could not find. To the shock of my crew, Steve and several of the adjacent landscape companies I went so far as to peel off my boots and socks, roll up my pants and waded into the pond in an attempt to get it repaired and put back together. And yes it was very cold. To my amusement what really bothered them the most was that I was going to walk barefoot across the concrete floor of the building to the bathroom to rinse my feet off and put them under the blow dryers before putting my socks and boots back on. They thought that was so unhealthy. I pointed out that they were a bunch of guys who played in the dirt all day, and didn't wash their hands before eating lunch, and that I had seen them eat food they had dropped on the ground so they had no room to talk.

We also spent some time adding graffiti to the garden shed. By 4:30 Friday afternoon we had it done, groomed and the plants watered, ready for the preview party at 7. I had a phone call this afternoon that the water feature is dry, so I'll have to refill it before I start work in the booth tomorrow. One of the partners in the company is leaving for Florida in the morning, so I'll be taking his place in the booth this week. This should be interesting.

I've also been working on finishing a super secret birthday present for my friend Barb's 60th birthday, which happens to be today. The Soft Wavy Wrap in these striking shades of acidy green from Fleece Artist. It happens to be one of her favorite colors, and is knit of an alpaca boucle and a mohair that have been painted the same colors. It's a six row, eleven stitch repeat and very simple.

I've also been practicing my long draw woolen spinning technique and have 3 bobbins complete so far. I want to spin the February offering for the Colorways Club into a woolen yarn rather than my usual worsted/semi-worsted yarn. Here's what I managed to get from the January fiber. It's really nice, but typical of handspun in that it's a bit dense. I would like to get more air and more yardage out of the same size batt. So woolen is what I'm shooting for.

And on a final note. The witch hazel starting blooming on Thursday. Proof that spring is really on its way.

Friday, February 13, 2009


It was a beautiful sunny day today. Something to be enjoyed after two days of high winds. Chore for the day: repair damaged shingles. My neighbor who is 80 lost a couple of shingles on his one-story house. And here's a bit of trivia. His house is a Sears kit house. I replaced the shingles. And made sure that everything was well adhered with roofing cement. Then I thought I would adhere the couple of loose shingles on my roof too. But I have a 12/12 pitch on my story and half Cape Cod. I discovered that I can't climb that high. So I called my cousin the roofer and begged him to fit me in. He was a bit amused.

Then unable to resist the sunshine I started prowling around the gardens looking for damage and hoping for spring. And look what I found. The witch hazel is starting to open in the backyard and the daffodils are starting to poke through the cold dark earth.
Even though this is central Ohio and we are normally considered zone 5, the backyard is enclosed with a privacy fence to block the wind on two sides, the house on another and the masonry wall of the garage on most of the fourth. This creates warm spots in that areas that let spring arrive early.

And the area on the south side of the house is a heat trap between the two houses and maybe one - two zones warmer. There are plants growing there that shouldn't be there, perennial fuchsia, holly ferns and gladiolas that I never dig up. Spring comes to this area about 1 - 2 weeks earlier in this part of the garden. Look at the difference in the daffodils. And after a winter that started about six weeks early this year. We're really happy to see these.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Look what came in the mail

From Grafton Fibers Colorway Club.

Linda sends these to club members around the world every month. Complete with a little booklet with spinning tips and a possible project for the resulting yarn.

And isn't it beautiful.

Monday, February 9, 2009

It dropped Friday.

The other shoe, that is. For weeks now I've suspected that my employment time was limited. There simply wasn't enough billable work coming in to be able to cover my salary and my CAD skills are essentially non-existent after 14 years away from it. My boss, a friend for more than 20 years, had the uncomfortable task of letting me go. He did offer to let me keep my health insurance as long as I pay the premiums. And he wants me to do contract work on an hourly basis. So all in all I'm better off than I was when this happened in 2007.

My friends rallied around me to keep me busy over the weekend and came complete with offers to take me out, feed me, cheer me up etc. I have to admit that emotionally I'm in much better shape than I was the last time. And I know that this really is survivable, so it's not quite as scary.

I applied for unemployment over the weekend. And answered a bunch of silly questions from them today. (Why wasn't I available for work last week? Duh I had a job until Friday. Why didn't I contact 2 potential employers in the last week. Same answer. And the one I truly loved, Why were you fired? And your only options were all "for cause" reasons. Agree to any of those and your claim will be completely denied. And this after I had told them I was let go due to a lack of work.) And the government wonders why the unemployed are frustrated...

Yesterday I polished my resume and started the hunt in earnest. In all honesty I had a couple of small freelance graphic projects to finish, so I've been concentrating on that, and will grab the contract work while I can. I know that I can get by on the benefits, but that there will be nothing left "to stimulate the economy."

This morning I was surprised to get a call from a former employer at a landscape company wanting me to come back to work for him in a couple of weeks. With the same deal as last year, work while I'm looking for a job in my licensed and trained profession. Time off when I need it for interviews and as much work as I want to handle for them at an hourly rate otherwise. The work will start almost 7 weeks sooner than it did last year and it pays OT something that I'm not used to but kind of enjoy. And I am not as in shape as I was last April. This should be interesting and probably painful. But it is a job, something I like doing and something I'm relatively good at, just really over qualified. We're talking truly getting my hands dirty as a working foreman in the landscape business. And this is a boot camp method of getting in shape in hurry.

And yes knitting does continue I'm making progress on the Inside Out scarf. And this arrived via UPS this afternoon. I wasn't expecting it for another month and was pleasantly surprised. Now I want to play with my wheel again.

Monday, February 2, 2009

It snowed

It's February. Where did January go?

Actually I know what happened. The weather has consumed all of my so called free time in the last week. Tuesday a storm moved in dumping snow, ice, sleet, ice rain and more snow on Tuesday and Weds. This is my redbud covered in ice and snow. Before it was over we had 4" of snow with an inch of ice, then 6 - 9" of snow on top of that. I parked the car Tuesday night and couldn't get it out of the driveway until after work on Friday. I have discovered the joys of public transit, and it's free during level 2 and 3 snow emergencies and comes complete with at least 20 minutes of knitting time each way. Not a bad thing for a knitter who spends the evenings with a snow shovel.

Pretty as it is on my barberry and scarlet oaks. It pretty much shut down Columbus on Wednesday and slowed everything up until the weekend. But it did make for great back drops for my latest finished object.

This is the Alligator Scarf from Morehouse Merino. In the Orinoco color. It's very purple. Ravelry details are here. Although as I write this I haven't uploaded any pictures yet.

Before the snow showed up, this arrived from Grafton Fibers. The first shipment in the new Colorways Fiber Club. Comes complete with suggestions on how to spin it and a possible project to make with the finished yarn. Rich red, to a deep black and teal.

And since I have a FO, I started another project. The Inside-Outside Scarf from Knit One Below. It's actually really simple. My friend Ruth figured out how to machine knit it too. Its basically a two color tuck stitch pattern. And I'm already mulling the possibilities around in my head. And yes Heather, when I get that far I will photograph the steps on the knitting machine to share.

The wind is starting to howl. There's a chance of more snow blowing in overnight.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


All weekend long I worked on Clapotis. See the progress... I'm now working on the straight sections and am dropping stitches on schedule. However now I'm starting to wonder if I'll have enough yarn. What you see here is my progress on the first ball. I have 2 hanks of Primero in the color Honeysuckle, about 1000 yds. It's a year old so it's not like Sherry has more sitting in the stockroom at this point. Right now my plan is to finish this ball and see where I am. Hopefully the answer really is halfway.

At times I like mindless knitting and this is actually a pretty simple knit. All the patterning is on the knit side and the stitch markers clue up to do anything different. I worked on it all through the MK World Live session on Saturday. Heather had been tweaking me about actually managing to attend one since the session watched back in October. And I had slowly been acquiring what was needed. A reliable internet connection, a camera for laptop and a headset and microphone. Of course I couldn't get the microphone to work at all. Evidently they could see me, but communication from me was limited to nods and IM. I don't know what the others thought but I think it went rather well. At least all of the participants were still there at the end of the scheduled time and then some.

My current distraction is this. An Alligator Scarf from Morehouse Merino. It's in garter stitch and generally there is some sort of shaping on the right side rows. The color is Orinoco which is a rich blue purple. In theory I'm about 2/3 done with the body but I haven't finished the first ball. I'm seriously thinking about using a provisional cast-on and knitting the tail. Then going back and knitting body scales until I'm almost out of yarn and then kitchnering it together.

And last but not least... My sister and I have each other's name for Christmas. Typically we acquire lots of little stuff for each other over the entire year. Then the challenge in December is to remember where you put it all. This year Robin managed to misplace something. Unfortunately she still hasn't found them, but she went out and got me another set. Fortunately they are something that she likes for her house too. Last night they came home with me.

Friday, January 16, 2009


It's cold. -10F this morning, and it never got past single digits all day. It's windy on top of it, so the wind chills are dangerously low.

Yesterday with 7 inches of new snow on the ground, I had to take the bus to work. The car was in the shop getting new brakes front and back. I hadn't used public transit in Columbus since high school. Let's just say it was a while ago. I did my research, figured out which buses to catch and where and when to meet them. It might have been better if I hadn't decided to walk about 6 blocks to the office rather than taking a transfer. It was a cold walk through the snow but I got there on time and didn't mess up the route. And taking the bus means that you can say "the bus leaves at ___, and the next one is in an hour" and walk out the door on time.

The trip home was more of an adventure. I caught the bus outside my building without a problem. The driver was very helpful about answering my question about where my transfer stop would be. And oddly enough one of the passengers said something to me as I was waiting to exit and was slightly unhappy when I didn't respond. He was satisfied when I pardoned myself, and mentioned that I hadn't really heard him. Waiting at the transfer point was a lesson in why you should wear layers. It's downtown, among the high rises. The street layout and the building heights turns the streets into wind tunnels and the wind was fierce. I had layers but had a gap between basically my hips and knees. Jeans and tights were not enough.

I learned my lesson and today bundled up top to bottom. Even my eyes were covered with wrap around sunglasses. No bare skin for me. Nanook of the north is what I call the look. Thermal shirt, hooded wool pullover, down vest, wool vest, flannel lined oilskin duster with tights, wool socks, jeans, gaiters and gore-tex lined hiking boots. Topped with wool scarf, hat and fingerless gloves inside my mittens. Did I mention that I don't like being cold...

Game plan for the weekend, stay out of the cold, do chores (yuck), maybe dye yarn (messy but fun and I bet I can get the wool to cool down quickly so it can be rinsed) and knit on my Clapotis. I've started the straight part and am on my third repeat. And finally manage to participate in an MK World Live session tomorrow evening.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ooh pretty

It's here. The very first shipment of Creatively Dyed's Fantasy Fiber Club.

It is 4 oz. of a blend of Milk Protein, Seacell and wool. The colors aren't that far off. Oh so pretty. I need to put an empty bobbin on the wheel and start playing.

This is the bag of goodies that arrived with it. A wraps per inch tool, a Creatively Dyed Calendar and a pattern card from the new Knit One Below knitting book. It was waiting in the front front door when I got back from work and the mechanics this afternoon.

The car, a 2001 Sebring, front wheel drive, manual transmission, a car that actually goes on snow, had a windshield wiper just stop working today. And to make life really interesting we got hit with our first true winter storm. Snow, several inches fell during the day, and is still falling. We have something like 5 inches so far and more predicted overnight. Plus we're heading for sub-zero temperatures.

So after spending an hour plus making a drive that should have taken about 20 - 25 minutes on the crawling freeways, the car was left at my favorite mechanic. Brian thinks that its' just a bolt that is loose (fingers crossed), but while it's in there he's going to change the oil, check the brakes and put the new wiper blades on it. The wiper blades I bought last week and intended to install when it wasn't cold or wet. Nice thought that.

So my dad picked me up and dropped me home and I waded through the snow to get in. My game plan is to go out this evening and shovel off the drive and walks. Already someone has come to the door wanting $10 to shovel them off. It says a lot about the economy, I've been in this house since '91 and this is the first time someone has shown up wanting to shovel. And I just took a large pay cut in an attempt to employed this year. I have no extra money to spend. And I was unemployed all last winter, I know how they feel.

Clapotis continues to grow. I'm almost to the point where I can start going straight and dropping stitches.

I need to go shovel snow.

Monday, January 12, 2009


I am a book and movie junkie. My library of fiction is enormous, and I love sci fi/fantasy books and movies. The DVD collection is pretty large too. And movies make for great knitting time.

Clapotis continues to grow and I've discovered that I can get the book I'm reading His Dark Materials Omnibus, by Philip Pullman to lie flat so I can read and knit at the same time. This is the triology that starts with The Golden Compass. I saw the movie when it first came out and amused my companion with my "ooh that's Tom Tower and that's the Bodleian Libary and that's..." I really believe that all students should spend at least one term studying abroad and I went to Oxford while I was in college.

I don't know about anyone else but I'm always thrilled to see places that I've actually visited show up as settings in movies. I visited friends in Dunedin, New Zealand in November 2002. I hadn't seen The Fellowship of the Ring before leaving but several friends had commented on the beauty of NZ as the setting for Middle Earth. And they were right New Zealand is amazingly beautiful. I swear they filmed all over the entire country and I couldn't help visiting several locations over the course of the trip. But the thing that stuck in my mind was during The Two Towers, there is a scene that shows them looking up into the night sky. I had gone to see it with Barb and her husband right after I had come home. He asked if anything had looked familiar. I remember saying, "Yes that's exactly what the night sky looks like. There were so many stars and it was crystal clear. It was so amazing."

Off to do the long put off chores.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Saturday, after hours of the weathermen trying to terrify us with winter storm warnings and predictions of several inches of snow, I woke up to a thin layer of ice on the trees. As the day progressed it changed to rain and all the ice melted. The snow went north. I spent the day knitting and watching movies.

Then this morning was sunny and yet there were fairly large snowflakes blowing. Actually by the time I made it to church, just enough to hide the ice in the parking lot. I thought I was going to slide sideways into my Mom's car.

The afternoon was much better. I met up with two of my friends for a long delayed gift exchange and to celebrate my recent birthday. Merida and I sat in the restaurant and work at untangling the yarn barf that was keeping Barb from binding off a late Christmas present. After a delightful lunch the three of us split a slice of three layer, double fudge cake. Yum...

Then Merida and I went to check out the new LYS in Clintonville, WonderKnit. It's in the 3000 block of N. High, about a block north of Nancy's diner. They've only been open about a month and are still building up inventory. They have wood floors, high ceilings, lots of light and several seating areas with tables. While they seem to be carrying some basics like Cascade and Manos, I noticed several independent labels on the shelves. They had some wonderful 2-ply lace weight cashmere from ArtYarn. About the finest 2-ply I've seen locally. Actually they had a lot of different yarns from ArtYarn. If they can survive the economy they should do well. They seem to be carrying yarns that aren't found in the other LYS.

We finished the afternoon by joining the ladies at the back table at the Merc and knitting for a while.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Happy Birthday

My name is Lori and I'm a fiberholic. I knit. I spin. And I always have multiple projects underway. And sometimes they actually get finished. If you're on Ravelry, I'm lasknits and you can find some of them here.

My grandmother taught me to knit over 30 years ago. And boy did the lesson take.

Currently I'm trying to finish this my black alpaca kimono. Black is insanely difficult to photograph. The shiny bits are the safety pins basting it together. And the black is also making it difficult to seam except in really good light and while I'm wearing my glasses. More details can be found here.

This is Clapotis and the yarn is Primero from Brooks Farm. The color is Honeysuckle. I can't believe that I'm actually knitting this, but the yarn was begging for something much simpler than the Mystic Light shawl that it tried to become. It puddled too much for that pattern.

My library of knitting/fiber books and patterns continues to grow and I'm always looking to learn something new. Cables, lace, color work, you name it and I'm willing to give it my best shot.

One of my newest additions is The Essential Guide to Color Knitting Techniques by Margaret Radcliffe. Like many knit knitters I have been collecting handpainted yarns for several years and sometimes just haven't liked how they look when they are anything larger than socks. This book offers some great ideas about how to use them and has LOTS of color pictures to back it up.

My yarn stash is very much in the SABLE category and I own two knitting machines in the hopes of trying to conquer it.

I also own two spinning wheels and numerous spindles which have their own fiber stash and feed the yarn stash.