Thursday, October 30, 2008

Just So My Daughters Will Have Something New to Make Fun of Me For

"You are such a knitting nerd," is what they'll say, I'm betting. Anyway, the group of women I went to SAFF with found this on day one, and when I arrived for day two, our first stop of the second day was to find the booth where these were sold. I scored the last one!

What is it? Why, it's a yarn keeper bracelet, that's what it is!
It lets you knit while you are on the run, or keeps the yarn near you if you don't want it rolling all over the room. It also keeps the cat from playing with the ball of yarn because you wear the thing on your wrist and the yarn is not on the floor; it's in your lap.

Now, I was caught up in the excitement that is SAFF and didn't stop to consider that I never knit on the run, or even in public very often. The only line I've stood in lately (and I wished that I had brought my knitting) was to vote early - note the Obama bracelet. My cat rarely pays attention to my knitting. I don't know when I will use this, but it is clever, at least in theory. My three friends and I aren't the only ones who thought so - the booth was sold out when I bought the last yarn keeper bracelet early on day two of the three-day event.

So, go ahead and laugh. I may even join you.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008


I am so happy to report that I made it to the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair in Asheville, North Carolina! I drove up on last Friday, in horrid rain and fog and the three-hour trip took five hours. But it was worth it. I didn't buy much yarn---the place was beyond full of yarn and it was overwhelming to a knitter of my capabilities. I am not yet an experienced enough knitter to look at something yummy and just buy some number of skeins with plans to knit a *whatever* out of it. But I couldn't resist this: It is from the River's Edge Weaving Studio and it is made of 3 ounces of kid mohair and 1/2 ounce of Bluefaced Leicester Wool. It is much creamier in color than it looks in this photo, and it is very soft. I may just keep it as a pet. One of the friends I was with bought wool from a sheep that she met, but I didn't meet any Bluefaced Leicester sheep.

I was talking with a non-knitting friend when I returned from the fair yesterday, and I apparently went on and on about all the animals we had touched and petted. She stopped me, asking, "Why are you all so thrilled to be touching these animals?" I hadn't thought about it but it's true. We were just so interested to see and feel the animals whose fiber we knit with. It's fun to find out what the fibers feel like before they are washed and treated and spun into yarns.

This is an alpaca, and I have knit many, many things from alpaca. Hello, mr? mrs? alpaca!

This is a lamb. Isn't it cute!?

This is an angora goat. Mohair comes from this animal.

This is an angora rabbit. They are every bit as soft as they look. This is the fuzzy, furry angora you find in sweaters. The angora from these rabbits is harvested, if that's the right term, by hand. The owners just pull it out, and the rabbits don't mind at all.

The fair was held in a huge agricultural structure where rodeos and animal auctions are held. As large as the place is, it was FULL of all sorts of fiber-related things, from drop spindles to felting machines, antique sock-knitting machines, spinning wheels, looms and on and on and on. There were demonstrations of all sorts of activities, and the attendees like my friends and me took along our knitting to do when we stopped for a break. One of our knit-night friends had submitted yarn she had spun herself and a lace shawl she had knit from her own spun yarn. She won three ribbons in all. Congratulations, S!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Why I Should Live at the PO

Not by Eudora Welty
Because I've been to the freaking PO twice today!

If I had a brain, I'd be more organized and only go once.

OR, if I had the appropriate drugs, I wouldn't be so OCD that I am compelled to take things to the PO the moment they are ready to be mailed.

I was supposed to leave today for SAFF in Asheville, North Carolina, but I returned from Austin with a crummy bug and it's lingered and lingered. I'm enough better today to try and catch up with the week's errands, and---go to the PO twice. If I can get myself together, I can drive up tomorrow and join my friends there. A big if at this point, thanks to my lack of brains or drugs or both.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Let's Hope

My sister is making a comforter for older daughter's new baby, Elizabeth. As a part of this comforter, there will be squares that each of Elizabeth's siblings have drawn for her. While I was in Austin, I oversaw the artists at work. C, of course, since he is only two, drew lots of scrawls and lines, just happy to be at the kitchen table with his sisters, working on the project they were working on. He loves to be included.

E was drawing the sort of thing that she does best, lots of intricate designs, and of course, a heart and the word "love."

Then there was L. As I walked towards her, she lifted her head, smiled her famous beatific, angelic smile and said, "Look. This is a drawing of me throwing Elizabeth in the air." I'm sure I must have looked startled because she added, "She loves it when I throw her in the air."

I pointed out that Elizabeth appeared to be frightened. "Look at her mouth," I said. "She's screaming."

"No," said L. "She's saying 'Whee!'"


I then told the girls that they could draw more than one picture if they wanted, and E and L both drew flowery, sweet pictures. I'm sending all their work off to my sister and she can choose what to use.

Check out hokgardner's blog today; it's about L's love for her new sister. I'm sure she loves her, but I'm guessing there's a little jealousy there too---just check out the drawing...

BTW: L is not dyslexic; she was drawing on transfer paper and the image will be reversed when it is ironed on fabric.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Another F O

Last year I bought a Mountain Colors Mixed Fibers Throw kit, and finally, just before I went to Austin, I finished it. It sort of "hibernated" during the summer months. It was just too heavy and warm and fuzzy for knitting during Georgia's summer heat and humidity, air-conditioning not withstanding.

When I realized that I was going to Austin a month earlier than I had expected because Elizabeth had been born early, I tried to think of a frivolous but luxurious gift for older daughter. Having her baby five weeks early was stressful for her and I wanted to give her something she wouldn't have expected. I wracked my brain as I knitted away finishing this throw. And then I thought, "Duh. Why not the throw itself?" It's made of all sorts of textures of wool and mohair and it is wonderfully soft. The colorway is called Northern Lights and it's beautiful. (The colors don't really show up well in the photos.)

Anyway, I carried it to Austin and gave it to H. She and Elizabeth can snuggle into it during cold winter nights when Elizabeth wants to be awake to eat or to just hang out with her mom.

And now I'm going to order another kit to make one for me!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Elizabeth A. and Elizabeth Z.

I am back from Texas where I spent a week helping older daughter (spoiling grandchildren to the best of my ability) with her new baby, who was born five weeks early. She is beautiful and sturdy...and a good thing too, with three older siblings to deal with!

I had bought the pattern for Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jacket a month or so ago, in anticipation of making it for new baby. But new baby was early, so I made it while I was in Austin. I have been knitting for a long time, but apparently not long enough for me to understand the directions for this jacket. It doesn't resemble anything while it's being worked up, and the instructions include such things as "See what you are doing?" (No, I do NOT) and "Hope you are still with me" (Nope). So I called a knit-night friend in Atlanta who had recently made the jacket. She agreed that the directions are vague and helped me through some of the tough parts. The jacket is finished, but I'm sure that a purist would find many irregularities in it.

The whole jacket is knit in one piece and this is what the finished knitting looks like:

This is it all sewn up and with the buttons attached.
And as tiny as the jacket is (I forgot to measure the finished project, but it's knit in sock yarn, and take my word for it, it's tiny), it's not tiny at all when compared with 4 pound, 12 ounce Elizabeth!
But not to worry. Elizabeth eats like a champ, and she'll grow into the jacket in no time!

Friday, October 3, 2008

How to Quit Smoking

In today's post, Pioneer Woman discusses her earlier smoking escapades and so, in the interest of public health, I have decided to share my successful method of quitting smoking. It has a 100% success record---me! Minimal (well, none, really) research on my part has not revealed any other uses of this method, so there may well be ZILLIONS of unreported success stories out there.

I smoked for one year, my senior year of college. When I decided that I didn't want to smoke any longer, I came up with my plan:

1. I would not "bum" cigarettes from anyone else; i.e., I would give up smoking all cigarettes, not just my own cigarettes.

2. Each and every time that I wanted a cigarette, I went down to the dorm basement where the cigarette machines were. I would buy one pack, take out one cigarette, and throw the rest of the pack in the chute to the trash. These chutes led directly to a bin in the bowels of the building and there was no way I knew of to retrieve anything from the bin. I would smoke that one cigarette, and that was that. When I wanted another, I would have to buy another pack. Even at cigarette prices in the 60s, this was a very expensive way to smoke and I was a poor college student. My smoking soon came to a screeching halt.

Now, before my daughters tell on me, when we lived in Florida, another neighbor and I helped each other wallpaper rooms. We drank coffee and ate coffee cake in the mornings; we had sandwiches and soda for lunch; and if we were still papering at dinner time, we had one cigarette apiece and switched to drinking beer. A good time was had by all and the wallpaper generally looked pretty good.

To this day, I sometimes really, really crave a cigarette. I am one of those few people who enjoy second-hand smoke. But I have convinced myself that one cigarette will cause me to have a heart attack or some other dire medical emergency, and I have resisted bumming one from any smokers I might be around. On my first trip to Paris, as I was standing in line to get in the Louvre, a very nervous young woman was asking if anyone had a cigarette she could have. I told her there was plenty of smoke in the air (the French do love to smoke) but she said that was not enough.

It is for me!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


"Got gas?" you ask.
Why, yes, I do and thank you for asking.

Does this sound like a weird thing to be celebrating? It won't to those of you in some southeast cities, where gas is really, really rare right now. I was down to one-quarter of a tank, and spent the morning using precious gas to find more gas. I decided not to wander too far and stayed within twelve miles of the house. A gas station very near my house was out when I left, but by the time I got back---not finding gas anywhere else---the station had gotten a delivery. The parking lot was lined with roped-off lanes like those for a ride at Disney World, and there were workers directing people to the next pump available. Fortunately I must have arrived just after the gas arrived and so only waited for about two minutes. Lines in the Atlanta area have stretched for miles; there have been fights over people cutting in line; and there was an incident where someone siphoned gas from daycare vans. Bad, bad person!

The cause of this shortage here is supposed to be the hurricane---the one that came nowhere near here. It apparently cut production from one of the refineries in Texas (where there are no shortages) and the southeast is low on gas. Doesn't make a lot of sense, but that's what they tell us. This problem didn't even start at the time the hurricane happened, but started a couple of weeks later. Weird.

Because I left the job that required a seventy-mile roundtrip commute, I can stay fairly close to the house, and so this full tank will probably last two weeks or so.

Whew.... I can go to Knit Night!