Thursday, November 29, 2007

What quote changed your life? Or your mind?

I'm curious - what quote changed your life, or changed the way you look at things? I really want to know. Don't be embarassed - post it anonymously if you must - it couldn't be more embarassing than mine...

"I've been too chicken shit afraid to live my life, so I sold it to you for three hundred freakin' dollars a week." -Joe Banks from "Joe Versus the Volcano"

Knitting, Acting, and other Diversions

The Pay it Forward thread is doing great! I got my three - Kyle, KT, and Annie. Kyle has his three, KT has (I think) two, and Annie still has three spots available, so if you want in, check out her blog and sign up! Go! Do it now! You know you want to.

Knitting is going painfully slow. I'm a slow knitter - none slower - but the Rogue is killing me. The combination of over 200 stitches (my gauge is off, so I had to go with the largest size to get size M - 39" - measurement) and having to knit into the back of each stitch to form the hem is slowing me down even further. I've gotten all of 10 rows done and it's totally killing me. :-( But I will persevere! I want this sweater bad!

The lace is going even slower. I have managed on average 1-2 rows per day, but it's only a drop in the bucket. I'm getting more comfortable with the whole lace knitting thing, but it still required absolute quiet and NO interruption so I don't get off track. And full daylight. Ah well. I'd show you how I'm doing, but nothing looks worse than unblocked lace. I think I see the pattern, but who the heck knows. ;-) Heh.

Okay, the acting part of the title of this post. I have, amazingly enough, been asked to do another staged reading! Huzzah! Now, granted, the asking party was my husband, who is directing, but it was seconded by the other actors and at least one of the folks who's in charge of the project, so I'm fairly certain the decision didn't involve any "casting couch" activities - intentional or not! ;-) So on Saturday, December 17th at 10am I can again be seen embarrassing myself in public at the North Shore Readers Theater Collaborative in Newburyport. Check out the link for all the details. Not only is it a fun time, but you get to tell the actors/director/writer what you thought and as an added bonus you can spend the rest of the day shopping and eating in beautiful Newburyport!

While you're at the NSRTC webiste, make a note of January's offering. It is going to be one incredible event, as it is the world premier of the stage version of The Baghdad Prom: From Conversations with Iraqi Writers and Playwrights. The website links to a YouTube preview of the film. It's going to be an amazing reading and I highly recommend making the trip down to Marc Clopton's theater space in The Tannery. You know darn well you have nothing better to do on a Saturday in January.

This weekend I am dedicating myself to stalking my downstreams' websites to find out what best to gift them with. This is going to be way too much fun! I just love researching and finding/making the perfect gift for someone. Wheee! I may get so Christmasy afterwards that I start decorating the porch. With the snow we're due on Sunday, I may have no choice but to start feeling the holiday spirit. Either that or pack up the cat and all my knitting paraphenalia and head to Key West...

Also upcoming this weekend is another chance at the Alpaca Farm Open House event at Parker River Alpacas. And, another chance to buy those amazing socks!! I have rehearsal on Saturday, but I'm optimistic that I can get there on Sunday (to at least buy socks, if they aren't spinning as well). I'm dying to try the merino/silk roving that my Secret Pal gifted me, and then there's the Apple Butter roving that I have got to get going on for Kath's Christmas gift (Kath, don't read that last bit, ok?).

Hey, get me... "I have rehearsal on Saturday".

Heh. ;-)

And because I hate making you sit through a post without any pictures, here's a shot of something pretty dear to me. The Mister and I bought a lime tree when we first moved in together, to remind us of our beloved Key West, and every fall is blesses us with a few, cherished limes. And here's our first lime baby as a married couple...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

PIF - The Spirit of Handmade

How would you like to promote the spirit of handmade and get something in return? All you have to do is reciprocate and it just goes from there.


“The idea of the exchange is I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on this blog post requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet, and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it before winter's end, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.”

And so I have! Thanks to Phoenix Fiberworks for this fab idea!

Monday, November 26, 2007

The post with no pictures at all. :-(

While on vacation last week, The Mister finally had occasion to wear his Liam sweater - and he took each and every one of them! He loves that sweater so much. If you have been tuning in for awhile, you'll know that I gave him the pattern for Christmas last year, we bought the yarn in NYC after New Years, and I finished it just before our wedding in May. Unfortunate timing for a cashmere/merino cabled sweater! lol!!

It makes me so proud to see him wearing it. I can't believe I actually did that. wow.

In other knitting news, not only did I swatch for the Rogue sweater I've been promising myself, but I have washed the swatch. Yes, I actually washed a swatch. I'll wait while you pick yourselves up off the floor....

The swatch is drying on the dining room table even as we speak, and I believe I'm within 1/2 a stitch over 4 inches - which means I'll throw caution to the wind and wing it. I'm so excited to start this sweater! I've been dying to start another sweater, but which sweater to start has been torturing me. Every design I picked out required a yarn I didn't have in the stash. And, it being so close to the holiday season (and second semester bills being due for The Boy's education, but I digress) there's no way I can justify more yarn for my own projects. So I dug through the archives and found something that not only did I really want to knit, but I had bought the yarn for it almost a year ago. A Rogue is born!

I've also been keeping up on my at-least-one-row-a-day promise to myself on the Bee Fields shawl and it's going very well. I'm up to row 26 and it's actually starting to look like... something. ;-) I am going to try to sit down every morning before work and do at least one row while the light is good. After work there's just no way my eyes are up for it. Over the weekends I'm confident I can get in 4-6 rows before a.) my eyes cross, or b.) I freak out and run from the house screaming.

Other random fun things to report - our friend Josiah graduates this Thursday as a Massage Therapist (way to go! you rock!); The Mister has one, possibly two, new directing projects (the one that's a definite is the North Shore Reader's Theater Collaborative in December); I may have another acting gig (details to follow); and last but certainly not least, The Boy is coming here over his Christmas holiday!!! Whooo hoooo!!! It's always so cool when he comes to visit, the upstairs neighbors actually lament his leaving and miss the sound of acoustic guitar wafting up through the floorboards at night! Heh - imagine how we feel about it! And it's only 3 weeks away!

Uh oh... three weeks away....

I gotta knit him something...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Another vacation shot to hell...

We're getting ready to celebrate our Last Day of Vacation this evening. Waah! :-( I can't believe this week went by so quickly!

Yesterday I spun with the ladies at the Parker River Alpaca Farm. The weather was beautiful, if a bit chilly (I don't think it got much above freezing all day), but we had a lovely greenhouse to spin in. See?

There were snacks and hot coffee, and Kathy even thought to bring some blankets, so we stayed pretty comfy until the sun started to set. I did manage to take a photo of some of the female alpacas at the farm on my way out.

There were a couple of suri alpacas, one of which allowed me to have a quick pat while she had her head in the feeder. Man, are they ever soft! There were also two babies - I think you can just see the bum of Kathy's little girl there on the right. I meant to get photos of them, but they were hungry and I was freezing so we thought we'd wait until another day. ;-)

The folks at the farm were selling these awesome socks - Criations, Smarter than Cashmere. It's a new venture for the farm and the spinners in attendance certainly approved. They're 93% renewable: 74% alpaca, 19% corn, and only 7% assorted socky manmade fibers. I bought a pair for The Mister (and one for Daddy for Christmas) and he says they are the nicest, softest socks he's ever had. So there you go - a testimonial.

While at the farm I finished up the singles of the Spunky Eclectic BFL, but had no way to ply them, having only the two spools for the Fricke. So this morning I puzzled over it for a bit, and decided that I couldn't think of any reason not to try one of the Babe's spools on the Fricke. VIOLA! It worked! It's a little loose and rattles a bit at high speed, but in a pinch... what the heck! So I spent some of today plying the BFL (and yelling at the NY Giants) and here is a not-so-great-but-it-gets-dark-so-damn-early-now photo of my accomplishment.

I thought I was being very aggressive in my plying, and that I was doing a really good job of twisting good and tight, but as you can see I'm still a little loose in spots. I'm just going to have to be less timid next time and really ply the bejesus out of it. This is a "before" shot, as I haven't washed and set the twist yet. I washed the wool/silk sweater and mitten today and after rinsing them about a million times to get the bleeding to stop I just didn't feel like playing in the bathtub any more. Good news is, the sweater only faded a tiny bit, despite the gallons of bright purple rinse water. I know, I know - I went on and on about how this yarn was far too purple and far too dark for me but.... having worn it a couple of times it really grew on me!

Hooray for changing one's mind!

Friday, November 23, 2007

SP11 Reveal package received!

Hooray for Secret Pals!

I received my final reveal package from my Pal and wow! Look at the bounty!

Christmas goodies galore, including a snowman pot scrubbie (?! - lol!) and two ornaments for our first Christmas Tree as husband and wife. (all together now... awwwww!) And then there are the knitting goodies... not one but two sock patterns by Cookie A, a set of short #2 Brittany DPNs, a notebook, and YARN!!! This is the greatest color and it's BFL so what's not to love? It's by The Plucky Knitter in the colorway Pumpkin Latte. And yes, it is exactly the color of a pumpkin...

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! And thank you so much PeaceAngel for a lovely Swap!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Vacation Report

I have to say that taking a vacation at home is really working for me! Not that we've gotten anything accomplished like yard work or painting the bathroom or any of the other little errands you tell yourself you're going to finally get done while you're home. Not at all! But we have gotten a chance to hang out and explore our town a little bit and mainly just enjoy each other's company. Bravo!

Knitting has, of course, occurred.

Booger has received and approves of his new cat bed -

Kath was so smitten with it that she's ordered two for her two kitties. We just have to pick out the colors for His Highness and Miss Bee.

I started another sock -

I'm using Amy Swenson's Universal Toe-up Sock Formula again combined with a vine lace pattern from Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns. I love that book so much, I should put the second volume on my Wish List for Christmas...

It took awhile, but socks are finally worming their way into my knitting soul. They're fairly quick (at least in the worsted weight yarn I've been favoring) and I just love doing the toes and heels. It's so funny the way it just suddenly turns into something. And the Knit Picks Shine Worsted I've been using is very soft and cuddly. I did just order some actual real sock yarn for the first time. It's from Sereknity in the Rock Lobster colorway. I'd considered Hedera or Pomatomus, but the Twisted Flower Sock is really calling me. I do so love a challenge!

I've also been trying to sit down each morning with the Bee Fields Shawl my secret pal got for me. I've been trying to get 4 or 5 rows done before The Mister gets up and moving. This pattern is pretty intense for a first lace shawl, but I think it's coming along alright -

I also made a run down to the local bead shop and made a couple of orifice hooks - one for me and one for my secret pal. This one is mine (hers is already in the mail!) -

Today the holiday cooking will start in earnest. I got the chestnuts roasted yesterday for Kath's stuffing with only a few minor explosions. But isn't that part of the fun of roasting them yourself?? ;-) Today it's apple pie, baked macaroni (courtesy of The Mister), faux grois (chicken livers instead of duck but it's super tasty!), and possibly the mashed potatoes. I haven't decided yet if I want to do any of the veg ahead of time, since we don't have a microwave to heat them up in. Kath today is making pumpkin pie, stuffing, and possibly a special carrot and squash soup. Mmmmm!!

We'll probably end up with just a few drop-ins after dinner, but who cares. We'll have fun and we'll have food to eat for the rest of the month! And best of all - none of us has to travel! Huzzah!!

The Mister did make a run to Home Depot earlier this week to pick up the lumber for Franken Babe, so hopefully I'll have a report on that shortly. If he's really motivated I might even have it to show off at the spin-in at the farm this weekend... woot!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Knitting Ennui

A whole week off from work - with no plans, no traveling, nothing but hanging around with The Mister, knitting, spinning and other such homey joys.

And I have no idea what to knit.

O sure I have loads of patterns I want to knit, but no yarn in my stash matches up. And I have loads of yarn in the stash, but none of it is inspiring me at the moment. It's embarassing! I'll certainly be giving some much-needed attention to my Bee Fields Shawl, but I really wanted to start another sweater and, well, nothing's calling me! I have some delicious Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk that I'm dying to play with, but I have absolutely no idea what to do with 10 balls of it. Not enough for a sweater... boo. And I do not wear shrugs. I think they're just silly.

Which brings me to an unhappy realization: I have got to stop buying yarn with no project in mind. I have all sorts of lovely yarn, but not enough of it to do anything. I swear, from now on I am going to purchase yarn in sweater quantities... or not at all. This having 400 yards of this and 600 yards of that is ridiculous! It's that I'm cheap, but stupid. I see the yummy yarn on sale, but don't want to spring for TWO bags at $80, so I just buy ONE bag at $40.Which sounds good, until you realize that one bag does not a sweater make. It take 1.5 bags. *groan*

A Silver Lining

I do have happy knitting news to report! I have knit..... a pair of sock. *cue fanfare*

And here they are:

I'm going to have The Mister take a picture of them actually on my feet, so you can see that I have indeed finished an adult size pair of socks. I know, I know - I can hardly believe it myself. What next - Jaywalkers? heh!

I also got a new book in the mail. Favorite Socks from Interweave Knits. It looks great and I'm looking forward to hauling some yarn out of the stash and starting a second pair of socks. Could be the start of something big. Anyways, I got the book with points I had saved up in my book club, so I thought I'd use them up and get a "free" book before canceling the stupid thing. I don't know why I get sucked into book clubs. There's never anything I want to buy, and certainly not for the overblown prices they put on them. *sigh* Still, even with the postage and "handling" fees, I think $9 is pretty good, don't you?


Bought the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner today on my lunch hour. We got a Kosher bird this year, since we realized that being kosher means none of the preservatives, msg, and assorted antibiotics that go into the factory farm birds. Next year I really have to think about it early enough to order an organic turkey from one of the local farms. Also on the menu will be: butternut squash, mashed red potatoes, candied carrots, apple pie, pumpkin pie, possibly a blueberry pie, stuffing, turnips, and who knows what else. Kath and I are splitting up the cooking duties and I'll send out the email to The Usual Suspects this weekend and see who has the holiday off from familial duties yet still wants to eat until they lie down.

I'm sure we can find a few...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Mission accomplished... can I lie down now??

Random Acts was a blast. The plays that were turned in Friday evening were brillliant and very funny. I got paired up with a lady I know slightly, and a nice young man from Portsmouth whom I'd never met. Our director was a lady named Sherry whom I've known for a few years. She is just fabulous! The Mister, as usual, received an all-female cast. I don't know how he always manages it when the choices are totally random, but he does. ;-)

The plays were wonderful and we performed to an almost full house of 170. I am happy to announce that not only did I *not* throw up on stage, but apparently I also did not suck. ;-) I made my husband and my director proud, so I assume I did well. It certainly felt like I did well, and I had alot of fun swearing and stomping around on stage. Thank goodness for the stage lighting which makes it nearly impossible to see beyond the edge of the stage! LOL!

I even received congratulations and compliments from David, whose work I admire very much. That was quite a thrill. Maybe I'll even do this again... who knows?

In knitting news, I completed Tim's Hat, and here it is:

I ran out of the grey, so finished it off with the blue merl. He loves it.

On Wednesday we had a spinning circle at A Loom With A View, and I was give a loaner Fricke by an extremely generous Kathy, and here is what I did:

It's BFL from Spunky Eclectic in Sangria and I am completely in love with it. This is the first hank and it took me about 3.5 hours to spin. I'm hoping to start the second hank this week. If I'm lucky, The Mister will get a chance to work on the Babe before I'm ready to ply. ;-)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

My big stage debut announcement

The day is finally here. Random Acts. In which I promised I would act.

on stage

in front of people


Anyways, I promised, and I'm gonna do it. It will be fun. I just keep telling myself that. Fun.

Meanwhile, I want to throw up.

So, for those interested in such local theater things, or who just want to see me throw up on stage, here is the link to the event to be held this Saturday evening at the Firehouse Theater in Newburyport (scroll down a little). Even though it involves my discomfort, this is a great event held every year by the local theater folk. From the website:

Can a play be conceived, written, rehearsed, and produced in twenty-four hours? The answer is a resounding YES if Random Acts is any indication. Writers, actors, and directors are paired by a drawing from a hat on Friday evening. Then the fun begins. An all-nighter by the writers brings about the script, given to director and actors the next morning. One day of rehearsal and onto the stage it goes. Dress rehearsals go right down to the wire, and then up goes the curtain, Join in the fun and see what talent and a deadline can create!

The plays are always interesting and often funny, and Newburyport has an amazing pool of talent.

My inclusion this year notwithstanding.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Free at last, free at last!

They're finished. Finally.

Those Damned Felted Bags...

Saturday was spent finishing up the last little details, like buttons and crochet chain and such, so that I'd be free to attend Spunky Eclectic's Grand Opening on Sunday with a clear conscience. I don't have any shots of the festivities, so you'll have to take my word for it that it was awesome. Yummy snacks, loads of specials, a great crowd, and plenty of wheels to play with and fiber to fondle. The Mister was admirably tolerant, and I got a chance to meet the wheel of my dreams. I've decided - when the time is right, I must have a double treadle Schacht Matchless. It's sooooo dreamy! Just as smooth as can be and beautiful to boot. What more could one ask for?

I picked up some lovely rovings while I was there (of course, duh!)

4 oz of 50/50 Merino Tencel blend in Sailboat. Drool!

and 8 oz of BFL in Sangria. I had been torn between this color and getting more Kites until I saw it in person and fell in love. I still want to get more Kites, but this was just too warming and happy to turn away.

My poor car had a flat tire Sunday morning, so The Mister drove us up and back in his car. This left me plenty of time for knitting! Which is just what I needed to finish my Cheery Winter Raglan! Hooray!

Please keep in mind that I'm no Cheryl, and I hate having my picture taken, but The Mister said it would look stupid if I put the sweater onto my 1910 dressmaker's dummy. *shrugs*

I think this gives you a good idea of the amount of "frump" I built into this sweater. I wanted something loose and soft and warm for icky winter days stuck inside sipping hot tea and knitting. And I think I've succeeded rather well! Hooray me!

Now that my needles are basically naked, it's time, I think, to consider doing some small stash busting exercises. I have far too many single skeins of yarn. But God(dess) bless Ravelry - I was able to track down quite a number of small projects that are just too cute and too quick to pass up. I also found some new uses for yarn I had intended for something else. For example, last night I tried to swatch some beautiful sky blue Araucania Nature Wool to make the Dickinson Pullover from Fall's Interweave Knits. I say "tried" because it was utterly hopeless. The yarn is far too fine for the pattern. But when I did a little nosing around on Ravelry, I found that people had successfully used it to make Rogue, which is also on my short list of Must Knits! Huzzah! So I'm going to give that a try this evening and see if I have better luck. I also found that the two skeins of Joseph Galler Peruvian Tweed Alpaca I scored may make me one of Joan McGowan-Michael's bed jackets. I hadn't thought of trying it until I saw the one that margyzr had done. Lovely!

Ravelry truly is the devil... thank goodness! ;-)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Incoming Storm + Bare Tree =

I get my river view back with a bang!

This, which was remarkable all by itself....

Quickly turned into... this...

I love where I live! :-)