The camera's debut!

So we finally entered the digital age with a digital camera. Merry Christmas to us! Merry Christmas to us!

Thus, this post contains pictures with actual details! Imagine that!

Remember these?!

"Up from the ashes, up from the ashes, grow the roses of success!" (50 balls of left-over yarn from various projects to anyone who can name the children's musical that's from...come on Brandy, you got to start knowin' this stuff)

I give you the Pheonix sock

love it! made up the pattern with some help from a Nancy Bush pattern.

requisite gratuitous close-up just because I can

so two for the price of one really...the post shows both the crappy old sock project compared to the new good sock AND the crappy old camera picture with the new good camera which will hopefully actually get better! Those pictures are just with the thing straight out of the box just point and shoot. Imagine after I actually read the directions!!

The blanket's debut

Typing one-handed here girls...

Here is a photo of the blanket's first day out. I haven't used it a lot because it doesn't go with all the pink outfits she has.

It's not a great pic of the blanket because apparently the real subject is the baby.

From yesterday's paper...

Really, I can sympathize with poor Leonard. I keep trying to figure out how I can nurse the baby and knit at the same time. My mom assures me that with more experience I will get it.

It's official.

I've become a true yarn hoarder. I just broke the hinge on the cedar chest where I try to corral the stash. It's mighty hard to actually overstuff something like that with stuff that is (supposedly) soft and fluffy like yarn but I've achieved it!! Oh well...I guess if you haven't yet broken door hinges on the house, there's still hope for you.

I'd offer this as proof that I'm doing my best to reduce the stash by finishing projects like this little sweater but actually I bought the yarn last week just for the project. It was my birthday - I was loose in a yarn store with my husband's presence and pledge to buy me stuff - it was on sale!! What do you want from me?!

As is often the case, I wasn't happy with the finished project. I just made it up and I liked the color change in reverse stockinette. But in the end it all seemed a little too sweetsy. I liked the two colors but together with those buttons...

Anyway, Latrice seemed to like it. She's Joanne's (from church) daughter and she was expecting but had the baby back in Sept/Oct at 23 weeks. The baby only weighed 2 lbs. She's actually still in the hospital but she's doing extremely well and should come home soon!. Her name is Laila. (God bless, little one!)

Happy Birthday (to me too)

No pictures of curtains but AHA, The birthday booty! Abby, we are blessed indeed. The Vintage Knits book is from my sis-in-law Carolyn (hi!). It's by Sarah Dallas and I really like her stuff! The other book, Pluckyfluff's Handspun Revolution, was actually a gift from me to me (I'm shameless). My mom and dad gave me the vacuum. They also gave me Unexpected Knitting by Debbie New, unpictured for really no good reason. I just forgot it, probably because it's huge (really a large, lovely, gorgeous book full of wonderful art) but maybe my conscience is getting to me too, making me picture the vacuum which will mostly likely get far less action than the knitting books!! Mark was wonderful for my birthday, taking me home to visit AND stopping at the yarn store on the way!! What a man! I bought the two rovings at the store. I couldn't make it to Stitches last weekend because of the Lit/Film Conference I needed to attend at Towson and my biggest regret was missing out on whatever yummy stuff Mama-E took for Cloverhill to sell. But low and behold, they'd saved some for me!!! I really can't express how beautiful this stuff is. It's the same merino/tencel blend that I made that little orange/green shrug out of in Oct. These color's are "platinum" - a wonderful silvery shiny color that absolutely isn't captured in the picture. The other is a purpley greeny blue combination that is also stunning!! But the most favorite and loved presents are those weird green spools in the front. Storage bobbins!!! I've been wanting something and finding no good solution until I decided "heck, my daddy could make these!!" and make them he did...and more are promised! This could only be so exciting to a true spinning geek...oh well, such I am!

close ups for your enjoyment!

I have all manner of on-the-needles projects that I could show but the constant battle with laziness is being lost at the moment!! Soon perhaps soon!

Happy Birthday! (to me)

So, here's the birthday haul:

Yes, those people were birthday presents. Lexi and Lolita traveled from far and away (ok, New York and Washington) just for me! Aren't they the best? Other presents include Tracey Ullman's book (from Vijay), some handmade yarn and a beautiful little bag (from Sam), and Debbie Bliss Cashmerino (from mom and grandma). Non-knitting presents include a tshirt from Loli and a sweatshirt from Angela. THANKS EVERYONE!!!

I've recently finished some projects:

I made up the cable rib pattern on my own and wasn't sure if it would work, but it seems to so far. Blue socks! Yeah!

This scarf is made from the wool I bought at the Algonquin Mill Festival. It's long and large and awesome. Hmmm...I guess I'm not so humble, am I?

remember this?

Ah yes. The never-ending lace project finally ended! I finished them in time to take them to my aunt at Halloween. I was hoping to have pictures of them actually hanging up but the weekend was too crazy. Maybe I'll get some this weekend since we're leaving today for another weekend visit. You can get the idea from this picture though!

And a good time was had... those wearing little pumpkin hats, of course! I would tell you to try and ignore the funny looking lady in the black shirt holding Pierce but he's so cute you won't notice her anyway.

I've been...busy.

We all remember the deco ribbon purse. I was at AC Moore helping a friend pick out yarn for her first knitting project and I picked up this ribbon because I wanted a more spohisticated bag. As it turned out, the bag was a perfect match for my Halloween costume:

Arwen, from Lord of the Rings. Where did she buy that AMAZING costume? SHE MADE IT FOLKS!!! Yeah, I spent many hours cutting, pinning, sewing, and otherwise constructing this bad boy. You can't see them very well, but I'm wearing elf ears too. It was a fun night.

Sam, my roommate, was Galadriel and also made her costume. Patty is a van Dyck portrait, Alison is a dead woman, and Sarah is a pirate.

Other than that...I've been really busy with school and traveling. I went home 2 weeks ago and last weekend I went to...

Boston! I love it there! I got to see Harvard's campus and I'll definitely be applying there for PhD programs. Exciting! I visited 2 yarn stores in Boston but didn't bring anything home with me because my finances just don't allow for impulsive yarn purchases these days. I think that about does it for updates...

What she was waiting for

I don't have time to post pictures now, but if you went to the link we sent you, you already know that I finished the blanket.

I finished the blanket Friday morning and labor started Saturday night.

it's rainin' pumpkins

I went to the Sept. spinning meeting determined to buy no fiber. I chanted 'no fiber, no fiber' all the way there and then Erin, one of the spinners who also happens to be a fantastic dyer and who also happens to stock Cloverhill with her phenomenal fiber, had made seasonal colorway rovings for the shop. I was utterly helpless in the face of it, truly. Before I knew what I was doing I was buying up 4 oz of merino/tencel gorgeousness in "late harvest". It was like an out of body experience. I could see what I was doing but had no control. The colors are so lovely (of course the pictures can't do justice, again). I spun (rather badly but slowly I improve) all of it up that very weekend and started knitting without even stopping to scribble any sort of plan, just had to knit. Wanted something simple and small that looked kind of "viney". Couldn't finish last weekend because of Robin's visit and of course the now legendary "illness" of which we shall not speak had to pass, but is pumpkin patch shrug day! I love it so much today really should become a national holiday in it's honor.

fanged sheep pumpkins and other things

Seems appropriate for Friday the 13th and all...but first,
whole lotta finished objects going on! Actually many of these were completed a while ago but only now can be revealed because they have found their true home at last.

Much knitting for the much anticipated baby McD.

Loved these kinds of warm-up tops when I was a kid. Thought they looked so cool. So here's a little knitted version. It turned out a little wonky. Had to reknit the sleeves and back a couple times to make it right and then still didn't really work. It's what I get for making it up as I go along.

This is actually the MasonDixon knitting books warsh cloth turned into a bib. I love the texture and don't we all know that baby bibs really just hang there doing little good while the kid eats and then, afterwards, get used as washrags to wipe down the kid, the highchair, the floor around the highchair, uh...the walls...the ceiling...the walls in the living room...

The MasonDixon knitters claim that a baby that has a burp cloth with an interesting pattern is 40% more likely to go to an ivy league school. It's hard to tell in the photo but I used really bright lime and yellow for this...I love it! But with Caleb and Brandy for parents the kid has no choice but to be a kind, wonderful genius anyway. The pattern is even more "interesting" than intended because I actually screwed up the color repeat and didn't notice for inches. That's what I get for knitting during my student's screening. Honestly, by the light of an old black and white movie that green and yellow look exactly alike. So like any knitter worth her rosewood doublepointed needles I made it a "design feature"!

But here's my favorite...I almost couldn't stand to stuff him in the box to mail and thought I'd have to hand deliver him!

But lest you think that I've been sitting around doing nothing since completing the mcd load, there's been other fibery happenings but I'm still too puny to go take pictures. So here's a few shots of the pumpkin carving at my house last weekend to entertain you as we close...ah last weekend, when my best friend in the world Robin was in town and life was good and there was no hint of the stomach flu that has made my week a blur and I even felt well enough to try a big fried worm from Zimbabwe (no it's not what made me sick) and I carved pumpkins just like we did in college. No they aren't your traditional jack o'lanterns and they are only minutely relevant to a fiber post because of the fanged sheep but here they are...scared aren't you

Brest dressed bear

You read the title right.

So when you are pregnant you have to take lots of classes. Even though I'm pretty sure cavewomen knew nothing about a "focus object" or breathing techniques when they delivered, you just aren't a good parent now if you don't do these kinds of things.

So last Saturday was our breastfeeding class (called feeding by those too uncomfortable to mention the first part). When we got our registration confirmation letter it informed us we were to bring a baby doll or stuffed animal about the size of a baby.

So I took the little black bear in the purple sweater that I knitted. We definitely had the best dressed, if not the most lifelike baby in the room. No one commented on the cute sweater and I did my best to be offended.

You really haven't lived until you have spent your Saturday morning with a bunch of other pregnant women, their ill-at-ease husbands, and a bunch of animals propped up on Boppy pillows. And, oh yeah, the class was taught by a lady who was clearly from Minnesota.

The Lamb Shoppe

There are no words.

A few weeks ago, we finally made it over to The Lamb Shoppe. This is the knitting shop Caleb had found for me when he was looking for a place to live.

Unfortunately, we forgot the camera. If I had taken my camera you would have a better idea of what it was really like.

You would have seen the white sheepdog with dreadlocks.
And the "coffee baa." It serves coffee and tea drinks in two sizes -- skein and hank.
And the lady that works there? So nice! She visited with me for some time, even though I didn't buy anything (I just couldn't justify it when it is so hard for me to knit right now.)

And gosh, I haven't even gotten to the yarn yet. What a beautiful selection! And they had baby yarn that wasn't know, cheapo babyish looking.

They offer lots of classes and she said people tend to just come and hang out on the couches and drink coffee and knit.

Seriously, I could have cried.

p.s. Abby -- is there a way to get more of the posts to show at once? My sorry sausage excuse for fingers are getting a little behind, and then you don't see my comments.

leave the suspense to Hitchcock

Here revealed is one of the FOs I've hinted at. Not that I really think Brandy's been in suspense. She definitely has more important things keeping her occupied nowadays! And actually I showed it to her in some stage of spinning over the summer before I saw you (Abby) to give it to you.

Yarn spun for Abby!!!

Don't look too close, (not that you could with the crappy picture, who takes pictures with a phone-what a loser) there are certainly lumps and bumps and it is not the sock yarn it had been indended to be, but for a first attempt, I'm quite pleased. I told her she doesn't have to knit with it if she doesn't want to. And of course now, she'll have her own wonderful handspun to knit with. Definitely make something out of the first handspun you've made, whatever it is. And I think the yarn looks great. I couldn't make spindle spun look that good now!

So here's the only picture I thought to take in Chesapeake City. It truly deserved more pictures as it's a very neat little town. But everytime I started to take a picture there was this bridge thing in the background....

You may think she's contemplating this yarn but actually she's thinking, "must. spin. wool. now." It's all this time looking at that spinning wheel I tell ya. She was doomed when she came in the shop. Even I could hear the drop spindles calling her name.

p.s. Speaking of suspense, what about the promised pictures of the "boob toaster"

Spinning sans wheel

Jen and I met at a yarn/spinning/weaving/basketmaking store in MD. Jen bought lots of beautiful fibers - I bought a drop spindle and some "starter" fibers. Perhaps for my own self esteem I shouldn't make these images public...but here they are.

I guess that first one isn't so bad, but that's only because I have mostly covered up the horrendously uneven stuff from the very beginning. You can see a little bit of it peeking out in the second pic.

Oh, and a lot more of it in the third pic. And yes, I will ply ALL of it, even the horrendously uneven stuff for no reason but to keep myself humble. It'll make some really interesting...yarn...for something. I'm reasonably certain that I could make a small bracelet out of it if I really wanted to. I only bought like 1 oz of this stuff...

I was also given a very special present, details of which I assume are to be kept quiet. But, I had to mention it...if only to increase the anticipation for Brandy :-)

Lecture anyone?

I too should be working instead of knitting, spinning, posting about knitting, thinking about knitting, thinking about spinning while I'm knitting...but nevertheless, here I am! This will be picture intense because I haven't posted for a while. Just warning ya'!

I actually have a few more FOs than can be posted here because....ssshh, they're secrets for...well you two!! I will reveal them to all once they have found their new homes!

So you'll have to see not only the FOs I have but the evidence of my summer travels via purchases too!

FO #1 for darling nephew Pierce: he needs to learn right now the importance of Halloween in this family! I haven't actually sent this little hat yet but I assume, and rightly I'm sure, that his parents have much more important things on their mind than checking this page to see if I've knitted Pierce anything!!

FO #2 for I'm loving this yarn. My first real attempt at woollen spinning and while it is not very good and is actually probably a bad idea to knit with it, I really want a fuzzy orange/red sweater from it!! In the end there will be around 12 skeins of this crazy stuff. Of course, as always, it's hard to convey the color here. It might not be as bright as this looks but Mark did suggest that the color really "radiates"...hah! radiates/radiator! He's so cute.

Now on to the booty:

Do you know the Chibi needle? Wonderful curved tip for finishing seams/sewing in ends but the size can only be described as "honkin' big". Well, they finally came out with three smaller sizes so they can be used for smaller yarns. I'd heard this rumor but had to travel to AL to discover it was true. I want to finish a sock just to sew in the ends with the tiny little one!!

But Texas was the real score! Brandy is not surprised. Hobby Lobby was having a huge sale. I only ended up there because Loree needed something for the nursery. 99cent sugar 'n cream cotton by gad!! And Patons Katrina (which I made that pink shrug out of) for $2.14, normall $5 something. That's more than 50% off. No pretty colors but who can't use black!

AND my favorite, cotton combs. They are worn but a lovely old patina look and actually being broken in is a plus. According to most fiber people you want them at a point where they've been used some. But here's the best. Not only are they old and broke in, they were $18! I haven't seen nice new ones for less than around $40! WHOA!!

Did you stick to the bitter end? You're so sweet!

Homework, anyone?

So it's the Saturday after my first week of graduate school, and one would assume that I would be hard at work reading all those pages for next week. He or she would be wrong, however, since when I sat down to read earlier this afternoon I found myself unable to concentrate. What was floating through my mind? The image of the nearly complete fingerless gloves that were sitting on my coffee table. What did I do? I put down my book (Awash in a Sea of Faith: Christianizing the American People, by Jon Butler) and parked myself on the couch until I completed the gloves. And here they are:

PS: It really does only take one ball of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran!

Taa Daa!

Special thanks to Sam for being my photographer.

Close to take off...

Unlike the Atlantis, my sweater is clear for take off! Skies are cloudy (thus no reason to be outside which means more time for knitting), technical checks are good (sure, I've officially started classes but I don't have anything due tomorrow), and the astronauts (well, singular spaced out grad student who maybe could have been an astronaut if she'd studied science instead of...well, you know) are fed and healthy.
That photo was taken this morning, shortly after blocking. Now, the sleeves are sewn on and about 1/8 of the ends are woven in. Oh! The most important thing! I finally found BUTTONS!!!!

Of course, photos will be posted once it's finished.

Blanket soul-searching

Last night we went to Denver's giant independent bookstore and I knitted on the blanket a little. I tried to figure out why I am tired of working on it. I mean, it can't be the stitch or the yarn. I love the stitch. I love the yarn. For gosh sakes, when I made Magnus's I really liked working on it the whole time. And this blanket is for MY baby. But nonetheless I am ready to be finished with it. I want to move on. I want to do the matching hat. And Christmas gifts (my mom and Caleb's mom both want ipod covers). And I realize that time is running out for getting those things done because unless I can learn to knit and breastfeed at the same time, my knitting hours will probably be limited for a while after the baby arrives.

So back to the original question: why am I bored with the blanket? I decided it's not the blanket. It's me. There are only two times when I knit on the blanket:

1. My hands are hurting but I knit anyway because I want to. But then it just makes the hands worse and I give up in frustration.
2. I don't particularly feel like knitting (don't 'tsk' me Jen -- it happens to some of us) but my hands DON'T hurt, so I feel obligated to knit while I can.

So you see, either way I end up resenting the blanket a little. I'm not sure what the solution is. Well, Caleb suggested that the blanket does not have to be finished before the baby is born. I'm not sure what he's smoking. It must be the paint fumes from the dresser we (okay he) are doing for the baby's room.

You might be feeling sorry for me. Sorry that I have been separated from a love in my life. But there is one thing I love almost as much as yarn, in fact probably just as much. And that thing is....cheese. And I am happy to report that the cheese situation in my life is fabulous. It's glorious. Thanks to this place. Go ahead, click on the link. This post will be here when you get back. I'll wait....

Okay, did you look? Is that not amazing? A place that SPECIALIZES in grilled cheeses. More than thirty choices of cheese. Plus all kinds of bread and toppings. We've been. And I'm here to report that it is as heavenly as you would imagine. And guess what else. No guess. It's about 3 blocks from the hospital where we will deliver. This means it is also three blocks from the place that we take like a jillion prenatal classes. These classes tend to have times like 6-9 pm, so that you practically HAVE to eat dinner on the way.

Oh yes ladies. Put it on your list of places to visit when you come to Denver.

Belated Apartment Update!

So, it's been over one month since I moved and I'm just now getting around to this. Our apartment is 2 bedrooms, one bath, full kitchen, and we have a porch! The apartment is in a community of buildings owned by the same management company. Each bulding has 4 apartments in it, ours is pretty close to the gate but very far from the pool. That's ok though, it's nice to get a little bit of walking before you jump in the water. Here are some pics of the place - some of them are from when we moved in and some are more recent (please excuse the messiness).

Oh, I found the LYS (Well, it's in Newark so not all that local, but it's the closest one I know of) and it was...ok. The had Debbie Bliss, Wool in the Woods, Lamb's Manos though. The needles I almost bought were waaay overpriced (thank you AC Moore for having affordable needles!) and I don't recall seeing any Lantern Moon items for sale there. The staff was nice, they offered to help when we walked in, and they did have a TREMENDOUS amount of sock yarn in stock. So, not amazing but not bad either.

The object study! You know, after I posted that, I completely forgot that I even mentioned anything about it. Well, for the next semester, I'm going to be researching an 18th century spinning wheel! Here's a pic:

It was owned by a family in New York and is now at the museum. We have to learn everything we can about the object's provenance, use, construction, etc. and then present it at the end of the semester. This project has a good and a bad side. Good side is that I'm learning a lot about spinning and fibres in general, also about the history of textile making in America. The bad side is that after I read about wool for a few minutes, I get this incredible urge to touch wool which can only be satisfied by picking up a project and knitting for a while. Ohhh I've started 3 new projects since I started my research! They are (in order): a mobius strip scarf, a shawl made from an 19th century (I think) pattern (for my's been renamed the "boob toaster" pictures forthcoming), and a pair of fingerless gloves or wristwarmers. The yarn shop had the pattern tacked up by Debbie Bliss Cashmerino with a neon orange sign that said "Uses only one skein of yarn!" and I just couldn't resist. One skein? What's the harm? The pattern is from and well, seriously, ONE SKEIN and a free pattern? This grad student just realized that she has to buy books for 4 classes in a few weeks. Cheap is good.

Ok, one last thing before I go. There are a LOT of knitters in my program. We met the conservation students (our science-based counterparts) and there are a LOT of knitters in their program. We talked and a regular knit night is in the planning stages. It's very exciting.

Oops...One last last thing. You may have noticed (or not because it was pretty dark) that my desk chair was wearing a Moebius Scarf: