Monday, December 31, 2007

With Intent

That is my new year's resolution/mantra for the coming year. Do live with intent. In my relationships. In my work. My home. And in my knitting and other crafting endeavors.
I responded to an email from my cousin last night. This dear soul has been faithfully sending me emails. The last time I had written to her was TWO years ago. We rather grew up together (close in age although not geography) and I cherish her dearly. I was appalled. I kept "meaning" to write back, but just "didn't have the time right now." No more.
I have been reading some interesting books lately. One got my attention in the bookstore, and one I picked up while purchasing a book for my sister. The first is The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. And if distilled to its purest, is about living with intent. Define what you want from/in/with your life. Rather in the "ask and you shall receive" voice. I was very skeptical, but found the bit I read at the store grabbed my attention and interest. So, one purchase later, the book is upon my nightstand. And I am making an effort in the direction I think.

Also along the same lines is the second book. While in CA for Christmas, my sister asked a lot of questions to help her with her current situation at work. Which led me to the work motivation - leadership section at the book store. And the book I purchased to bring home for myself is entitled Change the Way You See Everything - through asset-based thinking. I am truly a glass half full kind of person, so this book is right up my alley. While so far, I haven't read anything earth shaking, it is all affirming and positive reading. Remember, we are not faced with problems, but with opportunities.

Live each day with intent and my life will be richer for it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas in California

Oh, the weather is truly delightful! Sure beats the weather in Pennsylvania, that's for sure. Unless you'd actually rather have snow, ice and cold. Which I don't. Prefer that is. I got awfully lucky on plane tickets. It was actually cheaper to fly into my small hometown airport (after changing planes in San Francisco), than to fly into San Francisco and get off the plane there. Unbelievable, but true. And while late leaving every airport, we still managed to catch an earlier flight into Modesto and arrived there several hours earlier than scheduled! While descending into SF, the flight attendant announced the gates for those trying to catch a connecting flight. And mentioned a flight into Modesto. We found the gate and asked if we could go stand by on this flight instead of catching the flight in three hours. They had just finished boarding and had several empty seats, so we were able to hop right on.

I think we've had Mexican food almost daily. There is not any decent Mexican food that I have found in PA, so we're tried to get ou fill while we could.

After arriving on Thursday, my son Pete let me know that he didn't have to work Friday if we wanted to come to SF for the day. So off we went again. Caught BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) from the Dublin/Pleasanton station. BART sure makes to drive into the bay area nice. Bob hadn't ever been to SF. So we rode the cable cars down to the wharf and strolled along there. Went to Pier 39 and watched the sea lions. Gazed upon the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. Walked through Ghiradelli square, took in an art gallery and tried going to MOMA. But since we got there 45 minutes before they close, we chose not to go. And then at sandwiches on fantastic sour dough bread.

Now, all this time, Bob has seen me try sour dough bread. Take a bite, and then throw it down in disgust saying that it's just not any good. After eating SF sour dough bread, he now has to agree with me. Just nothing compares, that's for sure.

Christmas was quiet and filled with family. The perfect day for a holiday that can be filled with such stress and tension. Because that was at someone else's house, not ours.

Oh! And I got to see my two best friends from when we were growing up. The three of us lived within 5 houses along our street. So I popped into one of the mom's houses on Christmas eve. She said she'd try not to tell them I was in town and to come over Christmas morning once I saw all the cars. What fun! We cried and hugged and chattered away like it had been yesterday since we were last together. One of them has a picture, so I can't wait to get a copy.

In fact, I think I'll be sure to drop off my phone number and email just in case. It would be good for someone else to have that info in case it gets lost.

Christmas with family and best friends from childhood. Truly doesn't get any better.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My ISE5 Package Came!

I went out to chip away at more of the ice the snowplow driver kindly left at the end of my driveway. And found a package from Royal Mail! I knew this had to be my ISE package and saved it for a treat when I was done.
And what a treasure trove! I'm not absolutely positive on the spelling, but Trieia was my secret pal! And what a fun box of goodies she sent me.Notice the post card right there on top? This is a picture taken in the town she lives in - and used to live around the corner from in the picture. Too neat. And look at all the little packages!

I'm absolutely horrid about getting things wrapped up, but she did a bang up job of it. And she's pretty sneaky too. See the package in front - the one with the yarn label that says 100% alpaca? Well, I saved that for last expecting that would be the scarf. I got a little suspicious when the back package was so squishy. Yep, the back package was the scarf and the one with the yarn label was this darling angel ornament. The teeny package on top of the Christmas pudding is a small little "hanger" that says "Joy."

I think the Lindt chocolates are great. Chocolate Santa urging on his chocolate reindeer. And the scarf is wonderful! I think I asked for something "fun," and this sure fills the bill. The scarf is just made with knit and purl stitches. But the stitches shift to the right for a bit, then back to the left for a bit. Which is what gives it the waves. Thank you very much for such a thoughtful gift. I wore the scarf last night and it is very soft and warm.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Cutest Booties EVER

On Sunday I knit three booties during our winter storm. Notice I knit three and a pair is just that - two. Well, I'm not sure if it was the first or second bootie that I knit, but I think I knit an extra garter ridge in the foot portion. And in something this small, two extra rows makes a difference. I think I'll knit another bootie with extra rows so that I'll have another pair. These were made from a strand of mystery DK wool and a strand of fingering weight held together. I know the mystery wool is washable. I knit some mittens for a friend with this yarn, and washability is a must for her.

I used Saartje's bootie pattern found here. I thought the pattern was very well written and easy to understand. And just about the most adorable bootie pattern ever!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Listen to the little voice

We have some dear friends that we haven't seen in quite awhile. I'd get fleeting thoughts that I really should give them a call or stop by to visit, but never did. All day long yesterday, I had this insistent little voice telling me to go visit them TODAY. So I decided that after this next batch of cookies (that I had just gotten the butter out of the fridge for) was done, I'd go visit.

The cookies got made, the day passed. And that little thought jumped right back into my head. But it was dinner time. I didn't want to stop in at dinner time. But a snow/sleet/ice storm was coming through later, and no one would mind if I did stop at dinner time. So I waited a little bit, but then off I went.

What a joy. I walked into the house, and Bob was sitting in his chair holding a brand new granddaughter! Marissa Katherine was born on Nov 2, and I hadn't even known she was expected. Bob has some very serious health problems and then earlier this year he was involved in a horrid car accident. I asked him if earlier in the year if he thought he would ever be here for this day, and he replied no. That every day is such a gift. Several years ago on Nov 2, Bob's heart stopped and he died. He was obviously resusitated and has a pace maker. He is firmly convinced that his love for his grandchildren (and their love for him) is what is keeping him alive. They need him and he needs them.

This was little Marissa's first outing. Her pediatrician told the parents not to take her out for six weeks. There were just too many bugs and virus going around. Last night's visit was just meant to be on so many different levels. Marissa Katherine's name is also keeping the family circle going. Her grandmother's name is Catherine and her mother's name is Mary Catherine. Each woman's name is different from each other, but uniquely linked. How very wonderful.

We need to each remember how wonderful each day truly is. That each day is a gift.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Is there Spinning in My Future?

While talking home remodeling a few days ago, I said that I have a clear mental picture of what I want my studio to look like. This "studio" in its previous incarnation, was the bathroom. That has been gutted (several years ago actually) and is currently nothing but bare studs and boxes. And in most other homes, this room would be a bedroom. So we are a bit away from what it looks like today and the mental image I have.

In the part that pertains to today's post, I want hardwood floors and a few area rugs. And while I have never spun, I see a spinning wheel in one corner of this room. I do know of a local person who would give me basic spinning lessons. While not even blinking, Bob's response was "we're not getting sheep." Which does leave the door wide open for a wheel.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Trying to get Home Again

We got a phone call from a quilt shop yesterday that wanted to reorder. Which is a Very Good Thing. And since I would be going through CT to get home, could I drop off the product. No problem, says I. Well.....traffic became the problem. The only frustrating part (for me) is that if not for agreeing to drop off product, I would be home now instead of in a hotel for another night. Traffic around Hartford, CT (and whatever is the last city on the MA side) was at a crawl for hours. Literally. So instead of taking the 45-60 minutes she was expecting, it took me an extra hour. But I wasn't sure how long she would wait, so I continued on to our meeting place. Nope, considering how late I was, I'm not sure how long I would have waiting either. In trying to get to the meeting place at a decent time, I didn't stop for lunch. So I'm paying that price tonight. I waited 30 minutes to see if she would drive back by, but I don't know how close that spot was to where she lives. Chalk that up into the Oh Well! category.

I went today through part of New Hampshire. Cut short trying to get to CT on time. And this will probably sound a bit silly. Considering that Vermont and New Hampshire are next door neighbors, I'm not sure what the difference was. But I liked Vermont better. Of course, individual areas/towns make a difference in impressions. But Vermont still comes out on top between the two. No, it wasn't just scenery, although that played a part. But the people seemed friendlier in Vermont. Walking down the sidewalk, people would greet you. People in stores or restaurants would talk to you. Not in the annoying, go away, conversation. Just the friendly short chatter kind of way. If you like winter sports such as snowboarding, skiing, or snowshoeing, plus biking, fishing (and I'm not sure whatelse) in the summer, Vermont seems the place to go.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Vermont is BEAUTIFUL!

Now, those of you that live or vacation in Vermont already know what a beautiful state this is. This is my first trip into Vermont. And I am gobsmacked. Stunning beauty around every corner. And not a camera in sight, much to my dismay.

I left home not quite as early Tuesday morning as I had wished, and headed into VT. And while this is a beautiful state, it is not one that is interested in a wealth of hotels. I wasn't quite frantic Tuesday night, but was getting close. It is winter after all. And while on business, my hotel priorities are basic - relatively cheap and clean. I caved about 9 pm and stopped at one of the absolutely dozens of B&B's in the area.

The B&B was more than I usually spend on a hotel room. But it was charming. And clean, and breakfast was fantastic. I'll add in info later (I don't have info with me right now). But the owners were an absolutely charming couple. Moved from New Jersey when the found the B&B that was ideal for them.

Anyway.....problem with the website. We lost our tech support team last week. I did update the billing information, but that apparently didn't get paid. So our website is not up right now. I'm waiting for a response from the billing department. Which can only be reached by email apparently. Just checked, no response quite yet.

I am currently in Newport, VT. Like the rest of Vermont, it is an adorable town. Has quilt and yarn shops here, not much more to ask for! Except for the whole snow thing, it's a pretty neat place. I am hogging the free internet access in a small friendly diner called Roasters. Only open for breakfast and lunch. And it does seem that I'll be eating both of those meals here today.

I finally took the laptop out of the box night before last. And this is my first wireless experience. Thankfully everyone here is nice and doesn't mind me sitting here typing away while waiting for an answer.

I hope to be home sometime late Friday. So maybe I'll be able to post again if tonight's hotel has free access. Totally cool you know - this free internet access stuff.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Of Squares and Roundness

Thank goodness I keep seeing the squares rolling in to M&D. Otherwise, I'd just plum forget to send mine in! Here are my lonely squares waiting to help raise money for Oliver's wheelchair.See that little square hiding on the bottom left? It's a wonderfully square square. Unfortunately, it's too big! It came in at a perfect 4.5 inches. I sent it along anyway. The yellow and blue stripe is left over from socks, obviously. And it wasn't quite enough for two squares. I love the teeny contrasting corner.

Ravelry is the answer of course! Oh, what was the question? Well, what yarn to use for the Sunrise Circle cardigan, naturally. I received my Ravelry invite awhile ago, and just haven't taken the time to register and get going there. Work has been tremendously busy and I just haven't had the time to spare. I have a brand new laptop computer still in the box, for goodness sakes!
Recently, more and more of the blogs I read have been focusing on health issues. In a very positive way. Which has reinforced the thinking I've been doing. Before I got divorced, I was under a lot of strain. I didn't feel safe in my home. I slept in my clothes - with my purse, shoes and keys by my side. So eating was not a common thing in my life right then. I was exercising a lot as stress relief and got really skinny. Since then, I've been much more relaxed. And have eaten my way to plumpness. While I don't want to be that skinny again (size 6's were too big but I didn't shop for anything smaller) I do need to lose weight. I don't have hardly any clothes that fit - and I have a lot that I can't wear. So I am declaring to the world my intentions to start exercising again on a regular basis. Like everyone else, when I do exercise regularly, I feel better, look better, have more energy - and my clothes will start fitting again.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

All Scarves, All the Time!

At least in the hand wash basin that is! I am in International Scarf Exchange 5. And used Shafer Anne to crochet the Boteh scarf from Interweave Crochet. Fun scarf. Especially after I quit making bone-head mistakes. Well, the yarn is made up of wool with a small percentage of mohair. And mohair usually makes me itch. Taking the advice of others, I washed the scarf with shampoo. By the third rinse, the dye was still coloring the rinse water something awful, so I added a healthy glug (scientific measurement, dont'cha know!) of white vinegar. And no more dye run - yippee. Worked some cream rinse into the scarf, and rinsed well again.

Well, that baby is as soft as.....well, a baby! I have another skein of Anne that I wasn't happy with any sock pattern I tried. I just might try another Boteh scarf for myself. And how on earth
do other people manage to take good pictures of a scarf??? Here is the classic headless shot in the bathroom mirror. And I am currently wearing a red shirt. Since I was too lazy to change clothes, I grabbed my aran cardigan (still buttonless - shame on me!) You can't tell in the picture, but the scarf is completely wrapped around my neck. And not an itch around.

The rules for ISE state that the value of your package should be $20. Well, I spent that much on the yarn, but don't want to send only a scarf. The yarn shop I was in tonight didn't have any sock yarn that called out to me (and I don't know if my pal knits socks anyway). Maybe one of those Clover yarn cutters? That's available at several local stores. And a small tote bag or a little zipper pouch for knitting notions. That would round out a package nicely, I think.

And I bought yarn tonight! My "LYS" is just over an hour away. But she's terribly nice and does have a growing variety of yarns. The yarn I bought is actually 55% mohair and 45% wool. But I snuggled the yarn up around my neck for a bit before deciding it wasn't a scratchy one. This is a line that she personally hand dyes. Oh! And the pattern is Mr. Greenjeans from the Fall Knitty. The yarn actually has more blues than show up in the picture. And that is the beginning of my swatch there in my hand! I have no idea what I was actually thinking though. The gauge is 18 stitches per 4". So I cast on 4 edge stitches each side, and 18 stitches. Doh! I have changed my
edge stitch count to two hoping that will help. The gauge sure isn't big, but this is all of the yarn in this colorway that she has. I feel like I'm tempting fate enough as it is. to knit a swatch. I'd also like to knit the Sunrise Circle jacket. After seeing the picture of Stephanie in her's, I'm not sure why anyone wouldn't want to knit that sweater! I just found out today that there is a knitalong blog for the Sunrise Circle - which is closed to new people. They have very kindly opened up the info for the general puplic to have access. But it still didn't help me pick a yarn! Mr. Greenjeans, here I come!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I Survived!

Black Friday, that is. I was (notice the past tense!) in the market for a laptop. We had been discussing it for awhile. With the traveling we do, it sure would come in handy. And I (mistakenly) thought the after Thanksgiving sales would be the best/least expensive way to go.

HA! This year, the stores were handing out pre-opening vouchers for the limited quantity offers. Which actually meant that they were sold out before they opened. So I struck out on the sales there, but did manage to get the external hard drive and a zip drive. Stopped for a coffee and I was on my way back home.

We're boxing up all the orders from Quilt Market. So I put in the info for the first shipping label, and lo and behold! The printer is dead. Several error messages on the printer, etc. So BACK into town I go. Purchased a new printer and got info on laptops that two other stores actually had in stock since they weren't a deep discount.
Back into town later that night to drop off the orders we had boxed. And managed to purchase the last computer of that model in the store. I think I'll be happy with it. Time will tell, since I haven't even taken it out of the box yet. I spent more money on it than originally intended. And I have no idea what time you had to be in line at the store to get the vouchers. The one young lady I was talking to while in line to get the external hard drives told me that out of curiosity, she had driven by the store at 11 pm on Thanksgiving night. And at that time, there was already a very long line.

I haven't ever been out shopping on Black Friday before. And it seems to me that the most important thing to have with you is a sense of humor and patience. I was at the second electronics store by 5:30 (they opened at 5) and asked the employee at the door about the laptops. They very politely told me they were sold out. So while making my way back out, a lady came storming through the door. Yelling obscenities at the top of her lungs at the employees at the door. The guys just smiled and said "have a nice day!" which probably only fueled her anger. Everyone around just laughed. If you're going to get that upset shopping, why go out - especially on that day?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

How do they do that?

I can't manage to get into the habit of regular posting. Let alone those participating in the daily posting challenge through the month of November. I keep meaning to post. But like every other new thing, an effort needs to be made for this to become habit.

Galveston....oh, my goodness. A year ago when we went to Houston, we spent our day off between Market and Festival on Galveston. And fell in love. So obviously, we went back this year. Cruised around looking for potential homes for sale that would fit our needs. As luck would have it, we did actually find one! Five blocks from the ocean, people. Talk about nirvana. The person selling the home actually purchased it three months ago - and we know how much she paid for it. She has replaced a door knob - and doubled the price. She says she is needs to sell because she has been transferred. Which may be true. But it's our opinion that she wants to sell because she found out just how much it would cost to fix up the place. Now, it's a nice doorknob, don't get me wrong. I just don't happen to think it is worth quite that much money. If she will agree to sell the house at the price we are willing to pay, we plan on gutting the whole thing and starting over. There is a very nice size back yard. We talked with the zoning officer to get building regs. So we know we could build a wood shop in the backyard to suit our needs.

So I need to talk to my current mortgage holder and get information from them, and then we can decide which way to proceed. We haven't put an offer on the house yet. I am waiting to get more mortgage info before proceeding.

And in the meantime, I paid the registration fees for two shows next year. It actually looks like we will have back to back shows in two months next year. International Quilt Festival Chicago ends on a Sunday. We will get home Mon evening, wash clothes and repack Tuesday and leave for New Hampshire to set up for a show that opens Thurs (I think). And then in May, we have a show in Salt Lake City which ends on a Sat, and then the very next Thurs, we open at Quilt Market in Portland. We are gonna be very busy people!

Any recommendations for great books on cd? I own all the Harry Potter books on cd (and print). But we will sure will need some variety!

If I can remember to take a picture, my next post should be about my wonderfully warm aran cardigan - that is still missing buttons!

Monday, November 12, 2007

At the top of my list, is my healing finger. I knit for the first time yesterday. I had one button band left for my Aran cardigan, and it's getting cold here! The finger is healing beautifully, thankfully. with a casual glance, one would never know there was anything wrong with any of them. Give it several more weeks, and I don't even know if I'll be left with a scar. The finger tip is still very sore. And it is amazing how much of my middle finger I use when knitting. But with care and attention, I did manage that button band!

The sweater had all the ends woven in, has been washed, and is now laying out to dry. Then just sew the buttons on, and I have a beautiful new sweater. I only have one complaint, and I suppose it could have been handled several ways. The directions have you knit the sweater on size 7 needles, switching to 4's for the bands. And since the bands are in ribbing and on smaller needles, they do pull in a bit. I have that pinned out on the drying board so the edges are straight. But I suppose if there is a next time, I could either pick up a whole lot more stitches, or just knit the ribbing with the size 7 needles. Since I am happy with the amount of stitches I picked up (the pick up edge looks good to me), then the same size needle seems to be my answer. I need to remember to mark the pattern just in case I knit this sweater again.

Houston was fantastic! We worked in our own booth for International Quilt Market. For Quilt Festival, we worked for someone else in their booth that purchases from us wholesale. Quilt Market and Festival are a lot of fun, the workmanship is totally inspirational, and the sheer amount of people staggering. While in one of the booths with yarn, I heard a woman ask if there were similar festivals for knitters. Well, I gave her some basic information that I could think of off the top of my head, but just suggested that she read through knitting magazines for all the information. These are the only pictures that I took that I'll put up on the blog. The picture on the left is of the shopping area! Shopping for as far as the eye can see. The picture on the right is of the quilt display area. Some truly stunning works of art were displayed.

I took some pictures of quilts of course. But since the work isn't mine, I sure don't want to put those pictures up here. Some inspiring work, that's for certain.
Tomorrow....hopefully Galveston!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fall into Autumn Package

If I had been asked, I would have been absolutely positive that I had sent an email to the Fall into Autumn hostess letting them know I would be gone for several weeks. I have no idea who I actually sent that email to, but it wasn't to them.

My generous, wonderful pal for the Fall into Autumn dishcloth swap thought the package was unappreciated and her efforts were being ignored. And I feel horrid for that. Because Yvette sent a fantastic package. That is one stuffed package! Everything came in a zipper bag from the LYS she actually gets to work in! It's from Knit and Stitch = Bliss in Bethesda, MD. I haven't had time to check out the website yet, but be sure that I will! And the contents..... are absolutely fantastic! Yvette knit not just one, but two wonderful washcloths. She included lots of yarn that is just yummy. The variegated is a skein of Peaches and Cream in double worsted - which I hadn't seen before. Notice the ghiradalli chocolate in the background, some Bee & Flower Ginseng soap (the fantastic wrapper will find its way into a collage!), a hand made card, and the best magnet! My boyfriend did agree the sentiment did apply to me: "I am fairly certain that given a Cape and a nice tiara, I could save the world." Yvette, thank you for a wonderful package. And I sincerely apologise for making you think this was unappreciated.
Tomorrow updates on Houston, Galveston, and the cut finger. I shall be eternally grateful that I still have that finger!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Look Ma! Ten Fingers!

For a living, I make an organizer for Quilting rulers. In several different sizes. Well, we are getting Ready for the Big Quilt Show.....International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX. We're in the middle of making several hundred pieces to take with us. And I cut my finger on a table saw this morning. Now, I still have all of my fingers. For which I have repeatedly given thanks. I do realize how lucky I am. There is never a good time for an accident. I think that is part of why it is called an accident. But there are worse times.
Updates will be even more sporadic than normal. I have cut the steeks on my cardigan. And it wasn't as bad as I had feared. Rather like my finger accident this morning. Pictures some day - but not of the finger, I promise.

Friday, October 19, 2007

They're Here!

My Sockapalooza socks arrived in Thursday's mail from my Sock Angel! And aren't they lovely! Check out the great card she included. And also inside the package was a sample bottle of Eucalan in the lavendar scent. I haven't ever used Eucalan before, so it is a wonderful addition. Sheryl (who didn't include blog info) used a pattern from the Rockin Sock Club and Yarn Pirate yarn in the Clamity color. And check out the heels. She made these with short row, garter stitch toes and heels. And not a hole in sight. What a fantastic pair of socks. I thank you very much. And don't forget, she already sent yarn and a pattern for me. This yarn has a very soft, squishy feel to it. I am sure they will be a pleasure to wear this coming winter.

And I've made progress on my aran cardigan! Here is a pic of one of the sleeves. But both are finished. Gee, I suppose I could have rotated the picture while I was reducing the size. Oh, well. This will have to do for now. Come to find out, the body is also finished. Turns out, I just needed to finish one row. I put it down though because of the warm weather. I did have the thought to measure the armhole/sleeves to make sure one fit into the other before cutting the steeks and being forever doomed. That drama, steek cutting, sleeve measuring and all to be saved for the next post! Anxiety abounds.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cross Your Fingers For Me!

If everyone in the cyber world would please cross their fingers and send up good luck vibes for me. A situation that I have been fighting my way through for almost four years may come to an end this week. I don't dare say "today" - this week would be very good, thankyouverymuch!

I didn't make my trip last week due to items of a nature too personal to go into here. But at least I have the trip planned out for when I am able to go. This week needs a shorter trip, maybe into the Rochester, NY area. I am expecting to be on the road tomorrow morning.

And on the knitting front, I have finished the second sleeve of my sweater! Although the camera is temporarily MIA, so pictures will have to wait. The body is probably 95% finished also - I have already started the decreases for the neck. I am getting excited to have this finished. For awhile now, it hasn't been an exciting knit. Oh, the cables and crossed stitches are fun to watch for awhile. But miles of yarn later, it had become ho-hum. Now that the finish line is in sight, the excitement is coming back!
Pictures to come - everyone cross their fingers please!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Vermont, New Hampshire and Neighbors with Motorcycles

Well, I'm off again. This morning I am heading to Vermont and then to New Hampshire. I won't get to all of the quilt shops on this trip. But looking over the map, there are a lot of quilt shops in Maine. And the stores I will miss through New Hampshire (maybe one or two in Vermont also) are all on the southern end of the state. So those are the stores that will get me to Maine. I have been to Vermont, but not to NH or ME, so that is exciting.
And I need to be on the road already. Had the alarm set for earlier than I am used to getting up. And at 1 am, the neighbor needed to work on his motorcycle - and it is loud enough to wake me up, two doors away. Note to self: walking up the street at 1 am in your pj's to ask the neighbor to please do that later since I needed to be up at 5 is not a good idea. Fortunately, before the idea sounded really worth walking up the street at 1 am, he drove off.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Weekly Blogging

I suppose if I am going to be home on the weekends only most of the time, I should make a concerted effort to blog on said weekend! I got home Friday night/Sat morning at 2:30 am. So Saturday was mostly shot. Sunday more was accomplished, but nothing really noteworthy.

But on a front that I had no work involved with......we are in the new Quilter's Home magazine! Mark Lapinski did a product review on our Ruler Organizers in the Nov/Dec issue. I am so totally excited! Now if orders will come in because of the review, we'll be in high cotton! Well, I suppose that if anyone were to read my blog, information might be wanted! We make a ruler organizer to hold quilting rulers. My work website is ROM Woodworking.

Moving on to the knitting front... I have started the second sleeve of my aran cardigan. It is from a kit I bought from Philosopher's Wool several years ago. I have been putting off finishing. I think the body is too long and I am dreading the ripping. This cardigan is knit back and forth....or at least the directions tell you to do so. The switching back and forth was confusing to me. So I just blithely inserted my first steeks and knit away in the round. SO much easier. Although I'm sure I'll need the "necessary" glass of wine before cutting my beautiful knitting!

And I finished the socks I'm knitting from the yarn my Sock Angel gave me!

She sent me a lovely skein of Tofutsies. I don't see a color name, but it is Item #725, dyelot #91506-82. She also included the lovely pattern that I used. The pattern is from SWTC (South West Trading Company). Also note the adorable stitch markers (on the socks) that she included! She didn't make them herself, but said a friend did. The pattern had you stop the design at the ankle. I knit the design all the way to the toe decreases and changed to an Eye of Partridge heel. While on the needles, there is a bit of biasing due to the pattern, but not a bit of twist when the socks are on! I even knit the sock leg longer than the pattern dictated, but look at how much yarn I have left over!

The design is lovely and quickly became an easy knit. Thank you very much, Sock Angel! And to think she is also knitting me socks!
Hopefully, I'll have time for another quick post tomorrow before I hit the road again. Right now, my job involves visiting every quilt shop I can find. If we can get the Ruler Organizers in the quilt shops, it will be fantastic! Wish us luck!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Do We Get Eye-Candy?

Well, I looked up how to add pictures into my post. And unless it is more complicated than the directions seem, this is a piece of cake! I'll try adding one now just to make sure that it works the way I think it does. And then tomorrow I'll post a picture of the socks I've finished knitting with the surprise gift from my Sockapalooza sock angel.

Oh, wow! That was easy. I'm on dial-up, so it wasn't fast. After posting, I'll check the size of the picture so I'll know if I need to go smaller next time. This beauty not only is the color of root beer, but SMELLS like root beer! This beautiful Iris came with my sweetheart. That, plus an antique quilt - not too shabby.

I missed one of the topics for the Dish Cloth Exchange. Last week's topic was to comment on our favorite part about autumn. Well, it sure isn't the cooler temps. I am a warm weather gal, and do not look forward to the winters here in PA. But the changing colors are tremendous. And in keeping with the whole autumn theme, this week's topic is all about food. Yes, I do cook more once it cools off. And I do use my crock pot alot. Comes in handy when your job entails working in the basement. Great to come upstairs and have dinner ready. My true favorite dinner is just to dump whatever into the crockpot. Chicken, whatever vegetables I have on hand. I do usually top the chicken with reduced sodium cream of mushroom soup. I am positive that food purists the world over just fainted dead away. But the chicken stays very moist and tender - it comes out so much nicer than just left to cook in its own broth.

Yesterday while reading blogs, I got up to date with the lovely Knit & Tonic. Seems she is catching some flack over her upcoming book. According to an unhappy someone she encountered "everyone" is writing a book. Gosh. I didn't know I was supposed to penning a book! I admire those that write. And especially those that can earn their living writing. And getting paid for patterns that they have designed? That would be stupendous. But the "suspect's" comment really has me confused. Is she/he jealous or just a very negative person? I have absolutely no desire to write a book. I am not a good enough writer, nor do I have the burning need to become one. My brain just doesn't work that way. You know the scene in the Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks movie (for the life of me, the title escapes me) about the book store? Where Meg is typing on her computer and has to figure out what to say next out loud? Well, head shaking and all, that's rather my style of writing - just less verbal. Words do not flow out of the tips of my fingers (today's post not withstanding). There are lots of witty, charming, funny, serious, thought provoking (insert favorite descriptive phrase here) writers out there. I am inspired by many of them. But not jealous of their success.

I'm not sure exactly what is my "point." I suppose starting this blog has the brain cell whirling in circles. The mental confusion that Wendy's post caused has stayed with me for awhile. While falling asleep at night, very witty and charming posts are composed in my head. They must all leak out during the night, because I sure don't remember them in the morning! Bravo to those who do remember and are able to be charming and witty.

And I haven't been able to learn how to delete comments. I followed the lovely advise (and link) sent to my by Cathy-Cate (but I don't have a link for her - darn, I'm sure she's a lovely person. I mean, she helped out a total stranger!). I have cleaned up my cache (thank you google for the help!), and have refreshed several times. But the charming garbage can icon just doesn't appear for me. Ah, well. That apparently is knowledge to be gained another day.

Friday, September 28, 2007

And it's Friday

Well, we were gone several days longer than scheduled. The show in MO didn't go as well as anyone hoped. There were plenty of unhappy vendors. But we detoured on the way home to quilt shops in Ohio and New York and made some sales, so that is a help. But it sure feels good to sleep in my own bed.
My Sockapalooza Sock Angel is the BEST! The day we left for MO, a surprise package arrived from my angel. She sent Tofutsies sock yarn, a pattern, and stitch markers! I STILL haven't taken the time to learn how to insert pictures. But once I do, you will get to see the beautiful socks I am working on thanks to my Angel. And she is knitting me socks too. What a deal! We drove through the night to get there, so there wasn't any knitting on that part of the trip! But I did manage to finish one sock and start the second on the way home.
I am participating in International Scarf Exchange 5 and have heard from both partners, so that is fun. Now to decide on yarn and pattern for my pal. And let's not forget the dishcloth exchange. Both are very low pressure exchanges - easy to knit and plenty of time. I'll save my weekly dishcloth post for tomorrow's post. Pictures? That would be great - but work is screaming at me, so no promises.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Topic #2 and Comments!

Hmm...Blogger just ate my post - or the computer did. Either way...Note to Self: If the Save Now button won't work DO NOT LEAVE THAT PAGE! If you have to rethink and retype everything, you are not saving any time!
Topic 2 for Fall into Autumn is all about our knitting needles. I use addi turbo circs to knit my dishcloths and face cloths with because that is all I own! Since you can use circular needles for all knitting, that is what I've invested in. Although I'll admit that the sliding back and forth over my 24" cable for a small dishcloth does get a bit old. For this, I think I would like to try some (relatively) short straights. And aren't those new Knit Picks new wooden needles gorgeous! I don't know if they are available in straights or just as tips for their circular Options, but wowie!
Comments are so fun! I have read knitting blogs for years. Sometimes even the same ones for years. But I rarely comment. I had a bad experience years ago (flaming anyone?) when I left a comment on a blog. Apparently, I thought the purpose was to spark conversation. But unless you agreed with the blog writer and her cult, your comments were not welcome. Once burned, never commented again. Well, it's obviously time I get over that!

I really enjoy the comments I get. I know at least part of it is the newness. The someone actually reads my blog! feeling. Because of that, I do vow to become better at leaving comments.

Ok - off to work. We leave tomorrow to work at a quilt show in MO, and there is still lots to be done!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Home Again, Home Again

After a week on the road for work, I'm home again. Only had one good night's sleep while gone, so I'm just wiped out.

But! I heard from my Fall into Autumn spoiler. That's always fun, and thanks for the comment.

There is a weekly topic we can respond to for the Fall into Autumn swap. Fulfills the posting requirements, but also allows us to get to know each other better. This week's topic pertains to the yarn/season changes. I do tend to knit "warmer" things in the winter than the summer. I've mostly knit cotton dishcloths and (wool) socks over the summer. But now that it is getting cooler, I won't mind pulling out my wool sweater to try to finish. Although I almost always have a pair of socks on the needles!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

A Full Plate

I seem to have acquired a full knitting plate for the coming fall and winter seasons. Hopefully, this will be the year that I (finally) finish my aran cardigan. I bought the kit from Philosopher's Wool at MD Sheep & Wool several years ago. I think the body may be too long, so I'm dreading the rip out and reknit.

I've obviously signed up for the Fall Into Autumn Dishcloth exchange. I had a lot of fun getting my box ready (and receiving my box) from the Dog Days of Summer exchange. I have some fun ideas for this swap already thanks to the fun holiday timing.

And I think I made it into the 200 max people for the ISE 5. I haven't received my invite to the blog yet, but I have received an email from the swap hostess. I was in a previous ISE and missed being in the last one. Funny thing is, other than Norma's Red Scarf project, I'm not usually a scarf knitter. ISE and the Orphan Foundation of America just bring out the scarf knitter in me!

The learning curve is progressing well apparently. I still haven't learned (or tried to learn I should say) how to insert photos. But I successfully made the jump into embedded links, so that's progress!

Personal note to Julie H: You didn't leave an email address, so I can't respond privately to you. But on the sidebar of her blog, Alison has directions on how to sign up to be a Sock Angel.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Fall Into Autumn Questionnaire

I had so much fun with the Dog Days of Summer Dishcloth swap, that I'm doing it again for fall. With a mail by date of 10/31, it should be a real hoot! Now I need to learn how to upload a button onto the blog, because the button for this swap is a beauty. Blogger at the post when I changed the date to leave it at the top, so I'm posting (I hope!) now.

1. Do you knit or crochet? How long have you been doing it?
My great-aunt taught me to crochet when I was (maybe?) pre-teen or early teen. And then a few years later, my girlfriend and I taught ourselves to knit.

2. Have you made dischloths before? Do you use them yourself, give them as gifts, or both?

3. What's your favorite cotton to make cloths from? What cotton would you like to try that you haven't before ?
I don't have a "local" yarn shop - the closest one is over an hour away. So dishcloth cotton is usually my only resource. I did make one facecloth from Rowan 4 ply cotton that I adore.

4. If you knit, do you prefer circular or straight needles? For all, do you prefer wooden, metal, or plastic needles?
I prefer circular and I use metal or wooden needles usually.

5. What are your favorite colors? Any colors you don't like much?
I'm not wild about pink. I don't use many pastels.

6. What do you like best about Autumn?
The beauty of the changing colors.

7. Pies: Pumpkin? Apple? Pecan? All of em? or No Thanks!
Oh, I'd have to say All of them!

8. When you were a kid, were you the one who couldn't wait to get started with school , or the one who overslept on the 1st day?
Oh, the one who couldn't wait!

9. Do you celebrate Halloween? (The real key here guys is especially knowing if you have an aversion to the holiday or little goodies/decorations associated with it, given the timeframe of the swap)
Yes, I celebrate - but I can't seem to get rid of the italics!

Edited: I no longer decorate for Halloween. My kids are grown and out of the house, and we only have one child in the neighborhood old enough to trick or treat. But I DO enjoy the kids - the costumes, excitement, etc. I'm not sure if I just made this clearer or more confusing! I love autumn. And to me, Halloween is a part of that.

10. If you had to choose just 3 edible 'goodies' to eat for a full year, what 3 would you choose?
Oh, that's a tough one! Dark chocolate, peanut butter, and nuts (almonds and macadamias, yum!)

11. Do you have any pets? Kids? Husbands who seem like kids?
I have two grown children, no husband, but I do have a Sweetheart.

12. If you were to describe a particular yarn that shares traits of your personality, what would it be and why?
Koigu. Enough changes to keep you on your toes, fun, and with care, long lasting.

13. Do you use your cloths mostly for dishcloths, or as facecloths?

14. Favorite Fall Holiday: Halloween or Thanksgiving and why? (Feel free to share another fall memory if you do not celebrate either of these holidays)
Definately Thanksgiving and truly because of the meaning behind the holiday. Thanksgiving is one of the few remaining holidays still devoted to family and friends. Sharing good food and being thankful for our blessings without an abundance of commercialism.

15. Do you have any allergies or aversions your pal should know about?
I am sensitive to cigarette smoke, but nothing else that would come into play here!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Sockapalooza Update

Thanks for the comments. Not everyone that left a comment left me an email addy to respond, so I thought I'd do so here. I've heard from Alison and she IS working on it. She is contacting those who have yet to fulfill their commitment and plans are in place for Sock Angels. In the end, I have no doubt that this will all work out for the good.

And my sock pal was a blast to knit for! That alone makes the whole thing fun. She said she likes "Dobby" socks. Well, I sure hope she was serious, because she sure is getting them! I forgot to take pictures, so I hope she posts pics once she has received them.


Sockapalooza Pal, Are You Out There?

I joined Sockapalooza 4. Joined the blog too, but can't find my log-in information and only posted once. But I've never heard a peep from my pal. Are you still out there? Are you still knitting and intend to mail soon? Please let me know. I know I was late mailing to my pal. But I did send several emails letting her know she was not forgotten. I have since mailed - and let her know that too. But here we are, a month after the mail-by date. And no word from my pal. I guess I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Another Knitting Blog??

Does the world really need another knitting blog? Well, since I can't imagine who in the world will be reading my blog, I'm not gonna give it another thought. I am starting this with the idea that this will be a way to track what is going on in my life - knitting, quilting, job, life, etc.

And what a steep learning curve this will turn out to be. I get to learn not only how to post, but how to upload pictures, insert links, etc.

As long as I keep this up to date, I think this will become a great resource for me. I'll keep my fingers crossed!