Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Just a very quick note to say that other adventures have trumped the blogging time. Back toward the end of July I had an unpleasant episode involving a "perforated" appendix, pnemonia and a nine day hospital stay. On the bright side, I was home recuperating and therefore was NOT on the I35 bridge when it decided to end it all. I drove that bridge at least twice a day, often at about the same time it went down.

We were able to make our Toronto trip and the week away helped me get my stamina back. Toronto is lovely, I highly recommend it as a vacation spot. Even the manchild has announced that he plans to move there. Hopefully he'll wait until he has a job. A well-paying job. My souvenirs consisted of a skein of Handmaiden wool/silk and a skein of Fleece Artist Blue Suri. I love these folks but their yarn is hard to find here and when I do, it's expensive. I was happy to find it in Toronto at a reasonable price!

In other news, I finally got my invitation to join Ravelry, so if you're there, say "hello."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Coffee Swap Kudos

I received my coffee swap box on Saturday and wanted to say "Wow, and thanks!" to Diane, my swap partner. She sent me a very "Connecticut" themed box (although she said her daughter called it the clown box because "there's no way you're going to get all that into that little box").

Diane sent 3 kinds of yummy coffee, two balls of a beautiful lace yarn in a lovely purple (she must have caught the lace obsession), a skein of Cascade 220 in a gorgeous rusty red, assorted snacks and goodies, and, of course, chocolate. Thanks, Diane, this was a great swap!

I'm in trouble now...

Yes, there has been even more lace. I finished the lace scarf and am now working on a lace baby shawl/blanket for a pregnant neighbor. I'm becoming addicted to lace.

Perusing blogs this morning I came across a link to Mystery Stole 3. Yup, I took the plunge and signed on. Sign ups are open until July 6. I've been wanting to try a shawl or stole and this seems like fun. It has beads so I'll learn a new technique. Hopefully I'm up to the challenge!

Monday, June 04, 2007

There is lace!

After several false starts, I am happy to report that I have an actual, almost finished lace scarf! Of course, I have no pics because I still can't find the cord thingy.

Which leads me to one of my pet rants. Finding things. Things get lost in our house. Finding anything pretty much takes 15-20 minutes. If it's something you REALLY need it's guaranteed to take longer. Much longer. Now, I know that nothing is ever lost in your houses because you are all very neat, well organized people who always put everything back where it belongs. In MY household, however, there are three disorganized slobs. Actually, the Man-Child is the most organized and well-kept of us all. His room is usually the cleanest and the most orderly. I can't say as much for the rest of the house. I would like to say that this is actually a very clever attempt on my part to be sure that he is neat child, because growing up in a messy house has, of course, made him want to be neat above all else. After all, it worked for me -- my mom made housecleaning an art form and look how I turned out.

You might guess from this that there is almost ANYTHING that I would rather do than housework. The spouse and I have different ways of viewing housework. I hate clutter, she hates dirt. I don't mind dust if it's on empty surfaces, she doesn't mind clutter as long as it's clean clutter. Clutter is insidious. I can clear it away, turn my back for fifteen minutes and it will reappear. It has a life and will of it's own.

The spring concert season is well underway. In the last month I have been to one band concert, a theatre awards night, and six choir performances (or choir related events). There is still one more to go, the last spring concert for boychoir. This will be their first ever performance at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis. Actually, they've performed there with the Minnesota Orchestra many times, but this is the first time they're the whole show! Pretty exciting stuff, at least to the parents. The boys are pretty blase about the whole thing. Just another night on stage at a world class venue...yawn. A few days after that the choir leaves for the Australia tour, minus the Man-Child who is not much of a traveler and opted out. I still don't understand how I, someone who will go anywhere at the drop of a hat, could have produced such a homebody. Ah well, he's young, he'll grow out of it.

Speaking of which, the Man-Child turned 14 over Memorial Day weekend. Somehow, 14 seems much older than 13. He is becoming more and more independent, something that, as a parent, we try to nurture and yet want to discourage at the same time. Suddenly he's getting invitations to parties (boy/girl parties!) and riding to the mall on his bike all by himself. Ok, so I did follow him in car the first two times he went, just to be sure he could get there without becoming a hood ornament. Stephanie's May 30 post, "Dear Amanda," speaks to this very thing, most eloquently as usual. She gets it absolutely right. Go read it, but make sure you have a kleenex.

Ok, back to the knitting. Yes, there is lace! In the category of "Duh, can you read a knitting pattern?," I finally realized that the reason I was continually screwing up all lace patterns was because I was including a knit stitch for every yarn over. So, if the pattern said, K2, YO, Knit 2, I would K2, YO K1, K2. So, of course, nothing ever came out right. I'm not sure when the light bulb finally went on, but there was an "aha" moment in there somewhere. And, how long have I been knitting? And how long have I been avoiding lace?

Also in the category of "finished objects" is a baby sweater, knitted in anticipation of a neighbor's baby shower in a few weeks. It turned out really cute, and if I ever find the *%^&#$ cord thingy I'll show you. Now I'm knitting a smaller, newborn size of the same sweater. It's a great pattern -- Cabin Fever Buttons Cardigan. Very easy, I made the first one in two days. Of course it helps that it's teeny. The "Perfect Sweater" mentioned in the last entry is finished, except for the blocking and seaming. I'm afraid I'm going to completely screw it up, so it sits. Someone told me that "you can always rip it out," which is true, probably even destined, but as long as it sits in pieces I can imagine it finished, perfectly, sometime in the future...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Coffee Swap Questionnaire

1. Whole bean or ground? Either is fine.

2. Fully-loaded or decaf? I go both ways. I try to use mostly decaf, but I find that the flavors of coffee I like are often only available in caffenated.

3. Regular or flavored? I tend to like flavored, particularly anything chocolate or hazelnut. Maple, cinnamon and other spices. I can't imagine a fruity flavored coffee, but I'm game to try something different. I don't like very dark, strong coffees. I like medium to light blends.

4. How do you drink your coffee? With splenda and cream. Lots of cream. Boatloads of cream. Sometimes I add some flavored syrups (need to be sugar-free).

5. Favorite coffee ever? I'm currently addicted to the Cinnamon Dulce Latte at Starbucks. I also really liked the pumpkin latte they had around Thanksgiving. Didn't expect to, but they gave me a free sample and I was hooked.

6. Are you fussy about your coffee or will any old bean do? Not too fussy.

7. Favorite treats to have with your coffee? My absolute favorite thing to have with coffee is a donut. But, since I really try NOT to do the donut thing, I like biscotti, or shortbread. I have these amazing maple flavored sandwich cookies that come from Canada that are really good with coffee.

8. Anything else about your coffee preferences? I think the above covers it all.

9. Yarn/fiber you love? Wow, I love all kinds of natural fibers. Pretty much anything hand painted, hand-dyed is good. I especially love alpaca, merino, anything soft. Feel free to send cashmere.

10. Yarn/fiber you hate? Acrylic, pastels.

11. What's on your needles? A sock, the last sleeve of a sweater and a *&^+$$@ lace scarf that I keep ripping out.

12. Favorite colors? I like rich, strong colors. I really don't like pastels and I don't much see the point of white or cream colors (except maybe to dye them). I like blue, purple, green combinations. I also like rust, green, gold, brown combinations. I like jewel tones (not pastel). I like reds, oranges and yellows as accent colors.

13. Allergies? Nope. At least nothing fiber related.

14. Anything you really love, really don't like, or just need to get off your chest? I really don't like pastels, but I think that's been covered. Someday, I WILL knit lace and it WILL be good.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Out of Hibernation...

Ok, I'm back. I think I'm back. Spring has sprung (and I think it's going to stay that way this time -- don't even ask about that early April snowstorm) and I don't have the hibernation excuse any more.

Seriously, winter is tough for me. I deal with depression (long family history, not pretty stuff) and winter really saps my energy.

Ok, enough with the negative stuff! I've been knitting and spinning in an attempt to stay sane so I have lots to catch up on. Unfortunately, I can't find the cable thingy to upload the pictures, so those will have to wait. When will someone introduce a camera that uploads wirelessly? I really hate having to use the cable thingy.

My big project this winter has been the "Perfect Sweater" from the Mason-Dixon website. This is my first ever sweater and I wanted to get a good sense of how to assemble a sweater. This seemed like a good pattern for that. It's very clear, with instructions even a complete novice can figure out. It suggests an affordable yarn and it's even free! Can't beat that. I am on the homestretch, about 2/3 of the way through the second sleeve. Then comes the whole seaming thing, which I have to admit is the most intimidating part. I don't have a good track record when it comes to seaming (see earlier post on the Christmas Gnome), but this pattern calls for a three-needle bind-off for at least part of the seaming and I've had good luck with that. I have to say that it is a sea of stockinette, so if you're looking for mindless knitting, this is your pattern! I'm using Cascade 220 in the blue heather. So far I'm very pleased with it.

In other knitting news, I was one of 400 knitters who was able to hear Stephanie, aka the Yarn Harlot, speak here back in March. If you click here, scroll down to the Minneapolis-St. Paul photo. Look at the first photo, just off center. There's a very bright yellow patch? That's me. I'll tell you, it's hard to figure out what to wear to a Harlot event. I've never seen so many gorgeous sweaters, vests, shrugs, shawls, etc. And here I was, without a wearable piece of knitting to my name. Hence, the incentive to knit the Perfect Sweater. I have to say, after hearing Stephanie's many horror stories of some of her other book signings, The Yarnery did an absolutely superb job -- they even gave us a knitting bag! Very cool.

I saw a couple of other bloggers there, but of course, didn't work up the gumption to say hello (see six weird things about me). Stephanie was great, she is a gifted speaker and had us all laughing for an entire hour. I didn't stay for the book signing, the lines were beyond real. I felt sorry for her, she must have been exhausted by the time the evening was over. I heard that she didn't finish until after midnight.

Tonight is a Knitter's Guild meeting that I'm going to try to get to. This weekend is Yarn Over and I'm signed up for a couple of workshops. One is on getting the "perfect" fit on sweaters (good timing) and the other is an Intarsia workshop with Annie Modesitt. I've not done any intarsia yet, so I'm looking forward to that one. To both, actually.

In a couple of weeks is Shepherd's Harvest, a festival devoted to all things wooly. In particular, there are always tons of fiber vendors there and there's a great selection of roving. I'm going to take a workshop on natural dyes and do lots of shopping. All in all, I'm looking forward to spending lots of time of spinning and knitting time over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Hibernating seems like a really good idea...

Sometimes motivation is a tough thing. I've had a very hard time getting myself to do much of anything the past several days. Blogging, working, spinning, even knitting -- none of these things have held much allure for me lately. I'm in the throes of winter blahs and it's hard to shake.

It's been very cold the last few weeks and is supposed to get even colder tomorrow. Unfortunately, we still don't have much snow cover so the temps are hard on my poor perennials. Kind of like trying to get a good night's sleep on a frigid night with just a sheet for warmth. I love Minnesota in the spring, summer and fall -- but I truly hate the winter. I don't like being cold, I don't like winter sports (because you're, like, COLD!).

Last night we took the Manchild to orientation for (gasp) HIGH SCHOOL! He can't possibly be old enough to attend high school. He was pleasantly surprised to find that he gets to take six electives as a freshman. Three of them will be taken up with band, but that still leaves three to choose. He's leaning toward woodworking and small engine repair. Monday night he starts lessons in bodhran, a celtic drum. And, he still has a bizillion rehearsals for boychoir, so he's a busy boy! He's also big into snowboarding right now and spends most of his free time cajoling us into taking him boarding. He's morphing into a real teenager before my eyes!

I'm trying to finish up my SP9 swap, but STILL waiting on something that was backordered from Knitpicks. Usually, they're very prompt and in general, I've been very happy with the things I've ordered from them, but they're sure taking their sweet time on this order! The final box is ready to go as soon as I have the last pieces.

I received my Knit Mitt Kit Swap a few weeks ago. Of course, I forgot to take a picture of it before I completely disassembled it. It was a terrific kit and included Eunny's Anemoi mittens pattern, which I had been coveting for quite a while! Also included were a beautiful handmade bag, a bar of yummy dark chocolate with almonds and orange pieces, a bag of fruit and nut mix (yum, already gone!), some gorgeous yarn in two shades of a beautiful green, and the book Domino Knitting, which has been on my Amazon wishlist!! Thanks, Rebecca -- you are a superb swap partner!!

Here's hoping the Knitpicks box will show up today and I can finally get my last SP9 box off to Rachael!! In the meantime, I'm going to go find someplace to hibernate until winter is over. Should only be another four months or so...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Six weird things...

A few days ago I was tagged by Lori for the "Six Weird Things About You" meme. So here it goes:

The Rules: Each player of this game starts with the 6 weird things about you. People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names.)

1. I was named after a squirrel. Really. My first name is Perri. In 1957, Disney came out with their first "True Life Action Film," in that it was filmed, not animated. That first movie was about a little girl flying squirrel named Perri. My mom was enchanted and liked that it went with "Penny," my older sister's name. There are only a handful of Perri's, in fact, I know of only two others. One is known to us all -- Perri Klass, who writes a column in Vogue Knitting. I don't know, but I bet she's 48 and had a creative mother too. I did not like my name when I was in grade school. Too many bad Perry Mason jokes. Now that I'm mostly grown-up, I like it. Except that I always have to spell it for people.

2. I have a degree in Peace Studies. Yup, you can actually get a degree in Peace Studies.

3. I once ate guinea pig in Peru. Tastes like chicken. Really. I tried very hard not to think about "Priscilla," a guinea pig I had when I was 10.

4. I am an extreme introvert. Off the scale. It's not that I don't like people, it's more that I find it exhausting to be around people I don't know well. Over the years I've learned how to act more extroverted, but it still doesn't come easily. This is one of the reasons that I really, really, hate to talk to people on the phone. I don't mean like, family, especially if they live far away and the only way to keep in touch is by talking on the phone. But pretty much every other phone call I will avoid if I can (just ask the Spouse). This can be a problem at work, where I have to make a lot of phone calls.

5. I am a classically trained singer (Mezzo Soprano). For a long time I wanted to be an opera singer and started out as a music major in college. Then I took my first music theory class. It was way too much like math (which I'm very, very bad at) and I panicked and quit. I actually don't regret not having majored in music because I've continued to train and sing when and where I want to -- no pressure!

6. I have very long thumbs. I am undefeated at thumb wrestling.

That's it. And I'm going to break the rules and won't tag 6 others (see #4).

Only two projects?

Here are the photos of work in progress, as promised:

The Irish Hiking Scarf in Lamb's Pride worsted, color "Blue Heirloom"

The Visor Beanie, in progress.

You can see the visor part, that was actually the easiest part of the whole thing. The hard part has been getting the shape of the hat right. I wanted to show you the original, but the Manchild must be wearing it today because I can't find it. It's a little bit looser than a traditional beanie. I'm trying to write down what I'm doing and will post the pattern when it's finished.

Now, to catch up on my swap posts. Here, finally, is a pic of my last SP9 pal box:

I'm quite late in putting a pic on my blog as I received this box before Christmas! It contained all kinds of goodies. Two skeins of yarn, a "Christmasy" merino from Hill Country yarns and a gorgeous skein of baby mohair/silk yarn called "Douceur et Soie," lace weight. Also included were a santa tape measure, a tiny sweater keychain, the winter issue of Vogue, some incense, chocolate, some mulling spices, and she even included some treats for the Murray, Kimi and Chuckie! We all say THANKS! What a great job she did, as a Secret Pal. I can't wait to find out who she is!

This morning I ordered the final things for the last box to my Secret Pal and a mitten kit for my KMKS pal. I have almost everything now for both boxes.

In other news, it's supposed to be in the forties today. Bye, bye snow!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Whew, made it through the holidays but I still feel like I have too much to do. We've been traveling a bit, playing a bit, working a bit and I've been knitting a bit.

First the traveling. Spent a few days up in one of my favorite places in the world, the north shore of Lake Superior. We packed up the Manchild, the dog, the snowboard and other snow related stuff and headed up. Unfortunately, there wasn't any more snow there than here. Fortunately, there is a nice ski resort there that makes their own snow. The Manchild got a new snowboard for Christmas so he was anxious to try it out.

It was a bizarre sight to see so much open water in late December. Lake Superior normally freezes over in the winter, but not this year. Ok, neighbor, can you say "Global warming?" I knew that you could. No ice, no snow. I think I still live in Minnesota.

And yes, I have been knitting! I'm working on two main projects: an Irish Hiking Scarf, which is my first attempt at cables, and -- a big challenge -- designing my own pattern.

The Irish Hiking Scarf is tons of fun and it's turning out beautifully (pictures soon). I like it so much that I've already bought yarn for the next one. The pattern design project is a hat for the Manchild. Before Christmas we were out shopping and he bought a hat that "everyone has." It's called a visor beanie and is a basic hat with a plastic visor knit into the brim. It cost twenty three dollars. Yes, you read that right. Twenty-three dollars for a knit beanie. So, I've been trying to figure out how to make one. I've searched the web and couldn't find anything that was quite right, so I decided to try to make one. Now, having never knit anything without a pattern, this is new territory. But, hey, how hard can it be?

Well, I've already ripped it out twice. Third time's the charm. I'm having trouble getting the decreases to come out right. It's either too short or looks a bit like a stovepipe. The third attempt will be juuuuust right.

I'm in the process of wrapping up the SP9 swap. I sent my spoilee a small pre-Christmas box, but still need to put one more together. The other swap I'm doing is a mitten kit swap and I still have to decide which pattern I'm going to send, but I have to pull that one together very soon. Once I get those finished, I think I'm going to take a break from swaps for awhile.

Speaking of swaps, I received my last box from my Secret Pal. I have pics but I can't post them tonight, so that will have to wait. Thanks, SP9!!

And last, but not least, it finally snowed!!! Only a few inches, but I'll take it!