Live From The Middle of Nowhere

I’m in North Carolina. Brevard, to be exact.  It’s not really the middle of nowhere; in fact it’s quite a nice little town.  My cousin and her husband work at the summer music festival here during the summer, so I’m here with my mom, dad, aunt and uncle for a week or so.  It’s just that there’s no computer access except for the library, so I can’t post pictures for you.  It’s a beautiful place, tho.  We also can’t get cellphone reception from our vacation house (I guess being in the mountains will do that).  I feel a bit bohemian.  But the good news is, there is a yarn shop here, and I’m gonna mosey on down there as soon as I’m done checking my emails, and writing this post. I’m pretty sure it’s mosey-ing that they do here in the south.

 Tomorrow is the 4th of July, and there’s big doings in Brevard all day long.  I’m mostly looking forward to the pet show at 9:30 tomorrow morning!

On the knitting front, I’ve finished the first of a pair of socks using Gems Opal that my friend Emmy gave me from her vast stash, and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. Imagine if you will, a dark sagey-mossy green sock knit top down in the crosshatch lace pattern from the 2nd Sensational Knitted Socks book.

Off to hike down to the other end of the street to the yarn shop!  have a great holiday!

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One Journey Ends, Another Begins

I’m so stoked!  I sent Kathy’s stole to her this morning.  It always feels so good to finish a big project, and this one is special to me, becasue my sister is about my favorite person in the world.  After I unpinned it from the blocking board, I pranced around the house with it, then flitted from one UFO to another.  I couldn’t decide what to work on next.  For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been about as loyal to one project as I ever am in my knitting universe, so working on Sheelagh, or the Sampler Stole from GOL was like coming back to an old friend.  We just picked up where we left off!  Of course, I’ve also cheated on the stole a bit, but just with socks, which hardly even counts as flirting. Some details, and some pics:

Pattern:  Lacey Lattice Stole, by Fiddlesticks

Yarn:  about 130 grams of light lavendar 4-ply cashmere from Colourmart

Blocked: 21 inches wide, 68 inches long

Here it is blocking:
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Here it is on me (I swear, I’m not usually standing straight as a rod)
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And here it is, totally matching my toes!
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So, that’s one journey finished. Another begins tonight, as I leave on a red-eye to North Carolina for a 2 week visit with my folks. The first week I’ll be working as a volunteer at the U.S. Women’s Open golf tournament, which is being held in Southern Pines, where my parents live. I’m on the Player Hospitality Committee, so I’ll be helping out in the locker room. Much better than doing something that will require me to be outside in the NC heat! It’s hot here in Sacramento, too, but as we like to say, “it’s a dry heat.” Pics and posts when I get back. My parents don’t have a computer!

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Toward the Finish Line (finally)

I’ve always thought the Aesop’s fable about the tortoise and hare is pretty lame.  “Slow and steady” may win the race, but only if the rabbit is an idiot. Fast and steady would win every time.  That said, I’m a bit of a turtle when it comes to knitting.  I can talk a mile a minute, but my fingers just don’t move as fast.  I’ve been working feverishly, if ploddingly,  on Kathy’s stole.  I hope to finish by Friday, block the blasted thing on Saturday, show it off to my knitting buds on Sunday and mail it to Kathy on Monday. I swear, I’m starting to hear the opening song from Les Miserables every time I look at this project:  “Look down, look down, you’ll always be a slave…”  I hate knitting to a deadline!!

As is my habit, I’ve also been dabbling in this and that.  Mostly socks.  I seem to have a bit of a foot fetish.  This is my current fav:  my own self-striping yarn.  Handpainting yarn is pretty easy, but doing the self-striping stuff is a real PIA.  I see why they charge more for it, and actually think they undercharge, for all the work involved.  You’ve gotta make a huge skein, then section off the striping sequences, then dye them, then let them dry, then roll the yarn into a ball.  (I have no idea how to re-skein the yarn into an actual skein.)  But it’s a fun kind of PIA, and I’ll be doing it again as I love the result.
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Pretty cool, huh? I’ve also been working on some other socks: I finished these: Koigu feather and fan.  I’m also working on 2 or 3 other pair.

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With any luck at all, I’ll be able to post a photo of Kathy’s stole before I send it off to her!

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Better than no vacation at all

I like swaps.  Well, sort of.  Some I like more in theory than in practice.  I’ve only had one good experience with the whole secret pal swap thing, so I plan to stick with one-off jobbies for now.  This one sounds fun, so I joined. The deal is that you put together a package that reflects your hometown for your swapee.  As usual, there’s a questionnaire, so here’s mine.Virtual Vacation Swap Questionnaire

1. If you could visit any state in the US, which would it be and why?

I’ve been to a lot of the states, but never to Alaska. I’d love to go there, to see the wildlife and wild scenery. And it would be the perfect place to wear all of my nice warm hand knit socks! On the other end of the spectrum, I’d also like to visit New York someday. Take in a few plays, see the big museums, eat lots of messy deli sandwiches.

2. If you could visit any country in the world, other than your own, which would it be and why?
I lived in England for a year while I was in grad school, and visited Scotland once. Since that time, I’ve become obsessed with everything Scottish, and I really want to go back there again, for a longer visit. I’d like to take a walking tour of the Highlands. I’d also like to go to more cities in Italy than Rome, which is the only one I’ve visited. And I’d love to go to Australia some day.
3. Have you ever driven across several states/providence/countries?

My grandparents were in Tennessee and Illinois while I was a kid, and we often drove cross-country to visit them. I’ve also driven up and down the East coast a bit, and from California to Oregon a bazillion times. My husband and I go to Ashland, Oregon every year for the Shakespeare festival.

4. Have you ever visited someplace you consider exotic? Where was it?
I guess a lot of people would consider Hawaii exotic, and I lived there for 2 years. I’ve also been to Russia. That’s probably not a lot of exotic travel in most people’s minds!
5. What was your favorite “travel” vacation? Why?

This is a tough one. They’ve all been enjoyable in their own way. I loved spending spring break a couple of years ago on the island of Kauai with our dear friends the Jones’s. That was a fun week!

6. Have you ever played tourist in your own home city/state (if international, country)? Explain.
California is such a big state, I’ve been a “tourist” in several places: Palm Springs, San Diego, San Francisco. I live in Sacramento, and I felt a lot like a tourist when I first moved here; visiting landmarks, finding my way around the one-way streets downtown, scoping out the best restaurants, etc.
7. Are you a museum visitor, beach comer or an amusement seeker?
Oh, my! I’m going to assume there’s a typo here and you meant comber! I love all 3. I’d say I’m more of a beach comber and museum visitor, but I like a bit of adventure, too. But mostly I like to take my time to see things, knit, eat, relax on vacation. I like to immerse myself in the culture of the places I visit.
8. What’s your favorite type of yarn?
I love merino wool, and cashmere, of course! I also like wool/silk blends. I love dk weight sock yarns, and zephyr lace yarn.
9. What’s your least favorite type of yarn?
I really don’t enjoy knitting with cotton, and I dislike novelty yarns very much. I like to do lace, cables, other textured stitches, so I use a lot of smooth yarns. Nothing glitzy or fancy. I’m also not a big fan of mohair.
10. What items do you like to knit/crochet?
I knit mostly socks and lace shawls/stoles. I also like to make felted slippers and hats and purses. I want to start making sweaters and shrugs, too, but I need to finish some other projects first.
11. What do you pack, knit/crochet wise when you go on vacation?
This is sort of embarrassing. I take as much as I can. It’s as if I think to myself, “O.K., I’ll be gone a week. There are 168 hours in a week, so I need to pack 168 hours worth of knitting. Plus extra in case I get bored, or there’s some strange warp in the time-space continuum and I have to fill more time and there aren’t any yarn shops anymore.” I usually take all of my many needles, just in case I want to cast on for something (my needles are all in a tackle bag, so they are easy to take along).

12. What other crafts do you do/would like to do other than Knit/Crochet?
Not really anything crafty except knitting. I’ve just started dabbling with dyeing (yarn, of course). But mostly I knit. And knit. And knit.

13. Are you allergic to anything? (Yarn wise or treat wise)
No.
14. What is your favorite color? Least Favorite?
I love sage green, deep dark green, black. I don’t like orange or yellow all by themselves. Probably because my mom told me I look bad in those colors. I like blue.
15. Sweet or Savory (Treat not personality)?
Sweet/salty mix is my diet nemesis!
16. Anything else we are forgetting to ask that you think your partner desperately needs to know?

Just that I’m looking forward to virtually getting to know him/her!

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June’s the best, in more ways than one!

Hi.  So, how’ve you been?  Wow, place looks about the same as when I was here last.  Time to pull the covers off the furniture, sweep up the dust sheep, and open the windows to let the fresh air in.  It’s officially summer break now (reason #1 why June’s the best!), so I thought I’d update the old blog and see who’s out there reading. 

 The first order of business is to tell you about the wonderful Whoduknit package I got from June (reason #2!).  This swap was through the Whoduknit group.  Every month we read a different mystery then knit something of our choosing related to the story. I use the term “we” rather loosely here, as I’ve never actually done the “knit an object of your choosing related to the story” bit. But I do love me a swap, so I signed up for the one we just did as a group.  The deal was, I sent June a skein of yarn and she sent me one, and we knit each other something and sent it back with some other stuff.  Sounds groovy, no? 

I sent June a skein of purple Cascade 220.  She sent me this lovely felted bowl!bowlfromjune.jpg

Isn’t it pretty?  It’s filled with potpourri.  In her note, she mentioned that before she felted it she imagined I might like to use it on my desk. For paper clips or something.  After it was felted, she realized that no one needs that many paper clips.  Hahahahahahaha! (That was funny. The bowl is, like, 8 inches across.) The package also included all of these goodies.

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Drat. The picture is fuzzy.  I swear, I’m never gonna get the hang of posting photos.  Anyway, blurry thanks to June for such a lovely swap.  Her package from me is on its way. It’s late becasue I started, then frogged, about 4 projects before settling on the one I finally made for her.  It’s fairly hideous, actually, and I didn’t want to risk the camera refusing to photograph such an atrocity, but the other goodies are rather nice, so I hope she’s pleased.

I’ve now been sitting here playing with WordPress for about 2 hours, with naught to show for it but this measly post, and I’m gonna go knit now.  Kathy’s shawl is about 2/3 of the way done.  Photos tomorrow.  Yeah, right.

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Whew!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, but here I am, ready to start some serious blogging.   I still havn’t quite figured out the phot thing, but I’m getting better.  My blog is named for my new license plate frame.  In this picture, you can see me pointing to the new plate on my car, the black Honda, and my friend Julie pointing to her license plate. Notice how straightforward hers is, and how strange mine looks. 2STXYRN seemed perfectly understandable to me when I told Dave I wanted it for Christmas, but now I’m not so sure anyone but a die hard knitter will even recognize it as a vanity plate.  Of course, my level of concern for what non-knitters think of my license plate is practically nil, so I guess there’s no
problem.  Still, I feel like getting a license plate frame that says “Get it? ?Get it?? It’s a knitter thing!”
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I teach, so one of the things I look forward to every year is spring break.  This year we spent it with our dear friends the Jones’s, in Truckee.  We had a great time, as we always do with them.  I started these:
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felted clogs for Dave, in the colors of the San Francisco Giants.  Bailey, one of the Jones kids, kept glancing at them and gently pointing out to me that “They’re really big.”  I think she thought I must be having some sort of gauge crisis, but I assured her they would shrink in the wash.  I think she’s still a bit skeptical about my knitting skills, but she did ask me knit her some socks.

We stayed in a beautiful cabin in Truckee.  For muggles, this area is probably most famous for skiing and Lake Tahoe, but if you’re a knitter, it’s most famous for Jimmy Beans Wool, a Truckee yarn shop.  Or it used to be.  Tell me, is there anything more pathetic than a knitter faced with a store full of yarn and a closed (forever!!!) sign??
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I knew the shop was closing (they’ve moved to Reno), but it was still a bit of a shock to the system. They hadn’t yet finished moving the yarn, and there I stood, thinking “But there’s still yarn in there. How can they be closed while there’s still yarn in there?” Fortunately, there’s a new yarn shop just down the road apiece called Loopy. So far, it’s not very well-stocked, but I’ll be back in Truckee in August, so the owner has plenty of time to expand her selection before my friends and I swoop down upon her.

After the traumatic experience of seeing a closed yarn shop, we needed some R&R. Off to the nail shop for pedicures (me) and manicures, Denise and daughter Lindsey.
How cute is this?
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Bailey decided she’d rather read, a not-uncommon response from her. I swear, the child is a voracious reader, no book is safe from her, and I adore her.

Kathy’s coming today, and we’re going to browse the Colourmart site to pick out a new yarn for her shawl. Wish us luck.

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Testing, 1,2,3

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Just trying to get the hang of posting pictures.  Hey, wouldja look at that!  The above photo shows the things my sockret pal sent me.  If I actually had my camera with me, I’d show you a picture of my awesome “Broadripple” Socks that Rock sock-in-progress.  Maybe later.  Now that I’m feeling all techno-groovy!

Spring Break has sprung, so Dave and I both have a whole week off.  We’re going to Tahoe with the Jones’s on Monday for a few days, which will be a blast.  Some of the finest people we know, and we’re so lucky they’re our friends.  Baseball season starts in a few days (opening day for our SF Giants is Tuesday!!!!), so life is very good.

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