Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ride My LLama (by Neil Young)

Sheep, Alpacas, Llamas, and Goats, oh my! I went to the 2010 Wool Arts Tour in western New Hampshire today.  For those of you who might be interested, it's going on tomorrow and Monday as well.  I went with Katie K, and her friends Terry and Maureen.  I did not buy any yarn.  Let me repeat, I did not buy any yarn.  Okay, yes, the only reason that I didn't buy any yarn was that I'm probably not going to be able to show the same level of restraint at the market of the Stitches East convention in two weeks, but still, that's huge for me. 

 I bought a Knit Light from Nightingale Fibers, which is pictured to the left.  This may demonstrate that I'm getting old, but sometimes knitting with dark yarn at night, it's hard to see what you're doing.  I spent the grand total of $16.50, which also included some snacks I bought on the tour. 
It was good to see Katie, and it was a beautiful day to drive around in the foliage.

 There were lovely alpacas.
 This is Katie's friend Maureen to the right, I think she'd love to have an alpaca.

 There was a demonstration of spinning angora directly from the bunny.  The bunny is the grey fuzzy blob sitting in the woman's lap, perfectly happy to sit there while he sheds some fuzz.
 For the Mainers, check out the ornaments to the left. They are ornaments of men wearing colonial hats and wigs made of lobster shell claws.  I thought it was pretty hilarious, but not hilarious enough to buy one.

 Goats on the left, Llamas on the right :)

And that's all the news being released at this time.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Puppy Love

 Well, after tonight, I can finally do the reveal on the last secret project, which for those of you following along on Ravelry and here on the blog, was referred to as Secret Project V. Because Alison has been super cool to organize all the baby blanket projects during this most recent baby wave and prior baby waves, we decided it would be fun to do a mini-baby blanket for her for Edgar, her Chihuahua-shihtzu mix. This time, Tracy volunteered to do the assembly and edging, so all I was responsible for was doing my square. The color's not right in the picture of the square , but it shows the cables best. I did cables to represent rope toys.

We presented the blanket at tonight's monthly meeting at Borders. I think Alison was surprised. She was told it was in her best interests to attend this evening. Apparently that threw her off track because she asked Tracy if we were doing an intervention or something. I'm not sure why she thought we'd stage one. What could she need an intervention from??

In any case, I think she liked it.  It's certainly her color.  And it was dog themed.  There were paw prints, dog houses, and fire hydrants.  Hopefully Edgar doesn't decide to chew it up on the first night.

Not much else has gone on since my last blog post.  I know, I know, two posts in one week.  The universe must be ending.  I did get my purple glasses for those of you not on facebook.  The picture of me blows, but you can see the purple here.  Also, I've been working on the Tramline Cable Sweater and I have two 20 row pattern repeats done.  This picture shows the cables much better than one row repeat did.   Of course I spent much of guild this evening fixing a problem in the outer rice stitch section which occurred 4 rows down from the row I was working on.  So I only got about 3 rows of "net" knitting tonight.  Sigh.

Looking forward to this weekend.  Will be trying to fit in the Wool Arts Tour. 

That's all the news that's fit to print. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Long Time Gone

Hmm, it's been a month since I blogged.  Not sure how that happened exactly.  Remember that thing I posted about trying to slow down?  Yeah, not so much. 

First, in fiber news,  I finished the Smoke Ring with Lace Edging for me, and I finally got it blocked. Then Mindy C said she loved it and would like to knit one someday, but she didn't think she could.  I know she will be able to eventually, but since I have yarn in my stash and it only took me a couple of weeks, and she helped me get my current job, I decided to knit one for her in blue. It's the same yarn, Jaggerspun Zephyr Wool-Silk 2/18.  Of course, because the yarn is so fine and the lace is so fine, this did basically nothing to reduce my stash.  I still have 900 yards of the purple and 1200 yards of the blue.

I also had the privilege of finishing a hat for a fellow knitter who was a friend's mother.  She was making it for her great-grandson, who is two.  It won't fit him until he's a teenager, but at least he'll have it.  I hope someone finishes my last project for me when the time comes, if I haven't managed it myself.  She did up to the top of the white snowflakes and I did the rest of the hat, tassel and the two ear flaps.  I hope she's knitting with cashmere in the great beyond.

Given that the lace wasn't making a dent in the stash, I decided that the next project should be something with bigger yarn that takes up more space.  So I'm using Cascade 220 Heathers in an eggplant color to do the Tramline Cable Sweater by Vermont Fiber Designs. It's for me :) I like it so far, but it's complicated so it is going slow. I've put probably 6 hours or so into it, and I have one pattern repeat done.  But it is going to remove some actual space from the stash when it is complete. Not that it really helps, given the size of the stash, but it is a start.

The two pictures show the whole width of the sweater and a close up so you can actually see the cables.  You don't really get the whole effect of the cables traveling, I need to have to have two repeats completed for that, but go take a look at the link for the sweater and you'll see.  That wraps it up for fiber news this month.

In writing news, I've gained quite a bit on the novel.  Linda D and I have been doing writing challenges against each other, where we compete to gain the required number of words in a specific time frame.  We've added about 15,000 words or so.  I'm not saying it's all good, or that it doesn't need to be polished or the plot points refined, but I can't do that unless the raw material is on the page.  Linda spoke in her blog about her needing to wait to hear the characters speak to her.  I'm not sure that's what happens for me.  I think what does happen for me, and maybe it's the same thing really, is that I sit at the computer and ask myself, what if?  What if X happened next?  What would the characters do next?  How would they react, based on who I've decided they are and their personalities?  And I write it down.  I'm at 49,782 words which is very nearly one half of my 100,000 word goal.  It's not like I'm going to stop immediately at 100,000 words if the story's not finished, or if the story ends at 90,000 words, I'm going to stretch it to 100,000 words.  But I seem to need to have a plan for all things, and when I started writing a novel, I needed to know what that meant, so I researched what a normal novel length was on average, which is 100,000 words.  So I'm shooting for that roughly.  We were supposed to do a challenge this past weekend, but the stars weren't aligned, I guess, because neither Linda nor I wrote a single word.  For me it was just a case of having too many household chores and just not making myself do it. 

This past month, Mom started her move to AZ.  She is currently in Indianapolis, crashing with Judy and Frank for a bit, before she heads on her way to Tucson.  I'm very happy that she finally went, because Maine makes her seriously unhappy.  And I think she should be happy.  On her way out of dodge, she stopped with me for a weekend.  Of course, we went to Taipei Tokyo and then we went to the Used Book Superstore in Salem to get some reading for Mom's trip.  How can you beat paperbacks for $1.99?  I also introduced my mother to Beatles Rockband.  We just have a microphone, and Mom's performance proved that it's all about knowing the words and nothing to do with the actual singing.  So there's hope for Shawn yet :)

The following weekend, Shawn and I checked out a store called McKinnon's Meat Market in Salem, which is basically a butcher shop and deli with a grocery attached.  If you are a carnivore, it's unbelievable the extent of the different meats and cuts of meat available.  However, the rest of the grocery store is very basic and they do not have much dairy-free or dairy replacements available, so I couldn't do a whole grocery shop there.  I also attended my writer's group meeting at Mary S's house which was great.  I made a dairy free spinach onion dip that I loved, and we basically at the entire thing.  I had promised the recipe, so here it is:

1 12oz pkg Mori-Nu Silken Lite Firm Tofu
1/2 cup Nayonaise or regular mayo
1 pkg of French onion soup mix
1 (10 oz) pkg frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
2-3 medium green onions, chopped or ¼ cup
1 (8 oz) can water chestnuts, coarsely chopped
3 cloves of garlic minced or just process in food processor.

Take tofu and soup mix and blend together in food processor/blender/whatever. Then mix in mayo and garlic in food processor. Then mix in spinach. Then put the mixture and the spring onions and water chestnuts in a bowl and mix up with a spoon. Let it set at least an hour, but I think overnight is best.

It was almost like I could have real dip again. Still haven't found a coffee cream replacement that I like yet.  I tried the MimicCreme that was suggested to me.  While it was the closest I found so far, unfortunately for me, about thirty seconds after I swallow the coffee with the MimicCreme in it, I get a soapy aftertaste in my mouth.  So that's a wash too. Sigh.  I did try the Chocolate Pecan Pie from the Sweet Utopia vegan dessert book, and it was pretty good. I even found a dairy free pre-made graham cracker crust so I didn't have to make it.

The following weekend I had an eye appointment and my slight change in prescription coupled with the number and variety of scratches in my current lenses meant new glasses.  They are purple.  I tried to find a picture of the frames online, but apparently not all things are google accessible.  So I'll post a picture of me wearing them when I get them. We also had dinner with Brian and Joanne and Shawn's grandparents on Sunday at which the Chocolate Pecan Pie made its debut.

This past weekend was chore heavy.  I had been ignoring the laundry or doing a load here and there as necessary for some time, so the backlog had continued to grow.  So it was eight loads on Saturday.  The same may be said for my checkbook, so balancing took some time on Saturday as well.

This month will be a bit busy as the Wool Arts Tour is next weekend, two weeks after that is Stitches East
and the weekend after that is the ManchVegas knitting retreat in Portland, Maine.  These events will also be dangerous to my net worth, so I'm going to have to be very careful.

Because the month of October will be so busy, we are planning to hold our writing group meeting virtually, and I am in charge of setting that up and coming up with some writing exercises in lieu of the meeting.  If anyone has any good ideas, feel free to forward them along.  I have grand aspirations of finding an exercise tailored to each of the members, but we'll see about that, or if I get desperate at the last minute and just slog something together.

Stay tuned for further updates as we receive them from our affiliates.