Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Time to take a deep breath

Last week I mentioned things happening at work to bum me out but didn't want to talk about it. Well, last Thursday my boss had a meeting with me to let me know things were going to change in the department and my position was going through changes. In 30 days I would be without a position. He'd help me look for a new job in the company and went out on the company website. Oh look - here's a job that's 6 grade levels below mine. Yippee. To say the least I was bummed out. One of my good friends at work is a recruiter for another part of the country so she hooked me up with other recruiters. No jobs in my grade level/experience around that could be done remotely (like her job - she works in Minnesota for the southern Midwest area). Anyway - I didn't tell many people mostly due to shock. I think I told 4-5 people.

This afternoon the boss had another meeting with me. OOPS! Ignore what he said last week. And oh, by the way, I'll be getting someone reporting to me to help me out with the Iowa stuff so I don't have to travel as much. Talk about a crummy week. At least it had a happy ending. For now - who know when someone will decide to make changes again. Today's workplace just isn't stable for anyone anymore. At least there's knitting.

Monday night was our Sock of Month Group. We all went around the table and formally introduced ourselves to each other. This month's yarn is tofutsie. I'm not so keen on the pattern so I'll probably look around for a different one to try out the yarn with.

This is a shot of my bathroom from March 2007. Notice the lack of medicine cabinet (the blue taped are is hiding a hole in the wall that the cats got a bit too interested in). The curtain looks like it was just thrown over the rod and doesn't really fit. The tile has blue painting tape on it. The light is - well - ugly and old. Now, pretend this same picture was taken today.

You would see no medicine cabinet. Blue painters tape on the tile. The window bare with no curtain thrown over the rod. And ,yes, an ugly light. Guess I haven't gotten too far on the bathroom fix-up. I think I have a project for this week end!

My plans are to get the walls painted and hunt up my cousin to come over and hold the medicine cabinet in place while I install it. With any luck we'll also be able to take down the ugly, old, 1970s crackle globe lights and replace it with the incredibly beautiful arts & craft light I got back in March. Wish me luck!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

They just don't get it! - But you do...

I went out to eat with my "gang" this week. They were my gang before that word was something to worry about. Back in the 60s when you could say to your folks "I'm meeting the gang at the bowling alley" and your parents wouldn't worry. They knew you were meeting a nice group of friends and having some good clean fun in a safe place. I feel sorry for the kids today who have to worry about wearing the wrong clothes or wrong fingernail polish or wrong whatever because it might tell other people the wrong message - you belong to a certain gang (in the bad way). But - back to my gang.

The first of us met in 3rd grade. Actually a bit sooner because my cousin is part of the gang. We've been together and close since I was 4 months old and he was born. The next members after 3rd grade joined us in 5th and 6th and we added some more with jr high and high school. But - by 10th grade the gang was pretty solid. We've been together forever and support each other. Some friends have moved away and we don't see each other as often and some in town have moved into different circles of friends but still connect occasionally. The core group however,gets together at least monthly if not more often. What a treasure it is to have these friends. But none of them knit. That's where the problem came in when we got together this week.

We were sitting around a table at Panera and I said something about a funny thing I read in someone's blog. That started a conversation about why would anyone blog. Cousin figures that blogs are - "I got up today. I went to the bank. I ate a bagel." etc. It took me a while to explain the people I've met on the blogs (but never met in person) are friends with similar interests. We talk about knitting, get opinions from others, share our successes and knitting traumas (we never have any failures!), and I tried to explain this by adding - "Do you want me to spend the entire time we're together talking about what I'm knitting and what yarn I used and what needle I decided knits better than the other? And you you want to see 500 pictures of Chief and Bert every time we get together?"
"Point taken"
I think they are starting to understand the purpose of themed blogs.

This week was a really bad one at work and I may talk about it some day but not today. Because of this lack of calm in my work life and having to deal with some parent stuff, I didn't get much knitting done.
I did finish the SOM sock but need to get going on the 2nd one and block the 1st one.

One good thing that happened this week was I found a 2 shelf bookcase that wasn't 11 x 24. I have my Grandpa's old secretary desk and thought it would fit in the kitchen perfect. It's small 13 x 30 and part of the family history. It was in the corner of his kitchen. But it has no legs. I figured a small bookcase would work perfect and give me a spot for my cookbooks at the same time. It seems all bookcase in the known world are 11 x 24 except for one. I check all the normal places and furniture stores. I tried Ikea, home do-it-yourself stores. I happened to look at Target of all places and found the perfect bookcase. 13 x 32. I can deal with the desk being 1" short on each side. I got the bookcase one night and put it together the next. It works. Now all I have to do is refinish the desk to the right color stain.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I'm Rich!

Before I tell you about my riches, I have to add something to the last post. I posted a couple pictures of some scarves I made using the multi directional diagonal scarf but I failed to mention the pattern source. It's a free PDF on the web but I can't remember what site I found it on. The designer is Karen Baumer. I originally found it by doing a search for multi directional diagonal scarf because I saw it on someone else's blog.

Now - my great and wonderful new found riches. I was going through my books shortly after having "bummed around Ebay because I saw something I had to check out. I discovered I have a copy of Alice Starmore's FairIsle Handbook - hard copy. Those of you who have not gotten all excited about this announcement - check out the book and it's current value on Amazon . Go ahead - I'll wait.

So- if anyone wants to buy it for the listed price on Amazon. I'll talk. I'd like to retire early thanks to one single book!! :-)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Christmas here I come

Every year Christmas sneaks up on me. I don't know how. It's not like the date changes. It's not like I don't get the signs everywhere - the State Fair means 4 months to go; Halloween- 2 months; Thanksgiving- 1 month. And then - it happens, it's a few days before Christmas and I don't have presents ready, I haven't decorated the the house because it's not my year to have the family, I just get surprised by Christmas. But not this year. I already started presents and I'm going to be ready. Now don't remind me of this statement in 4 months when I'm babbling about not being ready because I'll deny I ever said this and I'll go in and delete this blog if you try to remind me. But for now, I pretend I'm going to be ready and show you a couple scarves I finished this week.

Both are the Multi-diagiagonal scarf pattern with variations.

Scarf # 1 is KnitPicks Suri Dreams. I used 1 skein and knit until I ran out. It's very light and fluffy.
Needles - 8
Diagonal width - 20 stitches

Scarf # 2 is80/20 acrylic/wool worsted. I forgot the name - I'll have to hunt up the skein and let you know. It's a yarn I hadn't used before and I thought I was buying wool. That will teach me to read the label better. Anyway- I decided to have a little fun with this because the yarn was going to be fair isle mittens but mittens need to be wool to stay warn. So- the scarf was made by default.
Needles - 8
Diagonal width - 30 stitches
I did end up with left overs from both skeins. I knit every other diagonal changing colors every 2 rows and then knit the next diagonal using one color alternating between the colors each time I did this diagonal.

What I discovered to limit the ends to work in was - if you knit the first color of the mutli-color diagonal using the color you just finished with you'll have the 2nd color end at the proper side to begin it's diagonal.

In other news - it was a raining weekend. We're hearing horror stories from Southeast Minnesota with flooding. This was my old stumping grounds where I went to college. It's frightening what water can do!

Chief decided the best way to survive a rainy day was to find "The Big GreenThing" and sleep. I think he may have something there! He also decided last night was a good night to crawl under the covers and start sleeping at my knee. This usually doesn't happen until mid September.

Friday, August 17, 2007

New Computer program practice

Part of my new computer is Office 2007. As with every new thing it’s got “stuff” I have to get used to. The best way is to practice. So I’m writing my post on Word 2007 and there is an option to publish to blog with the content of the document. Let’s see how this goes. I’ll add photos and see if they actually hit the blogs without me having to add each one separately. It will certainly make my life a lot easier if it does. Posting blogs when you have to add each picture separately and then move them to the spot you want them then re-set the spacing of everything it’s well… a pain. (Note: well - it didn't go so good. I need to try this out again when the computer is trying to update Windows stuff at the same time)

Wow! I just highlighted the last paragraph to change the font size and as I moved the curser around the sizes – the whole paragraph changed with each movement before I clicked on the size I decided on. I have a feeling I’m going to enjoy some of the new features.

Now to knitting. (Oh- I just saw the bottom left of the screen says this is word number 187! It’s keeping track)

Sorry… I knit a bit on the 2 color multi-diagonal scarf today and it will be done this weekend. The August sock (#1) is almost done. I haven’t knit on the mystery shawl the last two weeks because I’m not so sure about the wing. It looks too different from the rest of the shawl for me. I finished the first clue that had the wing on it and stopped. I decided to hold off until I see a brave soul’s completed shawl and then I’ll decide. The mystery is fun but I’m not one to just knit for the sake of knitting if I don’t “feel” it. I know there are those who are madly knitting/blocking away as I write and once I see their results I’ll know if I’ll keep knitting or do a little ripping to get back to the straight shawl part before I finish. I will finish because I like the beginning very much – we’ll just have to wait about the wing.

I just heard on the TV tomorrow is going to be the wettest day of the summer. Look like knitting time to me! Or I could behave and get some work done on the other house. NAH! – I'll knit…..

I have to put a picture somewhere in here to test out the blog publishing thing. What should I show you? Cats or knitting?
Good luck figuring this one out! I knot Bert has a head and a tail but where they are at the moment is a guess.

Chief as a baby.

Back when Chief was about 4-6 months old he wanted to be carried everywhere (still does). I had a hard time working on the computer with a cat in my lap so I hunted up my old arm sling and it became his. We would work on the computer for hours, me typing away, Chief snoozing in his “hammock”. Too bad he grew out of it so fast!

Note: never mind the publish blog pictures thing. I have to have my pictures stored on my server and since I don’t have a server I have to upload them the old way. Oh well, it was worth a try- I still like the other new features of Word 2007.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

More SP11 "homework"

I got some more SP11 homework and - if I don't do it right now, I'll forget. So here's more useless facts about me. Bet you can hardly wait! :-)

1. What is the one knitting accessory you could not live without?
Besides the obvious needles and yarn I would have to say -er,um, a....... I can't think of just one accessory. I'm stumped. What a usually keep with me is a good pair of scissors, a good darning needle, notepad and pen, a small crochet hook. Come to think of it - the notepad and pen are the one thing I can't live without. I've used paper clips as cable holders, dental floss threaders as needles. I can come up with substitutes for everything but paper to take notes on or jot down new knitting design ideas.

2. If you're heading on vacation, do you take knitting with you? If so, how much and what type of project?
I haven't headed anywhere for vacation for a couple years. (sad but true) When I head out for business trips I take a tote full of current knitting with me. Usually the latest sock project, a magazine I haven't read yet, a small project such as lace, scarves or part of a project (like the sleeve or back). If it's more than 2 nights I try to hunt up a local yarn shop for my evening entertainment.

3. Where have you travelled to that you'd consider your favorite spot?
I LOVE Great Britain. I've been there several times and usually rent a flat in London and use that as my home base. I've been to Scotland once so far and need to get back. The great thing about GB is how well they care for their history. Here, a building is 50 years old its ancient and torn down. Over there you walk around a corner and find a building from the 1500s or older. It gives you a sense of your place in the world beyond instant gratification. Also, The Victoria & Albert (V&A) museum has a killer textiles area with knitting from the beginning of time!

4. What is your favorite knitting book at the moment? Do you own it?
Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Almanac is the book I keep coming back to. I have an autographed copy that I am very proud of! Other books I've been "hanging out with" lately are Unexpected Knitter; Vogues Stitch Patterns- cable volume; and Victorian Lace Today.

5. Do you listen to podcasts? Which is your favorite(s)?
I haven't gotten around to listening to podcasts yet but they're on my list of things to check out.

Quick Christmas Knitting Patterns

There hasn't been much knitting the past few days because I'm busy getting my new computer set up. YAY! I finally got tired of the long slow process to boot up, the out of date programs, the - well you know - oldness of my Toshiba and broke down to buy the computer I've been lusting after for several months. I am now the proud owner of a new HP Pavilion 17" laptop. Oh my! I can see things on it without my reading glasses. COOL! But, with new computers means having to transfer files and programs. I forgot how long that takes. Good thing I'm on vacation this week, cause I need the time. This things actually has a little tiny cute remote control for watching DVDs thats about the size of a credit card, cute!

In the meantime, the lack of knitting on my part means I'll give you a few quick Christmas presents you can knit. These are patterns from the "Yarn Sheddings". It was the 1 page monthly newsletter Vivian Skoog used to put out at her shop, The Yarn Shed, in Robbinsdale, Minnesota. This is where I used to hang out on Friday nights and Saturdays for several years while I finished college and started my new career as a dietitian. Vivian was a family friend and I helped at the shop for a whopping $3.50/hr. definitely for love and not money. My time spent there was an apprenticeship of sorts. I learned how to knit many techniques through reading every pattern and book in the shop; I met Elizabeth Zimmerman (still have a note from her); and learned what it meant to be a good yarn shop owner. So, in honor of Vivian, here's a few quick patterns.

Slipper Sox

Bulky Yarn or double worsted wt. yarn
#10 needles
CO 60 sts.
Work garter st for 16 rows.
Then: Row 1: K 27, K 2 tog, place marker, K 2, place marker, K 2 tog, K 27. Row 2: Purl 26, P 2 tog, move marker, P 2, move marker, P 2 tog, P 26. Continue in this manner decreasing 2 sts each row until 30 sts remain. Then K1, P1 rib for 4 rows. BO loosely. Sew up back and bottom seams.

Dish Cloth

1 ball Sugar & Cream (makes 2) or other equal cotton yarn
Any size needle from 6-9

Cast on 40 sts. K 6 rows seed st.
*Work 5 sts seed st, 30 sts garter st, 5 sts seed st. Repeat from * each row until almost square.
End with 6 rows seed st. BO loosely.

Broiche Stitch Hat

Bulky Weight yarn (about 1 skein)
Needles - 11-15, depending on bulk of yarn
CO 36 sts.
Work row 1 only once. The pattern is formed by repeating row 2.
Row 1: *k1, bring yarn forward to front of work. Slip next st as if to purl. Bring yarn back over right needle (YO). This forms a sloppy diagonal loop. Repeat from *, ending yarn forward, slip 1 st as if to purl.
Row 2: K 1, *yarn forward to front of work, sl next st as if to purl, bring yarn back over right needle as in row 1, K 2 tog. Repeat from *, ending with yarn forward, sl 1 as if to purl.

Work Row 2 until piece is 7-11" (desired length).
Decrease: K 1, P 2 tog across row.
Next 3 rows: continue in K 1, P 1 rib.
Next row: Sl 1 st, K 1, pass slip st over K st (SSK) across row.
Next row: P across
Next row: K across
Next row: P across
Next row: K 2 tog across row
End off and pull remaining sts tog.
Sew side seam.
NOTE: This pattern does not lend itself to a circular needle.

Well - I've made these patterns several times in the past and know they turn out well. They're quick and easy for presents. Next time I'll try to have some actual knitting to show.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I've been Found!

How exciting! I just checked email and discovered my SP11 has found me and made her/his self known. I wasn't sure about joining the secret pal thing but thought - what the heck. I need a little excitement in my life that isn't work or PWM (parents without memory).
It's late and time to hit the hay but I just had to post to say - YEAH! It's gonna be a fun few months planning for my SP and waiting to see what I end up with. Life needs excitement of the happy kind!!!

You can get all the presents you want as long as I get something too! - Bert

Random Facts

I've been reading Harry Potter - 7 this past weekend and doing a little knitting. Today was "deal with Mom's bills" day. So I'm not being very creative in the post department. So today we're going to fall back to the random facts type posting. Notice I don't say 100 things about me because, quite frankly, I don't think we'll end up with that many!

1. We'll start simple - I have 2 cats (DUH!) Chief and Bert. Ragdoll & British Shorthair.
2. This is the first time I got "designer" cats. I usually get cats from the Humane Society.
3. I've been knitting since about 3rd grade.
4. Grandma taught me to knit but not to purl.
5. I made a lot of Barbie doll scarves in garter stitch (see #4).
6. In college I started knitting again because Mom saw an afghan my cousin knit at my Aunt's at Thanksgiving and liked it. (knit and purl blocks)
7. Mom got the afghan for Christmas that year. ( I learned how to purl)
8. I knit Dad one pair of Elizabeth Zimmerman's woolman's socks every Christmas for the past 15 years.
9. Mom washes wool socks with the rest of the laundry.
10. Dad owns several pair of very small socks.
11. Dad learned to wash wool socks about 13 years ago.
12. I owned my own store for 5 years - knitting, knitting machines, sewing, quilting, sewing machines.
13. I have a very large cookbook collection.
14. I have a very knitting knitting book/magazine collection.
15. I have a very large quilting book/magazine collection.
16. I collect books.
17. I tend to go through crafts every 3-4 years.
18. I just came off a 5 year quilt binge leaving several quilt tops done but not put together as quilts.
19. My friend (with MS) and I took stained glass classes because she thought it was something she could do.
20. MS and stained glass don't always go together well.
21. If you make a stained glass nativity and have shaky hands from MS, Joseph may end up anatomically correct from excess solder. (Joseph was "fixed")
22. I love electronic stuff - TV, computers, cameras, knitting machines, computerized sewing machines...
23. I can changed out a water heater and do several of home care things.
24. I love London and the test of Great Britain and miss the fact I haven't been there for a few years.
25. My favorite museum is the Victoria & Albert in London. It's filled with crafts instead of paintings on walls.
26. On Netflix I have rated 1599 movies.
27. I hate buying clothes.
28. I used to make all my own clothes including jeans.
29. I can talk to most people about most topics except sports.
30. In 6th grade my friends and I had to research parabolic intersections of dimension to dimension because Mr. Spock mentioned that on Star Trek.
31. The summer between 7th and 8th grade my friend on I read "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" all the way through on a bet.
32. I still remember the name of the guy who tried to kill Hitler on July 20,1944 (friend's brother was born the same day so I remember the date because of that).
33. I remember bizarre random facts easily but I'm lousy at remembering names and faces. It's a terrible flaw.
34. I don't watch much reality TV. Seeing 5 minutes is more than I can take on most shows.
35. I have a big scar on my heel from having multiple heel spurs removed. I still can't walk stairs well from this.

Guess 35 is enough for now. Are you bored yet? We'll try for some knitting stuff tomorrow.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Yarn and Plastic and Cats

Well, I'm not in Chicago. I didn't think I would be when I asked if anyone wanted to go. I mean really. I wouldn't take me up on something like that with 2 minutes notice. But - I had to try.
What I did do today was go to my LYS (Amazing Threads). I got a couple skeins of wool to start a pair of fair isle mittens, the latest Interweave Knits mag, and some of the Clover coil knitting needle holders. These little guys are great. They keep your double points from rolling around getting lost.

I also just got a box from KnitPicks. 2 hanks of merino wool fingerweight, 2 clearance merino fingerweight (memories - hurry only 2 color left at $2.99 a hank) and last but not least - a got the basic set of dye. Oh - looks like Chief is close by.
He spots the yarn but - wait - there's something else even better for him….
PLASTIC! There isn't a piece of plastic in this house that hasn't been inspected (chewed) by Chief.
I finished the Suri Dreams scarf but the butt-cheap batteries I bought pooped out and I have no more umph in my camera. The picture will have to wait.
Bert now begging for attention so - it's off to rub a tummy and scritch and ear.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Throwing it out into the Universe

I thought of something crazy this afternoon and have been debating posting it. If you throw something out into the universe, the universe may throw it right back at you. So here goes.....

Stitches in Chicago this weekend -

Anyone want to take a quick and totally unplanned trip from Mpls. to Chicago this weekend to go to Stitches? I'm thinking about going early Saturday morning and coming back Sunday night. If you've read my blogs at all you know I drive to the southern parts of Iowa a lot for work. Chicago mileage isn't much further and - well - I need to do something totally crazy just for me. If anyone is interested - email me (jillsknitATaolDOTcom) and we'll make quick plans. If no one answers - fine - like I said- I'm just throwing it out there to see what happens.
Christmas Knitting

I decided to start Christmas knitting because I always get caught with my needles full. So this is the year of the mohair scarf, at least for a few friends. This is the start of a diagonal scarf using KnitPicks Suri Dreams - color Wildflowers.
They say to use size 11 needles but I had 13 sitting around so that's what I used. The diagonal scarf uses a lot of short rows and increases to obtain "the look" but after to knit a full "section" it is 20 stitches wide. Once I'm done I'm going to add some bead fringe, maybe. We'll see what it looks like.


The Boys decided to play hide-n-seek tonight.

Chief hid behind the computer. He was easy to find. Note- I was taking pictures of the scarf so that's why he got snapped.
Bert was a bit more clever. Problem with Bert is, all you have to do is call his name and he comes in a flash. No patience to stay hiding!

My computer is being goofy and not letting me fix the fonts and spacing - oh well.....

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Why I Don't Enter Things at the State Fair, anymore

Looks like the boys were busy today. When I left the house this morning the hall was empty. When I got home the evidence of their day was in the hall.

I got the next EZ Surprise jacket done. This baby is due in October but I decided the way babies are popping at work I need to get ahead of the game. Adding the "gold" stripe took the sweater away from Christmasy and gave the edge a nice frame. Now all I have to do is hunt up some buttons. Oh - some of the yarn way Woolease, some was - I have no clue. All worsted weight.

Now into the Why I Don't Enter Things in the State Fair Anymore...
Back a long time ago I used to enter 1 or 2 things every year. Every year I'd get a ribbon or two (not blue) and the little piece of paper telling me what I did wrong according to the judge. Oh, they'd tell me how nice the things was but somewhere in it was the reason for not giving me the blue ribbon. After a while, I switched over to entering weaving items - more ribbons - no blue ribbons. More reasons for the ribbon not being blue. I'm competitive and don't take criticism well. But each year I would try again. One of the knitting years I entered a grandma doll. I got second place I reasons for not getting first were my color choice. Silly me, I used dusty blue and dusty rose. Who would ever choose these colors? Two years later the only colors you could find were, you guessed it, dusty blue and dusty rose. The lesson I learned from this was, knit for yourself and enjoy what you make. Enter into the Fair if you want but take the criticism with a grain of salt. I've opted to knit and enjoy and forget the State Fair. Now I enjoy going to see what other people have made without the pressure of wondering if my knitting (or quilting or weaving) is better. (told you I was competitive!)

So - here's the Grandma doll. She is all natural fibers. Her body, hat, shawl, and dress are Bernat's Germantown wool. The hair is a mohair. Stockings are a dark navy wool but I don't remember which one. Apron - white with blue flecks cotton. She has a pair of pantaloons that are a natural color cotton- I wove these and sew them by hand.

Monday, August 6, 2007

SP11 "Homework"

I got homework today. I joined the Secret Pal 11 and we have been asked to answer the following questions. You may be interested or not. But - here they are…..

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Favorite yarns are comfortable yarns that are all or mostly natural fibers. I do not like acrylics that are hard on the hands or natural fibers that are hard on the hands. With this said lately I've been knitting with Cascade 220, cottons, KnitPicks merino wool, I got some bamboo but haven't tried it yet.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
Two things. I made a case that's the size of a 3-ring notebook out of denim several years ago. It's got plastic pockets and a zipper around the whole thing. That holds my huge collection of my old straights and my Grandmas straights. The circular and dpn have been living in a hinged metal box because I haven't gotten around to getting something better.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn?
Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I started knitting about 1964. Grandma taught me and I made a ton of Barbie doll scarves. I quit until college and took it up again in the late 70s. I'd consider myself advanced. I've gotten ribbons at the State Fair, taught classes, wrote for a few magazines (machine knitting) and last decade I owned my own shop for 5 years.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

5. What's your favorite scent?
I don't like heavy smells. I never wear perfume but in candles I like natural smells if they're light. Rose, lavender, other floral, and light fruit smells such as citrus.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Give me chocolate or give me death! My sweet tooth is expensive. I'm not big on Hershey's candy bars (but I won't turn them down). Lately I've been into Lindt's Lindor dark chocolate truffles. YUM! I also like but can't find Aero bars from England. But - if it's chocolate, I'm happy.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
Spinning is the one fiber thing I haven't tried, yet. I have a 4 heddle loom, quilt, do stained glass, I'm sewing a lot of stuff for my "new" house (moved this winter). Crafts are pretty much- if it exists I'll try it at some point. (hey, I even sew my own undies)

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I like classical, christian contemporary, light rock, new age. I have several MP3 players.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
If you look in my wardrobe you see a lot of navy and black pants and tops of many colors including blues-roses-teals. The house is mostly dusty blues and roses but heading toward Tuscany type colors. I really don't enjoy oranges.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
If you spend any time on my blog you know I am owned by 2 cats - Chief (a Ragdoll) and Bert (a British Shorthair).

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
I live in Minnesota - do the math! However - no ponchos.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
My favorites are things out of yarn. It's hard to narrow down favorite things - I knit sweaters, vests, shawls, socks, scarves, hats, gloves, mittens, baby stuff, afghans, dish cloths, dolls, you get the picture.

13. What are you knitting right now?
A cable sweater, a mitered vest from the last Knitters, socks, Mystery Shawl, silk cardigan, and various small projects for charity

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I'm building a new collection of Addi turbo and lace circular. I just got a pair of KnitPicks circ but haven't had a chance to try them to see how they feel.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Both. Leftovers from when I owned my shop.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
I just found a Christmas socking I think I started about 20 years ago.

18. What is your favorite holiday?
Christmas. The whole family including extended family gets together.

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Hundred dollar bills! (sorry, had to try) Lilliput Lane Cottages. Angels that are "adult" - I don't collect cutesy angels. Jim Shore angels. Local cookbooks.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
Not having to deal with a husband gives me the chance to buy most books I want. But - I haven't tried too many sock yarns yet. I like to try yarns that other people have tried and like. I'm working on my Addi circular needle collection (I have 24"-6; 32"-2,4,8,9) my other circular have the stiff cables like Boye and I find them hard to knit with. One book I'd like is Starmore's Tudor collection but it's impossible to find and from what I hear very expensive.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I'm always trying new and strange techniques. I taught people how to knit 3-D faces (machine knitting) and have decided to play around with realistic looking cats next.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yup. Women's size 10 with thick ankle. I like short sock legs.

23. When is your birthday?
Nov. 6

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?

Sorry. This got a lot longer than I thought it would.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Time out to Remember

Last night on the way to supper with several friends I heard breaking news on the radio that the 35W bridge crossing the Mississippi had collapsed in both directions. There was no more information at that point. I had to think fast - was anyone coming from the south side of town? Would they have taken 35W? It felt like a long time until we all met but it was only 10 minutes. Only one other couple had heard the news. What was supposed to be a surprise birthday gathering turned into all of us half talking, half straining our necks to see the TV in the bar area. It's amazing how fast everything can change.

First off, I am well as are all my friends and family. The place where I work has done a check of employees and so far we are not aware of anyone that was a part of the disaster. We're all very lucky.

I'm sure you've listened to the news and know as much as I do. 35W is the freeway that cuts the Twin Cities in half and it's the main way into Mpls. from the northeast. I've driven across this bridge many times and would have been going across it tomorrow to an appointment. This is going to make life in the area very different for a while. The divers are having trouble going into the water to recover the missing people until the bridge has been made safe. So there are many families who can do nothing but wait. In the meantime, the rest of us try to go about business as normal but the conversation keeps coming back to "the bridge". At work we pulled up the local news on the Internet, talked about places we've been near there, how often we used to cross the bridge, where we were when it happened. Yup, life will be strange for a while.

In the middle of all this, I have been reminded often of the amazing spirit that comes out in total strangers when something happens. I have heard many stories of people coming from the neighborhood to jump into the river to help save others. The Twin Cities will take a long time to heal from this, the missing bridge will long be a reminder of this tragic. I pray the friends and families of those still missing will feel the love and care of all those around who are praying for them.