Saturday, May 31, 2008

Next Season - Road Construction

Minnesota is said to have two seasons - winter and road construction. Now that winter is over we're into our second season. My city has decided to do ALL the utilities and roads at the same time so we only have to rip up the road once. First came all the flags and stakes in the yards; then the gas company had to swap out the in-the-house meters for new outside meters. We've had sewer people, electric people and more. This week was rip up the road week.

Yup, you were right Bert. This is a good place to see all the stuff going on outside. - Chief
I better get my big green sock inside to protect it! - Bert

Every night after the guys are done, the road has t be put back to "normal" so we can drive home.
We've had lots of big truck-like vehicles up and down the street.

They've moved a lot of dirt and currently they've ripped up end of everyone's driveways and torn out all the curbs.

Then came today - do you know how much fun it is to have a hail storm when you have a bunch of dirt instead of a driveway or street?! YUCK!

Enough about roadwork. Yesterday I got a package in the mail. I listen to the She-Knits podcast and belong to the group on Ravelry. A few weeks ago Sharon ran a contest where we had to write about a time someone did something for you - just because. It was kind of a Chicken Soup for the Knitter's Soul contest. But - not really a contest. We just wrote our stories and shared then the winner was randomly chosen. I was the lucky winner and received the package yesterday.

I got a book and some yarn. Let me rephrase that - I got a way cool book and some absolutely yummy yarn.

The book - Couture Knits by Jean Moss. There's beautiful "fashion" sweater, shawls, etc.
The yarn - Primero by Brooks Farms. It a DK weight 100 Kid Mohair. Yum. Very pettable. I've got 1000yds so I'll have to search my patterns for the perfect project.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What Makes a Good LYS?

I live in the land of plenty. We have plenty of lakes- we boast “land of 10,000 lakes” but we actually have 11,842 according to the MN DNR. We have plenty of changable weather. We have a multitude of sports teams – The Twins, Vikings, Wild, Swarm Gophers, little league…. We have plenty of places to eat (I have a waist line to prove that one). And within 1 to 1 ½ hours of my house I have over 30 yarn shops. That’s crazy. And yet – people will say they don’t have a good yarn shop near by.

When I worked at my friend’s yarn shop back in the late 70s-80s while going to college we had a lady come in who complained she had to drive so far and why wasn’t there a shop closer to her home. When I questioned her, it turned out she lived about 3 miles away. True, she was an older lady but, come on, 3 miles! I know people in Iowa who make it a day event to visit a yarn shop because there’s nothing around them for hours!

With all the shops we have to choose from there should be a shop to meet everyone’s needs but – what makes a good yarn shop? Before going to a new restaurant or movie I like to read the reviews but I frequently end up disagreeing with the reviewer. My girlfriend and I can’t even agree on what we think is good food sometimes. I like spicy food. She can’t tolerate it. So, back to the yarn shops, do you like your’s spicy or mild? As I travel around I’ve been in shops that leave me absolutely cold and then I read a review and hear the reviewer talking about how wonderful it is and it’s their favorite shop, Who’s right? There are a few standards all shops should have: good customer service, a good selection of yarn, hours that match your available shopping time, etc.

My goal this summer is to visit all the yarn shops in our area and revisit the ones I’ve been to before with open eyes. What yarns do they have? How to they greet new customers? What needles and other supplies do they have? What about classes and help? What does the shop physically look like and how easy is it to get to the shop? What are the hours? Do they have crochet, spinning, weaving, other fiber activities? I’m going to snoop around and take notes. I’m going to write about what I see. This doesn’t mean you’ll agree with me and it doesn’t mean, I’m right or wrong – it’s just my opinions about that one day’s visit. Who knows I may even let Andy Lumper come along!

Friday, May 23, 2008

It's all about Meme, me

Part of the definition of a Meme is it propagates itself and can move through a culture in a manner similar to a virus. Well I have both. A sinus/cold virus attacked me this week; which, I wish I could get rid of quickly and I was tagged with a Meme from The Jilly. I much prefer the Meme!

So here’s the deal:
The Rules:
Rules are posted at the beginning. At the end of the post, the player then tags 6 people and posts their names. Then the player goes to the "named" people's blogs and leaves a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog. If you've been tagged, you do the same, letting the person who tagged you know when you've posted your answer. Your answer of course, is the answer to the following questions. Here we go!

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?
Using my superb math skills that would be 1998 – I was running around the country doing seminars, writing patterns and trying to keep my knitting machine/sewing machine business going while debating if I had to go back to work in the “real world” for health insurance, etc. Health insurance won out. The pull of designing and teaching has been getting stronger lately so I’m trying to figure out how to balance a real world job with my passions.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list today?
Sleep to get rid of this sinus thing.
Work on the lace shrug to wear to my cousin’s wedding.
Snuggle with the boys – always on my list!
Order some Kauni yarn.
Indulge in a wonderfully rich gooey dessert because I’m sick and I deserve to be pampered.

3. Snacks I enjoy:
Duh – rich gooey desserts (see above). Chocolate – the richer the better. Chips and salsa.

4. Places I've lived:
Born in the house I currently live in (I bought my parents house). In between I’ve lived very close to home. College was 3 hours away in Winona, MN and the rest of the time I’ve had apartments or homes in the Minneapolis northwest suburb area.
Summers were spent living “up nort” at the cabin like most good Minnesota kids.

5. Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
Pay someone to find a cure for cold-sinus things (I’ve got a one track mind today). I would love to have the money to just give away. Find people who need that extra boost to make it to the next level, whether it’s for college, small business, etc – and give them a hand up.
I’d also find way to treat my family and myself: travel to where I haven’t been, learn and discover new things and – buy any yarn I want, whenever I want!

Rules say I have to tag 6 people now so hope you’ll pay along: Guinifer, Toni, SheKnits, Meghan, Wye Sue, and NerdGirl (haven't heard from you for a while!). This is my firset Meme and if you dion['t answer I'll understand but - come on! It's easy and it's something to do on the holiday weekend!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


I got hit with a sinus - cold thing yesterday. Maybe I'll blog tomorrow.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Alpacas and Llamas and British Shorthairs - oh my!

Lots to catch up on.

Last weekend was the Shepherd's Harvest Festival and the MS Bike Ride. I promised a yarn raffle and you'll get one - but first some llamas and alpaca.

I've got a thing for critters like most of us do. Here's the alpacas and llamas from last weekend.

Can you tell the difference between the llamas and alpacas? The last pictures is the alpacas. It's hard to tell the difference from these pictures but at the festival it was much easier - they all had signs telling me which they were!

Bert has become thrilled with the nature channels lately, well, with HD in general. Any time I put on a show on one of the HD channels, he sits and stares. Makes it hard to see but then -

he gets all excited by whats going on the screen and wants to be part of it. I'm worried that the screen will get damaged with all his pawing on it.

The gray blob is done. It's now a gray lace shell. It's made from Berroco Denim Silk - part silk, part rayon. The pattern is on the web site. Time to start the shrug that goes with it.

Finally - the MS Bike Ride give away. The randomly drawn name will be receiving a skein of Lang Jawoll sock yarn which comes with it's own little skein of reinforcing yarn, and a sock pattern from Amazing Threads - my LYS. I took all the names of people who donated and let the Random generator pick a number. The winner is: kmkat. YEAH!!! I'll be contacting you to get your prize sent out.

Thanks again everyone. Your donations will help the wonderful people at MS Society work on finding a cure.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day - give me a hug

I spent yesterday involved with the MS Bike Ride but no the way you'd think - my engine light came on and I didn't feel safe driving over 50 miles without getting it checked out. Unfortunately, I couldn't get it checked unless I gave up the bike ride. If I didn't do it then I'd have to wait until Monday night and I just didn't dare wait that long. It turned out to be a bad gas cap sensor. I think our cars are getting just a little too automatic. BUT-
I did ride my bike around the area in my own version of a mini- ride and more importantly - your donations are still going to a very worthy cause. I will let you know who won the knitting goodies shortly and get a hold of that person to let her/him know something is coming their way. THANK YOU EVERYONE!!
This morning I went over to the Shepherd Harvest Festival and it was cold. I didn't spend much time in the vendor buildings but did get some good pictures of the llamas and alpacas. One problem - I brought my new phone that has a good camera to try it out but I couldn't email myself the pics. I'll play around and get them off the phone and post them, hopefully tomorrow.
The count down to my cousin's wedding continues and the gray blog is starting to have a shape. I've bound off the sleeve caps so it can now look like what it will end up being - a top down lace shell.
If I have time I will also be knitting a shrug to go with it. Ya gotta love rayon on silk. This yarn is a ribbon yarn and a bit rough to knit with but once it's in a knit stitch is already starts the softening up and just feels good.

Last fall I had all that work done on the basement and my window wells to waterproof the basement. In the process my plants got abused. I had some peony bushes that were here when I was a little girl. I think Dad planted them the first year they moved in so those plants were over 50 years old. It looks like they may have survived- we'll see but one of the tulips made it through the construction.

As you all know I have a couple cats. If you don't know that, you are obviously totally new to reading this blog cause all I seem to talk about some days are the boys! Anyway- every once in a while I mention Bert and his love of dragging his toys around. Here is today's view of the living room. The only thing I put in the picture was the kitty tunnel. Everything else is Bert.

That's - 1 knit mouse, 1 stuffed mouse, 1 fishing pole, 1 green sock, 1 piece of paper, the fishy on a rope, and inside the tunnel - 2 more knit mousies. Sadly, this is clean compared to what he usually has it looking like.

Happy Mother's Day - come play with me!

Chief's way to celebrate Mother's Day is to climb on top of me while I try to work on the computer on my lap. Little hard to see the screen but - the purring makes up for it.

Happy Mother's Day - give me a hug! - Chief

Sunday, May 4, 2008

And the Knit Goes On

I've had a busy week at work and home. The NW Twin Cities Burbs Knit Night was last Thursday (first Thurs. of the month). It was our 2nd time getting together so the group is still "finding itself". It's a very mixed group of people and everyone is very friendly. We've got new knitters and old timers like myself. Then there's our token guy (his term, not mine!) He has been knitting about 2 minutes and has made several felted tote bags (lined) and working on a fair isle hat. This guy had knitting mojo coming out his ears!

I worked on a top for my cousin's daughter's wedding in June. I had some Berroco Denim Silk in the stash and found a lace top and shrug to make. It's not too far along and is knit from the top down so the picture is more of a gray blob but here it is so far...

The 1x3 rib Fire Socks are still coming along. I swear my SIL will retire as a fire captain by the time I finish these. It has nothing to do with the yarn - Maizy is great. I just am bored with the design (or lack of design) and the length of these socks. In case you forgot - they are Maizy because it will wick and being a fire captain my SIL has hot feet a lot. They are also going to be super long to go over her fire boots to help prevent the chafing from the boots. So far each sock is 1 skein of Maizy.

It has a lot of yardage. I'll be splitting the 3rd skein and making them as long as it allows. The design is just a simple 1x3 rib. In the back I changed the ribbing every 10th row to slowly increase the ribbing at the calf to 1x4 for extra fabric. The front stayed 1x3.

I found a pattern for crocheted sponges and made one. I actually made this on Earth day but forgot to post a picture. I decided to play around with a knit version and will test it out a bit. If it seems to hold up well I'll write my directions on a future post.

Well - it's Sunday night and that means I have to go back to work tomorrow. The new work situation is nothing to get excited about and more something to endure so - I have to start a countdown till next week.

Speaking of next weekend - Saturday is the MS 30/60 bike ride. If you want to donate the link is on the right. After the bike ride I will be randomly picking someone to win some knitterly goodness. It could be you!