Friday, June 29, 2007


va·ca·tion [vey-key-shuhn] –noun

1. a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday: Schoolchildren are on vacation now.
2. a part of the year, regularly set aside, when normal activities of law courts, legislatures, etc., are suspended.
3. freedom or release from duty, business, or activity.
4. an act or instance of vacating. –verb (used without object)
5. to take or have a vacation: to vacation in the Caribbean.
[Origin: 1350–1400; < L vacātiōn- (s. of vacātiō freedom from something

From - Unabridged (v 1.1)Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006

I will be on vacation next week from work but if you count the total days it's 9 full days of fun from Saturday to Sunday. I plan to knit, spin and putter around the house. Maybe a BBQ and a trip to the zoo somewhere in there too, but not much else.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Did Anyone Notice?

Awhile back I read a blog that had a little counter with the number of days it's been since that particular knitter purchased yarn. I thought that was a great motivator so I copied the code and added it to my blog - with a little help from my husband of course. I thought it was pretty amazing that it's been since Labor Day weekend in 2006 that I purchased yarn, not an easy task.

Today I've hit 300 days!

That's quite the achievement since I knit or spin every night and sometimes during the day on the weekends when my son is napping. I have purchased absolutely beautiful yarn in the past only to have it hidden away in my stash for a rainy day. Well, after buying an old house and spending a butt-load of money to fix it up, I decided that I needed to save some money and make some room since now my craft room is also my office and a spare bedroom.

It has been so much fun trying to find patterns for my yarn. I think I bought a case of the cotton Sugarn' Cream yarn, probably to get free shipping (yes I'm cheap). I haven't gotten bored yet working those in as my social knitting projects. The biggest challenge will be finding patterns for the Wool-Ease sport weight yarn that I bought dirt cheap. It was at a close out store in Chicago (I think Tuesday Morning) and that type of yarn is now discontinued. I'm leaning towards a set of mittens, hat & scarf all for charity but no luck finding the perfect patterns yet.

I will be adding yarn to my Wish List very soon though just in case my family decides to spoil me on Christmas. I would really like to make a sweater and a few shawls, maybe even join a sock club- but technically I have until December 31st to knit what I already own. So that will be another . . . 6 months from now - my Lord - that seems like an eternity!

So, I'm just going to say it again: It's been 300 days since I purchased yarn!!!
(my husband is very proud)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Over the Hump

Last night's spinning was a learning experience for me. I almost gave up because I couldn't get the bobbin started. Once I finally got it going I was fine. So I learned that:

1. Always have a bobbin started when working with alpaca. It will make the next spinning experience start quickly and more enjoyable (less swearing too).
2. Take a TV break in the middle of the night to stretch out (less back pain).

Overall, I think I was spinning for about 2 and 1/2 hours last night and I filled up another bobbin. I'm going to add the Jumbo Flyer to my wish list so I don't have to change bobbins as often. I'm not sure if I want to spin with the jumbo bobbin or just ply to it. I'll have to research that a bit more to see what other spinners do. I should be done with my pound of alpaca in a few weeks, no clue on what to pick to spin next but I have many to choose from now!

The Monday Night Knit Club was fun as always. My mother-in-law was still in town so she tagged along. It was such a girls night out for us. We brought dishcloths to work on - she didn't want to start Eris without being able to concentrate on it fully. I finished one and got started on another.

Not only am I on a lace kick with my knitting - I'm also into bright cotton yarn right now. Someday I'm going to weave in all of those ends but I just don't feel like it right now. I'm saving them up for one afternoon to finish up. Tonight is back to my lace knitting. YAY!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


I have been waiting all week for today. Last week we had company and craziness so I couldn't spin on Tuesday and Thursday night. I was just recently suffering from a lack of motivation to spin - probably because I was wrapped up in knitting lace and loving it. Anyway, I'm ready now to spin away!

Last week my husband took some time and organized the downstairs closet for me.

I didn't ask him to do this - he just thought it would be helpful for me when getting my spinning out each night. No more sifting through coats hanging up to get to my roving. He's so thoughtful! Awhile back he built a little stand for my wheel to sit on so we could still throw some shoes underneath it. It's sturdy and safe for my wheel to be stored.

He also moved out some older picture albums so I could have a full shelf for my roving (this picture is only half of the shelf - stupid sliding closet doors).

Yes, there are diapers in there and our wedding album but hey, we are still a young family and we need the room.

Especially when I keep buying more roving! I found the Angel Knoll Alpaca farm a couple months back as we were driving around in the North Country. I finally got to go back and visit their gift shop and it was extremely high quality items. I think they said that they have over 40 alpacas right now, plus chickens, goats, kittens and one very friendly dog (he couldn't lick Will's face enough). I ended up buying 3 four ounce balls of roving:

The black and silver are both 100% alpaca. The white is a 50/50 mix of alpaca and wool. It's so beautiful and soft, I can't wait to spin it.

With this recent purchase I had a realization: if 2007 was the year to not buy yarn then 2008 will be the year to not buy roving, so I'm stocking up!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Testament of Love

What a crazy weekend! We started out hosting my cousin, his wife and their son (our godson) for the day. They are up for a graduation and they live in Florida so it was a real treat to spend time with them. Here's our kids playing together (godson is on the left & taller, my son is on the right & shorter)

They were so cute together. Tyler is about 9 months older than Will and he was very good about sharing his toys. It was so much fun watching them play!

For knitting news: my mother-in-law is wonderful. She knew how much I would appreciate a hand knit sweater for Christmas. She worked hard at finding the right pattern, the right yarn and knitting everything up in time - all while living on a boat! BUT, when she tried to sew it together she realized there were a few fatal mistakes. Had there just been one mistake she could have fixed it but:
1. the front was longer than the back
2. the arm holes didn't match up
3. the front panel decreases didn't line up
4. the shoulder seam started halfway down the arm and looked funny

She had made these mistakes during the time that she was ill so it's all taken in stride. My mother-in-law is an accomplished knitter and taught me everything I know. So my beautiful sweater went from these pieces:

to these beautiful little yarn cakes:

She had never used a ball wider before so we had fun unraveling everything and winding it up. We searched my binder of patterns and found Eris. I had printed out this pattern a few years ago because I just love the cables. It's an intermediate pattern with advanced cable work so I'm definitely not ready for it yet. She decided that the yarn that she already has works and it's a raglan top down and she loves that method for making sweaters. So I'm getting the Eris cardigan now! YAY!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Always Working on Something

I had no luck finding a sock pattern for my Wool of the Andes yarn so I ended up casting on a dishcloth instead for my "social" knitting project. I absolutely can't work on lace and talk to people at the same time. I'm using the Sugar'n Cream cotton yarn in Painted Desert with a Lion Brand Knitted Dish Cloth pattern. It's cute and doesn't take much thinking.

I really like how bright the colors are. I'll probably finish it this weekend since we're heading up north again. At this rate I'll have all of my cotton yarn knitted up by Christmas. I'm really hoping that my family gets me yarn or gift cards for Christmas this year. By the time December gets here I'll have not purchased yarn in over 1 year and 3 months. I will definitely be ready to splurge!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Finished Object - Branching Out Scarf

I actually finished this on Friday but I just didn't have time to post the finished picture. Here's my Branching Out scarf in all of its glory.

Overall I really enjoyed making this scarf. It gave me confidence again that I can knit lace. The pattern was simple and knit up very quickly with my mystery yarn. My mother had said that she would really like this as a keepsake so it will go to her the next time we're together. I would definitely recommend this pattern to someone just starting lace for the first time but you should definitely invest the $10 to get a chart keeper to help you keep track of which row you're on.

Pattern: Branching Out
Yarn: mystery! (my mother's leftover skein from a baby blanket, probably acrylic blend)
Needles: size 8 metal straight
Time frame: 5/26/07 to 6/15/07

Monday, June 18, 2007

Weekend Festivities

This past weekend was the 6th Annual Jefferson County Sheep & Wool Festival. It's about halfway to my in-laws so we decided to meet there, spend some time and have a picnic lunch. We paid $5 per person and then had to fight the crowds:

Clearly, I jest. This is my son and I in the vast, yet empty field used for parking about 10 cars (including the 4-5 vendors). That's it. Not a ton of yarn to choose from so I'm still going strong on my resolution. We enjoyed the morning walking around, petting baby goats and German Sheppard puppies. The alpacas were adorable and the sheep smelled bad. My mother-in-law decided that she wants to learn how to weave after watching a demonstration so we're shopping around for those big floor standing ones that come in a kit. Here's my grand purchase of the day:

I was actually looking for some bright colored roving since all I have are natural shades (which I love). The red initially caught my eye and the blue won me over quickly too. But then I saw how well the two natural shades went with the blue and red so I bought those too. 4 balls for $18 total - not bad plus it was a local buy so I was happy. I did purchase some lotion made from goat's milk that's made in Evans Mills. The lady was extremely friendly and I really liked the light scent.

So I purchased more roving but I haven't been in the mood to spin lately. I decided enough of the alpaca since it's bringing me down. I'm switching back to the wool tomorrow. Tonight is the knitting club and I have nothing that I can knit and talk at the same time. I was hoping to find an easy sock pattern for my Wool of the Andes yarn but no luck yet. I'll post the FO details on my Branching Out scarf tomorrow.

Friday, June 15, 2007

First Blocking Attempt

Believe it or not, I have never blocked a finished project before. Never. I probably should have for many of them but I was just worried about what the finished product would look like. Since there were very detailed blocking instructions included with the Branching Out scarf I decided to give it a try. Here's my scarf pre-blocking:

Please excuse the old mattress in my office. Here's a close up of the end before blocking:

It actually doesn't look bad. I took a deep breath, ran the cool water and thoroughly soaked the scarf in my sink:

I gently squeezed out the excess water and then pressed it between two towels a few times. Gently again, I pinned the scarf to the bed without stretching it too much:

I got another close up of the end of the scarf here:

I do like how it lays flatter than before but I'm not seeing a huge difference. It could be because I think this is an acrylic yarn and I didn't want it to grow too much more. It easily stretched out a foot longer than before and I think it will be a nice gift for my mother when it's finished drying. Now my challenge is to keep the cats off it. You'd think the quilting pins would keep them away but no luck there.

My biggest take away from this is that if I want to get serious about making lace scarves or shawls I need to pick up some of those blocking wires. I definitely see their value now after doing this once.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


I working on my Branching Out scarf last night and it felt so good. I was lazy and didn't feel like spinning so I just cuddled with the cats and knitted.

All day I have been taking pictures and posting ads on CraigsList. Remember that massive garage sale? Well, we still can't park in the garage. We're taking some things to the Rescue Mission and everything else that's nice is getting posted online. I already sold my first item. Yay for me!

So, here's my shameless promotion: If you contact me through the CraigsList ad and mention my blog I will give you 25% off of the total price. Everything is already marked to sell so that's a great deal. I'd rather not ship anything so hopefully you live in the Syracuse area or Upstate NY but if you really want something I'll price out the shipping for you through UPS. Please help me park in my garage once again!

Glass dishes, cake plates, trays
Syralite by Syracuse china dish set - SOLD!
Artwork - Nature Scenes
Kitchen Art - SOLD!
Knife and Cheese Tray
Large lot of varied planters
Vases, 4 glass & 1 copper - SOLD!

This is just the tip of the iceberg but you have to start somewhere! Tomorrow I will go back to the regular talk and pictures of knitting, spinning, kitties and my big baby boy!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Lace Kick

I haven't finished my Branching Out scarf yet but last night I decided to cast on another lace scarf. This one is the Town & Country pattern from the Elizabeth I design that I purchased from Knit Picks. I thought if I had the moral support of my fellow knitters last night I might actually be able to swatch it out to the right size. Turns out - the first needle I choose actually looked good. This was a big surprise because I tried this once before and I didn't like it. I'm just going to assume that my knitting has improved. Here's my progress so far:

I really like it. I haven't finished one pattern repeat yet but it's already getting intuitive. That's what is so amazing. It's pretty much one pattern row with two different beginnings. Very intuitive for lace. I have 5 different colored hanks of this lace weight yarn with 3 variations of the Elizabeth I design. My thoughts are to make one for each of my sister-in-laws and then one for my mom and mother-in-law for Christmas presents. They are all in fairly warm climates so this lace weight scarf might actually get worn! The only drawback to that is this seems like it will take awhile to knit up and I really don't like putting deadlines on projects. Deadlines are just not fun.

On the spinning front I'm having a dilemma. My back starts to hurt after only a hour of spinning and right now I'm just not in the mood to spin. Should I just stick to my schedule and push through this until I fix my posture issue or should I take a little break and just have fun knitting for a week or two? I'm torn because I will never get any better unless I practice but the reason why I like having a few projects going is that I never have to do anything I don't feel like doing. Ugh.

My husbands suggestion was just to spin for an hour tonight and then knit (that sounds so damn reasonable) but I like to just get comfortable and stick with something each night. Yeah, I'm lazy like that.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Free Paris!

Just kidding. Ha!

We headed up north this past weekend to spend quality time with my parents. It was a great trip. I took a break from the lace scarf and just hammered out a couple dishcloths.

Yeah, that's me trying to be artistic with the camera. It just doesn't work :)

I think it's great to work on these in the summer. It's hot out and very nice to work with cotton. Plus they're quick and easy projects. I'm saving them up for my Christmas presents this year. My idea is to make a set of dishcloths, handmade candles and a few soaps to give to my close friends and family. We like doing handmade gifts so this should work out nicely.

Today is Monday so that means the Monday Night Knitting Group will be in full effect tonight. I'm going to grab another ball of cotton yarn just in case but I'm going to try knitting that Alpaca Cloud with two strands and see if I can get it to look nice as something. No clue what pattern yet but I have all day to figure that out.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

All is well!

After some prodding from my peeps at I decided to frog. It took me about an hour but I slowly un-knit 6 rows of my Branching Out lace scarf and finally found my mistake. I had added an extra yarn over. That's it. Nothing ridiculously hard to fix. It felt so good to find that.

I celebrated my efforts by sitting on our back deck with my husband and having a nice fire. I worked on my cotton dishcloth here and there but mainly we just sat, talked and enjoyed the 5 foot flames. His reasoning for the big fire was we needed to keep warm and I needed light to knit. My husband is a bit of a fire bug! I would have got pictures but I was too afraid that my camera would melt :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

It's Froggin' Time

Ugh. I should know this by now. Never, never, never knit lace when your tired. Especially since I didn't use a lifeline. I know! It was such an easy pattern that I thought I didn't need a lifeline. Here's the mess:

I'm going to hop over to Knitting Help and see if my peeps can advise me what to do next. There's a KAL for this pattern and they're great about helping in the forums. I think my options are to somehow increase somewhere and just move on or to carefully unknit the last several rows until I can find my mistake. So frustrating.

I wasn't even scheduled to knit last night. I was going to spin after using the Spinning Wheel web ring for inspiration but my contact bugged out and I had to wear my glasses for the rest of the night. I haven't mastered spinning with glasses yet. Serves me right though I guess.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


It's raining again today - so nice to finally have rain. All of my flowers and bushes were desperately needing it. Our grass was even starting to brown and that never happens. It's just a slow rain with a burst here and there of an actual shower. So nice to listen to all day :)

Last night I joined up with the local Monday Night knitting club and we had a good time. I wisely decided to knit up a simple dishcloth instead of working on the Branching Out lace scarf. I definitely can't knit lace and talk at the same time. This is how far I got in a couple hours last night:

Isn't it so cool to see how the color pools? I never get tired of that! I'm using the Blissful Moss Rib pattern and it's complete mindless knitting. I'll save this beauty for my next social outing - most likely this weekend.

Tonight is for spinning but I'm just not feeling the groove right now. Maybe by tonight I will but I have a feeling I'll just be knitting up more of that scarf tonight and just relax. I'll leave you with another kitty picture. I call this one "Cat in a Box" otherwise known as "Kitty Heaven".

Monday, June 4, 2007


The garage sale was ok. I was disappointed initially because we didn't get rid of more stuff but I had very unrealistic expectations. I was hoping to get rid of 75-80% while I probably only got rid of 25%. The crazy thing is that We made $136.25 and the most expensive item was $5 that was sold! We had beautiful weather and most people that stopped in purchased at least one thing. Everything was priced to go ranging from 25 cents to $10. I really shouldn't complain. I did find this stack of patterns:

I need to sift through them and keep the knitting ones that I would actually make. Many are crochet, beaded ornaments, holiday gifts, etc. I think I'm also going to keep the box of buttons that didn't sell. They are all brand new and would look great on a knit cardigan someday. I think a couple might be antiques but I'm no expert.

Everything is back in the garage now so I'm going to start sorting into these categories: Donate, Sell, Keep, Trash. There's a Rescue Mission at the end of my street that accepts mainly clothing & furniture so that will help. I'm going to try for the first time and see if I have any luck. If not, I may try eBay for some of the nicer items.

Overall it was a good weekend, I spent time with family and ended up meeting a few of my neighbors. It's back to the grind now on Monday morning but I'm looking forward to meeting up with the Monday Night knitting group again.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Massive Garage Sale

I am definitely not exaggerating. Tomorrow will be a massive garage sale. We spent all last weekend bringing out all the stuff, organizing it and then pricing it. When we purchased my husbands grandparents home and agreed to get rid of their stuff for them we had no idea. NO IDEA! Last year we made 7 trips to the dump in one weekend alone. We then tried to pack away pretty or useful things in case we would need them. Since they were never used it's time to clear out. Here's a picture of everything packed in my garage waiting patiently to go to their new homes:

This is the best picture I could get. Tomorrow we plan to move half of the tables out to our driveway so there's space to walk around. We chose this weekend because our entire neighborhood is having a community wide garage sale and we're hoping to have a ton of people all day long (please! please! please!)

I feel very guilty about some of the things going. Crystal glasses, antique dishes and serving plates - really beautiful stuff but we just don't have the room anymore. I'm hoping to make enough money from this sale to offset the cost of re-doing one of our bathrooms.

OK - on to spinning news! I successfully spun last night, sticking to my "Tuesdays & Thursdays are for spinning" mantra. My back was hurting from my bad posture but I noticed that my spinning is actually getting better. It's slowing getting thinner and more even, instead of the rope with lumps that I got on my first night spinning alpaca. I've got a total of 3 bobbins full now:

I have one more Lazy Kate to work with and then I'll start plying. This feels like it would be nice as a 2-ply yarn knit up into a simple scarf pattern. It's definitely something that would feel wonderful on your skin!