Thursday, April 26, 2007


Of course, whenever I mean to post a short entry, I seem to end up going on forever. But this is to let my five loyal readers know that I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. I just haven't had much to say.

Knitting is happening. I finished the first Spirit Trail sock (except for weaving in the ends). The Divine scarf is complete, except for blocking and weaving in the ends. The sweaters...well...I'm slogging along, at a pace slower than the snails. I'm reaching the conclusion that maybe I'm not cut out to knit sweaters, even wee ones. Of course, maybe I should start with easier patterns.

The second installment of Rockin' Sock Club arrived today. And boy, is it gorgeous! And it feels so yummy. The pattern that came along with it is intriguing and it looks like it will be fun to knit. Have I knit up the first pair of socks yet? No. But I'm guaranteed years of knitting enjoyment.


Next month the Wooly Wonka Exotic Fibers Club will start. It sounds like there will be both spinning and knitting involved. I'm beginning to get a little intimidated; I'm afraid my spinning isn't up to par and am thinking that I've bitten off more than I can chew.

I'm off to Kirkridge this weekend to cook for the Y2Knit retreat. I spent the day grocery shopping and all the supplies are laid in. I just hope I remember to pack everything. It would be a very bad thing if I forgot the lasagna.

A full report (at some point) of last weekend and this weekend when I return.

Enjoy the weekend!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Beyond Words

I woke up with a migraine today and given the weather (strong wind, spitting rain, chill temperatures), I decided to stay in bed and work from home in the afternoon.

A little after noon, a friend sent me a message asking me if I had been following what was happening at Virginia Tech. I was horrified. My nephew and Tom's nephew both attend Tech and fortunately, both are not hurt. Daniel had just arrived at Norris Hall when everything was going on and by good fortune, decided to not take his normal bus to campus. If he had been 10 minutes earlier, who knows what might have happened? PJ (Tom's nephew) was in the building next to Norris when the shootings occurred. His next class was in Norris.

Others were not so lucky. 32 people, mostly students, perished today in the worst shooting rampage in U.S. history. It's beyond my ken. Our illustrious president, while professing to be horrified and deeply concerned, said through his publicist that the he believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed. Additionally, the White House said that "certainly, bringing a gun into a school dormitory and shooting … is against the law and something someone should be held accountable for." (Credit: ABC News, Deb Riechmann,

The gunman is dead; he allegedly killed himself. So who do we hold accountable? Certainly not the gun manufacturers; the NRA would raise a stink over that. The president of Virginia Tech for not being prescient enough to know that the gunman didn't leave campus after the initial shootings? The owner of the gun store where the gun was bought? The owner of the gun if gunman borrowed or stole it?

Society, perhaps, for not doing enough to teach children that you can't always get everything you want and how to deal with the disappoints that life so often hands out.

I don't know the answer; perhaps there isn't one. What I do know is that over the last several decades, images on television, in movies, and in video games have become more violent and more graphic. Song lyrics have followed the same trend. We, as a nation, have become desensitized to violence. It's commonplace and perhaps the underlying message is that it's okay to kill to get what you want or to get even.

But it's so wrong.

I've been silently boycotting the entertainment industry for a while now. I don't go to movies if there's so much as a shred of violence in them. I don't listen to commercial radio. I don't watch television (except for the Food Network, PBS, and some shows on the War History Channel). As one person, I'm certainly not influencing Hollywood. And there will never be enough of us to make a difference because too many people are addicted to adrenalin (but that's a discussion for another day).

My apologies for a rambling and somewhat disjointed post; I needed to say something.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

It Arrived!

Look at what arrived in the mail on Monday!

All sorts of goodies from my secret pal! There's a skein of Sockotta sock yarn, in very spring-ish colors (color 6 for those who have enquiring minds). Since this yarn is a cotton/wool blend, it will be perfect for the warmer months (if they ever arrive...more about that later). There's a ball of Chagall by Jackobsdals, a Swedish yarn. Even though it's named after (I presume) Marc Chagall, the colors remind me of Monet's Waterlilies. It's a mohair/wool/synthetic blend and is quite soft. There's also a ball of Candy FX in the most wonderful shade of blue. I think I've got the perfect color of Softwist to pair it with. To round out the gifts, my secret pal included a book of notepaper, always useful, a box of tea from England, and some Raspberry Tea Cookies. Yum! I'm going to have to find some time this weekend to sit down with a cuppa and cookies!

My secret pal also included a card which had a cute verse on it (I forgot to include in the photo). It said:

Mary had a little lamb...
It's fleece was white as snow.
And everywhere the lambie went,
that girl was sure to go.

She followed it for days and days,
'cuz Mary was no quitter.
"Give me your fleece you crazy lamb!"
"Can you see that I'm a knitter?"

The lamb said, "Wait 'til I'm grown up,
My fleece ain't ready yet...
Just skip on down to the yarn shop, girl...
And see what you can get!"

Thank you, Secret Pal! Your gift made Monday quite enjoyable. By the way, there was an extraneous pen at the bottom of the box. I'll save it and send back to you at the end of the exchange.

There hasn't been much knitting going on. I managed to knit two rows on the Jenna sweater, in between chasing Emma away from the plants in the living room. It never fails that as soon as I sit down to knit, she's doing something she wouldn't ordinarily be doing. I worked on Tom's scarf as well and it should be complete after about four more inches. Who knows? He might get to wear it yet this winter spring.

Perhaps some of the malaise I've been feeling this week is because of the weather. For April, it's been brutally cold (except for a couple of glorious 80-degree days, which I spent inside an office building). When I opened my office on Monday, a blast of cold air hit me. I didn't think anything of it; the office is usually a bit chilly after the weekend. However, it never warmed up. By the end of the day, I was wearing my coat and covered my head with my scarf, hijab-style. The ritual adjusting of the thermostats by Building Maintenance was ineffective. On Tuesday, I was prepared. The same blast of cold air greeted me upon my arrival, so I whipped out my handy-dandy digital thermometer and placed it on my desk. Slowly, ever so slowly, it crept up to 67.1. I called Building Maintenance and this time they sent a guy with a ladder. After poking around in the ceiling a bit, he announced that the heat was off and very kindly turned it back on. By the end of the day, the office was a reasonable 72 degrees. But I still haven't quite thawed out.

And it's not going to get much better. On Monday, the forecast for this weekend was calling for it to be in the mid- to upper-60s. Today, the weekend forecast is for snow. My biggest fear is that we'll skip spring entirely and head straight into August, which often happens in this neck of the woods.

So, what's on the agenda for this week? Probably very little knitting. This weekend, I'll start cooking for the Y2Knit and Modern Yarn Retreat at Kirkridge at the end of the month. Tom is also raring to strip the wallpaper in the back bedroom and demolishing the closets, in preparation for the plasterer. That means that we'll be emptying closets (yikes!) and moving all the furniture out of that room. Heaven knows where it's going to go.

Just thinking about it makes me want to curl up and go to sleep, like Emma. (I was going to include a picture of Emma curled up on the couch, but Blogger is being a bit recalcitrant and is refusing to accept the photo.)

Have a good week and stay warm!

Saturday, April 07, 2007


That was close! Here it is, almost mid-April and the forecast for last night and today was for two to three inches of snow! Fortunately, there was only a dusting of the white stuff on the roofs this morning. However, it's very windy and there's been a hard freeze warning since Thursday night. It's hard to believe that the temperatures earlier this week were in the 80s.

My parents' visit was very nice. They had a chance to relax and we had a chance to cook some good food. I made tiramisu and it was mostly a success this time. I used the savoiardi which are dry ladyfingers. The recipe was a test recipe from America's Test Kitchen (a couple of months ago they asked for recipe testers, so I volunteered). There are a couple of things I would change, like cutting the recipe in half and reducing the amount of rum used, but overall it was a very good recipe. We had chicken piccata, linguine fini, and spinach with caramelized onions and mascarpone cheese. It was a satisfying dinner, especially after we spent about four hours touring...

...The new Air and Space Museum. They did an excellent job with this museum. The Air and Space Museum in D.C. is very loud , being frequented by active, vocal children. The immensity of the museum (it's a gigantic hangar) dampened the sound of the active, vocal children, which is a nice benefit. The Concorde was on display, as was the space shuttle Enterprise. I would have liked to go inside both, but alas, the interiors of the aircraft were not on display. I was surprised at how the space shuttle looked small and large at the same time, and how fragile it looked.

If you get a chance to go to the new Air and Space Museum, I highly recommend taking in an IMAX film. They show every hour and provide a nice break to looking a hundreds of plane, missiles, airplane engines, airplane guns, airplane landing gear... After about three hours, all the planes started to blur. Yep, it's got wings, one or more engines, and landing gear. It's a plane. Next...

Knitting News
I still don't have much to report. I'm working on one of fronts of the Christine sweater after tinking two rows because I was about two rows over the 21cm length. Decreasing in pattern is proving to be more difficult than I thought. And I have a sinking feeling that I'm decreasing at a faster rate than the pattern calls for, which means I'll need to tink again. I'm supposed to decrease on the third row, then every third row after that. Decrease on row 3, then decrease again on row 6? Or row 5? Does row 3 count as row 1 in "every third row" or does row 4? Can anyone provide insight?

I finally caved and bought the Shingle Creek Trail Socks kit from Wooly Wonka Fibers. Anne sent the package out quickly and it arrived this week. The Sagebrush and Cedars colorway is very pretty with the different shades of blue and green. It will make a very pretty pair of socks. But alas, they won't be knitted for some time, at least not until I finish the Never-Ending Sweaters, of which I'll post pictures tomorrow.

Yarn Shop News
I looked at a building last Saturday that's almost perfect for my vision of my yarn shop. The only problem is that it is too expensive. All the retail space in Leesburg is too expensive, and if it isn't, it has issues, like zero parking, not even street parking. I'm wondering if it's going to be financially feasible to open a shop. Should I start online as a friend recommended? There are a scads of online yarn shops and I'm dubious as to how much business I'd actually get. I'll continue to research and think on it, but I'm beginning to get a little discouraged.

Secret Pal
My secret pal left a message in the comments saying that she mailed my package today! Yippee! I've got something to look forward to this week. I'm in the process of slowly pulling together the package for my secret pal and will indulge in some stash diving to see if I've got some yummy yarn in her favorite colors. I haven't been too successful in finding the yarn I wanted to send her so her first package might be a little sparse, but good.

Well, it's time to go. Emma is insisting that we play a rousing game of Fetch the Mouse.