Monday, July 30, 2007

Tour de France KAL

Well, I learned a lot about the Tour de France but didn't accomplish a ton of knitting this time around. My goals were 1) to knit an Errol out of Charmed Knits and 2) to knit a pair of Clessidra - later changed to 2) finish as much as possible of Einstein. I did knit a Hedwig (from the errol pattern, see below) and am almost finished with the bottom section of Einstein.

The organizers of this KAL put a tremendous amount of effort into making it a fun and informative experience! Thanks to you both!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Off the Beaten Path

Today, I made an unexpected side trip and a most pleasant discovery. I used to have occasion to travel this particular part of NH on a fairly regular basis, and I often drove by a sign for Riverslea Sheep Farm in Epping. "Wool," proclaims the sign, "Yarn." "Open." (How is it possible that I never took the bait before today??)

I had Boy #1 with me in the car, and because we had already spent all morning driving I said, "Hmm, guess you wouldn't be up for visiting a sheep farm..." Next thing you know, there we were. We were greeted by the owner, Liz, and her adorable standard poodle, Lily, who coincidentally (or not?) looks not unlike a very tall and cheeky lamb.

Great place, this: a whitewashed little nook between the house and barn. They had a little of everything: dyed roving, yarn, handknit clothes, gorgeous sheepskins, and little needle felted toys and other items. There was also food for sale, apparently; at some point I heard "shepherds pies in the freezer" but I was too distracted by all the fibery stuff at the time. (Note: kick self for missed opportunity.) Yarns: 2 and 3 ply wool, some handspun, some laceweight. Great colors. Of course we bought some, for more hats:

Because we can never have too many hats. The green is for the kid (his choice, but I love it too) and the grey is for dad.

Liz is this amazingly nice and helpful person. We felt so completely welcome in her shop. She explained lots of interesting things to my son, and listened to him, and was totally cool. He was smitten.

Just before we left, she talked about some boys she knew of that did needle felting in the car to keep busy. One look at the dollar bags of roving and, more importantly, the sharp, primitive, dangerous-looking needle, and he was sold. Here's what we picked:

We drove away all warm and fuzzily with the feeling of having had ourselves a most enjoyable little adventure. So if you find yourself in this neck of the woods, I would highly recommend stopping in at Riverslea. You'll be glad you did. I know I'll be back.

Postscript: Here's what the kid made in the car on the way home:

Fun! When Boy #2 got home from camp later today he found he also enjoyed stabbing a ball of roving with a sharp pin. Who knew? He even added his initial to his project; pics when I can find it!!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter Knitting and Flying Finches

Harry Potter madness overtook us on Friday. Hedwig was ready to go:

(My son, the 'realist' for whom I made the owl, learned a little about "artistic license" this week.)

And I am a bad, bad, Tour de France knitter because, in my quest to finish Hedwig and the duplicate stitching on a makeshift Weasley sweater for my other son, I had to jettison the Errol project altogether. But in the end, we had what we needed.

Throw in some party-store wigs, a lip-liner 'scar', and the Quidditch robe left over from Halloween last year and voila! You have yerself some Gryffindors! (Couldn't get daddy to be anybody, though I wanted him to be Lucius...or Snape lol.) We went to a local bookstore and hung in there till midnight. Fortunately we scored a decent lottery number and got a good place in line. We read the first chapter at home at 1 am and had an impromptu camp-out in the living room (i.e. everyone fell asleep in their seats). Good times...

So, my substitute Tour de France KAL goal is to finish as much of Einstein as I can:

It is so much less boring than I thought it would be :) I think it's because I love the yarns. And speaking of yarn, I hit the yarn market at a TKGA conference with my knit-bud Lynne last weekend. I picked up some great stuff that I can't show yet, but it was lots of fun. Yarn market - what a concept. Like a yarn crawl on steroids and without all the driving. Oh yeah :)

Notes from the Animal Kingdom

Our finch babies finally launched last weekend. The first one went off with mama and papa, who had been sitting atop the feeder for days peeping encouragingly and trying to coax them out. The second one watched, and hopped around for a while:

and then, soared!

Well, it actually kind of crash landed ungracefully into some small trees in our marsh, but you get the idea. Sibling number 3 stayed down low in the nest, watching all of this, and then suddenly jumped up and took off. Amazing! The kidlets got to see it too. We miss them a little but are very glad to have our front porch back.

Pet Tip of the Week: Every once in a while, have someone else wash your dog:

They come out so purty!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Summer Fun and a Little Puppy Love

Summer Fun
Knitting, baseball, and beer - how fun is this?

Stitch and Pitch at a local minor league game. With everything going on that night I suspect a few of us spent some time tinking the next day, but that's a small price to pay for a fun evening out with friends.

Also saw HP5 last night. I loved it, but some of the people who saw it with us hadn't read the books and were utterly and completely lost. A few changes to the story line annoyed my kids, but we all agreed the effects were absolutely fantastic. Most importantly, this movie, even more than the previous ones is a fiber feast for the eyes. Oh, the sweaters! Oh, the fair-isle hats! My favorites:
-The hat and scarf set worn by Hermione in the scene on the bridge where the group is discussing where the DA should meet. Her hat has extra-long ribbing and is a nubby beige-y tweed. I must make this.
-The scarves knit by Mrs. Weasley for Fred and George. At least 6-7 feet long, fall colors in big chunky stripes with irregularly-cut fringe.
-Neville's zip-front cardigan. It looks like something straight off of brooklyntweed.

Puppy Love
Kathy recently wrote about the early life of her adorable chihuahua, Sofee, in a 2nd-birthday post that included some super-cute puppy pix. I thought I'd post some of Frisky, who also just turned 2, when he was but a pup.

He looked a lot like Bambi:

Sometimes it was hard to get him to eat and he would get lethargic, so we would hand-feed him a bit of a special high calorie paste, which he loved.
I couldn't wait to make him a sweater:

He eventually grew into, and then out of it, but it was good for the first winter anyway. The kids adored him, and still do, and the feeling is mutual. There really is something about kids and dogs:

He utterly cured my younger son of his dog phobia, for which we are all very grateful. The feeding, walking and playing they do each day is a great life lesson about compassion and responsibility. Especially when he has hidden one of every pair of sandals in the house.

And here is adult Frisky in today's gratuitous chihuahua shot:

Love you, pup.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Don't Let It All Unravel

Check this out, if you haven't already:

Don't Let It All Unravel

You might want to turn your volume down :)

Also, finch update:

I think maybe their mama is ready for a little empty nest syndrome! They are pretty big babies,and all they do is lay around the nest looking cute. Their basket is hanging over some gravel behind our shrubs; I put some folded tarps down over the gravel, just in case ;) Yes, I am an enabler.

Vacation Knitting

Just got back from a trip to Washington DC (just for the fireworks)/Colonial Williamsburg/and DH's parents. Other than the grueling heat and hours of driving down and back we had a great time. Rather than regale you with pictures of fireworks and Revolutionary War soldiers, though, I'll just stick to the knitting parts. Well, and this:

There is no good explanation for why a routine pit stop should lead to the acquisition of 5 Uglydolls, but I do think the two hours straight of giggling over them in the car was worth every penny. Look, one of them even learned how to knit:

The project it's holding in its little mitts is my "official" Tour de France KAL entry, Errol from Charmed Knits, cast on yesterday on the road. I spent Thursday and Friday working on Hedwig, below, who will get stuffing, a beak and some talons later this week:

Hedwig is a combination of Ella Rae Amity worsted and OnLine Pinto, the latter of which knits up loopy like terry cloth. Held together they make a pretty cute owl covering, I think :) A lovely lady named Ann at Unraveled in Richmond, VA helped me come up with this combination; though I think she was a little concerned about my sanity she hung in there with me on the whole owl thing and I couldn't be happier with the outcome. If you are ever in or near Richmond, you should absolutely look Ann up - she is designing the most amazing projects!! And the shop is wonderful, too, lots of great yarns. It was a little skimpy in the sock yarn department, but heck, you probably have too much sock yarn already (coughcoughLynnecoughcough).

I've also sailed past the halfway mark of the bottom section of the Einstein coat! I had some time to work on it on the 4th when they evacuated us from the National Mall in DC into the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum because of a tornado warning:

The Air Force "Airmen of Note" Premier Jazz Ensemble entertained the crowd while we sat on the floor in the museum lobby waiting out the storm. They were fantastic, especially the female vocals. Life is so much more fun when things don't go according to plan :)

I'll leave you with some more dishcloths, knitted in the passenger seat en route to VA. There was a third, which I won't show here because it came out so
offensively ugly it hurts to look at it. Suffice it to say you don't ever want to interrupt a 1x1 rib with some garter stitch. Trust me on this one.