Monday, February 27, 2006

species is in the eye of the beholder...

I cannot believe it has been almost a week since I posted, I don't know where the time goes!

To the left, a little guy I knitted for a friend of the kid's, who was having a birthday party. The friend likes hedgehogs, and I found this pattern online, so off we went to the races. A little Bernat Disco goes a looooooong way and the less said about metallic fun fur the better, but I think the little guy is pretty cute.

The friend, as is common around here, doesn't open her pressies at the party, but sees the kid at school today and thanks her for ... the knitted mole. Kid says it was supposed to be a hedgehog, recipient says it is way too skinny for a hedgehog. Kid politely says it is now the recipient's stuffed animal and it can be any species she prefers! Recipient is well pleased and effusive in her thanks (and I got her some non-knitted stuff too so this wasn't the whole enchilada), and little critter is now a mole (or was it a vole?) Whatever, the kid wants one now too of course, because there is no such thing as a bad stuffed animal. At least the Disco will be used up and I won't feel its plasticky vibes coming out of the stash closet.

And one of the perils of telling your friends you have a blog is when they read about themselves when they go through the archives. I got a lovely note today from my poor dear friend who had to cancel lunch last week, apologizing for causing the epic pout! In the interest of unbiased journalism, I am pleased to report that he more than made up for it last week (and I am not just saying that because he reads the blog now, really!). We had our grown-up lunch out and got to catch up and a good time was had by all.

Off to work on some socks, I just cast on for a pair of Jaywalkers. Between that and the Clapotis I cast on ten days ago I feel like such a joiner! The Clap is gorgeous if I do say so myself, but I didn't buy enough yarn (in the spirit of false economy) so am waiting for another skein to arrive by mail. Socks in the meantime, there are never too many pairs of hand knit socks in the world!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Why I love driving in NYC

I hate a whole lot about driving in NYC, but one of the things I love about slow traffic is all of the interesting things you can see if you look out the window. If NYC is a microcosm of the world at large, then looking out your car window is like the ultimate reality tv show.

Thursday I had to run into town to make a meeting about one of my new book projects. Traffic sucked eggs and I was fried by the time I got there, but the meeting went well so I was in fine spirits on the drive home despite the early part of rush hour traffic. So I was heading west on 19th street and was treated to the sight of two nuns directing traffic in full habit - they were trying to help someone back into a tight spot in a large van.

Now I went to Catholic high school so I get that nuns are real people and do things like grocery shop and run errands like anyone else. But there was something visually appealing about these two ladies looking so serious on a beautiful day while they figured out how to direct this massive van backwards in heavy traffic. I had to pass before they finished, but I bet they made it.

Next was an only in NY story that irritated me no end, but you have to give the guy credit for cojones if nothing else. I had made it to the West Side Highway headed north and traffic was dense but moving slowly. Someone on a not-quite-motorcycle was squeezing in between the lanes of traffic to get to the front. I know they do that because they can and it doesn't usually bother me, but I get nervous when quarters are as tight as they were that someone is going to get squashed. Now he is on my right side, barely squeeking through, and he reaches up and pushed my side view mirror in towards the car so he can get by! I have one of those mirrors that does that on purpose so he didn't break the mirror, and I started to admire his clear thinking until he whipped past me and I realize that now I can't use that mirror!!! I was good and annoyed for about five minutes, you would think he would have realized he was limiting my visibility, but at the next slow down I leaned over and clicked it back into place. Which took a little more doing than you might think because I have what is probably the last van in the world that doesn't have automatic windows so I have to put the car in part, undo the seatbelt, lean way over and crank like hell. I managed though, just in time to see a DHL van crossing in front e that had an orange traffic cone wedged at an unfortunate angle through its front grille. Made me wonder what kind of driving day THAT guy was having...

Not much on the knitting front, my Clapotis is coming along nicely and will hopefully be finished soon.

Off to visit my sister for a few days so no new posts until Thursday night of Friday. Maybe I will have some good photos by then!

Friday, February 17, 2006

D is for Dulaan

I know, Norma already did D is for Dulaan, but it works for me too - plus I have BB modeling this very stylish Dulaan hat that I whipped out yesterday, and pictures are always good!

For those of you who are unaware, the Dulaan Project collects hand knit items and sends them once a year to Mongolia, where they are given out to those in need. For more information, click the link on my sidebar.

I love knitting for charity in general, but I am really fond of knitting for Dulaan. With the cold weather of Mongolian winters reaching low temperatures that I can only imagine, it is hard to think of a place that woolen knitwear would be more appreciated. I also like being clever with leftovers and scraps to make up colorful items - I love the idea of turning scraps into much-needed warmth. Since the charity benefits all sizes and shapes of people, pretty much whatever you can turn out will wind up somewhere useful.

The hat above was wildly adapted from a pattern at (number 4 - Spiral Hat Pattern). If you have been reading this blog for a while, you will notice the leftovers from the Gryfindor Fuzzy Feet and the Hot Pink Fuzzy Feet, and if you swap with me on the KnittyBoard, you may see some of your scrap there too! I used 6 colors of wool - 5 leftovers and half a ball of black Patons Classic Merino to hold it all together. It worked up very quickly and took longer to weave all the ends in that it did to knit the main section! I am now working on a coordinating scarf to throw in the growing pile of Mongolia bound goodies. Shipping date is in July, so if you have any interest in knitting along with me - no deadline pressure.

And last, for your viewing pleasure - Cinderella thinks the Throw That Ate New Jersey was made just for her. Note that not only is she not supposed to be on this blanket, she is not supposed to be on this CHAIR because it is leather and I don't want claw marks. She looks terrified, doesn't she? I know, not really, but she does have the good grace to jump off the chair whenever I come in the room and nonchalantly stroll over to her bed, and pretend she wasn't up there.

I can still tell though - the blanket is warm when I pick it up, and never where I left it. And she doesn't jump that fast - she is just humoring me and wants me to know it.

I promise this won't become a blog full of cutesy animal pictures, but because so many folks commented on how nice the throw is, I thought you would be amused to see who likes it best!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

BB saves the day

I am in the throes of a major pout - my best friend (through no fault of his own - family emergency arose) had to cancel our much awaited lunch date tomorrow, and I am about to sulk in a particularly unflattering manner. I am up to my butt in the Finland book, and will have to schlep into the city tomorrow anyway because of the other appointment I have - the not nearly as fun as going to Nougatine for lunch appointment, of course, is NOT the one that was cancelled.

While I understand intellectually that pouting is not going to improve the situation, sadly, it is about all the response I can muster at the moment. And I should be working instead of pouting, because missing deadlines is going to make my life suck in ways I can only imagine, but pouting is still the order of the day.....

In an effort to cheer me up, BB offered to put on the kid's newest wardrobe addition - a One Skein Wonder in the purple Filaro Sparkle that came in my Cherry Tree Hill grab bags at the beginning of the year.
The one skein wonder was made in a flurry of "trying not to shoot my father" knitting while I spent the weekend with my parents. The old man can be a lot to handle, and I handle it a lot better with needles flying. The pattern is a breeze and made up very quickly. The kid wore it to school today and pronounced it comfy and cool (as in hip, not as in not warm).

It looks nice on BB, but even nicer on the kid!

Okay, so it's hard to sulk when you are playing with a giant stuffed bear in a purple glitter shrug, but I am making an effort....

And as for last night - Dulaan knitting won out over the Clapotis I wanted to cast on. I made a fabulous (if I do say so myself) stash busting hat out of leftover bits of Lamb's Pride worsted, and it looks wonderful indeed. BB says she will try it on for you all tomorrow....

Signing off with a half-hearted harrumph....

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Great News from the Red Scarf Project

Happy Valentine's Day to all!

I just wanted you to know that all 2,500 of our target foster kids in college will have a very happy day too, due in part to all of you wonderful folks who supported the Red Scarf Project this year. Just over 3,000 red scarves arrived at the Orphan Foundation headquarters - they are overwhelmed with the success of this project, will definitely do it next year (for those of you who plan way in advance!), and wanted me to pass on their heartfelt thanks.

Kudos to all, and a warm thank you from me too.

Knitters warm the world!

Monday, February 13, 2006

The throw that ate NJ...

Is finally finished - well except for a few ends that I have to sew in, but it has been so cold here recently I have been cuddling up under it and weaving in any ends I can reach without getting out from under it. You are looking at just over half of it, the blue stripe at the top of the photo is the center, and the colors mirror back down to the other edge.

The yarn is five shades of Jaeger Chamonix that I snagged when it was discontinued and my LYS was selling out the end of their stock at 50% off. It is 50% angora, 50% merino and so so so soft and warm. The dark brown in between is.... I have no idea what that is. It was a merino/acrylic blend that I got because the color worked. The pattern is adapted from the lap throw in Weekend Knitting. I cast on 164 stitches on size 13 needles, and made the stripes 5" long instead of the recommended 4". Total brainless knitting for in front of the tv, which was great, although being chunky weight yarn it very quickly became too large to be portable. I love it though, and am glad it is finally done.
Need some more brainless knitting soon - everything I have on the needles now requires thought processes to be fully functional!

And a little yarn prOn. Despite the snow, I hit two new-to-me yarn stores in Camden County New Jersey when I was visiting my mother this weekend. On the left, some Cameo rayon by Wool in the Woods that wants to be a clapotis when it grows up. I may cast that on tonight as a matter of fact, but am also feeling like I have been neglecting my charity knitting lately so I may do a Dulaan hat first.

On the right, 5 bitty skeins of Koigu endlots scarfed up from WoolPlay in Haddonfield. I LOVED this store - the owner-designed mitered knit jacket on the wall stopped me dead in my tracks with yarn lust. These Koigu skeins are endlots and priced accordingly. I haven't bought a lot of Koigu because I didn't have a project in mind for it, but picked up three coordinating shades in these small skeins and am going to attempt mitered knitting by doing the scarf in Knitted Shawls, Stoles, and Scarves by Nancie M. Wiseman. If I need more yardage I can just add more colors, but it was fun to get a bunch of shades without making a major investment.

Should be writing right now but feel like I want a snow day too! We had close to two feet - the kid was thrilled to be off from school but Cinderella puppy isn't amused - that is WAY over her head!

I also finished a One Skein Wonder over the weekend for the kid - BB has graciously agreed to model it so I will post pix by the end of the week. What would Addicted to Alpaca do without BB?

Friday, February 10, 2006

I know, I know, bad blogger!

So no posts in a while, I was in the black hole of post-manuscript-partum blues. I delivered the final draft of my book on Indiana on Monday, then proceeded to freak out that I wasn't thrilled with it as soon as it left my hand. I do this every time, and should know by now that it is going to happen, but no, it is always a complete surprise!

So I took Tuesday off to relax - knitting and movies, sounds perfect right? NOT. I went to see Brokeback Mountain all by myself at the Tuesday bargain matinee. Don't get me wrong, I love the film and thought it was brilliantly done, but I was so depressed when it was over I could barely drive home from the theater! Worked on the alpaca shawl at the kid's dance lessons, and that was about it. The alpaca shawl is boring me to death, but it is so pretty, I feel like I should chug away on it. I should have picked something a little cheerier I suppose

Wednesday, worked on some article outlines but couldn't shake the blues. Knitted away on the throw that ate NJ which is finally finished, but didn't manage to get any pix of it done. Thursday I threw caution to the wind and went to two different yarn stores - ostensibly to look for a color of Lamb's Pride Worsted for one of the KnittyHeads (which I never did find), but in my heart of hearts I knew it was therapeutic shopping.

I have a major jones for some Colinette Prism, but stopped short of plunking down $140 hard-earned dollars because I still can't decide what pattern to do with it. I was looking at Lady Eleanor from Scarf Style, and a very pretty triangular wrap from Nancie M. Wiseman's Knitted Shawls Stoles and Scarves, but couldn't make up my mind. So I bought some goodies for my SP and the Wiseman book, and left without breaking the bank.

Then of course, off to the SnB at my other LYS - only to find out that they have decided to close! Good news is there will be yarn bargains, but the bad news of course is that this was my closest place for a good yarn fix, and my SnB of choice, so I was NOT happy to hear they are closing. I bought three colorways of Skacel Trampoline sock yarn (there are few sock yarns in the world I wouldn't buy at 30% off!), and the spring IK, but I have my eye on some way cheap cottons - Fable, and 1824. Will ponder my pattern options and go back next week to make some purchases. I don't always need a pattern when I buy yarn, but if I am going to do some major stash expansion I feel less guilty if I at least have a vague idea why I did it.

Anybody still reading? This is a long post for one that is photo-free.

Cinderella has been declared much healthier by the vet which is great, and the hubby is near to being crutch-free which is also great. I am supposed to go visit the relations tomorrow, but am hoping to get snowed in here so I don't have to go - 6-8 inches predicted in my neck of the woods. I want to get snowed in with my new sock yarn and just avoid the world as long as possible.

Whipping out a pair of the DIY Ugg baby booties just for fun - I have a fashion editor friend who is about to have her first child so she will get these and appreciate them greatly. I had the sole and trim yarn leftover from a pair I made last year so I only had to get one ball of Suede, so they didn't feel so extravagant this time. Last time I figured these were $27 baby booties even before you figured in my time!

Off to watch them light the Knitting Olympic torch - that is what it is for right, the Knitting Olympics? I am not a competing athlete this year but will cheer on my fellow nutjobs as they blister their index fingers. Pix soon, I promise!

Friday, February 03, 2006

I love this yarn!

This is totally not the sort of thing I ever buy, until the day that I did. I was browsing at Knitting Nation in Nyack, NY a few weeks ago (well actually I was interviewing the owner for a magazine article I was writing - MAN do I have to stop doing yarn store interviews in person, I spend more than I get paid!), and I saw this scarf hanging up. And I fell in love - it has all of my colors in it, and is a shape I would actually wear. So I bought two skeins and went to town. In the photo above the right hand skein is almost finished, but I thought the yarn looked nice on the white cone so I went to town.
Here is the fabric the yarn produces when knit in garter stitch on size 10.5 US needles. I love how the little tufts are two colored and look like flowers.
So of course BB had to try it on....

But I did manage to get it back from her - just barely (or should that be bearly? OK - bad pun, but it's Friday afternoon and I can't get my brain to work anymore).

I don't know why I found this particular scarf to be so appealing, but I did. Do you ever just fall in love with a project for no reason? I couldn't get a photo of the whole scarf but it is loooooong and slightly crescent shaped - fattest in the middle tapering down to nothing on both ends.

For the knit-pickers among you here is all the info on the yarn Diakeito brand, Diamist F-Mole is the yarn name. 94 yards per skein, 62% acrylic, 28% viscose, color number is 621 (but they had other cool colors too). Finished the scarf in two evenings of brainless tv watching.

No posts until Tuesday - book deadline is Monday and I should just make it by the skin of my teeth. Wish me luck at the editorial meeting - I am delivering the (hopefully) final draft of one book and the first draft of the next, provided my head doesn't explode between now and ten.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Socks and Swaps

I love to knit socks! I especially like to knit socks for the kid because she is A) very appreciative of fine handknits and B) her feet are WAY shorter than mine!

These are made out of Kroy in some flavor or another - I got the yarn in a trade for the leftovers from the Fiamma hoodie. Yes, I know that one sock looks longer, but as it happens one of her feet is almost a full half-size larger than the other so there you have it. Another joy of kid socks - custom fit!

I love swapping yarn and books and patterns almost as much as I love knitting socks. It is also a fine thing that I started swapping because whenever the husband sees yarn he has never seen before and asks me where it came from, I can alternate the reply "stash" with the reply "swap" so that neither one is used often enough to be suspicious sounding. Rarely do I say "I got bored and went to The Stitchery", although often that IS where the new yarn came from. I also got three skeins of sari silk in the mail this week from a swap. I had to part with one of my precious Cherry Tree Hill sock yarns to get it, but it was worth it - it is really lovely. It is going to be a purse when it grows up.

Cinderella Puppy wasn't feeling so hot this week - I won't go into detail as it was poop related but a day at the vet's (and $300 worth of lab work) later she is in much better shape than she was yesterday. The poor little thing is so skinny though, she looks like an ad for a dog shelter for abused animals. But I know she is feeling better because she barked at the mailman today - yesterday she couldn't be bothered.

I have to go buy some yarn for knitted hedgehogs! Apparently one of the kid's friends who is having a birthday party soon collects hedgehogs, and there is a very cool free knitted hedgehog pattern on the internet. What did we do before the internet? And who knew that knowing where this knitted hedgehog pattern is was going to come in so handy? At least is isn't another blue poncho...

Thanks to all of you Red Scarf operatives - I am still waiting to hear from Interweave what the grand total was, although Norma got a preliminary count on her blog.