Friday, August 31, 2007

Alpaca pix, not the gratuitous kind

Okay, maybe the alpaca belly photo is a little gratuitous, but I never saw an alpaca lay like that before. The owner, Brenda, of High Meadow Farms in New Hope, PA, said that that is how the critters get their daily ration of vitamin D - they need the sun on their cute little alpaca bellies because the rest of them is so furry.

This is Tri-D. His last fleece is hidden in my house somewhere, and I don't even have anything to spin it on yet (although I am counting the days). She was so sweet and let the kid pet her, that I sort of had to buy her fleece when it was offered to us.

The dark and lovely lady here is Serafina - she is in charge and not likely to let you foget it. She came right up to the kid and I to check us out, but then decided we didn't mean any harm to her or her herd, so she went right back to snacking.

And here are some socks - one can never have too many sock photos on a blog. Note that they bag around the kid's ankles? That's because they were supposed to be mine, but she bogarted them as soon as she saw them on the needles. I wasn't about to rip them out and start over, but she did catch me in time for the foot to fit properly. She doesn't mind that they slouch a bit - she just wanted them to be hers.

Yarn is Regia Surf, pattern is my made up basic stockinette pattern. They are fraternal rather than identical twins, because neither the kid nor I get crazy about things like matching stripes.

School starts for her in less than a week. Amen!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ah, the beach

I don't know why I thought this seagull was so very amusing, sitting on top of a car on a rainy day at the Cape May Zoo, but I did. He just looks disgusted with the weather, as was I. Not that that stopped us from trekking around and seeing the animals in the rain. Crowded movie theaters make me cranky, and sitting on the beach in the rain didn't appeal.

I did get some knitting done - here are some Magic 28 socks out of some random wooly leftovers. Not sure where they are going yet, but they were quick and didn't involve more brain cells than were available on a rainy vacation day.

And here is a pile of beige spaghetti, a lovely baby alpaca silk blend from a big yarn company. The yarn isn't out yet but will be soon and I am here to tell you it is a joy to work with. This will be a lacy shawl after it is blocked, even though it looks like beige spaghetti now. I just have the end trims to put on, then I can block it and ship it, and more importantly cross it off my to-do list.

Our one nice beach day - the first morning we were there. You probably can't see it because I was too lazy to get my butt up off the towel and take a closer picture, but bobbing out there is a large rectangular yellow bouy. Every parent and child on the beach pointed to it and yelled "Look, Sponge Bob!"

Back to the old grind now - I have a book to write, 15 patterns to make models of and write out, and a few magazine assignments kicking around too. Not that I am unhappy to have paying work - that is not a problem. It's just that I still have a little post-vaca relaxation left and I would love to procrastinate for another week!

Next post will be alpaca-heavy - I met a bunch of fellow Knittyboarders over the weekend and managed to snag a few good pix of the shaggy cuties. The alpacas, not the Knittyboarders, who by and large weren't shaggy. But they did say I didn't post enough - the Knittyboarders, not the alpacas, were were largely less talkative.

OOOOOOOH - I forgot to tell you. I was a guest of the lovely Julie from the PassioKnit Podcast at Stitches Midwest a few weeks back, and she has posted our interview. We had a wonderful time chatting away, so please go check it out!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

In which I spent waaaay too much money but had a great time doing it.

First, the qiviut. The qiviut I said I wouldn't buy because it was a budget buster. The qiviut that came in the best color blue I have ever seen bar none (monitors do not do it justice), and called to me every time I passed it by. The qiviut that I admired, but knew was a bad thing cash flow wise to purchase. That qiviut. Here is it on my front porch. I succumbed.

The very nice man that ran the store was greatly amused by the many knitters saying they wouldn't buy the qiviut, and then coming back and flinging cash and credit cards at him. I asked him if I had taken the longest to make the decision - after all I had gone to the even during set up to check out my book signing space so I had an extra afternoon to long. He said I may have taken the longest, but once the decision was made I was showing great fortitude - an aura of peace and calm was emanating from my melting plastic. Apparently several other knitters upon succumbing threw their purchases and payment at him and asked him to bag it up quickly and not show them the total as quick as humanly possible before they changed their minds - again. Let me just say he was doing a booming business.

Here are all the things I bought and did while trying not to buy the qiviut. Because since I wasn't going to buy the qiviut, it was okay to buy these other things, right?

Some Socks that Rock - one skein of lightweight, one of medium weight. We all know that sock yarn doesn't count towards stash, and I was so startled to have more than one colorway to look at at a time, with no one pummeling me to get closer to the stock (Rhinebeck, anyone?) that I stood there for half an hour, making my happy choices. I settled on Farm House (on the left) and Space Dust. Not sure what socks I will make with them, but at least one is going on vacation with me next week

Here we have the results of a small dying demo put on by the folks at Louet. I dyed a bitty skein of sock yarn, they heat set it in their microwave, and later I rinsed it out and hung it up to dry on the shower rod at the motel. Yes, motel. The other reason I could buy yarn is that I was staying at the Super 8 down the road from the convention center rather than one of the lovely hotels that attached. HUGE difference in price, minimal aggravation as it was only 3 miles down the same road.

Did I mention that Stitches Midwest was sharing space with the convention? It made for some very interesting looks between groups crossing from the parking garage through the walkway into the convention center proper. They didn't look like they could figure out why all these folks were carrying huge bags of string and looking all satiated and happy, and we thought the same thing about them and their packages of posters and action figures. We dressed up in sweaters and shawls, they dressed up as Imperial Storm Troupers and Batman and Robin, and several characters who got right by my pop culture ignorant self. Both groups had a great time, so to each his or her own.

Eventuall I took the L to Loopy - with several nice women who owned, worked at, or with friendly with someone who owned or worked at the store. The L is a fine invention - it seemed much speedier than the NYC subways, and of course it went from the city to the suburbs, which made it very convenient.

At Loopy I bought this, because I wasn't going to buy the qiviut and a girl has to have some fun, right?

The bag was assembled in Cambodia from plastic Vietnamese fish wrappers, as far as any of could tell. I love it. After a quick dinner at Hackney's with Plumfan from Knitty board and her friends, I staggered back towards the L - back to Rosemont, back to the car and then back to the Super 8. Where I collapsed into a heap.

Saturday was more Stitches, a guest podcast (will post the link when it goes live) and more collapsing. Sunday I drove off to Indianapolis for a signing at a Barnes and Noble, where I was greeted by the three member of the Indianapolis Knitting Guild who were still at Stitches! I could maybe have planned the timing a little bit better, but a good time was had by all - thanks for coming ladies!

Monday I drove home, Monday night the P something or other valve on the car blew up, Tuesday the car had a nice long and thankfully not too expensive rest at the Toyota Spa (otherwise known as the Washington Garage). I am not sure where the last two days went, but I am gearing up to rush headlong into an actual vacation.

Me, and the kid, and the Socks that Rock and the Qiviut are going to the beach to look for dolphins. Back in a week.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

So many miles, so many yarns!

So in my completely delusional state, I thought it would be a swell idea to drive all 900 miles from my house to scenic Illinois, to avoid having to park my car here at the outrageously expensive Newark/Liberty airpot parking garage, buy a plane ticket to Chicago, and then rent a car to get me around to all of my events. Why not just drive? Why not? Because it is boooooooooring and you can't knit when you are supposed to be steering. But off I went, and here are some musings and photos from the first part of the trip.

The photo above amused me no end. This "Insect Identification Drop Box" was nailed in the window of an attorney's office in Stroudsburg, PA. I really hope there is a pest control office in there too, or this guy has a really odd hobby. Love Stroudsburg. I stopped there for some coffe, but there was a terribly cool looking Irish pub there since the last time I visited, so I will have to go back in the evening hours some night soon and knock backa few Harps.

I drove quite some ways on Tuesday last, and wound up driving through some awful thunderstorms in western Ohio. Since in the interest of fuel economy I was driving the weenie Toyota and not my usual min-van, I was feeling a little exposed to the elements. But I wish I could have taken some photos - the lightning was close, and as it was moving off the quality of light was amazing - I wish I could have captured it somehow.

Tuesday night I pulled over in Fremont, In and grabbed a motel room. I was anxiously trying to figure out what time I would have to get going to get to Unique Yarns in Rockford when the light dawned - I would gain an hour because of the time zone difference! Yay! So I took a leisurely drive around Chicago (which made me vow to be less critical of New York City driving in the future since I thought Chicago was much worse!) and check into the hotel in Rockford.

After an amazing transformation from schleppy road-rage enduring long distance driver to actual female with brushed hair, mascara, and a dress on, I headed off to Unique. I was a little worried about the directions even though I was only a few miles away - John there had given me a different way to go than Maquest - but I knew I was on the right track when I saw this...

If only every venue put up my name in six foot letters so I would know I was in the right place!
I can't say enough nice things about this store - it is lovely and spacious, the staff and the customers alike were friendly and fun to talk to and I kept leaping out of my chair to pet some yarn I had seen out of the corner of my eye.

And the best thing yet? See those beautiful flowers? I let slip on the phone 45 minutes before I got there that it was my birthday that day, and they ran out and got me that gorgeous bouquet! Which goes way above and beyond the call of friendly LYS!

More trip musings soon, right now I want to go take a nap - just got home last night and my brain is still driving...

Monday, August 06, 2007

On the road again....

hmmm hmmm hmmm hmmm hmmm on the road again.....

Okay, trying to pack in this heat and humidity is making me lose my mind! I need clothes and knitting and crocheting of course, and directions to the 2000 places I need to be, and hotel confirmations, and the babysitter's cell phone number and and and and -

My brain is melting.

Why is it that editors and yarn companies need wool swatches in August? And yes that's a rhetorical question, I do understand how far in advance books and magazines edit. I am just sighing about it a little bit, that's all.

Bunny boy visited the vet today and all is well. I was having trouble clipping his nails so I let the vet do it rather than frustrating both the four pawed beast and myself. I figured he hasn't been in a while anyway so it wouldn't be a bad thing to get him looked over while we were at it.

Anyway - off to Illinois and Indiana, back in about a week. I may post from the road but I haven't figured out how to get my camera to talk to the laptop so no interesting visuals until I get back - fair warning.

I got to be a guest blogger on Kerri Fivecoat Campbell's wonderful writing site last week. Visit her if you want to read about some of my wanderings in the land of book publishing.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Lovely Crochet Goodness

Here is a new book from House of White Birches, that is full of wonderful crochet patterns. And look on the back, on the lower left hand corner! Does that look at all familiar from a 9/06 post? I am delighted with the photo, and of course quite happy that this design was featured on the back cover.

Not much going on here in knit or crochet land. I am wrapping up those socks for the Kid, starting up a lacy crocheted shawl for Plymouth Yarns, and counting the hours until I pick up the Kid from camp tomorrow. I hope she had a swell time, and have to admit I missed her more than I thought I would! I will get up at the crack of dawn to get there in the early morning - they are doing a quick dance showcase for the parental units at about 10:30 AM.

At least I can avoid the vet - my little furry idiot Cinderella apparently walked into something sharp and has an eye infection and a bitty hole in her eye. The vet says it is clearing up but he wants to keep an eye on it - no pun intended. She had to walk around with the cone on her head for a few days but has been spared that indignity now that it doesn't itch and she will leave it alone. Sigh - poor puppy!