Thursday, November 30, 2006

Charity Challenge!

My dad runs a social services agency, and this year, as I've done in the past, I'm starting to make some baby and toddler hats in between bigger projects, using leftover yarns. Dad's got 7 offices in Massachusetts and lots of social workers who visit brand new parents with limited means. This is a great way to help families and feel good about it. In the past I've managed 4 or 5 hats a month for them, and I thought maybe y'all would be interested in busting out a couple of kiddie hats for the winter. Don't go buying yarn, and if you want to make a hat for mom and dad that's fine, too- mittens and scarves (for older kids) are also great. ANYTHING to keep someone warm will go to great use and be very appreciated!

I'll be giving Dad a bunch of knitted goods in January, so we've got some time. Maybe you'll be watching a movie and a quick baby hat would be the perfect mindless knitting for it? Anyhow, if you'd like to contribute please shoot me an email and I'll send you my address- some of you have it anyhow. Please put a little tag on each item letting the recipient know what it's made of and how to wash it. You can also say who it was made by and where you are, if you'd like (ie: Made by Annie in Boston).

And, I would add, you can do this all year long- anytime you just want to do a quick knit, I can give you my address or the Agency's and you can send it directly there. Dad's agency works with families and children, and does a lot of abuse intervention, crisis counseling for children and adults, big brothers/big sisters, foster and adoption,and more, and there are a lot of kids and families in MA who would be warmed in more ways than one by receiveing something handknit for the winter.

So if you have some spare yarn around the house, please think about making a couple of baby hats, toddler hats, mittens, an adult hat or scarf, etc. I have 3 hats and an adult scarf ready so far, but I'd like to really wow them this year! You can e-mail me at.... annecal at comcast dot net.

I don't have all of your email addys, and they don't show up in comments!! ;)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Pardon the Model...

as it's me, but here's the finished Claoptis, and a hat I made with leftovers. I gave it to my aunt this afternoon, it was her birthday pressie. She was very happy with it!

More About Me

... snagged from Turtle Gir's blog!

A) Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Waitress
2. Assistant to a Silhouette Artist
3. Art Gallery Assistant
4. Event Planner

B) Four movies I would watch over and over
1. Sense and Sensibility (The BBC version w/ Colin Firth)
2. X Men
3. Mrs. Henderson Presents
4. Sean of the Dead

C) Four places I have lived
1. Gijon, Spain
2. Cape Cod, MA
3. St. Augustine, FL
4. Boston

D) Four TV shows I love to watch:
1. Grey's Anatomy
2. Lost
3. Ghost Hunters
4. Big Love

E) I have been on vacation:
1. England
2. Spain
3. Cyprus
4. Bermuda

F) Websites visited daily:
1. Knitty Forum
2. Blogs at right
3. G Mail

G) Four of my favorite foods:
1. Black Licorice
2. Mac n' Cheese
3. Pizza
4. Cake

H) Four places I would rather be right now:
1. In the UK
2. In my house
3. Bermuda
4. Knitting

I) Four people I’m tagging with this questionnaire:
1. Tiffany
2. Kim
3. Nell
4. Dainty Kitty

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Turkey Day!

I hope you all have something to be thankful for this year. It's hard, sometimes, believe me, I know. But I try and see the good in everything, in everyone. It's funny, I cannot remember last Thanksgiving, at all. It was 3 months after my husband was killed, and I have absolutely no memory of it, whatsoever. Probably a good thing.

A couple of things have happened since I last posted. I had my house re-roofed. It needed doing, and badly, but the price hurt a bit. Not as much as it hurt when I brought coffee out to the workers and stepped on a nail that went through my loafer and into the ball of my left foot. That hurt. And bled. And hurt. But that didn't hurt as much as the fucking tetanus shot, which really, really hurt. My left arm got all red and swollen and hard and ooooow! And that still didn't hurt as much as my joints, because I was supposed to get a remicade infusion on Tuesday, but because of the nail/shot, they they said I have to wait until next week! (wailing). I am already about 3 weeks overdue for my remicade, because I had the mysterious fever again, which sometimes spiked up around 103, and is mysterious indeed. But I have 3 autoimmune diseases, so let's face it, mysterious fevers aren't really that unknown to me. Ack.

So I am now smothered, for the most part, in Bengay. I smell like happy hour at Shoney's or Friendly's, and I have to tell you folks, it's not pretty.

FINALLY, my laptop blew a bulb. I bought a new Vaio last March and the backlight on it died. They sent it back to Sony, and unless I can convice the Moose to lend me her's for a few weeks and use dad's, you won't see me much in the next three weeks. THREE WEEKS! Arrrugh!!

Ok, that wasn't final. Final is I've been playing the new Final Fantasy game, which rocks. I haven't played much by way of video games lately, but it's a fab way to spend time when one is in too much pain to move off the couch, and in a knitting rut.

Speaking of a knitting rut, I've got some Elizabeth Lavold Chunky AL, and I'm trying to figure out a manly scarf pattern for it. I've started and frogged about ten patterns, because the alpaca is making it difficult to get any real st. definition, and I'm now stymied as to what to knit with it. Thoughts?

Happy Turkey Day! Find something to be thankful for, ok?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Completed Clapotis

Approximately 8 skeins of Silk Garden on Addi size 8 circs. Also used the gorgeous Stitch Markers Tiffany sent me- ALL of them!!!

Irish Hiking Scarf

Here are some photos of an Irish Hiking Scarf I made last year (my very first cabling attempt). We haven't had much sun lately, so you'll have to pardon the photos...

I used Lamb's Pride Worsted for the scarf, and was pretty happy with the results.
There is one overlong cable someplace in the scarf, due to half a bottle of merlot consumed whilst knitting.

Friday, November 17, 2006

I'm Not Alone In My House...

For the past couple of days, I've had a feeling I'm not alone in the house. I have had the feeling that someone, something is watching me. Every now and then I'd think I'd see a movement in the corner of my eye, but when I'd look, nothing was there. I even heard some very strange noises from time to time, but I dismissed them, as well.

Now, if you read my last post, about contacting a medium, you might be thinking that I've got a ghost on my hands. But you'd be wrong.

Say hello to my little friend!

Yeah. I've got a chipmunk. In the house. I looked over, and there he was, just strolling calmly across the living room. He went under the leather sofa and washed his face, which was pretty cute. When I went to go look under the couch for a closer look, he was gone.

My joints were too bad to drive today so I'll go and get a "have a heart" trap for him tomorrow. In the meantime, I've put some cashew nuts out for him, and he's welcome to all the spiders he might encounter while he is my guest.

I don't mind him being here, it's mainly not being sure where he's (or she) is making his nest, and I'm quite sincerely hoping it's not in the blanket chest or in one of the dozen or so piles of yarn I've got stashed about the house.

If I can't catch and release him before it gets really cold, I'll be investing in a very large small rodent cage. I need to get him back outside so he can make his own nest, outside, where the other chipmunks live, before winter really sets in!

The question is how did he get in? I sometimes prop the door open if I'm carrying a lot of stuff in, but I'm wondering if there is some sort of secret chipmunk passageway in my basement. And if there is, do they have some sort of secret chipmunk password or handshake, or some such thing? Because that would rock, but also necessitate that I perhaps buy more than one trap.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Medium Report

So the medium called me, (this was done over the phone), and overall I'd say it was something of a mixed bag. Certain things were right on the money and other things were really off base, and made absolutely no sense to me.

I'm not really convinced that she contacted Adam, though some things she said did sound like him, but then, they could've sounded like a lot of people.

Without getting into details, I'd say that certain things were very, very specific- right on the money, and other things just had no meaning that I could decipher.

I'm glad I did it, but I'd say this one was maybe 30% correct. I'm planning on talking to 2 more, but not until after the new year, so I'll keep you posted!

Clapotis is done. Just have to weave in the ends and take some photos.

And that's all for now!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Finishing Clap, New Candles, Help Me Help You and Contacting the "Other Side"

My Dame Candle order arrived yesterday. Very exciting. If you haven't bought one of Wendy's Candles, go for it. I'm a candle fanatic and they're FAR better than Yankee. They come in these frosted glass jars and the scents really are wonderful! Click Here to have a look for yourself. The photo above is mine happily burning with a few nudes and an African violet.

Secondly, I created a yarn review page a little while ago. I did it planning to invite some friends to contribute, and to have a spot where people could look and see if we've listed a yarn and how we liked it before buying. So want to review yarn? Leave a comment and I'll email you an invitation.

In Clapotis news, I'm in the decreases! I had a moment of panic thinking I'd run out of yarn, but then I found a stray ball that wasn't where I thought it would be. I'm really glad this is project is coming to an end, and the Silk Garden has been great, but seems more 'knotty' than other skeins of Silk Garden that I've used. Not sure what the deal is. I don't like it when they make knots in the yarn!

Finally, today around 3 I have an appointment with a medium. Should be interesting. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Toe Up or Cuff Down?

So. Supposing I was going to make my first pair of socks, would you suggest I make them from the toe up, or the cuff down? What are the pros and cons? I'm ignorant on all things sock. Enlighten me, please!!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend... er, literally...

When Adam and I were browsing for engagement rings, he liked to tease me about my affection for all things sparkly. He used to call me his "magpie" and we got a pair of Angora rabbits around this time, and named the female "Carats."

Not long after we were engaged, I got an e-mail from him, and the subject line was "I know you'll do this when I'm dead!" The message was just a link.

Life Gem takes cremated remains, and extracts the carbon from them. It then uses a press and extreme heat to create a diamond from them. When Ad first sent me the link, they only made yellow diamonds. These would range from pale yellow to a deep red, depending on a person's individual makeup.

After Ad died, I went back to the site, and they now make blue diamonds. His eyes were blue, and blue was his favorite color. The blue stones are created with more heat over more time, and vary from very pale almost white blue to a sapphire blue.

The plan is to have three small diamonds made, and have them set into my wide, solid wedding band. The current plan is to also purchase two small regular diamonds, and set one blue, one white, one blue, white, blue. I'll then wear this band on my right hand, with my engagement ring.

I've gotten mixed opinions on this plan. Some people find it creepy, or weird. I suppose they would have maybe found me taking a handful of his remains with my bare hands and scattering them in the garden we planted for him "creepy" too. But it's just ashes. It's the body I loved and hugged and spent my life with, just in a different form. Nothing creepy there, so far as I'm concerned...

His family thinks it's excellent. I think Ad would laugh his ass off about it- I think he'd definitely approve. It was his idea, so I don't see how he can complain, really. Well, plus he's dead, so what I say definitely goes on this one! ;)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Sweater Lust

Oh. My. God.

Wendy's done it again. I am drooling over this pattern and cannot wait for it to be released! I covet this sweater. A body like the model's wouldn't hurt, either, but for now, I'll settle for the sweater...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Knitting Q&A

What are you knitting at the moment? Clapotis in silk garden, which I can't wait to be done with, also the waves throw from Knitpicks in purples and greys, and I'm embroidering a felted hat.

Do you knit English, Continental, or Combined? I knit English

When did you learn how to knit? Who taught you? I first took knitting lessons with my mom, when I was around seven. There was a shop in Longmeadow, MA called "The Ewe and I" and we went to classes together. But we both got the flu and missed the end of the classes. So I learned long tail cast on, knit and purl. But I never learned how to cast off. I'd make these insanely long scarves, just because I loved knitting. But I wouldn't know how to end it, so I'd frog it and start over again. Then I lost interest.

After I met my husband I decided I wanted to learn how to knit again. A woman at work, Kirsten, knit, and I asked her to show me some basics. It's amazing, how quickly it came back to me. Then she showed me how to cast off, and the obsession began. The first year, I made scarves. Horrible lion brand monstrosities for my family members. They were somewhat odd in width and/or length, etc... but I was hooked. I then took private Lessons with Debbie over at Iron Horse Farm (see link, at right), and she helped me to move beyond the scarf, teaching me how to k2tog and use circs to make a hat...

How long have you been knitting? Around 4 years now.

What do you knit most often, and why? Scarves and hats. Probably because I'm comfortable with them, and they're fairly quick gratification. Plus, with scarves you can go from the very basic to very, very complicated lace work!

Is there anything you haven't yet knit? Why?
Oh yeah. I haven't knit socks or a sweater yet. I have the yarn for both, especially sweaters, but for some reason I feel like I need some hand holding with these. I'm worried about turning the heel, and I'm just apprehensive about knitting a sweater. I REALLY don't know why. I have 4 sweaters worth of yarn! But once I finish this Clapotis, I'm planning on starting one.

As for the socks, I'm still hoping to meet up with Michelle (Soap Fiber Gal), to hang out and knit some, she's so good at it! Things have been a little crazy, but I'm sure we'll manage to get together sometime!!

Do you crochet? Any other crafts? I don't crochet. Yet. It's frustrating to me, when a knitting pattern includes crochet. I need to meet up with Debbie or someone, and learn some crochet basics. I am also planning on scheduling some private weaving classes for myself and- get this- my dad! He's expressed an interested in weaving, and they have a room over the garage that could hold a hell of a loom. I also want to get into spinning. But I've made myself a promise that until I've made some socks and at least 5 sweaters, I won't start a new knitting fetish.
I also quilt. Kind of. The last birthday I had, before Adam was killed, I asked for a sewing machine. I made my nephew a little eye-spy quilt with it. I also have quite the fabric stash. But my math sucks, and I need to take some quilting classes.

Why Knitting?
I find it soothing. I love yarns. Sadly, I particularly love luxury yarns. I've spent a lot of money on yarn, especially after my husband was killed. I'd get a panicky feeling and then run to the yarn shop. $200 dollars or so later, I'd be feeling better. Of course, as far as I'm concerned, yarn is the best therapy. When I was diagnosed with Crohn's, before Adam died, I found the knitting helped a lot with pain. After he died, knitting helped keep my mind off things. I did a lot of knitting and crying. Now, I'm on disability, for arthritis of the spine, which affect my knees and hips and makes it hard to drive. The knitting keeps me feeling productive, and again, helps with the pain. Sometimes my mom thinks I'm a little obsessive with knitting, but I don't know if she knows how it keeps me sane. It also makes me feel sort of proud, when I complete something. Because I really can't believe that I took some string and created an object with it. I was an event planner, and I have a rep for being a lot craftier than I really am. I used to sing. I used to perform, and that was a creative, artistic outlet for me. I don't sing or perform any more (except as a favor at the occasional wedding), and I miss it. But secretly (or not so secretly now), even though I know I've a lot still to learn about knitting, and many other things, I'm quite proud of what I've been able to create.

And if you're reading this, consider yourself tagged! ;)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sometimes My Parents Really Crack Me Up...

My mother and father were strict growing up. But in mostly good ways. They grew up next door to each other and have known each other since Mom was 4 and Dad was 3.

As a kid, my dad used to say "Never run after a boy or a bus, there will be another one along in a minute." This is probably a famous quote, but I'm not sure by whom. When I started dating, he used to say "Always keep at least one foot on the ground" - which has a double meaning, but I didn't make the connection until I was in college. He was probably the only man I know of who spent two years in Viet Nam and doesn't know a single Hendrix song. He got all excited the other day when I had a Nina Simone cd in the car, because he apparently listened to Nina a lot when he was fighting in South East Asia- more appropriate, probably, but a bit sad. He also never smoked pot.

Mom is also totally straight-laced, but in a slightly funnier way. She gave my college roommate and I a very serious talking to about the dangers of "marijuana cigarettes" which we managed to keep a straight face through, and deserve an award for, really.

That same night she had a look at our fake id's and after we promised to never drink and drive (we never would have) took us out to a local bar, and went to see a band I used to occasionally sing with. The band got her up on stage and she played tambourine then did a shot with them. Go Mom.

Unfortunately one of my mother's closest friend's from kindergarten passed away a couple of days ago, and Mom was talking to me about the funeral. Mom and Dad have a long history with a large group, they all go back about 60 years now, and so there is always a lot of gossip whenever there will be a gathering, whether the reason is happy or sad. She's going to be seeing some old friends she hasn't seen for a while and mentioned a woman, and said that my father bet her $10 that "peanut butter legs" would be there.

I said "peanut butter legs?"

Mum says- yeah- you've never heard your dad and I use that term?

I say no.

She says- "Peanut butter legs, you know, they spread easily."


This is my new favorite term, I think. Peanut Butter Legs.

Fucking Brilliant.