Tuesday, December 16, 2008

They Stole Our Tree

This is not the tree we took home.  This is the one we picked out that someone else, after removing all identifying markings, cut down and took home.  I hope if falls on the head of someone in their house -- I have very little Christmas spirit about this.  

OK.  The Sunday after Thanksgiving we pile everyone in the car and drive about 45 minutes to go to a family-owned Christmas Tree farm near home.  Have been going there almost 20 years.  Love the place.  Love the people.  Follow the instructions for tagging our tree.  Put multiple white ribbons and a sold tag on the tree with our name.

Sunday, pile everyone in the car to go cut down and bring the tree home.  Can't find the tree.  Check the photo we took on the cellphone.  Still can't find the tree.  Come to the grim realization that some idiot took our tags off the tree, cut it down and took it home.

The folks at the farm were very apologetic.  Had any of the tags been left on, they never would have sold the tree.  But someone was sneaky.  Someone who deserves a lump of coal in their stocking.  

What kind of person cuts down another's tree at Christmas?  I'm not happy.  I'm not having a Christian attitude and have wished that many bad things happen to these people.  Next year, we'll just cut it down on the spot and take it home.   

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Crazies

OK.  It's that time of year.  You know the time, when you don't have a moment to breathe.  Yet, this year, that seems OK.  I've kind of been dreading this Christmas, what with my dad dying this year.  

So, here we are, off to the races.  Thursday, the giving tree gifts are due at school.  Got the shopping done, now have to wrap.  (That means finding Christmas wrapping paper at home.)  Saturday - husband's holiday party for his company -- two hour drive each way.  Fun.  Still need to find something to wear.  Sunday, pick up Christmas Tree. (Need to find boxes with lights and decorations).  

Before next Wednesday, need to get older daughter black pants and shirt for holiday concert.  Need to go to holiday recital for both girls for piano.  Need to figure out what I'm cooking for Christmas dinner.  Need to do Christmas cards.  Need to buy gifts.

The busyness of it all would normally make me crazy, but this year not so much.  I miss my dad so much.  He loved this time of year and it will be very hard not to have him with us -- singing loudly and off key at Christmas eve services.  But being busy keeps me from crying.  

Well, no time to blog-- must do something Christmas related!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Some Photos, as Promised

I promised photos and here are some.  Still don't have a photo of the cardigan for daughter 1.  However, here is dear husband showing off his Intercostal Mitts.

Now, we also have one of three coffee cozys -- lightly felted, for holiday gifts.  

Three felted coffee cozys for paper coffee cups.  Used remnants of Cascade 220, knit in the round on size 5 needles.  Will be teaching a workshop at Ewe and I on these on December 7.  The intent is to get a cup from the recipients favorite coffee shop, put in a gift card and put the felted sleeve on the coffee cup.  Very quick and easy.  Horeshoe cable, owl cable and standard CB4 cable.  Handfelted in the sink with a bit of Eucalan.

I have six of these in my future for holiday gifts -- maybe more.  Need to get them started.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Birthday, Big Guy!

Today is my husband's birthday.  It is not one that ends in zero, like last year's which required much fuss and a big party.  This morning he received birthday hugs and kisses from the three women who share him and some special handwarmers I knit.  

See, DH owns 25% of the shop.  He says it's so I can ask him to move boxes to the basement, move stuff in the stock room, change lightbulbs I cannot reach, etc.  So to justify his ownership interest, he is now the proud owner of a pair of Intercostal Mitts.  These were the perfect gift, as he hates to wear gloves or mittens, particularly when driving.  To make it even better, I knit them from Jade Sapphire 6-ply Mongolian Cashmere in the Film Noir colorway.  I used just over one skein.  Had I been more careful, I could have gotten them out of one skein, but I didn't.  Looks like I might have enough left over to make myself a pair of Fetching, which I have always wanted.

Now, about the birthday boy.  He is the love of my life.  He is my soulmate.  We met online debating whether Bill Clinton should have to testify in the Paula Jones suit during discovery on a political list-serv.  Eventually, we realized we only lived about 20 minutes apart and had dinner.  That was 11 years ago this past May.  We'll be married 11 years in January and I couldn't be happier.  He is my best friend.  He is a wonderful father and we are very lucky to have him around.  How many other men would put up with their wife buying a yarn store instead of practicing law!  Truly, a rare breed.

The Intercostal Mitts are a quick fun knit.  I cast them on at the shop on Wednesday and only knit on them at the shop as I had time.  It turns out my husband notices what I knit.  When I pulled out a project that was not my sweater, he announced "That's not your sweater!"  So much for stealth knitting at home.  Anyway, I don't get a whole lot of time to knit in the shop, but was able to whip these out.  Cast off last night around 6.  I'll try to pry them from him for a photo.  

In other knitting news, after I finished the wedding stole, I cast on a hoodie for my older daughter.  Knit in Debbie Bliss Donegal Tweed Chunky.  Great yarn to work with.  I rewrote the pattern as I went.  All went well until we got to the hood.  I ripped it four times before I got it right.  It's done.  She loves it.  Maybe I'll get a photo of it someday too.

Also in the works, a pattern for a child's ponytail hat.  As you may notice from the photo of the girls with the bride from August, both girls have very long hair and tend to wear ponytails to school, which makes wearing hats in cold weather tough.  I'm working on a modification of the Hannah pattern from magknits in worsted weight yarn for elementary aged girls.  Will be posted soon.  

Finally, on the knitting for me front -- which doesn't make noise often -- I'm knitting the Dandy sweater from the Kaffe Fassett Colourscapes book.  Wow, it is lovely.  I'm about halfway up the back.  Will keep you posted.

And -- dear husband -- happy, happy birthday.  Let's celebrate many more together.  I love you.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Voted - Did You?

At 7:40 a.m., I was voter number 70 at my ward/precinct polling place.  I vote at about the same time on both primary and general election day -- usually before 8 a.m. as I bring the kids to school.  Usually, my voter number is under 20.  

One precinct in Philly reported that by 9:15 a.m., 115 of 500 voters registered to that precinct had voted.  WOW!

This may be the most important election of our lifetime.  Please go stand in line and vote.  Wear comfortable shoes.  Bring a sock to knit on in line.  But please, exercise your right to vote -- even if it's the only exercise you get today.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Exercise, but Don't Sweat

Folks who know me IRL, know I have very strong political views. I have voted in every primary and general election since I was eligible to vote lo those many years ago. Havent. Missed. One.

Don't intend to miss one either. I'm thrilled that both my girls (ages 9 and 5) are talking about the election and who they are going to vote for in school. I'm hungry for the updates of the board in the fourth, fifth and sixth grade hallway tracking the presidential candidates progress.

We live in a swing state and are being inundated with commercials from both sides. Some of you in states already declared red or blue may feel that your vote does not count. IT DOES.

This is a unique opportunity. You can exercise without breaking a sweat. Take some extra time on Tuesday, go to your local polling place and pull the lever, push the button, punch the chad --- whatever it is your jurisdiction does.

What matters is that you go vote. I'm not going to opine on my view here. I'm only going to say that in my almost 30 years of voting for presidents, this may be the most important vote of my lifetime given the economy, the international situation and everything else we are facing.

Please, go vote.

On the knitting front, I am knitting the hood on the hooded cardigan for the 4th time. Ripped it out three times. Should be done soon. One thing I can say - Debbie Bliss Donegal Chunky rips and re-knits really well. Pix to follow.

Remember to get some exercise on Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Another Half of Sandwich

I've mentioned before that I'm part of the sandwich generation.  We'll here are a couple of updates from the deli counter of my life.
  1. Dear husband calls MIL on Thursday evening to see how she is.  She announces, "I'm in a nursing home now."  Well, yes, Mom, we helped move you into the assisted living home.  You did?  P.S.  Friday morning she fell, hit her head and spent a few days in the hospital and is now in rehab.  
  2. Mom comes to visit for dear daughter's birthday.  See above post.  On the way home, she rolls into someone at a red light.  When the light changes, she pull over on the other side of the intersection.  The other car is still near where she hit it.  Mom drives away.  Her reason:  "The other driver didn't get out of the car and wave to me, so I assumed everything was fine."  
Is there a service I can register with which will take my car and license away from me when I'm 80 to avoid the burden on my girls to have to deal with it?  

On a better note, Daughter 1 wanted a hooded cardigan.  She choose Debbie Bliss Donegal Tweed Chunky in a pretty purple.  Front, back and sleeves are done.  Now I must join the blasted thing before I can pick up for the hood and do the button bands.  I hate joining things, but it must be done.  Will post a photo when sleeves are on.

To all my Jewish friends -- may you and yours be inscribed in the book of life for another year -- much health and happiness.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sweet Pea!

It's hard to believe I've been a mother for almost a decade now.  (Some would disagree on that point, but I digress.)  My oldest daughter turns 9 today.  I can't believe how time has flown.  

She went from being a baby with Don King hair (lots of it -- stood straight up) to a beautiful, smart young girl who makes me proud.  

I know she probably won't read this, but that's ok.  When she's 16 and surfing in cyberspace, maybe she'll find this note from mom.

Michaela -- I am so proud of you and who you have become.  You are a shining light in my life.  I love you.


Monday, August 11, 2008

It Was Worth all the Cursing

Here is the bride, Sara, wearing Ethereal Grace.  I'm glad I didn't knit it any longer than I did.  (Well, I ran out of time, OK?)  Here are daughters 1 and 2 being unbearably cute as flower girls.  

This was a special wedding.  Sara was my flower girl at my first wedding in 1986.  I gave her a pearl pendant with a small diamond to wear at the wedding.  She gave my daughters, who were her flower girls, almost identical necklaces.  

Dad was watching -- the weather was perfect.  He would have been so proud.  It was a good day and a tough day at the same time.  I can say that I am proud of the work I did. 

My sister and brother in law should be more than proud of the work they did. Sara is an amazing young woman.  

Friday, August 8, 2008

C'est Fini!

The wedding is tomorrow.  It finished blocking last night.  It is a version of Ethereal Grace by Anastasiaknits.  Knit in Creamy from Kollage yarns.  Size 5 Addi Turbo Lace.  15 inches wide by about 66 inches long.  (I didn't make it as big as the pattern called for.)  I would have done the knitted on picot edging if I had time.

Monday, July 28, 2008

102 Uses for Cable Needles

I am part of the "sangwich" (for those of you who grew up in Italian households) or sandwich generation.  My mother is in her mid-80s.  My mother-in-law is 80.  My kids are in elementary school.  Nuf said.  

Saturday, we moved MIL to an assisted living facility from her apartment.  It was time.  She had to give up driving and needed more help around the house.  So, off to Lancaster to pack up the apartment and move.  

Sign it's not going to be a good day -- sister-in-law calls as we are en route.  Mom has fallen and is on her way to the ER.  (End result, many bumps and bruises, a black eye and two stitches in the lip.)  We head up and start packing.  

Man at assisted living facility says, pull under the portico and park near the handicapped spots.  Portico has no signs for height.  Rental truck needs clearance of 11 feet.  Many seniors on front porch watching as we arrive.  Loud, grinding sound.  Stop truck.  Realize truck is wedged under flashing of end of portico.  By about 1/4 of an inch.  

Dear husband tries to let air out of tires -- turns to me and says, do you have an extra knitting needle?  Now, what kind of question is that. I take out my knitting tackle bag and pull out two cable needles.  The straight-ish ones with the bump in the center.  Hand one to husband.  Hand one to brother in law.  Air successfully released from tires and truck unstuck.  

It was a long, hot day.  MIL got moved in successfully.  We returned home with a 14 foot long truck filled with stuff, some of which is now at the shop.  I'm rearranging bookcases this morning.  What fun.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Go Racine Scouts!

So, I mentioned that a friend from college had started this alumni website.  Well, ran into another choir alumni who now lives in Wisconsin and spends her summers as the manager of the Racine Scouts.   They are the oldest, continually performing drum and bugle corps in the United States.

Did I mention that we were in a touring choir together?  And the university's Marching Band, where the director was famous for yelling "THE BUS WILL NOT WAIT FOR YOU.  SO. HELP ME. GOD."  

Now, I had the pleasure of watching Andrea yell at 80 kids between the ages of 14 and 21 about getting on the bus to go get showers at the Y after a practice performance behind an Episcopal Church in the Philly Suburbs where they were staying on their way to a performance in Wildwood, NJ.  

In some ways, it was like the time never passed.  Andrea was a dear friend in college and I have missed her over the years.  In other ways, age has taken its toll on us.  Anyway -- here's two friends happy to have seen each other.  And happy that the internet can keep us in contact.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


Sometimes we forget to be grateful for the small things.  Mom came up to visit.  She stopped at the shop and then drove to the house with the help of her GPS.  It is 6 miles.  It took 2 hours because she wouldn't listen to the GPS lady.  She got there.  

When I got home from the shop on Thursday evening, Mom and the girls were in the dining room playing Junior Trivial Pursuit and having a blast. Then I took a closer look.  The girls had on their play makeup and everyone had painted fingernails.  I am grateful that my mom, despite being directionally challenged, loves to play with her granddaughters and is building memories for them.  

I am grateful for all those who have served our country:  my husband, father, father-in-law, step father-in-law and nephew specifically.  

I am grateful for local stores where they know your name and what you like.

I am grateful for the friends and family I have.

I am aware that I am often not grateful enough.

I am grateful that I finally finished the first repeat on the Ethereal Grace stole for my niece for her wedding.  

Have you taken a minute to be grateful for something or, more importantly, someone, today?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Birthday Post

With age comes wisdom.  I am one year wiser today.  It has been a hell of a year.  I left behind a career of 20 years to embark on a new venture as the owner of a yarn store. My dad was diagnosed with leukemia and died within a month of the diagnosis.  I learned how wonderful and caring the staff at a major university hospital can be.

I learned much in life from my family.  My daughters have shown me that there is joy in the small and simple.  That logic need not be difficult.  That living in the moment is a beautiful thing.  

My husband has taught me so many things -- including that it takes courage to pursue a dream and supporting someone pursuing a dream is a worthwhile cause.  

I hope I have learned to be more patient.  I hope I have learned to love more freely and be more giving of myself to others.  

I hope there will be many more birthdays, despite looking at the near side of 50.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Why is this a threat to Bud?

The photo, above, is of an Addi Turbo Lace needle.  Addi Turbo Lace needles are a beautiful thing, particularly if you are knitting lace.  The one's I was carrying were size five and connected to a skein of Creamy, a milk based yarn, in the natural colorway.  This is becoming attempt two at my niece's wedding shawl.  (We don't talk about what happened with the first attempt -- it resulted in gnashing of teeth, wailing and much language which is not fit for a family blog!)  

So, last week, I found out that these needles are a threat to the great Busch Entertainment Corporation, which is related in some fashion, to the ever large Clydesdale pulled Anheuser Busch (aka Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob, etc.) beer wagon.  We went on vacation with the girls to Busch Gardens and Water Country USA.  (Yes, we went to the water park despite Daughter 2's broken arm -- she didn't let the cast stop the fun.)  

Now, these days when one goes to a theme park, you must go through a security checkpoint.  Here we are at the check point on the way in to Water Country when a nice, young security guard says:  "I'm sorry, ma'am.  You can't bring those knitting needles into the park.  We don't allow them."  The look on my face was clearly "What?!"  I responded very calmly, "I can bring them on an airplane, but I can't bring them into a water park?  If you had inflatable pools, I could see your concern, but I don't see how my needles can hurt your concrete pools."  The knitter in me was saying under my breath -- If I have the guts to bring my good yarn and needles to somewhere there is this much chlorine, I should be rewarded for my fortitude."  I did not utter that part aloud.

Darling husband took the ziploc bag of yarn, pattern and needles away from me and walked it back to the car, while I muttered all the while.  

I'm sending a letter to Busch Entertainment asking for an explanation, because my sock in progress had a wonderful time at Busch Gardens Europe.  It rode the skyride across the park a few times, the carousel, kept me sane while waiting for people to ride rollercoasters.  Now, it is possible the sock was never detected because rather than being in a plain, see through ziploc bag, it was in a Go Knit! pouch (blue ripstop nylon -- I love them.)  However, many Busch Gardens employees saw me knitting in the park -- including in the Emerald Beat Irish Dancing show (which was quite good).  

So, what should we do.  As the Yarn Harlot says (and has proven), knitters can be motivated. We are a multitude.  We out number golfers in North America.  Most knitters I know are motivated by beer.  We need to let the folks feeding the Clydesdales know how we feel.  I, personally, will not be drinking another Busch product until such time as knitting is allowed in all Busch theme parks (Sesame Place and Sea World included.) You can let them know how you feel by dialing 1-800-DIAL-BUD. If you expected us to endure endless lines with good humor, the least you can do is let us have our knitting.

BTW -- other than the needle incident, we had a great time. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

When Past Becomes Present

So, yesterday was just another day at the shop.  Had a yarn rep in to finish up fall orders.  Hear one of my employees say -- I'm sorry she's in a meeting.  Then I hear this deep voice say, I'm a very old friend of hers.  Boy, was that an understatement.  With tears in my eyes, I gave a dear old friend from college a hug.

I was a member of a 40 voice touring choir in college -- the Hendricks Chapel Choir at Syracuse University.  We rehearsed every Thursday night followed by beer and pizza at the Varsity.  We dragged ourselves out of bed on Sunday mornings to sing at the non-denominational Protestant service, fueled by Abe's Donuts.  We finished the morning by letting spirituals echo over the quad from the Chapel steps.  

These were some of my closest friends -- particularly when you realize we went on tour (usually 2-3 weeks at a time) together on a bus.  

A few months ago, I was "found" by one of the members who had started an alumni site.  I am now emailing to some old friends about things that I had forgotten which both make me laugh and cry.

Keith stopped by the shop with his family (lovely wife Cheryl and two beautiful daughters) as they were "On the Way to Cape May" for vacation.  It was as if the more than 25 years had not passed (except for the grey hair, rickety bones, gained weight, etc.)  We laughed and talked.   I wished I had more time.  

There is something to be said for surprises.  Especially those that bring back memories that make us smile. 

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Yarn Equivalent of a Sugar High

I'm tired this morning.  I got back last night from TNNA, the big yarn show and I feel like a five-year-old crashing from a sugar high.  I touched yarn. I looked at new patterns.  I learned new techniques.  In the words of my eight-year-old "Mommy met a celebrity!"

I'm pawing the yarn at Southwest Trading Company (the Tofutsies people), when I bump into someone behind me.  I turn to say "Excuse me" and who do I see, but Vicki Howell.  Vicki is the reason my older daughter knits.  She thinks Vicki is a rock star.  It's because of Knitty Gritty that she knits.  I mention this to Vicki who tells me about a book signing later in the day and says I should stop by so she can sign a copy of Knit Aid to my daughter.  I get the book and autograph.  I call home to tell Daughter 1 I met Vicki Howell.  She promptly drops the phone and yells, "Mommy met a celebrity".  

After my somewhat surreal Yarn Harlot experience on Thursday night, I find myself chatting with Cat Bordhi on Sunday afternoon at one of the booths for a product we both like.   Very weird for me.

I got books signed by the Big Girls of More Big Girls Knit.  I took classes with Lucy Neatby and Lilly Chin.  

And even though they are all knitting celebrities, the knit and purl one stitch at a time just like the rest of us.  

How totally cool!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Going Up with the Harlot

OK.  My flight gets into Columbus 20 minutes early.  I catch a cab to the hotel and check in.  The cabbie had the windows in the cab open, because its 90+ degrees here.  I look like Medusa on a bad hair day.  Who gets onto the elevator with me?  The Yarn Harlot.  Oh. My. God.  We start to chat and that's when I realized -- I have lost my opportunity to Kinnear her.  We're both grumbling about flying when it dawns on me that I cannot possible pull out a cell phone camera and click a photo without being noticed. 

But it's too cool.  I'm at the Harlot's hotel.  This yarn store thing is getting very real now.  I'm ready to have some serious yarn fun.

Off to Columbus

When I was practicing law, I tried cases in some odd places.  Hattiesburg, Miss.  Des Moines, IA. Fort Wayne, IN. Abingdon, Va. just to name a few.  Generally, I would not get excited for traveling to these spots.  Excitement was reserved for places like Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle and Miami.  Well, my days of trying cases on the road are over.  I have a trip in the works and I'm excited.  

I'm going to Columbus, Ohio!  Yep.  Columbus.  Why?  TNNA,  the National Needle Arts Associations big show where all the fall yarns will be out, other shop owners will be there and a chance to take classes on running your shop and sharpening your knitting technique.  I have signed up for three classes and have completed my homework for each.  

Hotel -- check.
Plane ticket -- check.
Extra bag to bring home yarn samples and goodies -- check.

The family thinks I'm nuts, but I can't wait to get on that plane tonight.  A full day of toe-up socks is a dream come true for me (maybe I'll finally find a toe-up toe who's look I like!)

Off to the big city!

Monday, May 26, 2008

The First Broken Bone

Always said it would be daughter number 2. Fell off the monkey bars on the swingset in the back yard Sunday evening. I spent Sunday night in the ER getting a cast on her right forearm. Nice clean break. Not near the growth plate.

Going to see a friend this week to have it set -- he's the dad of a pre-K classmate.

Funny thing is -- on Friday we almost joined a swim club, but I forgot the check book. So, I brought the paperwork home. Now, I'm wondering if it's worth it to join with the five year old in a cast for six weeks.

Perfect start to summer, don'tcha think?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Brownie Camporee

So, here we are.  Getting ready for the big Brownie Camporee.  Two nights and two days in the wilds of Pennsylvania.  Parents were made to read and discuss with their girls "Living with Pennsylvania's Brown Bears".  Rumor has it that a brownie broke the rules last year, had candy wrappers in her sleeping bag in her tent and the bear made off with only the sleeping bag once she grabbed onto a tree.  (The tents are open on both ends.)  

My idea of camping is a hotel without room service.  Daughter No. 1 can't wait to go on this adventure.  I mentioned the pit latrines outlined in the memo.  I mentioned the bears and the bugs.  She still wants to go.  So now I'm packing what seems like enough stuff for an army for one eight year old girl for two nights.  

Of course, during the same weekend as the Camporee, the Little One has birthday parties on Saturday and Sunday for friends.  I have my niece's wedding shower on Sunday (see wedding shawl post above) and the usual weekend stuff.

The wedding shawl is coming along.  I have ripped it twice now.  I have one and a half repeats done at this point and I like how it looks now.  However, I need to speed up the knitting.  Problem is I can't do lace while I'm at the shop -- too many interruptions.  

Let's hope the bears stay in the woods this weekend.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Wedding Shawl in Progress

Now that I'm done with the shrug phase, I have cast on a wedding shawl.  My only niece is getting married in August and I have offered to knit her a light as air, rectangular stole for the wedding.  Picking the lace weight yarn and pattern were the toughest part.  I wanted something delicate, yet durable.  (I hope that one day she can pass the stole down to her own daughter.)  The pattern couldn't be too fussy, because she's not a fussy type.  Her gown is a simple, ivory strapless gown and she is going to be married outside.  

My choices -- Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace in Natural.  It is 50% silk, 50% wool and knits like air.  The pattern -- the Kimono Shawl from Folk Shawls.  It will knit up in a more airy fashion as my lace weight is different than what is called for.  So far, I've cast on, done the 20 row garter stitch border and I am about half way through the first pattern repeat.  No big problems to date, but this is a new project.  

On other fronts, the dogs have taken to their spring digging.  Who needs a rototiller when you have two greyhounds aerating the back yard!  

I have until the beginning of August to finish this shawl.  Plenty of time (I think.)  Keep your fingers crossed.  

Monday, April 7, 2008

Yet Another Shrug (No Photo)

There has been knitting in the house! Much jubilation. I cast on the Baby Alpaca Grande Shrug from Plymouth in a varigated colorway which the color card does not do justice to, for my mom on Easter night. I finished over the weekend and mailed it to her today. It is such an easy and addicting knit. It's amazing what you can do with ribbing and chunky yarn. Mom picked out the pattern and the yarn during the grand opening of the store.

I've come to consider this shrug knitting crack. It goes very fast and when you get done, you want more. After knitting socks and mittens and other things on nothing thicker than sport weight yarn, having a project finish this quickly is very gratifying.

Next quick knit up -- worsted weight socks for the 8 year old to sleep in. She grabbed something unlabeled from the stash. Other than the fact that it's 100% wool and varigated blue, not much I can say about the yarn. I love kid socks -- they go fast. More knitting crack.

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Movie Meme and Sock Wars III

The Movie Meme

Saw this one and had to join in. Here are 10 lines from some of my favorite movies. Some are obscure. Kind of like me. All are on IMDB, but don't cheat and look them up. I'll post answers when someone posts a comment with the right movie. Some of these are painfully obvious, but still some of my favorite movies that make me laugh.

1. How much for the little girl? How much for the women?

2. Sometimes you gotta say "What the F*ck", make your move. Joel, every now and then, saying" What the F*ck", brings freedom. Freedom brings opportunity.

3. Badges. We don't need no stinkin' badges.

4. After all, the wool from a black sheep is just as warm.

5. Pick me out a winner Bobby.

6. Yippee-kay-yay, mother f*****.

7. You be careful out among those English.

8. Get off my plane!

9. No matter where you go, there you are.

10. Would you mind not shooting at the thermonuclear weapons?

Now for some knitting stuff. I made this shrug for my sister out of Shaefer Yarns Elaine in the Coretta Scott King Colorway. Looks completely different. The yarn is a joy to work with. It is a thick/thin yarn -- 99% merino with 1% nylon. Finished it on Easter at my sister's house where we had dinner.

The day before Easter, which was also my late father's birthday, was the Grand Re-Opening for Ewe and I. It was a bittersweet day. The customers were great -- we had great traffic. But I really wished he had been there to see it all. I know he was looking down on me and was proud, but I would have turned over everything in the register and more to have had him there.

Mom saw the shop for the first time. She picked out a colorway of Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande for the same shrug I made my sister. I didn't have time to wind any of the yarn at the shop, so I had mom hold the skein around her hands on Easter night so I could wind the first skein into a ball. I cast on and now it's almost done.

My one regret about owning a yarn store -- I have less time to knit now than I did before. Hopefully, Mom's shrug will be done in the next day or so. I may have to knit a wedding shawl in the near future -- my niece is deciding if she would like some lace to wear with her wedding gown. I would be honored to knit it for her.

Finally, Sock Wars III. Some of you might know that registration is now open for Sock Wars III. If you don't know what Sock Wars are, try this article in the Wall Street Journal. For anyone who stops into Ewe and I with a copy of their e-mail showing they registered for Sock Wars III, they will get 20% off sock yarn and appropriate needles to "arm" themselves for battle. So long as you have not been assassinated, the discount continues. May the fastest fingers win. We are ordering some of the "official" Tofusties color, if that's your poison. Otherwise, we have tons of neat sock yarn for you to pick off someone with.

Well, it's taken me about five days to write this post -- better get it online.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Up from Under an Avalanche of Yarn

OK.  I can breathe a little now.  The shop is up and running.  My employees are great. I would die without them.  I have even had a day off  (Easter).  Most of the old stock and most of the new stock are out.  I even finished a shrug for my sister -- based upon the Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande Pattern, but I knit it in Schaefer Yarns Elaine in the Coretta Scott King colorway.  Now doing the same shrug in variegated baby alpaca for mom.  She picked out the yarn at the grand opening.

There's the big news.  We had the grand reopening of Ewe and I on Saturday.  It was my father's birthday.  Sunday, was Easter.  This was a tough weekend for all of us.  We have my mom staying with us for the week helping with the girls who are off from school.  Keeping her busy is the main objective.  With an 8 year old and a five year old, that shouldn't be a problem.  

Maybe, I'll remember to take picture next time.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Well, I've been a bit busy

As many of you know, I am in the process of buying Ewe and I, a long-standing knitting and yarn shop here in the Philadelphia area.  Well, last week we moved from the Bryn Mawr location to the new location in Narberth.  Prior to the move, I was suffering from delusions.  You know the kind -- sure we can pack up a knitting store, take inventory, install a new POS system and unpack it (while the contractors are still painting) in four days and be open on March 1.

Okay.  I was on drugs.  

We opened, partially, yesterday.  

Some of the stock is out. We're getting there, but I haven't had a day of less than 18 hours in the last two weeks.  

I'm very tired.  I'm going to pour more coffee and put more yarn in the inventory system.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Begging the Yarn Harlot for a visit

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, better known as the Yarn Harlot, has a new book coming out the spring and has just released the beginning of her tour schedule.  Generally, this would be cause for rejoicing, except that nothing in the Philadelphia area is listed.  So I have taken to begging.  I've offered up the new shop in Narberth for a book signing and event with Stephanie.  I'm not sure how far to go with the coordinated campaign of begging, but I'm thinking long and hard about it.

Too much construction going on for much knitting to be going on.  The HVAC guys are almost done at the new location.  I've chosen the carpeting and paint.  Drywall should go in next week.  Electrical is this weekend.  The phone guys come on Feb. 26.  Please continue to pray that everything is finished by March 1 when we open the doors to the public.  

No pictures lately.  I did knit a 4-skein Sinsations felted scarf for my Mom and promptly forgot it at home when I went to see her earlier this week.  I'll get a photo up this weekend.  


Thursday, February 7, 2008

Knitter vs. knitter

Years ago, I read a story in the New York Times about the impostor syndrome.  Theory was that professional women were living with high levels of anxiety in fear that someone would figure out that they didn't know what they were doing.  The women who suffered from this the most were usually the best at what they did.  As a young attorney, I sometimes suffered from this syndrome, even though I was quite good at what I did.  The subject persists -- see this recent article in the New York Times.  

Similarly in knitting, there is the Knitter vs. knitter theory.  As explained by the Yarn Harlot has a theory.  We all start as knitters with a lower case "k".  At some point in time, some of us become Knitters with a capital K.  For some Knitters, the transition is steeking.  (See Vene, Vidi, Steeki in The Yarn Harlot.)  For some, it is colorwork, Fair Isle, or something else.  

I have wondered for some time know if I am a Knitter or a knitter.  Here I am buying a knitting, yarn and fiber store, and I don't know which category I fall into.  Kind of scary, eh?  

Well, today, while working at the shop, I realized that I'm a Knitter.  I helped a variety of people with what they considered to be huge problems (big enough to get into the car and come to the store for help with problems) and I was able to explain a variety of techniques and methods.  Even better,  they all understood what I was talking about.  I taught people about knitting today.  And I didn't even have to think about what I was doing.  It was all second nature to me.  

I had an epiphany.  (Cue the lightbulb over the head).  I am a Knitter.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Free At Last

Well, I guess I need to makes some changes at the blog.  I'm still a lawyer, but only practicing slightly part time because I'm buying a knitting and yarn store.  I'm so psyched.  My last day at the law office was Monday.  I worked the Super Bowl sale at the store on Sunday.  I worked in the store today.  I'm having too much fun.  Really.  I mean it.  :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

He's Gone

I never thought he would die first.  I don't know why.  My father was the rock.  He was strong and silent -- kind of like John Wayne, but in a first generation Italian immigrant kind of way.  He died on Monday with my mother and I at his side.  It was peaceful.  He was not in pain.  I guess that's the most any of us can ask for.  

We come into this world and are put into the arms of someone we love.  What better than to leave this world with the people who love you holding your hands.  

I think I have mentioned before how wonderful the staff at the Major University Medical Center were.  They showed compassion and kindness.  There are not enough words to thank them.  They have earned their angels' wings on earth.

As for dad, he's playing the best courses, probably with some of his favorite senior golfers and having a martini (half gin, half vermouth, please) at the 19th hole.

He turned for the worse so quickly.  Starting on Friday, he had a seizure.  We had another scare on Friday night.  He was holding on for Sunday.  We had a party to celebrate my sister and my daughter's joint birthday.  Many years apart, but same day.  Whole family gathered at the hospital for dad, since the party had to come to him.

Cannolis from Termini's.  Cake and Italian cookies from Termini's.  And a pitcher full of martinis so we could toast dad.  He had a few sips, with the doctor's blessing.  He sat up and while he could not sing out loud, you could see him moving his lips to sing happy birthday to my sister and my baby girl.  (Thank god for the niece to reminded us it would not be a good idea to light the candles on the cake since he was on oxygen.  I can see the headline now, "Family Blows Up Cancer Wing with Birthday Cake" - Film at 11.)

Monday morning, I dropped mom at the hospital, intending to go to the office.  It was supposed to be my last week.  I'm buying a yarn shop in a month.  I'm wrapping up my law practice.  I never got into the office.  From the garage at the office, the phone rang.  I turned around and drove back out across town to the hospital.

The chaplain on call was a rabbi.  I didn't catch his name, but there were too many tears in my eyes to read it.  Dad was Roman Catholic.  The Rabbi said a lovely prayer and read the 23rd Psalm.  My dad had his eyes open until the psalm finished.  He closed his eyes and was gone.  

Now, we have taken the show on the road and in far, northern New Jersey for the traditional Italian wailing fest known as the viewing and the funeral.  Mom was in no state to make the arrangements.  So I've been on the phone almost non-stop.  I think I've gone over my minutes for the month.  Oh well.  

We are going to celebrate his life.  He was a quiet man.  He was a humble man.  He was a source of strength and comfort to me throughout my life.  While he didn't go to church regularly, he was one of the best Christians I ever knew.  He never said an unkind word about anyone, no matter how terribly they had treated him.  He was ready to help anyone.  He was practical and sturdy.  He could fix anything.  He was my McGuyver -- give him some string, peanut butter, two sticks of gum and some paperclips and he'd build you a working car.  Nothing was ever too broken for him to fix -- especially my heart.  He encouraged us to follow our dreams and be true to ourselves.  

If I am half the parent he was, I will be doing one heck of a job.

I love you Daddy.

I'll miss you more than I can say.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Little Knitting Getting Done

Somehow, I can't even concentrate on my simple socks while I'm here at MUC with mom and dad.  The news is not good and we have put everything into God's hands.  While I do not wear my faith on my sleeve, it is times like this that I find comfort.  

It's tough to deal with my mom.  This is all so hard and so foreign to her.  We're having a party on Sunday to celebrate life and have some smiles.  

The Coke still isn't frozen.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Calorimetry and Coke - Perfect Together

Okay.  Science experiment update.  It has not broken freezing in Philadelphia since we left a 2 liter bottle of coke on the back porch accidentally on Saturday morning.  The 2 liter bottle of SPrite and the quart of tonic were frozen solid as of Sunday.  As of Monday morning, the Coke was showing now signs of freezing.  Monday night -- just the same.  Tuesday morning, not even slush.  

This is really concerning me.  Why is it that regular Coke seems unable to freeze?  Any scientists want to comment.
On another front, I'm in day two at MUC with Mom and Dad.  We're waiting for an anti-clotting drug.  So, yesterday I got bored and after I finished the work I needed to do, I cast on my version of Calorimetry  with some Classic Elite Inca Alpaca I bought when Norma when she had a destashing sale.  When Mom and Dad came up from Florida, she didn't have anything to wear on her head.  She hates hats.  So I cast on the Inca Alpaca and the results are below.

We had a bit of a to-do over the button, but I won.  Completed in one afternoon at the hospital.  At some point, those poor Broad Street Mittens will be done.  

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Real Thing?

Saturday morning we pulled a 2 liter bottle of Coke out of a cooler and inadvertently left it out on the back porch.  It's been cold here.  Also left outside were a bottle of Sprite (2 liter) and a quart of tonic.  By Noon on Sunday, when it was fairly cold here in Philly, the Sprite was frozen half way through, the tonic was frozen solid and the Coke had no signs of freezing.

This morning, still way below freezing here -- the Coke was completely liquid.  I find that both disturbing and interesting.  Why is it that Coke won't freeze?  Anyone know?

Friday, January 18, 2008

One Day at a Time

Dad is still at MUC. We drive Mom back and forth each day. It's taking it's toll.

On a happier note, littlest one turns 5 on Tuesday. A classmate is having his birthday party Saturday at the Rodent House Pizza Joint with Loud Arcade Games from 12-1:30. Following at 2, is Littlest's bowling party. Lots of tired 5 year olds on Saturday night, I'm sure.

Still have to bake cupcakes for school, fill goody bags and the like. Bless the husband for taking today off to do the running around for the party. I don't know what I'd do without him.

With all the chaos with Dad sick, not much knitting has been going on. I really need to knit to keep myself sane.

Wishing you all a great weekend.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Chemo Begins and Knitting Continues

Here I am again, at MUC with mom and dad.  The chemo starts today for the next 21 days.  We'll see what happens.  The socks continue, as do the Broad Street Mittens for my law clerk.  She has tried on the one which I lost then found and is very happy with the choice of yarn and colors.  She has declared them "Fab".  

Of course, mother of young girls, when I hear my law clerk saying "Fab", all I can see is Sharpay from High School Musical 2 singing Fabulous.  

Sometimes, you just have to laugh.  If I don't laugh now, I don't know what I'd do -- other than knit.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Knitting, Love and Cancer

I haven't blogged much in the last week or so. My dad, who is 84 and has been in wonderful health until about six months ago, was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia on January 3. They were at their winter place in Florida, but my sister and her husband were visiting at the time. We needed to get them home -- which happened on Saturday.

However, his condition took a turn and I spent from 3 p.m. Monday until 1:30 a.m. Tuesday at the emergency room of a major university medical center (MUC) -- where he was admitted. He was in very grave condition and remains in the hospital. (A word about places like MUC -- not its real name -- the oncology staff, both docs and nurses, are true angels. I am convinced there is a special place in heaven for all those who work on that floor.)

What do you do when you're sitting with your mother and father, who have been married almost 63 years, in the ER all afternoon and evening? Both are scared and not used to big city hospitals. You're placed near the trauma entrance and bay, so you see the gun shot and accident victims coming in. You take along that skein of Colinette Jitterbug (see my ravelry stash for a photo) and hand wind it into a ball. Then you cast it on US 1 needles and begin knitting a simple sock, because anything else requires too much concentration.

Why do you do this? Because your parents know you can't sit still without something occupying your hands. They have watched your craft through family gatherings for more than 40 years -- knitting, needlepoint, cross stitch. Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, just plain visits. There is always something in your hands. If you don't bring something, they may think you're scared and worried, too. It is a sign of comfort to them that all is OK.

As I sat winding the yarn, I thought of the Yarn Harlot's touching story in her first book. Steph writes of a time she spent as a doula -- always knitting at least some socks for the new baby during labor. She wrote of the comfort the needles brought to both the laboring mother and herself, that everything was fine. Buy or borrow the book. Read the essay. Cry. As a mother, it was wonderfully touching to me when I first read it, but now -- it touches me in a different way. I am the one who sits and knits trying to hold things together for my family -- to be strong.

So, there I sit, as I watch my father sleep and breathe and listen to my mother mutter and mumble about all the things she has to do and how she wants him to eat some more -- one needle into the other -- round and round in stockinette. No cables. No lace. Nothing fancy. These socks will be like my father -- simple, plain, strong and durable.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

All the best wishes to all of you in 2008.  We're looking forward to some major changes here --to be detailed later.  Much love, health and happiness all around.