Thursday, August 30, 2007

I was told to update...

My $&#$& (#*&$ blog... by a dear friend... So, I'm updating even though I very patiently try to explain to this extremely brilliant friend of mine that my life is quite simple and quite BORING and that I really, really, really don't have much news to blog about...

She listed several things that I need to blog about. So, dear friend, just for you..

Bree started school this week. she is in 4th grade.
I rode a potential new horse for me 2x this week.
I am knitting a sock for Bree.
I am knitting a "surprise" that I can't list here - but you knitters who were at the shop on Tuesday night know what it is.
We have no plans for the holiday weekend (save knitting on Sunday for me)
I am cleaning my house today.
It is sunny and in the upper 70's.
Bree and I got Sarah HOOKED and hooked good on Webkinz.

So, see how SIMPLE and BORING this is - yet it is an update....


Friday, August 17, 2007

When you think of a yarn store,

what do you look for.. Everytime I think of a yarn store the theme song from the old TV show "Cheers" plays in my head - you know.. "Where everyone knows your name"...

I look for customer service bar none (probably even above yarn choice)..

I want it to be friendly when I walk in the door, where someone says my name.. (Kind of like a college drinking game - we used to play that with Bob Newhart - everytime they said "Hi Bob" you had to do a shot, "Hi Bob and Emily" got you 2 shots) - Shhhh don't tell my Mom...

I want to see LOTS of samples with TAGS on them saying what yarn, guage, needle size and pattern. I am a visual person in that if I see it and like it, I MAKE it... Kind of like the seafood diet (if I see food, I eat food)

I want a section of "new" things whether book, yarn, needles, patterns etc.. so, that if new things get so intermingled that I have to spend more time searching, I'm not likely to see all that is new and consequently not purchase....

I want a section of Store Copy books, if I leave mine at home and see yarn that might work in "x" pattern but can't remember the specifics, somewhere I can go to look them up - and for that matter a "computer" terminal that I can look up free online patterns as well

How about something "unique" about the shop whether its own neat designer, affiliation with something different (co-op), or such

Also, I'd like great classes - not the same old, same old - things that are modern and maybe some "free" demo types or workshops

And just a place that EVERYONE feels comfortable going to, not like you're intruding or that you have to buy something EVERY time you're there or feel like if you're not one of the "regulars" you're not welcome...

I want a place where everyone knows my name and a cold beer (or coffee) is sliding down the bar errr table when I walk in.. and there's a seat with my name on it...

What do YOU think YOU'D want in a yarn store?

Monday, August 13, 2007

My version of STITCHES...

Since I was in Tennessee visiting my Folks and picking up Bree, I didn't get to go to Stitches this year - from what Sarah, Heather, Cindy and Joy emailed about their purchases, maybe I'm glad I didn't!

But, so much for that - Mom took me to a wonderful yarn store in Paducah, KY - if you get down in that area - it is a MUST stop and shop! The name is "With Ewe In Mind" and the owner, Maureen, is a DOLL! (In fact, we were there on Friday and she was packing up to hit the train to go to Stitches - how's that for Karma)

So, I did my Stitches Stash busting there...

Bree picked out this WONDERFUL Lorna's Laces in Swirl (Rainbow) Yarn in a chunky weight for her purse:

And then she spied this pattern which she "just had to have" - heee - and we picked out some lucious yarn - Plymouth, Baby Alpaca, Worsted Glow yarn - has a little metallic thread running thru it - but soft as soft can be -

I picked out 2 balls of Cascade Fixation in a "blue jean" color (9030) - you'd think after the Jaywalkers, I'd never want to see that color way again -

And I also picked up the Mari "Oregon Sweater" pattern - that has a neat ribbed yoke detail that will be nice - Haven't figured out what type of yarn yet.. (Gee, I have to SHOP for yarn - oh darn)

So, even though, I wasn't there with my knitting enablers in person, we were together in heart - LOL!

Antique Excursion Part 2 - In TN and KY

Well, any trip to my Mom and Dad's is NOT complete without some antiquing..

Didn't find anything for me.. BUT, Mom got a few little do-dads and Bree got this delightful Salesman's Sample Dresser - see explanation in Excursion Part 1

I nearly forgot to mention that in my Excursion (part 1) I found SEVERAL Antioch post cards (she collects them) - which she slurped right up into her album!

Mom picked up a cute "mini" sized Butter Mold (about 2" tall) and some of her fancy button cards - So, we had a good time!

Antique Excursion Part 1 - Here in IL

While Bree was down in Tennessee visiting my Mom and Dad, I headed out to Princeton, IL area - as well as Peru as there are two pretty neat antique malls out there. You better bring your walking shoes - something like 40 and 60 THOUSAND square feet of antiques.. heeee

I enjoyed my time perusing and could have spent a vast amount of lottery money (had I won the lottery)- but came home with a few things.

I need to put some background out here first - while Mom was here in town, we went up to our old hometown of Antioch (right on the IL-WI border) to visit with some dear friends of hers whom are antiquers as well as worked with Mom to establish the Antioch Historical Society which is a very neat museum. If you like history, visiting the museum and now the new building they purchased is a must!

Ainsley, one of Mom's friends, is a Civil War Historian (don't know what else you'd call her as she is an expert) - She even has her own SUBSTANTIAL private collection to which she travels to put on displays. She also participates in various Civil War Re-enactments and has not only ACTUAL clothing from this era, but, beautiful replicas. She also has many different types of antiques from this time period.

Bree was particularly interested in a dresser and cupboard that was a doll or small child sized furniture - In the antique world, they are called "Salesmans Samples" - Salesman traveled with smaller replicas of the furniture they would sell. In Bree's world, these are PERFECT American Girl Doll sized furniture. Bree is an American Girl Doll "officiando". She has learned a great deal about history and such through the various life stories of the dolls. Felicity, is one that grew up close to the civil war time period. So, I'm sure you can see where this is all going...

After seeing Ainsley's collection - She wanted the furnitre, the mini curling iron, etc...

So, while out perusing, I found these for Bree:

As well as this curling iron (granted it's not a "mini" sized one, but an adult sized one) - they would set the metal end in the hurricane lanterns for the flame to "heat up" and then would take out and while hot to curl their hair

And this is a glove stretcher (past civil war era). For gloves that were too snug, they would put the pointed end into the finger and by squeezing the handles it actually "opens" up the points and spreads the fabric apart.

Now, I fell in love with Ainsley's Hat Pin and Hat Pin Holder collection, but much to my dismay, did not find any I absolutely had to have.. I did find myself an Antique Butter Mold and Antique Sewing Needle -

I also found a very nice weaving shuttle that has the manufacturer's name carved in it as well as the "size" - all with working parts - but, that's still packed from my Tennessee trip (I took it down there to show Mom) - It really ties to my visit to Esther's Place - in fact, that's how I knew what it even was!!!

So, lots of neat stuff - Bree was quite excited with her "finds" when she saw them last night when we arrived home and has spent much of today rearranging her American Girl Doll things to incorporate them!

The Baaa, Baaaa Tote (the sheep tote)

I had always admired from afar Kate' Sheep Tote... (ok not so far - as I was always bugging her about it). So, when we went to Sheep's Clothing in Indiana, I purchased the Fiber Trends Pattern and 2 colors of Cascade yarn - to knit together - I was actually trying to replicate the Malabrigo Chunky that Kate used that NO ONE (gripe, rant, etc..) seems to be carrying or have in stock these days - did I mention how that REALLY ticks me off????

So, I tried my darndest to get close to the colors - (don't think they are but that's the way knitting life is)

Well, it's all knit up - 2 side pockets and 1 large pockets and I'm looking at the picture AFTER I've knit the pockets and SEWN them on and I'm thinking that these darn pockets are WAY TOO tall compared to the picture

Now, since Paige calls me the "Spreadsheet" Queen, and Sarah giggles all the time about my nifty-difty knitting keep track of every row notebook, I am CERTAIN I have followed the directions to the tee.. Even recounted to be sure..

This has been completed (save the handle - as I haven't decided if I'm going to do a knit, wood, or curtain tie back type handle, yet) for about 2 weeks (at least)- but I have NOT felted it as I can't decide whether or not I should RIP OUT the damn pockets and frog back about 10 or such rows to make them look a bit more like the picture on the pattern. I keep walking by it, wondering - so I'll put it out to all of you - should I let it fly and felt it as is? Or rip it back and make it look like the pattern photo???? You be the deciding factor!

Here are the pictures:

And the pattern picture:

So, far I've used 3 Skeins each of Cascade Quatro and 220, size 11 needles and total cost around $45.00

Those "%$#$%^" Jaywalkers.. FINISHED...

I'm posting a picture of the Jaywalkers as PROOF that they did not beat me down into knitting submission.. I had one done and showed the knitting group, but, I wanted to be sure that EVERYONE knew that indeed I did finish the 2nd one -

Funny how the first one took me over THREE (yes 3 months) to finish and the 2nd MAYBE 10 days... Think the lightbulb went on finally - ah, yeup...

So, here are the Jaywalkers - My MOM just loves them, adores them, keeps talking about them, but due to some arthritis and bunyon issues, they don't fit her well - as otherwise they would be on her feet right now..

They are made out of a "2nd" of a Dream in Color yarn that I call Blue Jean - (they were messing with color ways - so its not really a real color - if that makes sense) - and I knit them on size 1's - I believe the hank is around 400 or so yards and I have a decent amount left over - not sure what to do with the left over... So, about a $20 Hank -

Here are the pictures -

I have NO idea why I'm curling my left toes in the above picture - odd...

So, I'm happy that I'll NEVER EVER EVER have to knit these again (except if Mom asks me too - LOL)

All sorts of "stuff".... Bree's Anklets

Well, it's only been just over a week since my last post, but, it feels like a lifetime - since I've done so much, been everywhere (so it feels) - to the tune of 1200 miles in 5 days...

So, instead of making ONE monstorous post, I'm going to break it down into smaller ones - would HATE to have ya'll reading another Harry Potter 500 pager.. heee.

So, first and longest ago, I had finished Bree's Anklets over a week ago and was bad about getting pictures taken.. So here they are:

They are made from Cascade Fixation - the stripe is color 9936 and the solid lime is 5806, one ball of each for a total of $10 - but, the good news is that there is enough of each leftover to knit a "reverse" color pair. So, that's 2 pair of socks for $10 - I'm liking that! They were knit on size 2 circs...

Sarah and I commented on the pooling which I think you can kind of see in the 2nd picture - one side of the foot is the "lighter" shades and the other is the more "blue" shades - kind of neat actually!

Bree only wears the anklets and likes them "low" (like the old fashioned peds). So, I modified a couple of different patterns to get it low enough and still have directions for me to follow - Heeee.... They are a quick knit (even for me) - she loves them!

After she's back in school (end of this month), I'll probably start the 2nd pair

Saturday, August 4, 2007

I went for a little drive today...

I went for a little drive/adventure today to a town called Big Rock which is a half hour drive (west of Naperville) to a shop called "Esther's Place" - not exactly a yarn store, but they do have yarn.

It is a very unique shop with a very neat idea. A group of families created a Co-Op got a grant from the USDA and created an IL "Animal Fiber" Co-op. They raise all different breeds of sheep (I learned about almost 10 of these breeds today) along with Rabbit fiber (Angora, Fuzzy Lops), some Alpaca and they even had this EXTREMELY lucious Buffalo fiber.

The mission is to increase education about ILLINOIS grown animal fiber and how it is "manufactured" from the raising of the animal, to shearing, taking from raw fiber to roving, then to spinning and finally used in a variety of creative disciplines (dry and wet felting, knitting, crocheting, weaving, etc..)

I ventured to this store as I saw on their website that they have spinning classes and figured that they would know of someone to spin the wonderful Alpaca I received thru the "Fight The Battle Auction".

Well, after talking for over 2 hours with Donna (owner) and her wonderfully creative and talented daughter, Natasha, it looks like this fall I will be taking a spinning class! They offer a 6 week course on spinning whereby you go once a week and then included in the class fee is the oppportunity to take home the spinning wheel to practice and do more spinning at home - how cool is that?

They also offer loom weaving and the roving used as well as fabric is out of this world!

The shop is located in an old home with the first floor housing all the fiber and classrooms and the second floor is set up for a bed and breakfast - 3 bedrooms ALL decorated with gorgeous antiques and beautiful looms and spinning wheels. Two bathrooms also populate the upstairs. I could definitely see a group of yarn/fiber enthusiasts sneaking away from the world for a weekend and "fibering" non-stop!

The absolutely scrumptious roving/yarn, books, knowledge, wonderfully helpful folks definitely makes this a "MUST SEE" for anyone in or around the Chicagoland area - even if you're just visiting.

They were part of the Fiber Festival at Catigny as well as the Fiber Fetival in Crystal Lake earlier this summer.

I'm going to take a day (4 to 6 hours) according to their brochure and do a loom weave project of like a bath mat or such - I'm quite inspired at the moment (gee, can you tell).

Here's a link to their website with all their information:

It was an awesome afternoon and I'm so glad I went!

Friday, August 3, 2007

The week NOT according to Hoyle...

My Mom always used that phrase.... I guess Hoyle is a guy who wrote rules and instructions for card games..

I didn't post much last week because of this Hoyle guy not coming thru for me...

Started with Monday, finding Tessa with her knee the size of a grapefruit, Tuesday had to take Snooper (our old beagle boy - 13 or 14 years old) in for surgery to have a tumor hanging off his neck removed - it was REALLY, REALLY nasty... All the while going out to the barn 2x each day to "doctor" Tessa...

Wednesday - I can't even remember what went on..

Thursday - It's pouring rain and Bill decides to leave for work late to let the traffic clear out - well, I'm sure you can see where this is going - he gets 3 miles from home and is sitting in a left turn lane waiting to turn and a 16 year old girl driving WAY too fast for conditions with a DOG (yes, DOG) on her LAP which she obviously was messing with smashes into his nice Acura going (according to the police report) 25 mph WHEN she hit him, pushing him into the intersection into another car. He declines ambulance service but agrees (to me) to take him to the ER to be checked out.. So, dealing with all that AND "doctoring" Tessa AND getting ready for the 4H Fair AND trying to clean my house as my Mom was coming on Friday to visit and see Bree compete in the 4H Fair...

So, last week was a mess. 4H Fair is over. Mom, Bree and I had a great couple of days this week and Mom and Bree left today for Tennessee - (Back home for Mom) - Well, they were half way there (south of Effingham on 57) and Mom just doesn't get a flat tire she BLOWS a tire.. To the point that a trucker, a state trooper and IDOT worker had to take a hammer and jack handle to wedge the pieces of rubber and steel belt from the tire OUT of the underbody of her Yukon (SUV) so that her wheel would turn - Needless to say, they were a little shaken (not hurt - just the nerve adrenaline hitting) -

They called just a bit ago and said they made the rest of the journey without incident.

So, HOYLE, if you're listening - CUT IT OUT! ENOUGH (you realize that FUN spelled backwards is NUF) - just another one of my dear Mom's sayings....