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April 2006
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June 2006

Gifted Teachers

The Wee C graduated from preschool last week, and at the fiesta that followed the ceremony presented her beloved Andy and Sarah with their felted boxes. These women are gifted indeed, and my child has received such incredible love and learning thanks to their attention.

Gifted

Summer of Stash: Much to dear Stewart's chagrin, I have joined the stash knitalong started by Liz, whom I almost met Friday at Stewart's shop, The Yarn Lounge. As I posted over on the SoS blog, I have plenty of yarn to see me through the next season, if not the next five. And doing so won't keep my from spending at my fave LYS: I bought DPNs Friday, and a circular needle case I resisted a month ago in Maryland while I was there earlier for a delightful knit night. Also I nearly finished the cotton vest there, so expect a FO report soon!
 


Dulaan Destined

I shipped these mitts off to Arizona yesterday, my small contribution to the amazing Dulaan Project, stitched with the MDK-box leftovers and some additional stash. I had tried this pattern once last year among the items I submitted and remembered liking it a lot. After six of them I definitely have committed  it to memory now. The one thing you may notice I cannot do, apparently, is make a pair identical. I find more fun in tweaking the mates just a bit!

Mitts

Shiver Me Timbers

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Her birthday was last week, but preschoolers have parties on weekends. There were three this weekend, but we only attended the one we hosted yesterday, and it was a roarin' good time, aye. About a month ago I Googled "birthday party ideas" and was given the link to, wouldn't you know, Birthday Party Ideas, where I found many other parents' accounts of pirate parties for their own buccaneers. I had only to pick and choose. Once the guests were adorned in their skull & crossbones bandanas, red sashes and jewels, we did the swab-the-deck relay and the walk-the-plank relay, and made oceans in bottles. Tattoos were applied in there somewhere as well, and searching for treasure amounted to the discovery of the custom cake above. What with the beautiful day and the new swing set, the dozen pirates couldn't have been happier, especially the captain of the day ~

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MDK Felted Boxes

As soon as I saw Kay's boxes at Knit Happens, I knew I would make them for teacher gifts this year. I had completed seven when I went to visit my mother last weekend, and six of them  looked like this (the last one wasn't seamed and I forgot the matching yarn):

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I knit these from three different worsted wools, with the yarn doubled; some on US 11s and some on 13s. (The Wee C, by the way, also found them to make agreeable hats.) And, dontcha know, they differed post-felting. The small ones that are blue, gray and purple are Lopi, and I had to trim them with scissors, they were so fuzzy. These were my first ones, knit on 11s before I was alerted to the book's error; I ended up putting them through a second wash cycle (after this photo was taken). The small green one and large orange & green one are Paton's Classic Merino, which gave a nice result,  although I think they were still on the smaller needles also and therefore didn't achieve as much movement in the felting process. The yellow & green (and the yet-to-be-felted all-yellow) medium-sized ones are an unplied Elann Peruvian wool. I have only the one to judge, so far, but I like how it turned out, or I did before I accidentally tossed it in for the second round. Now it is the same size as the small ones, and twice as sturdy. Seriously, its sides are about half an inch thick! So I may not be able to give nesting sets of three . . .

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Old reliable Cascade 220, which I have felted countless times before, turned out most closely to resemble Kay's as pictured in the book ~ but it took two cycles to get there. This remains my fulling fave, thanks to the wide range of colors ~ and its availability in my stash!

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Swapped

Blockswapbutton_1 Remember those 10 quilt blocks I made in March? On Friday I came home for lunch and found a big white envelope addressed to me in my own handwriting, and it took me a second to realize what it was: my set of blocks made by other participants in this fabulous exchange!

If you look at this image from Jessica's blog, Seedpod Books and Art, you can see the set she selected for me. It's the one at the upper left on her design wall. (I want one of those! What wall can I cover with felt?)

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Some of the makers whose blocks I received have blogs, too: Jessica, Kathy, Linda, Maya, Moki and Rachel. Thanks to you all, as well as to blogless Barbara and Melodie! In this shot you can see the blocks I made making their way into other quilters' sets ~ they are the upper left squares in the two on the left and in the middle columns on the right. Since receiving my set, I've placed them on the floor in a variety of layouts and think I've arrived at the one I like best (below). I may use the pale green Kona for sashing even though it makes but one appearance in the blocks, and I am thinking about a wide border that incorporates the other fabrics that I used in my swapped blocks. But I have another quilt already pieced that I need to layer, baste and quilt first ~

Swaps


Stolen Images

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I played in PhotoShop to draw a fuchsia rectangle around my little body. There I am, amongst the many, in my little Richmond circle of Mira, Melanie, Beth, Mary, and Suzanne on the approach from her own shoot.

Msw06cara_1 (Thanks, Sarah, for letting me pilfer these pix.) And there I am getting my hands on Cara's exquisite Diamond Fantasy Shawl. Just barged right up to touch it ~ thanks for letting me, Cara!

And here's one more, taken by my travelmate Cathy (the blogless crocheter, work friend and S&B attendee) with Suzanne's camera, just as I came running out of the building to jump into the shot with famous Wendy. As if I couldn't get enough of these knit-chix, I joined them (Mira and Suzanne, anyway) Tuesday at their weekly S&B.

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I Forgot the Camera . . .

. . . but I had a fantabulous time at Maryland Sheep & Wool, 13 hours of fun and fiber with fellow travelers Beth and Cathy. We left Richmond at 6:23 a.m. and returned at 7:23 p.m. ~ in time for those gals to catch the race, and for me to continue enjoying my weekend off from motherhood. Later I'll swipe some pix from willing lenders, but for now there's the loot to document!

We made our early departure because I wanted back in to the Koigu scrum, and even though a wacky incident delayed us about an hour en route, I succeeded. (Stewart, who stopped at the Maryland Visitors Center the same time we did, informed us that there had been a bomb threat to a couple of Atlantic City-bound buses, forcing a temporary closure of the interstate. No wonder we'd seen unmarked vehicles speeding up the shoulders!) We all made a beeline for the Main exhibition building, but only I stuck with the sweaty corner in order to come away with the makings of Green Scrum, which I'll hope to start soon for Project Spectrum:

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Seriously, I am so pleased with the way the Scrum Shawl turned out that I don't expect to vary the pattern much when making a second one. I had it with me, of course, and I think I inspired some of the other knitters waiting there with me. Plus I was able to show it to the Landras, who appeared to approve. Then I went to find Beth and Cathy at the Morehouse Merino booth, because someone had pointed us to a $4 coupon online before we left, so we were all eager to spend $30 in order to save. I got to say Hi to Theresa the Keyboard Biologist there, and I came away with two kits, one for me and one I'll make for Wee C:

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May670003Next up was the Woodchuck  wooden product man, from whom I had gotten sweet darning needles last year. This year I bought a WPI measurer (sett gauge), and a wing-nut tightener for Uncle Chuck.

We did some eating, we did some browsing, we went to the grassy knoll o'bloggers, where surely a hundred of us gathered. Such fun to see friends old and new, and add some URLs to my Bloglines list.

Speaking of old friends, I got in a nice visit with Mary Ann, my college buddy for whom Greta was knitting samples lately. So I feel like I encountered Greta, too. I came away with lots of yummy soap and some mohair boucle that I apparently neglected yet to photograph. 

May670007What else? This lovely yarn may be the piece de resistance: two honkin' hanks of Harmony from Brooks Farm for a bigger, bolder Clapotis. (However, having just looked up that link, I am reminded that Cozy might be a valid contender as well ~ ) And speaking of shawls, Beth sent me back to a button vendor I'd passed when she showed me the glass shawl pin she'd gotten from Moving Mud. Turned out I had to have one too.

When I first started planning for the weekend, I was going to go for the whole shebang, with a different gang of Richmond knitters. Instead, I got to hear my dear friend Sheri read from her new novel, Firefly Cloak, at the Richmond Public Library on Friday night, and go out to dinner with her and some other grad school friends afterwards. And today I got to attend the spring recital of the Weinstein JCC School of Dance, featuring my own little star who brought tears to my eyes ~


May Knit Night

We had a great S&B Tuesday, with eight adults and three kiddos (who amused themselves and us by disrobing on the deck). I didn't take many pix, however. Captured one of two newcomers, Katie, who worked on a striped hat:
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That's Beth beside her, dealing with paper again this month. The other newcomer, Leslie, is a neighbor whose mom until recently co-owned our oldest LYS. I'd been wanting to meet her, and Frances, finally reappearing, made it happen.
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She's working on a hat, too ~ for our vet's next baby. I didn't even know Dr. Jones was pregnant. I wish I'd gotten to photograph the handbags Frances made for her daughters for Easter. Even the one who's currently living in France was wowed, and duly so.
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Michele was back to complete the Rebecca sweater for her daughter, which she'll deliver when she heads up the road for MS&WF. I couldn't believe how quickly she cranked that out until she explained that she's allowed to knit at work. Heather, beside her, continues on her latest afghan. Pam and Kathy S. missed the camera, too . . . 

Good May Day

I know I have pointed folks to Threadless before, but there is a $10 sale on now for the next week, and if you link from here and make a purchase, I get some points for the referral! Look what a nice Project Spectrum-related T I just ordered, in honor of having finally joined Lolly's great venture:

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It is called "Be Green," and was designed by someone named Jarren. I love that these shirts are limited editions with titles and designer credits printed inside. They make excellent gifts, too. Get your own and you'll be in good company: The lead character of the new feature film The Night of the White Pants (played by Nick Stahl) wears a shirt called "Piece of Meat" by Ross Zietz for most of the movie.

I am feeling pretty green today after spending most of the weekend on garden-related activities: raked old leaves away, moved stickpile to the compost heap, [Brotherman] cut and removed fallen tree limb, mowed backyard, weeded some too, planted everything purchased Saturday. I decided to call in outside resources to mulch the front azalea beds and remove the dead shrubs in the back where the beds will then need mulch as well. Since this is a new house for us, I don't yet have a good sense of the sunlight with so many big oaks around, but I want to put in some butterfly bushes where the other things have died . . . Of course, we also made some headway on the biggest planting to come in our yard: a swingset for Wee C, as we purchased the kit and settled on the design and components. Now Brotherman just has to find the time to purchase the lumber and install it all, bless him!

If you haven't read it before, I have a poem in the Poetic Stitches section on the left sidebar called "May Day" ~