Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Random Tuesday?

There is a new addition to my sidebar -- we are now tracking our mileage for the season. I'd add a graphic but I am not particularly good at that kind of thing.

The latest, not blogged about trip, came about out of my need to exercise outside instead of on the stationary bike. My favorite form of outdoor exercise is roller blading and I got a new pair of blades last summer that are much cozier then my old "Darth Vader boots." My solo skating quickly became a family event when I asked Female child if she wanted to join me. Then we asked Male Child ... and then Mike, who was just finishing up his morning workout on the stationary bike. And off we went, me on my blades and everyone else on a bike. You can guess what happened of course ... I got one of the best cardio workouts ever since I had to push hard to try to catch up with them.

I hear that my kid brother and his fiance are now thinking about getting bikes. Did we inspire him? Do I have to point out that he does not know how to ride a bike? But hey, that is cool, I can't dive and he is a certified life-guard. I, however, am unwilling to learn how to dive at this point in my life and he is willing to learn to ride a bike. Go Josh!

Biking has been a part of my life since I was about 8. I love getting on 2 wheels and exploring new places. You can get much further, faster, on wheels versus on foot. You get far closer to your environment then in a car. During summers when the rest my family would be swimming, I would be out on the bike path and all around town.

My first year in college I brought my bike down to DC with me and had a great time exploring that city. While my bike never made it to Ithaca, no room in my dorm, it got heavy use after I moved back to NY and Mike and his Mom taught me how to ride in Manhattan streets.

For years I used it to commute to work, first from a 5th floor walk-up (yup, I schleped it up and down the stairs) and later, shorter ride from my mother-in-law's place after bringing Female child to her by bus. It was faster then the bus and I loved the feeling of not being confined in a bus or train.

I stopped commuting while pregnant for the second time and have sorely neglected my bike since then. I have so neglected it that I actually no longer own a bike of my own. Mike owns 3 bikes -- the Lotus (now our trainer, stationary bike), the Sequoia (his first fancy bike) and his Bike Friday, the folder. My bike was given to a friend when we cleaned out his Mom's apartment. When we go out as a family, I now ride the Sequoia -- I am sorry I ever scoffed at the price. It is a magnificent ride. Both kids ride very good bikes and I am glad that I did my research prior to purchasing Female child's first bike. They have both learned to love this as much as Mike and I do.

Enough about biking ... this is supposed to be a knitting blog.

Both the bee-stripe socks and Pomatomous are coming along. Both heels are turned and off we go toward the cuff of one and the toe of the other. Woven was neglected as it was too hot to have her on my lap at night. The ??? wool is mostly plied now. One more session will finish it up.

Have a lovely Tuesday.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Crossing Bridges

There comes a time in everyone's life that one must step back, look ahead and think if they should cross this particular bridge. As a family, we did just that today and wound up ...

in Brooklyn. (Did you think I was getting philosophical on you?)

Both kids made it up the Brooklyn Bridge on their bikes, without walking. Then, after a mile or so, made it up and over the Manhattan Bridge. The journey to Brooklyn was pleasant and uneventful with Male Child pushing himself to greater and greater velocity. Mike and the Female Child had barely time to stop and get water bottles out when we caught up to them at almost every point. The only place they had to wait for long was on the Manhattan side of the Manhattan Bridge.

Our route today (for those that care) started at our usual point on the Hudson River and took us down to Stuyvesant High School, around Battery Park City, past the Statue of Liberty-to-Manhattan swimmers, around the southern tip of Manhattan, up to the underside of the Brooklyn Bridge, up, over said Bridge (see first photo), through just a few streets in Brooklyn, up and over the Manhattan Bridge, through a few streets of Chinatown and the Lower East Side, up through the East River Park, up on to Water Side Plaza (where we used to live) and across town back to home with a brief stop at Kalustyans. Total ride: 16 miles Total to date as a family: 54 miles

Here are both kids with the Manhattan Bridge in the foreground and the Brooklyn Bridge in the background.

The kids gained valuable hill climbing and street riding experience. (We purposely planned the street riding knowing that traffic would be light today.) We all had a fabulous time. Next week, the Tour de Brooklyn!

And all 4 bikes resting outside of Kalyustans. I got to stand guard so I got some knitting done.

My Space

Scout is being nosy. These are some of my knitting / spinning spots. To include all of them I would have to take a picture of all of our local playgrounds as well as the building's laundry room.

This is my Chair. I knit here while blog surfing and this is my main spinning chair. The wheel is out of sight, off to the left. Yes, the unfinished plain socks are on the back of the arm of the chair.

This is my favorite spinning and weaving spot but is only useful in warmish weather. My balcony faces west so we get the late afternoon sun. I rarely knit here since there are so many other places I can knit. For some reason, I get a kick out of spinning and weaving outdoors. Spinning ??? on it was a great experience. This roving was so full of VM that I was constantly stopping and picking it out. Inside I keep a pillowcase on my lap and am careful not to dump the stuff on the floor. Outside I just let it fly.

Our couch is my evening knitting spot. I curl up or stretch out with a more complicated project then I would work on while surfing or in public. The current couch projects are Pomatomus and Woven. If you look on the floor in front of the couch you will see a glimpse of a blankie that my sister crocheted for Female Child almost 11 years ago. Except for one, small, recent repair, it is still going strong and gets used almost every day. It lives on or near the couch.

I actually got several inches done on the second Pomatomus sock yesterday. After running our morning errands and strolling through a street fair, the kids and I spent the late afternoon in my least favorite playground. They rode bike and scooter and I sat, listening to my audio book and knitting away on the sock. The pattern is finally coming easily -- the first sock was somewhat of a struggle - -and I continued to work on it a bit in the evening. Only a few more rows until the heel. Woven is coming along but a bit more slowly now that I have to stop every so often to switch yarns for each piece.

The ??? singles are all spun. Any balcony spinning time today will involve plying.

Now, off to pack for today's bike ride!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Happy Birthday Mom!

(This is going up a day early since Mom, Dad and little Sis are heading to Boston tomorrow to see the kid brother.)

A quick, Public, Happy Birthday to Mom! This is the wonderful woman who came in to my life when I was just 12 and, poor woman, had the dubious pleasure of dealing with my teenage years. Fortunately this did not put her off kids and due to her, I have 4 great sibs instead of the 2 I had back then. It is Mom who taught me to load a table with food and always ask myself "is there enough?" Even, when the table is already groaning. She tried to teach me to shop but never managed to succeed. Much more luck was had with my female siblings. When you think about Nature vs Nurture ... Nurture wins out here. Happy Birthday, Mom, Mud, Joan ... you know who you are.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Fleet Week

One would think that I would be a bit smarter. After all, on Tuesday I noted the arrival of metal barricades lining the West Side Highway near the Intrepid. Then on Wednesday I noted the arrival of the first ships. Even yesterday, as I was walking to the car, I mentioned to Mike (via that forbidden cell phone) that I should avoid the West Side Highway because of Fleet Week Traffic. So, what did I do? I let automatic pilot take over and before I knew it I was on the West Side Highway at 96th Street -- in bumper to bumper traffic. D'oh! (For purists, this portion of road is actually called the Henry Hudson Parkway and then the Jackie Robinson Parkway. It becomes the West Side Highway at 57th Street, then 12th Avenue and then West Street. It is a strange road but we love it.)

For your pleasure:The fuzzy shapes in the background are the masts of some of the Fleet Week ships. The streets near the piers were floating in a sea of white uniforms as the sailors started to take their leave in our fair city. For the next few days we will walk around and smile and wave at these wonderful men and women and, where possible, point them in the right direction. I love Fleet Week, I think it is cool and I love that our city has a chance to host our Servicemen and women. The traffic? I can figure out how to avoid it. This is one time when I do not curse the invading hordes.

Yesterday, the military was doing fly-overs all day. I got to see the undersides of two of the passes and it was very cool. Mike, however, did not feel the same way. Having been downtown on 9/11, he found the sound of the planes a little freaky. I do understand this.

If it is not raining, we intend to walk or ride up to the ships tomorrow to get a closer look. We tend to do this every year, almost at the crack of dawn -- to avoid the crowds. We don't get in line to tour them -- we just gaze from afar. Uptown, however, is no longer our destination for this week's bike ride. The congestion on the bike-running path near the ships will be too much by the time we return. The current plan is to go down and around the southern tip of Manhattan on Sunday and maybe over the Brooklyn Bridge and back. We have reserved spots in the Tour de Brooklyn on Sunday, June 4. Anyone want to join us?

And for those of you who need your fiber content:
This is the last of the ??? wool, all predrafted and ready to spin. Maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow ... Will it be done by Monday? Come back and find out!

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Lots of stuff on various topics today ...

No, I have not been neglecting Woven. Here she is in all her cardiganly goodness. The lower portion of the front-back-front is about 1 inch short of the armholes. The next skeins have already been wound in anticipation of this dividing event. It is at this point that I realize that there is only one more skein of the ??? yarn ready for knitting. I had better do some serious spinning this weekend. Really, there is only a couple of hours worth of spinning left on the last bobbin and then, a marathon plying session. Yes, I am convinced that there will be more then enough to finish this project.

The Bee-Stripe socks are coming along but I am still on the first one. I did finish the latest pair of Plain Socks but (lots of buts today) they still need their ends hidden and a dropped stitch secured. I promise I will take care of it this weekend.


We are all up and moving earlier then usual this morning. Will this translate in to leaving the house on time? Probably not. It seems that the more time we have in the morning, the more likely we are to futz around and get involved in various projects. My project this morning -- figure out why my clock radio is now set to a station broadcasting the BBC World news. I suspect that our local NPR may have changed their line up ...

And on the topic of NPR, I really like listening to it and it is my main car station when I am alone. When my favorite oldies station switched formats I decided to tune the clock radio to NPR. What I have discovered is that the mellow style of the NPR hosts tends to lull me in to a half-awake state and not really wake me up properly. This is both good and bad. I absorb some interesting news but I tend to have to rush through my morning ablutions.


To answer TCMcCormick's question of the other day -- Yes. The Chancellor has banned cell phones from NYC public schools. My answer as a parent -- when all of the payphones on the streets work and when schools have more then adequate phone service, then I will take my kids phones back and send them with quarters. Until then, my kids carry cell phones. My answer as his employee -- if I see a cell phone I will take it. I don't see many.


Dye-o-rama news -- I found the perfect box. We received a small shipment of Metrocards yesterday at school and the box is just the right size. Now to just remember to bring it home. I am still on target to get it out this weekend. Yea!!!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Dye-O-Rama experiments

Here we go -- the long, detailed post of our adventures in dying. Female child was my able assistant for all four experiments and Male child helped out for the first two.

I started out with the thought that a hugely long skein was not necessary for self-striping yarn. What if I wound the skein back on to my knitty-noddy and tied off mini skeins every 10 wraps or so (2 yards per wrap). We would then start at either end of the master skein and color 2 skeinettes at a time in small baggies with the appropriate colors. We were going for a ROY G. BIV effect. You can see that we got through the first set of ROY G. before giving up. It was at this point that the skeinettes fell off of the chopstick that had been keeping them in sequenence and I decided that trying to sort out the vingear soaked skeinettes was not worth the trouble. We then just artistically splooshed the remaining dyes on to the spagetti mass that was the rest of the yarn. The mass got put in to a large ziplock bag and the whole mess was put in the steamer for 30 minutes. You can see the result. The middle mass is actually a lovely mixture of reds and blues and purples and will make a lovely pair of sockettes for me or the Female Child. I will probably use the outer, rainbow colored pieces for baby socks (I can just feel my sister and sister-in-law cringing). The concept of tying worked wonderfully though it did take time. The problem we encountered was keeping the skeinettes in proper sequence. I suspect that this would work if I had squirt bottles and laid everything out on a large cookie sheet instead of dipping in baggies. Maybe I will try it again some time.
Dye experiment number 2

Female child suggested dying it in thirds so that we would get bleeding between the sections and wind up with a 5 color skein. The yarn was reskeined by wrapping it around two chairs held apart by our dining room table. The resulting skein is roughly 4 yards in diameter maybe 5.

The skein was presoaked in vinegar/water (1 part to 6 parts) and zig-zagged across a cookie sheet covered with plastic wrap. The colors were applied hot. You can see where the zigs met the zags and the color spilled to the wrong part of the skein. This was deemed an incomplete success and will probably become socks for Female child or me.

Third time is the charm. We used Female Child's idea again but this time I got smart and drapped the skein in to 3 dishes for the dye application. The green spots were due to a failure to wash or change gloves at one point.

Both try 2 and try 3 were steamed as per try 1.

And now, presenting my swap yarn. After all of our experiments we reread our mail and realized that my swap partner was not a primary-color type of gal. Since she indicated that she liked rich colors and that greens were good ...
This skein was wrapped around 4 chairs so it is longer then the others. The ends were dipped in hot dye distributed in two pyrex dishes. We smushed and smooshed to try to distribute the dye evenly but we obviously failed. I like the gradations however, so this one is considered a total success and will go in the mail this weekend.

All skeins were colored with food dyes with the New York Baking Supply label. I suspect they are a variation on Wiltons. Said dyes were "borrowed" from Mike's cake decorating box. He is now out of red, blue and brown.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Good Things in Life

Good Friends and Good Food

Sharing a lovely dinner at Spice Market with friends who appreciate good food. The food was amazing with some moments that make you wonder if it can get any better. Babysitting provided by another Good Friend.

Good Music

Maxim Vengerov at Carnegie Hall. I knew he was Mike's favorite violinist and now I know why.


People who call when they know you will be low. Yes, it really is appreciated.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Good and tired

I promised you that we were heading to the Little Red Lighthouse today so here they are. The superstructure on the right is the base of the George Washington Bridge -- Manhattan side.

And here they are about 2 miles further -- at Spuyten Duyvil, as close to the northern tip of Manhattan as we could get.

Proof that Mike and his Bike Friday made it -- that is the Spuyten Duyvil bridge in the background sticking out. It rotates on its axis so that boats can get from the Harlem River to the Hudson River.

(Mike making it is actually not a big deal since he does this ride fairly frequently.)

And lastly, proof that I made it. (It really is not a huge deal for me either.)

It is, however a huge deal that the kids did this trip -- a total of 21 miles and the second half of the trip was against headwinds that made me tired. The kids were great and both managed the first hill without having to dismount. The second hill is just a nasty, wicked thing leading up from the Lighthouse and only Mike made it on his bike. I even walked part of it downhill on the return trip. The descent was so steep that I got a bit freaked. Unfortunately, my bike shoes are somewhat slippery so walking it was not much better.

I picked up a couple of boo boos when Mike asked me to diagnose a problem with his bike. I couldn't free my left foot and took a tumble. My legs should look lovely in a dress tomorrow.

Any NYCers out there know how to navigate the greenway over to the Bronx? Next week we are possibly aiming for the Bronx or New Jersey.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Important? For whom?

I never fail to find it surprising that news items that are very important to me are totally overlooked by others. I am not sure why this should surprise me. Obviously people find different things important or interesting and other things just fall outside of their zone. I do it too. Sports, for example -- could not care less. Others, however, can name every member of the NFL or NBA or what have you.

My current example of a news item I find important is the whole school / cell phone thing that is bubbling away here in NYC. I follow the news with extreme interest and have animated conversations about it with colleagues and family. My interest stems from both my profession and my standing as a parent of two NYC public school students. This is a subject on which I have very strong feelings and I find it almost surprising to find that others, even other elementary school parents, are not following it. I suppose I should just get over my amazement and get the clue that it is an area of concern for a relatively small portion of the overall population -- NYC middle and high school parents and administrators of the same schools.

On the knitting front, one bee-stripe sock is in the heel turning stage and the current plain sock is nearing the ribbing. I am using the Judy Gibson's toe-up pattern for the heel for this sock. I want to get away from the standard short row heel that I usually use and play a bit with heel types but I am finding it difficult to locate the urls of sites that have the different variations on the flap heel for a toe-up sock. I may have to resort to knitting top-down but with size 10 feet I am still more comfortable running out of yarn on the leg instead of on the foot. If anyone can point me to other toe-up heels ... please leave a comment.

On the dyeing front, Female Child and I will dye one more skein tonight and then decide which of the four is going to my swap partner. With luck it should go out either this Sunday or next Saturday.

Our plans for the weekend include a bike ride up to the Little Red Light House (and back) and a much more sober activity on Sunday. I am determined to enjoy Saturday since I know that Sunday will be sad. As always, the only way to get to the other side is to go through it so we will do just that and come out stronger for it.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Random Wednesday ...

O.k., I stole that concept from Cate but it works for today.

First, we have my mother's day lamb. Pictured lamb was purchased after I thought that Mike and the Female Child had continued riding down to the tip of Manhattan. They tricked me! Please note that the lamb is now sans head.

Then we have the Female child cozily curled up with a book ... in her new Summer Socks. (Knitpicks Dancing in Rumba color. One ball made both sockettes to fit a women's size 5.

Then Male child had a migraine at the end of the school day on Monday which resulted in my telling their caregiver to take a cab up to my school with them instead of taking them home on the subway. This worked just fine but I later discovered that said caregiver did not know how to hail a cab. Female child taught her how to do this. I guess it is a geographic thing. Our caregiver is a Queens kid and we are Manhattanittes. Female child learned how to hail a cab when she was two.

This led to a quick quiz of both children to make sure that they can navigate from school to either home or my school by both cab and public transportation. Now to make sure that their cell phones are charged. (Just curious, do any NYC readers see a small contradiction in what I do as a parent and what I must say and do as a public school administrator?)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Knit Cast

Last summer, while looking for ways to stretch my Audible credits, I discovered the world of Podcasting. I found a few favorites and would download them to listen to while skating along the Hudson in search of fitness. One of my favorites was Knit Cast. I say was because once skating weather ended, so did the need to stretch the Audible credits and I ceased to listen to podcasts.

Skating weather is now upon us again and I look forward to catching up on all of the episodes that I missed in the last 10 months.

Where is this going ... well, one afternoon a couple of weeks ago I was quietly sitting at my desk, probably working, when my assistant annouced that a "Marie" was on the phone. I answered with my usual "Good Afternoon, how may I help you," assuming that it was a call gone astray. (I usually know my callers.) The woman introduced herself and asked me about an interview I had given over a year ago for a U.K. newspaper. The subject matter had gotten a little mixed up in the transition and so I could not help the caller with her quest for a story on a noble subject. We chatted for a few more minutes, then it hit me. "Marie" was Marie Irshad of Knit Cast. I think I sounded like a wacko fan and got a bit tongue tied but there it was. Very, very cool. I tried to share my excitement with my assistant but she just does not get the whole Podcast / Blogging world. She did get the idea of being called by a celebrity but still, I know she was a bit confused by my excitement.

I hope, however that you, dear blog reader, get it. Now to figure out how to download podcasts to my Treo so I can catch up. I recently realized that I could listen to the Treo in the car if I closed the windows and put the Treo volume on maximum. This avoids the whole having to connect the headphone jack to my car which risks triggering the ^&(&* weak point in the Treo.


Some pretty daisies ... just for the heck of it.

I am delaying doing my morning exercise. Please understand that it involves climbing on the road bike that we have set up on a trainer. Think about yesterday and the bumping involved in actually riding a bike on the road versus a trainer. This is why I am delaying. There is very little padding on that part of my body. I could just say "hey, it's Mothers Day ..." or "hey, I did the trainer AND 16 road miles yesterday ..." I really can't count yesterday's miles. They were done so slowly and mostly at a coast as we paced the kids that I do not know if those miles counted as exercise.

As promised yesterday, Knitting content!Woven! It has about 10 inches done so far and is slowly getting there. Remember, I am knitting the entire body in one piece so it will take longer. Right?

Female Child's summer socks. The second sock is actually much further along, I took this picture yesterday before I turned the heel. Maybe, just maybe she will have a new pair of socks today.

And, for your viewing pleasure ... my tomatoes.
There are actually small gree tomatoes on both plants though the ones on the bottom plant (Husk Cherry) are actually visable to the naked eye but not yet the naked camera.

I really will get on the bike now. I mean, hey, I have my spinning to take my mind off of other areas ...

Saturday, May 13, 2006

How to lose ...

one shoelace. A brief tale about a boy and his ability to lose just one of a pair. Inspired by blueadt and her singly shod daughter.

One morning as the Male child was putting his shoes on, I noticed that he was missing a single shoelace. Since Male child only removes his shoes at home ... we have no idea how the shoelace went missing from the shoe that was on his foot.

Then there was the glove ... One afternoon as Grandma was walking the children home from school the Male child suddenly started crying. It seems that his glove had gone missing. From his hand. The one that was holding his lunch box. The lunch box, please note, was still in his, now gloveless, hand. We are convinced that the next item of clothing lost will be his underwear -- while he is still in his pants.

To give him the credit that he is due, please read a bit further regarding our adventures this morning.

At the end of last summer we decided that Female child deserved yet another new bike if we were to attempt any sort of longish bike trip this summer. The issue was not actually the Female child's need of a better bike but the Male child's need of one. His bike was a single speed mountain-type bike that had been a birthday present to Female child a few years back. The Female child was riding a somewhat larger mountain-type bike which had a decent gearing system. So, the decision was made to upgrade Female child to the smallest road bike available and move Male child on to the now vacent, better, mountian bike.

Fast forward to this spring when Female child actually put a few miles on the new bike in a quest for really good chocolate. (No, she was not neglecting the bike, my kids cannot go out to play on their own yet. They are not quite old enough to traipse around NYC alone and the weather was not cooperating when we had the time and visa versa.) Ever since the day of chocolate she has been itching to ride a decent distance and so we come forward to today.

Despite the overcast conditions and threat of rain we all mounted up and left the apartment about 10:00 a.m. We made fairly good time to the first distance point, a playground in the mid 70's, riding along the path on the banks of the Hudson River. After a brief see-saw break (I swear they are the only see-saws left in Manhattan) both kids wanted to go further so we headed up towards the Hippo playground in the 90's. Oops, overshot it. When we realized this we were already at 104th street and Male child was feeling really good about how far he was riding. So ... sneaky mom that I am (I want them "training" for a potential bike trip this summer) I suggested that we continue on to Fairway's (major supermarket at 125th Street). Male child quickly did the math in his head and decided that not only could he do it, but that it would be really cool to go that far and back.

And here he is. (Female child and father were inside doing the shopping when this was snapped with the aid of my wonderful cellphone.) (Please note: at the time of this picture, his helmet was sitting on the back of my bike. He did wear it for the entire time he was actually mounted on the bike. We all wear helmets -- they save lives!)

We then cycled the return trip and then some, overshooting our home exit and going all the way down to Chambers street. In total, Male child and I did about 16 miles and Female child and Mike did about 18 miles, putting on an extra two just for the heck of it and hitting the southern tip of Manhattan in the process.

Tomorrow, I promise knitting content!

Friday, May 12, 2006

They are over!

The AP exams kind of ended today. I say kind of because we are administering two late exams next week. All of the others, however, are now packed up and ready for UPS to pick up on Monday. Woo hoo!

To celebrate, I left work after only 8 hours and then cruised through East Harlem in my mini van with my windows down, blasting the soundtrack from Pippen on the stereo. Now just try to get that picture out of your head!

Female child and I then attempted to do some self-striping dying in the ROY G. B(I)V colorway. After getting the yarn in to the ROY baggies, we gave up trying to separate the various skeinettes and just dumped the remaining blue and purple dye all over the remaining yarn.

After 30 minutes in the steamer it is now cooling and I will detail the proceedings and results in a day or so.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Small Things

She may not knit but boy can she sew! Below is my pride and joy holding her latest handmade stuffed animal -- Sparkle.
On my own project front, I have nothing finished to show. The second Summer sock is coming along as is the second Plain Sock. Absolutely no progress has been made on Pomatamous in over a week due to very little playground time this past weekend. Woven is progressing nicely but is not really exciting to show. I still have several inches to go before the arm holes. I did decide to knit the body all in one piece instead of dealing with having to match patterning later.

I have decided that the striped socks will not go to my sister-in-law (sorry Andrea) but will go to someone I have never met who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. I have no idea if they will fit but since they are made for a women's medium ... I can always hope. I know her husband and he seems to be a good man -- no one should have to go through this and if she can do so with warmer feet ... so be it.

And now I must figure out how to word the note I want to go with it and then comb my closet to see if I have some toys for their kids ...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Dye-o-rama Meme

My first Meme! (How is meme pronounced?)

Questions specific to this swap:

Your favorite colors?

Red, Pinks and Purples

Preferred yarn weight (Fingering, Sport, DK, maybe even Worsted)?

I am not prejudiced against any weight of yarn. I embrace them all for their inherent Yarnly Goodness. Lace weight and Bulky live side by side in my stash.

Do you prefer solid or multicolored yarn?

I have a weakness for multicolored yarn but this is not always a good thing since I cannot knit many of the lovely sock patterns with them, so solids are wonderful. Again, they all have Yarnly Goodness so how can any yarn be bad?

If your buddy is able to do so, would you like a variegated, self-striping, or self-patterning yarn?

Yarn buddy -- do what ever pleases you!

Would you be interested in a wool blend sock yarn (nylon, tencel, silk, acrylic, alpaca, etc.)?

Yes but plain vanilla (dyed of course) sock yarn is just fine.

Imagine the perfect colorway. What would you name it?

Raspberry Parfait

What was the biggest appeal to you for joining this dye-along?

The challenge. I love to learn new things and this is giving me the push to do so and to meet others at the same time (another challenge for me).

General yarn/fiber questions:

Have you dyed yarn/fiber before?

Yes, using Jello and Wilton's type food colors.

If so, what i’s your favorite dye and method?

No favorites yet but I do prefer top of stove to microwave.

Do you spin?


Have you knit socks before?


Do you use sock yarn for just socks or in other patterns too?

I am open to other uses but mainly sock yarn is used for socks. Other yarns, however, also get used for socks. So, my socks really do not care if a yarn is labeled for their use or not. (My feet do not care either.)

What are some of your favorite yarns?

Right now I am enamored of the Cascade 220s for basic knitting. Otherwise I like to play around.

What yarn do you totally covet?

All of them.

Favorite patterns?

Those that take changes readily.

Any pattern you would love to make if money and time were no object?

Not that I can think of. Any suggestions?

Favorite kind of needles (brand, materials, straights or circs, etc)?

I fully admit to being an Addi Turbo snob with Crystal Palace bamboos for my dpns.

If you were a specific kind of yarn, which brand and kind of yarn would you be?

I'd be Cascade 220 -- not superwash. I come in a huge array of colors for all moods and am good for almost anything but I still want to be handled gently.

Nothing to do with knitting/yarn/fiber in any way but seemed kinda fun:

Do you have a favorite candy or mail-able snack?


What'’s your favorite animal?

Sheep of course ... turtles run a close second.

Do you have pets? What are their species/names/ages?

Turtles -- the house turtle is Gym, the border turtle is Natasha and the Female Child's turtle is Sparky. Boy, boy, girl (yes, Natasha is a boy ... his owner is Boris). Gym and Natasha are ageless (no idea) and Sparky is about 3.

If you were a color what color would you be?


Describe your favorite shirt (yours or someone else'’s).

A basic silk blouse. Solid enough to hide the most obtrusive undergarment but soft enough to drape elegantly.

What is your most inspiring image, flower, or object in nature?

Waterfalls. In the winter when they are frozen they are at their most awe inspiring. The Gorges at Cornell University boast some of the prettiest and most accessible falls that I have ever seen.

Tell me the best quote you've ever heard or read.

"You can't fight evil with a macaroni duck." Arthur in The Tick

Do you have a wishlist?


Anything else you'’d like to share with the group today?

Not today, thank you.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Week Two, Here We Go

Fillyjonk suggested that my yarn-buying mania was stress induced. I highly suspect that she is right but I think that the AP exams were only the trigger not the underlying cause. This is the first year that these exams have made me quite so edgy and I suspect that the reason is due to One-who-is-gone.

Around here, we measure years in several different ways. The main way, however, is from September to June -- the school year. Two educators and two students in a family will cause this kind of focus. July and August are really just a very long weekend.

At the end of the last school year my mother-in-law fell ill and then passed away. As she had taken care of my kids on a daily (school day) basis since their birth, each school-year "milestone" hurts. The AP exams are a milestone for me since I started coordinating my school's testing upon returning to work after the Female Child's birth -- almost 11 years ago. AP exams meant that I dropped the kids off early and picked them up late and that Mom*was very understanding even though we did not pay her any more for these extra hours. (Hey, $0 plus $0 dollars is a really good rate!) The AP exams also mean that the end of the year is quickly approaching with all of the evening events honoring various groups of students -- all of which Mom used to "work" with good humor.

Yup. The AP exams have triggered a whole mess of stress. I am acknowledging this and will not try to curb my coping mechanisms -- knitting socks incessantly and buying yarn -- until we roll in to July. I also, however, will try not to go overboard on the yarn acquisition.

* The word "Mom" is used in this context to represent my dear-departed-mother-in-law. Usually it is used to represent my Wonderful Mom who is married to Dear Dad. My actual mother is rarely, if ever, mentioned at all in this blog. It gets confusing so I will usually refrain from referring to my mother-in-law as Mom.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Save Me from Myself!

I do not need more stuff. I do not need more stuff. I do not need more stuff -- including yarn?

This is the mantra I am supposed to be practicing until after our renovations this summer. We forced the kids to go through their books and toys and have dispersed and discarded much, much stuff. Meanwhile, I have added something like 40 skeins of yarn to my stash in 2 weeks. The latest is on the left. I kind of fell in to it at Knitty City yesterday and even Female Child (usually my yarn buying conscience) admited that I had to buy it for the Male Child. The yarn is Lorna's Laces Bee Stripe and Male child has a thing for the word "Bumblebee." (He does not have a thing for live Bumblebee's, just the word and concept of Bumblebee.) I was going to make him a pair of these using my newly acquired Palette yarns but then we stumbled in to Knitty City after Shabbat services and found the aptly named yarn. They will go on the needles as soon as I am finished with Plain Socks 2 and Female Child's Summer Socks.

On the Knitting front ...

Yesterday I turned the heel on the second Plain sock and and the first Summer Sock. There was a lot of walking (Plain sock) and blog surfing (Summer sock) done yesterday. Only 3 rows of Woven were knit but hey! 2 heels in one day! on thin sock yarn!

I also worked on my Dye-o-rama project. This is my attempt at making self-striping yarn without first warping the yarn in to a humongous skein. I suspect that I am not saving any time but ... time will tell. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

I have also started washing all of our sweaters in preparation for bagging for summer. I do not usually wash and store sweaters -- they usually just ferment in place over the summer -- but the more time I spend with wool, the more likely I am to care for it properly. The storage -- in sweater bags (I think) is mainly to keep the construction dust off of them. I know that grit will get in to everything no matter how careful our contractor is. Since the zone of construction MUST be passed through in order to get from the front door to any room in the house, tracking the dust will be inevitable.

Below is a sweater that my mother-in-law knit for me many, many years ago. It is cozy and warm and gets much use over the winter. I will try to photograph the other sweaters as I wash them, one a night.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Knitting content

On top, Female Child's summer sock in Dancing Rumba. It looks really narrow but fits just fine when I make her try it on. This is my "blog surfing" project and it sits on my lounge chair for progress during other people's long and interesting posts.

On the bottom, Woven. I decided to go with the first swatch -- garter stitch for the Jacob yarn -- and am really happy with how it is progressing. It makes me feel all warm and cozy just to knit it.

I am hoping to play with my Dye-o-rama project today. I have an idea for doing self striping without first winding to a warping board. It may be an utter disaster but I have to give it a try. The thought of the huge skeins scares me.

The Advanced Placement exams are now half over and I am so glad. My feet and legs were so tired last night that once I sat down I did not want to get up. Thinking about it later, I realized that the AP period is a warm-up for summer. Over the summer I walk miles and miles in sneakers and sandals. During the AP period, I walk miles and miles in dress shoes. For the Calculus exam, add lots and lots of stairs as I walk back and forth from my office to the church basement across the street. This year I wore heels for the Calculus exam. (Stupid, I know, but I had a meeting with some VIPs in the middle of it all.) My office is almost 2 blocks (0.1 mile) from the test room and up one flight of stairs. I go back and forth at least 3 times for each test ... I could go on but just trying to add up the milage exhausts me. The point is, I think, that it is more tiring to walk the milage in dress shoes (thin Enzo flats for the most part) on hard tile-over-concrete floors then it is to walk the same milage in sneakers or comfy Mephisto sandals.

I love my job but I am always happy when the APs are over. Not only is the walking exhausting but I hate seeing the kids all stressed out. If you know a kid going through this -- again, I suggest Ice Cream.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Testing, Testing ...

This is a test of the emergency blogging system. Should your blogger be too beat to post creatively, the emergency blogging system will take effect. Suggested emergency blogging topics may run from a link like this, to references on to how to protect yourself from the dreaded Were-Squid.

This blogger, being exhausted and only making small strides on any project, will return with more engaging posts and pictures soon.

Meanwhile, if you know any high school students who are suffering through the Advanced Placement exams this (and next) week -- give them a hug. I plan on buying at least one of them ice cream tomorrow. And, if you know of anyone administering the same exams ... give them a hug, too! (And maybe a stiff drink.)

I now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Dueling Violins

Well, maybe they weren't dueling but they were playing beautifully. Above is the Male Child . His piece was a Gavotte in G minor by Bach and he was amazing! The kid started out just fine and then went a bit wonky. That, apparently was not his fault, as his E string suddenly went out of tune. He tried to compensate and was doing a pretty good job when his teacher stopped him and retuned the instrument. He then started over and played practically note-perfect!

Female Child (not pictured as the photo made her look like the devil) closed the individual portion of the recital with Concerto in A minor 3rd movement by Vivaldi. She was wonderful! So much so that she made her grandparents cry. Standing there, looking poised and beautiful and playing a difficult, long piece as the closing act (always the most advanced student) she created lovely music and even managed to smile though her heart was pounding with nerves.

When we made the decision to have children neither of us had any idea that two brief expressions of our love for each other would result in these young beings who provide us with so much love and joy and pride every day of their lives. After marrying Mike, deciding to reproduce was the best and smartest decision of my life. And, I could not have the latter without the former.

Hug those you love and hold them tight tonight. One never knows what tomorrow will bring.