Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Puppy Love

I know I have been out of here for a few days, but with very good reason. Last Thursday, the family, our old boy Cal who is thirteen (you may remember the sad pictures at Christmas when we removed his manhood) and I headed to Virginia. Because on Friday, we picked up this adorable little guy. Wilbur Goldenbear (Wilbear for short) and we are absolutely in love.

We'd been headed on the puppy route for a while. Three years ago, we lost Cal's half brother Beauregard to lymphosarcoma. And though we had intended to wait a bit before getting a puppy, we weren't thinking three years. In any case, we now have Wilbur, and we are all just ecstatic. Especially since he slept through the night last night. I admit, though, I haven't been on night duty, DH has, because I returned from Virginia with a raging sinus infection that will not go away. You would think a z-pack would do the trick, but I'm on day three and not a ton of relief yet. The Nyquil is a blessing, though.

I wanted to share part of our trip with you. We got Wilbur from the same farm as Cal, Gap View Ranch and Kennel in Broadway, VA. They have spectacular goldens there and the reason we went back was two-fold. One, we know the breeder, and we know the quality of his pups, and in fact, this pups great-great grandfather is Cal's dad. Very cool. (Not to mention that Cal's dad was bred to Sugar Bear in his lineage . . . ah, kismet.) Two, for some reason, we had real difficulty locating a red field dog golden here in CT. Wilbur may not be quite as dark as Cal, but he will definitely not be a big 'ol blonde.

Broadway, VA is located just north of Harrisonburg where I went to school. It's about 10 minutes from the West Virginia line and one of the most beautiful parts of the Shenandoah Valley. When I spoke of Virginia Tech earlier in the week, what I was talking about really proved itself out on our journey. As we drove West and then South in VA, there were tons of signs regarding the tragedy at VA Tech, signs giving support to anyone affected by the tragedy. Last Friday was the day that Tech asked people to wear maroon and orange in honor of those lost. And it was no more evident than everywhere we stopped in VA. At restaurants, gas stations, looking at other cars on the road, people were wearing the colors and staying strong. It reminded me of the flags and the red, white and blue we saw after 9-11.

This tragedy in VA tech affected Virginians (and Americans) on a core level. It took us out of ourselves and our daily trials and tribulations, all so minor in the grand scheme of our lives. One of the students in the French class, where so many were lost, overslept that morning and she said people kept asking her if she felt lucky. She and another young man, who also should have been in the class basically said, how could we feel lucky when we lost so many dear friends? We should all feel lucky every day that we are above ground and are able to hug our loved ones and spend time with those we care about. And those students who were blessed enough not to have been shot or killed in this tragedy, they don't need to feel lucky, they just need to know that there is a purpose for them that is perhaps greater than they realize, that they are here for a reason.

And on that note, I'm off to hug the little guy. More pictures to follow I am sure!

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Home. Family. Heritage. My life. These are the words that come to mind when I think of Virginia.

This has been a ghastly week for all of us. Whether or not you have a visceral connection to Virginia Tech as I do, the shock, the outrage, the emotion, is felt by all of us. I refrained from blogging the past few days because I just couldn't bring myself to say anything. Where do you find the words?

I grew up with Virginia Tech as a part of my life. My uncle (who is like an older brother to me) graduated from there when I was three. I cannot tell you the journeys we made to Blacksburg when I was a kid. It's one of the most beautiful parts of the state. And to now, have this horror associated with it, is devastating.

It's less than six degrees of separation when you live in Northern Virginia. There are a handful of schools where you go to if you stay in state: Tech, VCU, UVA, James Madison U (my alma mater), Radford, William and Mary. You know people at all of them. That's degree one. You have friends who have friends there. That's degree number two. Or your parents have friends who now have children there. My uncle, knows of at least two killed within two degrees of separation. That's just how it is when you live there.

Tech was not on my list of applications when I went to college. The distance away left over from my child's mind was too far. I didn't want to be in engineering or farming. And to be honest, I thought I could do better at the time. Proof of what an eighteen year old knows. I went to Madison, had a great time, had friends at Tech who would visit, and we would visit them. Friendly rivalries. But, at a time like this, we are all Hokies.

Which is why I wanted to share this cartoon with you, because Monday, yesterday, today, and for a long time to come, we will all be Hokies.

And one last thing, please, please, please, let us all focus on what's important here, the people who lost their lives, their kindness, their compassion, what they brought to the world. Because if we focus on the person responsible, we give him what he wants and we take justice away from those lives he has changed forever.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bus trip, yarn store, sale

Time for an update post. First, I just got an email from Creative Fibers. They are having a bus trip to Green Mountain Spinnery in VT on July 14th. It sounds like a ton of fun. For $80 you get the bus, lunch, tax and tips. You get to visit the Spinnery, have lunch at the Putney Inn and then you get to visit the Ibiwisi Alpaca Farm. Very cool.

I also got an email that Ginger Balch who used to work at The Wool Connection is now opening her own store. It's called In Sheep's Clothing Fibre Arts Studio. She's in Torrington near the Warner Theater and the Yankee Peddler Inn. You can email her at insheepscloth@optonline.net.

And finally, Astrid is offering 10% off anything in stock on April 12th and April 13th.

I'm sorry, what?

DH has been out of town all week which means I have a bit of a challenge getting to sleep. Bottom line, that at eleven last night I was channel surfing and landed on fox news. I do this occasionally because, well, I need to know what those wackos are saying. That way I can rage against their ridiculous machine a little more informed.

Case in point. O'Reilly has been beating his drum about a man in VA Beach who is apparently illegally living in the U.S. He got drunk and sadly killed a young woman. Horrible story, I feel for the parents. I don't get on board, though with the argument that had he not been illegally living here, she would be alive. We just don't know that and it's arrogant to say that we do. This is just background, however.

Last night, he's complaining about the fact that some newspaper reporter in Denver called him a racist and why aren't the VA newspapers getting behind him blah, blah, blah, what else is new? And then, the kicker, for me personally, he has on the editor of the Daily News Record. 10 points to the first person who knows where the DNR is located. And why do I know where it's located? Because I went to college in the same town.

The town is Harrisonburg, VA and while it is a lovely college town nestled in the Shennandoah Valley, it is not a mecca for world news. The paper not even that good at state or local news. This paper was a running joke at our college newspaper. I did an insert for them one summer on eldercare, and for a local paper I guess it does its job. But, it's no Washington Post. And, certainly, not an authority that should end up on a huge news show.

And O'Reilly has the editor of the paper on his show (and the editor got to hawk his book, naturally) simply because the paper is backing O'Reilly. Yeah, what's that tag line again? Fair and balanced. Riiiiight. I just don't get why O'Reilly thinks that Mr. Small Town Paper USA should get a national, several million audience-membered platform. Makes no sense to me. The irony, is that most people have no idea where Harrisonburg is (most people probably hear it and think Harrisburg, PA which is a major metropolitan city by comparison) nor do they know if the paper is any good, if this guy has a valid opinion, etc. etc.

This is the problem with a lot of these cable news shows. They have a lot of time they have to fill. They pull people out of anywhere, hold them up as experts and if you aren't critically thinking or if you don't know more of the information behind the expert or the story, you can be swayed to believe anything.

I know I haven't blogged about the Imus thing. I just can't bear to give him more ink. All I will say is that it looks like CBS is going to fire him, and frankly, it's been a long time coming. He's gotten away with comments just as deplorable for years and it's nice to see that for a lot of sponsors, enough is enough. If more sponsors pay attention to this situation and stop putting their money behind people and programs that perpetuate hate, we could start making more headway, not just in race relations, but in all of our human relations.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Lovelies of the day

Here it is! The top one in the sun and the bottom one in the shade. The yarn on the left is 100% Merino from Knit Picks. I took these two pictures to give you a better idea of color. The one on the right is 100% worsted, extra fine merino from Wool 2 Dye 4. It's the one I wasn't totally happy with, but in the morning light, it's not as bad. And Sugar Bear thinks it's really beautiful.

And I completely forgot, I have undyed Trekking that I ordered from Astrid that I haven't dyed yet. Woo-hoo!

I did finally pick up some needles last night. I swatched for the socks that Cookie A. did on DIY though I kept screwing up the figure eight cast-on for the dumbest reason. I don't ever use a slip knot when I cast on. And I had to use one last night and it took me a couple of times to realize that I had the knot on the wrong needle . . . should have been on the bottom and I had it on the top. Anyway, this is why I am in love with the DVR. The pattern was originally the Baudelaire sock pattern from Knitty.

They dumbed it down a bit for the show, and the pattern can be found here. I'm probably doing the dumbed-down version just because I want to go fast. I'll hopefully have some progress to show over the next few days.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Fickle dyeing goddess

It's Spring (well, the calendar says it's Spring, the snow on it's way to my house begs to differ) which means that it's time to start dyeing yarn. I think I didn't have any inspiration over the winter to get into it. I showed you the yarn that Sugar Bear dyed with me last week. And then, I watched Knitty Gritty again yesterday and they had Scout on and she did this whole dyeing tutorial and I got jazzed again about dyeing. She did an excellent job, and it was nice to see her "in person."

I didn't really want to get into acid dyes today. I was feeling a bit lazy, so I got out lazy woman Kool-Aid. And I used too damn much liquid. Well, I didn't screw up the color entirely, but let's just say, there are some strange colors in what I thought would be a Sunset colorway. It's not quite muddy brown in places, but there are colors I am not loving. I'll post pics tomorrow. I need better light, natural light and well, it's dark right now on the East Coast. That and I want to show you pictures of it in a hank and in a cake. Anything to make it look a little better. I think over-dyeing it may be its ultimate fate. It's funny because I have had great luck in all my previous dyeing, but this one, not so much.

But, I am excited because I had to redeem myself and still being lazy I got out the Paas Egg Dye tonight. And I think I did a much better job than I had this morning. Ultimately, I need to get the acid dye out and get over my laziness. I ordered more undyed yarn because Linda and I are supposed to dye next week and I want to be prepared. I've got 4 oz. left of pure merino sock yarn. Hopefully, what I ordered will get here in time for our dyeing festival.

If you are interested in dyeing your own, definitely check out the Knitty Gritty link above. Valuable info for the beginner! Off to watch the show I DVRed today!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Sugar Bear's first dye job

Here's the yarn that we dyed yesterday. She is very proud of it. I was a little disappointed that the colors didn't come out a little more vibrant, but I think it was a yarn issue, because the yarn I used to tie the skein off came out in really vibrant reds, blues, and purples. I have a couple of pounds of yarn that I plan on dyeing in the next week or two. And I may just order a bit more in a heavier weight for the faster knitting that I crave right now.

And let's just say that I had a little accident at Creative Fibers this morning. That store just sucks me in every time. I had to pick up my mother at the airport and so since it's on the way . . . I stopped in to check out some of the J. knits yarn that is so gorgeous and well, I bought some of that. And, gee the Koigu was right next to it and there was a colorway I felt I couldn't live without so, two skeins of that. And that damn Lorna's yarn seems to have some sort of magnetic effect on my system. I am so fired. Pictures later.

And BTW, I saw the Painter's Palette book that has all the Koigu patterns and let me just say, if Vogue had originally included the picture of the crotch of those Koigu pants, I would have never considered them. It's a really bad scene. Really, really, really bad scene. Like, can't imagine even wearing them in private scene. Horrors. That must be why Vogue didn't do a close-up shot.

Mortified doesn't begin to describe

This post was going to be about the yarn Sugar Bear and I dyed yesterday.

That was before Vickie Howell commented on my comment I made about Knitty Gritty. I am absolutely mortified as I was jesting about her perkiness. Which considering how cool I know her to be from her incredible books (many that they are) and blog (please everyone congratulate her on her recent marriage), must be incredibly difficult to sustain. I worship at the altar that is Vickie Howell and again, I am mortified if she didn't see I was kidding because I was not out to offend anyone and certainly would not have thought that my pathetic little blog would have even reached her. Damn the Internet!

So, all kidding aside, as I mentioned before, the show is great and you have to love her because, well, she has a show and we don't. :)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Dyeing again

For those of you experiencing Spring, I just wanted to share this picture. We didn't get any accumulation today, but it basically flurried all day and this weekend is supposed to be very cold.

Mimi and Sugar Bear were both home from school today. I wasn't planning on keeping them both home. Yesterday, when I picked Mimi up at 11:45, four kids in her class had already thrown up. Not to mention, the teacher had been out all week, sick herself. By 3:00 when I picked up Sugar Bear, 6 more kids had thrown up and one of the assistants left sick as well. Plus, I believe there was also a child with strep. Talk about your banner day.

I knew I wasn't sending Mimi today. I know the school worked hard last night disinfecting the living daylights out of the classroom, but I figured, let's give it a couple of days. Sugar Bear was complaining of a sore throat last night, but I kind of thought it was all in her head. She was still pretty miserable this morning and complained all day, so I am glad I kept her home. And boy did I keep them busy.
We dyed eggs and you know, I can't exactly let dye just go to waste. So, I found a rather small ball of off-white yarn I had left over and told Sugar Bear to have at it. She picked her colors and we set it up for the microwave. The yarn isn't quite dry so I can't show you the final pics of that until tomorrow, but I think she chose some good colors and she should have fun knitting with the outcome.
I also got two new books in the mail today. I get reward certificates for Amazon through my credit card, so I figured I would treat myself to some knitting books. Really, I'm trying to get myself back on track because I am so desperate to start knitting again, but haven't yet decided on my project. Probably the DIY socks I mentioned yesterday, but I just haven't gotten to them yet. But I digress . . .

The first book is the new one by the Yarn Harlot. I've loved her other ones so thought this would be a natural for Spring. She's going to be visiting the area soon and I hope to have the chance to go see her. The other book is by the Yarn Girls and I have liked their other books, so thought, what the heck? I mean, really, is there such a thing as a bad knitting book . . . well maybe if it's wall-to-wall Leisure Arts. smile. I'll let you know how both books are very soon.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Knitty Gritty

DH had HDTV needs and so bought us a rather large HDTV last week. The upside of this for me is that we finally have a DVR, meaning we can finally record tv shows that I can never quite fit into the schedule.

Like . . . Knitty Gritty. They are airing it on HGTV and DIY so between the two, it's getting much easier to catch. But, now that I can record it, I can rewind when I want to see something, and when Vickie Howell's enthusiasm gets on my nerves a bit (seriously, love you girl!), I can move ahead just enough to get by.

The last two shows didn't exactly wow me because a) even I am not going to knit coasters for my martini glasses (because frankly, if I'm spilling any out of the glass, I needed to stop drinking a while ago) and b) how often are you really going to use them. Also, yesterday was all about man knits and I can't even go to that subject until I finish the sweater that DH is now starting to harass my knitting friends about (sorry, Beth).

But, today, ah, today was a GREAT show! Socks, glorious socks. And even better, toe-up socks that I haven't tried yet but am looking forward to. Plus all the shows are new right now and they are bringing in a bunch of the bloggers that I read (like Cookie A. and Scout) to do some shows. Thanks to Linda for the heads up on that! The socks today were awesome, and I am a little inspired, especially since they were using Socks that Rock yarn and gee, I happen to have a few (ahem) skeins of that lying around just waiting to be whipped up by someone. The only thing of course, is that I have to convert the pattern from DPNs to circs but, hey, minor glitch.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Why I love you guys

Because friends don't let friends knit fug.

I am officially booting the idea of the pants. Some of my reasons are yours, namely the sag factor. While I appreciate a great pair of lounging pants, I can't imagine spending that much time knitting a pair, nor the amount of money that the Koigu cost at the time that I purchased it. Of course, I would have no problem making socks out of all of it :)

I should make a shawl or a throw I think. I'm just not sure I am a "shawl person." And I'd like to do something for myself. Though, I am usually much more motivated to knit for other people. I was looking the Charlotte's Web Shawl. Very beautiful, but enormous project. And the Clapotis looks incredibly challenging but I'm sure I could get through it if I really wanted to. The problem is the volume of Koigu. We're talking many and varied projects here unless I do something big like the shawl. I did a Koigu headscarf last year that came out really lovely. But, talk about sag, I should never have even brought the pants up now that I think about the drape of that scarf.

And just so we can all drool together, here is the stash of Koigu. Isn't it lovely? The top photo is with flash and the bottom without, just to try to get to true color representation, I thought I would share both.

Monday, April 02, 2007


So, I was googling, trying to find a picture of the Koigu pants to show you and I am truly horrified to find out that there was a picture of them in the YouKnitWhat archives.

Now, when I originally saw this photo of the pants two years ago, I was more of a novice knitter. And, now I am looking at them and thinking, "are they fug?" Actually, what I am really thinking is, are they going to look horrible on me after all the work that would go into them and would they just end up incredibly saggy?

So, now is the time to tell me what you really think about these pants. I'm talking painful honesty here, people. Because it's a helluva waste of Koigu if we can all come to a consensus that they may just end up fodder for the fug file.