Thursday, July 31, 2008

Off to Pennsic

I'm in the process of getting ready to leave for Pennsic. Yesterday was the first day I was really able to get anything done, so I spent the evening sewing a bunch of new garb - 3 dresses, 6 undergowns, and some more bits cut out for later. That feels like a pretty good accomplishment, but boy am I tired.

I doubt I'll have a lot of internet access for the next week or so, so look for the "Cool Fiber Stuff I Bought at War" post sometime mid-August.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Streptcoccus pyogenes

I was supposed to have a busy and exciting few days. I was going to get up early Wednesday morning, work on Pennsic stuff, go to charity knits, get errands done, sew a lot more, go to Indianapolis, visit the Historical Society, then go to Kentucky to celebrate Aaron's sister's graduation.

But instead I got sick - a "rip-roaring case of strep," according the McDoctors I visited in Indianapolis. $200 and 2 hours for 5 minutes with a doctor, and me in the waiting room too sick to knit. We made it to Kentucky, but I'm afraid I wasn't very lively company.

So I don't have much knitting to share - or much of anything else. My one bit of good news is that the Hufflepuffs won the House Cup for the HSKS5 swap. Huzzah Hufflepuffs!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

No Sheep For Me

Who needs 'em?

I've just received a package from my SP12 pal, full of soft, lovely linen!

It's six skeins of Summer Linen from Universal Yarn, and
a pattern to go with it. She'd been hinting that I need to have a pair of Size 6 needles handy, and now I know why. I can't wait to start this project!

The yarn is an interesting color - it's called "natural," but it looks tan or greenish, depending on the light.

And now maybe I know a bit more about my pal. I'm going to guess that she's from California, based on the festive purple bag from her local yarn store. But that's the only clue this package offers - maybe I should start stalking.

Thanks a bunch, pal!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Stranded Without Knitting?!?!

It's time for Secret Pal Twelve's Question #6, so it's time for me to relate a story that I've alluded to, but never quite told:

What is your favorite type of project to take along on holiday/vacation?
Tell us about a time that you packed too much knitting or were stranded without knitting.

My favorite project to take along is my favorite project - socks. I'm a little bit picky about vacation socks - they need to be simple, and they need to use only one or two colors of yarn. I want my vacation knitting to be something I can pick up and put down easily. They don't have to be quite as simple as the socks I carry around all the time and knit while waiting in lines, but the same sock usually serves both purposes, although I'll usually bring more than one project on vacation.

This is because of the second part of the question - the time I was Stranded Without Knitting (cue the horror music here).

It was right at the end of the school year, in spring 2005. I was feeling really good about myself, because I got all my grades and stuff turned in early before we went to visit Aaron's family for a few days. I was about to start a cool new job at the Indiana Historical Society. Then, on a Wednesday, I got this call from my adviser:

"Could you go to Turkey for me on Monday?"

Some people have cool jobs that leave them traveling all around the world to exciting places on a moment's notice. But I am not one of those people. And "graduate student" isn't one of those jobs. But my adviser had a family crisis, and wasn't able to lead a planned Study Abroad trip. So it fell to me.

The answer (after a frantic, pleading phone call to my soon-to-be new employers) was obviously "yes!" Who would turn down such an opportunity? I ran around for the next few days - gathering lecture material, doing laundry, visiting the doctor, and figuring out what to pack for a three-week trip to a really big country I'd never visited. ("Everything" would've been the right answer.) I spent every spare moment boning up on Turkish history, trying to learn a bit of Turkish, and worrying about writing lectures - it wasn't until I was packing that I thought about any other way to spend spare time.

Back then, I didn't have much of a stash. Not much at all, really. I think I'd made three pairs of socks. These were the first - my Turkish socks from Piecework magazine. Naturally they'd go on the trip - everyone needs wool socks when traveling in the Middle East in summer, right?

The funny thing is, I didn't see many socks like these. There were a few for sale in Cappadocia, but only in children's sizes, so I never bought any of my own. I never found a place to buy yarn, either, although I was given some beautiful silk.

Most of the socks I saw being made or sold were like these. In the rural areas, women tended to wear plastic clogs, with this kind of sock. I bought these in Canakkale, a town near the archaelogical site of Troy. I still haven't figured out how they're put together - I think there's some knitting and cutting and more knitting, but I don't know the details. I only saw Turkish knitters from a distance.

And now a brief interlude for my funny sock story: One of the participants on the trip, an older gentleman, knew I liked socks. So at one of our hotels he came up to me and asked, "Did you see the postcard with the socks?"

"Socks? No! Where?!?"

So he took me to the hotel lobby, and showed me the postcard. I looked, looked again, and said, "er....those aren't socks."

And then, so before I could stop myself, "and I don't think you'd want wool there."

The poor man blushed - at least until he started giggling along with me - as he realized that the postcard's image, captioned "Enemies of AIDS," was of colored condoms hanging on a clothesline.

But to get back to the yarn - there I was, packing in a hurry, with only a bit of yarn on hand - two balls of Sugar-n-Cream Sport, and a Roman Rib sock in progress. This was actually the first sock yarn I ever bought - although the first sock was abandoned due to boredom about an inch into the cuff. The toe-up technique was essential to my early sock success!

It's a 12-hour flight from New York to Istanbul, and Turkey's a big country, so we spent a lot of time on buses. I'd finished my socks midway through the trip - and never found a place to buy more sock yarn.

Not having anything to knit on the bus wasn't so bad - there was a lot to see, I still had teaching to do, and we were all tired all of the time, so sleep was always a good option. But not having anything to knit on the flight home was awful. 12 hours of afternoon sun - nothing to knit - I'd read all my books - no more lectures to write - and I had a painful sprained ankle (another aside - jumping from one moving boat to another is harder than it looks), so I couldn't even sleep.

So now I just don't travel without at least two projects. I keep a tatting project hidden in my desk. I know the closest yarn store to my parents' house. I know the closest yarn store to Aaron's parents house. I know at least three yarn stores in Oldenburg, Germany - which is 5,000 miles away and about the size of Lafayette (which only has one yarn store - albeit a very fine one!) I have shopped for fiber in languages I do not speak. I will never, ever, ever again travel without plenty of yarn. (Or an Ace bandage. See that bit about the ankle.)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Pasties Angel

Now I think I'm really, really done with all my obligation knitting. I volunteered to be a pasties angel for the Knit Girls' spring exchange, and finally finished my backup pasties.

These are Brittany Wilson's Burlesque Fan Pasties, made of Dale of Norway's Baby Ull yarn on size 2.5 needles. The original pattern uses a worsted weight and size 5 needles, but I hardly have any worsted weight yarn in the house - and my recipient likes lavender. So I made the XL sized pasties, hoping to fit a medium. Since they're pasties, I don't think the fit needs to be very precise, as long as they cover what they're supposed to cover.

The pattern is fairly simple to knit - you start at the long edge, and decrease down to the point. Getting the feathers in place is a more complicated process involving fabric glue, scrap yarn, and shaving down the tips of the feathers to have a nice stem. (Hint: do this part outside!) I think more and shorter feathers might look better, but I'm not sure. I'm also not sure if these will be as good for Christmas ornaments as my other pasties.

So that's one more project that wasn't even on the list to check off the list. The list isn't going so well.

I've made a little bit of progress on the Tour de Fleece spinning. I was actually feeling pretty good for a little bit - after some marathon spinning last night (thanks to the Greatest American Dog show) I finished all the red yarn I need to complete my project. Then I weighted it - I've spun 3/8 of an ounce of yarn so far. So that's still enough red yarn, but there's a long way to go before I'm ready to knit my bag. Maybe I shouldn't have taken the 15th as a rest day! I wonder if there are steroids that help knitters?

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Quidditch, Round Three

It's the last round of Quidditch for the HSKS5 swap. I'm glad I have my head wrap finished in time!

Round Three Questions

1. When Hagrid returns to Hogwarts after being sent to see the giants with Madame Maxime, Professor Umbridge questions him on his late return to school. She suspects that Hagrid had been to the mountains, but where does he tell her he has been?
d. South of France

2. Professor Umbridge comes to Hagrid's Hut and searches his cabin one evening (as she believes Harry, Ron and Hermione are there visiting him at night when they are not supposed to). When she walks past the place where Harry, Ron and Hermione are hiding under the Invisibility Cloak, Harry holds his breath. True or false?
b. False
p 386 - "Harry actually pulled in his stomach as she walked by"

3. A stately-looking witch in an emerald green shawl is one of the members of the Advance Guard who rescues Harry from Privet Drive. What is her name?
a. Emmeline Vance

4. What is the name of the witch who was killed two weeks after the photo of the original Order of the Phoenix was taken?
b. Marlene McKinnon

5. Which two fifth year Ravenclaw students does Dumbledore choose to be prefects?
d. Anthony Goldstein and Padma Patil

6. Which house was Rose Zeller sorted into?
d. Hufflepuff

7. What is the color of Murtlap's essence?
c. Yellow

8. Name the Ravenclaw girl who became prefect in Harry's fifth year.
b. Padma Patil

9. According to a healer's portrait at St. Mungo's hospital, which disease was Ron suffering from?
d. Spattergroit

10. Which book did Harry give Hermione for Christmas?
a. "New Theory of Numberology"

Picture Scavenger Hunt

Padma Patil

Hannah Abbott


Dumbledore's Army

Cedric Diggory

Extra 5 pts - What movie will Robert Patterson star in this December?


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Just in Time

I've finished my Dream Swatch Head Wrap for the Hufflepuff Knitalong, just in time for the final round of Quidditch tomorrow.

Here's the whole thing. It still needs to be blocked a bit, but that can wait until we have a working ironing board again (there's a story involving Oscar there). The original pattern calls for 24 of the crossed-stitch rows. I have 33, and it's still shorter than the original. I stepped down a needle size to get a nicer fabric for the stockinette parts, so that led to shorter cross rows.

I changed the direction of the crosses in every other row for the sake of symmetry. I may try another one without the change, just to see which I like best.

It's hard to get a picture with it on, since the "self-portrait" mode of my camera doesn't seem to make my arms any longer.

This also isn't the best time of year to model - the thing is much warmer to wear than I expected. But I'm sure I'll appreciate that come winter, which is one more reason to make another one.

So now I'm really finished with knitting on a deadline. Now it's time to get ready for Pennsic. And to spin. And to make stuff for my Secret Pal. Maybe I need to pretend I have deadlines.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Look what Aaron made for me!

He's being much more productive this summer than I am!

This was waiting for me when I got home from class yesterday. He's been into leatherwork lately, and this is the third of these leather bottles he's made. And it's the only one with a dog that looks like Max on it - isn't that great?!?

Making one of these is a simple enough project, on paper. Aaron draws the shape of the bottle on leather, cuts out two identical pieces, and stitches them together with two rows of double running stitch.

Then he gets the bottle-shape wet, and fills it with sand. And more sand. And still more sand - tamping everything down with a stick to make it nice and firm. He's learned the hard way that it's important for the sand to be dry when it's poured in - so now the sand gets baked in the oven for a bit before he uses it.

The sand's job is to puff out the leather and make the bottle three-dimensional. Once the leather is dry, it's time to get all the sand out. This is much easier to write about than to do.

After that, he coats the inside with a mixture of brewer's pitch and beeswax. This has also been something of a trial-and-error process, it seems to be getting smoother. The combination of pine and beeswax smells absolutely lovely - it's almost a pity that it has to be melted outside for fire safety reasons.

I'm sure I've left out a couple of steps, but that's essentially it. I'm not sure where the dying and carving happens. I know he did this tooling with one of his bone naalbinding needles, and he's spent a lot of time polishing it to bring out the design.

As I said, he's been much more productive than I have. Here's my Dream Swatch Head Wrap. I've knit as many repeats as the pattern calls for, but it's definitely not finished yet. I kind of hope to get it finished soon - I think I'm just a few repeats away from having it as long as I want it. It looks like there will be a lot of room for things to change in blocking, so I'll have to play with that.

And I wanted to share that I'm offering something in the Live Long and Marry auction. I didn't make these specifically for the auction, but thought it offered a good opportunity to share some projects that I haven't really let out of the closet (no pun intended) as much as I should. The earrings are made from some of my lampwork beads. I made the pouch following the "Sakura" pattern in Kumiko Sudo's Omiyage. It's also decorated with some of my handmade lampwork beads. I'm glad I resisted the temptation to offer to knit something - I have enough knitting to do!

P.S. Aaron informs me that he's only made two of the bottles so far. I thought I'd seen him working on one for someone else, but that was the one he made for me. Now we know how he was able to carry an engagement ring into the house without me noticing!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Look what Aaron made for me!

Aaron's been busy, and now I have a new fiber toy!

It's a loom for tablet weaving, and maybe for rigid heddle weaving. There are a whole bunch of tablet weaving classes at Pennsic, but we're going to be so tight on space that I didn't want to bring my inkle loom along. Aaron built this one so it would collapse down into a bunch of flat pieces of wood.

He more or less followed the Henry Loom design, but with holes added so the uprights fit together with screws. The description on the webpage doesn't exactly create the loom pictured on the webpage - we're still fiddling a bit to try to make it work.

The project on the loom is my attempt at this Birka-style woven band. I'm using Louet Gems Pearl, having taken full advantage of Five Skein Friday at River Knits! The weaving isn't going as well as I hoped, for several reasons:

  1. I forgot just how insanely long it takes to set up the warp.
  2. The warp take-up board doesn't work so well. The drawing is really unclear about which way the notch should go. We've concluded that the board needs to be wider than the loom, and that the notch should run horizontally. I think.
  3. The cloth take-up really doesn't work. I don't know what's wrong, but I can't maintain tension at all. The mechanism seemed pretty simple - except that it doesn't work at all. The plans say that the first part of the band is more difficult, so I'm going to keep going and hope it improves.
  4. I'm very tired. I spent all day in a First Aid/CPR class, so had to get up insanely early in the morning. I'm just too tired to weave. Every time I got interrupted at all, I'd lose my place in the pattern and couldn't figure out where I was. I started over, but I've done something wrong and haven't figured out what yet. The worst part is that the class may prove useless - I took it so I could volunteer as a first aid provider at Pennsic, but they've made so many changes to how things are done that it may be too bureaucracy- and annoyance-laden to be worth it. The good news about that is it will leave more time for tablet weaving.

And more time for knitting, which I'll need. I may even need more time for spinning. I've been knitting every day for the Tour de Fleece, but most days have just been a token effort of a few feet. I'm halfway through my 10 yards of red yarn. I also need white, and enough of the greyish-brown background color to actually knit something. But the Tour de France is a long ride, right?

Want to see a seriously cool thing about my new loom? Here it is with a skein of Gems Pearl draped around it. It's almost like having my own swift! Pretty nice for a loom built almost completely with scrap lumber, eh? Having Aaron at home has been great for my hobbies.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Now that my Hogwarts pal has received her package, I can post about the bag I made for her!

The requirement for the swap is to send a kit for your pal to make something - it started with just socks, but it's expanded since some people have a lot of socks by now. Each kit has to include a handmade item for the recipient, and everything goes in a bag - or that seems to be the tradition, at least.

So I wanted a bag design that would be a little bit funky, in honor of the whole Harry Potter universe, and also thought it should be something I've been wanting to try. So I pulled out Cat Bordhi's Moebius Knitting book and made the Jester Tentacles bag for my pal.

The moebius cast-on was a bit funky to learn. It's a simple enough technique, but my needle was too long, and the stitches were stretched out at first. Too short is definitely better than too long for this project. But you only do a little bit of the moebius knitting before opening up slits to add the bag's pouches.

Here's what the bag looks like with the inner pouch finished, and the outer pouch mostly finished. The moebius band forms the top of the two pouches and holds them together. The purple and blue parts are waste yarn, marking where the tentacles and straps will be inserted.

Getting to this step took a lot longer than I expected. Finishing the main part doesn't mean the bag is anywhere close to finished - the straps and tentacles involved a lot of knitting. Bordhi has you go to two circular needles for knitting the pouches and the tentacles, but I didn't want to go buy another circular needle in a size I rarely used, so I tried to magic loop the whole thing. This worked fine for the pouches, but made the tentacles take even longer - I wound up buying a set of DPNs, which made things much easier.

Here's the bag post-felting. Felting Cascade 220 is a bit scary; for a long time there's no change, and then it seizes up all at once. If I'd paid closer attention I might have had a slightly larger bag in the end, but I'm content with the result. I stuffed it with plastic grocery bags to help it dry in the shape I wanted.

The straps didn't felt down short enough - usually I have the opposite problem, so I'd made them extra long. I felted them by hand to get a more reasonable length.

I'd thought about adding something to the end of the tentacles - eyeballs, charms, or bells - but nothing quite worked out for me. In the end, I don't think it needs anything else to help it look weird.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

O! Kentucky

Here's yet another entry in the "Why I haven't finished my headwrap" category.

The Knitters for Barack Obama are doing another fund-raising effort. Every $5 donated through their group's page earns one ticket for a drawing for all sorts of knitting-related prizes.

One of the prizes is a version of this afghan, made up of squares donated by people from all over. Since Indiana was already covered, I volunteered to do a Kentucky square, for Aaron.

I started and finished the square yesterday, which is pretty good for me. The state blocks for the afghan should all go pretty quickly (they're only 37 stitches across), although she only has a written-out pattern, no chart. It's a little easy to lose your place in the knitting - but with only 57 rows no mistake is too catastrophic.

So the square goes in the mail today, on to Carrie, who has generously offered to sew them all together. I hope this will make a nice prize for someone - I know there are a lot of things in the drawing that I'd like to win!

One less thing on the to-do list, and one less thing standing between me and my headwrap. I just need to be sure to get in some spinning today, and then I'll be free to knit.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Most awesome gadget ever.

I got a package today!

I don't know if this is obvious, but I like gadgets. I really like gadgets. Gadgets of all kinds - cooking gadgets, office gadgets, travel gadgets - the more ingenious the better.

So as soon as I found this, I had to have one!

This is an Orikaso dinnerware set. The flat pieces of plastic on the right fold up to become the cup, plate, and bowl on the left. When you're done, the everything unfolds to pack flat - dishes for two fit into a mailing envelope!

Isn't that just the most awesome thing in the world?

"But why would you need such a thing?" some may ask (in fact, I may be asked this question as soon as I get home). As far as I'm concerned, "because it's cool." But it's also practical; I'm sure these will be wonderfully handy for traveling. My International Cups and Bowls set (second only to my Kleenexes of the World collection) is proof positive that it's wise to pack something to eat and drink from, in order to avoid making one's first stop in a new place the local equivalent of a dollar store.

This is clearly very practical. Look at all it holds!

(Yeah, this is mostly here so I can still pretend this is a knitting blog.)

At any rate, I love my new gadget. Now my inner evangelist will come out, and I'll have to decide who need one of these for Christmas. I'm also sure that somebody needs a Squishy Bowl, but I'll dwell on its coolness later.

By the way, I was able to give into temptation thanks to a gift certificate I earned from MyPoints. If you're interested in getting goodies for shopping online and receiving e-mail, send me your e-mail address and I'll send you an invitation.

The subject of strange travel gadgets isn't just something near and dear to my heart, it's also the perfect segue into Secret Pal 12's Question #5: "Where is your favorite place to go for vacation/holiday? Where is one place you'd like to go?"

This is not an easy question to answer. We don't tend to return to the same place very often, and I haven't taken a leisurely lie-on-the-beach vacation as an adult. I've loved almost every place I've ever visited. I wouldn't even mind returning to some of the others - I'm sure San Francisco and London are both perfectly nice on the three days a year they have sunshine. One might think this would be an easy question because we're in the process of planning a honeymoon, but so far we've only come up with the negatives - we are not spending our honeymoon night on an airplane, and we don't want to go to anyplace too interesting, that would keep us in museums from dawn to dark.

The easiest answer may be that Israel is my favorite place I've visited, and going back again would feel like a vacation. There's so much to offer - both educational and recreational. Swimming on the Dead Sea is worth the trip all by itself. And people there are so fun and friendly - so it's just a really easy destination to enjoy.

The place I most want to visit that I'm actually likely to visit is Prague, with Dubrovnik a close second. (I'm actually more intrigued by Dubrovnik, but Prague seems easier.) If this is purely hypothetical planning, I'd like to visit Bora Bora - or better still, take a seaplane or boat trip around the Pacific. I loved James Michener's Hawaii, so starting there and then moving through some other Pacific islands would be an exciting trip.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Hufflepuff Quiz #6

It's time for another Hufflepuff Quiz - this one about Dark Creatures. I'm going to refrain from comment about the Creature that's been clawing my bathroom door, since these sound much more scary:

1) What is a Chimaera?
- A Chimaera is a creature with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a dragon's tail. They are vicious and dangerous.

2) Name 3 of the 4 breeds of Winged Horses.
- Abraxan, Aethonan, Granian

3) What are Yeti afraid of?
- Fire

4) How does a wizard rid a farm of a Nogtail?
- Nogtails can be chased off by a pure white dog.

5) Why are Fwoopers sold with a silencing charm?
- Its song will drive the listener insane.

6) Where are Erklings found?
- Erklings are native to Germany.

7) Name the only spell known to repel a Lethifold.
(Bonus if you can name the wizard who survived a Lethifold attack)
- The Patronus Charm is the only known defense against a Lethifold. This was discovered by Flavius Belby, the only known survivor of a Lethifold attack.

I've sent a collection of Hogwarts supplies to my pal in Ravenclaw. I can't wait to find out how she likes them!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Tour de Fleece

I've sent off my Hogwarts Kit today, which means it's OK to start another project, right?

I'm going to rule this one an acceptable addition to the list, because I'm stashbusting with the Tour de Fleece. I've been working a lot, so I'm joining the pack a little late - but maybe that makes me a backup rider?

I don't really spin much, so I'm keeping it simple. I'm going to spin the yarn to make a replica of the Gunnister Purse. We're going to Pennsic in August - my first trip in 10 years - so this may be my Pennsic knitting project. Or maybe I'll do it for the Knitting Olympics. But I'll try to have the yarn done by July 27.

I'm also making nice progress for the Dream Swatch KAL. I think I'll have to add more pattern repeats to get the full length - the consequence of stepping down a needle size, I suspect. I still really love this yarn, and this stitch pattern. I'm trying to figure out what else it needs to become - socks, maybe, or a sweater? My wrap looks like it's going to be 3.5 - 4" wide. I know it's going to need a little blocking before it's finished.

And look at this - my very own pasties! Aren't they beautiful? I received them from a generous pasties angel, after I didn't get the original set in the swap. I've also volunteered to be a pasties angel, so you'll be seeing even more pasties as soon as I get out to buy feathers. It's so easy to get hooked on making pasties - now I need to find things to do with pasties. (I know, there's the obvious - but I need other things to do with pasties!)

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Saturday, July 05, 2008

SP12 Questions

I seem to be answering these two at a time - so here are Questions #3 and #4 for Secret Pal Twelve:

What would you consider the perfect amount of stash?

- Enough, but not too much. Enough to be able to start a new project at any time, and enough to make some basic gifts without having to make a yarn store trip. My stash fills two suitcases, three plastic boxes, and a giant Ziploc bag - I think it's getting to be a bit big. That won't stop me from adding to it, but it means that I really should look to stash yarn first. I have lots of new projects that I want to start, or projects that I should finish.

But there was a time, a couple of years ago, when I was caught without a knitting project. That wound up meaning twelve hours on an airplane - and a full day of travel - with absolutely nothing to do. I don't want that to ever happen again. So the "enough" part is really important.

What yarn (that you don't have/haven't used) would make your stash "complete," and what yarn do you never want to be without?

Hmmm...this is harder. I'd like to try the Wollmeise Sockenwolle yarn that everyone's talking about. But what my stash needs most is cotton or other non-wool, non-sock yarns - maybe Blue Sky Cotton, enough to make at least a tank top or short-sleeved sweater. Their Alpaca Silk is lovely, too - I'd be very happy to have it in my stash!

As for yarns to never be without, if I could only have one yarn, it would be Dale of Norway's Baby Ull. It's soft, versatile, and superwash - I use it for a lot of things. I also get a lot of use out of Louet Gems Pearl, and Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport (not Shepherd Sock!) is one of my favorite sock yarns - but the Baby Ull is good for just about anything.

Friday, July 04, 2008

I must have more of this yarn.

It's the Fourth of July, which means it's kickoff day for the Hufflepuff Dream Swatch Head Wrap Knitalong.

I started mine this morning, using the Briar Rose Fibers 4th of July yarn I picked up at last year's fleece fair. I must have more of this yarn. It was bought to be a Clapotis, but I'm not sure there would've been enough for that, even if I weren't using it for the knitalong. So I just need more.

The colors are flowing together just perfectly. The yarn handles beautifully. I love it. I need more. I must find another fleece fair, soon.

By evening I was able to pull myself out of the "must have yarn" trance to head over to Purdue for the fireworks display. I've never stayed in town for the 4th before, so this was a first visit to the annual concert at Slayter Hill. We got there just in time for the wrap to check out the Lafayette Citizens' Band performance of the 1812 Overture, with the World's Largest Drum standing in for the cannon. (Can anyone tell me why we commemorate American independence with music that celebrates the victory of Tsarist Russia over Republican France?)

And I have to include a shot of the fireworks, just to show that I'm figuring out the function on my camera. It was a nice show, and even now the neighbors are doing their best to offer sequels.

Unfortunately, we got home to discover that Oscar really didn't like the fireworks. So our plans of lighting our own in the backyard had to be scrapped.

On another note, I've finished a non-knitting project. This little sparrow pouch is about to be sent of as a gift. I won't say who it's for, just in case she's reading the blog.

And one more note - some of my knitting friends have items up for auction with Live Long and Marry, a science-fiction-fandom based organization that's raising funds to combat the anti-gay constitutional amendment being proposed in California. There is all kinds of cool stuff available - including a lot of good knitting or knit stuff - and, as they put it, your bid will help make sure that no one makes Mr. Sulu sad. Just don't bid on the homemade citrus preserves - I'm trying to talk myself into that one!