Tuesday, November 28, 2006

If All the Raindrops

Dear Lauren,

Congrats! How's it feel to be the very first winner of a Two Black Sheep contest? So today, I dedicate our post to you.

Knitting has been a tad slow. From the picture, you can see a "No Sew Miter" perched on my suitcase. That's the only entertaining shot I could get. I've been traveling a lot for work, and I really shouldn't complain. There are weeks with my job that I'll sit with my buds, Dr. Phil & Maury and shake my head with disapproval (for the record, I don't really watch Maury. Don't ask me to apologize for Dr. Phil). Weeks just like that! Errands done in the afternoons. Dinners planned and made for the family. Off to the park with Gus for the early sun. And then there are weeks that I can't remember if this is the hotel that I'm on the 3rd floor or is it the 4th? I should use my new camera just to track my movements. Since I deal with different retailers, I can usually count on some downtime before Thanksgiving through Valentine's Day. Nope, not this year. And it sucks, because managers are really pissy this time of year. And I don't blame them, but I didn't ask to come into their store. Their bosses did!

Anyways, back to the Miter. I like doing them this way. Not quite as portable, but just kind of quirky. What I don't like about them, is the cotton. I've always disliked cotton. I'm using Tahki Cotton Classic and Elann Sonata. I prefer the cheap stuff since it isn't as slippery, but I know that the expensive stuff would feel a bit better on the baby's skin. It isn't a huge difference and you can't really tell since it's mixed in. Oh well, ain't my kid.

Speaking of my kid, here's a recent picture. Recently, we went to a friend's house and he discovered a play drill. Gus loved it! Put it up to every piece of furniture and knee in the place. Not sure where he picked up this behavior. We're not fixer-uppers. SK bought a set of plastic tools the next day. Gus loves his new goggles and even tries to get the Pup to wear them. That doesn't last long.

Congrats again. And thanks for reading. Send us your email address and we'll get your prize a movin'. Ava is going to pack up your present, and I've already yelled at her. She has this knack for sending gifts months (sometimes years) after the celebration. I think I just got my Sweet 16 gift. Ava, thanks for the pink boom box. Where's the cd go?

Love- Lola

p.s. Ava- Here's the crochet shot I promised. This is really the only crochet thing I like. Just reminds me of Grandma and her teaching me my very first hobby. So I've switched majors to Knitting, but I don't think she'd care. I've added a second color and am about to add the third. I'm using green, cream and brown. Reminded me of a new stroller print I saw in Babies R Us. Hell of a lot cheaper than having a baby just to buy the cute new stuff.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

So Sleepy (so tired can't even think of a song)

I believe we have a winner, but I'll conference with Ava. Which is also an excuse to catch up on holiday drama.

I'm exhausted, so I can't blog about anything. Nothing. I'm on the road again all week, so I'm filling the bag with more fiber and more sleep-aid (hotels screw me up). But here's a quick update...

  • Got a new digital camera
  • Made great progress on new Noni pattern & No-Sew Miter Baby Blanket
  • Only discussed why "No one's coming home for Christmas this year" a thousand times
  • Gus was on fire this week. I think he's learning stand-up at daycare.
  • And was fantastic during our 8 hour car trip
  • Re-learned Grandma's Wave crochet pattern
  • Packed 7 times during the last 3 days.

I'll call you from the road tomorrow. Or maybe the bar...

p.s. Any info on why Bloglines is still saying that we have a problem with our feed? I hate that it doesn't update!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Huddle Formation

Absolutely no knitting content here (other than to say that I finished my helmet liner - very easy and very worthwhile whatever your opinion of the war is. Motor over to A Knitted Frenzy for more info). Don't forget the contest ends on Thursday. Everyone pretty much has Lola's hometown; mine is harder, but you can figure it out . . . look at the yarns I really like!

It is my favorite/least favorite time of the year as it is parent/teacher conferences. I love it because it gives me a break from the kids and a chance to see if apples truly don't fall far from the tree and it's nice to catch up with parents I already know. But, I detest it because you often find out things you don't want to know (a student's father died unexpectedly over the summer; excuses are everywhere; nobody likes English). Anyway, enjoy your turkey/tryptophan spectacular. We'll be thinking about you in Montreal - oui, oui!


PS - I may be in love with Kraemmer's Summit Hill yarn. The stitch definition is beyond belief . . . they offer tours of the mill, by the way. Also, please talk me out of (or into as the case may be) the Enid Cardigan by Veronik Avery. Don't know if steeking is something I can handle right now.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Hit me with your Best Shot

Ava thinks that we should have a little contest here at Two Black Sheep. See how many readers we have besides our family (the ones we've told, anyway). So come on and delurk just to make us feel warm and fuzzy! But I'll get to the contest at the end of the post. Hang on (part of a song that I've endured about 60 times just today. Don't ask me to count the times early in the week)!

Knitting news. I spent almost a week up north and had plenty of down time. I do believe that I was in a bookstore for at least an hour every day. Not sure what else to do with my time. It's getting cold, so my time knitting and listening to Sirius in the car is coming to an end. I did have a huge knitting score. I went to Knitting Garden in Westlake, OH for the second time. This visit was so pleasant. They complimented my Lady Eleanor more times than I care to remember. When I was looking at some expensive hat yarn, the owner steered me towards Plymouth's Encore. I have never heard someone praise an acrylic blend so highly. I like the stuff and have no snobbish feelings towards acrylic, but she almost made me want to French Kiss the stuff. The yarn didn't work out for what I wanted, but I'm going to use the same color for a Totem for Beaner. Someday. Then I ventured into the sales room. Rowan Calmer for 50% off! Not the greatest color choices, but still.

Outside the sale room, I tripped over Plymouth's Boku . Less scratchy than Noro's Kureyon, not as soft as Silk Garden. As you can tell from the picture, the color changes aren't as dramatic with Boku (Boku on Right. Noro on Left). But for 1/2 the price, it will be great for my Lizard Ridge.

Then before leaving, I found a great felted bag pattern. Noni's Adventure Bag wasn't even priced yet. I have been doing a search for a great knit purse pattern. I can only hope that this is the Black Dress of knit purses! It comes in 3 sizes, Evening, Urban and Long Weeknd. I started the Long Weekend last night in a color I like to call, "Baby Shit".

Next to the "Now Totem" yarn, is the nicest card from Kim at Knitted Frenzy thanking me for the helmet liner. It was really my pleasure and I strongly recommend the pattern and cause.

So non-knitting news. Stupid us, we went to dinner last night. This is not the weekend to venture out of your house in our city. But we went anyway. Usually, Gus is very good at restaurants. Sit near a ceiling fan or some lights, and he's thrilled. Little different last night, just kind of cranky. Got home and put him to bed, no problem. I heard Gus coughing for a while, so I went in to check on him. Nothing's worse than opening the door and being smacked with the smell of vomit. There he is laying in a pile of peach filled puke! I gave SK the job of giving him a quick bath. There's no way that he could've handled the rest without adding to the pile. Every time I have to clean up vomit, I remember our mother's trick and think of using it. "But how was I going to get the Pup into Gus' crib to lick up this pile?" I think SK may have had a problem with letting the Pup clean it up. But then SK would have a problem cleaning it up too. Oh, the choices when you're a parent.

6 more hours until the city stops and about 10 more before it starts to burn. Which brings us to the contest. Guess Lola and Ava's Cities. It may not be that hard to guess my city, we're all over the news. I even saw sexy Bill Weir (GMA's weekend guy) talking about us. Ava's city might be more of a challenge. The winner will be the person closest to our respective hometowns, give or take 50 miles. Prizes are yet to be determined, but we do love to shop for yarn. Come on and guess by Thursday!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Foggy Day in Londontown

For some unknown reason, it took me a lot longer to bounce back from this trip to London. Maybe it was the fact that I took Mom to the airport at 4:30 AM or that I worked a full day upon my return or that I couldn’t sleep the night I got back. Suffice it to say, blogging was the furthest thing from my mind. Here is the trip in a nutshell.

Nelson's Column towards the Eye

The flight over was uneventful (other than the woman bitching one row away, but I chalked that up to her unfortunate choice in footwear for a trans-Atlantic flight - seriously, leave the Fryes at home) and I knew that it was a shopping day for me. First up was Liberty. Lola, I am telling you, this is fabric and yarn nirvana. I absolutely go crazy for Liberty’s fabric. I bought half a meter of each to make something – anything – from Amy Butler’s book. On the yarn front, I bought a new Rowan kids’ book and enough yarn to make Beaner a sweater for her birthday. Hopefully the Other Sister will put it on her. That night we dined at Wagamama’s and I think I may have eaten the single finest meal of my life (can I tempt you and the Knife to take a trip with us this summer? Please?)

Yarn purchases in London
If you click on the picture, I described the different purchases on Flickr.

The next morning was our most ambitious as we were venturing out of the central London area into the different neighborhoods. The Flyer and I had two, yes two, yarn stores mapped out. Thank goodness I have Dad’s natural sense of directions because it was a little challenging. The first stop was in East Putney to a store called Stash Yarns. It is a relatively new shop owned by a lovely woman and her selection of yarn was wonderful (that's the shop in the photo below). I bought a KPPM skein, a grey skein of Trekking XXL for a pair of socks for the Flyer, and a lovely hand dyed silk blend. The splurge was a set of Blue Sky Alpaca DPNs and come Chibii needles. All in all, it was an awesome shop. The second shop, Loop in Islington, wasn’t as promising. I was really expecting more because it is talked about as the grand-daddy (or mommy) of yarn shops in London. I just wasn’t that impressed. The yarn was disorganized at best, the shop was very small, and nobody ever said hello. I almost had to force myself to buy something so it just didn’t happen.

Stash Yarns in East Putney

Other than that, the rest of the days were spent traipsing around London with the Flyer, doing the stupid shit we love (listening to the accents, taking short cuts, buying silly stuff). Little Britain Live was hilarious; honestly, where can you see a grown man actually do the penis tuck live on stage or Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer in red vinyl hot pants?

Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of knitting done. I cast on a pair of socks out of my Trekking and knit a bit in the hotel room, but I wasn’t allowed to take the socks on board for the return flight. On the whole trip, I think I said “fuck” twice; on the last day (spent in the airport), I must have said it twenty times or more. “You can’t take the needles on the plane.” Fuck! “You have to stand in the queue for 45 minutes because we reissued new security measures.” Fuck! “We don’t sell that sandwich the Flyer loves so much in the airport.” Fuck!

Anyway, glad to be back and glad you made the helmet liner (I stopped at Kraemers on the way home from class to buy some Summit Hill yesterday for mine . . . plus some of their Vintage line, but that's another blog-story). I know how busy I will be with work before conferences so I couldn’t commit to making one for A Knitted Frenzy, but I will probably make one for the website listed for the pattern. Oh, can you convey to the Brother that political statements to the Other Sister’s email are not a good idea? Honestly . . . does the boy ever learn?


PS – I bought your Lush stuff (and I will be near several in Montreal in a few weeks). That being said, I forgot to give it Mom (but I did give her the Olive I bought for you).

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Touch of my Hand

I can't take it! I just can't. Resse & Ryan. And now Brit & K-Fed? I'm mean, no one thought it'd work, but I had faith in a little thing we like to call, "LOVE". What's happening to this world? I've had it. I can't read, watch tv, or even knit. I'll just turn off the lights, hit the bottle and sing a very bluesy rendition of "I'm a Slave for You." Start the beat, please.

We have should have a contest! Guess where the hell Lola's going? If you watched the news last week, I'll be lucky to come home without a bullet hole or been gang raped. I've got to visit 2 big chart topping cities for a lovely work meeting. Which is also code for, "call my cell to update me on your vacation". If you didn't get my subtlety. Where in the world in Lola?

I'm off to sing that song.

I'm a sllll avvvve foooooor yooooooou....

Monday, November 06, 2006

Mad World

SK & I have been obsessing over this song! I could vaguely remember that you said something about liking the last song on the Donnie Darko soundtrack. How I remembered you saying that and it being the same song, is beyond my comprehension. I can't remember to put a hat on Gus in the mornings.

Every time Gears of War commercial airs, I'd go crazy trying to think why I knew it. I hate that and songs always do that to me. The first episode of Brothers & Sisters had a song playing at the very end. I searched the internet with only a couple keywords, Brothers & Sisters, Song, Home, Dinner Scene. As you can guess, I came up empty each time. Finally last night, I stumbled onto some site that listed the song as KT Tunstall's Under the Weather. Ahh, sweet relief.

I finished a helmet liner this weekend. A Knitted Frenzy put out a request for 5 to send to her cousin in Iraq. I had some Cascade 220 leftover from Demi, so I put it to good use. I haven't done a lot of charity knitting. I've always had lot of "Me" projects, but I've reached a burn-out on the big projects. Since I like to knit just to knit, I put some yarn and time to good use. While I was knitting the liner, I just kept hoping that the intended soldier will get home safely. I guess that's all you can really do. As I was finishing the face ribbing, Dad called and said that Brother's troop will be shipped over in 2008. Yes, it's a very long time and a lot can change, but the final stitches meant a little more. So I'll send it with strong thoughts and prayers of a safe return. I think I'm going to knit some Striped baby hats for the LYS. Better do it before the new Interweave hits stands, I've heard it's a big one!

Can't wait to hear all about your trip! Post lots of pictures and the pattern for Other Sis' kid.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Working 9 to 5

I wanted to post sooner, but Halloween clean-up has been getting in the way. Maybe Ava will get a chance to peek at the blog while she's on vacation. First, I've been working on new Christmas stockings. I made awful looking ones the first year I started knitting. I think they have a neon Fun Fur cuff. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but S.K. hated them. Enter some slip-stitch ones from Holiday Handknits. I still have to sew the linings, but they're done. This is the first project that I've done a slip-stitch pattern (not including Mason-Dixon washrag). I made SK's brown/green one first. Loved the look. I just finished mine and it turned out slighty different. It seems like the slip stitches are pulling & puckering more. I used Patons Merino for both stockings. Maybe a good blocking will whip mine into shape. Now I've got to figure out how to put a hook on that won't pull the fabric when filled (We never did Stockings as kids, so I hope to add that tradition).

My next project is a true WIP, no rush invovled. I have a thing for dark gray T-shirts. Not the crappy light gray ones, but the real dark heathered gray ones. The ones that the fabric drapes like silk, and like someone has loved it for decades. You know the ones. I have 2 that I would probably rummage a burning house for. One was a gift from Other Sister. Over-sized (in the 90s, weren't all T-shirts?) Army shirt. Shows she has some balls since she was in the Airforce when she bought it for me, but she knew that I really wanted one. The second was a gift from the Flyer. It's an old Batman shirt that he had outgrown. I don't remember why he gave it to me, maybe it was a Please-Don't-Get so Drunk-with-my-Wife-and -Pick -on-Your-Mother-all-Night holiday bribe. I don't care why I got it, but when it finally falls apart I may bury it. This brings me to my sweater.

One of my first sweater projects was Raspy from Rowan Denim. It's a raglan with dropped stitches. SK called it my Matrix sweater. I had envisioned myself wearing it all the time, dress it up with clean jeans and head to the store. It wouldn't have mattered if I ran into anyone with that sweater on. Well, didn't turn so great. The front & back were knit the exact same, so the front pleats. Since Gus' EZ sweater turned out so well, I started one of my own. My Gray Comfy Sweater, drop stitches and all. I bought enough of the green color for an entire sweater (wanted to make Raspy, but I wasn't smart enough yet to work around a pattern. Raspy is for a yarn that shrinks 20%), but I felt like the gray was safer. So the green will hide on the inside, maybe I knit 2 rows so it'll peek out. I'll decide at the end.

Hope you're having a fantastic time in jolly ole England. Don't forget my Lush stuff! Please...