Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Yarn and BBQ

I first met Xavier Guy when he was twelve. He was this very cute little kid brother of the guy I was completely in love with. It was evident he really thought his big brother was pretty cool, and since I thought the same, we have always had something in common. As Italian and I dated, Xavier Guy became more like a little brother to me. Not only did he graduate from college this month, but he also grew another year older today. Happy Birthday, Xavier Guy. You are a fantastic person, and I'm lucky to be able to call you a little brother.

Now, I know how great he is and do not need reminding, yet, he continues to be thoughtful in very many ways. For example, the Italian family and spouses gathered together this past weekend for a Memorial Day celebration. As part of the conversation, the upcoming visit by Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle came up. My obsession with knitting is no secret and my friends and family will sometimes pass along tidbits of knitting related information to me. When we began talking about Ann Hood's book signing at a local bookstore, I enthusiastically exclaimed I would be there and had been waiting in anticipation for about a month. Then the date of the event hit me. It would be on Xavier Guy's birthday and during the time we would be celebrating as a family. Yep, Ann Hood's book signing was tonight.

Xavier Guy looked at me and said, "You should go. I'll have another birthday next year, and besides, how often does a knitter come to town to sign her book?" See, I told you he is a fabulous guy. I told Xavier Guy there was no way I'd miss his birthday, and I didn't. We met for dinner and we had a rousing great time eating good food and drinking good beer.

I didn't miss out on meeting Ann Hood either. How did I pull that off? I have one of the best local bookstores and Ann Hood has a great publicist. Our local Davis Kidd humours us knitters every other week. They allow us to take up a small area of the store and knit and drink for our bi-weekly knit night. When they heard Ann Hood was coming to town, they let us know and passed along the publicist's information. Diane and the publicist worked some magic and scheduled a little lunch at a local BBQ place. To my utter amazement, my crazy work schedule actually slowed down this week and I had the lunch hour free and spent it with some great local knitters and Ann Hood.

Ann is very personable. She is sweet and fun and a great conversationalist. She also enjoys BBQ which is an important quality if one wants to hang here. Lunch today was like having lunch and hanging out with a group of friends. She is a wonderful addition to our knitting group. If you have the chance to see her in your city, please do. She is worth it. Not only is she worth it, but her book, The Knitting Circle worth it.

I had some reservations about reading The Knitting Circle. I'm try to avoid the knitting books because they seem to rely on a gimmick. After hearing the reviews by other knitters and reading up on Ann Hood's other accomplishments as a writer, I decided to take a chance on the book. I am quite glad I did. The knitting in the book is true knitting and is deftly woven into the story, but it doesn't overpower the story, either. Instead, the story of Mary and the knitters provides the life-beat to make the book an engaging read. I found myself worried about Mary and hoping above all hope that she would find the solice she needed. Ann's own experiences make the story more poignant and tangible. The loss she share's with Mary is harsh, but their stories provide hope for others. Their story is a good one. Go read it.

As requested, here is a picture of the socks I finished for Xavier Guy:

Oh, and as if my day couldn't get any better, when I came home, a nice little package from Cafepress was waiting for me. My Sheepie Tee and WWMDfK Tee were finally here. Hooray!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Baa, Baa


I don't have the opportunity to attend fiber festivals, so I don't usually have a chance to see a real sheep. Naturally, when I heard my nephew was having his fourth birthday party on a farm, my thoughts did not turn to what would be a perfect birthday present for my nephew. Instead, I thought of the chance to see a touch a sheep. What can I say? I'm a knitter. The farm did not disappoint me. Not only did they have a sheep, but they had two, and I got to pet them! Oh, happy day! Little Clover, Papa, and Nana Clover were all happy for me as well. I have a very great and understanding family. The sheep were newly shorn and in my excitement, I forgot to ask about the breed. I think the natural wool fumes intoxicated me and made me too giddy to think clearly.

In addition to petting the sheep, I finished Xavier Guy's socks. The second sock really zoomed off the needles. I began the first sock in January, early January. I finished it last week. I started the second sock last Sunday, and handed off the pair to Xavier Guy in time for his birthday and the muggy delta summer. I think he likes them.
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Friday, May 25, 2007

In the red

I started writing this post about how I wasn't knitting with Project Spectrum 2.0 for the months of June and July and I was just going to do a photo journal of red. I anticipated bowing out of PS 2.0 this go round because I'm taking Project Spectrum as an opportunity to reduce my stash and the red yarn I had in mind is for a lovely long sleeve wool sweater. Wool sweater and long sleeves should not be part of a Southerner's vocabulary in June and July unless it is to describe the oppressive heat and how it feels. Then the word wet is usually added. Then, I remembered the lovely red lace Schafer Andrea I just received. I could knit a shawl. Even better, I have some fabulous red Socks That Rock and I've been itching to knit and the Interweave Favorite Socks book just happens to have a pattern I've been eying. It looks like I'll be knitting in the red after all.

I also then realized it was still May and not June (can you tell I'm a bit frazzled still?). I have some time then to knit a little green baby hat for a little newborn in Texas. With any luck, I may finish the hat and the socks before PS 2.0 Red begins.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


I'm not sure if my crazy work life is truly slowing down or if I just have let go of the stress and said "Screw it." I think it is more likely the latter. I also discovered this weekend that Italian's family commitments and software deployments have an uncanny knack for occurring at the same time. It's rather remarkable really. For the first launch, we had a lovely wedding at the same time. For the second launch, we had a lovely graduation:

Xavier Guy officially has a diploma! We requested to see the diploma as proof and were quite proud of him. We drove up to Cincinnati Friday after Little Clover's Field Day (where he won first place in the 50 yard dash).

The graduation ceremony was early Saturday morning and I was armed with coffee, water, a book and GameBoy for Little Clover, and knitting for myself. As a knitter, I love graduations because it means at least 2 hours of uninterrupted knitting time. I was happy. (The fact that I have a small child who is perfectly content sitting for two hours at a time is also a beautiful thing and the sheer luck of this is not lost upon me).

We celebrated the happy day with lunch and Italian, Xavier Guy, SweetPea, Little Clover, and Mrs. Soprano all went to the aquarium while I returned to the hotel to do some work. Little Clover returned to the hotel with a beaming shark painted face and told me all about the amazing things he saw.

He is convinced that Cincinnati is a fantastic town and that we just needed to stay there instead of going home. He agreed to let us take him home the next day when I promised him we would return.

The sock also enjoyed the time in Cinicinnati. He was the only project I packed and he loved the singular attention. He thanked me by letting me finish up the first sock (after ripping back an inch and a half) and I even finished the toebox of the second sock.

Now, I know a lot of knitters suffer from Second Sock Syndrome, but for some reason, I am immune to SSS. Instead, the second sock is usually a treat for me and I generally finish it quickly. I think the second sock is like running down hill towards the finish line after running a crazy long distance. It's the signal that the end is near and I can begin to pay attention to all the other sock yarn in my stash. I begin to get excited about the prospect of adding another FO to my list. My fingers get excited, and the stitches fly. Let's hope this second sock continues this streak and continues to prevent SSS.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I have been in a love affair for over a decade, now. Today, Italian and I celebrate the day we made the love affair official. We were much younger then, but I love him more today (if possible) than the day we were wed. Looking back at this picture, we almost look like kids playing dress up or getting ready for a silly dance instead of two people making a commitment to love each other forever. I still smile at our youth then. We had no idea of the pains and joys our life together would bring. The journey to this, our eight anniversary has been filled with unexpected excitements as we've grown up together. On our wedding day, Italian was my best friend. Today, our friendship, just like our love, has only grown stronger. I can't wait to see what the next eight years will bring. Happy Anniversary and I love you more than four.

As if I need any proof that Italian is a wonderful catch, today, when I awoke, he had laid beside me a skein of Schafer Andrea laceweight silk. Yippee!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Catching up

Me: How does my hair look like this?
Italian: Fine. It looks good.
Me: It doesn't look bad.
Italian: No, it looks good.
Little Clover: Uh, I wouldn't exactly say it looks bad.
Me: Oh, what would you say?
Little Clover: It looks a little weird. You aren't going to put on lipstick are you?
Me: I was planning on it. Why?
Little Clover: Well, when girls do things to their hair and then put on lots of make-up, their faces look a little crazy.

I dont' think Little Clover is accustomed to me getting dressed up to go out. The above is the conversation we had while getting ready for Engineer's wedding.

Little Clover looked spiffy in his suit jacket and Engineer was a beautiful bride.

The dress was elegant and the shawl did not clash with it! Yay! After the ceremony, we partied at the downtown train station which had a large amount of historical and local flair. Little Clover showed us that dispite his young age, he can really groove to funk and R&B! He ruled the dance floor with his little moves. I tried to dance with him, but I couldn't keep up. After a few hours, he was finally ready to go home.

After the wedding, I set my focus back on work. We are in the middle of a huge project and work is temporarily hogging all of my free time. I haven't even had time to knit. I know, the thought of it still makes me cry a little bit. My life is pretty stressful without yarn.

I knew things were bad when I left the office late one night and called home to see what my guys were doing. They weren't home yet either, so I immediately changed course and went to my LYS. I didn't need anything and I didn't have any knitting with me. I just needed to be around yarn and knitters. I walked in, said "Hello" to the owner and then proceeded to walk all around the store touching and sniffing everything I could. When asked if I was looking for anything in particular, I told the Spinning Guru I just needed a yarn break. Then I sat on the sofa and talked to everyone there as I leafed through pattern books. I left feeling rejuvinated.

I did pack knitting with me for my flight to Minneapolis and the knitting goddess was smiling on my. I just grabbed a bag with Xavier Guy's still unfinished socks and stuffed it in my carry-on bag. I got through security, both flying there and back, with a set of metal DPNs and darning needles. I was shocked, but very happy. Other than the flight, where portable electronic devices must be turned off, I didn't get to knit at all.

I did get to go here:

Where we saw:

An indoor amusement park
(It really is huge!)

LegoLand Store:

And fish, lots of fish.

The Mall of America has an aquarium and my traveling companion and I took some time of for a mental break one night to bum around the mall. If you are ever in the Twin Cities, go to the mall. You will not be disappointed. Besides, there are plenty of stores to exercise the "No Sales Tax on Clothing and Shoes" rule.

I may not have knitted much the last two months, but I made up for the lost time this weekend. After finishing the wedding shawl, I needed something mindless and easy. I picked up the Picovoli again and wove in the ends yesterday. I'm still not sure how much I like wearing it, but it was a quick and easy project to knit, the perfect antedote to lace.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


The wedding was fabulous!
Engineer was a beautiful bride.
The shawl was delivered on time.
Minneapolis has no sales tax on clothing.
I found the Ann Taylor Loft by the hotel :)

More to come with pictures.