Archive for May, 2010

In Leaps and Bounds…

May 31, 2010

…that’s how time is getting away from me.  Days are just flying by, it’s the end of May already and here I was trying to catch up on my blog.  Piffle.

All my knitting gifts are completed, two are on their way to recipients and one is still waiting to be blocked.  The Seascape stole has been started, I’m halfway through the second repeat of Chart B.  I’m planning 7 repeats.  The Manos lace is a dream to work with…I try to get other things done and I just keep coming back to the lace thinking ok, just another row…  very hard to put down.

The yarn is so fine!   Soft and smooshy and delicate and teeny.   This:

is 83 stitches!   And it stretches/ will block to full stole width.

Meanwhile, over at the Loopy Ewe, they were having a sale on Malabrigo lace yarn.  I just happened to notice while I was checking out something entirely different, and…um….well…. customer service was, as usual, superb and this lovely little skein in Purple Mystery is now snuggled safely in my stash.

It is destined at some point to become a Haruni shawl, but for the moment it is being happily petted as is…

With all the lace projects OTN or planned, I felt I needed to balance them with a project in thicker yarn.  And the lovely aran wool I received from Danielle in Australia was pestering me.

I found the perfect project!  The Pasticcio Circular Vest by Shelley Mackie and Elann.  Here’s the beginning, I’m almost  to the armholes now.

The pattern momentarily confused me – it uses two different terms for yarn overs – yo for a yarn over before a knit  stitch and yrn for a yarn over before a purl stitch when you bring the yarn forward after the wrap.  But once I figured that out, I was ok, and the mesh pattern is very simple to remember.

I received my first shipment from The Unique Sheep Sip ‘n’ Stitch yarn and tea club!!

The first out of six, they’ll be spaced two months apart.   The package included Goddess Teas Persephone Black tea, a mesh-ball tea infuser, and hand-dyed organic cotton/bamboo yarn in the Persephone colourway (which involves a lot of purple….bliss).

The tea is a very good basic black, full bodied taste and no bitterness. It brewed up a deep golden red, and there is a very faint hint of fruit in the taste, but exactly what I’m not sure, perhaps cherry. It’s yummy with or without milk.  I don’t know if this is available commercially, it may be that it was blended just for the club. And at the moment the Goddess Teas online shop is under maintenance, so I can’t check. I have written to ask, though, as this is definitely a tea that I would purchase again.

The yarn is lovely and soft, hand-dyed in this colourway for the club.  I have no idea what I’ll do with it yet, I’m sure it will let me know in its own sweet time.

Update on Tasha’s project over on Knitty Knitty Bang Bang.  She now has 72 chemo caps for the New Orleans Children’s Hospital, which I think is fantastic!   I loved contributing to this,  and it’s simply icing on the cake that today she let me know that I won two skeins of yarn for doing so!  I’ll certainly post when they arrive.

Much more going on, more updates to come.  I spent a whole day watching clips and listening to the soundtrack of Easy Rider…RIP Dennis Hopper.   Now it looks like current events may be the center of attention for a while.  To be continued…

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So many surprises

May 12, 2010

I’ve been knitting a lot these days, and almost all of it is gifts.  Which means I can’t talk about them yet, nor show pictures.   My projects page at Ravelry is showing several of these ↓  in project photos.

Very frustrating, to not be able to talk about what I’m knitting!!!  ‘Specially since I really like these projects…  Some are already completed, some are almost there – and I’ll show them all off once they are received.

In the meantime, I’m gearing up for the next projects in line, to begin in the next few days.  In my oh so foolish enthusiasm, I’ve joined both a JAL and a KAL  – that’s Join Along and Knit Along, and please don’t ask me what the difference is.

The JAL is for the Seascape Stole designed by Kieran Foley, here in the Summer 2008  Knitty magazine.

I splurged and bought two skeins of  Manos lace yarn at the Yarn-and-Falafel Spring Fiber Fling, and I’m dying to cast on and work with this!  It’s sooooo soft – alpaca, silk and cashmere – and I can hardly wait to see it knitted into this stole.

The KAL is for a brand new pattern by Shui Kuen Kosinski (who designed the Luna Moth shawl) and Benne Ferrell:  the Dancing Crane Stole, here on the elann site.

It’s designed for a mohair/silk blend (although most yarns would be lovely for this).  I made a quick trip to the LYS and came home with BBB Soft Dream, 70% mohair/30% silk.

I wanted a dark red colour, but the red they had was way too bright.  I think this pale leaf green is perfect for spring!  The KAL is to start on June 1st, which gives me time to finish all the gifts and get going on the Seascape as well.    The rest of the ongoing projects are, as usual, ongoing.  I like to switch around…

Putting together two swap packages, one for the Cuppa Tea? spring swap, and one Hometown swap.  As far as the first (tea-n-yarn)  swap, my swap partner lives near the Harney and Sons’ warehouse, so I’m more than a wee bit excited!!!  My package of goodies for her is almost ready.   It includes yarn and notions, tea and accessories, and a couple of surprises.  The latter swap I’m also moderating, I had a fun time matching people up!   I made a grid to navigate the smokers/people not willing to swap with smokers, people with pets and people allergic to pets, people who choose not to swap overseas and people who want an overseas partner , people with allergies or specific requests, people who have former swap partners in the group – in short, I had a wonderfully geeky time filling out my grid and making matches to meet all needs!   Now I’m busy getting a package together for my partner that tells about where I live.

Stories from the weekend when I get the pictures organised!

Are we there yet?

May 9, 2010

To all of my friends and family  in the US,

Happy Mother’s Day !!

Happy Birthday, Boss!

May 7, 2010

Wow, I’m tired.

My  boss’ birthday was actually last month – his 60th – but the party kept getting put off because people were abroad, or dates and times weren’t working out.  We finally had his “surprise” party today.  He knew something was happening, it was on his calendar, but he didn’t know what.

We (the management department) left work a little after noon and started out by driving into the north – a whole convoy of cars.  I got a car from work for the weekend, so I was a driver, not a passenger.  My colleague Tzvia rode with me – her boss was leading the convoy and he kept phoning back to us pointing out various spots and sites along the way.  It really was gorgeous countryside.

We drove to the village of Jish, also known as Gush Halav, for a fantastic lunch.  Lots and lots of hot and cold salads and spreads, hot pita bread, then I had skewers of game hen,  and madjara (rice and lentils).  I finished with hot black tea in a glass filled with fresh spearmint leaves.

Very full, we got back into the cars and kept heading north.  We got to moshav Dishon,  where we parked our cars and switched to ATVs.  First, though, we were given helmets and each got a short lesson in ATV driving.  Then we got into groups and hit the trails with our fantastic guides.

Tzvia was the only one not driving, she relaxed back at the base station while the rest of us cavorted around nature.  Up and down and around the Naftali mountains, bumping over boulders and through streams.  This was my first time on an ATV, it was quite an experience.  We took a break for coffee and cookies at a spot overlooking the Huleh Valley.

All in all, we toured around for about 1-1/2 hours.  Some of it, like on steep inclines or descents, at a crawl, and some of it, on open trails, we really opened up and sailed along.  My arm muscles were pretty tired by the time we got back!    I do have to confess, one thought that kept creeping into my head while jouncing along the mountain trails through beautiful scenery was how we were all polluting that scenery with our driving through it!!  Very distracting thought while trying to concentrate on uneven terrain.

My boss thanked us all for a great birthday treat, and we all went our separate ways home from there.  When I called kidlet, she said she was at a mall with some friends.  Since the mall was on the way home, and we had been driving a long time, Tzvia and I stopped and relaxed for a while at a café there until kidlet was ready to go home.  She and a couple of her friends piled into the back of the car, I dropped folks off here and there, and we got home all tuckered out.  First thing I did was head for a long hot shower to get all the trail dust off of me.

Tomorrow we start out early for a music festival weekend at the Sea of Galilee, the Jacob’s Ladder Festival.  We try and go every spring.  It actually started today, but there’s no way I have the energy for another long drive and then to set up a tent and campsite tonight.  So we’ll only go for two days, which is also great fun.  Some of the things I’ll pack in the car already tonight, so we can just pack the food and a few other odds and ends in the morning.   I’ll be computer-less for a couple of days. so no blogging until I get home, but there will be huge amounts of knitting time.  (Oh, and some spinning too, I think.)  And some thumping good music!!!  Stories when I get back!

Spinning…

May 4, 2010

I think I’m finally beginning to “get” this spinning business.  It’s certainly taken a while!!

A year ago, at the Yarn-and-Falafel Spring Fiber Fling, I missed the spinning lesson.  I was so disappointed!  Someone gave me an extra spindle and some undyed roving, and tried to explain briefly what the idea is – but I decided to wait, and put these exotic treasures away until they could be properly explained.

I waited patiently until our winter retreat in January.  This time I got the explanation, but it just didn’t seem to click.

photo by Ayelet

I tried on and off after that, but it was hard work and the result just wasn’t right.  I couldn’t resist temptation, however, and bought one of Galia’s handmade spindles for when I “figured out how to do this”.

Last week was the second annual Yarn-and-Falafel Spring Fling – and this time it seemed that almost everyone wanted to try spinning.  Aha!  I could start again with all the beginners.  I also decided that I would learn this time with Galia’s spindle and the merino roving I bought at Yodfat – start from scratch with quality stuff!

photo by Galia

(That’s me with the blue roving on the  right.)

This time it made a lot more sense!  It was still difficult – after all, it takes time to learn a new craft – but it went well enough that I wanted to practice more, instead of putting it away in a drawer again.  I watched Yael carefully, and also Galia.

photo by Roberta

I bought a spindle bag from her, too.  Her etsy shop really is worth checking out, btw – and I’m not just saying this because she’s a friend.  She does fantastic work.

This is the Kaleidoscope top whorl spindle I  bought from her

I’ve now got the spindle and roving (in their bag) in my knitting bag, and sometimes take a break from knitting to attempt some more spinning.  I even spent some time spinning during my lunch break!  Today it went a lot more easily.  I’m still doing spin and park, and I probably will for a while, but hey, it’s working, and I’m really starting to feel what I’m doing!   Next I have to learn how to ply…but I’m taking baby steps here.

I figure I’ll keep practicing with the roving from Yodfat – there’s enough of it – before I dare spin some yarn with this amazing roving I bought from Liat.

Now I just have to figure out a way to enjoy spinning without giving up any of my knitting time.   Methinks this may be a wee problem….

Hey Little Nike

May 3, 2010

Ha!  Now I know what Nike has been studying diligently while we’re out…either that or this is her soul twin. 

Still catching up

May 2, 2010

Lots of knitting (and even some spinning) getting done.

Finished the fourth kiddy chemo cap, and sent them all off to Tasha for her project.

I was still on a hat kick, so I quickly knitted up kidlet’s butterfly hat that she had chosen.   She loves it, keeps wearing it even when it’s hot out!

I love the butterfly pattern, simple but oh so clever,   I think I’ll be making more of these!  It also got oohs and aahs at our last Stitch-n-Bitch get-together, so we may just start a little local fashion trend all by ourselves.

The Bitterroot shawl has been worn quite a bit at work – the days are hot but the mornings and evenings still cool, just right  for a shawl – and during the hot days my office buddies like to turn up the air conditioning way too cool for me, so out comes the shawl again…

And……………………….Drum roll…….

I’ve finished the Luna Moth !!!  It finished blocking last week.  My moth has spread her wings to fly!

I’m giddy with pleasure at how it turned out.

Amazing design!  (But then, most of Shui Kuen Kosinski’s designs are…)

And I found the perfect shawl pin, made out of coconut shell-

I’ve finished another project, that for the moment must remain a secret, and cast on for one more that will also remain under wraps for now.  Once they are received by their respective recipients I promise to reveal all!  ( I can say that one of these projects involved my very first bobble stitches!)

The hoodie is almost done – no, it didn’t get done by Pesach, but kidlet was thrilled by her hat in the meantime…  And the Baana is slowly but surely getting bigger.  I’ve been photographed knitting that puppy in so many places … like in this café on Independence Day

I’m now calling it the traveling baana – I suppose the next step is to photograph celebrities holding the baana in progress….  perhaps it’s destined to be forever a WIP, with the yarn continuously replenishing itself in the darkness…

The Yarn and Falafel crowd got together for the second annual National Spring Fling, and much fun was had  by all – I’ll post more all about that soon!  And about the population explosion in my stash….  *  ahem *

Catching up….or starting to

May 1, 2010

I’ve been taking a break from blogging.  It wasn’t intentional, actually.  I was just super busy, things were happening, I kept thinking oh, I’ll have to blog about this, and I just haven’t gotten to it.  Very frustrating.  A couple of days have stretched into a couple of weeks, and I’m feeling the withdrawal symptoms.

The spate of holidays continues.  We celebrated Israel’s 62nd birthday.

There is nothing, in my opinion, that defines the Israeli psyche more than the fact that our Memorial Day comes the day before Independence Day.  Memorial Day, when we remember all the fallen – in wars, in defense of the country, in acts of terror – and it would be a very difficult task to find even one family that hasn’t been touched.  It is intense, draining, and personal for all of us – we remember a loved one, or a co-worker, a teacher or student, a friend.  There are ceremonies in every cemetery.   One of the TV channels shows a parade of names of the fallen, name and date killed, beginning in 1947 – and it takes the full day to list everyone up until now.  Sirens sound throughout the country for moments of silence, both in the evening and the following morning.  (In the Hebrew calendar,  a  “day” is from sunset to sunset.)  So we have a day of mourning, and then, once the sun sets, we make the instant switch to happy celebrations, fireworks, concerts in parks and dancing in the streets.

Every year the difficulty of this extreme transition is discussed.   But no one is willing to change it.  Why?   Because we consider Independence Day to be a great celebration of joy – but for the 24 hours preceding it, we remember the price we’ve paid for it.  And the linking of these two important days gives them both such an extra significance that we suffer the drastic mood swing gladly.

Inbal 1979-2001

And now tonight is Lag B’Omer, celebrated with bonfires.  Kids have been collecting boards and branches for a couple of weeks now, the city puts up fences around young trees to protect them from the enthusiastic youngsters who all want their bonfires to be the biggest and the longest-burning.  When kidlet was in grade school, we always had a class bonfire with all the families, but now that she’s a teenager she and her friends have their own, having parents there would be uncool. 

At least now I don’t have to sit and make dozens of smores…