Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday Miscellany

The man and I drove down the street to Arctic Valley to watch the sunset the other night. The mountain you see across the inlet (Knik Arm of Cook Inlet) is Mount Susitna (also known as Sleeping Lady).
You can feel fall in the air. My garden is winding down....all the lilies have been cut back, however, this is an awesome year for the phlox, astilbe and my first year with baby's breath coming looks like a pink fairyland out are some closeups....

I've also finished the shopping part for the Knit1Tea2 secret swap buddy is a self described "foodie" so there's lots and lots of snacky things in there in addition to the various teas. There's also a very Alaskan cute !...and some yarny goodness with matching stitch markers (too fun) All that's left is to do the handknit gift part and I'm having trouble deciding on what that will be...something quick n but high quality...knitting for other knitters makes me a little nervous.......

(i realized OH CRAP...I shouldn't post pics until after my surprise person receives I hope no one saw! It's my first swap ever...and i'm not quite yet up to speed on proper "swap etiquette"...hanging my head in are getting saw nothing at all.......)

I'm almost finished with the Voyager stole, should have it blocked by Sunday and will show it off then....Coachella from Knitty is next in the lineup....

Thank you all for the wonderful supportive comments on my last post.....The Memorial FundRacer will be held on Sept. 15th. A few folks have asked how they can help out with this cause and I'll be posting a link for the contact person for any contributions this weekend. The knitting community is so big-hearted. I am really glad it's Friday folks, this has been a very very long week. Knit on!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

She Made Me Really Proud

WARNING: No knitting content in this post, just something I felt the need to share.

About 5 weeks ago, something terrible happened. I won't write names due to privacy and current legal action and the potential of slander/libel charges. ( I always forget if slander or libel is the written one..but I digress). Late one evening, State Troopers chased a drunk driver Southbound down the Glen Highway from Sutton/Palmer. They ended up having to close the highway and put spike strips down to blow his tires and stop him, right around our exit. While arrresting him for drunk driving, the officers found the dead and badly beaten body of a woman in the back seat. The woman turned out to be someone known to our family, a barrel racer from my daughter's club. She was also the mother of one of my daughter's classmates since 2nd grade. She was divorced and had begun dating this man about 4-5 months prior, and had a restraining order against him due to his violence against her....and threats he'd made against her children. This man was actually convicted on a murder charge as a juvenile...

"He was involved in the 1978 murder-for-hire of Air Force Col. Robert Cassell in Eagle River. A minor at the time, _____ was sentenced to two years at McLaughlin Youth Center for his involvement in the murder after attempts to try him as an adult failed" (Alaska Star, August 16)

He is currently incarcerated and awaiting trial on numerous charges stemming from the current incident.

My daughter came home in horror. She'd obviously been discussing this terrible crime with members of the barrel racing community and her classmates. She said she didn't know how to approach the victim's daughter or what she should do or say. She was so angry and indignant and empassioned by this tragedy with all the emotion a 15 year old can muster. I took it as an opportunity to have a big heart-to-heart with her about DV, and gathered written information packages that we use to teach our patients about the cycle of abuse, signs of an abusive relationship, and getting help. My daughter shuffled through the papers and said..."mom, we get all this in school already....I already know this stuff...what I want is to DO SOMETHING"....So, I suggested she discuss it with some of the adult leaders of the barrel racing club or local women's shelter.

And guess what. She set in motion, organized, and now is pulling together a memorial race dedicated to the victim, with entry fee proceeds to go to the family and requesting donations of paper goods, hygiene items, and clothing for the local women's shelters. She also arranged for our local women's shelter to set up a table with DV information and counselors available during the event.

Alaska has the highest rates of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in the nation. Period. In my line of work, not a week goes by that I don't see and hear terrible stories. Perhaps I've become somewhat inured, feeling that what I do and my little monetary donation to the programs during the holidays is enough.....But it's not. Seeing my daughter's 15 year old passion fueled into action showed me that it's not just about money and talk....You have to get out and DO something to help increase awareness and education.....which is the only way things change. I'm awfully proud of her for doing this. Especially when the only date open for the memorial race conflicted with a pre-scheduled out of state fun trip for her....and with tears in her eyes she shrugged her shoulders and said "I just can't go...this is too important". I hate that she has to be exposed to the ugliness of the world...but I love watching her mature and her character develop. How many 15 year old girls do you know that would do something like this?

And lastly....I encourage any of you who read this to contact your local women's shelters to see what their needs are....and what YOU can do to help. It might be donating a case of toilet paper, or knitting some hats, or something bigger to auction or raffle for fundraising....or (wo)manning an information booth passing out pamphlets.....whatever it is....the power of your actions will help others.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

An Evening at the Alaska State Fair

I had fully intended to go to the Fair Thursday afternoon....but didn't end up leaving the office until after 5...and when I got home, I said, "I think I'll just lie down for a quick nap".....after all, I'd been up the past 36 some odd hours......but I guess I was more tired than I realized because the next thing I knew it was 6am Friday morning....oh well....
So after clinic Friday I went home and the man said...."let's have a date night and run up to the Fair" we did.

After pulling into the parking area, paying our entrance fee and walking along the paths of vendors...he says to me "so do you want to eat first or go see your how your shawls did first?"

I gave him "The Look" we meandered over to the correct huge corrugated metal building and started looking for knitted many knitting entries....I didn't see mine at all first....then the man says.." look...up there"....

Were my eyes deceiving me? was it true? Why yes...yes indeed...the Lady E....with a nice shiny BLUE RIBBON...pinned to her fair self!


Well that certainly made my day! The SunRay also ribboned...a nice white 3rd place :) which also made me very very very happy! I tried to get a pic, but it was too dark.....also the grand prize winner...which was an incredible colorwork sweater on size 1s......very gorgeous....way the heck outta my league! too bad the pic of that was too dark as well....

After critiquing the rest of the knitted goodness, I had quite an appetite....but wanting to stay somewhat on the lean side, opted to forgo all the deep fried zucchini, garlic potato chips, cheese steaks, etc.....hmmmm...Turkey is ALWAYS a healthy choice...right...

The man also had a turkey leg....then he had a Buffalo just wanted dessert....I passed by the deep fried Twinkies, the cheesecake in a cone...and the funnel cakes to get my personal favorite...Denali Cream Puffs...mmmmm! Being unable to decide between berry topping or caramel with pecans.....we got one of each to share....hmmmm...which one first?

Sooooo fulll! Time to walk it off.....I love looking at all the fair vendors...and purchased some fresh raw creamed jar for myself...and one jar for my Knit1Tea2 Swap Buddy! We then went to the Farm Barn....the Giant Cabbage /Giant vegetable contests aren't until this week, but there were aleady some of our impressive veggies on display! What can you do with over 19# of turnip?

And look at these beans! Bet you could get your daily fiber quota in just one serving of these, hah!

I bypassed the poultry this year.....there were no Golden Pheasants on display (my favs)....and the little funny looking chickens don't compete until later in the week also (I love funny looking chickens and hope to have a brood of them when I retire someday.......really, just a farm girl at heart!) But there were lots and lots of goats......and several sweet little sheepies!

Every year someone also brings in a brood sow that ends up giving birth during the Fair....the new baby pigs are such a hit! Poor mama sow was so could see the little piglets inside just turning and rolling and kicking....I'm betting she'll deliver within the next 48hours. I felt sorry for her and opted to not take a picture of her....I mean goodness, would YOU want a photo of yourself all miserable and swollen and all.....I didn't think so.....Soooo...I meandered on down the stalls and found a cute litter of 3week old piglets....There tails were just a wagging and they were climbing on each other and grunting and squealing....gotta love baby pigs! (CBM knows!)

And how about this lovely lady? So serene amongst all the lowing cattle, bleating goats and sheep.....lots of Llamas up here...very hardy and used for packing for hikers into the back country....the man kept asking if they were alpacas.....see he's learning all sorts of fibery things....maybe he'll get a Cobblestone for Christmas if he keeps this up!

But 10pm rolled around too quickly...and being not so young...the man and I headed home...leaving the lights and rides and noise and fireworks for the rest of the crowd to enjoy.......

It was a very nice date.....and a wonderful surprise to get a blue ribbon AND a white ribbon. I'll definately enter again!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sooooooooooo busy....

not much time to knit...only on the 23rd pattern repeat for Voyager...looks the same as last time....I'm going for 30 repeats and checking length....a good knit, but restless me...i'm ready to be done with it and start on SK's new Forget-Me-Not shawl pattern. (Forget-me-nots are the Alaska state flower don'tcha know!)
Alaska State Fair opens today at noon....I'm leaving the office at 2:30 and heading on up....the suspense is killing me :)
More later!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

And so it grows...........

Grace was spot on in guessing this pattern. It's the Voyager stole designed by Benne F. & Shui Kuen Kozinski. This is real knitted lace...a pattern on each "resting" straight purl rows. But oddly's going very very very far :)
The pattern is oddly intuitive and I find myself "reading" the stitches and only glancing at the chart every once in a while, mostly at the beginning of the row, then sort of humming the pattern to myself as I go along. This should go very quickly as I upped the yarn to worsted weight (Cherry Tree Hill "Silky Mohair") and the needles to size 9s. I love the ripple and flow effect of the stitches and am hoping the laciness won't get too lost in the colorway. We'll see what the blocking magic does in a week or two.....

The weather today is very cool and rainy...a high of 63 is predicted...which is a refreshing break from the sweltering upper 70s and low 80s we've had the past few days. (We Alaskans are very heat intolerant....I feel for all of you in the lower 48 with the triple digit temperatures!)

The Alaska State Fair starts a week from Friday! I can't wait. Get this...I entered both the SunRay and the Lady Eleanor. I've entered pies before...and homemade beer...but never any of my needlework. I felt pretty shy about it when I was there, and it was almost like leaving your children with strangers as I walked away from the nice lady holding my neatly labeled entries. Gulp. But now.....there's a sense of ......anticipation to see what will happen. How will my stitching stack up next to others in the area? Can't wait until next weekend to see!

That's all for today....knit amongst yourselves....

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Baby Shwag, FO, & Sumpin New!

I started sumpin' new today! Can you guess what it is? The yarn is that luscious Cherry Tree Hill Silk/Mohair blend from the stash (which I've had for about 3 years!). I'll let you figure out what the pattern is! I know of at least 2 other blog buddies who've made this in another yarn.

*Sunday afternoon addendum*
I started this post Saturday and had just uploaded photos and was proceeding to write some text when the phone rang at about 7:45pm. It was Linda, one of my CNM colleagues calling from the hospital. She was very friendly but there was a little bit of tension in her voice as she asked "so what time are you planning to come in?"

"What do you mean", I asked (sunburned and sweaty from having just unloaded the camper and still smelling like horse show detritus).

"well, you're supposed to work tonight", she says, (which means I should have been there about a half hour ago!)

"No way" I said, "My calendar says Thursday night this week and then Sunday next weekend"...

"i don't know, but the calendar here says it's you" (poor Linda...this happens to her time and time again...the next person on shift not knowing they're supposed to work......and she's ended up working well more than her share of double shifts = 24+ hours-insane for anyone!)

"I'll be there within an hour", I say....and proceed to break the world record in showering and driving to the hospital. Only to have a rather mellow shift with only 2 deliveries. But gosh that's stressful...and I won't find out until Monday who and how my schedule was allowed to go so awry! But I did make an awful lot of progress on the "Sumpin New"...

Pearl says "for the love of God, woman, put down the string and feed me NOW! All you do is knit, knit, knit, blog, blog, blog, knit, blog, knit, blog......I need petting, I need brushing, I need, noW, nOW, NOW!

I do have a little finished object to show off. It is, however, NOT one of my best efforts..the sleeve seaming was a bit wonky. I'll block it later and see if it makes it any better, but I don't think the recipient will really notice to be honest.

Aren't these buttons the cutest? The color of the inner ear matches the yarn EXACTLY! I couldn't resist.

The Pattern: The Harvey Kimono from Louisa Harding's Natural Knits for Babies & Moms
The Yarn: Cascade Sierra (80% Pima Cotton/20% wool) in "Mountain Rose"...also from well aged stash.
Started: August 1
Completed: (with seams & buttons & end weaving etc) August 10
I rate this pattern a 5/10-much preferring the MD Kimono in knitting & constructing (fewer seams!) But I do like the picot cast-on and bind-off edging for a feminine feel.

Lastly, I received a crapload of "BabyShwag" from Bets for winning the LibbyPool by guessing the closest to her new baby's weight/length! (me...who never wins...anything! Ever!) Whoohoo! What a total pick-me-up! There were a couple of great smelling candles, an ...interesting...golden cherub keyring..:} that I plan to save for a VERY SPECIAL OCCAISION...and fabulous yarny goodness. Bets was awfully generous with her stash I must say! Lookie!

Both yarns are Cherry Tree Hill (I don't have the labels by the 'puter" right now but wowza...yummy stuff, eh?
This will become a fabulous scarf....

And there are THREE large skeins of this lovely soft stuff (over 800 yds)'ll need to marinate for a bit until it figures out what it wants to be! pretty pretty pretty!

I was very jazzed!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Tea Time

Grace "talked" me into joining the Knit 1, Tea 2 swap...whoohoo! My FIRST Swap! I'm very excited! Here's the website to join. (If ANYONE has any ideas why I can't make links from text on my Mac...please let me know...i've spent a couple hours trying to get it to work but it just doesn't as of earlier this summer! crud.) Signups are open until August 20th if you are interested!

So here's my questionnaire oh swappin buddy wherever you are!

Do you like loose tea or bags, or both – something you want to try?
I like both. Loose tea for when there's more time, bag tea for quick n' easy.

What is your favorite kind of tea (Brand, flavor, variety, etc)?
My default Tea is plain old Bigelow Constant Comment...but my very favorite is MarketSpice Tea from Seattle. That being said, I also enjoy the Rooibus (redbush) Ts coming from Africa. I'm just not a big fan of green tea for drinking...although I love the fragrance of it.

Favorite color in regards to tea or one you would like to try? (black, green, red, and white) Red and or White (keeping in mind that this is how this swap is set up).
Reds & Blacks, I've never tried any of the "white" tea (those poor lil baby tea leaves) but since I prefer the stronger would probably not be my favorite.

Would you say you were a tea pot kind of person or just a hot water heater kind?

What tea accessories would you like but have never purchases for yourself?
Honey spoons. I've seen them but never purchased...always thought to myself..what a great idea! I also like fun tea balls and tea eggs.

How do you prefer to be pampered? (examples: mani/pedi, bubble bath, yummy treat, etc).
Pedicure, bubbly bath, tea and chocolates :) good books, scented candles or incense....all that good stuff!

If you were a kind of yarn what would you be and why?
Peruvian wool, soft, versatile, adaptable and basic..that's me :)

If you had to knit/crochet baby booties, a fun fur scarf, or a fair isle sweater, which would you choose and why?
Baby booties...because they always come in handy...i have a strong dislike for fun fur...and fair isle continues to elude my skill set.

What other event would make you skip a tea party? (A garden party? A book club meeting? A yoga class? Opening night for a new action thriller? etc?)
Being ill or having to go catch a baby. If I make a date for a girlfriend party...i try real hard not to miss it!

What treat would you consider essential at your tea party? (Sweet? Salty? Scones? Those petite pastry trays with a couple of all sorts of things? Little crust less sandwiches?)
Little tea sandwiches with salmon/cream cheese spread on rye with capers and fresh dill cut in sweet little shapes, chicken salad-the kind with grapes, and scones and lots of cookies/biscuits.

When buying yarn for a project how do you choose - do you buy the one called for or do you substitute?
Substitute almost always! (unless I come across a screaming good buy on the specified yarn!)

What do you carry your knitting/crocheting in when on the go?
In a gallon size zip lock baggie inside my backpack usually...or my knitting bag which always ends up turning into my "purse" for a couple of weeks. I'm a one bag at a time type of gal, but oh that bag has everything in it...i'm a "Let's Make A Deal" wannabe"

Favorite movie to watch while knitting/crocheting?
hmmm...almost anything really....Breakfast at Tiffany's, Dr. Zhivago, Alien vs. Predator, Titanic, anything horror please.

Are you a traditional tea cup kind of person or a mug type of person?
Mug for drinking, traditional pretty cups for looking wistfully and wishing I wasn't such a clutz.

Do you care if they match?

Favorite childhood birthday party?
age grandma clara threw me a "pink" party with a pink (strawberry) cake with pink frosting and pink punch and pink and white decorations and almost my whole class came over!

Favorite type of scone and jam?
Any scone except chocolate chip (bleah!) and l love blackberry jam.

If you use candles, what is your favorite scent?
patchouli, clove, sandalwood, cedar, anything spicy.

If you could choose 3 people to have 'tea' with, who would they be and why? (famous or not, living or dead).
1) Helen Varney Burst (mother of modern nurse-midwifery), 2) Ina May Gaskin-(showed the US through her statistics that midwife attended birth IS Safe!), 3) Cher-just cuz I really admire her talent and accomplishments.

You've been invited to a tea party, what 'props' will you wear (formal or casual)?
Depends on the weather but probably a long flowing skirt, sandals and a lightweight hand knit shawl.

Any allergies/preferences you have or are willing to admit to?
No allergies, but I prefer strong tea with a little body to it, same with yarn.

Anything we missed that you want your pal to know?
This is my VERY FIRST swap of any kind whoohoo! I'm jazzed!

That's it for today folks, there's a baby sweater almost off the needles and I'll try to post it as a FO tomorrow! Have a great knitterly day and stay's supposed to be in the 70s here today! HOT HOT HOT!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The "ChocolaT-Ruffle" Skirt

First of all a huge THANK YOU for all the compliments and comments on the Montego Bay Scarf! The man is a trained professional and shoots folks to show off their best sides. Besides, he makes me laugh and keeps me happy. Thank you also for commenting and wishing Grandma Clara a Happy Birthday. I carried the laptop upstairs and showed her every one of your comments and well wishes.... and she really got a kick out of it!

Now...Drumroll please....errr..ahem (throat clearing sound effects).... we now present the second most interminable, yet wildly successful knit of the year.....the newly completed "ChocolaT-Ruffle" skirt in all her glory!

The Yarn: Silk City "Spagetti", 100% Mercerized Cotton Tape--sportweight--purchased in a bigass..(what the heck was I thinking size) cone...2.07 lbs to be exact...from in JUNE 05! Color: Crocodile...which in reality is a deep rich glorious brown with hues from raisin to chocolate depending on how the light hits it! How much. I have NO EARTHLY IDEA what the yardage per lb. was for this cone yarn. There is still a humongous bunch of yarn remaining as the skirt made only a slight dent in it.

The Needles: KPO size 5 & 6 as per pattern recommendations.....width gauge spot on, length gauge not so...but hey, it's cotton tape and you EXPECT it to grow anyway.

The Pattern: "Show-Off Ruffle Skirt" by Kat Coyle from Lace Style.

The Inspiration: Elspeth's version at (I still can't link from text on my Mac..crap). Scroll on down to her June 23rd post for a lot of wolf whistle action for this fab skirt. And check out her blog too! Wowza that gal can knit and work it, eh!

My Modifications: Not too many, very easily made....first of all...yarn change...using stash and all. Second...officiall bobble free zone here. Bobbles suck both in the making of said bobble...and in the effect.. just hanging there and all from the fabric like...brown......offal. We'll keep the T word out of this post today. Next, that drop stitch lace stuff GREW like 100 miles when I unraveled it so I ended up making the straight twisted rib section a little longer, and the decreases spaced a little differently to accomodate the "growth" of the cotton tape. Lastly, instead of knitting a drawstring. I crocheted it. I crochet about a thousand times faster than I knit, so for about 270 stitches x 3 rows...crochet was for me!

Started: July 4, 2007 (waiting in the truck for the 4th of July parade)
Completed: Aug 1, 2007 (sitting at a 4H PlayDay for the gal and her ponies)

What's Left to do: A trip to the fabric store for skinnier brown velvet ribbon to run through the eyelets formed at the pattern change...but otherwise...c'est fini! I made a simple cotton batiste slip to wear underneath in summer...and I'll wear the brown tights for fall! It's quite swishy!

I think it's smashing with a comfortable fit and a very feminine, yet understatedly "sexy" feel. It was definately worth the knit!