Thursday, May 31, 2007


Earnin' my badge

So as not to be thought of as one of those dreaded Fiber Snobs, I treated myself to some inexpensive yarn:

I actually got five balls of the Cotton Plus. I've never used Fishermen's Wool, so I thought I'd give it a go. Haven't sold anything yet at my Etsy shop, and I probably won't for a while since few people buy doggie sweaters in the summer. But I thought this would make a nice doggie Aran. And the cotton-blend--what to do with it? It'll probably become the next Shawl Ministry item. BTW, I finished another one:

Just a basic, plain-vanilla lace stitch that is a 4-row repeat (and two of them are purl rows). It's actually an old Fiber Trends pattern from the "Lily Chin collection." I swear, whenever the Tiny Diva puts her name on something, whether it's yarn, patterns or what have you, it automatically becomes a "collection." The woman must be a pack rat.

Ehn-yway, I'm pleased with how this shawl looks. It's awaiting blocking, and needs to be stretched out a little. It came out about 25" from the bottom point to the top edge, and about 60" between the far corners. It's scrumptiously soft, too--I used 5 or 6 balls of Rowan Tapestry, a wool/soy fiber blend.

The awesome knitters at Mosaic Yarn Shop in Blacksburg, VA have received more than 2,000 squares, and are about to commence sewing them up into afghans for those who lost loved ones in last month's shooting. I had some leftover Blue Sky Cotton, so I tried a new knit and purl pattern from my handy-dandy book of knitting stitches.

A bit hard to tell from the photo, but the pattern actually comes out looking like chain links. I'd like to stitch up one more square, then send both of them off to VA.
And that's all the fiberly frippery I have for tonight! The only other thing that's been going on here lately, and I *know* you wouldn't want to see a photo, is that my 1-year-old mini dachsie, Jimmy, has had the trots since I picked him up from the vet clinic where we boarded him over Memorial Day weekend. Jimmy doesn't travel well--he gets car sick on trips of any duration, so I've got no choice but to board him whenever we go out of town. I'm taking him to the vet tomorrow--he probably needs some of that pink stuff that looks like Pepto and smells like bubble gum (liquid Amoxicillin, which is what they gave him for the diarrhea of his puppyhood. Now there's a phrase.) But unfortunately, this bout of illness has completely finished off our ruined carpeting. Gee, Yellowstone would have been nice this summer, but our vacation fund (not) will probably go towards some laminate flooring.
I can't believe I actually blogged about dog poop. Hey, where's everybody going?

Monday, May 28, 2007


Back from the wars

...well, not exactly the exchanging-gunfire, duck-and-cover kind of wars, but when one is visiting one's inlaws, one cannot help but be right in the middle of whatever feuds happen to be happening at the time of one's visit. Those of you who read my blog mean far too much to me to bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that J's older brother has begun a quibble over the sons' inheritance, and THE PARENTS AREN'T DEAD YET. Judas Priest. I mean, I love my mom-in-law and sis-in-law to pieces--I really do--but we don't live 400 miles away from the rest of his family for nothing.

I did try the fabulous pink cookie, and it was melt-in-the-mouth delicious. However, I photographed it with my cellphone camera, and do not yet possess the power to transfer the picture to the computer. I feel kind of cheated about the whole pink cookie experience, though. The one I got had the bottom of another cookie stuck to the top of it, and it broke before I could take the picture. Feh!

Good News Bears

Here they are:

Bugger the shadows in these photos--but these are the smooshiest, plushiest little 7" long varmints. Very easy to make, and it was a crash course for stitching on little bear faces. Michelle loves the pink one--she says the ear spacing and feature size is perfect--but the blue one, not so much.

It has begun...

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Lumpier than the average bear

Just a quick one, because we're loading up the Kia and heading north and east for the long weekend. To Spokane, actually. Because of the wonderful photos Mariko, aka Super Eggplant, posted on her blog about the famous pink cookie at Spokane's Rocket Bakery, I'll definitely be checking out that phenomenon.

I worked past midnight last night on my first stuffed bear, using this pattern. However, before I could photograph my somewhat lumpy, yet adorable pink creation, Michelle snatched it up and announced that it was her happy bear. (Mind you, she's 16, but for some reason insists on clinging to certain toddler behaviors.) Well, if I can wrest it away from her, I'll post a pic. I'll be knitting the same bear in blue, and have ordered another teddy bear kit from the nice folks at Jimmy Beans Wool. I'm training for a bear-a-thon! I know, enough with the bad puns already. Have a slammin' weekend, everybody!

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Another Chickami

Again, as is almost always the case with the tops I make for myself, the fit isn't spot on. In this case, much depended upon the yarn I chose. Because I used Louisa Harding Fauve--a super-stretchy, rayon ribbon--the cami gaps at the armhole. (If any knitters reading this have suggestions for how I might fix this, the "comment" link awaits you.) Last year, I chose lightweight, bouncy Rowan Calmer for my first Chickami:

Other than wide straps which tend to roll--facilitating my choice for I-cord straps for the new one--the fit is pretty good. A strapless black bra, or perhaps a bustier, will definitely be in order when I wear the orange one. Fortunately, the ribbing at the bottom will keep the surprisingly heavy garment from sagging off my boobs. But hey, this is what I wanna wear to see my favorite three old guys from Toronto in concert at Clark County Amphitheater on July 21st--I'm working on a black/silver shawlette, and will wear black pants or skirt to balance myself out. For the first time in the 20 years that J. and I have been going to Rush concerts, we've got seats in the first ten rows! So I want some eye contact with my man Geddy (we'll be on his side of the stage, but I want to draw Alex's eye as well,) and while I know I ain't eye candy, at least my Chickami will give him a pretty color to notice.

In Other News

I joined the Knitting for Homeless campaign, begun by Vik in Argentina, and used most of a hank of red Eco Wool for a 45" scarf in a broken rib pattern. It's blocking. I'm not very comfortable spending much time blogging about my knitting RAOK's--the truth is that I love doing charity knitting, but my main reason for blogging about it is to inspire and encourage anyone reading to knit a scarf, hat, afghan square or whatever for any of the many great causes out there, not to make y'all think I'm such a fabulous person. Because I'm really not. I'm under massive, crushing consumer debt, am frequently depressed, overweight, would rather gorge on Haggen-Dasz ice cream than exercise (well, maybe I'm not alone on that one,) and yada, yada, yada. But the up side is that I've got a husband and child who love me, a job that sometimes bores me but the management values my bizarrely unique skill set, tons of beautiful yarn, music I love, and blogging buddies I hope to keep in touch with always.

What was my mantra again? Oh yeah--"it's not so bad." Rinse and repeat.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


With appreciation

...to all of you for stopping by the ol' blog! Thanks especially to those of you who took the time to comment. I absolutely love comments and can't get enough of 'em! I've added more blogs I enjoy reading--I won't say "stalking," because I'm happy to de-cloak and praise other folks' knitting--to my blogroll.

I've got no pics to share--no FO's, although I'm close to finishing another Chickami . However, I'm excited to tell you I've just opened my very own Etsy shop! I've got a few of my handknit doggie sweaters up, and plan to knit more, but looking at them I realize they need to be modeled, not laid out flat on my scarred, icky dining room table for photography. (A housekeeper, and especially a polisher of wood, I am not.) So tonight I went dog-shopping, and I scored a little stuffed doggy with a puppy attached (a Mother's Day themed stuffed animal set; it was 50% off). In order to get the sweaters on the dog, I'll have to perform midwife duties! Can't wait.

I saw this meme on Leah's blog. It's 8 random things. Tag, you're it!

1. I own a Fender Bronco electric bass, took four lessons, played it in church a couple of times, then decided that J. and Michelle are the true musical talent in this family.

2. About 10 years ago, I was a Mary Kay beauty consultant. No, I didn't win the pink Cadillac.

3. I can't stand gum chewing! Drives me batshit crazy. Neurotic, I know.

4. My first car was a 1972 Ford Gran Torino, metallic brown with a black vinyl roof. Looked good; ran not so good.

5. I could eat peanut butter on toast until it comes out my ears. (I try to limit myself to a couple of times a week.)

6. I generally hate to play games; the only exception would be online Mah Jong.

7. In 1992, I was a student at Portland Community College, and I attended a campaign speech given by the then-governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton.

8. I know how to throw a boomerang, and have actually made a couple of catches on the return.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Lookin' out my back door

"...if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard."
-Dorothy Gale, The Wizard of Oz

Same chestnut tree in different seasons.

A finished, blocked shawl knit mostly by me, in Peace Fleece, for the church shawl ministry. I tried to get all creative with the foreground, but what I like most about this photo is the dapple of sunlight on the shawl. The Eucalan bath did what I hoped it would do, which was to relax and soften the fibers and make the wool lustrous.

Peeking out from behind the chair is the waggin' tail of Jimmy, who actually looked up for a photo.

He turned one year old on May 5th, and has grown into a handsome boy.

Not much knitting content in this post--but May does the most amazing things to the fraction of the acre we live on, and I wanted to share it with you. I leave you with a snap of J's favorite tree, the Golden Chain.

Monday, May 07, 2007


The Sharon Spence YRA of 2007, or Bag It

My personal crusade to knit up my stash continues. Because you asked, (??) the acronym "YRA" stands for "Yarn Reduction Act". I totally made that up. I've been doing some bag knitting, and since I had a couple skeins of Euroflax linen, took a whack at making a mesh tote bag. I thought it'd look really cool with, say, some fresh produce in it and a lovely crisp baguette sticking out of the top. Alas, it didn't quite come out to be what I had envisioned. For me, linen yarn on thick dpns felt unwieldy, so I knit the bag flat on my straights and seamed the bottom and side. Probably a mistake, because the result looks a bit misshapen. When I filled it with oranges ("Tell me about the oranges, Lily"--that line from The Grifters still creeps me out. Hell of an edgy film, that--) it made the thing stretch and sag considerably longer than its 16" length, which tells me it won't take a lot of weight. Ehn, would you believe it's a swimsuit-flip flops-and-towel bag?

Tap Into Global Warming

Even though today was an absolutely gorgeous day, I couldn't seem to rise to it. The weekend was hectic, what with big doings down at the local Unitarian church (my family's rock band played an all-church barbecue on Saturday, then yesterday was the day the congregation called its second settled minister) and Jimmy managed to soil more bedding, so when I wasn't rushing to or from Orenco, I was chained to the laundry room. I woke this morning feeling like I didn't even get a weekend, so once again, I said "Bag it"--and I called in sick! Aside from finishing the mesh bag, I stitched some on another small bag and started blocking another comfort shawl for the ministry.

Where was I? Oh yeah, global warming. Not a fun subject in itself, but I heard that there will be a web broadcast of a rock concert held to raise awareness of global climate change, and one of the bands playing will be none other than Spinal Tap. The promotional "mockumentary" video was the funniest thing I've seen in quite some time. I laughed out loud, and peed a little. (I have problems.) Once again, thank you Ann and Kay, for your wonderful, farshlugginer* sense of humor.

*"Farshlugginer": crazy, mixed up, wacky, silly and goofy. And there's our Yiddish word of the day.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


FO's large and small

I seldom do baby blankets, but I have to say I am more pleased with the results of this project than with any other baby afghan I've ever knit. It was a kit from the nice folks at Jimmy Beans Wool. Contents of said kit: pattern for 26 x 27 eyelet ruffle blanket, (the FO looks bigger than those dimensions to me,) and 4 hanks of Blue Sky Cotton Worsted Hand Dyes. I know, white is the least practical for baby items, but I couldn't resist a project that would look crisp and fresh, but feel pillowy soft. Because I made the ruffle edging a little longer than the pattern specified, I did need half a hank more, but fortunately the well-stocked Knitting Bee had exactly what I needed.

Here are a couple of afghan blocks made for a project called "Hokie Healing"--I don't know if I particularly care for that name, but of course it's the thought behind it that's important. The good people at Mosaic Yarn Shop in Blacksburg are asking for enough 8" square blocks to make a blanket for each family that lost a loved one, and of course my stash contained some Debbie Bliss in Hokie colors. The maroon block looks purple, thanks to the distortion of my camera. I used double moss stitch for that one. And I tried to get all fancy with the "elm seeds" stitch pattern found in one of my myriad books, but it wasn't enough to break up the stockinette "rolling" effect. No problem, it's pinned out and drying as I write this.

You may have noticed that this post is virtually 100% grumble-free. Must be the walking. I'm still at it, trying to establish a daily habit of movement. Now I won't go so far as to use the dreaded "e" word--"exercise"--at least, not yet, but I'm keeping an open mind. Another thing it's doing for me, besides giving me back a much-needed sense of being in control, is it's making it easier for me to not eat things I shouldn't. And to me, that's golden, because remorse sucks. Or, "screw guilt," as the 12-step programs say.

But I wouldn't know anything about that... (blush)

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