Thursday, November 30, 2006


Since today is the last day of Norovember, I thought that probably I should post the projects related to the event.

I finished knitting the Danica/Mini Eleanor a few days ago. There are two ends left to weave in (sometimes I forget to spit-splice, and then want to go find a horse to step on my foot to help me remember next time). Also, it still needs to be blocked.

Max says he's not posing with any pile of unblocked work, and that's final.
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He also thinks it's unsafe to stand on the dining room table. Well actually he doesn't, but he should.
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This is my other Noro project. It just needs a few more movie nights and it will be completed. My keyhole version of the One Row Handspun Scarf by Stephanie Pearl McPhee.
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I love it, and can't wait to wear it...but it'll be sad to get it off the needles because it's such a comfortingly simple knit.

Dani made a good guess yesterday about my Mystery Project, but no, it has nothing to do with stringing the beads. They are being used for another purpose altogether. In fact, they will not even be seen in the finished project. Take another look at the little black bags.

Gotta run -- naptime only lasts just so long!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Baker's men, bake me cakes as fast as you can...and knit something too while you're at it

Ok, so pretty much, if you're siblings or parents, you need to stop reading this blog until after Christmas. I'm sure that I'm going to reveal a little too much about stuff at some point, and then it'll turn into a Christmas Spoiler, and I hate ruining surprises. However, in the interest of being able to blog anything at all, I need to show you at least a little, even though someone may just scroll right past this text to the pics.

So. Once again. Family (esp. siblings) DO NOT READ anymore until after Christmas. (I'm pretty sure no of them look at this blog unless there's something they're not supposed to see, which is why I'm repeating myself here.)

Here's a sneak view of what I'm working on right now. Any guesses as to what I'm doing? (Does not involve knitting.)
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It's been a few weeks since I showed any belly progress, but that does not mean that it has not been progressing.
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This picture is clickable and will drop you in the belly gallery.

We're at 21 weeks (actually 21-1/2) now, and going strong. Fetus (which, thanks to my friend Toni is going to be his/her name now until birth) is thumping about now day and night for "real". No more "is that indigestion?" guesses. This is the real thing. This morning when I got back in bed after giving Max his bottle (he wakes up between 7:30 and 8, so in order to steal a little more sleep I give him a bottle of milk and head back to bed for about another half-hour), Fetus awoke and began doing cute little things. I'm falling in love with this little person and it can't be helped.

Speaking of cute little people, this good looking crew assisted with the bread making yesterday.
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Having this much fun is pretty serious business.
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Unfortunately what followed was a very bad day discipline-wise, but they were adorable and fun while it lasted. Sometimes there is something that just snaps in a toddler, and their heart turns as black as cole. Thankfully, today has been going much better (thus, the luxury of blogging).

I have some Christmas baking that I'm pretty excited about, but first I have to finish that "mystery"'ll be a miracle if I can finish anything before Monday. The Mr. says that's the day all gifts will hit the mail...

Monday, November 27, 2006


Well, I've taken a week off from blogging and all internet related responsibility, but I will be getting back on track this week (although I have to do some last minute Christmas things before mailing them out next Monday). If you're waiting on an email response from me, give me a few days -- it'll take a little while to dig myself out. =) If I don't get back to you by the end of the week, chances are that your message got lost-in-the-sauce, and you should just write me again.

Also, if you submitted a cooking tip that wasn't used in this past podcast, it will show up in the next episode. If anyone's got more, please send them to me! There will be a new question in the next show.

My Thanksgiving was early, and it was wonderful. My sister Hannah and her roommate Haley arrived on Saturday night. On Sunday Hannah cooked a chicken stew for us, which was great because not only did it taste good (she's an outstanding cook), but also gave me a much needed break, since I've been handling everything on my own for the past month while Mr. FiberFlash has had his Work Overload.

We drank lots of strong coffee, and taught Haley to enjoy the stuff as well (she's Australian, and I don't know if this is inherent to all Aussies, but she only drinks tea -- or at least she did until coming here.)

Monday morning we went out into town to purchase supplies for our Thanksgiving dinner, then spent the rest of the day cooking. We decided to have our dinner earlier in the week since the girls had to go back on Wednesday, and this would also give us a chance to work on the leftovers together in the days following.

The dinner was successful, although there were a few minor hitches. I didn't plan around the fact that my oven is unusually small (probably normal for here -- not at all the size of an average American one), so we had to do a lot of crazy shifting to get everything to work.

In the end, the oven roasted sweet potatoes were a bit crunchy, although flavorful (tossed with a light bacon vinaigrette -- check out the November issue of Gourmet for recipe), and Hannah fried up some potatoes that somehow didn't quite cook all the way through either. The ham was incredible though (normally my brother Caleb cooks it, so this was the first time I was responsible for it -- pretty much you just throw sliced onions on and around it and a handful of whole cloves, then pour a pint of beer over the whole thing. There's a few other steps, but that's the basic idea. The glaze is honey and brown sugar mixed with ham juice, and it is tasty.) Also, I baked up some crunchy/buttery/slightly sweet cracked wheat rolls, which are always a huge hit (recipe in Moosewood Celebrates cookbook, from the "Vegetarian Thanksgiving" chapter).

This was our first Thanksgiving away from home (well, I had one when I was away at school, but wasn't responsible for the dinner -- just one dish, so that was different). It was an experience, and...well, it was kind of difficult to decide what it was exactly that made it "Thanksgiving" for us. We were trying to give Haley an American Thanksgiving experience, but I have a feeling that she just got the "Dress up and eat a huge dinner" part of it. I would like to incorporate a few Thanksgiving Things next year, like possibly a time of "what are you thankful for" around the table as we eat, or some such thing. I'd like the boys to grow up understanding what the holiday is all about, and not just think it's a fancy traditional dinner. Some things to think about. Hmm.

In the end though, it was all about being together, being family. And that made it great, reguardless.

On Tuesday we went to Schloss (castle) Heidelberg. Unfortunately, after these two pics my camera battery died and I hadn't brought any new ones, but Hannah and Haley took tons of shots, so as soon as I get them I'll post 'em.
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We had quite an adventure getting back. Be sure to listen to the next podcast episode, becuase I'll have the whole story for you then. Someday I'll understand the German ways...
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It was incredibly gorgeous though.

Since I posted last, I've worked on Sparky's Scully Wallaby, but now I have to rip out the bottom hem and try again to make it lie right. Even after a thorough blocking, the bottom edge ripples out because of differences in gauge between my plain stockinette and the fair-isle band. My sister suggested just ripping out the bottom inch and reknitting it tighter, which is what I plan to try. However, I've got more pressing Christmas projects in the works at the moment, so that'll have to wait.

This past week, though, was all about me. I had two 4oz batts of this pink/mauve/brown corridale/silk/glitz. I'd bought it very cheaply because the carder informed me that she had put these together before she really knew that much about washing wool. She warned me that it was "kind of sticky", but that it shoudn't be a problem once I'd washed thoroughly.

Before leaving Georgia, I showed the batts to my spinning mentor/friend Kirsten, and she advised that I either give it away or trade it somehow. For whatever reason, I decided to have a go at it myself, so first I spun up a tiny sample skein. As Kirsten had predicted, it was way too sticky to spin up properly, and was pretty stressful on my hands (when there's an overload of grease still in the wool, it's very difficult to draft the fiber out). She had told me that my next option was to wash it well in very hot water, but that the process would most likely felt it, making it difficult to work with in a different way. Once again, she was right.

Our water is turned up to 200 Celsius (392 F), so I put rubber gloves on, used dish soap, and tried to wash them as gently as possible. It took about 8 or 9 changes of water to get the water clear (besides all the lanolin, there was still copious amounts of unset dye in the wool -- from the same seller as the turquoise stuff. If you listened to the latest podcast you've heard the story.) Of course, the batts became...gently felted.

I let them dry overnight, then ripped them into strips and drafted them out into a pile of fluffy balls.
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I like to put my drafted little rolls next to my spinning wheel like this.
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It seems to speed things up, because once I start spinning, I don't have to stop. This also helps if I'm handling color changes in a roving. It gives more control of how the final skein will look.

In the end, the skein didn't look that bad, but it was hard going. An added trouble I hadn't counted on was that the shearer did a sucky job. There were second cuts, which means that there were shorter curls of wool throughout, making it incredibly difficult to do anything purposeful with it. (A good shearing job means that they will pass the shears over the sheep once, getting all the wool in one shot. Second cuts are absoloutely unacceptable to the handspinner. I was not pleased.)
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It's definitely not expertly spun by any means. It's one of those "maverick" skeins, where the slubs are consistently there throughout, but certainly not in any kind of order. The "in-betweens" are mostly light worsted. All in all it turned out a bulky/polar weight, from what I can figure. 57 yards total.

I will never buy from this seller again, reguardless of how beautiful her batts may look.

The main problem is that the silk really suffered. There were huge, thick, shiny streaks of Tussah through the batts, but because of the rather thorough washing that was needed, the silk is now fuzzy and sheen-less. I mean, if you don't know what it's supposed to look like, I suppose that it's fine, but I know. Now I realize why silk labels usually read "handwash cool or dry clean". Makes sense. So. That's my story.

I finished the Mini-Eleanor. There won't be a fringe on it, I don't think, because it seems to be almost too long already by itself. I suppose that would actually just make it a straight Danica, but I'll see what I think after blocking. Will have pics later this week.

Also, I've been working on a One-Row Handspun out of my recycled Silk Garden, which is going well. I'm putting a keyhole in it so that it'll stay put while I'm out in the wind. More details to follow (yes, I'll tell you how I did it in case you want to do the same).

For now, everything is on hold for the week as I attack my Christmas projects. Hints: it doesn't involve much knitting.

If you haven't already, you've got to check out the latest Adorn. It's got to be the best crafty mag out there.

I feel a fabric obsession coming on... (Aunt Susie, you may pull me in yet.)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

New episode!

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Yesterday I posted Episode 5 of The Knitting Cook. Enjoy! My sister is here until Wednesday, so I probably won't be blogging again until after Thanksgiving. Have a great holiday!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

What's wrong here?

Ok. I've been experiencing severe project ADD. I don't know if it's the rainy days making me all restless and antsy, or just being pregnant, or...the fact that I haven't started any of my Christmas knitting (which isn't much this year, but still!), but I cannot seem to be able to just sit down and work on the Sparky sweater. Normally I'm very good at sticking with something and finishing. My intention was to bring it closer to completion yesterday, and...I think that I got about 4 rows done. Well maybe a few more than that, but not much. Instead, I did this:

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It's about 4 ounces of Peruvian Alpaca, given to me by my friend Laura (currently deployed overseas. I miss you!). She'd picked it up for me at MSW festival, and I dyed it myself a few months ago. Yesterday I suddenly had to see how it would spin up. My honest intention was to just spin up a sample skein, just to see how the colors would play. Ummm, that didn't work out so well. I was spinning from the fold, and it was fascinating how the colors barberpoled even within the same singles. Honestly. I couldn't stop. It's a 2-ply fingering/DK weight.

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Well. I may finish the sweater today...(just keep me away from that wheel, will you?)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Oh the piano

ETA: Video of piano being lifted up at end of post.

** Warning: crazy German story, but no fiber goodness today. **

Please brace yourself for a picture heavy post. The first picture is clickable and will take you to the gallery where you can watch a slideshow of it instead, if you wish. This will also allow you to see the pictures in greater detail if you should so desire.

When we moved, no one told us (and I'm sure that my husband's job should have!) that we might not want to take things like our washer, dryer, and -- oh yeah -- proabably not our piano. No one suggested storage, or hinted that the apartments might actually be too small to even get anything up stairs or through doorways. So. The washer and dryer are not much of a problem. They're clutter catchers in the fron entryway, but as it's a pretty large space, it's not very noticable. We can't hook them up, and the Mr's company has supplied us with "lenders" that are hooked up in the basement (another post to follow this week about the insanity of that). However, the piano wasn't so easy.

First, they told us that there was no way they could get it up the stairs. Surely they would damage something or themselves on the trip up two flights of stairs. They told us they'd never been asked to move a piano -- does no one play piano in Germany anymore? They called in a special moving company to scope things out, and those guys tried to convince us to ship the piano back to the states for storage. I flatly refused. They said they'd talk to their boss and see what they could do. Mr. Fiberflash told me to suggest the rooftop porch that we have off the kitchen. I suppose the guys didn't want to argue with a stubburn pregnant girl, because a few days later they called back with the news that they'd be here with a crane on Monday morning (today!)

I woke up at 7am to make sure that I was properly dressed and awake before they got here. When they arrived, it was pretty unbelievable. They really did have a huge orange crane. I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story. The last one is a little video clip. So sorry that I couldn't have gotten more -- Max woke and started yelling "Mommy!" from his room and the camera battery was running low.

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They were probably using ultimate self-control when, after all that, I told them that the piano would need to be moved all the way across the L-shaped house to the opposite side, and placed in the sunroom. But it's all done now. Thank goodness.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The long sweater

On Thursday night I stayed up late, working on Sparky's skully sweater. I got all the way to the ribbing, but then was somehow unable to pick up the correct number of stitches for the hood. Mystified after about 3 tries, I decided it was time to go to bed. No one should try to count several hours after one is usually safely tucked into bed. The next morning brought two revelations. Number 1: I had not decreased to the correct number of stitches, and had started the ribbing prematurely. This made the gross over-count of stitches suddenly make sense. Number 2: after trying it on Sparky... well, let's just take a look together, shall we?
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Although he can't help but look terribly cute in anything, it is pretty much a tunic. No good. I wanted it to be oversized, comfy, cozy, favorite-sweatshirt-sort-of-thing, but this is just plain way too long.

After much consideration and presenting the matter to Mr. Fiberflash, I have decided on two courses of action that must be taken. Action #1: rip back down to the bottom of the placket -- I hate the light blue, because it reminds me too much of a hippy-tunic-deal. I just has to be all black. Which means the hood is going to have to be black, I think, and that's unfortunate, because light blue looks way better against Sparky's face. Action #2: Rip up from the provisional cast-on and get rid of the skull-and-crossbones motif, because it just makes the thing too damn long. I could just rip the sweater down below the armholes and take out a few inches there, but the trouble is, the pouch pocket currently occupies exactly the right spot, so there's nothing else I can do.

So now I have two questions for you, my reader. Should the hood be in light blue or black? The placket head opening is in garter stitch, and might look best if it continues in the same color around the entire hood. (The edges of the hood are garter stitch as well.) The other thing is the skull-and-crossbones thing. I've knit this entire sweater in black for the only purpose of making it "cheesy rock-and-roll" like that. So now I can either duplicate stitch a larger skull motif on the pocket, or else I can do one on the back. If on the back, it'd have to be low enough to not get covered by the hood when the hood is not in use. What to do?

After all of this drama, I didn't have the heart to even touch the project for the past few days. So I spun instead.
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(Look! Proof that I've actually used my studio!)

There is nothing like spinning and listening to podcasts. I can't find my earbuds at the moment, so the only thing to use are the studio headphones. The plus side is that I get excellent sound quality. The obvious minus is that I look like a dork. But then, who cares?

On Friday I finally finished up the Berry Pickin' colorway I'd gotten a few months ago from the Spunky Fiber Club, and that felt really good. I had started it when we were visiting our families just before moving here, then spun some at the hotel, so it's interesting how many memories this yarn already contains. I don't know what I'll knit with it; a lacy mini-shawl or scarf, probably, but it will be even more special to me because it was spun during such a transitional period of my life.

Something very cool happened during the plying. Usually, I have a yard or so of singles left on one bobbin that I navajo or andean-ply on itself, depending on the final product desired. Before I began this project, I divided up the roving into 2 as evenly as possible. In this picture though you will see that it doesn't really look like things are going to end all that well.

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To my absolute shock and amazement, I ended with only a half-inch difference!
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The leaders are white on top, and brown on bottom. Not sure how well you can tell from this pic, but I assure you, it. was. that. close.
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(The color is true in this pic.)

I haven't measured wraps per inch (WPI) yet, but it's somewhere between a lace-weight and fingering-weight two ply. I love it. It will self stripe a little bit, because of the way that I divided up the roving (see all the little fluffy balls of drafted wool on the bench next to me?), and it will be interesting to see how it reacts with different stitches. If I didn't have too many thing on the needles, I would have cast on for something already, out of curiosity.

Then yesterday I pulled out some turquoise batts I had bought a while back, and spun up all 8 ounces (approx 226 grams) into this thick and thin bulky two-ply. It was on and off the wheel in one afternoon, just like that.
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This is my first "on purpose" slubby, chunky yarn, and it makes me quite happy. I would like to try something highly textured. It's kind of a coarser wool, so it'll have to be some sort of outerwear. Maybe a short keyhole scarf that will be worn on the outside of a coat? Or maybe a hat with a soft, cashmere or pure alpaca lining? Not sure yet.

Oh how lovely. Today, I finally was able to kick myself into gear and start ripping and reknitting the sweater. I plan to finish it before Saturday. My sister is going to be coming here for the week of Thanksgiving, and I'd like to be able to show it off. Yup, that's the long and the short of it. I'm motivated by the bragging rights. This sweater is going to be done, and it will be adorable, no matter what it takes. And then....I have the second sweater... (will I be the first person with Second Sweater Syndrome? Why do I feel like I have to get the boys all Matchy-Matchy all the time? Why didn't I knit the arms for Max's sweater in blue with black stripes? So many questions. This baby had better not be a boy too, if only for that reason. Then again, they'll be able to wear all the hand-me-downs...)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


My studio!

(To clarify, I forgot to put the "if" above the word "Tiny". We won't know the gender of Tiny until after he/she is born. Thanks Laura for catching that one!)
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(Click for bigger and to read fine print if you're so inclined)

I've never had my very own workspace. Let me tell you though, it amazes me how little time I've actually spent in the studio since I set it up over the weekend.
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I mean, it would seem that I'd just be able to work non-stop.

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Any time I wanted to.

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No trouble at all.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Going natural?

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(Once again, all colors are true except the pink, which is not so blindingly obnoxious, I promise)

It's official. I need three more skeins of Kureyon, #170, dyelot A. No doubt about it. Two more skeins will be just barely enough to give me a decent length scarf, but three more will not only give me perfect length, but it will also give me that lovely fringe that I'm dreaming of...the fringe that will truly make this a Mini-Eleanor. I spring for it? I've already called the yarn shop in upstate NY where I purchased the other skeins. They have more, but the owner wasn't there to verify that I could purchase over the phone and have them mailed to me. Fortunately, even if they can't the store is only 20 minutes from my parent's house, and I'm sure that I could convince my brother to go run by there for me and pick them up himself...then go to the post office...he's a great brother. He always says "no", then does it. Better than someone who says "yes" and never completes the task. =) Ugg. So much for the inexpensive, stash-busting project.

Yesterday, I had a huge disappointments. I'd finally gotten around to reading through most of Spin-Off, and was intrigued by the organic article. Maybe it has something to do with being pregnant... I was also looking through my copy of One Skein, and noticed the Baby Bolero that I'd been interested in knitting before. It's knit out of an organic cotton (Blue Sky Alpaca, I think?), and its' all slightly slubby and perfectly gorgeous. Simple. Then back to Spin-Off. I noticed the T-Shirt Cozy in the Tea Cozy article, which was worked up in a handspun organic brown cotton/tussah silk blend (50/50). Suddenly, it all came together. I had to spin that yarn for the Baby Bolero.

I won't be finding out the gender of Tiny until the person presents themselves at their birth, so naturally colored clothing is just so soothing, so calm, so perfect. I love the idea of not worrying about blue, pink, yellow or green. Suddenly those ideas were garish. This baby needs to have their handspun, handknit clothing free of all dye, of all chemicals! This baby needs a cotton blend bolero, because it will be born in spring, and the fabric will be the perfect weight! (I have to admit, at this point I began to obsess a bit and may have gone a little overboard.)

Next thing I knew, I was online, doing a Google search for the blend. Aha! There it was, the exact blend, at Paradise Fibers! I quickly ordered 9 ounces (figuring that I needed at least an ounce to screw up on, and then maybe altogether I'd have enough for the sweater and a matching hat). I waited eagerly for the confirmation email that it had been shipped. They almost always mail out orders the same day, so I was confidant I'd have the fiber in hand soon. Then...then...I got an email letting me know that it had been a mistake. The fiber was sold out, and the mill that produced it out of business, hope of any more. Very sad. However, I'm now all about getting my hands on some naturally colored wool and cotton/silk blends (I don't have any desire to spin plain cotton. I don't like to knit with it, and so I feel like spinning it would be a waste of my time -- plus, it's such a short staple that it takes a good deal of practice, from what I've heard.) So if anyone knows of good distributors, please let me know.

I love tan, brown, cream. I found some beautiful dark chocolate Blue Faced Leicester (pronounced like the man's name "Lester", in case you would like to say it out loud) on eBay that is calling to me from The Copper Moose. They also sell some lighter brown, but it's tinged with siverly-ness, and grey is a turn-off to me as far as yarn goes. Not sure why. I knit a pair of grey socks for my grandpa last year, and nearly wasn't able to finish them because I couldn't stand looking at them.

Now that I've run out of the Noro, progress on the Wallaby sweaters has resumed.
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Here I'm doing something pure genius, yet I can't claim any of the smarts for it. I read in the Wonderful Wallaby FAQ page. In the pattern, it directs you to knit about 4 inches past the ribbing edge, (the sweater is knit from the bottom up in the round), then use a crochet hook to pick up stitches along a particular row, just where the stockinette begins. Now I'm using black yarn, so I was concerned about being able to see properly, plus, picking up that many stitches (50+) can be quite a job! On this FAQ page, I read that you can run a contrasting yarn through the stitches that you will eventually pick up while they are still on the needles. Then knit up a few more inches, and when you go back to get those stitches: no problem! They're marked! Incredible! This made me more happy than I'm willing to admit.

Last night, while waiting for my podcast first to save in Garage Band (1/2 an hour), then convert to iTunes (another 20-30 minutes), then upload to web (yet another 1/2 hour), I did this.
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I've worked on it a little more this morning, and the pocket is completed now. I have to knit up to the length of the pocket, before I get to fuse all the stitches together.

Not sure if you can tell in the picture, but after I did a provisional crochet cast-on (not called for in pattern) I've knit the very bottom portion in stockinette instead of rib with a smaller needle. I switched to the larger needle size, increased to the number of stitches as the pattern instructs (at the point after the ribbing where you're to switch to stockinette), then did a row of purl bumps for a turning ridge. This sweater will be hemmed instead of ribbed. I hope it works out, since I've never done it before -- I'm just using some things I've heard and read as guides.

This post is getting long, but I must demonstrate one more product of a pregnant mind:
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I got tired of this scarf. It didn't take me long to knit, it's not very warm, and Silk Garden is scratchy, so it has to be exceptionally functional to get used at all, no matter how beautiful it might be. Also, my husband hated it, I could tell.

So this morning, I just suddenly got it in my head to do this:
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And rework it with the odd ball of matching Silk Garden I have in the stash (what was I planning on doing with it anyway?!) into, perhaps, the Yarn Harlot's One Row Handspun Scarf? Not sure, I'll have to think about it. For now, I am pleased. No regrets.

Monday, November 06, 2006


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It's way past my bedtime, but I've just finished posting the latest episode of The Knitting Cook, now available on a bi-monthly schedule! I spent all day on it and still forgot some stuff, but oh well, such is the nature of the thing. (Or the pregnant brain?) So go! Download! =) (This totally blows me away -- I posted it about 3 minutes ago, and already I have 8 downloads!)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Little people go to market

Finally, an accurate picture of the scarf:
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The pink is just a little more maroon, but besides that the other colors are true. It's way wilder than I usually go, but it spoke to me (you know, "BUY ME"), so I had no choice. And also, it's Noro. How else could I get away with such a combination?

It's a gorgeous day today, clear, cold, and brilliantly sunny.

Today was market day, and we got there an hour before it closed (they start shutting down at noon). Max was pretty fussy, but I had some little boxes of raisins in my purse, which saved the day. I always get them little things to eat when we're out, but when he starts freaking out before we can even get to the vendors, I can't hope to communicate with anyone properly. It's already challenging enough to struggle with the Deutsch (German) language.

We went to the cheese truck first, and the lady got her mother (turns out be the egg-lady) to come over and translate for me. I was very proud of myself though, because I was able to communicate mostly without help ("Kann ich mal probieren?" pronounced kan ish mal probeeren and means "may I taste it?" Note to those who, for whatever reason, actually want to walk around saying this and feeling cool: the "r's" are rolled ever so slightly. Not a lot.)
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I noticed that the egg lady also had handmade pasta at her stand, so we went over there, and ended up having a nice conversation with her. I love it when that happens.
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She has five children (her oldest daughter runs the cheese truck), and thinks it's terrible that the current generation here in Deutschland don't like to have children, and is quite pleased that I'm working on baby #3.
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For the last 52 years, she has been waking up at 3am to prepare for the market. I'm not sure what other places she hits; she must work several towns, because this market only comes to town on Fridays. She raises her own chickens for eggs, then brings some of them to a tiny one-man pasta operation. Her husband was in the US army, stationed here, and one of her daughters lives in New Mexico, thus the great grasp of English. I'll definitely visit her cart again. She has lived a life of many stories that will be very interesting to learn.

The vegetable stand (which is the largest stand in the Markt Platz)
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I think these pictures oficially make me a tourist. Ah well.

(If you're hungry, you may want to stop reading here.)

This is what we ended up with:
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My favorite lunch of a big soft pretzel and some cheese (along with a protein shake):
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Coffee from across the street (that I spoke of the other day). As you can see, one pour of cream hardly lightens it. You can see the foam from the brewing process on the lid.
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Thursday, November 02, 2006


Thank you for your votes! I am completely enamored with the idea of a "mini-Eleanor", so that's what I'm going with. However, the suggestion of legwarmers by Dani has got me thinking. That will definitely be a project in the future. I can't get the picture out of my head of my striding down the street, belly first, with brilliantly colored leg warmers pulled on over my jeans, covering the tops of my shoes.

As it turns out, yesterday was All Saints Day. It is considered a public holiday here (not federal), so each state determines weather or not they will celebrate it. As it turns out, Rheinland-Pfalz, the state that I live in, is one of only 5 that do (as I saw yesterday).

It's possible that today is the continuation of the festivities (read: I won't be able to shop today either), but I'll hope for the best and go out anyway. I'm out of hairspray, and the Bed Head Hard Head I ordered on eBay hasn't arrived yet, so I really need to go run out and get some. Also, I am seriously craving some good sweet apples and a few oranges, both of which are in season right now. On top of that, I'm not sure if I can go another day without a stuffed artichoke. I'll share my recipe sometime -- it's killer, and the artichokes I found at the market last week were tender and perfect. Let's stop thinking about it, shall we?

Yesterday afternoon, I had the distinct feeling that my world was closing in on me. My husband has been working long hours (going in to work at 6am, which is normal, but then not getting home until at least 8pm, which is not), which leaves me to care for the boys from when they morning to bedtime. Sometimes he gets home in time to say goodnight to them.

This has been going on for over a week now, and will last about another three, so it's only just begun. I love my children more than I ever thought it was possible to love anyone, and normally, I am perfectly content with the profession I have chosen as mother, wife, housekeeper, cook. However, it's possible to loose sight of this content, tranquil place when Thomas the Tank Engine is the most requested video, no one is old enough to help out with anything much, and Sparky is learning to talk so much now that it's constant. questions. conversation.

I started to feel that if I had to discus the Thomas movie one more time ("Mommy, what does the blue train say? But what does the green one say?"), I would have to be admitted somewhere for counseling. About 4 hours after this fact, Mr. FiberFlash came home (right at bedtime for the boys), and I'd already started falling apart at the seams.

After handing the children over to him, I locked myself away in the other side of the house, folded the laundry that has been staring at me for days, and then did the only thing a reasonable person would do. I brewed myself a big mug of Chai tea, mounded it with whipped cream, and sat down with my two skeins of Noro to cast on.
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It seems that between caring for toddlers all day, and then knitting for them whenever I had a break in the action was not such a good plan for me. I needed time for me that was all about me. Sounds selfish at first glance, but let me tell you, when Mamma's happy, there is a happy house. And that's just healthy for everyone.

As it turns out, Entrelac is way more simple and mezmerizingly addictive than I had imagined. I decided to learn to knit backwards too so I wouldn't have to keep turning the work, and that was pretty thrilling too. After a few hours, I had this:
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(I can't manage to capture the true colors in the photo, but you'll have to believe me that it's the same yarn that was pictured yesterday)

The best thing about using this yarn with this particular technique is that the color tends to shift from block to block. It's fascinating to see which colors will land where, and next to what. I stayed up until midnight just to see what would show up next.

As you can see in the picture, Mr. FiberFlash also brought something home from our Post Office Box that helped to make the night. I have to say, Spin-Off is my favorite Interweave magazine so far. The articles are smart and technical while remaining interesting and engaging. Love it. I learn new things every time.

One more good thing was the fact that the Mr. even got home as early as he did. I hadn't imagined him getting home any earlier than 1am or so, it was a wonderful surprise to even be able to see him at all. Let's just say that the night ended successfully, and that's all the details I have for you.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy Noro!!

Have you heard? It's NoroVember! Nope, I don't need another project on my needles, but let's just not think about that, ok?

I need a little help. I've got two skeins of Noro Kureyon #170, my new favorite colorway.
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This pic is borrowed from my fav eBay yarn seller, Yarnbow, since I couldn't hope to get the same picture quality and color. Click the yarn to get to their store. (Best prices, immediate shipping, awesome customer service. I don't mean to enable, but I can't help myself. Actually, you might not want to click. Well now I've warned you.)

Really, I'd like to buy 10 skeins of this and knit Lady Eleanor, but I don't want to spend the money on it right now. Can't really justify it since I'm still paying off the Lendrum, saving up for an Ashford Knitter's Loom, and have enough yarn to knit many pairs of socks and at least one shawl (not to mention Kiri shawl and Liesel Lace Leaf scarf, which are currently being ignored on the needles.) Certainly enough to keep me busy for a very very long time, and on top of that, I've got a bunch of fiber that I can spin into yarn, so no, there's definitely no need to buy anything else right now.

Here are my choices for what to do with these two:
  • Danica, and entrelac scarf from Knitty (the closest I can get to Eleanor -- maybe I could even fringe it similarly?)
  • Hurry Up Spring Armwarmers from Stitch N Bitch Nation
  • A simple cable and rib hat (similar to Sparky's)
  • Something I haven't thought of?
I considered the Mistake Rib Scarf that my (quiet) blogging partner Sarah knit up a while ago, but I cast on for that once and got frusterated because somehow I couldn't remember which side I was on. There was also the beautiful net crochet scarf she worked in Kureyon, but I want something a little warmer, since it's getting pretty cold here. I've also thought about knitting an illusion scarf with a contrasting color, but I really don't want to buy any more yarn. I have limited myself to just these two skeins for the knit-along. So what do you think?

This is my current progress on the Wallaby sweaters. All four arms are finally knit up, and I started on Sparky's sweater body. Unfortunately, when I laid it out to photograph, I found that I had inadvertently knit a Moebius. I thought that was a difficult and mysterious thing to do, but apperently all you have to do is twist your cast on when joining in the round. Ahem. If you're looking for me, I'll be quietly sobbing on the couch, ripping out 2 inches of body, 2 inches of hem, and a crochet provisional cast-on.
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(Note to self: always cast on BEFORE the movie starts.)

Non-knitting content follows if you're not interested in movies or a German Adventure, feel free to skip:

Last night Mr. FiberFlash and I watched Lucky Number Slevin (the culpret of the unintentional Moebius). I had never heard of the movie, but it turned out to be very good. The plot was tight and engaging. We both enjoyed it muchly.

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To read a little bit about it, go to the IMDB. To read a lot more and spoil the plot for yourself, check out Wikipedia's description.

Really though, anything with Josh Harnett, Lucy Liu, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley has got to rock. (If violence and sex are a turn off for you though, you may want to skip this one, as it has elements of both.)

This morning I was feeling much better, so the boys and I set off on our usual little shopping adventure. Strangely, the street was quiet. There were almost no cars on the road, and the sidewalks were empty except one man walking his dog. We went to the whole food store first, and then the bakery (both only across the street, thankfully) but they were both closed. The produce stand was also closed down. I couldn't find any signs in the windows to suggest what might be the cause. I'm guessing it's a German holiday of some sort? Can't figure it out. We finally went over to another bakery, also across the road, which we've never visited. They have a little cafe (as do most), so I ordered pretzels for the boys, and a cup of coffee for myself.

To make my coffee, the lady pushed this button on her machine, and it ground the coffee, then brewed my cup, just for me. It had a layer of crema on top (that caramel colored foam that naturally tops a well brewed espresso), and was thick, dark and rich. In the States, we would call it a cup of espresso, but here, apparently that's just plain coffee, served in a regular sized mug. Very interesting. It was quite good, but since I haven't had caffeine in so long, I'm totally feeling the buzz. (For those concerned -- pregnant women are advised that it is safe to drink up to 2 cups of coffee a day, so I'm safe.)

In Germany, when you sit down at a table in a restaurant, it's considered yours for as long as you choose to be there. No one rushes you or imagines that you'll leave soon. In fact, if there's room at your table, another patron may even ask to sit with you (which you can refuse if you'd like), since there's a possibility of a long term unavailability of tables in a crowded place. The boys and I camped out in the cafe for about a half-hour, while Sparky stared at the table next to us where there was a lively conversation going on in German between four older folks, and Max jumped up and down in his chair and looked out the huge glass store-front. The people at the nearby table kept smiling at Max (I think he was making faces at them), and talking about him, but they could tell that I couldn't understand them, so I'm pretty sure that they also discussed the fact that I was pregnant too (I could just imagine "and a third on the way! Oh my!"). Or maybe they weren't at all.


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