Thursday, November 30, 2006

Help a Poor Grad Student...Please

So I'm partial to grad students. My best friend is someone I met while her husband was working on his PhD at UofM. I go to church with several people who are in grad school and then there's always Kate.
Then I was over here and she told me to go here. So what I was reading about was this guy doing a study about how fast a meme - aka chain letter - can move across the internet. He's studying English at UC Irvine. My daughter is also an English major at BYU. I automatically have a little soft spot so I thought I'd help him out and you can too. All you have to do is link here and ping here. He's evidently going to present this data at the MLA and I always like to be part of a good scientific study that doesn't involve my taking medications or eating anything I don't think I should.
Thanks for helping this guy even though I don't know him.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

It's a Mystery to Me

Here are pictures of my lame attempt at Navajo Plying. I suck at it. Yesterday though Betty showed me a great beginner way to do it. It's more of a stop and go method but she said that after a little practicing I'll actually be able to peddle at the same time as plying.
We'll see.

I'm getting ready for my Grand Opening Party on Saturday. I'm going to pick up some lovely little desserts in Dearborn on Friday with Dana. My mom gave me some crazy thing for Christmas that nobody can identify. I'm having a contest on Saturday for the most original guess - as judged by me - of what the thing is. The prize for that is a $25.00 store gift certificate. Also there will be three drawings for prizes. One is a lovely little bag full of wool - a sampler of sorts, one is a beautiful rug hooking kit that is a $136.00 retail value, and finally is 2 free spinning lessons for the winner and a friend (total of four lessons). I won't be teaching Navajo Plying though.

I have a huge amount of work to get done this week as far as organizing and getting gifts ready. Anybody who comes will get a little bag of wool and a cute candy cane.

I think it will be a fun day and I think I will be exhausted by the end.

This morning is cleaning the house for the Christmas tree and then off to the shop.

Maybe a little internet contest is in order as far as my Christmas present goes. I'll take some pictures today.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

It looks as is I have reached the picture limit of a post on blogger. I would like to say right off that this post is meant mostly for my sisters - who won't be visiting home for Christmas this year - and also for Dana.

Here is our mother. This picture was taken today about 11 AM She has a wedding for 80 guests that begins at 4PM and she has to cook all of the food but she is out putting garland on the porch. She'll get finished, she always does.

This room is named Kenneth. It has a king size bed but it only has a regular bathroom. It has a lot of square footage though and is decorated very nicely.

Here is the parlor again for those family members - and you know who you are - who complained about the last pathetic pictures.

Dining Room

Some of my mom's beaded bags. The red one and the beige one are both knitted with beads and I made them for her. The red one will be traveling back to Michigan with me tomorrow to attend Dana's son's wedding in two weeks.

This room is called Mary. Queen size bed. Footed tub in the bathroom.

This is my brother - the grumpy looking one, my sister in law - darling and happy, my charming husband - also darling.

I worked on Navajo Plying today. I have a picture of my pathetic attempt. I'll post it tonight if possible. If anybody has any advice about the Navajo Plying I would love it. I read instructions from the internet and possibly need some more guidance.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Lots of Pictures and a Question

We drove yesterday. and drove. and drove. and drove. It was the trip that wouldn't end. We left at 6:15AM and got to my mom's at close to 6PM.

This is the sunset as we were getting to the homestead.

600 miles, 22 potty breaks, 427 fights - the kids, not nearly enough napping.

So I'm including some really crappy night pictures of the parent's house.

Remember, it's a bed and breakfast and the second week of November my mom decorates for the holiday events she hosts. At least 35 trees plus a ridiculous amount of accessories.
It is beautiful though.

This picture is in the Parlor.

Parlor again.

Library. My mom has a huge collection of Department 56 houses. I threw that in in case you can't make out what that picture is supposed to be showing.

Here is the sitting room.

The 1st floor hallway.

The dining room.

Those are the first floor rooms. There are 22 rooms all together with 7 guest rooms. Every room has at least 1 tree.

It is kind of impressive. I wasn't impressed when I used to work for my mom and I was in charge of fluffing all of those trees and putting the lights on.
One year I got to decorate a couple of trees - then the queen came by and rearranged my arrangements.

This is our room on the third floor. It's a great room and one of my favorites in the house.

Now the question. I am an idiot and although I did achieve almost all of my goals for Tuesday and Wednesday. And though I did pack my knitting I didn't bring the pattern. I only brought one project. Chelsea's sweater. I am about an inch from the arm hole shaping. I have several days and a twelve hour drive ahead so if anyone has the Sarah Dallas Vintage Knits book and can tell me about the arm hole shaping of the ribbed sweater and also how the sleeves start that should get me through. If not, I guess I'll have to sacrifice and make a trip to the yarn store. Or maybe even this yarn store. Or perhaps this yarn store.

Now don't think you are doing me any favors by not helping me with the pattern if you can. I will probably overspend at any of those places and I really need to get the pink sweater done. You know. Christmas and all.

By the way. My mom said she was just teasing about the socks and she really wanted them. Too bad for her. They're not done. Don't joke about knitting. It's not funny.

Monday, November 20, 2006


So, It's 8:30.

Today I made 6 curtain panels, worked at the shop for 6 hours, bank, post office, home school with Maggie.

Tomorrow the list is stupid.
Home school, take Penny to the kennel, pick up the pies, pay bills for the store and for home, pack for all of us, 2 more curtain panels, pack my knitting, work at the shop from 3 to 8 PM.

Wednesday it's in the car by 6 AM so we can get to my parents' house by 6 PM and then begins the usual holiday madness that is our home/birthplace.

Thursday - Help mom make dinner in the morning. Open gifts - pretending it's Christmas day. Eat dinner at about 1PM. Dessert at about 2. 3PM Leave Shearer Elegance and head to Delaware. Have dessert again. Open more gifts - pretending, ya know.
7:30ish it's back on the road to go to my parents'.

Friday I have big plans for spinning. I think I'm taking the Little Gem along. Saturday probably back to Delaware for one last visit and Sunday morning hop in the car to come back home to Michigan so I can be in the shop Monday morning.

I have plenty to do next week too. Saturday the 2nd is my Grand Opening. I'm going to get some of the best little desserts ever and I have plans for some cute little fibery type gifts for anyone who attends.

Isn't Christmas coming? When am I going to get to that?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Collage of My Week

I have a lot of pictures.

I've been spinning at home a little. I need the peacefulness of it. Even when the younguns are squealing. I'm back to the wensleydale. It surely is my favorite wool to spin. The Schacht-Reeves wheel ain't bad either.
Like butta.

I got three Schacht wheels in to the shop this week. Two double treadle and one single treadle.
I also made up some more little gift boxes with patterns from Interweave Knits and enough wool to make a project. I'm thinking of the significant others who might need a gift for their fiber addicted significant others and who may not have clue about where to go with it.

Friday was Ryan's birthday.

We went to see the Escape Claus - where he was quite good for a three year old. Then he wanted to eat dinner at Red Robin. He loves it there. There was a little argument because Maggie prefers Chili's. Since it was Ryan's birthday he was the winner.

Anyway, here is Ryan's birthday sunday.

Here is Ryan.

As soon as they started clapping and singing under the table he went.

Saturday night our favorite party guests, Dana and Jerome, came over for a little celebration at home.

Here is the birthday boy opening his ginormo costco size Tinkertoys. His dad said - and this is an exact quote - "What were you thinking?"

And here is the part of the party that was for mommy.

Coldstone ice cream cake. This cake will definitely chase away the crabbies.

This is the reason that the Weight Watchers plan, she is not working for me.
How any points are in that slice of deliciousness?

Thursday I went with Dana to my favorite fabric store of all time - Fabric Gallery. This is a fabulous shop with the most helpful people of all time. These people actually know how to sew!
The buttons, oh, the buttons. Fabric for touching and if they don't have it they will get it for you.
I've been shopping here since I moved to Michigan and I can't say enough good things about the place.
We got some lovely beaded fabric for Dana. Her son is getting married in December and I have to make her a skirt. It will be fabulous.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Where I Whine About Too Much Work

We're back at the store. There's organizing galore happening.

Kelle brought me this beautiful stand that her charming husband made for her baskets. She doesn't use it anymore. I put it at the top of the steps and it fits perfectly and looks beautiful with the shetland rovings on it.

This is what you see after you look at the Shetland on the beautiful stand.

Most of the mess on the floor is balls of roving containing merino or merino and silk or merino and mohair in lovely colors. Hard to see because of the ridiculous plastic bags.
On the shelves on the wall is Ready Spin in a lot of colors and also a lot of Louet fiber which is soft and wonderful to spin.
And don't forget the colors of Ashford Sliver. Popular with new spinners and needle felters.

In this alcove are the natural wools. Wensleydale roving, Cotswald, Shetland, Romney, Merino in regular and superwash and other ones that I can't remember right now.

In this alcove are all of the luxury fibers - Silk in all its forms, Cashmere, Yak, Llama, Alpaca, Opossum, Angora, Camel...

Also over here is the cotton, spun weaving yarns and a little bit of the Ashford Tekapo yarn.

Here are some cute little gift boxes I made up. The two in the middle each has some roving and a coordinating Anne Grout spindle. On each side are two Shetland Samplers containing either shades of gray or shades of brown. They are really cute and get a lot of attention. I'm pretty proud of myself.

Here is my collection of Anne Grout and Cascade Spindles.

Don't you really just want to try them all? I do.

If I can ever get all of that roving out of the plastic bags.

In this picture are most of my spinning wheels that I have in the shop right now.

A Schacht is coming next week and I need to order another Kiwi and maybe a Majacraft Susie.

And the blue one...built and painted by Mister Reeves himself. Betty won it in an auction. I think it will be a special person who wants to take that beauty home. In the mean time I plan on moving things around so it can be right in the front window. It's definitely an attention getter.

The box standing up in front of the window is a large adjustable loom from Hill Creek Fiber Studio. I think it's a triangle. I have the large square adjustable one and also several of the smaller sized triangles and stands. That may be the next thing I learn.

Anyway, the point of this post is that there's still lots of work to be done even though I'm working hard every day to organize I feel like I'm making a bigger mess.
For those of you who are local - can you please come and keep me company while I braid roving. It's hard on my back and I could use some company. Monday's are good but any other day would be great.

Friday, November 10, 2006

I Love a Good Quiz

And I thought my accent was going away. Hmmm...

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: Philadelphia

Your accent is as Philadelphian as a cheesesteak! If you're not from Philadelphia, then you're from someplace near there like south Jersey, Baltimore, or Wilmington. if you've ever journeyed to some far off place where people don't know that Philly has an accent, someone may have thought you talked a little weird even though they didn't have a clue what accent it was they heard.

The Midland
The Northeast
The South
The Inland North
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Thursday, November 09, 2006

It's Definitely Been A Circus Around Here

Last night we went to opening night of Ringling Brothers at the Palace in Auburn Hills. First I have a complaint. When you go to the Palace there is no where to park except for in the lot of the venue. They charge $10.00 to park there. There is no other choice. We went there last year to see Princesses on Ice. I had the same complaint.

Anyway, I've only been to the tiny rinky dink circuses before. I didn't expect much. Honestly, I thought it was great. I don't know about the Greatest Show on Earth. It was good though. The first picture is of the Llamas and clowns. Fiber animals at the circus. Who knew?

How about a few elephants. Brittney, my in-college activist says we shouldn't have gone because of the animal abuse in the circus. I don't know where I stand on all of that. She's always finding something to argue with me about though.

The kids loved it and the price was right. Opening night tickets were only ten bucks anywhere in the place.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Where has the knitting content gone? Does this girl even knit at all anymore? Well yes as a matter of fact she does.

I'm working on this sweaterIt's from Sarah Dallas' Vintage Knits. I dug it out of the UFOs a little over a week ago. I bought the yarn in Pennsylvania about 4 years ago. It's Katia Surf. 100% Acrylic. I'm usually against acrylic. Doing my part to conserve oil and not pollute the environment. Anyway, this stuff is soft and drapey and lovely to touch. I made the top a little longer than shown. It's not for me -it's a gift.

That's pretty much the right color. Yes, I'm using Turbos. I started it on turbos back when I hadn't been experimenting with tools. I still don't love them but I'm worried about the gauge changing so I'll finish what I started.

I also made this hat for Maggie. No pattern. She loves it. I made it from Berrocco Ultra Alpaca. I wish I had made the pompon a little fuller. I still have a lot of yarn left so I can try again.

And here are the red eye kids. Anybody know what to do about that. This picture is with the Red Eye flash on.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Piles and Piles and More Answers

Do you prefer sock yarn that is a solid color, variegated, or striping? For socks? All of it!

What are your favorite colors & are there any colors that you do not like? I like autumn colors and reds. See yesterday's post.

How long have you been spinning & knitting? I've been knitting for about 6 years and spinning for over 3 years and spinning anything that I would call yarn for about 2 years.

Do you have any fiber allergies or preferences? I like natural fibers and don't think I'm allergic to any of them.

Are you willing to hand wash your socks or are you a machine wash only knitter? Whatever I have to do for the little lovelies - I'll do it. Except Bungee Jumping

Do you have any favorite candy or treats? As everyone knows by now I love Dark Chocolate and anything else that somebody lovely would send me in the mail as a special treat since they were thinking of me when they picked it out.

Anything else you would like to share with your pal? Thank You.

Here are some pictures of the store. I've done a little bit of organizing since I took them but..There'ss a lot of stuff in there and I'm
working on finding a spot for all of it. Some of the cotton has already been stored at my house.
There's definitely an abundance of Shetland.

Yes all of those bags are filled with roving in natural colors. Yes that pile is about hip deep and yes that window well goes back about 8 feet. I know...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Answers to Some Mitten Questions and What to do With Old Hand Spun Yarn

Alright everybody. I joined two more swaps and so I have two more lists of questions to answer. Sorry gotta do it for my pals. Here's the first one.

Knit Mit Kit Swap Answers to Questions

What are your favorite colors? Reds, and fall colors.

Are you a new mitt knitter? How long have you been knitting mittens? Mittens were one of my first knitting projects. My friend Angie and I had a birthday party for ourselves several years ago. We held it at Knit Around after closing and each person we invited got a hand knitted pari of mittens - knit by me - and the invitation was a poem written by Angie. Everybody got a pair of mittens except me because by the time I was done knitting for everybody else I was sick of it. I think we invited about ten people. It was a very fun party.

Do you prefer solid or multicolored yarn? Yes and yes and I have no problems with pooling color.

What fibers do you prefer in mitten yarn? Wool I think - with something soft blended in.

Where do you usually knit mittens? They can travel easily so in the car, at the hockey game, in my bed, on the roof, in the attic, up the chimney, in the crawlspace...

How do you usually carry/store small projects? I have two small bags from Lantern Moon - one thanks to Kelle - that I love

What are your favorite mitten patterns? I don't really have any favorites. I need to try some new ones.

What are your favorite mitten knitting techniques? Techniques?

What new techniques would you like to try? Huh?

What are your favorite needles for knitting mittens? Wooden double points.

What are some of your favorite yarns? I'm not sure I've ever used one type of yarn more than once. I love anything that is yarnlike and touchable with lovely colors - natural fibers.

What yarn do you totally covet? Lobster Pot - I saw it once and didn't buy any and I've never gotten over it.

Any pattern you would love to make if money and time were no object? Anything from Heirloom Knitting.

Favorite kind of needles (brand, materials, straights or circs, etc)? I'm a big fan of Rosewood and Ebony. Double pointed and also circulars. I don't really use straights.

If you were a specific kind of yarn, which brand and kind of yarn would you be? Lobster Pot Cashmere in Lobster Bisque

Do you have a favorite candy or mail-able snack? Dark Chocolate and sometimes Doritos

What’s your favorite animal? cows and sheep

Would you prefer super warm mittens or something more like fingerless mitts? I love them both.

If you were a color what color would you be? Red

What is your most inspiring image, flower, or object in nature? Fall Leaves and Rose Petals and four leaf clovers.

Do you have a wishlist? Yep, It's in the sidebar.

Anything else you’d like to share with the group today? The picture below is of Ryan today. Sunday paper on his head and a made-by-mom pirate eye patch tied on with some early handspun yarn. I must say though, when I put that skein away I thought it was pretty crappy. When I got it out today I thought it wasn't as bad as I thought.

My cold is getting better. Good thing because tomorrow is my second spinning class. I'm not sure the students want a teacher who can't talk.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Is it Kooky or Cookie?

I'm going to share something with you all. Don't worry. It's not a secret or anything. Everyone else already knows. I don't like Halloween. I'm sorry. It's the truth. I used to like it when I was young and on the receiving end of the loot. I liked going to all of the neighbors for hours and hours and at each house they would try to guess who we were under the masks. One of the neighbors always had home made candy and caramel apples for everyone. My mom used to dress up and go just to that house with us because they wouldn't ever just send one home with us for her. It was fun and we dressed up as hobo's, gift boxes, clowns, old people...You get the idea. Not very scary. Like I said in my Stuff You Don't Care About Meme, I don't like to be scared because it's scary.

I feel like there are a lot more scary and bloody and gross costumes now. Maybe not. Maybe I'm just getting old.

So, we went uptown on Monday night. They were having trick or treating at the stores. I know. It wasn't Halloween yet. Don't ask me why they chose Monday but the kids dressed up and we went. I took no pictures. Ryan was spider man and Maggie was the Little Mermaid.

Yes, I bought the costumes this year. With buying the store and Rhinebeck and laundry and homeschool there was no time for homemade costumes. Thank goodness for Target.

So on Tuesday, to save me from answering the door and seeing scary people there, we went to Dana's house for dinner and baking. She lives in the woods. Nobody came to collect candy.

Here she is rolling out the dough for the cookies. Can you see the little dowels on each side of the dough? That's to keep the dough the same thickness for cutting. Kirstynn - the daughter and new mom - saw that on the Food Network. Ingenious. Dana is very beautiful in real life. I'm going to get killed for this picture, I know.

Here is our work area. Cookies are baked in 3 different sizes and then iced. The cookies are then stacked and glued together with more icing. Three big ones. Three medium sized ones. Two tiny ones. A little spritz with water and some clear decorating sugar is sprinkled on for sparkle.

Here are some of the finished product. Voila. Mini Wedding Cakes. There is a shower this Saturday for her soon to be daughter-in-law. Every guest gets one of these - 50 all together - in a clear box tied with beautiful polka dot ribbon. 50 guests. That's 400 cookies to bake if you're counting. We did about half on Tuesday night and Dana and Kirstynn finished them on Wednesday. Last night was boxing night. Not to be confused with Canada's Boxing DAY.

Here's the glamour shot. The pillow says "If it's not one thing, It's your mother" Maggie likes to make sure that Penny is warm.
I'm sick by the way. Congestion, headache, sore throat. It needs to go away. I have to be in the store tomorrow. It's our first Saturday in a long time and the first Saturday of new ownership.
I'll get some pictures up of the shop shortly because I need some direction with organizing. You've seen my sewing room, remember?