Wednesday, January 31

It's all about the O...

As in FO! Inspired by the needle felting book that Hilde so generously sent me from Oslo, I present to you my first FO of 2007: The Preppy Felted Tote.

I couldn't take it any more. I promised myself not to start any projects until 'New Old Faithful' was finished, but I ended up driving to and from Ft. Worth when we went to the rodeo last weekend. I know where all the speed traps are and and I drive like a horse bolting for the barn on the way back--no stops. Anyway, I had visions of a beautifully needle felted tote with exquisite embroidery and beading. BUT I found the ribbon stashed away in a drawer and remembered I had some grommets leftover from the snappy curtains I made for the living room. Now, if I could only figure out where I put Wallace.

2 felted sweaters, ribbon, grommets, rope
Total cost: $7

I bought a wool sweater at the local Goodwill and had a green wool jacket that was too itchy.(This is a great way to recycle unloved wool. You'll feel extremely clever and useful. I'm thinking of felted clogs for another itchy victim.) I felted both of them and cut them into various rectangles and then sewed them up. Added the ribbon trim, bashed the grommets on with a hammer, found rope in the scissors drawer and Bob's yer uncle.
As in UFO. Sigh. Here's 'New Old Faithful' stuck on the ribbing of the first sleeve. I think this will be done during "Rome," "Battlestar Galactica" and the SuperBowl this weekend. I'm really hot to trot on some colorwork and spinning, but this is good discipline. For what, I don't know, but it has given my patience a good workout.


Every year, we take the boys to my hometown for one of the best rodeos around. Yep, the Ft. Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. Here are a few pics of the highlights:

And you just can't beat the corny dogs and fried Oreos for a balanced meal!

Friday, January 26

Brown Paper Packages Tied up with Strings

Click on images to enlarge or on flickr button for more info.

A box arrives...

Schchenmayr Mohair Lux and Opal Hagebutte hand dyed sock yarn in Rosehip.

Garnstudio cotton viscose and Lanartus amalfi ribbon

Mandarin Classic Egyptian cotton, pickled herring in sherry, vegetable salt and sheep buttons from South Africa. "Lderik Toving" book on needle felting in Norwegian and very sweet dreams.

Mange takk, Hilde!

Friday, January 19

YPF: Grey and Icy

Patons Shetland Chunky 'Thunder Marl' is the yarn I'm using to make 'Old Faithful.' it is a 75%acrylic/25%wool blend that is surprisingly soft and machine washable. 'Ratty Old Faithful' is 60%acrylic/40%wool, so I don't think the new sweater will be too much of a shock for Mr. Mary. I'm on the first sleeve and really hope I can get the second one done this weekend so I can move on with my knitting life. You know, alpaca, cashmere...uh, COLOR would be nice.

We have thawed out from the "Not That Big a Deal" ice storm of 2007, but I did manage to take a few pics.

The boys are finally back in school, the DH at the office and I'm free to resume my normal routine. YIPPEE! I joined a gym about a week ago. (It's true, Hila.)It's for women only and it's where all the softbodies in sloppy t-shirts and baggy shorts in my neighborhood go. The hardbodies have personal trainers or go somewhere like Crunch or Ouch, look good wearing bike shorts and respond well to people yelling out numbers. In another life way before kids, I was a bit like that. I had an executive membership at the YMCA in Washington, DC which had a separate locker room from the plebes. I would march in after work and pound away in an aerobics class, swim laps or put 50 minutes on the treadmill set at max, followed by a million push-ups and crunches with little interaction with any of the other women. No more. I am quite happy to chat with my cohorts and catch up on neighborhood news while going around the timed circuit of various machines. Gravity aside, age does have its privileges .....!

Tuesday, January 16


Wooo doggies! First, we had flash flooding last weekend and now we're in the midst of a 3-day ice storm. Through some bizarre confluence of events involving El Nino, NAFTA, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mica Mosbacher(my cousin's ex-wife), Austin has been designated the official target. Now, all of y'all in New England, Europe and any points north are probably shaking your heads over the hysteria, but we were in shorts a week ago. There have been nine jillion wrecks and god forbid you didn't run out to the store and stock up for the duration. Putting our East Coast(Conn., Mass., NYC and DC, between the two of us) driving skills to good use, we ran out to the store twice today. The first time was to get everything for sauerbraten. The second time we loaded up on firewood, then Mr. Mary ran back in for egg noodles, then I remembered we needed dish soap. So, there we were, sitting in the grocery store parking lot, trying to think of anything we might need and watched some guy walk out with a 2-liter bottle of Big Red. Now, that's real Texas storm preparation!

I've been working steadily on 'Old Faithful,' the grey sweater for Mr. M to replace his 20-yr old acrylic relic. The knitting is quite boring and it's taken sheer willpower to work stockinette back and forth for 25 inches on a 46-inch sweater in the round. Back and forth...back and forth...back and...I've finally gotten the front neck finished and just need to work the back shoulders. Once I've gotten the shoulder seams done, I can pick up stitches around the armhole for sleeves and work my way...back and forth...down to the cuffs. I'm determined to finish my WIPs and, while this may not be the oldest one, it is the one that is most immediately needed.

So, I'm off to light a fire, fix a hot toddy, play Scrabble with the boys, enjoy the sauerbraten and watch 'The Triplets of Belleville.' I'm sure I'm forgetting something....oh yeah, feed the dog!

Friday, January 12

YPF: Colinette Giotto 'Cherry'

I have destashed massive amounts of the Giotto that I compulsively bought on eBay, but there are a few skeins lurking about. Personally, I think Wales should make me a dame of the realm or something for all the money I have spent on Colinette. Or, at the very least, give me a medal for participation like the ones my kids get just for showing up for stuff. Sometimes, the boys will wear all their medals and walk around looking the mayor of Munchkinland in "The Wizard of Oz." This is when I cue up Pink Floyd for The Dark Side of the Rainbow.

Wednesday, January 10

New Year's Babies

Nope, he ain't mine. He's my sister-in-law's new 2-month old baby boy, Gabriel or Gabrielito if you live in Miami. He was one of the highlights of our annual holiday trip to visit family in Key Biscayne aka "Prisoners in Paradise."(Just read the last paragraph in the Wikipedia description). I know that makes me sound like a huge grump, but I don't even spend more than 48 hours with my own side of the family if I can help it.(As a result, we have a great time when we do see each other.) Sure, there's the beach and the pool and all that, but we lived in Key Biscayne for two long years and there's just not a whole lot else to do. The boys had a great time with their cousins and I did read a couple of books("Spook," "The Pact," and "The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn"), knitted a bit and drank wine on the balcony--which raised in-law eyebrows until I went to the liquor store and bought a case of primo vino just for them.

Okay, I was really bored UNTIL I spent the day at my old job--Anneke's Needleworks. I hung out, played with the cats, visited with Anneke, lunched and helped the various knitters who popped in. I got to chat with a couple of my old regulars. Kinda like my version of 'Cheers' for knitters. Armed with a generous cash gift from my mother-in-law and my still active employee discount(!), I replenished some of my recently depleted stash. Let's see what made it into my suitcase:

On the left is Prism's Lotus in Orchard and Autumn with Alchemy Synchronicity(Scarlett's Dark Secret) in the middle. The Lotus is a lovely blend of 58%wool, 27%bamboo, 15%silk which is great for Austin. This group may become a cardigan with lace edging in the Synchronicity. On the right is Colinette Jitterbug in Copperbeach--remember, sock yarn doesn't count, right? I swore I wasn't going to buy any wool whatsoever, but I fell in love with this moody Malabrigo ("Pearl ten').
You can't see the gradual shift from purple to green in the photo, but think of Notre Dame at dusk in January. It's too soft to felt, so I may make another shoulder warmer/shrug with it. On the bright side, Anneke had been saving a couple skeins of this Colinette Parisienne('marble') to compliment the Tao silk I have in the same colorway. She had talked me into buying this for the twisted drop stitch shawl pattern they have.It's so soft and silky and the pattern is very simple. I did cast on more stitches than called for a wider piece. Mindless knitting with excellent results.

And now, without further ado, let me introduce the newest addition to our family:
CHUY! (pronounced Chew-eee) He's 27 pounds of labradoodle(half labrador retriever/half standard poodle) fun and the biggest sweetie ever. As my brother, Redneck, says "All your other dogs have been on crack and finally you got one that smokes pot." Chuy is sweet natured and smart. This dog figured out the dog door in one day, with the help of my 8-year old son crawling through it. So, not one accident in the house! Even Neko likes him and is hanging around more--this dog hasn't grabbed him by the tail and dragged him across the floor. The vet had the whole office come in and just to look at his paws:They're huge which means Chuy is going to be one big dog. We're going to need a larger dog door--one the whole family can crawl through.

Archie has not been forgotten. There were some more tears over the holiday and I picked up his ashes yesterday. The boys got home from school and we opened up the box. "Wow, he looks like fish tank gravel!" was the tasteful observation. Adding to our sense of the macabre, we all touched the bag and said "Hi, Archie." We're getting there.......