Sunday, December 29, 2013

Remarkably MORE of the same.

Stunningly we lost another member of the extended family. 

In three weeks:

16 year old 2nd cousin to suicide
Cousin succumbs after a 13 year battle with breast cancer.
27 year old 2nd cousin dies after working out, while visiting her parents for Christmas. Apparently a brain aneurysm.


The family is stunned. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Progress report


It has been three weeks since I knit. Every now and again I pick up my sock to see if I can manage. I can't, yet. Saw the doc on Thursday and everything is copacetic, but that only means; 1) no healing is visible on the x-ray yet; 2) the bone is nicely aligned; 3) I must refrain from using my arm for FOUR, count'em FOUR MORE WEEKS.  And this is NORMAL. 

Life here is not. The extended family lost a 16 year old to suicide, and a close cousin succumbed to breast cancer after a brilliant 13 year battle. It was one of those sad blessings. Lots of prayer here in the Knitnbead house this season. 

These things also put my whining about four weeks into perspective.

I hope whoever is still reading this has a blessed Christmas, and healthy and joyous New Year. 

Maybe I'll be typing with both hands soon. And if anyone has a suggestion for a good iPad dictation app (not Siri), I'm listening!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

I wish I had better news.

Here we are the first week of December and all that remains of my Christmas knitting is about 3/4 of a sock for my Mom. Last Saturday I received my bead order for the makins' for the traditional beaded ornament for my sister-in-law. Apparently, I got too cocky. 

Monday I slipped on some ice and broke my shoulder. In case you've never been so "lucky", let's just say it is painful. Good news: it is my non-dominant arm. Bad: it doesn't seem to matter. All movement is painful. I certainly can't do fine beadwork, but I'm hoping I may be able to knit again soon. I'm an English style knitter, so most of the work is done by my right hand. But I'm still at the don't move under pain of surgical intervention phase, and frankly not even the pain meds are working very well.

Well, enough one handed typing for now. I need to lie down........

Monday, November 25, 2013

And now...

... they've brought friends!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Another Monday, More FOs!

Though they may look like extended family, they're really bottle toppers. They're Christmas gifts for my co-workers. Aren't they cute? I used some of the leftover yarns from my Parcheesi blankie. They're very quick to make. Their beards are wool top, and the eyes are actually beads (I wanted them to have "beady" eyes). I used this pattern:

Elves, Gnomes, Wizards, Santa and Leo Kristin Nicholas
It's a freebie. The best kind. My beards are a little thicker, and I may yet trim them, but we'll see. I also should have made their eyes a little larger.......

Here they are at work.

Monday, October 28, 2013

I'm shooting for a posting a month....

It has been an incredibly busy month....not with work, but I. TOOK. A. REAL. VACATION. Last year our vacation was ab-ended by the passing of my beloved MIL. We were really looking forward to this year. What did we do? Whatever we felt like. Whenever we felt like it. For me that meant yarn shopping, reading, knitting, drinking/tasting wine, walking in the woods. For him that meant watching sports, and sports talk shows, sleeping late, drinking/tasting wine and walking in the woods. Please notice only two of those overlapped. Barely noticed. It was blissful. If we didn't feel like doing something we had tentatively planned...we didn't. What a concept!

But now I'm back and here's what I'm thinkin':

  • This administration makes Nixon, Haldeman, look like Michael the Archangel, the seraphim, and cherubim. Who'da thunk it. Apparently, it's OK to outright lie - if it suits your agenda, it's dandy to not be accountable FOR. ANYTHING. (where the hell DOES that buck stop?), and whatever happens--blame someone else.
  • The shock of the voters who put this obfuscater in office is really humorous. It would be more humorous if we all weren't paying for it.
  • I worry that there are more dupes in the electorate just waiting to be harvested....
  • We are re-watching the 80's SciFi "opera" Babylon 5, and I am stunned that it feels like we are living a real version of Babylon 5. In one season 3 episode ISN (Inter Stellar Network) news "came back on the air" making excuses for the [corrupt] government  and claiming they (ISN) were sabotaged by extremists. Life is now imitating art.
As a palate cleanser, a(nother) Christmas gift, finished:

 These are Retro Rib socks from Favorite Socks. They are done in Dream in Color, Smooshy, Blue Lagoon.A lovely yarn that has been marinating in my stash for practically ever.

 I include this daylight photo, for a better, but not perfect, representation of the color. My sister is on a rowing team and asked for warm socks. The Schuylkill gets cold in the winter apparently. Her "team" colors include turquoise. This is actually has more green in it than it shows here.

Hidden Valley I miss you!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Where were you?

Tried to post this yesterday, but blogger is having a hiccup....

Apparently there are few news orgs who want to remember about what this day means. I suppose they want to "get past it". Sorry folks, getting "past it" is not an option - not when we have to take our shoes off just to get on a plane, buy clear plastic bags to attend a sporting event, watch a manhunt for a teenager in Boston unfold on live TV. And don't get me started on that train wreck in the White House. I'm too outraged to feel validated, even a little bit.   There is no more past it.

Part of my extended world deals with soldiers who come back from service with injuries. Some visible, like missing limbs, some not so much, like TBI and PTSD (or PTSS or whatever they're calling it these days), equally devastating injuries. Sorry folks. NOT. GETTING. PAST. IT.

Twelve years ago my hubby and I were getting ready to go to a conference together, a rare occurrence. He was running last, as per usual. My biggest worry was whether I should take the time to put the recycling out. How dumb that seems now. In fact, it seemed pretty dumb the rest of that day too. I was half watching the Today Show, when they cut to footage of a burning WTC 1. They were speaking to someone, on the street below, who had witnessed the strike. She was certain it was a big plane not a small one. I told my husband who was shaving and he immediately asked "Is it terrorism?" They didn't know yet, I told him. At this moment, I was not overtly alarmed, because I had convinced myself that the fire suppression in the building would be working. Then there was the shadow of the second plane and a new bloom of flame. You know how your mind doesn't want to make sense of something like this? Well, mine didn't. I wondered how the fire had "jumped" to WTC 2. Then I realized. The program cut to the Pentagon, just in time for me to see the reporter say "I felt a tremor". "Now the alarms are going off!" Lauer told him to get out, and we went back to the trade center footage. When we arrived at the conference site, everyone was crowded into the bar area watching the Towers burn. Then news came that there was still a "rogue" in the air and it was heading toward Pittsburgh. WTF??? What's in Pittsburgh? The conference ended abruptly, and I remember walking across the veranda of the hotel to see rows of students in hotel uniforms of all types crying into their cell phones.

I got to my office, with no TV, only to hear from a colleague that the towers had collapsed, and a plane had crashed near Somerset. I couldn't take it in. The rest of the day was spent trying to get
news. The University decided to hold classes as usual, however, if students did not attend they were not penalized. Faculty were asked to make broad accommodations. No one cared.

In the hours that followed here are some of the ways we coped:
 That evening my sister, a critical care nurse in Philadelphia, called me and begged me to find her numbers for NYC hospitals so she could volunteer. (She did not have internet access at that time.) Late that evening she finally spoke to a nurse supervisor at St.Vincents, who told her not to come. They were not overwhelmed with injuries. The hospitals had prepared for an onslaught of burn and crush injuries, only to have few. That, to me, was the most brutal knowledge to absorb. No survivors.

My in-laws, God love 'em, never listened to the news in the morning, and that day toddled off to downtown Pittsburgh where my MIL had an eye appointment. Buildings in Pittsburgh were being evacuated because of the report of the rogue plane flying toward the city. Though they noticed that there were many more people on the streets than usual, my FIL dropped her off at the building and then drove off to park. She got to the 11th floor eye doc's office to find them closing up. They told her what was happening, and that she had to leave. She was a little pissed. Fortunately, when she got to the street, my FIL was driving around the block looking for a space and was able to retrieve her. They were both in their 80s at the time. (There was also the time when they drove right through a tornado warning area, completely unawares that there was a touchdown a mere river's width away from them.)

I beaded over 100 flags pins which I gave to anyone who wanted one.

Our Veterans Affairs office handed out hundreds of flags to anyone who came husband still has one in the rear window of his car.


In case you need reminding here's Tilly's Story. I have no confirmation that this is true, but if it isn't it is an extraordinary piece of writing. Posted in 2003:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Knit the Bridge Pittsburgh - Go Big or Go Home!

The Andy Warhol Bridge re imagined....and wouldn't he just love it?


Make sure you check out the time lapsed video!!!

This would probably be visible from the right field seats of PNC Park! Another reason to go cheer on the Pirates!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Hump Season

We have reached the point in the summer that is equivalent to "hump day".

Last week was the Festival of The Arts.....

It is usually beastly hot, but this time it wasn't. I didn't spend a lot of time there, but I noticed that some of the artwork was way overpriced. I've done beadwork for many years and was stunned at the prices that were being asked for standard and substandard stuff. Maybe that's what I should do in my retirement!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Yeah, it's global warming....

Maybe I mean global raining. No that is not fog...that is rain. And less than a mile away ..... hail.

My flowers are being pounded into pudding.

This is beginning to be typical. At least I don't have to water.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I'm still here...

... but I've been busy. First weekend of June, I spent here......

That's a paddle boat on the Mississippi. Need another hint?

This is on Chartres Street I think. The weather was HOT and HUMID. OK one more hint

I got to hear Preservation Hall right in Preservation Hall......

Yup, I "conferenced" in New Orleans. I was so excited. I had to prepare a presentation, and that was really stressful, but I was thrilled to be able to visit the "home" of jazz. I tried to get my husband to come, but it turned out I was glad he didn't/couldn't. He would not have been, not at all. As I said it was hot and humid, and well, let's just say it made the French Quarter, where I was staying, "fragrant". The streets were kinda not well kept (some of the restaurants and shops seemed to just stick their garbage cans and bags out in front on the sidewalks), and many of the shops were well....seedy. I don't know if this is a post Katrina effect or not. One could still see renovations and reconstruction all over. Between the heat and the messiness, and the crowds he would have been miserable.

I loved the people. They are funny and warm and friendly. Maybe it's a southern thing. When I arrived it was around 3:00 pm NOLA time, and I hadn't eaten since the morning. I knew I had a plenary session at 5:00 - 6:30, so it would be a long time to dinner. So I hit the hotel bar and ordered a pound of shrimp and a glass of chardonnay for late lunch. BEST. SHRIMP. EVER! When the bartender asked if I wanted a second glass, I declined telling him I was still "on the clock". He chuckled and said "You're a woman after my own heart. Nothing better, than a glass of wine and steamed shrimp in the afternoon, when you're still on the clock." Everyone I met was like that. At first, to a chilly Yankee, it's a little off-putting, but it's easy to get used to. What was different about the residents, then other southern cities I've visited,
was the energy. Despite the weather, they're fast! They drive like bats outta hell, and they don't seem to have that slow stroll. It's too bad that the streets are filled with crazy tourists. Oh yeah....I've also become an oyster fan....ummmmmm.

And this is my next career....seen outside the St. Louis Cathedral (oldest operating Catholic cathedral in the US). Can you say mixed messages? (Looks just like me.....)

Oh yeah, and there was the yarn.......more about that next time.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Color, a day late, and definitely short!

So what would you say if I showed you:



Can you say jewel tones? Rather than "color" I'm attracted to tone. Anything intense, with depth, attracts me. Except for what I've gotten as gifts or in clubs, all the colors I purchase are definitely blues, purples, deep pinks......

Tag: 4kcbwday4

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Oooo Shiny.....

I suspect Monkeys (and crows) love shiny things....thus my attraction to ANY knitting with beads. I've been beading for many, many years, however, when I realized that I can also knit and crochet with beads all bets were off.

If there was ever a mascot project for a Monkey, it would have to include really shiny things. And the good news is that these pieces have an opposite side.

Yup. These bracelets are "two fers". (The second from the left in the upper photo is actually gray, with a teal blue opposite side showing in the bottom photo.)  And the fun just doesn't ever stop - no washing or blocking necessary!


The House of Monkey

The House of Monkey: Intelligent and with a fun loving side, Monkeys like to be challenged with every project presenting them with something new and interesting.

Makes me sound more intellectual than I am.

I'm supposed to tell readers, why I'm a crafting Monkey.  Well, why else would I knit TWO pink flamingos? Sorry I couldn't find the photo, so you'll have to link to Rav....sigh.

How about these babies.....

Notice one is wearing "earrings" and has eyelashes and "lips". Gifts for my sister and partner.

Now I'm trying to crochet a hexagon bag....but I've not really crocheted anything substantial since, well, seventh grade. But here I'm am making 28 hexagons. bet. But I'm figuring it out.

But when I chose the Monkey, I was thinking more of my state of mind. I feel like I'm all over the place most of the time - and it shows. 

Tag  4KCBWDAY1 You're it!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Blog Week....

I'm going to attempt to take part in the 4th annual blog week. My house is "Monkey". A reflection of my state of mind..........

If you too would like to join in the fun check it out here.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How many more times....

.... will we have to think about this?

The view yesterday morning outside the ROTC building on campus. I actually wondered for a brief moment why the flag was lowered.

 ETA: It occurred to me that my post may have sounded rather callous. It wasn't. Allow me to explain. As you may imagine on a campus this size we have US and state flag poles all over the place (along with the requisite Nittany Lion). The featured flag standards are outside the administration building, which I'm sure most of you saw on a daily basis about 18 months ago . Some time ago walking down the mall on campus, I noticed those flags at half staff. I was puzzled.  After a little research I found that our Governor will occasionally declare a day in honor of a state resident military person who lost  his/her life while serving. All the flags in the state are lowered to half staff for that day. I don't know how these individuals are chosen for the honor, nor how often it happens, but I think it is a lovely gesture. So momentarily on Monday, I wondered whose "day" it was. Unfortunately, the reality was truly much more grim.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dear Blog,

I think of you every day, yet, I never take the time to write.

So this is a quickie:

In our house we've been plagued with colds and sinus issues. Two rounds of antibiotics and steroids each. And one of us is still hacking.

As the two readers of this page may recall, I'm a big ballet fan. I've been a season ticket holder (that's patron) to the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater for thirty(!) years. I'm a believer in supporting the arts you love - be it professional wrestling, jazz, or whatever. Our ballet is incredibly flexible in their season ticket holder policies. So when my mother-in-law passed away, and we just didn't feel like Giselle ten days later (even though it's my DH favorite - he has a "thing" for the Willis), we exchanged the tickets for another performance and gave them as a Christmas gift. Well, two weeks ago the creeping crud invaded out home. See above, and we didn't feel up to traveling. So I exchanged another set of tickets for the following weekend. We were packed and ready to travel Saturday (tickets were for Sunday). However, when I got up Saturday morning, we were in the middle of a snowstorm. A full blown snow storm, not the predicted flurries. So reluctantly we changed plans (you may add "yet again" here). We'd drive right to the theater on Sunday, stay overnight, and drive home Monday. The weather looked promising. Fast forward to early Sunday morning. First thing I did was to look up the weather and what did I see? A travel advisory for our entire route!!!!!???? Not for Sunday, but for Monday. That meant that we'd certainly be able to get there, but coming back was going to be a problem. As we discussed the possibility of it not being a serious changed. Now it was a severe weather warning. So, here we are, all packed up and no where to go. Fortunately, the box office and ballet theater allowed me to swap these tickets for the final performance in April, when there is no possibility of snow - even in Central PA. At least none that will stick around. But I now have four tickets to Cinderella (with the PBT Orchestra). Anyone want to buy 2 excellent seats to Cinderella? This has not been a good year for traveling...or ballet for us.

Lastly, I'd like to share some gratuitous knitting content. My Wurm (not Raveled yet, I need a better photo). LOVE. IT. Even though it's getting a little to warm to wear it, says the woman who lives where it is currently 25 degrees.

 I used a worsted superwash called Giusto, dyed by an indie dyer Altobish. Sadly, she has given up dying yarn and has gone back to teaching viola and violin full time. I say sadly because this yarn was to die (pun intended) for. I actually bought two more skeins. It only took one to make the hat, so I have another skein in the blue, and one in spring green. It was great to knit with and I have a feeling it's going to wear like iron, which is really good. I'm not particularly gentle with my knitwear.

 Then there is this. This is Four Play, in the Gypsy Heart colorway. I find it fascinating that the skein looks so much different than the cake, which knits up totally differently in the scarf. Scrunchable Scarf,  that is. With the busy variegation, I wanted something that would be poofy, yet I didn't think cables would be a good choice. And it looks even more different than in the photo because I changed the cast on. What is in the photo is 32. I upped it to 38 (multiples of 3, +2 for selvage) and found the flashing and pooling overwhelming and repetitive. So  settled on 35 and that seems to have worked better. A 3 stitch difference really mattered.  I just love these simple yet lovely patterns. They let the yarn shine. And if you ever get the chance to snap up some Four Play, do it. You will not be disappointed. Srsly.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Knitting Content!

I may be incapable of writing a blog post for our Institute, but that's probably because they won't let me put knitting content on our blog. I have no such trouble here. Many of the folks I've followed, write about losing their knitting "mojo". Much to my chagrin....I've only lost "mojo" for very short periods, and only after an intense burst, like Christmas. After banging out a series of complex beaded ornaments several years ago, I couldn't even visualize a bead project. Clearly, my creativity (and brain) was exhausted. I think that because I don't push like that any more, I'm finding whatever I'm doing way more enjoyable. And if I don't feel like stitching on a particular day, I don't. I've even read a book. 

Which brings me to today, though I'm not the queen of the Finished Object (that distinction belongs to Chrisknits.  You go!) I do have two FOs with which I am well pleased.....

My Parcheesi Blankie:

Raveled here.

You can get all the details. This was a long time in the knitting, but that really didn't fuss me much.

It's nice to have it finished though, so I can use it. I didn't wash or block it, just curled up under it. It is very warm, and this is a nice time of year to have a new blanket.

Then there's Color Affection:

Also Raveled. Get the details. If you're interested.

This was my first experience with Madtosh light, and I really LOVED. IT.

Toward the end I was tired of the fussiness of carrying the three colors along the edge. But it wasn't all that long, and the results were worth it. I only wish I could have thought of a nicer finish for that edge, but other than applying i-cord, which I was just not in the mood to do, I can't think of anything. I'll wear it asis, and if I feel I need a better edge, I can always go ahead and add i-cord, probably in the Grasshopper color.

And now I'm in the market for a new scarf. My dearest got me a new [short] down jacket for Valentine's Day (we are nothing if not practical), in a lovely plummy color, and though I have a scarf that will suffice, I'm thinking I'd like something warmer. One of my favorite scarves is the simple and brilliant Noro Striped Scarf, which seems to go with everything I own, but I was thinking of something different. I think I've settled on the deceptively simple Scrunchable Scarf. I have some Brooks Farm Four Play in my stash, that I've had FOREVER, in Gypsy Heart, and I think the kettle dyed yarn will work fine in the simple stitch pattern, and be warm to boot. Four Play has silk in it, so I'd expect it to be warm and cozy. I was originally thinking of a Clapotis, which I've knit before [twice] and love, but because it is a little like a shawl/scarf, I was thinking it might be too "much" for a casual coat. The other candidate was the Instant Gratification scarf. But the original pattern was knit in super bulky, and is an open stitch, and Four Play is 10 ply worsted/aran, so I'm not sure it would be "fluffy enough". Besides, I think I have a skein of Ester Bitran Hand-Dyes Talinay that will be perfect for Instant Gratification, and would be a divine Christmas gift. Sadly, this yarn is discontinued, so an orphan skein might be the perfect use for this pattern. You can see my Talinay used here. So either I'll have a scarf to go with the hat or I can cannibalize the hat (though I love the pattern it is a little silly looking when I wear it, which I do! And I seem to have a hat fitting issue which I will address in a future posting.)

Yes, Christmas 2013. Lately, when I've made samples and examples for my knitting classes, and when I finish a piece that I've done before, I'm putting it aside as a gift. I've got two put aside so far and the Instant Gratification scarf, looks like it might be another volunteer - though it isn't a class sample. It also uses up some of the (discontinued) stash that will otherwise remain sitting around (now I'm wondering if I have any leftovers from another project...hummmm).  Looks like a win-win to me.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The state of ol' State.

Living in a college town does bring with it both challenges and advantages. There are sporting events, philanthropy events, academic events, arts festivals, concerts, administrator trials (oops, that might just be here), and then there are drunken events. None of the first few actually classify as "drinking events" even though some imbibing may occur. Except for this:

This is strictly an excuse to wear green and get publicly wasted en masse. It is both maddening and frustrating. If you want to have wine with dinner tomorrow....well, get it today. Any place that sells alcohol, will be closed up tighter than a drum. And even though I had/have no plans to go out tomorrow, it annoys me anyway. And don't get me started on the municipal is simply too painful to contemplate.

Juxtapose that with this story  from the front page of the morning paper........ we may not have cattle rustling, but goat rustling is alive and well........

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I'm still kickin'

 This has been a busy month. Classes started back up, there were family issues to resolve, we have a statewide workshop at the conference center tomorrow (Not even speaking to the staff assistant today, she's very dangerous. I may buy her a cupcake though.). The weather has been very cold - single digits during the day. Cold enough for parkas, and cold enough for me to knit this:

It's a Honey Cowl, and my, my, my, it was a wonderful knit.

My version is made with Filatura Di Crosa Yarn, Zara (a stash yarn from a now closed yarn store - RIP Knit Wits, Greensburg, I miss you!) a fine superwash merino, and a pleasure to knit with. I didn't realize it was a superwash until I tried to spit splice it, with no luck. I spit and rubbed, and spit and rubbed, to no avail. I ended up knotting it, then reading the label. Sigh. It's backwards I am.

Anyway, love the pattern, loved the mindless knitting, just what I needed. Too bad I couldn't give it the time I wanted to and now that it's finished the temp has risen to 56 degrees TODAY. A little too warm for a wool cowl. I have no fear that there will be other opportunities to wear my creation, though.  This is January, heading into February. And this is Central Pennsylvania. And no, these swings in temperature are not global warming - as I was told by a transplanted Seattle-ite. If you've lived around these here parts long enough you remember the 4 feet of snow one Friday in March, and the 60 degree temperatures the next. Or the time when it was -18 F (or thereabouts) for about a week (not wind chill), and we couldn't do laundry because the hoses froze. The next week it had rebounded to the more normal, and tropical feeling 30s. So all I have to do is wait.

Here's a closeup:

Can't you just feel how fluffy it is?

I'll eventually Ravel it. But there really isn't much more to say.

Pattern is free....go do it.

And I have another finished object waiting in the wings! But it will just have to keep waiting until another day. Probably not tomorrow because we will be entertaining nearly 200 "guests". I hope the bar is open early......

Tuesday, January 08, 2013