Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Maisie: Just a correction on my mom's last post. It's COLORFUL Stitches, not Beautiful Stitches. Yeah. Sorry about that.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

ie got busy right away with her yarn baller. It looked rather addictive. Posted by Picasa

Rowan: Maisie got out of school on Friday, and we officially embarked on our Yarn Crawl on Saturday morning. First stop was the Fiber Loft in Harvard, MA, where we waited with other eager shoppers for the store to open at 10:00. You can see what a friendly bunch they were. We traded stories about the Knitting Olympics and showed each other our projects. Lucky for us, the Fiber Loft was having a SALE SALE SALE, and we both found some beautiful yarn.
Maisie also acquired a drop spindle and some wool fleece to experiments with.

Our second stop that day was Kaleidescope Yarns up in Burlington, Vermont. We had heard about a gorgeous "wall of Koigu" that we were dying to see. The shop was gorgeous, but the Great Wall of Koigu had been sadly depleted only the week before when the owners had a sale to make room for new Koigu colors coming in. We got to see the blank sapce in between.
Actually, it wasn't that bad. There were still some Koigu yarns left, and even a few discount skeins that they dye with the leftovers colors at the end of a run.

We stayed overnight in Burlington at The Inn at Essex and kept to our room, knitting and watching TV. For dinner we ordered the most scrumptious roast chicken in the world from room service and devoured it. Then we turned off the TV, knit some more, and as the evening got late, we started making up custom Mad Libs for each other and had a hilarious time reading them back. My favorite was one Maisie wrote for me involving a ride in a cream puff with Napolean Dynamite and squeaky cheese.

The next day we stopped in Woodstock, Vermont at the Whippletree shop, and then wandered into a wonderful thrift store where Maisie found a WWI green wool U.S. Marine topcoat. A little big, but very cool.

By then, we realized we were running too late to get to Lenox, MA by 4 p.m., when Colorful Stitches closed (Sunday hours), so we poked around in a jewelry store and a flannel shirt store and then stopped by the Mobil station for some high-quality road-trip snacks.

We stayed in Lenox in a beautiful Victorian house with 22 guest rooms. We were the only guests that night and we were sure that a murder-mystery was taking place around us. (Windy night, empty house, two quiet knitters all alone. . .)

The next day we were rewarded for our patience when Beautiful Stitches opened at 11 and we explored their fabulous selection.

We made it to Webs in Northampton that afternoon, and wandered dazed through their huge store. Maisie asked someone to demonstrate the use of the drop spindle, and then got to try her hand at a spinning wheel. We left with lots of yarn, and fortunately, a yarn-baller and a swift, so Maisie will no longer be obliged to conscript her father into service before begining a new project.

We had a few more places on our list, but at that point we stopped and declared victory. We celebrated with Herrel's ice cream and a long drive home listening to "The Sea of Trolls" by Nancy Farmer.

It was a great trip. Immensely satisfying despite the fog and rain (good weather for knitters!) Our thirst for exotic yarn stores was slaked, and our mother-daughter bond strengthened through common interest, humor and adventure.
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Rowan: Results?

Beautiful right up through the extensive cold-water rinsing.
Still beautiful as we followed the directions on the kit and put all ten skeins of tie-dyed yarn in the washing machine. (Well, to be fair, the kit was intended for t-shirts, not 6 skeins of wool and 4 skeins of cotton yarn.) But we set the mchine on COLD and DELICATE. It seemed quite reasonable.

Until the washing machine got unbalanced from the heavy bundles of yarn, and repeated the gentle wash cycle over and over and OVER. When we finally opened the door mid-cycle (the 5th time?), the yarn looked quite different from the neat little bundles we had created.

It became: YARNZILLA.
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Rowan: What do you do when it's 10 p.m. and your daughter has a brilliant plan to tie-dye some yarn? Go for it, of course. We ended up using a tie-dye kit that was meant for t-shirts. It instructed us to bundle the yarn up with rubber bands, soak it in a soda ash solution, and then saturate it with dye. We were having trouble getting the dye into the middle of the skeins, so we used syringes (leftover from giving medecine to pet parakeets) to inject the dye. We mixed the colors they provided to create oranges, purples and greens as well as the blue, yellow and red that came in the kit.

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Here are photos of Maisie winding yarn balls in preparation to cast on at Opening Ceremonies for the Knitting Olympics. She enlisted help from her father (and pupil), who helped her get it done in time.

The grey and purple is my project
for the Knitting Olympics. It is my first attempt at intarsia, and at the stage in the picture, I had already knit it and tinked it back several times. It is further along now, but I got so proud of myself for figuring out the intarsia that I forgot to follow the pattern and ended up with a purple rectangle. I have put it aside for now.

On the last day of the Winter Games, we attended a Closing Ceremonies party for Team Boston. We met a bunch of great knitters and saw some amazing projects. Maisie had mostly finished her sweater, but I will have to try my hand at the NEXT Olympics.

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Friday, March 10, 2006

Maisie: Yes, it's just me again. There is SO much to report on. I think I'm going to let mom help me do it and save some for tonight. I just wanted to apologize for no posts for so long (please forgive me!) and announce that:


That's right, ladies and gentlemen (well, mostly ladies), I am one peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, 2 episodes of The Simpsons, 4 rows, and 1 dog-walk into my vacation (that's one hour and fifty-seven minutes) and I am WAY excited for our yarn crawl (starting tomorrow, bright and early)! Stop by again tonight and we'll have much, much more info! And PICTURES of our knitting for once! On the other hand, I'm also WAY nervous as to which schools I got in to...hopefully we will know before we leave.

Let the randomness begin!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Maisie: Woah. Sorry about the whole not-posting-for-like-forever thing. Just me right now. I have one sleeve started and the two sides finished. I can see the finish line and am working harder than ever. I am winding yarn and I have the pattern for my next big project: Rockstar by Alchemy. Pics later; I only do those with mom.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Maisie: Just me right now. I'm SO excited! The knitting olympics starts (for me) in 38 minutes!

Armed with the Simpsons and some DVDs,
She calculated sizing: 6 inches of ease.
An oversized sweater she'd knit for 2 weeks,
Being thankful she won't have to cut steeks.
She fingered the yarn she had bought from the net,
Thinking of the gold medal she yearned to get.
So the cry rang out over the excited din:
Let the Knitting Olympics begin!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Maisie taught me how to begin turning the heel on my s
ock, but somewhere in the tangled fuzzball of my brains, her instructions slipped a few stitches, and now I have a little extra panel on one needle that is not decreasing. Tonight I'll have to tink back (MORE tinking. A little while ago I didn't know what it meant, now I am over-familiar with the term), until I am at ground zero and then figure out how to do it right. Fortunately, I have a talented and patient teacher.

In other news, my mother in Arizona has decided to join the Knitting Olympics
, and will be making a dog sweater for Moses the puppy. Now there will be a strand of magic healing juju running from Arizona to Boston.

Maisie: Well, I got my yarn! Rowanspun Chunky, and lots of it! The socks for the three nameable friends are going well, and the object(s) for the UNNAMEABLE friend are going well. It was his/her birthday today, so I had better finish the part on it I screwed up. My nana and possibly my teacher want to join the knitting olympics, so Mrs. McCarthy had better tell me by midnight if she wants to knit! Below are pics of the yarn and me winding it.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Rowan: I am truly enjoying my favorite combination: Knitting while listening to books from Audible on my iPod. I finished "Across the Nightengale Floor" while on the airplane flying to Arizona to visit my mom after her surgery. Then I thought my mom might enjoy doing the same, so I read aloud to her from Amy Tan's new book "Saving Fish from Drowning" while she knit for a while on my sock. Now the sock has magic healing juju from my mom. I have to get Maisie to show me how to turn the heel pretty soon.

Maisie: Ugh, I am so bad. Four-count 'em: FOUR- new pairs of socks. But I have good reason. Really. The Opal Tiger ones are for my UNNAMEAB
LE FRIEND's birthday. I would have one one and be cruising along on the second one if not for the fact that I did the toe decreases on the top and bottom of the toe, not the sides, so I need to rip back a bit. The pink one is for my friend Louisa, the green for my friend Arjun, and the pukey one for Katy. The sweater for Shorty (Sarah) is pretty much the same as always, with its armholes pretty much done. My orange denim sweater is going along nicely (no pic). All in all, I kinda suck. Yeah.