Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Rain Day and Knit Night

In honor (or in spite of) Rain Day, Red853 (ravelry link) and I knitted on the courthouse square, hoping to gather some fellow knitters from the masses. No one came to our impromptu "booth." It might have been the fact that we were right next to the giant speakers blaring in front of the courthouse. (it was the only place with shade) We did however have a sit and knit and it was quite nice.

This was followed by a return to knit night at the Watersdam Commons Panera. Knit night oh how I missed you. I took some notes but after reading them realized that very few blog readers want to know that I think the word "smocking" is funny when used in the context of "When my smocking friends come over...", and very few readers SHOULD know the recipe for potato chips with cheese in the microwave- it's just a heart attack in a bowl.

Knitting with others is so much more fun and easier than knitting alone.

Monday, July 28, 2008

But I just want to stay home and kniiiiiittttt.....

imagine my dismay when I couldn't capture this with the "good" camera. The green blob to the right is a skein of Lamb's Pride, the blob on his belly is his scarf and if you use your imagination you can see the needles kind of pointing in his armpit.

At any rate- how cute is this little guy?

Grandkid #2 of Mr. Sophanne had just returned from a cross country visit with the other side of the family. While Mr. Sophanne and I were fresh and ready for adventure including the traditional "take your grandson fishing" time, this guy, EVERY time we headed for the car would whine, BUT WHY CAN'T I JUST KNIT?

He was also most annoyed with me when I wouldn't let him get his knitting out between turns at the bowling alley, knowing full well that, given his experience, we'd have to wait until the end of a row every time it was his turn.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Adventures with KnitNat

Yvonne and I went adventuring yesterday.

We went to Knit One in search of Koigu for the Traveling Scarf Project. As their stock is as unpredictable as the thermometer in my oven, we didn't find any. They sent it to their new Cranberry store which doesn't open for another month. With a marginally courteous staff and a mission, we ventured on.

Impatient Drivers reigned supreme through Squirrel Hill as well as yarmulkes (one had a smiley face on it)

We took a quick drive through the Strip District with plans to return in the future with coolers in hand. I think Yvonne will need the cooler- what do I know about fresh fish and meat? If I can't eat it there, chances are it won't happen.

We survived an inadvertent ride through the Hill District(p. 14)

We found our way to Sewickley but not before a stop at The Breadworks -oh the financial damage they could do if they only sold butter!

The Mexican War Streets Historic District is explained here. Contrary to what we were conjecturing, the Mexican War did not travel up to the Burg.

In Sewickley, it was mission accomplished at Yarns Unlimited. Plenty of Koigu and a rearranged store made for some spacious shopping (one of my complaints in the past)

I like adventuring with Yvonne. She's a gracious chauffeur and I'm getting my "city legs." We were two easy-going knitters taking in the sights. (including the guy in the pink spandex leggings- you'll have to figure out which district we saw that in!) When in search of delicious yarn, it is so much better to have a friend to share it with and say "hey lookit this!"

Friday, July 25, 2008

yin yang of vacationing

It's funny how easy it is to "package" a vacation on a blog. Doesn't it look great? Isn't my life fabulous? It's really all a matter of perspective with the daily shifts that life has- vacation or not. Some examples:

There were the coffin like sleeping quarters on the train or the fact that kmkat serendipitously mentioned David Sedaris' new audio book and it made falling asleep in a coffin much easier.

There were the vast and beautiful vistas (how cliche, eh?) observed while eating in the dining car as well as the community dining which involved 2 strangers at every meal where the mandatory questions were "where are you from?" and "where are you going?" Can't I just give you my blog address and you can get to know me that way?

There was the fact that the train was too bumpy to do any Icarus knitting as I had originally planned but not too bumpy to work on the EZ February Lady Sweater which gave me plenty of practice on k2tog, ssk, and yo's.

Once on San Juan Island, there was the bald eagle that was no more than 10 feet in front of me. There were also the bald eagle noises made by the g-children which occasioned the second official "rule" of the trip. (The first was "only one root beer a day.")

There was the smile on Mr. Sophanne's face as he enjoyed the happy gathering of his children and grandchildren. There were the tears that he could not help but shed when it was time to go.

There was the lack of tv and internet and bloggy friends but the reality that I could function without them and might consider being less compulsive about it all. That seemed like a good idea when I was on the island. I've reconsidered since coming home and am trying to figure out how I can move my desktop to the couch.

There were the alpacas crias, guard llamas (only for show) and even a camel spotted daily. There were also the $25 skeins of alpaca that I accidentally bought for g-children only to have them cherish the Lamb's Pride we found at the LYS on the island.

There was the Orca Whale watching at the corner of the Island. O.k. there really was no flip side to that one (other than fearing we'd lose a g-child off a rocky cliff) It was just really really cool.

That's what I know. Vacation is like life. It's just in a different place and you're really glad once you get back home with some stories to tell. Although Mr. Sophanne pretended he was on the show Survivor once we were alone with the g-children for 5 days.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

and then there were puppets

We also made a quick stop at theOregon Historical Society in Portland. Mr. Sophanne visited the research library checking on some family history and my mom and I enjoyed some of the work of Michael Curry- the puppet designer for the Lion King. I know it's two posts in a day but I'm thinking no one will mind because it's mostly pictures.


Also a stop in Portland for the fiber savvy is Abundant Yarn and Dyeworks. Larissa Brown mentions this shop (and frequents it) in her book from whence the traveling scarf plan came.

It is a beautiful, friendly and GIANT LYS. I'm told they just got their liquor license for the cafe last week. Mr. Sophanne happily worked on his laptop at one of the many cafe tables and eavesdropped on a "knit day gathering." Uh oh. Our secret has been revealed. I bought some locally dyed sock yarn (ptf-pictures to follow) and was glad to have it when I had only sock knitting faculties available in my head.

Another not-to-be-missed Portland venue is Powell's bookstore. Store is a bit of an understatement. It's a great place to go if you have unlimited funds and are not confined to one bag on the flight home. Since neither applied to me, I had to use a good bit of restraint. I did get No Idle Hands-the social history of American Knitting and I recommend it highly. In addition to being chock full of a bunch of stuff I didn't know, it gave my sock mojo the little kick it needed.

Food, family, and a trip to a casino (a reward to Mr. Sophanne for his yarny-book patience- can you believe I married a guy who doesn't just LOVE bookstores and can't carry a tune- truly opposites attract) finished off the Portland visit and sent us on our way to Seattle. Stay tuned.

I'm not sure where this next tidbit of information will fit in, as it was sort of a theme from this point on. Let it be known that I have a children's cd in the works called "Dog" with a punk rock "Dog in the Bed" and a bluesy sort of "I gotta bury my bone." There are other titles pending. Blog readers may get the first glimpse of these songs once they are written and I convince Mr. Sophanne that he really does want to tape them for me.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

just a leetle longer

So, for those of you keeping tabs on the Sophanne vacation (and really who wouldn't want to) Three nights on a train two nights in Portland, one night in Seattle, eight nights on San Juan Island, one more night in Seattle, and two nights (tonight being the second) in Portland.

Mr. Sophanne and I have been holed up in this Portland hotel enjoying the USA networks new season, going on-line, knitting and decompressing. Occasionally we go out foraging for ice.

There are stories to tell and pictures to share but the clever posts must wait until I'm home with some reflection.

I hate really long vacation posts anyway. I leave you today with some photos from Day 1 in Portland at the Farmers Market. With the number of pictures we took, I may have posts well into October.

On the knitting front- expectations were not met. Plans changed. More will be revealed. The traveling scarves appear to be traveling.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I'm on an island and haven't had tv or internet for six days!

We saw the alpaca farm today.

"grandson" fell asleep with knitting needles in his hand last night (age 5 3/4's)

I'm good at this business, but I've had enough.

Home on the 23rd. Think patient thoughts for me please.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Get in on the ground floor

Raining here.

I did pick up several decks of cards in case of rain on San Juan Island. Mr. Sophanne, however, had brilliance of his own a-brewing.

Whilst vacationing (rain or shine) we will be videotaping scenes for a movie. If you remember that cartoon in Highlights Magazine about Polite Pete and Rude Rufus (o.k. someone out there will remember their real names), you'll get the movie concept. It will be a sort of What to Do and What Not to Do video essay.

The working title is "Fireworks" because that was the example Mr. Sophanne came up with. I suggested that if we share that particular example with the kids, the examples will only escalate from there and that simpler "situations" will allow for a little more kid creativity.

How to eat your food- How not to eat your food was one I thought would be a good example. We also thought we'd have the kids act like parents- How to discipline your kids-how NOT to discipline your kids.

If you'd like to contribute ideas for this upcoming film and we use your idea, you will get some title credits. This film is scheduled for release in December of 2008.

Also come to find it's just the rental that doesn't have internet. The island does. I anticipate a few trips to the Library

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Am I making you crazy yet?

We're staying on San Juan Island (of the San Juan Islands)

Home of the famous Pig War (the pig was apparently the only casualty) and also Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm!!!!"

Can I get a WOOT!

I Can Has Bug

A Sophanne update-

Tomorrow's will be another wip post. There has been a request from my two best knit night friends for such a post so that it will be really exciting to see the progress I've made when I return.

The House of Sophanne Big Summer Adventure begins late Saturday evening when we catch a train to the west coast. We'll arrive in Portland on Tuesday, take a car to Seattle on Thursday and go to some island that DOESN'T HAVE INTERNET or CABLE TV on Friday, with at least three grandkids (ages 3, 5, and 7) in tow.

Knit night Darla told the story of her 5 yo grandson saying "I don't particularly care for using my imagination." That's what came to mind when I discovered the specifics of our vacation home.

Perhaps it will mean that the blog posts following the vacation will be well-crafted brilliant essays, as I will have so much time to construct them. Paper? Pencil? getouttahere!

I've packed and repacked my knitting about 4 times already.

There may be double-posts again tomorrow and Friday-maybe I can "fill up" ahead of time.

After Saturday the 5th I may not know what everyone is doing until JULY 23rd. If I forget to say so before then, please be careful while I'm away. I am really going to miss you when I'm gone.

To the Sir Robin of the Traveling Scarf KAL I say, "READY SET GO!"

Inspiration Day 2

We have our 8. Robin of the Traveling Scarf can officially begin. I will send an email this afternoon with more info. Playing this round are Yvonne, Kim, Sonya, Deborah, Marie (red853 on Ravelry), Ruth, and Rachel. I was confused that that was only seven until I counted myself. doh.

I'll send an email out this afternoon with details. THANKS!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


So the knitalong book has been in my hands for less than 2 hours and I'm already inspired.

There is a project called the "traveling scarf." You knit with 2 strands of sock yarn (koigu is suggested-and given that it's one skein I'm assuming it's with a center pull ball using the outside and inside strand)) size 7 needles 44 stitches, sl 1, p2, *k2 p2* across when you finish the skein you send the scarf to the next knitter. After 7 people add to it, it's finished.

That's all well and good but then there's only one scarf (which I'm sure could be donated somewhere but not what I'm looking for right now)

My thoughts. Eight knitters. Each starts their traveling scarf and mails it to the next knitter on the list. When it comes back to you, your scarf is finished. Each knitter would knit the equivalent of a scarf but exciting colors and packages in the mail would be involved as well as a memento from your favorite knit bloggers. Small knitting gift/accessories could be included as scarves traveled from one person to the next.

They should be done just in time for cold weather. Leave a comment if you want to play and also email your snail mail address (blts ATT alltel Dotttt net) if I get 7 more people we'll do it. If there are extras in multiples of 8 I'll set up those addresses too.

My mom's family used to write letters this way- they called it a "Round Robin" Maybe it should be "Scarfin' around Robin" or "Scarface round Sophanne" or possibly send your own clever moniker for this possible "internets event."

I took it as a sign that the author is from Portland and listed no less than three cool places to sit and knit in Portland and in a matter of a week I will BE in Portland

Designer Bags- the truth shall set you free.

What's wrong with me? Don't I know that there are knitters in South Carolina that don't HAVE Namaste bags?

Given that MaryBeth so dedicatedly left three comments on the last post, I feel inclined to answer at least one of her questions.

Pictured below are my "designer knitting bags." Mind you, all of my clothes, shoes, underwear, etc comes from Gabriel Bros. (who now only puts the damaged stuff in the sidewalk sales -thanks KNQD who knows all) While I yearned for designer jeans through the 80's, Lee jeans were as close as I got. Clearly I am over-compensating.

Top right (black) is a Jordana Paige Bella and was the first "designer knit bag" I ever purchased. I was certain that once I had this bag I would never need another. Little did I know. It's a good bag for a little project. The zipper pouch inside works for purse items and keys. More of a "light duty-I have a crappy-ass meeting to go to" bag.

The black bag below that is the Namaste Messenger Bag. Of all bags purchased, I have used this one the least. I think that perhaps there is a certain amount of "breaking in" required to make it a comfortable bag. I took it to MDSW and ended up using instead the Joanne's "So much yarn, so little time." IKEA-like bag. I think if I were a commuter, this would be the bag to have. Large enough for a train/bus and the right size for a lap.

The turqoise one is a Namaste Jetsetter. This bag is an excellent knit night bag. It can carry several projects (though it gets a little chaotic if they're not in their own mini-bags) and one does feel like a "jetsetter" when traveling with it. The color is decidedly not me but this one was on sale (Joanne's again) and I couldn't pass it up. Ironically, right now it's carrying the Medallion Bag from Noni which is on the needles and if it's ever felted and finished I will consider my own handmade designer bag.

The prize of the collection is the Namaste clutch (BTW I would have called it a "clutch" yesterday but I couldn't think of the word and I knew that "snatch" wasn't it)and the Namaste Laguna. These will be the summer vacation on the train travel bags. For now, in my mind, I have found the perfect bag combination in colors that I love. I'll have 3 lace projects, some potential socks, the FLSweater, and the Montego Bay scarf in there as well as needles enough to cover any potential projects found while in the Northwest. One of the appealing aspects of this bag is the "vertical nature" of it without being "satchel"

Finally the cute little "leftover" on the left is a DellaQ Mary Ellen. This bag is deceptively convenient in that the handles are metal and "bracelet-like" and not as likely to become entangled in fiber.

As for the quantity of laceweight additurbo needles in sizes 6-9 that I have recently acquired, I am not ready to leave denial and will not be taking a personal inventory any time soon. Apparently I need them whether I need them or not. Perhaps in a former life I had to put all of my knitting on stitch holders and only had one set of needles.

And finally, as if you need any more proof as to the state of my mind, I leave you with this It is the actual reason I went to the LYS yesterday. They did not have this book. I went to amazon and realized that for $30 (total) I could have it in my hands today. (as opposed to waiting until the end of the week when I might not be here to get it for a mer $16.50) Someone help me. I need an intervention!