Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Tales of Yarn and Crochet and Glory (as promised)

Yup! The First Official Sit-n-Stitch, organized by yours truly, was a success! The awkwardness of meeting complete strangers really was swept aside in the joy of meeting 3 other crochet-heads. We met at 7:30 and were still going strong at 10:00... and only reluctantly decided to return to the normal life of hubbies and families! It was nice because, although there were only 4 people, we really ran the gamut of experience and projects that we were working on. Anna (who hails from the Ukraine ~ We are a multi-national Sit-n-Stitch!) was working on a Tunisian project. None of us had really seen this before, and so were fascinated. She made it look really easy (but I suspect that is because she is a really good crocheter!) but I was so impressed that I added Tunisian hooks and books to my Christmas list. Jennifer (how confusing, that in a group of 4, there are two Jennifers!) finished up the lovely scarf she was working on... ya know, the one that is featured on Interweave's cover. It looked gorgeous! Dawn, who has been crocheting for about a month, was working on her second (!!) full-size granny square baby blanket. And me? Well... I am sorta in between big projects right now, so I was working on blocks for my afghan. Not exciting, but hey, it needs to be done!

So, I had a blast and am so glad this came together! I can't wait to meet again. I am already pestering people to find out when they are free again. :-)

Oh, and on a completely different note, I sent out my last package to my SP yesterday. I can't wait for her to get it.... I really, really liked the yarn I picked out! (Hint: Noro.) It was in danger of becoming my yarn!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

First Sit-n-Stitch

When: Tonight, at 7:30 p.m.
Where: The Espresso Royale at 2603 Plymouth Road, Ann Arbor, MI
Who: Myself, and four other brave souls, willing to meet complete strangers all in the name of crochet.
Why: The addiction. Need I say more?

All are welcome, of course. (This is mostly aimed at Jessi and Natalie, who are Michiganders, but not local!) Hopefully it will be a rousing success and I will have tales of yarn and crochet and glory to share tomorrow!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A half-carved turkey: veggies beware!

Finally! A chance to post... with pictures! These last few days have been just too busy, but in a good way. My hubby and I were both feeling the pressure on Thursday, because we cooked our very first Thanksgiving dinner. We were freaking that we would be running out to Boston Market at dinner time... but as you can see, the turkey was perfect (gasp of shock and surprise from all who truly know me!). As were the potatoes, two types of dressing, homemade cranberry sauce, braised onions, broccoli bake, and gravy (though I can't take credit for the gravy, that was my mom's doing). Big round of applause to us! :-)

Now, on to crocheting news. I finished my second Well-Traveled Bag, which is going to be a holiday gift for my MIL. If you remember, I was nervous that I might run out of gray, as I decided to skip the cream color and just have three, rather than four, colors. I just barely had enough... but I think it turned out terrific! Whew! One gift down... millions more to go!

A project that I had started awhile ago as "in between-er" was a block afghan for our library. I hadn't had much of a chance to work on it, until this weekend. I flew through four of these blocks (I had the reds done). I do see the charm of blocks/squares, because you really can finish one a night, but then put it aside for a few weeks if necessary.

My fave of the blocks is the 'block' stitch, in the lower right. Here are a few snowmen, "chilling" (bad pun, sorry) with it up close. This one works up really quickly, and doesn't take too much concentration to follow the pattern. Love it!

So, I have not read ANYBODY's blogs this last week, so I apologize if I missed major/life altering crocheting events! I'll make it up! :-)

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Updates soon!

I have been a bad (read: busy) blogger this week! Work was crazy on Monday and Tuesday, and then I spent Wednesday and today doing Turkey Day things. But I just wanted to say I hope everybody had a wonderful Thanksgiving, spent it with their loved ones, and exercised more self control than I did and did not gorge themselves at dinner! :-)

I have been doing some good crochet this week, so I will post pics and all that good stuff soon. Now, off to bed for me...

Friday, November 18, 2005

Another non-crocheting post

Mostly because I have made zero progress on any project for the last two weeks... *sigh* Hopefully, I will get a ton done this weekend, as we have no major plans (except cleaning the house, and shopping for Thanksgiving dinner supplies, and possible seeing this movie...)

Anywho. I had registered my book club at ReadingGroupGuides a few months ago, lured mainly by their promise of free goodies. I have yet to see any... but look at this offer I got in my email yesterday! A FREE Senseo coffee machine with 18 coffee pods. “There has to be a catch,” I thought. Like, it is free when you purchase $100 worth of coffee or something. But I clicked on the link and was shocked to see that no... it really was free. I just had to fill out a form with my address and promise that I would use it at my next book club meeting. Done and done! So I will be watching my mail over the next few weeks to see if this little bad boy actually arrives...

Speaking of freebies, I never did get my Bernat Disco that I signed up for. I can’t say that I am crushed, but hey, it was free! And I like freebies! (Now you all are thinking, she is so cheap! We call it frugal in my house.)

Back to book chatter. You may have noticed that “The Drowning Tree” dropped from my Present list and yet never made it to the Past list. That’s because I didn’t finish it... but I don’t feel guilty about it this time. I had set it aside to finish up another book, and realized that after just two days away, I couldn’t care less who the murderer was. So I would not recommend it (needless to say!). I am about 100 pages into Dr. Zhivago. I am enjoying the picture of early 20th century Russian life that is emerging, but find the author’s curious “hands off” attitude towards his characters a bit difficult. At times, Pasternak almost writes like he is reciting events in the order they occurred and that he is leaving it up to the reader to fill in the blanks of character thought, etc. I am not sure if this is due to the translation from Russian or if it is how the book was written. But it is certainly one of the more interesting books our club has picked and will probably spark some good discussion.

And with that, I am out. Wish me luck on actually getting some crocheting done this weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I always knew I was a Princess

... I just didn't know what kind!

The Traditional Princess

You are generous, graceful, and practical with both
feet planted firmly on the ground. You tend to
be a little on the old-fashioned side. You
value home, hearth, and family life and love to
be of service to others.

Role Models: Snow White, Maid Marian

You are most likely to: Discover a hidden talent
for spinning straw into gold.

What Kind of Princess are You? - Beautiful Artwork (Original Music is BACK!!!)
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

It’s A Good Thing

It’s about 31 degrees out right now, with a wind chill factor making it feel like 17 degrees (by the way, isn’t fun? I don’t have to actually risk going outside to know that it is freezing out!) in AA, MI right now. And yes, that is a good thing. On Monday, just three days ago, it was 68 degrees. In November. How will anybody ever wear those wonderful scarves I crocheted way back in the heat of the summer, if it insists on staying 70 degrees??? This is much more like it.

Speaking of crocheting, I am a little over half-way done with my second Well-Traveled Bag. This one is for the MIL’s Christmas present. I think I will have to switch up the stripe pattern/color scheme a bit, though. I once again ordered Wool of the Andes for this bag. But... the color on my computer screen was really off for the gray. It is much, much lighter than I was expecting. Next to the ‘cloud’ color, it just looks like ash-covered snow. But without the cloud it looks pretty nice... so I’m going to try and work some stripe-switching magic. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Sit-n-Stitch Update... Another Good Thing
I have been out beating the cyber-pavement advertising this... and I actually have about three people interested! Small, I know, but it is a start and I am sure we will grow. I just need to set up the first meeting, which will hopefully be in about two weeks. I admit to being a little nervous about meeting total strangers... but I figure the crocheting will help us get over any awkwardness!

And finally, because I have no yarn pictures today, how is this for cute?? It's from a forward I received about a baby hippo and really old turtle (about 100 years old) that have bonded like mother/daughter. Let's all say it together: Awww......

Sunday, November 13, 2005

I'm Baaaaccccckkkkk.....

Whew! The conference in Philly is done. Hurray. It was tiring and very busy and I hardly got to see the city at all (gripe, gripe) but I did eat at some fab restaurants (Twenty 21 and The Astral Plane) and do a little bar-hopping with co-workers, so it wasn't all bad. :-) Plus, I got this:

In case you can't tell, it is a squishy kidney. Apparently if I squeeze this, my stress will disappear... or I'll get weirded out at the thought of squeezing a kidney! Nephrologists are odd folks.

When I returned to AA today, I had a lovely surprise waiting for me! I was RAOK-ed (again! I feel so lucky! And I am trying to spread the love... I am sending another of my own RAOKs out tomorrow) and am now the proud owner of this adorable cat and two homemade stitch markers (hanging off the cat's tail). The cat has been installed in my library and I will be using the markers on my new bag. Thanks to whoever sent them to me!

So, I am glad to be home and back to crocheting. I haven't been able to do any work since last Tuesday! And to ziggedy (in my comments) I haven't been able to start the socks yet; I have been too busy with gifting. Please let me know how yours turn out!

Well, I have a ton of catching up/blog stalking to do.... so I am off!

Monday, November 07, 2005

I Hate Chenille

Truly, I do! I had a giant ball of green chenille from my brief attempt at learning to knit five years ago. I thought, this will be perfect for a scarf for my grandma's birthday (which is on Christmas day and often gets overlooked, so I try to do something a little special for it). So. I started an incredibly easy pattern, thinking I would zip right through it. And I did ~ once I figured out that you need to crochet with your sense of touch and not sight with this stuff! Jeez!

I think it looks pretty good. You can't really tell in the pic, but it has a nice "ribbed" look to it. But the bad thing is, I still have a bunch left... which I'll have to use someday! :-)

But I LOVE my Secret Pal

I know it is a cliche to say that your Secret Pal is the best ever... but seriously. Look at the goodies I got in the mail on Saturday!

My loot included 4 skiens of sock yarn, a wonderfully descriptive book of sock instructions, The Crocheter's Companion, the Pattern-A-Day calendar (now I have one for work and home!), and the Adiago Teas Holiday Sampler! How cool is all this stuff?? Thank you sooo much, SP!!!

And Will Be Globetrotting Later This Week

Not really, but I will be in Philly for a nephrology conference for work, so my blogging will come to a crashing halt until next week. Sadly, I don't think I will have time to crochet while there (as even our nights are booked) but I am bringing my next book club read (Dr. Zhivago) so at least I will get one hobby in!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Of Cabbages and Kings

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."*

And that’s about as “poetical” as I get! But it does cover the fact that this is going to be a random “shoes and ships and sealing wax” type of post...

Number 1. I have been debating and delaying on this decision for awhile... but I think I am going to try and start a “Sit and Stitch” here in Ann Arbor. I had really hoped to find a pre-existing one to join because a) I already run my book club and b) as a newbie crocheter I do not feel qualified to be starting a group! But I have looked and looked and looked for a group and all I can find are knitting groups. And though I want to learn to knit (gasp! I am such a traitor!) and may join one of these groups eventually, I know for a fact that none of the ladies in either AA group crochet (or at least, they don’t admit to it!). So it wouldn’t be very supportive or fun for me. So. I am going to post this in a few groups/boards, but if you are in the Ann Arbor area, or know somebody who is, please let me know if you are interested!! I need to see how much of a response I get, but I would like the group to meet either Tuesday or Wednesday night, maybe every other week.

Number 2. I finished Broken For You. My conclusion-jumping from my last post was correct. It ended in such a ludicrous manner (Spoiler alert, don’t read if you intend on reading book: long-last dad and daughter reunited and living under the same roof, all by chance. Nazi concentration camp survivor traced across time and the world based on a tea set. BAA- HUMBUG, I say!) that it really soured my positive opinions about other aspects of the story. For instance, the themes of redemption and family by chance were powerful and gracefully handled... but, honestly, the cheesy Hollywood-ish nature of the plot was just too much. I am very curious as to what my book club will have to say about it. We’ll see on Sunday.

Number 3. A co-worker lent me this book:

Image hosted by

Which is free verse poetry about a cat named Boris. It took about 15 minutes to read, but I really enjoyed it. The author did a nice job of capturing both the mystery and allure of cats in general and Boris in particular, along with drawing parallels to her own life.

Number 4. Finally, some crochet-related content! I finally put straps on the Well-Traveled Bag and it looks sweet! I also picked up some new yarn to replace the non-conforming yarn in the block afghan (see my last post; thanks to all who advised!). I now have three blocks done out of 35... Oy! Also, I am finally going to start on one of the scarves from the Vogue Scarf book that my Secret Pal gifted to me (Hi there, Secret Pal! Hope all is well with you!)... hopefully I will have some pictures of progress on Sunday.

And that’s it folks!

*See this link if you would like to read the whole poem.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Life: 8.2

I couldn't help, I just had to take a meaningless quiz and post the results!

This Is My Life, Rated
Life: 8.2
Mind: 7
Body: 7.7
Spirit: 6.7
Friends/Family: 8.2
Love: 9.1
Finance: 7.5
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

I should think my love life would be very good; I am still in the "honeymoon" stage of my marriage! (Our 1st anniversary is in February.) (And no, I never pictured getting married in the dead of a Michigan winter... it just happended that way!)

Now, here's my crocheting question: I have started on a block afghan (which is my "in between" project while I am waiting for more wool to arrive for another bag). I made my first block in red RH. I then crocheted the 2nd block (in the same pattern) but with a different brand of yarn (I think it is Tender Heart?) Now, I thought that being WW 4-ply would make them the same size... but the 2nd block is slightly smaller than the first, so they are clearly NOT the same. Will this matter when I assemble the afghan? Do the blocks all have to be identical? Or is there a little give and take? If I have to, I can just not use the 2nd color, but I would really hate to. It gives the afghan a nice punch of color. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks for all the nice comments about my bag, by the way! Also, for the encouraging comments about our proposed trip to Ireland. We are hoping to buy tickets within the next week. I have already been mapping out where I want to visit... I am thinking Cork, and then up the coast... but we'll see what Hubby wants to do, as well!