Monday, February 26, 2007

Secret Pal 10 Questionnaire

I'm participateing in the SP10 and have been asked to get my questionnaire up online before the end of February - so here it is! I hope my secret pal is out there somewhere....

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I love most all soft fibers, including merino wool, alpaca, cashmere & blends, etc. I’m not so fond of sticky acrylics…. but I’m not totally anti-acrylic either (it has its place, right?). I do love hand dyed yarns and hand spun yarns too.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I have some lovely handmade needle holders – 1 for circulars and 1 for straight & DPN. I'd love to get one of those rubber needle vases at some point that they have at Patternworks to display some of my fancier needles.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
My Mom tried to teach me many years ago as a child, when I did some very basic stitches and made a blanket for my dolly. It wasn’t "cool" then though, so I didn’t stick with it… and now could kick myself in the arse for that! I got back interested probably about 4 years ago, but I’ve really started seriously knitting in the past 2 years or so. I guess I would consider myself an intermediate knitter.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Yes, I have an Amazon wish list. You can find it under the address NABRRI at AOL dot COM (forgive the broken up but its the only way to prevent those fishing for spam!)

5. What's your favorite scent?
I love fresh, clean scents… vanilla, the ocean, lavender (one of my new favorites!), etc. Yankee candle has a new scent that I just got a sample card in the mail for - Sun & Sand - love it! Speaking of candles, I also like “homey” scents like banana bread, apple pie, tea, etc.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
YES!!!! I love swedish fish, Haribo gummy bears, chocolate (milk or white), Reese’s peanut butter cups, chocolate covered gummy bears (trust me – yum-o!), chocolate covered pretzels (sense a theme here?), most gummy things, etc.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I am a beginning spinner with a drop spindle. All tips & tricks of spindle spinning are appreciated and I'm already addicted to beautiful rovings. I have done almost all types of crafts throughout my life (my childhood was a very crafty one - macrame, ceramics, beading, counted cross stitch, latch hook, plastic canvas, etc), but am mainly a knitter and learning to spin now. I am about to dabble in some bead work however to make stitch markers and notions.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
Yes, I can play MP3s. I like most all music except for traditional country and rap. Some of my favorites are John Mellencamp, Kelly Clarkson, Bon Jovi, Christina Aguliera, Kid Rock, AC/DC, Collective Soul, Billy Joel and Chris Daughtry. I also like some classic rock and still love my 80's rock too (Extreme, Skid Row, Slaughter, Ugly Kid Joe, Warrant, etc.)!

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
I tend to lean towards rich purples, blues and reds. Nothing I really can’t stand except maybe neons and hideous shades of any color.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I live with my boyfriend of 11 ½ years and our 3 “children” – the four legged kind. We have 3 dogs, Zeus, Lola and Teutul. You will see and hear about them often on my blog. My dogs are very spoiled, after all they are my children! I volunteer with a dog rescue and do as much as I can to help find homes and care for the homeless pups and dogs out there.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Are you kidding? I'm a New England girl... I wear a scarf and mittens (or gloves) daily in the winter and would wear hats more often if I had more that I loved and didn’t flatten (or static zap!) my hair. I do have a couple of ponchos and like them in the right situation.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Of course we all love the quick & easy projects, right? I enjoy making anything that I know will be appreciated and worn by the recipient. I like to do socks and mitts on DPN…. I enjoy anything that brings a new skill or challenge to my knitting repertoire.

13. What are you knitting right now?
I am not a monogamous knitter, so I do have several projects OTN. I just finished a pair of mittens for myself (from a handspun wool/angora blend – great to work with!) and am almost finished with a doggy sweater for a cute little chihuahua named Simon (see a few posts ago - long story short, Simon came back to our home for a couple days and he now has a new home with our good friends in Windham - more about that later!). I’m working on a capelet in Wisdom wool and have a couple of scarves in the works (a cashmere blend and a Lamb’s Pride wool). I’ll be casting on some Lorna’s Laces for some socks shortly.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Yes indeed! They can be so much more special that what money can buy.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Circular anytime I can – I hate sewing seams! If I’m working with circulars, I love Addi Turbos. For DPN, I love bamboo. For straights, I have a mix of bamboo, acrylic and metal… depends on the yarn, but I tend to lean towards the woods.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Yes, I own both. I also got a niddy noddy thing-a-mig-jig when I bought my drop spindle.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
Oooh… I would guess 3 years old, maybe 4 years? The first scarf I started when I got back in to knitting… it’s a basket weave pattern in a dustry rose acrylic yarn on some old fashioned metal needles … nuff said about why its still OTN! Perhaps its time to cut the thing loose...

18. What is your favorite holiday?
Christmas and Halloween. I like St Patrick’s Day too though, since I am a wee bit Irish!

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Besides yarn, UFO and needles??? I collect Willow Angels and Snow Babies. I’ve recently found myself picking up various knitting related collectibles as well (a tiny ceramic sheep, a S’mores ornament that’s knitting, etc.). I also have a pretty big collection of dog related items (everything from welcome mats to "What Part of Woof Don't You Understand?" signs to throw pillows to art prints to kitchen towels to figurines) and I do collect diecast and other collectibles for the NASCAR drivers I follow (mainly Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman and Scott Wimmer). I also collect knitting books now too, and esp love signed ones!

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I’d love to add some luxury needles to my collection! I have several books on my Amazon wish list. I subscribe to Simply Knitting (the UK magazine – it was a splurge but I LOVE it!), Creative Knitting, Knit Simple, Knit.1, and I think I still get Vogue Knitting too but unsure if I’ll renew.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I’m always up for learning new techniques – and tricks! Double knitting is one I’d like to tackle in the future.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes! I’ve never taken actual measurements of my foot, but I wear a size 8 ½ - 9 shoe (US women’s sizes), which tends to make me a Medium for most things.

23. When is your birthday?
October 7th

Friday, February 23, 2007

Is your coat fur fake, or is it Fido?

The issue has come up in the past couple weeks on the news, but seems to be back in the headlines today. Anyone who knows me well knows I was outraged with the dreadful Chinese government and their call for the public and inhumane mass slaughter of dogs in their country. Please take a moment to check this out and please click the link at the bottom to urge you federal reps to sponsor this bill.

I thought you might be interested in this HSUS campaign to protect dogs from being killed for their fur in China and sold here in the United States.

An investigation has found dog fur and raccoon dog fur being sold by some of the biggest names in fashion, and the HSUS is supporting a bill to help stop it. Please ask your federal Representative to co-sponsor this bill, the Dog and Cat Fur Prohibition Enforcement Act of 2007. It only takes a minute to do this.

Here is the link:

And here is an article from Yahoo News today if you want to read more on this:

Friday, February 16, 2007

FO Friday!

FO friday

And I even have a finished object for FO Friday! Do you? Be sure to hop on over and listen to Gina's latest podcast "Cold Balls" as well!

So actually, I have 3 FO's, but they were finished over the weekend so I could get them in the mail on Monday. I didn't want to post them beforehand since some of the recipients read the blog and since no one guessed the mystery pink chenille project, so here is the answer...


Valentine's Day washcloths for my friends! I gifted 3 of them and still have enough yarn left to make at least 2 more too! Its a little hard to see in the photos, but there is a lovely heart knitted in to the middle of them. They were a fun knit with the gorgeous hand-dyed chenille yarn at A Knitter's Garden!

Our Valentine's Day involved a 24-hour long Nor'Easter storm that brought snow, sleet, more snow, bitter cold, more sleet and high winds to New England. I took a personal day and stayed at home (knitting of course!), rather than brave the elements and messy roads. Needless to say, our double date dinner plans had to be postponned and we spent all day/evening at home. I got some lovely gifts, including some great white gold hoop earrings, chocolates and beautiful roses ... can you guess what they are made of?


Can you tell??? The roses are made out of wood! They are very, very cool... and
Matt got to pick out each one, pick the arrangement and even tell them how he wanted the colors arranged. Cool, huh? I had really wanted a lovely gerber daisy (my favorite!) arrangement from Hallmark flowers and he had tried to order it last week, but they were already sold out... but that's okay, he can save those for another day, right? He also got me an autographed pink hockey puck at the Bruins game on Tuesday night. I think its Stanislav Chistove, but not positive...

Wanna see what else my sweetie, who's always looking for something to make me laugh, got for me? Check this out... see any resemblance?


We were cracking up for a long time about this one... I think Hallmark owes me some royalties from snapping my doggy in costume when I wasn't looking!!!! What's even funnier (besides the fact that I had to take pictures of Zeus next to his look-a-like card), is this look, which just might be the same one you're giving me now for taking the photos...


Now you tell me - is he or is he not rolling his eyes at me?!?!? Geesh! Try telling me my dogs don't have personality and take after their Mommy!

Oh yes, and of course I had to snap the other 2 monsters with their cardboard cut-out brother, so to anyone who is laughing at me, here ya go!


So back to my day at home... when I was able to finish mitten #1 of my "simple mittens" from the One Skein Wonders book (I tell you - I love this book! Its definitely one of the best investments... lots of great patterns for yourself and gifts) and cast on mitt #2. I'm using some yummy wool and angora blended homespun yarn that I bought at A Knitter's Garden.


I also organized a bunch of my stitch markers in to this cute little holder that Mom crocheted for me (she found the pattern in the 2007 Crochet page-a-day calendar for anyone interested). Thanks Mom!


Its intended to hold split ring markers through little loops crocheted in rows, but since my markers aren't split, I improvised with some clips bought at AC Moore...


Other than to let the dogs out, we never ventured out at all on Wednesday. In fact, Matt didn't even clear the driveway until Thursday morning.... under watchful eyes from the living room window...



Yes, watchdogs they are!

Its been a rather un-busy day at work, but I'm looking forward to going home for the long weekend. I ran out at lunch time to meet Heather at Petsmart and give her the helmet liners Mom & I made since Jay will be returning to Iraq all too soon. Hope she and Gina have a great time at NETA SPA - can't wait to hear all about it! Hope everyone else gets to enjoy a wonderful long weekend and get in some good knitting time! I have a couple of missions for the weekend ... 1) get new tires for my Trailblazer, 2) finish mitten #2 and 3) enjoy the Daytona 500 with friends on Sunday (and hope that Tony Stewart wins! - GO TONY!). Oh yea, and hopefully be hooking up the new computer at home if its delivered today! Ours died (again!) last week and I finally broke down and ordered a completely new machine from Dell....

Happy Knitting (and Spinning to the gals at SPA)!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Life is Too Short

and a young, vibrant life was taken much too soon....


The young son of one of Matt's old roommates died tragically last Monday, February 5th, after injuries sustained from being struck by an automobile while walking home from school in Leominster, MA. Attending the wake/viewing yesterday was one of the toughest things I've ever had to do and it affected both of us more than words can say. Parents are not supposed to bury their children.... We're not supposed to have to attend funerals for those so young and I can only hope that I'll never have to do so again.

Please say a prayer for young Brandon Martinez, a happy and vibrant young man who will be missed greatly, and keep he and his family in your thoughts. Please take a moment to visit his Memorial Site here.

Rest in Peace Brandon.........

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Baby, It's COLD Outside!!

Actually, it's friggin' freezing! We've been in the midst of a nasty, blustery cold spell for a few days now and it looks like it's here to stay at least through the weekend. bbbrrrr! Nothing like below zero wind chills to inspire one to cast on some handspun wool mittens for her little hands...
Speaking of cold... I hear that its quite chilly in Iraq this time of year too. Hence Heather's "Call To Arms." Which means I have a FO... a nice warm, made with lots love, helmet liner. Heather's little brother Jay arrived home last night and will be back off to Iraq far too soon... but the good news is he will be able to deliver helmet liners to his whole unit! Go look at Heather's blog for some wonderful, happy tear jerking photos!!!! Here's the liner...


Here's another shot, laying atop my new Vera Bradley tote bag (for which I used a gift card given to me by the wonderful leasing agents from work as a complete surprise at Christmas... they happened to hear that I was eyeing a new Vera...)!


My Sugar On Snow is almost a FO too! I just have the leaf icord left to go, which as you can see I started ... got really bored ... and put down. Must finish this week!


I mentioned its been cold, right??!! Cold inspires me to knit... especially warm, wooly projects! Here's the capelet I'm working up in Wisdom Poems (the pattern called for Noro, but I think I made a great substitution!)...


Aren't those colors going to look absolutely fabulous with a pair of jeans and an off white t-shirt? I hope to finish it by next week... and am crossing my fingers that it comes out the right size. I had to fudge the pattern a bit and frogged it at least 4 times before settling on the needle size and amount of stitches I have now. I hope the yarn gods are looking after me on this one...

I've also been working on a little Valentine's project ... which I hope to have out in the mail by the beginning of week for gifts. Can you guess what I'm doing?


I purchased the beautiful hand dyed chenille yarn at A Knitter's Garden during Joanne's anniversary sale ... can you believe it was dyed with bugs? Speaking of Joanne's sale, here's a pic of the awesome pins she made and gave out as special thank yous...


Cool or what? Joanne is so talented and she always thinks of the best things for us knitters! I got some absolutely gorgeous Peace Fleece yarn at her shop last week to make myself a sweater, only I forgot to photo it. Heather helped me pick it out (oh no.... she's not an enabler, now is she?!?!? ha!).

Speaking of recent "acquisitions," I've gotten a few lovely packages in the mail lately (shhh... no one tell Matt I updated the blog... he never reads it anyway!)....

~ Some Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk from Webs closeout for a sweater for myself. Only thing is I thought it was a red color and it turned out to be a burnt/rusty orange color. I still like it, though will probably use it for a different project.

~ These books from Amazon... and I've already pre-ordered the new Yarn Harlot book!


~Just this morning I got a nice box from Knit Picks with my Gloss yarn in Burgundy (yea, I'm in to reds lately) to make Thermal from the current Knitty... love the way it looks, but do you see that this thing is knit on size 2.5 needles? Yes, US Size 2.5 needles! Wish me well... and those yarn gods had better be on my side for this one! I also got the size 2.5 circulars from them since I certainly didn't have those in my stash, as well as some more Elegance, possibly for a second Sugar on Snow (though they didn't have the Fawn color anymore, bah!)

Before the blustery winds came and made everyone want to stay in (times like these I wish we had a fireplace to cozy up in front of with some knitting and spiced cider!), I ventured over to the new yarn shop in Windham, The Yarn and Fiber Company, which is only about 10 minutes from my house. I was quite impressed with the store - friendly staff who greeted you almost immediately but were not pushing or overbearing, a nice big store with plenty of room to walk around and browse, nice prices and a wonderful selection of higher-end yarns. I picked up some gorgeous Louisa Harding angora for a pair of gauntlets. I met the owner Cyndi, who was an absolute doll, and I signed up for the "Socks to Dye For" workshop with Cheryl Potter from Cherry Tree Hill in April (my main reason for stopping by - to pay for my spot, but of course I couldn't stop in and not get something to bring home, right? Besides the angora I also grabbed a skein of CTH sock yarn too... shhh, remember, I said don't tell Matt... he hasn't really noticed the stash is still growing!). This will more than likely be my first dying experience ... unless I get adventurous before then ... although I have another venture to try at home before then. I'm going to give a shot at hand crafting some stitch markers and point protectors, hopefully soon to be up in my Etsy shop!

As for that growing stash... it seems many of my fellow knitters are trying to go on fiber diets and adopt the theory of working from your stash for 2007. Me too! :-) ha ha ha ha ... Did I mention I picked up a beautiful skein of Sereknity Triple Scoop last week too? It was on order though, so it doesn't really count... right?

Well, back to the blustery New England winter weather (I guess the unseasonably warm temps couldn't last forever...). I'll leave you with some adorable photos of the house guest we had on Saturday...

In case you didn't already know, I'm all about animal rights and rescues ... and I work with a dog rescue from TN... Well, meet Simon! Simon was adopted by Ginger from Maine ... new Mommy Ginger had to work on Saturday and was unable to meet the transport to pick Simon up in the morning ... which brought temporary foster-Mommy Nichole in to the picture ... which brought the most adorable, little love bug in to our home for a few hours!


Can you believe this handsome little man (he's only 6 pounds! 6! our dogs range from 66 to 135 pounds!) was almost put down at a kill shelter in TN? Our rescue went and saved him the day before his time was to be up. Makes me insane... especially given that this little boy came in to our home for a few short hours and was giving kisses, cuddling, playing and all around just enjoying life! Matt is happy that it was just a temporary foster... had we been actual foster parents for longer than a day, I'm thinking we would have failed once again - as we did with Teutul 3 years ago the same weekend - and become a 4-doggy household!

Lola was infatuated... and in love... I swear if we get a puppy or small dog, she will mother it! I was waiting for her to decide to pick up little Simon and start carrying him around the house!


Simon was infatuated by Zeus, our biggest dog...


Perhaps that might've been due to the fact that Zeus came to check him out but wasn't chasing him around the house and shadowing his every move, as was Teutul and Lola...


I was just happy to share some love... and check out Teutul's expression below... I swear he was saying to Matt "Hey Daddy, can we keep him?? Huh? Huh? Daddy can we keep him??? Can we, can we??? Huh Daddy???"


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