Fluffies, Fun and Birthday doings

Last Saturday WT, Spencer (dogboy) , and our friends Jody, Jim and Zoe went to the Retrieve A Golden of Minnesota (RAGOM) annual picnic. It was so much fun! It is hard to explain how wonderful it is to see so many goldens all together at one time. The photos I have just don’t do it justice. Mainly because of all the people in the way – dang! You just don’t get that feeling in the photos – seeing goldens wherever you look.

This is the best I can do:

This is a full-blood Golden, a champion from Canada. I guess the English Golden Retrievers are more this white color – pretty, but I like my goldens dark

The picnic was at Snail Lake Park in that beautiful pavillion above. I guess the turnout (human) was about 400 people over the course of the day. Wow!!! Like I said, people and goldens everywhere. What was really cool was that even with all the people and dogs – hardly any barking or acting out. Okay, maybe some humans, but the dogs were angels!

The RAGOM people sure did a great job. I can’t say enough good things about this organization. They have a fantastic website – be sure to check it out!

Of course there were raffles for some excellent gifties donated by various people and groups. We won a really neat dogbed. It is made out of PVC pipe, slightly off the ground (about 4 inches) with a canvas bed lashed on. Very lightweight and Spencer loves it! It is like a doggie hammock. It will come in handy as our lovely dogboy ages – less stress on the old joints.

On to knitting content. I started up one of the many shawl patterns I have. This one is for me (that is, as far as I know). It is the Weeping Willow Shawl (Two Old Bags)

weeping willow shawl

and I am doing it in Misti Alpaca Laceweight in a very light green. I would say lime, but that doesn’t really totally describe it.

Here is a pic of some progress:

weeping willow shawl - in progress

As you can see, I went slightly nutty when I picked out this set of circular needles. See how excellently it matches the yarn?!? What was I thinking? I am bringing them back, along with the Clover bamboos that I tried, the Clovers because they are 4.25mm instead of the 4.00 I need dang! I hate when that happens! But anyway, the tips are a little blunt, and the cord is just too stiff.

I love my Denise needle set, and because this shawl is done in US6 (4.00mm) I have a needle small enough and the tips are certainly pointy enough, good color difference (enough not to go bonkers) but the middle cord is just too much like the needle size, and this Misti Alpaca needs something less stressful – more flowing. My set of Inox Express have a good thin and flexible cable, but the tips are just plain crappy. I bought them a few years ago, and they turned crappy almost immediately. Chipped at the tips, etc. I should have taken them back right away, but I didn’t. I still use them because the are the right size, 16" length, for baby hats and are okay enough with sturdy wool, cotton or ack-rylic.

But for this luscious laceweight – no crappy needles allowed. Think Addi-Turbos. But, so much money! I have this "thing" about my money. There is my money, which I earn, and WTs money, which is really "ours" but I don’t like to spend money for "just me" out of his/our money and I don’t like to be extravagant with mine. So there!

Anyway, WT picked me up to ride with him to the chiropractor. On the way there I commented on his tie, shirt and pants combo. Something was just a bit off. Not so much that other guys would notice – but. He decided that because of that comment I needed to open my birthday card a day early. It was waiting for me in the car, sitting there tucked in the visor. Cute card – about how he might not be able to pick out clothes, etc. but he was smart enough to pick me out. Happy Birthday! Cute card – but no money or gift certificate. I just chalked it up to a present later, or no present which really is okay. I am big on the "just wish me a happy birthday and that is enough" kind of thing.

On the way home from the chiro he told me we weren’t going straight home – there was a surprise for me. So, to kill time (after I gave him a mass of questions to try to ferret out where we were going), I mentioned Yarn Harlot’s hysterically funny 800 number about Holiday Knitting. One of the options from the menu (after a somewhat lengthy message) is to press 3 and then hold the phone up to the ear of your SO. It is a "hint" for them to buy you yarn. So I was telling WT about this crazy message and wanted him to listen to it. Then I realized we were very near one of my favorite yarn shops. So I told him where to park – because I am a bright person – I figure things out.

We went inside and there was a group of people waiting to celebrate the shop owner’s birthday. One of the customers announced that today (yesterday) was her birthday too, and then I got to exclaim that tomorrow was my birthday! Yipee! Cake!!! Then one of the workers walked over and handed me a card. Here WT had arranged with them to have a birthday card ready for me as a surprise, with money to spend on me, me, me!!!

I decided to just look around to see what was new and get a list together to come back and get that money spent but quick. But first to the Addi Turbos because it didn’t hurt so much to spend gift certificate money.

Woo hoo!

Today I am doing my usual coffee with the BeadLadies and hang out with my sister. Tonight it is dinner with the STARS folks. I am on the board and tonight is a board meeting – sob – but because it is my birthday (not really but it sounds good anyway) we are going out for dinner and WT is coming along.

Enough for now. Peace!

Flower Baskets, Fluffies and Fun

I have been working furiously on the Flower Basket Shawl (Interweave Knits Fall 2004) for a while now. It was for me, but then something happened. My student and friend, Andrea West asked if I would be willing to donate anything – goods or services, for a fundraising event for Tasks Unlimited.

Of course, and since I already had it on my needles, the Flower Basket Shawl seemed like a good thing to donate for the silent auction. Lightweight, quick knit (hehe), reasonable cost to make, etc.

I figured it would be something that someone would like. Being made of Elizabeth Lavold’s Silky Wool, I figured the silk content would help it seem special i.e. people would bid up on it.

Hope that does come true. Back to the hehe comment. I was up until 1:00 a.m. last night getting it done – I ended up knitting about 1/3 of it in one long day, and then had to dunk it and block it so that it would be ready for pickup at 9:30 a.m.

My fingers are a bit sore today. For some reason the last digit of my index finger is just killing me. So this post will be short.

Here is the finished project:

flower basket shawl

This is the only good shot I got. I really need to think about selling this Fujifilm digital and buying a Kodak digital again. Most of my shots are too dang fuzzy/blurry because I shake too much. I know that fuzzy goes with the blog title "F" theme, but it just doesn’t suit me otherwise.

The rest of the post on the Fluffies and Fun will have to wait because my dogboy Spencer is barking and I don’t want to tick off the neighbors.


Interesting Quiz

While out noodling around on the net I decided to visit the Llewellyn.com page. Today is the grand opening of their new facility. Llewellyn is one of the largest "alternative" publishers and we have them right here in St. Paul. Today is the grand opening of their new facility, in Woodbury.

Anyway, on their page there is a "fun & free" section. There is a quiz on your magical personality. Sounded cool, so I went through all the questions. Quite a few. But the end result was dead-on. Here is a link to the quiz:
The Magical Personality Quiz If you take the quiz – check out the info on all the creatures – fascinating stuff. It is great fun to check out the shadow side of your positive creature and the postive side of your shadow creature.

Here are my results:

Your Primary Mythical Creature

Air Types
The main strength of the Air types is intellect. The second element indicates the most probable focus for this intellectual activity.

Pegasus – Air and Earth

Astrologically associated with Libra and the Seventh House
Pegasus types are theorists who aim to achieve in reality what they conceive with the mind. They are perfectionists who strive to produce order from what they regard as the chaos around them. They detest disorder and ugliness and have a particular flair for creating beautiful surroundings in which to live. They can be highly original and possibly eccentric. They are curious and open-minded but will require convincing evidence to back up ideas. They show exceptional organizational ability. Although they are among the least outgoing of the types they are very concerned with promoting social harmony. Their ability to be objective and impartial makes them popular as fair-minded arbiters of disputes. They are extremely independent and can seem emotionally distant.

Your Shadow Creature

Fire Types
All the Fire types have problems relating to anger and aggression. The weakest element indicates the main focus of these problems.
Wyvern – Fire and Water

This shadow is both insensitive and hypersensitive. They are unsociable, emotionally illiterate, and mean-minded. Relations with others are characterized by conflict and calculated reprisals. Passive aggression is used to full effect. These types seem to dislike other people. They are plagued by powerful emotional undercurrents and they blame their discomfort on others. They appear cold; their emotional expression, when it is given vent, seems immature. They exhibit a sense of entitlement and do not think that they should have to earn what they get. They are poorly motivated and prone to bitterness. The biggest obstacle of weak Water is to overcome insensitivity and alienation; the biggest obstacle of weak Fire is to overcome anger and aggression.


Shawl Syndrome

I finished the feather and fan scarf. It is interesting, certainly very bright (seems to be a theme lately). I will block it today and show you tomorrow. Still don’t know if I am going to keep it and wear it, or donate it or possibly sell it.

I can’t seem to be interested in anything that isn’t lace or shawls. I will be making my mother that vest, that is if I can remember to order the rest of the yarn.

I did think to order a bunch of new shawl patterns. And believe me when I tell you that I really don’t need a bunch of new shawl patterns. Needing doesn’t have anything to do with it – wanting is "in" with me right now because I am nearing my birthday. Okay, so it isn’t until the 28th, but why wait?

So, what did I order? I will show and tell, of course so just give me a moment to get some links together and – – –

These are all over at Yarns by Design and all are designs by Two Old Bags (Wool You Order). I wish TOB had their own website, so I could see all their stuff together. But anyway…

I have been on the search for a shawl that reflects a Minnesota theme. The Pacific Northwest shawl is just too dang Pacific. We have a lot of water here, and gulls (even in the parking lots) but no sand dollars and such. I like the trees in that shawl though, and I know 100% that I could design a shawl but I am just not interested right now. So I found this pattern description:

Two Square Shawls – Includes Mountain Pines and Boundary Waters, square shawls knit in one piece from a center square. Both designs are inspired by the forests of northern Minnesota. Pattern includes written and charted instructions.

Right up my alley, although it is a head scratcher why the word Mountain – we don’t have mountains here in MN, but what the heck.

The other I bought with a Minnesota theme is the

Snow Forest Lace Stole – This is a traditional rectangular stole which begins along the long edge. Suitable for beginning lace knitters and a quick project for the experienced knitter.

Minnesota is all about the snow. I was just thinking I would return the cream colored merino laceweight for the more white, but now I am thinking that it is almost white and besides, snow here doesn’t stay white very long – and more important, I just look better in cream vs. real white. So there.

Want to see the photos? Just check out this link that will go to the Two Old Bags page on that website. While you are there, check out the other shawl pattern I ordered (I know, it is a disease!) – the Concert in the Park, which has the photo for the Snow Forest Lace Stole by the description, but if you click on the link you will see the correct photo.

Ah, heck – I might as well put them here on the blog, but do visit Yarns by Design – a good place, and although it is in Wisconsin – land of cheese, I do not see any cheese themed objects on the website, so those that are lactose intolerant should be safe.

mountain pines shawl

snowforest shawl

concert in the park shawl


At least it was an enjoyable knitting experience

I am almost afraid to post these photos. First, I will tell you that I am not one of those, "I will tell you my tales of woe so that you will pity me" kind of gal.

There is no getting around the fact that blocking my Highland Triangle Shawl (Folk Shawls) did NOT make it look better. It just made it bigger.

And because I want to share with you my experiences so that you will learn through me:
highland shawl

highland shawl

highland shawl

There is no getting around it – it looks like something a clown would wear. I do like the center, but not with the green border. Even though there is green in the varigated Cherry Tree Hill Supersock, it would have been much less garish if I would have done the borders in one of the cherry colors – really. Then at least it would be more of a tone-on-tone effect. I am going to put it aside, but I will be on the lookout for a solid color that will tone it down, and just redo it.

Like I said, it was an enjoyable knit, so all is not lost.

Blocked – in a good way

2 posts in one day, I just couldn’t wait to show you that I finally have something to show you that is blocked. Here are 2 photos of my finished shawl (click either for a large view):

Wool Peddler’s Shawl (Folk Shawls)
Gems Merino Opal (2 skeins) in Caribou
Cherry Tree Hill Supersock (1 skein) in Earth (potluck version)

It blocked out to 1" shorter in both width and depth of the finished size in the book. I could block it larger, and probably will – it’s just that I laid it out kind of weird on the futon and it didn’t fit, but I didn’t want to unpin it.

Right now I have my unfinished purple shawl blocking so that I can see how large the additional border needs to be.


Will you forgive me another "I haven’t blocked this yet" kind of photo if I show you the object in water (i.e. getting ready for blocking)?.

Here is my finished and soaking Wool Peddler’s Shawl (Folk Shawls):
wool peddlers shawl

This shows the lace section that I did in Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in Earth (potluck), with the main section and bottom bit in Gems Merino Opal in a yummy brown color. The water is quite brown, so I may need to do a bit of rinsing on this one.

I hope it blocks out the way I want it to – so that the thicker Gems Merino is puffy and makes the lighter weight lace portion look like it has been inset (set in?). You know what I mean.

I have the futon waiting with it’s checkered sheet covering and my mass of pins.

After looking through a ton of books and patterns for another shawl, I decided to do a smallish project – just a scarf. Here is my beginning, again in Cherry Tree Hill’s Supersock and a pic of the colorway, African Grey, that doesn’t totally distort:

cherry tree hill merino african grey colorway

I hope to have some more blocked shawls to show you soon, but honestly, it may be weeks before I get up enough umph to get them all done.

In closing, please don’t forget your good thoughts, prayers, and energy count as well as your concern and money to the charities of your choice. You know what I am talking about.

For Minnesotans, word is that we should be knitting for the Katrina refugees that will be housed in Camp Ripley. I would imagine that folks used to the heat of New Orleans will be in for quite a shock from our cooler Minnesota fall & winter. Borealis Yarns – 1340 Thomas Ave. in St. Paul, is getting together donations – knitted objects, any donations really. I will post more info as I get it.