Monday, March 31, 2008

Nico Turns Two

March 31st is our good buddy's birthday, and today he turns two.

Our Joy
I love this picture of him because he's sitting next to knitting and a mushroom. Both Thaddeus and I are represented with him.

This little guy has brought a lot of enjoyment to us. Just this morning, he woke up at 4:30 AM to get his birthday petting before I headed off to work for the week. Upon arriving at work, I called home to find out he was getting his birthday breakfast snack of cream cheese...licked directly off Thaddeus' finger.

It just goes to show that with love and attention (which he gets a lot of), even former street urchins like Nico can learn to be sweet and delightful.

Current Knitting
This week way too busy with tax preparation and setting up my new home office space. I did get up to round 99 on the Ichida lace. I'll post a picture later this week.

To give you a little progress map on where I am in the design, here's the graphic from the book, and the dark square shows approximately where I am (with 41 more rounds to go).

Readers' Comments/Questions
Long-lost Barb B. reappears to note, "I see the tea cloth is done, so I better make plans for Rhinebeck and high tea. Do I need to bring the Kraft peanut butter?"

No need...I get about a case of large jars shipped to me now about once a year, and that should hold us.

She then goes on to ask, "I am really admiring your lace spinning. What do you have in mind to knit from it, or has your thinking gone that far?

I will look through the Ichida books and also at some on-line resources for Niebling lace and find something large and appropriate for the finished yarn.

Also about the spinning, Tallguy asks, "Are we vying for the finest thread or what?"

I am actually spinning this as thin as I can, so the single is always right on the verge of breaking...or actually breaking. It adds a bit of time to the process to re-attach to the roving and resume spinning.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Reader Comments

Thanks for all the great suggestions on movies. Many of them I have not seen (or at least don't remember seeing), so I'll try to check some of them out.

Readers' Movie List
Here is what y'all had to offer:

The Interpreter
The Lake House
The Italian Job
The Last Samurai
Amazing Grace
A Murder of Crows
Still of the Night
King of Comedy
The Lemon Sisters
Gone Baby Gone
The Wire (TV Series)
The Secret Life of Words
Knocked Up
Away from Her
Eastern Promises
The Lives of Others
Black Cat White Cat
Funny Bones
Italian Job (the original)
Scenes of a Sexual Nature

As far as I recall, the only movies I've seen from this list are, The Italian Job, The Last Samurai, The Wire (various episodes from multiple seasons...Thaddeus enjoyed this), Knocked Up, Eastern Promises and The Lives of Others.

I quite enjoyed The Last Samurai, Eastern Promises and The Lives of Others (mostly the last two which were exceptional). I'm not a big fan of The Wire. The Italian Job wasn't extraordinary in any way I could identify, Knocked Up was a great script with an amazing cast and extremely well directed and it still didn't knock my socks off.

Current Knitting
Here's the better picture I promised on Monday. Not significantly better...but definitely better.

I am really digging how well this lace is coming out, especially since I really only anticipated using this as my trial first attempt at such a complex lace project.

I have made mistakes and I've either gone back and fixed them, or fudged them in the following round. Regardless, I think the result will be quite fine.

Current Spinning
I may have to revise my estimate for how long it will take me to spin the Black Bunny Fiber roving into laceweight yarn.

Here's what the last progress picture looked like to give you a comparison.

The additional amount (shown in the first picture in case you couldn't tell) took me about 2 hours of spinning time.

Clearly, I have my work cut out for me.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Great Cinema

Thaddeus was telling me about a video he watched recently called Tin Man.

Unlikely Candidate
I remember seeing this mini-series touted on the SciFi network, and I thought it looked kind of stupid, but Thaddeus was quite impressed with how well it was done. Eventually he will bring it home so I can see it.

Does anyone else have any movies out there that they think are brilliant? Any "sleepers" that may have slipped under the radar, but that Thaddeus and I shouldn't miss?

I'd be interested to know what readers think.

Current Knitting
I started of going great guns on the Ichida lace project, but then ran into a snag. But I still made it through round 89 (of 140).

Sorry for the crappy picture...I'll post a better one later this week.

Actually, I made it up to row 89 on Friday. I made a mistake, and had a lot of difficulty un-knitting my work. I ended up just putting it down for the remainder of the weekend, and finally picked it up late last night to fix my error.

I spent the rest of the weekend putting stuff back into place after the carpet installation and knitting on my secret project.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Lynn writes, "I just wanted to tell you that this piece you are working is absolutely beautiful! I think I'd like to test it out, so I've been searching on google for the book you mentioned, but with no luck so far."

The book is available through Lacis. Do a text search for Ichida on this link and you can find it. My lace is in the second book.

Friday, March 21, 2008


....fresh carpet.

A Welcome Sight
Returning home from a hard work week to rooms covered in thick, lush carpet.

Of course, we still have a few things that need to be put back in place.

Benefits of Downsizing
As part of our readying for moving all our furniture, Thaddeus decided it was time to get rid of all his stereo components in the office section of our bedroom that are now about 30 years old. He really only listens to radio when he's upstairs, so he opted to get one of these.

The Tivoli Henry Kloss radio is nice and compact and retro looking, the sound on this little baby is velvet. It has some unique way of attracting radio signals which Thaddeus researched thoroughly (of course), but all I know is that it sounds rich and fills the room with vibrant sound.

And it leaves room for more yarn and knitting books.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Seanna Lee asks, "I love the idea of spinning my own lace weight. How long do you think it will take you to spin it up (just the spinning part)? I mean, other than forever."

I remember spinning a ton of merino in fingering weight, and a ball of roving the size of Carol's Black Bunny Fiber would have taken me about four weeks, spinning about 8 hours a week. I anticipate this project will take me about six to eight weeks.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Quick Post Today

Sorry, no rants or political whining...just this.

I wasn't a big fan of Obama's Philadelphia speech on race. He certainly could have been much more succinct...but that's never been my forte either. More than that, I think he just acknowledged what most of us know is already true. There are a lot of assholes among us and a lot of very good people. Sometimes his pastor is one, sometimes he's the other...and so is his white grandmother.

In my mind, he spent a lot of time saying a lot of nothing.

I think that man could do amazing things to forward race relations in this country, but I still don't think he'd make a better president than Hillary Clinton.

I was quite impressed by his ability to garner all the press for the day...or perhaps significantly unimpressed by the press' inability to ferret out true news.

Current Knitting
I finished up through round 78 of the Promenade dans le Foret lace by Ichida.

It's getting quite complex, and each new round requires an enormous amount of my attention.

Current Spinning
With the recent dispatch of my secret spinning project, I've been able to start with my first installment of Black Bunny Fibers monthly fiber club roving.

This is a 90% merino/10% kid mohair blend in a lot of different hues of blue. I'm spinning it as finely as I can, hoping to get a boatload of two-ply laceweight out of it.

It will take me forever.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Cara asks, "Are those felted hats and bowls done in the Patons Merino? Did you ever try it, and how did you like it?"

The hats are and the multi-color bowls are as well. I like the Patons Merino. It's enjoyable enough to knit, and it felts quite nicely. The red bucket hat is also the Patons.

Monday, March 17, 2008


We finally decided that it was time to replace the carpeting in our house. Who would have believed the impact of such a seemingly small decision.

How Difficult Could it Be?
For those of you that have ever replaced all the carpet in their house, you will clearly understand. I never have until this week.

Seemed simple enough when we decided. I had a little extra money, and the carpet was long overdue for replacing. We go to a local place where Thaddeus knows one of the family owners, we pick out carpet, they come to the house and measure and then come to install. Easy...right?

Yeah, until I realized (or I should say Thaddeus realized all along and finally got it through my thick skull) that we'd have to be able to move anything currently on the existing carpet. These past two weekends were all about going through all our cabinets, closets, bookcases, dressers, armoires, shoe racks...etc., etc. and clearing them so that either the furniture could be moved around more easily or what was normally stored on the floor wasn't on the floor. We threw out and gave away a ton of crap that we have collected over the last 19 years.

What a would have been easier to move to a new house.

Current Knitting
Suffice it to say, I didn't feel like adding more complications into my life, so I opted to put the Ichida lace away for the weekend and focus on something a lot more simple. I ended up felting the two bucket hats I made a few weeks ago, and also started work on a new one in bright red.

You'll note I also felted a few little yarn bowls. These will go up for sale with all the scarves and felted bucket hats whenever I get around to it.

Readers' Comments/Questions
KM writes, "Is there a Niebling book coming?"

There have been a number of groups trying to get Burda or someone to re-publish Niebling's works. If anyone is interested, I'd highly recommend joining the HerbertNiebling Yahoo Group. There's tons of information on what they've been working on to get him re-published as well as information on finding his work.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Prostitution is the New Skydiving

Since when did the thrill of getting caught at an illegal activity become the new thing for the man who has experienced every other thrill?

Too Appealing
I guess there is the possibility of great excitement when there's a chance that someone might find out you're having illegal sex with prostitutes. I guess the ongoing avoidance of a sexually transmitted disease could help a man justify that it's okay to continue. Perhaps the thrill of leading a completely segmented and secret life, especially when a life is so public can have an appeal.

But when an entire home and professional life are put in danger, not to mention the health of both the man and his spouse, doesn't that verge on the compulsive/addictive?

I have to believe this man at one point crossed the line from thrill-seeker to uncontrolled free-fall into an activity that was so compelling, that he had little ability to stop. Even worse, if the guy had been found out to be doing crystal meth or even drinking alcoholically, I think folks would have been able to forgive him...but this ruination of lives will not be easily forgotten and doubtfully ever forgiven.

Current Knitting
I've completed a mere 2 rounds on the lace project. A progress picture would be less than useful.

Current Reading
Over vacation I was able to finish two books.

The first book is The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards.

I found this to be a book that appeals to many women, but I don't think most men would enjoy it that much. It's a very romanticized version of child bearing and duty that I find is not only not very realistic, but perpetuates an fantasy world that most folks would be better off staying away from.

I also finished A Thousand Splendid Suns by Koleini.

Much better edited than the Kite Runner by the same author, I found this book to be a wonderful read, and I'd highly recommend it. This author has always been able to tell a wonderful story, but with the success of his first book, it appears the publishers have invested a few dollars into getting this guy a decent editor.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the Ichida lace project, Ted writes (and Marilyn agrees), "Well, not that this helps you now, but I think it would have been better on larger needles -- maybe 2 sizes larger."

With the added experience of this project, I would most definitely agree. I will definitely be upping my needle size on my next Niebling-like lace project.

LaceFreak/Jane (my lace inspiration) asks, "I think you are doing great on your lace pattern! I was wondering what size needle are you using and what yarn you picked?"

I'm using Skacel Laceweight Merino on US1 needles. I also love how it's coming out, and I may even re-knit this design in a heavier weight yarn using bigger needles. We'll's been good practice.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Estamos En Casa

Yes, we've returned home from another lovely week in Cancun...the weather was practically perfect in every way.

Tan, Fat and Tired

Like most vacations, we spent the majority of our time sleeping, lying on the beach and eating. This year was no exception, although we had a couple of snags in the vacation.

Our airport transportation to the hotel wasn't reserved correctly by the hotel which caused a bit of angst, and then the hotel gave me a dinky little room when I was supposed to be given a suite (they did end up changing my room, but it wasted a hour or so of precious vacation time).

Fortunately, the hiccups all occurred at the beginning of the vacation so we could enjoy the remainder.

One caution about Cancun for those of you planning on going. The beaches have been severely damaged by hurricane Wilma in 2005. While the JW Marriott where we stay has tried to repair the beaches, they are about one third the size of what they used to be. On our last day on the beach, there was tidal erosion of about 20 feet from the day before.

Current Knitting
I got a lot of vacation knitting done on the Ichida lace.

This represents up to round 70 of 142 rounds. Here's a closeup where you can spot some of my mistakes or inconsistencies.

Given the size of the yarn and the needles, this will block out to a square that will be too small to do anything with, other than display as a kind of doily. Depending on how courageous I feel when I get there, I may improvise on the pattern and try and make it large enough for a shawl. We'll see how it goes.