Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Yarnarian says that Spring is on its way.

In Morristown, NJ:

Sunrise today: 7:21
Sunset today: 4:36

Yes, Virginia, spring is coming.

Did you try the snowflake maker over on the right? This is so neat to play with.

Here's the URL:

Off to knit.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Yarnarian obesses about the length of the day. Yet again.

Sunrise and sunset in Morristown, NJ: 7:20 & 4:35 Yes, Virginia, the days will get longer. Hang in there. We are 2 days closer to spring! The day is shorter by a minute in the morning, but longer by a minute at night. So, it's even-Steven, BUT you have a minute more of sunlight at the end of the day, which I like. I can ignore the morning.

I'm ignoring winter this year. As far as I'm concerned, we are two days shorter for spring to arrive. This is just a cold interim.

I hear that Minnesota is getting the mother of all blizzards this week. I hope I can still fly out on Monday. I don't worry much about the runways being cleared. Those folks in the Frozen Northland know all about snow. It's the stranded travelers who worry me. Ah well, if I'm going to obsess about something, this is as good as anything else.

I made it to the doctor yesterday with my eye crud, and yup, you got it: the dreaded conjunctivitis. One year, when the kids were little, we had a case of it where everyone kept reinfecting everyone else. I finally got them to stop touching their eyes, got them to scrub those hands non-stop. Scrubbed my hands raw, and it ended. But that was some mess. It's such a stupid infection. And now that I've turned your poor little tummies, let's chat about Christmas.

For those who celebrate Christmas, are you all set? Presents bought, house decorated? I love Christmas. It's easy for me to love it: I don't celebrate, so I can sit back and enjoy all of it. Indeed, it's my eternal rant about how Jews really ought to get with the program and put up lights outside for Chanukah. I know that this will make a lot of people angry, but lights are lights. Tell me exactly what lights have to do with the birth of Christ? Nada, nothing, gar nicht. No, I don't want a Chanukah bush; I'd rather admire everyone else's.

Yep, we do light the menorah, and set it in the window to be a light unto the nations. But I want more. I want the whole nine yards. On the other hand, I don't want the work of it all, so I'll just drive around and admire.

Oh, and the second part of my annual rant: Could we please have better music for Chanukah? Maos Tzur is lovely, but that's it. The dreidel song is dopey. Admit it, it's really dopey. But then playing dreidel is also dopey. OK, dopey is good, not bad at all. But I want inspiring music. Come to think of it, we have beautiful music for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and those are big holidays. I still want Chanukah carols.

There, annual music and light rant is over. Phew, aren't you relieved.

Pics? Everything is as it was, only longer. I'm trying to finish up the socks and scarf so that I can take something new to Minnesota. Here is the second sock and a close-up of the pattern. I have to admit that the pattern is lovely enough to put it into a shawl.

Here's yesterday's treat to me. Given that there is going to be a mound of the white stuff in Minneapolis, I decided to buy a pair of Uggs. Apparently, in the New York metro area, Uggs are now teen-age style. A pox upon that! They fit, they are warm, and I wanted them. So now I'm a teen-age woman of a certain age. And here's the best part: I'm a size 6 shoe. Kids' size 5 is the same as adult size 6, and $40 cheaper. You know which Ugg I bought!

Remember the leg warmers that the Hubbo found for me? He found another pair. So now I'm set: my usual jeans, woolly socks, leg warmers, Uggs, and my long Lands End down coat. Scarves, ear muffs, hood on coat, warm gloves worn inside a pair of stranded mitts with extended cuffs. Baby, I'm ready for cold and snow. Warm weather is so much easier.

Flower Fairies Sock Club is filling very nicely. If you want to join, there's still space. Check it out on the PennyRose sock club blog.

itsJUSTme-wendy - I love all the Christmas to-do, but I can admire from afar. No shopping or cleaning or cooking or anything of the sort. I sit back and just love it all. My favorite holiday in the Jewish calender is Passover. No presents, but lots of cleaning and cooking and changing dishes, and lots of work. But it is such a wonderful holiday, and I love it!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Meet Lola!

Whatever Lola wants, she gets. At least that's what the song says. Well, Little Lola wanted to be a pretty shawlette, and of course, she got what she wanted.

She's a hot little number with her lace and center pattern and fake cable. Well, the devil told her to be a temptation, and so she is.

I knitted her in my new Rachel twisty yarn, which is particularly good with stitch definition. She's a small shawl, more for show than for warmth, but she is so tempting to knit. Lola gets what she wants, and she wants to lay across your shoulders. She told me so.

Where? Ravelry, of course:

Not much else is new. I seem to have caught some eye crud from someone. Off to call the doctor. Like I need this.

Knitting is moving along, with not much else to show you from yesterday.

Sunrise and sunset in Morristown, NJ: 7:19 & 4:34 Yes, Virginia, the days will get longer. Hang in there. We are one day closer to spring!

itsJUSTme-wendy - Lola was the scarf in the Wicked Women Sock and Scarf Club.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Yarnarian Chats.

We survived our foot of snow. Fortunately, it was of the light, fluffy kind, with no ice at all, so the Hubbo and his trusty snow blower got in cleared up in good time. We are a corner house, but with no sidewalks, which is great. On the other hand, we have a long driveway and a long walk from the street to our house.

Somebody's foot prints, probably a deer. They are all over our area. You can walk down the block and there will be 3-4 of them grazing.

I'm taking a break from dyeing for a couple of weeks. There will be new yarns on Etsy, but they appeared first here. So, if you want the latest and greatest, check out my shop:

I have been doing some knitting. I started another lacy scarf in Bambi, which, if you haven't tried it, has the most wonderful drape. Not to mention that it's a cozy, comfy yarn. This little sweetie probably won't keep me very warm, what with all that open work, but she is cute, and I like her. When she's all blocked, you'll really see those holes and that edging.

Last night we were watching something unmemorable on TV, and I knit about 4 inches on her, only to discover that I had made a mistake 2 inches back. And it was one of those cases where I couldn't fudge it, so off to the frog pond she went for a bit. Knitted some more, didn't pay much attention to the scarf, made more mistakes, frogged again. I swear I knit the last 6 inches about 3 times. The pattern is not difficult, I was just distracted.

Then I decided that I needed to finish a sock. I have to Kitchener the toe, and then knit the second one. This one is done in Linda BFL yarn. How to get American knitters to try Blue Faced Leicester yarn is one of my goals. We seem hung up on merino, cashmere, silk, and such. But BFL is one stunning yarn. Long fibers which give the yarn strength and a soft sheen. Gotta dye up more of this. Maybe I'll keep it all. Evil laugh here.

This is my Lacy Waves sock pattern, available on Ravelry. Elder DD walked off with my original pair, and I liked it a lot, so here we are, with just the 2nd sock to go.

The Hubbo's Corner: Look what the Schmutz Meister managed to find me at a gigantic yard sale: Leg warmers, and I think they might be hand-knit. At any rate, they are amazingly warm, and I'll bring them with me when I go to the frozen Northland. Gotta keep the body warm there.

Scrabblequeen - I don't find it itchy. It's very different from merino. Remind me in a week or two, after I've finished the second sock, to send you a sample. It doesn't feel at all like any other woolly yarn I've used. I've only used it for socks, however. I don't know How it would feel in a scarf wrapped around my neck.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful,
And since we've no place to go,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Yes, you bad commenters: we are in the midst of major snow. I am not happy. Piffle.

Holly - It is easily a foot or a bit more. Serious white stuff. Send the poor student a happy birthday from me.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Yarnarian and another shawl

Please click on the pics to get a good idea of how pretty she is.

You know that the second I finish a shawl, I'm onto the next one. And so here is Nurit, a flower of a little shawl. She's made up of little flowers, and very easy, quite satisfying to knit. I have to do the charting and writing up, which you know I hate to do. But how can I share her with you without a good pattern?

She's knitted on Alexa, SW merino/nylon approx 420 yards, with a nice little ball of yarn leftover. The colorway I dyed is a soft mauve pink and is an almost solid, which is my favorite kind of colorway for a shawl.

I'm quite pleased with her. Nurit looked like a total mess as I was knitting her: blobby and lumpy, the usual with a lace shawl, but with a good wet block, she straightened her act out, and became quite pretty.

Have a lovely weekend! We're off to see the Brooklyn gang and then the Mommie's Chanukah party this weekend. Festivities, fun, and for the grands, some presents.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Yarnarian wants to do the Flashback Challenge!

Look at this: Wendy of it's just me, Wendy fame, mentioned this on her blog, and I am going to do this. Flashback Challenge! Maybe, it's just possible, that I will like Ethan Frome! And all the kiddie lit; yes, that's for me. Which books to reread as an adult? Jane Austen of course. I've already read Anna Karenina a few times and it's now out of my system. Besides, I don't have the patience right now for those massive Russian tomes. Nope, it will be Jane. I'll have to think about what else.

I generally don't like people suggesting books for me. I like what I like and I read what I want, but this is so cool. This is a challenge I want to do.

If you were going to reread a book from your childhood, what would it be? I loved the Betsy Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace, and I think I will start there.

The only authors from high school that I liked were Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw. I disliked Ethan Frome, but I suspect it would be good to read as an adult. I do remember hating Thomas Hardy. We read Return of the Native, and it was pure torture for me to read. Maybe that bears re-reading. I was a voracious reader, but I rarely liked what we had to read for English class. Now if we had read Jane Austen, but we didn't. Too bad. Come to think of it, we never read books that had a female appeal. I groaned through Moby Dick, Heart of Darkness, and others of that ilk. We did read Dickens in 9th grade, but I had read David Copperfield on my own a couple of years before and liked it. Reading it in class changed my enjoyment of it.

In retrospect, I always disliked taking a book apart and studying it. To me, great literature should be read and enjoyed, not dissected, but then I didn't major in English, and I never liked delving into the obscurities of a novel. Maybe that's why I rarely enjoyed any required reading. I am grateful that I was forced to read Dubliners by James Joyce. Didn't like it, but it was probably good for me. Shakespeare, on the other hand, I loved. And Chaucer. Oh I loved Chaucer. I loved all of the medieval lit. I'm not sure what that says about me, but that's the way it is.

Now I read mysteries, but only well-written ones. I don't particularly like knitting, or embroidery mysteries, although if I'm desperate enough, I will read them, mostly to enjoy the craft references. I used to read a lot of science fiction, but rarely do it any more. Now I read fantasy. I read Tolkien long before he became so popular.

My current mystery delight is the Gregor Demarkian mysteries by Jane Haddam. I love them so much that I spread out the reading so that the enjoyment can go on forever.

Romance? Only as summer vacation reading. Horror? Only when written by a master such as Stephen King or Dean Koontz. I don't do much reading in "regular" fiction any more. I can't tell you why, but at this point it doesn't appeal to me. Non-fiction? Nope. Cookbooks, knitting and crochet books, yes. Otherwise no non-fiction.

When I was a kid, I went through my classics phase all on my own and loved them, but now don't really have the patience to read them. So I'm hoping that the Flashback Challenge will light a fire under me and get me out of my nice reading rut. Truthfully, I like my reading rut. I read for pleasure so why should I apologize for what I like? I dunno; it's silly to do so. So I won't!

Knitting news: Fan Dance is off to be test knitted. My poor test knitters will have to decipher this shawl and help me make it understandable. I knit intuitively, and I assume others do too, but that is not the case, so I need clear directions. Go forth, ye test knitters, and be stalwart and brave!

Flower Fairies Sock Club is filling nicely. There's still room for more members, but I will close off sign-ups around the middle of January to give me time to get things together. Want more information? Click on the link and then sign up on Etsy.

itsJUSTme-wendy - It's a great idea and maybe it'll get me out of my rut, although I do like my rut. Now to decide which category to do. Are you doing the second one? That is the one I'm going to do.

sockmadmary - Pepys would give me a headache. I believe I read Fielding somewhere, but have no desire to reread. I've done Thackery a couple of times. That was enough. I just thought of LIttle Women; that is due for a re-reading. In high school we did a lot of English lit, almost no American lit. That I had to do on my own or in college. I think this is going to be a delightful challenge. I should really go through a list of the "classics" and see what I'd like to do again.

Aarti - This should be a treat to do! thanks so much for coming up with the idea.

Holly - I went through my vampire stage years ago with the Ann Rice books, and the Chelsea Quinn Yarbro books, and now I'm done. Adolescent vampires don't talk to me.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ta da! Yarns are up!

You can all relax now because here come the yarn pictures. You want? email me at
fritzL234 AT yahoo DOT com.

All but 2 are Karen Cashmere: SW merino/cashmere/nylon. 80/10/10. 100 grams approx 430 yards. Softer than a baby's bottom.




Sarah's Sand:




These are the 2 Alexa yarns: 80/20 SW Merino/nylon. 115 grams, approx. 420 yards



Both reds shown are more in the blue-red range than in a tomato or fire red area, although they each have a touch of fire red. They are gorgeous reds, if I say so myself. A caveat about washing them: I rinsed each one at least 20 times. Trust me on that, and I think I got out just about all of the excess dye. You know all about red and washing it with white underwear. It's true. Red can bleed a lot. I don't think these 2 will do that, given that I rinsed until forever, but you never know. So, the first couple of times you wash these, please do them separately from the rest of the laundry. The amazing thing about all that rinsing, other than me getting dishpan hands, is that the yarns stayed vibrant and didn't lose any color. Red is a phenomenon all unto itself. But this red is wonderful.

Knitting news: I'm working away on writing up Fan Dance. I've also started a new shawl, this one out of Alexa, and I'm keeping very careful notes. All other projects are on hold because I have shawl mania, and it's not likely to go away either. I'm already planning the next one.

Zarah and Esmeralda are taken.

Jen - I've been knitting shawls forever, but I'm crazy about these little jobbies, and I'm more apt to wear them than my large lace yarn ones. I keep thinking I should give some of them as presents, but I like them too much to give them away.

Wodan is probably grabbed.


Hang in there; I'm taking pics.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Today I dyed, tomorrow come the results.

Flower Fairies Sock Club!!!!! Go look! You need this. I know you need this, and you know it too. Just think: in the middle of February when you can't stand the winter any more, you'll get a lovely little package in the mail. and in the middle of March, when you are tearing your hair out because winter is NOT going away, you'll get another package. And then in April, when snow season has turned to mud season, you'll get your third package to cheer you up. Is this not a treat? YarnYenta is almost finished with the designs and you are going to love them. And I'm going to treat you to spring flower fairy yarns.

The particulars:

3 months: Feb, March, April (middle of the month, as usual)
3 brand new sock patterns designed by a wonderful sock designer
3 charming new colorways dyed my me

Yarns? I have a lot to choose from and have not decided yet, but you know that they are all lovely because I wouldn't knit on them if they were not.

Cost? $90 for everybody, USA, Canada, UK, and any other place possible. US shipments will mail out as Priority Mail, the UK and other places across the Pond will be sent as First Class International, Canada will also ship as First Class International. So, no extra charges for the basic package because you are not in the States.

Payment is done all at once, and not pay-as-you-go. I'll need payment by the end of January to make sure that I have enough to dye up the yarn.

Extra goodies? Nope. I don't like them, and don't send them, and anyhow, if it costs me to send them, then I have to add that cost to the club. We are a no-frills club, but we are sending you what counts: wonderful yarns and patterns!

Sign up: Any time from this blog and Etsy posting will follow next week. My routine here is for you to email me and then I invoice you. Etsy is self-explanatory.

Payment is done all at once, and not pay-as-you-go. I'll need payment by the end of January to make sure that I have enough time to dye up the yarn.

For those of you who like to shop via Etsy, I've now listed the Flower Fairies Sock Club there.

Yippee! Pretty socks and yarns, here we come.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Yarnarian Snarls.

It's one of those days. I've been running a lot and it caught up with me today. My gut is not a happy camper, so I'm stuck in the house, which is not so terrible except that I wanted to go to my knitting group and then visit the Mommie. And I'm missing the MA kids and grands. And I want to pester the grands. Not to be, alas. But that's not why I'm snarling. Here's my snarl, and it's totally my own doing!

This, boys and girls, is what I'm grumping about:

These are my notes on the brand new Fan Dance Shawl. Have you ever seen such a mess? This is how I design and knit. Which is just fine if I'm doing it only for me, but this little shawl is destined for greater things. She's going on sale at some point after my insanity calms down. Now I have to decipher what is going on. I know exactly how I knitted this shawl, but formal patterns require some numbers and charts that make sense and such. So, yours truly is sitting here in front of the computer slowly losing what's left of her little mind. SNARL! By the way, I've not been to this restaurant yet, so I have no idea how the menu appeared in my purse.

I was smart enough to make good charts, because I knit solely from charts, and they have to be good, but the verbiage part, plus the unhappy gut is not making me a happy camper.

Not to fear; I will conquer it, and will not learn from this lesson. I can assure you that the next shawl will also be scribbled somewhere as I work with it. This is all Elizabeth Zimmermann's fault! She taught me how to be an independent knitter, and now I have a hard time formalizing matters. Giggle! (I do wish that Blogger had emoticons, because this would be a good place for one or two.)

Wanna see more shawl pics?

I wore it yesterday and the Mommie was quite impressed with it. She's doing remarkably well. She did have lunch in her room, but came out for supper and is her usual self. I suspect that I have more of my dad's genes than hers, but hers are the ones I want. She tells me over and over that she has a very nice old age, and I believe her. She charms everybody. Her doctor bows very low to her when he sees her; he loves her. She is just about the most adorable, charming little old lady around. Believe me, this was NOT the Mommie of old. In her youth, she was one tough cookie. Now she doesn't have to be tough, although she does like a good argument or two. She has Little Old Lady down-pat, and it's all genuine.

One more Mommie story: her short term memory is not great. OK, she's 95, she's entitled. But every now and then, she comes up with something from her youth, and it just rocks me. How does she remember this stuff? Yesterday she started to sing some Romanian patriotic song. Huh? She comes from Transylvania, the ethnic Hungarian part, and her native language is Hungarian. After WWI, that part became Romanian. But the entire family spoke Hungarian at home as did her little town. Somewhere in school, she had to learn this song, and now she remembers it. In Romanian, which I thought she really didn't remember at all. So, while the short term memory is iffy, her long term memory is amazing. Not bad for a really old lady. We had quite a laugh over the song, too.

OK, I've had my fun, back to work on those directions. If you see a small woman in her nightie and robe tearing her hair out and screaming at herself, just smile at her, pat her on the head and tell her it will be all right, and then run as fast as you can to get away from her. She's liable to make you write up the directions!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Yarnarian Is Back.

Click on all the pics to get the true look of the shawl!

Whew, it's been a crazy couple of days here, and I'm sorry I had no time to blog. But everything is fine.

Mommie news:
We had quite a scare yesterday. She fell, and when the staff came into her room to ask her if she wanted to go to a program, they found her on the floor, bloody and very confused. So, they called me, the rescue squad (yay, rescue squads!), and carted her off to the emergency room. I met her there a bit later. In short order, the Mommie has some broken facial bones just under her right eye, but, most important, the eye muscles were not affected. She has one helluva bruise on her eye, and she looks as if she's been in a barroom brawl. Bloody nose, the whole nine yards. But her vitals are all fine, and she looks a mess. The Hubbo and I brought her home, where they saved some supper for her. The kitchen staff is wonderful, and they heated up her supper, brought it to her along with her coffee and chocolate cookies. She'll be on antibiotics for 10 days just to ensure that she doesn't get a sinus infection. I suspect she might be a bit sore today, but she wasn't complaining much yesterday.

I was supposed to go to MA this weekend to see the gang, but I'll stay home and visit her every day. I want to be nearby just in case something goes wrong.

The Mommie charmed everyone in the emergency area. All sorts of doctors, physicians assistants, and other medical folk came to visit her. One doctor wanted to know her secret of longevity. She's 95! She quipped with everyone, kept her sense of humor, and was truly adorable. This is the woman who was the toughest mom around. Boy was she tough! And now in her old age, she is delightful, charming and funny. And everyone loves her. Yeah, Mommie! At one point, I gave her a kiss on her head just before they took her off for a scan, and the nurse in charge asked her if she could give her a kiss too. Of course, said the Mommie most graciously.

Knitting news: So of course, I brought my knitting to the hospital. Emergency room visits are at least 4-5 hours long for cases like my mom's. I'm prepared all the time with my knitting. I finished the little shawl that I showed you. I love it; it's pretty and lacy and easy.

When I got home, I soaked and blocked it, and discovered in the process that when I bound off, I didn't pull my thread through. Emergency room nerves I think. But I didn't lose much and have enough yarn to refinish it.

Before blocking:

After blocking.

Don't forget to look at the info for the Flower Fairies Sock Club! Either Tuesday, November 24, 2009 post, or here! Flowers, Fairies, spring. I already am tired of winter. very big sigh.


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