Saturday, January 31, 2009

Busy week! [and a long blog post as a result!]

What have I been doing?

* Played here. Julia joined in this week. She's good, and holds her own in front of a mic, especially for someone who hadn't touched her uke in a few months! Also test drove a Fluke, which has a really lovely, deep, strong tone.

* Successfully sold my flute to the lovely Amanda who was the first to put up her hand in the comments. We met at Lettuce Knit so she could take a peek and test drive and, despite some acting up on the flute's part, Amanda was confident that she wanted the flute so she took her home. I got a report a few days later that a misaligned spring was the cause of the acting up, and all is well now. I hope Amanda will be happy with her new flute!

* This meant I had funding to continue my obsessive browsing of sites like this. And narrowing down my choices.

* Drove to the local uke mecca [this means they have better stuff than the standard plastic cheapos, AND they have knowledgeable staff].

* Surrounded by skilled guitarists of all sorts who were test driving and intimidating me with their noodling that sounded good enough to record already, I tried the Fluke again and realized it was too big for my ridiculously small hands.

* Finally tried the Flea and realized that its more compact size [still providing big sound] was my solution. Meet Hurley:

He'll serve me well for many years to come. The Fluke I test drove last week was a 10-year-old one that the [really good] player still uses and loves and makes great music on.

I came home and found that, for some reason, I can play Hurley better than my little grape guy. Maybe it's my imagination, but the chords came easier. I sure did like practising on him.


So that's where I've been all week. There was also time spent in my dentist's chair which resulted with a brand new $$$$crown$$$$ that has some of the metal showing through the enamel at the top after dentistman had to grind it down and down to fit in my mouth. Not impressed. Seems to me that the guy who made the crown screwed up. And yes, I'm going to get it fixed, as uncomfortable as that will be.


Spring Knitty patterns were also finalized this week, and today is yes/no day when I send out the notices to everyone.


There was also, happily, finalization on the question of the month: will I be able to go to Maryland Sheep & Wool this year, finally? The answer is yes!

I'm now figuring out how to arrange teaching gigs either at the festival or at a nearby shop. Advice welcome if you've done this before!


Happy weekend, everyone! I'm going to recharge with a little tea and get down to the e-mails.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Saturday catch-all post, including Coraline! Flutes! And other news

For those awaiting the upcoming Coraline movie, a few things:

1. My favorite Coraline news source: Evil Buttons. Read back to the beginning to learn about the Coraline keys [I purchased mine on eBay...wasn't lucky enough to run across it in the wild on my own] and all the other interesting ways Laika is publicizing this upcoming movie.

2. Those following my Twitter feed already have seen this: From Mr Gaiman himself, his favorite Coraline trailer so far...and it's deliciously creepy. Finally.

3. Last Coraline post [for today :)] -- I call all those within driving distance of Toronto to join me on opening night, February 6, to watch the movie! It's too early to find theatres with showtimes, so as soon as I have details, I'll post here. I'll pick a theatre that takes online ticket orders, so we can buy ours in advance and actually all get in to the same showing! [It'll be the 7ish pm show and I'll confess now that I'm rather partial to the Alliance Atlantis theatre on Queen East at Kingston Road.]

4. Were you thinking of joining Franklin and I on the Alaska Sea Socks cruise this year? I'm sorry to have to be the one to tell you, but it has been cancelled. Franklin and I were informed of this news by the cruise operator last week.

4a. I love cruising and teaching on a cruise is absolutely awesome, so I am quite sure that I'll be doing another cruise one day in the future and really hope you'll join me. Will report here when there are details, promise.

5. I joined a Ukulele Jam last week and had a blast. It's very embryonic, and my noob skills are not useless there, which is really encouraging! It's led by two guys who have played in bands and know what the heck they're doing, and it's filled with people of all levels of experience. The ukulele spotting alone is enough reason to go! This has me thinking of my next uke...and the one after that. Being a gear ho™ is not restricted to my knitting, you know. If you've got a uke and can play, you're welcome to join! Visit the site linked above for all the information you'll need.

5a. As a result of finally picking up an instrument I've wanted to play for years and loving it, I've decided it's finally time to sell my flute, which has been carefully stored, unused, for about 20 years. I received it as a birthday present from my parents when I was in high school and loved it for a long time, but it's just not the instrument for me any more.

SO! If anyone is interested in an Armstrong Model 90 sterling head/body flute, closed hole, with original case, leave a note in the comments. It's in gorgeous shape [except for two tiny dents on the back of the head -- I was a teenager. Cut me some slack]. Pictures here. There are a lot of them and the defects I'm aware of [just 3] are marked with notes on the pics.

Okay! That's it for today. This post was kind of like a little brain burp, all the unrelated stuff in here.

I'm off to do Saturday errands!

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

WWW for January 21, 2009

Okay, so a little backdating of the blog entry once in a while is allowed, especially if your Wednesday was mostly taken up by being poked with needles and dental drills like mine was. I'd much rather be blogging, trust me.

Like typography? We know of course that you love the knitting. Perhaps you need to combine your two loves and get this hand knitted font. Clever.

All sorts of new print magazines! First, edited by the fabulous Amy O'Neill Houck and Julie Holetz is Inside Crochet.

Are you in the UK? Then you could pick up a copy of The Knitter on a newsstand near you.

New yarns from Lion Brand, including a wool/stainless blend. They've also got organic wool, pure cashmere and a cotton/bamboo blend, all under the new LB Collection brand.

In frosty Minneapolis? Visit the new exhibition: Radiant Knits: The Bohus Tradition. Then drop by the legendary Ingebretsen's to round out the day nicely [and Nordically!]

For the sock fanatic, grab this free e-book while you can! 5 Free Sock Knitting Patterns from Knitting Daily.

Have you heard about Slow Stashing? I've been doing this for a while, combined with a concerted effort to get the yarn on the needles and into FOs. Lots of gifted cowls this past holiday season were knit from goodies formerly hibernating in my stash.

Most mere knitter-mortals aren't allowed inside the doors, but we can read what Knitter's Review editor Clara Parkes writes about her visit to TNNA - the big yarn tradeshow. There's some good news and exciting new stuff to look forward to!


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Why Milwaukee has the best airport EVER

[click picture for need to see this]

# of people in front of me in the security line: 0

# of adorable security agents encountered: 1

I LOVE MKE. ORD can bite me.

On my way home and so happy, I decided to splurge on data roaming to post this.

Looking forward to recombobulation.

Posted by ShoZu

Labels: ,

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I finally figured out how to blog from the iPhone...

as you can tell by all the posts today. Click on the photos to see them at a reasonable size.

Jennie and Dawn and I had a fabulous day today, even without yarn shops. [We'd planned to visit one of the two in Rochester, and when BOTH were unexpectedly closed, we were flabbergasted. Dudes, we had money to spend!] So instead, we bought Keens and all was well.

Mom and I are on our way back to IL tomorrow. I'll be back in Toronto this weekend. I have learned to embrace the earmuffs and their life-giving warmth and should it be cold at home, I will be just fine.

I miss my house, my husband and my bunnies. And my bed. Really miss my bed.

Labels: ,

Keens for $59/pair. Can you feel the joy?

Red laceups for Jennie, orange boiled wool clog slippers for Dawn, brown Mary Janes for me.

Posted by ShoZu

You must be joking.

Posted by ShoZu

Jennie in Posh Yarn silk; Dawn in Tilli Tomas silk.

Cowls of love knit by me for two very special friends.

Posted by ShoZu

Dawn trying to find an open yarn shop. Seriously...both were closed.

It's freezing. We want yarn. Why are all the yarn stores closed?

Posted by ShoZu

Jennie loves the HP sauce

Posted by ShoZu


Posted by ShoZu

Where I am...

Click for Rochester, Minnesota Forecast

On a secret family mission. There is amateur nursing involved on my part and nothing life threatening, so don't worry. There are ouchies, which is not good, but we'll make the doctor cough up some better painkillers for the next few days. This is my mission.

It is, however, unrealistically cold here. Hub says it's -1 billion. Clearly, however, he is delusional. He has not SEEN cold. Proof:

Click for Toronto, Ontario Forecast

Minnesotans are amazing. And today, I get to spend a little time with two of my favorites. In fact, they're two of my favorite people in any state. My adorable Gretel hat [in Calmer this time] is no match for this weather, and I have no idea what I was thinking. So I was forced to take drastic steps to survive:


Save me.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

WWW for January 7, 2009

Happy new year, fiber fans!

Spotted on Jacquie Blackman's blog, a crazy post at Apartment Therapy about Extreme Knitting! No kidding. These needles make US#19s look like toothpicks.

Making the rounds in the blogosphere is mention of this: Kniittiing, a Wii-based knitting game. The technology behind the idea is really neat, but when I knit, I want to actually create something more than a high score. :)

For the geek knitter [I raise my hand here], a pattern for's Wash's sweater, based on one seen in two Firefly episodes! Happy shiny knitting!

Spinners! It seems that Ashford has taken a page from Louet and Majacraft and now offers a sliding hook flyer!

More spinny news! Grafton Fibers has started offering exclusive monthly shipments of fiber that is different than the usual [gorgeous] Grafton batts. Sounds yummy!

Our friends at Artfibers are -- sadly -- closing their San Francisco destination retail shop on January 24th, but there is still lots of good Artfibers news.

First, their website will remain open for business in 2009 and beyond.

And there will be a new East Bay location for sales, learning, and special events that will open in April '09. So we won't have to go without Artfibers goodness after all! Yay!

In case you missed it, Knitty started Tweeting -- publishing tiny updates on Twitter. Find the Knitty update page here and start following along.

Happy new year to you all! May this year bring you all you wish for, and bring us all happiness, peace and comfort.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Knitty Yarn Roundtable Nights top 10 list!

Top 10 reasons you want to go to one of the upcoming Knitty Yarn Roundtable Nights, held in Toronto each month.

10. There is yarn there.

9. You get to knit with the new! yarn and no one yells at you for playing with stuff you didn't buy.

8. It's a little like speed dating, but with yarn.

7. And nibbles.

6. And REALLY good coffee [the Purple Purl makes an excellent latte, or perhaps you want to try a Purly Fog?]

5. You get to play with ALL the yarn at the event, not just some of it.

4. At the end of the evening, there are door prizes and a lot of them, too. We try to work it so that no one leaves empty handed. How rockin is that?

3. The Purple Purl is a great place to hang out, and if you've never been, this is a great reason to visit!

2. There are other secret benefits to attending, but you have to actually come to find out what they are.

1. There is absolutely not a large dish of mashed rutabagas you must eat in order to participate. [I'm sorry, but I'm just not a fan of the rutabaga. The word rutabaga, though? That I love.]

So there you have it.

All Yarn Roundtable events are held at
The Purple Purl
1162 Queen St. E.
Toronto, ON
416 463 1162

How can you be a part of this rutabaga-free event? Simple! Just visit the Knitty Yarn Roundtable Nights blog and leave a comment on one of our three upcoming events. All the rest of the details are on the blog postings.

See you there!

Labels: ,

Monday, January 05, 2009

would you like a little Broccowli with your knitting?

A lot of wonderful things came about as a result of this pattern.

First, the yarn...a special gift from Chris, the star behind Briar Rose Fibers. Until now, her yarn could never be on my needles, since Briar Rose was a 100% wool shop. But thanks to some persistent prodding by my friend, Jennie the Potter, Chris has now added silk to her shop! You can find the new yarn here.

It's called Penny Lane, and it's really awesome. 2ply silk, thicker than what you usually find done by hand dyers, and of course [!!] the colors are Chris' signature Briar Rose deliciousness. The cowl only takes one skein, so you can indulge without guilt!

Then, after a blog post requesting test-knitter help, Jenny stepped up and has been just super-fabulous and awesome. Her handspun -- which is what she test-knit the pattern with -- is impeccable. And her cowl, since it was knit in a creamy color, isn't Broccowli. It's Cowliflower! Oh, heavens, I love a good vegetable pun any day. Turns out Jenny sells her handspun and other goodies at her Etsy shop. Yum.

So there you go. No longer is Montego Bay the only lonely pattern in my shop. Now you too can knit your vegetables and then wear them! To get your copy of Broccowli, visit Amy's Mindless Knitting. Both patterns are a modest $3. Happy knitting!

Labels: , ,

Saturday, January 03, 2009

a little Ukulele for a happy new year!

this is way overdue. when was the last time i posted anything uke-ish?

anyway, give this video a few seconds for the guys to get started and i believe you'll be dancing by the end of it. [yay for good production value!]

Labels: ,