OT: Dave Matthews Band concert!

Went to the Dave Matthews concert last night with DH, and we were wisely prepared for the chilly weather that finally descended about halfway through the outdoor show. I love animal fiber! I had his cashmere scarf (knitted for him last year or the year before?) and wrapped it around my head and neck, pulled up my sweatshirt hood, and was good to go. Felt sorry for all those we saw heading in wearing only a t-shirt and jeans!

Did I mention that the concert was my anniversary present to my DDDH? 28 years last month. And that might give you a sense for the demographics of that concert--everyone from high school students (I saw from a distance a childhood friend of DD3, pretty grown up now!) to the older couple next to us, the husband of which was occasionally puffing on a doobie. Weird!!! (As far as I could tell, he never offered it to the wife, either. [Marge Simpson growl] Hmmmmm . . .) A young couple near us had their 4 or 5 year old child, held up on the seatbacks in front of them, standing dancing with his/her mama to the music. That was sweet!

And everyone was singing along with so many of the songs. Amazing. We went because I like DMB, but DH has not really had a sense for their style, and I only knew about 1/3 of the songs myself. The true devotees are clearly a force all their own, and the band let the audience sing the refrains several times (all stage lights blazing on us for our "solo").

Musicality. That is what blew me away the most. Everyone in that band got a chance to shine at some point, and they are all mind-bogglingly great musicians. Dave wins though for best lyrics, best guitar work, and best facial expressions while singing. See above. ;^)

He also wins for putting his entire being into his performance. His singing, shouting, guitar picking, growling, and scatting were beyond anything other frontmen have done in my experience. Can you sense a new devotee?

DH--maybe not so much. He was more than polite but I'm not sure he's going to rush out and find all the CDs we don't have (only Crash). He has moderate hearing loss that, he says, resulted in him having a sound balance problem (but no knob to adjust things with!) so he heard waaay too much of the bass. But aside from the traffic into the arena (we haven't gone to a concert in YEARS!) it was a very painless evening.

Back to grading papers to keep ahead of my little scholars!

Happy knitting to those of you who are getting in time for that. :^)

Ready for the Holidays??

My sister gave me some great info today--stamps that come out in a week or so for the holidays, with knitted designs on them!

Here's the skinny, straight from the USPS:

"2007 Holiday Knits
In 2007, the U.S. Postal Service will warm up for the holidays by issuing Holiday Knits, four stamps featuring classic winter-time imagery designed and machine knitted by nationally known illustrator Nancy Stahl. These beautiful stamps consist of a dignified stag, a snow-dappled evergreen tree, a perky snowman sporting a top hat, and a whimsical teddy bear.

In recent years, knitting has become quite popular again, both in the United States and internationally.

Inspired by traditional Norwegian sweaters and knitted Christmas stockings, Stahl decided on "something cozy" for this year's holiday stamp issuance. She used a computer software program to draw her original designs and convert them to stitches and rows. Then she downloaded the information to an electronic knitting machine and used it to knit her creations. The machine's smaller stitch gauge didn't provide quite the effect Stahl was hoping to achieve. So she transferred the designs onto punch cards and used a different knitting machine that works something like an old Jacquard loom and has a larger stitch gauge. Stahl scanned the finished pieces into her computer and retouched the photographic images to ensure that all the stitches aligned properly. The result is a set of four colorful and "cozy" stamps that will add an extra touch of warmth to seasonal correspondence."

Personally my favorite is the reindeer with that mischievous eye rolling thing going 8^) but I also like the Christmas tree.

I've been blocking!

Best part of finishing a project? Blocking it out and seeing its nicest shape come forward.

I finished a smallish scarf,

the cabled hat,

and a little double-thick Dulaan style hat, and while I didn't block the fuzzy hat, (it's drying around a small round bowl with very high sides)

everything is almost dry now and looks great!

I have gathered all the gifties for Jejune's prize package, and now I need to get it to the PO so it can start its journey southward. Look for it before Christmas, Jejune! jk It was so much fun getting that "amassment" together.

Now, for the sweater pattern. That's my task for this afternoon, and I hope to declare a winner tonight or tomorrow on that score.

We got weather we NEVER see in September--rain, rain and more rain! Yesterday was like a day in November or December for us. But I have to admit that I really liked it. The smell of the wet ground and pavement, the cooler air, the dark gray clouds lying above us waiting to drop their loads, and the splashing sound of cars driving through the wetness. Just because it was a change, it was great. Today threatens to return to the summerish weather we typically have until mid to late October, so I guess all my optimistic closet reshuffling yesterday (winter in, summer out) might have been a LITTLE premature. But I know where to find the cool stuff as long as I still need it. Meantime, I'm noticing thick sweaters and coveting them (not all of them have to be hand-knitted by moi!) and short sleeved turtleneck sweaters (no other season for them in NorCal but now!). I haven't mentioned that I am very acquisitional not just at the LYS, right? I have been an avid clothes shopper since I became a young adult with an income. So I worked hard yesterday to keep these industries in business. ;^)

Off to the library with DD3 who is doing research for something school related.

Happy knitting, all!

Plug for Great Yarns from Fresh Isle Fibers

Have you noticed that the Canadians do fiber-related things quite well? Is it the clime (OK, I know there are as many climates as in the US, except perhaps for the Southwest and Southern California), or maybe something in their sensibility that is just so natural?

For instance, I recently came across Fresh Isle Fibers, a company located on an island called Manitoulin, off the coast of Ontario, in Lake Huron. One reason I love their offerings is that so many of them are dyed with local materials, such as sumac berries and various types of bark and flowers.

I want to move there and knit with their yarns for the rest of my life. The island has many fresh water lakes and is almost certainly a less citified place to be! The sheep have to have room to graze!

Now as for their offerings, I've bought their perfect-for-kids'-things watermelon hand-dyed wool, which comes in various weights, as well as some of their one-color mixed breed yarn. They have a good selection of self-striping sock yarns (not my thing, but it is many knitters' first love), as well as some fuzzy-looking Softspun wool. While my stash has recently revealed itself to be extremely healthy (one downside of ravelry is that I can't bury my head in the sand about my acquisitional tendencies!), I am looking for the project that will just HAVE to be done with Softspun.

If you want to know more about how FIF dyes with natural materials, I have found that her blog has a great deal of info and photos of the dying process.

Happy knitting, and be sure to take a look at FIF's website!

PS Can you tell that I am feeling 115% percent better since the root canal?? 8^)

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Blog for a Root Canal

Good thing I had something to smile about on Monday (yesterday) because today was the first ever root canal, something I would love to avoid in future, but would be willing to undergo instead of the horrible pain and suffering I was experiencing until the blessed Novocaine took effect at the dentist's this a.m. And that was WITH pain meds.

The Brief, Unpleasant, but Essentially Happy Tale of Stacie’s Root Canal*

9:25 this morning--Stacie, no longer on (god’s gift to humankind) Vicodin because she has to drive, is now truly suffering with her toothache, even with 2 Tylenol and 3 Advil.

9:30 this morning—This is Stacie, having been given three mondo shots of Novocaine, and no longer in fear of the drill.

The dentist was a rock star—no chair-side manner, but faster than a mechanic changing a tire. I would venture to guess he’s done . . . oh, maybe a million root canals.

One of my nostrils went numb--that was weird!

Noon—See Stacie. See Stacie suffering. Novocaine now wearing off quickly, Vicodin front-loaded but not doing the job yet. What happened to my magical injected elixir???

But wait, the story gets better . . .

1 p.m.—Stacie with more Vicodin floating through her veins--

The hell with reading. I’m checking outta here!

Hope you are less dentally compromised than I am at present!!


*No, these photos are not of me, but rather my stunt doubles. (Buddha works overtime!!)

Monday Smile

Here's a naughty kitty if ever I've met one (and yes, I have met a few in my time!).

Check out the website I found this on, if you have a few minutes and would like to see a bunch of cute cats. Fortunately most all of them are in different hot water, not involved in any tangled skein like this cat is.

Winner #2

Well, the first winner had not given me a contact email addy, so I announced her name and waited, and waited, and waited.

Now I'm moving on, and the next name I pull from my trusty hopper* is . . .

one of my Ozzie friends--


Now, Jejune, I'm going to contact you via your blog or your email (if I have it, think I do) so that your prize package can begin winging its way to your coast tomorrow.

As for the sweater design, that prize package will have to be awarded in a week or two because I haven't had time to get to the decision-making process.
*The "hopper" is DD3 who unreasonably insisted that I wait until she got dressed before she randomly picked the next winner. I mentioned that no one need know she was in the altogether, but then she seems to know her mom well . . . this comment being proof thereof. ;^)

Ketchup: I am up to my eyeballs in alligators, knee deep in -- you get it. School is keeping me purty busy. BUT this year already feels less stressful than last year's firsts as an 8th grade English teacher and department chair. And I am knitting on a cable banded hat similar to the knitty.com Coronet pattern, but with the Irish Hiking Scarf cable (one of them) instead. I'm using Rowan Cashsoft Aran and it's luscious to knit with. In a soft orange, pumpkin I might say, that is going to be just right for . . . oops, cannot reveal intended giftee!

And I got my ravelry invite!! I already love what it does and am thrilled with what is still listed as "upcoming" on the site. I spent one of my two weekend days (yesterday) getting my stash and my projects listed. Instead of feeling guilty about the size of my stash, I felt empowered to begin to choose projects that these lovely skeins can be used for, and to combine some similar yarns for things that will finish up skeins or use one-skein purchases (I'm a sucker for the orphan bin) with other things I have. And with the holidays approaching and me having abandoned my stealth "scarfing" of my coworkers, I'll be knitting for the next two months to get things done before mailing time arrives. And with ravelry, once I enter a stash item in my loot, I get links to others using that type of yarn to see what they are doing with it, for ideas that will help me get it underway myself!

Off to shower and take DD3 (dressed) to do some errands. Then it's home to grade 54 student essays, which as any of you who have ever taught public school English know, is a paltry number to have to get through. I am not complaining, having once taught 150 kids at a time. But it must get done! Then back to knitting. ;^)

Cheers, and congrats again to Jejune!!

Only Two More Days of the Contest!

Get your sweater pattern suggestion in before Wednesday at 8 p.m. PST, so that I can put your name in the hopper for a chance at a FABULOUS PRIZE! If I draw your name, you will win some nice things, some from my stash and others just because. And if I choose your pattern, you will also be a winner. Scroll down a few entries to find the info about the contest and to add your comment (with a working email addy please, or contact me offline!) and get in the running.

I am #187 on Ravelry right now and have started to get really excited. It's going to be great.

Here's what I worked on while I was traveling this week in Boston and New Haven, CT helping the older DDs get settled at school. It's stripes of corn fiber yarn and bamboozle in a variegated yarn. With a three knit stitch edge, it will probably lie flat when blocked.

DD2 seems like she's going to be pretty darned happy at Tufts, and DD1 is now living in her own little apartment just off campus at Yale. At both schools the weather was providing that perfect end of summer, hint of fall weather, and the deep blue skies as backdrop for gorgeous architecture made me feel as if I were under a spell. I wanted to stay in both places and sign up for classes. That would be problematic for many reasons, not the least of which is a daughter who doesn't want her mom in that close proximity. 8^)

Well, having missed three class days at the beginning of a school year, I need to make this short so I can get back into the fray.

Happy knitting!