Thursday, February 22, 2007


Hello from balmy Key West! Meet what my mother affectionately calls the "National Bird". These chickens are a protected species and have free reign of the island. I knew I had arrived in Key West when I woke the first morning to the sound of a rooster announcing the day. It made me smile. Sorry that I have been out of touch. Blogger wouldn't talk to our slow dial up connection until today.

So, how is vacation? In a word: WONDERFUL. We are in Old Town this year instead of New Town which is a big change. New Town is the end of the island which connects to the other keys and where most of the day to day amenities such as grocery stores, Home Depot, Sears, and fast food places can be found. Old Town is the happening part of the island where the bars and funky businesses are located. Instead of biking a mile or two to the happening area, this year we just walk down the stairs! SO much fun. Walking and biking everywhere is such a treat that I will miss on returning to New England. I generally go through withdrawal. It seems we have been eating our way across the island. It is impossible to get to all of the good places to eat because there are so many! Some that we have visited so far and I would recommend to anyone coming to Key West are:

Camille's - One of our favorite breakfast spots

Henrietta's Bakery which recently merged with the Dennis Pharmacy Luncheonette where Jimmy Buffet got his first Cheeseburger in Paradise. All the food there is yummy and moderately priced. Ironically, my parents went in there the morning before the luncheonette was set to reopen in this new location and ended up agreeing to work there! They are having a great time.

Louie's Backyard - lovely view of the ocean and an inventive menu

Latitudes - it recently changed hands, but the food is just as good. To get there just hop a boat and relax on the short crossing. This year we saw dolphin this year during our journey out. Pricey, but you cannot beat eating on the beach from a decadent menu.

Clinton Square - couldn't find a link. The best conch fritters on the island come from a little stand right on the square. A must for any visitor.

O.K. so enough about the food. What about that yarn shop Knit Wits? I've been there at least three times this week! First, to check it out. Second, to get yarn for Amanda. Third, to get yarn for myself. Think I'll go for four? I've been busy. I have finished my first sweater! (Picts when I get home) and am half way through another. The BICO has been scrapped. I think I am going to give up on Homespun...

I guess that is all for now. Off to enjoy the fleeting last days of my vacation. Happy Stitching!

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Well, I may not have had to go in to school yesterday to teach, however, I got some real lessons about crochet. See this?

This was a source of great excitement yesterday. Of course when I realized just how tiny this chain was turning out I almost ripped it right back out. But, what the heck, this is supposed to be an adventure, right? Want to see the tiny hook that made this tiny chain?
Ah, yes. How well this was going. The yarn is Cherry Tree Hill laceweight merino. Now, this is a lovely yarn. It is easy to work with...and tiny. That, however, wasn't the problem. Here's the lesson. Fine crochet work is generally done with thread which is stiff, or at least doesn't stretch. Why? That way the hole created by the crochet hook stays open so that when you come back the other direction you can actually FIND the hole where the hook should be inserted. Enough said. The merino goes back in the stash along with the silk I tried to use for the same project. What was wrong with the silk you ask? Well, the color changes were too busy for the pattern...sigh. If you have been reading for a while you may recognize the yarn from this post. It turned out that I did not have enough yarn to finish the blanket despite the generosity of friends who passed on what they had in their stashes. All is not lost, however, as my first garment will be made from it! (Yes, I know, making my first garment from Homespun is another sign that my sanity is slipping.)

Anyway, it is an ingenious pattern that has been so popular that it became a crochet along at Crochetville, so it should be reliable. What lesson have I learned when only eight rows of the sweater are complete? Well, it's about the hook. I started with plastic which was O.K. but not great. Moved to metal, too slippery. Then to the wonderful bamboo hook made for me by the lovely and talented Heather, just right! So, Homespun requires bamboo. Remember that.

By the way, that cute cat in the picture is a row counter which I am finding invaluable for this project as rows are very hard to see. Thanks Gina!

So, two lessons learned, one project scrapped, and one WIP. Hopefully the WIP will be a FO before I get to Key West! Gotta go to work now. Have a great Thursday.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I HEART snow days and Valentine's Day! Have a happy one!

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Pattern: Adapted from "Baby Bear" found in
Annie's Attic "Best-in-Show" Baby Blankets
Yarn: Lion Brand Pound of Love in Antique White
Hook: Susan Bates H/5.00mm

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Bits and Pieces

Despite lack of blogging lately, I have not been idle. In fact I have managed to exceed my self imposed WIP maximum of four projects. See?

From top left going clockwise is:

-My first project crocheted with hand spun. A hat for me. Too boring. Soon to be a happy memory and replaced with a more interesting pattern now that I know there is enough yarn for it!

- Baby blanket number two. It looks finished doesn't it? Well, there are about a million ends to be worked in on the back. Avoidance? Who me? I'll get to it soon. Promise!

- Airplane project #1 worked in the oh so amazing Cherry Tree Hill fingering weight silk! I have been coveting this yarn since the first time I saw it. Thank goodness for the LYS and their Superbowl Sale. Got it for 35% off! This is my second foray into fillet crochet and will be a stole/table runner. Weird combination, I know, but the yarn is so pretty I cannot hide it away!

- Yes, that is a rooster. It represents the dish towel toppers I promised a girl at work I'd make for her. Sigh. She's a good friend or this project would be toast about now...

-Baby blanket number three (and the first fillet crochet project) is thirteen rows from completion. Yippee! Can you make out the teddy bear in the middle of the block?

- And last but not least the never ending alpaca shawl. I have determined that I have two more skeins of the yarn and may just keep going until it is all used up. Is there any such thing as a shawl that is too big?

Of course, I also have another problem. You see I'm planning on making this and this and this hoodie (scroll down - not the best picture but you'll get the idea). Once I entertained the idea of trying a baby sweater to get my feet wet with garment making, it got a little out of control! One of the baby sweaters will be airplane project #2. I want to make the white one but really should make the other one as I have a baby in mind for it! Well, off to frog the hat and finish the bearghan. (Yes, I intend to avoid weaving in for a bit longer...)

Happy Stitching!

Friday, February 09, 2007


There is a strong connection between good teaching and story telling. Don't believe me? Try standing in front of a room staring at twenty or so bored teenage faces and delude yourself that anything you are saying is sinking in. Then imagine being animated, hooking their interest, leading them in your direction and having them enjoy it. This is generally my goal. So, next month, I'll be going to a two hour workshop on storytelling. Why? I get by but there is LOTS of room for improvement! I'm really looking forward to it. I have never forgotten the story teller that came to my elementary school. She was so good that even when you could see where the story was headed, you enjoyed the journey. I want to do that!

So, speaking of stories here is a related meme for which I was tagged by Ericka:

List 5 books that played and important role in your childhood and explain why. Then tag 5 others.

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss - This was my all time favorite book as a child. I remember it being read to me over and over. Later, I enjoyed reading it to myself. Ever started quoting this only to have everyone around you join in because they remember it too? Yeah. It's that kind of book.

The Pop-Up Mice of Mr. Brice was my other Dr. Seuss favorite. It is the only manipulative book I can remember clearly. I was so excited when it was re-released this past year. I had forgotten all about it. This book taught important beginner concepts like opposites and because it had moving parts was (and still is) endlessly entertaining!

The Real Mother Goose was read to me when I was far too young to read on my own. Later the short nature of these rhymes, coupled with my experience of them as songs, made this a compelling read. It was fun to encounter in print the "stories" I had seen on TV, heard in song, and remembered from bedtime.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte was a real surprise to me. I was bored one day and found this book sitting on my older sister's book shelf. She had read it for school and, even though I was too young, recommended I read it. It took about a year before I did so. I believe it was after realizing I had seen (and loved) the movie version. (O.K., so maybe I was a precocious child) Fell in LOVE with this book. It remains one of my all time favorites. Because of this I picked up Wuthering Heights at a library sale many years later when I was in high school. What a disappointment in comparison. Ah well, I'll try it again some day. Maybe I was just not the right age to appreciate it.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis - I had NO IDEA that this series had to do with Christian values when I read them. Was in fact shocked initially when someone clued me in some 15 or so years after I first read them! Their influence? They hooked me on the fantasy genre. I have never looked back. One of my favorite things about this series is the dedication at the front of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It entreats:

My Dear Lucy,

I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand, a word you say, but I shall still be

your affectionate Godfather,
C.S. Lewis

The thought of growing out of enjoying fairy tales then back into it has always hung with me. It is delightful...

Now, as to who I will tag... Gina, Jackie, Lora, Heather, and Nicole you're it!

There will be crochet content tomorrow. Promise.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Silent Poetry Reading

In reading blogs today I came across the Silent Poetry Reading and just had to join in! Here is a poem I had to memorize in high school. It was much more fun to stand up and act out than the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet which was also on the memorization list! It still makes me laugh to remember those of us that were willing to ham it up. Enjoy.

One Perfect Rose
by Dorothy Parker

A single flow’r he sent me, since we met.
All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet --
One perfect rose.

I knew the language of the floweret;
“My fragile leaves,” it said, “his heart enclose.”
Love long has taken for his amulet
One perfect rose.

Why is it no one ever sent me yet
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it’s always just my luck to get
One perfect rose.