Tuesday, April 24, 2007

And The Winner Is ...

But first, I have to tell you I had a wonderful vacation. The planes were on time, coming and going. We even picked up a tailwind on our way out and arrived a little earlier than scheduled. The weather was perfect - 75 and sunny the whole time. And the food ... suffice it to say that I ate too much too often and need to get back to my better habits. I had an inkling my luck was changing but knew it for sure when I got back. The shuttle driver dropped me off about 10 spaces from where my car was parked, which meant I had to walk - what? - twenty steps. Like I didn't need the exercise after indulging myself for four-and-a-half days! When I drove through the checkout, money in hand, the gal at the window said, "The service sucked today so your parking is free." FREE PARKING! How lucky can you get?

And speaking of luck ... the winner of the green Panda Cotton sock yarn is PAULA.

Paula, if you'll email your address to me at Fran AT FranBaker DOT com and put Panda Cotton in the subject line, I'll get it right out to you.

Congratulations, Paula. And thank you all for your good wishes. I'm rested, refreshed and ready to write. Eek, I'm going to tackle that one-piece shrug/sweater, too.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

OT: Devils win the series! Wahoo!

That's Brian Gionta scoring one of his two goals for Game 5 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. We won, we won, we won! On to the next opponent: the Ottawa Senators. Everyone cheer with me: Let's go, Devils! (Clap, clap, clap-clap-clap).

Saturday, April 21, 2007

OT: Devils get a shutout!

Am I just a little excited? Well, yes. I went to the Devils game last night with my Darling Daughter--girls' night out at the hockey game--and the Devils not only won, they didn't let Tampa Bay score a single goal. Take that, Vinnie Lecavalier!

It was a thrilling game, as playoff hockey usually is. The level of intensity is extraordinary. Everyone plays as though it's a matter of life or death. The players hurl themselves across the ice. I love it!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Something's Gotta Give!

I don't know if any of you have noticed, but I've been absent of late. Partly because I've been writing - I actually finished two chapters of my new book these past couple weeks. And partly because I've had a month of Friday the 13ths ... and it's only April 19th! IOW, everything that can go wrong, has. I'm talking peoples' health (not mine, thank you very much), accidents (again, not me) and just general, everyday old craziness.

One evening while I was sitting in my office sorting through some of the week's emails and business correspondence that I'd ignored while writing, I glanced out my window and saw this breathtaking sunset. I grabbed my cell phone/camera and took a chance on capturing it for you. The photo I've uploaded is pretty but still doesn't do the colors of the sky justice. However, there was something so peaceful and soothing about this scene that it helped me realize that ... something's got to give!

So here's what's giving. Me. To one of you. I've got these three skeins of Panda Cotton sock yarn, two (matching) in every shade of green you can imagine and one in a coordinating bright green that I'd planned to use for the heels and toes of the socks that will not now be knit by me. (Don't cry for me, though ... I'm getting ready to knit a one-piece shrug/sweater that I've been dying to get to work on. And, of course, I've got my book to write, write, write.)
Here's the deal. I'm leaving town on Friday, the 20th and will be back on Tuesday, the 24th. That gives you five days to post your bid for this FREE yarn before I throw all the entrants' names in a hat and let my DH draw one. I'll pull a name out of the hat on Tuesday night and post the winner in a new post.
Good night and good luck. (Won't say goodbye, because that's bad luck.)

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

No knitting during this game!

I was planning to blog about knitting but I never got around to it because I was too tense during the Devils game. I was afraid I'd completely mess up anything I attempted.

The Devils won 4-3 in "sudden death" overtime! Wooowhee, what a game!

Even though I was sitting on my family room couch, I wore my favorite Devils hat and my leather Devils jacket because my guys needed all the help they could get. By the time the game was over, I was sweating, but it was worth it. They played like madmen and they triumphed.

My flooded basement has faded into insignificance.

Does anyone else on this blog have certain rituals or wear certain clothes to help their team win or am I the only crazy person?

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Yummy yarns?

A friend recently asked me where to shop online for yummy yarns.

Oh my!

I gave her a few suggestions to get her started. And now, I'm appealing to the collective shopping expertise of this group. Where do you shop for great buys on beautiful, irresistable yarns for knitting? Come on - share your secret sites so we can all browse & drool together!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Devils update

I'm too depressed to talk about it: the Devils lost 3-2 last night in Tampa Bay. Add that to the shootings at Virginia Tech and our flooded basement and it was a terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad day. Last night after the game, after the news, after the mopping, all I wanted to do was sit quietly and knit a few rows on my MIL's sweater. So I did and I felt better. Knitting is definitely good therapy.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Continuing to be completely OT

A bad night for the Devils last night: the Lightning beat us 3-2. Sob! Sniffle! Now we have to take back the series on the road and there is something SO wrong with playing ice hockey in Florida!

(Cindi, to make you feel better, I worked on my MIL's sweater during the commercials. :-)

One of the heroes of the game was Jamie Langenbrunner (on the right in the photo above). Jamie scored the second Devils goal which at the time put them ahead 2-1. He's a 10-year NHL veteran who's found a whole new level since he joined up with Zach Parise (the young guy who scored yet another playoff goal last night) and Travis Zajac who's a rookie this year (see photo below).

Another thing I like about hockey players is they love nicknames. So the line of Langenbrunner, Parise and Zajac is known as "Z. Z. Pop" for Zach, Zajac and the old guy "Pop", and a very effective line it is. The Devils' first line is known as the "EGG Line" for Elias, Gionta and Gomez (who are referred to as "Patty", "Gio", and "Gomer" by their teammates) .

We've got lovers of football, indoor lacrosse (!), hockey, and baseball on this blog. Now tell us who your favorite player is and why he or she is so exciting.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Completely and Totally Off-Topic: My Guys are in the Playoffs

That's how I think of the New Jersey Devils ice hockey team: as "my guys". It's very weird because I've never felt that way about any other professional team of any kind. Frighteningly enough, I kind of understand my husband's obssession with the Yankees now. I don't share it but I understand it.

At any rate, I decided that I'm going to share my own obssession with my friends here at RTY because frankly, knitting an all-black sweater doesn't make for fascinating blogging. The Devils do...at least in my opinion.

Also because last night the Devils won the first game in the long road to the Holy Grail of hockey, the Stanley Cup. Wahoo! Below is a fabulously eloquent photo of the Devils celebrating while a lone Tampa Bay Lightning player skates by with shoulders slumped in the agony of defeat.

Now I want to introduce you some of "my guys".

The guy on the left is Zach Parise. He scored TWO goals last night! He's only 22, a rookie last year, and I love him because he always skates his heart out, mostly because he's too young to know any better.

The fellow in the middle is Scott Gomez. He's incredibly fast and agile; watching him blow past the opposition's entire defense while totally controlling the puck gives me a thrill every time I see it. He's from Alaska, a state I fell in love with a couple of years ago on one of the great family vacations of our lives. ( You can see my Alaska photos at http://www.nancyherkness.com/fromthegarret/garret_archives13.shtml)
Last night Scott racked up three assists (helping the guy who scores the goal).

On the right is Brian Gionta who scored the fifth Devils' goal last night. He's quite small for a hockey player but absolutely fearless. (I identify with him because I'm a bit vertically-challenged myself.) He'll get slammed into the boards by a defenseman twice his size and bounce back like a rubber ball before he goes on to steal the puck and score.

I'll introduce you to some more of "my guys" as the playoff series goes on but I want to explain something I love about the Devils: they are truly a team. No one superstar carries the team (although they do have Martin Brodeur, arguably the best goalie playing hockey in the world right now, but he's homegrown and always downplays his status). It's truly an ensemble effort and I've always been a sucker for those, in books, in movies, and evidently in hockey teams.

So are there any other sports fans out there? Which team do you adore and why do they grab you?

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Almost FO: Nicholas' Bib

My nephew Nicholas is being baptized next weekend so, in the interest of family harmony, I had to knit him a bib since I made one for his older cousin Jesse. Here's the almost-finished project; I still have a few ends to weave in and some blocking to do (or not).

This time I made my stripes narrower so I wouldn't have to run a contrasting color up so many rows--and thanks to the great advice I got on this blog, my edges look much neater this time around.

I also found a great buttonhole method online. You all probably already know how to make the Perfect One-Row Buttonhole but just in case there are other button-novices out there in blogland, here's the link: http://www.knittingonthenet.com/learn/bh5.htm .

This is my favorite all-time button. Can you tell it's a gold fish blowing bubbles in a fishbowl? How cute is that!

Has anyone else got an FO to share? Email me a photo in jpeg format at nancy@nancyherkness.com and I'll post it on the blog.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

And The Winner Is . . .

Congratulations to Redford Phyl! You're the winner of the Sirdar Highlander.

Now all you have to do is email me your address and I'll zip the package off to you ASAP.

More to come, knitters. Today or tomorrow.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Wanted: A Good Home For Some Lonely Yarn

Congratulations to Redford Phyl!

I had the best of intentions when I bought this. It was going to be a sweater for Goldisox. Unfortunately there were two fatal flaws:

  1. He hates the color

  2. 1300 yards ain't gonna cut it

So here it is in all its glory, looking for someone to love it the way I loved it but now don't even want to look at it. (Was that a sentence? I should be ashamed.)

Anyway here are the particulars:

10 skeins Sirdar Highlander

Shade 079 - Dye Lot 213 (it has a decidedly yellowish/ochre cast that doesn't show up in my photo)

131 yards/120 meters - 100 grams

70% wool - 30% acrylic

Made in Wakefield, England

I am a big fan of Sirdar Highlander and Sirdar Nova.

Stake your claim in Comments. Anyone from anywhere can (and just might) win. The winner will be drawn through our patented trademarked RNG Tuesday morning. Good luck!

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We Have A Winner!

Congratulations, trek! You're the winner of Charlene Schurch's wonderful new book.

Email me your mailing address and it's on its way.

And don't despair, knitters. A new contest will begin later today.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Rough around the edges

I’m knitting another baby bib from the Mason-Dixon Knitting book for another christening. As you can see I’m using a dusty blue and a rather fabulous orangey red (it’s another boy). I decided to make the stripes narrower and more frequent than the last bib I made but I’m still having an issue with running the color that’s not in use up the edge of the project. It just doesn’t look polished somehow.

Here’s my question for you pros: how do you deal with switching colors without cutting and weaving in a million ends and still make it look nice? Or is that an impossible task?

Knitting The World - Willa's creation myth

Willa Cline (Willa's Journal) (Knitting Zen) (among others) gave me her permission to post her absolutely wonderful knitting creation myth.

(In the interest of full disclosure, Willa is my wonderful web mistress, talented creative soul, and friend.)

Knitting the World

First Daughter was in a foul mood. She and her sisters had drawn straws, and she had gotten the short one. Consequently, she had been given the task of knitting the earth, and it was going very slowly. The stitches would not come easily; she seemed to knit and knit and knit, and never get anywhere. Miles of stitches. And the brown and green yarns were boring—yard after yard of greens and browns, endlessly spooling from the needles. She yawned. Why couldn't she have gotten to knit the sky, or the sea?

Second Daughter was knitting the sky. Stitches of blue silk flew from her needles, punctuated with fluffy tufts of cloud and the occasional jeweled bird. She laughed to herself as she duplicate-stitched a flock of geese into the fabric, creating tiny v-shapes with silvery gray thread on top of the blue sky.

Third Daughter was knitting the sea in pools of emerald and sapphire, spumes of foam rising from her clicking needles.

The Mother walked among them, fingering the cloth, occasionally correcting a stitch, pulling it straight, and stroking her daughters' smooth heads as they bent over their work. Second Daughter smiled into the sky, pulling a length of white wool from her workbasket and knitting it together with the sky blue silk to make a cloud. With sudden inspiration she selected a shiny silver yarn from her workbasket and began fashioning the lining for the cloud.

Third Daughter looked up as the mother approached, and leaned her head into her mother's hip. The Mother smiled down on her and fingered the fabric that was rolling off her needles. Third Daughter was working a cable into the fabric, creating an island in the center of a gleaming silver sea. Miles and miles of sea pooled around her, green and blue and silver; she looked up and, seeing Second Daughter knitting the sun into the sky with golden wool, she chose a lighter shade of gold and began to knit the sun's reflection into her sea.

First Daughter threw down her needles. "Why do I always get the boring jobs?" she asked.
"Second Daughter and Third Daughter get the pretty blue and silver silks, and I get the boring, lumpy green and brown wool. It isn't fair!" The Mother walked toward her. "Why do you complain so?" she asked. "Every job is worthwhile. The sea is beautiful, and the sky is beautiful, but the earth is beautiful, too."

The Mother picked up the bolt of fabric that was First Daughter's knitting. The knitting was lumpy and bumpy, having been knit of roughly spun wool on heavy needles, so unlike the smooth silk of the sky and the sea. First Daughter tried, but she couldn't help comparing her knitting to her sisters'. "Can you fix it for me?" she asked her mother. "Will you?"

"It was your job to knit the earth, Daughter," the Mother said. "You have to do the job that is given to you, no one can do it for you."

"Then I quit!" said First Daughter, and flung her knitting down and flounced away. Without a hand to smooth it, the knitting lay where it fell, in lumps and bumps and piles, forming furrows and hills and valleys. And that is how the mountains were formed.

~ Willa Cline, February 23, 2006

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Recycled knits

I started a cabled sweater this weekend, then promptly set it aside due to injury. (Anyone notice a theme here?) On Sunday I lost an argument with a folding ladder. I didn't fall this time. My right hand got flattened in a way hands weren't meant to be squeezed. Being experienced in these things, I stomped a little, yelled a lot, and grumped around the barnyard until the pain receded a bit. I helped my husband set up the ladder and fix the barn roof, then found an ice bag. After a couple of hours, I was sure the injury wouldn't require a trip to the emergency room, but knew I'd be seeing some interesting colors on that skin this week. By evening I'd confirmed that the swelling definitely affected dexterity, and the sweater project was better left in the basket for now.

No way would I tolerate another long knitting drought though. So I pulled out a more forgiving project, a doormat from recycled baling twine. That's one thing I have plenty of around here, and if I run short on baling twine retrieved from the bales I feed my own livestock, my neighbors are more than willing to share their surplus. This doormat pattern isn't an original idea of mine. Mention of it was made about a year or so ago on an email list made up of farm women with a common interest in sustainable agriculture. (I know I'm not the only one who immediately walked out to the barn and started tying lengths of scrap baling twine together after reading that post.) I rolled my barn yarn around an old hydrogen peroxide bottle to make it more manageable, and debated how to begin. After a bit of experimenting, I settled on US 11 tips on my Denise Interchangeables, cast on 50 stitches, and plain old garter stitch.

It's ugly, but if it catches the mud at the back door during mud season, I'll be happy.

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Monday, April 02, 2007


Congratulations to our winner TREK!

Strange things happen to a writer when a) she's finishing a book; b) and has cabin fever; c)not to mention it's not only early spring but full moon time; and d) SAID WRITER HASN'T HAD TIME TO KNIT!

So what do deadlining writers with no time to knit do when they're not writing? They read knitting books, that's what. And sometimes they buy the same beloved book twice because they're not currently playing with a full set of Addis.

That's why I'm offering my extra copy of the brilliant Charlene Schurch's MORE SENSATIONAL KNITTED SOCKS to the lucky winner of this week's contest. (You'd have to pry my copy of book #1 and book #2 from my cold dead fingers . . . )

Claim it in comments and the random number generator will pick the winner on Friday. Couldn't be simpler, could it? And how better to greet spring than with a brand new pair of handknit socks?

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