Knitting Without Dog Hair Is Not an Option

Hi there - My name is Claudia. I live with my hubby and our two furry kids in Georgia, USA. Originally I am from Germany - southern belle from Bavaria replanted to the Southern US. I am very addicted to knitting - 4-5 projects going at the same time... What can I say...

My Photo
Location: Peckerwood, Georgia, United States

Friday, December 29, 2006

Why Am I at Home Right Now?

Because I live close to Atlanta, GA, and traffic sucks beyond belief. At 4pm I left home to drive into town for my usual Friday afternoon knitting session. But I gave up after 20 minutes because traffic was horrific. Why did this happen? Because I like knitting with people - but I am too stupid to realize that it's Friday afternoon and I am one of the few people that is off work this week.

Oh well - so, I decided (since I was close to Jo-Ann and Hobby Lobby) to do some shopping. Here is what happened at Jo-Ann at the check-out:

The clerk (17, unshaven pimply face) scans the first item, a frame, which I thought would be 50% off because there were signs all over the frame section, and it rang up full price.

Me: The discount didn't show up.
Clerk: Hm, then it doesn't have a discount.
Me: But there are signs all over the Frames section that say all frames are 50% off. So why is this not discounted? (Yes, I agree I was not my usual pleasant self, thanks to the traffic hassles.)
Clerk (looks at me and then at the frame again): I dunno. (not offering any help to find out - great customer service training...)
Me: Well, then I don't want it.
Then the clerk is pissed because I don't want the frame, and deletes it from the register.

Just then, one of the managers who knows me (because I teach at Jo-Ann) walks by and asks very nicely what the problem is. I explain the frame situation and she points out that I picked a frame that is actually a shadow box - sorry y'all, but that was the shallowest shadow box I have ever seen - and they're not marked down. Anyway, at least she knew what the problem was and explained it.

Finally the clerk finished ringing up my items - he was actually slapping them on the counter after scanning them and I was just waiting for one of the more fragile things to break - and I swiped my credit card. Then he scanned my teacher's discount card. But the system didn't take the discount card and my credit card was charged without it. He just looked at me and shrugged his shoulders and tried to tell me that I was too fast swiping my card. What BS - that has never happened before. But I could get the discount if I would get in line at the customer service desk to re-enter the whole purchase. At that point I just looked at him, grabbed my bags and left. I didn't scream until I was back in my car...

Then I went to Hobby Lobby and scored big time - all the needlefelting tools & roving were 50% off. I bought 4 bags of roving, and a bunch of tools. I'll take pictures later. And I bought 16" circular needles, two size 0 and two size 1 for knitting socks on two circular needles - also 50% off. And some yarn, of course. That made me feel much better.

Only two hours start to finish... At least I picked up some sushi for Hubby and me...

OK, I am going to start a pair of socks now, have a glass of Champagne (left over from Xmas believe it or not - we are getting old) and watch a movie - Homicidal. Sorry for the ranting... Sometimes you just have to do that...

And then I look at these two cute creatures and the world is all better!

The Fiber Dogs - in Daddy's office

Have a great weekend!

Holiday Report - Part Three

I really wonder what is wrong with me... I had such big plans for this week but I haven't done $#!+, pardon my French. Then again, maybe I should say - I haven't done merde...

Here is what I wanted to do:

  ·  organize my crafts room
  ·  inventory my stash into a spreadhseet with pictures
  ·  do chores around the house
  ·  spinning
  ·  visiting friends

...and a bunch of other things.

Here is what I've done so far:

  ·  knitted
  ·  played with colors and dyed some samples
  ·  did laundry
  ·  watched movies and knitted
  ·  taught a class and knitted
  ·  went to a couple of knit-ins and knitted
  ·  bought more yarn

Other than that I feel like a big bum. I've been sleeping in until past 8am which is really late for me. Ordinarily I get up at 5am... And I have no motivation to tackle the big projects... Oh well, the more I stress about it, the worse I feel. I am going to stop now... and just forget about it for a while.

So, here is my little dyeing project. Remember the Cotswald fleece I got from my SIL from the Vermont Sheep & Wool festival? I spun a little sample a while back. The fleece is very clean but not washed, and I didn't really want to wash it because it is so-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o much work.

Cotswald - single ply unwashed, undyed

You can see how yellow it is from all the grease - but because of the grease it was really nice to spin.

Here it is again after a little wash - you have to soak your yarn before you dye it, so I just soaped it a little:

Cotswald - single ply washed

Already much whiter and not greasy anymore.

And here is the sample after 2 minutes in the microwave in a dye of one package each of Grape and Strawberry Great Value Unsweetened Drink Mix:

Cotswald - single ply - dyed

I zapped it for another two minutes and the dye soaked in some more.

Here is the sample I knitted from it last night:

Cotswald - Spun, dyed and knitted

It is pretty fuzzy - I knitted it on size US #2. I didn't ply it - so, it's a single strand. I like the color - it came out pretty even.

HAPPY FRIDAY!!! I think I have to put the laundry away now and get some more stuff done before I leave to go knitting at Why Knot Knit tonight...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Holiday Report - Part Two

In case you wonder if I was a good girl and Santa brought me some nice gifts... YES INDEED! Hey, I am a knitter! That alone should qualify!

This Christmas, Hubby went all out to find very cool ornaments. I think we have enough ornaments to have a different theme every year for many, many years to come. Here are some of the themes:

  ·  Shoes
  ·  Cows
  ·  Knitting
  ·  Corvettes (yes, you read correctly)
  ·  Cirque du Soleil
  ·  South Park
  ·  Crystal
  ·  Looney Tunes

I am sure I'm forgetting something - forgive me...

But first of all - Thanks to Aunt Pixie, Noah and Hermione got gifts as well:

Hermione and Aunt Pixie's gift Noah and Aunt Pixie's gift

They had a ball! :-) I'll spare you the drooly pictures. :-)

Here are some of the knitting ornaments I got from mah mayn:

Knitting Ornament Knitting Ornament
Knitting Ornaments
Knitting Ornaments
Knitting Ornaments

AND he got me a gazillion shoe ornaments. I will post about them later, in a separate post. I really got a gazillion, and I need to take pictures. Stay tuned for the shoes... But here is a cute teaser - called The Queen of Shoes. I guess that's what Hubby secretly calls me ...

The Queen of Shoes - Ornament

Don't ask me where he finds these things - I know he shops a lot on eBay.

And I got a Sock Monkey - isn't she adorable? She dangles from my car's rearview mirror and drives with me everywhere. YAY!

The Sock Monkey

Another theme was Corvettes. My all-time favorite car is a 1968 Corvette Stingray. I know I will never own one, mainly because it's a really crappy car, but it looks so cool! So, besides a load of Corvette ornaments, Hubby found a salt and pepper shaker set shaped like a Corvette (1953), which is a great year - guess who's birth year that is...

Corvette Salt & Pepper Shaker

OK - enough with the ornaments... Here is what I got from Mom. Remember the green cardigan with the cables? she knitted me a matching tank top - now I have a twin set. How classy!

Xmas Gift from Mom

And if anyone thinks that I am a fast knitter, get this - my Mom knitted a hat and three pairs of socks during the week before Christmas. She is A LOT faster. Unbelievable! And one of the pairs of socks was for my BIL - he has big feet - especially on sock yarn with size #1 needles...

Here is another great gift. My sweet SIL in Vermont sent me this awesome book. It's all about the different sheep breeds and specifics about their wool. And some really cool pewter charms:

Xmas Gifts from SIL

And the most hilarious gift I got from my bro and SIL in Germany. Cow Birkies!

Cow Birkies (Birkenstocks) and napkins

I am going to be the only silly almost-40-year-old running around with these shoes. But I don't care - people already know I have a screw or two loose...

And last but not least - a picture of Hubby's goils. Mommy and Hermione wear almost matching outfits (a little bit of fur and red...) - he took a really great picture of the two of us (if you disregard the big pimple on my chin...):

Claudia and Hermione

He thought this would make a great Christmas card picture for next year, but I don't really like that idea because the men of our little family are not in the picture - Noah was off snoring somewhere and Hubby was busy behind the camera snapping off shot after shot to get this one... We'll see, maybe I can convince him to try and pose all four of us with the tripod and self-timer before the tree comes down...

OK - I gotta go lay down for a while now... I am kinda sluggish this week - probably from de-stressing... I even have to force myself to blog... YIKES!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Holiday Report - Part One

Once upon a time there was a crazy knitter who was married to a man who didn't want anything knitted from his wife. Not because he didn't like her knitting but because he was a regular T-shirt-and-shorts kinda guy. He only wore sweaters and hats when his wife dragged him to Germany where the weather is usually cold and nasty and you need to wear something to keep you from freezing. But in Georgia, USA, he was a very happy camper without heavy socks and scarves, etc.

So, Christmas came along and the wife knitted something for all the other loved ones in her life, and she thought long and hard about what to knit for her husband. You have to know that her husband has an enormous jigsaw puzzle collection - over 7,000 puzzles. Inspired by one of her knitting friends, the wife decided to make him a jigsaw puzzle.

She used up all her leftover felting wool and knitted a big striped rectangle. She used two strands of Knitpicks Wool of the Andes and needles size US #15:

Jigsaw Puzzle - before felting

One evening before Christmas, she threw the big thing (actually big enough to be a lapghan) in the washer and felted it:

Jigsaw Puzzle - after felting

The edges were a little ruffled but the wife just cut them off to make a smooth edge. She also found a template with jigsaw puzzle pieces online.

And on Christmas Eve morning at 6 o'clock when the world was very quiet and hubby and the fiber dogs were still asleep, she sat down at the dining room table with a big wonderful cup of tea and started to cut the jigsaw puzzle:

Jigsaw Puzzle - start cutting!

And after a while it was all done:

Jigsaw Puzzle - all done

The wife was very happy how it turned out and wrapped it all up in a big box to surprise her hubby on Christmas morning:

Jigsaw Puzzle - in the box

AND - YEAH BABY - he was surprised, and delighted! And the wife was happy because she knitted something for him after all. Knitters know some tricky ways to wriggle their craft into almost anybody's life. He-he-he...

And they lived happily ever after...

Friday, December 22, 2006

Six Weird Things About Me

I have been tagged, my first time - Thanks Jane!

“THE RULES: Each player of this game starts with the ‘6 weird things about you’. People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog.”

1. I fall asleep pretty much instantaneously. And I can't control it. I can try as much as I want to stay awake. No luck. And then nothing wakes me. When I am asleep, I am asleep. You can ask Pixie. One weekend earlier this year we shared a hotel room in Athens, and she could not wake me to help her turn off the light. Also, when I am falling asleep, I can have a conversation with you which I don't remember in the morning.

2. I love salty licorice - I guess I am really a strange person. But I can't seem to find any around here in the Atlanta area. Any suggestions?

3. I LOVE KETCHUP - I'll put it on or in almost anything - even oatmeal. Thankfully a low-sugar version is available now.

4. I have a very hard time throwing papers away. I keep greeting cards, patterns, invoices, business cards, etc., for years - and I almost never look at them again. But they have to be in a box somewhere.

5. I like to be very organized (a German trait, I guess) but due to lack of time and enthusiasm, I fail miserably. And when it gets very very very bad, I am like a storm trooper and clean up like a crazy person and then everything is great for two weeks... And then... Oh well, maybe a new year's resolution for two weeks. Ha-ha-ha-ha...

6. I like to drive. Even in freakin' Atlanta where traffic is a royal pain in the behind. Hubby reminded me that family and friends have nicknamed me "Michael Schumacher", a crazy German Formula One driver.

OK, is that enough weirdness for the moment? Sorry, I won't tag anybody else - so the bloodline dies here. And don't take this as an invitation that I like to get tagged. ;-)

And I found this on Lorette's blog:
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

YAY - It is Friday. I need to wrap hubby's gifts this weekend. And then Monday can roll around. We'll have our traditional Christmas morning. Hubby, me and the dogs. Gift exchange with a bottle of champagne and Christmas music in the CD player.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Girlfriends Are the Best!

Especially when they leave town for the holidays to visit friends or foreign countries. Then you get to exchange your Christmas/Hanukkah gifts early. Actually the Hanukkah gifts were right on time for Pixie.

So, last weekend I exchanged Christmas gifts with Jacquie and Pixie.

Here is what Jacquie gave me:

My Xmas gifts from Jacquie
A yarn ball ornament (it's on the tree), 2 hanks of Suss Yarns Fuzzy (I love the colors) and a beautiful knitted scarf (3 strands knit together - cashmere & mohair)

My Xmas gifts from Jacquie
Scarf close-up

My Xmas gifts from Jacquie
Ornament close-up

My Xmas gifts from Jacquie
Fuzzy close-up

Just so wonderful!!! Jacquie knitted the scarf worrying that I wouldn't like it because she thought it is too hard to please your knitting teacher! GET OUT!!! I told her that these are the most wonderful gifts you can give your teacher. And it is beautiful, as you can see. She did a wonderful job and I wear it very proudly.

And Ms. Pixie also spoiled me rotten with some very cool things:

My Xmas gifts from Pixie
Plymouth Baby Alpaca & Sock Blockers

My Xmas gifts from Pixie
A "Hello Yarn Fiber Sampler" - with 11 oz. of happiness! (Cotton, silk, BFL wool, Merino, South African fine wool, hand-dyed wool, Alpaca, Camel, Cashgora, Cashmere, Mohair, Soy Silk)

My Xmas gifts from Pixie My Xmas gifts from Pixie
My Xmas gifts from Pixie My Xmas gifts from Pixie

Very cool - she had stitch markers made for me that look like my fiber dogs (right down to Hermione's crooked ear)! They are tiny (no bigger than your pinkie nail) - perfect size, so they won't dangle in your knitting.

I can't wait to spin the sampler. All I want to do during the upcoming holidays is spin, knit and dye, and organize my crafts room. I think Hubby thinks I am a little mental because I want to completely rearrange the furniture, too. Yikes...

And there are FOs. I gave Pixie a hat and the Goldilocks Socks. One knitted gift for Hanukkah and one for Christmas. She bought some Jo Sharp yarn to knit herself a hat but never got around to it. I thought I couldn't send her to London and Paris without a warm hat, so this is what I knitted for her:

Pixie's Hat for Europe

And here are the Goldilock Socks - finished and on my feet for the pictures. So forgive the stretchiness. They look better on Pixie's tiny feet:

Goldilocks Socks - Finished

Jacquie got the pair of Fetching she (and you) may have seen earlier on this blog. They need to be spoiled, too. I also gave them stuff besides the knitted things.

Have you ever knitted with silk recycled from saris? OH MY... I was at Knitch and couldn't resist getting a ball and I turned it into a dressy scarf for me. Since I will have to wear a suit every once in my new job, I thought this would be a nice accessory - and it has every imaginable color...

Recycled Silk - Sari - Scarf

Three more days and I am off until January 2, 2007. I can't believe that 2006 is already almost over. WOW...

Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Getting Older and Maybe Wiser...

I need to rant today about something... You know that I never talk about politics or religion because I don't want to bother or infuriate other people with my opinions and beliefs. But, sorry, the beginning of this post is not about knitting.

I had dinner with three girlfriends last night. It was really nice to see them again, all former co-workers that I have not seen in a while. The food was great - we went to Brio's on Peachtree Street and we had a wonderful conversation until one of them started talking about religion. And here we go... I know better than to do that, and I was the youngest one at the table. I will call them "X", "Y", and "Z" instead of using their real names. To give you some background - I know that X and Y are devout southern Baptists. I didn't know the religious beliefs of Z. So, Z starts ranting about how narrow-minded and blah-blah-blah the other two are and that there is no such thing as Immaculate Conception and that of course there is such a thing as evolution. From there she went on to the Da Vinci Code and all of the facts in the book... I was sitting there and thinking - I need to leave now. I do not want to be part of this. And Z wouldn't stop. So, of course, X and Y got to the point where they felt they had to respond. And I think they had every right to. Finally, they all decided that they would not come to an agreement (and how could they?), but that was after an hour and I was so ready to get my knitting out and disconnect from this stupid situation.

Bottom line - you can't change people's beliefs and you shouldn't try. I don't want to be converted into a Baptist, or a Methodist, or whatever. I was raised Catholic and my parents were very open and let me decide as a teenager what I wanted to do. And I slowly parted with the Catholic church and religion in general because I don't agree with a lot of things. You have to have an open mind - for anything in your life. And if you have a scientific mind, you know that the world was not created in 7 days. I can't really take this literally, but as a guideline. That does not mean that I don't believe in a Higher Power somewhere. But, enough. Sorry about these first few paragraphs... But that was festering in my head all night.

Bear with me - there will be a tiny bit of knitting content at the end of this post. ;-)

I also wanted to tell you - and this kind of fits in the context of letting people be what they want to be - that I find it so weird when I meet new people, and they are shocked when they find out that I am a German Catholic (from a small town in Southern Bavaria) married to a Jewish man who grew up in New York City. Like, how can you??? I'm not going to get into this from a historial standpoint. But, we have a wonderful relationship because we respect each other's background. And neither of us is trying to push the other into a role that doesn't fit. Anyway, I just wanted to illustrate some of our diversity by what's hanging on our Christmas tree. Hubby is buying ornaments like a crazy person - I guess it's the season - and I just wanted to share some of the latest additions.

Just for fun and because we both LOVE South Park, he bought a set of ornaments of the little guys from the TV series opening their crappy gifts.

New Ornaments

He also bought some Jewish ornaments. I think they are just beautiful:

New Ornaments

The Hebrew text on this star translates to:

Blessing for the Home
Let no sadness come through this gate.
Let no trouble come to this dwelling.
Let no fear come through this door.
Let no conflict be in this place.
Let this home be filled with
the blessings of joy
and of peace.
J e r u s a l e m

And a Star of David with Choshen stones representing the 12 biblical tribes of Israel:

New Ornaments

The stones translate as follows:

Beryl - communication
Opal - happiness
Garnet - creativity
Ruby - fertility
Onyx - protection
Agate - power and courage
Sapphire - intuition
Topaz - energy
Jasper - body strength
Amethyst - calm
Diamond - purification
Emerald - heart and back

And I have to say all these matter to me very much and I think the blessing expresses what everybody should wish for.

Last, but not least, the promised knitting-related part of this entry: pictures of the Flying Geese scarf. All done - I even had enough of the tri-colored yarn to make a fringe:

Flying Geese Scarf
Flying Geese Scarf

Have a great Wednesday! I am off to the company's holiday lunch at Maggiano's! YUMMY!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Xmas Knitting - FINISHED!!!

Ta-da! I can't believe it... I feel like - hmmm, no more pressure, what am I going to do now? But hey, I already have a ton of projects in reserve. And people will have birthdays next year, too. ;-)

I finally finished the Menorah pillow for my in-laws. I have to say, I am pretty pleased with this project. It turned out very nice and I hope they will enjoy it. Hubby is taking it to the post office so they will get it in time. Hanukkah starts Friday evening.

Menorah Pillow - Front

Menorah Pillow - Back

I altered the pattern sightly. Instead of knitting 4 I-cords that have to be tied into knots for buttons, hubby went shopping and found those gorgeous buttons.

I also whipped up some ornaments for the hostess of the block party using a really neat idea I picked up at the SNB-NEGA Holiday Party. What better to do with left-over Fun Fur than to shove it into glass balls?


I finished a pair of Fetching as well - I LOVE THIS PATTERN! It's very quick to knit, takes not much yarn and is a great gift:


Yarn: Andean Treasure (100% Baby Alpaca)
Amount: 110 yards/50 gram ball (makes one pair)
Color: Embers
Needles: US #2

I also altered this pattern a little bit, adding another cable repeat at the top of the fingerless mittens. It just blows my mind that you can make this pair with 100% Baby Alpaca for $3.79. came out with a new issue last Friday and guess what? At the SNB-NEGA meeting on Saturday, three knitters had the same idea. We all wanted to knit a pair of Corazon. Jen was brave and knitted at the meeting. I didn't dare. Reading charts and chatting doesn't work for me, so I just showed my progress. And Melissa - she spun some incredibly thin yarn at the meeting - plans to knit them but has to look for yarn first. So, this was my progress Saturday night:

Corazon Mittens

I finished the first mitten and knitted the cuff of the second one. But then I got tired, and knitting fair isle when tired is not very productive either...

Yarn: Knitpicks Wool of The Andes (100% Peruvian Wool)
Amount: 110 yards/50 gram ball
Color: 2x Cranberry, 1x Hyacinth
Needles: US #5

Since I used thicker yarn and bigger needles than the pattern calls for, I knitted the smallest size.

Corazon Mittens - Finished

So, I finished no. 2 Sunday afternoon at the block party, and I used a professional steamer on them (and the Menorah pillow). OH MY GOSH - that steamer is a wonder machine. Very, very cool! Not that I want one - but at least I now know where to go to block.

Oh yeah, I guess I forgot to mention - the purpose of the block party was to bring knitting projects for professional blocking. Just fabulous!

Have you seen the Fiber Dogs lately? Here they are - Sunday morning, keeping mommy company while she knits - and Mommy is sooooooooooooo boring...

The Fiber Dogs

Don't look at the mess in my crafts room. Geez - I really need to clean it up. I am to the point where I have only a vague idea of where some paperwork is that I need pretty urgently... Yikes!

Last, but not least, here's a funny story. Hubby's mind works in mysterious, and often demented, ways. There seems to always be something odd rattling around in his head, and sometimes, especially when we're lying in bed on a lazy weekend morning, he lets me in on some of it. So yesterday, out of the blue, he started laughing, so I asked him why. He said he just had a thought that he's surprised he never had before. He observed that the class of animals that are fur-bearing and give birth to live young is named Mammals, because they have mammary glands. The class of animals is named after their boobs! Which, he said, is proof that historically scientists have been men.

Have a GREAT week!