Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I'm Dragon (My) Behind

Sorry not to have blogged, but I've been preoccupied. First it was Harry, then last week I picked up a couple of books to encourage Younger Son in some summer reading. And of course I've been reading them (well, he read one too.) Both feature a dragon.
Turns out that when I was lamenting my inability to read fiction last week it was because I was reading the wrong kind of fiction. Give me a good young adult book about a dragon and I'm all over it. Huh. I'm not sure what exactly that says about me and/or whether it's a good thing or a bad thing. But it is true. I do love me a good YA fantasy book.

I was catching up on my blog reading and I came across this post by Wendy, and I thought to myself. Hhmph. How come my blog readers aren't showering me with Bohus sweater kits and sock yarn and books? I think I need to cultivate a better reading public. Ok, with the exception of the beautiful and talented Heather who wins the Still My Life, With Knitting First Annual Reader of the Year Award for gift giving above and beyond the occasion for her fantabulous birthday gift to yours truly. First of all, check out the trappings:
A knit bag! How cute is that?! And of course, the swag. There are some beautiful note cards from an artist I absolutely drool over every year at the Three Rivers Arts Festival (gonna get some frames), and some "L" stuff (I love my initial -- I'd wear the big Laverne "L" on my clothes if I thought I could get away with it), and my favorite yummy spotty alpaca yarn. I'm collecting all the colors of this yarn to make me the bestest stripey sweater ever! I am a little behind because this was from last week, but you know, I did have some dragons to deal with. And generous readers should note that gift giving is always appropriate, we're not bound by any calendar rules here at Still My Life, With Knitting.
While we're catching up, I did some yarn shopping recently. The local knit shop had a charity shopping event to benefit Annie Modesitt so I had to get something (and it was my birthday!)
I got the green and red yarn at the top to make a fairisle sweater for a green-eyed boy, the sock yarn in blues and reds to make some fairisle socks from Charlene Schurch's book, and the yummy turquoise-y mohair lace weight to make a lace scarf for someone for Christmas. (Or sooner, if I finish. Like I said, we're not bound by any calendar rules for gift-giving here.) So to spread the wealth around, I went to the other local yarn shop last weekend and got some more swag.
There's more of the yummy spotty alpaca (Greens. The discerning reader with disposable income will note that I now have the blues, the pale yellow, and the greens. That leaves the aubergine, chocolate, natural, and russet to complete my collection. I hope you're taking notes.) a kit to make some fingerless mitts (hemp/cashmere blend. Heather has already knit one of hers. Mine are chocolate brown.) and some more yarn to make yet another baby sweater. I'm trying to decide between Babies and Bears and Baby Surprise. Leaning towards the Surprise.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Tale of Three Shawls

Once upon a time there were three little shawls. The first shawl was knit of yummy sea silk in a wonderful darky mysterious colorway. It was so soft and luscious its red haired knitter just couldn't put it down and so she knit and she knit almost all the clues. The second shawl was knit in a glowing red and yellow colorway that looked like a sunset. It had beads that perfectly matched and its knitter knit away because it made her so happy. The third shawl was dark and thin. Its knitter knit on it when she could, but she was a little preoccupied and so it languished a little, looking a bit peaky.
Heather, Celtic Queen and I are all knitting MS3. I'm knitting without a safety net, and have already found my first mistake. I'm gathering my courage to drop down and fix it.
Knitting tomorrow at the Borders in the Norman Center II (near South Hills Village).

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Good Read

Not much knitting going on this week, just a couple of socks. I've been spending my time reading. In preparation for the release of Harry Potter 7 and the new movie, I've decided to reread numbers 5 and 6. So I spent all last evening curled up with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. What bliss.

I've always been a reader. My first grade report card has this note from the teacher, "Laurie loves to read. All she wants to do is read all day." I've always loved books and reading. I remember long summer afternoons spent in the cool dimness of my bedroom laying on my bed reading library books. When I was older, I could (and did) stay up reading late into the night. The Borrowers, The Hobbit, Little Women, Dune; all these were summer reads. I had no worries, nothing on my mind except what the turn of the page would reveal. I remember the glorious mix of contentment and anticipation when I would head home from school on a Friday afternoon with two or three books in my bag and a weekend of reading stretching out in front of me.... For years I read only fiction, mostly fantasy and sci-fi. Sometime in my twenties I started reading some non-fiction. Now that's pretty much exclusively what I read. How did that happen? The last three fiction books I've tried to read I couldn't finish. Have I truly gotten that old? I hope not. I'll catch you up on the knitting later, I'm off to read some more.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Good Morning!


Every morning at precisely 5:19 AM (I checked the clock) a robin begins chirping outside my bedroom window. If I'm not already awake, it wakes me up. Why, oh why, I ask myself, can't it go visit the neighbors who thought it was great fun to set off fireworks at midnight all last week? Or the guy who revs his engine and squeals his tires going up the street at 2:00 AM?

In knitting news, I'm still searching for my spare size 1 double pointed needles (It's not the yarn I can't find, Heather) so I can start some socks. Hmm, I have two size one circs...Maybe I'll do a pair on two circs. And here's where I am on my other project. The row counter says 32.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Customer Service

Here is the e-mail I sent to Barnes & Noble Customer Service this evening:

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is [LaurieG], and my Barnes & Noble Reader’s Advantage number is XXX XXXX XXX. I give you this so you can research and see how much I’ve spent at Barnes & Noble in the past year. Almost all of it was at the Barnes & Noble at 301 South Hills Village, Pittsburgh PA (412) 835-0379. When the store at this location opened, we approached the management about having our knitting group meet there. The Community Resource Manager was happy to have us, and we began meeting regularly. Our group grew to about a dozen members. Whenever I wanted to purchase a book I specifically waited to purchase it at this location, even if it meant ordering and waiting for delivery, because they hosted our group. We all made purchases every meeting. Then the management changed. We were confronted by the sales staff who told us we would “have to clean up after yourselves before you leave. Our staff doesn’t have time.” Then the chairs in the seating area we met in were removed and replaced with uncomfortable folding chairs. Displays were moved into the area, severely limiting the space. Chairs were set up by the staff against the bookcases. When we asked about the arrangement, the staff member told us that “We’ve had numerous complaints from customers that they can’t get to the shelves,” and went on to say “You know, meeting here is a privilege, not a given.” He even went on to accuse group members of “stealing” chairs! He kept repeating “we have to consider our customers” while refusing to acknowledge that we in the knitting group were customers, and regular ones at that. I spoke to both the general manager and community resource manager, who assured me that there was no problem. However, at our last meeting we were informed by the same sales associate that we had been summarily removed from their calendar. No advance notice, even though we had gone out of our way to provide contact information. Well, if Barnes & Noble doesn’t consider me a customer, I’ll put my money where your mouth is. I met this week with a very nice manager at a nearby Border’s Books store and he is very happy to host our group. So we will be meeting there starting this week. And I’m sorry, but all that money I spent at Barnes & Noble will now go into their cash register. As well as that of my dozen or so friends. Because, after all, they host my knitting group now.


(I did use my real name and advantage card number, I just didn't want to publish it here.)

So if you're in the Friday group, you can e-mail them as well, or even if you just want to give 'em hell over kicking out the knitters. You can get all their contact info HERE.

And remember -- we're the FRIENDLY Knitters meeting at the FRIENDLY Border's Books!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Here's the news you've all been waiting for. I met today with the manager at Border's Books in Bethel Park, and the Friday Knitters will be meeting there this Friday. The manager was very nice, and seemed genuinely excited about having us meet there. We'll be downstairs in the seating area, as there will be live music in the cafe. Woot! See you at 7:30.

And in knitting, I started this:

Can you guess what it is? But it's not really a travel project, so I'm casting around for some socks.

Monday, July 09, 2007

My Menagerie

There I was eating Dave's animal crackers, and I decided to sort them all out. First, there's the basics. An elephant, a horse, a camel. Two cats,
and for our fiber animals, a goat and a buffalo.But what's this? Who would have guessed they included a llama in the mix?
I think this is a moose on the left.
But this one? Your guess is as good as mine.
And this one on the left? Another stumper.
Finally I think this one is a donkey, because we already had a horse. It has kinda long ears.

Knitting you say? Yeah, I got your knitting right here.

Peapod, just needs the sleeves sewn in and buttons sewn on. I wanted to knit the buttons on as I went (that's what Celtic Queen and Heather did). But I didn't have the buttons and I just had to start knitting. I used the new Cotton Ease which I love. It's a perfect sub for Rowan's All Season Cotton. But it's heavier than the Cotton Cashmere called for in the pattern. My mistake, I thought it was All Season. So my gauge was off, and the sweater's bigger than I was aiming for. But so what? Babies grow.
Also, I finally finished this sock. Now on to its mate.

Monday, July 02, 2007

New Beginnings

I know I've been away for awhile, but I've been knitting. I finished another baby sweater. It just needs some blocking and buttons. I got some Cotton Ease in pink to make a Pea Pod Baby Set next.
But in the meantime, because I was fascinated with the construction, I've used the same yarn as the Devan sweater above (Lion Brand's Jelly Bean Stripe) to start a pair of Sidewinders. The first one fits, but very snugly. I checked my gauge, which was spot on (and they fit perfectly length-wise). I think my legs need a diet. I'm still intrigued with the construction, and wonder if making the whole top of the sock in double garter would alleviate some of the lack of stretch. I may experiment with a pair of anklets.

Two other new beginings. I started my new job today, and so far so good. I think I will be much happier there. I'll be working with two former co-workers who assure me that I'll be able to handle everything just fine. One said to me. "Well, they're not going to hand you three big projects and tell you they want them done next week." (My former job.)

It seems that our knitting group will be looking for new digs, at least temporarily. Barnes & Noble has removed us from their schedule, so we're looking for another location to welcome us. We had had some problems awhile ago, which I thought had been resolved. But apparently not. Apparently the manager was just biding his time, waiting to push us out. So when we arrived last Friday we were informed that the store had scheduled other events for the nights we meet and so we were dropped from the calendar. Without contacting us, nothing. We will meet next week somewhere (watch this blog for updates). I'm currently working on two possible locations. I don't want to tell anyone not to shop at Barnes & Noble, because they are welcoming to knitters in other locations. But NOT the Barnes & Noble at South Hills Village and definately don't shop there on a Friday night. Send destructive teenagers instead.