Sunday, August 31, 2008

New yarn example...

I started knitting the mitered square scarf for a class that I will teach this fall. I'm making it with the new Mirasol yarn, Chirapa. It is 100% hand-dyed merino and it is so nice to work with. Here is a picture:

After I put the picture in here, I realized it is a little hard to see. If you tilt your monitor forward you might be able to see it better. That's what I get for choosing a dark color. Trust me, it's pretty! Ask me to see it the next time you are in.

Have I talked about the bees/wasps yet? We have a TON of them at the house (outside) and have been finding and spraying what seems like a million nests. Everywhere we go, there is another nest: under a piece of siding, in a soffit, on the side of the window casing, in the slat of the shutter. Everywhere.

So, last night, Paul and I decide to have an outside fire for the first time. There was a cinderblock fire pit there when we moved in and while not very pretty, pretty functional. Can you see where this is going? We got the fire going nicely and sat there enjoying it, and the nice night with all the stars. Him with a Mike's. Me with a wine. As the fire got hotter, Paul heard this noise and went to the back of the fire pit to find a gazillion bees/wasps crawling around. There are some gaps in between the cinder blocks and there must have been a nest in there. They were crawling all over the cinder blocks, but not really flying around. We think the smoke was subduing them. Or they were sleepy becuase it was dark. We thought they were just slowly dying so we sat back down and continued to enjoy the fire. Then Paul got stung. We packed it in.

Then I came inside and found one in my hair! My hair is so big that I think it must have gotten lost in there and disoriented. Luckily I got it out without getting stung - picture me with my head upside down, frantically combing my fingers through my hair (which is no easy task because of my curls and it kind of hurt). Despite all that, it was still a nice visit in front of the fire!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Yay! New Yarn!

FINALLY, the Mirasol Yarn arrived. And so did the 4 backordered colors of Happy Feet sock yarn. It is sooooo pretty! Here it all is...
You have to go to the website to see pictures of it displayed!
I was in the store with two customers, Nancy and Laurie, when the UPS guy arrived. I had been telling them I was waiting and waiting and waiting for this yarn and couldn't wait to see if UPS would bring it today. So when he walked in we all started clapping and saying "YAY!". He didn't really know what to do.
Then we oohed and ahhed for a while, looking at the yarn and the patter books. Really really really nice. Shop models coming.... I hope soon.

I was so prepared...

I took a picture of the prize. I made up the tickets to draw the winner. I reminded myself to take pictures so I could put them on the website. And what happened? I forgot to take pictures, so they won't be on the website! ARGH. Well, here's the picture of the prize:

A Mirasol pattern book(donated by me) and 2 bags (20 skeins!) of yarn (donated by Euro Yarns).

In my defense, it was VERY busy here last night. There were at least 18 people here shopping, knitting, sharing their Olympics, and other, projects and generally having a good time. It was actually pretty loud - lots of laughing and talking. It was great. (Diane and Yvette brought brownies which were soooooo yummy.) So I guess I couldn't really coordinate everything going on AND take pictures. Yarn shop owner lesson learned: Assign the picture taking to someone else.

In other news, Mandy is much better after being on eye ointment and prednisone for two days. Phoebe still won't sit still for a picture.

I'm off to work on the fall schedule of classes (Oct, Nov, Dec)--- which means I have more projects to knit as samples for classes!!! Mitered square scarf, possibly an Afghan block of the month. I see my shawl quietly slinking into the corner....

Monday, August 25, 2008

Meet Mandy...

This is Mandy. She has allergies. I feel so bad for her because she's itchy all over. Even her eyes are itchy. She's going to the vet tomorrow because the Benadryl doesn't seem to be working... Isn't she just the cutest?

I was going to give Phoebe the cat press time, too, but she wouldn't sit still for a picture. Cats!

Had to share this picture that Robin sent of her completed Knitting Olympics Project, with "proof" that she was done before the flame went out. Love it! :

Here's how far I got with my Olympics Project:

That's about 12 inches. Not too bad for all the troubles I had with it.

And here is my latest log cabin blanket/knit-in project:

That's navy blue next to the green and the other blue is my next color. I'm not as thrilled about the colors as I originally was, but I'm keeping on knittin' on.

And lastly the Logan River Wrap:

Imagine all that I could have gotten done on the shawl if I had been able to use all the time I used knitting the log cabing and logan river wrap to knit the shawl?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

It's my Friday

It's Sunday, but it's really my Friday. Two days off. I'll probably go to the store for a little while anyway after I run my Monday (Saturday) errands (bank, grocery shopping etc). I can't help it - I've got the organizing bug again. Today I went in early to vacuum and do a little organizing of the back room(s) and now I've just got to go back and do a little more organizing while the store it closed!

I got home today and immediately went to work on my Olympics project (after having a freeze pop - have I mentioned that I'm addicted to those? Those things that you get unfrozen in plastic tubes. They are just sugar and artificial flavors but I love them! Especially the blue raspberry.). I got nine rows done and now I'm taking a little break. I'll take a picture of my project as far as I get it done tonight, but then I'll likely work on it some more in the next two days before the show and tell. Now that the pressure will be off, I'm a little worried that I'll end up moving on to another project. I've got my Logan River Wrap in the works (which is coming along nicely and I really like), another log cabin blanket started and a cardigan just waiting to be started. Oh and that Forget Me Not sock, which I've almost forgotten about. And I'm dying to make a Constant Companion bag. There is all that Lamb's Pride Bulky coming in on Wednesday after all.

Next up is working on the next newsletter and all the classes for Oct, Nov and Dec! I can't believe that August is almost over. The whole summer went by so fast.

Off to have another freeze pop and knit some more....

Thursday, August 21, 2008

1/10th of the way there...

I am 7 inches into my 70 inch project for the Knitting Olympics, with three days to go. Hm. While it's not looking good that I'll finish, the project itself IS looking good:

You can't see the beads in this picture, but they are there, here and there.
It's not over till it's over - you never know, I may have a bout of insomnia and stay up from now until the flame goes out and finish it. Did I mention there was a prize for a lucky finisher? It's a secret, but it's good!

While I was downloading pictures from my camera, I came across some old pictures... Anyone want to see where we lived in Vermont? Here are some pictures of our place and, more importantly what I miss the most about living there, our view:

See the big red barn in back? That's the "garage" where Paul worked on his cars. It's bigger than the house. We had to tear down all the horse stalls and clean out all the cow stuff. Ew.

That's the Presidential Range.

Somewhere over there, maybe it's behind the house, we could see the very tip of Mt. Washington. Can you imagine autumn? It was beautiful.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Spinning Bee

I went to the Spinning Bee at the Altamont Fair today. It was so fun to see the spinners, both with wheels and drop spindles. I'm in dire need of learning the drop spindle and practicing spinning on a wheel. As many of you know, this was not an area I was well versed in when I took over the store. And I'm still not, but I'm getting there. Once the Knitting Olympics are over, I will be trying to spend more time practicing my spinning.
Here is Diane, who won the spinning wheel category (with me handing her the prize - fiber of course!):
And here she is spinning away:

And this is Christine, who won the drop spindle category:
And here she is spinning away:
She had the most interesting (to me) technique of spinning her drop spindle with it resting inside this small laundry-basket looking container. That's Debb (one of our sock teachers!) next to her, who came in second!
And here is Yvette, who didn't want to be in the competition, but saw it as an opportunity to practice her spinning for at least a 1/2 hour! :
Last but not least, here is Deb Anderson, who I have heard so much about and finally got a chance to meet when she came into the store yesterday. She is so nice and did a great job of commentating during the Spinning Bee. I must give a thanks to her for encouraging everyone there to come see my shop!:
So, while I was away at the Spinning Bee, Paul minded the shop. No one came in. In fact, no customers all day! Until 5 minutes until closing time. It is such a beautiful day today and I think everyone was at the fair or somewhere else just enjoying it. It has been raining so much lately. It gave me a little time to knit, but because I'm so worried I'll get interrupted, I didn't work on my olympics shawl. I worked on my Logan River Wrap instead. Now THAT I'm making progress on...
This picture is a little light - if you tilt your monitor back, it gets a little darker and you can see it better. I really like how it is coming out and I love the Royal Llama Silk.
An update on the article for which they came to take pictures.... There is a front page article in The Businss Review this week on my landlord, Jeff Thomas. Big headline: "One-man show: builder puts stamp on home village". It talks about Jeff's various development projects and the care he took to restore the building the shop is in to maintain the old feel. AND, it mentions me and the shop by name! Since I couldn't figure out how to scan the article and put it in here, I'll tell you what it says. It talks about how quaint the town of Altamont is and Jeff's efforts to restore the building that is now Park House Apartments. It goes on to say "Liz Cassidy owns The Spinning Room [in bold type!], a yarn shop attached to the apartments. She bought the business three months ago and said it has been busy with people who come for supplies and to knit together. Sleigh bells jingle when the door opens." Nice!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Progress on olympics project: NONE!

I've made NO progress on my Olympics project in the past few days. Wednesday and Thursday are usually VERY long days for me (about 12 hours) and I'm quite exhausted when I get home. Usually I just eat dinner and stare at the TV for a minute (literally) before I fall asleep. It's about this time that Paul says "I'll take the dog out." And I say "Thank you sweetie pie. You're so great" and head up to bed.

Taking the dog out is usually "my job", as is feeding her, brushing her etc. I brought her to the relationship and Paul wasn't really looking for a dog companion in addition to a human companion (or a cat companion but he got that too). She's grown on him in the past 4 years though. And since I took over the store, he's had a little more of the care taking duties. Taking her out when he gets home from work, playing with her and feeding her. So, usually I take her out for the last time at night before putting her, and myself, to bed. He's been great about picking up my slack when I'm just too tired- yay Sweetie Pie!

Back to my project.... NO PROGRESS. No time to knit at the store, no time to knit at home. I'm so far behind that now I have to knit 68.4 rows per day to finish on time. I'm hoping this weekend I'll be able to put a serious hurtin' on it.

Tomorrow (Saturday) I'll be at the Altamont Fair at noon to watch the Spinning Bee and present the prizes (donated by The Spinning Room!), to the winners. The contestants will have a half hour to spin the longest yarn without breaking it. One prize will go to the longest made on a drop spindle and the other to the longest made on a spinning wheel. Paul will be minding the store for me during this time, so if you come in, be nice to him...he's new at it.

On a regular Olympics note... As I've told you , we got a ping pong table recently, so of course we were very interested to see the Table Tennis matches in the Olympics. We taped some of the Olympics that are on during the day (on MSNBC) and watched a little of that last night. I just have to say that I can't believe they actually have professional ping pong. With COACHES. Who can call for a time out. The Croatian coach has actually been ejected from several arenas because he won't stick to the rule that says you cannot coach the player while the match is going on (you have to do it during a time out). For PING PONG! It was so weird to watch something that I've only seen people play in their basements or, in our case, our family-room-turned-game-room. But I'm telling you - they were GOOD! So intense about it and very fast. They were even sweating and taking water breaks. The table looked so tiny in the arena they were playing in and we couldn't figure out why there was so much room around the table. I'll tell you why -- because they need it! They were running about 10 feet from the table to hit the ping pong ball back, and even from this far away would actually land the ball on the other side of the table. It was pretty amazing. They even had this wacky way of serving which I think was a way of trying to fake out the other person as to which way the ball was going to go. It's just hard to believe they've spent YEARS playing and perfecting their skill. For PING PONG!

Right now there is about 4 feet of clearance all the way around our ping pong table. Who knew we were going to need a much bigger space for when we get really good?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mystery solved and other fun stuff

So much to tell !

1) The mystery publication taking a picture of the building is Business Review. And they did not come Monday, I assume because it was raining. They came Tuesday. LUCKILY, as I was coming to the store to place an order, I saw my landlord and the reporter outside so I was able to clean up the many flower petals that fell because of the rain before they took a picture. Then they decided to come inside the shop and wanted to take MY picture! UNLUCKILY, I was dressed horribly, no makeup and my hair was... well LUCKILY my hair wasn't TOO bad. I had actually paid attention to it that morning --- it's been quite humid and my hair can get pretty big. They asked me some questions about the business and wrote my name down and everything. My landlord was great, giving some plugs about how there are always people in here knitting. I have no idea if I'll make it into their piece (after all this was a story about my landlord and his business developments) but if I do, that would be nice.

2) I'm back on track with my Olympics project. I ripped it out a 3rd time and now it seems to be going along quite well (knock wood), although I've only got 33 rows knit.
3) My sister and three nephews (ages 5 1/2, 7 1/2 and 10) came to visit this weekend. The 5 1/2 year old came into the house, saw the ping pong table, grabbed a paddle, ran up to the 7 1/2 year old and said "Want to play HOCKEY?" I lauged so hard. They are adorable and we had a great time. They even went in the pool for a little while, even though it was sooooo cold outside.
4)Paul and I went to the Altamont Fair last night. We had a lot of fun, seeing the animals, browsing through the various buildings and eating. Did I mention eating? Here is what we got:
fried dough
ribbon chips with cheese and bacon bits
steak sandwich
ice cream
kettle corn (my FAVORITE!)
cider donuts
Yeah. I know. Talk about artery clogging. We did share most of these things so that counts for something.
4a) We went to the goat and sheep barn and saw Yvette there. She counted over 20 items that were knitted/spun by Spinning Room customers and had won ribbons!!! Congratulations to them all. (Yvette is included in that 20 - she won first place for her baby sweater!!!!) It was so neat to see the items displayed. You should go.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Curb appeal and Olympics updates


MUCH better. When I went back to the garden center, I realized the plants I saw were not ALL red. Most of the plants were a dark pink and only a couple were red. So, I got dark pink and red. They are not incredibly overflowing (my landlord was motioning with his hands when he was saying it and I think he'd like them to overflow down toward the bench). Oh well. This is the best I could do with short notice.
Here is my Knitting Olympics Project:

And here is what I did not do BEFORE committing to this project (Don't ask me why, I was just enamored with the pattern I guess):
"48 rows in a pattern repeat, done 13 times, plus 7 rows each for the beginning border and ending border equals 638 rows, divided by 17 days means I will have to knit 37.5 rows per day."
PER. DAY. PER DAY! And now that I have only knit 8 rows the first day, I have to knit 39.3 rows per day. PER DAY! Stay tuned...

Friday, August 8, 2008

Curb appeal emergency

My landlord stopped in last night during the Toe-up sock class. He asked what happened to the flowers out front.... I explained the ton of rain, my attempts to save the flowers by trimming them and figuring out how to give them plant food without watering them. He then said that this Monday at 1pm there will be a photographer for a very large publication taking a picture of the building and could I please make it look nice. Yeah. OK. That's three days, all of which I'm working at the store. He specifically indicated it would be nice to have some sort of big, red, flowering plants that flow over the boxes. Yeah. OK. But, he is a pretty successful businessman with several properties that look very nice, so I decided to take his advice. Oh, and when I asked what publication it was, he was VERY evasive and said he couldn't tell me but that it was BIG.

So, I was up early this am. Went to Home Depot by 8am. Nothing red. All pink and purple. Then I went to Hewitt's. Not open. Went to Gade's. Nothing red. All pink and purple. Went to Colonial something-or-other (just down the street from Gade's) and found RED! So, tomorrow with my dear husband helping, I will be going back to buy several of their new guinea impatien baskets, cut off the hangers and put them in the planter boxes out front. They look just like the one I have already on the porch that my mom gave me! Hopefully it will improve my curb appeal and make the picture for the very big publication look nice. And maybe I'll get a little publicity for the store???

I'm so excited to start my Knitting Olympics project! It's 3:10pm so there are 4 hours and 20 minutes to go. I was talking to my mom today and she said she was excited to start her project too. She commented that it's probably like what the olympians in China are feeling, but about knitting. Yay knitting!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

project updates

Forget-Me-Not Sock? Forget it! I was about 7 inches in to the 8 inches I have to knit before starting the toe, and I tried it on. Have I ever mentioned that I have wide feet? I hate shoes of all kinds except sneakers, which I wear a lot in case you haven't noticed. Wide feet do not fit so well into a dainty cute little sock with eyelet holes. The eyelet holes stretch so much that you can see clear through to China...

Speaking of the Olympics... here is my Summer Knitting Olympics project:

It is the Hanging Garden Stole, by Sivia Harding. It used to be available on KnitPicks but not anymore. You can see it/purchase it here:
It's a rather ambitious project, but that's what this is for, right? It has beads on the ends, but I'm going to sprinkle them throughout. I'm using the Baby Alpaca Lace in dark gray (grey?).

Back to the sock... I'm not including a picture of the sock on my foot. It just wouldn't be right to torture you with laughter that way. But, I will finish it (and the second one) and give them as a gift to some lucky person.

In other project news, I finally finished my Encore Done By Monday Afghan:

It took 12 balls, instead of the 10 the pattern says it takes. BUT, I realized early on that I was knitting VERY loosely. I just kept knitting until I completed all the pattern repeats, which made it longer than the pattern. I suppose I could have stopped at the finished measurement and probably would have only used 10, but I just kept going to see how many it would take. I like it. It is hard to see the pattern in this picture, but if you have the patternbook, it is #4.

Also finished the Louisa Harding Baby Cardigan for the shop:

So, so, so cute! I have not blocked it yet, but will be doing that sometime this weekend. I really like this yarn - it is so soft.

Since I only had my sock project left to do, and I am taking a small break from it since "the trying on incident", I needed something else to do between yesterday and the Olympics. So, I started this:

It is the Logan River Wrap from Interweave Knits Magazine Winter 2007.
I'm using the Royal Llama Silk in a pretty wine/burgundy/with a little magenta-y color. I had a little trouble getting started and ripped it out after the first 6 rows, but I'm back on track now and I think it's going to be nice...

And finally, since I learned the hard way that the Knit-in is probably not the best place to work on a project with a chart, I started a new Log Cabin Blanket:

Perfect Knit-In project!
Now I have to get all these projects into my Ravelry notebook....

I'll check in soon to give you an Olympics update. Just to clarify, you can cast on DURING the opening ceremonies which start at 7:30pm tomorrow (you don't have to wait until the flame is lit which I think is done at the end of the ceremonies).

Monday, August 4, 2008

Knitting Olympics

So, we're doing the Summer Knitting Olympics and I'm getting really excited. I've had a few people contact me with their projects and I hope more will participate. There will be a prize - I haven't decided what it will be yet, but it will be good! Now I'm having trouble deciding what project I'm going to do. I think I've narrowed it down to doing a lace project of some sort. The tricky thing is picking a project that will not be overwhelming and will be attainable to finish. Not being familiar with lace patterns, I have no idea how long they would take to do. Any suggestions are welcome...

In other news, my mom came to visit while my husband was in Ohio for four days at a drag racing event. Yes, he drag races. On good days, a 1970 Buick station wagon (with the roof rack still on it!). These are not good days, since his motor "blew up", so he took his other Buick out. Don't ask if he won -- it's a sore subject and a long story.

My mom and I had fun, hanging out at the store and going out to eat. We went to a GREAT Indian restaurant on Saturday. Tandoor Palace on the corner of Lark and Madison in Albany. If you like Indian food, GO THERE. It was so yummy.

Yesterday, after the store closed, I went to Saratoga to surprise my friend for her birthday. Her husband arranged for several of her friends to meet at The Grey Gelding for dinner. Also a nice restaurant - and very yummy. I knitted her a pair of fingerless gloves, Fetching from Knitty with Suri Merino in a really pretty dark pink/reddish color. She really liked them - yay! BUT, I forgot to take a picture of them before I gave them to her so I could post them here. I'm going to ask her to take a picture and send them to me.

Friday, August 1, 2008


We had a great time on our vacation in South Yarmouth on Cape Cod. We crammed a lot into two days but we had a really nice time and the weather was great. Because we did everything last minute, we got a hotel room on We got a good rate, but of course, you get what you pay for... a small, "inside" room with no windows! It did have a skylight which was covered over except for one small square (2 inches) cut out. And the light that shone in that very small square in the morning was directly in our eyes. It really wasn't too bad. The hotel had just been renovated and everything was new and clean. After a few minutes of panic - where do we jump from in a fire? Running out in the hall to find the nearest exit- I calmed down and was okay.

Here is what we did.We went for two bike rides on the Cape Cod Rail Trail:
Very pretty rides. The rail trail is 26 miles long, but we did about 12.

We visited the Adventures in Knitting Yarn shop in Harwichport. It was a very nice store and has been in town for over 30 years. They recently moved to this new location, inside a small mall area on the main street:
I puchased a yarn called Sheep Shop which is a very nice hand dyed yarn. I thought I'd knit with it and then decide if it's something I shoudl carry. Adventures in Knitting is located at 554 Main Street, Harwhichport, MA. Check our their website here:

We went on a scenic train tour from Hyannis to the Cape Cod Canal. It was a little warm, but overall a very nice ride and very informative. We went by cranberry bogs and had some nice views of the sand dunes and the boats on the Cape Cod Canal. :
We also went by a power plant, which my husband, being a man and more significantly a mechanical engineer who works with the steam turbines that run power plants, had to take a picture. So, I share that with you, too:

Neat huh? (it's okay if you don't think so)

We went to a really yummy seafood restaurant called the Lobster Boat:

We sat right next to the window and had a nice view of the Bass River and the boats. Yummy baked stuffed shrimp! And good bread.
We also spent a little time at the beach. We rode our bikes on the rail trail to Coast Guard Beach in Eastham. (First we drove to Orleans - if you are familiar with the Cape, you know that S. Yarmouth is MANY miles from Eastham and would be quite a ride):

We agreed that it was too short - what vacation isn't?