Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Old And New And I'm Not Such A Slacker

The New:

First, Happy Last Day of 2008! I'll start with what's new:

Here's the Golding spindle I got for Christmas - it's one of their 2" lightweights in their Tsunami pattern:

This spins like a dream - the metal ring around the whorl gives it a little extra weight and stability, and it just spins on and on so all I have to think about is drafting.

I've been making good progress on the Clapotis:

This is a little over 2 feet long right now. The Twisted is great to work with - it's soft, not splitty in the least, and it's fun to watch the colors change. Here it is blocked slightly to show the dropped (on purpose) stitches and the colors:

Another New Thing

I joined Facebook about a month ago (if you want to Friend me search Rachel Debasitis - and if your real name isn't on your blog, shoot me a note so I'll recognize you) and have reconnected with a huge number of old friends. Long story short, an old schoolmate is in this band, and I liked their music so much I bought their latest CD. Check it out - some of their stuff is just beautiful.

Old Things (Kind Of)

A number of bloggers recently posted about their completed projects for the year. I wasn't going to because I thought I'd been a real slacker and hadn't accomplished that much in 2008. But after checking my blog and Ravelry I realized I've done quite a bit - 32 projects completed! I'm not the slacker I thought I was. Here's a quick review:

Zig Zag Shrug:

Handspun 100% Tencel from Tactile:

Promptly knit into a Montego Bay Scarf (my 3rd and the only one for me):

Some handspun Crown Mountain Superwash Merino in Touch Me:

And some more Crown Mountain in Wild Thing:

Which I knit into my first socks made from handspun - Stria:

A slightly ghetto dishcloth:

A slightly fancier one in case there's someone in my kitchen I want to impress (not likely but it's nice to have):

A Ribbon dishcloth I sent to Ryan who was helping a friend raise money to fight breast cancer:

Some plain ol' socks for me:

This is handspun roving from Pigeon Roof Studios in Royale. I'm not sure what it'll become but I'm leaning toward a cowl.

I spun some Fiber Fiend 100% bamboo:

And turned it into another Montego Bay Scarf:

This was a big one - Lizard Ridge:

Definitely one of my favorite accomplishments!

These are slippers for my father-in-law - I have since felted them but haven't taken a picture since their floppy, pre-felted stage:

I made a little pouch from handspun for my iPod:

Spun some dryer lint - I mean Quiviut:

I spun 2 projects for my son's girlfriend Heather:

Some more Crown Mountain Superwash Merino - this time in Albatross:

Which I knit into another Montego Bay Scarf and sent to this lovely blogger as a Pay It Forward gift:

2 more Pay It Forward gifts:

My Mr. Greenjeans sweater knit with Malabrigo in Stonechat:

My Gisela sweater which came out too small (in spite of getting gauge) but luckily Hannah's smaller than I so I gave it to her:

One of my favorite projects for this year - my February Lady Sweater:

More dishcloths - this time with a dolphin theme, sent as thank-you gifts to friends in Hawaii:

A cowl made from Merino/Tussah handspun for a Secret Santa gift exchange:

The Ugliest Blackberry Cozy Evar. Friends were afraid to comment on it until I pointed out that I thought it was one of the ugliest damned things ever made and it was a joke - they were relieved. The person for whom it was intended actually had the guts to wear it at the office - and some who saw it wanted one for themselves. Now that's just sad!

Ariann is technically finished but blocked out so big I need to re-knit at least the shoulders. I might re-knit the whole thing. I haven't made a decision on that yet.

Last, I was invited to participate in 3 surprise projects. One was an afghan for Anabel - I contributed a square:

The other 2 projects were such a surprise and so secret that apparently I didn't want to possess any evidence - and therefore never took a picture of my work. Apparently I watch way too many of those forensic science shows. Anyway, I contributed squares for Femiknit Mafia, and Rachael, both of whom went through some tough times this year.

Wow. 32 projects completed and here I was, calling myself a slacker. I think for 2009 I'm going to try to not be so hard on myself.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


I got a little too close to the end of the skein on this project but managed to squeak by without incident (except for the minor heart attack, perhaps). See that little tangle above the slippers? That's all the yarn that's left.

These are one of A Family of Slippers by Knitting at Knoon. I made a bunch of these 2 years ago for Christmas gifts. I recently found out that my father-in-law liked his so much he wore them out. And he was still wearing them, holes and all. Well it was so nice to feel appreciated that I had to make him a new pair. These are made from Green Mountain Spinnery's Double Twist (I think this yarn is discontinued but the spinnery is still there and has some wonderful yarn - check out their Mountain Mohair - it's fab!). I made these in no time at all - the 2nd one in less than a day.

While I have yet to join the crowds that have knit a Clapotis, I have now officially cast on (which isn't difficult - you start by casting on 2 stitches). Here's my start. This is BMFA's Twisted in the Thraven colorway.

I've been having a quiet relaxing day at home; knitting, reading, and watching season 3 of In Living Color (did you know that Jennifer Lopez was a Fly Girl?). I only have to wrap a few gifts and then all Christmas preparations will be complete. We're heading 2 miles down the road to my brother-in-law's house for Christmas Eve (and also Christmas day) with my father-in-law, my brother and sister-in-law, and 3 over-excited, sugared-up nieces, ages 7, 9, and 11. It will be an adventure!

Happy Christmas or whatever you celebrate to all of you!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dipping Hole

I got tagged by Kathy. I'm supposed to go into my 4th picture folder, choose the 4th picture, tell you 4 things about it, then tag 4 more people. So here we go!

I grew up in Putney, Vermont. We lived in a 200-year old house, half-way up Putney Mountain. The dirt road on which we lived was plowed only up to our house in the winter - no one lived year 'round further up the road. Many years before we lived there, there had been a church across the road from our house. And a half-mile up that road is the Dipping Hole. It's a swimming hole dug into an incredibly icy-cold mountain stream where people were dunked during baptism ceremonies. And next to the Dipping Hole is the Dipping Hole Cemetery. I used to love to come here as a kid to look at the old headstones and get creeped out by the coffin-sized hollows in the earth where someone's casket had collapsed. We went there in 2004, on our way to a hike up Putney Mountain. Folder #4 is shots from that day (embiggen the pictures for much clearer detail).

1) It's easy to go right by the cemetery without noticing it. No one seems to maintain it. It's located at a 4-way intersection and when I was a kid, the road going by the cemetery was narrow and bumpy, and it was a cool place to take a walk. I particularly remember a house on that road that had it's own little burial plot - something quite common actually, in rural New England in the 18th and 19th centuries. Anyway, that road is now closed and impassable with a vehicle (you even have to be careful walking it):

2) Here are some shots of the headstones that are still legible. Time and acid rain have worn the inscriptions down on the stones that are carved from slate:

3) Obviously, the Dipping Hole Cemetery is an old one. The newest grave I could find was someone who died in 1877 (Charity Radway, born in 1796 - that was a very long life back then). The oldest one I spotted is 'Female Wilson' - birthdate unknown, date of death is April 6th, 1776.

4) This one isn't about the Dipping Hole but if you ever find yourself on I-91 near Putney (exit 4) between let's say April and the end of October (and you're not vegetarian) you have to stop by Curtis' All American Road Side BBQ. (And apparently his daughter just opened a place in Chester, VT that's open year 'round - check the link on his site!) Curtis was my next-door neighbor when I was a kid - he came to Putney as a migrant worker (picking apples) and stayed on. He has a pot-bellied pig who hangs out with him while he cooks (he tells her he's making chicken, not pork). When the pig gets bored, she just trots down the road back to his house. Curtis is quite the character, a great cook and a good guy who makes the best.bbq.ever. Go say Hi.

Well I'm not sure how well I stuck to the meme rules - since not all my facts were about the picture - but there you go. I'm tagging Tiggerr, Donna (who's busy with her visiting Honey right now but I'm hoping will do this later when she surfaces), Snidknits Cindy (when she gets back to India), and Toni, who seems to have her hands very full right now so I thought I'd try to tip her over the edge by handing this over to her. She sent me Christmas wishes recently. She might send me Christmas daggers after this one...

Our Bed This Morning

Is it any wonder we don't always sleep that well?

I'm kind of surprised that Miguel let the 2 dogs on the bed. He usually claims to hate them. He's either mellowing out or he's too senile to remember how horrible he usually thinks they are.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Meme Miscellany

I lifted this meme from Nora who posted it in honor of her one-year blogging anniversary. Mine was back in April, but I really liked this one so I'm not waiting until next year. I'm not going to tag anyone but if you decide to do it, let me know in the comments so I can come read!

1. How long have you been blogging?

Since April, 2007

2. Any advice to beginners?

You should blog about what you want to. I read a board recently where someone wanted to know if she should start a blog and if so, what should she talk about. My gut tells me that unless you blog about things that interest you, it's going to feel more like a homework assignment than fun, and you're not going to enjoy it for long.

3. What are the good things that blogging has brought into your life?

What Nora said - friends! I've made some great ones. Some I've met, some I haven't (yet). It's the best.

4. What would you consider the pitfalls?

I haven't experienced any. And knock on wood, I haven't yet had to deal with trolls and judgmental anonymous commenters. Blogging (both writing and reading) does take time but the people I've met and things I've learned makes it completely worth it. And besides, is a clean house really that important?

5. Tell us about your blog name. Ever think of changing it? If so, to what? Why?

Nope, no plans to change. People know me on comments as no-blog-rachel, and I want them to know it's me.

6. Knowing what you know now, was starting a blog a good thing for you? Why or why not?

Absolutely (see #4). When I started I didn't know if I'd keep it up or not. It has been even more fun than I anticipated.

7. How do you think blogging, bloggers or the blogosphere has changed since you first started?

I'm not sure it has - I haven't been at this for very long!

8. Ultimately, what would you like your blog to accomplish for you or others?

Well I was hoping to meet people, share some of my life and knitting, and enjoy the process. I am definitely doing that. I don't have magnanimous delusions of improving the world through my blog (though making people laugh every so often would be cool).

There you go.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch (House)...

I've been busy. I finally made biscotti. This is my husband's recipe for orange-hazelnut biscotti. They weren't fattening enough so I brushed them with bittersweet chocolate.

I blocked the cowl I showed you in my last post:

I knit another (slightly classier) dishcloth:

And poked fun at Riso who can't remember to clean himself up after his breakfast.

I also went to a Christmas get-together at Jasmin's house, but I completely forgot to bring my camera. Bad blogger!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What I Did On My Thanksgiving Staycation

Well it wasn't the most decadent vacation I've ever taken (see here, here, and here for that), but it was probably the most productive. I swept a year's worth of leaves from the front walk and doorway:

I cleaned the fridge:

Set up my china cabinet:

Found the coffee table!

Converted some handbags I don't use:

into something I will:

Made spiced nuts:

Framed my mother's fabric from South America:

I found 4 warm jackets and some other warm things to send here.

And (sorry, really crappy picture) even managed to decorate a little for the holidays.

It's not all the holiday pretty-ing up I'm going to do, but it's a start. My house looks so much better! I didn't do everything on my list but I didn't expect to. I accomplished a lot and managed to find some fun time too:

I knit a bit:

This is the Lacy Small Shell Cowl, made from a Merino/Tussah blend I spun earlier this year. The color in this shot is way off - it's more of a grayish purple, and I haven't blocked it yet which is why it appears to have no pattern at all. It really does have one, I promise - I'll post a post-block picture when it's done. This is going to a friend as a secret Santa gift.

I am nearly done with my Ribby Cardi (no new picture - it looks essentially the same) and it's waiting to block too. All I have once that's done are the band, zipper and collar.

I've also started churning out dishcloths:

Do you like the high-end touch of finishing with a completely different color when I ran out of the first one? I decided that since this will be used for cleaning dishes and counters, it didn't have to look exactly perfect. And it was nice to use up the yarn.

Some new things made their way into the house.

The first lime from our little tree:

The husband got a little decadent and ordered wine from our favorite vineyard:

And look! Gigi brought this over. I'm on Franklin's 1000 Knitters bag - can you spot me?

(Bottom row, 2nd in from the right). I spotted this months ago and finally got around to getting one.

All of this activity has Trouble totally exhausted. I think the Beagle needs a vacation.