Friday, October 26, 2007

YPF: Watershed

70 percent Merino/30percent Seacell

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Hand dyed by Karida, owner of the Neighborhood Fiber Co.

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A portion of the sale of each skein goes to the Anacostia Watershed Society, a non-profit that works to clean up the Anacostia River.

I bought it at a party last night that Knit Happens hosted for Karida. As you can see they sold tons of the yarn, and it's no wonder. It's soft and the colors are luscious!

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

WIP Wednesday: Merlot Vine Socks II

I completed the foot of the second sock and 1.5 repeats of the lace pattern on the leg.

Merlot Vine Socks

Merlot Vine Socks

Merlot Vine Socks

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The little leaves are less than an inch long and quite pretty, but they are somewhat obscured by the dark color of the yarn. The leg is quite stretchy, so maybe they will show more when I wear them. I think this will be a good pattern for the lime-ish colored Smooshy I bought in Seattle. When the leg is finished the effect will be of little vines crawling diagonally up the leg. Lovely design, Anne!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Style, Iceland Style

Last night I attended a Women's Foreign Policy Group reception for Iceland's Foreign Minister Ingibjorg Gisladottir at the home of Iceland's Ambassador to the US, Albert Jonsson. I noticed her when she arrived because she had on this fabulous outfit.

Iceland Foreign Minister Gisladottir

It may not be your style - I don't have the body type to pull it off, and despite this post's title I realize that not everyone in Iceland has adopted this style either, but she just stood out in the crowd of conservatively dressed Washington women. (Tim Gunn thinks we lack style and are overdue for makeovers. Read his Washington Flyer interview here.) In our defense, many of us work in offices where it's required to wear a conservative, standard issue suit, and most of us had arrived straight from the office. Many of us fear we won't be taken seriously if it's perceived that we care too much about how we look. Remember that New York Times article about how Nancy Pelosi has brought style to Capitol Hill? She practically refused to be interviewed for it and said her husband bought her clothes. Huh.

Ambassador Gisladottir is a serious woman. In her brief talk she described her efforts to secure Iceland a seat on the UN Security Council and her efforts to reach out to African countries. She described herself as a feminist who believes in the positive power of women, and also talked about her efforts to bring together a group of women from the Middle East to discuss that region's pressing issues. Gisladottir's sense of style does not detract from the work she's doing on behalf of her country. My pictures don't do her justice, but she looked great in this coat, cropped pants and heels. We're told to avoid horizontal stripes for the most part, but it worked for her. As Tim would say, she owned the look. Her makeup was subtle and emaculate, hair - perfectly highlighted. She also had on a funky three-stranded rubber and silver choker.

The ambassador's wife, Mrs. Jonsson also looked great in this little leopard print knit dress. It had a fuzzy little halo that must make it a very cozy dress for evening. It's hard to see the front of the belt, but it was about 8 inches wide. The slingbacks were a very subtle bronze metallic that matched the spots on the dress.

Mrs. Jonsson at Women's Foreign Policy Group Event for Foreign Minister Gisladottir

I asked her if she bought it Washington and she just said "yes." (I'm thinking, "where did you get that dress, woman?!!?" and immediately trying to figure out how to knit it. It is a very fine gauge that would require a knitting machine.) I didn't press it. Note to self: make sure that next time the first question is a more direct one and to the point. But you have to admit that most of the time, woman will eagerly to tell you where they got things. I hope that Icelanders do not consider this a gauche question.

It was not a gauche topic for the Spaniard and Italian participating in a project I closed in Seattle last week. Over dinner, Rosa, a Spanish judge and law enforcement official (also a serious professional woman), freely told us about her 70 pairs of shoes that she has neatly organized so that she can wear them all. And Roberto from Italy said his male friends all wanted him to bring back Abercrombie and Fitch t-shirts, now all the rage in Italy apparently. In his opinion, A&F t-shirts were not so great for women, so he shopped for his wife elsewhere. Then they got into this huge discussion about how American sizes are so confusing. I didn't take pictures of them and should have done, especially of Rosa hiking up the hilly streets of Seattle in the four inch heels she bought a Nine West!

Back to the reception, an attache from the Swedish Embassy had on a black pants suit with white blouse, accessorized with a black handbag with brightly colored tulips printed on it. Maybe wild accessories are a way to liven up that Washington uniform. We could knit some.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Philadelphia and Loop

Warning: Long post. Loop and Yarn at bottom.

A couple of weeks ago, some work colleagues and I took the train from Washington to spend the day with one of our program partners, the International Visitors Council of Philadelphia. I thought I would take note of any yarn shops I saw there, with the idea of visiting them later. We were met at the train station by Ben Franklin, Council President Nancy Gilboy, and Senior Program Officer Ron D'Alonzo, Senior Program Officer,

Ben Franklin

then taken on a tour of Philly. We toured Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Independence Hall

Liberty Bell

We also toured the new National Constitution Center, an interactive history museum of the American Constitution. There's a cool room of life size statues of the Constitutional Convention Delegates situated through out as if they were discussing the issues at hand.

Delegates to the Constitutional Convention, NCC

The room is open for visitors to walk among the delegates and pose for pix.

National Constitution Center

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Finally we went to see the Liberty Bell.

Liberty Bell

Independence Hall seen through the window.

Liberty Bell

We went back to the Council's offices for meetings, when Nancy saw my Habu Kusha Shawl on needles sticking out of my tote. Turns out she knows the owner of Loop! Nancy is one of those persons that Malcolm Gladwell describes in The Tipping Point as a "connector." With no hesitation at all she pulled out her Treo, made a couple of calls to find out if the owner was there, the store's hours and address, and the next thing I knew I was in a cab on my way there! That the shop was scheduled to close in 25 minutes did not deter her. Thank you, Nancy!


Loop is beautiful little shop with yarn from inexpensive to tres chere displayed in bookshelves on both side walls from front to back. It's all white, light woods, and bright, which really shows off the yarn to full advantage. The yarn is neatly shelved, and arranged so that when you are standing away from the shelves all you see is end balls of color, no ball bands. There two inviting sofas facing each other with a coffee table in the middle of the store with the latest knitting magazines and yarn.



Love the little wall installations!

The very friendly and helpful Kathy and Laurie greeted me.

Kathy and Laurie at Loop

We had a nice chat about yarn and patterns in the few minutes I was there, and I bought some Koigu and some DB Cashmerino to play with.

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I hope to go back soon.

I made back to the reception held in our honor at the Marriot.


Thanks Nancy, Ron, and IVC staff for our informative and enjoyable day in Philadelphia, and thanks to Kathy and Laurie for your warm help at Loop!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

WIP Wednesday: Merlot Vine Socks

Socktoberfest means it's time for another pair of socks for me. Haven't made many this year. This one is Yarn4Socks' October offering, Merlot Vine, designed by Anne Hanson, author of the Knitspot blog. The nice thing about this sock "club" is that one doesn't need to subscribe. I just bought this single kit. I fell in love with the yarn when I saw it on Anne's site several months ago. The colorway is "Arial," 100 percent superwash merino, fingering weight from Twisted Fiber Arts.

Merlot Vine Sock

I love knitting with this yarn. It's the tiniest bit splitty, but I can easily live with it. More importantly, the dye completely saturated the base yarn, so there are none of those white spots or pale areas one finds in some other skeins. The pattern is lovely too, though a bit obscured by the yarn.

This is the first time I've done a short row toe that begins with a provisional cast on. I used a splitty waste yarn on the first sock - a mistake. A very irritating mistake. I kept picking up the yarn through the bump instead of under and it was impossible to unravel the waste yarn. Curses! The green yarn in the background is my "Seattle yarn." I'll blog about it later. I was on the plane back home when I started the second sock. All I had was this "Seattle yarn" to use as waste yarn and no crochet hook. First I tried to do a turkish cast on for the required 34 stitches and discovered quickly that it doesn't work. I used a seaming needle with a crooked tip in place of the crochet hook to make the crochet chain from the "Seattle yarn," and once I got the hang of it, it worked well.

Merlot Vine Socks

It's hard to see the crochet chain in these pix because the waste yarn and working yarn are similar color.

Merlot Vine Socks

Merlot Vine Socks

I've had lots of left over yarn from other socks, so in an attempt to avoid this, I put the first sock on waste yarn without cutting the working yarn after the required number of leg repeats and cast on the second sock from the center pull. I can add more leg repeats with whatever remaining yarn there is.

Barbara flattered me enormously by nominating me a Rockin' Girl Blogger. Thanks Barbara! I haven't rocked much this spring and summer because I've traveled almost every month since May, mostly for work. I haven't kept up with your blogs or mine, or anything else it seems. I haven't kept up with knitting either. I have a gizillion almost finished pieces that, frankly, I just don't feel like working on. I've been to Lansing, Michigan, including a quick trip to Detroit; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Tucson, Arizona; San Francisco; twice to El Paso, Texas and Las Cruces, New Mexico; and twice to Seattle, Washington, and managed to visit yarn shops almost everywhere. I bought "souvenirs," of course. I wrote about Woven Arts, Unravel and Artfibers. I've also visited Loop in Philly, and So Much Yarn in Seattle, City Knits in Detroit - I will write about those later. They are beautiful shops with lovely, friendly staff. I should also write about El Paso's little yarn/shop cleaners, but it needs to be seen to be believed and I don't have pix. I guess it doesn't really look funny, but it's a strange concept.

My laptop crashed before my trip to Seattle last week, so that didn't help! I turned the dang thing on one morning and the screen stayed black. I totally panicked! I hate to admit it but a good portion of my life is online: I telecommute one day week, pay bills, read newspapers, shop, read and send e-mail, I take it with me on all my trips, and there's my online knitting life too, of course. I just sat and stared at the black screen for about 5 minutes before I summoned the presence of mind to call Dell. They are going to replace the motherboard, and I've borrowed a laptop from work in the meantime. They say that I won't lose any data, and I pray this is true. I swear I'll throw a fit if I have to reload my music and postcasts on iTunes. I don't throw fits. I usually roll with most things, but just the thought of it...I'm going to start looking for those hacks that allow one to transfer data from an iPod back to a computer. I hear they work. I'll give the laptop another 18 months after the motherboard replacement, then it will probably be time for a new one. It's only 3 years old. Don't any of these machines last longer than that?


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