Thursday, October 11, 2007

No Sheep In This Barn

That’s right, There are no sheep in this barn. That’s because the people live in the barn.

The barn is on 12 acre farm in eastern Tennessee. It lays within the boundaries of the Cherokee National Forest. There is not much there except for a few other homes. Lots of chickens roaming the neighborhood, Some mountain people who are very attached to their ATV’s and this barn converted into a home.

The last 6 months have been spent in a constant state of movement. Moving from one house to another. Moving belongings from one storage unit to another. Moving people. Picking up leftovers. No rest for the wicked. No rest for the righteous either. No time to write. No time to take photos. No time to keep up with anything except a constant flow of boxes, homes, showings, cleaning carpets, cobbled-together meals with no dishes to serve the food on, and lots and lots of driving.

I stepped away from keeping up with events in order to just keep track of what passed before me each and every day. It seemed the list would never end.

Now I find myself in a state of temporary limbo. The children and the parents are already at the barn. I am staying in a borrowed home with my husband just waiting for march to come around in order to fully vest in my 401k.

There is now a light at the end of the tunnel though.

Two of those acres now belong to us. The rest of the pasture is available for our use. There is a fiber arts program at the local university that I intend to be enrolling in come the fall. Image that, a degree in string. I'm so there.

This means (yet another) return to blogging.

The posts will still be sporadic as I can really only post when I have Internet access. The places we are living in temporarily do not have phone or Internet access. Whenever I can get to the library or visit the barn, I'll post whatever I can and I'll save the blog entries as I go along.

I hope you will all bear with me as I come back to keeping track of life in general now that I have some time to breathe.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Yarn Pr0n Friday The Twelfth

Handspun! Navajo ply! Merino-silk! Fleece Artist! YAY!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

WIP updates

The Moderne Log cabin blanket for the impending work baby is out. I read some interesting info about corn fiber and it's relatively low melting point and became somewhat concerned. I'm not sure how that reflects on fire retardancy, but I'm not all that familiar with the fiber, and unknowns aren't such a good thing in this area of safety.Honestly. I'm not THAT worried about the baby spontaneously combusting causing her blanket to melt to her skin like baby shrink wrap. I just feel that with kids, especially other people's kids, it's better to be safe than sorry. My own kids? If their handknits melt to them permanently disfiguring them for life, they should just be damn grateful that mom knit them something.

Instead, I chose something soft and sweet in a fiber I know and trust. Enter the Infant's Fancy Silk Sock from Vintage Knits. I'm knitting them in Dale Baby Ull. I swear those needles get smaller every time I knit a round. next time I say I'm going to knit something on needles with more than a single zero anywhere in the needle size, someone smack me. They are lovely and delicate though.

Obviously the Wool Peddler shawl is complete, it is also fraught with errors and issues. I rushed the thing to be done for the retirement party then prayed hard that there would be no knitters in attendance. I was lucky in that there weren't. Or if there were, they had the decency to keep their traps shut. I also cut off one pattern repeat. I still have a few extra balls of the yarn. I'm thinking it may need to be frogged back to the beginning of the lace and reknit correctly if I am ever to be truly satisfied with it. Until such time, I will snuggle it regularly.

Onto the sweater for dad. My father is from Scottish stock. My father and uncle have traced their lineage as completely as they can. They are so proud. Dad even got a kilt in his clan's tartan. It's remarkably fun to tease him about his legs in his skirt, but really, I like that he's man enough to pull of the kilt.

Anyways, when I first took up knitting, I gave him a gift certificate for an aran sweater or a pair of kilt hose. He chose the sweater, and I've been mulling it over ever since. It's been about 15 months and after various false starts with swatching, finding the right yarn, and toying fruitlessly with a plan for designing it myself, it got back burnered. He has harassed me about it at every mention of yarn since the yarn was purchased. I can't make a single stitch on any other project around him without him mentioning how nice it would be to have a handknit aran. However, in a recent Knittyboard swap I got a couple back issues of IK. In the Fall 2003 issue, I found it. The perfect sweater. Everything dad asked for. Cable-y, turtlenecked, beautiful and comfy. The Byzantine Bazic is lovely. Unfortunately, I've only been able to work on it for two evenings thus far. The chart is uber tiny and my scanner is in the pooper right now. I've been waiting for my parents to leave town to get the chart properly scanned and enlarged. They leave tomorrow. So far, progress is slow, but at least it has been started.

Mom is trying to get me to have it done by fathers day. I can't possibly imagine what he would do with a turtleneck wool sweater in June, but maybe I will have it done by then, and he will shut the hell up about it finally. or he'll start bugging me for the kilt hose.

In the meantime something interesting has magically appeared on a set of my knitting needles. I picked up a copy of the new Favorite Socks book and next time I looked some long stashed Cascade Fixation jumped on the needles and began shaping themselves into the Flame Wave socks. I had nothing to do with this phenomenon whatsoever. (Okay, maybe I did, but it was merely a diversionary tactic to keep me amused until I could get the sweater chart resized.)

Just a tip for anyone who decides to make these in the larger size. The pattern calls for you to use a set of 4 dpns. The pattern fits perfectly with a set of five (the smaller size divides perfectly onto 4 needles). You get 2 pattern repeats on each needle instead of trying to move stitches back and forth on needles for your decreases. Why a clever knitter like Ann Budd couldn't have mentioned that for a brain dead knitter like me who didn't figure out how to divide 56 by 7 until halfway through the first pattern repeat is beyond me. Other than that, the pattern is easy, subtle and quite lovely. I'm totally digging this non-lacy pattern too. It's made me resolve to dig through the stitch dictionaries for similar yarnoverless patterns to make subtly patterned solid fabrics.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Yarn Pr0n Friday the Eleventh (With bonus window and Kitty pr0n!)

Imagine if you will, a knitter who has recently offered (near) full disclosure on her blog regarding precisely how much yarn she owns in vivid and gory detail. Now imagine what happens next to that knitter.

Well? What did you come up with?

Naturally. She buys more yarn. Of course she couldn't help it, it was such an INCREDIBLE sale that she had to. Let's see what she picked:

It appears to Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk. She seems to have purchased some Green and Black to go with the pile of Purple she bought at a previous incredible sale which was certainly not enough to knit a lovely sweater to be worn bra-less when no one is home to take full advantage of the softness of this yarn. The knitter had tried to buy more matching yarn, but apparently the dyelots of this yarn are so vastly different, that she instead chose stripes. Luscious soft stripes of silky alpaca.

Something tells the knitter this should be knitted into something classic and, well, Debbie Bliss-ish, but she is seeing stripey raglan wear-with-the-beat-up-jeans comfort.

The knitter in question prefers to remain anonymous. Thank you for honoring her polite request.

You'll also be happy to know that the window install went on as scheduled. The weather was somewhat cooperative, and although it was a yucky overcast day, it did not flood as the meteorologist predicted. They are all filthy liars anyway. I don't know why I keep listening.

Luckily for my neighbors, this meant only one day of seeing my lunar behind out the window. They can thank Knittingnutter for the encouragement. The sounds of shock and horror from the rude neighbors who party too much were well worth the exposure on my part. They'll be too dazed for weeks to get loaded and ride up and down the street in a golf cart. I expect a thank you card from them for putting the blinds back up any minute now.

The windows are so wonderful. They are the super fancy kind that open to the inside so you can wash the insides, the screens move up and down to take advantage of both upper and lower windows. The best part is, the first time I looked out my windows I realized that the window installers also installed front and back yards around my house, and a whole neighborhood beyond that! My family claims that the yards and neighbors have always been there, and the windows are just clean. I don't believe a word of it. They are filthy liars just like the meteorologists.

Just for kicks, I decided to do the knit blog thing and toss up a picture of the worlds most anti-social cat. She hates people at large so much, that most people don't believe I have a cat until I show them the litter box. Sure, she'll come hog my side of the bed all night, but that is about the only time you'll ever see her if you are not me, hubby, or anyone who plays an integral part of her feeding. She also, apparently hates cameras. Of the 30 or so shots I got of her, this is the least craptastic.

Kitty is not amused in the slightest.

Coming soon, progress photos of the long awaited Sweater For Dad That I've Been Promising Him Since I Learned To Knit.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Gods are mocking me

The windows in my house are supposed to be replaced tomorrow for an impending sale now that the old flks are retiring. I spent the evening removing blinds and moving furniture.

Naturally, we are supposed to get thunderstorms all day tomorrow.

This means the window replacement will be rescheduled for who knows when.

The obvious question:

Start changing in the bathroom, or expose my entire neighborhood to the horror that is my incredibly pale and voluminous behind???

Sidenote: After taking stash pics for the FYS, I found more yarn. About 16 skeins more. I may need help.

Saturday, March 31, 2007


All Handspun:

Random stash that hasn't made it into any semblance of organization yet. It lives in a big quilt bag.

Lotsa Sockotta

Cones and oddballs


Mmm Wool

The pitiful little sock yarn stash


Cottons and summer yarns

Mohairs and silks

I'm a bit embarrassed to admit this next bit, but this is about full disclosure, right? The novelty yarn stash....

Aaaaaaaand I'm Spent.

Friday, March 30, 2007



In other news. My father retired yesterday after 33 years of slogging away on work for the federal government. He was given a huge retirement lunch at Legal Seafoods in Crystal City (Holy freaking yum. And I hate Seafood). My mother and I went with him. I got to visit with my fathers buddy Mike of whom I am very fond.

Dad was given a STACK of awards. Seriously, it took my parents, Mike and I to carry of the awards to the car. My mom was presented with a bouquet of the most gorgeous jungle roses. Dad seemed so overwhelmed the whole time. Retirement is such a huge thing. Just think about it, never working again. Dad summed it up simply.

"I fooled them long enough that they will now continue to pay me for the rest of my life."

Congratulations Dad. I love you!

Yes my knitterly friends, that is the (barely finished in time) Wool Peddler shawl wrapped around me. And yes, that is my Mother's Kiri shawl.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

I'm Back!

The wireless is up and works in every room of the house. Come to find out that all of the time we had been using a wireless connection, we had NEVER been using our own, despite our fervent belief to the contrary. My deepest apologies to whomever we were piggybacking onto in the neighborhood.

The install yesterday took up a major portion of our morning. There was no phone, no internet, nothing. We decided to be lazy. I spun, the kids watched Invader Zim dvd's and hubby just hung out with us. I swear the Verizon guy kept looking at me funny whenever he'd see me happily spinning away on my wheel. I was able to complete this:

3.5 oz of Ashland Bay Merino/tencel. Approximately 180 yards of sport-DK 2 ply. It was so easy too. There was no guessing or trying desperately to maintain a pace and keep the flyer moving. Oh my little Lendrum, how do I love thee. I'm seeing a lace scarf for someones Christmas present.

Naturally, since I was done with the Merino I moved on to this:

Fleece artist wool silk bought from Stitches East. There is only 2 ounces, and I was thinking of spinning a really fine 2 ply with it. Then I thought back to some recent threads on knittyboard about maintaining color repeats by navajo plying. So I'm spinning a bit thicker (and a bit more confidently. Something about drafting out only a very few fibers at a time still makes me incredibly nervous) , and will navajo ply it to make a lovely trim or some very small project.

I also went to the LYS Friday afternoon with my friend who is learning to knit and just completed her first scarf. (I suggested it, don't stone me, I know scarves are lousy first projects, but it was a skinny scarf with chunky luxury yarn. She got so confident 3 inches in that she started doing a garter/stockinette stitch pattern. I'm very proud of her. She's doing a Booga Bag next.) I picked up a ball of baby ull to make some baby socks for a coworker. (Don't drink the water where I work, I swear you'll end up pregnant) when I noticed something new on the sock yarn shelf.

Scarlet Fleece Totally Tubular in the Cottage Garden colorway. Oh how I wish there had been a second skein to make a pretty spring Kiri. Sadly, it was alone, and it is destined to become socks for me. I've been really happy though that my LYS seems to be bringing in more independent and smaller yarn distributors. Only a few at a time, but something is better than nothing. I really hope she continues to bring in small and local producers. I love my LYS, but she typically stocks yarn from the major companies. There is lots of good stuff in there. An excellent selection, but sometimes you just crave the unusual, and I'll enjoy supporting the LYS and getting unusual and unique yarns there. (I found out as we were checking out that there had been 2 skeins of this, but one of the employees took one to knit the store sample. Luckily she works when I work, so I won't be able to go into the shop, steal her skein and run away laughing maniacally.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Computer Revolution My Arse

The blog has been quiet this week. Computers are to blame. Fully to blame. Let's tell a little story.

Late last year my computer gave up the ghost. My son, who was abusing his computer, as in, taking pieces apart and leaving keyboards, mice and other bits strewn across his floor, lost his computer to me. My mother, Who bought him the computer felt this was unfair. I didn't. My dad, to save himself from mother-daughter strife gave me a computer he had built. It sat for a while until the boy got a bit more responsible. We recently found out that there was Fiber Optic service available in our area. This was wonderful news since our Internet speeds were patchy at best and our wireless connection even more so. We Put the boy's computer back, and set up the new computer. Now we can't get a connection at all.

I'm now posting from my laptop. Also new (to me at least, dad upgraded and gave me his castoff laptop.) I haven't been able to get a reliable connection.

Computers hate me I think.

I'm hoping to Keep the connection up to at least get a yarn porn post up tomorrow evening. With any luck the fiber optic service will work out the issues on Saturday. I apologize in advance if I miss YPF this week. It's not for a lack off effort, I assure you.

In knitting news, The Wool peddler shawl crawls on. those garter stitch rows just go on and on and on and on and on........

35 more ever increasing rows until I get to the lace pattern. I'm desperately trying to get it done before dad's retirement party on the 29th. I'm not holding my breath.

I also picked up Knitting Vintage Socks at the bookstore last night. It's taking all I have not to cast on for a pair of Gentleman's Shooting Socks. I'm trying to use it as a reward to myself for getting the shawl done. Maybe I'll bribe myself with a trip to the LYS.

I'm going to go lay down and knit now, while I can still move. We joined a gym this week. I went to the "Gentle Yoga" class tonight. If that was gentle, I'm terrified of the intermediate class. Utterly Terrified.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Yarn Pr0n Friday the Tenth

And in honor of St Patrick's Day, I present you with 900 yard of gorgeous laceweight Irish Linen from DZined purchased at Stitches East.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Progress photos!

I figured I should show some progress photos of the things I've been working on.

First is the Moderne Baby Blanket from Mason Dixon. I'm working this in SWTC's A-Maizing. It is sooo squishy, and machine washable. We are not NEARLY as far along with this as we should be. The miles of garter stitch makes me twitch a bit. I knit on it when I have to think about other things, like helping the boy with his homework. Hopefully there will be lots of homework between now and June when the baby is due.

The lace leaf pullover is off to the frog pond for a second time. I've started it twice. I've just never been really happy with it. I think it's time to Put the yarn away and look for another project for it.

Finally is a new project. The Wool Peddler Shawl from Folk shawls. I'm making this in Plymouth Yarns Suri Merino. Soooo soft. It's hard to keep knitting and not just stop to pet the yarn. This is going to be a really casual shawl for me to wear with jeans or toss around my shoulders when I'm reading in bed. All the garter stitch is daunting and boring, but I know I'll be rewarded with lace if I just stick with it.

It's starting to get warm out and about time to start thinking about a nice summer top. I'll be searching the stash for light summer yarns and searching the net for some cute summer top patterns. Any suggestions????

Finally, we get to see the reason why I get to buy yarn whenever I want. This is what Hubby brought home today.

He has a serious problem with records. The problem is, he just keeps bringing them home. There are several hundred in the house already and he just brought home this HUGE pile today. I will forgive him this batch for one reason though. he brought me an America's Top 40 4 record set meant for play on Armed Forces Radio, complete with cheesy military PSA's and Milli Vanilli. I'm 12 again. And Bon Jovi seriously rocks.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Jaywalkers complete!

I finally finished the Jaywalkers. They have been OTN since November. I actually took them on the cruise with me. Believe me when I tell you, you will get no knitting done on a cruise. None. Not even any pictures with your sock posed tantalizingly on sandy beaches.

It just. won't. happen.

I knit these from Koigu on size 2 DPN's in the smallest size. they fit my ginormous feet like a hug, although they are a little bit less than stretchy when you put them on or take them off. I'm kind of digging the pooling too.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Yarn pr0n Friday the Ninth

Really, is it possible to not adore malabrigo?

I Think Not.

The management would like to apologize to no pictures of spinning or fiber carding on the recently acquired toys. However the management recently decided that it would be a good idea to have a tetanus booster if it is to play with sharp objects and dirty sheep fluff. (The management tends to be clumsy.)
Who knew that a tetanus shot could make you feel like the day after a Lou Reed heroin bender?
The management is still a bit woozy and is going to have a bit of a lie down now. Hopefully we will be posting spinning pictures soon. Very soon.

Monday, March 05, 2007

It's Here! It's Here!

The wheel and carder came in today. I promised myself that I would get home from work, have restraint and leave them in their boxes until I got some housework done.

Who am I kidding????

I put the new babies together instead. The Girl saw the plying head and immediately informed me the I needed to start spinning funky yarns to turn into garments for her.

What I find most interesting is that I tried the wheel before I bought it, however actually sitting and trying to spin on it is like relearning everything. Time to bring out the practice fiber again and make cat barf for a while. Once I finally get the hang of this wheel, there's a sampler pack of Spunky Eclectic's Almost Solids and a copy of Color in Spinning just waiting to be played with.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Yes, Virginia, there is knitting karma.

I have been working on a pair of Fiber Trends felted clogs for my friend Beth's mother. Beth is the sweetest, dearest person I've met. She has a warped sense of humor and puts up with me. She is an incredibly good friend. Many years ago, Beth and I tried to learn to crochet. It was a failed experiment. We both suck at crochet.

When I began to knit, I offered to teach Beth and she passed. I never bothered her about it, and she always listened to my ramblings about yarn and fiber with interest and patience. She occasionally commissioned items (and paid handsomely, I might add), but never showed much interest though until I showed her those clogs. Yesterday I was instructed on our lunch break that I was to bring needles and yarn and teach her.

Today I went to work armed with a leftover ball of Lamb's Pride and a set of needles. I cast on for her, and showed her to knit. She caught on quick.

I cannot describe how incredibly proud I am.

As luck would have it, something screwy happened with the power in our building and we were stuck with no way to work all afternoon. So we passed the time chatting and knitting. I mentioned needing to drop by the yarn shop to pick up some needles. (I'm learning that entrelac is the one thing I can't stand on circs. Even when I knit backwards. it makes me want to stab something.) She said she'd join me there, and after several times through the shop to pet all the goodies, she selected a pair of bamboo straights and 2 skeins of Classic Elite Duchess in light pink to make herself a skinny scarf. As her official pusher teacher, I bought them for her. I cast on some stitches for her in the parking lot, and sent her to pick up a good "Learn to Knit" book from Borders.

I was so filled with the knitterly pride that I almost forgot the voicemail I received from my mother telling me to stop by her house. I remembered at the last minute, and what did she have waiting for me, but this:

It was very unusual. Usually she'll pick up a vintage pattern book or two. Maybe some yarn if she goes on vacation. Never whole knitting books. Especially knitting books that have been on my wish list. If that's not the knitting gods at work, I don't know what is.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Yarn pr0n Friday the Eighth

This is how you know you have your hubby trained.

You send him on vacation with explicit instructions and a map to the LYS in the city he is visiting. Not only does he actually go, but he takes his buddies with him to pet the yarn. Then he brings home this:

Aracaunia Magallanes. 2 skeins. Yum.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

So. Much. Stuff.

Have you ever looked around your house and thought to yourself, "Where did all of this stuff come from anyways?"

I moved to Virginia 4.5 years ago with only what would fit in the back of a Grand Cherokee. I had some books, some clothes, photographs, a sewing machine, a couple heirloom jewelry boxes, a computer and a cat.

I know have enough junk to fill a 1500 sq foot house to the rafters. I have stuff I don't even recall acquiring. The sewing machines have multiplied. There is stuff stashed in every corner, drawer, shelf and even the attic. I know that my mother gave me a lot of it. I know I picked up a few things here and there at ikea or thrift shops, but honestly. Do I really NEED all of this crap?

Thus begins the great purge of 2007. We are going to have to move this year. Probably in the summer. My father is retiring and they will be selling this house. We will likely be moving into a townhouse or apartment for a while until we decide our next move. Not only will we not have room for all this stuff, but quite frankly, I'm not moving the crap.

I find it to be a bit disgusting as well. Is it truly necessary to have all of the stuff that we tend to have in our homes? Do I really need that fancy candle or kitchen gadget? The most thoroughly disturbing thing is stuff that there are more than one of sitting around unused. Or items never even removed from their boxes. I shudder to think of all the money spent on these things that could have better served us in a savings account or other investments.

I am hereby declaring a "stuff embargo" on our household.

No more senseless stuff. If we already have one, there is no need for two. If we don't have one, do we really, really need it? Sadly I'm going to be applying this to yarn and knitting stuff too. I did buy myself some nice treats recently, but this also means that maybe it's time to sell the other two wheels. Maybe it's time to downsize the other craft stashes to compensate. Also, if it hasn't been used in 6 months, it's out the door. Gone. Bye, bye. I've already started freecycling some things. Maybe we'll have a yard sale as soon as weather permits and apply the money to our savings, or towards good quality furnishings to replace the junk we've hodge-podged together now.

Viva la Purge!!!!!

Monday, February 26, 2007


Is what hubby looks like when you buy him a new toy:

Note the twitching and drooling. He has been reduced to cretinism with joy.

This is the way the Girl looks when she has strep:


This is the way the Boy looks all the time:

So so lost. Utterly dazed and confused.

This is how Bud looks when you point a camera at him:

He is currently displaying what I like to call the "do you have any cookies in your pocket face".

My family. Oh, how I love them. Oh, how I long for another cruise. Leaving Now.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

If only I had a Time Machine

I'd be able to fast forward life a few days to the day that the UPS man comes to visit me. I think If I'm home when he stops by, I may just kiss him.

He is bringing me a Lendrum Complete ST and a Strauch Petite drumcarder from Woodland Woolworks. Itcomes with a free order of anti-anxiety meds for hubby.

I went up to the Springwater Fiber Workshop in Alexandria yesterday to check one out. They have tons of wheels and things, but perhaps I caught them at an off time since the shelves all seemed to be pretty empty. I was given a 6 month order time for a Lendrum, so I went head and ordered from WWW instead. For some things, patience is not an option.

Friday, February 23, 2007

I'm so smart.

And I have proof.

See? See what I did? I can entrelac! I am the Queen of Entrelac. And I want to entrelac the piss out of everything! Muahahahhahaha

I picked up a copy of the new IK and followed Eunny Jang's tutorial. After some false starts and confusion I got it figured out. Hubby loves it so much he requested a sweater and placemats. He loved it so much, he's asked for another round of knitting lessons.

Yes, you heard me right. He wants to try again to learn. Between the entrelac swatch, the sneaky way I got him to look at Kaffe Fasset's pattern library and a promise of two manly-hued skeins of Malabrigo, he's decided to try again. He tried once before with some awful acrylic yarn, and he did fairly well for a beginner. Better than I did for my first time, I'm sure.
I saved his first and only knitting attempt. I love it, despite his attempts to throw it away.
I can't wait for my yarn order to arrive.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Yarn Porn Friday and a visitor

Todays yarn pr0n is brought to you by the letters N, O, R, and well. O.

A big ol' bowl of pretty wooly colors. Yum

We were also graced with a visit from my brother in law, Andrew. He's a cutie and is just engaged. We did our duty as the older and wiser ones to teach him the world's best coping mechanism for children. Beer. We met him for dinner tonight in Richmond, and I wish we could have spent more time with him. Last time I saw him he was the Girl's age and still a rotten little twerp. He's still a rotten little twerp, but in a much better way. I hope he's back soon. I forgot how much I liked the little poop.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


4 am comes very, very early in the morning. That's when we left home to get to Philadelphia. The trip up was pretty uneventful and we missed the majority of all the traffic. We got to the hospital just fine and Trystan had his exam. We can't get him a new brace for his leg since the muscles are too tight to move his foot to a neutral position. We have to return in 3 months after working with him on muscle stretching exercises. if those don't work, we're onto more extreme treatment methods. I really hope the stretches and exercises work.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Philadelphia? I've heard all kinds of horrible things about it, and while it has it's problems, It is a great town. I've spent time there with friends who lived in the area and there is nothing like it I've ever experienced. Where else are you going to go and find buildings all over the place that look like this:

There is art, culture, bustling streets, open air markets, and oddly enough, smiling faces. People here are friendly in their gruff urban way. People here will actually smile at you on the street. Walk through a neighborhood in Philadelphia and it's equally likely you'll be pinned by an aging Italian man extolling the virtues of a strong marriage or be confronted by an artists studio pouring out of a garage. You can sit on your stoop in the evening and chat with the neighbors. Then you can walk to a corner hole in the wall restaurant where the food is like that your grandmother made, and it can be a year since you were there last and the staff still remember your name. I won't say that you can't find the typical urban filth. There are drugs, there are gangs, there is that lovely city stench. There is also an underlying current of community in everything. I wouldn't go so far as to say it is Brotherly Love as the city's motto states, but maybe just a love of your city. Pride in it. I love that.

After T's appointment I took hubby to Gennaro's on South Street for an authentic Philly Cheese Steak. The boy got a pizza burger.

Mmmmmmm. Pizza burger.

We also managed to hit not just one, but two yarn shops!

We stopped by Loop. This store is beautiful. The yarns are arranged by makers an colors against a white backdrop. It looks like a gallery, not a yarn shop. The fibers are luscious. Silks, cashmeres, alpacas, the softest wools. It was so gorgeous though I was a bit afraid to touch things. I know when I chose the yarns I wanted and had to dig a bit to find the skeins, the delightful shop girls came behind me to artfully rearrange for the missing skeins. Honestly, it was a bit overwhelming. I did score some delightful yarns though.

Schaefer Anne. The colors in this are to die for, and the subtle shifts in color are delicious. I foresee a shawl in this. It's just enough for a swallowtail. One of the girls in the shop showed me a sock she's been working on in Anne in a different colorway. It was so soft and silky feeling. Positively sinful.

I also picked up a skein of Malabrigo in Curacao and a skein of Silk Garden, which is not pictured here.

Love, love love these colors. an it's soooo soft.

Please note the matching skein of laceweight. I did not find that at Loop. We went further down South Street so I could show hubby around a bit, and after finally finding a parking spot we walked up and down the street. Hubby stumbled on a shop called Nangellini. For every carefully arranged cubby of yarn at loop, was an overflowing basket of fiber here. The owner, Nancy is an angel with her bright pink hair and her shop filled with art, bright skeins of yarn, finished objects and lots of comfy chairs covered in works in progress. Many of the yarns she stocks can be purchased online, and In fact I believe they were, (I spied some yarns which solidiified my resolve to finally make an order from them) but it gave me a chance to feel and fondle fibers. I picked up 2 skeins of Handpainted yarn's Laceweight including the curacao pictured above (Scribble lace perhaps?) and a skein of K1C2's Paintbox.

After a time getting out of the city preparing for Mardi Gras, we left PA and stopped in Baltimore for a quick drive around. What a total contrast in cities. For those of you who love Baltimore, I apologize in advance, but that city reminds me of an aging beauty queen. Think Mrs. Havisham. We drove through the Inner harbor area and I guess made a wrong turn down a street 3 blocks from the Inner Harbor in which hubby made a quick U-turn when he saw 3 men begin to approach our vehicle with less than welcoming looks on their faces. During our quick escape from the area we saw these two billboards right next to each other. What does this say about the city?

The sign in the distance reads "How many women have to die before domestic abuse is considered a crime?"

A hard city indeed.

Moving along we stopped in Annapolis and went to a little record store where hubby scored some Tom waits, Lou Reed and Bright Eyes Records. Then home to collapse. Hubby and I both woke up feeling sick as dogs this morning. Today will be a day for relaxing and recovering before returning to the grind tomorrow.