Gotta love the Scots!:)

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A brief update and two book reports (well, maybe three)

Well, even though it’s snowing outside, dear 2.5 readers or however many you are, it looks like we are going to return to business as usual in this corner of Merlin. Tomorrow ends the week-long hiatus from work, school and being on the road for me. Hopefully, the snow we are getting tonight won’t hinder my trip to beautiful downtown Towson tomorrow bright and early:)
During the past week, I have gotten quite a bit of knitting done and did indeed begin two new projects and am about to cast on (again) for a third. The first is the socks you see to the right. The Snowdrop Socks from the Six Sock KAL group on Yahoo. I’ve been having fun with this and should be done soon. It’s a nice lace/cable pattern with a garter stitch short-row heel, all knit from the toe up (my favorite). I like the cuff construction and strongly urge the use of Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off for this also. The second is a hat I am designing from a stitch collection/instruction book – Twisted-Stitch Knitting by Maria Erlbacher – a compilation of three booklets she published a number of years ago. Edited by Meg Swansen and Amy Detjen, it is a superb book for those knitters among us interested in the precise “mini cable” look of the Austrian/Southern German style of knitting. It is slow going at first and the charts are a challenge to learn, but I am really enjoying this project. I’ve even had the hubris to enter it into the Ravelympics under Team Knitmore and the Designer Dance event! What a nerve! In my defense, I did state that the stitch patterns were from the Twisted-Stitch knitting book. Seriously, this book is worth every cent – and last I looked, it cost the same at Schoolhouse Press as it does on Amazon. Just so you know! In terms of real life, we have slowly emerged from our snow-covered cocoon. Friday evening I went to a knit knight at Denise’s home with my “knitting buds” and had a wonderful time! Everyone brought a dish and we ate like royalty:). Denise is such a gracious hostess and made us feel right at home. We watched the opening Olympic ceremonies and then sat around chatting and knitting, admiring each other’s projects – and Denise’s prolific knit creations! We talked so long and had so much fun that it was 12:30 when I got into my car to go home. When I got in the door at 1 a.m., John Was Not Amused, but I was (:)). Yesterday we were finally back to a double header – ringing and singing and we didn’t do half badly for not having had any rehearsals for two weeks. Afterwards, Nancy and I had lunch and caught up and of course it was lovely:)
When I arrived home, John was still asleep from his work the night before, but greeting me on my desk was this lovely sight:
Never let it be said that John isn’t a sweetheart.:)

Later that afternoon I heard that a mutual friend of ours is currently heading for a form of rehab to help with a problem that was turning into an addiction. I am so proud of this person and happy that the person’s family has been there for her. (I’m still waiting for the Betty Crocker clinic to take me in – har har – just kidding, no I’m not….) Other tough news during this past week was that another dear friend and colleague is battling heart disease. She had to have her aortic valve replaced in addition to triple bypass surgery. Then the valve didn’t work, so the surgeons had to go in AGAIN and in that process found a hole in her heart. Last I heard she was in the ICU, so please keep both these dear people in your thoughts and prayers! In good news this Olympian week, I want to send my sincere congratulations to our neighbor Canada, whose own Alexandre Bilodeau won a gold in the men’s moguls – the first Canadian to win a gold medal on Canadian soil. Just hearing O Canada play and every Canadian in the house singing at full lung capacity put us cynical, oh-so-bored-with-ourselves Americans to shame. Good for you, Mssr. Bilodeau! Your family raised you and your brother well and Canada is lucky to have you as one of their own! Plus you really do have a beautiful national anthem. I have been so blessed in the book department lately that I thought I should review two books I really enjoy (in addition to the plug for the Twisted-Stitch Knitting book above). The first I want to tell you about is Vogue Knitting’s Shawls and Wraps. Vogue is of course a Name in the fashion industry. This is a good jumping off point for those interested in knitting this type of garment. Wrap Style, put out by Interweave press is another book that does the same thing. There are all sorts of shawls/scarves shown – from lace to bulky cables to colorwork to beadwork and all are lovely. I’ve pictured some of the beautiful patterns to choose from in this book to give you an idea. There really is something for everyone. Another book I’d like to show you is 99 Yarns and Counting, More Designs from the Green Mountain Spinnery, is another lovely collection from the Green Mountain Spinnery Collective in Putney, Vt (my favorite state in the Union). With patterns for babies to adults, of garments covering you from head to toe, this book shows off the best in the Green Mountain Spinnery’s yarns. The patterns are classics, nothing particularly innovative, but they are all great. Another hearty recommendation from FSK, for what that’s worth:)
I also want to tell those of you who have been waiting for Veronik Avery’s St. Denis line to sprout – it hath sprung. A visit to one of my local yarn shops on Sunday put an end to my wondering. The yarn is lovely – and so is the first design offering – St. Denis Magazine No. 1 – Fall/Winter 2009. With an all-star cast from including (of course) Veronik Avery, Franklin Habit, Jared Flood, Ysolda Teague, Robin Melanson, Mary Jane Mucklestone, Carol Sulcoski, Laura Grutzeck and Pam Allen, how can you go wrong? I have a feeling this one will be a collector’s item and cannot wait to see the next one. Of course this has been around for a while, but what can I say – I don’t get out much:)
To catch up on the balance of my life, some of our kids were over last night along with two of the grandangels. We had a nice dinner and celebrated Valentine’s Day. I was also touched to have received yet more birthday gifts.
Well, that about catches us up, dear readers. Back as soon as I can. Until then, God be with you ’til we meet again.
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Igloo, Sweet Igloo!

As some of you may know, the Mid Atlantic coastal region of the US got a lovely little bit of snow dumped upon us this past week. These are the results of the first onslaught of snow:

And here is the result of the second “wave:”




Looks like we haven’t done an ounce of work, doesn’t it? But we’ve been shoveling on and off since Friday! I am so thankful that our electricity is working. Otherwise we’d be out of heat and telephone and shit outta luck as they say in my neck of the woods. Having a daughter who works for a supermarket chain doesn’t hurt, either. However, one worries – for the daughter who works at the aforesaid supermarket and for the other daughter who is a police and fire dispatcher and 911 operator and who does not have a 4WD vehicle and lives an hour from work. She had to work 24 hours straight – give or take the few hours she tried to sleep there – last weekend. I hope this time she got a ride home – but it all depends on whether other people make it in. The police in our area were getting help themselves -from the National Guard.

The good news is, the courts are closed, which means our office is closed, so I’m not going anywhere. We have plenty of food, heat, and water. And more importantly, plenty of vino:) I made sure of that during my one excursion yesterday onto the road before the proverbial hit the fan. (Hey – priorities!)
During the first blizzardly wave, John had to work and he of course ended up spending his entire weekend at the hotel. What can I say, it’s a tough job and he had to do it. There was actually a wedding reception there the second night! I dare that husband to forget his anniversary!

Of course, what can you do, stuck in the house with nothing to do? Hmmmmm… oh I know! Knitting! I actually finished three projects, one of which I haven’t even spoken or written about. I’m not sure why. Probably my shame about my yarn addiction, LOL:) I started this scarf when I had a lot of time between the dockets one day. I went to Michaels and got a skein of yarn and a circular needle and proceeded to cast on a lengthwise scarf. It was some time before Christmas, so I thought it might be a gift, and it did indeed turn out to be for Betsy, but I didn’t finish it until last night. I just did rows of seed stitch and tried a few drop stitch patterns and a few others I can’t remember, did Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off – which works extREMEly well for this kind of scarf – and then proceeded to block with the steam iron. The result was not half bad if I do say so myself.

I also finished the baby blanket for that friend of mine started by the mother of a choir friend (Donna) prior to Donna’s mom’s death in mid-December. I will post a couple of pictures here just to show you the kind of crocheting was needed. I finally figured that you have to COUNT to make sure you don’t keep adding or subtracting to your edges (DUH!). After a few rip backs, it finally started to look decent. A couple rows of single crochet around the edges and it finished OK, although probably not as long as it should have been. But I did use up the yarn, so I don’t feel too badly about that – and if this snow lets up, I’ll have it for the baby to use before she goes to her prom! (Please don’t look too closely – it’s clear Mrs. D’s gauge and mine were different – she was a far tighter crocheter than I will ever be, bless her precise heart! Now I know where Donna got her organizational ability:)) Seriously, though, it is a good feeling to know that a fellow fiberista has left this world with at least one UFO done:)
Finally, I was able to very quickly finish the owl vest – based upon Owls by Kate Davies. It’s funny, I had been knitting a sweater for S for months. I really liked the pattern, but it was what felt like yards of stockinette in a yarn I was not in love with and blunt-ish circular needle. I just hated knitting it. S would constantly ask about her sweater and I would feel sorta kinda bad about it. (Never mind the four things I am procrastinating on for D and M and R!) When it became apparent that the dye lots for the navy blue yarn were not matching, I was done. In contrast, this piece practically knitted itself! The pumpkin yarn was a color I never would knit for myself, but was fun to look at as it evolved. The pattern was terrific (the other pattern was, too, but the combo was a killer), and it kept my interest. For me that is the main thing. Give me colorwork, lace or cables any day over yards of stockinette or garter (sorry, EZ!).
So I finished it – done in 9 days – and only because I worked on the baby blankie from time to time also. Sleeves would have taken another few days, but seriously, this was a fun project and I heartily recommend it.
What makes the deal sweeter is that Ms. Davies is donating all of the proceeds until April 1st to aid for Haiti – and it’s only 1.5 British pounds (GBP – Great British Pound?? Used to be Pound sterling??) anyway, that’s only about $2.34 in American dollars and a litle more in Canadian dollars (or maybe less now – who knows?). Given that many patterns on ravelry are over $5.00, this one is a steal! I’m just embarrassed that I already had the pattern before she had to offer it for sale for a bunch of reasons. FWIW, I have given to Haitian relief through the purchase of a pattern for sale by a German designer and by one other means I won’t mention. Neither amounts were more than drops in the bucket – but if we put our drops together…. and now is the most critical time for the Haitian people to get assistance. Housing, sanitation, and of course health issues abound for the survivors.
As I was typing these words, the Maryland Courts website’s InfoLine posted that the Bawlmer County Circuit Court is closing for the next two days! So it looks like I’ve just gotten a full week off due to snow! A good thing, because were they to open tomorrow, I wouldn’t make it. The snow is continuing to inundate us -the wind is worse than it was the first go-round and it looks like it’s snowing sideways. Even the birds who graced the tree in the front yard, pecking away at the suet and birdseed put out for them, are hunkered down in some snow-covered bush to take cover!
Yesterday, I celebrated my birthday. I am now officially closer to 60 than to 50 (actually that really happened last year, didn’t it?) S baked me a cake from scratch. I confess it was soooo good! And the wine with dinner wasn’t too shabby, either. We all watched New Orleans celebrate their win at the SuperBowl. As a “Merliner” lo these 30 years, I must admit the thought of the Indianapolis Colts getting theirs didn’t hurt my feelings (oh how petty of me!), but I was especially glad to see the Saints win and “Nola” get another boost to the soul!
Thanks to great technology and electricity, we are all getting along:) and doing different activities – John’s watching a great 30-yr anniversary DVD of the French Connection. I’m on the computer typing this and the “girls” are hanging out in the kitchen talking. (B arrived home safely from Safeway as I was typing this.) I’ve been in touch with friends via phone and internet. Tom and Donna, Alison and Jim, and others have been without electricity and have been freezing. Luckily, they had theirs back on last I heard. Nancy and Rennie, after three days of freezing in a cold house off an unplowed street, spending more time shoveling than I’m sure they care to remember, finally (as their electricity came back) were able to take out their car and drive to the nearest hotel where they are now (thanks be to God) warm, clean and well fed. Our three who don’t live at home are hunkered down in their homes (at least their families are – have not yet heard from my 911 daughter). So we still have a great deal for which to be thankful. Even the Columbia Sip ‘n Knit is going to have a chat on Ravelry during what would have been our usual Wednesday night meeting time!
Well, I’m going to see if I can start a new project or work on one I’ve wanted to work on for a while. I may start two: the Snowdrop socks – latest in the Six-Sox KAL on Yahoo – and restart No. 17002 from Dale of Norway’s Best of Tuir. I realized that I needed to alternate my steek stitches when using two colors (OY!). That’s OK, now I know what to do and I’m psyched about restarting it. I’m using that sock yarn I posted at the top of my last post:)
Best to all of you dear readers, until next time, God be with you ’til we meet again!
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But had to take a break – if only to look longingly at this little bit of yarn calling my name from across the room.

I. must. resist.

Found this list on Grainee’s blog and Bianca’s Tuedelbuedel blog🙂 It’s funny, I thought I read a lot of American/English books (well…. sort of a lot) but was happy to find I’ve read a few deutsche Buecher also. The following are consider by (who knows) to be the 100 most beloved books by Germans. The boldface titles I’ve read (some in English and some in German). But after looking at this list, boy am I still ein Dummkopf!

1. Der Herr der Ringe, JRR Tolkien
2. Die Bibel
3. Die Säulen der Erde, Ken Follett not sure what the English title was, but probably not
4. Das Parfum, Patrick SĂĽskind
5. Der kleine Prinz, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (en Anglais et en Francais!)
6. Buddenbrooks, Thomas Mann
7. Der Medicus, Noah Gordon
8. Der Alchimist, Paulo Coelho
9. Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen, JK Rowling (Sorcerer’s stone, right? – Yeah)
10. Die Päpstin, Donna W. Cross
11. Tintenherz, Cornelia Funke
12. Feuer und Stein, Diana Gabaldon
13. Das Geisterhaus, Isabel Allende
14. Der Vorleser, Bernhard Schlink
15. Faust. Der Tragödie erster Teil, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
16. Der Schatten des Windes, Carlos Ruiz ZafĂłn
17. Stolz und Vorurteil, Jane Austen
18. Der Name der Rose, Umberto Eco
19. Illuminati, Dan Brown (What was the English title?)
20. Effi Briest, Theodor Fontane
21. Harry Potter und der Orden des Phönix, JK Rowling
22. Der Zauberberg, Thomas Mann
23. Vom Winde verweht, Margaret Mitchell (aber auf Englisch)
24. Siddharta, Hermann Hesse
25. Die Entdeckung des Himmels, Harry Mulisch
26. Die unendliche Geschichte, Michael Ende
27. Das verborgene Wort, Ulla Hahn
28. Die Asche meiner Mutter, Frank McCourt
29. Narziss und Goldmund, Hermann Hesse
30. Die Nebel von Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
31. Deutschstunde, Siegfried Lenz
32. Die Glut, Sándor Márai
33. Homo faber, Max Frisch
34. Die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit, Sten Nadolny
35. Die unerträgliche Leichtigkeit des Seins, Milan Kundera
36. Hundert Jahre Einsamkeit, Gabriel Garcia Márquez
37. Owen Meany, John Irving
38. Sofies Welt, Jostein Gaarder
39. Per Anhalter durch die Galaxis, Douglas Adams
40. Die Wand, Marlen Haushofer
41. Gottes Werk und Teufels Beitrag, John Irving
42. Die Liebe in den Zeiten der Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Márquez
43. Der Stechlin, Theodor Fontane
44. Der Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse
45. Wer die Nachtigall stört, Harper Lee
46. Joseph und seine BrĂĽder, Thomas Mann
47. Der Laden, Erwin Strittmatter
48. Die Blechtrommel, GĂĽnter Grass
49. Im Westen nichts Neues, Erich Maria Remarque
50. Der Schwarm, Frank Schätzing
51. Wie ein einziger Tag, Nicholas Sparks
52. Harry Potter und der Gefangene von Askaban, JK Rowling
53. Momo, Michael Ende
54. Jahrestage, Uwe Johnson
55. Traumfänger, Marlo Morgan
56. Der Fänger im Roggen, Jerome David Salinger
57. Sakrileg, Dan Brown
58. Krabat, Otfried PreuĂźler
59. Pippi Langstrumpf, Astrid Lindgren (ein von meinen Lieblinsbuecher)
60. WĂĽstenblume, Waris Dirie
61. Geh, wohin dein Herz dich trägt, Susanna Tamaro
62. Hannas Töchter, Marianne Fredriksson
63. Mittsommermord, Henning Mankell
64. Die RĂĽckkehr des Tanzlehrers, Henning Mankell
65. Das Hotel New Hampshire, John Irving
66. Krieg und Frieden, Leo N. Tolstoi
67. Das Glasperlenspiel, Hermann Hesse
68. Die Muschelsucher, Rosamunde Pilcher
69. Harry Potter und der Feuerkelch, JK Rowling
70. Tagebuch, Anne Frank
71. Salz auf unserer Haut, Benoite Groult
72. Jauche und Levkojen , Christine BrĂĽckner
73. Die Korrekturen, Jonathan Franzen (started it anyway)
74. Die weiĂźe Massai, Corinne Hofmann
75. Was ich liebte, Siri Hustvedt
76. Die dreizehn Leben des Käpt’n Blaubär, Walter Moers
77. Das Lächeln der Fortuna, Rebecca Gablé
78. Monsieur Ibrahim und die Blumen des Koran, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt
79. Winnetou, Karl May
80. Désirée, Annemarie Selinko
81. Nirgendwo in Afrika, Stefanie Zweig
82. Garp und wie er die Welt sah, John Irving
83. Die Sturmhöhe, Emily Brontë
84. P.S. Ich liebe Dich, Cecilia Ahern
85. 1984, George Orwell
86. Mondscheintarif, Ildiko von KĂĽrthy
87. Paula, Isabel Allende
88. Solange du da bist, Marc Levy
89. Es muss nicht immer Kaviar sein, Johannes Mario Simmel
90. Veronika beschlieĂźt zu sterben, Paulo Coelho
91. Der Chronist der Winde, Henning Mankell
92. Der Meister und Margarita, Michail Bulgakow
93. Schachnovelle, Stefan Zweig
94. Tadellöser & Wolff, Walter Kempowski
95. Anna Karenina, Leo N. Tolstoi
96. Schuld und SĂĽhne, Fjodor Dostojewski
97. Der Graf von Monte Christo, Alexandre Dumas
98. Der Puppenspieler, Tanja Kinkel
99. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
100. Rote Sonne, schwarzes Land, Barbara Wood

Yes, there’s been some knitting on S’s vest based on the Owls sweater and crocheting to finish that baby blankie. I have the WORST time keeping the rows straight with those zig-zaggy crochet patterns!

And, as you can see at right, when you change the yarn from chunky to worsted weight, you have to make some recalculations with the pattern- and keep measuring! Thankfully, the recipient is around from time to time:)
But I do like knitting this yarn – It’s a color I really enjoy, but would never wear myself – one of the many reasons to enjoy knitting for others:)!
Since I last posted, I’ve been busy, but having a lot of fun. Last week, Sally, Nancy and I went to PA to look through the sale music at Menchey’s and had a blast:) It was one funny crack up after another. I am so bad – making fun of the hymn titles! It was a lot of fun later, singing together with them in three-part harmony. Sally picks out some beautiful pieces – what a joy:)!
This past Sunday, we all (except D and C from DC) had dinner at D and D’s house out in Westminster. Got to see the grandgirls and the grandson and best of all did not have to cook.
We have been inundated with cold cold weather lately. Last night it snowed a few inches, but today it warmed up enough to melt quite a bit of it. And now it looks like even more snow this weekend. Can we say “SPRING?”
Well, I had to miss EfM tonight because work was calling, so…back to work – court tomorrow afternoon (colleague is covering the morning, but I have one hell of an afternoon- YIKES!)
God be with you ’till we meet again!
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