Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Sale Week!

I'm getting ready for the sale today. It goes all week and is always lots of fun! If you want a laugh, go listen to the pitch Guido gave the sale on his podcast. All I did was give him a sale notice and ask him to mention it. The Monster Truck Rally style promo is all Guido and, yes, it's a hoot! I'm going to go listen to it right now to get myself in the mood.
Then, I'm off to start putting signs in the window and cleaning up around here! I hope to see you all this week to get your 25% off.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day everyone! My thoughts go out to all who have served our country both past and present.
For those of you who don’t know, I used to be a middle school band director. When you are a band director, Memorial Day is not a day off. It is the day that your band plays in the Memorial Day Parade. It was always a good bit of work to get my students ready for the parade and not something I really looked forward to. Trying to teach a bunch of 11-14 year-olds how to march is an exercise in futility. I mostly just settled for them staying together in a group and playing well.
The parade itself was usually a pretty good time. My kids always seemed to catch the mood and play their little hearts out. One year especially stands out in my memory. It was theyear of the 50th anniversary of the Normandy invasion. It was also the only year that it actually rained. I made the kids show up anyway (the parade is rain or shine) because, in New England, just because it is raining, doesn’t mean it actually will keep raining. Well, it kept raining. I told the woodwind players that they didn’t have to march since their instruments would get ruined but the brass and the drummers still had to. At that point, the kids began to whine. I got them all in a huddle and reminded them that the people who have fought in our military have had to march in weather far worse than this, occasionally with someone shooting at them. The least we could do to honor all these people was to march and play for them. And you know what? Those kids rose to the occasion. The woodwind players even insisted on marching along without their instruments. I was never prouder.

What do I do with myself on Memorial Day now? Plant my tomatoes! This year I had some help from my nephews. Darien and I went to Pemberton Farms and got tomatoes and manure as well as some flowers and a pot for Darien to have as his own. He was so proud to have his own flowers

and did a very good job helping to plant them.

Then we got going on the tomatoes. Getting the bed ready was quite a lot of work. Someone forgot to clean up her tomato bed for winter though we aren’t naming any names. Well, we got the bed all cleaned up and weeded.

Here is Darien raking in some manure. And then we planted the tomatoes.

I got some fun heirloom varieties. We’ll see how they turn out. I even found some lettuce seeds and planted those. Kasey came out and performed one of the year’s most dreaded chores. He got the hose out! Our hose is hugely long and has to run from the front of the house where the faucet is, around the bulkhead doors, though the fence and under the back stairs, to the back of the house where the garden is.

Kasey, here showing us his man muscles, performed this task without a whimper or a whine! He is my hero!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Comings and Goings

This week we have some hellos and some goodbyes.
Meet Rosie

and Tallie.

These two lovely girls are my houseguests for the weekend. Their mommy is out of town and so I get to hang around with these cute faces for the next few days! Tallie is a great happy-go-lucky dog and Rosie is one of those dogs that always strikes me as a little person in a dog suit.

Our sad but, hopefully, short lived goodbye is to longtime regular Anne. Anne’s student visa has run out and she has to return to Martinique for a while. We are hoping that she will be able to come back real soon!

Today’s UFO is a really Hall of Shamer. This is the yarn to knit an afghan for my cousin’s wedding. When did they get married? Almost two years ago! It is going to have a scene of a boat sailing a moonlit sea at night.

Notice that the yarn is all dyed and the chart is almost done and I’ve actually knit a gauge for it. Yet, here it sits. Hopefully, listing it on the blog will get me going on it!

Hope everyone is having a lovely Memorial Day Weekend!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Charlie on the MTA

I had another story to add about my trip home on Tuesday. In South Station, I heard a woman asking how to get to Porter Square. I turned around and told her that I was heading directly there and she was welcome to follow me. It was cheerful, young Japanese woman who was trying to get home from her first day of work. We negotiated the Charlie Pass thing and got on the train. I was a little surprised that she seemed to be sticking to me like glue. Usually, you help someone to find the right train and that’s it. As we began chatting, I told her why the new card things were called Charlie Passes. If you don’t know, there’s a folk song called ‘Charlie on the MTA’ about this guy who gets on the T and somehow never gets off it. He apparently ends up riding the subway for the rest of his life. She started laughing when she heard this and said to me “I am Charlie!!” Come to find out, this poor girl had left work at Copley, been to Newburyport and back then somehow gotten over to the airport and finally got a bus back to South Station! All this in the process of trying to get back to Acton… and she still had a smile on her face!! I would have been sobbing hysterically on the shoulder of some unfortunate T employee hours earlier! What’s she doing? Laughing to herself while she puts the Charlie Pass in her bag to save and telling me how she’s going to write about her adventures in her journal. You really have to admire people! Anyway, I left her at Porter Commuter Rail with a Fitchburg/Acton schedule in her hand. If I hadn’t had such a splitting headache, I probably would have rented Zipcar at that point and driven her home. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in any shape to drive anyone anywhere. One way or another, I’m fairly confident she got home okay.

Three more items of news:

I finished the green sweater repair! I was considering washing it just to block the new collar and cuffs a bit. I asked the guy how he was washing it and he said he’d never washed it before. I reacted with something really professional like “Eeewww!” and then told him I was going to gave it The Big Washing. It looks (and smells!) much better now. Hopefully, he’ll be by to pick it up today.

Also, congratulations to Arianna on the purchase of her first spinning wheel! She bought an Ashford Joy. Have a great time with your new toy, Arianna!

Finally, don't forget I'm having my big sale next week. Check my website for all the details!

More UFOs to come. Am I procrastinating? Perhaps.....

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Gone Down the Cape

Yesterday, I took the bus down to Barnstable to see one of my best friends from junior high! My friends Jessica, Michelle and I were pretty much inseparable in Junior High. In high school, we all went our separate ways. Jess moved to the Cape and Michelle and I just drifted apart. A few years ago, Michelle found me through the shop and last spring, she took it into her head to track down Jess! Amazingly, when Michelle called Jess’ folks, Jess was actually there even though she lives in CA. Jessica’s parents have a greenhouse business in Osterville and she takes the month of May off every year to help them with their busy season. Last year, Jess was able to come up here and we all spent the day together but this year, she was too busy. Consequently, I went there and spent the day hanging out with Jess and working at the greenhouse!

They even let me drive the golf cart!

Here are Jessica's folks Joe and Kathy (who I haven't seen since I was 15) in one of their twelve greenhouses! They are just as wonderful as they ever were!

It was great fun! Unfortunately, between the bus ride and working outdoors all day (and, of course, running around like crazy all day Monday as well) I’m exhausted! You know when you are so tired that you know that you’re not firing on all cylinders but can’t really do anything about it? I’m there. Fortunately, I’m finally (FINALLY!) getting ahead of all the stuff I have to do and might just relax and do some (very simple) knitting.

BTW, here’s the UFO I tried to post about the other day when the picture wouldn’t upload. It is most of the body of a cotton cardigan that I didn’t only abandon mid-project but actually mid-row. I can’t say its chances are that good of getting picked up again anytime soon. I don’t think I’ll rip it out though. I still like it and will (probably) finish it some time.

News Flash for the Knit-Out: We have a confirmed date: Sunday, September 24, 2006. The other breaking news is the state has accepted our Articles of Incorporation! We are now, officially, Boston Knit-Out and Crochet Too, Inc.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Zen and Creepy Crawlies

I just got back from a Boston Knit-Out meeting. Thanks to everyone who came! You are a great bunch and it is a pleasure working with you!

For those of you who don’t know, I practice Zen Buddhism. I’m a member of the Cambridge Zen Center, which is part of the Kwan Um School of Zen. One of the things Buddhists like to do is go on retreat. Retreats in my school can be anywhere from one day to three months long. I did a one-day retreat Sunday up at the Open Meadow Zen Group in Lexington. This is a new group that was started up by one of the guiding teachers at CZC. He has a place up there and he’s converted the barn into a little Zen center.
The dharma room it is light and sunny with lots of birds singing in the trees. It is really an inspiring place to sit. I forgot my camera or I’d have gotten some pictures. Maybe next time.
In our school, we don’t sit right through for hours at a time. We sit for about 30 minutes then walk around the dharma room for 10 minutes. It is interesting to translate what you were doing sitting into motion. It also gives the blood a chance to run back into your legs. That’s one of the things I like about this school. They are realistic about what the average person can be expected to do physically.
A lot of retreats also include a long walk. Mark (the Zen Master)’s land is right next to preserve land so the OMZG takes its long walks there. I was a little leery about this. I am one of those people that bugs just LOVE. I have always maintained that it is because I am juicy and delicious. I’m the one that you want to take camping with you because I’ll attract the bugs to me and they’ll leave everyone else alone. I also have a fear of ticks. I asked Mark about this and he assured me that the paths were nice and wide and that we weren’t going to be walking through a lot of tall grass. Feeling confident, I, of course, wore the worst possible pants I could have, all wide legged and floppy. This was a mistake. Over the course of the walk, I managed to pick up not one but three ticks!! I didn’t find the last one until it had actually started to bite me! Fortunately, they were wood ticks and not deer ticks but even so. Gnnnaahhhh! It took a lot of the fun out of the retreat and I felt distinctly un-Buddhist when I was killing the little bastards. I don’t really like killing bugs but if you are going to bite me and then suck my blood, you’re pretty much getting what’s coming to you. BTW, I'm the only one that got ticks on me. I am the juiciest tidbit after all. Or maybe they just smelled the fear.

I would put another UFO but I can't seem to get blogger to upload pictures today. Maybe tomorrow. Happy knitting!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Surprise Baby-sitting

I may not have any children of my own but that hasn’t stopped me from making quite a career of borrowing other people’s children. Saturday night, the mother of one of my favorite borrowees called to say that she and her boyfriend were headed out to a really fancy dinner with his family and her childcare had fallen through. Could I baby-sit? But, of course!
That is how my friend Meret ended up spending the evening!

As is the Auntie’s prerogative, I bought the child an ice cream cone.

Which seemed like a good idea,



not so much.

Not to worry, Meret settled down, we read Russell the Sheep and then she had a nice nap on the couch until mommy got back. All’s well that ends well!

I have at least four more UFO’s to report. I found them all when I was reorganizing the scrap yarn area. I’ll have pictures soon.

Friday, May 19, 2006

A Woman and Her Wastebaskets

Just so there is no question, here are Doria's feelings on the wastebasket issue:

Small wastebasket bad.

Big wastebasket good!

Today's UFO is a lace scarf for the Cambridge Zen Center's annual fundraiser. I got the fiber at last year's NH Sheep and Wool Festival. Last year, I found myself being overcome by the urge to spin lace. Being a fan of the fleece, I began looking a merino fleeces. Merino needs a careful hand when being prepared to spin. It can be time consuming with the danger of felting along the way. Merino fleeces have been known to felt sitting on the shelf minding their own business. Fortunately, I came to my senses and bought 2 oz. of merino/baby camel down blend instead of a 5 lb. merino fleece. Spinning it over the summer was just enough to get the laceweight bug out of my system.

Like most lace projects, its doesn't look like much until blocked. I'll be sure to do another post about blocking it. For the curious, that pattern is Fiber Trends Estonian Garden Wrap & Scarf. If you have questions about any of my projects, be sure to ask me in the comments. I'm glad to give more details!

Tomorrow, more UFOs! That's right, I'm not done (not even close).

Have a good weekend and happy knitting everyone!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Slow Dayz in the Shop

The shop has been quite slow lately which is good and bad. The bad part is, obviously, that I don’t make as much money. The good part is that I get a chance to clean up, get organized and catch up on email and paperwork. I’m president of the Boston Knit Out and Crochet Too again this year and the mad emailing has already begun! It is actually a good thing that the shop is slower in the summer or I’d never have time to do it all.
So, today, being Thursday, is Doria Day. My friend Doria, storyteller, knitter and writer extraordinaire, comes over here once a week to whup my sorry butt into shape. She is an amazing organizer and a true enemy of culch. I am fairly disorganized and suffer from culch as a genetic disorder. Doria and I have conversations like the following on a regular basis:

Doria-“This area would be much neater if you had a larger wastebasket.”
Lucy-“Probably, but, if I were a better person, I’d empty this wastebasket more often.”
Doria-“Yes, but we both know that you’re not going to do that.”

And then she gets me a bigger wastebasket and takes away the one I had. Doria is the reason that the magazines are in nice magazine racks and stands, that I have not one, but two pencil cups on the counter and that most of my yarn sample cards are in their appropriate folder. She’ll be here by 1pm. Hmm, I’d better go empty the recycling.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Driving Mr. Darien

Believe it or not, the sun is actually out today! For those who’ve been keeping up with the Etsy site, I’ll be able to post some more sock yarn now that I can go outside and take pictures of it!
I was even able to get out for a short bike ride with my little nephew Darien!

Probably the best $250 I ever spent was getting this Trail-a-bike so that we could ride together. He just loves it and is always excited to go for a ride. The first time we went out last summer, we rode down the bike path. All along the way, he yelled to anyone walking by “My Auntie Lucy bought me a bike!!” This kid is not an introvert! I tried to explain that they really didn’t care that much but it didn’t stop him.
Sometimes he goes off into his own little world while we’re riding. Every so often, I’ll here things like “I’m Spiderman!” or “This is my motorcycle!” If it’s his motorcycle, I guess that would make me the engine. The really funny part is that if we ride anymore than about a mile I start hearing “Are we there yet?” from the back of the bike!
I wouldn’t recommend getting the Trail-a-bike for any kid younger than four because their legs can be a little short to reach the pedals. This makes them rock back and forth to pedal which makes steering a real trick. Thanks goodness Darien’s legs are a little longer than they were last year! All in all, even with a taller kid, this can be a bit like driving an eighteen-wheeler. Fortunately, people yield to us a lot of the time when we’re riding which is a huge help!

Today’s UFO is a little sweater for my new niece who’s due in late July. Because it will be summer, I’ve substituted Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy for the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino. I’m very pleased with the result! I have the back, the left front and about half the right front done. Posting UFO’s has been good for me. So far I’ve finished up the socks for my chiropractor and the scarf from the newsletter. I’ll post pictures another day. Meanwhile, happy knitting and enjoy our short reprieve from the rain!

Monday, May 15, 2006

NH Sheep & Wool or Noah's Flood with fleece!

We had a great day at the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival in spite of the torrential rain.
Here is our group ready to set out.

From left to right: Alasdair, Silvia (Guido's mom), Katie and Amanda. Guido is kneeling and Jarrett is seated.

Thank goodness Jarrett drove. I would have had a very hard time with the rain.
When we got there, we saw this,

and this.

But inside there was fleece!

More fleece.

Big wall-o-fleece!

People weren’t just looking at fleece.
They were talking about fleece.

And, of course, spinning fleece.

There was more there than just fleece, of course.
Here’s Katie picking up a few things.

I had to include this booth because it was just so beautiful. There was so much more like this that it can make your head spin (so to speak, hee, hee).

I also saw a beautiful and extremely appropriate felted wall hanging.

Some of the extremely cool people I ran into along the way were:


Ken owns Dorchester Farms. If you are looking for a really great angora bunny, Ken’s your man.

Marcie owns the Elegant Ewe and is going to be helping us out with the 2006 Boston Knit Out and Crochet Too.

Mary (yes, that's me with Mary)

Mary owns Elihu Farm and most of the fleece pictures are her fleeces. If you want excellent fleece, check her out the Mass. Sheep and Wool Festival. I’m pretty sure Ken will be there too. Not so sure about Marcie.
My mission to get fleece was extremely successful. I bought two very dark fleeces and one light oatmeal colored fleece. With the help of Jarrett and Katie, my trusty fleece sherpas, I got them to the Zeilinger booth and sent them off to get washed and carded into roving. Of course, I forgot to get pictures of them. You’ll be able to see them as roving when they get back here sometime in August.
Here are some sheep pictures for Melissa (Balissa, I made sure to give all the sheep your regards!)
Little sheep

Medium sheep
Big sheep
The big sheep was for sale (it may not look that big but, let me tell you, it was the size of a beached whale)! There was a number to call and everything. If only I could figure out a way to convince the City of Cambridge it was just a big dog.
Ah, so much fleece, so many friends and when I got home…

More fleece!

No wait, that’s my dog.

Every time I take her picture, she seems to think she's naughty so they all look like this!

Miss Maggie is going to need some shearing herself soon (just waiting for warmer weather) and, no, I’m not going to spin it.

Wow! That took a while to post! Hope you enjoyed it!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there!
I thought I'd take this opportunity to tell you a little about my mom.

It has taken me a long time to figure out my mother. Actually, there’s still a lot I’m figuring out. One of the things that I’m sure of though, is that my mom can be a laugh riot. She doesn’t think of herself as funny which is amazing to me! Let me share a few “Mom-isms” and I’ll let you judge for yourself:
~When I was a kid, we never, ever had leftovers. That doesn’t mean that we threw out the food that was left from various meals. It was just billed as “Meals of the Week in Revue”.
~One night, we’d have succotash and squash with supper. The next night, mom would combine what was left of each into “succa-gush”.
~A close friend came out to me a few years ago and, when I shared this with my mother, her reaction was “Hey, happens to the best of us”.
~She has also coined a term that has come into general use among my friends and family. It is “culch”. You know what culch is. It’s that pile of stuff on the kitchen table, in the back of the closet, or next to the couch. Anytime a pile of stuff begins to take on a personality of its own, you’ve discovered culch!
~Later in life, mom developed lactose intolerance. One of the ways she figured this out was that fact that she began experiencing what she described as “career compromising flatulence”.

Some other things about my mom:
When we were kids, my mother always answered even our stupidest adolescent questions with the straight story. No euphemisms or misinformation from mom! A lot of these conversations ended with us yelling things like “Ugh! Gross! Mom, don’t tell us anymore!”

Mom was cool when it counted! One day, I thought it would be a good idea to take my flute apart. I mean completely apart. Dad had some tiny screwdrivers that I made very good use of. While the flute was laid out on the dining room table in its many pieces, mom happened to walk through the room. I heard her gasp a little bit but she just kept walking. I asked her a few years ago what she was thinking when she saw that. She said she figured if she had a fit, I wouldn’t be able to get the flute back together but if she left me alone, I’d probably fix it. She did the same thing when she went outside to find one of my sisters at the top of a tree. She figured if she yelled, my sister would fall so she just turned around and went back in the house. I got the flute back together and my sister never climbed a tree she didn’t successfully get herself down from. Good call, mom!

I’m sure you’ll be hearing much more about mom in the future. There are a whole bunch of Mom-isms that I can’t remember right now but I’ll be sure to post them as they come to me.
Like most daughters, my relationship with my mother can sometimes be rocky but when all is said and done, I admire her a great deal and feel very fortunate to have her as my mom.

Tomorrow, the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival or Noah’s Flood, with fleece!