Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Monday, October 30, 2006

Sheep's Clothing

As you can see from the passenger window, Saturday morning was a perfect day for a jaunt to Sheep's Clothing, a 75 minute drive to Valparaiso from my house. Elizabeth drove her MIL, Michelle, Vicki and I to that mecca I consider to be my LYS. I suppose it's a good thing that the shop is not closer - I would be spending all the grocery money.

Paula, the owner of Sheep's Clothing (left in photo), posed with two of her knowledgeable staffers, Sue and Tracey.

In case you haven't been, this shop has four rooms filled to the rafters with yarn. There is a large section with all the books - and I mean all the books (the photo shows just a few).

Another section has a huge array of patterns. A third room holds a big selection of needles and notions - and more yarn. A fourth room serves as a small classroom for maybe eight students - even more yarn is stored there, too. (A larger classroom is located in another part of the

Elizabeth and her MIL checked out the button selection in one picture. You can catch a glimpse of Elizabeth's spectacular cardi - she spun the yarn for it!

I was also happy to spot fellow guild member Bettye G. enhancing her stash. Since neither of us attend our guild's official meetings any longer (problem with location), it was especially delightful to see her again.

We spent several hours browsing there and at "La Beada Loca", a bead shop located across the small parking lot. If you make the trip, there are several interesting restaurants within walking distance.

Sheep's Clothing offers 10% off with your guild membership card. It is located at 257 Indiana Ave in Valparaiso. The hours (Central time) are:
M-F 10 - 5:30
Thu 10 - 9:00 (open late! Yaay!)
Sat 10 - 3
Closed Sunday.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Yep, finished object with porch, off topic (see post below):

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Doghouse

Okay, it's a cat house, but I was afraid to put it in the title slot for fear of the clientele it would draw! Anyhow, Clickety-Clack Ewe took a brief hiatus from knitting to put this together for two feral cats, Tux and Light Mama. The house came in three flat packages from RTA Woodworking in Ontario, Canada, where Pierre Desjardins and his family make such wonderful houses for outdoor pets. RTA's workmanship is truly impressive. Mr. Desjardins also made a great custom sign with the cats' names on it, which will be placed over the door when the last of the work is done.

The house is built on a raised insulated platform, and its walls and roof are also insulated. The door is cut to the side to allow for more warmth inside. Clickety-Clack Ewe also cut a grommeted hole in the back to allow for plugging in a vet pad. The pad, covered in sheepskin, heats to the temperature of a cat's body when the cat beds down.

The door is a stiff plexiglass swinging affair. Clickety-Clack Ewe intends to install a more lightweight temporary panel (a length of clear plastic bag) this afternoon. It will remain for a few weeks to get the cats to get used to going in and out. It seems that they don't know how to enter the house yet.

There is also a covered porch. The floor of the porch is visible in the photo, but the roof, support posts and flashing will not be attached until the house is in exactly the right spot. (We'll need to fiddle around with placement in a few days, when we also install a separate plywood platform to shelter the food and water supply.) BTW, there is knitting in this project: two knitted mice (Vicki Mikulak's pattern), filled with catnip to entice Tux and Light Mama inside.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Frost on Pumpkin

Yikes! It started to snow lightly this morning. I stuck my hand with camera outside the front door and quickly took this picture - too cold (36 degrees) to linger with the door open for a second shot. The fine snow isn't visible in the picture, it remains to be seen whether it sticks. At this rate, all the Trick-o-Treaters next week would be well advised to pick Yeti as their persona...

Anyhow, the snow in the air makes me want to spin some fiber.

I had a wonderful time at E's knitting/spinning party on Saturday. While I was there, Vicki gave me a thorough lesson on using a spindle, as I had groused that to her I hadn't been getting the hang of it. I had spun for years on a spindle as a kid, and I couldn't understand why I wasn't just resuming where I left off: muscle memory and all that. I was actually beginning to worry about a neurological lapse...

Well, it turns out that my big problem was that I was trying to spin upside down! NO! Not me upside down - the spindle. As a kid, I had used a bottom-whorl spindle, and the one I bought recently was a top-whorl spindle. Well dontcha know that things are spinning along fine now, and with a little practice drafting, I'll return to my childhood.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The 48 Things You Could Care Less About Meme

The Akamai Knitter egged me on....

1. FIRST NAME? Jessica (Jess, Jessi)

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? About two weeks ago, immediately after I turned down a dream job in Washington DC.
4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Not on the shopping list when I'm scribbling, but I like it well enough for letter-writing. I print like a draftsperson.
5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? Does prosciutto count? Otherwise, hard salami. Yum!
6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Yep, I'm a straightforward, loyal and loving friend. I don't make friends very easily, though.
7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? That would be my blog....
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? I do, but I squeaked by with 'em. As a kid, I always had tonsillitis.
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? No way in hell! But If you asked me ten years ago, the answer would be different.
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Cocoa Krispies or Sugar Smacks (but I eat oatmeal).
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? No, I skootch out of them by scraping the back of each heel with the other foot. But then I untie them to put them back on. Odd, huh?
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? You betcha. My sister calls me "Popeye."
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? Chocolate! Chocolate! Ultimate fave was the unfairly discontinued Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Cherry Garcia. But I've been eating Edy's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough lately and liking it. I could write paragraphs on this subject.

14. SHOE SIZE? 8.5. Sometimes a 9. Hey! If I wear a 10, I won't have to bother with untying shoes at all!
15. RED OR PINK? Pink, but not that candy pink made from carmine or vermilion pigments - the more subtle pinky-brown made with burnt sienna.

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? My belly. There's too much of it. (See q 13.)
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? I miss my mother the most. She died in 2000.

19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Brown Jeans, brown T, pinky-brown shirt, brown flats.

20. LAST THING YOU ATE? Chicken Korma.
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? A cat is snoring in my lap, and my husband's phone is ringing.

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? From the 96-crayon box, Pacific Blue.
23. FAVORITE SMELL? Pine or Eucalyptus after rain.
24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? My neighbor across the street, who called to thank me for the baby sweater DD delivered yesterday.
26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON you stole THIS from? Found it first on Opal's site, and then Bonne Marie's. I'm not sure whose blog I stole it from (and I certainly can't remember where they got it), but I like both Bonne and Opal very much.

27. FAVORITE DRINK? Scotch. Sometimes a Cosmopolitan.
28. FAVORITE SPORT? Baseball in the summer, hockey in the winter. TO WATCH. I hate playing team sports (see q 16...).

29. EYE COLOR? Hazel.
30. HAT SIZE? 22-3/8. I don't know why on earth I know this.
31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Glasses. I have at least dozen pair of reading glasses, and can never find any of them.
32. FAVORITE FOOD? Boring but true: Dark chocolate.
33. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Happy endings! Scary movies are on my top ten list of things NOT fun to do, along with bowling.
35. SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer, if I must choose one of those. Actually, spring is my favorite.
36. HUGS OR KISSES? Well, both.
37. FAVORITE DESSERT? Opera cake.
38. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Only a few people who read this page ever grace me with comments...
39. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Everybody else.
40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War by Michael Isikoff and David Corn; The World of Gerard Mercator by Andrew Taylor.

41. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? A mouse. Oh! -Printed on the mouse pad? A jellyfish from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? Nada - I took DD to DD's boyfriend's hockey game.

43. FAVORITE SOUNDS? Bells - Church bells, cat-toy bells, sleigh bells, temple bells, open-the-general-store-door bells, Thai language because it sounds like bells, Tinkerbells.
45. THE FURTHEST YOU'VE BEEN FROM HOME? Liechtenstein, I think.
46. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? Music, though I squander it. I am a very good advocate, too.
47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? California

48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? I commandeered it from a friend's blog (see q 26).

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Wee Aran FO

The wee Aran jacket for Baby L is finished. It's knitted, seamed, and the inevitable cat hair picked out with a tweezer for better aesthetics - and in case the kid is allergic. It was washed (now dry), and the buttons sewn on.

Clickety-Clack Ewe just needs to make a suitable gift tag. The new, expensive all-in-one printer, that memory hog with all the bells and whistles, doesn't like good card stock, and it's picky about regular paper, too. Arrrggggghhhh!

The pattern is from the Debbie Bliss book pictured. The pattern was not knit before having to revise it (full dilemma here).

Can you imagine the jacket even wider than it is? I reduced the circumference of the sweater by more than 2-1/2 inches. Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure the kid is going to swim in it.

Ah well, so be it. Better too big than too small, don't you agree? It will probably fit him perfectly next August.... maybe his parents will consider an Alaska cruise or a trip to the Yukon next summer.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Road Trip

We took a family drive on Sunday. DD promised to be absolutely bored, but she wants to go again next week!

I took a few pictures to share. We found more exquisite color in the roadside stands than by the roadside this week, but there was still some respectable peeping.

Have you seen so many pumpkins? These were piled up past the window sills at a farm market.

We stopped in Holland to gawk at the windmill.

I even convinced DH to drive to the LYS in downtown Holland, but alas, it was closed.

What the heck does this have to do with knitting? Well, while we were on the highway, I knit, of course, but I thought you'd enjoy these shots more than the tangle in my lap.

We drove until sunset and then headed home, filled with the beauty of the day.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Haven't ventured into the dyepot for my wool yet, but my friends Vicki and Bonne Marie are both inspiring me! Vicki posted some great tips on dyeing in the guild newsletter, and I got to have a first-hand look at some of her results. Beautiful! And you can see Bonne Marie's blog here.

I did dye DD's hair yesterday with KoolAid, a beautiful color combination of Black Cherry, Cherry and Tropical Fruit Punch. For 75 cents, it looks fab-u-lous, plus she smells like Carmen Miranda

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Knitting Class

I headed to Valparaiso last week to attend a knitting class at my favorite yarn shop, Sheep's Clothing. I consider Sheep's Clothing my LYS, even though it's 75 miles away from me. There are several shops here around town, but they quite limited.

I took pictures of Sheeps Clothing to share, but I neglected to change the camera batteries, so the shots were useless. The picture you see on the left is what I was actually seeing in the viewfinder - only I thought it was me, not the camera. Life was so much easier before I needed reading glasses! I don't generally take the time to haul them out to take digital pictures. I just frame and shoot because ostensibly the camera does the focusing. Oh well. Now I have a good excuse to go back to Sheep's Clothing and take my credit card.... er - that is, take more pictures.

The four hour class on Celtic Cables was taught by Fiona Ellis, and I was happy to meet her. I found Fiona to be charming and funny. The class description stated that we would learn to design Celtic cables. What we actually did was make a swatch. However, graph paper was included in each class folder. If we finished our swatch, we were encouraged to design our own Celtic cables in the time remaining. Several of us actually completed our swatches with a few minutes of class time left over, but most did not.

Fiona gave a Power Point presentation after class. I considered her tales about the inspiration for the projects in her book to be the best part of the afternoon. The book, "Inspired Cable Knits" was priced at $35.00. We can find knitting books priced at a discount elsewhere, but I usually buy at the knitting shop because it helps support the shop. I relish new books. However, this one was just too steep for me -even with an autograph.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Roads Not Traveled

I was formally offered a position in Washington DC late last week, and this morning I formally turned it down. It is a wonderful job. It would have been perfect for me, and I would have been able to make a significant contribution for the employer. But the constraints of family made it too difficult to make it happen. I'm sad about it.

The Aran sweater for Baby L is about 70% finished. Especially today, I will hold close the credo of Elizabeth Zimmerman, the matriarch of knitting: "Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises."

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

String 'em up

The Pacific Northwest shawl is next on the wash/block hit parade. This one (by Evelyn A Clark, with Omaghi Filati Merino Oro) was made in the early spring.

I wore Pacific Northwest a lot this summer, and it showed. It didn't seem to be very dirty, but it had a big distorted YO and two snags to fix - the result of wearing it to too many rough-and-tumble fiber festivals this season.

Pacfic Northwest was also blocked using the string method. A couple more of these blocking sessions, and I'm seriously going to consider making myself a big vertical dressing surface with gingham and insulation board. I have a commercial blocking board which works fine for sweaters and bittier things, but it's too small for these lacy babies. There's entirely too much crawling on the floor of the basement for my taste - and my knees - to get these shawls blocked in nice neat lines. I wind up getting knotted up before the job is perfect, and then I'm not as happy with the result.

Not bad though, eh?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Blocking Party

I wrote earlier that (when I'm good, about every other year) I wash and block the spring/summer items in the fall and get the winter things ready to wear again. Many of the items haven't been pictured here yet, so as I get to those, I"ll share...

The first item to get a bath is the Flower Basket shawl (Fiber Trends, Evelyn A. Clark, Lorna's Laces). It was blocked after washing by running some crochet cotton through the points on the edges and along the back, then pulling the strings taut. More stretch was added for the points by pinning the string back.

I had help.

And I had even more help trying to get a shot of the dry shawl...

So I got a shot of it on a different chair (yep, another helper in the upper left corner).