Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Tale of Vincent, Edgar Allan, and me...

...for your Halloween reading.

For the most part, I had a normal childhood. We kids went to school, our dad worked, and our mom stayed home. We ate dinner together every night and got together with our relatives for major events. Nothing too remarkable, except that major movies, and get a relative to take our little brother or take him with her (one kid was easier to handle than three).

Now this was the early 60s: you could leave kids at the movies then. And anyone could sit through a bunch of matinée movies without getting kicked out of the theater. That's when I fell in love with horror movies; I couldn't get enough of them! Maybe it was being exposed to death and funerals at an early age, but I found them only a little scary, but wonderfully entertaining. (And, no, I didn't have nightmares after them...)

Pumpkin 2001
We saw a "Brides of Dracula" and "The Leech Woman" double feature; and repeats of the Creature from the Black Lagoon movies and "Bride of Frankenstein." But the best movies were those based on Edgar Allan Poe material: "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Pit and the Pendulum," "Tales of Terror," and "The Raven" were my favorite movies.

Vincent Price and Peter Lorre became my favorite actors. If there was a Vincent Price or Peter Lorre movie playing at the theater, I'd ask to go. Any time one of their old movies came on TV, I'd watch. It didn't matter to me whether it was a horror movie as long as they were in it. As a result, I got to see some great movies, like the "Maltese Falcon," "Laura," "Arsenic and Old Lace," some classic horror movies like "House of Wax" and "The Fly," and some not so great ones ("Muscle Beach Party" anyone?).

Skeleton by Hallmark

When I could get to the library, I'd check-out books on the works of Poe. I also discovered that we owned some old literature text books at contained some of Poe's poems. I read many of them over and over again. There was something about their meter and the frequent macabre turns that appealed to me. What can I say...I was a strange kid. Eventually, I put Poe aside for other things, but I still watched every Vincent Price or Peter Lorre movie that I could.

My teenage years were a time of great turmoil and I did not feel comfortable with myself, much less with others. I took long walks at night, by myself, and lamented my sad life (, woe is me!). I started writing {bad} poetry with death, lost love, and loneliness being the main topics. I unearthed Poe's works again and memorized "The Raven" and "The Bells." I told everyone I wanted to become a mortician (I know!). (If I was growing up now, I might be all Goth...)

A Raven

Anyway, my pal Edgar Allan was there for me and my BFFs Vincent and Peter were there in movie form. They, with a little help from The Addams Family and The Munsters, got me through my teenage angst. Thankfully, I passed through the morbid stage and came out the other end a fairly sane person. (And, no, I did not become a mortician!) However, I never lost my fondness for Vincent Price or Edgar Allan Poe (I can still quote portions of The Raven and The Bells after all this time).

One of my greatest joys was to meet Vincent Price when he gave an art lecture at San Jose State in 1968. After the lecture, I went back stage and overcame my shyness enough to ask for an autograph. The only notebook I had with me contained sheet music paper. He was very kind, made a joke about my music notebook, and signed his autograph. The 10-year old me who sat through many Vincent Price movies would have never dreamed of meeting him, much less getting his autograph. How cool was that?!

So what better day to celebrate my best buds, Vincent and Edgar Allan?

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Getting my quilt-groove on...

...lately it's been all about knitting and spinning. My quilting (and other crafts) have been neglected. Occasionally, I'll pick up a cross stitch piece, but it no longer has the allure that it once did.

My quilting mojo was jump-started by Pacific international Quilt Festival. I had all that wonderful Christmas fabric calling my name and I succumbed on Saturday. I had a pretty good Idea what I wanted to do with it. (Pattern? I don't need no stinkin' pattern!) This is what I accomplished on Saturday afternoon:

Christmas Wall Hanging (in porcess)

I want to add one more border to make this wall hanging just a little bigger. However, I did not have enough of the color I want to use. So, that meant a quick trip to Eddie's Quilting Bee on Sunday. While it was nice to visit their new store, they didn't have much n the way of Christmas fabrics. Rats! Guess I'll have to make a midweek trip to The Granary (that will break my heart...LOL!) If they don't have what I want, then it's on-line shopping for me.

I also have a couple of other quilt things in mind, but they may have to wait until after the holidays. I have the Dia dle los Muertos quilt kit that I bought as festival...

Dia de los Muertos panel

...and this Laurel Burch Mermaid panel that I want to make into a wall hanging.

Laurel Burch Mermaid panel

The weekend wasn't all about quilting, though.

There was knitting: still doing the decreases on the Poppy socks. It took all of my will power not to wind the new Rockin' Sock Club yarn and cast on for more socks. I absolutely love this color! And the whole Raven thing? Well, let's just say I have a serious obsession about Edgar Allan Poe...

October Rockin' Sock Club: Lenore

There was also spinning: When Jane visited on Thursday, I used a Yarn Wench BFL called Splendor 2 to demonstrate spinning on a wheel. On Sunday, I spun up about a third of the 4.3 ounce roving in a slightly thicker single--I want to try for a worsted weight yarn.

Splendor single

The BFL has a different feel and it took me a while to get used to it, but I like spinning with it so far.

My plan this week is to continue with the Poppy socks and work on my secret Christmas projects. Onward!

Friday, October 26, 2007

October's last Eye Candy Friday...

...can you believe that November starts next Thursday?! Neither can I!

Rounding out our guava experience of the week, here are yellow cherry guavas:

Yellow Cherry Guava

And for you flower lovers, alstroemeria from a purchased bouquet.


I bought the bouquet to decorate our dinner table last night. We had a wonderful visit with my high school friend Jane and her husband Gordon. They've never been here before, so we gave them a tour of the house and the garden. And of course, I had to show her some of my stash and my spinning wheel, Sirena. I demonstrated spinning on the wheel and showed off my handspun yarn.

Jane brought her daughter's wedding album to share—they had a stellar photographer and the album was gorgeous (as was the bride!). We spent some time going through a few of my old pictures, talked about where we used to live, and (of course) our daughters.

For dinner, we got take-out from the Country Gourmet so we could enjoy our conversation. (I love Country Gourmet, but it's always really noisy...) Their visit was really too short, but they needed to rest up after their long drive from Oregon; they are on their way to LA as I write this.

Now that my house is clean (LOL!), I can catch up on some of my knitting and spinning. I'd really like to finish my Poppy socks this month so I can move onto the new Rockin' Sock Club installment that is arriving any day now!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

more from the garden...

...since I have no visible progress on my current projects. Oh, I've made progress; it's just that things don't look drastically different from the last pictures I posted.

Instead, here is a small part of our feijoa (pineapple guava) harvest...on the tree:

Feijoa Tree

and a closer look:

Ripe Feijoas

Tomorrow, my friend Jane will be here for a short visit, so I have to get ready for that. But, I'll be back for Eye Candy Friday!

Monday, October 22, 2007

well, that didn't go quite the way I planned it...

...I had my whole weekend mapped out. First I was going to get my house cleaned, organize my craft room and then do some spinning.

Saturday, I woke up at 5:30am feeling a bit stuffed up. This was not a big deal, it just meant I was uncomfortable lying down. I did a little reading and it was OK.

Since I needed to come up with better storage for my growing fiber stash, I went to the Container store and bought a few zippered fabric container. The longer I staying in the store, the worse I felt. After I bought my containers, I went to Borders to look for something to read...I started feeling achy and my stomach was upset. I headed home and had some soup, and some Airborne. I spent the rest of the day on the couch eating crackers and drinking carbonated stuff to try and settle my stomach. I was able to get some knitting done in the afternoon, but most of my Saturday plans went out the window.

Sunday I felt somewhat better. The Husband left for a long bike ride and I knew this would be my chance to mop the floors without him tracking in garden dirt. I attacked the bathrooms, the kitchen, and mopped all the floors. Yay! While they were drying, I moved my fiber stuff into the new containers and then I ran to the grocery store for dinner makings and stuff for the week. By the time I got back from the store, I was worn out. I planted myself on the couch to rest and knit some more.

Bottom line: no spinning was accomplished, but I did get the cuffs, heel flap, and heel turn done on the Poppy socks! They are starting to look like socks!

Poppy Socks progress

Yes, I got a lot done, but I could have done so much more! Weekends are never long enough as it is, so I hate wasting any of it being sick!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Eye Candy Friday from our garden...

...because showing you pictures of my knitting is kind of boring at this point! Instead you get to see flowers and fruit.

Freesias from our front yard:

Pink and White Freesias

Purple salvia in our back yard:

Purple Salvia

Remember the Pomegranate blossoms I showed you in June? Here are pictures of the fruit:



Our little pomegranate tree did itself proud this year!

As for my knitting, I am making progress. I started the heels for the Poppy socks and my Blue Moon project is coming along. They just don't look significantly different than the last pictures I posted!

Anyway, my plan this weekend is to clean my house and do a big of organization in my craft room. I'm getting overrun with spinning fiber and need to figure out a better way to store it. Once that's done, I want to spin a bit more of the Merino-Bombyx roving and get started on one of my quilting projects.

All I need is about another 8 hours in the day...then I might have enough time to work on my projects!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Go ahead, call me a slow knitter...'d be right! I'm still working on the cuffs for the Poppy socks. Very sloooowwww progress! I'm trying to work on my Blue Moon experiment project, too. (Not much progress there either.}

I've also been editing and adding photos to my vacation set on Flickr. Here's one that I added today:

John and the Cosmic Galaxy Egg

This is the Husband taking one of the Cosmic Galaxy Egg pictures at the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM). (Yes, we did visit other places, but the AVAM pictures are the most intriguing!)

That's all I've got right least this isn't a picture-less post! I wish there were more hours in a day; I need more time so I can finish something!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday Monday...

...came much too fast this week!

I finally made a decision on how to ply October Sky: I made a two-ply yarn. Here it is before its bath:

October Sky yarn

And the dime shot:

October Sky yarn, close-up

Yarn Wench Falkland Wool roving (4.1oz)

Color: October Sky
Spun and plied on Lendrum Folding wheel
2-ply yarn
Yield: 330.6 yards
Weight: 13 WPI, Between Sport and Medium (Worsted) weight

Just for comparison, here's a picture of the October sky this morning:

October Sky (10/15/2007)

I spent some time Saturday deciding on what handmade Christmas gifts I will make this year and who will receive them. Then, of course, I had to got shopping for the materials!

First, I went to The Granary to check out the Christmas fabric and discovered that Pacific International Quilt Festival was going on. I had totally spaced on the dates, so I'm glad I went fabric shopping! I bought a Christmas panel and a couple of fabrics that matched. I needed more fabric, but decided to see what I could find at the festival before going to any other quilt shops.

Next, I went to Purlescence Yarns for their birthday sale. I bought a couple of sale skeins, but I really wanted some purple roving. I bought two Chasing Rainbows rovings in the Heather colorway: one Merino-Bombyx and one Merino wool.

Chasing Rainbows roving

I started spinning them together when I got home:

Heather single

I had conveniently forgotten that I don't like spinning Merino as much as Falkland, so I decided to take my time on this project.

I also did a bit of knitting. I'm 4 rows from starting the heel on the Poppy socks. I also worked on a project using my Blue Moon handspun:

Blue Moon Project

I'm not sure what I'll do with this, but I wanted something on larger needles to swap out with the socks...

On Sunday, I went to the quilt festival. I took a few pictures of the fabulous quilts. I'm not much on the traditional quilts (Baltimore Album quilts all look the same to me after a while), but I definitely appreciate all the work that goes into each quilt. I found the additional fabrics that I needed for the Christmas project, plus a kit for a Dia de los Muertos wall quilt that I just had to have!

It was a wonderfully crafty weekend and I feel great!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Eye Candy Friday, Baltimore style

Cyburn Arboretum: Globe

This picture was taken at the Cylburn Arboretum in Baltimore, MD. This gazing ball sits on top of a metal arch at one end of the formal garden.

There are more photos on Flickr—click a picture in the badge on the right. I'm continuing to add pictures and write descriptions. Be will take a while!

Up this weekend: SPINNING! YAY!

Have a good one!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

home again...

...we made it back, but we're both very tired! The Husband is fighting a cold he picked up along the way, and I have a scratchy throat. Regardless, it feels good to be back in familiar surroundings.

The cats are a little jumpy--they're not quite sure what to make of us. They've had the run of the house for a week and we've invaded their territory!

I've caught up with the mail and laundry. I'm getting my stuff together to go back to work tomorrow. [sigh]

As promised, here are pictures of the socks I worked on during vacation. First up, the completed Summer of Love Lace socks from the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club:

Summer of Love Lace socks

And a close-up:

Summer of Love Lace socks, close-up

Here's an in-progress picture of the Petals Collection Poppy socks:

Poppy Socks in progress

The picture doesn't do justice to the rich color of this yarn, but you get an idea of what they look like. I have 3 more pattern repeats before I can start the heel.

So that's pretty good...two entries for Socktoberfest!

That's it for now. I'll be back with some Baltimore pictures on Eye Candy Friday.

Monday, October 08, 2007

last day in Baltimore...

...boy, that week went fast!

Some short knitting hits:
  • Finished the Summer of Love Lace socks...Yay!
  • Still working on the Poppy socks from the Petals Collection
  • Started a pair of Peek-a-boo mittens for the Daughter
I'll post pictures of knitting progress when I get home. The lighting in our room isn't that great and given some of the interesting residents in this neighborhood, I'm not taking pictures of these outside! If I'd planned better, I could have taken pictures of the finished socks when we went to the arboretum.

No souvenir yarn either. Today was the only day I had some extra time, and the two stores I wanted to go to are closed on Mondays. Rats!

I leave you with a picture from today's trip to the Cylburn Arboretum:

Cylburn: flower and bee
More pictures to follow when I get back to the real world.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Good morning, Baltimore...

...OK, so it's not morning in Baltimore right now, but I couldn't pass that up! (and I apologize if you now have that song going through your mind!)

So, here's some Baltimore Eye Candy Friday--a mirrored egg that is outside of the American Visionary Art Museum.

Mirrored egg--Visionary Art Museum

We didn't actually go in because part of the museum is closed for renovation.

We've been on the go since we got here. Yesterday we went to the aquarium and walked around Federal Hill. Today we drove to Annapolis and checked things out there. We have, of course, seen the Daughter's home and have had dinner with her both nights.

Some knitting has occurred, but I haven't finished anything yet. Also haven't found any yarn stores yet, but I have until Tuesday!

I leave you with a collage of Baltimore pictures...I'll post again if I get a chance.

Baltimore collage

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

leavin' on a jet plane...

...don't know when I'll be back again. I might be able to get a blog entry or two in while on vacation. We'll see. I'm partially packed, with a few stacks of clothes nearly ready to go in the suitcases. I decided to take the computer after all and just need to decide which computer bag to use. It looks like a small tornado landed in the room where I'm packing...

And just to keep things interesting, I joined Socktoberfest this morning! I figured as long as I was knitting socks this month, I might as well post pictures of them!

Here's the first one:

Summer of Love Lace socks

Well, that's it for now. See you on the other side!

Monday, October 01, 2007

It's October...

...and in two days, we'll be on our way to Baltimore to visit the Daughter! It will be a busy trip, but it will be good to see where she's been living for the past year.

This weekend was full of errands and some house cleaning. I didn't get as much done as I wanted to, but getting the remaining cat supplies and things for the trip were more important.

I only got about 15 minutes of spinning done and that was with the spindle. I've pretty much decided not to take a spindle because I don't think I'll have the time and I don't want anything to happen to my lovely spindles.

I did manage to cast on for the purple Poppy socks and get those ready to travel. I also prepped a couple of small cross stitch projects to take in case I got bored with knitting. (It happens...) While we watched the season premiere of Dexter last night, I worked on the foot of the Summer of Love Lace socks. I won't finish these before we leave, but I'll take them with me to finish on vacation.

I'm still undecided on taking my computer. The hotel has free Internet, so the issue is more of whether I want to haul my computer with me. In any case, I probably won't have a lot of time to blog, but you never know!

Since there really isn't anything new on the project front, here's another oldie-but-goodie project. In honor of October and Halloween, here is my Boo! quilt:

Boo! Halloween quilt
The pattern is Yellow Brick Road by Atkinson Designs. I love this pattern so much that I've made 2 quilts and 2 quilt tops out of it (not to mention a 3rd top that is cut and ready to sew).

I'll try and do another post tomorrow, but we'll see how that goes!

Eye Candy Friday...

...and I'm looking forward to the weekend! This week we harvested plums from one of our trees: Corncockles have sprouted up all o...