Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Leek and Potato Soup

Eeek! I've forgotten to post for some time.

After last night's soup and latke dinner, I've had some requests for my leek and potato soup recipe. Here it goes.

1 1/2 pound potatoes
2 leeks
4 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup half and half
pinch of nutmeg or 1/2 tsp of dill weed
salt and pepper to taste

Slice white and green parts of leeks into 1/2" rounds. Place in a colander rinse under cool water, separating the layers with your fingers. Leeks tend to have a lot of dirt and sand inside, so they must be well rinsed.

Peel potatoes and quarter.

Pour the broth into a large soup pot (at least 6 quarts). Add leeks, potatoes, and dill or nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn on heat to medium and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 40 minutes until potatoes are soft.

Remove soup from heat. With an immersion blender, puree the soup. Return to low heat and add the half and half. Stir until well incorporated. Serves 6.

Some tasty additions can be made to this soup to make it more hardy. Add 8 oz of cubed salmon fillet and place over low heat until cooked, 5-7 minutes. Shrimp also make a nice substitute. For a smokey flavor, garnish with a bit of smoked whitefish, smoked salmon, or crumbled bacon.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Jeremy Clark-Erskine Sentenced

Has the saga of this scoundrel finally come to an end? Jeremy Clark-Erskine was sentenced in Federal court in relation to his crimes out west last year. Will it be the end of this guy? I don't think so. He'll eventually be out, but this should slow him down in a few years. According to the FBI press release, which can be found here: http://www.justice.gov/usao/mt/pressreleases/20100927145224.html, Erskine is sentenced to:
  • Prison: 81 months
  • Special Assessment: $400
  • Restitution: $49,118.95
  • Supervised Release: 3 years
Now, this is good but I don't think this is great. That's not a whole lot of time compared to the grief he's caused, and if he does pay his fines and restitution I'd worry about the source. The best news in this sentence are that due to truth in sentencing laws, he's likely to actually serve about 7 years. Also very cool were details made known to me by the FBI. The first is that the judge was really pissed about Erskine's impersonation of an Army officer while committing his crimes. According to the official I spoke to, part of the judge's order was that Erskine has to write a him series of letters detailing the lives of actual war heroes who died for our country. The other cool thing is that when Erskine is done in Federal prison, Indiana still wants him on a number of other charges. So he's not going to be walking among us for some time.

For any law enforcement who might be reading this, I'd ask two more things. It's about his supervised release. His victims, past and present, deserve to know that he won't hurt people during his supervised release and that he actually is supervised for the three years the judge ordered. Please make sure that as part of his supervision that he does not have access to computers and that he is made to wear a GPS device. You know his history and how he commits his crimes. These measures will allow the public to have the three extra years of safety from this jerk.

Friday, September 24, 2010

199 skeins of sock yarn

Take one down! Pass it around!

It's that time of year again. Time for the fall yarn shows. Creek Yarn will be at two. The first is tomorrow and Sunday. The Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival is in Berryville, VA, and hour to an hour and a half from most of the DC area. This is a really cool show, and I'm doing it for the third year. Shenandoah has really expanded what they do. It's now a weekend of large and small fiber vendors, livestock sales, contests, demonstrations, classes, and food. Last year they even had a winery. Seriously, either day you go is going to be a good one. Take the drive.

Next weekend is Yarncon in Chicago, IL. This will be my first (and probably only) year at YarnCon. This small show is part of the hand made movement in Chicago and features small produces like me. If you're in Chicago, come out for it. Really. There will be lots of products there that you probably can't find in local yarn stores. Yet. Let's hope for some scouting from LYS's. Small hand dyers make some really great products that should be featured more in stores. Ask your LYS to send someone, and come with!

So here is is. The stock. That's 199 skeins of sock yarn that are coming with me to Shenandoah. There's some more that's note quite ready that will come with to YarnCon as well. Besides all the sock yarn you know, Rock Creek Yarn will be featuring some new colorways as well as the Silk Sock. Our laceweight selection is also expanded.

YarnCon will be our last show for 2010. The next time you'll (hopefully) see us is at Homespun Yarn Party next year, if it happens again. Make sure you show your support for that show, and offer to volunteer or sponsor it, if you can. It is another show dedicated to allowing small fiber producers to sell retail directly to the public. Shows like YarnCon and Homespun Yarn Party are really the bread and butter for us and allow us to be in business.

So what else for next year? Decisions. Rock Creek Yarn has to make a number of business decisions. First, I would like to expand into more local yarn stores outside the DC area. If you'd like to see Rock Creek Yarns in your store, please make the introduction between me and the owner. Second, I will start carrying things other than sock and lace yarn. Right now, The Yarn Spot in Wheaton, MD has a whole bunch of a kettle dyed DK silk/merino blend. Look for that direct from RockCreekYarn.com next year. Third, I'm working on learning to use my new drum carder to make art batts. Fourth, patterns; I'm days away from publishing two sock patterns with more to come. Lastly, a big decision regarding shows. I'll let you know about that one later.

Friday, September 17, 2010

New yarn: not just for socks

The fall shows are coming up in the next few weeks, and I've got new yarn. I'm calling it Silk Sock, but it's not just for socks. I'll prove it.
The new yarn is a 4 ply fingering weight blend of 50% superwash merino and 50% silk. That means it's very fancy, shiny, and drapey, but also machine washable. I thought that made it perfect for a cute little baby dress. So here it is. I'll have some of this yarn at the fall shows to see how things go, and then it will go up on the website.

P.S. This is a message about my excitement over new yarn. Nothing else.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

St. Brigid

At long last, I'm knitting Alice Starmore's St. Brigid. I'd intended that this summer be my Summer of Starmore, knitting this pattern , finishing my 3/4 done Rheingold wrap, and starting either my Luskentrye kit or perhaps even an Elizabeth of York. I love the Starmores' patterns, and it looks like my Summer of Starmore is likely to turn into an Autumn and possibly a Winter of Starmore.

The danger of the Starmores' knitting patterns is that they take longer than 6 weeks for me to knit. I knit fairly quickly, but these are time consuming projects. I cast on St Brigid on July 14 and have worked on it (nearly) monogamously for all the time since. The back and most of the sleeves are finished, but I've reached the six week mark.

This is a problem.

After six weeks of exposure to a project, I develop a dreadful disease. Perhaps you've experienced it? I call it Project Fatigue. If it's not done at the six week mark, and project is likely to get pitched to a dark corner with a promise to myself that I'll pick it up again. Of course, no project ever has another 6 week go in it, as it's a progressive disease. After I first develop...this allergy... to a project, further exposure to it causes the disease to return faster and faster.

Project Fatigue has claimed several projects. A few, like my Green Tea Raglan, got finished. Some have eventually been frogged. Others, like the Rheingold Wrap and my Oriole Lace Blouse, sit waiting for a treatment for my disease. Indeed, this disease has been such a burden to my knitting that it has prompted me to try to learn things to like cabling without a cable needle and the Yarn Harlot's method of cottage knitting. The cabling thing helped. I still have not mastered the Harlot's flying fingers, but I still study the videos.

So here it is. The back of St. Brigid.As you can see, it's a great Aran geansai. However, unlike the authentic Arans I was dressed in as a child, it will not be a hair shirt. I'm making this of Rowan Cashsoft Aran. It's on US 4 needles, so it's pretty dense and is intended to wind up as my new fall and spring jacket. If the disease does not get too bad.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Clark-Erskine's sentencing delayed

I received a message from an official involved in Jeremy Clark-Erskine's (Jocko Angus Abramovitch) federal case that the sentencing has been pushed back until September 8. This official was not able to talk about the specifics, but it appears that they found other things that Erskine was up to.

If you have any information that might be helpful in prosecuting this undesirable or even just his whereabouts from June, 2009 to January, 2010, please contact the Helena FBI field office at (406) 449-0195.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Hugs across the miles

I've been keeping this one to myself to savor for a couple of months. Actually, I'm so touched that when I think of the kindness of knitters, it still brings a tear to my eye.

A couple of months ago I got a surprise package in the mail. It included some do-dads from different places and an afghan. A very special knitted afghan.

It seems that after the loss of our son, my wonderful friends got together an knitted us a special blanket. This wasn't just one knitting group. It included girls from SNBWB, South Suburbs SnB, and other knitting friends who now live in Ohio, France, and Japan.It's so special that hugs are built in.

I'm just speechless everytime I see it. The outpouring of from people the last few months has been incredible. Knowing the amount of time and love these ladies put into a gift like this is so comforting. Special thanks to Knifty Red, AJS, Knitterary, French Kitten, Luciousluka, Llunar Llama, and Gurski who all knit parts of the afghan. Thanks. Just. Thanks.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A new adventure in the Bag o' Crap

What was it, three years ago that I swore off the Bag o' Crap yarn sales? This was after I got burned by the Cherry Tree Hill annual sales of Bags 'o Crap. After purchasing their yarn grab bags to expand my stash on the cheap, they sent me two really lousy ones in a row. By that I mean that I got 5 pounds or so of yarn made of shredded Muppets. I still have that yarn and now believe that I will eventually use it to make stuffed animals for children.

And then last week came an ad for 2.5 pound Bag's o' Crap from Dontbuynewyarn.com. They are an offshoot of Cherry Tree Hill. The bag was advertised to contain over a kilogram of discontinued Classic Elite yarn for $25. At the retail price of Classic Elite, I thought I'd only need something like three good skeins that I can actually use to get my money's worth. So I threw caution to the wind and ordered one.

Today my Classic Elite Bag o' Crap arrived.I am impressed. Really. I like more than half of this stuff. Not all of it is labeled, but I seem to have gotten:
  • Some patterns I am totally uninterested in.
  • Two skeins of Minnie. This can make a nice scarf.
  • Four skeins of LuLu. It sucks. Something had to.
  • Two skeins of something I cannot identify. It's at least aran weight and 8 or 10 plies of several colors. But it's soft.
  • Two skeins of a very springy 100% wool in a cream color. It says "Remateks" with the numbers 3238 and 7202. It's nice.
  • 4 skeins of what I believe to be Bubbles in two colors. Not bad.
  • Two skeins of BamBoo in pink. it's nice and I'll certainly do something with it.
  • Two skeins of Fame in different colors.
  • Two skeins of Classic Silk. This is the real highlight. I was already planning on getting more and doing a striped sweatshirt type thing out of it. Now I have a head start

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

International S n B

Early in my knitting career, I knitted with a great group of ladies in Wheaton, Illinois. This was even before I knitted with the girls in Tinley Park. Both groups, mind you, were made up of really great ladies, and I've remained friends with them even after moving away.

The Tinley Park groups is still fairly intact. However, the Wheaton group was flung to the four winds over the years. We're all over the place at this point. Except for last Sunday morning when we all shared the same space on the InterTubes.

On Sunday morning, the group met together on video chat. The Essing and Beeing took place with knitters signing in from three continents:

Merry Gentlemen from Maryland
Llunar Llama from the Chicago area
Theory of String from the Chicago area
French Kitten from rural France
ajs from Ohio
KnightthatsayKNIT from Misawa, Japan

Isn't technology grand?

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

At long last

Long before I ever learned to knit I had an affair with my one true love.

I was a potter. I had my own wheel and kilns and everything. Then tragedy struck. I royally messed up my left arm. What happened was a work related injury that robbed me of use of three of my fingers for a couple of years. Eventually, I had surgery that fixed the problem but by then I'd moved into a condo and was back in school. I didn't have time for pottery after my hand and arm recovered. Luck for me, my dad was kind enough to keep my equipment in his basement.

Last year I moved into this house that has a barn in the backyard that is perfect for a small pottery studio. In a flurry of excitement, I drove the truckster back and forth to Chicago twice to get all my stuff. However, I discovered that my wheel, which was already second or third hand when I got it, was in pretty bad shape. I couldn't start throwing. Then I got pregnant. My return to pottery was delayed for another year.

Until today! My brand new pottery wheel came today!The new wheel is on the left. My old one, which can still be used in a limited fashion, is on the right.

I'm so tickled. Look for this to become a place for yarn and mud induced mishegas.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Knitting while sick

Well, maybe not sick. I don't have a germ. What I have is a lot of stitches in my bum. I had a hemorrhoidectomy on Monday, and yes, that's as nasty as it sounds. In truth, the condition that prompted the surgery was nastier. Suffice it to say, the recovery is not nice. Some of it, however, is fun. They gave me percocet. This is a pretty strong pain killer that renders me basically inert. All I can really do on it is lay about and knit. Only knit. No purling. No fanciness. During my recovery, I've worked on and finished these:They're plain old socks done in Three Irish Girls Kells Merino Sport in the special colorway for The Yarn Spot in Wheaton, MD.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Maryland Sheep and Wool

The largest sheep and wool festival in the country took place again this weekend near Baltimore. I went for my third year as a shopper, and Rock Creek Yarn made it's first appearance at the legendary event.

I have to show my haul, because it was great.
I wish I got a better picture, but the sun moved and my ability to concentrate is severely limited today. I'll tell you about why tomorrow. Today is about yarn. What we have here is a mill bag of Noro Cash Iroha in a lovely blue/black. It was half price. I hadn't planned on getting a mill bag of anything, but the loveliness of this yarn really jumped out at me. The other two skeins are my own, my love, my Precious, my Koigu.

Did you see it? Rock Creek Yarn was there! I didn't have my own booth, but Jolene at Cloverhill Yarn Shop brought almost 50 skeins of my yarn to her booth and nearly sold out! I'm so tickled.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Knitting blog week day 7: What a yarn

There’s one love that we all share: yarn. Blog about a particular yarn you have used in the past or own in your stash, or perhaps one that you covet from afar. If it is a yarn you have used you could show the project that you used it for, perhaps writing a mini ‘review’. Perhaps, instead, you pine for the feel of the almost mythical qiviut? You could explore and research the raw material and manufacturing process if you were feeling investigative.


I lurve lurve lurver it. It's soft, it's springy, it's fluffy, it's incredibly colorful. It's almost divine. Almost.

Of course, I'm talking about Koigu KPPPM. If you don't know about this legendary yarn, it's a 2-ply superwash merino fingering weight. What I know if this yarn is that it's dyed in the Toronto, Canada area. I have a book here about hand dyeing that indicates that the yarn is dyed in 500 gram skeins that are then split up into the 50 gram skeins we now pay upwards of $14.00 each for. From the pictures of the parent skeins, they appear to me to be hand painted with dye.
I love Koigu. A lot of people love the texture but in my opinion similar springy texture can be found in many hand dyed yarns like Rock Creek Yarn's Twisterino. It's the colorways I love. They all seem to be works of art. The colors are stunning, ranging from incredibly intense to beautify muted. Where running occurs, it's done in a way that looks great. Lastly, the color repeats are usually pretty short, keeping pooling and striping to a minimum.

I've made two pairs of socks from Koigu. I love the yarn, but it's far from perfect. First, the owners of yarn stores seem to have problems getting it, and that probably is the reason for the exorbitant price. Secondly, it's a very tender fiber. I guess the texture sacrifices durability. The socks wear through fast. FAST. But they're soooo pretty.
Despite the drawbacks, I do keep at least two skeins in my stash and do careful planning for what my precious skeins of Koigu will grow up to be. In fact, I bought 2 more today to replace the skeins I just used to knit these:They're Roza's Socks by Grumperina. And yes, I did just knit these in another yarn. They were done in Magic Loop on size 1 needles, and I used almost all of two skeins of Koigu that the Amazing E bought me after a big fight early in our marriage. I'm really glad that we don't get in fights like that anymore, but I miss the make up yarn.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Kitting blog week day 6: Revisit a past F/O

Bring the fortune and life of a past finished project up to the present. Document the current state and use of an object you have knitted or crocheted, whether it is the hat your sister wears to school almost every day, or a pair of socks you wore until they were full of hole. Or maybe that jumper that your did just didn’t like that much…

Alas, it's my deepest knitting regret.
It's the Fair Isle Sleeve Sweater from Vogue Knits. It was a very early project for me, and it's beautiful. Except that I hate the collar edging. I hate the collar so much I've worn the sweater once, and have never gotten around to taking that horrible crochet edge off my beautiful sweater. That project was a huge undertaking for me and it languishes in a storage bag. All because of the lousy clown collar. Poor thing.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Knitting blog week day 5: Location, Location, Location

Where do you like to indulge in your craft? Is your favourite arm chair your little knitting cubby area, or do you prefer to ‘knit in public’? Do you liek to crochet in the great outdoors, perhaps, or knit in the bath, or at the pub?

Forgive me for my boring life. I get a lot of my knitting done in front of the tv. Besides that, it's generally when I'm waiting around somewhere like at the pharmacy, in line and the store, or in the doctor's office. It makes me feel as if my tome is not wasted. That's it. Nothing interesting.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Knitting blog week day 4: A new skill

Is there a skill related to your hobby that you hope to learn one day? maybe you’re a crocheter who’d also like to knit? Maybe you’d like to learn to knit continental, knit backwards, try cables or attempt stranded colourwork.

A couple of years ago, I got to knit sitting next to the Yarn Harlot. I'm a fast knitter, but this lady is phenomenal. She calls her technique "Irish Cottage Knitting." The lady knits like she's on fire. I asked her to slow down so I could watch, and I have studied this video. However, I have not been able to reproduce the technique. And I want to.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Knitting blog week day 3: One Great Knitter

Write about a knitter whose work (whether because of project choice, photography, styling, scale of projects, stash, etc) you enjoy. If they have an enjoyable blog, you might find it a good opportunity to send a smile their way.

It's shameless. It's my secret. And it's out of the bag.

I heart Knifty Red. There. Now you know. I have a knitter's crush on her. She knits the coolest stuff, is very prolific, and takes awesome pictures for her blog.

Jeremy Clark-Erskine pleads guilty in U.S. Federal Court

Not everything in this account of yesterday's hearing makes sense, but the original article can be found at http://www.keci.com/pages/6916769.php?contentType=4&contentId=6006706.

The United States Attorney’s Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula on April 27, 2010, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch, JEREMY CLARK-ERSKINE, a 36-year-old resident of Missoula and Indiana, pled guilty to forgery of a signature of a United States judge, false personation of a Social Security number, interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle, and aggravated identity theft. Sentencing has been set for July 21, 2010. He is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan R. Whittaker, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On August 11, 2009, CLARK-ERSKINE presented himself at the Montana Motor Vehicle Division in Missoula to obtain a Montana driver’s license in the name of Angus Jocko Ferguson. On the form, CLARK-ERSKINE falsely represented a social security account number as his own which he knew belonged to another individual.
The United States Attorney’s Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula on April 27, 2010, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch, JEREMY CLARK-ERSKINE, a 36-year-old resident of Missoula and Indiana, pled guilty to forgery of a signature of a United States judge, false personation of a Social Security number, interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle, and aggravated identity theft. Sentencing has been set for July 21, 2010. He is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan R. Whittaker, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On August 11, 2009, CLARK-ERSKINE presented himself at the Montana Motor Vehicle Division in Missoula to obtain a Montana driver’s license in the name of Angus Jocko Ferguson. On the form, CLARK-ERSKINE falsely represented a social security account number as his own which he knew belonged to another individual.
On September 6, 2009, presenting himself as a Captain in the United States Army, CLARK-ERSKINE, attempted to gain entry onto Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls. At the time, CLARK-ERSKINE was driving a vehicle which had been reported stolen by Enterprise Rent-A-Car out of Chicago, Illinois.
Pursuant to a federal search warrant, law enforcement searched the car and recovered numerous fraudulent documents. Two of the documents included an “Entry” and “Judgment” purporting to be from the United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana. The documents bore a false case number and both documents contained the forged signature of the Chief Judge of the Southern District of Indiana. CLARK-ERSKINE had forged the signature on the documents for the purpose of authenticating them to use to obtain a new social security number for “Angus Jocko Ferguson” to replace the original (and now compromised) number issued to him under the name Michael Bruce Lafferty, later changed to Finn J. UiNeill in an attempt to protect his identity.
From September 9, 2009, to January 6, 2010, CLARK-ERSKINE unlawfully transported from one state to another a stolen 2010 Ford Mustang. He rented the vehicle on September 9, 2009, from Hertz Rental Car in Missoula with a rental agreement contract which only covered a one-day rental. He did not return the vehicle on September 10, 2009, but instead drove it from Montana to California. On January 6, 2010, the vehicle was recovered from CLARK-ERSKINE in Culver City, California. The original Montana license plates on the vehicle had been replaced with stolen Washington state licenses plates.
CLARK-ERSKINE faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and at least 3 years supervised release. In addition, CLARK-ERSKINE faces an additional mandatory two year imprisonment, consecutive to any other sentence, for aggravated identity theft.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Knitting blog week day 2: An inspriational pattern

Blog about a pattern or project which you aspire to. Whether it happens to be because the skills needed are ones which you have not yet acquired, or just because it seems like a huge undertaking of time and dedication, most people feel they still have something to aspire to in their craft. If you don’t feel like you have any left of the mountain of learning yet to climb, say so!

This subject is based on the premise that knitting takes a lot of skill, and that one's skill level determines what kind of knitting you can or should do. It's unfortunate that there are knitters who propagate this myth. Knitting is a very simple process that does not take a lot of skill to accomplish. There are only two stitches in all of knitting: the knit and the purl. If a knitter can do these two things, she can reproduce any pattern. I don't think any knitter should ever look at a beautiful project and think she lacks the skills to do it. That's just an incorrect way of looking at the problem.

The issue that complicates knitting is time and concentration. Complicated patterns simply require more time and concentration to reproduce. Having to look at a pattern for every single stitch requires a lot of concentration and patience and adds a huge amount of time to a project. The more experience you have at reading and following patterns, the easier this gets. However, whatever the pattern, you're still just doing knits and purls. My advice is never to tell yourself that you don't know how to do something in knitting. Instead, when considering the difficulty of a pattern, be honest with yourself about how much or little fun it will be to have to read the pattern while you're knitting and compare it to how much you would actually like to knit the project. That will tell you if you can do it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Knitting blog week day 1: Staring out.

Today is day one of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week. Eskimimi Knits organized this week to help knitters share and discuss a number of yarny related subjects. As this blog purports to be about yarn induced mishegas, I feel the need to take part. Today's topic is how we got started with this obsession hobby.

How and when did you begin knitting/crocheting? was it a skill passed down through generations of your family, or something you learned from Knitting For Dummies? What or who made you pick up the needles/hook for the first time? Was it the celebrity knitting ‘trend’ or your great aunt Hilda?

I suppose my yarn issues began as the result of the perfect storm of all the mentioned factors. My grandma crocheted. A lot. And she had 5 granddaughters and attempted to teach us all the craft when we were small children. I believe three of us do still crochet. I will neither confirm nor deny whether I am one of the crocheters, but being around so many yarn fumes at a formative age definitely sowed the seeds of my current knitting vocation

As a result of grandma's encouragement to learn crafts, I have learned many. Just ask the Amazing E about that. I've got stuff for pottery, glass working, and yarn strewn about the house at all times. And that's just the crafts I do currently and regularly. It seems it was inevitable that I would eventually learn knitting. Knitting has a lot of benefits that my other crafts do not. It does not require expensive equipment nor indoor pyrotechnics to accomplish, for example.

I learned to knit on Christmas Day, 2004. Yep, all of my extensive knitting expertise has been acquired in the last 5 years. I learned from my sister, whom I will refer here to as "Cheeez." (She keeps rather anonymous on the Internet, and I'll respect that here.) Cheeez is a self-taught-from-a-book knitter. Anyway, Cheeez took me out to a LYS for the first time and helped me by my first nice yarn and pair of pointy sticks so I could make a scarf for my friend. Within a week, I had a scarf and a new hobby.

So thanks to my grandma and to Cheeez for getting me into yarn.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It turns out the answer was wool

You can't see in this picture, but the Amazing E was wearing very special socks. I gave him those blue ones I'd been working on.
He also gave me a kosher ketubah on our second wedding day last week on April 15, and I accepted it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

If the second anniversary is cotton...

What's the second wedding?

Elijah and I are getting married tomorrow. Yes, again. Our first wedding will always be our anniversary. It was the most lovely evening of my life, what with all the great food, music, and love going around. Our first wedding was everything I wanted my wedding to be. Almost. We had a Jewish wedding with a chuppah, a ketubah, seven blessings, and a broken glass. But for a technical reason it was not kosher. We knew that at the time. Our wedding was not binding in Jewish law. We were ready to commit to each other forever, but not ready to commit to a kosher life together.

Now we are. And tomorrow after morning minyan, our rabbi will marry us in a properly religious ceremony. It's such a good time to do this after just having lost our child and when we're about to start trying for another.

But I don't know what to get him.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Setting goals

I just feel the need. The need to commit to knitting goals for 2010. Why? Who knows. It's not like anything will happen if I throw them to the wind later and knit other stuff. But I feel the need.
This year, it is my goal to knit down my sock yarn stash and to knit my two Starmore kits. My sock yarn stash is not really that huge. (My personal sock yarn stash, that is. Technically, I have a nearly unlimited supply of sock yarn, but I'm not talking about that.) Knitting down the stash is really a moving target, since I am an infamous sock yarn impulse buyer. But I'm going to try to finish this year with almost no sock yarn left. There are good reasons. I started the year with almost no socks that did not have holes in them. My feet were cold last winter. I couldn't see my feet, but I know they were cold. That an the fact that I have sock yarn that's 4 years old that's been lonely and languishing in the stash. I should be fair and compassionate to that yarn and see that it grows up to be nice things. As for the Starmores, there is just no excuse for letting that stuff sit. It's a sin against knitting, and I intend to correct my ways.

I've gotten a good start on accomplishing the sock part of my goals. So far this year I've knit these:

This brown sock is the Pyroclastic Sock from Knitty.com in Panda Silk fingering weight. This guy is my generic top down sock done in Regia Bamboo. This is one of those poor yarns that languished in my stash for too long. I think it was in there for about four years, the poor thing. I should have knitted it sooner. Turns out that these are the most comfortable socks I own.
And this lovely thing is Roza's Socks in STR lightweight. I got the yarn last year from The Fold when they came to Maryland Sheep and Wool. This is currently my favorite sock pattern, and I'm making another pair in Koigu. Oooooooh. Koiguuuuuuu.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

The Queen of Not Finishing Anything

Back in the days of no posting, I was doing a lot of knitting. I feel like a have a very good reason for the discrepancy. I was very pregnant. Not that I know how they relate, but it's a good excuse. I will also use that reason as an excuse for many, many other things. Like never posting a roundup of 2009 knitting.

This knitter cannot claim to have really finished that many projects last year. I nearly finished a number of projects, and actually completed a few. As you will see later, the fact that I did not completely follow through on very many knitting related things last year might have been a good thing. At any rate, in 2009 I actually finished:

1. Icarus Shawl
2. Aeolian Shawl
3. Baby Cables and Big Ones Too
4. Crusoe socks in their second iteration
5. Hedera Socks
6. Channukah Challenge socks
7. A Baby Surprise Jacket for Mandy's baby
8. February Lady Sweater

These are not that many projects, and I'm a little disappointed in that. In addition to these, I worked on a number of baby projects. I did the greater part of a baby blanket, a diaper cover, a Baby Surprise Jacket, and a jumper based on the jacket pattern, but I didn't get any of them done. They are all nearly done, needing only a few more hours of work. However, none of them where actually finished and usable in time for Baruch's birth. In some ways, (and here's where the sadness that hangs over this house comes in) it might be a good thing. None of them were finished for him. So now I have to decide whether they belong to Baruch and should go into his box of things, or if they just belong to my babies in general and will be finished for another baby.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My life of danger

Some time ago I knitted E a pair of wool socks. I did it partially out of generosity toward my new husband, and partially to prove to him all the time and money I would be spending over the course of the rest of our natural lives producing hand knitted socks is worth it. Well, my plot worked. He loved his socks and even worked on behalf of all knitters to try to convert others to wearing handmade socks. Until he lost one.

Since the loss of his sock, he's been bugging the heck out of me over his lack of hand knit socks. He's even complained publicly about how I had not made him more socks. Until a couple of weeks ago when I cast on this:
So I finished the first of a pair of new wool socks made especially for the Amazing E. There are two reasons why I avoid knitting socks for him. The first is that I am a selfish knitter. The second reason is more relevant to my point here; my husband has ridiculous feet. He wears a size 8 EEE. In other words, he has short, wide feet. It takes a lot of yarn to cover them. But I did break out a skein of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock and knit him this sock and cast on the second.

Then today I realized something frightening. The unused half of the ball of yarn seemed light. Uh oh. I just went downstairs and weighed the finished sock. 48 grams. Yikes! I'll be cutting things pretty close.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Merry Gentlemen and the Amazing E versus Key West

Alright. So the title makes it sound way more exciting than it was. Last week E and I took a week long vacation to Key West, Florida. Reviving the time-tested tradition of going on holiday to recover from something bad seemed like a really good idea, and our friends and family agreed. So we got online and found a package we could afford, and off we went.

Key West is a great vacation spot. For real. Not only is it a chance to experience Caribbean Island life without a passport or anti-malarials, it seems to have some fun for everyone. There is beautiful blue water and some nice beaches on the southwest end...

Places of historical and literary significance...

And kosher sealife that can be enjoyed with or without swim fins.

(That's a Jewfish, BTW)

All in all, we got some much needed rest in a beautiful place.

Now, I'm sure some are asking the big question. Did it have yarn? Yes, it did have yarn. I knitted most of a Mingus sock while I was there. To bad I didn't get a Yarn Harlot-esque beach picture of that. There was one yarn store on the island, and I spent a whopping $40.00 there. One one skein. In my defense, it was souvenir yarn and it was Tilli Tomas Rock Star in an excellent shade of red. To bad don't have a picture of that, either.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Back to work

Life here is some how continuing. Everything feels wrong and weird. We were so outrageously happy just a little while ago and then yesterday we buried our son. It's been devastating. I mean, what do you do when you become parents, and there's no child in your home? Someone is missing in this house, but we can't do anything about it but keep up hope for the future and keep our marriage strong. Elijah and I are zombies, barely keeping thoughts in our heads long enough to act on them. Despite all this, we keep getting up in the morning and going about our days however slowly and ineffectively we manage to move forward. Elijah is going back to work on Thursday. I'm starting to go about some of my normal routines of daily living, and today I'm working on getting Rock Creek Yarn back up and running after taking the winter off. Working should be good for me.

Some cool things with the yarn are happening around here. I've got two new sock yarns to introduce. And Rock Creek Yarn has been accepted to the Homespun Yarn Party next month, and we've been invited to come to a vendor's booth at Maryland Sheep and Wool this year (so I better get moving on that paperwork). One day soon I'm going to have to take yarn pictures, so I'll likely also get my 2009 FO's up here as well. On a brighter, sunnier day.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Baruch Weisberg 2/10/10

Our son, Baruch was born Wednesday, February 10 at 9:13 pm. He had passed away inside me about 36 hours before, 5 days past his due date.

We discovered that our baby was dead the morning before at a routine doctor appointment. There was no warning or signs that anything was wrong. No test had ever indicated any problems. I had not even yet noticed that he'd stopped moving. When we were taken in for the appointment, they did the standard check for a heartbeat and did not find one. That was followed by an ultrasound confirming that his heart was not beating and that he was not moving. The results of the ultrasound indicated that he'd been gone for only a few hours. But it was clearly too late for emergency life saving measures.

At that time we were given the choice to wait a few days to absorb the news, or to go to the maternity ward straight away for labor induction. We chose to move forward immediately with the induction and were taken to a private suite to start the procedure. At that time we also called a few loved ones and asked them to inform our family and friends of what was happening.

I was admitted to the hospital right away and was prepared for the procedure of forcing my body into labor and childbirth. Elijah called the doula (private birth attendant) we'd hired to be with me through my entire labor, and she came to the hospital right away. I was given epidural anesthesia to numb me below my waist and the first round of medicine to start labor by early afternoon. Later in the afternoon I was started on stronger medicine to bring on contractions.

The labor progressed very slowly from my point of view, as it was not coming on through my body's own natural means. I also had an unpleasant but not dangerous reaction to one of the medicines I was given, but was switched to another. The doctors also gave me an antihistamine on a regular basis that made me drowsy and occasionally able to doze. I was not in any physical pain, but as the hours went by the situation became more and more emotionally painful for both me and Elijah as reality that we would not go home with a baby became real.

I have to say that we had great people working with us at the hospital. Ursula, our doula, stayed in the room with us and took turns with Elijah napping and sitting with me. The doctors and nurses changed every several hours, but were very kind, gentle, and concerned with keeping me as comfortable as possible. One doctor from the anesthesia department even came down just to visit us because he had lost a daughter under nearly identical circumstances three years ago. Our rabbi also came to visit us in the hospital to speak to us. Elijah was wonderful, even at the lowest times when we both thought that neither of could handle the protracted ordeal or the grief that would come later.

By Wednesday evening, we were exhausted. The medicine that is supposed to bring on childbirth was not working well, I had not eaten a meal in two days, and neither Elijah nor I had slept in any restful way. The doctors decided that they had to turn off that medicine for a while and then start again to see if it would work better after some rest. I also was feeling very strange and was in my exhausted state feeling confused over the fact that over half of my body was completely numb. At that time I also asked the doctors to turn off my anesthesia pump so I could regain sensation and control over my body.

Very shortly after stopping the medications, I started being able to feel and move my lower body again. Within two hours, I felt the need to start pushing the baby out. I guess at some point, my body needed to take over the birth process and had been rejecting the medicine. It took only about a half hour to bring the baby out. Besides coaching from the doula and hospital staff, I needed no more interventions. Baruch was born rather easily and with little discomfort, even though I did not have pain medication anymore.

When Baruch was born, the Navy Corpsman took him aside right away to clean him up while the doctors examined my body. I had come through the birth with basically no trauma or complication. It is expected that I will heal very quickly and be able to have another baby whenever Elijah and I want to. They had dressed him and put him in a blanket. The doctors had also examined him and learned that there was no sign of what had gone wrong. There was no visible injury or birth defect and no sign that anything had gone wrong with the umbilical cord.

After my exam was over, they brought the back to us and told us we'd had a son. Elijah and I immediately named him Baruch (Bah - rook), which means "blessing" in Hebrew. It had not been the planned name for a baby, as we had wanted to honor our families had the baby been born alive.. In the nine months he lived with us, he brought such joy to our lives and enriched our marriage in ways we cannot begin to express. We chose to honor him with the name.

Our son was beautiful and perfect. He was born 7 lbs, 11 oz, a normal full term weight for a baby. He had a little silky black hair, and very fair skin. He also looked shockingly like his daddy, with a few facial features that resembled me. We spent about an hour with him, looking him over, touching him, and telling him we loved in and were sorry he could not come home with us. After that, we asked them to take him away and told him goodbye. Pictures were taken. However, we do not know if we will be releasing any for viewing because Baruch experienced lividity after death that made his face appear badly bruised.

I was released from the hospital at my request 12 hours after the birth so we could rest in our own home. Given how well my body fared in the birth, my request was honored without reservation. So we are at home now.
Elijah and I are experiencing grief that we hadn't imagined existed. To us, we lost a living child whom we'd gotten to know and expected to meet any second up until the moment we learned of his death.

I would like to publicly thank several people for their help. First, Elijah, I love you. Thank you for being such a source of love an support throughout my pregnancy and the birth. Ursula, our doula, who provided months of education before the birth and unwavering support and comfort during the most difficult time of my life. The doctors, nurses, and staff at National Naval Medical Center who provided the highest quality of care to us with utmost compassion. The entire maternity staff at the hospital whom paid our son the respect of witnessing his birth regardless of whether we were their patients. Thanks to Rabbi Landman and the HTAA congregation for their chesed during this difficult time. Finally, thank you to our little son, Baruch, for blessing our lives and marriage for nine months. We love you so much and will think of you always.


MB a E

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Stash Organization

Perhaps it was because we've been in the house for a year and the stash got spread out in bits and balls of yarn all over the place. Perhaps I was nesting. Either way, I felt the need to gather, organize, and put away my stash this week. So I went around searching in closets, under sofas, in rarely used tote bags, and even in the truckster looking for my yarn.

Somehow I'm shocked at the amount of yarn I own. That's it. Right here. Two biggish totes and a small cardboard box. AND THAT'S IT! Well, I do have two pairs of socks, a baby blanket, and a jumper based on Alice Zimmerman's Baby Surprise jacket in progress that are not shown here. But everything else is right in these containers. Somehow I'm surprised that my stash has become so meager. What surprises me even more is that only a bit more than half of the volume of this yarn is actually good stuff.

The tote on the left is actually nice yarn. It's stuff I cherish, made of the loveliest wools, linens, alpacas, and such. The tote on the right, however, is filled with stuff I barely want to admit I have. Now, there are remnants of nice yarns in there. But none of the balls is really enough to use for anything. Then there's the skanky yarn like Lion Brand stuff and gobs of single ply silk that I Kool-Aid dyed some years ago. I don't know why I can't let go of this yarn, but I can't. Lastly is the utterly weird. Most of that yarn came in the Cherry Tree Hill Bag O' Crap sales, and includes gigantic hanks of loopy mohair, eye searing pink chenille, and yarn I'm certain was made from the hides of dead Muppets. These yarns I keep because I have a suspicion that someday I'll have a six-year-old who wishes to have toys or scarves that will horrify the yarn snob in me, but that I will knit with glee. Lastly is the small cardboard box. I've had it for a year, and have not started the Luskentyre sweater inside. I'm just waiting for my chance to dive in to that one, believe me.

So now I'm wondering, how did my stash come to this? A three or four cubic feet of nice yarn, and a big bin of crap? Have I become a low stasher by accident? Or is this something more insidious?

Thursday, January 07, 2010

PSA for law enforcement and the victims of Jeremy Clark-Erskine

For knitting related readers, sorry I haven't updated here in a long time. I'm sure you want to see progress on the Chick and knitting. Somehow being in my third trimester has just sucked away my desire to do anything but sleep and sort through layette items. Rest assured, I've been knitting and will post 2009 FO's soon enough.

For law enforcement, government agencies, victims, and friends concerned with the fate of the Scoundrel, Jeremy Clark-Erskine, I have just received a message originating with the city of Culver City, CA. It appears Erskine was arrested and is in custody there. If you know of any outstanding complaints against this guy or warrants for his arrest anywhere in the US, please call the police in Culver City at 310 837-1221. As for the Culver City officials taking care of him, I don't think anyone ever looked into how he obtained a drivers license in Kenosha, WI back in 2006. He was arrested with it in Jasper,AB. I expect that it was obtained with false documents. Perhaps this is considered a serious crime. I can provide more particulars if needed.

If someone knows anything about the arrest and can share details, I'm curious. Please contact me through the blog or email an interested citizen cuchulain1973@yahoo.com. That person forwards information to me.