Sunday, March 30, 2008

Road Trip

I'm leaving home today to travel about five hours north for a week-long server configuration class. I hope to be a certified über-geek by Thursday afternoon when the class ends, and I'm very excited.

I'll be away from home for six days, so there was some packing to do. When it was all done, I stepped back and took a look. Then I had a good laugh and dug out my camera

I can't be the only one who does this.

My bags, from left to right:
Purple bag: Books and a throw blanket (I get cold easily, what can I say)
Suitcase: Clothes and toiletries.
Blue laptop bag: Laptop, iPod, camera, DVD's
Green striped bag (notice that it's the biggest one): knitting.

I think I've got five WIPs in there, but I'm not positive. This is what happens when my husband isn't home to ask me why I'm taking that.

At least I know I won't get bored!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Package Arrives

My friend Anna is a blogger as well. She's a wonderful writer, and she blogs much more consistently than I do. I aspire to blog as well as she does, but for now I do what I can. To celebrate her 100th blog post, Anna had a contest on her blog a few weeks ago, and the prize was a fabulous bag that she'd made.

I was astonished when I read that I'd won, absolutely floored. I can't remember the last thing I won. I never win things like this. I don't win raffles, I don't win door prizes... well, not until now. I gasped so loud when I read that I'd won that my husband came into the office to be sure I hadn't hurt myself.

When I got home from work yesterday, there was a box sitting on my front porch. When I saw that it was covered in paperwork, I knew what it was. I did a little excited dance, brought it inside and borrowed my husband's pocket knife.

Duct Tape
Duct tape really does hold the world together.

Cards... I love cards

This cat has it all. That collar he's wearing has a fish on it.

Oooooh, pretty.

That purple ribbon you see? It's this lovely textured crinkly paper tape. The magpie in me insists that I must keep it forever. It's too pretty to just recycle it.

This is the front with the top tied down...

...and this is the top untied and opened.

There's a little pouch in front.

Hey, there's something in it!


There's an itty bitty notebook, perfect for noting down where you stopped in a pattern, and there's also a bookmark. It's got some wool on it from a breed of sheep originating in Gotland. I read a lot, this bookmark has come to the right place.

Are those knitting needles?

Why yes, yes they are.

This yarn... I swoon before it's loveliness. Anna tells me it is dyed in Landskrona, about 50 kilometers from where she lives, by a company called Vikan (We Can). The dyelots are very small, only 1 kilo of yarn per batch. That means that there are only 4 other hanks of yarn just like this one. It's very soft and the color is semi-solid.

There's also a pair of 6 mm bamboo needles from Garnstudio. Light and warm and brightly polished, and they make me want to cast on right now.

Zippered pocket.

There's a small zippered pocket in the back, and the fabric the bag is lined with is a great match for the rest.

Adjustable strap.

Oh my...

It's a beautiful bag. All the little details are there, and I can't wait to pack a little knitting project into it and take it out to show it off.

Anna, thank you so very much. Your craft skills are superb, you color sense is outstanding, and your generosity is humbling.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I'm It?

EssJay tagged me with a meme (link provided for people like me who had to look it up). It's a little blog-virus type thing. Thankfully for me, it's pretty short, 'cause I left my coffee sitting on the counter on my way out the door this morning!

The Rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book of 123 or more pages.
Defiant Gardens: Making Gardens in Wartime by Kenneth L Helphand

2. Open the book to page 123 and find the fifth sentence:
There were committees for kitchens, canteens, finance, sanitation, education, entertainment, mail delivery, and sports.

3. Post the next three sentences.
Sports played a major role, as they did in all POW situations. Football (soccer) clubs formed the very first week, and in winter the prisoners flooded the fields for skating. Ketchum called sports, along with theater and music, the "salvation" of prisoners.

4. Tag five people.
This was actually the trickiest bit, because a few of my blogging friends have been tagged already. So some of these tags are to people who need to blog more (as if I have any right to point that out):
brownishcoat, ekittie, moirae knitting, Mojo Knittin' and The Knitting Defective.... you're it!

In other news, I'm only an inch away from starting the decreases on my Notre Dame de Grace Sweater. I'd really like to get these done soon so I can move on to the next bit. They're getting a bit unruly, what with needing to keep two balls of yarn separate and keeping the tails contained. As Elizabeth Zimmerman wrote, "Press on!"

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Au Revoir

Lazare Ponticelli died today. At 110 years old, he was the last surviving poilu in France.

He went to France from Italy when he was nine years old. In 1914, when he was only 16, he lied about his age and enlisted in the French Foreign Legion.

I do not know for certain where he served, but I know that his passing brings us one step closer to a time when there will be no more living veterans of La Grande Guerre. The world will be a poorer place.

There will be no more living reminders of the trenches in western Europe, of the villages which literally disappeared beneath artillery bombardments which lasted for days. Of the gardens that the soldiers of all the armies planted to try to bring some beauty back into their lives. Who will remind us of these things when everyone who lived through them is gone?

Will we forget? Have we already forgotten? Sometimes I think that we have. After all, the same divisions which exploded in 1914 are still with us today. Rampant nationalism, ethnic and religious differences blown out of all proportion, economies which stagger every time the wind blows, middle and lower classes who feel squeezed and threatened from all sides.

I have no answers to my questions. They make me feel sad and frustrated, they make it difficult to sleep sometimes. All I have is hope, which is a strange thing for a cynic to say. Hope, and a determination not to forget.

Mr. Ponticelli recently agreed to being given a state funeral "in the name of all those who died, men and women."

I wish I could be there.

Au revoir M. Ponticelli. J'espère que le monde n'oublie pas vos sacrifices et votre courage.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Now Then

Where was I?

Oh yeah, I was knitting a sweater. More precisely I was re-knitting the sleeves of the Notre Dame de Grace.

I am pleased and proud to announce that last night at knit night I got the sleeves back to the point I was when I realized I was knitting the wrong size. They're about 16 inches long now, and I want to double-check the measurements of my actual arms to make sure they won't turn out too long.

In the meantime, some WIP pics:

Wow, my coffee table's actually clean!


Double Moss Stitch

More Double Moss

I was really fighting my camera the day I took those last two photos. Get the stitch detail right and I washed out the color. Come a little closer on the color, l lost the detail.

Maybe it'll look better if you squint?

Have I rhapsodized about this yarn enough? It's scrummy. Everybody wants to stroke it and pet it and take it home. Well, they can't, 'cause it's mine-mine-mine-all-mine!

Oh dear, my greedy is showing again...