Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Pause for Thanks

Normally, I’m not all that keen on Thanksgiving. I don’t particularly like turkey and I just can see the point in cooking all day so everyone can eat too much and end up beached on the couch or floor for the evening. 

But this year is different. I am exceedingly grateful to serve up a complete turkey dinner to both of my parents. This will be their first outing since my mother broke her hip in September. I’ve cleared the furniture to make room for my mother’s wheelchair and my father’s walker and I promise to sweep up all the dust bunnies before they arrive. And I’ve planned the best dinner ever! Last week I ordered a complete Thanksgiving dinner from Trattoria on Pearl, a Boulder restaurant owned by the parents of kids that have been in school with my boys since kindergarten. They delivered (yes, I didn’t even have to leave the house) the full dinner late yesterday: a 12-pound turkey soaked in an herb and spice brine, stuffing, sweet potato gratin, mashed potatoes, green beans in balsamic-shallot butter, gravy, homemade cranberry sauce, homemade bread, and pumpkin crème caramel. All I have to do it put the turkey in the oven 3½ hours before I plan to serve, then add the other dishes to the oven at specific times so that it all turns out warm and ready at the same time! I’m still chuckling at my cleverness.

And to celebrate this season of thanks, dear readers, I’m hosting a raffle for the Ann Budd book of your choice. All you have to do is tell me which of my books you’d like and why (the “why” part is essential). Please, only one entry per person per title, but you can enter for each title you'd like. Check out my website to see a complete list of my books. I’ll draw a name and announce the lucky winner Wednesday, December 1, 2010. May you all be spoiled brats!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Why I’m a Spoiled Brat #12

As some of you know, I had to cancel my first trip to SOAR (Spin-Off Autumn Retreat; sponsored by SpinOff Magazine) this October because my parents were not doing well health-wise. Being a new spinner, I was disappointed to miss out on all the friendship, lessons, fiber, and tools that I’m sure I would have brought home with me.
But my friend Sarah (who I was to room with) just gave me a surprise souvenir of  several ounces of a luxurious blend of Polwarth (?) and silk as well as an adorable little crocheted bag decorated with llamas. Now think about this—I finked out on sharing a room with Sarah and she came back with gifts! The balance is definitely tipped in my favor on this one.
I don’t know when I’ll get to spinning the fiber—I’m dreadfully behind on my editing work—but in the meantime, I‘ve got the bag on my desk and smile whenever I look at it.  

Monday, November 15, 2010

Back to Knitting

Thank you all for your concern and good wishes for my parents. My father gets to go home today (after the better part of four weeks in the hospital!). My mother is holding steady in the health care center. I am knitting again. Here's a photo I took of them on my father's 89th birthday last February (I knitted that sweater for him in 1980 and he still wears it almost every day in the winter).

I spent last weekend at the Knitter’s Review Knitting Retreat (in western MA), hosted by the Clara Parkes herself. I taught a morning class on cast-on techniques, and afternoon class on bind-off techniques, and another morning class on the mathematics of knitting (which really should have been named “Intro to Sweater Design”). I had been nervous because I hadn’t spent much time prepping for the classes, but they went well. I did some serious yarn shopping, too. There were booths for Quince & Company, Foxfire Fiber, String Theory, Spirit Trails, Briar Rose, and Kathryn Alexander yarns. I am keeping a positive outlook that my parents will stay healthy and let myself get yarn to make several pairs of socks as well as three (3!) sweaters.

Now, I am in Portland, Maine, where I’m staying with Pam Allen, the Queen of Quince. This morning I got to see my purple scarf photographed (by Carrie Bostik Hoge). It is knitted with Tern, a wool-silk blend, and will be available on the Quince & Co website as soon as it gets tech edited.

Then I got to tour the warehouse. Just look at all those bags and bags and boxes and boxes of yarn. Talk about heavenly fumes!

I had so many ideas of what to do with the yarn that I agreed to knit a new project for Quince every four to six weeks.
Here’s the tentative list of what I plan to knit in the next year:
1.     Not-Very-Lacy Shawl out of Tern
2.     Textured Cap out of Lark or Osprey
3.     Girly Baby Sweater out of Tern
4.     Baby Socks out of Tern
5.     House Socks out of Puffin
6.     Child’s Chunky Sweater out of Puffin
7.     Baby Sweater out of Chickadee
8.     Cabled Socks out of Chickadee
9.     Cabled Hand Warmers out of Lark
10.  Cowl with Decorative CO and BO out of Tern
11.  Reversible Scarf out of Lark

Now that I’ve announced all these projects, I'll feel compelled to finish them. I’ll keep you posted as I make progress, one project at a time.