Sharilyn's adventures in knitting
and motherhood

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Can you actually spin "wool of bat"?  Just wondering??  Too hard core?  Boo!

Vacation 2012

Vacation 2012 has come to a successful close.  We went to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in Tennessee via Clyde Peelings Reptiland in Pennsylvania and Harpers Ferry in West Virginia. (Yes, it is actually "reptiland" not "reptile land".) So what better way to start a vacation than by petting an alligator?

Or by having a staring contest with a tortoise? (DearSon lost that one.)

And you never know when you might find a teenager lurking in the bamboo....

And haven't we all had days where we felt like this...

Some of us have a lot of days where this facial expression about sums it up. (American snapping turtle)

And Clyde has been branching out and now has a dinosaur garden with animatronic dinosaurs complete with willing models for photo ops.  That would be the kids not the plastic dinosaur.  (Plastic dinosaur has little say in the matter.)

And proof that DH and I were there as well. (Nice job with the picture DearDaughter#2.)

And just because we are THAT kind of family...

(I'm sure an Oscar is headed our way.)

After leaving Clyde's, we made our way to Harper's Ferry, WV and a more scenic and rather much less kitschy tourist spot.

This is where the Potomac and the Shennandoah come together and with the drought, we were able to rock hop pretty much out to the middle of the Potomac.

Included this shot just because it came out with a cool composition if I do say myself. 

We hiked up to Jefferson's Rock (actual presidential rock is the one in the background with a promenant sign just behind DearDaughter#1 head clearly stating,  "Do not climb".  Humanity being what is it, we were there for less than 5 minutes before someone climbed up on it.) which is an amazing overlook just outside the village.

Being a tourist town, all sorts of shops are mixed in with the National Historic Park buildings.  This was my favorite.  We were assured that the "first chewing gum in history" was not actually the blob of ancient chewing gum but rather the sap from a tree used as gum. Still in all, we passed on that one.  We did partake of the "much, much more" and snagged a giant lolipop and a big bag of "chicken bones" which, though sort of carniverous sounding, were basically chic-o-sticks

Another quick moment to splash in the Potomac before we left.  Some of us splashed a bit more than others.  Looking at you DearDaughter#1 with the really, really wet foot.

Next stop was Luray Caverns, VA.  The caverns, not too kitsch, but the giant garden maze, rather kitsch but lots of fun.  Hey, DearSon, was that enough for now?

Yes?  OK.  More later.

I stand correctly....

"I stand correctly." one of my current favorite sayings from my DearSon. ( It's right up there with, "What the huh?".  )  I think, in his 6 year old brain, that he has heard, "I stand corrected." but that doesn't really make sense whereas, "I stand correctly." makes considerably more non-euphemistic sense.  In any case, he uses this phrase correctly as it pops out when he has been proven to be right.  Too cute.

There has been knitting as well and I think I've been craving a bit of color this winter.  Granted "winter" is a bit of a misnomer as we have had very little snow and the temperatures are absurdly warm for February.  But, it's wester NY, so we have got the winter grays. 

See?  Bright! Bright! Bright!  (You know, the more you type "bright" the weirder it looks.)

Yarn: Chroma in Lollipop and Brava in white from Knitpicks.
Pattern:  Peace-out hat by Marinda Maritz also from Knitpicks
Mods:  Instead of using the backwards loop cast-on I used a knitted cast on to provide a more stable edge.  I also twisted the tassels a bit differently than instructed. A tassel that was made up of 12 pieces of yarn, I made two bunches of 6. Both of these bunches I twisted the same direction, then twisted them together going the opposite direction. Then tied the tassel off. Tassels stay twisted this way.

Future Mods: If I were to knit it again, I think I may do the ear flaps and brim in garter stitch as the edges have a tendency to roll.

Both Chroma and Brava are very soft and didn't receive any comments from DD#2 about itchiness.

One more picture just for good measure.

This skirt, also knit in a near rainbow, I knit the bulk of it during the summer but, as it wasn't the right season to wear it, didn't feel the need to finish it until recently.

Thank you DH for taking the pictures and following my amazing directions like, "Hold the camera the other way." and "Does it look good on me?"  (Because, the first one isn't specific and the second really only has one right answer. Ever.

Pattern: Lanesplitter by Tina Whitmore from
Yarn: Noro Kureyon in color 185
Mods: Shortened the skirt to knee length.

I love the colors that Noro puts out.  I wish it was a tiny bit softer -- it has some serious wool prickle.   I would love to use it for knits for gifts but it's just too risky.  (Risky?  Not usually a word associated with knitting.  But, if you spend 10 hours of your life knitting a gift that isn't used because of itch, then there's some risk involved.)  Luckily, I'm quite immune to wool prickle and can wear everything from Noro to Lopi (all 100% high prickle factor wool.).


A partridge in a pantry!

Thank you DearSon for the most memorable chorus of the season.  I loved listening to you sing the "Twelve Days of Christmas" ending with a full throated "And a partridge in a pantry!!" . 

OK so first off Happy Week One Birthday to my brand new and perfect nephew!!

Doesn't that picture just make you want to snuggle.  Congratulation DDS and DDBinL!   The best Christmas present in the whole world was having everyone healthy and happy!

Here's our Christmas family picture.

Please excuse the lack of feet -- I balanced the self-timed camera on top of the toad's aquarium.  So this was an amphibian assisted photograph.

This one is mammal assisted (me) so the picture is actually centered.

Thank you everyone for my thoughtful gifts!  I loved watching all of you open yours. 

Here are my yarn related Christmas and birthday gifts!  Thank you all!  I will spend hours reading and knitting and thinking of you.

And an extra "Whoot! Whoot!" goes out to my DearBrother for this pile of wooly goodness.  (I thought you would appreciate a double "whoot".  Bet you don't get those often.)

Merry Christmas everyone and have a happy New Year!

(Yup, I knitted that Christmas ball.  Actually I knitted a bunch of Christmas balls in this style.  One might even call it a bit of a Christmas ball bender. 

Um, Happy December!

I know...another rather long break.  I really don't know what's happening to the time.  I really enjoy blogging we go.

I think the first project I want to share is what my brother refered to as being "hard core".  I don't know if I've ever been "hard core" at anything so I'm kind of enjoying the designation.

When DY#1 and I went to the Finger Lakes Fiber Fest this year, one of the things we were looking for (OK, one of the many things we were looking for) was a fleece to purchase, process and spin.  We actually ended up finding 2:  One from Amy Klee that is a lovely gray border leicester and another from Nistock Farms which is a white CVM/Corriedale cross.  CVM is one of the more dangerous sounding breeds of sheep which is why, I think, everyone refers to it by its initials.  Look out for the California Variegated Mutant!

Here it is in its raw bagged glory.  I seemed to have not taken a picture of the gray fleece in the bag.

Here is the washing process.  Both fleeces were actually very clean as the sheep were coated.  Yes, coated.  Yes, they make little coats for sheep.  Yes, that does seem a little redundant as they're sheep.  Yes, it keeps lots of vegetable (and other) matter out of the fleece enabling the shepherds to get a better price for their fleeces from spinners.

Dried and carded into fluffy white clouds of wool ready to be spun.

Beautiful yarn!

I opted to take another route with the gray fleece and pulled out some washed and dried fleece to over dye. 

Royal purple dyed in a crock pot.

I played with quite a few colors with this batch.  I can't wait to see what the resulting yarn looks like!

Here's a pile of purple fluff after the fleece has been carded.  This colored fiber is going to make some really special yarn.

Here are a couple of completed skeins from the fleeces.  The gray yarn has lots of luster and the white is just the bouncy and a pleasure to hold!

And just for grins, some kid pics:

Enjoying the first snow on ....November 11th!  That is so late in the season for a first snow!  (Of course, it's now mid December and we still haven't had a snow that sticks around for any more than a few hours.)

And not to be accused of being too behind, Halloween pics: a mime, Ginny Weasley and Harry Potter.  (And, why yes, I made the scarves, thank you!)

Oh, you're back

Well, that was quite the hiatus.  Sorry about that.


Happy Anniversary, Sweetie! 

21 wonderful years!  (Does that mean our marriage is now legal?  Could it go off and drink on its own now?) 

And what does one receive from a wonderful hubbie on a 21st anniversary?  Apparently, the 21st anniversary  is for ice cream!!  Not just any ice cream but my very favorite flavor ever!  He had it shipped here overnight from Buffalo after calling in a special request to Anderson's (yes, the restaurant of beef-on-weick fame) corporate.  Behold!

Two quarts of Anderson's Graham Cracker Ice Cream.  Have I mentioned?  He's good!  Really good!  (Oh, and it's only a summer flavor so Holly Anderson, of said corporate family, called local restaurants to see which one had any left.  So, thank you too, Holly!)

Anyway..... so there was....

The first day of school.

And a trip to Corning Glass works where we saw...

Beautiful glass objects of art.                                                     Ancient  glass.


Unusually shaped glass.                                                A glass flute.

And one case of ugly.  Sorry, that isn't actually fair.   I don't really have an issue with the glass, what can perhaps be described best as, a butt.  The artist rendered that shape accurately and it's certainly an interesting use of color.  (Perhaps the artist wishes his/her butt was this colorful. Perhaps it already is.Hmmm.) But...the other object. Clearly the artist is extremely talented but a world of possibilities and he/she went for a clown.  A clown?!  A glass clown.  Combines creepy and fragile.  Best of both worlds? (Please see my long running issues with clowns.)

And, of course, there was the Fingerlakes Fiber Fest.  My all time favorite fiber event of the whole year!

There were cute animals!

Wonderful DD#1!

And, of course, yarn!

More to come on purchases made and activities since.

Family Vacation: Part Last

Yup, finally coming to the end of family vacation pictures.  Last I left you, we had finished up at Old Mystic Seaport and we were off to explore the other attractions around Mystic. 

The next big event was the aquarium in Mystic.  Now we have recently been to the New England Aquarium in Boston, the National Aquarium in Baltimore and Monterey Bay Aquarium in California.  The aquarium in of them.  Though it isn't on the scale of any of those, it is nicely done for the scale and size that it is.

Their main exhibit was the large outdoor pools with beluga whales. 

Also in outdoor pools were the touch and feel rays.  They were used to being hand fed as when you put your hands in the water, they nibbled fingers.  Odd being tasted by another animal.

Really where this aquarium excelled was in the small animals department.

The boardwalk over a swamp was an interesting exhibit.  Lots of  frogs!  Frogs are cool.

And here is a picture that makes me wish I could paint.

And what aquarium would be complete without a bunch of budgies tent.  (I think it was actually billed as the "Birds of the Outback!" but "tent of parakeets" is much more accurate.)  Total hoot regardless.

Everyone received a popsicle stick with bird food glued to it to attract the birds which flocked around each new human entering the tent.  Some people dealt with this en masse interest better than others.  The occasional screams from the entrance let you know which kind of person had just entered.

Oh yeah.  There was the ocean.

And lobsters....

And submarines....

And giant dinosaurs....

Perhaps the submarine and dinosaur warrant a bit more explanation.  We went to the US Submarine Force Museum which everyone found interesting.  I love museums with hands-on displays.  And The Dinosaur Place (Yes that was the name.  Creative that.) really was a total tourist trap.  But a well done tourist trap -- the scale dinosaurs through out the park were accurate and scientifically labeled.  And I mean recently scientifically labeled, not the 1950's labels that sometimes accompany dinosaur models.  And you have to enjoy a human sized maze where you get to be eaten by a giant dino head at the end.  (Though we could have done without the college student dressed as "Lady Lava" and the "erupting" volcano was less impressive than a 2nd grade science experiment.)

That concludes the Ross Family Vacation 2011 -- thanks for flying with us.

(More yarn, spinning and knitting to come.)

Vacation: Part 2

 Before launching into vacation pictures, here are a few knitting/yarnish type items.

Here are the goodies acquired from Webs, the yarn store in Northampton, MA.  Actually the green Woolies cup was a gift from my DBIL (Dear Brother-in-law) which he brought back from a trip to Ireland for me.  (Everyone knows I have thing for wool.)   The brightly colored Woolies cup came from this trip to Webs.  The pins say "Koolade -- it's not just for drinking anymore." and "Spinning because knitting isn't weird enough."  Boboli is a new single ply yarn from Berroco that should make some lovely mittens and the 3 colors of Berroco Light are for a kerchief. 

And here's the result of about 16 hours in the car...

That is the main body of a Lanesplitter skirt designed by Tine Whitmore knit in Noro Kureyon yarn.  I had a lot of fun (and a little bit of frustration) getting the colors to line up the way I wanted.  I wanted a progression from warm to cool colors and back.  My plan was interrupted more than once (5 times to be exact -- Grrrrr.) by knots and broken color sequences within the balls of yarn themselves.  I know, I know.  Noro kureyon is know for that.  Still seems like something they should be able to fix. 

OK..back to vacation pictures.

Last we left, I was still reviewing our time at Old Mystic Seaport.

It's hard to think of sailors without thinking of tattoos.  There was a detailed and interactive exhibit of sailors' tattoos.  How do you make an exhibit about tattoos interactive without bringing home a permanent souvenir, you ask?

Here is DD#1 adding a non-conventional tatoo to our 19th century model.

And here is DD#2 getting her first tattoo...

via a clever use of overhead projectors.  Of course, it says, "MOM". 

And DD#2 and DearSon had to add a little body art to our favorite sailor...

DearSon's reach left artistic options at a bit of a minimum. 

Mystic was the largest boat building port in the 1840s and they are still building and restoring boats here.

This is the stern of the Charles W. Morgan, a whaling ship from that time.  I'm not sure when restoring becomes building a replica as one of the carpenters we spoke with said about 80% of the wood below the water line has been replaced.

In the spirit of ship building, the kids got to build their own versions of wood sailing boats.  (I should have built one too -- looked like a lot of fun.  Instead I manned the hot glue gun for DearSon.)

Most of the buildings, displays and exhibits were interesting and inviting.  I happened on this exhibit of figureheads in a sunken, darkened room in the same building as the tatoo exhibit.

Dimly lit torsos in a hushed hall -- gets the award for creepiest exhibit encountered.

Here are a few superlative pictures from Mystic...
Prettiest picture.  (One of those mansions across the river built by a sea captain later belonged to Katharine Hepburn.)

Cutest picture of kids.

Spectacle resulting in the most time spent scratching our collective heads.  Wheel chair.  Deserted dock.   Hmmmmm...

Next time -- the aquarium and naval base.  (And of course more fiber fun!)

Vacation:Part I or Gee, it's hard to count gauge in the car.

Summer.  Finally.  Long awaited and glorious.

I now have a 1st grader, a 4th grader and a 7th grader.  Amazing.  The first thing we do after the end of school is pack up and bug out as a family for a vacation to relax and reconnect.  This year we headed to points east.  First to Herkimer, NY to play in the diamond mines (aka double terminated quartz crystals) and then off to Mystic, Connecticut to play by the sea.

Herkimer delivered fun in the form of wandering around giant open pits and breaking big rocks into  little rocks.

They have hammers and aren't afraid to use them!

Beginning of the excavations.

Excavations continuing.

And continuing.

Off to find better hunting grounds.

The pit mines aren't the prettiest places but right between the two is this lovely little stream.  Central New York is really very lush and a bit bucolic.

So after that... Have I mentioned that I knit?  ......  Stop that laughing back there. .... Well, of course I have.  The biggest yarn store east of the Mississippi (that was fun to type), is in Northampton, MA.  Just a short detour off of I90.  Way, way, too much fun was had here.

Maybe not quite Mecca for fiber enthusiasts but darn close. 

So then we were off to Mystic.  Here's a set-up shot..

And another of the town itself.

Yes, I timed the shot so the lift bridge was up.  Double points for that.

I found my near Nirvana experience in Webs yarn shop and Mike found his just inside Mystic Seaport.

Pretty much any day, a "Wall of Fudge" sounds like a darn good idea.

We went for the prerequisite harbor boat tour.  The boat was a steamer complete with burly man shoveling coal into the furnace powering the steam engine.  Surprisingly quite engine compared to a typical internal combustion one.  (While we're discussing surprises -- I had no idea Connecticut was so hilly and forested.)

Really what kid wouldn't grab the wheel and give it a spin. 

And yes, there is more vacation coming and yes, I knit during the 16 hours we spent in the car and back and have a nearly completed skirt to show for it. 

And...why is my font so large.  I feel like I'm yelling.....  (Added later:  Apparently it's the font is only large while I'm editting.  It looks fine published.   Put that one on the list to figure out....later.)

Living on the edge...

Spring has sprung.  Finally. 

So I'm living on the edge and packing away the warm woolies at the beginning of June.

It was a long wait but finally, we have flowers and a garden and kids outside without 99 layers of clothing.

So here we have flowers....


6-yo included for scale.


Everybody sing, "I love a parade!".  Was that Ester Williams?  No, she is the swimmer.  Ethel Merman

Our spring duck visitors.

DearSon and I have fed these guys before school quite a few mornings.

And what is this?

This is the sum total of a huge silly string war in the backyard.  DearDearSister tells me that I actually hold the veritable napalm of the Dollar Store world in my hand.  Apparently there are a perfusion of America's Funniest Home videos of this stuff dramatically bursting into flame at weddings and birthday parties and such as it is sprayed near candles.   Because fire and celebrations are funny????

And from the files of "What the .....?!"

We (DearSon, me, his kindergarten class and assorted other chaperons) were waiting for the ladder truck demonstration at the fire safety field trip to the firehouse when what should we hear trundling down the street?  The street cleaner.  Now, mind you, it had be raining, no, dumping buckets, for at least a half an hour.  Why would one try to run the street cleaner in such weather?  The brushes were doing a tremendous job of pushing the water out of the overflowing gutters, into the street, where it promptly ran back into the gutters.  Useful.

I've mentioned this before.  As I mom, I occasionally hear phrases come out of my mouth that I never really thought I would utter.  Today I actually said, "I don't think your monkey nut is quite in the right place."  Ponder that one for a moment. Are you pondering? Now consider, what was understood but not said was the remainder of that phrase..."I don't think your monkey nut is quite in the right place for the rubber golf ball to land in it after you shoot it out of the miniature catapult that you built with your Dad."  Clear?  Quite the image, yes?  And just in case you think I'm joking....

Behold!  The monkey nut, rubber golf ball and miniature catapult.

And of course there has been knitting and spinning.  I'll include some new fiber fun in my next post.