Thursday, October 26, 2006


Dear Rachel,

I've noticed over the last couple weeks that a lot of knitbloggers are celebrating Socktoberfest. It's been a little busy around here, and I wasn't ready to start another project, but I thought in honor of the occasion, and before the month is over, I'd post this:

Yes, it's my humble sock yarn stash. I'm actually not much of a stasher. I like to have a project in mind before I buy the yarn. Very rarely do I work in the other direction. But with sock yarn, well, you know what you're going to end up knitting with it.

And, lastly, here's a picture of me and my Dad from his 60th birthday dinner the other night. Happy Birthday, Dad! You're the best.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

You are So asking the wrong person...

...about funnel or mock-turtle necklines, as I dislike both. I know they're warm, but in the last few years I've really started to feel uncomfortable with all that fabric around my neck. So I vote for the I-cord neckline, which I also think will be more wearable (no indoor overheating, wearable for more than 3 months out of the year, that kind of thing). I'm also wondering about your concern about the tightness of the underarm stitches. Are they so tight that they will restrict movement or risk snapping the yarn as you move around in the finished product? Just something to be sure of before you invest so many more hours. It looks really good so far, Kim - keep it up! Either way it will be a beautiful sweater.

I'm still recovering from the trip from hell, which would be easier if Lena wasn't waking up 1-2 times per night from her cold, poor thing. In all the drama of the return trip, I forgot to share some really really cool family news. About 8 years ago, my stepmother's sister Elissa started a charity called the Global Medical Relief Fund, a foundation to help children who have who have suffered grave injuries from war or natural disaster around the world. The effort has grown by leaps and bounds and she has quit her job to chair the charity full time, which is great, and she's kind of become a local celebrity on Staten Island. Well, here's the latest development - last month she was flown out to do a taping of the Dr. Phil show, at which I would usually roll my eyes, but her charity got national exposure, and Dr. Phil gave the GMRF a check for $40,000 and endorsements on his show and web site! How cool is that - I didn't get to watch the show, but yay Elissa!

It's truly amazing what one person with a mission can accomplish, isn't it? Food for thought...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I'm taking a poll

Dear Rachel,

Look, I did it!

I started the yoke on the green ribbed raglan (henceforth to be known as the GRR). In one way, it was trickier than I thought it would be. I didn't realize that doing a three-needle bind-off to attach the sleeves to the body would tighten up the "turning radius" so much. It was very tough to get the needles around the arm stitches for the first couple of rounds because there was just no stretch in the armpits. Maybe next time I do a raglan, I'll leave the armpit stitches live on waste yarn, then do a three-needle bind-off after I've made some headway on the yoke.

So, I've got a decision to make in not too long, and I'm taking a poll: which neckline do I use?

This was the sweater that inspired me to use that green yarn for a ribbed raglan. The pattern is in the book Knitter's Stash. It uses an I-cord bind-off for the neckline, and it looks very neat and crisp.

And as an aside, the text on the photo says that the sweater "is cleverly shaped with increases and decreases." ?!? Not to be a smart-alec, but aren't most sweaters shaped with increases and decreases? Is there another way to create shaping?

Now, here is the other neckline I'm pondering: the funnel neck, or mock turtleneck as shown in the brown sweater at right. It would take more yarn, but probably not any more time (I imagine an I-cord bind-off will be fairly time-consuming).

I actually like how each neckline looks, for different reasons. I truly am having a hard time making up my mind, so please offer your opinion. And anyone else who may be out there reading this, please feel free to offer yours, as well.

As far as the other two projects go, log cabin still looks like a log cabin, and Cozy still looks like a wad of lace. They're just bigger. Maybe I'll have some pictures of them next time. I'm just so excited that the GRR looks kinda like a sweater now.



Monday, October 23, 2006

To my exchange pal...

Dear exchange pal,

Here is my questionnaire from Florence Knitingale's exchange program!

What is your favorite color?
Blue, any shade of blue. I also like earthy, foresty greens and browns a great deal.

Is there a color you dislike?
Not particularly. I’m not crazy about yellow, but I don’t dislike it.

Do you have any pets? What kind?
Yes, two indoor cats: A gray tabby named Dermot and a tortie named Nuala.

Is there any knitting-related item you’re longing to have?
The only thing I can think of is one of those nifty holders you can put the needles of a sock-in-progress in.

Are you a sock knitter?
Oh, yes!

Do you have any online wish lists?
I don’t.

Do you collect anything that isn’t terribly expensive?
I don’t really have any collections… unless you count books, CDs, or yarn. I do enjoy traditional Irish music and choral music.

What would make you smile or giggle with delight to find it in your gift box?
Really, just receiving the gift box will make me giggle with delight.

Is there anything that would make you cringe if you found it in your gift box?
Novelty yarn.

Do you have a favorite edible treat?
I have a horrible sweet tooth. Chocolate is the best, in any form, but soft candies like jelly beans and gum drops are also yummy.

Do you drink coffee, tea, cocoa, or….?
I love coffee and need it every day, just plain old coffee. Cocoa is a treat for me, and, unlike my coffee, I do enjoy it with different flavors, from cinnamon to mint to hazelnut.

Are there any dietary restrictions your pal should know about?
Nope, I like just about everything.

Do you celebrate a winter holiday of any kind and, if so, would you like to receive anything holiday themed?
I celebrate Christmas, but themed items are certainly not necessary.

This is going to be fun...


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Another Openin', Another Show

Dear Rachel,

It was so sweet of you to call and let us know you had arrived safely in New York, and to wish me well for the show. I hope you are taking lots of pictures to share.

This won't be a long post; I'm beat from the two shows and then working this morning. But I will say it was a lot of fun this weekend. It's been 16 years since I've been on the stage. I didn't think I'd ever want to do it again, but I just love this show. And when I found that one of my best friends down here was trying out for the part of Adelaide, well, I just couldn't resist. I'm so glad it worked out that both of us got cast in the parts we wanted -- singing "Marry the Man Today" with Heidi just makes my night.

I can't wait to see you next weekend. I hope everything has gone smoothly and you're home safely soon.



Monday, October 16, 2006

Andrew Kilburn causes Tigers to win AL pennant

Dear Rachel,

I didn't have time over the weekend to post much more than that quickie on WCT's Guys & Dolls being in the Free Press. It was a huge surprise to me (usually just the local paper picks up on us). Sadly, they left out our first weekend.

I'll admit, that error is nothing compared to some of the stinkers our local tends to run. For example, when Andy and I were in the high school choir, an article about our upcoming concert stated that John Rutter would be there to play the flute and the clarinet (!). Another favorite ran just before we were to be married: a photo of Andy and one of his students, with a caption identifying them as "Andrew Kilburn and his son..."

Anyhow, back to Saturday night and the ballgame. When I got home from Mass, the Tigers were losing 0 - 3. We fed Rose her dinner, gave her a bath, and put her to bed, checking in on the game from time to time. By the time we were downstairs in front of the t.v. again, the game was tied at 3. We had planned on having a pizza after Rose was asleep, but neither of us could tear ourselves away from the game. It went on and on, and we were getting hungrier and hungrier, and finally, in the bottom of the ninth, I said to Andy, "You know, if you go upstairs and order that pizza, someone will hit a home run." He said, "Alright," and went up to the kitchen to make the phone call. That's when Ordonez came up to bat (sorry, I don't know how to make Blogger do a tilde). And Andy was just coming back down the stairs when Ordonez smacked it out of the park. He saw me jumping up and down, and missed the home run. Poor Andy! But as he said, "At least we didn't have to go into extra innings."

What do you think about that?



Sunday, October 15, 2006

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Dear Rachel,

How about some random links today?

I love the third photo in this blog entry... it's her sock yarn stash. I'm drooling.

This clip was on Sesame Street this morning.

This color for your peanut's blanket? Or this?

I LOVE this colorway.

This is Ms. Knitingale's first post about the exchange I want to do. More details follow in later posts. By the way... you may be interested in her entry for yesterday (10/11), for reasons you will discover.

Let's see, what else?

I did what you suggested and put the live stitches of the body of the green ribbed sweater on some waste yarn so I could try the length. I decided to add another inch and a half. It probably would work at its current length, but I wanted a bit more insurance that I could reach up and not have the belly button show. It won't take much longer. And the second sleeve is already almost 5 inches long. Hooray!

I really hope I'm not to worn out to come see you Saturday. I want to do some show and tell, and get the lace pattern to you, now that you have the yarn, and see all your new loot! And we can go have yummy dinner and blab! I will let you know for sure soon.



Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Behold the Sleeve

Dear Rachel,

The first sleeve is DONE! And yes, as soon as I put the live stitches on some waste yarn and gleefully pulled the sleeve up my arm, I started this:

I am strong.

I have will power.

I can overcome second sleeve syndrome.



Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Sweater elbows and other stuff

Dear Rachel,

How are you feeling? I hope the doctor took good care of you and you're resting and recovering. I myself am doing fine, although Rose has had two colds (or maybe two flare-ups of one cold) in the last three weeks, and Andy was down with one for a few days. I only pray my luck holds out until the end of the month. I keep drinking water and taking my vitamins.

Rehearsals are not going too badly, though I'm afraid the chorus needs serious help. Our vocal director doesn't seem to be too keen on repetition, but that's really what we need. We need to just go over and over and over the parts, then sing and sing and sing them. But the solos and duets will be fantastic. Here's the show info: Guys & Dolls -- Oct. 20, 21, 27, and 28 -- curtain 7:30 p.m. -- Wilson Middle School, at Goddard and 15th. That's very close to my folks' house. I really hope you can come.

I learned this morning that it is not a good idea to knit anything that requires counting while watching Sesame Street with the daughter. No explanation needed.

In other knitting news, I've made it past the elbow on sleeve number one of the Green Ribbed Raglan. I have to make sure I make myself cast on for the second sleeve the second I put the waste yarn on the last round of this sleeve. Or this sweater may never get done.

I usually hold myself to a strict "Three project" rule. It's really less out of self-discipline than it is due to the frustration of making no headway on anything if I have too many projects on the needles. I like feeling like something is happening when I'm knitting. That said, I have to say that I've been itching to start two items that have been floating around in the back of my head. One is a pair of socks for Shannon out of that striping yarn I bought the last time we were at Ewe-nique Knits together (seems forever ago, doesn't it?), and one is a muff for caroling. You know how Andy and I sing with that Victorian Caroling group? Well, I thought I'd take this pattern from Knitty and use Paton's Wool for the cuffs and then add in a strand of (cover your ears) Fun Fur for the muff part. It would look so perfect with my costume, that is, if it turns out the way I'm envisioning it.

Then there's that other baby blanket I'm planning. I'm thinking basketweave, with a garter stitch border. What do you think?

Feel better and write soon,