Monday, August 31, 2009

Hats Done!

Mr. G helped me take the pics but I think they came out funny.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

October is Just Around the Corner!

Domestic Witch is encouraging everyone to celebrate October with an October Blog Party.


Realized I skruwed up Brooklyn Tweed's fair isle hat and had to rip out about ten rows of colorwork. Ooops:)

Friday, August 28, 2009

My school looks like a war zone :(

So I got to school today to do set up (teachers usually go in early -and unpaid, mind you - to set up? Why? 'Cause most of us teach 'cause we love our jobs and not for the fat pay check:) and I find this.

As if my students don't have enough working against them. The sad thing is that with my district's track record I don't know for sure what's going to happen. Will it be fixed? Who knows? In addition to this the nipple-looking leak outside my room pictured in this previous post has gotten much worst (there was a huge 3 by 2 sort of puddle that built up in less than an hour with three garbage cans having 4 inches each of yellow water right below the leak). Also, each of my colleagues has either a 2 by 2 or a 3 by 2 hole in the ceiling or wall (none of those appear to be leaking...yet).

The state is allowing the town to use moneys once destine to fund a new building for us to improve the high school that most of my kids will drop out of b/c they felt like they were pieces of shit in grammar school b/c they went to a turd ball school.

Sorry, but ... my job and my kids .... (yes, I'm goin to type this) ... are so important to me that they are only second to family (including Smudge) and friends .... even above knitting!

What have I been knitting...

This is the Brooklyn Tweed hat I posted about before. Lupie started hers too. She's having sinus problems with the hairiness from the yarn :( But she says she is enjoying it. I like it too. I would like to try it with a solid and a Noro sock as the background. I really like the yarn, Classic Elite Fresco, and will use it again.

Speaking of Lupie, aka my Mama, I just want to thank her so much for getting me my first Kitchenaid. Way more colors than they had way back when my mom got hers. It's a kitchen luxury that my mom always wanted to get for my sister and I as gifts when we were adults with our own households (notice I don't say married - feminist Lupie would never say 'when you're married' to her daughters. She taught us that marriage is great if you want it but not mandatory to reach adulthood).

I haven't used it yet, but every time I look at is I smile and I already have a bunch of ideas about what I wanna do. It's not shiny like most of them are. It has a mat texture. I think it's a more macho version of the original, perfect for a tom boy like me. I haven't seen my sister's yet, but apparently she got her a wasabi colored one. That's so my sister's color. In the pic you can also see some other awesome shit I have. The art nouveau coaster is from Griffin's mom years ago. My sister got me that slamin' Alice in Wonderland mug. The canister set was my grandmother's (Lupie's mom).

And now for some bun stuff. Here's my little lovely.

He is so funny...anyway, that clear ball in the background is a cool toy. It's just like the dog balls that release treats. When a bunny rolls it the treats you put inside come out. He hasn't figured it out yet:) I don't know where it came from...Mr. G got it. guilty pleasure has returned (one of them:)

Project Runway is starting out great. This season, unlike the previous ones on Bravo, is on Lifetime and is taking/took place in LA. I can see no change in the quality of the show since the change in stations. It's too soon for me to have any favorites yet. But if you've never seen it I would recommend you give it a chance. Although I watch Top Chef, The Fashion Show, Split Ends, Big Brother (go Kevin!!!! HOH) I'm not a reality show freak. It has to be fairly interesting and not too insipid to attract my attention. Project Runway, as usual, looks like it's going to be delightful!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lots'a Yarn

Last weekend Mom and I stopped at Yarn Diva in Hillsdale while out. She wound up buying me a Knit Kit. I think Pat said someone had asked her if it was a birth control kit.:)

Pat got her one and she was looking to spread the addiction. As she said on her blog, Mom added a needle to the kit. I'll be doing that too. Above the Knit is pictures from the front with some really vibrant Jitterbug yarn that I picked up at Yarn Diva. Below I'm posting a shot of the back of the Knit with some Aussi sock. That is the same yarn (different colorway) as the yarn I used for the Mary Thank You Socks.

I still have the Lapis Hederas on the needles here next to me. I'm thinking I may give those to Mary as well.

I've made a lot of progress on the BSJ for Mrs. B's new grandbaby.

I think I'm going to make something for the big brother of the new baby, Alex, but I'd want it to be crochet. I've been missing crochet so much. I also sleep with a crochet blanket every night and it's just as snuggly as any knitting! So I'm considering making this Spiderman blanket (Ravelry Link). I'd make one for Griff too, and I'd hope to make one for my other co-worker's son. We will see...that is a buttload of blanket!

Still working on my Clapotis.

It's taking much longer than I'd thought, but then again it is sockish yarn. And it does feel really nice. It's for me, so I'm in no rush.

I've done NOTHING to get ready for school. A little web design on my class site, but it sux so I'll need to re do it. The company that we teachers have our sites through makes good design difficult. Tomorrow (gulp) I'm planning to go in.

Mom, Pepper, and I were supposed to see Julie and Julia today but Pep got sick. Mom and I hadn't been to Stix-n-Stitches in a gillion years so we drove up to Montclair. I miss going there b/c the staff is great. They are so helpful and make everyone feel at home. They truly are a bunch of wonderful broads.

So I'd seen online that another store that had once been in Montclair had relocated. Mom and I decided to drive by and found that they'd moved down the block from Stix. I found this very puzzling. I wish them the best with their venture, and I know Stix will support a fellow yarn store in any appropriate way, but why would you open up a store down the block from another that sells the exact same merch? I also doesn't feel the same as Stix. If I need Rowan and don't want to drive into Hoboken to Patricia's I guess I'd go there, but otherwise I don't think I will. And I think I'd feel totally uncomfortable asking for help there.

While at Stix I finally got to spend the rest of my gift cert from Mom and Dad from December...yes, December! I was really looking for Flat Feet but I couldn't find any. Here's the loot I did get...

Although I love blues I'd never purchased an all blue sock yarn so there it is and it feels great.

I saw that they had all this Araucania Patagonia on sale so I went nuts with that.

I really love this yarn. A few years back I made one of my first sweaters out of it. I don't think I ever posted the final result...I know it's not on my Ravelry, so here's that...

I made it with a huge hood modeled after my favorite sweater ever, some cheep, fuzzy, black cardigan I got for $5 or so at some discount store when I was in college. Both the Patagonia one and the original are very warm, only good for late fall or winter. I knitted on a smaller needle with the cotton to make it heavy and very insulating. I wear it and the original one every day under my coat in the winter.

While at Stix I picked up some yarn to make a fair isle hat with Mom from Brooklyn Tweed's new book (Mom's a Jared Flood fan). Here's the Ravelry link.

The yarn is Fresco from Classic Elite. I eliminated the white from the pattern and changed it to black (I do white as little as humanly possible; my day glow 'how is she a Latin lady' skin it pale enough for any outfit I may wear). There's a pic from Ravelry of the finished fair isle along with a pic of the crochet hat I'm working on now, Raspberry Beret, from the most recent Crochet Today magazine.

Here's what my Raspberry Beret (love that name:) looks like so far...

A bit blurry, but you can see mine it far more grapie. I was originally working on it in Berroco Ultra Alpaca and just b/c I tend to crochet and knit like I'm strangling someone I didn't like the way it was coming out. This is Cascade 220, and the feel is much softer and is better for the pattern.

I did get one more thing at Stix. I saw this woman lugging tons of bags into the store. I didn't know why she was there, but I felt bad she had to do all that on her own. I wish my knee wasn't so screwed up 'cause I would have preferred to help her bring the bags down the steps into Stix, but the least I could do and did was to hold the door so she could just breeze in once she got her shit down stairs. When she was finally done Mom joked that she now needs to pay me in yarn b/c I was such and excellent door lady. She then proceeded to ask me if I like cool or warm colors and handed me a kid socks size piece of Flat Feet.

Turns out she was a yarn company rep and was there to show Sheila (Stix owner) new Fiesta and Flat Feet (really stunning new Fiesta!). I don't ever do shit expecting things back or b/c I'm thinking of the 3 fold law, although I do believe doing good always brings you good in return simply by just feeling good. I just do whatever little shit I do for others b/c that's what every one should do. And really, holding the door? That's just a little bullshit thing. That was really nice that she gave me yarn and I was touched.

In non knitting news...I'm silly often and one silly thing I do every year is watch the tv show Big Brother. This season I've chosen to cheer for Kevin Campell to win.

He was smart to lay low most of the game and although I guess his house mates would disagree he was as loyal as he could be to his allies while still taking part in the game play and not forgetting that he's playing for money. I think this loyalty mixed with reasonable self preservation will come to be the argument for him to win a freakin buttload of cash if he makes it to the end. Go Kevin!!

And don't forget...PROJECT RUNWAY IS BACK!!!!!! More on that next post.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ridgewood, NJ Fiber Festival and Hell's Kitchen...Follow my train of thought, please

Here's the link.

The ChalkDust Knitters are planning to go. There goes the neighborhood, Ridgewood! Honestly, when we get together we're hysterical.

I am a little weirded out that it seems to be sponsored by a Unitarian church. If I had to pick any Christian sect to sponsor a fiber arts event I'd sacrifice my cherished Snippy thread snipper to attend I suppose that would be the one. As a recovering Catholic school girl I bet one can imagine that I've had some bad experiences. I get a little creeped out when I'm in a churchy setting, like they can smell "child of the earth" on me, or something. I guess a Christian would likewise be a little uncomfortable at a Pagan event.

For those who many read this, may wanna go, but don't live in the area, Maven asked me about places to eat near Ridgewood on the Lesser Known Skeins forum on Ravelry. I made a short list if anyone needs suggestions. I'm also concerned about parking with Mom/Lupie and her lupus.

By the way...

I love Hell's Kitchen (Gordon Ramsay is freakin' hot, man). Apparently one of the contestants, Amanda Davenport, is living with lupus.

Pic Pilfered from

Here she is with another contestant and Ramsay. I think it takes some balls whenever anyone opens up about having an illness. It leaves you vulnerable in many ways sometimes. It can also bring greater focus on the disease itself. Lupies need all the help they can get.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Vampire Diaries

Back in the day...when I was just a tween witch from Jersey (I was rather new to having a two digit age, Nirvana was a new band, I wanted my mom to get me a beeper, and my dad had just introduced us to Prodigy on the computer) there was no Twilight so I read the Vampire Diaries by L. J. Smith. That time of life is difficult for everyone, but was made more complicated for me by the loss of my grandparents and one of my two late uncles. School was like being forced into an iron maiden for eight house a day, and as I still do today I used books to escape.

I readlly did love these books . . . I even know for a fact that I still have them in my parent's house somewhere . . . but I'd forgotten about them until just now when I saw the CW will be airing the series version in the fall. If you know someone young who needs something to read during math class (how did I avoid getting a detention for that???), likes horror, swoonie stuff, and stories about sexy dead boys who drink blood, I totally recommend the series. They were like, these sweet little nuggets of peace in an otherwise crazy school day and better than tv at night.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Taking a Break from my Knitting with...more Knitting

I have been working on the Baby Surprise for Mrs. B's grandbaby. I got the invite for the party but sadly it's on my birthday so I won't be staying for the whole thing.

It's a second kid for the parents, so Mrs. B was asking us in school in June if we thought it was appropriate to have a smaller party. I think that whenever anyone has any sort of excuse to have a party one should do so; maybe a smaller party is called for or asking for donations instead of gifts is an option. I also feel that whenever a child of the opposite gender enters a family (the 1st child a boy, the 2nd a girl, or the 1st two boys, the 3rd a girl,m visa versa and etc) you're pretty much starting from scratch in many areas so a typical baby shower is fine. Mrs. B is just a very considerate person. She never wants to offend people.

So here is a pic of the newest portions of the sweater, now with lavender stripes introduced.

I took a break from sox and the Clapotis to make a hat. Mom (Lupie) had picked out a pattern she wanted to make and I wanted to work along with her, but I was eyeing another pattern from tentenknits.

I worked on it one afternoon at Mom's house and two nights in a row when I was trying to get to sleep and finished quickly. I tried my best with the floats but know that tension will get better with practice.

Tomorrow I'm going knitting with the ChalkDust Knitters for the first time in months. I'm very excited b/c I know Karen will have the latest news from school (she is an administrative assistant in another grammar school in my district). I don't know if I mentioned it yet, but apparently my school has been closed down due to asbestos. Gee whizz, I wonder if all the cave-ins, cracks, and ceiling nipples with dripping asbestos water could have put any of my kids in danger!?!?

Warning...Crazy Teacher Rant...

I really want to know what's going on b/c I had big plans to completely re-do my classroom so that it would be more organized, easier to run, and therefore a less stressful place to be. But who knows what will happen now, and who knows whether or not all the dangerous crap will really be cleared away. I bet any amount of money it won't.
People wanna know why my little dudes can't score as high as other districts (even though we score high compared to other urban districts like our own). It's because my funny, smart, beautiful, clever, awesome, caring, inspirational, terrific students (they are really too wonderful for words) are going to school in a century old building that was permitted to slowly desintigrate. They look at drab beige and brown walls and floors every day, my posters and decorations stretching to cover up the veins of water damage and dusty cracks that have been unrepared for years.
Then people try to blame the custodians. I imagine keeping my school clean must be something like trying to dust and restore an Egyptian pyramid after someone plays paintball inside.

Teacher Rant Over

I went out recently with two women I went to high school with. It's weird to call them women:) I still feel 18 sometimes. I think if someone had asked me which one of us I thought would be married and in a stable teaching possition ten years later I would have been my last guess. I tell my students all the time that sometimes life takes you to the complete opposite of where you thought you'd be. And in my case it ended up to be the best thing as I sit here typing next to the man I never thought I'd want to meet, in the home I never imagined I'd own.
And in music news I stumbled across the two year old album of the band She Want Revenge and really liked it. So one may want to check it sits just perfect between Joy Division and The Cars in my iPod, but I wouldn't say it's exactly like either.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sophia Tomten Done and a Daycation

Last weekend, on the rainiest day of the week, Mr. G and I went to Bannerman Island in New York state. Mr. Bannerman bought the island in the early 1900s and used it first to house his 2nd had war paraphernalia used for his business and later for a home for his family in addition to his supplies. When we approached the island (in the rain) we saw one of the buildings that once housed the supplies. The arsenal buildings were all modeled after Scottish castles. They are in terrible condition due to over fifty years of abandonment and fire damage.

As usual, Mr. G took amazing pictures, even in the rain. The buildings are so beautiful and I love the look of the crumbling brick and concrete with all the greenery flourishing in this damp weather.

You can see above that the rain must have been immensely heavy. I had on a super thick sweatshirt (thank you, Mom) and it kept the damp out for most of it, but my legs were soaked up to my booty. It felt strangely good, though, a nice break from summer. And it added to the whole feel of the place.

This was one of the main entrances to the seven story, once four floor arsenal. You can't go near it...or can you?

The hole in the above pic is a whole in one of the five cisterns once used to store drinkable water for the residence of the island.

Below is a shot of the family's home. The shot is slightly obscured by rain drops on the lens, and he did take a second, clearer one, but I really liked the composition of this one with the garden shed in the forefront and the weathered stairs tumbling into view.

This building is also very damaged. The people who support the site and are fighting for it's preservation want to renovate this building to set up a "presence" on the island. There's literally no where to go in bad weather and I can't imagine them meeting with press or business people to conduct island bees wax without having some place with a roof.

Mr. Bannerman had to mark the property line even in the water, but instead of going for it in a hum drum maner he rocked it with these beautiful structures like castle fortifications. Some pieces are still there.

Remember that I typed that people can't get too close to the arsenal? Well, all the rain had the tour guide's worried about us and they brought us under the arsenal staircase for shelter.

It was a wonderful experience.
On the knitting front...I was opening my needle case to seem up the Sophia Tomten, and the bottom broke off in my hand. I am very sad. My friend, Jackie, gave this to me. I don't often trust people easily, but I just felt comfortable with her right away and she means alot to me.


It took such a long time. I kept stopping to make baby stuff for pregnant people, and my clapotis, still unfinished. The buttons are from Yarn Diva in Hillsdale, NJ. I am so s Stix-n-Stitches girl, but Yarn Diva is great too, and the buttons matched perfectly.

I made it to match Griffin's (Sophia is my friend's neice and Griffin is my friend's son)

This one was for Grif...

The two are made of Jarbo Garn yarn.

My co worker, Mrs. B, who I adore is preparing for another grandbaby (number 3) so I started a baby surprise for that child.

I want to do something more purposeful with the stripes than I usually do...I pretty much just throw in a different color whenever I feel like it. So this one will be a bit different, but still using the Cotton Tots from Bernat. It feels great. By the way, my friend Jackie gave me this pretty bag too.

In addition to all this, Mom aka Lupie escaped to Lancaster, PA with dear old dad to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary. They have been having a blast, but I can't wait for them to come home!:)

About Me

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Zel, The Grimm Witch
A woman on a number of missions...
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as zelphine, my favorite alias:)

My Favorite FOs

Baby Poncho from
Knit Baby Blankets
Berroco's Vintage

Ribbed Lace Bolero from
10 feet high
in Cotton Ease

Short & Sweet from
The Happy Hooker
in Caron Simply Soft

Wicked Bunny Baby Sweater

Griffin's Cotton
EZ Baby Surprise

Emma's Cotton Tot's
Debbie Bliss Baby Bolero

Griffin's Cotton Tots
Ripple Blanket

Sophia B.'s
EZ Baby Surprise

Yarn Harlot Sox
in Rio de la Plata
for Geek of All Trades

Grumperina Jaywalkers
in Regia
for Lupie

EZ Tomten
in Jarbo Garn

Noro Silk Garden
Top Down Crop Sweater

Green Woman Sweater
out of
Berroco Ultra Alpaca



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