Saturday, September 24, 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Yarn Shop Politics

Over on Ravelry this week, our local board blew up over a local yarn shop (lys) starting a new policy. Long story short, the shop has said that it will start charging knitters a $10 fee to come to "Open Stitch" (Knit Night, Stitch and Bitch etc.) if you weren't knitting with yarn you had at some point purchased there. This has cause a flurry of comments to the point where the Mod. decided to shut down the thread. It's an interesting issue- on one hand, it's a business and they need to make income. On the other, I've found that more often than not, with the shop I tend to frequent, while I don't buy something all the time, I do buy a lot from them and it's often when I'm there to sit and knit with friends. I see this with all of my friends as well.
It seems the knitting community is also drawn down the middle on this one. Personally, with the shop in question, I've had 2 occasions when I've been there in the last year and felt a definite chill in the air. In one instance, there was a group knitting at the community table, talking about a particular yarn that none of them were familiar with and I, while browsing nearby casually commented as I had knit with it/had it in my stash. Even though I commented at a totally appropriate time, didn't interrupt anyone and didn't say anything weird, instead of a response, I received frosty stares and no comments. It was so unnerving! Another time was also similar. I guess my point is that was the last time I was there and implementing a fee for me to come back is not going to help foster good will in a community that puts a great deal of stock into a shops "personality", "style" and general vibe.

Anyway, now that I'm done thinking out loud about that, I'll share a recent finished object... This is for a dear friend's new little one.

Pattern: Maile (Free!)  
Yarn: Scout's sock yarn, in June's Semi Solid Sock club colorway-Yellow Submarine 
Buttons from Looped Yarn Works in Downtown DC

Friday, June 17, 2011

Thanks ,Dad

I tell him all the time how great he is, but just in case I don't say it enough...

My Dad is amazing, awesome, compassionate, kind and what my Mom once called a Gentle Soul.
He's always the first person I've turned to when I sought solid, honest advice, a hug and support or simply needed someone to kick me in the pants and tell me to "pull it together".
He's been a Mom when I've needed one and every day, I am grateful to have such a great Father. I'm so excited that he and my Step-Mom are coming to visit in a few weeks, even though we did just see them last weekend!
Happy Father's Day, Dad...even if your card is still sitting in my purse, you're still my faves!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

MDSW Meet up?!?!

Hello all!
We've been tossing a Maryland Sheep and Wool Meet Up around on Twitter for the last week or so and I'm finally just going to put it out there and say "Let's meet!"
Day: Saturday
Time: 1pm
Place: The grassy area outside of the Main Exhibition Hall (to the right of the stage/left of the restrooms-ish)
Link to a handy map.
In case you haven't met me (or Jessie) yet, here's a picture I snagged from Lolly's Flickr stream. Thanks Lolly!
We're both short, so you may have to look around a little to find us :-)

Jessie + Pia
l. Jessie, r. Me
At this point (over a week away) I don't have a rain plan. It probably will just involve an umbrella..we'll see and I'll update if that's the case!
Any questions?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hello Spring

We're waiting with bated breath for spring to arrive. It's really been touch and go around here with freezing temps, hail and the like this week. Today, however there is hope.

This seemed liked a good time to take a finished object photo. This sweater caught my eye when Stephanie Perl-McPhee blogged about it and I have to say, I agree with most of what she had to say.
I finished it right around Christmas and from the time it was damp from it's first wash, I have reached for it every time I wanted a quick, going out the door sweater. I did get lazy and didn't knit the belt part and really, I'm okay with that.
Yarn- Madelinetosh dk, 4 skeins (900yds, I knit to about two yards left in the 4th skein), colorway Toast
Smallest size and still had a bit of positive ease.
Pattern is a Knitting Pure and Simple pattern, #263

And for those paying attention, yes my hair is a drastically different color... I've decided to return to my roots (hehe) and go a bit more natural. We'll see how that works out.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Helping a friend of a friend

Recently, my friend Ann told me about her bestest friend's sister and the struggle she was going through.
To put it succinctly Emily is:
  1. In a fight against liver cancer and when that fight is won, she'll need a liver transplant
  2. Has health insurance which does not cover prescription medication, thus running her approximately $1,000 a month
  3. Is a public school teacher (i.e. she's not raking in loads of cash, people)
  4. And, and the state she lives in doesn't recognize same-sex marriage, so she can't be on her spouse's health insurance which is better than her own because...her spouse is also a woman.
In the 10 minutes it took Ann to tell me the story, I was in tears myself and wanted to do whatever I could to help with Emily's mounting health care bills. The fight against cancer is close to my heart and the government's (unfair) right to decide the gender of a person one must fall in love with in order to be considered a legitimate relationship is a close second. I lost my mom to breast cancer 15 years ago and a saving grace over those tough years was that my parents had great health insurance covered by my dad's job, not my Mom's (who was generally self employed).

Being the awesome person that she is, Ann decided to hold a raffle. Ann is much more eloquent in the story then I am and all the details can be found here. Not only is this a good cause, but whoo boy if you are even casually interested in all things fiber related (or if you aren't, but you know/love a person that is...) it's more than enough incentive to donate.

Rockstar knitter Elspeth will knit a custom sweater for a winner, there's tons of awesome yarn prizes including some impossible to get your hands on skeins, sweet project bags, and more.

I know there is A LOT going on in the world right now so this isn't meant to be pressure to not donate elsewhere, but I think it's nice to know that anything you give will be going straight to a person who I think really needs some help right now.

So, please go read Ann's post and think about even a small donation.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A quilt in the making!

YIP 75, originally uploaded by sparklypia.

I mentioned a few posts back that I was in a New Bee this year. Well, November was my month and I got all my blocks back. Aren't they awesome? Now, I'm still trying to decide what to sash it Light mocha? Thoughts?

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Over the last few years, I've dabbled with crochet. One good friend taught me enough to chain stitch around a neckline (as detailed here and here). Basically, I knew just enough to be dangerous. Over the past few weeks over on Twitter, I was tempted by the upcoming crochet potholder swap and suddenly I was being convinced that I could learn to crochet and join the swap as well! I'm tellin' ya, these ladies are nothing if not the biggest bunch of enablers around!
While I'm not sure I'll be able to pull this off, Lolly, Wrypunster, Emily and I had a great afternoon yesterday hanging out at Looped, learning to crochet, visiting and laughing a lot. Now, while I have plenty of knitting in progress lying around the house, all I can think about are fun, crazy color combos and making afghans and granny squares. Chances are, I won't actually go too far with this, but it was so much fun to learn a new skill! I couldn't help but giggle when I was sitting with yarn in one hand, a crochet hook in the other and zero clue what I was doing.
Thanks ladies for a great afternoon, now I'm off to work on my NewBee squares!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

We'll miss you, Gert

YIP 80, originally uploaded by sparklypia.

As many of you know, I've been in New Hampshire spending my Grandmother's last days with her and then celebrating her life in the traditional Catholic fashion.
Gram was a truly special woman to me and many others and I had the honor of giving the eulogy at her funeral today. I'm sharing my notes (this isn't perfect, but a good outline of what I said) simply because so many of you have been so supportive the last few weeks, it seems only fitting.

Grandma and Grandpa came to live with us in New Hampshire when I was 12. It wasn’t easy for them to uproot their lives here in Cambridge; my grandmother had spent close to 75 years living on the SAME street, just blocks from here surrounded by both family and friends. As the years went by New Hampshire became home for Grandma and, if there was nothing else I could count on, I always knew that Gert would be at the dinner table every night with her quick wit and reassuring words. You wouldn’t know it from looking at a woman who always appeared a bit frail, but she truly was my rock.

Gert lived a simple life. She wasn’t out to save the world, wasn’t rich and wasn’t looking to be famous. She did, however affect every person who met her. She had a wicked sense of humor, a good dose of Yankee spunk and a strong Catholic faith that kept her going through times when others may have called it quits.

While our immediate family was small, she adored all of her extended family and lit up when she talked about her various nieces, nephews, great and great-grand nieces and nephews. Summers at the Lake were her favorite times when she was able to see so much of the extended family.

As anyone who descends from this part of the Finnegan bloodline (or has married into the family!) knows, Newfound Lake is a special place for all of us. I would spend weeks at a time up at the Lake with my grandparents when I was young. Grandma and I would spend hours on the porch each reading our own books and then talking Grandpa into taking us for ice cream. As anyone who knew Gert was well aware, my Grandmother always had an extreme weakness for coffee ice cream.

She constantly surprised me, and everyone around her with what she decided to do or what would come out of her mouth. She had only been on a plane once or twice prior the 1990’s and then one day decided it was time to become an air traveler so she would stop missing out on family events. She traveled to Disney World several times, well into her 70’s and flew to Georgia and South Carolina for family weddings, loving every adventure as it came, whether it was a family meet-up in the Magic Kingdom or racing along in her wheelchair trying to make a connection in the Charlotte airport with the rest of us in tow.

Gert kept on continuing to surprise us. Just a few years ago I came home with a new tattoo across my shoulders and my dad, not overly thrilled with my newest artwork, threatened, “Just wait ‘til your grandmother sees that!!!” Later that day, while visiting with grandma, I turned around and showed her what I had done, and heard her suck in her breath. As I braced myself for an onslaught of reprimands, Grandma just said “That IS beautiful!!”

For someone who was not well educated, she was extremely well read and always wanted to know all about what I was studying in school. One time, when home from college for the weekend, I was telling Gram about a class I was taking and how the paper I was writing focused on the Women’s Suffrage Movement. To this day, I will never forget how nonchalantly Gert looked at me and said, “Oh, I remember when Nana (her mother) went to vote for the first time…I was what…7 or 8? So, don’t forget to vote, sweetie”. The fact that my grandmother had such a memory of women being granted the right to vote in the US and was able to share that with me always amazed me and gave me pause for how much she saw during her lifetime.

As far as I’m concerned, Gram wasn’t the best cook, she didn’t drive (being my dad’s only failure when it comes to teaching someone to drive), was a chronic worrier and she had a body that always seemed to be failing on her… but, she was truly one of the funniest, sweetest and strongest people I knew. She had an intense will to live, constantly looking toward the next milestone. Gert regularly challenged the norms of what one thinks a Grandmother should be and I adored her for this.

When we lost my Mom, Gert made it her mission to ensure that she was at my high school graduation, then my college graduation and while she wasn’t up for coming to our wedding, she was thrilled when Aaron and I went straight to see her after our wedding reception. I like to think that she stayed with us until she knew I would be okay without her and this past week I was able to visit with her, telling her that not only would I be okay, but she had done her job in taking care of all of us.
It’s hard to believe my grandmother turned ninety-seven this past July and selfish of me to have wanted more time with her. From family to near strangers everyone that crossed paths with my Grandmother loved her from the first meeting. It was impossible not to.