Crafty as a Serpent

A knit blog with recipes and theological musings interspersed.

My Photo
Location: Portland, Maine, United States

Abby d'Ambruoso is a Lutheran pastor and interfaith chaplain, currently serving in a variety of ministries in Portland, Maine.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Note to self

Dear Self,
Regarding socks, please, no matter how smart you feel nor how much you feel you know the pattern, always check the number of stitches you should be left with at the end of your gussets. The "check no matter what" policy should insure that you never have an evening last night in which you got to the toe decreases on the second Stripey sock for Will and discovered that you were missing 4 stitches. As you will no doubt remember, this discovery led to the frogging of the entire foot of that sock, which you are beginning to loathe because of its never-ending qualities. As you eye new projects (especially those alluring garterlac dishcloths), remember that haste makes waste and skipping over the important step of reading the pattern (even if you think you know it better than your mailing address) can lead to much crying and wailing and gnashing of teeth. In short, avert disaster and frogging in the outer darkness by getting out the damn pattern.
With love,
Your Wiser Self

Sunday, August 20, 2006

We're here!

We set out early on Monday morning from Berkeley.
Yesterday afternoon, which was Saturday, we arrived in Toledo, Ohio. We have arrived at our new home.
In between, I decided to stick with knitting Will's striped socks, and I turned the heel of the second one on Friday. We were in Indiana visiting family during that part of the trip, and, unfortunately, since then I have not had time to knit. One of my goals yesterday was to actually get time to knit, but I was too brain dead to remind myself to sit down with my knitting bag.

We are living in the parish house of the church where I'll be working. The house is old, although we have new fridge and stove (gas- yippee!). We do have a working washer and dryer (in the kitchen, which I think a little strange), and we have a ton of furniture, quite a bit of which should go. There's just too much. So today after church, we'll be moving furniture to the attic (which needs a good cleaning) and then tonight when Amtrak opens at 8:30 (weird that they're open all night but not during the afternoon, eh?), we'll go get our boxes.

I got a tour yesterday, and the church itself is beautiful. It's an historic building, and I'll have to get some photos to show you all. Just beautiful.
The neighborhood is a little rough, just as I expected. But we feel safe in our house and the car is insured.
By the way, it is way humid here. Sometimes, I feel like I'm swimming through the air. Yuck.

I got some good photos (again with other peoples' cameras) on the way here, so sock pictures are forthcoming.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Gee's Bend Quilts and Suppenkuche

Last night was my last "ladies night" with my seminary women. And man, did we have a good time. Now, before you go thinking that we were out clubbing (not that some seminarians aren't all about that), think how San Francisco is hosting the Gee's Bend quilts.

Recently, Brynne of All This By Hand went to see the quilts when they were in Houston. She reminded me of these quilts which have been inspiring me for the last year. I have a stack of worn out corduroy pants and jeans to prove it (They're in my fabric stash now). You see, these quilts are not just the same patterns you have always seen (as gorgeous as they may be). Think crazy quilt and modern art and you will begin to imagine these quilts. The women of Gee's Bend used whatever material they had to hand and didn't use templates to make each quilt square the same. Rather, they started sewing things together in vibrant colors and using old work clothes and flour sacks. The quilts are beyond amazing.

Last night, I invited my friends Melissa and Sara to come see the quilts with me. We went out to the de Young Museum, which is in Golden Gate Park. Last year when I worked at UCSF as a chaplain, I would look out onto Golden Gate Park while I scrubbed into the Neonatal ICU on the top floor. You could see the de Young from there, as well as the Conservatory of Flowers. And I always meant to go, but I was so damned tired that whole summer. And so I finally went last night.

We had a wonderful time. We went after hours, so admission was cheap. We didn't have access to the collection but just to the traveling exhibits. But we got to see the quilts, which is what I really wanted to see.

Afterward, we went down to the Civic Center area and had dinner at Suppenkuche. It was loud, but the food was tasty. We ate sauerbraten, red cabbage, and spaetzle as well as amazing squash soup. Also, trout with this incredible cream sauce. Really, it was out of this world good. It made me want to ask my sister for our Oma's sauerbraten recipe.

I loved my evening with friends.

In other news, I have an FO- a felted bag that was commissioned by a woman I know. She saw my huge felted bag and wanted one herself. So I knit it this summer. It was crazy to knit a huge bag out of wool in the summertime, but I had to do it before I left. If I can find someone with a digital camera to lend me, I'll put a pic up.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Saying goodbye to San Francisco yarn shops

Saturday was a beautiful yet sad day for me. I bid goodbye to Artfibers yarn store in downtown San Francisco.
A little more than a year ago, I had just gone to the fabric store and purchased some lavender colored linen for a skirt. But I was at a loss for what to pair my pretty new skirt with. My friend Sarah D convinced me that a sweater wasn't really all that hard and that I could knit one with a little bit of learning. And so, on her advice, I began looking at yarn that I might like. I found it at Artfibers. It was Phyz, in color 10, a varied purple that I really liked. The fiber was a cotton/nylon blend, so it worked well with my linen skirt to provide a Spring outfit.

I began that sweater immediately, but when I realized that I had read the directions incorrectly after doing all of the back and half of the front, I ripped back the whole damn thing and started over. I learned a lot and eventually finished the sweater. Unfortunately, when I had designed the sweater at Artfibers using their Knitscape softwear, I had had no idea what I was doing. The person working with me had suggested a number of things, which I had gone along with.

In the end, I had a sweater with 2 inches extra all around and a bit more in some strategic places. Can we say short rows for the bust next time?

I kind of wore the sweater but not really (because I hated it but really liked the yarn), and so I decided to reknit the sweater.

Saturday, I headed into the city, bringing the sweater with me. I redesigned it with the help of Keira, who works at Artfibers and has a background in costume design (she's awesome and way helpful). And while I was there, I also had to buy some of their Tsuki for a Yarn Harlot Snowdrop Shawl. I've knit with Tsuki before, making a simple but gorgeous drop stitch scarf. It turned out beautifully but I gave it to Sarah D for her 25th birthday. So now I have to knit a shawl. It will be my first foray into lace (besides those lace socks out of koigu).

Two other things:
I visited Imagiknit which was awesome and having a sale. I did not purchase anything because I had already purchased the tsuki.

I also heard that my lys is closing. Yes. I will have to dedicate another post to that soon.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Knitting at a concert

Back in the days of my time at St. Olaf College, I was not much of one for rock concerts. I'm still not much of one for rock concerts. Give me a symphony, an orchestra, an opera, and I'm happy. But a rock concert is not on the top of my list for anticipated events. As such, I was rarely seen in the concert space at Olaf, called The Pause. The only night of the year that I really anticipated every year was the Michael Gulezian concert. Granted, Michael Gulezian plays acoustic guitar and that may have something to do with it, but it still means that I liked the Pause above all other places on campus for only one day of the year.

Last night, Will and I had tickets to see Michael Gulezian play in a very small venue- Schoenberg guitars in Tiburon, CA. It's a fantastic guitar shop, should you be wondering.

Michael Gulezian, my friend Heather who was visiting from Santa Barbara, me (knitting with sock), Will, and our neighbor and friend Alan.

The second pic is a closer look at the sock. I was working on the heel flap last night and am now up to the gussets today.

The third pic is of Michael Gulezian holding the sock with Heather holding the yarn.

So go, visit Michael's website. He is an amazing musician- and a fun person to hang out with. And he is knitter friendly.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Packing up the stash

Today is the day I've been dreading. Today is the day that I pack up my stash of yarn.* I'm moving to Toledo, Ohio for a year of internship and my move day is on August 14th. I've been filling boxes for storage, for shipping, and for Goodwill. I've said goodbye to my books, some of them for a year. But today, I have to put the stash away in a box.

I have to admit that I'm a little nervous about shipping the stash. Granted, I've only recently become a stash person. I've always had little balls of yarn around as leftovers, but it was only this year that I started collecting yarn. Almost every skein has a plan to go with it (except for a couple), but I'm nervous about losing the stash in shipping. I have visions of that one box falling off of the train and tumbling down into a ditch, never to be seen again by a human being, least of all me. I fear yarn thieves who might spot my hoard stash of beautiful yarn. What if they open my boxes to inspect them, spot my noro and decide that the noro must come with them? What about my cone of gorgeous cashmere for my gray cardigan that I so desperately want to knit this Fall?

It's strange how little attachment I have to some things in my apartment, yet my yarn now means a lot to me. I have ideas for its usage. And I have dreams of filling my craft room next year with shelving for my stash and a rocking chair for knitting there.

I hope my yarn will meet me in Toledo.

*Rest assured, dear reader, that packing up the stash does not mean that I have nothing to knit. I am continuing the sock, as well as some booties, and I have a felted bag to finish before we go.