About Me

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I live in beautiful Saratoga Springs, NY.  I have a husband who is a masters rower and a daughter obsessed with all things Japanese.  I'm a knitter and a spinner!  When I spin too much yarn I list it on my Etsy shop www.saratogaspinning.etsy.com.
My husband is also a master metalsmith and creates wonderful wrought iron wine racks displayed at www.oldworldwinerackdesigns.com.

I am a volunteer for the AFS student exchange program.  http://www.afs.org/
 
I'm saratogaknitting on Ravelry, llenz5743 Twitter and Lisa Lenz Lessard on Facebook and llenz57843 on Pinterest!  Come say hello!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Goodies

Whew - I survived another Christmas! Here is our "eerie" Christmas photo. I'm not quite sure how I managed it with the camera, but it's interesting!


Here is a picture of the completed hand warmers for the Rowing Cat! She loved them and has hardly taken them off! The "I'm making a pair of socks" ruse worked - she had no idea! Her friends at school are going to be jealous of these if they thought her "Amethyst" hat was "cool"! She even received a compliment on them from one of the ladies at the yarn store this morning!

And now for the most amazing news! For Christmas I received a very soft skein of llama yarn from Saratoga Llamas. That in itself is tremendous, but it's the paper underneath that is the real gift!

My husband is giving me 6 hours of spinning lessons with Lin Woods from Saratoga Llamas!!! And, at the end of the lessons, he is going to buy me a spinning wheel of my choice! How great is that! I was so surprised and still can't really believe it. Just the fact that he went by himself into the yarn store to ask about spinning and then continued, by himself, to Saratoga Llamas to talk to Lin is amazing! And the best part is that Lin has her students spin on each of the wheels that she has, so by the end of the course, you have an idea of the brand/type of wheel you feel most comfortable with. I could not think of a better present! (Letting him sell his used scull and buy a new one this spring was worth it!)



Mark worked at Gore Mountain on Christmas Day, so I was inspired to finish the shawl I have been working on for 4 years! The Rowing Cat almost fell off of her chair when I showed her the finished product - she's been bugging me about it forever! Of course, as soon as I put it down on the chair the cat decided it was the perfect location for a nap . . . I have to check and see if I have enough blocking pins, and if I do I'm going to block it this afternoon. Stay tuned for some lace magic!


Thursday, December 21, 2006

I've Been Tagged!

I've been tagged by Stephanie to list "6 Weird Things About You."

Here are the rules:

THE RULES: Each player of this game starts with the "6 weird things about you." People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly.In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says "you are tagged" in their comments and tell them to read your blog.


1. I don't like to make phonecalls. Email is great!

2. I like the TP to roll from the back, not over the top. I'll change it if the roll is put on the "wrong" way.

3. I don't like to dust under the bed - where does all that stuff come from???

4. I go around the house turning off lights - drives my husband CRAZY!

5. I can bend my left pinkie finger almost all the way back to my wrist - very weird.

6. I always have at least 3 books going - one for the living room, one in the bedroom and one at work.

And I tag: Anne, Knitting Knirvana, Midnight 2 Sticks, Rain and my Secret Pal!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Some Holiday Knitting!

The Christmas countdown has begun . . . The tree is up and trimmed. There are presents under the tree (mine and Mark's)! None for the Rowing Cat yet - she is very upset about that :-) I do, however, still have wrapping for her to do. Tonight we'll be making my family's peanut butter fudge recipe. Of course I had to make a quick Price Chopper stop this morning before work to pick up the forgotten Butterscotch Morsels . . . Upon completion of the fudge, the Chrismas candy war will begin. Mark's grandmother made Peanut Butter Christmas Candy every year and he is the one in the family the recipe passed down to. It is a mixture of peanut butter and confectioners sugar. It has always been too sweet for my taste, so we argue every Christmas about which recipe is the best! The Rowing Cat falls on both sides of the fence as you can imagine!

We watched The Christmas Story this weekend! What a fun movie! The Rowing Cat had never seen it, so it was really a treat - I had forgotten how funny it was! This will be on our holiday viewing list from now on.

We also found out that Mark has to work at Gore Mountain on Christmas Day. This will mean getting up insanely early and opening half of our presents before he has to leave and then opening the rest when he gets home. This will be somewhat crazy! It also means that I'll be responsible for properly cooking the Christmas Roast - YIKES! This is going to call for lots of spiked eggnog! The Rowing Cat and I will spend the afternoon next door at my brother's letting the little ones open family presents. Another YIKES! But I'm hoping for some quiet knitting time to bring back my sanity - is that too much to ask??


Here is the start of my EZ sweater - the seamless pullover - page 66 or 68? in my copy of Knitting Without Tears. I must admit though that this has already been ripped out. I thought I would like to do a turned hem on it, but knitting the hem together did not go well. So out it came. Which turned out to be a good thing because I discovered that my gauge was off. If I had continued with this, the sweater would have been HUGE! So, I'll be casting on again with a smaller number of stitches and will just let the stockinette roll happen on the bottom!



These three are scarves I brought in as Holiday gifts for my co-workers! I think they're just fun little treats! Also very impressive to the non-knitter! Definitely going for the WOW factor at work ;-)




And I found out that our cousin Lexie, sister of Anne has gotten engaged!!! Looks like a summer trip to Montana - twist my arm
!!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Getting Ready!

Here is a picture of my Secret Pal roving spun up ready to go into the cooking pot! I really like the colors. I've cast on for an Elizabeth Zimmerman sweater knit in round from Knitting Without Tears. I'm using an off-white Cascade 220 for the body and will use this yarn for contrast on the yoke. I think it will look great! But lots of stockinette to get through . . .




Here is the yarn all wound up and ready to go!

And here is a scarf I'm knitting up with the Briar Rose yarn I purchased at Rhinebeck. I love the colors - greens and blues. I'm using a Lily Chin cable pattern that I have used before. It was inspired by a post on this great blog: http://www.verypink.com/parasceva.htm

I think this will be a Christmas present for someone!


We had great news this weekend - Mark is now an official Ski Instructor at Gore Mountain!!! He went to a two day instructor course and was one of 25 out of 60 participants chosen for a job this winter! He'll be able to keep in great shape for next season's rowing competitions!

If you have a chance head on over to our Montana cousin Anne's blog and give her a big hello! http://eweknittoo.blogspot.com/

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Secret Pal!!! and Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Here is our Thanksgiving turkey! We had some issues between my husband and his mother regarding the "doneness" of the turkey, but once those were resolved we sat down to a wonderful meal!

The following day there was a surprise in the mail! My Secret Pal sent me a package! As you can see, Shadow had to investigate! And this package came all the way from Wasilla, Alaska! I can't believe it! How fun!



The package contained two BEAUTIFUL rovings to feed my spinning addiction. The colors are wonderful! My daughter has already claimed whatever I might make from the turquoise roving since she has a pillow exactly that shade! And the multicolor is fantastic, beautiful greens with yellows, reds browns - I couln't resist!


Here is some of it spun up - I had to get right to my spindle! Oh yes, my wonderful pal also sent me the marvelous book Spin to Knit! I have been hoping to get my hands on it! It is wonderful with great photos and explanations for new spinners. Also some teriffic patterns - I love the sweaters and the hats! There was also a bag of Heath Bar Bites but those are long gone!



The Rowing Cat and I looked up Wasilla on the internet and found a great little video about the town that we watched! She can't believe that my pal is from the town where the Iditarod Race starts! She's loved the Balto story forever thanks to the animated video!

Thanks so much to my Pal! You're keeping me busy!

Here's the recipe - This was given to my daughter by her Kindergarten teacher and we have made it every year since! Thanks Mrs. Schrader at Jerry Thomas Elementary in Jupiter, Florida!

Pumpkin Bread

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1/2 lb. canned pumpkin
1/3 cup water
1 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves

Cream sugar, oil and add eggs. Add pumpkin. Add dry ingredients alternately with water. Grease two 8 x 3 3/4 inch pans. Bake at 350 degrees for and hour or until done.

Enjoy!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Help Mom!

Here is the Rowing Cat's stash pile dumped on the couch in front of Mom for a drastically needed untangling . . .


Then I did my magic and this is the result - now the Rowing Cat can start up again on her black scarf.

Except that this happened before she could grab her yarn!

The cat knows a good haul when she sees one! Below are the finished socks from the yarn sent by my Tea Swap pal - they turned out great!

And here's a little "One Skein Wonders" hat I finished. I splurged and bought some Socks That Rock yarn this week - off to cast on!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Spinning, Knitting and a little Hound Dog

Faith, of The Knitting Cook podcast, spoke at length in her latest episode about the wonder of the knitting community, especially the on-line community. I have to agree with everything she said. Here's my story: My Secret Pal 9 spoilee is a woman who lives in Massachusetts and is a writer for a Boston newspaper. My daughter is also a writer, albeit a thirteen year old one. She loves to write. She writes every day and hopes to someday write stories for children. This is simply amazing to me. I would find writing stories to be sheer torture. I mentioned in an email to my spoilee that my daughter wants to be a writer. My spoilee passed on some "words of wisdom" for her which was wonderful. Then I received another email from her suggesting a book she thought might be perfect for my daughter! The book is called Writing Magic and is written by Gail Carson Levine. That night I went to the bookstore, found the book and brought it home. Well, you can imagine that the Rowing Cat was VERY EXCITED about this book. It is perfect for her! And she is very impressed that A REAL WRITER recommended a book to her! So that is my story about the knitting community. It is a place where a fellow knitter takes the time to reach out and do something special for a thirteen year old! I know that I'll always remember this gesture of kindness!


Here is a picture of the merino roving I bought at Rhinebeck. It's a beautiful color and looks nice when spun, but I have to admit that I'm not loving it. It's probably just my drafting technique, but I'm not happy with the way it feels in my hand. I think I should just put this away for another day. I have some wool roving still sitting in my stash that I think I'll pull out and try.



Here's a picture of sock #1 from the Tea Swap Regia self patterning yarn! I'm about halfway through the second. My daughter is very anxious for me to finish them! They do look most impressive to those not initiated into the world of self patterning yarn!

And finally, a shot of the Rowing Cat in her jeans and teeshirt doing a dance to Elvis Presley's Hound Dog for Talent Show night! These girls made quite a pair!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Fish Head



First a picture of our little Shadow in her best Halloween pose! THEN . . .



The Fish Head - this is the plaque Mark received for winning his race on Saturday at the Head of the Fish! Isn't this a classic?? He'll never get a better prize no matter how many races he wins! Now - where to hang this beauty . . .!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

We're On the Podcast!!

Check out the latest Knitty D and the City podcast! Tracey and I were interviewed by Wendy and Christina at Rhinebeck and our interview is in the podcast! Very exciting!

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Check Out the Bread and Try the Recipe!


I've been baking bread today! Check out this beautiful loaf! And it is delicious. I managed to snap a picture before its full demolishment! This recipe is from Faith at The Knitting Cook podcast. Give her a listen and the recipe is in the show notes!

The Fish Came and Was Blown Away!



The weather was very rainy and very blustery yesterday. The Saratoga Head of the Fish was held on Fish Creek. It was supposed to be yesterday and today, but today was cancelled due to high winds. But, Mark was able to race yesterday - AND HE WON HIS RACE!!!! Another medal and maybe even one of the prized "Fish Head" plaques! The weather was so bad though, that I did not get a good picture of him.



Here's some progress on the Regia Yarn socks that I'm doing. The yarn was sent to me by my Tea Swap Buddy and I love it! The Rowing Cat has already stated that this pair belongs to her . . .




Here's a nice shot of the tree in front of our house. The colors are absolutely gorgeous! That is, until today - by the end of the day the tree will probably be bare because of the wind!




And here is a photo of the hat I made with the purple silk/merino I spun. I will now forever think of this as my "Amethyst" hat. Want to know why?? Head on over to Nora's website and see!

I've also been doing some more spindle spinning. I'm trying to spin very thin singles so I can try plying. We'll see how that goes!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Rhinebeck Recovery


What a day, what a day . . . It was the most fun I have had in a long time! There were 2 buses from our LYS ready to go Saturday morning. Once we were on our way, the needles came out and the discussions started. It was so much fun to oogle other folks projects! And I was teaching Tracey the Magic Loop method for her first pair of socks, so there were lots of questions about how I was knitting!


The weather was absolutely PERFECT! And the people there were lovely! Everyone seemed to be wearing their own handknits, whether sweaters or shawls or scarves or hats, etc. I had my Market Bag with me and kept having people stop to compliment me on it! What fun!

Tracey (this is her posing by the angora bunny) and I made the rounds and still did not have a chance to see it all. Unbelievable. I was able to purchase a wonderful skein of Briar Rose sock yarn, 2 packs of Merino roving, and a gift for my Secret Pal. I was able to find just what I wanted. But boy, could you spend some serious $$$ if you wanted to.

The animals were wonderful too. Lots of llamas, sheep, bunnies and a sheep herding demonstration! I've never seen border collies working live, so that was quite a treat!

But the best part of the day was running into Wendy and Christina of the Knitty D and the City Podcast!!!!! I recognized Wendy and can hardly believe I was bold enough to go right up to her and say hello! They were both so nice AND Wendy whipped out her IRiver and asked if we WANTED TO BE INTERVIEWED FOR THE PODCAST!!! So we were! Not sure if we'll make the final cut - but I'll be sure to post when the episode comes out! I have to say it felt a little like meeting rock stars! And they talke to US!!!! That really made my day - and that happened early in the day!



As you can imagine, by the end of the day we were EXHAUSTED! We did not score any Socks That Rock, but were able to get our share of goodies. Maybe next year we'll bring our daughters and stay overnight. One way or another, I can't wait!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Rhinebeck!!!

I'm off to Rhinebeck tomorrow - can't wait! I'll be using my Market Bag to carry all my goodies in - if you see me, come say hello!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Market Bag

Knitty D and Wendy mentioned the Market Bag from Knitter's Magazine in their latest podcast. I loved that particular pattern and I thought I'd post a picture of the finished product! The colors are great and I often use it as my travelling knitting bag!


Some photos of the volleyball team from Saturday. I actually got to see the Rowing Cat play! I usually miss the games because they are played when I am at work, so this was fun! And they won! The amazing thing is that there are only 6 girls on the team right now, so they all play all the time. There's some pretty good talent there!


The Rowing Cat in action!


With apologies to the Yarn Harlot, I just had to take a picture of the socks in the school colors! I wasn't quite bold enough to take the shoe off, but you get the idea!



Just a nice shot of the Japanese maple in our front yard. It is just starting to turn red. When it turns completely it is breathtaking!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

My Tea Buddy Struck!




My tea swap partner Suzanne send a wonderful package! I worked late tonight and didn't get home until after 8pm. The Rowing Cat was practically jumping out of her skin with excitement! I let her open some of the packages and she was in heaven! My husband has already eaten half of the delicious shortbread cookies and I can't wait to try the teas! The box of caramel Nips is coming to work with me tomorrow!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Saratoga Pictures

I thought I'd post a few pictures of Saratoga - there will be more as I get around town with the camera. These are just from Sunday morning after breakfast out. Of course, my husband and daughter were just supposed to go get the car and pick me up - a distance of about 2 blocks - and what did they do? They got in the car and started to drive home without me! I was wondering why it took them so long to drive 2 blocks . . . !

This is a picture of the horse in front of City Hall. Every August the horse statues come out in celebration of the six weeks of thouroughbred horse racing at the Saratoga Race Course. There are several different ones up and down Broadway. They'll soon be brought in for the winter.




This is a picture of the clock in front of the Adirondack Trust Company, the local Saratoga bank. I like the way it reflects the Victorian heyday of the city.





This is a picture of my family's pharmacy! The store has been in existence since the early 1860's and in it's current location since 1871 when the building was built! Menges and Curtis were the original owners and the name has been the same ever since. My Dad bought the business in the very early 60's and my brothers own the business and the building now. It is an old-fashioned pharmacy with lots of interesting front end items. The sign is made of small squares of glass. I spent one summer cleaning every one of them by hand - it took forever because I couldn't push hard or they would come out of the panel.




And here is a picture of my LYS, Saratoga Needle Arts! The horse in the window is named "Purl" and changes her accessories regularly. My sister-in-law and I are going to Rhinebeck with a bus trip that the store puts together each year!