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!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Getting Ready!

Are you all surviving these last days? I'm not doing too badly this year! The tree is decorated (notice we have ONLY green and blue lights - Mark insists . . . ;-) The presents are all wrapped (well, almost - only one or two more to go!) There is some mystery wrapping going on right now upstairs - I've been banished to the kitchen until further notice. The roast beef is ordered and just needs to be picked up tomorrow. The Italian cold cuts need to be picked up tomorrow for our Christmas Eve feast. And of course we have to bake cookies for Santa tomorrow! We may build a Gingerbread House tomorrow afternoon as well. My sister-in-law bought kits for the kids, but her crew is sick next door, so the Rowing Cat did not go over. We have the kit though, and might make it tomorrow if we have time! And NO MORE HOLIDAY KNITTING!!!!

Here are a few photos of Gore Mountain after the big storm we had last weekend. Pretty nice!
Mark will be instructing 4 days this coming week. He may even go up on Christmas afternoon just to escape the chaos that will be family kids Christmas present exchange on Tuesday afternoon . . .



I've been working on a pair of socks originally started by the Rowing Cat ages ago. The yarn is Austermann Step with the aloe vera. It's very nice to work with. Good bus knitting. I must admit to the mistakes I made with this sock though. I'm working the cuff with the pattern put up by Brenda Dayne of Cast-on. It's a wonderful pattern. Simple, simple, simple and I thought I'd just try it on these socks. But this is the second time doing the cuff. You see, the pattern on Brenda's website is written in four rows for straight needles. The second and fourth row are Purl rows. And she makes note that it can also be worked successfully in the round. Can you see where this is headed??? How many years have I been knitting??? And still I did the first row, then purled the second, did the third row and purled the fourth. And it just didn't look right, but I kept on going. For at least 2 inches. Then, as I was looking at it, and looking at it, and looking at it, the light finally went off (kind of like the Grinch ;-) and I realized that because I was working in the round I just had to KNIT the second and fourth rows, NOT PURL!!!! So I visited the frog pond! I still can't believe I did this! It was a humbling experience!

This is some beautiful Romney wool from the Spunky Eclectic Fiber club that I've been spinning. I really seem to enjoy spinning pure wool. And the colors are wonderful. I drafted the first half of the fiber so that I get good stripe definition. I'll just let the second half spin up as is and the result should be very soft and muted.


Today Mark and the Rowing Cat made Grandma's Secret Christmas Candy. I asked them if I could post pictures and the recipe here. You should have seen both of their faces - publish the SECRET RECIPE?????? So, I'm sorry, you can't have the recipe. Just suffice to say that it involves confectioner's sugar and peanut butter . . . .


And this is what I'm left with! Yes, I am the official cleaner . . .


Well, I've been cleared to enter the rest of the house again, so I think I'll go watch the Patriots and get ready for the heavy rain and high winds we're expecting this evening!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Holiday Knits

I went to the Post Office yesterday to mail some packages. I asked the clerk for a book of stamps and I said to give me whatever he had in his drawer. "Whatever?" he asked. "Whatever" I said. This is what he gave me - how great is that??? I almost burst out laughing in the middle of the Post Office! Mark and the Rowing Cat could not believe it when I showed them!


I think I'll go back and get more!

I did some last minute Christmas shopping yesterday and look what I found. After the stamps, finding this card was a bonus! It's gone off to a knitting/blogging friend! Once I was done shopping, I knew I was destined to get back home and knit, knit, knit.

I had a rough knitting afternoon/evening though. Remember that beautiful Malabrigo I was knitting with? I finished the scarf and decided to make a pair of fingerless mitts with the leftover. That went fine and the mitts are completed and put away for a special recipient. I had still more yarn left over and decided to make another pair of fingerless mitts for our office Secret Santa exchange on Thursday. I finished one and got through about half of the second and I RA OUT OF YARN!!! I was just tempting fate. Oh well. I put the incomplete mitt on some waste yarn and put them away to wait for the day that I can get another skein of that beautiful yarn . . . And then I pulled out some Cascade 220 from the stash and cast on again. So my goal is to finish the NEW set of mitts today during the Patriots game!

While I was gone, this came into the house! We always get our tree from Bob's Trees. It's about a half hour ride one way. I went on the trek two years ago and we got completely lost. Since then I have been banned from the trip. Can you feel how sad I feel about the ban???;-) So every year, Mark and the Rowing Cat get to go out in the cold and figure out how to get the tree onto the car, up on our back porch and into the house!

We're in the midst of another winter storm here in Saratoga. This is our porch this morning. I had cleared it of all of the snow from the last storm yesterday afternoon, so this all fell last night. We've spent the morning digging out the cars. I think we're due for some freezing rain and then more snow tonight. Will there be school tomorrow? That is the big question . . .
For this afternoon, it's cooking tomato sauce and stew for later in the week. There's a flank steak marinating in the refrigerator to be grilled later - yum! And, oh yes, we have to put the lights on the tree . . . !

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Working Away

I picked up this book recently and am enjoying it! It's a great book full of interesting patterns.

The format is the same as when it was originally published and the writing/descriptions are a little dated, but the patterns aren't! I'm keeping it by my bedside for reading before sleep. What could be better? The patterns range from easy to pretty complicated. But, I can feel my fingers itching to try some as I read.

I had a wonderful afternoon during our Thanksgiving jaunt to Marblehead! I was able to meet up with Jen and do some yarn shopping! The weather was freezing, but sunny, so after a quick bowl of chowder at Quincy Market we hoofed it over to Windsor Button for some shopping. We both picked up some Malabrigo! What a treat!

Jen gave me this great clutch - beautiful!

And this book of stitches - seems to be a theme this season! I love the color photos! I'll be using this to design my socks this winter!

Here's the Malabrigo knit up into a scarf for my father-in-law! This yarn is fantastic to knit with - I'm definitely getting some more.

And my latest spinning endeavor. Shetland wool in the "Celebration" colorway from the Spunky Club. I'm leaving it as singles. I'm thinking of making a felted clutch with it.

This is 4 ounces of Romney wool called "Goblin Eyes" from the Spunky Club. I'm very pleased with the result. The colors are so muted. The wool itself has a nice bloom on it after being washed.

Next time - the end of Sock Wars!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Where Have I Been???

Where have I been? What have I been doing? Life has been busy and the Rowing Cat has been using the computer non-stop for school projects . . . But things have been happening here. Here are pictures of my husband's latest project. It is a Schoenbrod scull and he is happily engaged in refurbishing it. He's varnished all of the wood and stretched out and attached the new hull fabric. It is looking great!


Yes, I have been spinning. This is an early photograph of a skein I just wound up today. It is 4 ounces of Romney wool from the Spunky Eclectic Fiber of the Month for October. It's called Goblin Eyes. It spun like a dream! Notice the strange way the yarn is running over the bobbin? Thanks to a generous spinner on Ravelry, I got hold of an article on using Louet wheels. The article suggested running the yarn across the bobbin one or several times. This technique makes it easier to spin a little finer because the fiber is taking a little more time to move from your hands to the bobbin. What a great tip! It was one of those little "why didn't I think of that moments".

This is the skein of tencel blend spun and plied. It was very easy to spin, but I started a scarf with the plied yarn and I wish now that I had left it in singles. It's pretty to look at though!

I have more to tell, but it will have to wait until later this week - tales of angora bunny fiber woe and a great meet-up in Boston with Jenn as well as some new book purchases!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Finally - The Rhinebeck Haul

Finally, a Finished Object to show! These are fingerless gloves I whipped up on my bus trips. I used the last of this handspun (last used on a pair of socks). I had fun with these. I didn't use a pattern at all! I just cast on and decided on the motif as I went. Cables have been on my mind lately, so I thought I'd incorporate some. I think they came out great and boy are they warm!

This is some wonderful yarn all the way from Sweden! Maria, our former au pair, sent this along this week. Remember I knit that scrumptiously soft baby blanket for her Oskar?? She also sent along a necklace and earrings for Sophia. Thanks so much Maria! As you can see, I'm taking your advice and knitting myself a little feather and fan scarf!

Here's a picture of the alpaca roving I've been spinning. This has seemed to take forever . . . I finally finished the second bobbin this week and plied and washed the yarn. I have the second half of the total to still spin, but I think I'll take a break. I found it hard to keep on going without the interesting color changes I've become used to with the Spunky Eclectic monthly fiber.

Speaking of Spunky Eclectic - here is a beautiful merino/tencel blend that's now on my wheel. It is spinning up like a dream. So soft. This is definitely going to become a drapey scarf.

Now onto the Rhinebeck haul. Here is a "bump" of wonderful white wool. I don't know what this will become, but I couldn't resist.



This is a blend of wool and angora. It is incredibly soft. I just want to sit and hold it! I was thinking socks, but maybe I'll make some sort of scarf instead so I can wear it close to my face!

And this is a beautiful wool/silk blend. The color is extraordinary. It is a mix of deep plum and brown. And again - so soft! This is going to become a delicate shawl.

I came down with a cold this week and had to miss this month's meeting of the Knitting Guild. But I'm improving today! I even got the Rowing Cat out to rake leaves with me this afternoon!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Video!

Just a quickie post today - no knitting content!

I was asked by my surgeon if I would be willing to be interviewed by a local tv station about having regular mammograms. I agreed - if it encourages one woman to pick up the phone and make the call, it will be worth it.

So here is the link if you'd like to view it - short gray hair and all!

http://www.fox23news.com/mediacenter/local.aspx

Go to the link and click on October Buddy Check Reminder.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Rhinebeck!!!

Another trip to Rhinebeck has come and gone. Sigh. My sister-in-law Tracey and I drove down yesterday morning. The weather was terrific! The weather on Friday was very rainy and windy, so we weren't sure what the trip would bring, but it was beautiful. Warm and sunny all day with a light breeze. Lots of beautiful colors along the way too.

We were greeted upon arrival by this! These two horses were huge!


We spent time going through the vendor sites first - who could resist? I only purchased roving the entire day - do you believe it?? I've really been enjoying spinning and the range of roving available was wonderful.

We had to take Tracey's picture with some sheep. She kept threatening my brother that she was going to bring one home!

And of course, who can resist such cute llamas?


YES! I spotted the Yarn Harlot and just had to snap her picture! I'm sure Tracey thought I was a little bit nuts, but I had to do it!


One more sheep!

We had a great day. The weather couldn't have been more perfect. I bought roving, Tracey bought yarn, we had some delicious food and we saw some great animals! Plus, just being with so many fiber lovers in general was terrific! There were some beautiful knitted garments being displayed and compliments were flowing left and right! I'll post pictures of my haul and give a SockWars update later in the week.

Oh yes, I had to post a picture of Mark's new (old) boat. He just finished the varnish job. And be forewarned - the Head of the Fish Regatta is being held next weekend. Remember the Fish Head from last year???


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Update!

Whew! I'm taking a short break from the Wars! I'm almost done with my first sock and have acquired a knitting injury on my left index fingertip. I'll be pulling out the bandaids and continuing on. My assassin is definitely going to get my beautiful pair of socks in the mail tomorrow morning and my target is also done with her pair of socks. I think I can do it today though! I just can't wait to get my pair!

I thought I'd post some pictures of last weekend. Gore Mountain held a family weekend/open house. We went up on Sunday morning. Of course, the clouds had closed in and we did not see much on the Gondola ride, but it was fun anyway! Here's the Rowing Cat - once again in a typical teenager pose! She turns 14 on Tuesday - I can't believe it. Where does the time go?? But, she's President of her class and Captain of her volleyball team and a straight A student. So I can't complain! Let's hope it keeps up!

Of course, there is fiber everywhere! These lovely ladies were on display at Gore! Notice the blue ribbon? This was won last year at Rhinebeck!



Here's the Gondola.

And here's Mark explaining something to his mother. The view would have been spectacular if only the sun was out! And don't you know, as we were pulling out of the parking lot, the sun was burning off the clouds . . .


And do you remember that baby blanket I made that the Rowing Cat wanted to keep? Here's a picture of little Oscar enjoying the softness! What a cutie!


Ok - I must return to the war. The Pumpkin Bread needs to come out of the oven too!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sock Wars

The Sock Wars have begun. I'll report back when I have completed my mission or been assasinated!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Rockin' Blog and Tales from the Bus

I'VE BEEN NOMINATED!!! Can you tell I'm just a little excited? Jen at Adventures in Knitting nominated me to be a Rockin' Girl Blogger! Thanks Jen! She was my Secret Pal a while back and it's been fun to keep in touch. We may even have the chance to meet up over Thanksgiving break! This great knitting/blogging community has certainly brought a lot of fun into my life!

Now, on to my nominations - they are some really fun and interesting ladies I've "met" via this blog:

1. Ramona at MezzoDiva: Ramona is a professional opera singer who still finds the time and energy to give to others. She sponsored the Campanula for the Cure KAL. All proceeds from her Campanula pattern were donated to the Princess Margaret Hospital to benefit breast cancer research and she participated herself in a walk to benefit the hospital. What a gal!

2. Ellen at Someone Keeps Moving My Chair: Ellen recently moved to Saratoga and we've been emailing for months. We still haven't met up yet - between my health issues and her schedule, we just haven't been able to get it together! But we will soon! It's been fun to read her blog and see my town through a new comer's eyes.

3. Holly at One More Row: Holly lives in Alaska and is the hard-working Mom of two little boys. I love to read about all the craziness that is a household with two little ones and she also posts some wonderful pictures of her corner of Alaska. She has also incredibly found the time to go back to school! Whew!

4. Anne at Ewe Knit Too: Anne is my cousin by marriage and I've known her since her early teen years! Now she's all grown up and married and living in Montana. She's a librarian too! I was so surprised to find that she knits. We haven't seen each other in a few years, but the next time we get to visit Montana, you can bet that Anne and I will be comparing knitting notes!

5. Susan at Susan In Stiches: Susan is an amazing lady living in Australia. She raises goats, knits, and creates quilts that are pieces of art! I love to read what's been going on "down under"!

So ladies - grab the button and display it proudly!

Here's my knitting progress for the week:

Montego Bay Scarf - coming along nicely after I switched to the bamboo needles. We had a slight blip in progress involving a cat and a hair ball. Enough said - the rescue was sucessful ;-)


My bobbin is almost full with my latest creation. I'm going to try to finish this today and skein it up. I haven't decided on a project for this yet - maybe socks and matching scarf or hat. I think I'll have a lot of yardage from this.


One "Bus Sock" completed and number two well on its way! I've really enjoyed working with this yarn and the color stripes are great.


My bus rides have been interesting this week. As I mentioned in my last post, I still feel funny pulling out my knitting in public - I just don't have a lot of practice at it. But, I've been doing it every day on the bus. This week the bus has been crowded enough that I've had people sit with me. The reactions are interesting! Everyone asks what I'm making. Then I've gotten several "Is that crochet?" comments! On Friday the gentleman who sat with me wanted to know " . . . what are you constructing there?" I've never heard of knitting referred to quite that way before! But then, the miracle also occurred this week - another knitter sat across from me and was so excited to see that I was knitting! She was also knitting a sock but with dpn's. She had never seen the Magic Loop method, so was very interested to look at it. She was also "jealous" of my toe up cast on method. We didn't get to talk much more because the bus got pretty crowded, but it was fun. It almost felt a little eerie - like we were members in a secret club! Hopefully I'll have some more tales to tell!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Kittens, Daughters, Spinning and Knitting

Here are my two girls just hanging out on the floor! This crazy cat of ours loves, loves, loves to have her tummy rubbed - she just flops right down next to you and waits for the rubdown!

This week's spinning has been coming along beautifully. I love the striping effect. As I said in my last post, I'm experimenting with this by plying it with some laceweight.

I really like the effect I'm getting! This will be fun to knit up - probably into socks!


I've decided to start taking the bus to work - the fact that I can knit for an hour each way had nothing at all to do with that decision ;-) It seems to be working out pretty well. The bus is not crowded at all so I have two seats to myself. Pulling out my knitting was a little scary the first time - I don't really know why, but it was. I guess I'm just not used to knitting in public. So I took the plunge and started a sock with my latest yarn purchase. It's sKNITches superwash merino and is very very soft! The color is much brighter than shows here -bright turqoise, with brown and yellow. The Rowing Cat has claimed these as her own because she happens to have a headband in exactly these colors!


Two days on the bus and I'm on the cuff of the first sock - the pair should be completed by the end of this week! I can see the potential for lots of Christmas gifts being knit "on the road"!