Tuesday, December 08, 2009

First Ones In!

The first two donations for the January 2010 Botswana Project collection have arrived! Check out the two hats and two scarves that I received from niftyknitter:


And Eliza brought three baby blankets with her when she came for Thanksgiving!


Thank you to niftyknitter and Eliza for such lovely gifts!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Singing Revolution

The Singing Revolution

Dear Knittah,

Tonight Noricum and I watched "The Singing Revolution". It was a truly amazing and inspiring piece of history. We were both very moved by the lack of violence in the face of angry mobs and the Soviet Army. Plus the singing is beautiful. If you haven't seen it, I really recommend you try to find a copy to watch!


Monday, October 19, 2009

In which Swatchy gets some Canadian action

This morning, after the kids were off to school, I went looking for Swatchy. I found him here, still sleeping at 9:30.

Poor l'il Swatchy. He was tuckered out, after a weekend beyond his wildest imaginings...

It all started so innocently. He climbed into the car and settled himself on the dashboard, perhaps thinking that this was going to be a wholesome weekend, seeing as he was traveling with a suburban, station-wagon-driving soccer mom.

The drive up was quick (relatively speaking) and uneventful. Swatchy enjoyed seeing the autumn foliage, and was fascinated by the gossip, although he tried not too look too interested.

He was happy to arrive at the hotel, quickly selecting a lovely color-coordinated skein of Black Bunny Fibers Canadian Luxury sock yarn to nestle down in for the night.

I think Swatchy figured, once everyone was in bed by 10:30 p.m., that his traveling companions were nice, if a bit sedate.

He was a good sport as we awoke early the next morning, bundling up and arriving at the show not long after the gates opened at 9 a.m.

He was quite excited to be hanging with knitting designer Laura Grutzeck; I heard Swatchy whisper excitedly to passersby, "See that lady with the pretty curly hair? She has a sweater in Vogue Knitting!" He found faithful traveling companion Jim to be delightful and eminently civilized, too.

Swatchy enjoyed seeing all sorts of beautiful fiber and yarn, and although he found the llamas and sheep a little intimidating, given how big they seemed to him, he quite enjoyed snuggling up to the bunnies, like this one:

(The bunny, on the other hand, disapproved.)

I was having a great time seeing old friends and making new ones, buying some roving, fondling the wools, but then I saw Swatchy surreptitiously yawn. I decided it was time for the big guns. So Swatchy got to meet Jess, of Ravelry fame:

and Clara Parkes, of Knitter's Review and book fame:

and Dr. Mel, of kilt-wearing fame:

I must say that Swatchy was very well-behaved and extremely polite to all the knitterati that he met, except when he mistakenly thought he heard Kristen Rengren

say that she knew a woman with Chronic Fatigue and it was all in her head, and then he threw himself at the table where she was book-signing, screaming stuff about "people who need to go to the CFIDS website before they start shooting their mouths off about stuff they know nothing about" until I was able to pull him off and tell him that she said "I know a woman with Chronic Fatigue and she has to stay in bed" and then he got all embarrassed and I had to leave the author's tent before Melanie Falick kicked the shite out of me.

At that point, I whisked Swatchy away, and we retired to our hotel room for a brief cooling-off period before dinner. Swatchy wasn't very impressed with our favorite Rhinebeck diner:

But he cheered up immensely when he met our dinner companions, including Mindy

(he was all over poor Mindy!); the wild and wooly Ali P (I need your blog link, Ali):

and last but not least, Vé-vé.

I think that those wild Canadian minxes were a terrible influence on Swatchy, because last night I went up to Little Miss's room to kiss her goodnight and I found this:

Oh, Swatchy, lolling in the hot tub with the Barbie twins? What have I done?!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Botswana and Beyond!!!

Some of your gifts to the Botswana Project, delivered last spring.

You have all been so generous and loving in making gifts for children that we have more than our volunteers from Penn can carry to Botswana. The good news is that Botswana is not the only place that Penn sends doctors and nurses.

I am thrilled to announce an EXPANSION of The Botswana Project to Mbagathi Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. This hospital is the only hospital serving the Kibera slum in Nairobi. There are approximately one million people living in Kibera, and less than 500 healthcare workers at Mbagathi. Thousands of children are HIV positive, and thousands more have lost a family member to AIDS. Mbagathi has a large pediatric clinic with a number of children's programs, and some of your future donations will be carried to Mbagathi by doctors from Penn's Global Health Equities Residence track. This video will give you an idea of what conditions are like in Kibera, and the amazing work done at Mbagathi Hospital. NB: the video was made by the group Physicians for Human Rights, not by Penn.

We need hand made hats, sweaters, blankets and toys for children of all ages. Sturdy wool, cotton and acrylic fibers are all welcome. The deadline for this collection round is December 31st. Your donations will be carried to Botswana and Mbagathi Hospital by volunteers from Penn. Please email Knittah with questions, or for the address to send your gifts. Thank you thank you thank you for showing these children that you care.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

September Botswana Project

Once again, knitters and crocheters have buried my house in an avalanche of beautiful hand made gifts for children in Botswana! In just three months since our last collection, I received almost 45 POUNDS of lovely things from 19 people in 3 countries. Here's what you sent:

2 ponchos
7 pairs socks or booties
8 blankets
18 scarves
21 sweaters or vests
31 toys/dolls/playing cards
49 hats

I thought you might like to see a few pictures of the items. Your generosity is such that I can't keep up in photographing it all! But believe me, each item is equally beautiful.

botswanasweateryoke0909.JPG botswanasweater0909.JPG botswanamixsweaters0909.JPG botswanalambs0909.JPG botswanahats0909.JPG botswanadolls0909.JPG

I am packaging all your gifts for volunteers to deliver. I'll have another update very soon, and two lucky donors have prizes in their future too!

Sunday, July 05, 2009


Howdy Knittah!

We decided to take advantage of the long weekend and take a trip up to Portland, Maine. Have you ever been there? It's a cute little city, and very laid back, with some lovely scenery. We had tried to find an alpaca farm (but the Garmin did not think the address existed), and we were going to go on a tour of a vodka distillery (but they were closed for the 4th). We did get to see a neat lighthouse though!

This is the Portland Head Light, and it's much prettier in person. (Someone managed to charge all her camera batteries, but leave the camera at home, so we were stuck with a cell phone and a disposable.) We arrived after the museum closed, but there were still interesting things to see there.

Hope you had a nice 4th!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

June 2009 Delivery


I took all your beautiful gifts to my doctor yesterday, and laid out a few for him to see. The rest were in a huge box! Our final tally was:

6 blankets
9 sweaters
3 shawls
15 scarves
8 hats
8 pairs mittens
5 hat sets (with either matching scarf or socks)
1 hand made toy

He was thrilled, and we talked about some ideas for the future as well. He happily posed for a picture, but I caught him while blinking. Sorry Dr. G! I didn't notice until this morning!


Thank you to each of you who donated for this round. Information on the next round will be posted this week!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Big Fat Generosity

You've overwhelmed me with your generosity once again! Today was the deadline for the latest Botswana Project collection, and I've got to cram a lot of gifts into this one post!

Sweaters, by Vicki, Anne Marie, Lara, and Bev:


Here's a better look at the ones at the bottom of the pile (Lara's and Anne Marie's):


Thank you for all the gorgeous gifts. I'll be taking them to my doctor on Monday, and I'll have an update for you next week!

Lisa sent shawls and blankets:

bots0609shawls.JPG bots0609blankets.JPG

Hats by Maria, Corinna, Yasemin, and Carol:


Hat/scarf sets by Maria and Corinna:


Baby hat and bootie sets by Corinna, and a toy from Bev:


Mittens! Courtesy of Bev and her Monday night knitting group:


A whole mess of scarves from Anne Marie, Maria, Laina, Clarissa


More scarves from Clarissa, Maria and Anne Marie:


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Eliza and Me

The June 19th deadline for our next Botswana collection is fast-approaching. Too fast. Where did May go? Anyway, I made this blue pullover:


And Eliza made two baby blankets like this one:


AND she made another baby blanket:


AND she made three scarves:


Rock on, Eliza! Just a reminder that gifts for the Botswana project are due to me on June 19th. We've been asked especially for sweaters and scarves. Email me if you need more info.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rocca, Bagno Vignoni, and San Quirico

Hi Knittah.

From Rocca, we hiked over to Bagno Vignoni and on to San Quirico. Bagno Vignoni is a spa town with thermal waters considered very beneficial for bone ailments. There are now, still, 2 big hotels that attract people, and certainly on Easter weekend the town was crazy busy with Italians on a day trip. Here's the view from Rocca towards Bagno:


En route, we encountered a Tuscan Serpent!


OK, perhaps not on a par with the Hungarian Horntail or whatever, but still, it was about 2.5 feet and really active and threatening spread out like that across the tail...well, actually, no, it was completely still soaking up the sunshine.


We came to the river Orcia and had to make the crossing. The nazis bombed out the bridge during the retreat...


and it's never been properly replaced...the wooden suspension bridge only lasted a few years before that plan fell apart, as it were.


So we had to walk across the spillway (which you can see in the lower lefthand corner of the above photo). Which means stripping off boots etc. The water came up to Eliza's ankles, about the limit, according to the hike instructions. Of course, the instructions also said that the moss isn't slippery. Yeah, maybe not, if you're wearing crampons. As it was, Eliza almost lost it--And ME--on the second step. From then on, she took baby steps across.

Approaching Bagno Vignoni, we saw a family BBQ'ing. Note the easter egg center piece on the picnic table:


The water and geology felt a little reminiscent of yellowstone:



At some point, the Italians built a grain mill within the hill you saw above, taking advantage of the steam from the water to power things.


Eliza needed to phone her life line, the local contact Paolo, from Bagno to figure out how to get out of town, because the directions, "...follow along the street into the village. After you've finished moseying about...go to the loggia at the end of the pool. Facing the pool, turn left and then right..." etc. made no sense to her. How embarrassing to get lost in a small town.

From there, we walked on towards San Quirico. In San Quirico, the town's gentlemen presided: