Marsha Knits

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Name: Marsha Brofka-Berends
Location: US

Marsha knits . . . and reads and cooks and edits and gardens and hikes and thinks and eats and photographs and sings and writes and travels and plans and hopes and . . .

08 May 2007

Happy birthday to me

Yupper, today is my birthday--just two days after Sylvia's. Two years ago, when we were anxiously waiting for her to hurry up and get born already, Jan and I were worried that she'd end up sharing my birthday, which also happened to land on Mother's Day that year. Talk about a triple whammy. Fortunately, she arrived two days earlier (one week after her due date), thus ensuring that she gets her very own birthday--which I think is important, since it's awfully nice to have a birthday that's your own special day, don't you think? In addition to the niceness of having family around to celebrate my birthday, I was also fortunate enough to receive several wonderful gifts, many of which were knitting/craft related. Simple Sewing: Patterns and How-To for 24 Fresh and Easy Projects by Lotta Jansdotter and Knitted Flowers by Nicky Epstein now grace my bookshelves, and a tote with seventeen (yes, that's right--seventeen) pockets on the outside alone will insure that I don't lose my crafting supplies. My friends Gina and Todd gave me a Louet kit for handpainting sock yarn. It contains some incredibly soft wool sock yarn (enough for a pair), three different color-coordinated dyes, and--thank goodness--instructions. I am very much looking forward to trying this! Last but not least, my Dutch father-in-law gave me a terrific set of knitting supplies. He doesn't know anything about knitting, so he went to his local yarn store, a place called Charmant that's in the next town over from his, and said, "I want to get something for someone who knits." Fortunately, he was helped by someone who knew what they were doing (though I'm not surprised--I've been to this shop and was very impressed by how knowledgeable the staff were). She guided him toward the spring/summer 2007 issue of Babymode (Phildar No. 465), a set of 3.5mm needles (which is what most of the patterns call for), and twelve balls of a very soft cotton-acrylic blend Dutch yarn that's pretty indistinguishable from Rowan All-Season Cotton. There are lots of great patterns in here. I'm especially looking forward to making the two-toned cardigan with the tomten hood. Unfortunately, all of the written instructions are in Dutch--which I don't read or speak. But I'm hoping that with the help of the pictures and schematics (not to mention Babelfish) I can figure them out!

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06 May 2007

Birthday baby

It's been a busy week here, with preparations for Sylvia's second birthday underway. Her Opa (Jan's father) arrived from the Netherlands a little over a week ago, and my parents arrived from Illinois two days ago, so we have a full house. The festivities began two days ago, on Friday, when Sylvia's playgroup gathered here. We meet weekly, rotation among our homes and local parks, and this week's meeting took place two days before her birthday. To celebrate the occasion--and provide some massively geeky entertainment for five toddlers--Jan and I built a castle in our backyard, using giant cardboard boxes and plastic rivets designed for this purpose. With two parents as geeky as Jan and me, Sylvia doesn't stand a chance: geekdom is definitely in her future. Her cardboard bridge even had a drawbridge, for crying out loud. Her actual birthday party was yesterday, since that worked out best for my brother, whose crazy work schedule gives him limited time off. We started the day by attending the annual spring festival at a local county park that's a 300-acre historic working farm. Here's the tenuous connection to knitting: the festival is called Sheep and Wool Day, and on this day the farm's eight sheep lose their winter coats. Pieces of freshly shorn wool are handed out to the kids. It's interesting to think about how this dirty, gray, ball of rough hair can be transformed into fine yarn. Back at home, we did the presents-and-cake thing, with three grandparents, one uncle, and two close (adult) friends in attendance. Sylvia was thrilled by all of the attention, and loved the "cheetah" cake that Jan made for her. (She is really into cheetahs and sleeps with a stuffed cheetah every night.) It was a chocolate butter cake with raspberry buttercream, covered with orange-tinted marzipan and black icing "cheetah spots." Delicious! Today, Sylvia's actual birthday, was fairly low-key, since we just had two days of celebration. But we did do something special today nonetheless: a trip to a local dairy farm and ice creamery, for some yummy scoops of freshly made ice cream. Ahhh!

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01 May 2007

Workers of the world, unite!

Happy May Day (Labour Day), everyone!

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