Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Moving Day

Well, ahead of schedule, I packed up and moved to Wordpress. I'm still KnitTea, so you can find me HERE. If you have me linked on your blog, I'm truly honored, but would you mind updating your link so we don't get separated??

I imported what I could easily figure out here, but I'll be leaving this blog up indefinitely. Please come visit the new diggs and help me figure out where to hang the art and put the furniture!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cloudy, Fall Days

I've never liked cloudy, fall days. I always resent that I can't just stay home and curl up with Mugsy, my knitting, a pot of tea, and a good movie.

Now I know why the sun's not shining. Another sweet canine light went out this morning. Please scoot over and wish Wendy and her family well as they deal with the raw loss of a good and faithful companion. I can only hope that Buddy, Chewy, Fred, Maddie and Wolfie are together, frisky and pain-free, across the Rainbow's Bridge.

Monday, November 12, 2007

One Jay

Since it's the day after her birthday, I'm still humoring the little woman, as I sometimes call MJ. Her first question this morning, upon arriving at work was, "Is my sock on the internet yet?" (meaning here, in the blog).

"Um... no..." I replied with some shame.

"Why not?!" with much indignation.

So, without further ado, here's her first knitted sock, in all its glory. Have I mentioned how much I love this yarn with this pattern?

Has anyone else noticed that Ravelry likes to crop photos, even if you use the little drag and drop thingee? That's why the sock isn't any bigger in that photo. I'm trying to figure out what the right size for Ravelry might be.

For the unJayed out there, here's a close-up. It's a very simple pattern. Row one is knit all the way around, and row two repeats on each of the four needles (assuming dpns). The colors are a little deeper and darker in person, but you know the drill with me and my lack of photography skills.

The mate is coming right along. They won't match, because I have no idea where in the skein that thinnish pink band (at top of sock #1) happens. In the second sock, it's an EVEN THINNER band, of the likes not seen in sock #1, more like the very narrow pink band in the foot of sock #1. So, I decided not to even try to match 'em up. The colors are the same dye lot, and she'll wear them with jeans and clogs most of the time, so...

Also, don't forget Anne's contest ends on the 15th! I'm glad I didn't have time to enter before we left for the beach, because this pattern is going to be one of mine, even though I know Anne isn't likely to suddenly take up socks any time soon.

Happy Birthday Granny J!

MJ June 1605
My mother inlaw, known to you as "MJ" has more nicknames than I can count. Yesterday, we celebrated Veterans Day for her father inlaw, her husband, and my father, but the cake and gifts were hers. I'm quite sure she doesn't want me sharing her age, but I can assure you she is older, much older, than she looks.
I've been blessed to know her most of my life. I think I met her when I was about five, so I really don't remember not knowing MJ. She's the quintessential mother, grandmother, wife and friend. She can cook Southern style with the best of 'em, and her generosity knows no limits.
There are some great memories. The earliest would be when the sweet, demure little woman stood up to my parents. As a child, I called ALL adults Ms./Mrs./Mr. X, and my parents politely corrected anyone suggesting otherwise. That is, until MJ INSISTED that I would call them by their first names. She can be a feisty little wildcat! I think I addressed them by their first names every single time I spoke to them, just because it made me feel so grown up to call grown ups by their names!
She married in her teens (yep, still going strong 45 years later), so her first real drunk was my 30th birthday. She learned to love wine that night, and I'll leave you to fill in the blanks. I'm proud to say that I've turned her into quite the little wine-o!
So raise a glass of your favorite beverage and toast one great woman!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Second Wind

For those of you dear souls who actually read all of my posts, this is really a continuation of the Marathon post below. Otherwise, jump in! There's actual knitting content here.

First though, we have to take care of some coffee swap business. Holly wants to know:

As the cold of winter approaches, do you change the projects you work on? Do you work on gifts for others or do you continue working on projects for yourself?

You mean other than socks?! I'm supposed to be doing some lace and other holiday knitting, but there are November/early December birthdays that require some knitting too. I'm not working on anything for me right now, and the goal is to not knit for myself until after the holiday knits AND my Pay it Forward knits are complete. As this was my first calendar year of knitting, I did find myself picking non-wool, smaller items in the heat of summer, save socks of course.

No, I haven't finished the Jaywalker yet, but thanks for asking. It seemed like a good plan at the time to knit my child-footed mother inlaw's socks on #0s, but - DUH? - little needles mean little stitches, which all adds up to taking forever to knit one friggin' sock. I do love the pattern, so that helps, but after whipping out the Knight's pair in no time, this is a humbling reminder that even short woman socks can take a long time.

So how 'bout those finished Fred socks? They're lovely, the really are. (And yes, the Knight wanted them that short.)


Pattern - Beaded Rib from Sensational Socks.
Changes - I'm in love with the magic cast-on from Cat Bordhi, so that's what I used. Yes, toe-up, with a short-row heel.

Needles - Size #2 circs, my Harmonys.

Yarn - Alabama Fiber's custom, Fred's Yarn

And now, those pesky, tiny Jaywalkers. They're being done in KnitPicks' Felici, in Hummingbird. I am in love with this pattern. It might replace the Monkey as my favorite sock pattern, but you know I'm fickle. I'm almost done with the foot decreases now, and with a not quite size five ladies shoe as my goal and a 2" toe, I really think I can finish them tonight. That is of course, if I quit blogging and return to knitting, but a girl's gotta' eat, right? I can blog and eat, but I can't knit and eat, so cut me some slack, will ya'?

The other thing that slows me down on these socks is about every ten rows or so, I have to stop and admire 'em. If I didn't know that I'd get to see them nearly every time they're worn, I don't know if I could give them up. Soft yarn, pretty stripes... Yeah, that's why they call it yarn porn. I do have more Felici for the Knight - in the Firefighter colorway! - but I'm thinking I need another colorway for me too. I might not get around to knitting them in the next decade, but when I do, I'll love the way this yarn and this pattern groove together!

I'm doing beach laundry and missing the sound of the waves breaking. So to console myself, I offer this:
It's the view off the front porch on a clear day. I miss you, OBX. The good news is, we'll be back. My aunt and I spent 40 minutes on the phone today, talking about the beach. They're headed down tomorrow for a couple of days.

Last, but hardly least, I offer some evidence of non-knitting crafting. I've mentioned before that a group of us gathers monthly to scrap and stamp. Last night, they got all organized and we had both a scrapping "take away" and a stamping workshop. I know some of you enjoy those crafts too, so here's what we did:

Creative Memories door journal box:

Stampin' Ups gift tags and card:

Please note all of the purple. Gah! It's growing on me. Especially when paired with a green, I'm starting to like it. Not that I had a choice; these colors were pre-selected for the mini workshop.

Well, dinner's done, so that means I should wrap it up here and return to the sock. Thanks for reading!

Marathon Post

Grab a cup of your favorite beverage, walk the dog, and sit down. It's gonna' be a long one!

First, a million thanks to my Sockza pal, the lovely Adrienne. There was a parcel on the front porch when we got home Thursday evening, and inside was my first Zimmerman book! Since I've not really done much in the way of fitted items, I can't wait to give this book a read. I have been blessed with some fantastic swap pals, and I love it when they broaden my horizons. Thanks again, Adrienne!

That wasn't the only package that arrived while we were away. I finally used my gift certificate from Sock it to Me's prize, and my pretty stitch markers from Zero were waiting for me. First, the "everything" shot. I was surprised at the extras that were included! My gift certificate covered the pearl markers on the right, but there were also two pretty bonuses, and a nice note, tucked into that cute little paper pouch. All of the markers are on TINY rings, per my request. I have a great collection of pretty stitch markers, but most are on medium to large rings, and you know I love my wee needles.

You've gotta' have a close-up of the markers I ordered. The bottom of the card says "jewelry for your knitting" and it really is. That's actually a rather enlarged photo of one marker, but I wanted you to see the pretty pearl and the chunk of gem. (Amethyst? Garnet?)

You also know I'm in stamping and appreciate the little extra touches some vendors add. Here's a great example, on the back of the little padded mailer everything came in. Isn't that great?!

Now, there's also the unfinished report on my not-so quick trip in Knitting Addiction to say "until next time." Here's what I picked up on my way out of town. (I just couldn't help it!) There's the holiday Knit Simple with its convenient section called "going coastal" featuring (swoon!) cabled goodness, shot at a beach. There's also the trunk show preview yarn and its Princess Socks pattern (sure you don't want to do socks, Sharon?). More on the yarn in a bit, because you see the Tofutsies too, don't you? I don't think I'll be stash-satisfied until I own every colorway in that yarn, whether it's one I would ordinary like or not.

I'm in an ornery mood, so here's the Tofutsies first. They're going back and naming all of the colors with foot-related names, but this one looks like autumn maple leaves to me. My mother's paternal side did some maple syrup harvesting, and I have a strong affinity for all things maple. They are my favorite trees, and there's just nothing like real maple syrup on pancakes, french toast, waffles, dry corn bread...

Then, there's the TINKERBELL yarn, by Ellyn Cooper's Yarn Sonnets. The colorway is actually deeper and darker (see the "group" photo?), and is called aquatide. Now, I'm not a sparkly yarn girl, but something about Tinkerbell's merino and silk (sorry Sharon; I almost bought you some until I read the label!) blend with the flecks of silver just called to me. I have 420 yards, and while the Princess Socks pattern was written for this yarn, I think it wants to be an elegant shawl, don't you?? I'm all for pampering my feet, but this stuff is so soft, so lovely...
I'm thinking this is enough of a post for now. The rest will have to wait for another time. I know you want to see FOs and the MJ Jaywalkers, but really folks, I must get to work on the Jays now, because we're suddenly doing her birthday dinner tonight, and I really want one sock done to give her!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Doggone Thursday

Being a beach dog is hard work. Mugsy has slept in some of the most bizarre positions this week. Here, he's propped up on about three pillows, nearly vertical. He didn't even really wake up when the flash went off. He's gone everywhere with us, and will be as sorry as we are to load up later today and head home. The good news is that our re-entry into the real world will only consist of Friday, and then we get a weekend. (Anyone for a couple more days in OBX?)
I'll show photos and do a full report later, but the Fred socks are done, and I've started MJ's (mother inlaw) Jaywalkers, which I hope to finish for her birthday this Sunday. I'm loving the pattern and the Knitpicks Felici yarn! My first attempt at lace ended in frustration; I'm just not loving the Bryspun circs, at least not with lace. Of course, that also could have been the Knitting God's way of making sure I work on the MJ Jays...
I'm doing laundry while the Knight and the little prince slumber on. I predict it will be mid afternoon before we pull out, with one last trip to Knitting Addiction to tide me over until next time, which I hope isn't too far in the future.