Monday, April 30, 2007

Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap Questionnaire

1. What Hogwarts house have you been sorted into?


2. List your three favorite double-point needle brands, including size and length.

Right now, I've only tried a couple, but I'd have to say Inox, the coated metal, and I'm sure I'd love the Knitpicks Options too!
Sizes (US): 3, 4, 5
Length: 6 inch

3. Would you like to try a new brand needle? If so, which brand? Size? Length?

I love the packaging of the Sox Stix, but as I've yet to do my first dpn socks, I haven't purchased any yet. Again, a larger size, because I knit tightly!

4. If you are a RAVENCLAW, do you prefer the colors in the film or the book? Do you have a strong preference?

Oh, thanks for asking! I like the book colors because I'm a book purist, but color-wise, I'd probably pick the movie version for personal wear. So, um, it doesn't matter...

5. If your pal decides to send candies or chocolates are there any that you don't like?

Dark chocolate is my vice. Milk chocolate is nice, and my hubby would love the white.

6. What are your favorite scents?

To wear? Gardenia anything. To smell, as in a candle? Rose, or any soft floral

7. Do you have any allergies?

Not that would matter here.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Spoiled Rotten!

I am indeed treated well. My Knitters Treat Exchange spoiler went above and beyond! Thanks again, Barb. As a new knitter, I must confess that I've never really looked at Interweave Knits, so as soon as I finish this post, I'm going to go enjoy a cuppa' and take my time flipping through. Choosing which tea to enjoy from the assortment Barb sent will be tough! The big box in the back (orange in color, with a ball of yarn on top), is Stash ginger peach, which is a favorite of mine, but there are also several "singlets" too choose from too, some varieties unseen to my American eyes. I've hidden the Kisses with caramel, because my hubby is as big a caramel fan as I am. (Is that care-ah-mel or carmull?) On the far right are some bath gels and the sweetest little bag of stitch markers you've ever seen. As I tend to use scrap yarn or the Lion Brand stitch markers, these are a REAL treat! Then there's the yarn. THREE skeins! On the far left is the Bernat handicrafter's cotton in a fabulous varigated green, then a large, soft skein that I'm already thinking will be something sweet for my mother inlaw, and then that grand, bright varigated LaPayla ball on top of the tea. Whew! I'm glad I've already signed up for more exchanges. Nothing like a special package to chase that allergy headache away.

I must also give Wolfie a moment in the sun. I know his MommySusie gives him his due, but I am trying to shame Mugsy (see right) into being so civilized. Sue said Wolfie had to have some of the lotion I sent, as in, she had to put some on him! Hear that Mugs? Wolfie's Mommy doesn't have to reapply her lotion because he licks it off and annoys her to no end. He simply and kindly has his own lotion applied, the end. I know you're an old dog, but I keep saying how smart you are, so how about learning a new trick? Instead of trying to lick all the lotion off my legs while I'm trying to get dressed each morning, would you settle for a little pretend lotion application of your own?

So, my first exchange is complete, and it was an incredible experience. Sue likes her treats, I feel very special thanks to Barb, and I am inspired to try hard to make successful matches with my group for the Spring Felted Bag Exhange! (Sign-ups are closed, but mark the site and check in, because I think Anne is going to do another one in the fall or so.)

Just so Mr. Freddie doesn't feel left out, here's my favorite picture of the honey hound. He's much more photogenic than Mugsy, because he's much more inclined to just be still for more than a half of a second! I must also note that he doesn't lick lotion, or even bother with kisses very often, but when he does, they are sweet, surprisingly dry little blessings of love!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Contest Entries

See, now that I've joined all these swaps, there are the contests. So, for Anne's dishcloth exchange, I'm supposed to note here what I am most looking forward to about summertime. That's easy. Toes! While my husband would insist otherwise, I hate shoes. I live for the warmer days when I can ditch the shoes and socks and get pedicures more often than hubby thinks I should. I have a girlfriend with whom we update our "toes showing" status in the spring and fall. A good day is one where we both have toes showing, especially if the toes aren't too cold.

I'm also working on the Felted Bag Exchange contest questions. I feel I'm kinda' cheating; I printed the questions to help me track the participants I'm matching up for Anne. I do hope to get through all of the blogs before the deadline for the contest, but we'll see. I have socks to knit, and that last dishcloth for my mother inlaw, and I do have a life away from the computer and the knitting needles ya' know.

On a happy note, my secret pal of KTE now knows who her spoiler is, and Sue was pleased with her treats. So, half of my first exchange was a success, and I'm still trying to figure out who my spoiler is. Of course, when the package arrives, I'll know, but I'm trying to guess before then!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Get Your Trivia...

I completely forgot that we're supposed to be answering trivia questions for House Points. So, if my prefect is looking, the answer is Voldemort and Dumbledore. That's a nice, Ravenclawish blue there, to help her find it! I still can't believe that I get to combine two passions - knitting and Harry Potter - not once, but twice! There are the Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap and Charmed Knits, one for rather selfish fun, and the other for a great cause. I plan to start my first Charmed knit probably next week. I have that KAL dishcloth to finish, and the first sock to hopefully polish off this weekend, and that will allow me to whip out one last dishcloth for my mother inlaw's Mothers Day assortment. The first hat comes after that. My husband's blanket's yarn is now back ordered (just the yellow, but then two other colors I'd selected were from an outdated color chart), so we'll be well into May before I can start that. I'm not happy, but such is life. I can say I'll be ordering most of my yarn online from now on.

Oh yeah. There are the baby blankets too. Both will be in non-gender-specific colors, but they're not due until July. The blankets, that is. The babies aren't due until August and September. Lots of knitting will be happening here!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

My First KAL

Here's a lovely sneak-peak of Rachel's first dishcloth KAL, which happens to be my first KAL ever. Can you see the hint of the design showing up, along the bottom and progressing up from there? The color is accurate on the left, but the photo on the right MIGHT help you see the emerging design. Maybe. Anyway, I'm having fun, rushing home, printing the day's 10 rows, and knitting away. I'm guessing we're not quite halfway, as all three of Rachel's patterns I've done thus far had more than 60 rows.

However, my sock-loyal hubby did ask this evening, "Why aren't you knitting on the sock?" Poor sock. Hardly! It is not being neglected. See?

Moving right along. However, it is interesting to contrast that with Anne's sock. Same pattern, same size needles, both using worsted weight yarn, but she casted on loosely, which is beyond me, as I know I tend to knit tightly. The sock does fit so far, but I do have smallish feet. (Swatch? What swatch? I figured sockie was all about adventure, and that I could frog if I had to...)

Now, back to the sock, my husband, the dogs, and the 408th viewing (okay, not QUITE that many!) of White Men Can't Jump. My dear hubby is one of the ten men in America who actually appreciates that TV Land others show the same dang movie over and over and over and...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Inch by Inch

There are the first 20 rows of my sock. My first sock. I had to try it on last night, with only 17 rows complete, and my husband wasn't at his supportive best, at midnightish. "What's that?" he asked. Like he didn't know. He'd made the mistake of trying to talk to me during one of the failed cast-ons. "The first few rows of my first sock." He gave me one of those, "Are you sure?" looks, and said he was going to bed. Hrmph. He knows of the call of the sock. Last week, he politely asked about the yarn for the sock, and then only said "How much?!" twice when I realized I hadn't taken the price tags off the yarn before showing it to him. He kept asking when I was going to begin the sock when I'd cast on another dishcloth. I had expected more enthusiasm when the sock got under way, but maybe tomorrow?
In other on the needle news, I'm doing my first KAL, with Rachel. I'm trying out Cotton Ease, in the irresistible terracotta. I've loved that color since my Nannie brought back a teeshirt in a rose-terracotta-ish color from New Zealand. I'm knitting it on #7s, and since it looked a little prone to splitting, I'm using regular aluminum straight needles rather than the beloved favorite Knitpicks Options. No pictures though, because this is my sock's moment, and because frankly, what do ten rows of a mystery pattern do? Maybe after tomorrow's ten rows, if there's some sunlight left, but more likely, you'll just have to wait until the dishcloth KAL is complete.
Note to TBL - come on dearie! We can't knit our first socks together if you don't cast on. I did hold you up last night, what with my endless questions about Magic Loop, but I've got it now, so no excuses!! ;)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Froggy Socks

I was cruising right along on my first pair of socks, when I realized I'd somehow gotten off-kilter with the pattern. Frogged back to the start, because figured the practice wouldn't hurt. HA! Now, I can't make the first row happen. First, I twisted the join. Then, I don't know what I did, but the last stitch was a trainwreck. So, I'm casting on again, after I take a little break here.

This is the Mothers Day cloth I did for my mother inlaw. It's actually in a rather vivid blue, but with my great photography skills, you could either have the pattern OR the correct color, and I decided you wanted the pattern. I'm certain Rachel would rather I show her pattern in all its glory than the right color!

Using my new "hey, you can see the pattern!" skills, here's the nurse's hat. It's the old fashioned, stand-up on the top of the head cap my grandmother favored, so I hope my mother enjoys it. My mother did some nursing in the cap, but her last few years were without it. My grandmother never did get used to nurses in scrubs and doctors without ties, but the world moves on.

Now, a big sigh, and back the sock I go. It really was going well. Magic loop, pretty colors... What more could I ask? Oh yeah. To be able to replicate the process.

A few minutes later... We have a sock. Again. Mugsy is sleeping through the success, which is too bad, because he was trying to make me feel better when I frogged my cast-on for the xth time.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Learning Curves

I'm learning. Patterned dishcloths are best done on solid colors, especially if the pattern is an OBJECT. The first photo is a nurse's hat, as my mother was a nurse (and so was HER mother), and the second is a Mothers Day tic-tac-toe board. Sigh. Live and learn. I bought lots of solid colors today.

I also bought the yarn for my husband's summer/cotton blanket, which won't likely be done for THIS summer. It's a Lion Brand Pattern. If you search under "fireman" you'll find it. (It is of the for sale variety, so there are no good pictures, really.) The pattern says to "cross stitch" the designs over the finished sections, but I've decided I don't think that will look right, nor will it stand up to a man who likes to have his dogs sit with him. So, I'm going to attempt to turn it into my first intarsia work. Joy! I also had to order the yellow, the black, the grey and the taupe I'm using instead of the second grey, because fire hoses aren't really grey, except right after a fire. My husband also wants the engine to be green and white, because our station's fleet is indeed green with a white top, and he wants the helmet to be white, because he's a battalion chief. We'll see about that one; I wear black, he's worn black, red, yellow and white, so he'll get whatever helmet I feel like giving him. The white might not happen simply because I'm not buying skein # 18 just so he can have a white helmet. If the dalmation doesn't use up all the white, he'll get a white helmet. I'm using Brown Sheep's Cotton Fleece.
I also need to do the dishcoths for my mother inlaw's Mothers Day gift, but I had the yarn for that. It's just flecked with color, so I hope it will work out okay. I bought some Lions Brand Cotton Ease in terracotta to try, because it felt great. I also bought a linen cotton blend to try, because another customer in the LYS whispered that she liked that best. Same customer also recommended Knitter's Stash, which I then rushed to my local bookstore to buy, as the LYS was sold out. I grabbed three knitting magazines while I was there, and one of them will go to my secret pal, so I can't tell you about them, or about the other goodies I picked up today. I plan to ship out on Monday, so maybe by the end of next week, I won't be anonymous anymore.
Since Michael's is next door to my bookstore of choice, I had to go in. I picked up a book there too, on felted bags, but I'm not even saying which one, because there's a chance I'll make one out of there for THAT pal, when the time comes! I picked up some Wool Ease there, in Ravenclaw (book) and Slytherin colors for my Charmed Knits projects. I'm generally not much on shopping, but I had to shop for my pal, and I had to buy that yarn to start hubby's blankie, so it's not my fault the other things found their way home with me. The LYS owner even agreed that the yarn bought for hubby shouldn't count as part of my yarn purchases, because he asked for it!
So, not much excitement here, but there will be a few FOs this week and next, and since blankie is done in sections, progress reports are possible too. I'm also kinda' waiting patiently to begin the socks TBL, The Pro and I are going to start in due time. I have enough yarn to keep me out of trouble for a while.
Did I mention it is finally spring here??

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I'm Gonna Knit Socks!

I am. Really. I bought the yarn today, so it's really going to happen. I slipped into the other LYS on a long lunch run, and picked up the very yarn that The Pro had recommended. I knew it was destiny when the shop owner handed me the very color I'd been drooling over online. And isn't that a great picture? It's amazing what the close-up setting and natural light will do. Of course, natural light isn't an option when I'm posting late at night, which is often the case, but I had a little aha! moment while letting Fred inside, so there you go. Can I tell you that those are just about my favorite colors? A little rose, a little rosy coral, some almost kelly green, some sage green... Sigh. Can't wait to start, finish and have them on my feet! It's been a cool spring for the most part, but you can bet your bippy that since this Artyarn is 100% merino, it will be 90 degrees when I finish my socks. I'll wear 'em anyway.

While I was making decent pictures, I dragged the finished Special Companion out for its moment in the sun. No, not really; there's no sunshine to be had, but here it is, just the same. The colors aren't really that bright; I guess my close up was close enough that the flash added a bit to it. I think the one below is better for the colors, but not for the design of the bag. The purple is not as vivid as the picture on the right would have it.

I do live in the woods. I tell people that all the time, and I don't think they really believe me. So, you can glimpse our poor dead grass that will look pretty and green for two weeks in July, when it has had enough sunlight and water to thrive, just before our August scorcher. The little bag doesn't mind though. I think it liked sitting on the porch and looking at the dogwood blossoms, which are about all I have to offer in the way of flowers, thanks to our late, hard frost and snow.
I tried to arrange a cute pose with the purse handle around Mugsy's neck, and while it slipped over very comfortably, he didn't think it was cute and refused to pose. Just as well. This blog is supposedly about knitting, not about my dogs, no matter how cute they are. A friend asked if I was going to design "made by" labels. I don't think that's necessary. As with my wardrobe, each of my handknit creations is marked by its stiff, short, white hairs from Mugsy, and the lovely burnt copper and/or white long hairs from Fred. Yep. No matter how careful I am, they're in there.
Back to the rest of my mother's birthday present. It's another dishCLOTH, in a nurse's hat pattern. If I finish it tonight, I'll slide it in here too.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Joanie's Purse of Many Colors

Well, there it is, pre-felting. It took no time at all to whip this baby bag up. Despite the varied diameter of this yarn, it was a pleasure to knit with. Springy, not too rough, and it didn't split, even on the fat, puffy sections. In fact, I was flying through it so fast, I knit a half inch more than I'd planned, according to the pattern. If my mother inlaw doesn't like it, I might keep it for myself, since felted, the colors aren't so... whatever.

Pardon my camera, as usual. I think the muted, blended colors confused it. But anyway, here's one felted view. The purple barely shows up at all. I don't know that I'd really carry it, but I'd like to shave it. How do I do that? Seriously, don't laugh! What kind of razor do I use? Fuzzy isn't the word for this hairy little bag!

In case you're wondering, that's a moist wipes box I'm using. We use them to clean Fred's ears (the basset hound) but the shape is perfect for shaping this little thing while it dries. Fred's ears will have to wait for another day, and I'll have to remember to save the box when we're done!
If everything goes according to plan, I should make the strap and have a finished object to display tomorrow. It's a cute bag, but even with my small bag preferences, this sucker it TINY. It will hold a cell phone, an ID, a lipstick, keys, and that's about it. I'll be using it just to present the dishCLOTHS I'm making for my mother inlaw for her day, and what she does with it after that is up to her. She doesn't generally carry a handbag, and only uses her Healthy Back Bag for shopping and work, so I predict this will be a dust collector, but who knows?!

Button Up!

A pretty summery button for an otherwise somber day.

"Spring Into Summer" Dishcloth Exchange Questionnaire

When did you learn to knit? Who taught you?

I learned as a child, from my aunt and great aunt, but just picked it up again after a Thanksgiving visit from The Bag Lady.

What was your very first completed object? Your most recent?

The very first was a scarf. The most recent, the chenille face cloth for my husband.

What was the very first thing you sent to the frog pond? (pulled out and started over) Your most recent?

Knock on wood, I’ve yet to really frog anything.

What is currently on the needles for you?

Nothing but a very little felted bag for my mother inlaw. My first pair of sock will hopefully join it tomorrow.

What types of needles do you enjoy working with? What have you tried and hated?

Knitpicks Options are hands down my favorites. Next comes anything metal with a sharper point. Bamboo and plastic make me crazy, because I tend to knit tightly and can’t pick up stitches!

Have you knit dishcloths before?

One so far, and a face cloth, but I have several patterns I plan to do before Mothers Day!

What was your favorite one?

Of the two, I liked the butterflies and lace one best.

Least favorite?

Easily, the garter stitch chenille face cloth. I do not like chenille, not at all.

Do you use homemade dishcloths or face cloths yourself, or give them as gifts, or both?

Both. I actually will be able to set my knitting aunt free now that I can knit my own. Both that I’ve knit so far were gifts. All the patterns on hand will be gifts.

What are your favorite and least favorite scents? (For your body, such as soap/lotion/etc)

Favorites – Gardenia, any soft floral or citrus. I also like green tea stuff.
Leasts – Heavy florals and musks.

What are your favorite colors?

Today? Greens, pinks, reds… Anything but purple and mauve. (Yes, mauve and pinks are different!)

What colors (if any) are your bathroom and kitchen decorated in?

Kitchen – brights – yellows, reds, greens, blues
Bathroom – teal, sky blue

What other hobbies and crafts do you enjoy?

Stamping, card making, scrapbooking, baking, cooking, yoga, walking, reading, my dogs…

Chocolate: Dark? White? Milk? Ew?

Dark chocolate is a food group. Milk will do if it has nuts or caramel. My husband loves white chocolate.

Do you like salty treats? What kinds?

Popcorn. That’s about it.

If you could go anywhere in the world for one day and spend the day any way you wanted, where would you go and what would you do?

Oh my. This answer too will vary from day to day. At this moment in time, I would want to go hang out with The Bag Lady and hit all the LYSs, have a great, long, slow meal in a cozy restaurant where we could knit and laugh as long as we pleased.

Do you have any allergies? (Yarns, foods, etc. that might impact what your pal can send)

Not really. I’m allergic to scallops, but I kinda’ doubt anyone will send those.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Third Time's the Charm?

How many posts can I put up in one day? (Keep in mind I edited the first one to add that I wasn't flying away after all...)

I'm a bad friend. Not really, but my mind just isn't in the game today. No trip to Boston, my own state is now a terrible record-holder with the largest mass shooting in US history (obviously, the battlefields don't count?), and I still don't know about the students I know at VA Tech. That's enough to make anyone forget a few things, but I shouldn't have forgotten to sign up for another exchange! Check it out - The Bag Lady is also hosting a "Spring Into Summer" Dishcloth Exchange. I've fixed that, and now for penitence, I'm trying (in vain, thus far) to create a button for the cause.

Evidently, I've also committed a handicrafter's faux pas; mea culpa. My creations in the previous post were a dishcloth and a face cloth. Rags are not blessed with the expense of yarn or cotton, nor are they rendered with tender loving care. I stand corrected.

So, I've moved on to the mother inlaw's little felted bag, and the yarn worries me. I picked it before I'd even made my first felted bag, and I fear it will felt into a blob of ick, when really, I picked it because my mother inlaw loves purple and mauve. Will those colors even show up after felting? (Note to any of my exchange spoilers: *I* do NOT like purple or mauve very much at all, thanks much.)

That's the little 16 stiches by 20 rows for the bottom of the bag. Don't confuse the purple Knitpicks Options cord on the righ with the yarn, although it blends in nicely.

That's the yarn. It's call Himalaya, Queensland Collection, 100% wool. I found it in a basket on the floor at my LYS, and figured there was enough mauve and purple in it for my mother inlaw, but enough brown, creamy yellow and green for me not to get sick while knitting.

And there's the color change frequency. It's every couple of inches or so, since you can't really tell. Unless I get told it will be a muddy mess, I'll try it anyway. It shouldn't take long to do, and I have a dependable skein of Cascade 220 on hand in a nice blue, which I bought with me in mind, but I'd hand it over to my mother inlaw, since we are talking Mothers Day here.

I'm thinking this will be my last post for today, unless I do indeed figure out how to build a button for the exchange.

My Peace

Thank goodness for blogging, knitting and Harry Potter. What a crazy day.

First, here's the dishrag I did for my mother, my first dishrag! I hope you can kinda' see the butterflies (four, two high, two low). I haven't washed and blocked the rag, because it seems silly to do, but if it would make it look better (keep in mind it still has to get shipped with another rag or two), I would. It was a great pattern, and I can't say enough about Rachel, the designer. My hubby paid by Paypal for me, and the email with the patterns ended up in his spam folder, and nice Rachel followed up with a second email, because he/we hadn't confirmed that we'd gotten the patterns. Great customer service!

Then, there's the train wreck that is the chenille rag. See the really flat cast-on on the lower left corner? What's up with that!? Note the uneven stitches. Ick. I'm tempted to frog it before my husband gets home, but he actually likes the thing, just because it's soft and I made it for him. It is soft. I can't take that away from the yarn, but that and the color are the nicest things about it. I am just not meant to knit with chenille. I can't imagine what would make me try again. There are too many other soft cottons out there.

Last, but hardly least, is the button!

I'll Fly Away - NOT

I'm supposed to be headed to Boston tonight. We're flying (or not) Jet Blue, so between that and the weather, I'm not at all sure I won't be right here in VA tomorrow after all.

I made the dishcloth for my mother Saturday, and whipped out the chenille one for my hubby yesterday. I have pictures, but they may not get posted until I get back from wherever I go. I got as far as uploading them on my home desktop last night, but there they sit, and I'm here at work. I can now confirm without a doubt that I HATE chenille. I just can't knit evenly with it, and wore a spot on my middle finger from where I had to really dig in to K2tog, TWICE on every decrease row, which was exactly half of the total work. No more chenille for me. I thought maybe I just disliked acrylic chenille, but the cotton was no better.

So, with some billing behind me, I continued on my joiner binge. I knew I'd missed the Hogwarts Sock Exchange (or whatever the "proper" name for it is), but my enabler The Bag Lady found something else that is right up our alley. She's casting on her first sock, and I hope to be doing the same later this week. Of course, if Boston is a bust, I just might make a trip to my LYS tomorrow and drown my sorrows in my own first sock.

See, I was a Harry Potter addict/fan/nut before I became tied up in my knitting. My friends here have been somewhat neglected as I've become more obsessed with knitting! I'm routinely surprised that I come up as a Ravenclaw, but I do, without fail. As I like those colors best, I'll happily hitch my horse to that wagon for the swap. (Huh. Button creation will have to happen at home. This odd, old computer at work has major issues...)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to see if my flight has been canceled yet.

It was. So, I'll be able to go home, fix the button (hooray!), take Mugsy for a long walk, and start a new knitting project. Socks, maybe? I'd need to run to town and purchase some sock yarn, if that's the case, but it could happen...

And my heart goes out to everyone else touched by the VA Tech shooting. I'm holding back tears and trying to talk around the lump in my throat, praying that the folks I know down there are safe, and as untouched by this awful mess as is possible. I know three young men in the engineering program down there, and I want to hear that they are alive and well.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

100 Things About Me

It seemed like a good evening to ponder myself, and my life. As an aside, my husband isn't quite as in the doghouse as he was before I started this list, but he'd better come home bearing gifts.

1. I get cranky when I need to eat.
2. My wedding invitations read, "On this day, I will marry my best friend..."
3. I was a paid Firefighter for twelve years.
4. I played the oboe until my early 20s.
5. I played tennis and ran track in high school.
6. I married my third-grade boyfriend.
7. I don’t like chicken very much, unless it’s fried.
8. I don’t really have a favorite color.
9. I actually like NASCAR.
10. My favorite driver is Elliott Sadler.
11. I am a Pampered Chef Consultant.
12. I wanted to be a lawyer until my parents’ divorce.
13. I wanted to be a writer.
14. I still want to be a writer.
15. There’s little in this world a cup of tea and a chat with a friend can’t improve.
16. I still miss my father; he died in 1994.
17. My dogs sleep in the bed.
18. I want to learn to play the piano.
19. I still have friends from my early childhood.
20. My freshman year college roommate is still one of my best friends.
21. My friends inspire me.
22. I have family members I would want to be friends with even if we weren’t related.
23. Depression and bipolar disorder run in my family, on both sides.
24. So does Alzheimer’s.
25. I have trouble making lists about me.
26. I am my father’s youngest child.
27. I am my mother’s only child.
28. I actually like my inlaws.
29. I still have to ask my husband how to use certain features on my cell phone.
30. I drive past my elementary school going to work.
31. I don’t really know my only immediate neighbor.
32. I don’t really know but a few families on my road.
33. I actually consider some of those neighbors good friends.
34. I don’t think I’m very creative.
35. I’m just starting to realize that it’s pointless to try to make people like you.
36. I don’t want the Harry Potter saga to end, but I’m dying to get answers to all of my questions!
37. I’m not too old for Harry Potter, thank you very much!
38. I wasn’t too old for Pooh either, but I’m rather tired of the Pooh items all over my house.
39. Pooh helped me meet two of my best friends, even though I haven’t met but one in person.
40. Email is the best way to communicate with me.
42. Any time you have more than three people in a group, you’re going to have cliques.
43. I don’t like cliques.
44. I believe love is a choice.
45. Some days, I have to grit my teeth and choose to love some of the people in my life.
45. I’m beginning to appreciate my "girlfriend time".
46. I don’t like to eat alone.
47. I won’t go to a restaurant or a theater alone.
48. I need to declutter.
49. I love the green of new leaves in the spring.
50. Flowers always make me smile.
51. I don’t really have a favorite flower.
52. My uncle was a florist.
53. I miss him too.
54. I cry fairly easily.
55. I cry every single time I watch A Few Good Men.
56. I think I’ve forgotten how to be silly.
57. I want to see more of this world.
58. I used to collect teddy bears.
59. I guess I still collect roosters, but there’s no room!
60. I can’t hold a grudge, even when I try.
61. I was confirmed in both the Episcopal and Catholic Churches.
62. I taught Sunday School in a Baptist Church.
63. My faith is important to me, even if it doesn’t seem to fit in any particular pigeon hole.
64. I don’t enjoy shopping anymore.
65. I came out of back surgery half an inch shorter than when I went in.
66. I still can’t curl the toes on my left foot.
67. I have at least two friends who will be famous authors.
68. I am richly blessed in the friend department.
69. I regret losing touch with my old friends.
70. I realize that not everyone is meant to be a forever friend.
71. I hope all of my friends know they can always give me a call.
72. The I hate the phone rule doesn’t apply to friends.
73. Kath(y) can always make me laugh.
74. I used to call my sister "Kath" but now she’s "Kat" and yet, I have a friend named "Kath."
75. I would like to send more cards, hand-written notes and care packages to my friends.
76. I have finally found a hair stylist again!
77. Knitting is like yoga; soothing and challenging at the same time.
78. I love french onion soup.
79. My favorite soup is Bavarian Chef’s she-crab bisque.
80. Bunny makes the best spoon bread in the world.
81. Mark makes the best smoked salmon - really!
82. I think I’m a better person than I was ten years ago.
83. I don’t understand why people don’t register to vote, and worse, don’t bother to vote.
84. I don’t need my friends to agree with me.
85. I value honesty and kindness highly.
86. My sister and I each attended all women’s colleges, but did not graduate from them.
87. I never would have imagined that I’d be a bookkeeper.
88. I hate no longer being physically strong.
89. I’m not supposed to lift more than ten pounds.
90. I’m not supposed to vacuum, make the bed, ride a motorcyle or a horse.
91. I can’t wear contacts because I simply cannot poke myself in the eye.
92. I saw my father after a leaf spring had cut his eye.
93. I played the english horn too.
94. I taught myself to play the clarinet so I could be in the marching band.
95. I have low blood sugar and must eat regularly.
96. I have low blood pressure too.
97. I don’t sleep enough.
98. I love pearls.
99. Had I been born just a few hours earlier, the pearl would be my birthstone.
100. I didn’t realize I had that much to say about me.

Just in Time

Blankie #2 was finished just in the nick of time. I needed to hand it over for delivery at the Stampin' Up! party at 7pm last night, and I finished up around 6:52. Luckily, I live all of five miles from the party location, so I wasn't but a minute or two late. (The sister inlaw knows it hasn't been washed, and will hopefully whisper so in the recipient's ear.) It got rave reviews from the other ladies at the party, although they were my friends and family, so it's not like they were knitting critics. I doubt I'll ever do another one like it, so it is truly one of a kind and a big ol' labor of love.

Blankie #3 won't be given today after all. I have an upset tummy, and I don't want to risk it. It's all wrapped and was ready for the big presentation, but I don't play around with germs and pregnant women.

Here's the scrumptious cotton chenille (Crystal Palace color 2214) I picked up yesterday for the hubby's special facecloth. I still need to choose a pattern, because as soon as I finish the dishrag I'm doing now, I'm casting on for that and will finish it up tomorrow so he can think of me - and remember that honey do list I'm leaving - while I'm in Boston. Forgive the shadows, but I had a terrible time finding a background that did justice to the color, and then you got stuck with the shadow from my arm. (Look, I can't learn to knit, blog AND master digital photography all at the same time, and TBL has priorities!)

There's the work in progress, the butterfly lace dishcloth from here.

That's all the cotton for the stuff for my mother (she doesn't know about this blog, and I'm pretty sure she won't stumble across it) for her May birthday and Mothers Day. I must admit, it is GREAT to have the almost instant gratification of a small project, and I love that this pattern changes every single row! I needed that after Blankie #2, my first slog along project. I'm also liking this cotton more than I thought I would. It's softer knitting than I thought it would be, based on what the ball feels like just handling it. It's not soft, but it's not offensively rough as I feared. The varigated stuff does have some blue in it, but again, blame the shoddy photographer! Maybe once I master blogging, I'll take a photography class. My aunt and uncle took a digital class together a few Saturday mornings, and both of them loved it. Quality time with the husband, maybe?

And last, but hardly least, in this post of photos, we have the colors for my sweet mother inlaw's dishrags. She's so dang supportive, and she hasn't been gifted with anything since the scarf bonaza I went on during the winter, whilst I was reminding myself how to knit. It's time. I even found a cute camper pattern for their camper (duh?), but as I found, printed it, and left it at work (or in the car?), I can't tell you where to find it. Sorry. Maybe when I announce it as a work in progress or an FO, or... The ball on the left is for her house kitchen, and I hope I remember the colors correctly for her new camper, but whether I do or not, the right is for her camper rags. I anticipate making several of the camper rags, for my mother inlaw's best friend (also like a mother to me - I live in the same community where I was raised for the first 11 years of my life), my sister, and probably a few other mutal friends who camp.

I'm thinking of working on the art of blogging a bit, now that the taxes are done (State and Federal, thanks so much). I thought I had an FO list, so I actually had a bit of difficulty last night, showing a friend blankie #3. She thinks that's what she's getting (she's in the due in August-September batch), but since I've watched her grow up and she's the closest thing to a little sister I have, she's getting a blankie I'll have to seam together. Yeah, I love her and her hubby THAT MUCH. (And my apologies to those who don't get seamed blankies, but I also know they'll love it no matter how badly I botch it. There's also an advantage to getting blankie #4 or 5+, because I'm still on a rather steep learning curve.) Which reminds me, I need to pick yarn and pattern for hubby's summer afghan. Ugh.

More joining, more learning... I'm trying to figure out how to add a button without TBL. I said I wasn't joining THIS, but after knitting with the cotton, I changed my mind. I sometimes can't wear wool directly against my skin, so this is something I should explore! Stay tuned for the can she make a button without TBL!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Lucky Me!

Friday the 13th holds no particular meaning for me. I generally dislike Fridays as they tend to be a little grumpy and chaotic at work, but then again, Friday afternoon brings the weekend! This weekend is a little too hectic to be a great break, but I'm looking forward to my trip to Boston, even if I won't get to see the outside of the hotel much at all. I'm looking forward to the shower where blankie #3 will be given too, but not the mounds of laundry I need to do to get ready to pack.

Back to my good luck. I had to go spend a small fortune and pick up Fred's prescription, so that he can remain mobile and pain-free while I'm away (assuming his human Dad remembers to follow the detailed instructions I'll leave), and pick up lunch for several of us. Well, that path took me very near one of my LYSs, so of course, my vehicle just carried me there. I found some great yarn for my KTE pal hand-dyed by a local artist, and some yummy cotton chenille for my hubby's face cloth I want to make. No pictures, as I'm at work, but perhaps after my haircut, shopping for very large baby gift bags and cards, shipping out a few treats, finishing the LAST FIVE ROWS of blankie #2, going to a Stampin' Up party, printing out our Federal Taxes and getting them in the mail, maybe I'll still have the energy to post a finished picture of #2 and at least the yummy yarn I bought. I also grabbed four balls of Sugar 'n Cream cotton last night for dishcloths for the mothers for Mothers Day, but that's not very exciting.

So yeah, I'm lucky. I got out of the office, into the sunshine. I got some great yarn, even if I didn't have time to venture past the one little spot in the floor where I stood and grabbed the yarn for my pal with my right hand, took maybe one step, and picked up the cotton (I can't call it chenille too much, because I don't like chenille!) for hubby's little "think of me while I'm gone" gift. Then, two little steps to the right, and I checked out and headed back to work.

Life is good.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Cheat, Cheat, Never Beat...

Question - Would I be a rotten knitter and a horrible person if I just finish off blankie #2 (miles of stockinette with a built-in seed stitch border) tomorrow night so it can be given at the shower on Saturday? It's supposed to be about 36 x 40 inches, and right now, it's more like 37 x 34. So, I could certainly finish it up tomorrow night if I make it square-ish. Blankie #1 (the pink one) was designed to be square. That's my defense. There are square baby blankets out there, actually made that way on purpose, not just because the knitter was bored to tears and JUST. WANTED. TO. BE. DONE.

And everyone hold the phone on the shower I'm supposedly attending on Saturday; Momma is thinking have the baby now kinda' thoughts... I doubt they'll work. She should just count her lucky stars that we've only had two 80 degree days in her entire pregnancy. Besides, that would allow me to attend the shower for which I have no gift (and I don't think I have it in me to whip out another blanket), so there's no way blankie #3's baby is coming early.

Did I mention that my hubby is demanding a summer afghan, post-haste? Cotton. On big needles. But only after I do a felted bag, some dish clothes, and anything else that I can find to get me over these I can't do another blankie blues! Either that, or I'll do it in patches and then seam them all together, but I think he plans on using this afghan very soon. You know, once spring returns to Virginia again?

Yeah, you do see another button over there. (The Bag Lady has figured out that I respond well to polite requests that are really orders.) The lure of the sock is too great. (There's another project to keep me from getting blankie stale again!) By August 2, I will be a sock knitter. I'd best pick a pattern that won't hold sand; we'll be at the beach the week before that. Last year, I took and read 7 books. I predict this will be the year my husband simply appreciates that yarn compresses better than books. Weighs less too, so there's another bonus to this new part of my life.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Blogging is Good

Blankie #2 is about to enter its last skein. So, whether I get to the prescribed 39 inches or not, the end is in sight. That means that it might, MIGHT be ready to be wrapped up Friday night and handed over to the recipient's sister inlaw for the shower on Saturday, not to be confused with the shower I'll attend on Saturday, nor with the shower I will neither attend nor get a blankie to another guest to give... Phew. And still get to a family birthday dinner by 6pm.

I'm seeing the use of this blogging thing already. I was able to look back and see that indeed, I have made progress on blankie #2. When it's a mostly stockinette stitch, little row after little row, it seems I'm just spinning needles, going nowhere. But thanks to my trusty blog, which I was all but dragged into kicking and screaming, I know that I had a very productive weekend, and the end is near.

Sending happy thoughts to The Bag Lady, who is having a rough Monday. A big shout out to my pal in the Knitters Treat Exchange, and to my spoiler. My spoiler knows who she is, but I don't, while my pal doesn't know anything other than that she does have a spoiler. Got that?

Sunday, April 8, 2007

White Easter?

That is what it looked like Saturday morning out of my kitchen window. The green? Sweet little maple leaves, just starting to open up. The white? Snow. We didn't have a white Christmas, and I hate to complain, but a white Easter hardly is a good substitute. Many of the local egg hunts were held inside. How fun is that? It's not. The local vineyards are very concerned about this run of hard freeze nights. No amount of pretty white snow can make ruining an entire growing season okay.
Oh, and Happy Easter.

Friday, April 6, 2007

You Go Girl!

A big shout-out to Deb, the wonder woman who's button for the Spring Felted Bag Exchange will allow me to allow The Bag Lady to have some peace. I like buttons. Not in "real life" but the little cyber tags that show that not only has my dear friend (TBL) turned me into a blogger, but now, I'm a joiner too. I actually caught myself Googling for KALs yesterday, but don't tell her that.

Actually, I'm a touch sad. One of the guys from our firehouse (my husband and I are both members of our local volunteer fire station, which was founded by my father, but I digress) is taking the train to Atlanta tomorrow. Just so you know, I think his round trip ticket for this holiday weekend was a whopping $186, taxes and strange fees included. Hrmph. Oh well. I'll be here, baking Gramma Vallie's famous (in my inlaws' family anyway) strawberry cake for Sunday's dinner. And doing my taxes. And watching it snow, in Virginia, in April. APRIL! April showers are not supposed to be snow showers, and from what I hear, they won't be snow showers. Maybe four inches of the white stuff.

IN APRIL!! (Yes, I know The Pro is laughing at me, but Alaska and Virginia are kinda' far apart.) Snow in March, sure. It happens every decade or so. However, this is ridiculous. What if I'd actually made it to the mall last weekend and had purchased a good, old fashioned Easter dress? It wouldn't be seen under my long, wool overcoat, now would it?

Mugsy just reminded me that I am using this post as yet another excuse to avoid boring blankie #2. I don't have time for that. Mugsy thinks my time could be better spent playing fetch. Someone told me once that Jack Russells finally start to mellow around ten. Right. That was last year, and he's still relentless with a ball.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Baby It's Cold Outside

The temperature is free-falling. It was as high as 76 (F) this afternoon, but we're headed for a brisk low in the low 30s tonight, after 80s with a low in the upper 50s last night. Cold front. Makes for good knitting weather though, and I finally finished blankie #3. The photo does justice to the pattern, but not to the pretty yarn. Even my husband commented on this combination. I hope my friend and her baby will enjoy it for many years to come, as it's large enough to be used for a while. Now, back to #2, and then quickly to #4.

Then, a break from blankies. I think I would be tired already if not for the variety of yarns, needle sizes, patterns, etc. I still feel the call of the sock, but until #4 is behind me, I must not yield, not even to the cotton, waiting to become a washcloth for my husband. Well... Maybe I will yield long enough to whip up a cute one for him for Easter. Maybe. If I can get #2 all but done first.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Spring Felted Bag Exchange Questionnaire

I doubt I get any traffic at all, but just in case someone wanders here unfamiliar with The Bag Lady, she's having an exchange. Check it out and sign up!

Before I begin answering, I must confess that I almost emailed TBL and told her she knows all the answers, so she could just fill it out for me. (Yeah, that's the kind of friend I am.) However, she's swamped at work, so I'll be a good sport, even though she did have time to come up with a very long questionnaire!

1. How long have you been knitting? How did you learn?

Well, that's hard to answer. This go 'round, I've been knitting since very late November, 2006. However, I learned to knit as a girl, some 25-30 years ago.

2. What are your favorite yarns to knit felted bags with?

The only thing I've used so far is Noro Kureyon. Liked the results, but the feel of the yarn while knitting wasn't so hot. I have two other yarns in my stash for two more bags, but they keep getting pushed aside for more and more baby blankets.

3. What are your favorite needles to knit with?

Hands down, no contest, my Knitpicks Options. Otherwise, metal is a must!

4. What are the last 3 bags you knitted (include URL for Yahoo! or flickr album or your blog if you have them!)? You can also link to patterns if you don't have pictures of your finished objects! I've only done the two bags; see post #2, in March.

5. Do you carry the bags that you knit, give them as gifts, or both?

So far, they're both mine, but one yarn/pattern at home is for my mother inlaw. (Mothers Day is coming. I should get to work.)

6. What is your favorite felted bag that you have knit for yourself?

The Chan bag, but I like the Booga an awful lot too.

7. What are your favorite colors? Do you like bags in these colors or choose other colors?

Pinks, reds, greens, teals. Well, the Chan is done in greens/grays/teals, and the Booga is done in pinks, so I guess that answers that question.

8. Chocolate: White, Milk, Dark, or not so much?

DARK. The darker, the better.

9. Coffee, Tea, or Milk?

All of the above, but tea and milk much moreso than coffee. I need my mug of coffee after I get to work, then I drink green tea all day, and I have a big old glass of milk at night.

10. Do you prefer sweet or salty treats? What kinds?

I'm not much on sweets except for chocolates. I'm not much on snacks, except for popcorn.

11. If you went into Bath and Body Works and could only come out with one item, what would it be and what would it smell like?

Tiare Flower anything. Otherwise, anything Gardenia.

12. Do you enjoy any other crafts or hobbies? Do you collect anything?

Scrapbooking, cardmaking, cooking, yoga, walking... I used to collect rooster (not to be confused with chicken) things for my kitchen, and long ago, I collected teddy bears. Now, I think I collect yarn and loose tea.

13. Are there any bag patterns you have not yet knit, but hope to someday?

Anything entrelac. I like totes too.

14. What is currently OTN (on the needles) for you?

Two different blue baby blankets.

15. What is your most recent finished object before that?

A pink baby blanket. In my defense, they're all different patterns, different yarns, and I have so many more to do, because it seems that a lot of my friends are expecting.

16. What's cutest: Puppies, Piggies or Pixies?

Puppies, but I am rather fond of my toes, aka: piggies, this time of year. I lurvers me sandals and a pretty pedicure. I lived on a farm, so the other piggies aren't so cute to me. Pixies aren't even on my radar.

17. Do you enjoy reading? Books, Magazines, or both?


18. Do you have any children? (kid-kind or pet-kind apply!)

I have a stepson, not living with us. I also have two four-legged boys, both getting up there in years, Mugsy the crup/Jack Russell Terrier, and Fred, the Basset Hound.

19. What are some of your favorite yarns for other projects?

I don't know. I am almost obsessed with the need to learn to knit socks, but I have THREE baby blankets that must be done in the next couple of weeks. I also have cotton to do dishclothes too, but I don't know when I'll get done with blankies, and the two bags that want to be done.

20. And for the final question, one I see debated all over: Novelty Yarn: Love it! Hate it! or It depends!

I'm not much on it, but I do have a fun fur scarf to do for my sweet mother inlaw. At least it will fly off the needles quickly.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

April Showers

Interestingly enough, there are THREE baby showers on the same day, at near enough to the same time that I won't be able to attend but one, the one blankie #3 will be attending as a gift. Crazy. Not only are my friends all having babies, but they're having showers at the same time too. Geeze.

Blankie #3 is over half done. The race is on to finish it, then #2, so that both can be given on the 14th. Blankie #4 will just have to wait and be handed over in person, whenever it is done, because there is just no way!! I'll be lucky to finish both of the others in time.