Sunday, September 30, 2007


I've done a self-check, and have decided I do not have the dreaded cast-on-itis, despite beginning two projects within a 24 hour period. (Three in 48 if you count the No-Sophie, but that sounds suspicious, so finished objects don't count, right?) See, I can't show you Anne's bag. Plus, quite honestly, after doing one little bag in a little over 24 hours, the second one was starting to feel like garter stitch purgatory, and there was this perfect yarn for which I'd found the perfect pattern...

Yeah, yeah, the Tofutsies sock is still unfinished too. I very nearly picked it up to finish it off, but a girl needs a travel sock, and I think we're going to town this afternoon, so there's about an hour of knitting which might get me pretty close to the completion of sock one. See? I can justify my choices. (Denial? Me? I don't know what you're talking about.)

Okay, the truth of the matter is it's getting cooler, and I was feeling selfish again. That NH Knitting Mama yarn was calling my name, and since I was emailed a .pdf file with the Dream in Color Shrug pattern I found to do the fiber art justice, I just couldn't stand it. Plus, the pattern has a definite lace element, and some of you know I've become almost consumed with trying my hand at beyond sock lace. (The yarn is NOT that shiny. It's a fabulous, matte finish in a semi-solid green. It's so soft and squooshy!)

The actual colorway is somewhere between the too shiny, too blue-ish photo above and this too yellow one. That's the first repeat of the lace pattern, and I look forward to making some serious progress on the shrug later today. It's a pleasant little pattern, with a 20-row repeat, but the lace pattern is only worked on the odd rows, and three rows within that pattern repeat. I couldn't be happier with the marriage of the yarn and the pattern, and hope to be wearing my first lace, first shrug, later this week.

I would be remiss if I didn't give Pick up Sticks a plug. I wish more retailers would offer patterns via email. Yes, I understand copyright/reprint issues, but I'm also an impatient little brat, and I am positive that this pattern wouldn't have arrived this week without the pleasures of technology. Then where would I be?! (Slogging away on Anne's bag, finishing a sock and casting on for its mate? Pouting because I'd found *THE* pattern for the yarn I most wanted to knit with, to be certain.)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Constant Vigilance

SWS felts in a HURRY. I timed it, and in a bit over three minutes, the bag was felted, tightly so. Not a stitch defined, anywhere. My hot water is pretty hot, but I can still fish the pillow case out bare-handed, so I think it's the yarn, I really do. I'm almost tempted to felt it on the delicate cycle next time, just because this way requires constant vigilance!

This is the Sophie pattern, basically. I'm calling it the Not-So Sophie, because I like a shallow, barely bigger than my wallet bag that fits snugly under my arm, on my shoulder. I dropped about 12 rounds, so I decreased at 10, 20, 30, 35 and 40 rounds, and bound off after round 42. It took right at two balls of SWS, or 2oo+ yards. The colorway is Natural Navy, done on #10.5 circs, with the same sized dpns for the i-cord.

I felt in a polyester, king-size pillow case, tied shut, with four of Mugsy's tennis balls thrown in to beat it up a bit. I add about two tablespoons of soap powder and wash on hot/cold. Then, with the Knight's help, I stretch and pull it into the shape of choice. Anything in the house can serve as the "form" during the drying phase. If it fits into the bag and looks approximately like what I want in the end, it's called into action.

I also took this shot for you. SWS is a great yarn for felting, but because of this very trait, I can't imagine using it for non-felted items. A pal made me a sock bag in SWS - unfelted - and I think I might line it for future use. The early fall edition of Creative Knitting has a cardigan/jacket done in SWS on the cover. No way. It would pill and shed too badly for practical wear, I'm certain! I didn't do anything but hold that bag in my lap while knitting away on it, and you can see how fuzzy the bottom is, and how that one "blonde" strand pulled itself loose. Of course, thanks to the nature of felting, the finished product reveals none of these little secrets, and is rock solid, tough and ready for my daily use.
I don't get the names Patons uses for SWS colorways. There's no navy in this wad of color. Purple (gasp! it's true!), lots of tan and taupe that thankfully turned a solid, warm brown, a touch of grey, and the black in the unfelted version just felted into a dark grey. Still, even with the purple, I'm very pleased with the results. It's a bit deeper than my summer Sidekick, and it won't show dirt. Perfect.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Uptown Girl!

My good pal fortune continues. In Sock it to Me, a very light-hearted "Tink" had been emailing regularly. She sent me the mother lode of teaser packages early in the swap, proving that she'd read my questionnaire and then some, and really making me curious. From that package, I knew we shared a Loopy passion, and yet again, I tried to guess my pal's identity. I was dead wrong, of course, and do hereby renounce future hunches! Thanks Ana, although I do feel guilty that it seems knitting socks for me led you to call your blog the Frog Pond.

So, feast your eyes on my Uptown Boot Socks in Cherry Tree Hill, in Cherry. They fit like a dream, and feel like a cloud. I love red, but I'll be on the lookout for more red tops now, so I have every excuse to wear these socks very regularly. (Yes folks, my feet are that short. Lucky Ana, huh?) Oh, and don't tell the Knight, but I'll need another pair of clogs too, because my favorites are brown and a multi-colored felt, and these want a navy and/or black pair.

Even though she'd already sent goodies above and beyond expectations, the awesome Ana sent more. How 'bout that Scout's Swag yarn in "secret colorway"?! I love it! The Godiva is resting up for its big moment, after dinner. I'll have to put both dogs outside, because they can't have chocolate - like I'd share. (I mean, I guess I could, but you're not here, so it's all theory and conjecture anyway.) The cute yellow thingee is the result of an especially strange question Ana asked a couple of weeks ago. Out of the blue, she emails me and lists a very odd assortment of animals and asks which would be my favorite. (No, dogs weren't on the list, nor were horses. Go figure.) It's "Kooly the Koala" a kritter craft case. He's already holding the notions I use the most - my chibi, measure tape, scissors, etc. Isn't he cute?!
Thank you, Ana. And thanks AJ, for hosting a fun sock swap. It's always a little bittersweet when a swap winds down, but I still have three in the works, so I should get back to knitting. Tomorrow? Knitting and shopping. I hope to mail my Vegan Pal 2 swap out next week, and then, you still won't get to see the pictures of the secret project!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Two Pups, Ten Years, Lots of Love

Well, we blew past 200 posts the other day. This is post #202. How 'bout that?! Those of you who know me personally know I can talk a blue streak if I'm in the right mood, and evidently, I have been most of the time since oh, say... March. Thanks for reading, caring, and in a lot of cases, becoming my friends.
My scanner is so old I can't hook it up to this computer without adapters, so yet again, 'scuse the photo quality. A little over ten years ago, the dogs and I all dolled up and went to visit a photographer friend, and bridal portraits were made. This is a squinty-eyed proof of my favorite pose, and my offering for Dogs on Thursday. They're still handsome old men, but boy, were they beautiful babies. I'll have to get my techie brother inlaw to scan all of the proofs in for me, and if/when I do, I'll post a better version, because it is my all-time favorite photo. There's another great one of the whole "family" which was taken with the engagement photos, but it includes my stepson, so... sorry. It will remain on the wall for in-home guests only.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

No Pictures

I'm in a bind here, folks. I'm knitting, I promise, but it's for Anne and as she is the sole hostess for the Felted Bag swap, she knows I'm her pal. So, pattern and yarn selections are the only secrets I can have. That means not even a shot for you. I toyed with the idea of a sepia shot, but that wouldn't tell you much and would tell her too much. I feel like a mean department chief, writing rules and regs to punish everyone just because one idiot firefighter can't behave, but those are the breaks. I can tell you it's an awesome pattern and I know she'll love it and the colors I selected. I tried to figure out how to post it on Ravelry without giving away too much, but trust me, she's know, even if I just put it on my queue.

In other no picture news, we are supposed to run with the topic of the week for the Felted Bag swap...

As of this weekend, the season has officially changed on the calendar - but what makes Autumn feel like Autumn to you, and why?

It's all about the toes. As y'all know, ask me the same question, two minutes apart, and you'll get different answers. I'm fickle, but I can live with that. I'm still impressionable, and my moods and what's going on around me impact my opinions strongly. Today, it's about the toes. A local friend and I have a running joke about our toes, because we both live in flipflops and the like all summer. This year, I'm enjoying my knitted socks, so I've given in to conventional wisdom and if my feet are cold in the morning, I wear at least enclosed-toe shoes, but I've really enjoyed the couple of truly chilly mornings where socks were in order. (LOVE the way Lorna's Laces feel on my feet. Must have more.) In the past, typing "Toes covered" in my email to my friend has been a lament, but this year, not so much. And yes folks, she *IS* on my list to receive handknit socks for Christmas. I just have to get a mutual friend to confirm size...

Now, for the conventional answer. Everything. I love the whole autumnal package. While I relish the four distinct seasons here in Central Virginia, and you'll find me calling each my favorite as it arrives, autumn is the real, true favorite. I love a crisp, cool morning. I love watching the leaves change. There's nothing like wrapping up in my favorite old corduroy shirt of my Dad's on a Sunday afternoon. Apples. All things pumpkin. You get the point.

Hands down, this year, the upcoming tenth anniversary with the Knight is the biggest part of autumn. Both of us had brief first marriages, and I know that there were plenty of folks whispering that we wouldn't last. Picture me smug, and happy. To celebrate, I'm finally ordering wedding photos. Maybe I'll scan one or two for you. I especially love my highly controversial bridal portrait proofs. I had two done; one of just me, for my stepmom and my mother inlaw, both of whom scoffed at my primary poses, which were with my boys - Fred and Mugsy - and then my father inlaw and I have that one, with me and the dogs.

Monday, September 24, 2007

No More Monkeyn' Around

With a nod to my Knitter's Knight for the photo, here are the Monkeys. Done. They are a titch big on me, so I hope that means they'll fit with the negative ease my Sock it to Me pal says she likes. I don't mind pooling, so I hope she doesn't either. Sorry for the blindingly white legs, but that's what I have. They brighten up the photo anyway.
The stats: Knitpicks Memories, in the Red Hat colorway. Size 2.5mm/#1.5 dpns, the bamboo Addis. Only a few yards left over. Each size 9 sock took nearly a whole ball. I enjoyed the Monkey pattern, but have decided that for me, toe-up, short-row heels fit better. (But hey! These aren't for me...)
So, the socks and their pals will hit the road tomorrow, along with my tea pal's package, and my portion Jessi's prizes for winning the bingo game. Congrats again girl!
Now, if you'll excuse me, it's past my bedtime.

Be Still My Heart!

The always awesome Michelle has started the best KAL ever. Have I mentioned I don't watch TV much at all? Well, that has changed, all because of one thoughtful friend/employee/dog & house sitter. He plopped Season 1 on my desk and said, "Watch it. You'll love it." As fate would have it, we stopped in to visit his father's duty crew at the firehouse a few days later - on a Tuesday night - and stayed riveted to the television for an hour. We devoured the first three seasons just in time. You're on notice - don't expect any contact from me on Tuesdays from 9-10 Eastern. (I do want a Tivo though; we became accustomed to the commercial-free version.)
I also feel obliged to note that everyone in the free world loves The Needle Lady, except me. Even Anne loved it. I did note they're polite enough and they have a selection of primo fibers. Maybe I'm just too picky. Dunno. I think it's because I am a part of the fourth generation of a family business that I have exacting ideas about how my patronage should be valued. I might get over myself (the Knight says his best friend is House and I am what would happen if House and Cuddy [my fav!] had a child) if places like The Loopy Ewe and Carodan didn't lead me to believe that my expectations are very realistic.
Also, swing by and visit Blume's Accessories. Like all of the Etsy folk I know, Mary will also treat you right. She's just getting started, so check in often.
I think the Monkeys will be a completed pair tonight too. Then I can ship that and my tea pal's package out tomorrow!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Things That Make Me Go Hmmmm...

Since I don't go to UVA football games, I have to dodge the game traffic when I want to shop during a home game. I was going to head to the next little town over, but instead, I went downtown to The Needle Lady. It has been several months, and the owner is almost always there on Saturdays, so I gave them another chance. Big sigh. They carry very different lines than the other LYSs, and when the owner is there, they are friendly and offer to help, but the general cluttered feel still bothers me. It also bothered me that when she found this "sock project bag" for me and I wanted two, she didn't offer to order another for me. I would have paid up front, or whatever it took to make her feel secure, but the offer wasn't extended, despite my not subtle at all, "Do you have another? I'd love to buy two." I already had a book and at least three skeins of yarn in my hands at this point. Hello?!

You see, it is a nearly perfect bag. That strap is long enough to be doubled as a shoulder strap, or worn around the waist. Perfect! Just yesterday, my wool and I stood indecently on the back porch and threw the ball for Mugsy while I Monkeyed on. It balanced precariously on the top railing, while I was thankful the leaves hadn't fallen off the trees yet, because Ma was in her nightgown. My sock bags are all capable of hanging on an arm, but when you're playing fetch AND knitting, the yarn would like to be more securely out of the way. And just look inside this thing! Great pockets for dpns, circs, pencils, whatever. Luckily for all of us, there's a link on the card, but before I give you that, look at that yellow card on the left (top photo). It's Kitchener instructions, right there on the sock bag! Now, I'm in love with toe up, but what that means is that when I do choose to top down, I definitely won't remember how to get started kitchenering.

So, since you've been faithfully chewing through this rant mixed with great find report, here's where you can find your own Knit Knack Sack. (Check out the patterns! Scarlett is heading my way. Squee!!) Please look around; they come in leather too, but I think that's too heavy for me.

I also purchased Lace Style, because some of you know that I am trying to get up enough courage to tackle my first real lace project. I have a couple of should be Christmas gifts projects in mind, but I want something pretty basic to test the waters. Any suggestions?

I also picked up some swap yarns, but I can't show you EVERYTHING I buy for my pals, can I? A girl has to have a few secrets. I fondled several new Tofutsies colorways, but when I saw #809 with its brown and blue (and some stupid lavender in there), my defenses crashed. Honestly folks, I want to make myself socks in every single colorway. Swap pals, now and future? Send me Tofutsies, whether it suits our swap or not, and I will put you in the Swapper's Hall of Fame. And dudes, this stuff is MACHINE WASH AND DRY! (Yeah, yeah, Mother Inlaw will get a pair too, but probably for Mother's Day, as she's getting Hummingbird socks for her birthday and a shawl for Christmas, or vice-versa.) The Classic Elite Bam Boo was on sale, but I just picked up this one lonely blue guy, because it's not exactly bamboo weather in VA anymore. Sure, TODAY it is, with highs in the mid-80s, but the nights are still cool, and heading for cold. Anyone other than Sharon care to guess what I'll "swatch" with the bamboo?

Here again, mixed results from the Needle Lady. She offered advice on my bamboo vest, which "grows" when I wear it, but then totally missed the point when I very enthusiastically asked if she was carrying the Tofutsies Sock of the Months. Nope, and no offer to explore it either. That's okay. Caroline at Carodan will have it, and I'm betting I can order October 1, and pick it up at the Fall Fiber Festival. (Anyone else going??) So you see, I'd like to support each of my LYSs, but some just seem to fit me better than others. The Needle Lady has a tremendous following, carries some incredible yarns, and can be friendly, so I will go back when I need silk or something special I know they carry. And I certainly encourage visitors to swing in; you'll feel you missed something if you don't, but Carodan, Limerick Fibers and It's a Stitch will remain my semi-local top three.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Sweet Cherry Bag

Can you see the cute little cherries on the ribbon? Squee! I hope my pal will enjoy that little touch. The package is ready to ship out tomorrow, save a note and some tissue paper. But let me tell you, CotLin is the only linen of any blended sort for me. Sigh. It slides on through, comparable to any of the " - & dairy product" cottons, and I bet one wash would find it snuggly soft. I see a fitted item for me in this very color, maybe, next spring. Try it for the extra-special cloths you might be giving as gifts, or treat yourself; you deserve it! I am amazed at how it costs less and feels worlds better, but don't take my word for it. Order some and try it for yourself.
In case you missed it the first time, this is Amanda's "Mandy's Candy Bag" pattern. You can also find it on Ravelry.
So, a little accountability check here. Tea swap - ready to ship out tomorrow. Sock it to Me - half way there on the socks, some shopping left to do, and really should ship by next Saturday to arrive before October 5th. Vegan swap - Do thoughts count? I've thought a lot about what to get my friendly pal, and I do have some yarn for her, and it needs to ship before October 15th. SP11 - Package #1 shipped out earlier this week. I already have one item for the final package, and have "commissioned" something for her with one of my truly artistic/crafty friends, to be a Halloween themed package. Should ship before the 15th too. My Felted Bag package has a personal deadline which the pal should be able to guess, but I think I've already told you I'm not talking about that swap here, right? ;)
Whew. Wow. I'm shocked. After Monkey #2, which should be done within the next week, I will have time to cast on for the Knight's birthday (or Christmas if I miss the first deadline) surprise, my felted bag pal's bag, finish my Summer Daze Tofutsies, and begin holiday knitting. The light at the end of the tunnel isn't a train!
Now, to cast on for that #2.

Feel-Good Yarn

I take back all of the less than wonderful things I've said about It's a Stitch. Maybe the ladies there are a bit shy or whatever, but now that I've been frequenting it so very often, it's a happy yarn home. They've ordered a color of Louet Riverstone Chunky just because I fondled the color in the light worsted and pouted, while holding a pattern that called for the chunky. (I purchased the pattern, of course.) Remember me whining and complaining about their refusal to order KA dpns for me over the summer? Well, I came home with a set of KA #2s yesterday, so evidently, they changed their minds but the order took too long to serve its original purpose for me. There are two ladies I like better than the others, but that's the way people connect. Their new lines this fall are pulling me in every time I go to town and they're open, which isn't a good thing for me, but is great for them.

That's a shot of today's yarn love. It's Mirasol Hacho. If you haven't heard the Mirasol story, take a moment and go read. I love it when I can buy something I adore and know that I'm in some small way helping the world become a better place. As usual, the colors aren't vivid. It's a perfect fall navy, mixed with dark shades of red, green and gray. More socks for me!

Oh, and not that I ever doubt Devon, but I do like the KA needles. Am I the only one whose needle preferences have rather suddenly changed?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

He's My Brother

This photo was taken late Fall 2006. Many thanks to the always awesome Nicole for doctoring for me!

I've decided that as my dogs are both geriatric, my Dogs on Thursday posts should be about preserving memories. One routine moment that happens more than once most days, but never fails to warm my heart, is Fred's about face to follow Mugsy.

Fred goes outside first most mornings. However, rather than heading off the porch to do his duties, he simply waits right there until Mugsy comes out, and they head into the yard together. What tickles me most is when Fred has been out for a while, asks in, and then makes that predictable u-turn at the door because Mugsy is going out. It's simple and routine, but it is the essence of their bond. Like most brothers, they fight - sometimes violently, in their youth - but in the end, they seek each other out for companionship. I've had the pleasure of being around some truly wonderful dogs, but these two are at the top of the list.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Green is the color of Friendship

Okay, really, so I have no clue what green means. Prosperity and good fortune, I think, but I'm in a hurry, so I'm not looking it up. I love green, and you aren't going to believe the green goodness that was on my front porch when I got home!

First - seriously, it was on top - was this. Amanda sent in my way as a thank you for the socks I sent her way. Y'all, my stash is in trouble, because this formerly variegated gal is in semi-solid love. Suddenly, I *NEED* solids or nearly so for my upcoming projects! I cannot wait to settle on a pattern for this soft, 400 yards of beauty. If you're looking for names Amanda, this one wants to be Alwington's Rolling Fields, named after my father's family's farm, which didn't have a single acre of flat field on it, but I still consider what's left (bite me WalMart thru Taylor Jr. High!) some of the most beautiful fields in the world.

I'm going to be a sight at my important meeting tonight, with my NH Kitting Mama yarn in my lap, and my new shawl wrapped around my shoulders on the first day we've topped 75 degrees in nearly a week. This is my prize from Grace's remarkable contest last week. If you thought it was lovely in her photo... I just wish you could all pop over and take turns draping it around your shoulders and fingering the variegated trim. So pretty! It's even more elegant than I aspire to be, but I'm going to wear it proudly and often, and perhaps by osmosis, I'll become a little more elegant and learn to knit lace too. (Shut up. I won't believe that sleeping with my notes under my pillows was a joke either.)

I want a real-life tea party, so you can try the teas that arrived today while you take turns petting my green gifts. (Fred will check you at the door. Don't let those sweet eyes fool you; he's territorial and he knows the yarn, shawl and whatever else you're eyeing stays in his house!) Seriously. Pout. At least I'm missing the standing Officers Meeting at the firehouse in favor of a much classier meeting with a cookbook publisher. Think my friends will drink tea with me if I bring it along? (Two of them would. They humor me. It's what they do, to keep me playing well with others, because for some silly reason, they think they need me on their committee. You know I love House, right? There's a reason...)

You gotta see this trim though. The solid green body of the shawl is lovely and so evenly knitted, but the trim (again, SHUT UP! I know I'm fickle, and at the top of the post, I pledged my love to semi-solid hand-dyed. That was in stuff I want to knit. This is in what I have wrapped around me.) is something else! Thank you again, Grace and Amanda, for making this a great day!


Firstly, I'd like to thank Becka and her friend for creating Pay It Forward buttons. I think she alerted a lot of us, but if you don't have one, slip over to her blog and pick out the version of your choice. If you're not familiar with Pay It Forward, see here.

Then, there are all of the things I've signed up for but failed to advertise.

This one really bothers me, because it is my favorite sock book, but I've yet to actually knit a pair from it. I thought I was going to for my Sock it pal, but you know that story.

I'm ChanKnits there. Don't look for anything too exciting there. This place - the blog - gets my free time, and Ravelry is a work in progress for me. That being said, I love seeing what's in your queue and searching for different projects/yarns!

Thanks too to all of you who have admired the Monkey. You know what? There's a reason popular patterns are just that. Easy enough but not boring, and great results. However, I gotta' tell you... I'm getting comfortable enough that I'm ready to head toe-up and avoid the heel flap for socks knitted for me. It's fun figuring out what I like and what fits best.

Monkey Pooled

Sock it to Me pal, we're halfway there. It's a terrible photo, but there it is. It is too big for my sock blocker, which means your foot size is average or better. I will block them when both socks are done, which I hope will improve the presentation. The pooling doesn't bother me, so I hope you'll appreciate it as the way the yarn flows too. (Funny thing about pooling - hate it or accept is as part of the art?) However, I am crazy about the pattern. I now understand why Cookie A patterns are favorites of sock knitters everywhere.
In other knitting news, the yarn for my tea pal arrived Tuesday. Now, the big decision is whether to cast on for the bag for that package, or the second Monkey? I won't have much time for either tonight, or Thursday night. Wow. When I talk like that, the weekend is almost here! Any big plans for your weekend?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Let's Go to Vegas!

Luck is a man. He's hot, and he's dancing with me. I wonder if the Knight would like to skip work and scoot to Charlestown? He's a natural card shark, and Luck is with me.

PHEW. That's me, breathing a sigh of relief. Amanda got her socks, and they fit! It was a great little pattern, and I'll be doing it again when ankle socks seem in season. It does my heart good to know that the second pair of socks made for someone else fits. That means that statistically (did I mention before that I love statistics, the math concept?), I should stop fretting over the Monkey socks for my Sock it pal. They fit me, and I wear very "average" socks, and pal says she does too. The wicked Knight suggested I should keep them, but I won't. With a little luck, by week's end, both my Sock it pal's package and my Tea pal's package will head in their directions.

And speaking of Sock it to Me, guess what?! I hereby renounce my right to pout out loud that I never win anything. Contest #2 simply required me to gush about my favorite yarn. In return, I've won gift certificates to here and here! Thank you, thank you!!

There's really not a lot to report here, but what else to do in the middle of the night when sleep is elusive? Monkey #1 will be done Tuesday evening, and my search continues for just the right things to send with them. I bought the ribbon for my Mandy's Candy Bag Monday night. Those of you who scrap or sew already know you can buy ribbon with ANYTHING on it, but I was still filled with toddleresque glee when I spotted it. No, you can't see, but you'll get a finished object photo soon enough, maybe even in the next day or two!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Froggin, a Monkey, Harmony and a Penguin

Well, after about a dozen false starts, my poor Sock it to Me pal has a sock in progress. Recognize it? Yep. It's a Monkey. I'm really enjoying the pattern, and the way the Knitpick Memories is working up in it. And yes, those are DPNs you see. Turns out I miss the little buggers when I stay away too long. They're the Addi 2.50 mm #1s I bought during the Sockza crisis. I like them too, but I think I'll be buying the lot of the Knitpick Harmony needles. Every size, every style... Seriously.

Guess what?! That color is also as close to accurate as I can get. It's a fun colorway, and I do hope it will please my pal as much as it is coming to please me. (For those of you serving as my confessors, pause for the SNOL at the irony of that statement. You've earned it.)

Of course, I couldn't stay away from Summer Daze. (More irony; it was in the mid-40s this morning. No Indian summer happening here.) If you click on the photo, you can see my happy, beloved Harmony circs. Honestly, had I ordered a larger size (these are wee 2.25 mm #1s), I think I would carry them around and/or wear them in my hair. They're that pretty, even with the diminished colorations in the wee needles. I'm not a metal girl anymore. I suspect my tried and true metal KnitPick Options will alway have their purposes (wool?), but these lighter, warm, little works of art have my heart. A couple of reviews on the Tofutsies group have challenged their use with variegated yarns, and I don't think you can get more colorful than this one, and I had no trouble at all. Now, I will have to set this treasure aside and focus - FOCUS! - on the socks with a deadline.

Friday night, I made an attempt to channel my inner scrapbooker. She wasn't quick to come out, but she did join hands with my not-so-inner shopper and swipe a couple of baby-related items so I can (get this - multi-crafting!) scrap my photos of the babies and blankies I've connected with my gifts this year. She did leap to the front of the bus during this little project. I love to journal in my scrapbooks, so a cute journal box is always a hit. My sweet consultant punched and cut out all of the pieces for each of us, so all we had to do was follow along with the adhesive of choice, but he's a doll. My stepson likes "pingwings" so it will go somewhere on a page about him.

Friday, September 14, 2007

My September Birthday

So, some of you know better. Either way, humor me. The way I see it, any time I get two boxes addressed to me with knitterly goodness inside, it's like a birthday. It just so happens that the first parcel was indeed somewhat birthday-related. See, my dear Anners knows I like getting gifts much more often than the calendar suggests, so... I got a nearly on my stepmom's birthday present. Talk about being worth the wait! The card had me SNOLing (that's SNorting Out Loud for those of you not in the know - meaning all but um... four of you? who were in on that joke), but I'll be honest and admit that the world stopped while I gently removed the Malbrigo from the package and cuddled it. Of course, the Maizy in a colorway that had to be designed with me in mind was on top, and that will definitely move the Maizy WAY up on my to be knitted list. (Like, um, next?) There was also a nice linen smelling envelope, which is going to my vehicle in just a few minutes, when I head out for the scrappin' group for which I am not prepared. (My knitting Mojo seems to have eaten my scrappin' and stampin' energies, so I'm hoping just being near other scrapperly activities will awaken those all but gone notions.)

Thank you, Anne. Your daily support is gift enough, for a friendship that is about to span a decade. (Yeah... we met in junior high. That's my story...) That you could both surprise me and pick the perfect yarns in the perfect colorways is the best gift a girl could get.

But wait! There's more! My Knitpicks order arrived too. You might be shocked to learn that size 2.25 mm (US #1 in the hard to find version) is not the best size to show you how beautiful the new Harmony needles and tips are, but trust me. (And look hard because you can see green on both tips.) They are lovely, and I will be tossing aside the Quicksilvers at some point this weekend in favor of these little (I mean LITTLE!) works of art. There's also some of their Memories merino sock yarn in a colorway called Red Hat, which has none of the brightness you see in these photos. I may change my mind and use it as originally intended for my Sock it to Me pal, so stay tuned for some better photos.

Finally, I remembered to add a pair of #7 Bryspuns straights to my stash before checking out at Knitpicks. It's a happy little box, and is almost enough to send me to the phone to tell my mother inlaw I think I should stay home tonight.
Oh! I also picked up some Lion Brand Organic Cotton today too. Wow. I made Mugsy ride in the back seat so I could pet the yarn on the way back to work. No, no. He rides in the back seat all the time, because of the airbags. I've seen them break noses and fingers on adult humans, so what would they do to my puppers? Plus, lunch was up front, so really, I didn't drive through town petting yarn. Honest. (And Mugsy didn't snort the yarn either.)
Mugsy would come to my defense, but he's zonked out. We had a rather unplanned visit to the vet this morning. The old boy's allergies have moved to a new level, so children's grape Benedryl won't do anymore. Another allergy med from the people pharmacy, an eye salve for his poor, red eyes, ear drops (the Knight administers those; he and Fred developed a rather shake-proof system years ago), and a shampoo that cost more than mine for his itchy skin should get it all back under control. Good grief. He looks pretty cute though, all snoring in the old comforter here in the study. Fred also survived the trauma of being home alone, which is always a minor miracle, so it really is a happy day.
More yarn shopping tomorrow, but note: it is *NOT* stash-building. I have a felted bag pal you know? And birthdays and Christmas, and...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Prize Therapy

Good karma, this little Friday has for me...

Y'all need to go check this out. I told you to go sign up for Grace's incredible give-away, and now, my dear Anniekins, Alana, the very talented and lucky Stormy and yours truly were the winners of those incredible works of knitted art. I am beside myself happy. Add in the box from Jimmy Beans Wool (all presents, so no pictures) that the Knight found in the mailbox, and it is one lovely evening here in the woods.

Anniedoodle, bring your stole for Thanksgiving, and we'll wear our gifts and knit lace too, okay? I'm sure Grace's kindness and skills will rub off, but just in case, we'll put 'em under our pillows too.

(Poor Anne. Mugsy is busy saying hello to his Dadaw, so Anne gets stuck with my stupid-happy, stupid-talk. And you too, bless your buttons, 'cuz you're bothering to read these ramblings. The Knight does accept sympathy gifts.)

Yarn Shop Therapy

It's been years since I have knowingly and willfully engaged in retail therapy. However, this morning, I found myself with about 20 minutes to kill before my first chiropractic appointment in about ten years. So, I did the only thing I could think of - I stopped in the nearest LYS and petted some yarn. Lest you think I'm cheap and/or easy, this isn't all of my haul. You all must pay the price for the inconvenience of having readers I also call friends. ;)
Everyone should recognize the current copy of Interweave Knits. If not, well, make it so. Get your own copy and get to know the best magazine in the industry, in my humble opinion. I'd heard it said that this wasn't a great issue, but maybe the same apprehension that spawned my fifteen minute spree inspired me to dog ear some dozen pages within... Granted, I think there were only two or three patterns in IK I want to even pretend I want to knit, but there are still articles and ads for so much more.
On the left, we have the answer to my prayers. Erm, well, yeah, that *IS* what it is. It's also Dulce by The Purled Llama, another almost local company! It's a superwash merino, and it will start to become my Sock it to Me pal's socks in just a few moments. Don't you love it when your LYS listens and responds? I asked for more sock yarn, specifically, central Virginia sock yarns, and here it is. This is a custom colorway called "Moonbeam" and I hope the moon will shine on my efforts to knit up some great socks fast.
On the right, we have Nashua Wooly Stripes Tweed, in Tartan Tweed. I wish I could offer you a link, but it seems the site is under construction. I may have to go pick up the second ball in this colorway, because there are only 88 yards of this soft, beautiful stuff, with which I plan to produce a fall handbag...
I also petted the new Louets chunky wool, which is so soft... Again, I can't seem to find a link, but I do have 4 hanks on order in a great green, for a "for me" project to be announced later.
Oh, and the new chiro helped a lot and feels certain he can fix me up again, sans surgery. I'm going to celebrate by casting on for the SitM socks!

Fred on Thursday

Fred is just so much more cooperative about the whole photography thing. The Knight took this one with my cell phone earlier this week. Fred could be happier, but I think the Knight or "Dadaw" as the dogs call him (yeah, we think our dogs talk - what of it?), awoke the poor ol' man for the photo op. He's just such a sweet dogums, and I feel so blessed to have him in our lives.
Happy Little Friday!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ravelry Me!

ChanKnits is now at Ravelry. The world is a better place. I don't know that I'll use it to the full potential, but I do want to search out alternative yarns for patterns, and I want to track future projects to be, and I want to log my stash...

Yeah. Anyhooo, Anne was a single digit number ahead of me, so now, I just need to know what her Rav Name is, and the world will be right!

I'm off to knit and play with Ravelry, which will not take away from my blogging time once I get set up. In the meantime, I do want to thank Holly for her thank you for hostessing gift. I love 'em! The blue teapot reminds me of a charm I have on my silver charm bracelet, but I'm not walking through the house to find it, photograph it, upload the photo, etc. Just trust me, okay? Also, if you're in the tea swap, pop over there for some shopping hints!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sit, Knit, Heel

So, I frogged back last night, re-knitted the first part of the heel, and this afternoon, flew through the rest of the heel with ease. Go figure. And there's the misleading photo on the left, that makes the colorway look sage and pink. Poo! I wish...

Anyone else have great luck when you approach a troublesome pattern with a fresh outlook on another day? I couldn't believe how easily it flowed this time. Actually, I missed one little sentence in the instructions, and it made all the difference in the world. (I used to think I had good reading comprehension skills.)

There's a close-up of the happy little heel. (Pardon the glare, but at least it gives you a realistic view of the colorway.) I'm sure it could be prettier, but that will come with repetition. There's at least one more with the mate to be done, and I think I'll do toe-up again, at least after my pretty new Knitpicks arrive. Have I mentioned lately that I hate these Susan Bates Quicksilvers? (Free to a good home... seriously.)

I hate to cut this short, but House is on, and Mugsy is now using the Tofutsies skein as a pillow.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Favorite Things

As a part of the fourth generation of my inlaws' family business, I like to support other small businesses. As a woman, I like to support other women in business. It's also fun and easy to shop at a friend's store. Thanks to Etsy and the internet, the world is my oyster. Thanks to Jessi for being a great friend AND a wonderful indie dyer and stitch marker maker. (You may shop for your own here.)

Jessi and I worked out a little trade for the Chocolate Covered Grasshoppers yarn and the sweet dog-themed stitch markers. I still haven't decided what I'm going to do with the yarn, but I had to have it. It reminds me of mint and dark chocolate, which are two of my favorite things. The dogged markers are certainly right up my alley, and have been immediately elevated to favored status. Ironically, even Jessi doesn't know that shades very similar to THAT blue and green grace Fred's "dress up" collar and leash, which were hand-made by another basset hound owner/friend. It's funny how things work out that way.

Jessi also made some markers for the tea swap. When she shipped them to me, she also added a pair for each of the co-hostesses. There are more for sale
on her Etsy site, if you aren't done shopping for your tea pal! Folks, THAT is why I swap and host swaps. Yes, it's a lot of work, but there are so many rewards. Meeting Jessi was a blessing, but her friendship and support keeps growing. She not only joined the tea swap, but sponsored it, and thanked the hostesses with just the perfect gift! (Shhh... there are other gifts too, but I have to be sure Devon and Mary got theirs before I ruin any surprises. There's also another sponsor, but see the swap blog for more information.) Now, I can take my dogs and my tea with me when I'm knitting!
Now, if you'll excuse me, yet again, I must find something to knit while I wait on the yarn and needles for the next project. I guess I'll give the short row heel another try.

Fall Felted Bag, Contest #2

I love a contest. However, I'm practicing some rebellion skills here, as the sole hostess knows she's my pal, so she's getting NOTHING for #1, even if it does disqualify me. I've picked out the pattern and know what colors I'm using, and that's the only hint she's getting.

As for #2, well, the same hostess noted that I cheated and picked people I already knew for the answers to contest #1, so... Michelle and I remain as in touch as her crazy life allows! ;)

I'm sure I've somehow cheated today, but whatever...

Sunday, September 9, 2007

My Little Hero

Meet my little hero. He's from Vermont Teddy Bear Company. There's a great, long story about how our fire company ended up in this program, but that's for another day. You can check out the Friends for Life website for more information. However, today he's not waiting to comfort a scared child; he's showing off my latest finished object. It's a child-sized hat for Amy's project, Warm Up Winchester. Please pop over and check it out. They've already reached Amy's initial goal, but I hope there are lots of late-term folks like me, because I'd really like to shock Amy and Winchester with about double her goal!

The hat is the quick and easy pattern in Knitting for Peace (thanks again, Mary!) I used #7 dpns and Lion Brand Wool-ease in a blue heather of unknown origins. I think (hope?) I have enough left to knit myself one of these rolled brimmed cuties. Mugsy and I have had a slacker's summer, so with 40 degree temperatures in the upcoming week, we'll need warmer walking gear very soon!

So, I'm in the same boat I was in at the end of the last post; what to knit next? I may try the heel again, since Anne had good luck with hers and shared good pictures so I have an idea of what it should look like when it is right. In the meantime, we'll keep watching House season 2.

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Saturday, September 8, 2007

Dishcloth Square Blocks

Meet Dishcloth Square Blocks. Or at least, that's what I'm calling him. He's #2 in what seems to be a weekly series of dishcloth patterns, being designed by Anne. He's done in Lion Cotton Red, with #7 straight needles, in my very Continental method. You can find the pattern here, but be sure to note the contest rules for both cloths.

And don't worry. He's not going to live on the tree. The Knight has already claimed him as his own, and I suspect that before the sun sets, DSB will have been called into action.

I was impressed with the Lion Cotton. It was soft! I'll have to see if I can't find some more, since I don't recall where I picked up this ball, but I do remember that it was the only color they offered...

Now, what next?? You're not going to get to see Amanda's socks while she's on vacation. That just doesn't feel right. If she was here to taunt - er, make that see them herself - that might be different, but since she's out in the middle of the ocean enjoying some alone time with her beloved, I think the socks will just quietly head north on Monday, and you can pop over to her blog for a shot of the finished pair. I *NEED* to start on my Sock it to Me pal's socks, but her yarn won't be here until next week. I am going to send my pal a little package next week too, but the socks obviously won't be included. I guess that forces me to figure out what I'm going to knit for my tea swap pal, huh?

Friday, September 7, 2007

Beauty is Needles

I hope you're able to see this photo well enough. If not, proceed to Knitpicks site NOW.
Stop reading. Seriously.
Back? Cool. You know I'm a very loyal metal needle gal, but COME ON! How can you not rush to try these little works of art? I've ordered the 2.25mms, and folks, that means my Tofutsies are getting set aside until these arrive - maybe. The points look nice and sharp, and if I like the wee ones, you'll be the first to know, and I'll start trying the Options sizes too. (And ordering more wee little sock sizes in the fixed circs.) I also ordered the yarn for my Sock it to Me pal's socks. That'll teach the Knight to leave me alone on a Friday night.

Boxes First

I stop for boxes containing yarn. Who cares about planes, suitcases or other little details? I got to leave with the joy of new yarn in my heart (but without a hairbrush, not that it counts, because I figured it out in time to stop and buy one en route to the airport), and I arrived home to find more of the same (both yarn and hairbrushes, but the hairbrushes weren't new). As the Knight was trying to get me to the door so he could get me to the airport Tuesday evening, I was admiring the Vesper Sock Yarn that had just arrived. On the left is Meteor, which is a lovely brown/red/turquoise colorway. On the right is Crew, which is just assorted greens and white. The picture hardly does the yarn justice. I've often admired the Vesper colorways, and now I have two to call my own!

When I got home Thursday night, there was another box waiting for me from Knitpicks. There was another pair of 16-inch circs, as I've decided I like that length best for my sockies, and finally, at long last, there was some CotLin to try. (Center, in Moroccan Red.) It feels softer than the other cotton-linen blend I tried, so I'll give it a whirl. My mother inlaw selected some of the Felici self-striping in Hummingbird (on the left), as she was honest enough to admit that she won't be bothered to hand wash hand-knitted socks. I couldn't help but order some of the Firefighter colorway in the same yarn. I don't know whether I'll make them for the Knight or for me, but I want to come up with a little Maltese Cross pattern for them. (No, I still haven't unpacked. I packed light, so there's nothing but dirty clothes and the books from my workshops in there, and the two cookbooks I purchased, but they aren't touching my soiled laundry. However, the yarn has been fondled and blogged, so don't question my priorities!)

Since I don't think Knitpicks does a great job of displaying their colorways, here's a closeup of the Hummingbird. We really lucked out here! My mother inlaw will love it, and I'm looking forward to casting on for her wee little socks. She wears a ladies size 5 (US), so it won't take long at all to whip out some simple socks for her. I will say that the colors aren't quite as bright/neon-ish as my photo shows, but it's a heck of a lot more than you'll see on the company's site, so I hope it helps. Her birthday isn't until November, so I doubt you'll see these socks much before early November.

Likewise with the Firefighter. There's nothing close to the whitish pale gray I captured with my sub-par photography skills. There's a rather solid, true light gray, a dark gray, and some not quite fire engine red in this one. Heaven only knows when I'll cast on with this, because unless there's a pattern I've not been able to Google, I'm going to have to swallow hard, take a deep breath and venture into the land of writing my own pattern on this one. I don't want anything too lacy or patterned, but I do want a Maltese Cross or two on there somewhere, maybe dead center of the front of the leg, between two twists or something?

In other knitting news, Amanda's second sock is into its toe decreases. Then - of course! - I'll whip out Anne's second, "manly" pattern, and then, with whatever is left of a rather busy weekend, I'll tackle the elusive heel of the toe-up Tofutsie. I also need to finalize my plans for my Sock it to Me pal's sock pattern and yarn selections, because that will be my project for next week, and likely, the week after that. I haven't forgotten about my Tea Swap pal either, so that's the NEXT item in the assembly line. My felted bag pal has a pattern, and I need to make yarn selections there too, but since she reads my blog, that's about all you'll hear on that project. I also need to get started on the Knight's blankie when he's not around, but again, SitM and the Tea projects come first! Once those are safely behind me, I can start holiday knitting.