Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Moving Day

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

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

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cloudy, Fall Days

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

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

Monday, November 12, 2007

One Jay

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

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

"Why not?!" with much indignation.

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Birthday Granny J!

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

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Second Wind

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Needles - Size #2 circs, my Harmonys.

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

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

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

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

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

Creative Memories door journal box:

Stampin' Ups gift tags and card:

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

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

Marathon Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Doggone Thursday

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

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Everything's Better at the Beach

Before I wax poetic, I must mention Anne's latest contest. Scoot over and talk patterns and get in on another of Anne's great prizes.

First, some sock love. It's kinda' ironic to be grinding out socks at the beach, where socks aren't much of a priority for me, but I was delighted to finish my second Tofutsie, after so very much ado. Isn't it pretty?! (There's no sun at the beach today. Sorry.) Mugsy's beach towel is a rather blah background, but the socks are colorful enough for everything.
DSCN0666 That takes us straight to Fred's Yarn in the Knight's socks. It's a low-maintenance pattern for a no-frills guy, the beaded rib from Sensational Socks. The second sock is well underway, and I hope to finish it tonight during House.
DSCN0670 The Knight earned another jewel for his shield again today. First stop: Knitting Addiction. Sigh. We're just going to have to come down here often enough to call it my LYS. Maybe beaches just have great yarn shops (Knitting Up a Storm, Myrtle Beach), or maybe there's just no LYS like a shop owned and operated by a female volunteer fire fighter. I wanted one of everything, but paced myself, a bit. DSCN0667 The first shot is of the wrap pattern I couldn't resist and the yarn Jeanne helped me me select for it. She wound everything almost without asking; a simple, "Here, I'll wind that while you continue shopping" began what I hope will be a real friendship.
DSCN0668 There were a couple of if they see it they'll know it is for them purchases, but here's the rest of my haul. I'm sure several of you recognize the Blue Sky Cotton. This color just called my name, and will most likely become Cass's eye pillow. My Bryspuns are my favorite straights, so I've always wanted to try the circs. If they are so wonderful, I'll be calling Jeanne; she does ship.
I'll be doing a "real" write-up for the LYS review blog in due time, but folks, if you're ever anywhere near the Outer Banks, North Carolina, stop in. I can't believe this shop is only a mile from my aunt's beach house, so I'm calling it my LYS, and it will be another reason to swing down this way as often as possible. While chatting with me about a mutual friend and winding my yarn, Jeanne greeted the regulars by name, and helped two other customers. I don't think any of us felt jilted; she easily and graciously multitasked as only a great woman can do.

Monday, November 5, 2007


That's me hitting myself in the head. As I rushed out of town Friday, I left Cass's 333 Contest in limbo. Of course, y'all are all reading her wacky, funny blog anyway, but...

Then, there's the coffee swap. I actually *DO* have some coffee here at the beach, thanks much. It's in a bottle, in the refrigerator, with Starbucks on the label, but that counts right?? There's a topic of the week, and you know I'm a team player and a contest junkie, so:

When did you first start drinking coffee? What age were you? Was it about the caffeine, or do you love the taste and smell? Tell us how your passion began!

Firstly, I'd hardly call it a passion. That's the cold, hard truth. Tea is a passion, but I'm learning to like coffee. LIKE. Just enough to think it's fun to be in a swap.

My start with coffee had me gagging and spitting. Not pretty. That's pretty much how I reacted until one of the other female firefighters ground some for me. I don't recall the first flavor - hazelnut? - but once I learned that I didn't loathe ALL coffee, I very slowly began testing the waters. So for the sake of the contest, let's say I was in my 20s before I was able to actually swallow a sip of coffee.

I've always loved the smell of coffee though.

And no, Mugsy isn't sure about the waves. He likes the little ones that lap at the shore best, thanks.

Maybe knitting content will happen in the next post.

Noel and No Net

No, we're not doing Christmas early. We made our way to the Outer Banks just before Noel. The Knight's brother called about an hour after we had settled in to confirm that we made it across before the bridge closed, as he lives near the shore on the Virginia side. This is what it looked like, out of our front porch windows when we arrived. Friday night was rough, and Saturday left us with several spots on our street where the Atlantic wandered across the road, but it was quite passable in 4 wheel drive vehicles. So, we had no internet service until just a few minutes ago. I'm proud to announce that the Knight discovered the returned connectivity to life as we know it, while I was busy doing the toe increases on sock #2 of his Fred Socks. (That's another post for another day.)

Today was the first day really fit for beach walking, so the Prince (aka: Mugsy) got to meet the Atlantic. He loved it! It was still in the 50s, so we had to drag him home much sooner than he wanted, but keep in mind he's 12, and doesn't have a wet suit. We had planned to take him back this afternoon, but after our lunchtime adventures, including a Mugsy shopping trip at Salty Paws, he was sleeping rather soundly. We're here until Thursday, so we'll pace him a bit.

I wish I had close-ups, but the little nut stayed at a trot or faster, so the shots I did get were all but gifts. One of the many reasons for off-season beach vacations is that Mugsy can ride everywhere with us. Saturday was still exceptionally windy, so we stayed pretty close to home. Yesterday, we rode to Duck, because the Knight had never been. I'd never been off-season, so after discovering everything I loved was rather shut down, we headed back. I'm gloating, but Knitting Addiction is ALMOST within walking distance from our house. If Mugsy was younger and my back was better... It's closed Sunday and Monday, but the sweet Knight tried to take me there today. We did hit the scrapbook store, but my sister might be reading, so shhhh... (She has birthday and Christmas coming!)
We drove to Roanoke Island today, but without the internet, we couldn't find the yarn shop there. I don't know if we'll get back there or not before Thursday, but there's always next time. The Knight and the Prince love it here too, so we'll be back again soon, and often.
Assuming the wireless holds, I'll blog about the knitting that has happened tomorrow. Right now, I need to get back to sock #2. The Knight looks pretty silly in one Fred sock and one white cotton footie.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

To Me, From Me

You have to love advance order options. Way back in the summer, Nichole made me fall in love with One Skein Wonders. Well, I rushed over to Amazon and ordered a copy (I do a lot of rushing and ordering while emailing with Nichole), and noted that the "sequel" would be out soon enough that I could pre-order. So, I did. Can't even say I forgot all about it, because periodically, I'd see a promotion for the upcoming book and smugly remind myself I had one on order. However, I failed to anticipate its arrival today.

All of this arrived today. Some on the porch, some in the mailbox, so at least two different carriers stopped in to make my day. The winter IK issue is tucked in the very back, and the must make just about one of everything holiday gift issue is on the left. All three are going to the beach, along with my post-it note highlighter pen. (Those 3M folks are brilliant, and obviously, into organized multi-tasking too.) I predict yarn will be purchased and my holiday knitting list will shift yet again, but you'll be in the know when it happens, so stay tuned.

But wait!! There's more! Because Interweave was sold out of the Holiday edition by the time Cass convinced me I *NEEDED* it (no arm twisting, not even any drinking... just a few gratuitous project shots was all it took), so I had to find it at an online retailer. Of course, I couldn't pay almost as much in shipping as the magazine cost, so I had to add a few things to my virtual buggy. There's more Tofutsies, more Maizy in a nut brown I could truly gobble up, and some Bamboozle in a perky green. The Bamboozle has holiday gift plans already, but the Maizy is mine, all mine. The Tofutsies doesn't need any justification. There are only about two colorways in that line I don't want.

I know not everyone loves Tofutsies, and that's okay - MORE FOR ME! - but take a look at this and tell me what's not to love? Even with my current attraction to solids and nearly solids, how can you not love this? It's a good thing I have the second Summer Daze sock to take to the beach, because I'm wondering now why I want to knit with anything other than the chitin yarn at the beach. No, I don't find it splitty or smelly. I find it perfectly lovely, and can't wait to knit up the next colorway, whether it is this one or one of the others in my stash.
A proof read finds me doing a lot of lovin' in this post. Blame it on the beach. I'm just about packed, and the Knight and Mugsy are all ready to go, save loading everything into the truck. You're gonna' appreciate this. I'm taking my portable printer too. (What if I need to print a new pattern or something? What? Et tu Brute??) The Knight laughed out loud. (He doesn't SNOL. That's my distinctive chortle.) But he's taking his laptop too, so if you're in the area, you'll know us right away. I'm quite certain there won't be another couple anywhere near the Outer Banks on the beach with a crup (that's a magical jack russell terrier, which is Mugsy's true identity), two laptops, a portable printer and some knitting.

Another Good Cause

I love that many of our fellow bloggers have a cause. How great when cause and contest meet too! Please pop over and give Milly and MDA some support. I can assure you that there's much goodness, knitterly and otherwise, in her neck of the woods, so spread the word and make a donation if you can.

Hmmm... Makes me think my upcoming contest will be tied to a cause of some sort too. Stay tuned for the knitting anniversary contest with a cause to be announced later this month!

Special Dogs on Thursday

Dogs on Thursday makes the Knight SNOL, because he knows I talk about dogs - all of 'em - more than once a week. However, this week is something VERY special. Paula went above and beyond and dedicated this DoT to our Fred. (Yes folks, the Knight, MJ, AND Abby's dad all tune in for DoT! They only look at the photos, but still...)

Thank you, Paula. Your friendship and support is invaluable!

Don't feel left out, catters. Paula also participates in Cats on Tuesday.

If you need a doggy fix, please scroll down. My previous post was pooch-heavy!