Friday, August 31, 2007

We *ARE* in Kansas!

"Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good." That's a line from The Sound of Music, but it rings true for me. I certainly haven't done anything to merit the knitterly goodness that continues to come my way.

Today's dose of incredibleness came from Criquette of beautiful Kansas. I must admit, prior to this afternoon, Kansas wasn't one of the states I longed to visit, but she's a great tour guide, and now, I'm thinking I need to fly out to visit my favorite cousin (in Iowa) and see some of what I've always lumped together as the "bread basket" of our country.

Here's how it started, minus the note card that instructed me to stop ripping into the box and proceed to Criquette's blog, where I received specific, step-by-step instructions on how to open the numbered presents. Each postcard had a lovely note written on it, explaining why it was chosen. Then, each step included a little story as to why that gift was selected, and where it was found. (Go on, go check it out. I am touched and impressed by her ability to plan a tour I'd really love to take!)

Each item was wrapped in a lovely green and tied with a midnight blue ribbon. Heck, Criquette even explained why she'd chosen those colors to represent the blues and greens of her beloved prairie, since she knew me well enough to know I wouldn't have been excited about yellow. Details! Each and every detail was well-executed and made her thoughtfulness ooze out of the box and into my living room. Evidently, the South has no monopoly on good hostesses; I think the folks in Kansas go out of their way to make a girl (and her dogs) feel welcome and eager to see more too!

While I'd love to take you through each item, reading the "travelogue" on her blog will give you the same feel, minus the gifts, which are all mine. Well, um, not ALL mine; the dogs do get their treats, even though Criquette assures me they're made with human-quality ingredients. There's a local tea in three varieties, chocolate coated sunflower seeds, more chocolate (hmmm... maybe the Midwest is more aptly called the Snack Wagon?), a hand-knit scrubby with handmade soap inside, luscious yarn, and of course, The Wizard of Oz items.

Hush, Anne. I don't know if any of my other regular readers know why the Wizard of Oz is so ironic for me, but that's what friends are for. Let it suffice to say that I have a connection, and I appreciate it so very much, especially the funny notepad, which you really should click on and read. Mugsy would never desert me like that, nor has he ever chewed on shoes. Fred did have a right shoe fetish as a young pup, but he only carted them to his crate and held them in his mouth. The vet says it was because they smelled like me. Hrmph. Still, it's a very cute pad, and I like it very much.

I had to stop petting the yarn to type, but I am fascinated by the yarn (available here), and the chocolate coated sunflower seeds, which match. Who knew?! (So long, dark chocolate peanut M&Ms. There's a new crunch in town.) Evidently, the prairie is a fascinating location, full of all kinds of goodness and wonder. Maybe you should check it out on your next vacation. It's certainly on my radar now, as is the most awesome Criquette! Once more, a million thanks for a great Virtual Vacation, which arrived on an afternoon when I sorely needed it.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Fetch on Thursday

Trying to get an action shot of a Jack Russell running wide open isn't easy. However, it was past time for Mugsy to get a turn as the Dogs on Thursday star, so deal with my sub-par skills and know that he's a happy boy. (Yeah, the Knight needs to cut the grass too, but it seems that when we're not having a storm, we're not home, or he's exhausted. This weekend...) We go through tennis balls like you wouldn't believe. Mugsy NEEDS one in every room of the house, and often falls asleep with a ball in his mouth. When he was younger, it was cute and funny. Now, I worry the old man might meet an early demise, so we try to talk him into dropping it nearby.

He's one spoiled, loved dog, and he knows it. He also is my constant companion, and my knitting tester. (Please don't ever match me with someone allergic to dogs!)

Name Game and More

My dear Anne is having a contest regarding her first pattern. I'm going to re-arrange my knitting agenda for the long weekend and whip out a cloth, because I love the research and curiousity that were behind the pattern and the contest. I have some names in mind too, and given a recent email among several friends, I'm shocked some of us aren't banned from participating! ;)

Also, Amy still has a spot or two on her Pay it Forward list. I'm looking forward to knitting a surprise for her, and for Wendy and Nichole. More motivation to keep my swapping in check, so I can "spoil" my friends as they so richly deserve.

My skinny, short sock has a home! The always kind Amanda will finally have her own pair of hand-knitted socks. I am honored to make them for her, and I'm delighted that the pretty pattern and colorway will have a happy home.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Two Circs, Two Socks

So, finally, some non-baby related blogging and knitting, eh? This arrived today, courtesy of UPS. I can't wait. I think I'm going to dump my current sock - or maybe frog it, since I don't think it will fit the intended recipient - and jump right in here. There are even a couple of patterns with Fixation, which I happen to have on hand! There are nine wonderful patterns, lots of clear instructions with pictures and detailed explanations, and I don't think I can wait to get started. There are three sizes (women's small, medium and large) for each pattern, but the handy-dandy chart every sock book should have with shoe sizes, measurements and more is in the front in case you want to get really personal. I've only flipped through it, but I can't wait. (You're lucky I'm finishing this post.)

Here's the sock in progress, which I briefly considered frogging. Maybe I'll give it to one of the teeny-footed gals on my Christmas list. Okay. That's the plan now, because you know frogging gives me heartburn. Thanks for helping me work through that little bit of indecision. Just because it isn't right for the person I had in mind, doesn't mean it isn't a great sock. There. That's a pretty fair representation of the colorway, which is some Sockotta. I'm not crazy about the yarn. It's just there. There are other blends that feel better slipping through my hands, but it knits up well, and I do like the colors. (See my Sockza bag in use?) The pattern was quick and fun, and I'm about 1/4" from turning the heel, so why frog? Heck, *I* am a rather small-footed gal myself...
The colorway isn't that blue, but evidently, you can't have accurate color AND a decent shot of the pattern. Go figure. It's from Learn to Knit Socks, Little Pinky. Fun, easy to memorize pattern, in an ankle length. I think it would look great on one of my skinny-legged friends. So, no frogging. Can't do it, but I am moving on so I can knit two socks at the same time. I also want to do the toe-up thing, especially since Surviving sent me the cool You Tube link to the Magic Cast On and more. So many socks, so little time!
PS - My Pay it Forward list is full, but I hope you'll find someone whose isn't!

Pay it Forward

A couple of you know I had a pay it forward idea of my own in the works, but the good and generous Nancy beat me to it. Anne has signed up on Nancy's blog, and I have signed up on Anne's, so here's how it works:

It’s the Pay It Forward Exchange. It’s based of the concept of the movie “Pay it Forward” where acts or deeds of kindness are done without expecting something in return, just passing it on, with hope that the recipients of the acts of kindness are passed on. You all know I’m already a PIF type of person. So here’s how it works. I will make and send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment to this post on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I do not know what that gift will be yet, and it won’t be sent this month, probably not next month, but it will be sent (within 6 months) and that’s a promise! What YOU have to do in return, then, is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

I'm actually more of a "practice random acts of kindness" person, but I think they're two sides of the same coin. At any rate, I look forward to creating some unexpected gifts for three of you, and watching the circle grow.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Grace, Hope and Love

It's hard not to hold a very newborn baby and fall in love. Everything seems right with the world when you watch first-time new parents gush and coo, and share their precious gift and their joy with their family and friends. Thank you PoG (Parents of Grace) for bringing a little more beauty, joy, hope and love into the world.

Here is Miss Grace, showing off her first pair of socks. (Good thing I didn't knit newborn size!) There's just a bit of growing room, but they were so well received that I'll be making a couple more pairs in this size, and lots more in the next. No, the photography isn't even good, but she's barely 48 hours old, and isn't fond of light yet, much less a flash. You've seen the socks before, so just admire the Sleeping Beauty wearing them. She snoozed through most of our first visit, and her dad has a shot of my Knight cradling Grace in his left arm, while coordinating fire training with his cell phone in his right hand. Heart-warming...

Here is the young lady of the week (month, year?) enjoying her first nap with blankie. It dwarfs her, and leaves me wondering what the full 42 inch version suggested in the pattern would have done! Her auntie made sure the cute socks showed too. I'll remember that Auntie, and when you are a new mom, your baby will get handknits too. (And just to record my bet for posterity, I bet brand new Uncle that in 10.5 months, we'll be welcoming his first baby into the world...)

Last, but hardly least, Auntie wanted a photo of her niece with her eyes open. In an effort to capture it, we both took a photo at the same time, from slightly different angles. If you look hard, you can see the dark of Grace's eye! That's her dad's proud arm (and chest) holding her. Thanks to all of you who have sent good wishes to Grace, her parents and the rest of us who love them all dearly. She's perfect, truly. Of course, that's easy for me to say, because there are no poopy diapers yet, and the Knight and I will sleep soundly tonight...

Pass those favorite baby girl patterns this way, will you?

Another Cass-Sent-Me Contest

I think Cass knows every knitter who blogs out there. How can you not appreciate a contest that is happening just because said gal feels lucky and wants to share the wealth? Can't talk now though, because I'm obsessed with finding her Etsy store and just ordering one of the VERY CUTE sock bags she makes, which are also the prizes. Because you know, a girl can never have too many sock bags...

So, if you pop over to Schrodinger's for the contest, tell her Chan sent you, would ya?

Say Good-night, Blankie

Mugsy is not pleased with these late-night Netflix and knitting sessions. He digs the Netflix part; he sleeps throughout, unless he hears me sniff (how is it that no one warned me Million Dollar Baby was a tragedy?) or cheer (North Country), but this up 'til midnight finishing off a blankie is for the birds, he says.

There she is. Baby Cables for Baby Grace. LOVE the pattern, HATE the yarn. I've never met a stretchier acrylic. (Lions Brand Pound of Love, if you missed it, earlier in the blog. The pattern's also from the Debbie Macomber pattern book.) Maybe the visit to present the blankie to the young lady will afford you a better photo, but tired as I am, I couldn't wait to show off the first baby blankie I can say I'd knit again - in a different yarn. Changes? The blanket is supposed to be something like 34" x 42". Mine is truly not measurable, because of how easily the yarn stretches, but I think I stopped a couple repeats shorter, because Grace is just a newborn. I don't think the Knight or his duty crew would be amused if I paged them and asked them to swing by the house on their way home from the little house fire in town, especially since they'd have to drive five miles past the station to get here. No, there will just be no final measurements on blankie, okay?

Here. Have a close up of the pattern. I adore it. I just hope Grace's little fingers and toes don't... Never mind. The way this stuff stretches, she'll be able to slip right back out, and with a good tug by mom, the stitches will ease back into position. Insane.

Now, I really must let Mugsy in before he destroys the front door. Fred is just chillin' on the front porch, hoping against all hope that his Dadaw (aka: the Knitter's Knight) will come home. When he was younger, he'd actually growl at me if I made him come in before he abandoned hope. Silly dog.

Good night Grace. Can't wait to meet you.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Felted Bag Contest

There's a contest, so here's my "entry."

1. What is your favorite yarn for felting, and why?

Grins. Regular readers can answer that. Patons SWS, because it felts quickly and beautifully, comes in great colors, and is a soy-wool blend.

2. Name one person in the swap who is not from the U.S. and tell us where they are from, and link to their blog.

Chrissie, Singapore

3. Find one person in the swap who has a dog, and let us know the name of their dog(s) and link to their blog.

Michelle has Murphy and Chewy!

4. Find one person in the swap who has a child or grandchild and link to their blog.

Mary has children and grandchildren. (Funny how that works, isn't it?)

5. And finally, tell us if you like October or November more, and why!

October holds all kinds of goodness. The dear Mugsy has a birthday. One of my brother inlaws has a birthday. Our anniversary is in October. Anne's birthday is in October. Love those changing leaves! It's cool, but not COLD yet, for the most part.

Grace to You!

I wish I could offer you a better picture, but technology is a wonderful thing. New Dad snapped this photo this morning, of his sweet girl, about 12 hours old here, and texted (Blogger isn't going to like that word) it to the Knight. Those of you who know me well know I'm rather competitive, but I've never enjoying losing more. Blankie will be finished tonight, as the Knight has duty crew at the firehouse, and then we'll both go meet Grace and hug and kiss the new parents tomorrow night. Blankie will still be available for the leaving the hospital shots, and if we're lucky, the socks will be there too.
(Maybe the Knight was right to worry; I didn't do a newborn pattern, but sweet Grace weighs in over 9 lbs. and is long too. Keep your fingers crossed that those wee socks aren't too wee!)
Of course, I'll take the camera too, so there might be more sweet baby photos!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Feast or Famine

Sorry it's been quiet here this weekend. No pictures either. I've either been at a party, in Richmond with the Knight, or we've had no internet due to storms. Our part of the world WAS experiencing a significant drought, but now, we're washing away. It's given me lots of time to work on blankie, and I had hoped it would be done tonight, but I need one more repeat. (That's another 20 rows. )

I'm taking a break from knitting now, because Mugsy is using my skein as a pillow. Sigh. I am actually glad tomorrow's Monday. How sick is that?!

Friday, August 24, 2007

More Contests

I try not to miss contests for the swaps I'm in. I know how disappointing it is to host a contest and have less than most of your swappers participate, but that's definitely not the case with the tea swap! Those swappers jumped on the first "early bird" contest with a vengence.

Sock it to Me contest, away!

My favorite yarn(s). Sigh. Well, that's easy-peasy... The Wick I gushed about for Cass's contest is right up there, even without the vegan limitations. I just love the stuff, and will knit more with it very soon. It's a bit bulky for daily wear socks, and I truly am hoping they'll come out with a fingering weight version. I love that it "wicks" the moisture away from the body, because my feet sweat, even when they're cold.

For socks, I haven't really knit enough to have a favorite. In fact, I haven't knit with the same yarn twice.

I must have a soy thing, because I also can't get enough of SWS! To date, I've only knitted up my trusty Sidekick in it, but there will be more. Like Wick, it is a bit splitty, but I got the hang of knitting with it quickly. I have more on hand to make another felted bag for fall, so stay tuned... It felts VERY QUICKLY. For me, that's a plus, but if you're using it for the first time, I can't emphasize enough that you must check it every couple of minutes, or you'll end up with a wee tiny version of whatever you were trying to make.

Can you help a fellow knitter/blogger out? She wants to reach 50 comments for her 1st Bloggiversary contest, so pop over and tell her I sent you, okay?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Cass's Contest and Stash Building

Well, part of this was easy. Cass wants to know my favorite vegan yarn. Sigh. She knows. She really does, but because I'm a good sport, I'll tell you too. (Bet you can guess!) Wick. I love it. It's so squooshy and yummy, knits up quickly, and the fact that it draws moisture away from the body is too cool. I used it first to knit my yoga socks, but I bought more (and was swap-gifted still more!) so my female relations and a couple of friends are getting Wick footies for Christmas. (You don't know it's you for sure, and you don't know what pattern or color, so quit acting as though I've spoiled a surprise. Geeze.) Yes, it splits a bit, especially with my love of wee, sharp needles, but no yarn is perfect. Wick is as close as it gets, at least until they make it in a fingering weight...

Cass is lucky I love her. I hate to have my picture taken, so the thought of taking my own picture knitting in public was PAINFUL. I thought about taking it at the firehouse, sitting on the tailboard of an engine, but it was raining HARD Tuesday, so I didn't take my knitting or my camera. (I don't generally knit at the station because of diesel smoke and cigarette smoke.) So, since I had my can-travel sock at the ready while at the vet yesterday, I snapped a photo. This sock was actually cast on in the parking lot in front of the Northside Library on Monday night, and I got the stitches divided onto two needles in the vet's. I wanted Fred to pose with us, but he was busy having a nervous breakdown. I'm sure if you click on the photo and enlarge it, you can see a wad of Fred's hair in the corner.

This is also my first effort at taking a dpn pattern and knitting it on two circs. I find it easier to travel with circs. I can just push the working portion off the needles, and it rests safely on the cord(s) until I pick it up again. No waiting until the end of a needle, no shoving the little pointies into a keeper of some sort, etc. Yeah Anne, gloat. (I'm rolling my eyes, okay?) I can't see ever giving dpns up entirely, but I think I am headed towards being a two circs gal, with dpns in second place, and Magic Loop remains a very distant, non-ribbon-worthy third.

I hate admitting the Knight is right, and he's insisted since the first moment he saw those canister-style yarn "jars" that I needed the large one. Whatever, walk away, roll my eyes... Oh, how I wish I had that STILL honkin' big hunk of Pound of Love in one. It's a good thing blankie is going to a home with two dogs, because I think I've knitted Mugsy hair in on every row, with a Fred hair here and there too. So, when I slipped into my local Michael's to buy a magnifying glass for my boss (Hush. My father inlaw is my boss, and he doesn't mind if I do some stash building while I shop for him. Really.) I couldn't find the canister (it's too late anyway), but I found this thingee instead. The picture on the right shows it being used with three different yarns, and I figured it might come in handy on the Knight's blankie, which will be done in secret, and will need to be tossed into hiding when I see his lights coming down the drive. I also picked up some of the much-recommended Caron Simply Soft in a cheery red, for baby's first Christmas kimono, and a TLC variegated that caught my eye.

In the most exciting news of the day, I'm a Loopy Groupie! I didn't take a picture of the tote, nor will I share the details of the "couple of surprises" but I can assure you, Sheri treats her loyal customers generously. I picked up some Panda yarn, which is sock yarn speak for "Bamboozle in a finer gauge." The blue is for me, and the green is for... someone else. The All Things Heather in the center is also for a gift, so I'll say no more, other than that when Sheri answers your recommendation request and the drool stains come through the email for one yarn in particular, order it. You won't be disappointed.

Fred and Water

Today's Fred's day. You see, he had a rather traumatic day yesterday. It started out GREAT! We loaded up and he went to work, which is generally a happy thing for him. However, less than two hours later, we were headed to the vet. That was bad enough, but then...

I left without him. It was killing me, so much so that my beloved Dr. Nancy rather firmly stated, "Leave now. Don't stop to pay. Just go!" as she towed an extremely resistant Fredders into the back, for - of all things - a bath.

You see, Fred's philosophy on water is simple. If he is thirsty, he will drink, and drink AND DRINK it, and then dribble slimed up drops all over the house. Otherwise, water is the enemy. Rain? Pee on the porch. (That's why they make that pet odor removal stuff, right?) Snow? Stay inside until it stops falling from the sky, and then go outside and play and snort in it until the humans fear you will have frostbite on your low-hanging parts.

So, since Fred is aging, sore and a great actor, the Knight - aka: Dadaw - will no longer bathe his boy, because he can't stand the horrible howls and screams Fred makes in an attempt to ward off the water. The poor folks at our vet got to do it yesterday, bless them. He looks beautiful, but Fred doesn't care about beauty.

Oh - and his back got a better report than I'd hoped. He will continue to lose mobility, but Dr. Nancy doesn't think it pains him, or bothers his dignity to drag his already rather lame left rear leg a bit until he catches some traction. So, we'll put up a ramp at the front door, and those Staples ream of paper boxes make the perfect step into my vehicle, and hope that Fred stays comfortable and happy (in his own, grumpy sort of way) for a lot longer...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Rockin' and Igging

Okay, nominate me once and I thank you, get busy, and forget to nominate others. Nominate me twice, and I take action. Thank you Nicole! She's on vacation at the moment, but if I put this off again, I might forget again. I am just old enough to find silly delight in being called a

So thanks again, my long-lost twin and Paula, who nominated me first. So, my nominees, and why I picked 'em:

Betty-Jean - Because getting to know her is fun!

Holly - Because she's truly a good, kind person and she makes me remember to count my blessings.

Martina - Without her, Anne wouldn't knit, which would mean that I wouldn't knit OR blog. Just like her little sister, she's a kind, funny, inspiring woman.

So, there ya' go. Rockin' down, igging to go.

Anne is busting my chops, right in the midst of blogland, about "igging." If she hasn't heard it before, it's only because we type more than we talk. Igging is in the dictionary, here in my part of the world. So, my defense/explanation will also be tossed out right in the midst of blogland, so that anyone else who cares (or has the discipline to keep reading) can understand.

Many of you realize that our volunteer firehouse isn't just a hobby for us, or even simply the non-profit where we spend a lot of our time. The folks there are truly like family to us, especially since the Knight and I both grew up in and around said station. Well, a family friend was the chief a while back, and he is famous for just ignoring people who are clearly talking to him. One of the characters around the station shouted at the chief's back, "Well just ig me then!" and igging was born. It might have origins elsewhere, but that's how it found its way into our vocabulary. Said chief emeritus is a close family friend, and my father inlaw (and the Knight once in a while) is know to "ig" too, so the word gets used a lot. I still can't believe Anne didn't hear it while she was here.

Happy Birthday, Pop!

86 years young today. He's the Knight's paternal grandfather. He sits in a chair near my desk every day at work, for a little while anyway. You can't tell it from this photo, but he is a tough cookie. He still mows his own grass, cuts up firewood, etc. He's had bypass heart surgery, a knee replacement, and more, but he refuses to slow down and behave. We love him for it. He comes from a generation that doesn't seem to want to stop and take it easy, and most of the time, that's part of his "charm." It might mean he isn't around another decade, but he's lived life on his terms this long, so I can't see trying to change him now.

Happy Birthday, and many more! Not that he'll ever see this, but that's not the point...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Knit, Sip, Chew, Chat

Not necessarily in that order, of course.

Invitations are in the mail, so to speak. If you're on the guest list, you should receive yours sometime today. If not, check your spam folder, and then let us know. If you're not on the guest list this time, there will most likely be a next time, and we hope you'll join us then!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sincere Appreciation

My sister was touched by all of your kind words and thoughts, and asked me to thank you. So, here's a picture of us from a baby shower a couple of years ago. It's a rotten picture of me (on the left) but I think it's a rather typical picture of the two of us. We take turns leaning on each other, and have had spells where we lean together, but we're almost always smiling and laughing when we're together.

Happier days are coming.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Blankie's in the Lead

The race is on and here come blankie. So far, baby's not even at the track. This pattern has done what no other blankie before it had; I'm still knitting and I'm not hating the blankie! I figure I've just crossed the half-way mark, so with a meeting tomorrow night, no Knight on Tuesday, and no other obligations for the rest of the week, it should be done this weekend, at the latest, all of a few days before the baby is due. If you're inclined to cheer us on, obviously, blankie would feel supported by all things yellow. (School starts tomorrow here. I wonder if blankie will be encouraged by the big yellow bus?)

Evidently, the Knight knows of what he demands. The baby's father has said that if the blankie's ready, all of the hospital photos will be taken with blankie showing. I guess that means I should stop blogging and return to knitting. That, and the roll of thunder that just boomed.

Least you think I've forsaken the sock or something, I have picked out the yarn and pattern for my Sock it to Me pal's socks. Yeah, yeah, I'm going to start more than a month before they're due. Get this - I've even ordered the yarn I'm going to include in her package. (I do require breaks from blankie, thank you.) I also ordered the yarn for a Christmas present, and I'm re-doing my Christmas knitting list.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to order the pattern for said Christmas present too. Of course, if anything else jumps in the virtual cart, that just can't be helped, can it?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

We All Live in a Yellow... blanket. Yellow, yellow, yellow. Have I mentioned that I am not a fan of yellow, all on its own? With other colors, I can appreciate it, and this photo isn't showing the solid, baby yarn YELLOW I feel I'm drowning in. Better than school bus yellow, but still. I won't use Lion Brand's Pound of Love yarn, ever again, no matter how easy I think it will make blankie care for the mom to be. I just don't like it, and there are plenty of other wash and snuggle baby acrylics out there. (Aren't there?) What are your favorites? Help me out here, because I've never had a baby to try to keep blankies and clothes clean for, but I do know that this working mom to be needs machine wash and dry. That's what she's getting, but surely she can have that and I can have a yarn I like to knit with too?

The pattern? Lydia's Baby Cables from Knit Along with Debbie Macomber : The Shop on Blossom Street. (Look! Wee little baby cables, repeating all over this ding dang blankie!) Now that I'm on my second repeat (there are two of those kinda' diamond thingees per repeat), I'm getting the hang of the pattern and picking up speed. It's surely not one I can memorize, but that means I'm not getting bored either. When it is done, it will look like a yellow version of this, I hope. The finished dimensions in the book are 32" x 41" (don't quote me, but something like that - I'm too lazy to walk back and check), but I don't know that I'll go that long. Those of you whom endured the three blankies in a row this spring know that probably somewhere in the 20" range, I'll be looking for an excuse to wrap it up. So, I'm thinking as soon as I get to row 21 of the repeat (the stopping point for the last repeat, the book says) and I'm past 30", I'm heading home and wrapping it up.

You very nearly had no photos. I don't know what's wrong with the HP Photosmart program, but it has a seizure when I try to upload. Corel Photos had no problem, so I guess I'll be using that until I am inclined to dig deep and figure out what troubles HP. I did have a frantic moment though, until my gooblette noggin' recalled that Corel existed!

But back to knitting. My box from JoAnn's arrived yesterday. Strangely enough, that Total Tote wasn't packaged as well, but it's going back for a refund anyway. (Thanks again, R! I've already used the one you sent earlier this week, and I like it very much.) However, I finally found me some 2.25 mm circs.! The picture says it all. The tips look pointy enough, and I'll be casting on - again - for the June Tofutsies Sock of the (not quite every) Month just as soon as I either finish Baby Cables (I'm a cable knitter, no matter how simplified they are!) or at the moment just after I realize that I cannot knit another stitch on that gag me with not even weak sunshine yellow blankie. You see, I not only have to finish the blankie before said baby makes his/her way into the world, but the sooner I get that on the FO list, the sooner I can try out some of that Maizy sock yarn.
It's all about socks with me, I know. I'm about to try lace too, but that will be a Christmas gift for someone known to stop in here once in a while, so mum's the word. I might sneak a peek when I get to a place where I think it's innocuous enough, because after all, you won't know that I'm really doing the lace thing unless I show you, right? Wow. What a world. Cables, lace, and there's still entrelac out there too.

'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam, 1850, line 27, stanza 4English poet (1809 - 1892)
And thanks to all of you whom showered us with kind words and supportive thoughts. My favorite poet said it best here too, so I'll leave it at that.
Did you write once, and I mean more than blog posts? Have you thought about writing?

Pop over to Paula's and check out her new short story writing plan, and sign up if you're so inclined.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Fall Felted Bag Questionnaire

How long have you been knitting or crocheting? How did you learn? or from whom?

Well, we're up to about nine months right now of serious knitting. I learned as a youngster, but never did a single project, save a dog blanket that was too small for any of our dogs. Anne piqued my interest last Thanksgiving, and the rest is history.

What was your first felted object, and why did you decide to try felting?

My felted needle case. You can see my first felting projects (and Mugsy) here.

What are your favorite colors? Any you hate?

I'd love to go back and see how this changes from one questionnaire to another, but I really don't have time right now. At this moment, I'm blue, so a sharp turquoise or a Williamsburg blue would be my favorite. (Sniff. Dang. I'm such an emotional sap.)

In general, reds, pinks, blues, greens, browns, teals... Heck, let's just say anything but orange and road sign yellow, okay?

What are your favorite styles\types of bags? (Long straps? Short handles? Handbags? Totes? Embellished? Plain? Include links to patterns or photos if you’d like – give your pal an idea of what you enjoy!)

Oh my. For daily use, a wee handbag, with a strap just short enough to shove my shoulder through, but for totes, anything goes! If you peruse my blog, you'll see quite an assortment. I'd say the one thing they all have in common is that they're colorful. (By the way, my Booga, which turned out to be smaller than I thought and WAY too orange is now enjoying life in Alaska, with Anne's fabulous mom, who sincerely liked it!) Basically, I like wee bags for regular and out on the town use, and big bags of any shape for toting projects and more around.

What handbag or bag are you carrying today? Do you use a separate bag to carry your knitting?

I'm still carrying my Sidekick. I used my bag from the first exchange to carry my books and knitting to the beach, and it's perfect for my baby blankie in progress at the moment. I also have my new Total Tote, and that's loaded with my next sock project, ready for wherever I ride next.

What other things do you enjoy knitting or crocheting?

Socks. Small projects. I just found a sweater I want to do though, and while I'm not very far along, I'm enjoying the baby blanket I just started.

What sort of needles do you enjoy working with? (straights vs circs, bamboo vs aluminum)

Metal circs., although it depends on the project. I don't mind dpns at all, but they too must be metal. I do use my Bryspun straights for dishcloths though. No bamboo or plastic. Snap, crackle, pop!

What’s one project you’ve not yet tried but are dying to make?

Felted bag or otherwise? Bag, I want to do the B4 bag, but have to get a better grip on bobbles first. Then there's the Bar Harbor Shell bag... Projects in general? I have several sweaters, a yoga mat bag (or is that a bag?), a baby kimono, and so much more.

What’s one yarn you’ve not yet tried but are dying to work with?

Again, felting or otherwise? Felting, my life won't be complete until I try Malabrigo. Otherwise? Bamboozle is my big desire at the moment, but check my blog, because I'm likely to buy some post-haste.

What other hobbies do you have? Do you spin? Sew? Garden?

Yoga, stamping, scrapbooking, my dogs... I do not spin and have no inclination. I wish I could sew, but Anne won't stay long enough to teach me. I used to garden, but my back doesn't like the bending and such.

Besides yarn, do you collect anything?

Roosters. Bags. Stitchmarkers...

What kind of goodies do you enjoy? Sweets? Salty? Anything you hate or are allergic to?

I'm much more inclined towards sweet than salty. I don't care for hard candies, except for mints. And I mean mint mints.

Do you have any kiddos? (Furry kind count!)

Indeed, there's Mugsy the Jack Russell Terror, aka: the Crup, and Fred the Basset Hound. Our home revolves around keeping the princes happy.

What kind of project best personifies you and why?

As cheesy as it sounds, a sock. I love diversity, and knitted socks definitely personify diversity. They're portable, adaptable, functional and sometimes warm and cute. (Hey, I have my moments!)

What is your favorite part of Autumn? You can also share a special Autumn memory if you'd prefer!

Well, as each season arrives, it is my favorite, but Autumn means cooler weather, beautiful leaves, more walks with Mugsy, and this year, our 10th anniversary. There are also lots of birthdays and anniversaries for friends and family, and that's special too. I love pumpkin and fresh cranberries, and they're much easier to find in fall and winter...

Tell us 3 things you would do if you won 10 million dollars in the lottery.

Just three? Well, there's the somewhat standard bit about the perfect yarn shop with some friends, but I'm going to give you three new things this time, not that hanging out with my favorite knitters every day wouldn't be heaven.

Buy a BIG farm somewhere, maybe in the Northern Neck, near my aunt and uncle's big farm. Mark and I both love the country, and he'd be happy as a pig in poop on a tractor...

Travel. I'm talking yarn crawls with you guys, at your favorite spots, mine, and those must-sees. Nascar races galore, a knitters cruise, seeing Europe with my favorite cousin, Africa with a couple of special folks, etc.

I'd also set up a foundation for training and educating fire fighters, especially volunteers. The world is changing, and training and knowledge will keep them safe, and allow them to perform more efficiently. Mark and I both have invested a lot of time in training, both our own and in training others, and it's something I'm passionate about.

Crossing the Bar

Crossing the Bar

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.
Cranford's Miss Mollie is a sweet, special girl. Yes, I have photos of her, but that's the portrait a friend did, which Mark and I gifted to my sister and her husband for Christmas last year. Like my boys, Molls is older - 13 - but the last year has been one of a rather steady decline. Today's the day my sister and her family will help Mollie find the Rainbow Bridge, and on the other side, she'll be able to walk and run again, and her barks will be more than senile frustration.
It's not easy, being a pet owner. I will cry again next week when Fred and I visit Dr. Nancy, knowing that Mollie was carried in for her final visit today.
I'd wanted to to this yesterday, for dogs on thursday, but first we had no internet service at home, and then the hour after hour of severe thunder storms came. We'll miss you Mollie, but you'll never be forgotten.
Nicole sent me the most wonderful little "share-mail" earlier this week, and it's a longer than this, but here's the closing comment:
"People are born so that they can learn how to live a good
life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice,
right?" The five-year-old continued, "Well, dogs already
know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Woof, Ribbit and Wow

We'll start with wow, verse 1. Y'all hear about knitterly goodness rather regularly, and you will hear some in verse 2, but first, I want to share some plain, old friendship WOW. Remember my Total Tote? Well, imagine my surprise when UPS brought one to the office this morning. Imagine my continued surprise when I read the comments section on the packing slip, and realized it was from a non-knitting friend. I am truly blessed with the best friends a gal could have. Thank you, R!

We'll get back to the bag, but friends are much more important. I remember reading somewhere once that the average person has a single digit number of TRUE friends in a lifetime. (It was long ago, and the details and source are long gone from this mind.) This person made a distinction between acquaintances and real, see you through it all friends, and that's a point well-taken. Maybe I'm deluded, but I'm sure I have more than single digit real friends at this very moment. I'd do a roll call, but this is a knitting blog. I just needed to take a moment to note how lucky I am to have some phenomenal women (and a couple of men) to call my dearest and best friends.

And now, back to the bag. I hope my first photo shows that it's more than ultra suede. It's very suedey (dollar says Blogger's spell check hates that word!) on the outside. VERY. I don't mind, but I mention it because I tend to think ultra suede is smoother. It's bigger than my usual bag by a lot, but for what I want this bag to do, it's perfect. A sock and all of its yarn could travel in one compartment, ALL of my handbag necessities in the littlest one, and I'd still have room for another project. Heck, I think my Pound of Love yarn would fit in the biggest compartment! This shot to the right hopefully shows that the two compartments in the main section are divided by that piece under my thumb, so the Pound of Love could travel, one way or another. The front, outside compartment is separate, and bigger than my current handbag, the Sidekick.

So, there's your wow, and we'll move right into the woof, or wow verse 2. My super-dooper Dog Days spoiler sent me an incredible package. Each item was wrapped with a little comment, and what a hoot! I love the rooster (I didn't have that one!), and the rooster note pad's note said "I'll help you remember what yarns you want to buy!" Clearly, she read a lot of my blog, and she knows I'm counting on Ravlery to help me shop a little more efficiently. There were emergency knitting needles, which looked for all the world like two pencils to me, a flip-flop sugar cookie, bath treats, a cow cross stitch kit (wicked, that spoiler!), tissues, some Cotton Tots (which I can't wait to try, as the other pattern I'm crazy about in my new book used that for the sample photos), a Ball band cloth pattern, a ball band cloth that Mark has already announced is his, and a cute little jar that I can shake and see sand and shells and remember the beach! I love it all, and I thoroughly appreciate the time and effort Linda put into getting to know me! Thank you so much, Linda! Had you not put the Dog Days button on the box, I would have assumed you were my KVVS pal!
Last, and definitely least, is the lack of knitting content. I couldn't understand for the life of me why, on a pattern marked intermediate, I would cast on 135 and then knit in moss stitch for seven rows, add a stitch, and the get around to the main pattern a couple of rows later. I followed the book's instructions for the increase, and made a hole. I didn't catch it until several rows later, and figured I'd pull it shut when I wove in the ends and such. Well, on row 15, I still don't know what happened, but suddenly, there was a huge, unravelling hole and stitches slipping away by the second. When I looked at it to try to figure out how to fix it, I undid another five or six stitches, on different rows. With that, I moan, groaned, and frogged. The dear Knight finally took hold of what had been the start of the ding-dang baby blanket he insists must be ready before said tot is born, and I continued to unravel and rewind.
You'll have to wait another day for the details on which book and which pattern, because I just got a phone call saying I'm late for dinner and there's a meeting to follow...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Last Call for...

...the tea swap sign ups.

That's not what you were thinking, is it? Are you kidding?! There's no such thing as last call for alcohol at our house. There's a glass of wine or a bottle of beer for any guest still capable of appreciating it. The dogs and I might retire before you leave, but the Knight will host on...
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go knit a blankie. Sigh. Didn't I vow not to wait until the 11th hour again? (It's her first. She'll be in labor for HOURS, right?! And she's not *IN* labor yet, so I still have time!)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Baby Love

Since you know I can't be without a sock on the needles, this is what jumped on. It's Knit Picks Dancing. Too much orange for me, so it was all set to live in my stash forever, when I realized it would be perfect for a baby sock. So, there it is... baby sock, done on the wee little Addis from my No Sheep pal. Honestly, I believe I could be content knitting nothing but baby socks for a while. Talk about instant gratification. (How many can I get out of TWO skeins of this yarn?) Seriously, after I finish the mate - later tonight, I'm guessing - I'm going to see how much yarn I have left. I'm sure it won't have made much of a dent. The colors are more accurate in the first photo, which is interesting, because I was sure that the redwood stain would draw out the reds and browns...

See those darling little dpns at work? I'm glad there are lots of babies around right now, because guess what they're all getting for Christmas?!

I'm also betting that on a larger scale, this yarn really makes some nice stripes. I downloaded a pattern Knitpicks suggested for this yarn, back in the spring when I ordered it, but I wouldn't wear 'em. No one on my Christmas sock list would either. Sigh. Anyone love this color?

Tibbers Rox

That's not where the story begins, but I know you want eye candy. There it is. All of that, in the SECOND package from my Sockza pal. (Here for the first.) A book, tea (far left), two bags, handspun, socks, two sets of stitch markers (right front), salsa seasoning mix, sticky notes (love 'em!) and a Spiritual Survival Kit. I don't think I missed anything, but the details will follow.

Of course, the most important part is my pal's identity. The very awesome Tibbers Sox as she called herself! Pop over and tell her what an awesome pal and sox knitter she is.

Back already? Okay. Well, I'd assured Tibbers earlier today that the package would be on my porch when I got home. Um, no. And now I know why. The folks at UPS were busy using it for soccer practice, but it got here around 5:15, while I was on hold, trying to get to Garmin's customer support. (The Knight's new toy requires a trip back to the factory. Uh-oh...) Can you believe the state of this poor box?! I wish I'd snapped a shot of the one from Yarn Market last week; much the same. Good thing there was nothing breakable in this one. A friend is the evening something manager, and after I blog, I'm calling her. Ridiculous.

That's the cuteness that I saw when I finally cut my way into the mangled box. She wrapped EACH AND EVERY little thing! On the left is the sox info - Cidermoon HandDyed Yarn, in Seagrass. And isn't that little kitty cute? No wonder Fred was under my feet as I tried to open said box, all while keeping the cordless handset tucked between my shoulder and ear...

You've already seen the group photo, so here's a very rare thing on this blog - a sock on the model! I figured the occasion warranted a little extra effort. The fit is perfect. The leg - or lack of - is per my request, because I have such weird (BIG) ankles and calves, as compared to the rest of me! If you go by my wrist measurements, I have a small frame, but if you use elbow or ankle measurements, I have a large frame. So which is it!? (Large, of course, because I'm always off the charts on my weight, even when I was as tiny as I wanted to be.) And let's hear it for yoga; I was able to sling my foot up in said position and then lean the rest of me to the right, all while not upsetting that little wavy hand on my camera! All of this while the thermometer says 94 degrees in the shade, where I was not.

More sox, because - duh? - this is about the socks. I can tell you now that these socks will be worn very regularly, probably beginning in about six weeks. While it seems impossible now, I can't stand to have cold toes, so when the outdoor temps fall below about 65 degrees (F, obviously), I wear socks. Can't wait!

Now, a couple of you know I was torn to bits about whether to order the Total Tote (on sale HERE) in lime green or brown, two of my favorite colors. I let my sage mother inlaw convince me that the lime green would show dirt too easily, so after a quick check with the ever-wonderful Tibbers, I went with the brown, which happens to have a lime green POLKADOTTED fabric lining! Still, I was a little sad that practicality won out, that is, until I unwrapped this lovely Lantern Moon tote!! (I'm taking something to knit to work tomorrow, just to show my mother inlaw that God knows I need lime green in my life, right Jessi?! A girl can't have too many bags!) And yes, I know I need a real life when the big dilema of the day is where to order the tote from, and in which color. I think you're just jealous. ;)

Last but hardly least is a photo of the SWS bag, which will likely be my winter sock bag, or at least one of 'em. The sweet stitch markers are on there, and if you care to see them, you'll have to click on the photo and scoootch around, because my camera batteries died about then. You know, I think that bag is big enough to hold some medium projects, like a felted bag that will come to be for my pal in the Fall Felted Bag Exchange! Fred says Mugsy could fit in there, but what purpose would that serve? No Hooey, it's not a Muggy-bag. Silly dog! (Yes Mugsy, it would be warm, but honestly, aren't you warm enough right now?!)
Thanks again to Tibbers for her kind generosity. Lots of goodies, and they are all perfect! I just hope the socks on their way to my pal fit...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Mandy's Candy Bag

If you're looking for a cute way to present your latest small item, or a few swap treats, here's your bag. NH Knitting Mama has released her first pattern, and I couldn't wait to try it out. The only change I made was I skipped the i-cord (Anne?) and created my first crocheted chain! (Don't look too closely.) I am in love with Peaches & Creme's Sea Mist colorway, despite how much coarser it is than the Cotton Rich. This bag might be used to present a new baby (mom's more than ready for you to come out - it's hot!) his first pair of booties, *IF* indeed it is a boy. Mom doesn't care much for pink or pastels, so I need a back-up plan, because I know someone else who is sure to love these colors.
Why are you still here?! Scoot over and tell NH Knitting Mama how much you like her pattern, and then make one of your own! She has a contest going too, so be sure to enter.