Thursday, August 31, 2006

From Socks to Scarves

Although I'm afraid to admit it, I'm getting a little tired of knitting socks, so I decided to take a quick break & start something new. I borrowed Scarf Style from the library, & after previewing it, I think I may have to purchase it! (If DH is reading this, he's just shaking his head right now & holding onto his wallet).

Remember when I purchased the Berocco Pure Merino in Cabernet on sale at my local craft store? It was originally intended for a sweater, but I realized that 10 skeins wouldn't even be enough for a vest & I'd bought all that they had in that dye lot. Well when I was previewing the Scarf Style book, I located my favorite pattern that's been floating around blog-land for awhile....Backyard Leaves & I realized I could use the yarn (and only 4 skeins of it) for that scarf! Yippee...I've saved it from being returned!

Well last night while DH was packing for his trip (the annual dove hunt for 3 days in the Arizona desert), I grabbed my yarn, needles & a printed copy of the chart. HOLY COW! I've knitted with maybe 3 charts ever, but this one was an animal all of its own kind! I knitted the first inch & upon looking at it realized that I'd made an error so obvious, maybe I wasn't ready for this project yet. I started again & noticed I'd made a whole new error. I then realized I was too tired to tackle a new chart & project, so I dragged my tired butt off to bed.

At 4:30am, I arrived home (after dropping DH off at hunting buddies house) & picked up the project again. I first started with some self-talk: "You're a smart woman! This is a knitting chart, not brain surgery!" (although the chart does somewhat resemble brain pathways I think).

I started again, this time with more determination than ever. I was not about to let this chart beat me! I started slowly double checking each & every symbol as I knit. Row upon row I checked & double checked until finally...I saw the pattern emerge. EUREKA! I figured it out! I'm a better knitter than I thought I was!

By the way, the yarn is a dream to knit with!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

He won't poop, but I'm pooped!

GS1 has been gone for 2 days now & after resting yesterday, I'm finally feeling somewhat normal (whatever that is) . My mother was convinced that after spending the weekend with my grandson that I'd want children of my own. Are you kidding me? After spending a weekend with a 4-yr old that has boundless energy, I was never more convinced that I was smart in NOT having children of my own! I loved every minute of having him here for a few days, but felt very lucky that I don't have to do it full-time.

GS1: Graaaaaaandmaaaaaa
Me: What?
GS1: My tummy hurts.
Me: Do you have to poop?
GS1: Noooooooo
Me: Are you sure?
GS1: I only poop at home.
Me: Oh really? Well I think you should try to poop here.
Me: Okay, well how would you like an apple?
Gs1: Okay

I FILLED him with apple slices until about an hour later when....

GS1: Grandma, my tummy REALLY hurts now.
Me: Well, if you go poop then it won't anymore
GS1: But.....I don't WANT to.
Me: Okay, suit yourself, but I think Grandpa had a really neat Power Ranger toy he was going to give you if you went poop.
GS1: (stands & stares at me for a minute & then he mutters & whimpers all the way into the bathroom)

30 seconds later....

GS1: (singing on toilet) "Power Rangers SPD, Power Rangers to the Rescue"
Me: (talking to DH) Honey, where's that Power Rangers t-shirt & toy we were going to give him for his birthday?

He was safely delivered to Mom & Dad Sunday night, but when I got home & looked in his room at his empty bed, a little pain of sadness hit me. I can't wait to have him here again!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Too busy for my own good

I can't blog today because I'm supposed to be cleaning & getting ready for tomorrow.

GS1 (GrandSon1) is coming tomorrow morning to stay with us for the very first time through Sunday. Needless to say I've purchased almost everything under the son for his visit here. We're even picking up a new bed today (since I bought the new bedding yesterday at La Target).

I'm still Trekking along on my socks for DH. Here's a close-up of the stitch pattern it's creating. I can tell when I tried them on him last night that he hates the striping color effect though. He did mention how much softer & better fitting they are than his other dress socks. But of course!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Möbius Scarf

Since Cat Bordhi taught me how to knit socks on circular needles, it was only fitting that I also referred to her to learn how to make a scarf on a circular needle. My blessed TIVO has been recording the new KnittyGritty season episodes for me & what to my wondering eyes should appear, but an episode with Cat Bordhi & her Möbius scarf. I was fascinated!

Möbius is defined as a one-surface strip with a 180-degree twist. In other words, the Möbius is a never-ending twisted loop that is made in knitting by wrapping a long circular needles cable cord around itself. It definitely sounds harder than it is, but when I saw that you could take the concept of the Möbius strip & knit it into a scarf, I knew I was going to cast-on as soon as I could get the materials.

I turned to KnitPicks & ordered the new Options 47" cable & size 10US circular needle tips. I was going to order the fiber recommended by the episode (Fleece Artist 4-ply cashmere), but decided instead to order something a little less expensive for my first run at this. After all, what if I sucked at knitting it? What if I ended up hating it? I again went to KnitPicks & ordered 2 skeins of the Ambrosia yarn in the Mulled Wine colorway.

I received my KnitPicks order in less than a week & although the yarn was very soft, the color wasn't quite as pretty as on my computer monitor. Then again, at only $7/skein for alpaca & cashmere, how could I complain? The Options needle cables were extremely flexible (not as stiff as the Addis Turbos) and the tips are very pointy. The cable & needle went together very smoothly & after knitting this scarf project, I believe I may be ordering the full Options Kit very soon. I also ordered size 1 & size 2 circular needles made by KnitPicks & I will report on those at a later date (when I actually get around to knitting with them)

Casting on was a bit tricky until I got the hang of it & I did refer back to the episode 2 or 3 times while I started this scarf, but oh what fun to see it all come together & so quickly. This actually only took me an evening to knit & what's better than a quick knit? (okay, eating chocolate while knitting a quick knit).

I will make this pattern again, but I may try & find some 4-ply cashmere (if it's a decent price & if there are decent colorways). Any recommedations?

Monday, August 21, 2006

I'm back! (finally)

Kudos to those of you who travel and still manage to find the time to blog! I've been travelling & I realized that if I did it a lot, I would need to get a laptop computer that had WiFi access and a card reader for my camera to post photos. Since I didn't have those things, I didn't blog. Shame, shame, shame. I probably lost the 5 people who used to read my blog, but if you're still out there, just a "HI" in the comment section may give me hope again!

So where was I & what was I doing? I was doing a whirlwind trip to see friends & family in 3 different locations. I actually flew from/through 5 airports during this trip: Orange County, CA; Las Vegas, NV; Portland, OR; Boise, ID; Salt Lake City, UT (and then back through Vegas & the OC). I don't recommend it especially because the Orange alert had just started & you aren't allowed to carry on any gels or liquids in addition to the mile long list of "no-no's". On the plus side, my carry on bag was oh so light!

1st stop: Salem, Oregon.
I come here at least once a year to see my god-daughter for her birthday. She turned 7 years old, but when I took her clothes shopping for her birthday, all the sales people thought she was 10! She's just so tall! While I was in Salem I located two LYS, Have You Any Wool & Artistic Needles.

Have You Any Wool: This is a very cute store, although it was smaller than I'd expected. There was a surprisingly diverse selection of yarns & I felt very lucky to be able to see & touch my very first skeins of Debbie Bliss, Noro, Cherry Tree Hill, etc. All of the yarn was in bins organized by fiber & color & they had quite a few hand-knit items completed with instructions nearby for sale. My main complaint though...I was the only customer in the store (although there were 3 customers in the back room for the Saturday morning help session) & I wasn't greeted or asked if I needed any help for at least the first 20 minutes or more that I was in the store. I'm still surprised by this because these ladies were old enough to know better! There was one woman working the cash register & one woman in the classroom & you would've thought one of them would've said hello much sooner. How did they know I didn't have $500 burning a hole in my pocket? Perhaps if their customer service would've been better, I may have bought more than one skein of yarn. Actually, the only reason I DID purchase it, was because it was too yummy to pass up (and there was no sales tax!) I'm now the proud owner of one skein of Cherry Tree Hill superwash merino sockyarn in Autumn Hues.....GORGEOUS!

Artistic Needles: This was a store with supplies for knitting, crocheting, embroidery, counted cross stitch, tatting & possibly more. However, the bulk of the store had yarn. 75% of the store was neat & tidy & well organized by figer, but the other 25% was in such disarray I couldn't tell if it was yarn for sale, or yarn that still needed to be put away or what! There was another customer in the store when I entered & the shop owner was busy helping her purchase a $180 kit for an afghan. Since that customer was making a large purchase, obviously I was ignored (again). Later though, the owner (who looked like she'd just rolled out of bed) put up with my mother's questions & even took time to show me some kits that seemed exclusive to her shop. I ended up purchasing wo skeins of Brown Sheep Company Wildfoote sock yarn in Black Orchid. These will be used for socks for my husband. Again, I could've spent more, but I'm waiting to spend my money at a LYS that is friendly, tidy & carries a decent selection of yarn....does that exist?

2nd stop: Boise, Idaho.
My baby brother (10 years younger than me) just had his first baby (son) & although it was only an overnight stop, it was well worth it! Not only is he cute...but he is always happy!
3rd stop: Salt Lake City, Utah.
My baby sister who I talk to almost everyday lives here (well closer to Orem actually), so it was great to spend a few days with her & her family. I even bought the little one her first ice cream cone & I have about 30 photos of the experience!

Also, my sister from Pittsburgh, Philadelphia was visiting Salt Lake City with her family celebrating my neices 1 year old birthday party. Aren't the cakes cute? My baby sister made them & I "helped" decorate them (she's the talented one, not me).Of course my mom & dad (from Idaho) & my other sister & her kids (from Idaho) were also there. Don't you just love those family reunions.....(not)!

The day I flew out of Salt Lake to head home, my oldest neice got her ears pierced. Doesn't she look thrilled?

The trip was fun, but I'm glad to be home. By the way, Tuesday or Wednesday I should have a FO to show off!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Packing & Shopping & Socks (oh my)

I've just realized in packing for my trip, that my CPU will not fit in my luggage. This is a tragic thing since without my computer, I'll have no way to download my photos to my blog while I'm away for 9 days....what's a girl to do? If I stop posting photos, who will want to read my blog? (not me)

My local craft store had a HUGE sale on everything in the store Saturday to celebrate their 40 years in business. Of course, since I knew they carried SOME decent yarns, I had to see if there was anything I may like. When I reached the yarn section, there was a sign stating that all yarn was 30% off. The only disappointment -- their yarn selection wasn't to my particular taste, but I was able to find a couple of things.

I picked up some Lion Brand Cotton for the miscellaneous cotton projects in the Mason-Dixon Knitting book I borrowed from the library. I also purchased 3 skeins of Cascade 220 in Dark Plum for a bag I'm planning on trying to felt for my neice's birthday in December. (I say "trying" because I have to create the pattern for the bag she wants). I also couldn't resist the Berocco Pure Merino in Cabernet. I bought every skein they had (only 10) and have now realized that it's definitely not enough to make myself a sweater, so I suppose I'll return it. It's lucious yarn, but I just don't know what I'd make from it since I need about 16 skeins for a sweater & they only had 10 in my dyelot.

Also, I'm working on the Interweave Knits Father & Son Socks for DH in the Trekking XXL yarn I purchased at my LYS. I can tell he doesn't like them (because when he likes something, he comments about it without asking), but he humors me in trying them on occassionally. Since there's more stitches on the needle than I'm used to AND it's a new pattern, it seems like it's taking forever to knit these. I'm excited to find some sock yarn in Oregon to take a break from these socks & start another pair of socks for.....ME! (I'm so selfish)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

KIPer Bags Review

I'm all about high quality of products, but every once in awhile I find something that isn't of the highest QUALITY, but is of the highest FUNCTION. This is true of the new KnitPicks KIPer Bags. The quality is okay (for vinyl), but the function puts these bags in a league all of their own. And I should know...I LOVE bags (and shoes, and yarn).

The fabric panels on the bags are decent looking & a stylish tone on tone pattern, but of course I'm not thrilled that where there should be leather...there is vinyl. I'm not a fan of bags with vinyl accents instead of leather, but for the price, these bags (even with the vinyl) can't be beat! They could have charged the $49.99 for just 2 of the bags just on their function alone!

Each of the 3 largest bags have a zippercompartment on the inside of the bag as well as pockets on the inside. The zipper compartment is large enough to hold many pairs of straight or circular needles. The outside of the bags have an "attachment system" that allows you to attach the purse organizing bag to each of the 3 knitting bags.

The bottom attachment is made up of two magnetic snaps & the top attachment is two u-shaped clips that flip up to slide the purse onto & then snap down to lock the purse onto the bag. Since this attachment is on all 3 of the knitting bags, you can easily move the purse organizer to any of the bags. I think it's very clever & functional.

The purse organizer that slides onto this attachment system has a place for almost anything you can think of . In the center of the bag is a zippered compartment. On one side of this zippered compartment is a section to hold miscellaneous items as well as slots for credit cards & a pocket for papers, receipts, notepad, whatever. On the other side of the zippered compartment is also another pocket as well as 2 slots for a pen or pencil, a pocket for your cell phone and slots for more credit cards (or your grocery store card & library card, etc). Personally speaking, this purse organizer has everything I could think of...except...a separate pocket to protect my sunglasses & I wish it had zippers on each end instead of one that goes all the way from one side to the other. I also wish it were a tad bit deeper, but I'm sure some people may think the purse organizer to be too big. It's all a matter of personal opinion.

The largest size bag is plenty large enough to hold either 25 sock projects or even 2 large sweater projects. In other words, it's a large bag that I look forward to using as a carry-on when I fly off to Oregon next week. The medium bag is probably the size I'll use if I'm knitting a childs sweater or more than one pair of socks. The small bag is the perfect size for a scarf or a pair of socks or a small baby sweater. Other than the purse organizer, there's also a small organizer for knitting notions (tape measure, cable needles, stitch markers, etc). It's a decent size although I wish it were a bit longer to hold my gauge ruler.

For the price ($49.99) these bags are a great deal. They are stylish and functional & I sure hope someday someone comes out with an affordable version in leather!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Seattle Jaywalkers

Here are my Seattle Jaywalkers (which I had previously named my Seattle Socks) finished & ready to wear on a cold rainy Seattle day. Except...I don't live in Seattle anymore so I'll just have to wait for a cooler rainy California day.
Yarn: KnitPicks Simple Stripes (colorway discontinued)
Needles: Addis Turbo circular size 1US
Pattern: Jaywalker by Grumperina
Comments: I really loved making this 2nd pair of Jaywalker socks and I know this pattern will probably be a staple in my favorite sock patterns. This of course is easy to say since I've only used 4 different sock patterns so far. Next time I make the Jaywalker socks though, I may try to figure out how to do them toe-up with Judy's Magic Cast-On. I've already tried out her toe-up cast on & it is very easy & is magic! Now I just need to find a pattern written toe-up that I like, or I'll have to figure out how to re-write the patterns I currently have. (bummer)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

LEVI's sells eating disorders for $40

I saw a commercial last night that has been really bothering me. When I first saw the girl in the commercial, I noticed she was EXTREMELY thin & that she was walking in what looked like the streets of NY. I was hoping she was going to McDonalds or something to order an extra value meal with lots of greasy fries since she looked to only be 90 pounds! To my horror, it ended up being an add for LEVI's new skinny jeans.

My next thought was of all the teenage girls that will now go shopping to try on the skinny jeans AND if they don't fit, how they will stop eating, or binge & purge, or whatever to get into the skinny jeans. The word "skinny" just means too much in our society right now & I know from personal experience that it would be such a mood-lifter to think that I could fit in jeans named "SKINNY". Just image what that does to the psyche of a teenager. It's appalling!!

Here's the ad copy:
A low-rise straight and skinny fit. Super-slim leg is comfortably cut. Available in stretch and non-stretch finishes. Short (30"), medium (32") and long (34") inseams. FIT: Straight WAIST: Low rise;8 5/8" front rise LEG: Skinny

Knitting bags

What am I thinking? I've been commenting about ordering the new KnitPicks Options needle set, but then last night I was looking at their new yarn (& ordering new yarn) and I saw this knitting bag set.
Just like yarn and shoes, I am a sucker for a great bag. Now I'm not positive that this is a great bag, but it definitely looked like a great deal AND it was developed by the same company that developed yarn & needles that don't drain my I got sucked in (as usual).

I think the reason I like bags & shoes so much, is the sizing. My foot rarely changes size & even if my arm or shoulders gain some weight, my bag still fits. It's the same thing with knitting projects. I think I've been knitting socks so much lately because I know when they're done....they will fit!

The best part of my new bags? I'm not touching the $100 DH gave me. This is being bought with birthday money from my mom & DH's mum (plus I still have some left over).