Thursday, December 28, 2006

Holiday Reflections

I'm back from my Christmas vacation & since DH's Christmas wish was for me to stay away from the computer during vacation, I honored his request (obviously). So although Christmas vacation was great, I'm extremely behind in posting AND reading blogs, so bear with me.

Words cannot express how grateful I am to 'lil sis for allowing DH & I to spend Christmas with her family in Utah. My 8-yr old neice gave up her bedroom & bathroom for us, my sister made FABULOUS food, and my brother-in-law even "enhanced" my phone for me!

Christmas day was filled with lots of goodies & presents, but the highlights (of course) were my knitting gifts. DH hooked me up with a few books I've been requesting as well as the KnitPicks Knitting Needle Case , Chart Keeper, and View Sizer.

My 'lil sis really made my day though when she gave me my first ever skeins of Malabrigo worsted! The colorway is a variegated named Stonechat & I'm currently working on the Shifting Sands scarf pattern by Grumperina. The yarn has been a dream to knit with, and I can't help touching it & admiring the color changes. The pattern is a 4 row repeat that is very simple to memorize, so it was perfect for knitting in the car on our vacation road trip.

The few days following Christmas were spent in Southern Idaho with my mom, dad, and middle sisters family. We only got to spend one day skiing, but great memories were made and thankfully there's a ski resort near our home that we'll hopefully be able to be at very soon!

It was nice to spend the holidays with my family on our road trip adventure from California to Nevada, Utah & Idaho, but I must admit I'm a bit relieved that the holidays are over & things can get back to normal ... whatever "normal" is!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

LYS Redemption

This will probably be my last post before Christmas. I'm SOOO overwhelmed with all that's left to do & we're supposed to be leaving on the first leg of our Christmas journey right now!

Yesterday, I went to my LYS (the one I've bitched about that's closest to my house), to purchase some SOAK wash. I thought I'd just run in, grab the SOAK & get out of there before any of their rudeness rubs off on me. As I walked into the store I was greeted with the most friendly voice at the counter. Hmmm... haven't seen this woman here before. I said "hello" back to her & proceeded to the yarn section of the store (they also sell fabrics for quilters). I just KNEW the rest of the time I was going to be ignored & so I quickly scanned the area for the wash. I then also remembered that I wanted to purchase some Noro Silk Garden Lite for the Argosy scarf I'd seen on Knitty. I quickly located some Noro yarn & started looking through it when the friendly woman from the counter approached me & asked if she could help me. I glanced around ... was I in the right store? Is this the Twilight Zone or is this an episode of Punk'd? I told her what I wanted/needed & she found one skein for me, but then recommended a different yarn that may work up just as nice.

The moment I saw the yarn & then fondled the yarn, I was in love!! She was being so helpful I started asking where the sock yarn was & where the SOAK was & on & on. I KNEW she must be a fellow knitter & upon further discussion I learned that the other 2 ladies that had been so rude to me during my previous two visits only had knowledge of the fabric/quilt section of the store. AHA!! It all makes sense now and at that moment I was glad I didn't quilt because those ladies aren't nice, but the knitting lady was a DREAM! So .. I'm not boycotting my LYS anymore. I'm not thrilled that they carry a large selection of Non-Consumer Friendly Yarn, but I don't have to buy it.

On the left side of the photo are 2 skeins of Trendsetter Tonalita in colorway#2355 and the two skeins on the right are Rowan Tapestry colorway #172. I'm taking the Rowan with me on Christmas vacation so maybe I'll have a completed Argosy scarf to show you when I return!

By the way, I think I forgot to mention that I won prizes from Knit Unto Others! For two weeks I got to knit some wonderful charity projects, but then .. I end up being one of the lucky few that won prizes! My prizes were from one of the Knit Unto Other co-hosts, Margene from Zeneedle. The silk/tapestry bag is by Lantern Moon & is the PERFECT color for me & will be excellent for carrying around a sock project. The ladybug tape measure is so adorable & definitely a much-needed item. If you're reading this Margene, thanks again!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Hell Hat & Happy Holiday

Thank you all for your input on the We Call Them Pirates hat, or what I like to call the "hell hat". Although I find color stranding a cool new thing, it definitely sucks up a lot more yarn than I thought it would. In case you're wondering, after reading all of your comments & whining a little bit to DH, I decided to frog the hat and go down a needle size.
  • The good news: Everything but the hat lining is complete and I had enough yarn (I even have about 2 yards left)
  • The bad news: It won't fit my son-in-laws head, so I'll be starting another one of these someday in the future for him.
Since I'm still knitting DH's Christmas gift, I'll probably take the hat with my on Christmas vacation & finish it then.

Today, I tried to work on Christmas cards. I realize I should have done this WEEKS ago, but ... well, I have no excuse so I won't even try to make one up. The only way I successfully get cards completed for any occassion, is because I use card kits from theCardCo. Without them, I probably wouldn't ever get handmade cards completed. This snowman card is based on the design included in the kit, but I changed it to suit my own taste & needs.

Sunday we attended a holiday party at my step-daughters moms house. We were there about 8 hours just enjoying each others company, eating great food & opening presents. This was our first year spending Christmas all together (since none of us had reconciled until January of last year), and as I sat there in front of the tree watching people open presents, my heart told me that I was home. Even though I don't have children of my own, my stepdaughter is only 9 years younger than me, and at 37 I have two grandchildren, I know in my heart that this is exactly where I'm supposed to be.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I'm Stranded!

I'm such a joiner! After seeing it on Lara's blog, I just felt the need to be a part of Stranded: the Colorwork Challenge.

For this KAL, I'll be knitting two stranded projects. First up, We Call Them Pirates hat by Adrian Bizilia from Hello Yarn in KnitPicks Andean Silk cream & pitch. Since the pirate hat must be given to my SIL on Sunday, it takes priority. My second project is the Fake Isle Hat by Amy King in MagKnits which I'll be knitting in Noro Kureyon #40 and Brown Sheep Worsted Onyx.

The yarn for the pirate hat arrived on Tuesday afternoon so I quickly swatched, got the exact gauge & that evening I rushed to start the project. Around row 4 or 5, I decided it looked a little bit big, so I got out my tape measure & discovered (to my horror) that my gauge was no longer "on". Maybe it's due to the stranding, but I knew this hat would be too big! Should I frog it completely or switch to smaller needles & keep going? What would you have done (keep in mind that's 500-600 stitches)? I opted to keep going.

Everything was going along well, especially since this is my first true stranding project, until I looked at the dwindling skeins of yarn & though, "I may not have enough yarn to finish!" I kept knitting in spite of that though, but when I started the decrease rows, I knew I didn't have enough yarn. Why did I keep knitting? Where were the magical yarn fairies that save you from yourself & magically add yarn to the end of the skein so that all the hard work wouldn't be in vain? For future reference .. magical yarn fairies don't exist .. at least not at my house.

Currently my hat looks like this:

And here is how much yarn is left with 410 stitches to knit!

In my situtation, what would you do? Frog & reknit it in a tighter gauge (and start with the correct needle size) OR.. order more yarn knowing that it won't arrive in time to give your gift to the recipient on Sunday? Is this a sign that my SIL wouldn't like the hat anyway & I should go with plan B?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Projects & LYS

Just in case you didn't know (although I firmly believe I'm usually the last to know), the Winter Knitty is available. I carefully looked at & contemplated each design & ended up LOVING two of them, liking a few of them & really wondering ??? about the rest. I've even already started one of the projects, Venezia. Of course mine does't look anywhere near as beautiful as the ones in Knitty, but since I've only made 2 so far, maybe practice makes perfect on something like this.

I'm using 32 gauge wire instead of the 34 gauge that the pattern calls for. My local craft store didn't have the 34 gauge & I thought the 32 would work, but now in hindsight, I think you must need the 34 gauge so that it keeps its shape (since mine seems to collapse). All in all I really enjoyed the project but I think I may venture out for that 34 gauge wire to see if it makes a difference in the finished object. Especially since I need more than two of these for the gift I'm making.

The second item I fell in love with was Argosy. It looks fine in the Hempathy, but when I saw it in the Noro Silk Garden, I just knew that it was something I had to knit. I don't have any Noro in my stash though, so this new love necessitated a shopping trip. I've previously vowed never to return to the LYS about a mile from my home, so I checked around a found that there was a LYS about 6 miles away.

Upon entering Sit 'n Knit I was greeted by a small dog and since I'm a "dog person" this was a good sign to me. My immediate thought was that the store was quite large! There are two very long & large wooden table & chair sets set up in two different sections of the store & one of them was occupied by a woman learning to knit & the other was completely filled with women sitting around just knitting various projects. The store owner greeted me & asked me to let her know if I needed any assistance. Wow! Real human contact .. this was a first for me.

My initial impression .. warm & cozy & I could SO knit here! But ... as I looked closer at all the bins of yarn along each wall, I noticed the over abundance of novelty yarns. Okay, okay, she was probably one of those shop owners who got sucked in the novelty yarn craze & is now left with a bunch of the stuff, but for heavens sake put that crap on sale & make room for the good stuff!

Upon further inspection of the yarn selection I KNEW this was the store for me, because I believe they need my help. The majority of yarn was either Berroco or Plymouth. I know it's decent yarn (I've knit with some lovely Berroco yarn before), but I was expecting more than 12 skeins of Debbie Bliss & 8 skeins of Noro (not the type I was looking for though) & I was definitely expecting more than one skein of sock yarn! I always seem to have trouble finding sock yarn .. is this because I live in Southern California & we don't wear socks? I knew then & there that it is my mission to spend some good quality knitting time at this LYS knitting beautiful items from yarns that they don't, but could carry. Is that wrong?

About the almost-finished hat. This is an exact copy of a hat my little brother (who is now 27) had when he was about 2 years old. He now has his own son & requested awhile ago for me to knit his son a hat that looks like his old beloved hat that he lost when he was 5 years old. Thank goodness my LYS had a similar type of yarn I was looking for. Unfortunately I didn't realize until after I left the store that this yarn has been reported as a non-consumer friendly yarn! (always my luck). I guess I could've returned it, but it's my first time at the store, the yarn is machine washable & the colors are perfect, so I'm going to keep it & vow never to do it again.

Friday, December 08, 2006


All the yummy yarn that keeps showing up on my doorstep is starting to make my head spin a little bit. Just look at this yummy-ness!

This is "Noblesse" from Cherry Blossom Fibers. Her Etsy site says that more yarn will be coming on December 11th, so I guess I better give DH my credit cards now! The yarn has a beautiful sheen to it & is oh so soft! I just wanted to cuddle it! I wonder what sock pattern will be worthy of it?

I'm finishing up a second hat for the Soaring Eagles Project. I decided that I'd keep charity knitting through today & then tomorrow would be one big mailing at the post office. In the past I completely avoided the post office in December, but last year while waiting around awhile I started people-watching. Nothing helps pass the time quicker than when you stop focusing on how long you have to wait, to guessing what's inside all the boxes cradled in peoples arms & then hearing the p.o. workers discuss where each box is shipping to.

I just couldn't resist sharing this photo of our Grandkids. I know it's a bit grainy (it's a photo of a photo), but that's because I'm not smart enough to figure out how to use my scanner correctly. I can scan the photo, but it won't save the photo in its original size. Maybe I should get out the instruction book? For Christmas, we're getting a whole mess of photos from my step-daughter. Now every room in my house will have these two cuties!!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Charity Needs Help!

I haven't been knitting what I thought I'd be knitting. I'm knitting one more item for charity.

I was reading through my blog subscriptions & while reading Cathy's blog , I discovered that the Soaring Eagles Project is short 100 items. Well after much pattern & yarn searching, I've knit a hat.

Pattern: Basic 2x2 rib knit hat
Yarn: KnitPicks Swish Superwash, colorways Dark Navy & Coast Grey
Needles: Clover bamboo size 7 US circular & dpn's
Notes: The yarn was heavenly to knit with but after being used to knitting on two circular needles & not having 2 of them in a size 7, I was resigned to use dpn's. No offense to those of you who use dpns but no thank you! I'll make sure I add another set of the KnitPicks Options sizes 5-8 US tips to my next order!

DH & I took our grandsons to Disneyland on Sunday. Here's just a few of my favorite photos of us with the boys:

And here's my favorite photo of DH with Pluto. Our grandsons are TERRIFIED of the characters and even though Grandpa had his photo taken with one, they wanted no part of it!

Many special memories were made & I have about 100 photos to prove it!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Charity Knitting Completed

I'm making it just under the gun on this one. All of my Knit Unto Others projects are blocked & ready for their close-ups! Unfortunately, they didn't get blocked in time for daylight photos, so please bear with these ones.

Charity: Christmas Knits to help One At A Time Ministries
Pattern: Lion Brand Ski/Toboggan Hat
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, colorway: cranberry
Needles: Clover Bamboo size 13US straights
Model: GrandSon #2
Notes: The pattern says to cast on 40 stitches, but that's incorrect, you only need to cast on 39 stitches! I also opted to not add the fun fur pom-pom to the top of the hat. Methinks this was a splendid idea!

Charity: Christmas Knits to Help One At A Time Ministries
Pattern: Lion Brand Button Scarf
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick colorway: Cranberry
Needles: Clover Bamboo size 13US straights
Finished Dimensions: 60"x7"
Model: Kitchen Paper Towel Holder
Notes: I cast on 15 stitches instead of 20 & did the pattern repeat twice on each row instead of 3 times. I also left off the button accessory the pattern recommended.

Charity: The Red Scarf Project
Pattern: My So Called Scarf
Yarn: Patons Shetland Chunky Tweeds, colorway: Deep Red
Needles: Clover Bamboo size 10.5US circular
Finished Dimensions: 65"x5.5"
Model: ME!
Notes: I loved the pattern & actually even enjoyed knitting with this yarn. It wasn't Manos or Malabrigo, but it was still quite lovely.

Charity: Comforting Jenn
Pattern: My So Called Scarf (modified to a square shape)
Yarn: Lion Cotton, colorway: Rose
Needles: Clover Bamboo size 10.5US circular
Finished Dimensions: 8"x8"
Notes: I didn't take notes, but I believe I cast on 42 stitches & knitted for 40 rows. I wish I would've cast on a few more stitches though so I wouldn't have had to stretch it so much when blocking. I probably would knit this again for a blanket square, but next time I won't use cotton. It just isn't "giving" enough.

So there you have it. My 4 charity knitting projects are complete & although I'm thrilled that I'll be mailing them soon, I'm sad that I'll never see the recipients face when they receive it.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Santa's Elves

In honor of today being the 1st of December, I saw this cute item at Fiber Dreams & I just had to share it with you.

Christmas Elf Name

My Christmas Elf Name is
Get your Christmas Elf Name at

I found it especially cute since my Great-Grandparents last name was Snook. Oh how I miss my great-grandmother. If I could visit with one person for the day who had passed away it would be her. I know I should probably say some famous person, but I can't think of a better day than sitting in my great-grandmother's home with a cup of tea & asking her all the questions I never thought of when she was alive.

I'm in process of blocking all of my charity knitting projects. They've been finished but I'm such a slacker when it comes to blocking. Since I have to complete & submit all my charity knitting to Knit Unto Others by Dec 2nd, I'm in a mad rush! I only have one carpeted room in my home (master bedroom) and DH is probably not going to be too thrilled to find most of the carpeting covered in our beach towels (the only thing long enough to block the scarves) and my knitting. Thank goodness I have a good steamer so that everything will be dry & photo-worthy tomorrow!