Sunday, May 27, 2007

Retail Therapy

Last weekend, during a 48 hour period, I got so stressed about an upcoming pelvic ultrasound test, that I shopped. For yarn. Although it helped calm me down and keep my mind off the test, my dwindling bank account balance did cause some stress for me today, but oh well, the test is over now and everything looks good!

What started it all, was my first purchase. Crown Mountain Farms updated their Sock Hop Yarn and I purchased two skeins of the "Brown Eyed Girl" colorway. Ever since I met DH, he has sung the "Brown Eyed Girl" song to me whenever it's on the radio, so it's kind of our thing. He even uses the song as his ring tone whenever I call him. How then could I resist this yarn colorway? (obviously I didn't) I now understand why people love hand dyed and hand spun yarn. It's GORGEOUS! The downside though .. now I really want to learn to spin. I'm giving myself one more year though to learn as much as I can about yarn before I jump in. At least that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

The next thing that happened was an email from WEBS telling me their anniversary sale was about to end. I ignored it at the time, but then I was listening to their podcast and they mentioned Cascade 220 superwash on sale. Curses!! There were so many color options I was overwhelmed, but after thinking about it, I decided to go with a masculine color palette to knit some items for my grandsons this year.

I also saw that the Regia Silk was on sale, and since I'd wanted to try it for some socks, I ordered a bit of that too.

Finally, during the last part of the 48 hour time frame, I had an urge to check out The Loopy Ewe and wouldn't you know it, Sheri had just done a shop update. I received my order today, but I'm going to hold off on showing you those acquisitions until next week. Besides, I can't stop snuggling or sniffing or fondling the yarn long enough to take photos.

Despite no photos of socks in progress for almost a month, I have been knitting socks. Since I'd finally finished Molly's Matinee Coat, I allowed myself to start a pair of socks and chose to knit Falling Leaves by Jessica Landers from the Fall 2005 issue of Unfortunately, after working the pattern up until where the gusset begins, I decided that the pattern either wasn't working for the yarn, or that I didn't like how I was knitting the pattern. The center vein of the leaf design is created by working a k2tog and a ssk side by side which creates a sort of ridge. Personally I didn't care for it, so I frogged the entire thing and started over. This time, I chose the Monkey pattern by Cookie A. I've knit it once before in a beautiful yarn that didn't work with the pattern, so I thought I'd try again. So far I'm thrilled with how these are turning out and it's so fun reworking the pattern toe-up. I'm trying to take meticulous notes and each time I convert a pattern from cuff-down to toe-up, I feel a bit more confident in my skills.

I only have another pattern repeat or two before I'll be casting off, so I'm now dreaming of what socks I'll knit next.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Molly's Matinee Coat

On Wednesday, April 18th, I became an aunt .... for the eighth time. (gasp) It's so strange for me to realize that my 4 siblings have all had children and I'm the eldest with none. Obviously this gift is a bit delayed, but it won't fit Molly until she's 3 months old, so maybe I'm early?

Molly's Matinee Coat

Pattern: Matinee Coat
Pattern Source: Debbie Bliss Simply Baby
Yarn: Sidar Snuggly DK; white
Needles: Knit Picks Options and Circulars size 6, 5, 3 and 2 US
Modifications: I added a picot edge around the neckline.

Notes about the pattern: Although I really do like the finished object, you couldn't pay me to knit another item in this book. I never understood why people didn't like knitting patterns that don't have a schematic ... until now. None of the patterns in this book or the Debbie Bliss Special Knits book for that matter, have schematics. This made blocking the 5 pieces of this sweater a pain in the arse. I finished knitting all the pieces on April 11th and attempted to start blocking that same day. However, when I discovered there were no schematics, and I'd spent an hour of frustration trying to figure out what measurements to block everything, I gave up. A week later, when my sister called to announce that her daughter had been born, I resolved to tackle the sweater once and for all. I struggled through two hours of calculating, measuring and pinning and crossed my fingers that when I started assembly, it would all come together perfectly. It did all match up fairly well although I discovered that I really dislike seaming. I see top-down sweater patterns in the future.

Notes about the yarn: I originally purchased 5 skeins of this yarn, and today returned the 3 unused skeins to my LYS. Even *I* was surprised that I'd returned the yarn, but to be honest with you, knitting with white yarn was boring and I'm also not a big fan of the nylon/acrylic blend. Although, I'm sure my sister will appreciate that it is washable and I appreciated that it was economical.

Final thoughts: If you are the type of person that can block many pieces of a project successfully without schematics, then I'd highly recommend this book, but if you are like me and don't have enough experience under your belt to block with schematics, stay away. I've also discovered that instead of asking the mother (or picky sister) what they would like me to knit for their baby, I'll just pick a pattern and yarn I'll enjoy working with and hope they like it in the end. After all, if I like what I knit, I'll finish it quickly and be more inclined to not mutter profanities under my breath.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Week In Review (sort of)

I know I've only been posting about twice a week and I mean to post more frequently, but to be honest, my health has continued to decline. I'm only 37 for heaven's sake and it feels like my body is trying to do me in. I could bore you with my pathetic list of symptoms and the Dr's initial diagnosis, but nothings for sure yet, so I'm just attending the various clinics for tests and should have more info in 2 weeks. Don't worry, it doesn't appear to be anything serious (like cancer), but I just wanted to share a bit of this with you because until I'm feeling better, I may not be posting as much, and I may not be commenting on your blogs as much.

Since I'd forbid myself to cast-on for socks until Molly's sweater was complete, and since I've been spending some time at Dr's offices and labs, I've been working on these dish cloths from the Mason-Dixon ladies. I am trying to be a bit more conscious of the environment, so these will be replacing my kitchen sponges. I was really never worried about the sponge harboring bacteria since I only used it for a week and then tossed it, but then a light bulb went on. I've calculated that I've spent about $50 a year on sponges, and since I'm sure they aren't that great in the landfills, using these dishcloths should help in some small way. If you don't have the book but want the pattern, you can get it HERE!

Thanks to Dave, he posted something regarding those of you kind enough to leave comments on blog posts. Seems that quite a few of us have been frustrated that we aren't getting the email addresses of our commenter's. Everyone thought it was the fault of the new Blogger, but I had issues even with the old Blogger. He was notified by Lavendersheep that the new Blogger did NOT mess about with the ability to reply to comments but that the new Blogger DID mess about with your settings.

If your Blogger email address was public before, you've been reset to private. If you edit your profile and check the box that says show my email address, your email address will show up with the comment and restore reply-ability.

Did you see the latest edition of Yarnival? My friend Laura was the editor and she even included one of my blog posts. There are some pretty good articles in there, so make sure you check it out.

Speaking of Laura, yesterday I was able to spend a few hours with her sharing our new yarn acquisitions and completed knitting projects since we last met. You've got to take a look at her Conwy socks. I was tempted to steal them, but then my brain kicked back in and I remembered I could probably just knit my own pair. I also purchased this lace weight yarn from her. Neither of us are sure what it is, but it's almost silk-like and I can't wait to make a shawl from it. For lunch, we went to an amazing German deli (Mattern's) to pick up sandwiches and beer, and although there was quite a wait for it, it was well worth it. We took the food and drinks back to Laura's house and got to sit outside on her patio and enjoy the view, the food, and the company. It was perfect! And where are the photos? I forgot to take them .. BAD BLOGGER!

This weekend I hope to be casting on for my next pair of socks, since I finally finished the Matinee Coat for Molly. My next post will have all the details.

Before I forget ... a million thanks to Carole for sharing an invite with me to Ravelry. It's the perfect thing for me to organize my stash, projects, needles, and such. I also love that I've met some new "friends" through it. If you read my blog and you're in Ravelry, make sure you link me as a "friend" so I can see who you are. If you're not on Ravelry and you've signed up, don't panic, you will be part of it very soon!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Monday Mish Mash

For those of you who live under the rock next door to my rock, you've got to check out Ravelry . For those of you who have an invite left .. can you please invite me? I'm DYING to try this out since I'm an anal-retentive organizing nut and this looks like it's right up my alley! I don't know if I'm patient enough to wait for it's full release.

Although I have no socks on the needles and haven't had for a week (gasp), I've signed up for the Summer of Socks 2007 KAL. I've thankfully fulfilled my SAM 3 KAL requirements for May and have forbid myself to cast-on for another pair of socks until I finish the Debbie Bliss Matinee Coat for my new neice Molly. You would think this would be HUGE motivation for a sock fiend like me, but even though this was off the needles and blocking last month, so far I've only managed to seam it. To officially complete it, I still need to knit the edging around the neckline and then put it in the mail to my sister. Thank goodness it's knit for a 6 month old!

And if having one project on the needles for a neice wasn't enough, I'm also working on a purse for my eldest neices birthday. I've knit this bag once before for another neice and this neice saw it and said she *had* to have one too. This has been a really quick knit and all I have left are the i-cord handles and felting. She'll be visiting me the last week of this month, a few days after her birthday, so it will be fun to give her this in person instead of sending it off in the mail.

The VLT shawl (which looks like a blog) is still in progress and I think I'm on track to have it complete by my mother-in-laws birthday next month. I'm not sure I'm going to use the edging shown in the book, but I'm not sure what else would look nice. Any suggestions?

For those of you who love podcasts and/or love scrapbooking, you absolutely must check out my friend Lain's ScrapHappy Podcast. Currently, I'm not into making scrapbooks (which is the main focus of this podcast), but I just love that her podcast. Last episode she was stating that if a scrapbooking tool doesn't have mutliple uses, she doesn't keep it around, so she had taken her ribbon straightening iron into her bathroom to see if it would also straighten her hair! Her last 4 podcasts are all in the 15-20 minute range, so if you want a treat, go subscribe. Oh, and if you do.. please tell her I sent you.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Eight Random Things

I rarely participate in these, but since it was Laura who tagged me, I'm doing this for her.
First, the rules:
  1. Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
  2. People who are tagged write a blog post about their own 8 random things and post these rules.
  3. At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and include their names.
  4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment and tell them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Here you go:

  1. I learned to shoot a bow and arrow nine years ago from a former Olympic team trainer. I spent approximately two hours doing this and haven't touched a bow and arrow since then.
  2. I hate finishing projects. I always feel a bit of sadness when a project is complete so towards the end of projects I slow down drastically.
  3. My idea of the perfect home would be a cottage on a lake in the Pacific Northwest.
  4. Fifteen years ago, I was within 3 credits of an associates degree in piano performance. If I were to return to college now, I'd become a nurse.
  5. My husbands first wife is one of my best friends.
  6. My husband loves to write "I Love (heart symbol) You" with the tip of his finger on my leg at random times during the week. My heart still skips a beat when he does this.
  7. I've worn the same watch for eight years that I purchased at Macy's in Denver Colorado when I was on a business trip and my watch broke. I still get compliments on it although I only paid around $70 for it.
  8. I used to have severe acne until I tried a medication called isotretinoin (Accutane). I haven't had acne for almost ten years now and although I still have a few slight acne scars, this medication was worth its weight in gold!
And now to tag people. I hereby tag: nobody. I'm going against the rules on this one, but if you do want to do this, please do, and let me know.

In personal news, my health has been hit or miss lately. I got lucky enough to be feeling pretty good this weekend, so we babysat the grandkids while their parents went to parties for their friends who are getting married. We went to McDonald's (which the kids call MickeyDonald's) to play in the playland tubes & slides .. oh and I think we may have had a hamburger too. The youngest one didn't want to go down the slide, so grandpa showed him how it was done. They both came down following him. I'm sure glad I had the camera.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Snake River Socks

My May SAM 3 KAL socks are complete and these are also socks for my mother for Mothers Day. Unfortunately, I didn't realize until towards the end that a more appropriate pair should've been knit in spring colors, but since these are complete and there's no time to knit another pair, they will have to do.
Pattern: Snake River Socks
Pattern Source:
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in Green Mountain Madness
Needles: (2) KnitPicks Circular size 1 US
Notes: This is my first time knitting with Cherry Tree Hill yarn and let me just tell you it will definitely not be my last. Although the colorway isn't one of my favorites, I must confess that the yarn was heavenly sliding through my hands to the needles. So far, this pattern has been one of my favorites not only because it was written toe-up for two circular needles, but because it was so simple to follow. These socks also fit my feet probably better than any I've ever knit. I suppose if they don't fit mom, she could send them back to me. I'll definitely keep this pattern in my sock binder to knit again in the future, but I'll probably add the yarn overs as in the inspired River Rapid Socks just for something new.

Those silly dogs of mine kept running through all my photos, so I thought I'd include one to show you. Although the photo of the socks isn't the best (and you have to deal with my hairy white legs), I just though it was fun to include a photo of what it's like to be out on my backyard patio.

Also, remember those stitch markers I've been bugging all of you about? Well Ana opened her new online store, so please go take a look around. I can't believe her low low prices!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Yarn Collecting & Weekend Recap

I think it's time to close the PayPal account and hand my credit card to DH. Since I have had some health problems lately and don't have a lot of energy to be out and about, I've spent a lot of time inside sleeping, watching movies, a bit of knitting and online shopping. Yesterday, I received an order from The Loopy Ewe, today I received an order from KnitPicks and then today I placed an order with Peaches & Cream (which is the fault of today's post from Amy).

First up, yesterdays delights from The Loopy Ewe! Two skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in camouflage, a skein of Louet Gems in white, and The Loopy Ewe tote. The tote is definitely larger than I'd expected and will easily carry my current sock project (or two). Since this was my second Lorna's Laces order, there really wasn't much oohing and aahing although the camouflage color will be perfect for DH. I must confess that the favorite part of the order was the Louet Gems sport weight yarn. It's obviously not due to the color, but the yarn feels amazing! I'll probably be casting on with this yarn next. It's too tempting not too!

What's not pictured is a skein of Lane Borgosesia Cashwool in Red, because it's being returned. Not because the yarn isn't absolutely fabulous, but because I do not like the color. It looked like a true red on my monitor, but when I received it, I thought "ICK, that looks like neon red". The Loopy Ewe has a wonderful return policy, so I'm mailing it back to her tomorrow.

Today, from KnitPicks, I received their lace weight Shadow yarn in Sunset Heather. I also ordered lace blocking wires, but for some reason they didn't arrive with the yarn. Oh well, it's much easier to fondle yarn than blocking wires. I was hoping the yarn would be good, but I was honestly surprised at how nice this yarn is for such a low cost. I purchased 3 skeins of it which totals to be 1,320 yards for only $7.47. I'm not sure what lucky shawl pattern I'll choose, but whatever it is, it won't matter since the yarn is so lovely.

Obviously I'll show you what I ordered from Peaches & Cream when it arrives and obviously I'm planning to knit a dishcloth or two (or three or four).

The grandkids had their last itty bitty t-ball game on Sunday. It was played at the Lake Elsinore Diamond where the Lake Elsinore Storm plays. The Storm is not only the farm team of the San Diego Padres MLB team, but I also discovered that their logo is the best selling logo worldwide for the New Era Cap Company.

After the kids game, there was a break to give the grandkids their medals and grab a bite to eat before the Storm played their game on the field. Since the grandkids sold the most tickets on their team, they each got to accompany one of the players out on the field before the national anthem. Since it was miserably hot that day and #2 didn't get his nap, he was a bit too grumpy to do this, but #1 was out in left field with his hot off and over his heart. So cute. Too bad my camera couldn't capture it since he was so far away. Must be time to ask DH for a new camera.

During all the waiting around between each game, I got in some great knitting time on my socks. I believe this is my first Knit in Public photo. DH looked a bit puzzled when I asked him to take this photo, but then he obviously decided not to question a woman sitting in 80+ degree temperatures with pointy needles.