Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sore hands

I knitted so much this weekend that by Sunday night, my hands were sore. I got some hand lotion, and TRHM gave me a nice hand massage while we watched a movie. I am working on my Knitted Purse Swap project and a Christmas present, since they are both surprises, I can't post progress pics. I am also working on my sock for my second Sock Wars target - I got down to the heel flap, and saw that I purled when I should have knitted in a couple of spots. I tried dropping the stitch and picking it back up, again, but it looked messy. So I ripped back to my boo-boo and fixed it. I love the color of this yarn, but I am not so crazy about the texture - it is Green Mountain Spinnery Cotton Comfort. Lisa said that it will soften up once it is washed, so a nice Euclan bath should take care of it. I only have about 1 1/2 inches to go on the sock and they are finished and I can assassinate my next target. But I have a little problem - I ran out of yarn!! YIKES!! Fortunately, Lisa bought it at a shop in Princeton, so I can just buzz over there and pick up another skein.

My knitted purse is coming along well. I really like the color of the yarn, and I think my swap partner will like it, as well. The pattern calls for some linen stitch at the edge, and that turned out really nice. I can see where it will add a lot of support to the upper edge.

The Christmas gift is coming out really well - I like the yarn, and when I washed my swatch in Woolite, it came out so cuddly soft! I am using Tahki Donegal Tweed that I bought in the market at KDO. The 2x2 ribbed edging seemed much narrower than the pattern measurements, but once I got past the edging, things are going according to the pattern. I did two swatches, one with size 8 but I didn't get gauge, and had to go down one needle size. With the size 7, I got both row and stitch gauge. I am using the new options needles from Knit Picks, and so far, I really like them a lot! They are pointier than other needles, which I like, because I normally knit a little on the loose side, and if the needles are too blunt, then I knit really loose!! The best part - when it was time to switch to the larger needles, I just unscrewed the tips and screwed on the next size! How easy is that?? I wasn't sure if I would like them, so I only ordered a couple of sizes of tips and cables, but I will probably buy some more.

I also have some other Christmas knitting that I will be starting this week. I am pretty sure that none of the recipients read my blog, but I'll be cautious with my progress pics, just in case! I am using a pattern that I bought at KDO, and I have some fab yarn in the stash. I need to use up some of my stash, and have decided to refrain from yarn buying this month. We are going to CT for a comic book show in three weeks, but I am pretty sure that there aren't any LYS near the show. And no, I'm not even going to check ;-) Next month, though, we will be in the suburbs of Chicago, in Shaumburg, so I will definately have to shop hop! I'll be ready for some more yarn by then, I'm sure of it!

When I get all of my Christmas knitting finished up, I will knit myself some socks. I bought a pair of purple slacks, and I don't have any purple socks to wear with them. I saw a very very interesting technique online today that I will have to try out. More on that later!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

BANG - You're Dead!

There's nothing but bad news for my target. The bad news is that I am finished. The worse news is that I drive right past her town on my way to work :) When I saw where she lived, I just about fell off the chair! I am planning to leave them on her doorstep.

This photo isn't a very accurate color either, they really are a lovely wine color.

Sock Wars

Friday was an exciting day. I checked my e-mail about a zillion times looking for my dossier (with the info about my target) and pattern, but nothing. I checked the Sock Wars Forum, and saw a post about bad storms over Northern Ireland (that's where Yarn Monkey lives, and she is sending out the dossiers), lots of folks without power, blah blah blah. When I got home on Sunday, I double checked, and Yarn Monkey had managed to post the pattern on her blog. I got busy, and had my sock 1/2 finished before bedtime. I guess I'm not really hardcore, because I didn't stay up all night to finish.

I didn't have my target, so I turned the heel and knit a bit, then put the first one on stitch holders and started the second one. The color isn't very good in this photo - these socks are a gorgeous wine color, the yarn is a new yarn from Cascade - 100% merino superwash.

Gotta go - TRHM says I'm wasting knitting time, LOL! Socks will be in the mail on Monday. Check out the forum - lots of warriors have ALREADY MAILED their socks - YIKES!!!!!!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

LYS Alert!!!

This new job ROCKS!! The work is entertaining, the pay is decent, and best of all - there is a fab LYS within walking distance!! Yes!! Okay, it is a long walk, but it isn't to the ends of the earth.

When I first started this job, I was knitting in the cafeteria, and met a "closet" knitter. She carefully looked around before asking me what I was knitting, and then looked around again before she whispered "I'll show you my socks the next time I see you." Yesterday, as I was heating up my lunch, she came over (and of course, looked around to make sure no one would see) and quickly flashed me her socks. They were gorgeous - I am in awe. I didn't get to touch them, they disappeared into her bag faster than St. Nick flies up the chimney, but they looked very soft, and had little cables all over them. I asked her if there was a yarn shop anywhere near here, and she said that there was a really nice one not too far away. Well, today, I went out on a mission at lunchtime, and found it.

Y Knot Knit ( is that a cute name, or what?) is a real find! The owner (she told me her name, but I don't remember) was really really sweet. The shop is located in a very old house (I mean colonial days old). There is a small parking lot in the rear, and the entrance to the shop faces the parking lot. There is a large banner with the shop name and phone number hanging over the porch. If you go there, be sure to check out the cute cement sheep hanging out in the flower bed. I entered the shop, and found a small room with a wicker loveseat, and what looked like a reception desk. I was greeting in a warm and friendly manner, and invited to look around. Downstairs, there were bins of Noro. I went upstairs and found three rooms filled with knitty goodness.

The first room had novelty yarns of every imaginable kind - there was fluff, there was ribbon, there was glitz - it was pretty wild! The yarn was arranged in color groups. There were also two large bookcases with pattern books, magazines, and binders of pattern leaflets.

The second room was filled with Cascade - all different kinds, everything neatly arranged. There was also a small alcove with Crystal Palace DPNs and all sorts of knitting notions. Near the alcove, there was a small set of bins with some sock yarn. In addition to the wool Cascade, there was a great selection of cotton yarns (no kitchen cotton).

The third room was filled with other natural fibers - alpaca, silk, merino, and shelving unit full of baby yarn. One of the things I really liked was a display of combinations of yarn. There was a large hank of worsted weight in a solid color with two balls of coordinating varigated or novelty yarns slipped over it. It was a great way to see how the basic yarn could be dressed up a little with coordinating fibers. There was also a large work table for classes or knitting groups.

Throughout the shop, there were lots of lovely models, and patterns. There were the most adorable decorative sheep made from balls of yarn - very cute, I might have to make some. When I went back downstairs, I noticed a large basket full of Addi Turbos, and a large selection of Crystal Palace and Lantern Moon straight needles. There were also some funky handcrafted shawl pins and polymer clay buttons.

I bought some of the baby yarn, and some DK sock yarn for Sock Wars. While I was checking out, the owner invited me to come to the shop for Sit n' Knit on Tues and Thurs nights. She said that the group of knitters is really nice, and she always puts out some snacks. I asked her if the yarn I had chosen would be good for socks, and she said that she loves socks made from it - that it is wonderful sock yarn. I told her about Sock Wars, and she thought it sounded like such fun!

If you get to the Newtown area, I highly recommend this shop. They will have a website soon, it is under construction. I know I will be a frequent visitor!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Last weekend, all of the Knit Chicks (well, nearly all) caravaned out to Harrisburg for Knitter's Day Out. This is the one trip that almost everyone makes - a few go to Stitches, and Jenn and I went to TKGA in Fort Washington, but everyone goes to KDO. We had a great time! We took over the hotel lobby, and knitted with some of the other guests. That is always fun because there are actually guests at the hotel that are not attending KDO, and are not even knitters! *gasp* They find it very amusing that the lobby is full of ladies knitting.

I took the Knitted Lace class with Jan Rienhardt. It was terrific - she had some lovely examples, and everyone was trying different stitch combinations, helping each other out, and having fun. Jan is terrific teacher, and has a great straightforward manner. For my first real lace project, I wanted to make the Shetland Tea Shawl from A Gathering of Lace. I was getting frustrated with it. The pattern is not difficult, but reading my work was tricky, and when I made a mistake, it was really hard to find and correct. When I showed it to Jan, she just said "Well, I think you are starting in Graduate School, when you might want to try Freshman Year." And guess what? She was right! I put it away, and pulled out a ball of KP Shine Sport, and had no problems at all! Her advice was to work my way up to laceweight yarn, using lighter yarn with each project. And I had a revelation - one of the reasons I was having problems was that I am really not in love with STS - don't get me wrong - it is a gorgeous shawl. But when I really thought about why I was knitting it, the answer was to prove that I can, not that I really wanted one. So why am I making myself nuts over it?? I will probably never use a gossamer lace shawl, but I would love to have one in heavier yarn - THAT I would use! I might even make a STS with fingering weight instead of laceweight.

My afternoon class was very challenging - it was called Sit n' Knit. I sat outside with Elaine and Carrie and knitted! Elaine is working diligently on a beautiful baby blanket, and Carrie is working (not so diligently) on her baby blanket. Carrie decided to go for instant gratification, and bought a Schoeller & Stahl "Big Ball" of yarn in pastel varigated and a hugeungous pair of knitting needles and started a new baby blanket. Lots of babies coming along in their family!

I bought a fabulous pattern for my knitted purse swap - I think it is just right for my swap partner. But don't look for progress pics - I want it to be a surprise!! I also found the perfect **** for it (can't tell what the **** means - might be handles, might be yarn, might be zipper ... hee hee). After she receives it, I will post a FO pic. I also got the perfect yarn for a Christmas present I am making, and a cashmere/merino blend for another Christmas present. I did my part to support the KDO Market.

After breakfast on Sunday, I zipped home to TRHM. He was at work, so I took advantage of the time to myself and took a little nap - we were up so late on Friday and Saturday night that I was really wiped by Sunday afternoon. When I woke up from my nap, he was home. I showed him all my loot, and he thoroughly approved of my purchases. He agrees that the yarn I got was perfect, and the cashmere/merino blend was very soft.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Knitting Content!

Friday night, I finished a sweater for The Preemie Project. I used the Twist and Turns pattern with Softee Baby yarn. I still need to choose the buttons. Here in The Blueberry Capitol of the World, we have many shopping options - Wal-Mart, and ummm, oh yeah, Wal-Mart. I really wanted some lavendar buttons, but they only had one style of pink, and the little white hearts. The white heart buttons are pretty because they have a little bit of a silver sheen to them. I cast on for the hat, and there is a pair of booties to be made as well.

Last weekend, I sewed the flannel linings into three funeral buntings, also for The Preemie Project. I added ribbons, and they are ready to go. The one in the middle is mint green with a pink and green polka dotted lining. I hope having these cuddly buntings for their sweet baby will bring some comfort to the families who will use them.

My Wallpaper Padawan

TRHM's oldest (Josh) came over this weekend to help me wallpaper the guest room. He was a little hesitant at first, but caught on quickly, and did a fab job. He used the level to draw placement lines for the two patterns and the two borders. Check out the coffee cup - "Knit Happens" :)
He did a great job keeping all of the stripes perfectly vertical, and matching the pattern on the map wallpaper.

We aren't quite finished, I had to order another double roll of the stripe, and another roll of the border. I have plans to turn a small closet into a built-in shelving unit, and I have to dig out some of the accessories from storage. Of course, my plastic bins of craft stuff are already in place in the larger closet, and today, I picked up a couple of small underbed storage bins for my WIPs. The most important thing is that the mess is cleaned up, and the beds are set up so when TRHM gets home from Balitmore on Tuesday, with his friends, Rick and Steven, there is someplace for them to sleep.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Explaining socks

There was a very funny conversation at my house last night - I was explaining Sock Wars to TRHM, and mentioned that I was going to knit two socks on two circulars, so hopefully, I wouldn't get killed right away. His reponse was hilarious:

"Get outta he-ah! How are you going to do that?? You only have two hands! How can you knit with two circulars at the same time? You would need four hands! What are you going to do, knit with your toes???"

Of course the funniest part was him leaning back on the sofa "air knitting" with his hands and his feet.

I tried to explain it to him - knit, turn, slide, knit, turn, slide. But he was having a hard time picturing it. He thought the concept of Sock Wars was interesting, but zeroed right in on the avoidance angle - "So you mean that if I don't knit anything, just wait to be "killed", then I get to keep the handknit socks?" Uh-huh.

So beware packages in the mail - there are over 700 "assassins" signed up at the moment ... all over the globe, and the "last man standing" prizes are pretty cool - how 'bout some one-of-a-kind dyed-specially-for-Sock-Wars sock yarn?? Yeah, baby, I'm on it!! That new job better allow looooonnnnng lunch breaks and knitting at the desk ...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

My treasure

Yesterday, I told you that I bought a plaque from one of the other dealer's at the comic book show. She is an incredibly talented writer and artist, and she and her husband publish a number of very popular anthropomorphic comic books. Carole said that this plaque is from the turn of the century, and I thought it was very nice. The gentleman is obviously the object of the lady's affection, and she is thrilled to be enjoying a walk with him.

Carole explained that her granddaughter was coming for a vist, and is very curious, and into everything, so she thought it best to get rid of this plaque. I turned it over to see why ...

This is destined for the guest room. I told Carole that I would be able to tell if my guests turn it over by the giggling!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Home again, home again, jiggety JIG!!

Whew - finally home after a long weekend in Memphis. The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity, and this week doesn't show any sign of being different! Two weeks ago, I got the news that my temp-to-perm job was going to be temp-to-unemployed, but it worked out well. I had a new job by Thursday, and I am looking forward to the new gig starting next week. The week before Labor Day weekend was filled with getting ready for our trip to Memphis, and getting the guest room set up. Of course, the wallpaper didn't arrive until last Monday, just in time to get shoved into a closet. I was hoping for it to be in by Friday so I could paint on Saturday and wallpaper on Sunday, but the re-decorating spirits had other ideas. I did get 12 quarts of braised beef canned, though :)

Wednesday night, after work, we loaded up the van, and shoved off for Memphis. We had a great time at the show, although sales were a bit down from last year. I made some new friends, and TRHM and I had a wonderful time. I got out to the LYS, and I have to say, I was less than impressed. I expected with a name like "The Yarniverse" I would be wowed. Uh-uh. No. Not really. They did have a nice selection of Colinette, and that seemed to be the main line. Of course, I was looking for baby patterns and yarns, and found little of either. They had a couple of those adorable "Debbie Ware" kits to make hats and sweaters, and a little bit of this and that baby yarn that contained wool. For the baby knitting I do, only the softest wool-free yarns are okay, preemies have very delicate skin. There was one bin of Dreambaby DK, all the way down at the very bottom corner, behind the rocking chair, that had about 12 skeins of yarn shoved in (yes, shoved, not even nicely arranged). There was a small basket of patterns, and I found a pattern for an adorable baby sweater. Upstairs, I found a skein of red and a skein of green Dreambaby for Christmas hat&bootie sets. Downstairs, I found some yarn that would be good for a Christmas present I am starting, but they didn't have enough of the color I liked. I bought a really great tote bag - I'll post a photo later tonight. The owner didn't really seem to "get it". I told the cashier that I wanted one of the bags hanging by the work table, and the owner said "Oh, well, I only bought one of those as a model. But if you really want it, I guess I could sell it to you." The same thing with the baby sweater pattern - the cashier looked at it, and said "Oh, this isn't seperate, It goes with that box of baby patterns." I explained that I had thought that, at first, so I checked the box of baby patterns, and it was a full set, so I thought they were selling it seperately. "Well, I guess I can sell it. I just put it there so people would see it." Maybe Tennesseean knitters are different, but when I go to a LYS, and see stuff, I want to actually BUY it ... not just look at it. What is up with that?? The thing that totally turned me off was a sign that said "Feel free to sit and knit, but only with yarn purchased at The Yarniverse". I just really don't think the restriction is necessary - they are the ONLY LYS in Memphis!!! At least that I could find on my internets. You might have more on yours. I think that next year, I might plan enough time to go to Little Rock, and see what they have to offer.

I have been knitting, but UFO August is a total disaster! Not a single FO, nope, not a one. I have two socks almost finished (I am putting off the Kitchener part - hate that part!) that are in need of a mate. LBT is nowhere near finished - but I did get almost through the 4th repeat of the lace part. I screwed up something royally with the Shetland Tea Shawl, and I am thinking that I really need to start that one over. I have a baby sweater that I started at work, and have been working on at lunch. I made good progress on it, and have the body of the sweater finished, and one sleeve almost finished. Then I will just need to sew up the seams and do the collar. That will be an FO soon. I sewed flannel linings into some burial buntings, and just have to add the ribbons to tie them closed. Hopefully, progress pics will be up later this week.

The biggest project is to get the guest room taken care of - TRHM is going to Baltimore for a comic book show next weekend with his British friend, and so we will have an overnight guest! I will get the weekend to myself, so I will be able to get caught up on some of my other projects. I bought a fabulous plaque for my guest room - it is a turn of the century brass plaque that one of the other dealers at the comic book show had. I'll post pics of that, too. It is way cool!