Friday, March 30, 2007

My favorite knitting accessory

Our SP10 Hostess is having a contest, and wants us all to blog about our favorite knitting accessory. This has been a really hard post for me to do, I've been thinking about this for almost 2 weeks. The truth is, I have tons of knitting accessories, but don't have a fave ... I have a WONDERFUL knitting needle case for DPNs that my International Tote Swap pal, Cheryl, sent me. I really like that a lot :) It keeps all my DPNs organized into little sections. I have some beautiful handmade stitch markers that The Uber-Talented Jenn made me, as well as those funky lime and violet rubber markers and those peach and aqua moveable markers. I have needle gauges, scissors, blocking pins, all sorts of knitting accoutrement ...

But I have to say that my absolute favorite "knitting accessory" is my computer. I know that most people don't think of it as a knitting accessory, but I use it for most of the things I knit. When I want a cool pattern, or some cool yarn that I cannot find in any of the many yarn shops I visit, I can always find it online. When I find a pattern, and there is a technique that I have not used, and need some help in figuring it out, I check the internets. Amazing what you can find on those internets, isn't it?? If I am still stumped, I zip off an e-mail to one of my wonderful knitting friends. When I need a little lift, I can always count on the many talented knitters out there and their blogs. When no part of my tri-focals will read a chart, there is always the trusty scanner/copier/printer and the enlarge button :) When I want to share my latest project, I snap a few digi-pics, and upload them to the computer for posting.

One of my favorite songs has the lyric "This old guitar gave me my life, my living, all the things I love to do ... "** It might sound silly, or geeky, but my computer has given me so many of the things I love to do - TRHM (we met online), all kinds of knitty goodness (and all my other crafts, too!), and all of my wonderful knitty friends! I have been blessed to meet some really wonderful people through blogging and all of the knitting groups, KALs and swaps I enjoy! So I have to say that the computer is definitely my favorite knitting accessory!

** Do you know the reference? If you can name the artist and the title of the song, post a comment. I'll put all of the correct answers into a hat, and TRHM will draw a name for a copy of The Yarn Harlot's latest book - The Yarn Harlot's Guide to the Land of Knitting.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Purse Swap

I have finally gathered all of the perfect materials for my Purse Swap project. I have found a stitch pattern that I like, and designed a purse using it. This fabric will be the inner lining, and there will be pockets and a zipper compartment. I think it might turn out to be my best FO ever!

Vicarious Yarn Shopping

Jenn requested that I share photos of the goodies I picked up on my vacation, so this morning, I did a little photoshoot on my dining room table.

The first shop I went to was KnitWitz. There were two ladies knitting, and a little boy, about 9, in the shop. The little fella was home sick from school, sort of. He had broken his arm, and was having a rough day, so he went to work at the knitting shop with his Mom. One of the things I really liked about this shop was the play area they had for kids. A lot of shops have a basket of toys, mostly for toddlers, but this shop had a good sized play area, with two of those low to the ground video-game raocker chairs, a cozy plush rug, and a TV with a VCR. It was tucked away in the corner so that the kids could have thier own space while still being supervised. They could watch a video (Star Wars was the flick du jour that day), and lounge. There were also knitting needles and yarn for those kids who are interested in giving it a go.

The shop had a nice selection of yarn and patterns. There were baboos, mohairs and silks along one wall, a cabinet full of baby yarn, and another wall of merinos, alpacas, and wool. I started chatting with one of the ladies who was working on socks. She expressed a concern that the toe would be too pointey for her because her foot is square. I told her that was the best thing about knitting your own socks, you can make the toe fit your foot! I saw the lightbulb come on as she realized that she didn't have to follow the pattern exactly! It was really fun! Well, at this shop, I got some baby yarn, and the perfect yarn for an exchange I am doing. I bought 2 skeinseach of Sirdar Tiny Tots in baby blue with dark blue and white pips, Plymouth Dream Baby in blue white and yellow, Wendy Velvet Touch in pink, white and spring green, and Wildfoote sock yarn. I also got 4 skeins of bamboo in a dark lime green.

I got this great pattern for a tube top made from 2 skeins of Cascade Fixation and the yarn to make it. Of course, this is not a pattern for me, but something for someone else.

These patterns are for me. Yet another sweater that I will probably never get to, LOL, and a pair of socks. They had this adorable scarf pin, and I just had to have it because it has a ladybug on it :)

This little fella was too cute to pass up! He is made from real alpaca, and although it looks like hide with fur, I have been assured that is not the case.

The second shop was A Stitch In Time. As I entered the shop, I realized that I had been here several years ago, before I learned to knit. They have a huge selection of counted-cross-stitch and needlepoint patterns, canvases, threads, wools and accessories in addition to an impressive yarn selection in the back. Even though the yarn section is very small, they manage to have lots of variety neatly organized and arranged. I purchased a cross-stitch pattern.

During our week in Orlando, I went to Sip & Knit. This was a very nice shop, with three large rooms filled with knitterly goodness! In addition to the three rooms, there were lots of accessories, buttons and bags in the foyer area near the cash register. Although I was tempted to buy all sorts of wonderful things, I was mindful of my commitment to Stash Along, and only purchased two skeins of Wildfoote sock yarn and two patterns. I really like these patterns - they are Danish patterns, and I don't often see European patterns in my LYS.

So I used my free day for March early on, then took a strike in Stash Along just a couple of days later. YIKES! I'd better stay out of the yarn shops for a while!

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-Jig!

I can't believe we have been home for almost a week. Well, I have. TRHM left for Colorado at Oh-God-Thirty Monday morning. He is at school learning to fix a new model of self-checkout lane.

We got home Saturday at lunchtime, and had a couple of errands to take care of, including a visit to the ER. As a retired service member, his "primary provider" is Maguire Air Force Base's medical clinic. Unfortunately, they do not have weekend hours, and it takes weeks to get an appointment. They do not have "walk-in" hours, and if you are sick and need to see a doctor right away, they tell him to go to the local ER. Nice. Your tax dollars hard at work ... errrrrrr... So, we headed off to our local ER, and waited for 2 hours. TRHM has a sinus infection. He was feeling crappy, and he was very cranky, having been in the car for the past 18 hours. The nurse practitioner who saw him was very sweet, and guess what? She is a knitter!! Yep, we talked about knitting, and I gave her my phone number and e-mail.

On Sunday, I did the laundry, ironed TRHM's shirts, and packed his suitcase for his trip. We got up in the middle of the night on Monday, and I took him to the airport. It has been a busy week without him! I took his youngest, Daniel, for a haircut on Monday, and to the Yu-Gi-Oh tournament at the local comic shop on Tuesday. I have been knitting away ... and frogging ... and will post progress pics later today.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Down Day

Day Three was a down day. We planned to do some shopping for the business, and some yarn shopping. It was a bit of a disappointment, we went to 5 comic shops, and only 1 had any furry material. But we did find a couple of books that we needed.

We also went to a lovely yarn shop called Sip & Knit. They had lots of wonderful fiber goodness! There were three rooms - the first room had all sorts of wonderful alpacas, merinos, and wools. The woman from the shop sat at the table knitting and chatting with TRHM while I shopped. He told her all about Sock Wars and the purse swaps I've done, and it was so fun to listen to him be enthusiastic about my knitting. The second room was filled with every imaginable felting yarn, and lots and lots of beautiful felted bags. The third room was mostly pattern books. They had the usual patterns, Fiber Trends, Oat Couture, Ann Norling, etc, but also binders filled with European patterns. I bought two Danish sweater patterns - one a beautiful lacy shell and the other was a pretty twin set. I also bought two skeins of yarn for someone else, so I don't think they should count in my Stash-Along ...


Day two of our vacation - we all went to Epcot. We had a great time touring all of the countries, and had some terrific meals. Lunch was at The Marrekesh Cafe - complete with belly dancer. It was great fun!

We went to The Biergarten in Germany for dinner. The show was terrific, and the kids really enjoyed dancing to the Oom-Pa-Pa band. My sister and The Birthday Boy did the chicken dance.

He misses his birdies

TRHM feeds the birds at home every day. The first thing he does every morning is look out the window at the birdfeeders. He loves the birdies, and has been worried that they haven't had any food since we have been gone. Before we left, he filled all three feeders to the very top, and filled a bowl with seed, and put 1/2 a loaf of bread out for them.

Everywhere we go he shares his stash of chocolate chip cookies with the birds and ducks.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


After the show, we headed down to Orlando for a vacation. The first day, TRHM and I went to Universal. We had a wonderful time, and went on all the attractions.

We walked through the retail/restaurant district called City Walk, and went right into the WRONG gate ... oops! We ended up in Islands of Adventure. It was really cool, we went through the Dr. Seuss-land through to the Neptune attraction. TRHM was really impressed with special effects, and we had a lot of fun. We came out of Neptune, and I was looking on the map for Amity and the Jaws ride, and couldn't find it. That is when I realized we were not actually in Universal Studios ... so we headed to Guest Relations at the main gate, and they were very accommodating. In fact, they said that it happens all the time, and another couple came in behind us with the same problem. We chatted with the fellow who was greeting people and directing them to the correct customer service lane, and he gave us some free Express Lane passes. Normally you can buy these "add-ons" (as if $65/person isn't enough and you need to spend more), and you can get into the Express Lane at the attractions. We went into Universal, and managed to get into all of the attractions. We had a great day, and ended with some time in the hot tub at the house.

Today is Epcot with my family. FUN!!


This weekend was MegaPlex in Jacksonville. It was more like MiniPlex. There were very few attendees, and we were the only dealer. You would think that as the only dealer, we would do a landslide business. Not so. The website described this show as sci-fi, fantasy and anthro. Yeah, RIGHT! We had 16 feet of goodies, toys, rare action figures, Yu-Gi-Oh playing cards, all sorts of goodies. We were looking forward to selling some of this inventory, as we do not normally have an outlet for it. There was some interest, but no one was buying. Sales were very light and there was not much in the way of other activities.

One of the fun things about this weekend was that my sister and her kids arrived Saturday evening. The kids spent the night at the hotel with us. It was the first time they had ever seen "furries". They were well prepared, though. I gave them these plush half masks that I sell on the table, and they watched the fursuit parade.