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Updated: 2014-10-02T23:42:41.796-05:00

 



Fifty years later...

2008-06-29T12:20:21.070-05:00

So, yeah. Been a while, what say? Crap, I almost don't remember how to do this! And what, pray tell, is the massive, earth-shaking event to bring me out of blogoverse hibernation? That's right, a stupid yarn meme!! Heh. Yup, I digs me some stupid memes. Maybe it's a nice starting place to reclaim my home in the innerwebs...Knittergeek Meme RulesOut of the top 50 yarns on Ravelry (by number of projects):Bold the ones you’ve used and would use againCross out the ones you’ve used and would not use againItalicize the ones you’ve never tried, but would like to.Add comments as desired, and then pass the meme along to 5 knitters/crocheters.Link back to this post and to the person who tagged you.(By the way, I copied this verbatim from chemgrrl's blog. The number of projects have surely changed since then, but I’m too lazy to update.)1. Cascade 220 Wool Used this for several scarves & felting projects. Love it, fabulous all-purpose worsted wool. I've enough 220 for several sweaters, and can't wait to get started on them. 2. Patons Classic Wool Merino Used for a hat & a couple other odds & ends...another nice basic wool, readily available at Michaels & such, but not quite as nice as Cascade 220, imo. 3. Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted Omg, what kind of a crazy question is this?? How could you NOT fall completely in love with Malabrigo, and vow to use it regularly till the day you die?! Mmmmm, mmmalabrigo...4. Noro Kureyon Really dig the Noro. BEAUTIFUL colours, so unique & interesting to work up. Working on a Lizard Ridge blankie with it right now, and have done several Booga Bags & hats & such. Scratchy, yes, but that's part of the charm. 5. Caron Simply Soft Yeah, not so much. I've used it before, and might use it again for baby blankies or something, but really, life is too short to use yarn that I'm not in love with.6. Lily Sugar’n Cream Solid Eh...it's cotton. I'm not a very big fan of cotton. I'll use it again, no doubt, on washcloths & such, but again...eh. 7. Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted Holy felty fuzz, Batman! Yup, made several felted things out of it (Kitty Pi, anyone?), but holy cow, does the mohair shed like a sonofabitch! After felting, you have to pull these huge wads of fuzz out. Kinda weird, really. Otherwise, it's a decent yarn. Personally, I prefer a clean, classic, smooth line to my yarns, but there's definitely a place for Brown Sheep.8. Red Heart Ltd. Super Saver Solids Um, Red Heart. Ick. Squeaky, plasticky yarn. Life's just too damn short, man.9. Lion Brand Wool-Ease Solid Never tried this one, but I've got a weird thing against Lion Brand, so I probably never will.10. Noro Silk Garden LOVE!! Lovelovelove!! This stuff is GORGEOUS, and stripey, and colourful, and unpredictable. It made a beautiful sweater for me, a gorgeous scarf, and gourds only know what else it will be in the future. Love!11. Koigu Painter’s Palette Premium Merino (KPPPM) Dude, it's sock yarn. What do you think? :-D12. Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Darn handy yarn to have. Slightly thin worsted, not as substantial as Cascade 220, and less yardage, but holy crap is it cheep!! I lurves me some cheap, you know. And, they've just recently come out with some gorgeous Kettle Dyed colours, too...so pretty!13. Lion Brand Homespun I've used this for a baby blanket (that my son just adores, and the cat's pretty darn fond of it too) and a few superfast crocheted scarves, but again, life's too short. In the interest of honesty, though, I do have a few skeins set aside to make another cat bed for my girl, since she's absolutely in love with the kid's blankie. 14. Lion Brand Cotton-Ease Again, Lion Brand. Bleah. 15. Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Multi Love! Again, it's sock yarn, so duh. Still, though, it's absolutely lovely to work with...gorgeous colours, soft, drapey hand, and fine, small stitches. Totally love this stuff.16. Manos del Uruguay 100% Wool Y'know, I've only swatched this stuff, but I love it anyway. I've got two scarves worth in th[...]



Achtung! Sidebar Under Construction

2007-10-02T11:06:49.983-05:00

In an effort to update the sadly neglected sidebar, everything went straight to hell. Bear with me whilst I figure out this new template thingy.



Top Ten Reasons I've Been Absent Forfreakingever

2007-10-02T09:42:39.158-05:00

Post idea shamelessly stolen from KnittingJones, a really neat knitigator type specializing in family law, and who was also gone from blogdom for way less time than I. D'oh. In no particular order...10. My beloved has gone back to school. This. Is. HUGE. He is doing SO well!! He actually started last January, but this semester is considerably harder/more intensive than last. His school operates on trimesters, which I'm still not accustomed to, so classes tend to be longer & a wee bit more demanding (at least in my opinion, anyway). He's delcared his major, which has a longer, more official name, but basically boils down to Music Education. On top of school, homework, practice, and learning multiple new instruments (flute this week, who knows what's next), he's also holding down two jobs, plus still occasionally playing in a couple different bands. The boy just amazes me. As for my part, I've been getting up before dawn every day to make his lunch & see him off, which may not sound like much, but omg, I'm a night person! It's hard to crawl out of bed at that hour! I've also been fussing with numbers, trying to make sure I can still buy groceries every month after the bills are paid. This is a tricky thing. Given that my sweetie's school is 35 miles away, and one job is 35 miles away, and that he has to come back into our town after morning classes to work job #1, & then leave town again in the afternoon to work job #2, well...he's driving about 560 miles a week, give or take. That's a little more than a tank & a half of gas each week, and at $40 or so per fill-up, it's REALLY sucking the money out of our accounts. Unfortunately, this is the only way to juggle work & school for him, so it's a necessary evil, but it suuure sucks when it's time to pay bills! As a result, yarn buying for me has come to a complete halt too. I'm not complaining, though...it's hard as heck, and SO BLOODY STRESSFUL, but oooooooh, is it WORTH it!!! We only have a couple years of this to get through, and then he'll get his degree, and a job that he actually enjoys (well, he enjoys one job, but the main one rather bites), and then I'll have my tiny little farm! Yay!!9. I've rediscovered cooking. Summers & cooking don't really go together for me, because I rarely turn on the air conditioner, and any sort of cooking winds up making the kitchen *so* hot. It's just not fun if you're gonna roast while you're doing it. However, the weather has taken a rather glorious turn lately, what with autumn arriving & all, and I am really jazzed for all the good autumnal foods, like beef stew & muffins & pumpkin pie & roast chickens & such. Besides, the better I do in the kitchen, the happier my husband is, given that most things wind up in his lunchbox eventually. 8. Christmas knitting. Yes, I started some time ago, and even finished a silly hat for my ma. Nothing exciting, but it doesn't need to be. It just needs to keep her ears from falling off during chores in January. It's made from a skein & a half of KnitPicks Cadena, which is just Sierra, renamed & with more colours. The colour I used is called Peat, and really, I like this yarn. It's pretty bulky, which makes for quick knits, and it's got a hefty dose of alpaca, which should help keep her head from freezing to death.Also for my ma, Plum Tree Socks.Mountain Colours Bearfoot, Moose Creek colourway, more brown/less purple in reality. My photography skillz are questionable at best. Size 1.5 KnitPicks dpns, which I adore beyond all reason. I'm actually past the gusset decreases on these, but this is the most recent photo I've got of them. Mother's made it quite clear that she expects at least one pair of socks for Christmas this year, and probably every year from here on out. Fortunately for me, her feets are exactly the same size as mine, so it's not too hard to get the length right.For my dad, we have the uber-geek Binary scarf.KnitPicks Swish Superwash, which rocks, in black & green. I hand-dyed the[...]



Christmas Around The World Swap Questionnaire

2007-09-09T09:24:29.894-05:00

Christmas Around The World Swap Questionnaire1. Are you religious? Religious no, spiritual yes. I don't consider myself a Christian, but I do agree with and believe in many of the same ideals. 2. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider yourself a Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced? I've been knitting for two years this coming January. I'd definitely consider myself an advanced intermediate...the skills that I have learned, I'm pretty darn good at, but there is still plenty more out there yet to discover. Such is the beauty of knitting. :-D3. Do you have any other hobbies besides knitting? I love to read, especially mysteries or short stories. I'm a history nerd. I also enjoy cross stitch and embroidery, though I've not had much time to devote to it as of late. I LOVE antique samplers, and collect cool sampler patterns. Eventually, I'd like to work up a number of reproductions to hang on my walls. I love antiques, especially anything from the 20s-30s or earlier. And, I'm married to a musician, so I'm sort of a music geek by default.4. Favorite color(s)? Green! I love greens, especially olive tones. I'm fond of jewel tones, like deep ruby red & sapphire blue, and I look best in neutrals & earth tones, like camel & olive & such. The only colours I *don't* like are neons, like hot pink or lime green. 5. Do you collect anything? Sock yarn! :-) Sock patterns, too. Um, I likes me some socks, iffn ya couldn't tell. Hee! 6. Are you allergic to any fibers or animals? Nope, not actually allergic to anything, but I am highly sensitive to cigarette smoke. 7. Do you have any pets? One crazy kitty that likes to supervise my knitting. She doesn't shed a huge amount, but the occasional hair is rather inevitable.8. Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate, mostly, or hot herbal tea. I don't do caffiene, so black teas are out. I love a good hot chocolate, though, especially with a shot of Bailey's Irish Cream in. Yum. 9. Cookies or Sweets? Um, yes? :-D I've a serious sweet tooth, so there is no "or" here. Chocolate is my friend, especially in fudge form. 10. Do you knit socks? Well, one does have to justify all the sock yarn, doesn't one? Indeedy I do knit socks! Loff them. I'm working on my 20th pair right now, actually.11. If not socks then what? (tell us about your favorite knits) I like knitting most anything, really. I love a good challenge, so Fair Isle and lace rock my boat. Cables make me incredibly happy (married to an Irishman, so it fits). I've made a number of nice sweaters, hats, scarves, & such over the last two years. I'm not as fond of scarves, because it seems like they never end, but I do make them if the occasion fits. (I'm making a geekcentric scarf for my dad for Christmas right now, actually.) I make weird stuff for my cat. There's not much I won't make, really, if I have a use for the finished object. Can't stand ponchos, though...12. Do you put up a Christmas tree? If not then what do you do? Heck yeah!! As soon as possible after Thanksgiving, the tree goes up. I adore the Christmas season, and like to wallow in it as long as I can. It's much harder for me to get sick of it than it is for most people, as I don't work in retail (so I don't have to have all the unpleasant aspects, like long lines of cranky customers, muzak that won't quit, etc.), and I don't have television, so I don't get bombarded with commercials & jingles & holiday specials. It's not as up my nose as it is for most folks, and as a result, I can more easily filter out the less amusing aspects of the season, and keep the ones that I enjoy. Life Is Good. ;-) 13. Favorite holiday treats? Every year, I make several different varieties of fudge. My peanut butter fudge ROCKS, thankyouverymuch. I've also a nice butter cookie recipe, with little dots of raspberry & strawberry jam, and dusted with confectioner's sugar. I sometimes make my mom's old Christmas cookie recipe, which isn't particularly sw[...]



Sock names, freaky knees, and sniper rifles. Fun!

2007-06-03T09:13:45.145-05:00

It seems I've gotten the virtual thwap for the Seven Weird Things meme. The odd thing is, while most folks consider me plenty freaking weird, I feel perfectly normal, so I'm not sure which seven things to single out as being odd. Mother, for example, thinks the simple fact that I knit is weird. This coming from a woman who owns six horses. Anyway, on with the sideshow...1. If y'all have read this blog for more than five minutes, you'd know this one, but anyway...I name my socks. Not the machine made ones, of course, or the weird kitty socks my mom gave me for Christmas, but the ones I've knit myself. I figure that I spend 12-16 hours with them, personally creating every single one of the ten thousand or more loops that make up their whole existence, and I enjoy the process & the yarn so very much that they become like weird fibery friends. Besides, I've got *lots* (LOTS)(really, you have no idea) of sock yarn, and saying "the Caoimhe socks" is so much nicer than saying "the 342nd pair of blue socks". 2. My knees bend backwards. Yup, they're more or less double jointed, and can bend backwards like the hocks on my cat, though not *quite* as far. Entertaining for me, creepy as heck to most other folks.3. I've got an unnatural attachment to my books. I'm not at all the type of person to reread books, since I pretty much remember everything (and it's not much fun to know the ending right from the start), but I can't bear to part with them, even though I know I'll probably never pick them up again. They're my friends too, they take me places I've only dreamed of, and I hope that one day they'll take my children for a ride too. In the meantime, I've got many (MANY) hundreds of books in a 900 square foot apartment. Fortunately, my beloved is a patient man.4. I don't particularly like my food to touch each other. I don't go so far as buying plates with separators in them, but I really prefer to keep things segregated on my plate. The idea of everything smushed up together is nauseating.5. I took a class at Northern Arizona University when I was fifteen. As a result, I have a boatload of continuing education credits in the field of education that I'll probably never do anything with. Needless to say, I was the youngest person there. 6. I'm a hardcore hermit at heart. If I had a billion dollars, I'd buy a nice huge chunk of land in the middle of nowhere, lease a part of it to farmers so it would be useful, and live in the center with my sweet little family and NO NEIGHBORS. I never used to be this bad...its the idiots who live near me who've caused this extremism. Really. I have wild fantasies of sitting in my bedroom window with a high powered sniper rifle. Heh.7. Okay, maybe the seventh weird thing is that I can't think of a seventh weird thing! I'm sure those of you that know me can think of a dozen more, but nothing's really standing out as odd to me. Ooh, I just thought of something bizarre...I'm allergic to grass. Yup, regular ol' grass. Actually, I believe it's technically the chlorophyll that I'm allergic to, but whatever. Basically, I break out like crazy on my elbows & knees, and it's kind of itchy, but it's not respiratory, so I more or less ignore it. I've never taken any medication for it, and while it's definitely all kinds of weird looking (I got made fun of like crazy in grade school because of it), at this stage in my life, I just don't give a hoot any more. I'm grateful that that's all it is, rather than some of the awful respiratory allergies I've seen in other folks. I'm also seriously allergic to wasp stings, but since I generally try to avoid those, it isn't really an issue. Yup, my weirdness seems like a colourful brand of normal to me. I imagine at least a few of you are backing slowly away from your computers by now, but that's okay. I like being me. *Fyi, a meme, so far as I know it, is a weird internet-based thingy that gets passed around from person to person. [...]



The official meme cop-out--now with 100% more knitting!

2007-05-19T08:33:51.289-05:00

Yeah, I owe y'all a real post, but in the meantime, have a meme. Don't read if you're fussy about such things...it's more for my own entertainment anyway. Bold for stuff you’ve done, italics for stuff you plan to do eventually and normal for stuff you don’t intend to do ever.AfghanI-cordGarter stitch (who hasn't, I'd like to know?)Knitting with metal wireShawl (I'm assuming lace here)Stockinette stitchSocks: top-downSocks: toe-upKnitting with camel yarnMittens: Cuff-upMittens: Tip-downHatKnitting with silk (I've used all kinds of silk blends, though no 100% yet...*yet* being the operative word here...)Moebius band knittingParticipating in a KALSweaterDrop stitch patterns (Ahh, Clapotis, how I love thee!)Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarnSlip stitch patterns (I've got one OTN right now, actually)Knitting with bananafiber yarn Domino knitting (Like miters? Sure, sooner or later I'll get there.)Twisted stitch patternsKnitting with Bamboo yarnTwo end knitting Charity knittingKnitting with soy yarn Cardigan (again, on the needles right now!)Toy/Doll clothing (nothing spectacular, but I've knit a good deal for the boys' stuffed animal collection already)Knitting with circular needles (as often as possible!)Baby items (I've got all kinds of patterns picked out for the grandbabies already, too)Knitting with your own handspun yarn (oh, that's hilarious...my handspun currently looks like teal cat yak. Someday, though...)SlippersGraffitti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)Continental KnittingDesigning knitted garmentsCable stitch patterns (LOVE anything cabled!!)(so smug that I married an Irishman)(rather wish he weren't a *huge* Irishman)Lace patterns Publishing a knitting book (maybe possibly someday?)ScarfTeaching a child to knit (Eldest Boy learned to knit, Boy the Younger will soon, plus all my paid students)English knitting (my preferred method)Knitting to make money ButtonholesKnitting with Alpaca (oooooh, soooo nice!! especially an alpaca/silk blend...yum)Fair Isle KnittingNorwegian knittingDying with plant colors (someday when I have my farm, this might be fun to try)Knitting items for a weddingHousehold items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies…)Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars (this method REALLY didn't agree with me)Olympic knitting (finished on time, and it's my favourite scarf!)Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn (I've got some lovely stuff in the stash, just waiting to find the right pattern for it)Knitting with dpns (always!)Holiday related knitting (seems a rather silly question...)Teaching a male to knit (Eldest Boy & several male paid students, who, interestingly enough, picked it up WAY faster than their female counterparts. Go figure.)Bobbles (so not a fan...I've crocheted bobbles, though, and still not enthused)Knitting for a living (well, sort of...I taught knitting for a while, though I sure couldn't have lived off of it)Knitting with cotton Knitting smocking (meh...maybe if I find a striking pattern, but otherwise, smocking just reminds me of the late 70s)Dying yarnSteeks (eeep!! Scary scary, but I will do it someday)Knitting art (depends on your definition...personally, I consider all my works to be art. Some are better than others, but they're still artistic expressions, and yeah, I consider myself an artist. Not that I'm going to rent a loft or wear angst like a cloak, but still...fiber artist all the same.)Knitting two socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars simultaneously (I couldn't stand the 2 circs thing long enough to bother with two at a time...but I do two socks on two sets of dpns all the time!)Fulling/feltingKnitting with wool (heehee!)Textured KnittingKitchener Bind Off (ADORE Kitchner!! SO cool!)Purses/bagsKnitting with beadsSwatching (not as well as I ought, but I do swatch mostly)Long Tail COEntrelacKnitting and Purling Backwards (weird, but I'll figure it out eve[...]



Overindulgence

2007-05-04T17:46:18.861-05:00

Oof. Okay, public service announcement time: Ben & Jerry's Americone Dreams is really, really good. Vanilla ice cream with thick caramel swirl & fudge-covered waffle cone chunks. Yowza. However, eating 3/4 of the pint in one sitting is *not* quite so good. Well, it's good at the time, but lordy, do I feel blorpy now! Everything in moderation, my friend. Sage advice, let me assure you.Well, as it's been almost two months (!!!) since my last posting, this will be pretty darn random. I'm sure y'all are SO surprised...me, random? Never! But anyway... 1. The sock lust groweth. The Louisa socks from the last post are finished, as are the Chloe socks. Chloe's not been mentioned here yet (bad blogger!), but I used Fleece Artist Merino in the Parrot colourway, toe up with a twisty cabled leg from MSKS.For some reason, Chloe didn't agree with my feets. I think I started the ribbing too late or something, but either way, the socks didn't suit me, so they went to live with my mom, who grinned like a Cheshire cat upon receiving them. Chloe was my April Socktopia submission, for the Bumblebees & Butterflies theme. I chose the theme, and the name, because of a story I'd read many years ago about a little girl named Chloe who had an orange kitten and a magic garden. It's sorta hard to explain, but it sure made sense in my head, screwy as that may be. Also in the Department of Feetlike Coverings, I knit a plain stockinette pair of socks for Eldest Boy. Sadly, something went horribly wrong (don't know what...I've never made egregious gauge errors before!), and Eldest Boy's socks barely fit Boy the Younger. Eldest Boy is SOL, but Boy the Younger is thrilled to pieces. Thus, I've got yet another pair to cast on soon, as Eldest is miffed at his lack of new sockies. His feets are growing dangerously close to being the same size as mine, though, and that's just all kinds of disturbing. 2. April 1st was Flash Your Stash day. My whole stash got flashed here, if y'all wanna go gawk. Just because I think it's gorgeous, here's my sock stash, sans notes. Isn't it purrrty? It makes me happy just to look at it. Just imagine the possibilities! Actually, though, the sock stash has grown even just since these pics were taken last month. Pardon me, my addiction's showing. Ahem. It's not so bad, though. Most of my purchases were paid for with the help of the Destash Blog. I unloaded some yarns that didn't really suit me, and was able to replace them with yarns that truly make my heart sing. Yay! New sock yarn p0rn in a future post, hopefully.3. See that gorgeous blue STR in the top sock stash photo, bottom row, third from the left? It's lightweight Socks That Rock, Sapphire colourway, and I LOVE it! Anyway, it's been cast on using the Waving Lace pattern from IK's Favourite Socks book (yeah, the cover photo). It's turning out beautifully! It looks like water rippling down over rocks in a little stream, and I'm just having a blast with it.No flashing or pooling yet, just gorgeous liquid blues. Size 0 needles were required to get gauge, for those of you technical types who care about such things. And, can you see that tiny, tiny little stitch marker on the left hand needle, about five stitches in? It's an Entrelac stitch marker, and it is SO perfect! They're incredibly affordable, and so bloody cute that once I had this set, I had to go back & order two more. Heh. Really just perfect for socks & lace, though. 4. See that gorgeous reddish dropped stitch thing that the blue sock is sitting on? That would be my finished Clapotis. I found a killer sale on Lorna's Laces Bullfrogs & Butterflies, and while it's not the much-coveted Lion & Lamb, it was still a really nice yarn for this project. It's the Tuscany colourway, and it was way too much fun to make! I can really understand why some people make many different versions of this wrap. I'm keeping my eyes peeled for a good Lion & Lamb sale[...]



The good, the bad, and the ugly

2007-03-15T10:27:18.587-05:00

First, the good. Y'all know I'm in the Favourite Colour Swap II, right? I have been SO BLESSED in this swap! I've been corresponding with my upstream for a while now, and she is just the neatest person. We seem to share many of the same interests, and she even turned me on to this blog, which is fast becoming one of my favorites. Sadly, Alice (my upstream) is currently blogless, but I'm hoping to pester her into changing that soon. Alice is also lucky enough to live in London, so when a box arrived stamped "Royal Mail", I knew just who it was from. (Does it really show my dweeby side to say that the Royal Mail stamp was really really cool? I'm easily entertained, I guess...) I'm telling y'all...words cannot even begin to describe the coolness of this package. First off, everything was wrapped beautifully, in pink tissue paper & tied with satin ribbons in a beautiful dove grey. If I'd had a brain, I would have photographed the wrapping, because it really was lovely! Where to even begin? Well, there was some fabulous chocolates ("was" being the operative term here--they're long gone already), white chocolate with lovely Spring-coloured pastilles on them & some fabulous orange flavoured white chocolate wafers. The orange ones are squirreled away, so that they'll last longer...they are SO good! There's some cute-as-heck little sheepy soaps from Get Knitted, and a kickass gift set from Lush (I've never tried anything from Lush before, and now I see what all the fuss is about!! LOVE the body cream! Mmmm...), and a really yummy smelling tin of lip balm, which is going straight into my knitting bag so it can be with me all the time. There's one of those neato WPI tools, and yeah, I admit to going around & measuring every skein of yarn I can find, just because I can. Heh. (Note certain edible items missing from photos...some family members "helped" me with the disposal of same. They're lucky they're all so cute.)This is where it starts getting REALLY cool, y'all...we'd discussed my love of antiques & books & all things early-20th-century, and dang, but she must have really been taking notes! There's a Christie's catalogue of first edition books, which is SO cool!! Firstly, because I'd never even seen a Christie's catalogue in person (Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Barrels hardly counts), and secondly, because it's just so bloody neat to look through. It contains many books from the personal collection of Lady Ottoline Morrell, as well as a brief account of her life, and it's truly just fascinating. That's not all, though...there's three MORE books to read, too!! One is a really cool looking mystery (I'm so weak for mysteries!) set on the Welsh border, one is a really sweet copy of a book that Alice herself enjoyed tremendously as a child, and the third is a copy of Kitchen Essays, by Agnes Jekyll, originally printed in 1928. Talk about interesting!! I've already started reading this one. It's really fascinating, as the author includes recipes as well as her thoughts about all things domestic, which is really one of my main areas of interest in history. I seriously squee'd out loud at that one. OH, and let's not forget the yarn!! It's freaking cashmere, people!!! Not just one, but TWO skeins of Posh Yarn, in the most gorgeous shades of tweedy green & autumnal reds & greens! I'm soooo in love with this yarn! I'm looking forward to sorting out a proper pattern worthy of such a luxurious fiber. I'm telling you, this was a fabulous package! Just what I needed this week, too. (WAY prettier in person--my camera is somewhat less than one would hope for for yarn p0rn purposes.)There was also a lovely long letter, and even a Union Jack for my boys, too! (My five year old especially gets a huge kick out of hanging the Irish flag in his room, since his Da is Irish, so now he can hang the English flag as well, for the other half of his heritage[...]



Such a sock yarn addict

2007-02-18T09:30:02.061-06:00

So I've been doing pretty good with the New Year goals thus far. I taught myself Fair Isle a couple weeks ago, and knit up the Faux Isle hat in Noro Kureyon 157 & Patons Classic Merino.Purty, huh? Too bad I didn't think to give extra length to the floats until *after* I'd finished the hat. The two colour parts are considerably more snug than the single colour, so it doesn't fit my head at all. Granted, I've got a freakishly large head, but still. As I've already woven in all the ends & everything, there will be no frogging of this puppy...it'll just go with the rest of my decorative hat collection. I don't know how many hats I've knit so far, but only one of them has actually worked properly. Argh. Also in keeping with the goals thing, I finished my February Socktopia socks. These are the Conwy socks from Knitting on the Road, by the amazing Nancy Bush. I used Socks That Rock for the very first time with these socks (Ruby Slippers colourway), and dang, it's nice stuff! It's soft & squirshy, and the colours are gorgeous. They did turn my hands pink as I knitted them, but that's no big deal, I guess. It sure as hell won't keep me from using STR again, that's for certain. Speaking of my adored Socktopia, I thought I'd clear it up a wee bit for y'all. Socktopia is a year long KAL, basically. Each month, the lady running it posts themes (Bed of Roses is the theme I chose for the Conwys, for example) on the website. Your job as a Socktopia member is to choose a theme, and knit a pair of socks based on your interpretation of that theme. When you're done, post pictures of your socks to our Flickr group. Everyone who posts their socks in the allotted time frame gets entered into drawings for cool things like sock yarns & other goodies. There's also other random prizes, and weird games, and just a general fun community of sock knitting addicts like myself. I really like it there...you get to see tons of pictures of gorgeous socks, and get new ideas for patterns you might want to try, or yarns, and hear other knitters reviews of such as well. And, at the end of the year, you wind up with twelve pairs of socks! You can't argue with that, imo. I'd wanted to knit a pair a month anyway, and the themes just make it all the more entertaining for me. Since I did finish my February socks already, I went ahead & cast on for another pair at random. This is the beginning of a toe up sock in Interlacements Toasty Toes. It's a totally crap picture, but trust me, it's GORGEOUS yarn. I'm using the Irish Heather colourway, and have decided to name these socks Caoimhe, in honour of my friend's lovely daughter. Yes, I'm geeking out like crazy & naming all my projects from here on out. Partly because it's otherwise hard to tell the difference when I'm talking about "the blue toe up sock", because I've made *many* blue toe up socks, and partly because I just like naming things. So there. And yes, I know that some people will undoubtedly laugh at me and think me weird, but that's hardly anything new, so there you have it. The Caoimhe socks are coming along quite nicely, and I'm REALLY digging this yarn. It's pretty thick, nearly sportweight, I think, and soooooo soft & sproingy! The colours, since you can't really see them worth a shite here, are deep blues, greens, & purples, and really saturated & pretty. I pulled this yarn out of the stash as a break from all the red socks I've been doing lately. Don't get me wrong, I adore my red socks, I just wanted a change for a while. The Caoimhe socks are working up quite quickly, which is also nice for a change, after all the superhigh stitch count socks I've been doing. (I'm using size 2 dpns on these, and they feel huge.)Also on the needles, with a wee bit more urgency, is this sweater...This is a simple raglan rollneck sweater for Boy the Younger, in[...]



First Finished Objects of 2007

2007-01-25T09:12:51.793-06:00

Okay, so actually I finished these things a couple weeks ago, but we all know how frequently I post here, so there ya go. First item finished was a lovely Booga Bag in Noro Kureyon colour 172, and it's for me! I may re-block it sometime, though, because when I felted it, I didn't have anything to block it on, so it's sorta shapeless right now. My sweetie bought himself a pair of enormous shoes last week, so at least I've got a suitable box now! I love the colours, especially the band of rusty red. Currently, this bag is holding extra balls of yarn that are waiting to be cast on. Unfortunately, I won't let myself cast anything new on until I finish at least one project that's already in progress. I've got five things on the needles right now, and while that doesn't bother me in the least, I can't cast on any more because there simply isn't enough room on my little knitting table to put them down when I'm not working on them. Second thing completed this year: The most gorgeous pair of socks EVER!!! Mountain Colors Bearfoot, colourway Sierra, on size 1s with a baby cable rib on the leg. These were done toe-up with a short row heel. This yarn is so wonderful...it has small shots of olive greens & burnished golds in there, and it just makes me so happy. On the instep, the olive green wound up with a plummy colour right next to it, and that made me really want to get my mitts on a skein of Puck's Mischief STR. I'm not generally a fan of purple, but the green next to it really made it lovely. These socks were also done as my January Socktopia socks, in the Blue Monday theme. Little explanation of how I got red socks for Blue Monday here. I have my own weird rules in my world. So pretty!! On the needles right now, we have a non-photographed pair of socks for my Sockret Pal. My lovely downstream Sockret Pal is into pink in a big way, so I'm using a pretty pink/blue Koigu with the Crusoe pattern from Knitty. (Geez, I'm just all kinds of link-happy today, aren't I?) It's certainly not my colour, but it is nice to step outside my personal box, as it were, to do something different. The pinks range from pale cotton candy to bubble gum to hot pink, with bits of blues & purples, and I'm really liking the way they're turning out. The pattern is way too fun, and I hope to make another pair someday for me. It's also my first time working with Koigu, and I really think I love this yarn! The twist is really nice, and it makes a pretty fabric. I'm down to the toe decreases on one, and halfway through the instep on the other, so I hope to finish in the next couple days. I may, however, make a second pair of socks for this lady...she recently had the most adorable baby girl, and since it's a sock-themed swap, I thought it'd be nice to have a pair for the wee one, too. We'll see how much yarn I've got left over, though. Also OTN, my beloved's giant sweater. I'm a few rows farther along, but I don't work on it often, so it's nothing too impressive yet. I didn't take a picture of the whole thing, since it just looks like a lump of black, but here's the cable & rib detail. It's some 220ish stitches across, so I only get to do a couple rows at a time. Not the fastest knitter, I. My sweetie loves it, though he's very realistic about how soon he might actually get to wear the thing. Also in the realm of unphotographable lumps of black is a hat I'm making for myself. It's just a plain ol' roll brim stockinette hat, but it's in black Malabrigo, and it's the first hat I've made for myself. Lord knows I could sure use it right now! It's freaking AWFUL outside! Well, okay, it could certainly be worse. It's sunny, which is a big deal for me, and it's not terribly windy, and it's not dumping big piles of snow on me, but oooh, it's cold! I don't like cold all that much. Anywa[...]



Happy New Year, and all that rot

2007-01-02T20:37:46.490-06:00

Hello, Aught-Seven! This promises to be an interesting year, here at YLF headquarters. Firstly and most importantly, the hubster is back in school. This is a Big Deal, as not only is he a bit older than most of his classmates (he'll be 34 in a couple weeks), but it's been a looong time coming. I'm so very, very proud of him, and SO FREAKING EXCITED. He'll have his BA in Music Education in about two & a half years, and then I can finally (FINALLY!!!) start looking for a house. Yup, a real house, one that I can actually own & paint & love. Have I mentioned that I'm a wee bit jazzed about this?? His first day of classes was today, and things went quite well, from what I've heard so far. He's only in a couple classes this semester (trimester actually, but it sounds weird to say that), due to financial aid stuffs, but next se(tri)mester he'll be attending full time. Unfortunately, this does mean that the next couple years will be incredibly hard around here. Not only will I never see the boy, between two jobs, school, practice, homework, and the bands, but we'll probably have about thirty cents to spend at the end of each month, if we're lucky. We've always been poor...we've lived below the poverty line for years, so I'm rather used to it, but it'll be even MORE tight than it already is, which is a very scary prospect. SO TOTALLY WORTH IT, though!! Pardon my hollering. I'm just so damned excited, and not just a wee bit relieved. This is a massive step forward in our lives, and I'm just so proud of him, and so grateful, that I could freakin burst. Sadly, this does mean virtually no expendable income for yarn this year. Or next year. Makes me almost feel faint... Thus, I'll probably join the whole Knit From Your Stash thingy, though I've not thought out parameters yet. I'll figure that out in a future post. The good news is, my beloved does recognize & respect the joy that knitting brings me, and so he is doing everything he can to help add just a wee bit here & there to the Stitches Fund. Oh hell yes, there is a Stitches Fund. I flatly refuse to put my life on a credit card, so the only way I can go to Stitches & not just burst into tears is if I save like a crazy woman all year. I just had so darn much fun last year, and I'm sooo looking forward to having Shanelle up & doing it all over again this summer! I've been thinking a good deal lately about goals & things I'd like to accomplish this year. I'm not much one for resolutions per se, the cheese factor always sorta put me off. I do have a considerable amount of goals, however... 2007 Goals & Aspirations, Knitting and OtherwiseComplete the ginormous man-sweater for dh, and not fuss about the fact that it's black & cabled. I'm making it because I love him, and love doesn't fuss about piddly details, especially when it's the details that make the beloved happy. Complete the Elizabeth I scarf, gaining some level of semi-proficiency in lace along the way. This has been languishing on the needles way too long, and it's far too pretty to sit there gathering dust. Also, one must be worthy of the huge honking cone-o-Zephyr one snagged off of Ebay last summer before one goes tangling it into knots. Teach myself Fair Isle colourwork. Nothing too huge or fancy here, I just want to learn how it works, and get a respectable level of competence with it. Elaborate beautiful Fair Isle sweaters are planned for later years...this is just a learning period. Knit more for ME. I certainly don't mind knitting for others, I rather enjoy it, actually, it's just that I hardly have anything handknit for myself. I mean, I've knit probably eight or nine pairs of socks so far, and only two of them are mine! There's something seriously wrong with that...Learn to spin *properly*. I tried last year, with the most beau[...]



Have yourself a Merry little Christmas

2006-12-24T09:03:28.283-06:00

Ah, Christmas Eve! Hardly a white Christmas Eve in my neck of the woods...unless you're imaginative about the incredibly thick fog out there...but that's okay. A soggy greenish Christmas has its benefits too. The annual trek down to my parents house is easier when the roads are clear, and it makes the whole day a little less worrisome if nobody's in danger of getting stuck by the side of the road. For the first time in years, I'm not spending Christmas Eve panicking, finishing up last-minute things in a big spastic hurry. All of my knitted projects are done & wrapped, save for one pair of socks (I'm down to the toe decreases on the last sock, so no big deal there) & the Ben & Jerry's cozy for my dad. The cozy itself is actually done, but I still have to wrap it. Those are, fortunately, the last two items to be wrapped, and I'm just thrilled about that. Even my husband had commented on how I tend to stress out a lot during the last week before Christmas, because I tend to get overconfident about what I can accomplish in a certain amount of time. Not this year!! It's really been quite wonderful...I've spent a good deal of time with the boys, watching silly Christmas movies, and with my husband (he beat me at a game of Scrabble the other day...he's terribly smug about it, too), and the stress level has been quite low this year. I have to say, I'm quite proud of myself. No, I didn't finish the Christmas stockings, but that's okay, I've got stockings that we can use, and I'm not going to fuss about the knitted ones. I'll finish them in January, I'm sure. Speaking of finished knitted objects, I finished the alpaca sweater for my Mom, and it blocked up beautifully. The discoloured splotches aren't really discoloured--that's where it was drying faster than the rest of it. It's not a great picture, but the sweater looks fabulous, and I gotta say, I'm really proud! The braided cable opened up very nicely, and the sleeves blocked to the perfect length. I really really hope Mom likes it...and if she doesn't, I hope she gives it back! I also knitted a couple Noro tea cozys for her, as well as a pair of Fuzzy Feets & a pair of lovely brown socks. Boy the Younger also gets a pair of socks, since he's such a sock nut. I did take a picture of his sockies, but Blogger won't post them, so I'll just tell you that they're made from Lorna's Laces Sheperd Sock, in the Black Purl colourway. They're more fraternal than identical, as one has more blue to it, and the other has more pale purple, but that's okay. Five year olds rarely care about such details. The boy just loves purple, though, so I think he'll like these. In other news, I received another lovely package from my Sockret Pal! She sent some wonderful goodies, like some wonderful smelling tea, a yarn ornament for my tree, a green Chibi (oh Chibi, how I love thee!), some of my favorite hand cream (how did you know??), a sock pattern from one of my favorite vendors, and an adorable baby sockie coin purse (that my boys promptly swiped for their own nefarious purposes...I think they're carrying a marble collection in it or something). Thanks so much, Sockret Pal!! And speaking of my lovely Sockret Pal, she also sent me a cool little questionnaire the other day...y'all know how I like these silly things...1) What's the oddest gift you've ever received? Hmmm...well, I'm pleased to say that my family is pretty darn good at gift giving, so not too many weird ones so far. When I first moved out of the house & was just getting on my feet, my mom gave me a pretty odd gift...it was a huge bag full of just about every cleaning supply known to man. She had mops & brooms & rubber gloves & silver polish & floor wax & dish soap & a million other things...it really was a pretty[...]



O Christmas Meme

2006-12-11T09:18:27.813-06:00

Shamelessly stolen from Old Lady Pen Pal (a really cool lady from my beloved knittyboards). Christmas Edition of Getting to Know Your Friends1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?Can't I have both? I love egg nog, but real egg nog, not that bottled stuff from the store. Mother's gonna make a huge bowl of real egg nog on Christmas, with likker to be added in individually, since the boys certainly can't have any, and my sweetie is a big baby about liquor (HATES it. SO not the Irishman one would expect.). I also love hot chocolate, and it's even better with a hefty shot of Bailey's Irish Cream in it. Yum! 2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?Santa doesn't wrap, generally speaking. Therefore, in our house, Santa provides all the weirdly-shaped shit, and MomMom & Da provide things that are relatively easy to wrap. The boys haven't caught on yet... 3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?Coloured lights, to be sure. Someday I'd love an all-white tree, but while the kids are little, the more colour, the better. It's part of the magic of childhood. 4. Do you hang mistletoe?No, primarily because I can never find/afford the real stuff, and the fake stuff just looks so plasticky and fake. I'm not a big fan of fake, if I can help it. Besides, I get tons of smooches every day, regardless of the season. 5. When do you put your decorations up?The day after Thanksgiving!! I absolutely love the Christmas season, and can't wait for it to start. I also don't get tv (no Christmas commercials, no Christmas specials, no Christmas movies/tv shows/parades/whatever), and don't work in retail (no Christmas songs on the Muzak 24 hours a day), so the Christmas season isn't shoved down my throat like it is for other people. If I want to really get into the season, I have to manufacture it myself, and it doesn't wear me down as fast as other folks. If I start right after Thanksgiving, then by the time Dec. 27th or so rolls around, I'm happy to take down the tree & put Christmas away till next year. If I waited till closer to the 25th to start, I wind up feeling ripped off & sad when Christmas is over, like I didn't get enough. This way suits me just fine. 6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?Excluding dessert??? Gosh, that narrows it down...I'm all about the desserts! Well, I make a Boursin cheese that really rocks (we do a cheese & cracker board for most of the day at my mom's house, and then a dinner in the evening). Mom usually gets this incredible smoked Mozzarella that's really good, too. I sometimes make a ham with a maple rum glaze that I really love, and mother's onion dill rolls are awesome. Um, but we're mostly about the desserts...pies, fudge (several different kinds, all made by me), cookies, etc. Yum. 7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:Snuggling up on the couch after the presents were all opened, & going through the contents of the stocking. I'd pull a blanket over my lap, and carefully lay out each item one by one. There was always a box of chocolate covered cherries (made by Brachs, before the bastards quit making them. Grrr.), and you had to be careful that they wouldn't get all melty in your hand, since the fireplace was usually going. I miss having a fireplace!! 8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I was about six, and my evil older sister told me. She even dragged me halfway down the stairs to spy on my parents setting stuff under the tree. It really crushed me...9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yep! Even before I had kids, I kept that tradition. It's nice for the kids, as it helps to lessen the spastic excitement about the next day, and it's also a nice incentive to help shove 'em into bed afterwards. Heh.10. H[...]



Oops!

2006-11-19T08:17:28.746-06:00

I can't believe I haven't posted about my first Sockret Pal package yet! Geesh, and I've had it for a week, too. I'm very excited to say that I received the incredibly awesome sock book by Nancy Bush, Knitting on the Road!! I'm a huge fan of hers, and I've been gawking at everyone else's Conwy socks for ages, so I'm really excited! There was also some lovely stationery & a cute little bitty pen...thanks so much, Sockret Pal!! And, I'm sorry I didn't post earlier...I feel awful, because I know how frustrating it can be, waiting for your downstream to confirm that it got there. I live in fear of my little packages getting eaten in the mail, never to be seen again, and I get antsy waiting for confirmation of their arrival. The brain has been somewhat consumed lately by thoughts of the holiday knitting...and concerns over Second Sleeve Syndrome. I hope to finish the alpaca sweater within the next week or two, but that still leaves about a half dozen smaller projects to finish...oy!



Happy Blogiversary to me!

2006-11-13T09:08:08.383-06:00

Yup, one year ago today, I created this weird little space. I imagine it was probably just as grey & rainy then as it is now, being November & all. Big thanks are due here to Kathy, who I leaned on a lot when I started, and who pestered the heck outta me to start a blog in the first place. I don't often make sense here, and I rarely write well, but it really is a nice little place to vent & keep track of my geek progress. And speaking of geek progress...The alpaca sweater for my Ma is looking pretty good thus far. It's nearly to the bind-off in this picture. I worked a seed stitch hem at the bottom there for about an inch or so, and picked up the stitches on one of the sleeves last night. The sleeves will have a seed stitch cuff as well, though I still have no idea how I'm gonna do the collar. The braided cable, btw, is the River Run pattern from Vogue Stitchionary #2, and really pretty, in my opinion. Also on the needles these days...This here is the beginning of the first of a pair of Fuzzy Feets, also for my Ma. I'm using Forest Heather Wool of the Andes, and lemme tell ya, it's weird making socks this huge & loose. Furthermore, there's... The first of a series of four Christmas stockings. Well, five, really, if you count the little one I'm going to make for the cat. Yes, I'm knitting a stocking for the cat. I am a Crazy Cat Lady, and I wear the badge with pride. These are done in Reynolds Lopi, Fire Tweed & Spruce Tweed, and I really like the way they're turning out. So does my sweetie, who picked the pattern and the yarn, which is pretty darn impressive for him. My only complaint is I'm unsure about how to join the new yarns (can't I just spit-splice 'em? or would it make the colour jogs weird?), so it's stalled out in favor of the alpaca sweater lately. That brings me to the one & only project that's not intended for someone else...My much adored, and badly photographed, Sierra socks (Mountain Colours Bearfoot...yum). These socks are moving at the speed of frozen molasses, unfortunately, as the Christmas knitting does take precedence. They are the most beautiful socks I've ever made, though, and will be well worth the wait, I'm sure. I really wish y'all could see the colours...my camera isn't the best, nor am I all that hot at knowing how to make it better, so you'll just have to believe me. It's a gorgeous deep red, with small shots of olive green & gold & maroon...soooo autumnal, and soooooooooo pretty! Also pictured in my Photo of Pretty, a really kickass notebook given to me by the lovely (and generous!) Kathy! I'm sort of weird about blank books like this, and I admired this one in Borders the other day. It's a gorgeous metallic green, with deep red accents, and a little leather magnetic clasp. I loff it. Anyway, Kathy took pity on my drooling, and presented it to me as an early Christmas present. How cool is that? It's keeping track of knitting & Christmas lists right now. Even Stripes approves of the sweater. Y'know, it's interesting to think of how far I've come in the last year, since starting this silly blog...I didn't know how to knit at all a year ago, and now I'm working on this gorgeous cabled sweater...kinda neato, eh? Oh, and while I'm back on the topic of the sweater, let me voice my fears about it...it's absolutely gorgeous, and I'm really proud & everything, BUT. I tried it on after I bound off the bottom hem, and it fits me like a glove. It's beautiful. Problem is, it's not for me, it's for my Ma, who generally speaking, likes things to be a bit looser than I do. Yeah, we're pretty much the same size, and it really fits me beautifully, but she's in her fifties, and I can't rememb[...]



A picture is, indeed, worth a thousand words

2006-11-04T07:41:40.383-06:00

But sadly, I haven't any pictures for you today, so you'll just have to sit here & listen to me babble incessantly. More picture-taking to come in the near future, though! I've quite a pile of projects on the needles right now, so I've got lots of pictures to take. Work is progressing nicely on the alpaca sweater for my mom, and even though it's on ungodly tiny needles (size threes, and while that's rather big for socks, it's pretty daunting for a whole freakin sweater) with a gauge of 8st to the inch, I really am enjoying it. The fabric is beautiful, and the cable looks really nice, if I do say so myself. As much as I like the speed & quick satisfaction of chunkier yarns, I'm beginning to think that I may be a fine-gauge sweater convert. Anyhow, I'm about 3/4 of the way done on the body, and then all I'll have to do is the sleeves & pick up & knit a collar, assuming I can finally decide what I want that to look like. I think a large part of the enjoyment factor comes with having started this sweater back in August...if I had allowed myself less time, I'd definitely not be liking it as much. In other news around the Front, I've gone & done something completely weird, yet cool...I got a job. Seriously. I'm the new knitting instructor at my local Michael's! How cool is that? I'm less than enthused about the whole prevalence of fun fur thing, but whatever, they're paying me for it. My first beginner class starts soon, and while I will be repeating the beginner class regularly, I also want to throw in a few small project classes here & there. Any ideas, using only materials that can be purchased at Michaels (bummer, I know), are really welcome! Also in the news this week, from the Department of Meow...Tipsy had a seizure of some sort not long ago. A loud noise set it off (the loud noise being me hollering at a kid, now how guilty do I feel??), and she lost all control of her eye movement (nystagmus is what it's called...basically, her eyes moved back & forth very rapidly, and she lost almost all balance completely). This lasted for twelve minutes, and upset me greatly. I mean, I knew she was a "special needs kitty" when I adopted her, her foster parents were very clear on that, but sheesh! That was scary! I did a bunch of research, and was oddly vindicated when she visited the vet the next day & he confirmed my suspicions of peripheral vestibular disease. The bad news is, it's likely caused by a lesion on the right side of her brain. The good news is, the treatment was relatively inexpensive, and has helped tremendously. She gets drops in her ears twice a day, which she hates with the fire of a thousand suns, but her head is on straight now! She's not tilted at all! It's kind of weird to see, really. Anyway, while the seizure was really freaking scary, I'm rather glad it happened, because it made the diagnosis MUCH easier, and she otherwise might have gone untreated for ages. Poor kitty. She is feeling perfectly fine, though, aside from despising her meds, so I'm a happy camper.Sadly, I managed to miss most of Socktober, though I did get at least one pair of socks finished anyway. I don't have a picture of them, but sooner or later I will. Eventually. Ahem. I finished my Booga Bag, which was sent to the lovely LkManitou (check out her blog...*she* has pics of the booga bag, even though I'm too much of a weenie to remember to take them myself!) for the October Knitted Thing swap. In the same swap, I was lucky enough to receive a superwarm pair of pretty red Fuzzy Feets! Fuzzy Feets of my very own! Mmmm...thank you, Valkyrie!! [...]



In which I stop being British for a moment

2006-10-21T08:48:32.383-05:00

...and say thank you to everybody. This whole grief thing is really hard for me...I don't really know how to handle it. Yeah, three out of four grandparents have died in the last ten years, so it's not like this is the first loss I've ever had, but all three grandparents died after a prolonged, painful illness, so it was something I was prepared for ahead of time, and almost a bit of a relief. They had all lived long, full, wonderful lives (well, my maternal grandmother died way too young, imo, but it was a relief for her...the cancer was terrible), and while it was very sad to lose them, it seemed okay, somehow. Ric, on the other hand, is only 37, and still hadn't gotten around to pulling his head out of his arse. There was just so much unfulfilled potential there!! That, and the violent & sudden way he died is sort of hard to process. Anyway, thank you so much, to everyone who has been so kind & thoughtful, and has just been there. I really appreciate it, even if I'm uncomfortable talking about it. That's the one crappy thing about being British...we're soooo stiff-upper-lip in my family, it's unreal. Grief, in my experience, has been an incredibly private process, which is all well & good except for the fact that consequently, I don't really know *how* to grieve. Oy. Suffice to say, it's been a rough week here at Chez Yarn n'Likker, but it is getting a bit more normal. Normal being a matter of opinion, of course.

Also, I'd like to thank my awesome SP...I got a beautiful skein of stretchy cotton sock yarn (like Cascade Fixation, but hand-painted!!) in the mail the other day, plus a great pattern!! Y'all should see the yarn...it's lovely! Gorgeous shades of olives & blues & mustard & plum...very fall colours. Thank you so much, SP...the timing couldn't possibly have been better! I'm looking forward to working with it, too...these will make great summer socks, and for me, me, me!!! (Ahem...'scuse me, I'm just feeling a bit snarky, given that fully half of the socks I've made thus far have been for gifts, and my feets are beginning to complain. It is my long-range goal to have exclusively hand-knit sockies for my little feets, only relying on machine made socks for emergencies. Heh.)

Again, thank you, guys. Your thoughts & words & prayers mean so very, very much to me. It really helps to know y'all are out there when I need you.



Saved by the meme

2006-10-19T08:15:31.416-05:00

Heatherly (the Yarn Yenta...what an awesome name!) posted a meme/contest just the other day, and it serves as a convenient space filler to hopefully make y'all forget that I still haven't gotten any new pictures up here in a coon's age. Ahem.1. Where is your favorite knitting spot?In the corner of my bedroom, in the special knitting chair that my beloved gave to me last Christmas. It's beautiful, all camel coloured sueded fabric & reddish mahogany stained arms & such. It's very 1930s, and I absolutely adore it. It's also comfy as heck, so that's a big bonus. Anyway, the chair faces my bed, and it has a good view of the tv, and it's right next to the bookcase with a buncha knitting reference books & space for a drink or two. There's a silly little table on the other side of the chair that is invariably covered in books, patterns, and loads of WIPs. I love my little corner. 2. If you suddenly could never knit again (shudder) - what would you do instead?Good heavens, I might just croak. I'd probably set about to converting as many patterns as I could to crochet, assuming that the reason I can't knit is because of some evil gnome with cruel spells or something, rather than arthritis or something that would affect use of my hands. I'd also finish more cross stitch samplers, without a doubt, I'd probably bake more, and read WAY more than I have been lately. I used to read a ton, but every extra minute has been spent knitting Christmas gifts as of late. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you.3. If you could travel anywhere in the world - where would you go and why?The British Isles, no doubt. My family is frightfully British, and I *will* see England before I die. My beloved husband is Irish, and I'd love to see where his family came from as well. Besides, I've had a weird fascination with the UK for as long as I can remember...the history is amazing, and the countryside (from what I've seen in pictures, anyway) is just stunning. Yeah, I'd definitely go to England, with side trips to Ireland, Wales, & anywhere else I can reach. 4. When you were little - What did you want to do "when you grew up?" Are you doing it?I wanted to be a police officer more than words can say. I still do, really. Pretty much anything in that field thrills the heck outta me. I'm not doing it now, unfortunately, but it's for good reason...I'm a stay at home mom, and these boys are more important than any career in the world. Maybe I'll go back to school after they're grown, but it's hard to say at this point. 5. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?Ooh, hard one! I currently love Ben & Jerry's Dublin Mudslide, which is an irish cream flavored ice cream with espresso fudge ribbons & chocolate cookie chunks. Fabulous, I tell you. I'm also fond of mint oreo, and a really well-made french vanilla. Yum.[...]



So damn tired

2006-10-17T09:42:35.453-05:00

My apologies for the lack of blogging lately. The camera's batteries are just about shot, so no pictures here until the hubby gets paid & brings me some more batteries. I've been knitting like crazy though...I've currently got six or seven things on the needles, and another five or six that need to be made for Christmas gifts. Fortunately, most of them are relatively small things, so I hope to get them all finished fairly soon (or maybe I'm just a delusional optimist...time will tell). I hope to get pics up in the next week or so, too...the sweater I'm making for my Ma is gorgeous!! The braided cable is turning out really nicely, and the fabric is sooo soft. It's going to be hard to give this one up. In other, less happy news, my favorite uncle was killed yesterday. Ric was an amazing person...freakishly brilliant, yet consumed by drug & alcohol addictions. I've not seen him in several years, but I loved him deeply. He was on a bit of a pedestal for me...he's ten years older than I, and all throughout my childhood I heard about how brilliant he is, how far he could go, how well he was doing in school. I remember wanting to be just like him, and when my mom declared that we had the exact same weird, dry sense of humor, I was so proud! I just adored this guy. He fell pretty hard off his pedestal a few years ago, when things started getting really bad with the addictions. He did some pretty stupid things, lost his fabulous job, and went downhill quickly. I still loved him, though, and still had hope that sooner or later he'd pull his head out of his arse & get back on track again. Sunday night, I had a lovely dream, involving him & several other uncles of mine. He was whole & happy & free of the pain that he's been in for so long, and we had such a good time! My grandfather had grilled some amazing steaks, and we just hung out & ate & goofed off...it was wonderful. Then I woke up, and Mom called to tell me that he'd been in a car accident, and his pupils were fixed & dilated, and he may never wake up. I knew he was dead...he'd come to say goodbye already. It turns out that he was a pedestrian, crossing a street, and got hit by a car. Brain death was immediate, and for that I am grateful. He's suffered enough in his life, he didn't need to suffer any more. My dad & his sister authorized a DNR order by early afternoon, they harvested organs to donate, and pulled the plug sometime yesterday evening. He'll be cremated & brought home to Indiana, but I've no idea when the memorial service will be...our family can be sort of slow in that respect. (We sort of figure he's not going anywhere by that point, and then everyone waits until the *whole* family can make it all at one time...it took two whole years to finally get my great-grandfather buried.) I do rather hope it will be sooner than later. I'm just so incredibly sad about it all...I'd kind of like to get the closure & just move past it. I adored him so much. I'd still hoped he could turn his life around, but now that will never happen. It's just such a waste, and it breaks my heart.I slept like a brick last night, and dreamed only of my husband (it was a *good* dream, too! heehee), but I'm still just so damn tired. My head has ached almost non-stop since Sunday night (freaky little irony there, huh?), and I'm just worn out. Thanks for reading, if you've gotten this far, and I promise there will be more knitting content in the near future. [...]



Sockret Pal Questionnaire!

2006-09-28T10:20:34.510-05:00

Oh, how I do loves me a good swappin'...The basics:How long have you been knitting?Do you consider yourself a beginning sock knitter, an intermediate, or have you been doing this so long you could probably knit a pair in your sleep?I've been knitting for just under a year now. My learning curve is pretty steep, though, so I'd say I'm intermediate. I've finished three pairs of socks, plus a few baby booties here & there (do they count?), and have three more pairs on the needles right now. It's probably my favorite thing to knit, though I'll knit darn near anything I can get my hands on. Oh, and I've got Christmas stockings on the needles, which have the same cuff-down, heel flap construction as a standard sock. I *want* to be good enough to knit in my sleep, though! The measurements:While your pal may ask for some additional info to ensure a great fit, please provide your shoe size, or any other fitting related info you think is pertinent.I wear a 6 1/2 shoe or so, once in a while a size 7, depending on the manufacturer. The ball of my foot is about 8 1/2 inches around, and it's about 9 inches long, toe to heel. My feets are pretty narrow, and I have no arch whatsoever. Y'know how when you walk with wet feet on concrete, it leaves footprints? My footprints look like duck feets. That's how flat my arches are.(fiber related) Favorites:What colors do you love?Ooooh, I love all kinds of colours!! There's previous questionnaires on this blog where I go bonkers describing all my favorite colours, so please feel free to refer back if you wanna. My favorites are olive greens (well, most any shade of green except lime is awesome), deep reds, and jewel-toned blues. I also love neutrals, chocolate browns & tans & creams look nice on me. Pretty much anything except neons...I really don't care for neons (hot pink, electric orange, bleah! I had enough of those in the 80s). Most shades of yellow don't flatter me...I've got yellow skin, so yellow on yellow makes me look sorta dead. In socks, however, I don't think yellow would be a problem...it's far enough away from my face, and next to blue jeans, so it could be doable.Do you prefer solids or variegated?Either one. For my own personal use, I like solids for complicated patterns, like lace or something, and variegateds for simpler patterns. I'm *really* fond of nearly solids...the kind that stick to one colour, but vary from lighter to darker shades of it. So pretty! And I'm SUPER weak for handpaints. My stash is full of 'em.What fibers do you most love to knit with?Natural fibers, to be sure. I'm a huge fan of wool, alpaca, silk, and the like. I also really like blends, like when a wool sock yarn has a bit of nylon or tencel or something in it...I hear it helps with durability. Softness is a main qualification, of course. Who do you consider your favorite yarn vendors?Oh my, this list could go on for days! I love Webs, KnitPicks, LittleKnits, The Loopy Ewe, my local yarn stores (the Fold, Wool & Co, & Yarn Exchange), Simply Socks Yarn Co, Blue Moon Fiber Arts, among others, and a buncha smaller outfits, like Fearless Fibers, Lisa Souza, that sort of thing. I like to support small businesses, of course, but I tend to go wherever I can get the best deal. I have very very few extra dollars to put towards my knitting habits, so I have to get the most out of them that I can.What projects (other than socks, of course*S*) do you most enjoy knitting?Socks!! Heh...well, I'm really enjoying a couple sweaters that I'm working on right now. I like lace a lot, though I don't have m[...]



Random Monday, yet again

2006-09-11T09:18:57.726-05:00

Evidently, randomness works for me. First up, thanks for all the kind birthday wishes, y'all! I am now officially older & a wee bit more crotchety. And that's okay. My birthday was a quiet affair, which is just fine & dandy with me, that involved much lazing about in the sun at a park (while weasels played on the playground, and I knit, of course), and my beloved husband gifting me with this book. I've been eyeballing it for quite a while, and I'm really excited to have fifty billion different cast-ons available to me now. Fall is a season of change, and just as the summer ends & autumn begins, so endeth & beginneth the summer & fall swaps. Over the summer, I was really pleased to be involved in the One Skein Secret Pal, the blogosphere Secret Pal 8, and the knittyboard CheapAss Secret Pal 2. I had an absolute blast in these, and met several really interesting people to boot. I absolutely adore my upstream SP8, Suzanne. She's brilliant, funny, and flipping psychic. She always knew *exactly* what to send, and she really made my summer special. And, check out her blog...she also has gorgeous daughters who knit as well! (And, there's a picture of that drop-dead gorgeous drop spindle she sent to me...my blog somehow refuses to post pics of it here, which honks me off tremendously, but hers doesn't seem to be quite so snarky.) My One Skein upstream is also a wonderful, interesting person, not to mention a member of my much-loved knittyboard! Cindi is a regular contributor on the boards, and I've noticed that I'm also following her all over the knit swap world. Who knows, maybe next time I'll get to be her upstream! I really had a grand time in these swaps, but all good things must come to an end, and so I'm on to new, exciting swaps. And yeah, I'm a confirmed swap ho, and dang, but I love it that way! This fall, I'm involved in the Sockret Pal swap (a secret swap that involves knitting a pair of socks for your downstream...I'm *so* looking forward to this!! I'm dying to get my hands on socks someone else has knit...I really want to compare technique & styles & fit & such!), the Chocolate Swap (oh, be still my beating heart...yarn and chocolate...heavens...), the knittyboard October Knitted Thing swap, the knittyboard Spooky Swap, and the Favourite Colour Swap. Before y'all start to thinking about how insane I am, do realize that all but one of these swaps are one-month, one-package commitments, so it's not really all *that* much. And, the Sockret Pal swap goes bi-monthly for six months, thus stretching my time in which to knit the socks considerably, which is good, because pretty much all my knitting hours until December 24th are booked solid. Speaking of the Favourite Colour Swap, I received my box the other day!! In retrospect, I don't suppose I was very nice when I filled out my questionnaire...the main point to the questionnaire was to state my favourite colour, but being the indecisive type I am, I more or less stated why I liked all the colors. Oy. I didn't even realize I did that until after I'd sent the thing in. Fortunately, my upstream is a doll who was patient enough to read through my ramblings, and she went with blues & greens, which are right up there with my all-time favorite shades (especially green...and the bonus is, it looks good on me, too!). Check it out...Patons Classic Wool in a lovely shade of green (dh says I need to fish up some chocolate brown to match it, and make a stripey sweater...that could actually look really cool!), a [...]



Meme-O-Matic

2006-08-27T13:17:30.783-05:00

If you're reading this, you're tagged. So there. 1. Grab the nearest book. Open the book to page 123. Find the fifth sentence.Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.The ensuing sock knitting craze gripped the state and assured that no Alabama soldier would lack warm socks even though he suffered from other shortages. Attached to a shipment of 1,200 pairs went this note from knitters: "{M}any willing fingers are diligently plying their needles to furnish much more of the needed socks." Those fingers continued until Alabama's heavy casualties compelled them to produce linen and bandages for hospitals. This is taken from No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting. Damned interesting book, and though I have a copy from the library, I really wish I owned it. The passage in question is speaking of knitting during the Civil War. 2.stretch your left arm out as far as you can...what do you touch first?Um, air? Well, the couch is over there, but I'd be more likely to whack the stack of papers & stuff-to-be-filed on the end of the desk.3. what was the last thing you watched on tv?Oz, the first season (again). I don't actually have cable tv (or any tv reception, for that matter), so everything I watch is on dvd or tape. I love my Netflix, lemme tell ya. 4. without looking, what time is it?Noonish?5. what is the actual time?12:396. with the exception of the computer, what can you hear?The neighbors banging around upstairs, the kids little pencil scratches (they're working on math & writing right now). Not much else, as the windows are closed right now, due to insane amounts of humidity. 7. when did you last step outside?An hour or two ago, to check & see if the humidity had gone down enough to open the windows back up again. Sadly, it's still sticky as heck. NOT good for even tension on your knitting, ya know.8. what are you wearing?A chocolate brown scoopneck t-shirt, jeans shorts, and flip flops. Standard uniform for the summer for me.9. when did you last laugh?This morning, at my demented kitty.10. seen something weird lately?My cat carries her kitty cookie jar around in her teeth. It's just a small plastic container that holds kitty treats, and I only put in a few at a time, because she likes to take it down & open it up & eat the contents. It's really entertaining to watch her get into it. 11. what did you dream last night?I can't remember for certain, but I know it involved my husband somehow.12. what's on the walls of the room you're in?A bulletin board, an Ansel Adams print, several Art Nouveau advertisements, the family coat of arms, photos of my kids & my wedding, an antique map of England & Wales, a couple mountain bikes, huge amounts of books on the bookshelves, and more music/drum gear than you can shake a stick at.14. what was the last film you saw?Well, lately it's been more about the tv series on dvd & the documentaries than actual movies...we watched an interesting documentary on Theremin the other day, and I watched a few silly Learn To Knit videos (sadly, I already knew everything she taught, though I can see how it'd be a good dvd for a brand-newbie). The last movie I saw in the theater was Monster House.15.do you like to dance?Um, not really...I'm terrible at it, so I don't really have any fun because I'm too self-conscious. 16. would you ever consider living abroad?Heck yeah! I'd love to live in Ireland or England somewheres. Especially the Yorkshire countryside. O[...]



*Now* will it work?

2006-08-24T19:39:20.426-05:00

The aforementioned loot pictures... (image)

Isn't it wonderful?? Lessee here, we have on the top row, starting from the left, two skeins Lorna's Laces Sock in Camouflage, two skeins Lorna's Laces Sock in Tuscany, Mountain Colors Bearfoot in ??(can't remember...I want to say Wild Cherry, or something like that), Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Obsidian, six beautiful skeins Socks That Rock (scroll down for color names), Koigu KPPPM (dunno the color, but it's purty...looks like clouds on a summer day), Koigu KPM (again, dunno the color...bright red, though, and not as brick-like as I'd thought. Oh well.), and my first skein of Opal, color unknown. Bottom row, from left, begins with some gorgeous Claudia's Hand Paints in Chocolate Covered Cherry, six skeins Malabrigo in Olive (sweater for meeeee!!), two honkin huge skeins of a squishysoft 100% alpaca 3ply that's being swatched up & blocked (sweater for my ma, who hopefully never reads this blog), three skeins Noro Kureyon, rather unfortunately purchased *before* I saw the sale table at Webs, selling the exact same thing for three bucks less per skein, and one skein Transitions by Noro. The Kureyon is already on the needles, working towards becoming a Booga Bag, and the Transitions will sooner or later become a scarf. (image) Isn't this just the most gawjus stuff EVER?? Here we have the much-coveted Socks that Rock, in colorways Fred Flinstone, Lagoon, Ruby Slippers, Highway 30, Metamorphosis, and Terra somethingerother. Soooo pretty! Honestly, the Highway 30 is incredibly pink for me (really, when was the last time you saw something pink on this blog?), but it's just so pretty, I couldn't leave it behind. Besides, maybe it can become socks for someone else for Christmas or something. Or maybe I'll just pet it a lot. I'm such a sock ho.

And, because I am so very much in love with my sock yarn collection, I pulled the whole darn thing out & rearranged it several times, just for fun. I do have a picture of the whole beautimous thing, but of course, it refuses to post. Sigh.




I'm not dead, I swear!

2006-08-24T08:30:10.820-05:00

I am, however, massively behind in the whole posting thing. Good lord, where to begin?? Okay then, random & barely coherent it is...First of all, I had a lovely visit from my pal Shanelle, who is an extremely talented knitter, and a fabulous seamstress as well. She's incredibly nice & interesting on the boards where we met, and REALLY nice, interesting, and damn funny in person. And, she brought me fudge, which always wins my heart. I'm cheap that way. She went with my parents, my boys & I to an old-timey steam engine show, where we went half-deaf from the engines, ate corn dogs, gawked at the awesome antique cars & tractors, and just generally had a grand 'ol time. I just love events like this...the whole thing is held in the back 40 of some old farmer guy, and there's huge trees everywhere, and old men in overalls & seed caps, and farm kids learning to run the hundred year old machinery, and fried food, and such an air of history! These are the machines that created America as we know it, and being so close to the country's history like that is just amazing to me. Shanelle also accompanied me to that wonderous mecca of all things fiber, that black hole of finances, that paragon of yarny goodness...Stitches!!! Oh my good lord, I thought I'd died & gone to heaven. The only way it could have possibly been any better is if I'd had a special card that assured me that every skein would cost only a dollar for me that day. Hey, a girl can dream! It was soooo much fun, though. Shanelle & I were lucky enough to be at the very front of the line to get in, though we were beaten to the door by a *really* determined older woman, who got us laughing so hard that I almost couldn't walk properly. (Seriously, this lady raced us up the stairs! It was a good way to start the day, laughing & running like crazy people. Which we are.) I, of course, immediately made a beeline for Blue Moon Fiber Arts, home of the much-coveted Socks That Rock. I reeeeaaaalllly wish they'd get around to finishing the updating/upgrading of their website. Many of the colors that they had aren't listed there, and dangit, I may want some more lightweight soon! I did, however, come out of there with six skeins of the gorgeous stuff, which pleased me immensely. After we managed to pry ourselves out of that booth (omg, it was packed! I'm really glad I chose to go there first), Shanelle & I started a methodical, don't-want-to-miss-a-single-thing pattern around the room. Truly, it's the only way to do it...there's just SO much fiber, SO many beautiful colors, that you'll get completely overwhelmed & scatterbrained otherwise. I still can't believe all the fibers...it was so amazing just to touch them all! Silk & quiviut blends (oooooh my!), finest merinos, bamboo, buffalo (!!).... Endless amounts of fibers & yarns. Honestly, I just wanted to hop on the tables & roll around in it. There were gorgeous orenburg lace shawls that were so beautiful it almost made you weep, socks in every color known to man (and a few previously unknown), sweaters of every skill level imagineable. Let me tell you, quiviut lace is something everyone must feel before they die, in my opinion. It's so light, so feather-soft, you almost can't feel it as you hold it. Becoming skilled enough as to be worthy of a skein of quiviut laceweight is one of my loftiest goals. Of course, I was a complete dolt & forgot my camera at home. You do, however, get pi[...]



Yarn & oddments for swap/sale!

2006-08-05T09:18:46.420-05:00

Help me clear up some space in my stash for Stitches! (Have I mentioned, by the way, how BLOODY EXCITED I AM about Stitches??) Okay, here's what I've got.... This is a sweater's worth of Hayfield Vintage DK (60% wool, 40% nylon, machine washable). There's 10 50gm balls, which adds up to about 1230 yards or so. Some have been frogged, most are in yarny cakes (I do so love having a ball winder!), but ball bands are (obviously) there. This is a really nice, soft yarn...I just don't do pink, generally speaking. This is four balls purple boucle (I think that's what you'd call it), and four balls blue boucle. I have no idea what fiber, probably acrylic, but there's no ball band. Each ball is about four ounces, so there's a pound of purple and a pound of blue (And fyi, they aren't *together* or anything...if you just want the purple and not the blue, or vice versa, that's totally okay. I just took the picture like that to save photo space.). This is all a VERY soft, fleecy chenille sort of yarn...I have no idea what it's called, but it's really soft (and likely acrylic, I'd think). There's 2.5oz of each color--blue, pink/purple/blue, and white with pastel flecks. This would make terrific baby hats, or something of that nature. This particular yarn is really neat...I'm guessing it's mohair, as it's got a pretty halo-like quality to it, and is very light & fluffy. There's 4.5oz of the natural/cream color, and half an ounce each of the grey & moss green ones (I'll just throw those two in with the cream). The pretty multicolor at the top is 13.5oz of the same fiber.These also would make great baby yarns...each ball is 1.5oz, and the two on the left are pink & yellow, the two in the middle are muted rainbow colors with a neat plied stripey effect, and the two on the right are more pastel versions of the two in the middle. Again, all wound into nice yarny cakes for you. These three are all random balls of off-white cotton. There's about 4ish ounces total. These would make good dishcloths, I think, or scrubby things. I also have a few more things not pictured...1lb white Red Heart (y'know those ginormous One Pound skeins? Yeah, that.)1lb off-white Red Heart (same thing, slightly different color)2.2oz Caron Jewel Box chenille yarn in a really pretty cream color1/2oz Berroco Quest in Ruby Red. There's only a small amount, but maybe somebody can do something neat with it. It's really pretty!1sk black Caron Wintuk3sk TLC Macaroon super bulky, moss color6oz cream/off-white cotton chenille--really nice yarn, perfect for those flower facecloths from Weekend KnittingInterweave Knits-Spring 06 (I wound up with two of them)Fiber Trends pattern in page protector sleeve-Chained Melody (vest)Fiber Trends pattern in page protector sleeve-Easy Hat & MittensCrocheters Value Pack crochet hooks (comes with size 5, 7, & 10 steel hooks and size G, H, & I aluminum hooks, plus basic instructions)Pile of Random Crochet Hooks (size D, H, J, E, E, I, & H)Package of four Button Clams (weird little plastic doodads that you can place over ceramic/decorative buttons to protect them in the laundry)And these aren't knitting-related, but they're in great shape and awfully darn cute, so it's a shame to let them go to waste, simply because my kids have huge feets... Buzz Lightyear slippers! These are size 11-12, and they're in darn-near-new condition. The cool thing is, when the kid steps down[...]