Thursday, January 31, 2008

31. It's been cold too long!

Earlier before running some errands, I had a few occasions to venture outside. Bring the mail in and get something out of the back of the car. Actually, the something was a file cabinet that I bought last week and has been in the car ever since. Well, the weather was so nice that I actually considered taking the cabinet out of the box while still outside. Nope, I brought it inside only because the box had handles so was easier to carry.

Well, it was so darn warm that I changed clothes. It was so warm, I didn't want to wear pants but changed into a skirt. Long sleeve (but lightweight) sweater, skirt and tights. While running my errands, I was asked how the weather was outside - was it really warm, or was the sun deceiving.

I did think it was warm - at least in the sun for the few minutes I was outside. But while driving in, I heard the local weather forecast. And the chipper DJ was happy to inform me that it had warmed 29*!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

30. Mitten Angst

I am normally a continental knitter. And I am (desperately) trying to learn to knit with the yarn in my right hand. So that I can use one yarn in each hand for my two color mittens. And my right forearm aches. I have chronic tendonitis in that arm. But it hasn't bothered me (much) in quite awhile.

I've just finished the second braid on the mitten. Which just might be contributing to the ache factor - gosh, I hope so. Stranded color work is so lovely. I would absolutely love to knit a Dale of Norway Olympic sweater. Starting a bit smaller than that for my first color project seemed like a grand idea though. I sure hope this works out.
I've gone so far as to consider a different pattern for my swap partner. But I looked over some of the pictures of mittens from the last swap and they are just wonderful. Thankfully, that was enough inspiration to keep me going on a bit further.
But first I think it's snack time! I have a sticky bun the Dear One brought to me that is calling my name! Yummy....lots of carmelly goodness for the topping and lots of nuts and raisins.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

29. Mr. Greenjeans (almost) done

My camera is on vacation and makes guest visits home. Yesterday was my birthday, so the camera and the Dear One dropped in. Both are gone again, but should be home to stay in a few days. But when the camera visits, I try to take a couple of quick pictures. This is my unblocked Mr. Greenjeans. It was a fast enjoyable knit. The yarn is a merino/mohair blended hand dye from my LYS. Only occasionally did I have to alternate two skeins. Most of the time, the yarn behaved itself wonderfully and did not pool. About a week after this picture was taken, I still have to weave in the ends and find, then sew on a button. I have buttons from my grandma, so I'm looking forward to finding a button of hers in the button jar. Hopefully tomorrow will be blocking day. I'm just thinking of spritzing the sweater and damp blocking. The knit was relatively quick, so the sweater didn't get drug all over the place getting dirty.

Monday, January 28, 2008

28. By jove, I think I've got it!

I am so excited! I figured out how to do the two color braid in Bird in Hand! Here is what v 1.5 looked like pre-frogging: Remember, the first brown rounds (at the bottom near the cast on edge) are for the picot hem. But the second brown blob? The braid. And the first row of knitting above the braid. I don't like the look of it that way.

But look at this picture - paying attention to the upper right of the picture!

I figured out how to make only the braid in the contrast color. I am so excited about this! Ok, so that I remember how to do this on the second mitten, here is how to do that. To make the braid, you M1 and return that stitch to the left needle. Knit into the back of the second stitch on the needle, and then knit into the front of the first stitch. Remove both stitches from the left needle, return the one stitch on the right needle to the left. (I) am going to do it this way:
a. M1 with contrast color yarn, return to left needle.
b. Knit into the back of the second stitch with the background color. I like to use a crochet hook to do this. This is the stitch that forms the next row of stitches.
c. Knit into the first stitch on the left needle with the contrast color. This stitch forms the braid.
d. Remove both stitches from left needle. There will be one stitch on the right needle (the first stitch only) in the contrast color. All other stitches will be made from the background color.
e. Return the stitch to the left needle. Repeat ad infinitum! And this is as far as I got yesterday:
But I only have a few rows left in the first flower chart, then I get to do the braid again. And (finally!) once I am done with the flower chart, I will be in new territory again.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

27. Bird in hand v1.5

I have started (again) the first bird in hand mitten. I have never designed a darn thing. Not even a scarf. But for some reason, I decided to fool around with a brilliant pattern. Picot hem? Sure....but I knit the turning row in the contrast color. The braid? You know - the one people say their only complaint is that for all the work involved in the braid, it is hard to see? I did that in the contrast color also.

Which brings up an unfortunate point. When you knit the braid, you are sorta knitting two rows at once - the horizontal "braid" part and then the vertical regular knitting part. Well, I'm not sure how to do this so that only the horizontal part is the contrast color. Hmmm...I wonder if there is a way to do that? It would probably look better. On my piece (no camera still), the horizontal and of course the vertical parts are both in the contrast color. And I'm not sure that I like it.

I know, I know. Should have let things well enough alone. Kate Gilbert is much better at this designing part than I am. That's why we pay her money for her patterns. Me - not so much. I've got the cuff knit through the first flower chart. Then one row plain, one braid, one plain and onto the leaf chart.

This is (I think) the fifth time I've cast on this mitten. And I'm not sure that I'm not going to rip it out also. I'll fool around with the braid coming up and then make up my mind.
But I'll tell ya something! If this gets ripped again - I'm knitting a different pattern for my mitten swap partner, that's for darn sure.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

26. Defeat the doldrums, Topic 2

Boy, this sure came in handy! Too tired to come up with something on my own. I can't wait to get my camera back. A few pictures will help. Didn't mess up any knitting today. Mainly because I didn't actually knit anything today.

Our topic this week is to share a story of something that we knit and gifted. And was it well received?

Well, I don't actually knit for anyone else. I do a bit of charity knitting. And a few swaps, obviously. But no one in my family actually appreciates hand crafted items. I knit a seaman's style scarf for a cousin once, but I don't remember that ever being acknowledged. But I do have the attitude that once you gift an item, you have to accept the giftee's response. One year, I knit someone a pair of socks. Now, I knew this person would probably not understand the work involved in hand knit socks. But she had been terribly helpful to me during a really rough situation. I even learned to knit in arch support. Her response was that the socks were too thick, so she wore them as slippers. Now, these were done in fingering weight yarn, and I've never had any problems wearing them with any shoes of mine. But, what can you do? She did make a point of showing me that she was wearing them with her boots when I saw her recently - which is a big deal actually. But nothing about how good they feel, how well they fit, or anything like that. Which is why I get to keep all of my hand knit socks for myself!

Friday, January 25, 2008

25. Random Friday

I managed to get my hair done. Finally. I haven't gotten used to the new hair cut yet. But the cut was my choice, not a bad stylist. And I think once I get used to the new 'do, it will be great. But the last time I had it colored the way I wanted wasn't even by a "professional." I worked with a girl who did hair on the side. And I always loved my color then.
I have absolutely no idea how I ended up there, but I have just spent the last while at Lost Arts Studio. I was skimming the archives looking for the beginning of a certain project when I came across this post. Well, okay, that's the archive for Nov 2006. But scroll down a few posts, and there is a delightful post with references to knitting in the Beatrix Potter books. After seeing the movie Miss Potter, I would dearly love to read a biography of Beatrix Potter.

Boy! Two random, one paragraph.
Mittens are still in timeout. Camera still gone. I've successfully knit two dishcloths. After weaving in the ends of the second, I just might feel confident enough to move on.
I can't sleep. Well, to be correct, I can't manage to get a decent night's sleep. I drag through the day. By 8 o'clock, I'm ready for bed. But I'm sure that if I go to bed at 8 pm, I will wake up for the day at 2 am. So I stay up for a bit more. And come 10 pm, I am wide awake. Last night, I finally went to sleep at 3 am. Guess I should have just gone to bed at 8 - at least if I was awake at 3, it would have been after sleeping.
I started the "buddy" for my cocoa swap pal. And ripped it out. But I did manage to successfully knit a second dishcloth. I used the "parquet floor" recipe that was posted on Mason-Dixon knitting - check the Dec 2007 archives. I enjoyed knitting it (heck, I did it successfully, what's not to enjoy at this point), but gosh! There sure were a lot of ends to weave in. Not used to that on a dishcloth.
I am going to the local book store. Having a large coffee so I can get through the day. See what knitting I can manage to arse up while I'm there.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

24. Cocoa Topic 2

"What is the most 'random' memory you have from your childhood? I know it's not knitting content, but I love learning about the little quirks and interesting things about people!"

Ohhh, only one? Well I was fortunate to live close enough to school to walk. I don't remember what grade I was in, but it was probably kindergarten and the first time I was allowed to walk home by myself. My friend and neighbor Diana and I walked home together. The two blocks probably took over 30 minutes. Because we were absolutely enthralled with everything we saw. Bugs walking on the sidewalk - fascinating. Butterflies or birds - truly amazing. It was probably the most fascinating walk ever taken by humankind.

23. Stitches, patterns, and links...Oh, my!

I finally accepted my Ravelry invite. Absolutely everyone who has joined has said what a fantastic, wonderful time-suck it is, so I sorta stayed away. I really couldn't afford the time. But I joined yesterday. I have been very sparing with the time-suck aspect. In part because I can't yet take advantage of many of the wonderful features. Since my camera left this morning after a brief visit, I can't upload my stash. Really, what's the point of saying I have X skeins of Z yarn if I can't post the color? Although I bet there is a "library" section that I should start adding to as I buy books.

But this afternoon I was looking for a specific yarn. I have two leftover skeins of Peace Fleece from my Everyday Cardigan. Peace Fleece has cheerfully said they would be happy to let me exchange my leftovers for a different yarn. Won't that be wonderful? New sweater's worth of yarn, but not having to pay for the whole lot? Yummy.

Came across one skein of Joslyn's Fiber Farm Mohair Myst - 50% kid mohair, 50% merino. And while I fell in love with the lovely soft colors, I never did have any idea what I would knit with my lovely single skein. Ahhh...Ravelry!

There weren't any projects using Mohair Myst. So I did a search for free patterns using worsted yarn. And I have added the "ScWiNoNa" to my queue. The Scarf With No Name used just 265 yards for a scarf that finished 6.5" x 70". So mine may be a bit shorter since my yardage is 240 yards, but I still think it will be lovely. Oh, and here is a link to the blog, not a ravelry link. Her pictures are truly lovely so be sure to click the link!

And in a total random segue, I have found even more needlework kits. I haven't worked on my Bee Strong piece all week. Tough to get any progress that way. And while I know there are several kits in a box in the other room, I have been assembling all kits as I find them into one zipper tote bag. Remind me not to buy any needlework kits, patterns, or linen until I've stitched up something!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

22. Still life in time out

Washed out color thanks to a bit of sun (and being outside on the snow). The yarn was allowed out of the corner only long enough for its moment in the sun with the visiting camera.

Monday, January 21, 2008

21. Dishcloth swap topic

I've never been one of the "cool kids." Wasn't in high school even when I was a majorette. Guess I just don't have the "cool" gene. But sometimes - no I think most of the time - that has its advantages. For one thing, nobody expects me to be a certain way. I can be myself (even at a young age when that is so terribly hard) and not have to worry about disappointing someone. Today though, not being one of the cool kids is directly related to blogging.

If it wasn't for my current swaps, no one would pop in here to see if I'd gotten my camera back yet. Now, that's not a complaint. I'm a very new blogger and some people have been doing this for quite awhile and have a dedicated readership. Mason-Dixon Knitting or Yarn Harlot anyone? Well, one of my must-reads every morning is Now Norma Knits. I really enjoy reading her blog. I may not always agree with her, but isn't that what makes life fun and interesting?

Occasionally in the blog world, I start reading posts about very negative/hateful/hurtful comments people are leaving on a blog. There are plenty of blogs out there I don't read because I am not interested. But since I'm not in the "in crowd," I don't have that problem here. And when the topic comes up, I'm usually clueless about who is being referenced. Thank goodness.

Defeat the Winter Doldrums Topic #1

Dishrag. Dishcloth. Face cloth. I've seen folks get all fired up in forums when someone refers to their knit or crochet creation as a dishrag, as that's somehow offensive to them! When you're working on yours, what do you call them? Also, is there a difference between a dishrag and a dishcloth? How bout a facecloth? Are they all really the same thing?

I sorta like a designated weekly topic. The whole point being to let other swappers get to know each other. Probably comes in real handy for people finding things to blog about. Also comes in handy when one is trying to Blog 365 and is camera-less - Just sayin'.

When someone asks what I'm knitting, I'll usually respond "dish cloth." But I think I do refer to them at home as a dish rag. And yes, to me a facecloth is the same as a dishcloth. Just used in a different room. And one cannot go to the facecloth side if used first on dishes.

For several years now, I've been trying to knit the facecloths in the Knitters Stash book (at least I think that's the name, and I'm not getting up to check). I have yet to get anywhere close to gauge using the linen yarn. I purchased some and was gifted some, and absolutely no luck. I did try making one with some dk cotton (Rowan maybe?) and it is great! I use it in my shower constantly. I just recently bought a skein of Patons Grace. It's a mercerized cotton that looks to be about the same weight as the Rowan cotton. I'm looking forward to making a new washcloth from the Patons. And putting it straight into my shower!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

20. What fun!

Michelle called and asked if I wanted to go to a Sit & Knit with her. I am still camera-less, but she took a few pictures and I know she'll post soon.

We went to Mountain Knits & Pearls in East Stroudsburg, PA. I couldn't find any information about a website. What a nice shop! The classroom area was part of the store room - which only meant that while surrounded by yarn, it was in a large area that was very well lit. I think everyone that came was from Ravelry. One of these days, I just have to accept my invite and join. Everyone was just super nice and it was wonderful to sit and knit with everyone.

And what did I knit? Well, another swatch, of course! But I got very lucky. One of the knitters does a lot of colorwork and told me that a 2x2 color block design was not a good choice for a swatch. Apparently, that is a very unstretchy stitch design and will not give an accurate swatch. So I switch to a 3/1 design. Are you ready?? I got gauge! Finally - boy, does that feel great!

I also purchased yarn to include in my Hot Cocoa swap package and my Mitten swap package. Yum, yum.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

19. Bird in Hand & weekly cocoa topic

As I mentioned, I purchased Kate Gilbert's beautiful (and popular) Bird in Hand mitten pattern. I mastered the braid and think I'm rather genius for it! If you're knitting this pattern, just take it one word at a time, and it was easy. Although it was easier for me to knit into the back of the second stitch with a crochet hook.

Of course, genius does have it's problems. Dreaded gauge. Mind you, these mittens do need to fit a specific person, so size is important. I haven't made it past the first few rows before ripping out twice now. I was no where near gauge. And near doesn't really count in knitting. I was afraid the wrist would fit several people at the same time. So I sent off an email to Kate. Now, I realize the time difference is in my favor. But within hours - two max! - I received a reply. And was told that the listed gauge is over colorwork. I am just going to have to take the mitten pattern at face (hand?) value and knit at least part of the colorwork area. And then have someone with the same size hand try on the mitten to be. So I may have just ripped out Rows 1-10 for nothing - twice!

Weekly Topic

In both the cocoa swap and the dishcloth swap, we have a weekly topic. Not mandatory to post, but a way to get chatting. The cocoa swap topic reads:

Now that we’re in the thick of ‘Winter’… has your knitting changed to match the season? Are you moving on from dishcloths, and tank tops to afghans, hats and mittens? Has your yarn changed from silk or cotton to wool, superwash or heavier cottons?

Well, I think most of the summer was spent knitting dishcloths and socks. Fall saw me move to socks and mittens. I've been working on Mr. Greenjeans (in a wool/mohair blend) and almost have that finished. Just a couple more rows on the second sleeve and the neck band. But I sure have been enjoying the warmth on my lap! I just might have to rethink knitting some kind of afghan! I don't have any socks OTN. And for the life of me, I can't remember the last time that happened.

Totally aside - I also crochet. But I didn't buy the Interweave Crochet issue with the popular Babette pattern. And it's been released as a single pattern in their Knitting Daily on-line store. Yum.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

18. I've been tagged!

And in the interest of Blog 365, that's pretty exciting news! Michelle tagged me for the 7 random things. Michelle and I have talked on the phone and swapped emails. I can't wait to meet her in person for some chatting and knitting. Anyway...

These are the rules:

List seven habits/quirks/facts about yourself.
Tag seven people to do the same.
Do not tag the person who tagged you or say that you tag “whoever wants to do it”.

Since I'm such a new blogger, this should be fairly easy.

1. I spent 5 years in the Marine Corps. As focused as they are on physical fitness, it's a shame I never was good at running.

2. My parents divorced when I was an infant and my father was awarded sole custody. Musta been pretty bad, is all I can think.

3. I haven't seen my mother since.

4. I am an oldest child and a middle child. My father remarried when I was young. His wife had a son 9 months older than me that sometimes lived with us.

5. I love swimming. The only physical exercise I can think of that you don't get sweaty. Wet from the water doesn't count.
5.1 - Pre-divorce/major stress time in my life, I took up jogging. Mind you, I probably looked like I was doing a bouncy walk. There were too many other things wrong - sweat didn't bother me any. But it did contribute to my extreme thinness at the time - that and the no eating because of stress!

6. And yet, I totally enjoy spinning (torture on stationery bike).

7. But am anxious to learn about spinning (fiber). Hopefully this will be the year I can try out a wheel!

Wow, that was easy. After the first two, the rest just roll out of the finger tips and I could have just kept typing. Rather scary actually since I'm usually a very private person.

Well, I think I'm going to tag a few people from the cocoa swap and hope for the best! So I'll tag Ger, Lori, Maria, Charity , Brenda, Angela, and Tricia. We're supposed to be reading each other's blogs and getting to know each other, so I'll hope some of them pop over here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

17. Camera-less Swatching

Oh, I finally made it to the yarn store on Wed and had a wonderful day. The shop was quite busy. On frequent occasions, I've been there and there was one or maybe two people sitting at the table knitting. Well, today, it was a full table! Seemed to be a pretty regular group too - everyone knew each other and asked about health situations, projects, etc. I think I'll try going next Wed and see if there is the same group of knitters.

And I had Sally show me how to do stranded color work. I tried (on my own - she was quite busy) holding both yarns in my left hand and trying to "pick" the color I needed. After awhile, things had slowed down and I asked her for help. So she showed me how to hold the yarn in my right, and away I went. Felt really awkward at first. And I'll never become a "thrower," but I think the two handed knitting will be tremendous for color work.

Right now, my swatch is soaking in a bit of tepid water. I'll lay it out to dry before I go to bed - can't wait to see it in the morning! Of course, you won't get to see it. I still don't have my camera home. So I can't even get before and after pictures.

Boy, it sure takes heavy wool awhile to dry! Of course, the cooler nighttime temps didn't aid drying any. But (enter scary music) these mittens are for my mitten swap partner. Her hands are not the same size as mine. The mittens I was swatching would fit me just fine. But not her. So I bought the Bird in Hand pattern today! Which comes in multiple sizes. Although, to be honest here - worsted on size 1's? Glad I don't have to go down that small. I wonder if a thinner yarn (dk maybe?), but a reasonable size needle (stay with a 2?) would give you a size small enough for that option? Well, I don't need to find out yet. My hands cramp just thinking about worsted wool on size 1's.

16. Haiku for Sandy

Sandy has asked for haiku. And in the blogging world, Sandy is a force to be reckoned with. Don't believe me? Saturday sky anyone? Sandy's post was directly responsible for sending me over to the Soaring Eagles project - and I sent in two pairs of mittens.

So in honor of can really tell that I thought of this in the shower. Not of Sandy per se - but of haiku!

It's five seven five
Hard to wrap around your mind
Just five seven five

And while driving down the road:

Won't you please join in
This is your life happening
With or without you

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

15. Defeat the Winter Doldrums swap

I didn't make it out of town today. I just kept working on different things around here. All important and necessary, but not necessarily crucial to be done today. But, that is one of the hazards of being self employed. So I think I'll work a bit more downstairs and have a completely free day tomorrow.

I have been in two previous rounds of dishcloth exchanges - Spring into Summer, and Dog Days of Summer. In fact, I'm pretty sure it was the Dog Days swap that "forced" me into getting a blog! I've just signed up for the Winter Doldrums swap, and here's my questionnaire:

1. Do you knit, crochet, or do both? Both actually.

2. What types of needles do you enjoy using for making dishcloths? All of my needles are either Addi turbos or bamboo dpns.

3. What types of cotton do you enjoy using for making dishcloths? Is there any that you've been wanting to try? I don't have a local yarn store. So far, all of my dishcloths have been knit from Peaches & Creme, etc that can be found in the craft stores. My last pal sent two balls of cotton that I've been enjoying.

4. What color(s) are your kitchen and bath decorated in (if any)? Blue, purple, green.

5. What are your favorite colors for yarns? Least favorite? Pretty much the above! I'm not fond of pink as a main color, accent is alright.

6. Do you like Winter, or do you count the days until it ends? Not a big cold weather fan.

7. What's your favorite way to brighten your day when you're down in the dumps? I suppose some good reading and/or knitting. A movie is always good.

8. What is your favorite treat to indulge in and when your down in the dumps? I love cookies! Dark chocolate and nuts are usually found around here.

9. Do you drink coffee? Tea? Cocoa? Why yes! I don't drink coffee often enough to have a coffee pot at home. I drink tea and cocoa when home, and have an occasional cup of coffee when out.

10. If you could take a vacation starting tomorrow and go anywhere for one week and money were no object, where would you go and what would you do? I don't even need a moment to think about this one! Italy - cooking school. I'm hoping to do that this year.

11. Do you have any allergies or aversions your pal should be aware of? Nothing that really applies here.

Monday, January 14, 2008

14. Hot cocoa on the brain all the time!

With the fun of the Mmm..Hot Cocoa swap on the brain, it has led to constant cups of hot cocoa in the tummy. Amazing how much you want something when you are thinking about it all the time. And in a true Duhhh....moment, I've started adding some milk to my cocoa mix. I drink a sugar-free variety which has never really had "it" for me. It was just lacking richness. Well, smack me upside the head. I've started making mine with about 1/3 cup of milk and boy, howdy! Adds that richness back into the cup, that's for sure.

And a Happy Birthday to our fearless cocoa swap co-leader! I owe her a phone call. Today was going to be the day, but with work, errands, and an appointment, the day just got away from me. Hopefully, tomorrow will do better. Oh! And I just read today's entry on her blog. She's having a contest, so head on over and do you best guessing.

Still camera less - which also means Bob is still gone. Maybe he'll be home Wed night and I won't have to sleep with the heating pad to keep warm!

Weather permitting, tomorrow I'm going to the yarn store! Yippee! There are two near each other - but a bit over an hour away from me. I started to go there last week, but had several bad things in a row happen. I figured the universe was telling me to Stay Home - so I did. But I get to actually have a shopping list - too fun.

1. Mitten knitting - I've contacted and been contacted by the people I'm knitting for/receiving knits from. I have my selected mitten pattern on out, color choices written down.

2. Cocoa swap - wish list/happy yarn choices printed out from my pal's questionnaire

3. Long lost project - I have done some bead knitted amulet bags. I even have all the beads strung for a second one. While cleaning out stuff last week, I came across the strung thread and beads and the pattern books. (We won't mention the small bag of pearl cotton and beads also rediscovered.) No needles. Taking that along with me tomorrow in hopes of acquiring needles (I really know why Brits call them pins when doing this! The bags are knit on 1.25mm needles). If anyone actually reads this, you really do need to click on that link - the samples are gorgeous!

4. Fingerless Mittts - Son #1 asked for a pair of fingerless gloves - like the pair I made for his girlfriend last year. Awwww....So, sock yarn (unless he requests thicker) in the required color. I've also asked if the girlfriend needs new ones.

5. I'm also thinking hats to match the new fingerless gloves. Maybe Koolhaas for him and Odessa for her. So, Odessa pattern ready to go. IK magazine on the stool next to the mitten pattern. I've been told there is a neat bead shop also in town up the street from the yarn shop.

Hmm..hope the shopping list doesn't need anything else added. That's quite a list and should keep me quite busy.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

13. Random Sunday

Cause it's my blog and I can make up any rules I want!
I can't wait to go to the chiropractor's tomorrow. My mid-back must be out. Under my left shoulder blade hurts and I can't take a deep breath.
Bob made a quick visit home last night. I'll be very glad when this out of town job is over. But he left with the camera this morning. So no pictures until he returns.
Which is really too bad because I have a (almost) finished hat! I'm almost done with Thorpe. The link is to the pdf for the pattern. I don't think I've ever knit a pattern with bulky yarn. Boy howdy! Bulky yarn and size 9 needles just whiz along. This is a very quick hat - a couple of hours and you have a fun finished hat! This is designed by the generous Kirsten Kapur and truly just flies off the needles.
I am probably the last person on the planet, but I've been enjoying podcasts for the first time! I don't own an Mp3 player. I've known you could download and listen to them on your computer, but when you are on dial-up, it just doesn't seem worth the time suck. But the new laptop is another kettle of fish. So far, I've listened to some (but obviously not all) podcasts by the Yarn Harlot (just do a google search for Yarn Harlot podcast - there's lots), Kelly Petkun (prolly misspelled) of Knit Picks fame, and some from Lime and Violet. Sure makes the knitting go by!
I have the first sleeve of Mr. Greenjeans finished. By the time I get an in progress picture, the sweater will be finished. I've knit the sleeve a bit longer than directed, but I'm not ripping. It's a design feature.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

12. Saturday Sky

After sun and warm weather, followed by a lot of rain and a bit of sun, I think our weather is about to change!

Friday, January 11, 2008

11. And I complained about 4!

I think last night was worse. Or at least, the accumulation of two nights of lousy sleep sure has me feeling worse today. Here's to a good night's sleep tonight.

I haven't done too well with my weekly goal list! Well, I did knit the slippers and drop them off for J. But come to find out, she wasn't nearly as ill as I had been told. She won't be working full time/40 hours too soon - but she has already been back to work. But I suppose she still deserves the slippers.

I've worked on sleeve #1 for Mr. Greenjeans (still no in progress pic - maybe I'll remember that tomorrow), but it's not finished.

But I have resurrected some old projects and have a new idea. I was going through some stuff this week. A box of garbage, and a bunch of stuff to Salvation Army this week. And came across some cross stitch kits all packed away. I used to get a monthly Secret Needle Night mailing from The Silver Needle. You don't know ahead of time what you're getting (the Secret part), but everything is included - linen, pattern, fun floss and threads, and a recipe. It's a lot of fun to get these little kits in the mail every month. Until I became a collector and not a stitcher. So then I subscribed to the Bent Creek zipper series for awhile.

Well, I've been working on one each morning for a little bit. The natural light is good, and I don't put my contacts in, so I can see better. (Odd, I know, but I'm nearsighted. The contacts help my distance vision, but play hell on my close work. Gee...might have contributed to no needlework?)

I've been working on Bee Strong. I'm further along now, as I took this photo a few mornings ago. Hmmm....can't seem to upload the picture. I'll try tomorrow and edit the post. Oh! Third time's the charm.
But I actually had a point in this ramble. I like embroidery. I enjoy samplers, and the like. But didn't think I "had the time." Well, just 30 mins a day isn't a lot of time - but it sure adds up. I also resurrected some very old quilt piecing. I'm going to pick an old project and work on it a bit each week. Just pick one that I want to work on for a few minutes each day. Doesn't have to be the same project each week, but it might be. Obviously I make up the rules as I go along!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

10. Four hours is not enough

For some bizarre reason, I woke up this morning at 3:30. Didn't sleep well for the next several hours. I felt like I had been awake so long, that between 5 and 5:30, I seriously contemplated getting up. Which must have been boring enough to put me back to sleep. The alarm at 7 was not welcome. I've rather been in a daze the afternoon.
That picture is from Patons and is their Must Have cardigan. If I remember correctly, I seriously loved this sweater when the pattern booklet was first published. But I hadn't ever knit a sweater, so never even bought the pattern. Well, I've been wearing my Everyday Cardigan - well, everyday. And I've been wearing my Aran cardigan on a pretty regular basis too. And I even have left over skeins of wool from both of those sweaters. I think it's time (hopefully not too late - yikes) to try to find the Patons Street Smart booklet. I've contacted the folks at Peace Fleece about exchanging the leftover skeins for another color.

How about some Zayra fog?

And I'm rather drawn to Father's Grey:

What ever color I finally decide upon, I definately need to order a color chart this time.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

9. Cocoa Swap Scavenger Hunt

***This is supposed to be an anonymous swap. And without realizing what I did, I identified my pal. You know, the one that I am sending to - - the one that is not supposed to know who I am. If you are this person and already read this, please try to pretend that I didn't give the secret away, ok? I have changed the info to protect myself - maybe I won't look too dense if my pal didn't read this yet!

In the hot cocoa swap, we are required to post to our blog at least weekly. This is a way of ensuring everyone is still around and hasn't dropped off the face of the earth. Our first week's topic is a "quiz" of sorts about our fellow swappers. So I'm off to peruse some new blogs and forage for info!

1. Who's favorite animal is an Otter? -- Criquette

2. Name someone who prefers whipped cream with their hot cocoa. -- Geraldine P. and Tanya M.

3. Find 3 people who live outside of the United States. - Geraldine/Ireland, Sharon V./Canada (although I accidentally moved Sharon K to Canada! oops), and Maria M/Japan!

4. Name a fan of Harry Potter. -- our own hostess Michelle

5. Name someone who crochets. -- well, I do! --and in case that's "cheating" so does Nicole D.

6. Name someone who DOES NOT have a healthy supply of notions. -- Patti R.

7. Name someone who has NOT put up their questionnaire yet (just put a date with your answer in case they put it up after seeing their name listed somewhere ;-) ). -- on Tues night (what ever the date is!) I didn't find Rhonda C's questionnaire. whew - I was starting to think everyone had theirs up!

8. Who likes to have Kahlua, Baileys, or Peppermint Schnapps in their cocoa? -- Rachel C is my kind of woman!

9. Name someone who knits fingerless gloves as a 'quick knit'. -- Rhoda G.

10.Name someone who's looking forward to gardening this spring. -- Rachel S.

11.Who's favorite way to drink cocoa is with a gorgeous Frenchman, while overlooking the eiffel tower from a French Cafe? (I'm right there with you... well at the table next to yours!) -- Oh, I want to be at the next table too! Right beside Kris L. Sounds like she better bring her son who can try to keep everyone in line.

12.Name someone who's favorite animal is NOT a dog or house cat. -- Tanya M likes turtles - go figure - her blog is called Turtles Lake Knitting.

13. Name someone who's favorite treat is NOT chocolate. - Tricia R. likes Jolly Ranchers! Go figure!! teehee...

14. Who plays Candyland? -- Criquette

15. Name someone who DOESN'T get the winter blahs. -- Rhoda G. - you go, girl!

This was fun! I enjoyed reading new blogs and getting to know people a bit in the same swap. I started at the bottom of the list and worked my way to the top. I figured so many people would start at the top, and I wanted to get to different blogs.

8. Aarrrrgh!

Well, I'm apparently dense. I can learn new things. And I am sure that I am missing one teeny, obvious, and very important step. But I still can not manage to adequately insert a button onto the blog.

The ladies over at the Mmmm...Hot Cocoa swap have put an info button on that blog with instructions on how to put a button on your blog. I thought I had done everything in the tutorial. Please notice that there are no buttons over there on the side. I started a Flickr account - I'm probably one of the last people without one, but that's been remedied. As of right now, the only pictures I have in my Flickr account are the two buttons I want to try uploading. I think that tomorrow I'll send a personal email off to someone and ask her to tell me what crucial step I have missed.

I just might have been seduced into trying to make homemade marshmallows. Don't these look devine? They came from this recipe which seems fairly easy and pretty straightforward. According to comments left on the recipe site, if kept in a sealed container, the marshmallows will stay fresh for several weeks. Hmmmm.....not only would they be fun to include in a package to my son, but I am in a hot cocoa swap!

Monday, January 7, 2008

7. Old Magazines, New Projects

I picked up some things from the ex's house today. Included were some quilting and knitting magazines, including Interweave Knits from 2003. I haven't really looked through the rest of them yet, but I looked through the Fall '03 issue while having lunch.

Oh. my. goodness. What a great issue! I have never had any desire to learn intarsia until now. I have absolutely fallen in love with the Geisha Cape by Nicky Epstein.

I think this cape is just stunning. It would look great with pants, a dress (think "little black dress!"), or a skirt. I now need to learn intarsia.

And I think I know what mittens I want to make for my swap partner! In the same issue, is the pattern for this Colorwork Hat and Mittens by Rebecca Harris:

It looks like a great pattern. The pattern calls for Cascade 220 which is available everywhere. But is just a regular worsted weight, so substitution would be easy. Oh! Think of a dark solid for the background and then a variegated/hand dye (Blue Moon? or any of the indie dyers) for the foreground color. The hat style isn't one I've worn before - but who wouldn't like a matching hat?? I guess this issue was waiting for me to be ready for the projects. Just think - a "new" magazine with great projects and I didn't have to lay out any cash for it. Too fun!

In a P.S. - I'm copying Sandy and numbering my posts. The kid in me thinks that will be fun once I get past January!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

No More Humdrum Mittens Questionnaire

Well, I wasn't going to post the questionnaire for the No More Humdrum Mittens swap today. Thought that would be a bit boring. But the swap organizers are trying to do their job, so I need to do mine! Without further ado.....

How long have you been knitting & how did you learn?
I learned when I was about 13. Knit for a few years, and then didn't for quite awhile. I'm rather self-taught. A girlfriend showed me the very beginnings and I took it from there. Mind you, she learned from watching her grandmother, and I already knew how to crochet. So I became a continental knitter by default!

Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
Rather intermediate. There are too many skills that I have not at least tried.

What are your favorite colors? Any you dislike?
I like rich colors - blues, greens, purple, red. Not too fond of pink, but if used in moderation as an accent, that's fine.

Do you like Latvian type patterns? If so, what are your favorite patterns?
Oh, yes, but I don't have a favorite.

Do you desire mittens for yourself, your "special someone else" or your child?
Definately for myself.

What is the measurement from your wrist to the tip of your longest finger?
Hold on - let me get the tape measure....7 3/8"

What is the circumference of your hand at it's widest point?
7" around the knuckles, 8 1/4" including my thumb

What other things do you enjoy knitting?
Socks, dish/face cloths, sweaters

What sort of needles do you enjoy working with? (straights vs circs, bamboo vs aluminum)
All of my needles are either wooden dpn's or metal circs. All of my circs are Addi Turbos because I love the cable. I haven't had a chance to try the new needles that have come out in the last few years.

What’s one project you’ve not yet tried but are dying to make?
Standed color work. I'm expecting this swap to change that!

What’s one yarn you’ve not yet tried but are dying to work with?
Ohhh - there's lots! Any of the indie dyers either on the internet or etsy. Pick a luxury yarn, and I haven't used it yet. I am just seeing the end of a very nasty divorce. And my budget was so horribly tight.

What other hobbies do you have? Do you spin? Sew? Garden? Cook?
I quilt, crochet, and sew. I am just starting back to some cross stitch. Used to garden, but haven't had the opportunity the last few years. And I don't cook in the hobby aspect. But I do really enjoy baking. And this might be the year I learn to spin.

Besides yarn, do you collect anything?
Thimbles. They can be very fun - and don't take up much space.

What kind of goodies do you enjoy? Sweets? Salty?
Unfortunately, I like most of them. I love cookies, dark chocolate, english toffee, almost all nuts, dried fruit, licorice! See, the list is endless.

Anything you hate or are allergic to?
In the spirit of Cynthia in the Mitford stories - I hate mean people and overripe fruit. Oh - that wasn't what you meant? Well, I don't like brazil nuts or sourkraut. And I'm allergic to insect bites - which really doesn't matter here!

Do you have any kids? Pets?
I have two grown sons both living in CA and no pets.

What is your favorite part of Winter?
Listening to the birds. After a storm (or bad weather front) is over, the birds come out in full force and announce to the world that the weather is changing for the better. What a joyful sound.

What is your least favorite part of Winter?
The cold. I'm just not a cold weather person. Well, shoveling snow should be right up there on the top of the list too!

Ok - non-questionnaire post coming tomorrow. I even remembered to take a picture this morning while the sun was shining. Saving that for tomorrow too!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Hot Cocoa Swap

I got my notice last night that I've been accepted into the Hot Cocoa Swap! And since we're having cold weather, and I'm perpetually cold, that sure sounds fun to me. I try to keep the swaps down to a minimum. I don't want too many obligations at once. That way, I get to actually enjoy the whole process. And this will be not only fun, but a pretty easy swap. So here's my questionnaire:
1. What is your favorite way to drink cocoa? Prepared with milk?
Water? from home made recipe or store bought?, In a tea cup, or big mug?
I do usually use a mix made with hot water. And I haven't found a home made recipe yet that mixes as well as the store bought mixes. I can remember my Grandma standing at the stove making hot chocolate with milk. What a great memory - and taste! And definately a big mug.
2. Marshmallows or whipped cream?
Marshmallows are better - always.
1. What is your favorite type of yarn? In what colors?
I prefer natural fibers. I haven't ever used alpapca or some of the other yummy fibers other than wool. I tend to like dark colors over pastels and wear a lot of blue, purple, red, and green.
2. Do you knit or crochet (or both)?
3. What are your favorite type of needles, would you like to try something new?
I'd love to try some of the KnitPicks needles. I haven't tried any of either the Options or the new Harmony.
4. Do you have a healthy supply of notions?
Pretty much - except for stitch markers. I haven't yet learned how to make them.
5. What one thing do you keep thinking you need to buy for your knitting habit (outside of yarn)?
See the above mentioned needles.
6. What is your favorite 'quick knit/crochet' pattern (quick gratification)
Washcloths, socks, and slippers.
1. What is your favorite thing to do in the Winter?
Gee, that's a tough one. I'm not a winter sports type person. Unfortunately, I think I'd have to say snuggle up with a new book (knitting or otherwise) and a great project.
2. What is your favorite animal?
Pet wise, it would be a dog (but don't currently have one). I really enjoy watching the birds though.
3. Do you get the 'winter blahs'?
A bit. I keep more lights on in the winter - sometimes that electric bill is worth it.
4. What is your favorite way to beat the blahs?
Well, the standby of hanging out with friends. Which isn't always easy to do. I enjoy going to my local bookstore and browsing all the new mags with a 'cuppa.'
5. What is the thing you are most looking forward to this spring?
Spring flowers. Warmer temperatures. Opening the windows. And the possibility of moving to a warmer climate - this should be the year!
6. What are your favorite treat?
Cookies - hands down fav dessert. Dark chocolate. Nuts. Unfortunately, I like 'em all - salty, sweet, crunchy, chewy!
7. What is your favorite board game?
Scrabble - my family can play a mean game of scrabble!
8. Do you have any children (furry or human)?
I have two grown sons that are both on their own and no fur creatures.
9. Do you have any allergies or special considerations you partner should know about?

The smell of wet wool

It must be a knitter thing. But for me at least, the smell of wool hanging up to dry is a pleasant smell. Warmth in the waiting. From left to right: A wool skirt I sewed. I ran the fabric through a warm wash, cool rinse and the dryer before making the skirt. I'll happily hang it up to dry so it will last longer now that I know it won't shrink. "Leftover" socks - knit with three small balls of yarn left over from other socks. The socks from my Sockapalooza angel, socks from Tess's designer yarns (the yellow has faded in a very disappointing way), Trekking socks in a plain ribbing, and a pair of Breeze anklets with contrasting toes. All of my socks are in regular "sock" weight yarn. Considering where I live, I need to try some socks in thicker yarns for winter. Maybe I'll do a pair or two for this winter.

Currently worried about my family. I have two sons, father, sister, aunt and cousins living in California. Yeah, I know - what on earth am I doing here? Anyway....I've left messages everywhere. Talked to one cousin and my aunt and they are doing well. Cousin said not a terrible amount of snow where she lives. Aunt just has some minor road flooding. Both commented on the very high winds. Now if only my son would call.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Boy am I in the deep end of the pool!

I decided to join Blog 365. I'd seen the buttons on various blogs, but didn't think it would work out for me. But then....well, if you don't have internet access, you can publish your post once access has returned. Which would work out fine when I'm traveling for work.

But I am truly in over my head. I have no idea how to add a button to my sidebar. And I haven't found the right "help" section on blogger that gives that information. Is there supposed to be some kind of link (or feed???) that connects my post here to Blog 365? Is there a Blog Guru out there? Help! I need a mentor. Hopefully I can get this all figured out. If not, at least I am going to see if I have the fortitude to post every. single. day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I read a couple of food blogs. Apparently, not quite as often as I thought though. I just made Farmgirl's Decidedly Different Chocolate Chip Cookies. And boy are they good. The only chips I had on hand happened to be mini semi-sweet chips, so it does seem as if there is tons of chocolate chips. I think the raisins would be more noticeable with regular size chips. I'll have to wait until tomorrow to see if they do truly taste better the next day. All I know is that for now, they sure are great with a cup of tea!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year to All!

My wish for each and every one of us is for a new year full of promise, hope, joy, and prosperity. May we rise to the challenge of each new opportunity that presents itself. And remember to accept each day for the gift that it truly is.
In keeping with yesterday's post, I need to purchase some super-wash wool tomorrow. We just found out that a young woman that I used to work with is very ill and in the hospital. In today's medical world, you have to be really sick to be admitted to the hospital. Once released, it is expected that she won't be able to return to work for several weeks. So some warm slippers seem needed. I'll pick up some super wash tomorrow and it won't take long to knit up a pair of cozy slippers.
I recently came across the blog of someone who posts weekly goals. I like that. Concise and obtainable. Let's see if I can stick with something similar. For the coming week, I would like to:

1. Knit and then deliver (the tough part for me to actually accomplish) slippers for Jen
2. Finish at least one sleeve on Mr. Greenjeans
3. A journal entry
I have a mixed media journal I started. I did several pages and have let it languish ever since. I'd like to get in the habit of at least a weekly entry. A 4x6 glue card? Maybe a fabric page? I have always been inspired by the journal quilt exhibit at Quilt Festival. And 2007 was the last time for that exhibit. I suppose I need to make a decision on size at least so that I can get started. If I do a consistent size, even if the pages are fabric or mixed medium, the pages can later be bound into a book.
All of these goals are easily attained. Nothing like starting off the new year on an easy note!