Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Summer of Socks or Shawls?

SoS ’08 – Summer of Socks or Summer of Shawls?

I signed up for Summer of Socks ’08. Last summer I knit A LOT of socks – and I know my husband, and best friends could use more handknit socks. There are also others who would like handknit socks. A good focus for knitting for July and August (and the last nine days of June) right? And socks are wonderful, portable, and don’t make you hot in the summer knitting projects . . .

Welllllll here we are, 11 days into the SoS – and I have ONE sock, ONE, not a pair, just one sock. Meanwhile I have TWO lace shawls – both out of wonderful Claudia’s Handpainted Silk lace weight yarn – nearly FINISHED! One is from the Year of Lace projects, Phoenix Rising, and I have been working on it since it arrived at the end of March ---

There have been yarn problems (not just me) and I am waiting for more yarn to finish – but it’s only got about 32 rows to go (close to 600 stitches per row, but who’s counting . . .)

Meanwhile, at a Tangled Skein’s Friday the 13th in June, I came away with another skein of Claudia’s Handpainted silk, in a wonderful colorway called Urban Fever. And at the same Friday the 13th Arnetta arrived to show off her glorious beaded shawl from the Winter 07/08 Vogue Knitting. It is to die for – just glorious – and the Urban Fever is enough (hopefully) yarn to make it. And a Beader’s Workshop just opened across the hall from a Tangled Skein – so I found the pattern in my library (home), and copied it, and played with the yarn – then went across the hall to a Beader’s Workshop, and Vivian, the delightful owner, helped me find the most yummy perfect copper colored beads to go with my yarn.

And since I need more yarn for Phoenix Rising, I decided I could cast on for the Beaded Shawl (that’s all it’s called in Vogue), and at least knit through the set-up rows, and ONE pattern repeat (of four, adding stitches each right side row) – and then the Summer of Socks would start, and I would switch to socks for the next week or so until the additional yarn for Phoenix Rising arrived. . . .RIGHT . . . . .????

So just before I went to bed last night I started the first row of the LAST repeat of the main part of the pattern. So I’ve only got about 60 rows to go on this one! And I am OBSESSED! I had to force myself to bed (good thing all the talk shows are repeats this week). I think it may be finished by the end of the weekend!

And rather than go onto more socks – what is calling me is finishing Phoenix Rising as soon as the yarn comes, but meanwhile I’ve got the second Year of Lace project, out of a yummy blueberry color of Helen’s Lace weight yarn from Lorna’s Laces – and then there’s this nearly black shawl . . . . (and I really, really, really could use a black shawl, and the yarn is nifty – new to me, and, and, and . . . .)

Off to walk the puppies – is Guthrie still a puppy since he’s a year old tomorrow? Probably – until Maybelle’s off puppy food!

Here's Maybelle today, with her ears almost full UP! And below giving her 'big brother' grief as usual -- they really have fun together!
Historical footnote: on this date (July 2nd) in 1935, Amelia Earhart went missing over the Pacific.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Heading Towards the Summer of Socks ’08 and beyond

Started on June 20th before I went to Stitch ‘n Pitch at National Stadium.

It’s almost the Longest Day of the Year, and the Summer of Socks starts at 12:01 a.m. on June 21st. In preparation for the start of that, I’ve been busy knitting second socks, to at least get several pairs done, and out of the queue. I’m not getting all the socks that are waiting for mates, mated, but at least three should be done by tomorrow midnight.

I finished these Gentleman’s Shooting Socks with Fluted Pattern from Nancy Bush’s Knitting Vintage Socks (only was ten months from when I made the first one!), and a nice basic pair out of a self-patterning yarn – those only were started about a week or so ago – both pairs are for my husband.

And now, 2/3rds of a sock to go to finish a third pair –these are from Opal — Hundertwasser ones. They are for me! I’m off to Stitch ‘n Pitch at the Washington Nationals’ ballpark night, and figure it might get done by midnight –at which point I plan to cast-on my first Summer of Socks sock – the Gentleman’s Shooting Socks with fluted pattern again, in Regia medium blue wool/silk. The pattern works in the chocolate colorway , but it doesn’t show up as much as I would like it to, so in a lighter color it should work wonderfully. And then I’ll make one of my Socks that Rock Sock Club socks for ’08, and maybe a pair out of Rainbow colorway from Lorna’s Laces for my goddaughter – I’ve owed her a pair for a LOOOOOONG time!

And the other thing that is grabbing me, is my main knitting when at home project – I’m in the home stretch on my first Year of Lace project – the glorious Phoenix Rising shawl out of Claudia’s Handpainted silk – one of my favorite lace yarns in the world – not sure if I love Claudia’s more or Cheryl Schaffer’s Andrea — . I’ve got 31 rows more of edging to go, and then it’s the border WITH beads – love it!
Meanwhile adding to the menagerie I live with – we’re getting a second dog – our wonderful Guthrie really needs a canine partner – so Saturday we’re off to pick-up a little girl puppy to be his “life partner!”

And today would have been my father’s 94th birthday, if he’d made it this far – he’s been gone 27 years now.

Nearly a week later – life has been hectic!

We went to Stitch ‘n Pitch, which was great fun – I heard there were at least 400 stitchers there – they had 400 gift bags they gave out. We were up on the third tier of seats – great view of the ball field, and in the shade! In my section were all folks that got their tickets via A Tangled Skein – Karida of Neighborhood Fiber Co. was in the next section, having gotten her tickets through Knit Happens – but she came over and joined our group. Amy O and she reunited their wonderful Lexie Barnes messenger knitting bags.

2 Sistah's Knit Together were two rows in front of me –

Cici and Chelette
and Cici’s daughter and granddaughter were in our row, while Carol of Hooker to Cats
sat with us on one side and Shelley and Sandra of the Wednesday Night Regulars at A Tangled Skein were on the other.Another Wednesday Night regular, Jessica was thrilled with getting her photo taken! And well on her way to finishing a lovely cabled sweater in just TWO weeks!

And here's Amy O with the knitting needles she got in her goodie bag -- she looks FIERCE! Codiak Alaska better watch out! (She moving there in July! WAHHHH)
It was lovely company, lovely weather, decent game – we left at the end of the 8th inning when the score was tied – we were heading to Richmond to pick-up our new puppy in the morning, and didn’t want to be out late. Turned out to be a 14th Inning Game! We didn’t know who won when we turned off the TV and lights to go to sleep – surfed the channels in the a.m. before we left.

And here she is! Our new baby – another Cardigan Corgi.
Our boy is named Guthrie, and will be a year old next week. The new one is just eight-weeks old, and we’ve named her Maybelle! If you know traditional/folk music – you may see where her name came from – Mother Maybelle Carter of the Carter Family performers from the 1920s on. Mother Maybelle was Johnny Cash’s mother-in-law!

Anyway Maybelle is as sweet as she can be – learning fast, and her ears are more upright everyday – I expect in another week or so they’ll be fully up like Guthrie’s. She’s weighing in at just six pounds, while Guthrie is 33 pounds. They’re getting along great, he’s being a wonderful “big brother” to her!

Meanwhile, I dropped stitches off the needle on the Phoenix Rising shawl, and had to tink back about five rows to rescue it – and because I had knots and other problems with the winding of the yarn, I’m almost out of yarn – with one more edging repeat and the border to go. More is on the way – with the NEXT Year of Lace project. Hopefully here by the end of the week – maybe just as I reach the point of can’t do anymore until the yarn comes.

And then, I’ve started ANOTHER shawl, also in Claudia’s Handpainted Silk lace weight (which is what the Phoenix Rising is knit in), in a wonderful color called Urban Legend –coppers, rusts, greens – it’s a pattern from the Winter 2007/08 Vogue Knitting – I love it – it calls for 1,000 BEADS! A customer, Arnetta at a Tangled Skein had made it, and it was so glorious – AND a FABULOUS (dangerous!) Bead Store has opened in the same building as A Tangled Skein – Beader’s Workshop – so once I decided on the yarn, I took it over there, and the delightful owner Vivian helped me find the most glorious copper colored beads for it. If the extra yarn for the Phoenix Rising shawl doesn’t come soon, I’ll get totally obsessed with the Beaded Shawl!

As for Summer of Socks . . . I didn’t finish the pair of Hundertwasser socks for me – but I did cast-on, right at 12:01 a.m. for the second pair of Gentleman’s Shooting Socks with fluted pattern out of Regia Silk. Almost to the heel on the first one, but I’m soooo shawl obsessed that it’s languishing when I’m at home, as I’ve been working on the two shawls instead.

And now, to update my ravelry photos, and then get back to Phoenix Rising.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Dog ate my Shoes . . . and how it led to buying yarn . . . .

My sweet wonderful puppy (ten months old today)
chewed up my faithful brown sandals Thursday morning. I was not happy. He was not happy. I wear brown sandals a lot in the summer . . . .

So, I went out shopping for another pair of brown sandals. Weeeelllllllllllll . . . there is this store near me that carries my favorite makes of shoes -- Dansko, Keans, etc. and they had this pair of shoes that just SCREAMED that they HAD to come home with me -- forget the brown sandals, these beautiful COMFORTABLE Mary-Janes with roses had to come home with me. They had my size, they are VERY comfortable.
So they came home with me. (Brown sandals also made it home with me that day -- I really do need brown sandals in my wardrobe.)

So today, while others were enjoying Saturday at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, I was one of the staff who worked at A Tangled Skein. I wore my new Mary Janes. And there, on the shelf was some Sublime Soya Cotton in EXACTLY the main color of the new shoes. I'm already working on a cardigan in the soya cotton, so I know it's a lovely, yummy yarn to knit with -- so even though I'm going to MD$&W tomorrow, I had to get enough to make a simple summer vest --

So that's how the dog destroyed my sandals, and led to me buying yarn I hadn't PLANNED on.

And led me to post for the first time in months.

Meanwhile, if you're on Ravelry, you can see many finished objects over the past few months. Just finished a shawl as a gift for a friend, am working happily on the Year of Lace Phoenix Rising Shawl out of Claudia's Handpainted Silk Lace weight, that has to be my favorite lace yarn -- this is my third or fourth shawl in this yarn, and I know I have three more skeins stashed of this yarn!

Summer knitting for me is usually shawls and socks.

But – I did get to M$&W --, where I was mainly looking -- with only plans on buying more of the wonderful short Signature Needles with stiletto points (I ordered a set to try a month ago, and LOVE them, so I knew I wanted MORE), a M$&W T-shirt, and to see if anyone had Tilli Tomas’ Fil de la Mer Yarn. Low and behold, Tilli Tomas was there herself! But she hadn’t known that the Wakame Lace Tunic from the new Summer Interweave Knits called for that yarn – BUT she was willing to send it to me once she got back home – at the discount price she was selling her yarn for at the Festival. So I sent an email as soon as I got home Sunday, with my phone number, and she called me Monday for my credit card info, and today, in the mail came the yarn!

And LOOK at how gorgeously it came! In this lovely silk bag, and with a wonderful bonus skein of her Disco Lights in Jade! I am so pleased, and honored!

And – I’m going to be good, I’m not even winding or swatching until I finish the Soya Cotton Vest that matches the Mary Janes. I’ve the left front done, and should finish the back tomorrow in the car – which is what’s keeping me safe to say I won’t swatch until I finish the vest. I’m off to Connecticut for a folk music weekend with my husband, and I’m leaving the Fil de la Mer at home. A treat when I come home on Monday!

Back to the vest.
My very chewy puppy, and the new yarn. Don't worry, the yarn is safely out of animal reach now.

Friday, February 1, 2008

I’m On U-Tube
And other oddities . . . .

I realize I haven’t blogged in months – life has been very full. Our son has made great strides at his school, and because of this, we now are visiting him regularly, which takes a minimum of three days a month . . . . .

One of several exciting things with him, is he ASKED me to make him socks AND a hat! Below are the socks (suppose to be Washington Redskins colors, didn’t’ quite work – so they’re LSU socks –Skins socks to be done as soon as I get the right gold yarn)

And above, son in the hat, in the St. Louis Cardinals colors – white and red. And enjoying his favorite Starbucks coffee – Peppermint Mocha white Chocolate Latte (hey, he’s 16 and a half . . . .)

I’ve been working on lots of socks, and finishing my goddaughter’s Christmas present, (below)

And then I’ve been busy with my Christmas present – a new dog! His name is Guthrie (after Woody & Arlo). He’s a Cardigan Corgi (not a Pembrooke) Cardigan’s have tails, and MUCH bigger ears then Pembroke, and actually are a bit bigger, and not related except WAAAY back. He’s wonderful, though I’ll be glad when he’s out of the chewing phase – he’s chewed some knitting needles, annnnnd, created the need for me to make THREE sleeves for my goddaughter’s sweater.

He chewed the EDGE of the sleeve – but there was no way to fix it, without frogging the whole sleeve – probably only about two yards of yarn were ruined, but is was in the first two rows of the sleeve. This was done in his first week with us. He’s seven months old this weekend, and he’s been with us for five weeks.

And I’ve been working a lot at A Tangled Skein, – which celebrated its first anniversary on January 23rd, where we had festive Sit and Stitch – and then on Friday, January 25th we partied late – starting an anniversary sale at 9 p.m. Wine, cheese, cupcakes, and other goodies to celebrate – I think at least 70 folks came through between 7 p.m. and midnight to help celebrate – I know there were 30 folks there by 9 p.m. My sweet husband supplied music all evening – and (here’s how I ended up on U-Tube) I’d made the mistake of telling my bosses that I knew a song about knitting – so I was asked to sing it – and my “friend” Cici, (that's Cici on the left, with her sister Chelette, and Joyce on the couch at the Tangled Skein Party) videotaped it, (Cici & Chelette’s blog) and put it here on U-Tube . I’m actually not that embarrassed by it – wish I’d pitched the song better, and wish I’d remembered all the words. Amy,
of the Hook & I, suggested I post the words, so here they are:

Old Green Sweater
© 1985 Dan Berggren

1. Somebody made this old sweater,
Of six or seven big green balls of yarn
Look how it surrounds me, how it wraps around me
Just like being hugged by loving arms

I don't know the name of the farmer,
I don't suppose that I ever will,
No I never met him, but I can't forget him
He's the one who raised the sheep and sheared the wool.

You know I love my old green sweater,
I've worn it for years and it's still good as new
There's just one thing that warms me better,
That's your love, that's you.

2. Somebody made this old sweater,
You can tell that it wasn't by machine
Cause Every stitch of every row was knitted nice and slow
from some wool that was dyed so dark and green.

Who took the time to clean the fleece and to card it,
I don't suppose I'll ever know.
Who did all the spinning, that was only the beginning,
Before love was knitted into row.

3. Some folks have drawers just jammed with sweaters
While other folks have none to keep them warm
Well I have one that's got your touch,
That's why it means so much,
And I'll wear it when it's mended or it's torn.

Somebody made this old sweater,
Of six or seven big green balls of yarn
Look how it surrounds me, how it wraps around me
Just like being hugged by loving arms

Looking over the words, I actually didn’t do too badly with them. . . .

Martha, of Knitcrit and the founder of the SSKer’s (Silver Spring Knitters [MD]) brought to our group’s attention this interesting sweater from Unicorn Press done in Garter Stitch panels, then put together with three needle bind offs between each panel. I’m loving it – and looking forward to wearing it too! I made it out of Noro’s Kurchoran, which is heavenly.

Oh yes – the new Noro Sock Yarn is great. It’s coarser to knit then most socks yarns, but I love knitting with it, and once washed (by hand, in cool water, air dried) it is very soft, and the socks are very comfortable to wear! I’ve made one pair, and have a sock and a half of a second pair.

So hopefully I’ll be blogging a bit more often, and now I’m heading back to more knitting at the moment – trying to finish more projects then I start new ones. . . . . .

Monday, November 26, 2007

Busy, and finishing – but also Falling Down the Ravelry Rabbit Hole

I hadn’t realized how long it had been since I last posted – partially because I fell down the Ravelry rabbit hole. For those that don’t know about Ravelry it’s like a Myspace/Facebook on the web specifically for knitters and crocheters. It’s fun – one can post all your projects, all your books, connect with friends, be in several groups to check on stuff . . . . a rabbit hole.

Meanwhile I fell in love with the Pearl Buck Swing Jacket, (from Interweave Knits Winter ’05? And in the new book Interweave Favorites of the first ten years) found the perfect yarn for it (Sublime Cashmere,-Merino-Silk, DK weight), bought it, started it – thinking it would be a great “mindless” project to work on in knit groups and at work – WRONG. I got obsessed! I got tunnel vision! –ME! The knitter who usually has more WIP then she’s willing to admit -- . Anyway, the result was that I knit the sweater in TWO WEEKS! AND it’s stunning – if I do say so myself!The photo doesn't show the neat back feature, I'll try and get a better photo of that for my next post.

Then, between dealing with loosing our dog, and having been bit by the finishing bug, I finished the Adamas shawl that I’d been working on since May. AND it’s turned out wonderfully!

First photo is still being knit, with my usual knitting background, our smallest cat, Snowball.

I also tried my hand at crocheting, having been dared to crochet something by Amy, at the "Party Like it's 1998" at A Tangled Skein,(there was a Friday the 13th in November 1998, and Tangled Skein has a party and three hour sale on Fridays the 13th. [Next one's not until June 2008, so they made one up!]) So I met her dare, and crocheted a hat!

And my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary last week. We gave ourselves a WONDERFUL party – inviting everyone we know – from all segments of our lives – church, music, family and knitting – and everyone blended wonderfully, and had a great time! On the actual day (which we share with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip of the UK – only they’ve made 60 years) we took ourselves to a wonderful, very fancy for us, restaurant in our hood – and shared a full bottle of wine! Because it was in the neighborhood, we WALKED there and back again, so we wouldn’t have to worry about driving. A lovely dinner, a lovely evening, and my favorite companion (human or otherwise).

Have several projects going right now – I’m struggling with the Field of Daisy shawl from Fiddlesticks right now – the struggle is I dropped stitches, and saving it involves A LOT of tinking! UGH. Hopefully I’ll get back to knitting later tonight, but it’s been two days of tinking instead of knitting. I HATE TINKING – I LOVE knitting! Sigh.

And I’ve already reached the it’s time for another dog stage. We’ve got a specific breed in mind, much smaller than a Golden, because much as we love the personality of Goldens, they are large dogs, and during sweet Kait’s last couple of years it became very difficult to take her to vet’s – and I don’t want to be in that position with another dog – I need to be able to pick up and put the dog in the car by myself. So once the new pup joins the family I’ll post pictures etc., but until then, folks’ll just have to deal with the mystery. I think the new dog will be my Christmas present this year. And then I’ll have a busy year, since I’ll be taking obedience classes with it for the next year. Kaitlin earned her Canine Good Citizen certificate from the AKA when she was two, and I want the new dog to earn one too.

Back to tinking.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Tribute to a Special Dog and Finished Objects!

We lost our dog this week. She was twelve and a half, quite arthritic, and I knew we’d be lucky if she made it to 13. Still it was hard. She was in pain, and all her organs were shutting down.

She lived with, loved, and played with all our cats. They slept with her in winter. They miss her greatly, as do we.

It was nice to be her alpha – you knew where I was in the house by where she was. A good ole dog. She loved the ocean, kongs, tennis balls, her people, food, and her cats. She played with them wonderfully, and slept with them in the winter. One of our cats, Phoenix, was the same color as she, and seemed to think she was his mother. He slept with her year-round – in summer away from her heat, but with a paw out to touch her. She missed him when we lost him two years ago, now his successors miss her.

I finished my Hempathy sweater two weeks ago, and took photos of it finished. Kaitlin is in the lower right corner, and Barnum in the upper left.

I also finally blocked my Seraphim shawl. Actually got photos WITHOUT cats in them!

I got to Stitches East for about 2 hours on the Friday. Had fun, didn’t get a lot – saw new Karida of (Neighborhood Fiber Co. )

and old friends (Ann & Eugene of
Philosopher’s Wool), and snapped a photo of Kaffe Fassett.

And attended Amy, ’s book signing at A Tangled Skein, for Crochet Me, a book she contributed a really cute dress to. She is absolutely brilliant in what she can do with crochet! It often LOOKS KNIT! (My prejudices are showing!)

Currently focused on one thing in particular, with two others screaming for “their” turns next:
1. the Pearl Buck Swing Jacket from Interweave Knits – in the new “Best of” book, and I believe, Winter ’05 issue. I’m using Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk. Glorious, glorious yarn – I just adore working with it. Started it on October 16 (b-day present to myself to buy the yarn), and only have a sleeve and a half to go before starting the finishing! Hope to finish it by this Tuesday. Photos when finished.
2. The next Tofutsies Sock Club sock. It’s for display at A Tangled Skein,
3. Artamus shawl from Knitpicks, out of the yarn called for. Really want it done too.

More sooner than before. Back to the Pearl Buck Jacket.

Monday, September 24, 2007

What kind of book am I?

You're Catch-22!

by Joseph Heller

Incredibly witty and funny, you have a taste for irony in all that you
see. It seems that life has put you in perpetually untenable situations, and your sense
of humor is all that gets you through them. These experiences have also made you an
ardent pacifist, though you present your message with tongue sewn into cheek. You
could coin a phrase that replaces the word "paradox" for millions of

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

My friend Lee posted this quiz on her blog. She’s Siddarta, and I’m Catch-22!

Am busy ignoring seductive yarns (not only the alpaca sock yarn, but Savoy from Tahki which is 52% silk and 48 % merino wool– more about that soon.) I’m trying to work on ONLY ONE thing at the moment and finish a sweater in hempathy, which will be wonderful to wear during October, but probably not warm enough after that. So there’s my focus.

Meanwhile, here's the older two cats of my menagerie , Snowball and Agatha, ages 6 and 14 years.