An Owl Would Have Been Faster

MANY days after the fact, my HSKS pal finally got her package. Phew! I was beginning to think it was lost. As fate would have it, she and Anne’s pal posted to the swap’s blog, back to back. Can you see the matching item? Yup. We shopped together for a whole week, you know. That cute little owl came home with both of us. Twins, I guess…

Please note the stitch markers by Blume’s Accessories got mentioned by name. Go Mary! You’re on your way, ready or not. It’s always such a relief to hear that my swap pals REALLY like at least some of what I picked out. I can’t take much credit this time; I had ordered another sock yarn, but it wasn’t really available (I seem to bring that out in automated systems), so Sheri of The Loopy Ewe suggested the well-received Shark colorway. Thanks, Sheri!

What’s that Loopy? Oh, I miss you too. But don’t worry. I’ll order again soon, I’m sure. And I’m thinking you’d like to go see the Order of the Phoenix movie with me, and maybe go to Chicago on a business trip, and you’re definitely going to Myrtle Beach to supervise the sock knitting and I suppose you’ll have to attend part of the conference too…

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to go here. Have Loopy, will travel!

Knitting for All the Right Reasons

Folks, please pop over and join Amy’s cause. Her hometown isn’t a big city, and it’s just up the road from the even smaller town where I spent my teens. I think most of us at least think about doing more charitable knitting, and WarmUpWinc will allow me to put my needles where my heart and mind have been. I’d love to be able to blow Amy away with the amount of hats, mittens, scarves and more we send her way!

Not What You Expected

Some of you were expecting photos of two knitters from blogland meeting. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. POUT. I was doing payroll while Michelle and I finalized plans, and I didn’t write down the time. I got it wrong, and by the time we talked, she was 15 minutes from our meeting spot, while I was still over an hour away. Big sigh. Guess it just wasn’t meant to be right now. Sorry Michelle!

In other news, my Green Yarn Junkies pal’s box mailed out this morning, along with my first No Sheep Swap package. (Yes, mailed on the last possible day to be considered timely…) But more interestingly, I finished my vest. The arm holes are bigger than I like, but otherwise, it fits well, which for my first garment is good enough. I loved knitting with the Plymouth Royal Bamboo, and since I have nearly 250 yards left over, I can make another little project. My sweet husband suggested socks, but I don’t think that’s anywhere near a good choice for that yarn. It is a fairly heavy vest, as summer clothing goes, but on, it doesn’t feel heavy at all. I will likely wash and block it later today, and wear it very soon. Maybe then, I’ll be able to get a better photo. If you haven’t tried bamboo, I highly recommend it. It just glides through your fingers and off the needles. I also mastered the three-needle bind-off on the shoulders. Piece of cake! I’d done seaming before, first just a bit on Mugsy’s sweater, and then, on the Mitered Squares bag. There really was very little on this – just the shoulders to the back with the three-needle bind-off, and then, each side to the VAST arm holes. Oat Couture patterns are great!

That’s about it for knitting content. I’ll likely finish the first two circs. sock later this afternoon, and then I’ll have to decide what to cast on next. Probably a dpn sock, but I do have non-sock projects I could and should consider.

Don’t forget to get your bingo card in for the second round of Virtual Vacation bingo. And sign-ups for the second round of the dishcloth swap end at midnight tonight.

In non-knitting news, I have to give props to my incredible sister and her husband. We had an early birthday dinner for me last night, as they’ve headed off on vacation. My sister gave me FOUR charms, including the one Anne spotted on our Richmond yarn crawl. The picture could be better, so that’s a grater on the far left, a colander on top, a whisk on the right, and the needles and yarn in the center. My sterling charm bracelet will be much heavier once those are added!

However, my always funny, kind brother inlaw gets the bow. Because botching dates and times is what I seem to be doing this summer, I somehow flopped Anne and Ingrid‘s arrival date around, thinking I could go with my sister and other friends to Williamsburg, for the big Longaberger event there. So, my other brother inlaw’s girlfriend signed us up to weave our own baskets, something we’ve done before, but these were special, designed just for the Williamsburg crowd. Long story short, my sister said she’d found a friend to go with her to take my spot, and I stayed at home and greeted my guests. I thought nothing more of it. No one shared any details, which I thought was a bit rude, but I decided they didn’t want to make me pout – which you know I am apt to do – and let it go.

Wrong! They were all in on it. My brother inlaw, disdainer of all things baskety, set aside his eye-rolling urges and instead, rolled up his sleeves and made me a basket. I can honestly say, prince that he is, my own hubby wouldn’t have done that for me. Now, I have known my brother inlaw most of my life, as he’s also a volunteer firefighter, and first dated my sister when I was just a little girl. My inlaws are his son’s godparents, so even before he and my sister reconnected and eventually wed, he was still a significant family friend. My other brother inlaw’s girlfriend was sworn to secrecy, so now I know why she didn’t email with details of the trip either. I love it! There’s the close-up of the Colonial Williamsbur signature pineapple (a symbol of hospitality) and the special nearly Williamsburg Blue trim. Note the splint commemorating the event, and the beautiful tie-on. He also initialled the bottom, in Longaberger tradition, got the weaver (the guy who talked him through it and helped out as needed) to sign it, and then stood in line to turn it into a certified collectible with a signature from one of the Longabergers. Thank you!!! I am truly spoiled.

PS – I love spell check, but it doesn’t love me back. “Baskety” isn’t a word. “Blogland” isn’t either, if you can imagine…

Healing Drool

Fred here. I’m the beautiful basset hound she mentions once in a while. Before the Harry Potter forum, which was before the knitting obsession, she had the basset hound forum. When one of the other bassets or their people had a problem, we sent healing drool. So, that’s what our house is sending to Michelle, Chewy and their household – boxes and all. Please stop in and offer them support, prayers, good karma, hugs, kisses, or whatever nice thing you are into.

While I’m at it, Mommy failed to make a deadline for her little 100th contest. So, let’s say you have until midnight EDT on July 1 to leave a comment, okay? Then, she can pick a winner on Monday, and I bet she won’t let me drool on the prize.

And Auntie Anne? Thanks for naming the dishcloth swap after us. Ahroooo!!

100 Post Milestone

Funny how this whole knitting community/blogging/swapping thing grows. I picked up knitting in late November last year after Anne’s Thanksgiving visit. After a few almost gentle nudges, she convinced me to start a blog so I could sign up for the Knitter’s Treat Exchange. Now, only a few months later, wordy, chatty me has 100 posts, or rather, will once I post this one. Thank you, each and every reader, especially those whom left comments. I try to respond, but if you don’t leave an email address, there’s a chance I’ll forget to answer in the blog. And a special thank you to the wonderful Anne, for sharing your passions with me, even when I’m being a gooblette and need remedial instructions.
Today, Mark and I ran away. He announced last week that we were both going to be off today, which in a family business is rather brash. He didn’t ask his boss – his father – or mine – his mother – but simply wrote our names on the calendar and then made his announcement. No good reason, really. We took his truck over to program the two new remotes, but his cousin would have made arrangements without us both taking the day off, and most certainly, Mark could have driven to Elkton alone. Still, it was a great break, a fantastic treat, and getting to spend time with Gary at work (nothing like bring your cousin and his wife to work day, huh?), surrounded by people who obviously like and respect him was icing on the cake. (If you’re in Virginia, Dick Myers is a great spot for auto needs. If you need parts, ask for Gary and tell him Chan sent you.)
But you don’t pop in to hear me sing the praises my childhood friend/inlaw of distant sorts and/or his employer, do you? And as much as I adore Gary, he’s not exactly 100th post material, so…

After hanging out, getting the remotes and a few other minor parts and repairs and having lunch, we headed home, in a slightly roundabout way. Last week, in a moment of weakness, I did some stash increasing. I stumbled onto a blog flaunting the Tofutsies Sock Club, and, well… You know what happened, don’t you? Turns out one of the best prices I found was one county away, at a shop I’d been told had the best sock yarn selection in the area. (Which means anything about 45 miles from Charlottesville, in any direction.) So, I ordered (and couldn’t stop at just the sock club, but you saw that coming too if you’re a regular reader), and waited. Nothing. Sigh. Finally, I get the dreaded email… I’d selected a color not in stock. (It happens to the best systems, at the best stores, so that’s hardly a complaint, okay?)

So, a few emails back and forth, and Mark and I had a date at Carodan Farms with Caroline. We pulled up in front of the cute shop, which is just steps away from what I assume is her home, and before we were out of the truck, Caroline was coming up the walk. She was friendly, helpful, gracious, and merely smiled as Mark did his best bull in a china shop routine and knocked various notions off the rack, one pair of mittens in the floor, and who knows what I missed. My only complaint is that it is a good thirty minutes beyond Limerick Fibers, which is a good 25 minutes from my house, so… It will be a special treat to stop in, and I would love for each of you to come visit so I have a good reason to go!

First, the reason I found them, the Tofutsies June Sock Club. (Took long enough to get to the yarn, didn’t I?!) South West Trading Company doesn’t seem to give their yarn fun, funky names, but you know I love the pinks, white and black here! It’s a limited edition color, and if I understand correctly, it’s only available in the June Tofutsies Sock Club. The good news is, your own local yarn shop might carry it, but if not, perhaps you’ll give Caroline and Carodan Farm your business. $16 got me the yarn – which I believe I paid $16.99 for in a Richmond yarn shop – and the exclusive “Wild Kat” pattern which looks incredible. (Sorry folks; all non-sock knitting is likely to STOP once my tank is done, which might be tonight or tomorrow. I just have too many great sock yarns and patterns, and Summer of Socks certainly doesn’t discourage me! I did wisely include a few pairs of socks in my Christmas KAL list.)
Next, the yarn that I actually ordered BEFORE the Tofutsies, because it was on the front page of their website, and it called my name. I’m pretty sure I already have some Claudia’s for ME in my stash, but I consider buying her yarn part of my efforts to support another Virginia woman in business. After all, she is based about an hour from here, so that makes her local, right? That’s an exclusive colorway called watermelon, which the artist dyed just for Carodan’s SoXperience, which I just missed this year, dang it! Caroline had the CUTEST baby hat done in the worsted weight, and I see myself ordering it in the name of a baby hat for the friend loving bright colors but enjoying the mystery of her first pregnancy, so… There’s really enough green in there that I think my friend would plop it on her baby’s head, in his/her John Deere onsie, and think it was just wonderful. See the flecks of black in there? I know you do – look in the right-most part of my photo. That makes SEEDS when the yarn is knit up! Dontcha’ just love it!?

Then, Sue had convinced me that I *NEEDED* my own hank of Mountain Colors Bearfoot yarn, and being the impressionable novice that I am, I heeded her advice. Meet my elderberry (the color I really wanted, so I’m glad whatever I tried to order wasn’t really available), which isn’t at all neon, as the flash implies. There was a storm moving around us, and I guess this one shot got flashed… It’s a great, dark, fall-looking hank of deep jewel-tones that wants to be a warm pair of socks for this winter. (And yes Sue, it’s right here within reach, and I can’t stop petting it.)

This solitary ball of Wick waved at me too, and I’m a sucker for friendly yarn. It had no friends. There was a great selection of Wick, but this colorway was alone, and I couldn’t just leave it there. Any suggestions as to what to do with it? It’s only 120 yards, but I’m hoping that maybe I can squeeze a pair of toe-less yoga socks out of it. Truly, I’d love other suggestions. Wick had caught my eye somewhere, probably on one of your blogs, but of course, I don’t remember where, or what you were making…
Last, and honestly, least exciting, are the patterns I picked up. Caroline had probably the best selection of well-organized single patterns I’ve seen. (I’m still searching for the one Anne bought at Limerick’s that I liked too.) I love this little Fiesta Fishbone Lace sock pattern, and for once, I won’t have to stop a pattern well in advance of the written instructions to make myself a short sock! Then, there’s another Oat Couture, Auntie’s Afghan for baby. I even admitted to Mark as he raised his eyebrows at checkout that I probably wouldn’t knit it up, but I actually had bookmarked that pattern back in the spring, before I overdosed on blankies. Knowing how much I’m liking the OC vest pattern I’m doing now, I couldn’t resist. So, as a reward for those of you who made it this far, post a comment about my purchases today, and I’ll use the random number generator to select a winner. One entry per person, and best of luck to each of you!

Dog Days Questionnaire

1. Do you knit, or crochet, or do both? How long have you been knitting\crocheting?

I knit, and I’m trying to learn to crochet. I’ve been actively knitting about seven months now.

2. Have you knit dishcloths or dishtowels before?

Yes on the cloths, and not yet on the towels.

3. What are your favorite cotton yarns? Is there a cotton or linen you’ve been dying to try but have not?

So far, Peaches & Cream is my favorite. I’d like to try Knitpicks’ CotLin and/or Shine. I really just enjoy trying new yarns, so send me your favorite, especially if it isn’t something I’ve used before.

4. Are there any cotton yarns you don’t enjoy knitting with?

Chenille of any sort.

5. What type of needle do you prefer using? (Metal/Wood/Plastic)

Metal, although I am enjoying my Bryspuns. (I only have #8s in those.)

6. What other projects do you enjoy knitting or crocheting?

Socks, socks and more socks. I also like felting and have a host of different projects for Christmas.

7. Do you have other hobbies or enjoy other kinds of crafting?

My hobbies include yoga, tea, walking, spoiling my dogs and cooking. I also am into rubber stamping, scrapbooking, and have done needlepoint, cross stitch, and other needle arts.

8. What kind of treats do you like? Chocolate? Candies? Nuts?

Dark chocolate. Nuts of all kinds. I’m not much on other candies, except for breath mints, and with those, the more intense, the better.

9. What colors are your kitchen and bath decorated in, if any?

Good question. (What did I put last time, I wonder?) My kitchen is trying to work around the very ugly burnt orange/rust colored countertops. Anything will work. My bath is done in white, blue and green.

10. What are your favorite colors and what colors do you dislike?

My favorite colors are constantly changing. My dislikes seem to be too. I dislike golds or road sign yellows, and orange is definitely out. (However, there are exceptions to every rule. Shannon’s multicolored cotton is awesome, even with orange in it!) I’m not crazy about purple either.

11. Do you drink coffee? Tea? Other beverages?

I do. Tea, especially green or black, is my favorite. Coffee? Not so much, but Anne is slowly converting me. Chai is good too. This time of year, a sugar-free lemonade is refreshing as well.

12. Do you have any kids (human or pet variety!)?

Yes. We have two dogs, Mugsy the Jack Russell and Fred the Basset Hound.

13. Do you have any allergies?

Not that matter with yarn.

14. Please share 3 tidbits about yourself that you think your pal and other swappers might find odd or interesting.

Oh gosh. That’s open-ended, huh? Let’s see… I hate cows. I’m a country girl, but for whatever reason, I have no tolerance for cows. I’m not afraid of them or anything, but they’re gross and stupid. I went through a phase in high school where I took the flowers off the table at every restaurant I ate in, including McDonald’s. (I carried a big purse then.) One more? Summer makes me think wicker and white and blue toile…

Owl Post

While I live in an area more like the Forbidden Forest than Hogwarts Castle, the owl still had no trouble finding me. After a bit of confusion brought on by my lousy attempt at sleuthing, Kit, my REAL Hogwarts Sock Swap pal, sent me the most wonderful Ravenclaw sock kit. That great silver thing in the center is a great Gargoyle bottle opener, who will be permanently placed on the deck, where he can guard the house from any creatures trying to sneak in from the woods, and so he can also open a chilled adult beverage as needed. (Or an old fashioned Coke in a green bottle.)

Lookee! Kit made not one, but TWO bags for me. In bag number one, we have the can’t wait to be tried Knitpicks dpns, standing at attention in their own little compartment. Clever, eh? Hiding in the bag are more treats! Just look! See the stamp? Something from the Phoenix Gallery? Hmmmm…. I love Fawkes the phoenix, but I also adore Phoenix, AZ, so all Phoenix connotations are appreciated. And see those, there on the right? Those are the cutest, best designed travel scissors I’ve seen. Hubby will be so happy! He rolls his eyes when my knitting travels, because I don’t carry my “good” very sharp scissors with me. THIS pair will travel with us and the sock on Wednesday for more road time knitting!

Bet you’re wondering what’s in the brown Phoenix paper, huh? The soap is incredible. (I’m a soap and smell-good potions and lotions kind of girl.) It’s made from ground sunflower seeds and more, and I can’t wait to try it. I like lavender a lot too, so it’s just a great fit, all the way around. Ravenclawish soap. Bronzish sunflower, blue-ish lavender, and paperwork to read too. Yup. I’m a gooblette as Anne calls me. I actually read the whole thing.

Wanna know what’s in the other bag? Can’t tell. Then, you’d want me to share, and I don’t want to. Lookee there. A sack full of Ravenclawed Lindt truffles. Oh my. (Ravenclaw tip: Chocolate is a nutritional supplement. Antioxidants and everything. It will have its own place in the food pyramid next time, especially if there are women rebuilding that pyramid.) I’ve already sampled one of each, because… I could. Since we are doing the whole virtual/electronic bit here, I can be gracious. Have one. (But just one, just in case I’ve under estimated your powers.)

Last, but hardly least, I’ll get around to showing why it is called the SOCK KIT swap. Everything needed to whip out a pair of socks, including a pattern and some stitch markers. Love that pattern. Learning to cable has been on my knitting to do list since about January (as in, almost since I reconnected with my inner childhood knitter). Now, I *MUST*. After all, Kit sent this whole package, and it would be rude not to use the pattern she selected, right? Right. (Never mind that Kit is a delightful, understanding soul who would certainly be okay with me using the contents within as I see fit. Peer pressure works! I will cable before SoS is over!) That pattern is perfect. I see great socks I’ll be able to wear with my favorite jeans and my brown clogs all winter long… Did I mention that I was thinking I wanted some simple, dangly stitch markers? Well, there they are. Some are plain, and some have a great little moon on them. Perfect, because I require stitch marker variety so that I don’t get them all confused. (The end of row marker must be different from the others.)

So, thank you again Kit, for a Ravenclaw sock kit fit for a princess. I’m having a very hard time not casting on RIGHT NOW. I once was silly enough to think that I’d never have more than one project in the works at a time. Then came the spring and baby blankie stress happened. Then came socks, and I knew my knitting life would be empty without a sock to travel along on my travels. Now, I’m trying to keep myself in check and avoid starting twenty different projects at once! What’s that Ravenclaw yarn? Shhhh… Of course I hear you. Just promise me my friends, that when I’m locked away because of the voices in my head, you’ll smuggle in yarn and needles.

More Joining

Yes, it’s true. More socks! Socks and swaps. Does it get any better? (Love that colorway too… I love brown and turquoise together.) This one really gets underway after Sockapalooza, so if you like socks, please join us. Thanks, Amy for keeping me sock swapping!
Now, on that note, Amy and others have finished their Sockza socks. I just got the yarn, and am feeling like I’m waiting until the last minute. It’s more than a month before I should ship them off, and I know the pattern will fly off the needles, yet all these early birds are making me feel behind! Pout!
In other knitting news, the back of the vest is finished. I doubt I’ll show pictures until it is finished, including blocking. This baby is definitely going to need it. At the very least, it wants to be steamed and pressed before anyone else ganders at it.

Sockin’ Along

And the first Sock of Summer marches on! I love two circs, although there is still some moving of stitches, but that must be the norm, regardless of what kind and how many sticks you use to make said sock. However, the sock would likely be done if I hadn’t decided I really want to finish that vest before it’s too hot to enjoy it. So, the sock will become my portable project and the project I grab when my hands want a bit of a break from the somewhat tedious stockinette and garter stitches of the vest, and/or from the weight of the vest. Bamboo is a light, fun yarn, but in vest proportions, it still weighs a lot!
I also have a bit of housekeeping to do here on the blog. Anne has opened sign-ups for round two of the dishcloth exchange, which is aptly called Dog Days of Summer. Of course, the boys think Auntie Anne must have named it just for them, and they’re thinking up some fun contests and prizes based on that theme! (Mugsy is *SURE* the wet, white dog is an artistic rendering of him.) Please sign up before midnight on June 30th and join us in this bit of summer fun.

Next, being the joiner that I am in the online knitting world, I had to join Michelle’s Christmas KAL. I haven’t even started thinking about Christmas knitting yet, so it’s good to have a friend and a KAL to smack me into reality. Tune in here for an upcoming list, although I suspect there will be a few mystery items, as my friends and family have started to check in here too. The more the merrier, and Christmas is all about being merry, so do join me there too.

We now return to the knitting already in progress…

Ready, set, SOCK!

You’re only getting a post because the dogs are still out, and I can’t cast on and hop up and down to let them back in. As soon as they get back from their perimeter check, we’re off to the first Summer of Socks sock, and my first sock on two circs! See? Cat Bordhi’s Columbine Peak and the Fortissima Cotton Color my Felted Bag pal sent me. (One more time, THANK YOU, oh still secret pal!)
If you need me, I’ll be with my sock.