We *ARE* in Kansas!

“Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good.” That’s a line from The Sound of Music, but it rings true for me. I certainly haven’t done anything to merit the knitterly goodness that continues to come my way.

Today’s dose of incredibleness came from Criquette of beautiful Kansas. I must admit, prior to this afternoon, Kansas wasn’t one of the states I longed to visit, but she’s a great tour guide, and now, I’m thinking I need to fly out to visit my favorite cousin (in Iowa) and see some of what I’ve always lumped together as the “bread basket” of our country.

Here’s how it started, minus the note card that instructed me to stop ripping into the box and proceed to Criquette’s blog, where I received specific, step-by-step instructions on how to open the numbered presents. Each postcard had a lovely note written on it, explaining why it was chosen. Then, each step included a little story as to why that gift was selected, and where it was found. (Go on, go check it out. I am touched and impressed by her ability to plan a tour I’d really love to take!)
Each item was wrapped in a lovely green and tied with a midnight blue ribbon. Heck, Criquette even explained why she’d chosen those colors to represent the blues and greens of her beloved prairie, since she knew me well enough to know I wouldn’t have been excited about yellow. Details! Each and every detail was well-executed and made her thoughtfulness ooze out of the box and into my living room. Evidently, the South has no monopoly on good hostesses; I think the folks in Kansas go out of their way to make a girl (and her dogs) feel welcome and eager to see more too!
While I’d love to take you through each item, reading the “travelogue” on her blog will give you the same feel, minus the gifts, which are all mine. Well, um, not ALL mine; the dogs do get their treats, even though Criquette assures me they’re made with human-quality ingredients. There’s a local tea in three varieties, chocolate coated sunflower seeds, more chocolate (hmmm… maybe the Midwest is more aptly called the Snack Wagon?), a hand-knit scrubby with handmade soap inside, luscious yarn, and of course, The Wizard of Oz items.

Hush, Anne. I don’t know if any of my other regular readers know why the Wizard of Oz is so ironic for me, but that’s what friends are for. Let it suffice to say that I have a connection, and I appreciate it so very much, especially the funny notepad, which you really should click on and read. Mugsy would never desert me like that, nor has he ever chewed on shoes. Fred did have a right shoe fetish as a young pup, but he only carted them to his crate and held them in his mouth. The vet says it was because they smelled like me. Hrmph. Still, it’s a very cute pad, and I like it very much.

I had to stop petting the yarn to type, but I am fascinated by the yarn (available here), and the chocolate coated sunflower seeds, which match. Who knew?! (So long, dark chocolate peanut M&Ms. There’s a new crunch in town.) Evidently, the prairie is a fascinating location, full of all kinds of goodness and wonder. Maybe you should check it out on your next vacation. It’s certainly on my radar now, as is the most awesome Criquette! Once more, a million thanks for a great Virtual Vacation, which arrived on an afternoon when I sorely needed it.

Fetch on Thursday

Trying to get an action shot of a Jack Russell running wide open isn’t easy. However, it was past time for Mugsy to get a turn as the Dogs on Thursday star, so deal with my sub-par skills and know that he’s a happy boy. (Yeah, the Knight needs to cut the grass too, but it seems that when we’re not having a storm, we’re not home, or he’s exhausted. This weekend…) We go through tennis balls like you wouldn’t believe. Mugsy NEEDS one in every room of the house, and often falls asleep with a ball in his mouth. When he was younger, it was cute and funny. Now, I worry the old man might meet an early demise, so we try to talk him into dropping it nearby.

He’s one spoiled, loved dog, and he knows it. He also is my constant companion, and my knitting tester. (Please don’t ever match me with someone allergic to dogs!)

Name Game and More

My dear Anne is having a contest regarding her first pattern. I’m going to re-arrange my knitting agenda for the long weekend and whip out a cloth, because I love the research and curiousity that were behind the pattern and the contest. I have some names in mind too, and given a recent email among several friends, I’m shocked some of us aren’t banned from participating! 😉

Also, Amy still has a spot or two on her Pay it Forward list. I’m looking forward to knitting a surprise for her, and for Wendy and Nichole. More motivation to keep my swapping in check, so I can “spoil” my friends as they so richly deserve.

My skinny, short sock has a home! The always kind Amanda will finally have her own pair of hand-knitted socks. I am honored to make them for her, and I’m delighted that the pretty pattern and colorway will have a happy home.

Two Circs, Two Socks

So, finally, some non-baby related blogging and knitting, eh? This arrived today, courtesy of UPS. I can’t wait. I think I’m going to dump my current sock – or maybe frog it, since I don’t think it will fit the intended recipient – and jump right in here. There are even a couple of patterns with Fixation, which I happen to have on hand! There are nine wonderful patterns, lots of clear instructions with pictures and detailed explanations, and I don’t think I can wait to get started. There are three sizes (women’s small, medium and large) for each pattern, but the handy-dandy chart every sock book should have with shoe sizes, measurements and more is in the front in case you want to get really personal. I’ve only flipped through it, but I can’t wait. (You’re lucky I’m finishing this post.)
Here’s the sock in progress, which I briefly considered frogging. Maybe I’ll give it to one of the teeny-footed gals on my Christmas list. Okay. That’s the plan now, because you know frogging gives me heartburn. Thanks for helping me work through that little bit of indecision. Just because it isn’t right for the person I had in mind, doesn’t mean it isn’t a great sock. There. That’s a pretty fair representation of the colorway, which is some Sockotta. I’m not crazy about the yarn. It’s just there. There are other blends that feel better slipping through my hands, but it knits up well, and I do like the colors. (See my Sockza bag in use?) The pattern was quick and fun, and I’m about 1/4″ from turning the heel, so why frog? Heck, *I* am a rather small-footed gal myself…
The colorway isn’t that blue, but evidently, you can’t have accurate color AND a decent shot of the pattern. Go figure. It’s from Learn to Knit Socks, Little Pinky. Fun, easy to memorize pattern, in an ankle length. I think it would look great on one of my skinny-legged friends. So, no frogging. Can’t do it, but I am moving on so I can knit two socks at the same time. I also want to do the toe-up thing, especially since Surviving sent me the cool You Tube link to the Magic Cast On and more. So many socks, so little time!
PS – My Pay it Forward list is full, but I hope you’ll find someone whose isn’t!

Pay it Forward

A couple of you know I had a pay it forward idea of my own in the works, but the good and generous Nancy beat me to it. Anne has signed up on Nancy’s blog, and I have signed up on Anne’s, so here’s how it works:

It’s the Pay It Forward Exchange. It’s based of the concept of the movie “Pay it Forward” where acts or deeds of kindness are done without expecting something in return, just passing it on, with hope that the recipients of the acts of kindness are passed on. You all know I’m already a PIF type of person. So here’s how it works. I will make and send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment to this post on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I do not know what that gift will be yet, and it won’t be sent this month, probably not next month, but it will be sent (within 6 months) and that’s a promise! What YOU have to do in return, then, is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

I’m actually more of a “practice random acts of kindness” person, but I think they’re two sides of the same coin. At any rate, I look forward to creating some unexpected gifts for three of you, and watching the circle grow.

Grace, Hope and Love

It’s hard not to hold a very newborn baby and fall in love. Everything seems right with the world when you watch first-time new parents gush and coo, and share their precious gift and their joy with their family and friends. Thank you PoG (Parents of Grace) for bringing a little more beauty, joy, hope and love into the world.

Here is Miss Grace, showing off her first pair of socks. (Good thing I didn’t knit newborn size!) There’s just a bit of growing room, but they were so well received that I’ll be making a couple more pairs in this size, and lots more in the next. No, the photography isn’t even good, but she’s barely 48 hours old, and isn’t fond of light yet, much less a flash. You’ve seen the socks before, so just admire the Sleeping Beauty wearing them. She snoozed through most of our first visit, and her dad has a shot of my Knight cradling Grace in his left arm, while coordinating fire training with his cell phone in his right hand. Heart-warming…

Here is the young lady of the week (month, year?) enjoying her first nap with blankie. It dwarfs her, and leaves me wondering what the full 42 inch version suggested in the pattern would have done! Her auntie made sure the cute socks showed too. I’ll remember that Auntie, and when you are a new mom, your baby will get handknits too. (And just to record my bet for posterity, I bet brand new Uncle that in 10.5 months, we’ll be welcoming his first baby into the world…)

Last, but hardly least, Auntie wanted a photo of her niece with her eyes open. In an effort to capture it, we both took a photo at the same time, from slightly different angles. If you look hard, you can see the dark of Grace’s eye! That’s her dad’s proud arm (and chest) holding her. Thanks to all of you who have sent good wishes to Grace, her parents and the rest of us who love them all dearly. She’s perfect, truly. Of course, that’s easy for me to say, because there are no poopy diapers yet, and the Knight and I will sleep soundly tonight…

Pass those favorite baby girl patterns this way, will you?

Another Cass-Sent-Me Contest

I think Cass knows every knitter who blogs out there. How can you not appreciate a contest that is happening just because said gal feels lucky and wants to share the wealth? Can’t talk now though, because I’m obsessed with finding her Etsy store and just ordering one of the VERY CUTE sock bags she makes, which are also the prizes. Because you know, a girl can never have too many sock bags…

So, if you pop over to Schrodinger’s for the contest, tell her Chan sent you, would ya?

Say Good-night, Blankie

Mugsy is not pleased with these late-night Netflix and knitting sessions. He digs the Netflix part; he sleeps throughout, unless he hears me sniff (how is it that no one warned me Million Dollar Baby was a tragedy?) or cheer (North Country), but this up ’til midnight finishing off a blankie is for the birds, he says.
There she is. Baby Cables for Baby Grace. LOVE the pattern, HATE the yarn. I’ve never met a stretchier acrylic. (Lions Brand Pound of Love, if you missed it, earlier in the blog. The pattern’s also from the Debbie Macomber pattern book.) Maybe the visit to present the blankie to the young lady will afford you a better photo, but tired as I am, I couldn’t wait to show off the first baby blankie I can say I’d knit again – in a different yarn. Changes? The blanket is supposed to be something like 34″ x 42″. Mine is truly not measurable, because of how easily the yarn stretches, but I think I stopped a couple repeats shorter, because Grace is just a newborn. I don’t think the Knight or his duty crew would be amused if I paged them and asked them to swing by the house on their way home from the little house fire in town, especially since they’d have to drive five miles past the station to get here. No, there will just be no final measurements on blankie, okay?

Here. Have a close up of the pattern. I adore it. I just hope Grace’s little fingers and toes don’t… Never mind. The way this stuff stretches, she’ll be able to slip right back out, and with a good tug by mom, the stitches will ease back into position. Insane.

Now, I really must let Mugsy in before he destroys the front door. Fred is just chillin’ on the front porch, hoping against all hope that his Dadaw (aka: the Knitter’s Knight) will come home. When he was younger, he’d actually growl at me if I made him come in before he abandoned hope. Silly dog.

Good night Grace. Can’t wait to meet you.

Felted Bag Contest

There’s a contest, so here’s my “entry.”

1. What is your favorite yarn for felting, and why?

Grins. Regular readers can answer that. Patons SWS, because it felts quickly and beautifully, comes in great colors, and is a soy-wool blend.

2. Name one person in the swap who is not from the U.S. and tell us where they are from, and link to their blog.

Chrissie, Singapore

3. Find one person in the swap who has a dog, and let us know the name of their dog(s) and link to their blog.

Michelle has Murphy and Chewy!

4. Find one person in the swap who has a child or grandchild and link to their blog.

Mary has children and grandchildren. (Funny how that works, isn’t it?)

5. And finally, tell us if you like October or November more, and why!

October holds all kinds of goodness. The dear Mugsy has a birthday. One of my brother inlaws has a birthday. Our anniversary is in October. Anne’s birthday is in October. Love those changing leaves! It’s cool, but not COLD yet, for the most part.

Grace to You!

I wish I could offer you a better picture, but technology is a wonderful thing. New Dad snapped this photo this morning, of his sweet girl, about 12 hours old here, and texted (Blogger isn’t going to like that word) it to the Knight. Those of you who know me well know I’m rather competitive, but I’ve never enjoying losing more. Blankie will be finished tonight, as the Knight has duty crew at the firehouse, and then we’ll both go meet Grace and hug and kiss the new parents tomorrow night. Blankie will still be available for the leaving the hospital shots, and if we’re lucky, the socks will be there too.
(Maybe the Knight was right to worry; I didn’t do a newborn pattern, but sweet Grace weighs in over 9 lbs. and is long too. Keep your fingers crossed that those wee socks aren’t too wee!)
Of course, I’ll take the camera too, so there might be more sweet baby photos!