I’ve done a self-check, and have decided I do not have the dreaded cast-on-itis, despite beginning two projects within a 24 hour period. (Three in 48 if you count the No-Sophie, but that sounds suspicious, so finished objects don’t count, right?) See, I can’t show you Anne’s bag. Plus, quite honestly, after doing one little bag in a little over 24 hours, the second one was starting to feel like garter stitch purgatory, and there was this perfect yarn for which I’d found the perfect pattern…

Yeah, yeah, the Tofutsies sock is still unfinished too. I very nearly picked it up to finish it off, but a girl needs a travel sock, and I think we’re going to town this afternoon, so there’s about an hour of knitting which might get me pretty close to the completion of sock one. See? I can justify my choices. (Denial? Me? I don’t know what you’re talking about.)

Okay, the truth of the matter is it’s getting cooler, and I was feeling selfish again. That NH Knitting Mama yarn was calling my name, and since I was emailed a .pdf file with the Dream in Color Shrug pattern I found to do the fiber art justice, I just couldn’t stand it. Plus, the pattern has a definite lace element, and some of you know I’ve become almost consumed with trying my hand at beyond sock lace. (The yarn is NOT that shiny. It’s a fabulous, matte finish in a semi-solid green. It’s so soft and squooshy!)

The actual colorway is somewhere between the too shiny, too blue-ish photo above and this too yellow one. That’s the first repeat of the lace pattern, and I look forward to making some serious progress on the shrug later today. It’s a pleasant little pattern, with a 20-row repeat, but the lace pattern is only worked on the odd rows, and three rows within that pattern repeat. I couldn’t be happier with the marriage of the yarn and the pattern, and hope to be wearing my first lace, first shrug, later this week.

I would be remiss if I didn’t give Pick up Sticks a plug. I wish more retailers would offer patterns via email. Yes, I understand copyright/reprint issues, but I’m also an impatient little brat, and I am positive that this pattern wouldn’t have arrived this week without the pleasures of technology. Then where would I be?! (Slogging away on Anne’s bag, finishing a sock and casting on for its mate? Pouting because I’d found *THE* pattern for the yarn I most wanted to knit with, to be certain.)

Constant Vigilance

SWS felts in a HURRY. I timed it, and in a bit over three minutes, the bag was felted, tightly so. Not a stitch defined, anywhere. My hot water is pretty hot, but I can still fish the pillow case out bare-handed, so I think it’s the yarn, I really do. I’m almost tempted to felt it on the delicate cycle next time, just because this way requires constant vigilance!

This is the Sophie pattern, basically. I’m calling it the Not-So Sophie, because I like a shallow, barely bigger than my wallet bag that fits snugly under my arm, on my shoulder. I dropped about 12 rounds, so I decreased at 10, 20, 30, 35 and 40 rounds, and bound off after round 42. It took right at two balls of SWS, or 2oo+ yards. The colorway is Natural Navy, done on #10.5 circs, with the same sized dpns for the i-cord.

I felt in a polyester, king-size pillow case, tied shut, with four of Mugsy’s tennis balls thrown in to beat it up a bit. I add about two tablespoons of soap powder and wash on hot/cold. Then, with the Knight’s help, I stretch and pull it into the shape of choice. Anything in the house can serve as the “form” during the drying phase. If it fits into the bag and looks approximately like what I want in the end, it’s called into action.

I also took this shot for you. SWS is a great yarn for felting, but because of this very trait, I can’t imagine using it for non-felted items. A pal made me a sock bag in SWS – unfelted – and I think I might line it for future use. The early fall edition of Creative Knitting has a cardigan/jacket done in SWS on the cover. No way. It would pill and shed too badly for practical wear, I’m certain! I didn’t do anything but hold that bag in my lap while knitting away on it, and you can see how fuzzy the bottom is, and how that one “blonde” strand pulled itself loose. Of course, thanks to the nature of felting, the finished product reveals none of these little secrets, and is rock solid, tough and ready for my daily use.
I don’t get the names Patons uses for SWS colorways. There’s no navy in this wad of color. Purple (gasp! it’s true!), lots of tan and taupe that thankfully turned a solid, warm brown, a touch of grey, and the black in the unfelted version just felted into a dark grey. Still, even with the purple, I’m very pleased with the results. It’s a bit deeper than my summer Sidekick, and it won’t show dirt. Perfect.

Uptown Girl!

My good pal fortune continues. In Sock it to Me, a very light-hearted “Tink” had been emailing regularly. She sent me the mother lode of teaser packages early in the swap, proving that she’d read my questionnaire and then some, and really making me curious. From that package, I knew we shared a Loopy passion, and yet again, I tried to guess my pal’s identity. I was dead wrong, of course, and do hereby renounce future hunches! Thanks Ana, although I do feel guilty that it seems knitting socks for me led you to call your blog the Frog Pond.

So, feast your eyes on my Uptown Boot Socks in Cherry Tree Hill, in Cherry. They fit like a dream, and feel like a cloud. I love red, but I’ll be on the lookout for more red tops now, so I have every excuse to wear these socks very regularly. (Yes folks, my feet are that short. Lucky Ana, huh?) Oh, and don’t tell the Knight, but I’ll need another pair of clogs too, because my favorites are brown and a multi-colored felt, and these want a navy and/or black pair.
Even though she’d already sent goodies above and beyond expectations, the awesome Ana sent more. How ’bout that Scout’s Swag yarn in “secret colorway”?! I love it! The Godiva is resting up for its big moment, after dinner. I’ll have to put both dogs outside, because they can’t have chocolate – like I’d share. (I mean, I guess I could, but you’re not here, so it’s all theory and conjecture anyway.) The cute yellow thingee is the result of an especially strange question Ana asked a couple of weeks ago. Out of the blue, she emails me and lists a very odd assortment of animals and asks which would be my favorite. (No, dogs weren’t on the list, nor were horses. Go figure.) It’s “Kooly the Koala” a kritter craft case. He’s already holding the notions I use the most – my chibi, measure tape, scissors, etc. Isn’t he cute?!
Thank you, Ana. And thanks AJ, for hosting a fun sock swap. It’s always a little bittersweet when a swap winds down, but I still have three in the works, so I should get back to knitting. Tomorrow? Knitting and shopping. I hope to mail my Vegan Pal 2 swap out next week, and then, you still won’t get to see the pictures of the secret project!

Two Pups, Ten Years, Lots of Love

Well, we blew past 200 posts the other day. This is post #202. How ’bout that?! Those of you who know me personally know I can talk a blue streak if I’m in the right mood, and evidently, I have been most of the time since oh, say… March. Thanks for reading, caring, and in a lot of cases, becoming my friends.
My scanner is so old I can’t hook it up to this computer without adapters, so yet again, ‘scuse the photo quality. A little over ten years ago, the dogs and I all dolled up and went to visit a photographer friend, and bridal portraits were made. This is a squinty-eyed proof of my favorite pose, and my offering for Dogs on Thursday. They’re still handsome old men, but boy, were they beautiful babies. I’ll have to get my techie brother inlaw to scan all of the proofs in for me, and if/when I do, I’ll post a better version, because it is my all-time favorite photo. There’s another great one of the whole “family” which was taken with the engagement photos, but it includes my stepson, so… sorry. It will remain on the wall for in-home guests only.

No Pictures

I’m in a bind here, folks. I’m knitting, I promise, but it’s for Anne and as she is the sole hostess for the Felted Bag swap, she knows I’m her pal. So, pattern and yarn selections are the only secrets I can have. That means not even a shot for you. I toyed with the idea of a sepia shot, but that wouldn’t tell you much and would tell her too much. I feel like a mean department chief, writing rules and regs to punish everyone just because one idiot firefighter can’t behave, but those are the breaks. I can tell you it’s an awesome pattern and I know she’ll love it and the colors I selected. I tried to figure out how to post it on Ravelry without giving away too much, but trust me, she’s know, even if I just put it on my queue.

In other no picture news, we are supposed to run with the topic of the week for the Felted Bag swap…

As of this weekend, the season has officially changed on the calendar – but what makes Autumn feel like Autumn to you, and why?

It’s all about the toes. As y’all know, ask me the same question, two minutes apart, and you’ll get different answers. I’m fickle, but I can live with that. I’m still impressionable, and my moods and what’s going on around me impact my opinions strongly. Today, it’s about the toes. A local friend and I have a running joke about our toes, because we both live in flipflops and the like all summer. This year, I’m enjoying my knitted socks, so I’ve given in to conventional wisdom and if my feet are cold in the morning, I wear at least enclosed-toe shoes, but I’ve really enjoyed the couple of truly chilly mornings where socks were in order. (LOVE the way Lorna’s Laces feel on my feet. Must have more.) In the past, typing “Toes covered” in my email to my friend has been a lament, but this year, not so much. And yes folks, she *IS* on my list to receive handknit socks for Christmas. I just have to get a mutual friend to confirm size…

Now, for the conventional answer. Everything. I love the whole autumnal package. While I relish the four distinct seasons here in Central Virginia, and you’ll find me calling each my favorite as it arrives, autumn is the real, true favorite. I love a crisp, cool morning. I love watching the leaves change. There’s nothing like wrapping up in my favorite old corduroy shirt of my Dad’s on a Sunday afternoon. Apples. All things pumpkin. You get the point.

Hands down, this year, the upcoming tenth anniversary with the Knight is the biggest part of autumn. Both of us had brief first marriages, and I know that there were plenty of folks whispering that we wouldn’t last. Picture me smug, and happy. To celebrate, I’m finally ordering wedding photos. Maybe I’ll scan one or two for you. I especially love my highly controversial bridal portrait proofs. I had two done; one of just me, for my stepmom and my mother inlaw, both of whom scoffed at my primary poses, which were with my boys – Fred and Mugsy – and then my father inlaw and I have that one, with me and the dogs.

No More Monkeyn’ Around

With a nod to my Knitter’s Knight for the photo, here are the Monkeys. Done. They are a titch big on me, so I hope that means they’ll fit with the negative ease my Sock it to Me pal says she likes. I don’t mind pooling, so I hope she doesn’t either. Sorry for the blindingly white legs, but that’s what I have. They brighten up the photo anyway.
The stats: Knitpicks Memories, in the Red Hat colorway. Size 2.5mm/#1.5 dpns, the bamboo Addis. Only a few yards left over. Each size 9 sock took nearly a whole ball. I enjoyed the Monkey pattern, but have decided that for me, toe-up, short-row heels fit better. (But hey! These aren’t for me…)
So, the socks and their pals will hit the road tomorrow, along with my tea pal’s package, and my portion Jessi’s prizes for winning the bingo game. Congrats again girl!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s past my bedtime.

Be Still My Heart!

The always awesome Michelle has started the best KAL ever. Have I mentioned I don’t watch TV much at all? Well, that has changed, all because of one thoughtful friend/employee/dog & house sitter. He plopped Season 1 on my desk and said, “Watch it. You’ll love it.” As fate would have it, we stopped in to visit his father’s duty crew at the firehouse a few days later – on a Tuesday night – and stayed riveted to the television for an hour. We devoured the first three seasons just in time. You’re on notice – don’t expect any contact from me on Tuesdays from 9-10 Eastern. (I do want a Tivo though; we became accustomed to the commercial-free version.)
I also feel obliged to note that everyone in the free world loves The Needle Lady, except me. Even Anne loved it. I did note they’re polite enough and they have a selection of primo fibers. Maybe I’m just too picky. Dunno. I think it’s because I am a part of the fourth generation of a family business that I have exacting ideas about how my patronage should be valued. I might get over myself (the Knight says his best friend is House and I am what would happen if House and Cuddy [my fav!] had a child) if places like The Loopy Ewe and Carodan didn’t lead me to believe that my expectations are very realistic.
Also, swing by and visit Blume’s Accessories. Like all of the Etsy folk I know, Mary will also treat you right. She’s just getting started, so check in often.
I think the Monkeys will be a completed pair tonight too. Then I can ship that and my tea pal’s package out tomorrow!