Can You Spot the Difference?


I hate those photos… I rarely find all of the differences.  At any rate, I just want to know if you can see a difference between the boucle and the regular yarn in the Omega Wrap.

The Knight and I decided last night that I need several rows of the boucle for it to show up as different.  Can you even tell?!  I only care because I don’t enjoy knitting with the boucle, and if it’s wasted effort…  Sigh. 

In happier news, two packages were on the porch.   One was from Amazon, Wrap Style.  I did order the book, and I want it, but I’m eagerly awaiting my Knitpicks order and ANOTHER book.  The good news is that while I wait another day or two for that book, I can finish up my Omega Wrap and be ready to start the Bigfoot Shawl right away!

My package from The Loopy Ewe  also arrived today.  I scored some of the Malabrigo laceweight, and I got some of the kid mohair to try another Dog Paw scarf with the suggested material.  There’s also more Soak and some kitchner dog tags, for the day when my fickle needles return to socks.

(Wanted:  a good excuse to cast on with the Malabrigo, like I don’t have enough projects in my queue already.)

In other happy news, a couple of my parcels from Wednesday’s big ship-out have found their marks.  Amy got her Pay it Forward gift, and seems pleased.  I knew she’d love the colorway, but I’m delighted that the whole shawl suits her!  Nichole also got her wrap, and was even more delighted than I anticipated.  So, my Pay it Forward knitting is done, but I’ve enjoyed it enough that I intend to continue to surprise my friends when I find a pattern and/or a yarn that calls out to them, as was the case with the modified Dog Paw scarf I sent to Michelle

We now return to the knitting already in progress.  Let the weekend begin!  I do believe my weekend holds some fun and hopefully, an FO, so come back soon!

It’s Later…

My brother inlaw and I snapped photos almost endlessly, but missed almost every shot.  Most of the playdate went like what you see above; the two young gal pups ripped, ran, jumped and tumbled, while the humans took turns loving on Mugsy, who wasn’t interested in such antics.

Sissy’s vertical leap impressed us.  I mean, we knew she could jump but…  She and Sam both used the furniture strategically.

I could share all 20+ photos, but instead, I’ll leave you with a photo that makes me want to have a photo caption contest.  (Note:  I’m not having a contest, but feel free to entertain me…)  What are the Knight and Sissy discussing?  And does Sam *REALLY* have that much interest in Sissy’s harness?

And to my sister, I hope Sam is tired and sleeping soundly.  Sissy is amped up and bouncing off of anything that is bounce-worthy.  She’s not close to stopping for the night.  We enjoyed it, and need to make a standing “date.”   

Come Back Later

gse_multipart11297.jpgIn due time, this will hold shots of Sissy and Sam having their first playdate, with Mugsy looking on with mild disinterest.  We’re carting the Prince and Princess over to Sam’s house (formerly known as my sister’s house) around 7:30 eastern time, so I should be able to show some puppy love before bedtime tonight.

In other news, do go visit Devon and whisper sweet somethings in her comments.   It’s a neat contest, and I know I definitely need to celebrate her bloggiversary, because without her, I’d never have knitted my first sock!

Also, stop in and read Firefly’s Dogs on Thursday post.  It’s true.  Her boys do have magical powers and ooze sweet doggy love from every pore, but I’ve also seen the same magic play out in my own life.  Grumpy, mean customers laugh and scold ME when Sissy jumps on them and I try to correct her.  More to the point, I can be in a foul mood, and just a sweet, caring glance from Mugsy or Sissy reminds me of how much I am loved, and that the world isn’t such a bad place after all.

Happy Little Friday, and bring on the weekend!

It’s Tea Time Somewhere

Mugsy and I are having tea.  (Sissy’s napping.  Gotta’ love those puppy evening naps.)  It’s probably not technically afternoon here anymore, but who cares?!  Are these not the cutest tea tins EVER?!  Straight from London, courtesy of my WordPress coach Monica, come the bus and its traveler’s pal, the map.  Joy! 

They didn’t travel across the pond alone.  They brought along these beauties.  I cannot WAIT to turn this made for me colorway into socks.  (The ones for my mother’s birthday just got bumped down the queue…)  Many, MANY thanks Monica.  They did indeed arrive on a bleak and blustery winter’s day and I am most assuredly cheered by your thoughtful generosity!

I was rewarded for sending out several packages myself by having a two parcel day at home.  This wad of cotton is Knit One Crochet Too’s Ty-Dy, in the very colorway that is in the lead for my Clapotis yarn.  A vendor in my Yahoo Group knits was kind enough to send it to me to try before I buy.  You know I love that kind of customer service, so if it knits like it feels to the touch, I’ll have to make a color choice very soon!

Daylight was fading, so it’s not the best shot, but I quickly tossed out the Oh My! blankie for you to see.  Kiss, kiss, love, love…  this is my baby yarn of choice now.  The static electricity it creates with me is a small concern though.  (Comments?!  I am always shocking Sissy and Mugsy when I wear my Crocs…  Is this a concern for babies?) 

Details:  7 skeins of Plymouth’s Oh My!, 6 for blankie, one (almost to the centimeter) for the shell trim.  I had feared I’d need more for the trim, so I have one ball left over.  That’s ten sets of 35 stitches there, thank you.  The shells were crocheted, and I’m soooo pleased with this whole project, done on #8 Knitpick Metal Options.  I did cast on with the Bryspun DPNs, and I can promise you that the next trip to Knitting Addiction  will find more of those and the Oh My in other colors in my basket.   I think I used a J hook, but maybe not.  I can’t wait to present this to my friend; I very nearly took it to her last night, but then I’d have to whip up another shower gift!  The Knight is demanding a baby hat with the remainder.  What say you?

Look ma, I got gauge!  Me, the loose knitter (or so I thought?), I’m getting 3 stitches per inch on the #10.5 Harmony Options.  Whoda’ thunkit?  So, the Omega Wrap is underway, and I moved up to the Large size too.  I’d rather have to fidget to keep it on my shoulders than have parts smashed or yarn stretched a bit below the shoulders, ya’ know?!  Oh – and Firefly? – it’s a mohair blend.  I won’t make it back to the beach before your birthday, but maybe I’ll find a few skeins for you there…  I saw more of the same yarn there last visit. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go play with the Ty-Dy and make a decision, and I really want to make serious progress on the Omega tonight too.  Last night was long and tedious, so I think I’ll make another pot of tea and settle in. 

Big Lilypad

Ironically, the new slipcover for our sofa is green.  It’s on order, and should be here any day.  How fitting, because Sissy is learning to hop, and I swear I heard Mugsy say “Ribbit” yesterday.

No photos.  I didn’t get home until around dusk last night, and it is raining this morning.  The baby blankie is done, and I can’t wait to show it to you.  The scarf is done too, but I don’t think you need another photo of that. 

Devon asked me this morning what was on my needles.  Nothing.  Sincerely.  I have the start of a snuggle for Sissy on the hook, and I have yarns out for three different projects, but all I can do is cast on, knit one or two repeats, and frog.

Seriously.  My Fred Yarn needs a special wrap pattern.  It has to be big, comfy, and not at all delicate.  I thought I’d found that in Cozy, until after well into the second repeat of the lace, I realized it just wasn’t looking anything at all like the photos.  Duh?  DK and Bulky yarns are rather far apart.  I have lots of yarn, but not the THOUSANDS of yards it would take to make the pattern work with Fred’s Yarn.  So, I spent several hours organizing my loose patterns and searching Ravelry, and I’m pretty sure I ordered Wrapped in Comfort yesterday.  It contains a pattern I believe will be perfect – the Bigfoot ShawlIt’s perfect because it will wrap around me and comfort me, which is what I want, even though Fred was more of a sit on your feet kinda’ guy.  It’s perfect because the Knight was known to call his dear boy a big footed sucker (or something like that) as Fred rolled across a bare, human foot.

So, not caring to start a sock at ten o’clock at night, I pulled out my three lush cakes of Ellen Cooper yarn, and cast on for the Omega Wrap, after much measuring and debating over what size I might need.  I decided to do a medium, and picked up my #8 bamboo circs (which I’d just purchased to use with the Fred yarn, of course).  I have Harmony tips in #10.5, and the pattern calls for #10.  Knowing I tend to knit loosely once I cast on, I thought the #8s would be about right. 

I’m loving the colors, and the mohair blend isn’t unpleasant to knit with either.  In no time, I was into my third repeat, when suddenly, I was overcome with the urge to measure my gauge.  (What?  It’s never happened to you?)

Pattern calls for 3 stitches per inch.  I had a very generous 4.  I shoved the whole mess on the table and went to bed.  When I got up early this morning, literally with no lights on, I frogged.  I knew it had to be done, and I knew it would be easier if I didn’t dwell on it.  I’ve come to accept frogging as a part of the process, thanks to lace.  It no longer pains me to discard even hours of work.  Granted, with lace, that’s more likely and more of a necessity.  I’m pretty good at fixing mistakes, even a few rows back, but sometimes with lace, it’s just best to rip.

One of these days, I’m going to rip the start of the wrap for a someone special.   I get bored easily, and I’ve since learned that what pattern writers call a four-row repeat is really two patterned rows with rows of pure knitting or purling in between.  Plus, I don’t intend for that to be a dainty wrap.  Light, but not fragile, and I’m afraid all of that open stuff won’t be practical enough for the intended recipient. 

Anyhoo, back to the Omega.  (And my little mind hears “The Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.”  Indeed begin again.)  PLEASE help me.  What do I try?  Yes, yes, me gonna’ swatch, and not in the 140 actual cast-on stitches as I did last night.  Do I use my (sigh, used to love them) metal Knitpicks and try a #10?  Being a whole stitch per inch off, dare I try the #10.5 Harmony tips?  A whole inch off.  It boggles the mind, because I generally do knit rather loosely.


Monday Chatter

I really am motivated to get my work done early on Mondays so I can catch up on all the blogs I didn’t read over the weekend.  That means this is a great time to catch you up on some things you might have missed.


BananerKnits is hosting a very special contest.  I already have a yarn in mind, so I just need to pick a pattern and cast on.  Please consider signing up!

Michelle has some tremendous news to share.  I’m not going to steal her thunder, so go visit and celebrate with her.  (I can’t wait until everyone can see it though…)

Anne has announced that sign-ups for the next coffee swap will begin on March 20th.   There’s a contest involving buttons, but I’m not creative, so I wish the rest of you luck!

Just a short list today, but good stuff…

Basset Things

Another photo-heavy post, but y’all know I love to share a great package!

There’s nothing like having an Etsy-seller friend send you a message and tell you she’s holding something she thinks you’ll want.  That’s just what my Ravelry Group Basset Cases co-moderator Piddleloop did about ten days ago.  I’d been eyeing her bags (well, she and her sister are a team) for a while, and this batch of bags was the last of this fabric.  It’s the Sissy-Fred bag, and I’ll be hard-pressed to use anything else for small projects. 

 (The inside.)

 Treats for the pups.

All the other goodies that came with it, and a gratuitous shot of the Prince’s rear… ehm…  Mugsy sure seems to be shoving his way into photos of late.

The precious tin seen above.  How cute it that!?  Pink and hounds!  Sigh…

The goodies came in Hello Kitty bags.  They’re too cute not to recycle.  I know someone out there loves Hello Kitty, but I can’t recall whom…  Is it you, Anners?

I love a fun package with extra treats.  Thanks again, Piddleloop!  I hope to be sending out a few surprises of my own later this week.  I’d hoped to do it today, but Sissy and Mugsy were loathe to get out of the bed this morning, and then Sissy insisted upon taking care of business at home before we could leave…

Then, Paula tagged me with a meme:

4 Things About MEME

4 Jobs I’ve Had:
Payroll specialist, firefighter, dispatcher, accounts receivable clerk

4 Movies Watched Over and Over:
Sound of Music, Men of Honor, A Few Good Men, Days of Thunder

4 Places I Have Lived: Keswick, Warrenton, DC, Charlottesville (not very diverse, but such is life!)

4 Shows I Watch: House, House re-runs, Mythbusters, whatever the Knight is watching

4 Places I Have Been: OBX, Nashville, Chicago, Phoenix

4 Favorite Things To Eat: Dark chocolate, pesto, cranberries, pasta

4 Places I Would Rather Be: OBX, at home, anywhere one of my pals is, in a nice yarn shop

4 Things I Look Forward To This year: My next trip to OBX, my next yarn crawl, getting the cookbook approved, meeting some of my blogging friends in person

Thanks Paula!  Now, I’m not going to tag anyone in particular, but if you’d like to join in, consider yourself tagged!

I’m a Blocker!

Warning: LONG post ahead, with lots of photos.  Grab a cuppa’, and a snack too, and read on.   

It’s been a great weekend here at Haddon Wood.  Friday night, I blocked.  I mean, I REALLY blocked.  (And for the record, how cool is cool water?  Should my hands turn red from the chill?)  Unfortunately, there’s no photo of Sissy standing in the midst of it all, with me screaming “get down!”  so a word to Anne and any other houseguests, this gal is agile and athletic.  You’ve been warned.  For the other basset-savvy folks, I did come to my senses and gently place her in the floor rather than encouraging another wild leap, but…

(Yeah, if you look hard you can see the wrapping paper box there under the bed, or rather, not quite under the bed…)  The blocking wasn’t scary at all, thanks to Mr. Puffy’s mom and the Yarn Harlot’s great instructions (scroll down for the blocking post).  The results were SOOOO worth it. 

So, the scoop:


The blue wrap was done in Debbie Bliss alpaca silk on #8 Bryspun straights.  Sigh.  I’m glad there’s some left over, because I might have to make myself a hat out of this.  Yum!!  The only complain is that if I’m gonna’ fork over my money for a premo yarn, should there really be two joins – knots, at that – in several of the 8 balls I used?  I loved the The Princess Lace Wrap pattern (see Ravelry; my desktop isn’t cooperating with the PDF file link), and would do it again, but I might make it a 3-5 stitch border, because even after blocking, I think it’s not as “flat” as I’d like. 

The shawl (and special thanks to my assistant there…) is the Forest Canopy Shawl in Mirasol Hacho on #7 Knitpick Options.  I used the steel tips because that’s what I had, but I’m ordering the Harmony set VERY soon, as lace has *PERHAPS* eclipsed socks in my knitting passions.  There were no problems with the sharp metal points only because Hacho is such a tightly spun, sproingy merino.  Had I been using something like the alpaca silk mentioned above, I’m quite certain there would have been problems.  (And Bryspun, why must you make such weird [read: awful] circs?  I don’t like that flat join you and Susan Bates Quickslivers use, but I love nothing better than Bryspun straights…)  I’ve already commented on this, but a pattern that is well-publicized as perfect for lace beginners should have said in bold print somewhere that the shawl was coming together from the neck down.  I would have thought I was just a dolt, but I know Jeanne is no slouch, and she had similar problems with another shawl, her first neck down…  As for the yarn, while I love the colors, there are so many soft and wonderful merinos out there, so I’ll only come back to Hacho again if the colorway is the only one that will do.  It was just a bit rough for me after Malabrigo and the alpaca silk, plus the skeins are a little short at 137 yards.

Next we have the zippy quick Dog’s Paw Lace Scarf.  Ravelry says the pattern is available HERE, but it’s not there at the moment.  Nice little garter stitch lace here.  I went out on a limb and changed things up on this one.  The pattern calls for a mohair blend laceweight, but I wanted something a little bigger and bulkier for the nameless owner to be. (Note to those thinking I’m knitting for them – don’t be too sure of yourself.  My intent is to surprise and delight you, even though you MAY see your gift on the blog first.)  I used #10.5 bamboo straights and Bernat’s Soy blend yarn.  Sadly, it doesn’t block worth a hoot, and it specifically says no iron, so I’m at a loss for shaping those yarnovers into perfect paw prints.  I did like the yarn; it has a bit of fuzz to it, as all soy yarns seem to, but I considered that a plus with this pattern.  I could have stopped with ten repeats and used just one skein, but I went for 12.

While this isn’t a FO, I wanted to go ahead and get a good shot while the sun was out.  It’s my first crocheted scarf, and I adore it!  It’s quick, and I cannot tell you how delighted I am to be able to make shells.  You see, my favorite baby blanket (deserving of his own post, which lives in draft form, but I digress) has a shell border.  I’ve decided that since I remember rubbing the shells as a little girl drifting off to sleep, they’re going to be the border for my Oh My blanket, which will end on the current round, to assure that I have enough yarn for five double crochets per shell all the way around said blanket.  It’s done in Bernat’s cashmere blend, and I wasn’t as impressed with this one.  It’s soft enough, but the pretty, rich brown has some very obvious flecks of white here and there.  (See above – third shell on the right section.)  No, it’s nowhere near the price of cashmere, but geeze…  I don’t know that I could gift it, it’s that obvious.  But, since it’s for me and I have so little time invested, even after adding another row in the center, it’s fine.  I chained with a J hook and the rest is done with an H hook.  We’re into the second ball, and the third might be needed to finish the shells… dunno.

Wow, that’s a lot to read!  I’ll save the post about my sweet package for tonight or tomorrow.  I have to go get ready for a meeting, but it’s at Starbucks, so if I haven’t finished the scarf, it will go with me.  If I have, I’ll drag something along to start, because Mommy to be of the Oh My is going to be at the same meeting… 

Hope you’re having a great weekend too!

Wanted: Sunlight

I have so much to share.  I’ve done my first “real” blocking, with pins and the guest bed and everything.  I  have three finished objects and will likely have a fourth, including a crocheted item, before we have sunlight for more photos.  Sigh.  

Crocheting is SOOO much faster than knitting, even when I’m still learning.  There’s something to be said for that. 

Now, back to crocheting, and watching Coyote Ugly for the 300th time. 

Lies, Toes and Tea

I might be a liar and enjoy lounging around my home in sweats, but that doesn’t mean I fail to appreciate the finer things in life.  (Cool your jets.  We’ll get to the lies.)  One of my ultimate luxuries is a good pedicure.  Unfortunately, my certified nail tech buddy moved back to New Jersey, and my OCD issues make it hard for me to just walk in and let anyone grind on my nasty heels with just anything.  However, two dear women in my life get their pedis cured regularly… and they both know who they are, so my little ruse (lie?) worked perfectly to surprise Anners when she needed a reminder of how much she’s loved!  Follow THIS link to Anne’s post showing off her surprise.

However, implicating MJ in my trickery created a small situation.  She enjoyed wearing the Pediwicks for the half a minute it took me to get the photos.  She enjoyed them too much.  So, while there was no threat of her finding Anne’s number and calling to ruin the surprise, I do need to whip out another pair of them to keep everyone happy.  I hope y’all will forgive my sneaky, white lies, because there are still a few other surprises hiding in plain sight. 

While enjoying my day off and working on my surprises, it should come as no shock that I have tea on hand.  Firefly gifted me some flowering teas and the clear pot to best enjoy them.  Today is the perfect day to break them out and give them a try!  This is also a great time to show you how I do tea.  Grab your favorite cup or mug and join me for a cuppa’.

It all starts here with the perfect electric kettle.  There’s a great little dial that I’ve marked so that it heats the water to the right temperature for white, green or black teas, because water temperature really does matter with loose teas.  Best of all, the water heats in no time, so I’m enjoying a perfect cuppa’ faster.  (Utilitea is the brand name…)  I use “tap” water in it, but thanks to the family business, all of our water is filtered, and the water at the kitchen sink and the dispenser in the refrigerator have yet another filter, so what goes in the pot is probably “cleaner” than some bottled waters and most municipal waters.  That keeps the mineral deposits away!   I’ve had it for a couple of years, and there’s no sign of wear, save the spots on the outside from not drying it perfectly last time I wiped it down.

The little clear pot came with an assortment of “flowers” to try, and since it’s midday for me, I went with the Emerald Sun, the only green tea in the selection.  The description reads “Emerald Sun is a cluster of green tea leaves radiating around a white chrysanthemum flower.  Mellow and nutty, the scent delights the senses with its alluring sweet smoothness.”

That’s a little larger than life, but there’s the little “necked,” dry flower sitting in the bottom of the teapot.  The water droplets are because I always temper my pots.  Always.  (Read: swish hot, hot tap water around in ’em before adding the boiling or very nearly so water to brew the tea.) 

Here we are, just prior to pouring my cuppa’.  It says to steep 3-4 minutes, or until the leaves have fully opened.  Well, if I knew what fulled opened looked like, that would help…  I guessed, based on the color of the tea and the way the bottom “stuff” was really floaty.

Here’s the shot of the cup, and the bits on the bottom.  Ordinarily, I use a fine, FINE mesh filter that would eliminate that, but they don’t bother me.  Still, if I was really serving you tea in my home, I would pour through the filter.  I take my green tea without sweetener, and I must confess that while it’s drinkable, I don’t know that I’d go out of the way to make this a tea of regular choice.  I also think I’d try much harder to hit the three minute mark, or maybe I’ll decide the directions are wrong and *NOT* bring the water to a rapid boil, because there’s just a little too much bitterness for my tastes.  They say I can re-steep 2-3 times, so I probably will try it again later this afternoon, and  I’ll see if any of those changes help.

Mugsy thinks we need scones, and he might be onto something there.  We have a long evening ahead of us, with lots of knitting and blocking and lies that will be cleared up soon.