Happy Everything

Today’s your birthday… Gmarie!  Have a very happy one, my friend. 

The DIVA wishes Gmarie a happy birthday

The DIVA wishes Gmarie a happy birthday

Of course, it’s always Happy Dogs on Thursday and a joyous little friday, just because tomorrow’s Friday.

Sissy, Gretchen.  Gretchen... the DIVA.

Sissy, Gretchen. Gretchen... the DIVA.

Tomorrow is the first anniversary of Gretchen’s homecoming.   There just aren’t words to cover how thoroughly we lucked out with our wee one.  She’s truly the best Jack Russell EVER, and I’ve known an awful lot of JRTs. 

Baby Sissy 12-2007

Baby Sissy 12-2007

Saturday is the day of days.  This year, the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival which will provide for the meet-up with Kathy and her husband, is the highlight, but it’s also Sissy’s second birthday, Marjie‘s birthday, Tut‘s birthday and Anne‘s birthday.  (If I’ve left anyone out, I’m sorry!)

A rare photo of both of us 12-2005 (and no, hes not ours!)

A rare photo of both of us 12-2005 (and no, he's not ours!)

Sunday is our 12th anniversary, and the last chance to enter the BBB.   We’ll also be celebrating Sissy’s birthday that day.  Which reminds me…  I need to find some purple frocks for the party…

There are several posts that relate to the contest, so for maximum entries, you’ll have to scroll and read.  If you’re donating something, you’ll need to let me know before 10-25, 11:59 PM Eastern Time, which is the deadline for ALL entries.

Also, Grace is donating her Fennelivore.  (Thanks again, to ALL the donors!)  That gives you some kind of link to just about all of the  awesome prizes.

Lace ‘n Loot

Anitas Grace Shawl

Anita's Grace Shawl

Actually, we’ll start with the loot.  Grace, the  sweet, speedy, wonder lace knitter, has added one of her glorious shawlettes to the prize pool.  (NOT the shawl pictured above – that’s just so you can see her lovely lace!) Thank you, Grace for your continued generosity! 

Glass jewels by TG Designs

Glass jewels by TG Designs

But wait!  There’s more!  Christina donated another special prize.   T G Designs is another pair of talented sisters cranking out beautiful, functional art.  In fact, I have my earrings in at the moment…  The pendant will feature a gold bail, so add your own gold necklace, and you’ll have a snazzy fall look!

I think that covers all of the prizes now.  You’ll have to peruse a few posts to find everything, but wowza!   I really do have some talented, generous friends.  And in the spirit of full disclosure, the vendor/donors are also eligible to win prizes other than their own.    There’s plenty here for non-knitters, so rest assured, I’ll assign prizes according to your interests, with a lot of help from Excel and the random  number generator.

Now, how ’bout that finished object report?

This is the shawl I made for Hope and her parents.   No, it’s not pink, as I’m sure Hope will note, but the Knight lobbied hard for a not too light (for easier care) and not too girly (out of respect for the dad, who would hunker down under a baby pink wrap to make his daughter happy) wrap, so… 

Pattern:  Homespun Shawl is a VERY simple feather and fan stole/rectangle.  It’s just four simple rows, and while I don’t memorize patterns as quickly as some, truly, one look was all it took for this one.  It’s as straight-forward as they come, and I think it would be a great first lace project, as long as you have the will to slog through miles of the same four rows. 

My final measurements, without any real blocking, were 19″ x 53″, right in line with what’s listed on the pattern.

Yarn:  Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky.  My only complaint is that the yarn doesn’t have a colorway name on it.  (Don’t bother telling me if there’s a website that lists the numbers and gives an actual name; it’s one of my hang-ups.  I’d like my yarn to have a colorway name, not a number, right there on the band.)  It’s a shame it’s so pricey, because it’s a great machine wash, dry flat yarn.  Thank goodness for Little Knits and their sales, because that’s where all of my Debbie Bliss yarn has come from. 

I’m calling the colorway Mermaid, because Hope likes mermaids.  Take that DB and your nameless ball bands!  I used 8 balls, with just enough of the last one left over to save for repairs.

Needles:  Knitpicks Options, US #11, 24″ cord, metal tips.  No failure here, I’m happy to say.  I don’t want to jinx myself, but maybe I’ve finally gotten all of the early edition cords that come apart out of my kit.

Crab stitch border

Crab stitch border

Hook:  “What?!” you say?  Yep.  Lookie!  I successfully crab stitched on both short ends.  I might go back and do that on Fredfoot too, since the bottom edge rolls just the tiniest bit…

Anyway, if you don’t know by now, I use nothing but Boye hooks, and this was size J.

The crab stitch is also called reverse single crochet.   While I learned it at a Guild meeting this summer, I did find a nice You Tube video to refresh my memory.  I think that if you can single crochet, you can do this lovely, twistedropelooking edge.

Verdict:  Oh yeah.  I’ll be cranking out more of these, especially if I can find more of this Cashmerino Chunky on sale.   It’s a great prayer shawl, because I don’t think I swore once while I was knitting it, or even while I was crab stitchin’.  There’s nothing but love, hope and prayers in there, aside from the ever-present dog hair that is my signature touch to everything that comes from my hands, heart and home.

Bread and Bars

… of soap, that is.

Wolfe Farms - Herbal Soaps and More!

Dawn has some incredible soaps and is having a give-away.  Be sure to check out her Etsy shop too.  She sent me some of her strawberry herbal soap a while back, and truly, it smells good enough to eat, and feels even better!

Also, in Big Blessed Bash news, CoffeeYarn has offered some of her incredible homemade bread as a prize.  I’d like to show you photos, but flickr and my desktop aren’t talking to each other at the moment…

Since I can’t post photos, please settle for this slim post today, and tomorrow – flickr and everything else cooperating – I’ll give that FO report I owe.

Pink, Pizza

Okay.  If you haven’t read the previous post, it will probably make more sense to go back and do that now. 

download_nbcam_pink_ribbonEveryone knows (I hope, I hope!) that October is  National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.   I think that if you live long enough, this disease will touch your life, in some way or another.  Breast Cancer is one of the more treatable forms of cancer, so ladies… check the girls regularly.

I had my first smasho’gram this summer, and I have to say that it’s not the big, hairy deal it gets made out to be.  I do think the technician makes a difference, but I don’t know how to work around THAT obstacle.

Most of you know I am a Pampered Chef consultant.   I’m rather restricted on how I can advertise, so if you’re interested in any of the pink specials this month, leave a comment and I’ll tell you how you can see/buy them.  I am proud to be associated with a company that supports two great causes – the American Cancer Society through their Help Whip Cancer campaign and Round Up from the Heart which supports Feeding America.

So, there will be a few little pink “door prizes” from my stock for anyone who entered the contest…

Now, for the pizza part.  Because of Pampered Chef, I met Louise.  She runs the Months of Edible Creations blog.   Because of her blog, I’ve learned that October is National Pizza Month.  Today is National Seafood Bisque Day, and if you want to check out the other foods you can celebrate this week, you’ll have to toddle on over to Louise’s blog yourself.

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I’ve donated a pizza party set to the prize pool.   There are two ways to win this particular prize.  If you’ve had a pizza party, you’re automatically entered.  If you have a pizza party this week, that counts too.  You may also submit your favorite homemade pizza recipe to me via a comment to this post.  You’ll get ONE bonus entry for a homemade pizza sauce recipe and/or pizza dough.

Now… don’t expect me to ship prizes on the 26th.   I’ll draw names via the random number generator when I can on the 26th, and prizes will ship as soon after that as I can get my act together.

Only one week left…

… to enter the Big Blessed Bash.   All entries must be received by October 25th 11:59 PM Eastern Time, since that’s my time zone, and at midnight, it ceases to be our anniversary.

I want to thank everyone who has shared their blessings with me.  It seems just about all of you make giving a routine part of your lives, and I guess that’s why I love y’all so much.   I’ve been moved beyond words by your generosity, especially those of you who have knitted shawls, toys, and hats for Hope’s family.

Piddleloop PANK notions bag

Piddleloop PANK notions bag

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the rest of my talented friends who have donated prizes for this contest. 

Mr. Whale

Mr. Whale

Mr. Horse

Mr. Horse

My friend Jen and her sister are Piddleloop.   I love their bags!  They use the cutest fabrics, create their own designs, and are always donating to assorted causes and charities.   I can’t thank them enough for donating so liberally!

Not THESE tape measures, but a pink and purple one...

Not THESE tape measures, but a pink and purple one...

Anita donated tape measures, because, well… Sissymonster rules in Anita’s heart, and Sissy loves ‘Nita’s tape measures so dearly.  Click on the photo to go to her Etsy shop, which also have her adorable stitch markers.  Thank you Anita, for always donating a prize for whatever I’m doing!

These are MJs, but you could win something of the sort...

These are MJ's, but you could win something of the sort...

Ann is making earrings.  MJ is still getting credit for that venture, I believe, as she saw the first stitch markers Ann made me and begged for earrings…  Those are slightly larger than in life so you can see the details.  Thank you Ann, for all the earrings MJ and I already have and for the great pair someone will win!

Some of Nichole's work...

Some of Nichole's work...

Nichole has stitch markers on their way to me.   Again, you won’t win THESE markers, but it’s eye candy just the same.  I fully appreciate my friends’ donations, and I told them that as long as I have the items by the 26th, that’s all that matters…  Thanks, Nic!!

A couple of prizes will be shipped directly from said vendor/donor.  Gmarie has donated a needle roll which I’m most eager to see, and if I’ve left anyone out, it’s only because I have no mid-range memory anymore.  Thank you again, ladies.   Your friendships sustain me and your talents inspire me.  It’s truly my pleasure to share their talents with the rest of you, and if you’re so inclined to support their businesses, all the better.

There’s one more prize category to discuss, but it is going to have a separate post, so either come back in a bit or scroll up or down (depending on how you read blogs)…

It’s Soi Me!

Blue Rhapsody Soi

Blue Rhapsody Soi

Saturday, I met Rosanne for lunch and a little shopping.  We were both very sad to hear that Wild Greens is closing at the end of the month.   It’s conveniently just a few doors down from the local Vera Bradley retailer, where I met Soi.   Soi is a part of the Frill line-up, which is marketed at a younger (read: teens, or “girls” as the description reads), but it happens to meet my needs in a bag.  The exterior is laminated, featuring the usual interior fabric from the Signature line, and the interior is the “big girl” exterior of the same colorway.

Interior of my Soi

Interior of my Soi

I lucked out.  My Blue Rhapsody isn’t listed as a Soi color option on Vera’s website.  It’s a little tall/deep for what I’d normally carry, but we’ll see how that works out.  For now, I’m dropping a small project bag in the bottom, and my red (see her peeking in the bottom of the above photo?) Maggie on top.

It’s been very chilly here this weekend, but I have an FO and am working on another WIP that I need to finish by the end of the week, and I’m about to cast on for Gretchen’s first handknit sweater.

Check back in on Monday for more Big Blessed Bash prize previews and a special sub-contest.  Yesterday was Kathy‘s birthday, and tomorrow/Monday, I’ll try to run down all the birthdays this week!

Wishy Washy

I had hoped to have an FO report for you today, but I haven’t had the knitting time I anticipated this week. 

That’s the quick feather and fan stole I started last weekend.   It’s for the family I keep kinda’ not mentioning here.  I will finish it this weekend if I have to knit in the hot tub!!

The title?  I can be indecisive.  We’ve known this at least since high school, if not before.  I generally refer to it as my fickled nature, but actually, I was thinking of the complex saga we had as we unexpectedly had to replace a washing machine this week.  Many of you know I called off car shopping not because of the economy, but because I got overwhelmed by my own list of requirements and the Knight’s conflicted conflicting opinions.  However, I actually knew what I wanted in a new washer, even though I didn’t do any real research.  (Go ahead.  Gasp, open your eyes wide, and otherwise mock me.  I was shocked at myself too.)

Here’s the timeline:

Monday afternoon:  The Knight calls me at work to note his load of work clothes didn’t spin as dry as he thought it should have.  (Okay… I’m at work, he’s at home, he’s handy, I’m not… ??)  I told him that happens sometimes, re-spin, dry and life goes on.

Pickett does necks, not clothes

Pickett does necks, not clothes

Look at this face.  I know I’m lucky that he does his own laundry, and sometimes, the household stuff too.

Tuesday afternoon:  I opened the back door and found the Knight coming out of the laundry room with what looked like Santa’s sack meets sunshine yellow.  He wasn’t smiling.  I should have photos, but the washer is now in our side yard, in several pieces, awaiting dry weather and a ride to the dump.  Did I mention he’s handy?  He took it apart (after moving the dryer into my study) to see if he could fix what was broken, but no such luck. 

Tuesday night:  He went to his meeting, and I made a quick trip to our podunk Lowes to pick out what I wanted, after being told we didn’t have room for a front load washer.  (Much pouting happened.)  I came home with time to fix dinner before NCIS and three options.

Wednesday:  The sainted Knight canceled a meeting in part because he knew getting a functional washing machine in place was important.   Good thing.  What we both thought would be a quick trip up the road turned into a full-blown ordeal, complete with a call to Cherry Pie to see if he’d come bail the Knight out of jail, if it came to that.  (The Knight doesn’t do well with sarcastic sales people.)

At 9:42 Wednesday night, my Knight had the well-earned priviledge of running the first load through our new washer.  Just so you know, even if the website AND the in-store ‘puter say a model is in stock, it isn’t.  And if you fall in love with a model not on the website, that probably means that model has been discontinued.  Some Lowes  lazy idiots  places don’t seem to realize that when a model is discontinued, the floor model *IS* for sale.  Luckily, after a rotten customer service experience (which provoked the Knight to arrest-worthy snarks) in podunk and two attempts to shop in other stores in the big city,where evidently, they were saving money by not employing sales staff, we FINALLY found a “press for assistance” button that sent a nice, helpful lady who sold me the washer I’d bonded with over 26 hours before.

Really?!  Is it supposed to be THAT complicated?!  And because I know someone will ask, no, I don’t know what we bought.  It’s a GE Profile model with a shiny, stainless tub, and no agitator.  It has little trays that pull out from under the back panel, in the tub area, where you put the softner, soap, etc.  I’d get you a photo, but it’s not online because it was discontinued, remember?

Current fiber in progress

Current fiber in progress

Before you ask, no…  I won’t be doing laundry all weekend.  I’ll be knitting, spinning, letting the Wii Fit insult me because I didn’t have time to get on it Wednesday night after all the walking through four stores, much less last night, and that should about do it.

Surely, your weekend plans are more exciting than hiding from the rain with fiber and a rude video fitness game?!