Poor, Poor Pitiful Me

Warning – the precious little knitting content is at the bottom.

That’s what Mugsy is thinking. It has been a rough day, for both of us.

Annual visits to the vet aren’t bad. My dogs love Dr. Nancy. (If you live in Central VA and need a good vet, leave your email and a comment.) But today sucked. Mugsy’s 11+, so we weren’t expecting anything eventful. Here’s how the “goin’ to the vet” day works:

The dog in question goes to work with me. This is considered a treat for the dog and the employees not working in the office. Those in the office are excited for precisely as long as it takes dog in question to get on their last nerve, generally less than ten minutes. You see, as Anne can attest, both of my doggies believe the world revolves around them. If you don’t see it that way, they will attempt to educate you. So, at some point, we head to the vet, where said dog also walks in like he owns the place, and the dear people there seem to encourage these notions with too many treats, kisses, and glares at me when I attempt to demand manners from the dog. Afterwards, we swing by Arbys, where the dog gets his own small roast beef, hold the bun for Mugsy, but not for Fred!

That’s how it went for the first part. Then, Dr. Nancy looked at me over the top of her glasses when I mentioned Mugsy’s “loose hip” was acting up. Dumb me. She has a million patients, but *SHE* remembers it is his left hip, yet he is favoring his right rear leg today. Uh-oh. So, after the shots, toenail trim, looking at a warty growth on his neck, letting him lick her face, etc., she asks me to give her a hand. She begins to manipulate his right rear leg, all the while telling me that normally, they have to put the dog under to perform this test, but we both know Mugsy has a whopper of a pain threshold, and he will let Dr. Nancy do stitches, staples, etc. without the usual anesthesia. The result: my old baby has a torn ACL. Surgery isn’t an option because of his age and his size, so for EIGHT WEEKS, no fetch, no long walks, no running, no jumping, etc. With a bit of luck, enough scar tissue will develop to support the other ligaments in that knee.

So, between two shots, the whole temperature taking-thing, and a long day at the office, Mugsy is exhausted. Too much so to protest posing with the two packages that arrived today. The long awaited, twice-shipped Charmed Knits, and my prize from the Charmed Knits contest, Not Your Mama’s Felting are here. The Creative Knitting is in there to remind me to tell you that my July copy never arrived. Sigh. I’ve filled out the appropriate online form on their website, so hopefully, I’ll hear from them soon, and it will arrive soon too. POUT.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go snuggle the invalid and flip through my new books. And knit, of course.

Mixed Bag

That’s what today has been. Highs and lows. Ebb and flow.

The high points – a great chat with my awesome Sockza spoiler. Some cute finds for upcoming packages (and no, you can’t see!). Ice cream sundaes with friends. Winning the drawing for the Charmed Knits week #2 contest.

The lows – a friend’s sweet mother has cancer. Lung, breast and likely more. Another friend is moving back to New Jersey. Hubby hit a deer last night (but the fire department’s insurance is covering it, so that’s not as low as the others).

Some retail therapy is in order. I did a bit of shopping today (awesome stitch marker find, and once I give them to their intended recipients, I’ll share the grand source), but much more is in order tomorrow, after some sleep.

Why I Swap

Take one very hectic week. Add in a missing order from Amazon. Add in very little time to knit. No time to check blogs for the swaps I am helping hostess. Don’t forget the little dog with separation anxiety and too much pent up energy, or the strife only a family business can experience, and you have a frazzled woman. Until now.
TibbersSox mentioned I had a box on the way. Even though Amazon and the mail carrier (a woman on my route, thank you!) are struggling, UPS and Tibbers found me. Sweet joy! No more grumblings about my spoilers, at all. Scout’s honor, and I was a Girl Scout for something like seven years! See all that loot? Mine. From someone I still don’t really know. A kind note, chocolate (already hidden from the man I took vows to love, honor and cherish, but there was nothing about sharing my peanutbutter cups!), two bottles of water with a note that one was for the walk, and one was for when I got home from walking (how did she know I have a fanny pack with a bottle holder?), some lotion I cannot wait to try (and I will indeed, as soon as this post is complete), beautiful stitch markers and my first skein of homespun. And a Tao tea assortment, containing some of my most favorite blends.

See there? Homespun! She doesn’t even know me either, and she sat down and spun for me. How can I let a long, full week get to me when there are souls like that in (Arizona?) the world?? I can’t wait to cast on with it. Spinning is something I know I will never take on, because there’s just too much knitting to do, too many hours of work, and too much to do at the firehouse, etc., so I am very much in awe of those who do spin, and I truly feel honored to have received such a wonderful gift from someone matched up with me in a swap. Heck, I’d feel special if it came from a friend, but from a virtual stranger?! There is hope and goodness in this world.

Those are the stitch markers. There are several of the spinning wheel, which is great, because I will think of TibbersSox when I use them, and of her wonderful gift of homespun, even once the homespun is knitted into its final form. The little sheep is precious, and the ball of yarn with needles is great too! And blue. I like brights, and that bright blue is enough to light up my day on its own! Did you make these too, Tibbers pal?

There’s only one problem with TibbersSox. See that? Mugsy did. He’s cool with cats, but Fred is another story. We won’t talk about what Fred does with cats that venture onto his property. My dogs are very curious about any pal that meows. 😉

Since this is my only knitting post of any real value in about a week, here’s the sweet little beanie that I hope is already safe and sound in Charmed Knits collection world. It’s just the first of several, I hope. The color isn’t really that bright, but y’all should know by now that the camera and photo alterations are way down on my things to master list. I’d be a truly happy camper if Amazon would let the book behind this pattern, the KAL, the blog, etc., find its way to my house. Since it didn’t arrive today, I’m calling and/or emailing about it tomorrow. POUT.

And, a bit of housekeeping, so to speak. Yeah Anne, I *KNOW* I was supposed to just pick up my mp3 player and hit shuffle, but I don’t have speakers on my computer at work! So, I cheated, and you get a little more insight into me.

I’ve also been tagged again, and I will tend to that tomorrow. Checking on the contest entries for my group will also happen at some point over the weekend, so it’s now or never gang! I will also pick a winner and post some news about my pending tea swap this weekend too, so one more chance to post a comment or idea there too!

Thanks to everyone leaving comments too. And one more grand, heart-felt THANK YOU to my Sockza spoiler too.

Have Sock Will Travel

I do hope you’re in the mood for photos. If not, well… skim ahead to the text portions, because it’s a photo day here! I’ll lead off with the Charmed Knits beanie. The colors are a touch off; the blue isn’t so vivid, and the heather is a cross between the bronze in the books and the silver in the movies. It’s the small size, so it’s moving right along. When not in the study for its photo op, it lives on the arm of the sofa, so that I can garter stitch away while using my laptop. I hope to finish it up tomorrow or Monday, so it can be owled away as my first finished object for that worthy cause of a knit along.

Next, we have the sock’s travel entourage. The book with the pattern within, my own Booga bag, in service as intended, toting a little project, and the sock itself, with its supporting cast of Inox teflon coated 6″ dpns, and the nifty little thingee from The Loopy Ewe to hold it all (yep, FIVE needles) together. (The Pampered Chef potholder didn’t travel. It is merely an aid to better display the colors of the Lorna’s Sheperd Sport yarn, also from The Loopy Ewe. The sock and its ability to travel kept me from acting like a bored eight year old as we shopped for a truck for the hubby. No, there’s nothing wrong with what he has, other than it’s not precisely what he wants, and as his sweet cousin (a manager at said dealership) tried to explain to me, my hubby just likes to get another vehicle every 3-4 years, whereas I am a “use it up” kind of gal. Now, mind you, I love trucks. I like what we looked at today. But… Never mind. This is a knitting blog, and the point is, the sock had its first road trip and we were both happy.

There’s the happy young sock. You can’t see the four-row repeating pattern (beyond the cuff) so well, but you can see the great colors in the yarn, somewhat. Browns, dark mossy greens and a nice, strong blue… The stuff jeans and clogs dream of, or at least, mine do. Come fall, I’m going to have some happy feet, jeans and clogs. For what it’s worth, I couldn’t visualize shoving all ten points into those bright blue caps, but it’s not bad at all, and it worked like a charm. Believe me, we had lots of starts and stops. First, we had to make the 45 minute drive across the twisty-ist roads in two counties to get to the cousin’s house. Put away the sock. Then, switch to the cousin’s truck. No knitting, as I hadn’t seen the cousin in ages, and we all grew up together and always have much to say, even when we did see each other almost daily. Then, we arrived another 30 minutes later at the dealership. Looked at three trucks. Drove around. The sock got to see that part of the world, got tucked away for lunch, and then tucked away again for a return to the dealership… You get the point.

Here’s a picture of the pattern, sorta’. Hey, I’ve learned to blog, knit socks via Magic Loop AND now, dpns. You can’t expect great photography too. I do like the addition of the cuffs, at least, as they stretch and live on the needles. Of course, the difference between sport weight and worsted weight yarn could have something to do with the whole feel thing too, but there’s still so much smaller to go with these sock yarns! Thank goodness The Loopy Ewe carries all sorts. (When is the next sneak up? Hubby’s asleep now… Why wait?)

That last paragraph was written with Mugsy in my lap. He thinks he should go truck shopping too, especially if the sock gets to go. He requires a lot of exercise and cuddling, and he got little of either today, so I need to wrap this up and take care of the poor boy.

One last little piece of business, before I tend to Mugsy’s wishes. THAT is why I chose this book for my first dpn sock. Each little section (the blocks you can barely see) is a ROW. One single row, although the repeats aren’t written out. The red lines denote a change in the portion of the sock being constructed. Very detailed, bite-sized direction. That’s right up my alley, at least until I get comfortable with the sock lingo and such. But, we’re getting there. I seem to have found my groove. Anne seems to think she’d rather gouge her eyes out that knit with dpns, especially after her most recent effort, which I think will be documented in her blog. Me? I’m feelin’ the dpn mojo. Those little buggers just shift a bit as needed, and it flows, where the Magic Loop (as in noose?!!) was a lot of pushing and pulling for a bit of knitting in between, for me. I stopped almost mid-stitch a time or two today, shoved the points in their caps, and had no trouble figuring out where I was in the row or pattern, which would hardly have been the case with the ML. My mind evidently likes circles better than loops, as crazy as that might sound. I guess even the best of friends can’t agree on EVERYTHING. 😉
Coming, Mugsy…
PS – I have my yarn for my Felted Bag Exchange’s pal’s bag now! (And no, you can’t see!)

ParaSox, Devon’s Contest and More

There. FINALLY. A pair of socks! Yeah, the yarn’s the same dye lot, and I’ll show a close-up of the differences in the leg in a bit. There’s also very nearly a whole ball left (want ball winder – NEED ball winder for birthday… someone tell Mark, please?!), but for my first pair, better safe than sorry. And yes, I’ll be casting on in dpn tomorrow. Tonight, I’ll eat dinner and email, and maybe cast on for my first hat, which will be for the Charmed Knits KAL. I’ll be a good Ravenclaw and make my own colors first, mainly because it’s time for something without green or pinks or tans.

I’ve been having a GREAT time chatting with some of the awesome knitters in my groups for the Spring Felted Bag Exchange and the Spring/Summer Dishcloth Exchange. Once again, I must tip my cap to the knitting community of the online variety. Kind, engaging, wonderful folks you are! So, in my efforts to be a good hostess, here are my answers to the questions *MY* great pal and hostess for the SSDE, Devon asked:

(Note: A little trick I learned checking my group’s blogs yesterday… A visual tag helps find contest entries!)

What is one baked item you love making or buying and why?-
Tough, tough, and YOU know it, Madame Hostess!! Love making?? Grandma Vallie’s Strawberry Cake, because the inlaws swear it tastes just like hers, and the compliments will sustain me for weeks.
What is one item you love to knit and why?-
Socks! They’re challenging, small enough that Mugsy can still sit in my lap, and quick enough that I don’t get bored.
Favorite outdoor activity and why?

Walking and/or playing fetch with Mugsy. I love being outside, and walking is about all I can still do. Sharing it with the only other being in my house who enjoys exercise makes it great fun!
and lastly –Favorite way to relax?

Yoga. Most recently, Zoe’s meditation session at the end. (I always poo’d meditation, swore it didn’t work for me, etc., but that’s the problem with having a friend’s little sister as my yoga instructor; she’s very comfortable telling me to just try it, and I feel obliged to try.)

And continuing with the contests, SFBE’s current offering:

Where you live, what signifies the beginning of Spring? A favorite flower blooming? Snowmelt? Pollen (Cough cough, gak, here in ATL, thanks) Post something up describing how you knew ‘Spring had Sprung’ for you!

The first sign of spring, that it’s REALLY here, are the crocus. However, my favorite flowers to see blooming are daffodils. There’s nothing like a sea of yellow, fluttering gently in the breeze. The spring greens of the new leaves popping out are beautiful too… And then there’s BASEBALL! When TBS begins showing the Braves at least a couple of times weekly, spring’s sprung, and summer isn’t far away.

Now, back to the socks. Here’s the close-up of the legs, with the significantly different patterns/colors. That’s called “pooling” on the left, correct? Anyhow, I love them, and would wear them tomorrow if it wasn’t going to be nearly 80 degrees again. Sigh. Monday and Tuesday of this week, I was wearing clogs and socks. Dang! All in all, I’m proud of myself, and I don’t hate Magic Loop, Anne. 😉 I’m not in love with it as a way to knit socks, but I definitely don’t hate it, and will be using it on my next little felted bag.

Now, I must sing the praises of Knitpicks. Not just the outstanding Options, but their whole company. My order arrived today, and in it were four precious balls of Ambrosia, in grass and mulled wine. (Two each color.) I did not order this yarn, and ironically, had been discussing alpaca yarn (and other things alpaca) with my husband’s uncle, with whom I also work. I called, expected them to send a “will call” ticket and the yarn would be on its way back to them, but no, the sweet gal in customer service only wanted to know which colors I had, and then said for me to enjoy them. So… now what?! What do I knit up with my free yarn!?

The Morning After

I’m feeling a bit silly about how proud I am of my first sock. It’s a cool, rainy day, so it’s a shame I didn’t have a pair to wear; I *SO* would have worn them today. How many more 50-something degree days will we have before October?

Thanks for the positive feedback about my first sock. It was quite a trial, but I’m looking forward to casting on for the mate tonight. Before or after my yoga class though? Decisions, decisions. I have the dishcloth for my mother inlaw to finish too, and I want to start my first beanie for Charmed Knits. I’m also expecting my first order from The Loopy Ewe any day, and I know that will have me itching to try my first dpn socks! So much for my notion that I would be a one-project at a time knitter.

I’m *THIS* close to deciding what to do for my Spring Felted Bag Exhange pal. The down side to trying to select the right pattern and wool is that I’m finding DOZENS of bags I want!

I was asked in the comments section if I like shorter socks. Most definitely. The pattern called for 8″ of leg, but I stopped at 6″, and would have stopped at 4.5″ if it hadn’t been my first pair. Ironically, my daily knitting calendar showed a cute little “footie” yesterday. That’s a must-do pattern! Except in the dead of winter, as long as my heels are covered, that’s enough sock for me.

In general, I do prefer brighter colors, but I loved this colorway, and still have hope that I’ll be able to wear them at least once before the permanent heat wave settles in.

It’s a slow day in the office (can’t you tell?), so I think I’m going to go shopping. Gotta’ love the internet.


I’ve frogged more in the last couple of days than all the other times combined. I hope to finish the sock tonight or tomorrow, and pictures will follow. I couldn’t have done it – literally – without Anne and Devon, my sock coaches. Anne did make me feel better last night, after I’d frogged the gusset and started over at the end of the heel turn; she pointed out that I was learning two new techniques at the same time – Magic Loop and socks. Yeah, but… DANG!

I am already planning my first dpn sock project. My KTE pal Sue and Devon have had some great suggestions there, and I placed my first order yesterday from the Loopy Ewe. No, I won’t tell you what I selected; you’ll just have to wait! What fun would it be without pictures anyway?

In other news, I got my Felted Bag Exchange match on Sunday, and my Sockapalooza pal yesterday. I think Hogwarts Sock Kit matches are forthcoming, so PHEW!! Three irons in the fire, but it sure is fun.

Speaking of which, I do believe the answer to this week’s Trivia Question is Voldemort.

Sadly, all this frogging means that my Charmed Knits hat is still waiting to jump on the needles. I have finished Rachel’s KAL, and I’ve started on the camper, near the bottom of this page. When the camper is done, the beanie will become my non-sock work. The question is, do I use Slytherin colors or Ravenclaw? With all the frogging I’ve been doing, somehow, the Slytherin colors seem more fitting.

Get Your Trivia…

I completely forgot that we’re supposed to be answering trivia questions for House Points. So, if my prefect is looking, the answer is Voldemort and Dumbledore. That’s a nice, Ravenclawish blue there, to help her find it! I still can’t believe that I get to combine two passions – knitting and Harry Potter – not once, but twice! There are the Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap and Charmed Knits, one for rather selfish fun, and the other for a great cause. I plan to start my first Charmed knit probably next week. I have that KAL dishcloth to finish, and the first sock to hopefully polish off this weekend, and that will allow me to whip out one last dishcloth for my mother inlaw’s Mothers Day assortment. The first hat comes after that. My husband’s blanket’s yarn is now back ordered (just the yellow, but then two other colors I’d selected were from an outdated color chart), so we’ll be well into May before I can start that. I’m not happy, but such is life. I can say I’ll be ordering most of my yarn online from now on.

Oh yeah. There are the baby blankets too. Both will be in non-gender-specific colors, but they’re not due until July. The blankets, that is. The babies aren’t due until August and September. Lots of knitting will be happening here!

Learning Curves

I’m learning. Patterned dishcloths are best done on solid colors, especially if the pattern is an OBJECT. The first photo is a nurse’s hat, as my mother was a nurse (and so was HER mother), and the second is a Mothers Day tic-tac-toe board. Sigh. Live and learn. I bought lots of solid colors today.

I also bought the yarn for my husband’s summer/cotton blanket, which won’t likely be done for THIS summer. It’s a Lion Brand Pattern. If you search under “fireman” you’ll find it. (It is of the for sale variety, so there are no good pictures, really.) The pattern says to “cross stitch” the designs over the finished sections, but I’ve decided I don’t think that will look right, nor will it stand up to a man who likes to have his dogs sit with him. So, I’m going to attempt to turn it into my first intarsia work. Joy! I also had to order the yellow, the black, the grey and the taupe I’m using instead of the second grey, because fire hoses aren’t really grey, except right after a fire. My husband also wants the engine to be green and white, because our station’s fleet is indeed green with a white top, and he wants the helmet to be white, because he’s a battalion chief. We’ll see about that one; I wear black, he’s worn black, red, yellow and white, so he’ll get whatever helmet I feel like giving him. The white might not happen simply because I’m not buying skein # 18 just so he can have a white helmet. If the dalmation doesn’t use up all the white, he’ll get a white helmet. I’m using Brown Sheep’s Cotton Fleece.
I also need to do the dishcoths for my mother inlaw’s Mothers Day gift, but I had the yarn for that. It’s just flecked with color, so I hope it will work out okay. I bought some Lions Brand Cotton Ease in terracotta to try, because it felt great. I also bought a linen cotton blend to try, because another customer in the LYS whispered that she liked that best. Same customer also recommended Knitter’s Stash, which I then rushed to my local bookstore to buy, as the LYS was sold out. I grabbed three knitting magazines while I was there, and one of them will go to my secret pal, so I can’t tell you about them, or about the other goodies I picked up today. I plan to ship out on Monday, so maybe by the end of next week, I won’t be anonymous anymore.
Since Michael’s is next door to my bookstore of choice, I had to go in. I picked up a book there too, on felted bags, but I’m not even saying which one, because there’s a chance I’ll make one out of there for THAT pal, when the time comes! I picked up some Wool Ease there, in Ravenclaw (book) and Slytherin colors for my Charmed Knits projects. I’m generally not much on shopping, but I had to shop for my pal, and I had to buy that yarn to start hubby’s blankie, so it’s not my fault the other things found their way home with me. The LYS owner even agreed that the yarn bought for hubby shouldn’t count as part of my yarn purchases, because he asked for it!
So, not much excitement here, but there will be a few FOs this week and next, and since blankie is done in sections, progress reports are possible too. I’m also kinda’ waiting patiently to begin the socks TBL, The Pro and I are going to start in due time. I have enough yarn to keep me out of trouble for a while.
Did I mention it is finally spring here??