100 Post Milestone

Funny how this whole knitting community/blogging/swapping thing grows. I picked up knitting in late November last year after Anne’s Thanksgiving visit. After a few almost gentle nudges, she convinced me to start a blog so I could sign up for the Knitter’s Treat Exchange. Now, only a few months later, wordy, chatty me has 100 posts, or rather, will once I post this one. Thank you, each and every reader, especially those whom left comments. I try to respond, but if you don’t leave an email address, there’s a chance I’ll forget to answer in the blog. And a special thank you to the wonderful Anne, for sharing your passions with me, even when I’m being a gooblette and need remedial instructions.
Today, Mark and I ran away. He announced last week that we were both going to be off today, which in a family business is rather brash. He didn’t ask his boss – his father – or mine – his mother – but simply wrote our names on the calendar and then made his announcement. No good reason, really. We took his truck over to program the two new remotes, but his cousin would have made arrangements without us both taking the day off, and most certainly, Mark could have driven to Elkton alone. Still, it was a great break, a fantastic treat, and getting to spend time with Gary at work (nothing like bring your cousin and his wife to work day, huh?), surrounded by people who obviously like and respect him was icing on the cake. (If you’re in Virginia, Dick Myers is a great spot for auto needs. If you need parts, ask for Gary and tell him Chan sent you.)
But you don’t pop in to hear me sing the praises my childhood friend/inlaw of distant sorts and/or his employer, do you? And as much as I adore Gary, he’s not exactly 100th post material, so…

After hanging out, getting the remotes and a few other minor parts and repairs and having lunch, we headed home, in a slightly roundabout way. Last week, in a moment of weakness, I did some stash increasing. I stumbled onto a blog flaunting the Tofutsies Sock Club, and, well… You know what happened, don’t you? Turns out one of the best prices I found was one county away, at a shop I’d been told had the best sock yarn selection in the area. (Which means anything about 45 miles from Charlottesville, in any direction.) So, I ordered (and couldn’t stop at just the sock club, but you saw that coming too if you’re a regular reader), and waited. Nothing. Sigh. Finally, I get the dreaded email… I’d selected a color not in stock. (It happens to the best systems, at the best stores, so that’s hardly a complaint, okay?)

So, a few emails back and forth, and Mark and I had a date at Carodan Farms with Caroline. We pulled up in front of the cute shop, which is just steps away from what I assume is her home, and before we were out of the truck, Caroline was coming up the walk. She was friendly, helpful, gracious, and merely smiled as Mark did his best bull in a china shop routine and knocked various notions off the rack, one pair of mittens in the floor, and who knows what I missed. My only complaint is that it is a good thirty minutes beyond Limerick Fibers, which is a good 25 minutes from my house, so… It will be a special treat to stop in, and I would love for each of you to come visit so I have a good reason to go!

First, the reason I found them, the Tofutsies June Sock Club. (Took long enough to get to the yarn, didn’t I?!) South West Trading Company doesn’t seem to give their yarn fun, funky names, but you know I love the pinks, white and black here! It’s a limited edition color, and if I understand correctly, it’s only available in the June Tofutsies Sock Club. The good news is, your own local yarn shop might carry it, but if not, perhaps you’ll give Caroline and Carodan Farm your business. $16 got me the yarn – which I believe I paid $16.99 for in a Richmond yarn shop – and the exclusive “Wild Kat” pattern which looks incredible. (Sorry folks; all non-sock knitting is likely to STOP once my tank is done, which might be tonight or tomorrow. I just have too many great sock yarns and patterns, and Summer of Socks certainly doesn’t discourage me! I did wisely include a few pairs of socks in my Christmas KAL list.)
Next, the yarn that I actually ordered BEFORE the Tofutsies, because it was on the front page of their website, and it called my name. I’m pretty sure I already have some Claudia’s for ME in my stash, but I consider buying her yarn part of my efforts to support another Virginia woman in business. After all, she is based about an hour from here, so that makes her local, right? That’s an exclusive colorway called watermelon, which the artist dyed just for Carodan’s SoXperience, which I just missed this year, dang it! Caroline had the CUTEST baby hat done in the worsted weight, and I see myself ordering it in the name of a baby hat for the friend loving bright colors but enjoying the mystery of her first pregnancy, so… There’s really enough green in there that I think my friend would plop it on her baby’s head, in his/her John Deere onsie, and think it was just wonderful. See the flecks of black in there? I know you do – look in the right-most part of my photo. That makes SEEDS when the yarn is knit up! Dontcha’ just love it!?

Then, Sue had convinced me that I *NEEDED* my own hank of Mountain Colors Bearfoot yarn, and being the impressionable novice that I am, I heeded her advice. Meet my elderberry (the color I really wanted, so I’m glad whatever I tried to order wasn’t really available), which isn’t at all neon, as the flash implies. There was a storm moving around us, and I guess this one shot got flashed… It’s a great, dark, fall-looking hank of deep jewel-tones that wants to be a warm pair of socks for this winter. (And yes Sue, it’s right here within reach, and I can’t stop petting it.)

This solitary ball of Wick waved at me too, and I’m a sucker for friendly yarn. It had no friends. There was a great selection of Wick, but this colorway was alone, and I couldn’t just leave it there. Any suggestions as to what to do with it? It’s only 120 yards, but I’m hoping that maybe I can squeeze a pair of toe-less yoga socks out of it. Truly, I’d love other suggestions. Wick had caught my eye somewhere, probably on one of your blogs, but of course, I don’t remember where, or what you were making…
Last, and honestly, least exciting, are the patterns I picked up. Caroline had probably the best selection of well-organized single patterns I’ve seen. (I’m still searching for the one Anne bought at Limerick’s that I liked too.) I love this little Fiesta Fishbone Lace sock pattern, and for once, I won’t have to stop a pattern well in advance of the written instructions to make myself a short sock! Then, there’s another Oat Couture, Auntie’s Afghan for baby. I even admitted to Mark as he raised his eyebrows at checkout that I probably wouldn’t knit it up, but I actually had bookmarked that pattern back in the spring, before I overdosed on blankies. Knowing how much I’m liking the OC vest pattern I’m doing now, I couldn’t resist. So, as a reward for those of you who made it this far, post a comment about my purchases today, and I’ll use the random number generator to select a winner. One entry per person, and best of luck to each of you!
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Spoiled ROTTEN

Warning: picture-laden post. I just couldn’t help myself!

Where to begin?! I guess I’ll backtrack first and show you the lovely, large granny square Anne’s mom made for me with the yarn from my Knitter’s Treat pal, Barb. I’d wanted to do something special with the brightly colored ball of cotton, and Ingrid’s offer to whip up a granny square for me was too good to refuse, even if my mother inlaw might claim it. Thank you so very much, Ingrid! What a very special treasure that will be. (She stopped by and met my mother inlaw today at work, so I can honestly say that no matter where it finds a home, it will be a treasure!)

I knew sweet Michelle was sending Anne a surprise care package, but imagine my complete and utter SHOCK upon returning home from work to find not one, not, two but THREE packages on the front porch, two of which were addressed to me! One held the treats on the right, presented in that darling little hearts “take out” style box: a cute, cute tea dishcloth in a perfect rose, a Harry Potter bookmark, Bernie Bott’s Everyflavor Beans (aka: HP jellybeans), pink polkadot tissues in a purse pack, and a perfect little tin of mints that appears to be custom-made to match my little Sidekick purse! All of this, just for the privilege of getting to know Michelle while agreeing to help surprise Anne with a package. The world is full of incredible people, and the best of them can be found in the online knitting and swapping community!

That tea dishcloth is too cute, too perfect (I have the pattern too), not to share: You must especially admire the perfect mini bobbles in the top portion of the teacup. Michelle must tell me her bobble technique, because mine is grossly lacking in comparison!

While that was an incredible surprise, there were two more grand boxes on my porch. One was Michelle’s box to Anne, which was indeed a COMPLETE surprise. I worried all day that Anne would be at my house when the box arrived, but as luck would have it, she and Ingrid were still out and about when I got home, so I hustled the boxes inside. Here’s Anne trying to figure out why she’s getting a package at my house:

I have several pictures of Anne pouring over the contents, but you can see her blog for complete details on the very special package she received from Michelle.

Last, but most hardly least, was the package from my Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap pal, which was so much more than I could have EVER hoped for! Obviously, she did some research. Anne and I both oohed and ahhhed through each and every little wrapped item, and then repeated the process as we moved outside after it was obvious the threatening thunderstorm had passed us by. Good grief!! I have been truly blessed with great pals thus far, along with the bonus of some new, great friends too! If the HSKS has a contest for best spoiler, I’m nominating mine, just as soon as I confirm who she is. No, it’s not an anonymous swap, but I’m still guessing, as she signed the card “your pal”. Kit the commenter from way back seems to be none other than Prefect Kirstin, and I’m guessing she’s the exceptionally generous upstream pal o’ mine… Either way, I hope my spoiler will speak up so I can really thank her, because I truly feel spoiled!

Here’s a better look at what’s inside:

There’s two skeins of yarn, both in a bamboo blend, two Addi turbos in size 1, tea, tea soap, tea trays, Cat Bordhi’s book Socks Soar…, chocolate treats, tip protectors (Mugsy thanks you. Truly. There’s nothing that ruins a pup’s nap quite like finding Mom’s needles in his side when he moves into the spot she’s recently vacated.), and a card with a picture of Colonial Williamsburg. That’s special, because I’m not sure we’ll do more than pass by it on the little tour van on Thursday, if we venture into Colonial Williamsburg proper at all. Ingrid is most interested in Jamestown, and Anne, in shopping. As I visit Colonial Williamsburg just about every year, it will be okay if we miss it this time, but it did tug at my heart to see that picture!

Well, Mugsy would like some lap time, and I do hope to finish up my cloth for my pal in the dishcloth swap tonight, so one more grand thank you to Michelle and Kirstin (I presume?). It will be hard to decide what to knit next!

Spoiled Rotten!

I am indeed treated well. My Knitters Treat Exchange spoiler went above and beyond! Thanks again, Barb. As a new knitter, I must confess that I’ve never really looked at Interweave Knits, so as soon as I finish this post, I’m going to go enjoy a cuppa’ and take my time flipping through. Choosing which tea to enjoy from the assortment Barb sent will be tough! The big box in the back (orange in color, with a ball of yarn on top), is Stash ginger peach, which is a favorite of mine, but there are also several “singlets” too choose from too, some varieties unseen to my American eyes. I’ve hidden the Kisses with caramel, because my hubby is as big a caramel fan as I am. (Is that care-ah-mel or carmull?) On the far right are some bath gels and the sweetest little bag of stitch markers you’ve ever seen. As I tend to use scrap yarn or the Lion Brand stitch markers, these are a REAL treat! Then there’s the yarn. THREE skeins! On the far left is the Bernat handicrafter’s cotton in a fabulous varigated green, then a large, soft skein that I’m already thinking will be something sweet for my mother inlaw, and then that grand, bright varigated LaPayla ball on top of the tea. Whew! I’m glad I’ve already signed up for more exchanges. Nothing like a special package to chase that allergy headache away.
I must also give Wolfie a moment in the sun. I know his MommySusie gives him his due, but I am trying to shame Mugsy (see right) into being so civilized. Sue said Wolfie had to have some of the lotion I sent, as in, she had to put some on him! Hear that Mugs? Wolfie’s Mommy doesn’t have to reapply her lotion because he licks it off and annoys her to no end. He simply and kindly has his own lotion applied, the end. I know you’re an old dog, but I keep saying how smart you are, so how about learning a new trick? Instead of trying to lick all the lotion off my legs while I’m trying to get dressed each morning, would you settle for a little pretend lotion application of your own?

So, my first exchange is complete, and it was an incredible experience. Sue likes her treats, I feel very special thanks to Barb, and I am inspired to try hard to make successful matches with my group for the Spring Felted Bag Exhange! (Sign-ups are closed, but mark the site and check in, because I think Anne is going to do another one in the fall or so.)

Just so Mr. Freddie doesn’t feel left out, here’s my favorite picture of the honey hound. He’s much more photogenic than Mugsy, because he’s much more inclined to just be still for more than a half of a second! I must also note that he doesn’t lick lotion, or even bother with kisses very often, but when he does, they are sweet, surprisingly dry little blessings of love!

Contest Entries

See, now that I’ve joined all these swaps, there are the contests. So, for Anne’s dishcloth exchange, I’m supposed to note here what I am most looking forward to about summertime. That’s easy. Toes! While my husband would insist otherwise, I hate shoes. I live for the warmer days when I can ditch the shoes and socks and get pedicures more often than hubby thinks I should. I have a girlfriend with whom we update our “toes showing” status in the spring and fall. A good day is one where we both have toes showing, especially if the toes aren’t too cold.

I’m also working on the Felted Bag Exchange contest questions. I feel I’m kinda’ cheating; I printed the questions to help me track the participants I’m matching up for Anne. I do hope to get through all of the blogs before the deadline for the contest, but we’ll see. I have socks to knit, and that last dishcloth for my mother inlaw, and I do have a life away from the computer and the knitting needles ya’ know.

On a happy note, my secret pal of KTE now knows who her spoiler is, and Sue was pleased with her treats. So, half of my first exchange was a success, and I’m still trying to figure out who my spoiler is. Of course, when the package arrives, I’ll know, but I’m trying to guess before then!!

Lucky Me!

Friday the 13th holds no particular meaning for me. I generally dislike Fridays as they tend to be a little grumpy and chaotic at work, but then again, Friday afternoon brings the weekend! This weekend is a little too hectic to be a great break, but I’m looking forward to my trip to Boston, even if I won’t get to see the outside of the hotel much at all. I’m looking forward to the shower where blankie #3 will be given too, but not the mounds of laundry I need to do to get ready to pack.

Back to my good luck. I had to go spend a small fortune and pick up Fred’s prescription, so that he can remain mobile and pain-free while I’m away (assuming his human Dad remembers to follow the detailed instructions I’ll leave), and pick up lunch for several of us. Well, that path took me very near one of my LYSs, so of course, my vehicle just carried me there. I found some great yarn for my KTE pal hand-dyed by a local artist, and some yummy cotton chenille for my hubby’s face cloth I want to make. No pictures, as I’m at work, but perhaps after my haircut, shopping for very large baby gift bags and cards, shipping out a few treats, finishing the LAST FIVE ROWS of blankie #2, going to a Stampin’ Up party, printing out our Federal Taxes and getting them in the mail, maybe I’ll still have the energy to post a finished picture of #2 and at least the yummy yarn I bought. I also grabbed four balls of Sugar ‘n Cream cotton last night for dishcloths for the mothers for Mothers Day, but that’s not very exciting.

So yeah, I’m lucky. I got out of the office, into the sunshine. I got some great yarn, even if I didn’t have time to venture past the one little spot in the floor where I stood and grabbed the yarn for my pal with my right hand, took maybe one step, and picked up the cotton (I can’t call it chenille too much, because I don’t like chenille!) for hubby’s little “think of me while I’m gone” gift. Then, two little steps to the right, and I checked out and headed back to work.

Life is good.

Blogging is Good

Blankie #2 is about to enter its last skein. So, whether I get to the prescribed 39 inches or not, the end is in sight. That means that it might, MIGHT be ready to be wrapped up Friday night and handed over to the recipient’s sister inlaw for the shower on Saturday, not to be confused with the shower I’ll attend on Saturday, nor with the shower I will neither attend nor get a blankie to another guest to give… Phew. And still get to a family birthday dinner by 6pm.

I’m seeing the use of this blogging thing already. I was able to look back and see that indeed, I have made progress on blankie #2. When it’s a mostly stockinette stitch, little row after little row, it seems I’m just spinning needles, going nowhere. But thanks to my trusty blog, which I was all but dragged into kicking and screaming, I know that I had a very productive weekend, and the end is near.

Sending happy thoughts to The Bag Lady, who is having a rough Monday. A big shout out to my pal in the Knitters Treat Exchange, and to my spoiler. My spoiler knows who she is, but I don’t, while my pal doesn’t know anything other than that she does have a spoiler. Got that?

Knitter Treat Exchange Questionnaire

1. What’s your favourite type of yarn?

Anything that feels good as it is knitted up. I honestly haven’t experimented enough to have many opinions.

2. What’s your least favourite type of yarn?

I don’t know. I haven’t had good luck with chenille and suede, but it could just be me. I also can’t see myself doing lace, but who knows?!

3. What’s the first thing you do when you visit a new yarn shop?

Again, I’m so new to all of this I’ve been in all of TWO yarn shops, right here in my own town. I still find it all gloriously overwhelming. I tend to go in on a mission, and come out with at least one extra project.

4. What other crafts do you do / would like to do?

I scrapbook, and I’ve recently taken up rubbering stamping and card making too. I have done cross stitch and needlepoint in the past as well.

5. What magazines do you currently subscribe to?

Creative Knitting, Southern Living, Virginia Living, Guideposts

6. Put this type of magazine in order of preference:Knitting / Crochet / Other Craft / Food / Home / Fashion / Celebrity Gossip / Garden

Knitting/Home/Food

7. What items do you like to knit / crochet?

I’m on a baby blanket kick right now, but I also enjoyed felting, and I want to learn to do socks… I don’t really crochet.

8. Are you allergic to anything?

Not that would matter here.

9. What do you like to* smell of?(*This is not a typo. The question is: What do you like to smell of)

Gardenia, magnolia, citrus, lily of the valley… soft florals and citrus.

10. What’s your favourite way to relax?

Yoga, walking, knitting, tea

11. You’re stood in front of a Victorian style sweetshop, an Italian cafe, an old fashioned bakery and a dainty tea room. Where do you go first?

The tea room, despite the fact that I am not dainty. I do love pretty china though.

12. What do you come out with?

I don’t. I stay for hours, sipping, tasting, savoring. When I finally must leave, I’ll come out with a yummy for my husband and a local blend of teas, and maybe a neat cup or something. If they have a selection of local cookbooks, at least one of those will come home with me too.

13. Where do you go next?

The bakery. Do they have eclairs?

14. Any other words of wisdom for your pal?

I love surprises! After checking out some of the other questionnaires, I’ve decided to add a couple of things here that might be helpful. I’m not crazy about coffee. I’m not fond of purple or orange, but both are fine in a colorway with other colors. I love regional and local “flavors” or specialty items, so if there’s a great little shop in your town that is awesome at whatever, that would be a great treat for me.