Ravelympics Week 1

My team "uniform" mostly designed by Jessi

I promised some knitting content today.  It’s a stretch, but I’ll manage to keep my word.   I am wrapping up Citron, which is NOT a Ravelympic entry, and next on the needles will be Multnomah.   (I’ve included the free pattern links here because I do have a lot of non-knitter, non-Ravelry readers.  Both are shawls, if you’re not really curious.)

Citron is being done in the most luscious alpaca lace, custom-dyed by NH Knitting Mama early in her dyeing career.   Ironically, this yarn is “old enough” that it was a competitor in the summer Ravelympics two years ago too!   I’ve struggled to find the right pattern for this yarn, but it found its soulmate in Citron, and I look forward to sharing an FO report soon.

Multnomah is a mouthful.  Barbara and I are having our own little KAL for two with Gypsyknits yarns on this shawlette.  As if knitting “with” a friend, using another friend’s yarn isn’t special enough, the colorway is called Victorian Tea.  Gmarie also owns a hank of it.   Because of all of the details, I call this project V is for… 

I also expect it to earn me my first Ravelympics medal.

Isn’t Bob (the Ravelry owners/founders’ Boston Terrier) dapper?  

I do have other projects in other events, but we’ll need something to talk about another day, right?

What’s up for your weekend?  We’re rather giddy about the sunshine and warm weather, even though melting snow and already saturated ground makes mud.

It’s also Vintage Vegas time!   I promise a photo of my attire.  I ended up purchasing a total of five dresses in the last week, although only two were with this gala in mind.   As a result, I have a lovely, lacy spare that I vow to get altered in the next few weeks so I have it when I need another party frock, but as of this morning, I’m going with the LBD (little black dress) I bought and a nearly pink wrap Ruth gave me when she and Jim were here, in memory of my friend. 

Have a great weekend, whatever you do!

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Whirlwind Weekend

I don’t even know where to begin.  It was a fun, full weekend, and we’re not done yet.   Go grab a cuppa’ and a snack, and then we’ll see how much I can cram into one post. 

First, we have to slip back to the contest prizes.  More have arrived!

It’s not a great photo, but it’s been rainy and/or overcast here since I honestly don’t remember when.  The sun almost made it out yesterday for a while, but not when I was at home.  The yarn is a custom colorway from NH Knitting Mama, just for this contest.  The colors are some of my favorites, as noted in my recent coffee swap questionnaire.  The stitch markers are from InsanKnitty, and while the photo is inadequate, there’s a cute basset hound and a bone amid the ruby red beads.  Thank you so much Amanda and Michelle

Speaking of Michelle…

We had a great weekend.  Friday night, we went out to dinner, hit the grocery store, and then sat up late knitting and talking.  Saturday, we headed out for Carodan Farm.  It was a pretty drive through the countryside, with redbuds and blooms galore, but Caroline was as accomodating as ever.  I wanted the April Tofutsies yarn and pattern, so she kindly walked over to her home, unpacked a skein or two, downloaded the pattern, and brought it back over.  While Michelle had no trouble finding yarn, I touched everything and yet, I wasn’t moved to buy much.   I had this feeling I was leaving something behind.  When Caroline asked if she could help, I jokingly asked what she would feature in the shop newsletter that would find me saying “Shucks!  I wish I’d seen that!”  She laughed, and left the shop again, returning with Online’s new cotton sock yarn, the whole box, so I could see all the colors, and with some Elsebeth Lavold Bamboucle (which for whatever reason, didn’t make it into the photo). 

I love that pattern too.  The sample was done in Koigu, which of course, I have in my stash thanks to my Red Colorswap pal.  I was torn between the Anne and the Heather yarn, but the Anne came home with me.  The Bamboucle is a must-see.  It’s not so boucle, and it’s actually cotton, bamboo, linen and nylon.  I think it will be a little scarf, but who knows?!

 

It would truly take all day and dozens of photos to show you everything Michelle had in this basket.  There were treats for the dogs, shortbread which the Knight is sure were for him, teas, flavored syrup…  and three new magazines.  I am going to take a moment to mention that I’m sorry I let my suscription to Creative Knitting expire.  They have a new editor, and the whole feel of the magazine is different.  (Yes Jessi, that’s Spin Off, and a subscription is in order.)  Knit Simple is always a good choice, and the assortment of “tee shirts” they offer is sure to have something for everyone.

Then, there are the highlights from the basket.  I mean, everything in there was obviously selected by someone who know me well, especially my requested candy-coated sunflower seeds, but these are the things I thought the rest of you might appreciate and/or “need.”

Love this very sleek mug.  Can’t wait to drink from it, and it might get a quick wash for that early evening cuppa’ I’ll need after this long composition.  Yes, it’s slightly assymetrical, but that’s part of its charm.  I like brown a lot too, so even without loose tea packed inside, it’s a keeper!

 

 

 

 

 

Next, there’s a treasure I think some of you will have to special request from Michelle’s shop.  (She is indeed the InsanKnitty linked at the top of the post.)  It’s a yarn cutter, taken off the chain, and slipped onto a clip, with some very “me” charms added.  I’m still thinking the blue teapot needs to move over to my charm bracelet.   This little baby is going to be clipped on my project bag, and it will go everywhere with me.  No more worrying about my scissors on planes, as Caroline pointed out when we were looking at the cutters in her shop. 

 

 

 

I loved Pez dispensers as a girl, and this little one delights me to no end.  Could it be any cuter?  It has a hook to be a keyring, but I know that with my life, it would be dirty dingy in no time, so I’ll have to think of a nice, clean place for it to live. 

 

 

 

 

 

The folks at Lindt are so clever.  Isn’t the little black sheep precious?  I hate to rip the foil, but you can bet that if I don’t, the Knight will. 

 

 

 

 

Can you guess what this is?  Yep!  It’s the cutest tea ball EVER.  It’s now offical; I’m going to have to collect novelty tea balls.  I had no idea they made anything fancy or silly, but isn’t this fun?  Even the metal “tag” on the end is a little slice of citrus. 

 

 

 

Michelle had been taunting me all week last week about her secret project.  Sigh.  It was worth the wait!  She hand felted this adorable little rooster, bless her heart!   He’ll have to find a very high, very safe perch, because Sissy’s reach expands a little every day.   

Michelle also made me a very sweet cloth with a “profile” head shot of Winnie the Pooh, but I just can’t get a good shot of it.  It’s hard sometimes to get a good photo of a cloth, and you know I’m not a great photographer.

 

There’s so much more, but this is already very lengthy, so I’ll stop here for now.  There’s a photo of Michelle and me just before she left this afternoon, and much more about tea and friendship, but the Knight wants to take me to dinner, so you’ll just have to wait!

PS – Where did spell check go?!  WordPress, what have you done!?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Was it *MY* birthday?!

I had a great day yesterday with one of my dearest friends in the whole world.  Firefly  and I have been friends for forever and a day, as the saying goes.  Yesterday, we spent the day stomping around one of the two spots in the world I consider a hometown – Warrenton.  (The other spot is obviously home now…)  The yarn crawl was bookended by two great meals with her OH, starting with lunch at the comfy chic It’s About Thyme, and ending with supper at the very down-home Pig ‘n Steak.  (Sign of the times that each has a website, eh?)

We’ll get to the yarn crawl, but go grab a cuppa’ (I’m having chai this morning, with blueberry bread) and a snack, and tuck in for a long post.

Before we look at what moved south to my house, let’s check out what was waiting for me at home.  (Not the Knight; he was also out with friends when I returned, and y’all see enough of Mugsy and Sissy…)

The incredible yarn at the top is “Tulips” by NH Knitting Mama.   I got to help name it!  It reminds me of tulips, and I’m looking forward to seeing mine in another month or so.   The Knight actually planted some that should be the very blue of the yarn, and we debated over a funky purple that would be close to the kinda’ grey in the yarn too.  I’ll have to take photos when they bloom and we’ll compare notes.  Someone remind me, okay? 

So while I’m on the subject, pop over and check out her CONTEST, tell her I sent you, or head straight to her SHOP for some of her to DYE for yarn yourself.  Really folks, it’s incredibly soft, and the colors are soooo vivid… You really do need to see for yourself!

The rest of the photo is my Knitpicks order.  I couldn’t wait for Alison’s book to arrive!  As I predicted, I’m struggling to race through the rest of the Omega Wrap so I can get started on the Bigfoot shawl in there with my Fred yarn.  There are so many great shawls and scarves in there, and I truly adore the history of the inspiration for each one included within.  Each of you NEEDS this book.  Every pattern is rated from beginner to experienced, and the instructions are provided in “words” and charts, whichever you prefer.  Go on, order it, and while you’re waiting for it to arrive, check out the free patterns on her website, which also include the snippets of history behind their designs.

And yes, the cable is to replace the one Sissy ate.  She’s doing much better these days, and has trained me to put my knitting up when I leave the room.  I just wish Knitpicks would sell the silly little “key” tool thingamabob by itself. 

Still with me?  Good.  Here we go…

First stop in quaint, downtown The Plains (and yes folks, *THE* is part of the name, thanks much), is Hunt Country Yarns.  Friendly and helpful, even with a full shop, they carry some truly primo yarns, which I enjoyed petting and left there.  I nearly bought so many things, but knowing Firefly’s favorite shop was yet to come, I paced myself.

That’s Cascade Sierra Quattro, probably for MJ’s pediwicks, but really, to “test drive” for my Clapotis.  I’ve decided that 800+ yards of cotton just SCREAMS “slog along” to me and would doom the project.  There’s also a sweet little Addi crochet hook, because Addi rocks, right?  I also finally settled on the I wonder what Sissy is doing now I miss her Panda Wool, which I’d not seen before.  (Socks for me, in case you were wondering.)

Then, ventured to My Favorite Yarn Shop, tucked away on a Warrenton side street I hadn’t been on in over 20 years.  It’s not to be missed.  Firefly was sorry I’d missed the owners, but the daughter of one owner holding down the fort was sweet and friendly.  They have the complete line of Bryspuns, which I’ve only seen in such quantities at Knitting Addiction, and just a great variety of yarns of all sorts.  If you’re on Rt 29 anywhere near Warrenton, swing in. 

After fondling just about every yarn in the place, I finally settled on what would come home with me.  It was also here, after carrying around some Ty-Dy for the majority of my visit, that I decided I needed to trust my gut and admit that I didn’t want to knit 800 yards of cotton, much less a dropped stitch pattern.  With that decision behind me, I went a little crazy.

Note the notions.  I’d just finished telling Firefly on the way to The Plains that I try to pick up my notions at Ben Franklin’s or JoAnn’s, because they’re cheaper.  Sigh.  Couldn’t help it.  Y’all know I needed “crochet” stitch markers, and those little rubber disks are my favorites, and I didn’t have the pink and blue set.  I also didn’t have any #10 straights, so now I have ’em in my favorite straight brand.  That’s Morning Moon wool in the happy, spring colors, and I love the colors so much I very nearly bought two more skeins for the Clapotis, but reminded myself it’s supposed to be my spring/summer wrap…  I couldn’t leave Ocean Breezes there once I had it in my hands, and it was only with some fiscal restraint that Victorian Lace Today stayed behind.  (The patterns within are rather advanced.  I’d need a few more basic lace items under my belt first!)  However, the Ella Rae Palermo was irresistible, so home it came.  I also couldn’t resist more Wick for more pediwicks, and that was all the yarn library enhancements I made. 

Thank you for sticking with me through the whole post.  As a reward, I’ll whisper that yesterday was indeed Firefly’s birthday.  She doesn’t like to make a big deal out of such things for herself, but if you’re inclined to stop in and wish her a good year or something…  It’s not like I did my normal birthday bit of putting her photo up and titling the post accordingly, right?!  Now, I must go hold Sissy and try to knit around her.  I still hope to finish the Omega Wrap tonight!

On Topic

Remember in high school, or college if you were liberal art-ish, when the teacher wrote in red pen “off topic?”  Come on, some of y’all are as chatty as I am, so I know I’m not alone.  Well, after quite a bit of not-so knitting content, I’m pleased to announce this post is about (!!) knitting.

First, there’s an FO, but you have to go to Ravelry to see it.  I’ll show everyone later this month, and it still needs to be blocked, but my first “real” (read: not sock, needs blocking) lace project was completed last night.  I can’t say I’m crazy about the pattern.  I’d planned to do several of ’em, but maybe not now.  I found the center repeat portion beyond tedious.  The pattern calls for 29 repeats, but I only did 22 because the recipient is short, and I STILL wanted to slit my wrists, even at the tortoise’s pace of two repeats daily.  The two end sections?!  Easy, breezy, no hassle.  It’s not just the repetition; I just had to REALLY concentrate on the center section, and the Knight kept wanting me to look at assorted dogs online, Mugsy coughed and/or wanted out and/or to play ball, the phone rang, etc.  I’ll start a draft of a review post for later.

Then, I couldn’t help myself; I cast on last night for the next lace project.  It’s the Tuscon Lattice Shawl from the new 101 DESIGNER One-Skein Projects.  No, it wasn’t on my original list of shawls for this yarn, but see above; I think I have Knitter’s ADD.  This is a sweet, quick 4-row (with the two odd numbered ones being “purl to end”) pattern, on BIG needles.  It will be a lovely, light wrap for a special lady, and with only one repeat, I’ve memorized the pattern already.  Sorry socks; this is the travel piece of the season.  That, and I just adore having the NH Knitting Mama’s alpaca yarn run through my fingers.  (She has more.  Go get ya’ some.)

Last, but hardly least, more knitterly goodness arrived in the mail yesterday.  I’d ordered from Michelle’s Etsy shop.  Fun and festive, eh?  And note the cute little sock-sized marker on the thank you! 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to knit with the smooshy alpaca.  You don’t care if I fail to do Christmas cards in favor of more knitting, do you?

Waiting is the hardest part…

My Anners needs a good laugh, and a couple of other friends are waiting for the rest of the story, so why not let the world laugh with me?

Herein lies the reason we *ALWAYS* should carry some knitting with us.

Y’all know the Knight and I work together. He has a work truck, and I drive my personal vehicle, since I only leave the office to pick up lunch or run to the bank. Well, for reasons still unclear to me, the Knight announced around 10:20 that he was going to take my vehicle to meet a product rep on a job site where there was a rather interesting problem. (Picture this: 6,000 square foot luxury retirement home. Every time the water pump cuts on, the lights flash and the phone goes wonky.) I turned down Uncle Bobby’s offer for lunch, because I just knew the Knight would bring me a barbecue from one of our favorite spots. By 2pm, I had eaten enough pretzels to choke a horse. By 3:45, Mugsy was restless, and my vehicle still wasn’t back. Eventually, I left in the Knight’s work truck.

That was a sight. I hadn’t driven a manual transmission in about ten years, much less a heavy-duty work truck with all kinds of pipe hanging everywhere. (Sorry there’s no photo, but keep reading.) With the moral support from the employees hanging around to see if I’d hurk and jerk my way out of the lot, Mugsy and I headed home without incident. (I drove fire engines. It REALLY was no big deal.) One of those employees had wisely suggested that I confirm that there was a house key in the truck. I did. Oddly enough, it was on the left side of the steering column, behind two other single keys, on a key ring holding a massive glob of keys.

Oh, but you’re getting the idea, aren’t you? Yep. The key I thought was mine was my brother inlaw’s key to who knows what. (PLEASE tell me why the Knight thought it made sense to hang his brothers assorted keys there for over a year?) And when the Knight confirmed that, he was still on the job site, across the county. No big deal, right? Mugsy and I walked to get the mail. That killed a few minutes. We played fetch until I realized I didn’t have any water for my furbaby. That killed a few more minutes. We opened the mail, which took WAY too long by Mugsy’s standards, because there were two wonderful packages to help me pass the time.


The first, I ripped open. It’s not quite so bright, but we’ll try for a more accurate shot tomorrow in sunlight, *IF* we have any of that. It’s more NH Knitting Mama’s yarn! This time, it was a custom order for a special gift. (And that’s all you’re getting out of me right now. The holidays are coming you know!) It’s the greatest, softest, laceweight alpaca yarn you’ve ever rubbed all over your face. I can’t wait to cast on! Seriously y’all, rush over and snatch up the last few hanks of any of her yarns on her Etsy site. You won’t regret it, and you’ll save me from buying that coffee and cream… for the Winter Wonderland Coffee Swap, of course.

So, picture me sitting on my back steps, stroking my yarn, throwing the still yellow tennis ball for Mugsy, while I rip into the second package, from Wendy the wonderful! (I wish I COULD have taken pictures, but my camera was inside, and I was saving my cell phone battery for more calls to the Knight.) One of the reasons to host a swap of your own is you get to meet more people than just your swap partners, and Wendy is an excellent example of that. I mentioned that I wanted to try the new Cranberry Blood Orange tea by The Republic of Tea, and she offered to send me a sample of hers. Sweet, right?! Hold the phone, because she sent that, some Bonkers Orangesicle, and an authentic South African Rooibos! All three are new to me, and I had planned on having a cup tonight. You know, as soon as the Knight got home and unlocked the door.

Back to our story. I found one of those nylon canvas chairs that rolls up to fit in a yoga mat bag type case outside, after I’d tried to stretch out on the cardboard that had contained the new hot tub cover, to no avail. One hour ticked by, and Mugsy and I were still chillin’ and doing a bit of the fetch thing here and there. I even lucked out and found a clean, sealed water bottle in the Knight’s stash he uses for training fires. Mugsy can now drink from a bottle, thank you very much. Just a wee, steady stream and almost none will be wasted.

Just shy of the two hour mark, my back had enough. I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t sit in the chair, I couldn’t sit on the steps without pain. So, I called the Knight. He was finally headed home. Poor guy. I never really had been angry, but even the very frustrated part had faded away with the extreme wait. When at the two hour and five minute mark, the Knight pulled into the drive, Mugsy even stopped fetching to greet the man. We had just enough time to shovel in a quick dinner and get to our meeting.

The moral of this story? I’m switching over to that brown bag that has room to be a purse and a project bag for daily use. Even had I had a project bag with me, it would have been in my vehicle with the house keys. And we’re getting a hide-a-key too, but I can’t tell you where I’ll put it.

And I think the Knight will be getting me an even better anniversary present now.

Go ahead and laugh. The Knight’s not in trouble, Mugsy didn’t get overheated, and all’s well that ends well. But I *STILL* wonder why he wanted to take my vehicle!