River Dance

How ironic is that title?  Well, if you live from my northern edge of the mid-Atlantic northeast, it’s not funny at all.  A local friend is waiting and hoping that the rising James doesn’t flood his garden plot, and Kathy has some scary, impressive, raging river shots on her blog…

However, timing aside, this post is about a long-forgotten finished object.  Way back in the spring of 2008, the River Citiy Knitters  guild had the very talented Renee Leverington design a stole for their KAL.  (Knit A Long, for those not in the know.) 

Project:  My First Mystery KAL Shawl    As the project’s name suggests, it was my first mystery KAL.  To date, it’s my only one too. 

Pattern:  River Dance.   It was offered only in charts, which was fine for me because I tend to use charts more than words, but don’t have a strong preference for one over the other, but a few members just didn’t like or couldn’t get the hang of reading charts.  What I didn’t like was the segmented design, which reminded me of a cross stitch sampler, and I never cared much for those either.

Yarn:  The intent was to have all the guild members who had participated in the KAL show up at the holiday party sporting their stoles, so I contacted Amanda and got this lovely wine-colored superwash.  Happily, I didn’t use up all I bought, so I have more for another project one of these days.

Needles:  My Ravelry notes say I cast on with a #8, then knitted with  #7 straights.  Well over a year, almost two later, we’ll have to trust those notes.

Verdict:  I’m not really mystery KAL material.  I don’t like surprises in my knitting, especially in my lace.   I am sorry it took me about 15 months to lightly block this bugger, but it finally told me with whom it should live, and that person happens to be capable of blocking it to her own heart’s desire.  Especially with superwash, I feared that if I blocked it HARD, as I like to do, she’d not have the option to leave it a little denser if she thought she’d like it that way.

Got your curiousity up?  Good. 

We still have two more items to review from yesterday’s marathon blocking session.  Both of them have been given FO report time here, so I’ll just flash blocked photos and ramble a bit.

… and that’s what I did this weekend.  Not very exciting, but productive just the same!  How was your weekend?

Fido Friday

The dogs are at work again.   Sissy’s over at Uncle’s desk, getting started on payroll for me.  (This photo was actually taken last time Sissy was in the office, pre-Gretchen.  She seems to be content to stay off the desks now.)  I’m amazed at how much progress we make with them when they can come to work.  Sissy is back to responding to visual cues, and Gretchen is asking out, rather than relying on me to pick up on her little signs that come only when it’s almost too late.

My knitting mojo seems to be back.  It seems that I really have to find that happy place where a fun pattern and a great yarn meet to form a true knitting zen experience.  It seems I can’t just knit something because it’s the right thing for that person, and that makes gift knitting rather tricky.  More on that another day though…

imbuyingbooks_button

Blogging has allowed me to discover several folks with interests very much in line with mine.  Monica is one such gem, and through her, I found out about a campaign I’ve always supported, unknowingly.  Books for the Holidays is a great concept, encouraging us to stimulate the economy AND the minds of those we give gifts.  There are reviews and suggestions for different genres and age groups too.  Will you consider both giving books and spreading the word?

I’ve always given and received books for most gifting events, but a few years back, I stumbled upon a book that I knew several of my nearest and dearests would like.  I think I bought five copies that year, and a tradition started.   Sure, my friends and relations include a lot of rabid readers, but I also try to gift the youngest folks on my Christmas list with a book or two too.  Maybe I was a strange kid, but I loved books then too!  I still have my first set of Tolkein’s books about those hobbits, although I bought a new collection a few years ago too.  (Okay, maybe the Knight does have reason to fuss about my library.) 

I always look forward to getting a book or two from my favorite cousin and Bec.  Our interests are similar, but they stretch me a bit too, gifting me with books I might not have picked on my own, but neither of them has ever failed to give quality, enjoyable reads.

I know some of you do audio books.  I keep saying I want to try one, but I haven’t yet.  The idea of knitting and “reading” at the same time seems almost too good to be true…

This is another full weekend.  Tomorrow, a guild meeting and Thanksgiving with the Knight’s duty crew at the firehouse.  Sunday is relatively normal, with a meeting at the firehouse in the evening.  However, next week is what we call Hell week at our house.  The third week of the month is always hectic, but this month, the League moved its general membership meeting up a week to accommodate Thanksgiving travel. 

How ’bout you?  Anything fun planned for your weekend?

Mood Music

Music makes my world go ’round.  Lately, I’ve been stuck on XM channel 8, which is all ’80s, all the time.  I guess for three minutes or so at a time, I can remember what it was like to not have a care in the world, other than getting a paper in on time, or whether to buy a new dress for the next formal (duh?  yes?). 

My weekend was, as the trend seems to be going, not much like what I’d planned.  It started Friday afternoon, when a call to my aunt to confirm Sunday’s furniture pick-up turned into “let’s do it next week when we can really enjoy the visit.”  I walked back in the house to this:

Gretchen (aka: Sissy) was four-footing in the woods and tangled with a bee.  It was really rather impressively swollen, but she kept hunting, and trying to learn to walk on fallen trees.  By the time I went to the firehouse for dinner, it looked rough.  The grape children’s chewable Benedryl didn’t do much for it by bedtime, but when I gave her a second one in the morning, within an hour, it was markedly improved, and by noon when the Knight got home, it looked normal.

I wish I had a cute, current shot of Baby G.  Oh my goodness, how she made my WEEK!  From the first moment I held her at just a few hours old, that baby has had my heart like no other.  She knows it too.  She rarely kisses her own father, yet when I shouted her name across the firehouse bays, she threw her arms wide and practically jumped into my arms, immediately pressing against my shoulder with her own little brand of upright spooning.  While I was soaking that up, she picked up her head and gave me a kiss, smack on the lips!  I got another before dinner, and yet another when they were leaving.  It’s the simple things in life…

Saturday, I was up bright and early to head to the River City Knitters meeting with Rosanne.  The bit on podcasts was interesting, but I still think I’m a reader.  If there’s noise, I’d rather have music than someone I don’t know talking to me.  If you go to the Show and Tell page, you can see me with Margaret (blogless) and our socks.  She did contrasting toes, but I wasn’t excited about contrasting toes, for some reason.   Margaret’s look awesome though!

Yes, yes, I finished the second motif sock, just in time to gift on schedule, but that post will have to wait.  After the meeting, a group of us went to lunch together at PF Chang’s.  Robin was having something delightful that I couldn’t resist; I don’t know the name of it, but the shrimp with the melon balls and glazed walnuts was outstanding!  It was great to see Mary again too.  Katie and Alice were there too.  (Hurry up and click on Alice’s name to see that INCREDIBLE waffle weave towel she made!)

Rosanne kicked off my birthday celebrations on Saturday with a great tote full of goodies.  I’m not about to blog about every gift I receive, or even all of the yarn-related ones, but Rosanne is a gifted giver, and as always, there are a couple of items that if I didn’t share them here, I’d be remiss in my duties as an enabler.

Firstly, there were these beautiful stitch markers from Better Bead It! Designs.  They’re truly little works of art, made from glass beads.  I need a better system for storing all of my pretty stitch markers; some are in the pouch Mary made for me, but you know, stitch markers comes in different sizes, and now, I have crochet markers too…  So many accessories, so little well-designed storage!

This is a coffee table cookbook if ever there was one.  SIGH!  The Knight has been watching the cupcake craze, and wishes he’d been able to have a cupcake “cake” in lieu of our wedding cake.  There are some impressive ideas within, and I might – MIGHT! – just be inspired to create cupcakes galore for his next birthday.  The food stager and photographer(s) for this book have my deepest respect, and if you happen to live near Charlottesville, let me know.  I might be in need of an outstanding food artist…  Oh – and be sure to click on the photo and go visit the website.  I haven’t joined the club yet, but you never know…

After a great morning and afternoon with friends, I knitted a bit and then headed to the station for dinner again with the Knight and his duty crew.  Bless the captain’s heart…  He and the Knight prepared a feast, to celebrate his wife’s birthday (Sunday) and mine.  He even made us a cake, and I’m sure you’re sorry the Knight didn’t snap a photo of the two of us blowing out our candles together.  She’s quite a bit younger than I am, so her wise husband simply gave us two candles each.  The guys muddled through just about the worst rendition of “Happy Birthday” I’ve ever heard, so much so that I began singing to my fellow celebrant too, in an effort to drown them out.

Sunday was lunch and thank you cards at the inlaws’ house, followed by the Knight snoring while I knitted.  I’ll do an FO post on the socks soon, and probably before dinner tonight, I’ll finish the hat that’s been languishing for weeks too. 

How was your weekend?

 

 

 

 

I Spy…

We used to play that game in the car on road trips.  This weekend will find me taking a couple of little trips around the state, and much more.  Saturday morning, I’ll meet Rosanne at our usual spot, and then we’ll journey to our knitting guild meeting.  This month’s training topic is on podcasts, a subject about which I am very curious.  Since I used to be an instructor, I like to do my homework, so if you’re into podcasts, tell me why, and when/how you listen.  I like blogs, love the reading, and it’s something I can do at work.  Podcasts require speakers (something not on the work PC), and listening ears, which I don’t have at home.  In the evenings at home, I’m either trying to get Sissy the exercise she needs or the Knight is watching TV and/or talking to me.  Not exactly a listener’s environment…

Sunday, I think we’re going to stay in town long enough to have lunch with the Knight’s extended family at his parents’ house, but we’ll have to bug out and leave them to start on the Thank You Notes without us.  (Yeah.  SNOL if you will, those who know the Knight.  Like he’d even sign his own name on a TY.)  I feel that’s a fair compromise, because I’m sure they won’t finish tomorrow, and I will have at least a few to help with on Monday at work.  Even if they do finish without me, frankly, I feel it’s fitting and more socially correct for the TYs to come from Pop’s children, not a granddaughter inlaw, right?

Then, we’ll head to “The Gateway to the Northern Neck” and with a rather bitter twist of fate, close out my grandmother’s estate by picking up my furniture inheritance.  They’re calling for storms, but we’ll take tarps and tape, and it will be okay.  Hopefully, we’ll be able to have supper with my aunt and uncle before we head home.  Dodging storms would be nice too.

Never mind that we don’t have room for the furniture.  I want it, and we’ll make it work.  I’m still hopeful that we’ll quit talking about an addition and actually BUILD one some day.  I’m just hoping the big mirrored coat rack bench thingee has storage in the bench.  Guess what I want to hide there?  Of course!  Yarn! 

I’m also going to finish the motif sock this weekend if I have to pull an all-nighter.  I wanted it done for tomorrow’s show and tell at the guild meeting, but that ain’t happenin’.  This will be my last non 2 at a time socks for a while, because I do indeed have second sock syndrome.  I can’t imagine how painful the stockinette foot will be, but at least I have lots of travel time for mindless knitting.  I may have to get Rosanne to stop somewhere tomorrow in the City (Richmond, as opposed to the village I live in) to get me a book light, just in case Sunday evening’s return trip is in the dark.  Sure, it’ll drive the Knight up the wall, but he’ll feel sorry for me and just shake his head…  He doesn’t need to see anyway.  Both of our vehicles can make the trip from the farm home (or vice versa) on auto-pilot. 

SoXperience

Well, here we go.  Grab a beverage, a snack, and settle in somewhere comfortable, when you have more than a few minutes…  I didn’t take photos.  I took my camera, but I was too engrossed in my classes to even think about it!

Saturday morning, I headed northwest to Carodan Farm for SoXperience.   I’d signed up for both of Edie Eckman‘s classes, Motif Crochet (for Knitters), and the Blue Ridge Sock with Flower Inset.  When we checked in, we got a great little goody bag.  The yarns are much prettier than this photo shows; deep, dark jewel tones, and so very soft to the touch.  The yellow wad is Post-Its, which I think most of us use in one fashion or another while knitting.

HERE is the link to Edie’s teaching schedule.  She’s going to be teaching five or six (I can’t recall which) classes at Stitches East, and I sure hope at least one falls while I’m there.  I stongly encourage you to take a class from her if you get the chance.  I really wasn’t excited about the Motif class when I signed up, but figured I’d approach it as a learning experience.  Ha!  I am now chomping at the bit for the August release of said book!  I might become a happy hooker after all. 

So, the Motif class. 

I made that.  ME!!!  (You’d really be impressed if I’d blocked it.) My very favorite part of the first class was the super-cool cast-on Edie taught us to avoid crochetintheroundholeitis.  See how tight and closed my motif (ME!  I did it!) is in the center?  Squee!  That alone was worth the price of admission.  Now I can crochet chemo caps in a few minutes, because I’d cast them aside when I couldn’t close the dingdang hole at the top.  I can read crochet charts now, and boy are those things logical.  What you see is what you get, and it doesn’t get any better than that.  I think Edie had all of her swatches (from the cover shot anyway) for her new book with her, and let me tell you…  If you drooled over the colors and shapes in that measley photo, again, you owe it to yourself to see Edie and her swatches in person.  The colors are so contemporary and vivid, and it was so helpful to see the same swatch done in solids vs. contrast, or the three circles done in the pattern I did (ME!), but with three different borders/edges.  I don’t visualize well, so actually SEEING the differences in person was impactful.  I now truly feel that with patience and dropped shoulders (just in case Edie does read this), I can crochet most anything.

The afternoon brought another motif and a sock.  I’d actually done one of these suckers about five times (if you count how many times I did part of the pattern before even “don’t frog” Edie suggested I go back to the point of non-mess-ups), but it was in DK weight, and y’all know I’m a fingering weight gal.  So, thanks to blogless Margaret from RCK (my knitting guild – Judy and Carrie were there too!) and her D-hook, I produced one motif on my second try, and took off on my sock, on a size #3 circ, which was then frogged at home after I tried the sock on.  I’ll show progress shots later this week, but with my trusty size #1 Addi, I’m making a sock that fits.

The yarn was a custom-dye by Claudia for SoXperience, Blue Ridge Blue.  The DK weight seemed a little deeper and darker, and one gal in the afternoon class said that the first sample she saw was MUCH darker, which would match up with my idea of the Blue Ridge Mountains better than what I have, but I still like the yarn and the colors.

After the class, Edie made good on her offer, and with just the Magic Loop booklet and my feeble explanation of what I thought might have gone wrong on the heels of my first attempt at two socks on one circ, I am quite sure I will have complete success on my next try.

I also grabbed some of this month’s Tofutsies special yarn, Bandstand.  It’s very lovely, and I’m curious about this knit flat cuff that starts the pattern that goes with it.  That might be next on my sock queue…

So, my question is, does this count as knitting in public on WWKIP Day?  I mean, I wasn’t at home, but I don’t think we opened any non-knitter eyes as we were back on the farm…

 

Ooh, Shop-shop

The Knight is already rather grumpy with me, because he had to have an insurance physical this morning.  He’s going to cross the line to peevish when he checks his email (we share a Paypal account, sadly…).  I might not have so quickly made my purchases this morning if he hadn’t been such a grump!

See, while reading Jessi’s blog, I caught a glimpse of some lovelies in her Etsy shop.  I just *HAD* to have the handspun, and when I saw that the sock yarn was named Outer Banks, I couldn’t resist. 

I wouldn’t be ashamed if not for the online shopping I’d already this week.  It started when my pusher, er… friend Ann, sent links for me to see what she was doing while working.  (Hey, it’s not her fault it was a boring meeting!)  I fell in love with one of the colorways, and according to the USPS tracking number, it will be in my mailbox this afternoon.  I purchased two skeins, because I love the colors, love bamboo blends, but most of all, because as a child, there was a MASSIVE Hemlock tree in our front yard.  When thing got rough, I’d sprint across the yard and crawl under the great lower limbs, which brushed the ground, but left a nice space for little me near the trunk.  I grew to love the dainty hemlock cones, and since that house and tree are just a distant memory (both still stand, but I’m not one to visit former homes now owned by strangers), I want to make myself a hemlock shawl.  (No, I doubt it will be the Hemlock Ring, as I already have one of those, gifted to me in green even!)

But wait!  There’s more!  Cass is another pusher.  I have friends with great eyes for what I like, and thus, I followed Cass’s link to KnitspotI didn’t buy any of the patterns my friends whom had already discovered Ms. Hanson’s designs are using or coveting, but the Wing o’ the Moth in its scarf version is just what I was looking for to knit up that lone ball of the luxurious Superior I purchased last week!  Purchased and downloaded, and I will likely cast on this weekend, as soon as I get caught up on the RCK Mystery Lace KAL.  (Ravelry link only… sorry!) 

Oh, and I haven’t showed you what mine looks like, have I?

I love this yarn, and the color is just fabulous!  Here’s a shot of part of clue one.  That part on the needles has eight repeats, only one of which is shown there.  I did another last night, and hope to finish that up plus start on clue #2 tonight.  Yes, it does look rather like a scarf.  I’m using the #6s called for in the pattern, because I like the way the stitches look.  A lot of women are using #9s, and everything in between, to get a bigger stole.  The designer insists my little wad there will block to 20″, and I’m going to trust her.  Those Bryspuns are 14″, so it’s not totally inconceivable…

My other project that wants to jump on the needles is the Lace Ribbon Scarf.  The KAL began on Monday, but I told myself that I must complete clue #2 on the RCK KAL first!  I’m actually going to use the suggested yarn in the pattern, Alpaca Sox, but only one skein, as short me only needs the 60″ one skein will supply.  Plus, pat me on the back after all the stash building I’ve done this week, I had that in my stash!  It might turn into a gift, but right now, it’s for me.  I’m being a very self-centered knitter, it seems.

Monday is one of the precious few paid holidays we get here at the family business, so I’m making the most of my long weekend.  As you can tell, I have lots of knitting planned.  Stardust is coming right along too.  I’ve started on the left front now.  I’ve joined the tie to the side panel, and I’ve moved up into the eyelet portion already.  I’m also planning on organizing my crafting supplies, but the big project for the weekend is introducing Sissy to the invisible fence.  The wild girl loves to stretch her legs, and the vet said that a couple of weeks after her surgery, we could start the training.  That’s today, and we’re not going to waste a minute!

How ’bout you?  Any exciting plans?

Start and Finish Itis

I had a massive case a of startitis last week, but it’s resulted in a couple of fairly quick finished objects.  Hats seem to be my new socks; they’re just as portable, faster, and for good causes.

First,  we have the Head Hugger Inside Out Chemo Cap.

Pattern:  I did this in the round, because my goal in life is to avoid seaming.  I also used smaller needles, and will use smaller still when I make this pattern again.  This pattern in a cotton was recommended by a cancer survivor in my knitting guild.  She said it was comfortable, soft and easy to wear.

Yarn:  I’m in love again.  This time, it’s Ty-Dy, in Tealberry.  It’s either not quite worsted weight, OR its drape is so much better than your average cotton, but either way, I had to go down TWO needle sizes from the pattern to get gauage, and honestly, it’s still probably a smidge big, especially for a woman with little or no hair.  It’s so soft, so pretty, and I wish I’d done the Clapotis in it after all.  There are two variations on Clappy that I like, so it’s not out of the question…  The only drawback is this isn’t a machine wash cotton.  Hand wash, line dry, so it’s not ideal for a lot of things I generally use cotton to knit.  Pity.

Needles:  The band was done on #6 Knitpick steel Options, and honestly, I think that’s the best looking part of the hat, in terms of the knit of the fabric.  The rest of the hat was done on #8 bamboo circs of unknown origins, and particularly once I got into the decreases, no amount of caution could prevent a few sloppy stitches. 

I do hope that whomever ends up with this hat think it is worth the trouble to hand wash. 

Both the hat and this little monster were done for Sublynnminal Healing.  It’s a Ravelry group, but if you’re interested in donating to a great cause, I’m sure you can contact Ann directly and she’ll accept your donations.  I get the pleasure of submitting my items in person later this week at our monthly lunch date.

Pattern:  Lovable Toys from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, in the rabbit version.  (Duh?)  Can’t see me doing this one – in any version – again.  I hate holding yarn double, and even knitting it with a bulky weight, I still wouldn’t have enjoyed it.  I mentioned above that I hate seams, and I think there were a million on this bugger.  No changes at all, other than substituting yarns and going down a needle size.  I just don’t think it’s that cute, but maybe some little person will love it anyway.

Yarns:  The body was done in Red Heart Baby TLC White Sparkle.  Pardon?  There’s nothing baby about this yarn.  It’s too rough in my opinion, unless you’re using sandpaper for wipes on the tot.  It should hold up well as a toy, I guess.  It’s pretty though, and I guess that’s why I bought it.  I used Lion Brand Fun Fur for the ears because I didn’t have any angora and wasn’t using Kidsilk Haze on a child’s toy.  Besides, I wanted it to be machine washable.  (I hate eyelash yarns.  HATE them.)  On top of it all, it’s just not as cute as I thought it would be.  I used scrap cotton for the eyes, and Lion Brand Baby Homespun scrap for the nose, because that was the only soft pink yarn I could find. 

Needles:  I think I used my big ol’ plastic darning needle most of all, but I used two Addi #5 circs for the knitting.  Love my Addis, I do.

Since I’m in search of a machine wash and dry cotton blend for a special baby blanket I need to start, I cast on for the Floppy Brim Chemo Cap immediately upon finishing the Inside Out.  This will either be my June donation to Sublynnminal Healing to my guild’s ongoing collection.  I would like to do at least one hat for each group monthly, starting now.  I guess that means I owe River City Knitters two hats at the next meeting, for May and June. 

For the record, the cotton blend isn’t bad.  At this point, if I can find ANY cotton blend in the color – soft purple? – the mother to be has requested, I’ll buy it.

I did some shopping yesterday too, but Sissy has just gotten in trouble for not coming when the Knight called her, so I need to go broker peace.