Parcel Review

I bet we won’t get mail today, but that’s okay, because the past week has been VERY good to me.  It started with a sock club kit last week, and goes through the three parcels I had to open yesterday, and you just have to see them.  The photos aren’t great because the snow clouds had already moved in, and I wasn’t dressed to stand out in what natural light there was and snap photo after photo, but you’ll get the idea.

Those cuties are MY alpacas, made by Anita.   She’s started making her signature clay animals as spinning wheel orifice hooks.  (Last link will take you to her Etsy shop.) 

I love the detail Anita puts into her creations.  Isn’t that the cutest little clay alpaca?  I’m not sure I can leave it hanging on my wheel, given Sissy’s latest path of destruction.  Both girls recognize Auntie ‘Nita’s scent and go ape when she sends even a note, much less something she’s crafted with her own hands.   Still, I have my own alpaca – two of ’em! 

I’m so blessed to have talented friends.  Do slip over to Episode 55 of Manic Purl’s podcast.   Dear Jessi got a much-deserved rave review of her SpringValley Yarns.   She’s famous!!  I’m glad I have an inside track, because I almost always have something on the needles with one of her yarns. 

On Tuesday, Amanda of NH Knitting Mama had a shop update.   I scored a “seconds” version of Franconia for a steal.  I MEAN A STEAL!!!!!  Amanda offered it as a second because one ply of the base didn’t take dye the same way the others did, but I *LOVE* it.  I also have a custom alpaca laceweight she dyed for me at the start of her dyeing career on the needles right now.

In keeping with the friends who dye theme, the most recent sock club kit from Dianne of Creatively Dyed Yarn.   Each of my indie dyer friends has her own style and base yarns, and I really think I could tell them apart with my eyes closed even!  I’ve never knitted socks with beads, but I’m going to have to with this kit.  Check out the pattern page on Ravelry for Sivia Harding’s Emerald Forest Socks!

I know this is a painfully long post, but go grab a cuppa’ and a bite to eat because there’s still more!

A few days ago, Grace’s Master Blocker challenged her readers, and because he must think like the Knight, I won!   I received the beautiful yarn above, and the extra goodies below.   I can’t wait to wind it up and knit with it.  I think it wants to be a shawl for me.  What do you think?

Grace must keep notebooks on what her friends like, because she always sends the most thoughtful packages.  I’m sipping the Mighty Leaf Chamomile Citrus now, and I think I’m in love.  I’d never tried Mighty Leaf  teas before, but I think another parcel will be on my porch about the time the mail carrier can get to us again.  I’m also ridiculously fond of those highlighters with the built-in sticky flags and notebooks.  The red dotted thing almost hidden is a little notebook, in case you didn’t put that together from my almost random comments.

I’ll just briefly note another Embrace the Lace package floated in this week too.  I think there’s only one more to go, but I’m honestly not sure.  Justice is grey, and that’s a shawl in the pattern.   There are better photos in the Ravelry group, of course. 

Last, but HARDLY least is a sneak peek at the Namaste Monroe that wandered to my house.  I couldn’t help myself Monday evening.  I love it, not that I’ll be using it for a few days, what with over a foot of snow on the ground and no signs of it stopping…   It’s roughly the same size as my beloved Newport (same color too), with that coveted outside pocket, firm sides…  I think my dream bag might have landed.  (Disclaimer:  My bad back and I do not strut around with these monster bags I carry.  The bags go from the vehicle inside work, office, home.  For shopping and other ambling experiences, I just carry a small bag with the Blackberry, wallet and keys.) 

My fingers were too cold to peel off all the protective wraps, or to get all around photos, but after I load that baby up and tote it around for a few days, I’ll do better and tell you what I really think.

So, what are you doing this weekend?  Evidently, I’ll be snowed in, knitting, spinning, reading, decluttering, baking…

Wild Pear Gem

An afternoon with no rain, Flickr playing well with others, and some mail that piled up makes for a yarn-crawlish post.   Grab a cuppa’ (it’s chilly here), your favorite snack, and settle in!

We’ll start with the long-neglected last Loopy Sock Club package that arrived a couple of weeks ago.  This is the last of this season’s sock club, but it’s also my last after two years in the club.  To the best of my recollection, I’ve not knitted with the first yarn from ANY of the packages, so there’s little point in putting my name in for the lottery for next year.  I’ve gifted some of the yarn, sold one offering, and I really do like some of it, but…

The yarn is a rich color that reminds me of the fur-girls.  It’s Numa Numa’s The Usual in Red Bartlett Pear.   I’m thinking that eventually I will knit these socks with this yarn, but once it swims into my stash, who knows?!

Then there’s my first Creatively Dyed Sock Club kit!   This is a sneak peek at a new technique Dianne is doing.   I’m quite certain this “Wild Thing” yarn will get knitted up in that pattern, right after 2010 becomes the current year.   I’m leaving the pattern tamers right there with the yarn and the pattern too, so there will be no excuses!

Now, I know spinners like a WIP (wraps per inch) tool, but do other knitters really use them?  I definitely didn’t, not before I started spinning.  I mean…  There’s swatching and there’s a label around the yarn, right?!  Karat Stix made these little cuties.  Obviously, they were part of my Loopy kit.

Still with me?  Moving right along…  Next up, we have some beautiful Gypsyknits BFL roving in Gem-Spin that grew up to be yarn.

I wanted to make the most of this beautiful yarn, but in the end, I decided to navajo ply it because I didn’t have enough of any solid that would work with it.

I love how muted the colors are.  It reminds me of the beach, where the sky and earth and ocean seem to just slip together at some point out on the horizon…

A little larger than life, and those aren’t wrapped, but draped across the WIP tool, so it’s really about sport weight.  I’m pretty pleased with myself…  Three-ply, sport weight, with about 214 yards.  I’m thinking I’m going to do Anita‘s Mermaid scarf.

Ready for Thanksgiving, if you live in the States?   We are!  We’re going to have a not so traditional pot roast tomorrow, because that’s what the Knight wanted, and he’s cooking, so what’s not to love?  I’ll add a couple of pies – because the extras can always go to the firehouse – and we’ll have a quiet day at home.

Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating!


Catching Up

I’m still two posts behind from last week, so we don’t have to talk about the sock I didn’t touch over the weekend.  I just can’t put Gaia down!

Since I was one of the last to get my Loopy Ewe Sock Club kit this time, I don’t think spoiler warnings are necessary, but on the off chance you’re deeper in podunkville than I am, look away before the next photo.

There are the goodies.  Left to right, you have another great project bag, cute note cards, the pattern and more Wollmeise.

This yarn just proves my theory that if you’re generous and give freely, it comes back to you in spades.   As I petted the Wollmeise I gifted Jessi for her birthday good-bye, I did so strongly suspecting that it was about time for some to show up in the TLE sock club.   Yum-o!!!!!!

How was your weekend?  You already know about mine, so fill me in!

Two Kits and More Hot Green

I’m getting more behind every day, so I’m going to double or even triple up here today. 

Last week,  Two weeks ago, when Ann and HRH stopped by, she also brought the last of the Wollmeise club we shared.  I had a very hard time choosing between the colorways (there are two skeins in every shipment), but eventually settled on another blue.  I still haven’t knitted with any of the Wollmeise yet, but I hear that it really is suited for socks moreso than shawls or scarves.  I just might have to try this yarn with this pattern…

Last week, my third Embrace the Lace Club kit arrived.    Really, no one does a club kit like Woolgirl.   Every last detail is so very carefully thought out.  It’s more expensive than my sock club, but WOW! the stuff I get with it!

Miss Babs lace

Miss Babs lace

Crimson Orchid Designs row counter bracelet

Crimson Orchid Designs row counter bracelet

It would take all day for me to show you EVERYTHING, and the extras in this kit really hit home with me so I’d love to share them all with you, but in the interest of time, just look at this one item as a symbol of the thoughtful details that go into everything in each kit.

I need to bring the taffy in for MJ.  As much as I love all things beach, I’m not crazy about taffy.  But shells!  Those shells were collected by hand, not just purchased in bulk from some online source.

Since the club this year is based on the Virtues, I should mention that this month’s theme is FAITH.  For me, I could tie most any of the virtues to the beach, because it really is where my spirit is restored, but it’s fun seeing how the designers and Woolgirl take each virtue and develop a kit.

More hot green?  You betcha’, but it’s not the FO report I owe you.  I’m blessed with some of the best friends ever. 

Wendy sent me a happy little friendship package!   Her timing was perfect; I really needed a distraction on the day it arrived.  She had no way of knowing that the Fixation she sent was the same colorway I’d picked up more than once, but put back because I have Fixation in my stash already…  The bath crystals smell so sweet!   I had a hard time keeping the dogs from the little packet because the scent is soooo tempting!  Wendy always is sending/bringing me tea, so I laughed when I saw a notepad with tea attached.  Perfect!

You have to see the Dog Days of Summer goodies Wendy shared!  There’s a whole mess of the little flipflops, which I intend to use as stitch markers, I think…  And I always have a tube of lip balm within arm’s reach, so as long as Sissy doesn’t find it and eat it, I’ll enjoy that too.  Thank you, Wendy.  It’s been too long; we need another get-together!

How goes your one-day-closer to Friday?  My brother inlaw insists it is another Monday, but I’m not feeling that, thankfully!

Seeing Red!

WARNING!  Loopy Ewe Sock Club photos ahead.  I think it’s been long enough these aren’t spoilers, but click away if you haven’t gotten yours yet.

Not the mad kind of seeing red though. 

July Loopy Sock Club

July Loopy Sock Club

That’s what it looked like fresh out of the box.  And yes, that’s a special RED Namaste Buddy Case!  The note says it was made just for us, the sock club, but I’m hoping it’s also a hint to the new color that Namaste is likely to release this fall.

That’s the kit.  See the yummy Sanguine Gryphon yarn?  Another “first” for my  stash    yarn collection.  Soft, ooh my goodness it is soft!  The color is rather rusty, and honestly, I’ve changed my opinion on said hue every single time I’ve glanced at it.

Did you see the precious sheep stitch marker?  Of course, that’s larger than life, depending on your monitor, but it’s so darned cute with its red feet and the lime “tongue” and um… the other end of the lime piece…

Well, since I’m running late again today, that’s all folks.  Tomorrow is dogs, so the FO report will have to happen on Friday, and just like that, the week’s over.


***spoiler alert***  Loopy Ewe Sock Club kit #2 photos below!***

As a Ravelry moderator, I’ve never “whooshed” anything into another thread, but I thought it was a cute way to warn you that I’m combining several rather random topics here. 

Oh.  This is for YOU.  Want me to open it?

Oh. This is for YOU. Want me to open it?

First, Gretchen is most disturbed that it has taken ten days for me to thank the S&S bassets for their goodies.  (Yes, Gretchen.  Sissy is a funny, sweet gal and appreciates her goodies, but manners are Gretchen’s forte, not hers.)   Sadie and Simon’s thoughtful mom even color-coded the gifts, but as you can see, the Diva had to inspect everything first.

There were human treats too of course, but those of you with children – no matter how many legs they have – know that once the kids get their stuff, there is much “No, let your little sister open her own gift!” and such, so the human goodies remain secrets.  (The bread was delish, of course.)

5613-0000-xx-12-1Wait!  I found the Knight’s gift online.  You HAVE to see this.  It’s just too cool, and I think I need to find some sort of shadowbox so the Knight can have it in his office at the station, but it’s relatively secure.  Thank you to the Coffee Yarn gang for yet another generous, spot-on package!

And yesterday, my Loopy Ewe Sock Club kit #2 arrived. 

(Here come the spoiler photos, so look away if you don’t want to see!)

We’ll start out slow, just in case someone does want to look away.   Nothing like spring green, eh?  They’re still using Kisses (red package), which upsets Sissy to no end.  She sees those little red pouches and just KNOWS there are mints within, which creates a small problem during the chocolate times of the year…

Here’s the bag.  The big, happy tote I pouted over in the special kit offered to those who didn’t get in the club, and at Spring Fling (I think?).  Because you know I needed another bag, right?  (No?  But this one is HUGE.  It wants to go to the beach, pronto.  It could hold at least two of the large Loopy clear project pouches  and more…)  The pen’s cute too.

Bear with me.  I’m so taken with this tote.   (Sheri, will you make one in something water resistant, with a couple of inside pockets?)  It’s too big and “toty” to be my dream bag, but it’s a perfect tote.  And the color makes me happy.  I didn’t think I liked this color, but I am really drawn to this!

I like the long straps too.  It might not be so flattering for me, but it’s very functional.  Even with a heavy coat on or a bag already over my shoulder, the longer straps slide on up.

Look at those pockets!  The pen is in a “pen” pocket.  I shoved the yarn in the front part, but it didn’t help you see the other pockets,  so I took it out.

There’s the yarn and pattern.  Isn’t it yummy?!

I think that about does it for today.  Besides, lunch is waiting!

Wait No More

I mentioned Tuesday that dear Ann came bearing gifts.  Some of you have patiently waited for the photos, but all of you will benefit from Anita‘s nudges that she wanted to see! 

They’re a little larger than life, but I want you to see the detail in MJ’s earrings.  

These are mine.  I told Ann when I opened them at lunch that while SHE was saying for me to pick first (and I would have wanted the blues), MJ was going to HAVE to have the lilac pair.

The designer has requested an in-ear photo, so we’ll get that tomorrow.  (And yes, with a bit of luck, it will get posted tomorrow too.)

Ann also presented me with a copy of a family member’s cookbook.   While I love the cover and the title, there’s a special recipe inside by none other than Anne’s own Master G!  MJ has requested a sample of the cake, so maybe for Mother’s Day?

On a bittersweet note, our last Wollmeise sock club kit arrived.  It was my turn to pick, so I selected this hank:

I also got custody of a stranded knitting pattern we agreed neither of us will likely use, a stitch marker, a little pouch (which MJ also claimed), and a tiny packet of gummy bears, which the Knight insisted Ann sent FOR him…  It was a great club, and I’m so glad Ann asked me to share it with her!  (Now that’s the definition of friendship in fiber-speak… someone who shares her Wollmeise…)

Well, PHEW.  We’re about caught up now.  I hope I have something left to talk about tomorrow…

Don’t Look…

… if you’re a member of The Loopy Ewe Sock Club and you want to be surprised.   My box arrived on Friday, so I figure most of you should have yours, or will get it today.

Look away, if you don’t want to see…

Isn’t it lovely?  On the left, you have some sock tools, all ready to get clipped to a sock bag.  The blue “whistle” is actually a tape measure with a pen built in, and isn’t that “sock blocker” needle gauge the cutest thing you’ve EVER seen?  The yarn is Handmaiden Cabash, in a great ocean-water colorway, to go with the Under the Sea pattern.  I’m VERY excited to try this yarn with this pattern, which is a first for me.

sisterhoodawardGaylen honored me with an award over the weekend.  Thank you, G!

There are rules of course, and for a change, I’ll attempt to follow them.

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.

2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!

3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.

4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.

5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received your award.

Since the online blogging world runs in similar circles, I’m going to try to pick people/blogs not already nominated.

  1. Anita – always supportive and quick to make me laugh, especially at myself.
  2. Kathy – we’re almost always of the same mind, and who doesn’t love Mr. Bettis?
  3. Nichole – what’s a sisterhood list without my wondertwin?
  4. Natalie – a happy, busy newlywed who finds time for her fiber arts and continues to inspire me.
  5. Ann – because local friends really are priceless.
  6. Grace – never a more generous knitter has lived.
  7. Stacey – can’t you just hear her sunny disposition in her posts?
  8. Amy – another thoughtful soul, who does more just by going to work each day than many!
  9. Barbara – for very personal reasons, but the closer we get, the better person I become.
  10. Ruth – another woman whose friendship makes me a better person.
  11. Monica – another upbeat, cheerful, helpful woman!
  12. Nancy – always understands where I’m coming from, even if I think no one else could possibly get it!

(Look!  I did more than the required amount.  Write that down for the history books…)

Thank you, ladies.  Your friendships keep me going!


There’s so much for me to celebrate today.

It’s MJ’s birthday.  She’s taken the day off, so I’m glad I didn’t have all the necessary ingredients to make her requested cake; I’d be grumpy if I’d made it and she wasn’t here!

I’m blessed to have a mother inlaw I happily call Mom.  She’s been a part of my life almost as long as I have memories, and she really is a dear friend too.  Have a great day, MJ!

Here in the USA it’s also Veterans Day.  There are so many veterans in my life, past and present, and I’m very grateful for their service to our country.  I think I have a personal connection to every branch of the service, but I’ve done a roll call of sorts in the past, so I won’t do that today.  Instead, I’ll ask you to also remember that when someone serves in the military, a whole family sacrifices.  So as you honor our veterans today, please say a prayer or think a kind, supportive thought for the friends and family who bridged the gap while that veteran was away.  It’s a collective honor and sacrifice, and those holding down the home front suffer too.

Yesterday was a fantastic day for packages at our house.  Do you track the daylights out of your goodies when you have a tracking number?  I do.  I watch them trek closer and closer, knowing that when they hit Richmond, they’ll be on my doorstep the next day.

The first package I opened was the one I hadn’t been able to track.  The Multitaskers(Ravelry group) are having a virtual baby shower for blogless Katie, and as her fellow Virginian, I’m the receiver of the gifts, and then, the delivery gal.  Dianne was ever so sweet and included a package of treats for each of MY babies, and Sissy knew it.  Thank you, Dianne!  I love the little pouches too.  I never bonded with the treat pouches we used in class, so maybe this will work better.  If nothing else, I know how the treats will travel to the beach…

(And no, you don’t get to see the shower goodies until Katie opens them!)

The second box on the porch was from The Loopy Ewe.  My first season in their sock club has come to an end with the arrival of this package.  The yarn is Mountain Colors, and I’m delighted to have another of the large project bags.  It’s great for patterns in the original sleeve, and it drops down in my Newport bag just as slick…

My favorite part of this final package is the custom soap.  I’m not sure I should admit how much I like soaps like this.  They’re fun, and I love that unlike the little decoratively shaped soaps, the design sticks around to the very end with these soaps.  I’ll have to save this one for my knitterly guests, because I don’t think the Knight would appreciate the cuteness…

There was one more package, but I’m saving that for Thursday, so that all the Dogs on Thursday folks can read it. 

Don’t forget to thank the veterans in your life for their service.

Friends and Open Windows

There’s a line from The Sound of Music that has been my knot at the end of my rope since I first heard it as a young girl.  “The Lord never closes a door without opening a window.”  Well, another door closed very early this morning.  The most recent past chief of our little fire station passed away.  The details aren’t important; he was ill and while it wasn’t unexpected, as is often the case, death came sooner than we’d anticipated.  We were to have dinner with the former chief and his wife tonight, so this smarts even more than it ordinarily would. 

So, I was awaiting the mail lady, knowing she’d have my Loopy Ewe Sock Club package, knowing that would cheer me for a few minutes anyway.  (Follow the link for the photo.)  It did indeed.  The yarn is my favorite colorway yet from the club.  I was also very taken with the little gift within, which I can’t resist sharing.  If you’re a regular reader, you know I have a thing for sticky notes, so what could be better than a case for carrying an assortment thereof in my knitting bag?!  It has to be refillable, right?

I had waded up the yard to save the mail lady from getting so wet, so imagine my surprise when she just kept clicking on box after box.  Huh??  Well, one is Mugsy’s gravestone, but that will wait for another day, an especially, for the Knight to open it.  The other was quite a surprise, and truly made my day. 

It’s Sissy’s own Namaste Jetsetter, in that luscious dark brown!  (Sadly, the shapely Jetsetter has been discontinued to keep their line very trendy and up to date, so good luck finding one, in any color.)  You see, my friends are my windows these days, or at least, the people who open the windows I cannot.  Thank you, Nancy.  Thank you, and precious Reggae too.  Mugsy would indeed have wanted me to have this bag.  (Look!  I typed that without tears!)  Mugsy was all about whatever made me happy, and this bag sure does just that.

Oh, Sissy loves to make me laugh too, but she IS a girl, and thus, has her own wants and wishes.  While the above photo was staged, THIS was not.  I’d just taken the bag from its box, and Missy Sissy slipped over while I carried the box to the box storage spot, and this is what I saw when I got back!  Note that she’s not looking at me, pointedly so.  The girl is making a statement.  (Feel free to go to Flickr and see the original size, because that shiny spot on the bag IS drool, as are the dark spots on the sofa, or maybe those are from wet feet?)  But, this also illustrates part of my love affair with Namaste.  The owners of said company are dog ladies too, and they know that purse stuff and knitting goodies need a safe, stylish place to hide from dogs and more.  (Interestingly, this bag is softer than the camel Jetsetter, but not the same lush softness of the newer designs like the Laguna and the Newport.)  Thank you again, Nancy.  My Newport will get a lot of breaks now!

Last night, I whipped out a little treasure for an upcoming gift giving event.  Nancy tempted me into this too, thanks to my voracious Rav-stalking habits.  It really is a quick, easy, fun knit, and if you’ve never knitted with beads…  Well, unless you’re on the mid-to-northern Atlantic seaboard, get thee to thy local hobby store! 

FO report:

(Two on consecutive days.  Don’t get used to that, but isn’t it fun?)

Pattern: Scallop-Edge Beaded Necklace from 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders.   This is the first beaded knit I’ve really done.  I did a swatch for Secret of the Stole III, but…  I’m in love.  There is some errata; add another CO 2 at the end of the cast-on row.  Stringing 178 beads on wasn’t as big of a pain as I thought it would be, even with picking around the black ones in the amber assortment I purchased.  I will be making more of these.

Yarn:  Paton’s Grace.  Perfect for this project.  I need more, in an assortment of colors.  I might have to learn to wear necklaces, because I truly can’t think of another 2-hour project I’ve found more satisfying. 

Needles:  Because I only have one set of #3 straights, I used a circular needle.  I think I need to buy at least one more set of #3s, probably in metal, because like I said, I see more of these in my future.

Beads:  178 size 6 seed beads.  These were in an amber assortment.  I strongly recommend the little wire thingee to make stringing the beads on easier.  I also added a sterling toggle closure, because this is for someone special.

Hanna has turned out to be mostly a wet blanket.  There was enough wind around lunchtime that we lost power for more than a couple of hours, but dear WordPress had just auto-saved for me, so all’s well that ends well.