German Vacation

June 2010 012

Both frocks worn by Gretchen in today's posts were gifties from gMarie

Happy Dogs on Thursday, little friday and thankful Thursday!   Gretchen, being the queen of charm and graciousness, has already posted thanks to the DoT crew for remembering two special days in Haddon Woods this weekend.  Of course, because she really is so sweet, she had to send celebratory wishes to everyone she knows with a special day looming…  My departed aunt would be delighted to see that SOMEONE in our household has good manners.  Hem.  (Maybe they skip a generation?)

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Haddon Wood's customs inspector at work

Since GG  has Dogs on Thursday covered, I can follow her lead and extend my gratitude to Eva, my German spoiler in the Ravelry Stash Sock Club group swap.   I’m not sure how Eva knew that I didn’t get to visit my favorite cousin while she lived in Berlin, but honestly, she packed the very things I would have wanted to bring home from such a vacation!

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Why yes, you do see a beautiful, velvety, big ol’ ear on the right…  Most of the right side is that legendary German chocolate in several forms.  There are also some of the Knight’s favorite gummy bears in there – or rather, there were.  They disappeared in the night, and if you really need a hint, the fur-girls went to bed when I did. 

Yes, you see THREE sock yarns, but I know, you REALLY want the close-up of that Wollmeise!

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How ’bout that?!  A fur-girl colorway of Wollmeise!  I’m just itching to cast on, especially since I’m about to be one WIP shorter; I realized yesterday that I don’t like mystery knit alongs, don’t like what I’ve seen thus far of the sock so far, so…  I’m frogging it.

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You also have to see the handmade gift Eva included.  Isn’t that the most elegant lace you’ve ever seen?!  I’m pretty sure Eva made the lace as well as the bag itself.  I haven’t decided how I’m going to use it yet, but it’s about the perfect size for a long-lingering needlepoint project I have…

There’s also a heavenly tin of tea in there, and FOUR bottles of floral scents I can’t wait to use.  Thank you again Eva, for the most wonderful swap package!

What do you like to bring home as a souvenier from your vacations?

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Floatin’ Along

Welcome to my entry in the Bark ‘n Knit WIP Parade.

A group shot was out of the question, so grab a cuppa’, a snack, and settle into a VERY comfortable chair…

But wait!  Every parade needs some pagent queens, right?

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Haddon Wood’s Princess of Joy, more commonly known as Sissy, is riding on the well-used chair of the late Pop.  She is wearing a glow in the dark ruff, accented with orange bells.  She is sponsored by the Woodridge Hound Club.

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Next up is the Haddon Wood’s Junior Miss Princess Gretchen Greer.   L’il Miss GG is a foot entry (and thus, she sulks).  She sports a very seasonal gown with a glitzy jack o’ lantern.  She is sponsored by the Hogwarts Crup Alumni Society.

Both princesses’s attire was donated by their doting Gramma MJ.  (And yes, the girls are at work today, and they’d like you to read their very important post today too.)

We now return you to the parade in progress.

First up are my spinning works in progress, just because there are fewer of them and they are easier to cover.

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April 2008

This definitely holds the title of oldest WIP.  It’s an unknown fiber that came free with the first spindle I purchased.   There’s a tiny bit on that spindle, and even more on my Kundert.  I’ll be practicing with this until I feel like a slightly competent spindler.  (Is that a word?  It should be.  Spinners who can master wheel and spindle are special.)

DSC01804Next up is the first pound of wool I bought.  It’s of an unknown, coarse, krinkled crimp stuff that LOVES to be a tightly twisted laceweight single.  I spun about a 1/3 of it on my Bellus and another 1/3 or so on my Aura, and it is what I’m spinning on now.  I want to finish it this month, as I started it immediately after a friend lost her battle with breast cancer.  I think I’m going to navajo ply it and then it’s definitely going to be Grace’s Comforting Embrace, the shawl she had just finished designing when my friend died.  Grace kindly donated the proceeds from the sale of this pattern for a time to cancer research. 

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Last in the spinning WIP division is the silk merino the Knight gave me for my birthday.  It’s all spun up, waiting for me to find the right commercial yarn to ply it with.  It’s roughly a fingering weight single, and I have visions of it being knitted into a lovely stole or cresent for dressier wear.  Any and all suggestions would be appreciated, both in terms of a plying yarn and a pattern.   I think I want either black or pewter…

Now, to the knitting projects on the needles.  I am happy to say there are no crochet WIPs.  For whatever reason – maybe because crochet is sooo quick? – I tend to finish what I start in crochet in a short order.

October 2010 005First up is the Tea Party Cardi, which I hope to finish this month too, but I need to get knitting.  I have the back done, but only a couple of inches of one front panel.  That’s a close-up of the broken rib pattern that dominates the sweater.  It’s a very fast knit, but I haven’t had much time to knit at home, and it’s a bit too bulky to take it with me as a travel knit.   I’ve had it on the needles 2.5 weeks, so a more realistic completion date might be mid-November.  I’ll need three buttons for the front.  Any suggestions?

DSC01318My most recent cast-on is a mystery sock a bunch of us are doing together in the Stash Sock group on Ravelry.   Since it is a mystery knit along, I’m not sharing photos, but that’s the yarn.  The goal is to finish by year’s end.  I’m really enjoying knitting with the Shi Bui yarn, even if the color is “peony”.  I’m pretending the color is merlot or some other lush, red wine that makes me think of fall.  I’m doing these socks magic loop, one per circular needle, but I’m knitting each clue on each sock before I move on.  I’ve finished clue #1 on one sock, but not the second.  And I believe clue #3 is being released today, so I’m falling behind, right on schedule.

October 2010 004I have another sock on the needles, the awesome Cotty pattern in a custom hand-dyed colorway by Ann.  This is my easy, breezy travel knit, and there’s no deadline, although the colorway says muted Christmas to me, and Ann did give me the yarn for Christmas 2008.  She calls the colorway Spring Ahead/Fall Back, and I can see that too…

As an aside, because this post won’t be too long already, I do need to tell you how much I love the ChiaoGoo Stainless circ.   I wasn’t at all sure about that bend in the metal tip near the cable join, but it makes the join a non-issue.  And the stainless wrapped in rugged plastic is a GREAT cable too.  I need more circular needles like I need another hole in my head, but…  Of course, you might guess that they’re available at Dog House Yarns & More.

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Those are the three projects I’m actively working on.  Next up is the shop sample scarf for Dog House in a laceweight cashmere.  The pattern is one Plymouth released for their Eco Cashmere, and it’s a nice pattern, but I cast on for this in April, right before my knitting mojo went on a summer sabbatical.  I haven’t been able to get back into it, but I need to, because it’s a heavenly little cashmere… just ask Gretchen.  I’d like to finish this before I go up on Halloween to teach a magic loop class at the shop, but something has to give…  I can’t finish everything NOW!

DSC00804The other lingering WIP I worked on over the summer was MooSon.  I’m ashamed to admit I cast on in April, 2009.  It’s a great pattern and an even better Gypsy Knits custom-dyed yarn.   It was supposed to be a birthday gift that year, so I’m still hoping it’ll be a Christmas gift this year.  If not… well, there’s always said birthday 2011…  Christmas 2011…  You get the point.  Can the intended recipient guess this is for her?

DSC00375Even older is the gift made from another Gypsy Knits custom dye job.   Ravelry says I cast on in February, 2009.  Anita found it and figured out it was for her when she was doing some graphics work for me.  The mystery is though… neither of us have a clue when she’ll get it!  Sadly, despite this photo, it is almost done.  I think I have a bit of one sleeve to finish and then all of the second sleeve and the trim.  You’ll understand if I don’t remind her of the pattern or tell her when I hope to have it finished, right?!  😉

Do parades have an intermission?  Maybe this one should.  Get up, stretch, head to the bar for a latte or something else to wet your whistle…

DSC01415Actually, we just have one more hibernating project.  Sadly, I’m going to have to frog it and start over (it’s a good thing – I need a smaller size!), but I think it’s next up on the sweater agenda.   I cast on for Whisper in December 2009 (look!  less than a year ago!) almost immediately after Jessi sent me some of her laceweight to try.  I haven’t broken it to GG – Gretchen Greer – that her second favorite yarn is no more, but I’m not beyond a shameless plea for any remaining laceweight in her former shop inventory to head my way!  For Gretchen’s sake, right?!  It is a FINE merino, in every sense of the word.  And if ever you need help deciding how soft and premium your yarn might be, Gretchen works for cashmere, new frocks, carrots and bananas.

My float would be bigger/longer, but I did frog two projects two weekends ago.  Just don’t go look at my queue, okay?

Envy and More

While none of the packages I was expecting arrived on Friday (or Saturday), my Ravelry Stash Sock Club Swap box did!  That’s the gratutious group shot, and for the record, on my laptop, this photo offers the truest colors for the Envy – the Lornas Laces Shepard Sock.  It’s just the tiniest bit washed out in this photo, not even enough to try to adjust the colors…

That’s a better photo of the patterns and the bag (with EVERYTHING else you saw above, within!).  I believe my partner made that for me, and the colors are spot-on.  THAT is the soft, creamy yellow I want in my kitchen, and the colors in general say late-summer beach to me.  (Which is where I long to be, but it will be mid-November before the planets align and I can get there.  Pooey!)

That’s my new love.  It’s a LOCKING counter!  And it’s pink.  It’s made or at least distributed by KA, and you all need one.

Those are snagless stitch markers.   (You know, in case you can’t read text in a photo?)    I’m eager to try them out too.  Thank you, Sophistaknits!  Your favorites are well on their way to being mine too.

I’m still having a relaxing holiday weekend.  I’ve finished two projects (no photos, even on Ravelry!), cast on for a pair of footies, journeyed with the Knight to get the mums for the fall version of the boys’ garden, and that’s about it.  Of course, the girls have had lots of playtime and extra attention too.  If the sun will come out today, I hope to get photos of everything and update Ravelry, at least.

How was your weekend?  Are you enjoying an extra day off?

Mood Music

I know a few of you share my love of music.  It can set my mood, which was the case this morning.  I love my Xm ’80s station, even more now that they’ve added the year released to the songs.  How could I not be energized when my ride to work was AC/DC and Survivor?  In an instant, I was a pre-teen with roller skates, dipping and swaying at the local rink, and despite the grey skies, I was grinning…

I needed music last night.  The Knight wasn’t home, and Sissy was just really being a pest.  She was behaving as she does when she’s trying to tattle on Gretchen, but Gretchen was playing at my feet while I folded laundry.  Not Sissy.  She paced.  She fretted.  She was stressed.  Finally, in a huff, I follwed her to the kitchen, where I promptly dropped to my knees and kissed her, and then put both dogs in the crate.

No photos, but the seal on the dishwasher finally granted the Knight his wish.  He’s been wishing that appliance out of commission for several years, and of course, it gave up while he wasn’t home.  There were THICK suds from the dishwasher to the pantry, and if Sissy hadn’t made me follow her when she did, they’d have been in the guest bath in moments.

Have you ever tried to mop thick suds?  It doesn’t really work.  I just set the mop in the midst, wiggled, rung out, and repeated until I could see the floor again.  THEN, I was able to mop.

So, while the hero and her sidekick chomped on treats, I cast on for Sissy’s cowl.  I didn’t make much progress, despite claims that it can be knitted in 1-2 hours.  I didn’t have but a few minutes last night before I cried uncle and retreated to the solace of my bed.  Maybe I’ll get home in time to finish it tonight.

The Knight hopes to squeeze in buying a new dishwasher between meetings tonight.  My request list is simple – it must fit in the hole we have for the now-former model, and it should be quiet.  Anything else I should add?

Maybe the FO report on the Voyager just isn’t meant to happen.  We’ll try again tomorrow.  In the meantime, I happen to know I’m not the only one who took that whole “sock yarn doesn’t count as stash” thing too seriously.  Join me in accepting Gaylen‘s challenge at the Stash Sock Club Group on Ravelry, where we’ll knit 12 pairs of socks from stash yarn this year (and probably next, and the year after that, and…).

my first pair of socks!

my first pair of socks!

I have on these warm beauties today.  They’re a little thicker than most of the other socks I’ve done, but that’s a good thing on a cold, dreary day.

I only finished three pairs of socks last year, and only one other pair remains on the needles.  I miss my socks, but I got distracted by lace and hats in 2008. 

Here’s a list of what I knitted last year, by category:

Socks – three sad pairs, including the two pairs of Pedicure socks.

Hats – 11, I think?

Wraps of all sorts – 13

There were about 25 other things including a couple of cardigans, dog sweaters, scarves, bookmarks…

Don’t tell the Knight.  I’m sure he’d say I knit too much, but I do have that stash to work through…