My Addled Brain

Imagine my outrage when I got an email saying my Tofutsies Sock of the Month package had been returned to Carodan. Why you ask? Well, let me assure you that the good folks at Carodan are perfect. I, however, clearly don’t even know where I live. Any first grader can recite her address just right, but not me. Can you believe the USPS wouldn’t deliver a package with my name, my work street address, and my home city, state and zip code? (Roll your eyes. I did. I mean, I live in rural America. I thought that was worth something.) I want my green Tofutsies and the Fiddlesticks pattern, dang it! (Any of you who read regularly or actually know me know those socks were made for me!!)

So, I head home pouting enough that sweet Mugsy, the I go to work to eat all day now dog, felt inclined to stare at me with great concern the whole way home. However, I scared the little bean bug-eyed when I saw a package on the porch! Whhhoooo Hoooo! Little did I know that before I could feed the Bug (like he needed it) his wee handful of kibble and get to my package, the Knight would come in the back door with a padded envelope too.
Because I could just rip it open, the envelope was first. A new tea bag coaster, or whatever you like to call ’em. I use them when I use tea bags, but I also keep one at my electric kettle for the spoon, Splenda wrappers, etc. Nancy, you are so dear!! He’s simply beautiful, and will be very happy and well-loved in my rooster kitchen. (Who wants to bet that the Knight mistakes him for a spoon rest?) I tell you, the gals in this tea swap are the kindest, most fun group of women you’ll find anywhere. If you didn’t join us this time, we hope you’ll be there for the next one, some time in 2008. Every swap has its moments, and there are always complications and frustrations, but I really can’t say enough about my fellow swappers this time. Nor can I crow enough about this pretty rooster. Thank you, Nancy. I remain in awe of the attention to detail many of you possess and use for knitterly goodness!

Now, go get a cup or glass of your favorite libation, and settle in. We’re going vegan folks! (Sit back down, Anne, or you’ll get none of the chocolate.) No, I’m not going vegan, but I do want to make healthier choices. I was a no meat vegetarian for a while – still did dairy and seafood – but that was years ago. Anyhoo, because I love Cass and am a curious bird, I joined the Vegan 2 Swap. Folks, this very well may be the most rewarding swap I’ve been in, no discredit to any of the others. My two “truly vegan” pals rock, and I feel I’ve made two new friends! So without further ado, here’s the first of many photos of the package that will make Anne sorry she didn’t sign up for this one.

I know you need details, so just settle down and exercise your patience (or read faster). Here’s the happy, German, vegan sock yarn Nicole sent me. Just so you know, both yarns came wrapped, but I wanted you to see all of the cheerful colors! It’s called “Flotte Socke” and I do believe it has a bamboo base, not that I know a lick of German. I do believe this is the colorway/yarn I need for my MagKnits Rainbow Socks. What do you think?
Then, there was the Debbie Bliss Pure Cotton, which also held the darling little wooden rooster! (Yay for me. Wait ’til the Knight awakens from his siesta and realizes not one but TWO new roosters slipped into the house, and only one of ’em will live in the kitchen, which is where he is trying to keep all of the roosters. Silly man.) That’s no nesting box either. (Roosters don’t nest, people. Geeze.) It’s a wonderful fabric box Nicole made for me, and I predict many a sock project will rest within, along with some smaller lace projects, and any other little work on the sticks I can fit in there. I’m telling you, I have some seriously awesome pal mojo going!

Here’s a close-up of the little darling. He’s just lovely, and Nicole was kind enough to include a little booklet with more information about the company, so he might need friends…
Before I share my goodies, I think I need to make Anne read about the yummy pizza with a basil-tofu ricotta and a pesto sauce. Nicole actually included two recipes, and the other is for one of her favorite spreads. Yum! I bet Mugsy will eat tofu with me…

There were more hand-made goodies. Here’s the sachet and some really pretty magnets, along with the how did I miss them essential double-ended stitch holders. Why didn’t any of you tell me such a thing existed? Granted, I don’t use stitch holders a lot, but I’ve been shuffling stitches back and forth when these ideal tools existed! What else have you been holding out on?

Here’s a close-up of the magnets too, because I know you like photos, and these are too pretty to miss. Aren’t they pretty?

Okay, okay. Last, but hardly least, are the treats. German chocolate. Marzipan coated in chocolate, which makes it wonderful. (Okay Nicole, I lied. Between the email to you and now, I had to have a piece. Who cares if I ruined my dinner?) But wait! There’s more! Yogi Tee. (Kin to Yogi Tea? Anybody?) Mr. Tom, which appears to be nutbar heaven. Bath salts. Vegan treats for Mugsy too, but you’ll see them in the first photo about this package. I am spoiled, and so is my dog!

While Nicole wrote a long, detailed letter, this was resting atop the package. Sweet, no??

How ’bout a cuppa’? Kick off your shoes, grab your knitting, crocheting, your book, whatever, and let’s just enjoy the evening. Inside though, because it’s still way above 80 degrees outside, with humidity to match. I think I saw a mosquito that could carry off this cute card too.

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Sweet Cherry Bag

Can you see the cute little cherries on the ribbon? Squee! I hope my pal will enjoy that little touch. The package is ready to ship out tomorrow, save a note and some tissue paper. But let me tell you, CotLin is the only linen of any blended sort for me. Sigh. It slides on through, comparable to any of the ” – & dairy product” cottons, and I bet one wash would find it snuggly soft. I see a fitted item for me in this very color, maybe, next spring. Try it for the extra-special cloths you might be giving as gifts, or treat yourself; you deserve it! I am amazed at how it costs less and feels worlds better, but don’t take my word for it. Order some and try it for yourself.
In case you missed it the first time, this is Amanda’s “Mandy’s Candy Bag” pattern. You can also find it on Ravelry.
So, a little accountability check here. Tea swap – ready to ship out tomorrow. Sock it to Me – half way there on the socks, some shopping left to do, and really should ship by next Saturday to arrive before October 5th. Vegan swap – Do thoughts count? I’ve thought a lot about what to get my friendly pal, and I do have some yarn for her, and it needs to ship before October 15th. SP11 – Package #1 shipped out earlier this week. I already have one item for the final package, and have “commissioned” something for her with one of my truly artistic/crafty friends, to be a Halloween themed package. Should ship before the 15th too. My Felted Bag package has a personal deadline which the pal should be able to guess, but I think I’ve already told you I’m not talking about that swap here, right? 😉
Whew. Wow. I’m shocked. After Monkey #2, which should be done within the next week, I will have time to cast on for the Knight’s birthday (or Christmas if I miss the first deadline) surprise, my felted bag pal’s bag, finish my Summer Daze Tofutsies, and begin holiday knitting. The light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a train!
Now, to cast on for that #2.

Cass’s Contest and Stash Building

Well, part of this was easy. Cass wants to know my favorite vegan yarn. Sigh. She knows. She really does, but because I’m a good sport, I’ll tell you too. (Bet you can guess!) Wick. I love it. It’s so squooshy and yummy, knits up quickly, and the fact that it draws moisture away from the body is too cool. I used it first to knit my yoga socks, but I bought more (and was swap-gifted still more!) so my female relations and a couple of friends are getting Wick footies for Christmas. (You don’t know it’s you for sure, and you don’t know what pattern or color, so quit acting as though I’ve spoiled a surprise. Geeze.) Yes, it splits a bit, especially with my love of wee, sharp needles, but no yarn is perfect. Wick is as close as it gets, at least until they make it in a fingering weight…
Cass is lucky I love her. I hate to have my picture taken, so the thought of taking my own picture knitting in public was PAINFUL. I thought about taking it at the firehouse, sitting on the tailboard of an engine, but it was raining HARD Tuesday, so I didn’t take my knitting or my camera. (I don’t generally knit at the station because of diesel smoke and cigarette smoke.) So, since I had my can-travel sock at the ready while at the vet yesterday, I snapped a photo. This sock was actually cast on in the parking lot in front of the Northside Library on Monday night, and I got the stitches divided onto two needles in the vet’s. I wanted Fred to pose with us, but he was busy having a nervous breakdown. I’m sure if you click on the photo and enlarge it, you can see a wad of Fred’s hair in the corner.
This is also my first effort at taking a dpn pattern and knitting it on two circs. I find it easier to travel with circs. I can just push the working portion off the needles, and it rests safely on the cord(s) until I pick it up again. No waiting until the end of a needle, no shoving the little pointies into a keeper of some sort, etc. Yeah Anne, gloat. (I’m rolling my eyes, okay?) I can’t see ever giving dpns up entirely, but I think I am headed towards being a two circs gal, with dpns in second place, and Magic Loop remains a very distant, non-ribbon-worthy third.

I hate admitting the Knight is right, and he’s insisted since the first moment he saw those canister-style yarn “jars” that I needed the large one. Whatever, walk away, roll my eyes… Oh, how I wish I had that STILL honkin’ big hunk of Pound of Love in one. It’s a good thing blankie is going to a home with two dogs, because I think I’ve knitted Mugsy hair in on every row, with a Fred hair here and there too. So, when I slipped into my local Michael’s to buy a magnifying glass for my boss (Hush. My father inlaw is my boss, and he doesn’t mind if I do some stash building while I shop for him. Really.) I couldn’t find the canister (it’s too late anyway), but I found this thingee instead. The picture on the right shows it being used with three different yarns, and I figured it might come in handy on the Knight’s blankie, which will be done in secret, and will need to be tossed into hiding when I see his lights coming down the drive. I also picked up some of the much-recommended Caron Simply Soft in a cheery red, for baby’s first Christmas kimono, and a TLC variegated that caught my eye.
In the most exciting news of the day, I’m a Loopy Groupie! I didn’t take a picture of the tote, nor will I share the details of the “couple of surprises” but I can assure you, Sheri treats her loyal customers generously. I picked up some Panda yarn, which is sock yarn speak for “Bamboozle in a finer gauge.” The blue is for me, and the green is for… someone else. The All Things Heather in the center is also for a gift, so I’ll say no more, other than that when Sheri answers your recommendation request and the drool stains come through the email for one yarn in particular, order it. You won’t be disappointed.

Vegan 2 Swap Questionnaire

What is/are your craft(s), & how long have you been doing it/them?

Knitting. I really just began at the end of 2006, despite a brief introduction or two in my teens.

Are you a vegan, vegetarian, veg-curious, veg-friendly or other?

Other, or maybe veg-friendly. I was a vegetarian in my 20s, but…

Is this your first swap, or have you done previous swaps before? What makes a swap enjoyable for you?

No, this isn’t my first swap. I enjoy meeting new people, and if a friendship blooms, that’s all the better. I also enjoy shopping for my pals, because they always like different things than I’d normally buy, so it allows me to see different yarns, scents, etc.

What is/are your favorite color(s)? Do you particularly dislike any color(s)?

My favorite colors change constantly, but have never included orange or bright yellow. Reds, pinks, blues, greens, browns… They’re always good.

Do you have any allergies (such as pets, foods, fibers or cigarette smoke)?

Not that would matter here.

Do you have any companion animals? If so, name(s) and type(s)?*

Yes! Mugsy has his wee noggin against my hip right now, and Fred is snoring a few feet away. Mugsy is a Jack Russell Terror, and he believes that no knitted item is complete without little white hairs. Fred is an aging, arthritic Basset Hound, whose only thoughts on knitting are that it keeps me out of the kitchen and that sucks.

Do you collect anything?

Roosters. Cookbooks. Heck, I’m a pack rat, so I have or do collect all sorts of things, but I’m trying to declutter…

Do you have a favorite vegan food, snack or dish? If no fav that’s vegan (for those who aren’t vegan), what’s your favorite food? (Hopefully your pal can find a vegan version!)

Almost any kind of bean or anything pumpkin. Can’t go wrong there, but hummus is a clear favorite. Add extra garlic and it’s all good.

What are some of your favorite/least favorite tastes/flavors? (e.g. sweet, salty, chocolate, crunchy, smooth, tart, sour, spicy, thai, whatever – Help your pal get a feel for what kind of recipes you might like and/or never ever make.)

Oops – see above. Thai is awesome. Coconut milk and peanut sauce will make me happy! Tofu is a problem. I’d love for someone to give me a recipe that would make me like the stuff. (I’m all about soy, so this is a personal affront my tastebuds continue to commit against the rest of my body.) Chocolate should be dark. As a small child, I preferred baking chocolate to a Hershey bar. Tart has its place, but in general, not a favorite. With the exception of nuts (raw is good), I’ll choose chewy over crunchy every time. Did I mention that fall is coming and I love a bowl of beans or anything pumpkiny?

What tools/supplies/accessories for your craft(s) are you wishing you had but don’t? Also, what do you have TOO many of? (basically a wish and anti-wish list)

I don’t have enough tiny sized circular needles. I have at least one set of dpns in sizes 000-5, but I’m leaning towards saying two circs. are my favorite method for sock knitting. I like Knitpicks, and I have the Options set too. I have one pair of Addis, and will likely add another pair tomorrow.

Any lace-related tools would be nice, as I do believe I want to try that next, and don’t even know what I might need or want.

Too much of? Needles that aren’t metal. If it they aren’t metal, I don’t want them.

Honestly, my pals have surprised me with some wonderful tools and accessories I didn’t even know existed, so aside from non-metal needles, there’s no anti-list at all!

Are you on Ravelry? What’s your handle?

Gee, thanks for asking, but for roughly three more weeks, I’ll be waiting for my invitation. When that changes, you’ll know; I’ll announce it on my blog and then get lost in all that organizational goodness.

Is there anything else you would like your pal to know about you?

I don’t know… If you have a question, ask!

What scents do you like/dislike?

I like soft florals. Lily of the valley. Rose. Magnolia. Gardenia. Green tea.

Dislike? Musks, spicy perfumes.

Do you prefer fall or Halloween or some other Autumn theme?

I love fall. I love the changing leaves and there, orange is beautiful. Halloween isn’t on my radar.

Just for fun – tell your favorite Halloween or Autumn related memory.

When I was a young child, the weekend closest to “peak” leaf turning would find us loaded into the station wagon, headed to Sugar Tree Mountain, for a cool picnic and the best views in the state. Teaberries. I’d forgotten about them. Yum.

Meme and Swapswap

Dearest Anne tagged me a while back, but was kind enough not to hit me over the head while I was on vacation. I’m also aware that I never tapped any other Rockin’ Girls for that award, but my time has been a bit thin, so forgive me, okay?
Instructions:Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot:

Next, select 5 people to tag: (If you’ve been tagged already, my apologies!)

1. Stacey

2. Cass

3. Holly

4. Paula

5. Sue

What were you doing 10 years ago?

Um… My serious back problems were just beginning. I felt a twinge, argued with the brand, spankin’ new personal trainer about what I should and shouldn’t be doing, given my known back issues (from my teens), but listened to Mr. Expert and pinched a nerve, again. I was also just a few weeks away from marrying my best friend, and let me tell you, you haven’t lived until you try to put the finishing touches on a wedding for 250+ of your closest friends and distant relations while on narcotic pain killers!

What were you doing one year ago?

LOL… Alzheimer’s already!? Ten years ago was easy. One year ago, not so much. Mourning the first summer vacation without Randy, my stepson. He opted to stay with his mom rather than do the beach thing with us. Ouch.

Five snacks you enjoy:

1. Dark Chocolate

2. Fruit of most any sort

3. Nuts

4. Popcorn

5. Cheese

Five songs that you know all the lyrics to:

1. Amazing Grace

2. How Great Thou Art

3. Bat Out of Hell – Meatloaf (how’s that for transition?!)

4. Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond

5. Old the Good Die Young – Billy Joel

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:

1. Open a Yarn Store/Bookstore Combo with a Coffee & Pastry Cafe attached. (Yep, that is exactly how Anne wrote it too, but friends can share a dream, right?!)

2. Sponsor a house for Habitat’s Women Build

3. Tour the world with my cousin Sherri

4. Finish College

5. Buy a house in Sedona, AZ

Five bad habits

1. I sometimes have a potty mouth. (I blame the fire service for that.)

2. I interrupt when Mark is talking.

3. I have “safe places” which means I put things away and can’t find them later.

4. I am moody. It’s not a habit, but it’s something I’d like to change.

5. I am a rotten housekeeper.

Five things you like doing:

1. Knitting

2. Blogging

3. Reading

4. Listening to music and singing along.

5. Cooking

Five things you would never wear again:

1. Those floppy, big bows Madonna inspired me to put in my hair in 1985.

2. A string bikini

3. Stirrup pants

4. A big, pouffy wedding dress or other formal gown

5. The Guess jeans with the zippers at the ankles – not that I could get into them now anyway!

Five favorite toys:

1. My Laptop

2. My clicky stitch counter

3. My Pampered Chef Food Chopper

4. My Moonlight Knitter row counter that looks like a bracelet

5. The Garmin GPS thingee

And now, more joining has happened. I don’t have a button yet for SP11, but I’m in and waiting on my match.
I’ve be remiss in noting that there’s another felted bag exchange!

Y’all know about the Colors of Tea Swap (it’s my swap; I can call it something slightly different each time if I want!) which at this moment, is still open.

Then, there’s the Vegan Pal 2 Swap, which is also still open. I can’t decide which option I want. I hate orange the color, but totally LOVE pumpkin, the food, so…??

That’s enough for now. I’m supposed to be working on the tea blog site, and I have more vacation excitement to share, and a BIG THANK YOU to make too, but… later.