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Monday, April 30, 2007

This one's going to be short too....

I finally did receive April STR shipment on Friday afternoon. I will try to take pics later. The yarn is to die for soft. And the pattern looks cool.

I have to tell, for SP10, what is the oldest yarn in my stash. It is the sage green Lamb's Pride Bulky for my unfinished Einstein coat that I posted about awhile ago. It has been in my stash since the spring of 2004. But since I love Lamb's Pride, it will get used someday!

I need to get to the gym to work on my physical therapy, and I need to maybe buy some new khakis or mid-level dressiness pants. After working in more formal office environments, all I really have are jeans, shorts and suits! Agh.

Oh, and something else....Maryland Sheep and Wool is this weekend! OMG. I have to start getting organized here. I need to go dig out wherever the heck we put our camping chairs. Anyone else out there going?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

No STR April Package yet....

>sigh<

Shorter n' Sweeter

I will try to keep this post brief. I have alot of baking an errands to run today. And did I mention the house is a mess and needs spring cleaning badly? (By the way, we were invited to a First Communion at the last minute for this Sunday (which is out of town), so there goes away one more day for hoping to get DH to help me clean the garage. Ugh.)




First, I received my first SP10 Swap Package. It is way cool and worth the wait.



I have the new Yarn Harlot book, which looks funny. And a really cool metal bookmark, which has the unusual feature of actually STAYING in place when the book is open. It is balanced to just lie there perfectly. Now I know that observation may seem odd to you, but I always have to put bookmarks between the next pages in a book to get them to stay. What can I say, being an engineer and bibliophile I love it. I also have more Knitpicks merino sock yarn and kool aid to dye with...do we see a trend here? I think I have finally reached critical mass of those two things. I no longer have excuses to keep procrastinating so I must dye some already! And chocolate raspberry bar and the cutest bear stitchmarkers to add to my bear collection. I was tempted to buy some on my own, but I did not because of budget constraints and I am glad I did not!



Second, in response to viewer mail:

YarnThrower said...
Your sock is cute! Sounds like your trip was really fun. I agree about the whole dpn thing. I just really like my dpn's!!!! Now of course, you know what we're all thinking when you begin your post with, "I am overdue..."..... Any comment?



Sorry about the confusion. I am trying to conceive (somewhat but not WAY aggressively. :) C'mon now, I don't want to completely freak out my husband.). So, I am sorry for posting something like that. Honestly, I did not even think that it would be misconstrued. Shows you how clueless I am about that whole vernacular. And on the dpn thing...don't get me wrong. I understand that using circs is like finding the holy grail of sock knitting to people who hate dpns. But I LOVE dpns. They fold up so nicely into your bag, and don't hurt my hands as much. Having multiple balls hanging from circs can get tiring when you are in a small space like an airplane.

We finally have our first HOA board meeting tonight. Give me strength....

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I am overdue...

for an update!

I wasn't really motivated to sit down and blog after the Yarn Crawl. I ended up being pretty tired and cranky on Sunday, and all I can figure is that it was due to a lack of sleep. Not even Starbucks can overcome enough late nights and early mornings and transform me into some merry happy sunshine girl. (Which everyone knows that I am not anyway, even if I tried. I am more the calm, serious, inflappable type.)

Last Friday I went to Thimbleberries and picked up my house kit for this month. I washed the fabric yesterday, but I have not started on it. I have also washed the fabric for the table runner, so I hope to start on that sometime soon too. I also picked out some way cool fabric to make drawstring pouches for my husband and my sensei for Christmas.


Note the cool dragons, red and orange fabric that looks like fire, and the blue script. The red fabrics are batik. Too cool! This is my first batik purchase. I adore the stuff.
On Saturday we did the Asheville Yarn Crawl. We could have seen even more stores, but honestly, I did not want to drive us all insane running around at a crazy pace trying to hit the stores farther out from the city.

We started with the mandatory stop at Starbucks before our ~45 minute drive. Then we went straight into yarn shopping!

Our list of stores:

1. Earth Guild - 33 Haywood St., Asheville. 828-255-7818

2. Purl's Yarn Emporium - 51 College St., Asheville. 828-253-2750

3. Asheville Home Crafts - inside Grove Arcade, Asheville. 828-350-7556

4. Yarn Paradise - 6 All Souls Crescent, Asheville. 828-274-4213

5. Yarns to Dye For (Hendersonville) - 927 Greenville Hwy., Hendersonville. 828-697-0630.

All of these stores are great, and for different selections of yarn. Some of the inventories overlap, but there is not so much overlap that visiting all of them is pointless. As a testament to that fact, group members bought items at each store. Each carries sock yarn, so you are covered if you are into that. If you have questions, let me know as I do not feel mentally equipped to handle detailed store reviews of each. We ate at the Tupelo Honey Cafe, which is great and a highly recommend it. We also stopped by The Chocolate Fetish, and I do not have any pictures of my chocolates because all but 2 have been eaten already. I love their European style truffles, much lighter and more enjoyable than the more dense American style truffles (They have those too, by the way. So you can get either!).

I can't really show most of what I bought, because it is for various swap partners that I have. I can share a skein of heavenly laceweight malabrigo (what a deal at ~$8 for 470 yds!)




which I will use to make a branching out. My knitting group pal Sara and I split the last two skeins of the black malabrigo, since the remaining colors weren't really "us." We should each have enough to make a branching out.

I think my squeeing over malabrigo just shows you what a sucker I am for merino wool. It is my absolute favorite thing in the world. Then I guess alpaca.

I also purchased some Brittany Birch dpns to try them. I just want to ask y'all one thing...the next time you recommend that another sock knitter stop using dpns and instead switch to the magic loop or two circs, please don't act like it is the only way to do it and the dpn knitter does not know anything. (Just how it annoys knitters when they are told that whatever knitting style they use is wrong.) Keep in mind that the dpn knitter may have already tried the other methods, and still likes dpns. For example, doing the magic loop is usually best on metal circs. But metal circs aggravated my carpal tunnel. So I tend to return to dpns alot! I only say this because it happens so often! And if you only knew how impossible it is to find size 6 wood dpns in this town, you would jump at the chance too!


I also finished one Inside Out (the ends are not woven in yet, in case I need to rob it for more fiber to finish the second one). But I screwed up on the needle size for the second, so I have to frog that and redo the short row foot. I ended up doing 3 cable repeats on the leg, and I think it results in a good length and nice cabling.








Friday, April 20, 2007

I am not shim-shammin man....

I have been pretty scarce with the DH birthday jubilee this week. But I have been getting some things done.

A quilt block for Thimbleberries (this is for February, so you can see I am two months behind. Gasp!). I just received the April Kit today, so I am going to try to start on that here in the next week. It is a house and should not be too hard.




A little further on the Inside Out sock. I am a little further along than this picture, so I am deciding on how much ribbing to do before I bind off.


Golly, the flash makes everything look ickier.

And we have had something like 4 new member to the Alaskan Knitters ring in the last week. That is so exciting.

The Asheville Yarn Crawl is tomorrow. Unfortunately, only 6 of us can go. Boohoo...but at least we will be a lean, mean yarn buying machine all packed into one minivan! And we are all in trouble with me as the Cruise Ship Activities Director. (I will try NOT to revert to my old cranky ma'amerific ways learned in the Army...no really, I think I will be so sleep deprived it will not be an issue. And everyone is too cool. I just get cranky when I am around lazy idiots. And I am a sleep deprived officer working 5 jobs.) I will ensure bliss by buying a Starbucks sugar free, nonfat, no whip Cinnamon Dolce Latte. And I am probably going to buy my weight in truffles at The Chocolate Fetish. (That alone should boost my mood.) At least that was DH's directive to me. And hey, he is the bday boy and it is chocolate, so who am I to disobey?

Honestly, their chocolates are so good that if I lived in Asheville, I would probably try to work there. Maybe smelling all the chocolate would stop me from eating it so much?!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Craziness in the world....

My thoughts are with those friends, families, employees and emergency workers at Virginia Tech. Yesterday was such a beautiful day here, and we were trying to celebrate DH's birthday...but it is difficult to feel joy with such tragedy occurring. Not that long ago, I was an engineering student. Just trying to imagine what it would be like to have the same thing happen to my friends and professors in those classrooms is just unfathomable. People that you are so fond of, that have really influenced your life are suddenly brutally murdered. What could one do? I don't know. And how could one person do that to others? I don't know. I don't think those of us who are not in that frame of mind can truly comprehend it. At my school, people were notorious for jumping into gorges when they were suicidal, they weren't homicidal. How can you stop someone who is so "hell bent" on destroying life? With or without guns, they would find a way to do it. Bombs, knives, poison, whatever....

Everyone, take the time to tell your families and friends how much you love them. Take care of your children and hold them close to your heart...always be there for them as much as you can. Teach them that nothing in one's life is so important, overwhelming and tragic that it is worth taking life. Together you can overcome and handle life's trials and difficulties together.

Monday, April 16, 2007

I'm a little scarce right now

I am calling these 9 days the jubilee celebration of my husband's birthday. He is having such a stressful time at work that I am planning surprises for him every day. So far it is going very well, but because of it I am going to be a little scarce the next week. I have completed two cable repeats on my Inside Out Monsoon Socks for the STR club. It is fun, but don't try doing a 5/1/5 cable with alot of action going on around you, especially on metal needles! Whoops! and they stitches you just cabled slide right off. It could be stressful if you are not good a picking up dropped stitches. Thank goodness, now I am on size one needles for these, so it is going a bit faster....



Meanwhile, the Alaskan Knitters blog ring has grown by two more members! Slowly but surely, we will unite all the Alaskan Knitters out there. :) It is fun to see what everyone is working on.

I also just have to say how much I am loving my Ott lamp. I no longer have eye strain when I work on my knitting in bed...and reading is nice too!

See you in a few days. Asheville yarn crawl this weekend! Woohoo!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Fun times on a route recon

Yesterday I drove up to Asheville NC to do a route recon* for a semi-LYS Crawl for my knitting group. You know how it is...we all get so busy in our lives that even yarn stores that are only an hour to an hour and a half away go unvisited. I wanted to make sure that some of the yarn stores that came up on my google search actually existed, or actually carry decent quantities of yarn to make the gas money worthwhile. I have been to most of the stores before, so no big deal for me. But, I did find out that one store does not exist! And another that was just a consignment shop with some yarn no longer carries yarn. And the ones that I thought would be worth a visit still are. It will be hard to get 2-3 cars worth of knitters through too many stores, so we have to limit the list.

One of these days, I need to leave early enough in the morning to actually ENJOY Asheville more. I ended up eating McDonalds for lunch while driving, and this is a crime if you know Asheville. It has so many good restaurants that it is crazy to eat crappy food. But I wanted to try to beat rush hour traffic home because there was construction on I-26. I did make time to stop at The Chocolate Fetish, for some delicious Key Lime Pie, Chai and Raspberry truffles. I warned my husband that if he did not eat his share soon, I would not be able to fight off their truffley siren song. (Note to my SP10 Pal: truffles are always welcome. :) ).



Alot of us are saying we are on yarn diets, but you know how that is. I think some of us will break down when in the presence of awesome yarn. As I did. (Just like a dieter breaks down in front of cupcakes or french fries.) I did buy two skeins of Colinette Jitterbug at Yarn Paradise, with the excuse that one is for my SP10 pal. But honestly, I knew deep down that once I showed them both to DH this morning, he would really like the one I was going to give away (and he did). So I knew both would end up in my home!** Agh! And honestly, it is a miracle that this is all that I bought. I had held out all day before and after this purchase, but it is like a pressure cooker building up steam. You finally get around some sock yarn that you hear raves about, and you are like, well....I will just buy just this one. I must be crazy. Crazy for tightly spun super soft merino sock yarn. It is my personal yarn kryptonite.

Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug in Colorways (top to bottom) Blue Parrot #16 and Jewel #54.

Source: Yarn Paradise



The good news is that I will be going back up in ~1 week for the actual crawl. And so I will have a chance again to buy one of many new sock yarns for her. Or other yarns if I can find a deal for her. Don't worry pal-ly, shopping for you is always on my mind. :)


I have finished that purple and blue lizard ridge block, and have started another this morning. They are so like knitting dishcloths that I encourage you all to take up this project. The blocks make a nice break between knitting other projects.

* It is scary when one channels their super duper high speed Army planning and logistics skills. I was always highest rated on my planning skills. All I know is whenever I get around to having bambinos, they are in for some trouble. Mommy has it all under control! And I will be in for trouble when they do their best to perturb my plans!

** One of these yarns may end up as a gift to one of my sockerly knitting friends! Ahah!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Lizard Ridge Progress

These little Lizard Ridge squares can be fast and addictive, like knitting dishcloths. I finished the old one I had started months ago, and now I am done with almost two more.


Pattern: Lizard Ridge

Yarn: Universal Yarns Poems Colorways 553, 556, & 564
Source: Yarns Forever
Needle: Size 9 Bamboo 24" circs

I estimate that I have about 1/3 to 1/4 of a skein left after one is knit. I hope to save some money by combining the remnants to make some more squares. Heck, it would even be neat to join different colorways together. It would probably pull the look of the blanket together even more, since the colorways are not quite as similar as Noro Kuryeon's.

Thank you for all of the comments on the clapotis! To answer some viewer mail in summary format:

  • Yes, I find the four play to be lightweight. I think as lightweight as wool and silk blend can be. It has good stitch definition and a nice sheen. And I can wear it around the house wrapped around my neck like a scarf, and it does not bother me or weigh me down at all. Come to think of it, it might be lighter than my four other shawls....none of which are fine lace by the way.

  • It took 3 skeins of four play. It is 80" by 12.5". That measurement may have it stretched a little bit, and I think my gage could have stood to be a bit tighter than it was with the yarn. In order to not show my woven in ends...I think they peeked through sometimes to the other side, since the yarn is variegated and the gage loose.

  • I *would* do another one in four play. The end result is very pretty and comfortable to wear. However, I will probably do another one, but I might do it in the original or a different yarn, just to have and try something different.
I am thinking of doing a mini clap for summer. Does anyone have any recommendations for a lightweight yarn to do it in? Other than bamboo.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Clapotis is done!




My Clappy is finished! Yay! Thanks to Dena at Brooks Farm, I had the courage to soldier on and finish! She went home and took pictures of her own Clapotis knitted in Four Play to show me where she had joined on her third skein. And since it looked as though I joined mine at about the same place, I proceeded. There were a few times last night where I looked at the shrinking ball of yarn with some doubt. But I finished it this morning and wove in the ends while watching Season 6 of the Sopranos on cable on demand. (Gotta love watching HBO series on demand. Somehow I fell way behind in my Sopranos. I think it was because of work.)

I want to thank Dena for taking the time to email back and forth with me SEVERAL times. It was really nice of her. It took awhile for her to respond to me because she thought she had already responded to my request. Trust me, I understand that. I used to work a job where I received at a minimum 50 emails a day (that does not include all the phone calls and internet chat requests too). And many were repetitive chains of replies between large groups of people. It gets overwhelming and one tends to get the kind of dementia where you swear you responded to an email, but you probably only did it in your dreams! (It is the kind of work situation where the only time you are not working, you are sleeping. Never again....)

SP10 Hostess Robyn (that is with a y, not an i, remember!) posted the latest contest:
Post a picture to your blog before the 15th showing me either your fave pattern ever knitted by you - or your most hated project that once you finished it - you absolutely wondered "Why the heck did I knit this". Want a challenge? Post both!

Honestly, can I include projects I hated so much that I NEVER finished them? I nominate my Einstein coat. I have not doubt it is a clever pattern, but I don't have the patience for miles of garter stitch. I am a true knitting crazy who craves challenge! In every project. I still have all the yarn, which I will use for some other sweater. Maybe I will turn what I have finished so far into a pillow.

I love alot of projects. But I think I will nominate the Clapotis because it was fast, interesting enough, but simple enough to breeze through it while at knitting groups or while watching TV. It is a good pattern that everyone from beginning to experienced knitters would enjoy.

I also think the Kittyville hats from SnB are fun. But I don't have any pictures of the two that I made from my brother and niece. That project teaches alot: Icords, knitting in the round on circs and dpns, and picking up stitches to attach earflaps and kitten ears.

Regarding my rant: Thanks for all the responses! I love the comments on being a "full-time mom" or "part-time XXX"...that is so true! And I have seen from my brother how much a new baby can absorb so much time! It is totally full-time, no matter whether you work or not. In fact, I had partially read a book (partially becaues it was a library book) that had researched the mommy wars. And you know what, it seems that the one conclusion I found is that we do it to ourselves. One side judges the other for working and being negligent, the other for staying home and being narrow-minded. Stereotypes are made and names called. Honestly, it is silly. I think we should just celebrate the fact that in 2007, women get to make choices either way. Or understand that others may have to work and don't have a choice. But we need to realize that OUR choice may not be the right choice for EVERYONE. And have empathy and compassion for mommies on all sides. :)

I have no doubt my neighbor did not mean to imply it directly. It just reminded me of others who do. I will say that I have noticed that she is a very proud woman...she recently had knee surgery, and her husband died last summer. I do my best to try to help her, offering to help her plant flowers and even pull weeds for her. But she refuses help. She is a very active and self-reliant woman. I guess I just have to wait on what else I can do.

And joke of all jokes: I am now on my HOA board. No one else would fill the offices. So I am secretary. For two years. I told my husband, now he really owes me because he skipped the meeting, and now I am on the board. Anyway, I am trying to look at it as a learning experience. And I am serving with two older gentlemen, who seem to be nice people so I was more willing to do it. We are a brand new community, so there is alot of work to do. Should be a laugh riot. :P


I have finished one block on Lizard Ridge finally. I will try to post pictures later.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Sad, sad times...

I finally did hear back from Brooks Farm today. They do not have any more of my dyelot. C'est la vie. They do so many shows, I knew not to hope. My choices are:
1. Continue knitting and pray I have enough yarn. Then frog if needed as described in step 2.
2. Try on garment, mark where I can eliminate extra middle section repeats. Go ahead and frog and rip back middle section repeats. Pick up dropped stitches and rock on.

Husband is an advocate to #1. If I do #2, I would probably want his help on marking the garment with stitch markers anyway. I think I will think about this and wait until tonight.

Inside Out sockie is progressing. I have to go to a stinkin' homeowners association meeting tonight, and I swore to DH that I am bringing my sock with me, I don't care what people say. Because we all know that I will be stuck there for hours in some uncomfortable folding chair, hoping to successfully fight the desire to self-lobotimize with my DPNs. I will have flashbacks to high school where I fought that same urge, only with pencils. Ugh. My neighbor (bless her heart) is trying to get me to run for the board because of my numbers background. I say nay. I have enough drama in my life. I made some excuse about needing to take more classes to get ready for graduate school (partly true) and that I am working on some business ideas (partly true too). I do not need to serve on the board with my neighbors whose dog keeps pooing in my yard and they never pick it up, etc., etc.. Okay, enough with that but you get the idea. I don't want to be a slave to people who are miserable and petty. If I wanted that, I would still be working as an FA in some silly pressure cooker company.




Oh, and a warning, the next statement may offend some: The assumption that a person who does not work a "regular" job and who does not have kids has all the time in the world to take on all the other crap in the world that others do not want to do annoys the crud out of me. And that I don't have enough other very important stuff going on that I am really into. I can draw two parallel situations, one of which I have been in:


1. The single person working for a company gets asked to work through holiday vacation plans, nights, weekends for any emergency that comes up because your personal time is not as valuable as those who are married (with or without kids). This applies no matter how many years of experience you have and where you are in the pecking order.


2. Mothers with children who get asked to take on all sorts of stuff at school, church, whatever (whether they work or not). Because it is assumed they "wouldn't mind" helping out, or taking on just a few more kids other than your own for an afternoon. As if you have a ton of free time yourself. (I've seen this happen to my mom and friends.)

Enough said. (You can feel free to submit your own rants on the same topic to me. I will appreciate all views.)

The Project Spectrum colors for the next two months are:
April / May: Green, Yellow, Pink
And Sundara's Bird of Paradise Yarn fits perfectly. Only I am not on gage. So I will have to frog back and start again. On socks, you can see a trend. I love to live dangerously and check gage as I knit. :)

The weather is supposed to dip much colder the next few days. I am not happy about that, but I knew it was a possibility. I just planted some dahlias, daisies, daylillies, basil and impatiens. The dahlias, daisies and basil are in pots and can be brought into the garage for refuge. The daylillies should be okay. I only planted two impatiens, so no biggie. But still. I knew I was living dangerously, but I don't want to wait till next month to plant in that heat.

And now for some viewer mail:

Beverly said...
" Not only do you have a lot of gardners in your guild, there are several master gardeners. I was definitely impressed."


I agree. I am going to go to the garden organizations with some of them. I am going to see if I want to go through the master gardener program myself or not. Growing up where I did in Alaska, the soil is so rich all you have to do is plant something and fertilize it. Here, it is much tougher and I feel I could stand to learn alot more. I also have friends and family who will think I have lost my mind undertaking such a thing; they will think I am wasting my time. I don't care. I defy stereotypes and expectations all the time as it is. :) And I have always had a natural green thumb, even for a city girl. There are also some other areas of interest I am going to pursue this year as well, but I am keeping those to myself. :)

Monday, April 02, 2007

This is going to take awhile...

I have been diligently working on my STR Inside Out pattern. But I knew I was in trouble but kind of in denial and the whole let's wait and see how it fits before I decide situation. Basically, I am probably knitting this pattern TOO LOOSE. Yeah, wtf? Notice the UBER-pooling situation in the pics below.

And how the ribbing barely stretches on my little baby feet.

So I bit the bullet this morning and took these pics, and then frogged it back to within 1/2 inch of the start of the ribbing (because you all know that I do not want to accidentally frog all they way back to where the provisional cast on stitches were picked up and end up accidentally dropping those too far). At least now the color striping seems to be more satisfactory.

Finally pics of my dream swatch...my apologies to all of you sweet people out there who have been waiting to see it. I wore it out and about last week. I am sure some people thought it was unusual. DH thinks it is cute. With my medium-length hair, it makes another bad hairday option possible. The pics are a little blurry because I had to take them myself.

I still haven't really looked at my More Sensational Knitted Socks book. I have a legitimate excuse. I have started working on my garden, going out and buying flowers and pulling those that did not make it through the winter out of my beds. I bought daylillies, gerber daisies, africian daisies, and impatiens. Thing is, I am now really scared because between a bad fall in aikido and gardening, I may have really killed my knee again. About 1/3 of my knee is bruised today. I almost cried yesterday, worried that I may need to get another knee surgery. So I am trying not to stress the knee too much. I will try to go just do some planting in my large pots, so that I hope that I do not have to crouch or kneel to work them.

I am probably going to join some local gardening societies too, to help me learn more. I am thinking about doing that, especially since some of my knitting friends are big gardeners and are already involved in the organizations. Growing up where I did in Alaska, I did not have to learn much. The soil is so rich that you plant something and it grows like gangbusters. Here in the hard red clays of SC, one has alot more work to do!