Monday, September 29, 2008

Sensational Sequins

My sister knits great scarves. Her recipe always includes more than one yarn, and one yarn has to be 3-dimensional ~ such as eyelash or beads or sequins. She started this scarf on our weekend, scoring the sequin yarn on sale at our first yarn store destination. She scored the alpaca at the second yarn store we visited ~ not bad, eh!! The scarf is soft from the alpaca and shimmers from the sequins ~ classic black and sparkly ~ perfect for New Years' Eve!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Wisdom Shared

The first of my birthday weekend purchases was a great hat pattern called Braids and Nupps (2007 edition by Joan Goldstein) with a bit of Fair Isle color work in the center. The store sample was knit with beautiful wool and great colors. When I purchased the pattern, the gal at cash register asked if I knew how to do the "double~start cast~on" that provides a strong and firm edge for the hat. I did not know this cast on, and she began to show me. It did not make any sense to me, as it was based on a long tail cast on, which I have only done once ~ a long time ago. Thankfully, one of my wise friends was also watching and said she would be able to figure it out. Back in our weekend retreat, she did figure it out and allowed me to video her genius at work. Check out the video and see if you can figure out this cast on!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Flamingo Celebration

My sister made me an amazing quilt for my birthday ~ it is colorful, bright and packed with my favorite flamingoes. The whimsey and delight is overflowing in this quilt! No one has ever made me a quilt before, although I have made many quilts for others ~ how wonderful to have some one love you enough to make a quilt! I am so blessed to have a sister that is talented and creative, and... loves me enough to spend the time and effort to make me a quilt. Thanks!!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Meet the Beast

Yes, you may have heard of The Beast. Starts out to be a small "100% washable" gift and needs to be....dare I say it......acrylic.... needs to be knit out of acrylic. So you go shopping for... acrylic.... and just buy a little bit, as you really do not want any leftovers in your stash. Then the project gets a wee bit bigger ~ perhaps you double the strands so it can be knit faster and on bigger needles...and you are shopping for more acrylic.... You lose track of how much acrylic you have purchased, and the gift is not getting any bigger, yet it keeps sucking down the acrylic and you need to buy more acrylic. Meet The Beast, consumer of skeins and skeins and skeins and skeins of acrylic... and no end in sight. This weekend we had an Intervention for The Beast ~ to try to tame the consuming hunger that is The Beast, and to free our friend from being chained to a knitting life filled with acrylic. We gave a valiant effort, but she is not free yet....

Monday, September 22, 2008

Have I mentioned?

Perhaps I have not mentioned what amazing friends I have? Perhaps I have been silent on how much fun they are, and how blessed I am that our paths have crossed in this life of mine. Celebrating with friends should be on the top of every one's "To Do List" each and every week.... I am just returning from a fabulous weekend with the greatest people EVER! In my blogs this week, I will share the fun that we had together. This picture shows us in our "Party Favor" t-shirts that my sister made for each of us ~ complete with a jeweled flamingo! What great sports that each of us wore them all day today!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Winner is.....

Monkey Socks by Cookie A. This is the pattern that Rockin13 daughter picked for her yellow alpaca silk sock cuffs. I remembered the pattern as I was running this morning, listening to the DoubleKnit podcast. They mentioned a pattern by Cookie A. and it clicked that my 2007 Birthday socks (pictured here) were knit with deep cherry merino wool from Dye Studios in England using the Monkey Socks pattern. This was a great pattern and I am happy that this is the lucky winner of the "cuffs for alpaca silk" competition!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

As the Heel Turns....

Using Queen Kahuna's wonderful method, both heels are turned! I turned one last night during and after Monday Night Football. I turned the second one tonight in much less time ~ perhaps due to less distractions and interruptions? These fun socks are now ready for a delightful cuff pattern, chosen by my sweet Rockin13 daughter. She has picked the same pattern as my 2007 Birthday socks out of deep cherry merino from Dye Studios in England... and I will have to find the pattern I used... as I do not remember which one it was! The 2007 socks are beautiful, I will have to check to see if I have posted a picture of those, as I finished them this year....

Monday, September 15, 2008

Gusset Time!

Ahhhhhhh, it is that time again ~ gusset time for our socks. That means we are almost to the heel turn and then the fun patterning of the cuffs and then ~ Poof! Done! Well, almost done, anyway. I still need to figure out which fun pattern to knit on the legs/cuffs, and that is always the most exciting part for me. There are so many patterns out there that choosing just one is tough. So I will sit outside, on my deck with the veggie garden, with my cup of yummy coffee and knit on my Happy Birthday socks!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Road Trip ~

There is nothing so grand as getting a lot of knitting done on a great road trip. We took a fun trip this weekend to a great island wedding, complete with two ferry rides! Lots of time for road trip knitting, and a perfect day for a wedding on the beach.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Alpaca Bliss

This yarn is so soft and smooth to work with ~ a blend of alpaca and silk, probably not supposed to be knit into socks. It was on sale, and Rockin13 asked for yellow socks out of this yarn, so here they are started. I was able to knit outside on our back deck this afternoon in the glorious sunshine, plus tonight watching Green Bay on Monday Night Football, so I've made a bit of progress. Check out the "Happy Birthday" bag in the background, and I do love these flamingos!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Birthday Project ~

I start a new knitting project each year on my birthday. The last few years the project has been socks. Then, when I talk about the project I say, "I am working on my birthday socks" and the project reminds me of how wonderful my birthday was. It is one more way I celebrate my birthday all year. This year is no exception, as at 10:00 PM, I cast on yellow alpaca silk socks for my Rockin13 daughter...she picked out the yarn, but I'll still call them my Birthday Socks!
P.S. I am having the most amazingly wonderful birthday!!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Elementary Peace

I found my way to Peace Fleece by way of my daughter's elementary school. I first heard of Peace Fleece through the podcast Stash & Burn, but none of my knitting friends had ever used it. Only one knitter in our group had seen it, and said it was too rough for her knitting standards. I saw a single skein on EBay named after the name sake of my daughter's school. What better time to try some Peace Fleece? I was the lucky winner of some very old Peace Fleece, the colors still vibrant but the yarn was rough to the touch and label small and faded. With help from another friend, I asked a question on Ravelry about softening yarn before knitting, and received some soaking tips ~ and also received some tips from an amazing knitting instructor at the Sewing Expo in February. I knitted a hat and small scarf for my daughter ~ and wish I had more yarn for a longer scarf! Since this experience I've ordered more Peace Fleece (what a surprise!) and it is newer (different label) and much softer. It felts slowly but nicely, and it is a joy to knit with due to the texture and colors, and the story of peace it conveys. If you have not had your Peace Fleece journey yet, I would recommend one!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Basket Case

I am dreaming about baskets of Jitterbug yarn today, thanks to a dear friend. Can you imagine a whole basket of Jitterbug yarn? All those colors ~ bold jewel tones and delightful Popsicle rainbows. Can you feel that tight twisted ply of endless softness in pure, rich and vibrant colors? Yes, I can imagine it ~ yes, I would like to have a Jitterbug filled basket of my own. I have a few skeins of Jitterbug, but not enough for the basket of my dreams. However, I do have a basket full of Peace Fleece, shown in the picture. I will share my Peace Fleece story soon, but for now I am dreaming of Jitterbug....

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Reunited

It feels so good to be knitting Jitterbug again! As my reward for finishing another Christmas hat last night, I knit a few rows on my Tofutsies socks and a few rows on my Jitterbug socks. The Tofutsies yarn is so thin, and...well... functional....and the Jitterbug is...well... OK, it is perfectly lovely and soooooo smooth and rich in colors and the texture is a delightful play of rainbows. I am wondering why I ever put them down to cast on something else? Again, I am bitten by the Jitterbug!


Monday, September 1, 2008

Christmas Success

Another Christmas gift hat finished, and I feel good about it. Black wool blend with multicolored bright colors, and about 6 inches of yarn left over! Whew! Pictured here having a serious chat with one of our chickens.



Now I can work on those socks that are calling, "Work on me, me, me!!!"

Perfect Surprise!

Chris was here in our wood working shop this morning, so I was able to give him his early birthday present today. He seemed surprised and almost suspicious at the bag, as we've never given him a birthday gift ~ only Christmas. I explained that we could not wait for Christmas, as that would be "too late" for the gift. When he opened it, he looked very pleased and immediately put it on. He said, "Perfect! It's Perfect" and I was thrilled. I commented that this hat is "more subtle" than the Husky Pride hat he had originally tried on, and he laughed and said his Seahawks' Hat was perfect ~ and covered his ears too. I told him it was washable wool, so if he gets hot dogs and beer spilled on him at the Seahawks' games, he can wash the hat. He laughed at that ~ so I'd bet that happens!

Pondering Socks

The summer of 2007 was the summer of sock knitting. My knitting projects for camping weekends were beautiful socks. I finished several pair of delightful socks, including my first Jitterbugs. I finished a few pair in the winter too, but was not as productive as those long wonderful days knitting in the river. Last winter 'sale' sock yarn was a temptation, knowing that I would knit more socks this summer. I accumulated a treasure trove of amazingly beautiful and luscious sock yarn, but did not finish any socks this summer. Now it is Labor Day weekend, and my Tofutsies and Jitterbugs remain on my needles. I am pondering why the big slowdown in my sock knitting ~ perhaps because I have yet to knit a pair that I can wear with my every day shoes. Those wonderful finished socks of mine fit only in my hiking boots....which is why I am knitting the Tofutsies on size #1 needles to see if they will fit with shoes. We'll see... This picture is my treasure trove of amazing sock yarn ~ the glorious colors of Jitterbug, Lorna's Laces, Cherry Hill and Urban Gypze are stunning. I look at each and want to cast on all of them ~ so tempting are the colors and textures. Perhaps, I will work on the Tofutsies and Jitterbug tomorrow.