Monday, January 31, 2005
But the great news is that Secret Pals is underway. I heard from my SP (way fun) and I contacted my pal. I read through my pals' blog and have come up with some ideas. I am going to do an initial package, but my later package should include something I make. This is a little tricky--I am always nervous about giving people something I make. But I think I've actually found a pattern that my SP will like!
Because of Secret Pal and the impending warm weather here in Texas, I've reordered my side bar list. I am feeling like a bad KALonger--I finished my socks, but haven't started the others. And winter sweaters, when they are completed, will be too warm. I'm going to try to finish a few smaller items then start those summer projects.
I knitted on my Weekend knitting poncho this weekend, and almost finished--2 inches to go. It seems like I would measure it and think--just a few more inches--walk away, pick it up, knit some more, and discover that I hadn't made any progress. It was like these little anti-knit elves would unravel my work when I was away. Argh. Soon, soon, and then I finally get to start my shawl!! Look for a picture of this thing blocking tomorrow!!
Thanks for the nice comments on my daughter's ordered dress. We are going to hobby lobby this week to pick out some Lion Brand cotton blend yarn. I think that will be the best.
Saturday, January 29, 2005
1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer high- a nd/natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?
Well, sort of?? I love to work with lovely natural and high end fibers, but I tend to pick yarn that will work for the project. So I will use Lion Brand mixes for my daughter's clothes, since I have to be able to easily wash them in the wash machine. I actually love to try different yarns, and tend to be very adventerous. But, no Red Heart or scratchy acrylic.
2. Do you spin? Crochet?
3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)
I'm not sure if I would actually call them allergies, but I don't like smoke or perfume. Both tend to make my eyes itchy and watery. We have dogs and cats, so no problems there, and any fiber seems fine.
4. How long have you been knitting?
I learned when I was a 4-her--around 7 years old. I knitted a little, gave it up, and have been knitting this last 6 months. I'm hooked this time around.
5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Yes, I do: here at Amazon. You will notice that my daughter's list is included--I'm not the one who is wishing for Wiggles or the kid's books (well maybe a little--different books each knit help with the "let's read ten books" requests)!
6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
I'm big on spice--especially for candles. Bath products? Who has time for a long soak?
7. Do you have a sweet tooth?
You bet! Milk Chocolate (especially European brands) is a huge favorite.
8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
Renovate our house and garden, when I have time.
9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I love most kinds of music. U2 has been my favorite band since 1983, but I love folk, country, celtic, punk, and most other kinds of music. Not a fan of contemporary pop music...
10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer?
I love black, grey, blues, and greens. I will wear bright colors in those palettes, but with reddish toned hair, I try to avoid pinks, yellows, oranges and reds. I'm actually not that picky.
11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I have a great family situation--hubby and two year old girl. We have a crotchity old cat and two dawgs (it's Texas--they are definitely dawgs...)
12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)
I am really, really happy with my life, but I guess my real dream (other than continued happiness in family and job), is to travel. Lots. Anywhere. I've been to China, Denmark, Germany, France, Ireland, Canada, Mexico, St. Croix (wedding), and the Turks and Caicos. I want that list to grow!
13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
I love Noro, Colinette, Mission Falls wool and cotton, most GGH yarns, Rowan, and pretty much any other lovely, fun yarn. I'm not big on polar or novelty yarns. I'm more into natural fibers. It gets really warm here in Texas, so I try to stick with light or mid weight yarns.
14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Um. Acrylic. Super scratchy yarns. Who dislikes yarn?
15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?
I am really into self striping yarns and fun colored yarns. I'm starting some lace projects and that is looking to be my new obsession. I love patterns that make me think and pay attention.
16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Cables. Love cables. And Charts.
17. What are you knitting right now?
This blasted never ending Union Square Shawl/Poncho from Weekend Knitting and a pretty lace fringed sweater (coquette) from Fall 04 Knitters. Take a look at the side list for my supposed plans.
18. What do you think about ponchos?
I made one for my daughter and my Mom. I think they won't stay in style, so my "poncho" looks more traditional and should give me more wear.
19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
I'm a fan of circular, though will knit on straight.
20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I love bamboo, but I really want some nice circular Addi's.
21. Are you a sock knitter?
Yup. I finished my first pair and have bought some yarn for another pair or two. Lots of fun!
22. How did you learn to knit?
My Mom taught me for a 4-H project. I made some ugly slippers and a matching bootie and mitten set for my cousin. I think I just wasn't inspired by the yarn.
23. How old is your oldest UFO?
Um. The Weekend knitting thing--about 2 months, I think. I HATE to leave projects unfinished. I think I'm just too uptight for that.
24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
Hmm. Not really into animated characters. I love my live and living animals, though I recently visited an Alpaca farm and am obsessed with those cuties. I also had sheep as a 4-H project. We live on a small ranchette with a barn, and we've talked about getting goats and sheep, so those would count as favorites I think.
25. What is your favorite holiday?
Christmas. I love the lights, the family, the food, and the cold/snow.
26. Is there anything that you collect?
Books. I'm an English Ph.D. so you would expect that. And music--I love iTunes and my iPod.
This is so much fun! Thanks a billion, SP!
Friday, January 28, 2005
Here's what she wants:
The pattern is from
My husband bought me this book for Christmas, and Anna seems to adore the pink dress with the star (or flower, but star in her mind) on it. In pink. Ok. Those of you who heard my spiel about not wanting a little girly girl who wears pink can laugh now. She loves the dress in pink.
The pattern recommends a cotton Jaeger yarn, but it isn't machine washable, so that won't work for my little messy child. I got some linen yarn to test from our LYS, but Anna thinks it is too scratchy--she is very picky about soft clothing. So, I think I will probably end up using a cotton blend from Lion Brand. It isn't exciting, it isn't fancy, but it should wear well and be soft.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005Maureen noted, this is the endless project. But I'm up to 42 of 54 inches! Yipee! I really want this finished, as I can tell spring is coming to Texas (sorry to all of you buried in inches/feet of snow....)
Yesterday was lots of fun. My friend Diane, a personal chef, has been teaching cooking classes in town. (I worked as a personal chef for a while, so cooking classes are lots of fun for me!) She decided to bring in Suneeta Vaswani from Houston to teach a class.
Suneeta is a great teacher, spending lots of time telling you about the chemistry of the food, as well as information about the spices. She has also published a yummy cookbook, called Easy Indian cooking:
Here was our menu:
• Tandoori Chicken
• Chicken Tikka Masala
• Spinach with Homemade Cheese (Saag Panir)
• North Indian Rice Pudding (Kheer)
Yummy! I have made each of these before, but it was great to get a professional's opinion on technique. Plus, the Saag Panir recipe was Suneeta's low fat version. Much better for you than the cream version!
It was great to watch Suneeta cook--if you get a chance to take a class, please do!
Now, in case you think I have totally abandoned most knitting other than the poncho, I would like to point out that I am gearing up for some additional knitting. I went to our LYS and bought this
A little sock yarn, some magnetic holders for my first chart project (FBS), and the new Vogue which is surprisingly good.
And there was that little ebay purchase:
This is Schaefer yarns Elaine in Kermie. I thought this would be nice for a kid's something, especially since it is 300 yards. I'm not sure....
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Monday, January 24, 2005
You may subscribe to this feed, but I still don't know why the search function on bloglines will only turn up my defunct blogstreet feed. Any help would be welcome!
My Monday morning
As my husband was rushing out the door to a meeting, he announced that he didn't have time to pick up the lawn.
Huh? I went to look outside and this was my greeting:
I was livid. Just seething. The last thing I wanted to do this morning was to pick up yucky, disgusting, dirty trash.
Now, we have two dogs who live at our house 365 days a year. They have never knocked over a trash can and attacked the comments. Our Dawg (Liam) has been known to pick up some of the tasty bits easily available on the ground, but this attack was far too much effort for our lazy dog. Our older dog, Jessie, is just much too refined to do such a thing. Add in the fact that both were treated with about a pound of beef chuck scraps from my chili making yesterday, neither seems to be the villain.
That leaves this fellow:
This is Ace. Actually we don't know if his name is Ace or Deuce--Anna settled on Ace, but I think our neighbor has referred to him as Deuce. Nonetheless, he is our neighbor's dog. It was pretty cold last night, so Jessie and Liam had their toasty dog beds to sleep on and the option of the warm garage. Why Ace/Deuce wasn't at home in his doggy kennel points to the crux of the problem--our neighbor. This neighbor had a previous dog who basically moved into our house for three years before he died of old age. I refuse to go through the same thing with Ace. Not only is he destructive, but he looks like a pit bull. I have a two year old. She is afraid of the dog. I don't trust him. This won't work.
I feel bad for the dog since he obviously isn't getting the attention and care he needs. And, we do live in Texas. In the country. That means that our dogs are pretty much allowed to go visiting. Our neighbor's dogs do show up to say hi. Our dogs visit our neighbors (especially Auntie Theo and her 5 dogs--Auntie Theo has a warm heart and treats!). Our neighborhood tolerates this approach to dogs on one condition--the dogs are friendly and well behaved (mostly). Ace doesn't fit into either category. So, I guess I have to pay a visit to the neighbor. Grr.
Now for those of you who live a) not in Texas b)in the city or suburbs, you might be thinking--just call the pound! Well, we live outside the city, which means you can't call the pound. They won't visit us. Our only other option is to haul the dog to the pound, pay the $50 fee (yes, we pay even though we rescue the dog), and then have him put down immediately because he is part pit bull. I don't like the dog, but it isn't his fault that he is running amuck. I would rather have a talk with the neighbor.
Just a side note to this story. Our neighbor across the street had a number of nasty, mean German Shepherds. Neighborhood rumor has it that he was trying to teach them to attack people (yes, it is Texas!). Our neighbors warned him that, should the dogs get out of their pen, they wouldn't return. We have no idea who decided that this was to be enforced--certainly my husband and I are too soft hearted to do anything to a dog, no matter how mean (see above dog story and add to that dog who lived at our house 3 years--dogs talk and tell each other that the folks over there are suckers, no matter what you do). But the mean dogs got out and disappeared. Ahem. It's very darwinian in the country.
Friday, January 21, 2005
I have the knitting calendar, but this quilting calendar is a beauty. The quilt blocks are so pretty. Thanks Lovelyn for the great gift!
Speaking of my husband, I've turned him to the blog side: http://plcmap.blogspot.com/.
So, I have been knitting, but the beginning of the semester is pretty difficult. I seem to just blah, blah, blah all day in meetings. And I'd rather be holed up in my office working on the computer, but, you do what you can. I'm working on both of my dark projects, but don't see the end in site on either.
My mother sent a great package the other day:
She found this interesting yarn (linen blend with slubs) at the local thrift shop for something like 2.99. There were 8 or 9 balls--apparently her cat loves this yarn, so a ball or two didn't make it into the package. Boots promises that she will relinquish her stash shortly...
Here's the recommended pattern:
Can we say the 80s? These aren't my style, but I'm thinking about a summer tank or some sort of summer wear for my daughter with this. I'm not sure, but I do like the teal color! Thanks Mom! (Mom and I love those thrift stores...can't turn down a bargain)
And, as requested by the grandmas, here's a few pics from our visit to the Houston Zoo:
Sure, we have cattle in the pasture beside our house, but, hey, let's drive 2 hours to Houston to sit on a plastic cow!
Obviously the zoo is a huge hit for the entire group!
Thursday, January 20, 2005
No more deaths.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
It is a tiny bit wider than the pattern calls for (some of those residual gauge issues I guess), but I have additional yarn to work with, so it shouldn't be a problem. It is going to be so warm and fun to wear. I'm guessing, though, that, with the progress I am making, I won't be wearing this in Texas this year. I have about 1 more month of potential cold weather wear and even that is iffy.
I cast on the front of Coquette last night and made a little progress. Jennifer asked if I was going to use black for the lacy bits. Actually I picked out a pretty Rowan yarn in grey to compliment the black with grey flecks.
So looking at these projects it dawned on me that both of the things on my needles are dark--not the greatest uplift for winter, huh? Maybe that was last night I was seriously considering starting one of my lace projects--the backyard leaves scarf or the Flower Basket Shawl. I'm still thinking about one of these as a third project, even though 3 items in the knitting basket will probably make me nuts...
I've been wearing my Rowan Ebony shawl quite a bit (grey also... argh). The coolest thing about this shawl is that the pattern tells you to fasten it together with a brooch. Cool. I have a big collection of pins to rotate through on this shawl. I hardly ever think to put them on, but you need one with Ebony. Here's the one I am wearing today:
When I was in high school (early 80s), I loved to go to the local goodwill/mission after school to see what I could find to wear. I was in a stage where I would only wear funky thrift shop clothes (one too many Molly Ringwald movies?). This was one of the pins that I picked up for about .25 cents.
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
In case you forgot what Coquette is supposed to look like, take a look:
The yarn is Stampato Merino in a Black with flecks of grey; I'm much more a black sweater person than an orange sweater person!
Of the sweaters that I knit, I think this is going to be my favorite. I love the items I have finished, but none of them qualify for that sweater that you could wear every day. This one might, though. The merino is super soft and smooth, and the color, of course, is perfect.
Here's the back, sitting on a stitch holder:
The pattern says to make the front and back, then join them with a three needle bind off. I'm for anything that involves less finishing, so I think I will like this pattern!
Monday, January 17, 2005
I went to the local Knitting Guild on Thursday evening--very fun. It isn't a huge group, but there are some great knitters involved. I think I will enjoy meeting with the guild each month. But it does look like I have to add a few more pieces of knitting to the list. We are doing some charity knitting for a local abused women's and children's home, a great cause. I'm going to aim for 2 items, but I'm not sure what they will be. I am thinking one nice thing for a woman, one for a child. Maybe that pretty flower washcloth and some nice soap from Weekend Knitting for a woman? I think having something special and not particularly practical might be a nice thing, given the situation. And maybe a lap blanket for a child. The items are due in April or May (can't remember), so I have some time.
Not only did I get the house clean this weekend (a herculean task after the child plays (destroys) through the week), but I finished my Geranium Socks. I know they look pretty good because my husband pronounced them "surprisingly good!"
The second sock definitely came out better than the first. I joined my circule top with a cross over join, the heel was turned much tighter (no holes to stitch up), the kitchener toe looked pretty good, and the top part is a little bit tighter. Here's the toe--my second attempt at the kitchener stitch:
And a picture of the heel:
I did find a dropped stitch when I finished and tried them on--Ugh. I decided to use Sally Melville's quick fix for the dropped stitch--I picked it up with a separate piece of yarn and then sewed in the edges. You can see it if you really look, but you don't see it when I wear my shoes (Dansko Clogs Always!!!).
Not one to miss out on a picture, Anna wanted to show off her new Elmo sneakers:
I'm going to keep going on my two current projects (pics tomorrow), but I've been thinking that my iPod looks a little naked. Here's Ms. Pod:
Can I just tell you how much I love my iPod? I bought it to not only store my music ( I have 26.73 GBs or 7748 songs to date--hey I used to work in a record store and was a punk rock grrl), but also to transfer and store digital images when I travel. The Pod was a great help when we went to Denmark last summer. I bought a converter for my digital photo card, then dumped the card when it was full on to my pod. It stored the 1,000 pics my husband took and we didn't have to lug a laptop with us (anything to travel light!). Do you like the speakers? They were part of my Christmas present from my husband--He bought them at the Apple store in San Francisco. Maybe I will use some of my left over Silk Garden to make a little container, like Kristine's Irwin?
And, since I'm running along about technology, might as well join the crowd. I saw this list on both Digital Yarn and on It is Rocket Science. Here's mine:
Thursday, January 13, 2005
So, here's a grandma picture--Anna in her Madeline hat:
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
The first to go? Socks. I'm going to focus on the last sock to get this out of the way. The Sock it to me along is actually going to be fun, since socks are where I am at!
What else am I joining? Why, Secret Pal 4! I think secret pals is a really neat group, so I was waiting for the new one to come along to join. If you are interested you have until Midnight EST Friday, January 21 to sign up. I'm already pondering who I will get and what I should get them!
While I was looking at the 2005 Knit-Alongs (take a look at the link--it is an updated list of all 2005 knit-alongs), I found the FBS Redux--the Flower Basket Shawl! This really pretty lacey shawl is from the Fall 2004 Interweave Knits. The really strange thing is that I found this knitalong after my visit to Americana Alpacas. And who can visit cute alpacas without buying some super soft yarn? Or actually, whose mother-in-law bought her some yarn? Yup. I had already thought about the Flower Basket Shawl, as it takes lace weight alpaca. And I found the perfect yarn on my visit:
Robin, one of the owners of Americana Alpaca, dropped it off at my house yesterday. I think this dark purple will be just gorgeous and can't wait to get going. Well, I can wait--have to get down to one project before I cast on for another. Look for projects being finished over the next couple of weeks...
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Since I am loving the socks so much, I decided to join a sock a long:
Apparently knit bloggers have declared this the year of the sock. Yipee. So, for all of us newbie sock knitters, a sock knitalong. Thanks to Jacq and Shelby for hosting! This looks like one knit a long that I will finish on time (April 1st).
The very cool thing about socks is that they are small enough that you can whip the first one out, discover a problem, and learn how to correct it for the first one.
Here's the issue with the first sock:
Do you see the problem? While I have knitted in the round before, I didn't have a clue about joining stitches. Thanks to Knitting on the Road I have learned the Cross-over join. This is so simple but makes a huge difference. After you cast on your stitches, you basically change the places of the two stitches that sit at the beginning and end of the cast on. This book is a great sock book. Not only does it have a wonderful section on techniques, but it has some lovely patterns. I have that Lorna's Laces sock yarn in my stash--might have to make the socks designed for the very same yarn!
What a big difference the cross over join makes! Take a look:
Monday, January 10, 2005
Stephanie, The Yarn Harlot, innocently proposed that knit bloggers donate monies to Doctors Without Borders in response to the tsunami devestation. While Doctors Without Borders has received enough monies to support their work in the tsunmai area, they are still accepting monies for their other work, including work in Africa, with AIDS, Darfur and Somalia, all issues that I think are pivotal.
So, instead of buying another bunch of yarn to throw into my always expanding stash, I donated to the US leg of Doctors Without Borders. Here's all of the information on the Knitters Without Borders.
Here's the button:
The amazing thing is that Stephanie has raised $37, 314! Wow! And there are a few goodies that will be given to a few of the donors. Just a little extra bonus for those who give to a great cause.
Friday, January 07, 2005
In addition to trying to clean up feeds, I have made some changes to my knitting lists on the sidebar. I cleaned out my yarn and donated a bunch to my mother-in-law when she was here. She does a lot of charity knitting, so the yarn will go to a good cause.
I want to finish up the winter knitting listed on the sidebar over the next few months. Believe it or not, spring in Texas will be here by the end of February or the beginning of March. Not much more time for those woolies!
I received a number of knitting books for Christmas, including the Scarf Style book that had been backordered. This means that I finally get to pick out a pattern from it for the Scarf Style knit a long! Looks like Backyard Leaves in a lovely soft Alpaca yarn will go on my list. It will be the next item on the needles after the three in progress... Maybe I will finish my socks over the next few days?
I promise to have pictures of progress on Monday!
Wednesday, January 05, 2005Americana Alpacas. I have been thinking about visiting this farm for a while and was happy to finally be able to drive the short distance to see these adorable little animals!
To visit you need to make an appointment. I set up one and was greeted by Paul Roberts. He and his wife Robin own the farm with the 61 alpacas--expanding daily as many of the alpacas were ready to have babies or crias. Apparently in Texas, where the weather is so hot, the breeding season is timed a bit differently, so the crias will arrive when it isn't 90 plus degrees. Paul was incredibly informative and a wonderful host. We spent an hour with him, walking in the pens, watching him feed the animals, petting the animals, learning about alpacas and their fleece, and asking tons of questions. Here's Paul feeding his lovely animals:
All of the animals have names and are well loved. I know alpacas can spit, but these animalsare not aggressive at all, but seem sweet natured and gentle.
The alpacas are mny colored--grey, chocolate, white, paint, and more.
Here's a grey fuzz!
and a cute white alpaca who has a pure white fleece when washed:
and a goofy brown girl:
The crias were just too cute. This little girl is a few months old:
She was very intrigued with my daughter, nibbling on her feet and smelling her.
And here is the new baby--just a week old:
The alpacas were just amazing and silly animals. Here's a great picture:
Americana Alpaca sells lots of knitted items and yarns on line, but they had everything in a little store on the site. I was able to touch all of the lovely things, see their potential new made goods, and of course pick up some yarn to knit.... Robin is skeining it for me, so I don't have it yet, but it is a lovely lace weight purple alpaca. And, Anna wanted to have her own alpaca--her paca--to take home:
If you are near central Texas, please make an appointment to visit! The alpacas are not to be missed!
Tuesday, January 04, 2005Lore: An E-Journal for Teachers of Writing! Very exciting! The article is "Knit Blogging: Considering an Online Community". This very short article was a lot of fun to write, since it let me think about how I decided to knit and blog about the process. It is also fun to read the other discussions of blogging as well. Check the articles out if you are interested!
It is really hard for me to grasp that 2005 has arrived. I am still trying to recover from my daughter showing up in 2002--how did we get here?
A good time was had by all during our holiday and our time spent with both Grandmothers. I'm back to work trying to finish everything that wasn't finished before the holidays. Anna is a bit tired from all of this craziness. We hope that a more normal schedule will help with the refusal to sleep. But, who knows. She is getting good at looking cute to try to get us to do what she wants:
This morning she decided that she would like to have a nice picnic with Daddy and her new baby alpaca:
Bruce was accomodating, sipping his coffee that Anna brewed.
And so, you might ask, where is that knitting you say you do? Well, big news! I finished my first sock!
I had bought this pretty hand dyed yarn on ebay a few months ago. It was aptly titled Geranium--it has the browns, greens and reds from the plant. I used Sally Melville's basic sock pattern from the Purl Stitch book. The pattern was helpful to follow and particularly suited to a first time sock knitter. I didn't have to frog, though there were a few places that I had to spend some time thinking about how to proceed. The heel is not perfect, but decent, and the kitchener stitch is not as even as I would like, but I think it fits very nicely. I will cast on for the next sock in a day or two, but I can certainly see how one could become addicted to socks. I am already thinking about my Lorna's Laces sock yarn and how it might be nice to do a sock with a pattern.
I still am working on my Weekend Knitting Union Poncho--about 18 inches out of the 50 some, so it will be a long term project. I won't bore you with the pictures at this point--just more of the baby cable.
Monday, January 03, 2005The Boogie Knits. Since I am finally back on track with blogging and work after much sickness and holiday, I thought that the list would be a nice way to end the old year and start the new. Here it is!
Top Five for 2004
Favorite Needles for 2004:
My favorite needles are Clover Bamboo, with Brittany wood a close second. I am partial to circulars, but will still pick up straight needles for flat knitting.
Favorite online shop for 2004:
My favorite online shop will always be ebay. It may not have everything you want, at all times, but you can score some amazing bargains. And, my yarn purchases have been as good as promised!
Favorite yarn for 2004:
This one is a toughie. I love Noro, but I think my favorite for this year is the 4 strand GGH Via Mala that I am using for my Weekend Knitting Poncho. It is just lovely knitted up and fun to work with.
Favorite finished object and KAL for 2004:
This is an easy one! My favorite object and KAL are one and the same--the lovely Klaralund. The KAL was infinitely helpful, with even the designer changes spurred by the KAL. And I have worn the finished sweater many, many times, with numerous compliments.
Exciting new technique (for me) for 2004:
This will prove that I am a fairly new knitter--I love the spit splice that I used on Klaralund. A little fraying of the wool, a little spit, a little rubbing, and no ends to sew in! What could be better!