Wednesday, September 12, 2007


This morning as I was finishing my shower I noticed I was not alone. Something was flitting about here, there and everywhere. Once it stopped to take a rest I could see that it was the worst kind of intruder of all. Especially in a house full of luscious wooly goodness. It was a moth. I quickly picked up the can of shaving cream (my weapon of choice) and in one swift, deft move reminiscent of Bruce Lee.....I smashed him.

Moths are not welcome here. I must protect my stash no matter what. Even if it means resorting to murder.

If you happen to be a moth reading this post, you have been warned. Now... go tell your friends.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Bitten & Smitten

Wow. Where has the time gone? I haven't posted in over a month! Nothing exciting happening here. Just life - work, appointments, homekeeping, etc. But I didn't mean to let so much time go by between posts. I guess since I've only been knitting a little here and there, I haven't felt like I have much to say lately.

But today I have BIG news!

The sock bug has finally bit! A culmination of inspiration gained from Cookie A.'s sock class and my first skein of Sundara's yarn, not to mention the cool socks my friends have made.

I decided to make Pomatomus designed by Cookie A. and available for free at Knitty. I questioned whether this was a good choice since I have never actually finished an adult sock before. Would I be so overwhelmed by the lace pattern, in addition to the sock construction, only to have an abandoned half-finished sock in the bottom of a bag hidden in my spare closet? I worried. Afterall, this has happened before with a very simple sock pattern I began for Jeff a few years ago. It's still there. In a bag. In a bin. Hidden deep where I won't be reminded of my first sock failure. Still. I know it's there.

Cookie recommended choosing a pattern you love and yarn you'll love knitting with. Good advice to keep the knitting inspiration alive. I thought Sundara's Blue Grape Hyacinth colorway would look great in the Pomatomus pattern.

I started a few weeks ago, but only worked on it a little at a time. It isn't very portable because of the chart and the fact that I have to pay attention. I had this holiday weekend off. Jeff and I didn't make any plans. Temperatures have been in the 100s here lately, so we've been holed up inside with the a/c running. I've had lots of time to work on my sock.


I'm now on the foot which is now almost half done. I've really enjoyed the sock process. When I got to the heel flap I didn't want to put it down until I was done. Then I couldn't wait to start the heel. Then the gusset. Now the excitement is over so I'm racing to get to the toe!

I hope to have one finished Pomatomus to show you soon. I better go. The weekend's almost over. Hope you have had a good one!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Everything's coming up....

Sunflowers! They've been growing wild in my yard this year. It's the weirdest thing and it's never happened before. And they're in three different areas of the yard. The wind must have blew in some seeds....They're a happy surprise!

Wow, this has to be the most boring blog out there right now. Even I'm yawning. Not much knitting has been happening. I guess the needles are feeling they're due a summer vacation too. I gave in, but I'm about to cut their summer short. It's really almost over anyway. I can feel fall just around the corner!

This was in the last package I received from my secret pal during Secret Pal 10. Did I get lucky or what?! Three skeins of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in color 24 (deep red), a Chick Knits pattern book, a book on The Language of Happiness, New Yorker Cats note cards, a mini spa kit, a hand care kit and a cute little magnet. Who was behine all the wonderful gifts the past few months? Alissa at Lis knits, too. Thanks Alissa!

And finally... even though the knitting content here has been bleak, there has been a little going on. A couple of months ago my coworker discovered she has breast cancer. I wanted to make her something that was both useful and comforting. I chose a hat in her favorite color pink.

Pattern: Dude, where's my hat? from The Yarn Girls' Guide to Beyond the Basics
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk, color 25009 (a pink-mauvey color)
Needles: Size US 7 dpns - not recommended for a hat unless you have longer needles. My stitches came off the ends several times.
Knitting time: I started on a Saturday and finished the following Friday in three sittings.

I don't love it. My biggest gripe is that hem line across the top of the brim. The pattern calls for doubling the brim length and then folding it under and stitching it to the inside of the hat. It's not as noticeable in the book since they used Tahki, Donnegal Tweed which makes a sturdier fabric than the alpaca silk I used. But I was going for soft.

Another gripe is that the picture in the book is not knit up 'in pattern'. The pattern calls for purl rows creating a garter edge. The picture is all stockinette. I noticed this before I started, but decided to follow the pattern...until I got to the crown. It also called for purl rows (not in the picture!) and I decided to leave them out.

The picture in the book is very cute. It's just not what the pattern makes. It would be disappointing for someone who is more of a beginner and doesn't know how to make the adjustments so that it looks like the picture.

I need to reblock the brim. Do you see where it flairs out on the sides? Thats because I laid it flat while blocking. How do you block a hat? On a cantalope?

I wouldn't knit this particular pattern again. I liked working with the yarn, but it was the wrong choice for the pattern in order to get the look I was going for. The right choice for softness though, which is more important. I'm going to give it to my friend nonetheless. And then I'm going to knit her a better one! :)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Cookie, Canning & a Contest

So my toe-up sock with Cookie A. Thursday night was a lot of fun. The perfect way to end a workday. We made a small sample sock so that we would have time to knit all the hard parts, i.e., the toe, the heel, the gusset, the bind-off, etc. For some, this sample sock made perfect baby socks. They could go home and practice further by making a matching sock and have an instant baby gift on their hands. For me....

It would have to be a baby with mighty fat feet. I put the pen in for scale. The sock doesn't look as big in the picture as it really is. I think these would even be too big for a 3 year old. We used worsted weight yarn, size 7 needles. Oh yeah, and I'm a loose knitter (get your mind out of the gutter!). So no matching sock for this lonely sole. (heh) I bound off to pratice the sewn cast off rather than continuing up the leg.

The class accomplished exactly what I wanted.

  • It was a refresher on making socks. I had taken a top-down sock class a few years ago at Stitches, but never actually made a pair other than the class sample.

  • It renewed my interest in making socks. I've been thinking about them ever since! Maybe I'll actually make a pair this time.

  • I met Cookie! She's very down-to-earth, approachable and patient. Things you would want in an instructor. Her designs are amazing. I bought several patterns.

The Thelonious Sock,


and Rhiannon

But first I'll try something a little more simple! I'm glad I took the class. I don't have a preference to top-down vs. toe-up. I think I have to actually make a few pair before having an opinion. I find it interesting that a lot of people prefer toe-up because they don't like doing the kitchener stitch over a few stitches at the end, yet they'll do a sewn cast-off over 64 stitches. They seem very similar to me. Maybe they do a different bind-off. I know there are other benefits to toe-up. You get past the fussier parts at the beginning and you can knit until you run out of yarn. I wonder what my prefernce will be.

My knitting hiatus seems to be ending. What did I do in my free time if I wasn't knitting, you ask?

I've been playing in the kitchen. We have an apricot and plum tree. We've been told the apricot tree is dying, but it put out a good crop this year. I didn't want the fruit to go to waste like it has in the past, so I made preserves. It's been fun! And tasty! I'll definitely do it again.

On a final note, Ali at Skeins Her Way is having another contest. Let her know I sent you. Good luck!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Enough said.

Sundara Yarn - Petals Collection

I've been eagerly waiting my first installment of Sundara's Petal Collection. It did not disappoint. The color is Blue Grape Hyacinth and it came with a sock pattern that has little clusters that look like hyacinth blooms.

I couldn't capture the subtle varigation of color very well on camera, but there is quite a lot of purple hues throughout the yarn. I've read such great things about Sundara's yarn on various blogs. Now that I have some for myself, I highly recommend it. It has great skwoosh factor and I love, love, love subtle color varigated yarn. I'm not sure if I'll save this for socks or a baby sweater. It will be awhile before I get to it.

I'm taking a class with Cookie A. this Thursday. Hoping the sock bug will bite!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What grows in your garden?

My dad and I planted a garden on the side of my house this spring. I've been wanting to do this for the past two years, but something always got in the way of our plans. Not this year! We finally did it. We have tomato plants, yellow squash, cucmbers, radishes, green beans, watermelon (dad's idea - we'll see) and some herbs. It's been a ton of fun watching everything grow and a great project to spend time with my dad on. He's a Mississippi country boy afterall.

Look at that cucumber!

And those radishes-

Yellow bell peppers -

(gasp!) Rowan Felted Tweed (shade 155)!

Rowan Polar (shade 654)!

Filatura Di Crosa Nilo in color 50!

Rowan Calmer (shade 476)!

Sigh. It's a nice fantasy. These are actually some of my finds from the Black Sheep Knittery sale in May. There has been very little knitting going on here lately. Hopefully that will change soon. Here's an update on the grey sweater:

The back, one side of the front and a sleeve are done. It's growing. Very slowly.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Summer Knitting Goals

Yikes! Did I say that? I did. Nothing like free yarn to motivate a meandering knitter.

Thanks to Valerie at Knitting in Pink I found out about this very cool contest hosted by Ali at Skeins Her Way . The winner will receive 4 hanks of Blue Sky Dyed Cotton in the color of his/her choice and the pattern for the Fitted Tank. Click here so you can join in the fun! But hurry...the contest closes at the end of May. Make sure you let her know that I sent you.

My Summer Knitting Goals:

1. Finish the gray Cable & Rib sweater. Including the zipper!

2. Knit my first pair of adult size socks. No more talking about it, no more fantasizing - just do it.

3. Knit the Myrtle Leaf Shawl from Victorian Lace Today seen below.

4. Last, but not least, finish inputting my stash into the spreadsheet. I'm 1/3 done and I've been entering new yarns that sneak into the house before I put them away in the bins. That's my new rule - must enter yarn in computer before putting it away. That way the amount of yarn needing to be entered doesn't continue to grow and overwhelm me.

I think I'll keep it at that. I have a tendency to make some pretty lofty goals. These are some big projects and I want to remain realistic here. I better get knitting!

This weekend I'll post a WIP report on the gray sweater.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Quick & Easy

I was inspired to knit up something quick for my new nephew. I recently bought the Itty Bitty Hats book by Susan B. Anderson. There are so many cute patterns in this book. I'm going to have fun making many of them for the little people in my life. I started with the Simple Baby Cap 1:

The yarn is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in color 300501. I used size 5 dpns, which is smaller than the recommended size for the pattern & yarn, but I wanted the hat to be on the smaller size so that it will fit him right now. This was a super quick project. Started May 16th - finished May 19th. Done in two sittings. Now I hope it fits!

Have you heard about Raverly? It's going to be an online knit & crochet community where you can organize and share your projects with others. Pretty cool. It isn't up and running yet for the public. They're testing the system to work out any kinks. But you can put your name on the waiting list. They're slowly adding people to the system. Another way to meet fellow yarn addicts around the world!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Special Delivery!

Let me introduce you to my new nephew Adam Ryan, born on Mother's Day weighing in at 6 lbs., 2 oz. He was a month early and both he and my sister are doing fine. I went to visit them at the hospital yesterday. He's very tiny and cute. The doctor came in while I was there and said that since he's considered a preemie it's very important to keep him warm at all times. My ears perked up and I realized I better cast on for some baby items. I think I'll make a hat first and then a light weight sweater. We are in SoCal after all and it's the beginning of summer...but doctor's orders!

When I came home the mail had come and there was a package on my doorstep.

My secret pal struck again! Everythink was wrapped just so inside a pretty gift bag. With handmade labels like this one:

Inside there was stash enhancement:

2 skeins of Berroco Ultra Alpaca in color 6275. I've been wanting to try ou this yarn. I keep petting it and squeezing it. It's a nice heathered green with bits of gold. I love it. : )

There was also a pretty handmade card, some skincare products from Crabtree & Evelyn to pamper myself with, some Lemon Dill mix for dip, lemon candies, a photo album, a cat book and a blank card that I can use to send to someone else.

I'd like to send out a sincere thank you to my secret pal!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Knitting R&R

I'm leaving for Arizona for three days. Jeff has been working in Chandler (a suburb of Phoenix) of late and I managed to get some extra days off so I could visit him. Since he'll be working during the day, I'll have plenty of time to catch up on some knitting.
I'm taking two projects with me. The gray Cable & Rib sweater and a lace project that I haven't yet cast on. I thought it would be a good time to start the lace project since I won't be distracted. I can give it my full attention. I'll show you my progress when I get back.
I need to finish packing....have to leave in a couple of hours.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Taking Stock

I was off from work today. I had plans to get together with a couple of friends and knit, but I woke up feeling under the weather so I stayed home. Feeling a little better by the afternoon, I started organizing my stash. This has been something I've procrastinated doing for a long time. It seemed so daunting. Today, however, with new acquisitions that needed to be put away, I decided now is as good a time to start as any. So I downloaded the Stash-O-Matic Template (in the sidebar under 'Spreadsheets & Such') from knitting guru Jillian and started inputting data. At first, I was only going to list my newly acquired yarn. I decided to keep going and complete one whole bin.

In that bin I have 182 skeins of yarn with a total of 35,197 yards. That's 20 miles of fiber! (It's a big bin.) I had no idea so much yarn could fit in that thing. I could probably stuff some more in there too now that it's neatly organized.

In addition to making me feel productive, I also had some revelations during this excercise.

1) Fondling yarn for long periods of time is good therapy. I already knew this, but actually doing it was a good reminder. It made me feel better. Okay, maybe not physically, but emotionally. I'm feeling much happier despite my stuffed up head. I'm actually looking forward to going through the other three bins.

2) This is how much sock yarn I have (minus 2 new skeins of Koigu that didn't make it into the picture). Actually, this is just from one bin. I just remembered I have more in the other bins. All this beautiful sock yarn and I still have not cast-on. I'm beginning to think I have a knitting-sock-phobia. (sigh)

3) After giving it much thought, this experience has confirmed that alpaca is my favorite fiber. It's so soft. Now, I admit, I've never knit with 100% cashmere. If I ever do, that might change the way I feel about the subject. At this point in time, I'm an alpaca girl all the way.

So tell me, what's your favorite fiber? If you could only pick one type to knit with for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I first became aware of podcasts after reading an article about them by Amy Singer in an issue of Interweave Knits awhile back. I went online and searched around for those mentioned. I found the websites and clicked on an episode. At the time, I didn't have an iPod. Sitting and listening in front of the computer for an hour didn't interest me much. Maybe if I had a comfy chair in the room where the computer is where I could knit and listen, it would have been more appealing. But I don't, so my attention moved on to other things. I can sit and read my favorite blogs for long periods of time. I can even listen to music while doing so. But listening to a podcast about knitting and reading a blog about knitting at the same time doesn't work for me. I want to give each my full attention.

I received an iPod for Christmas, so I downloaded some podcasts. I listened to my first episode while working out at the gym. I thought that this would motivate me to work out more if I had something interesting to listen to. Not so much. Not that it wasn't interesting, it just didn't provide the run faster/push yourself harder kind of energy I was looking for. It was more of the when-will-this-be-over-so-I-can-get-home-and-knit kind of energy.

I finally found the perfect venue for listening. During my commute. It sometimes takes me an hour to get to work (30 minutes at the very least). And since I can't knit while I'm driving or at work, this makes me feel like I've spent a little time each day thinking about my knitting and sharing it (indirectly) with those who are talking.

So far, my favorite is Cast On with host Brenda Dayne. There are 46 episodes now and I'm about halfway through. Brenda has a format that she sticks to, sound bytes for different segments,guests who contribute essays or are interviewed and three or four songs interspersed throughout. Sometimes I'll fast-forward through the music if I'm not in the mood for it. The combination of her soothing voice and the sound quality of her equipment makes for a very professional product. Some of the guests who have participated are Nancy Bush, Leigh Radford, and Franklin, whose blog is The Panopticon. My favorite episode is no. 13 titled "On Gauge". In this episode Brenda writes a thought provoking essay in which she uses being on gauge as a metaphor for living. If you listen to only one, this is the one I recommend.

I've also listened to Pointy Sticks and Lime & Violet, however, since I've only listened to one episode of each, I don't think it's fair to give a review at this time. I'll listen to more of each in the future and then share what I think. What I did find interesting is that both episodes had 2 people talking. I don't know if Pointy Sticks always has 2 people...Lime & Violet does obviously. What I found interesting, is that I prefer one person vs. two. When there are two, I feel like I'm listening in on someone else's conversation. When there is one, I feel like that person is talking directly to me. It's more intimate, mor structured and less chaotic. But I will give them a chance. They all have good information, links to sites I might not have known about, yarn that I haven't knit with yet, designers, etc.

All can be downloaded on iTunes. So if you have a commute or just want something interesting to listen to while knitting, try listening to a knitting podcast.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Slow and Steady

This photo is in honor of the current color theme of Project Spectrum (pink, green, yellow). This is part of my second order from the Knit Happens sale. From l-r: 7 skeins of Rowan All Seasons Cotton in Soul (light pink), 10 balls of Debbie Bliss Cotton DK in Berry, 7 balls of Debbie Bliss Cotton DK in Pink. I also bought this:

7 skeins of Rowan All Seasons Cotton in Pansy and 5 skeins in Mocha. The mocha is more gray than brown. I was hoping for more brown. Oh well. This purchase was to enhance my baby knitting stash for the future. I couldn't resist the great prices. My second order was bigger than the first! I bought Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk Dk - enough for a sweater. It's currently burried in one of the bins and I'm too lazy to dig it out for a picture, but I like it a lot. I'm planning to make the Cable Trim Pullover (pattern 26) in the Fall 2006 issue of Vogue Knitting. Someday. I'm already working on two sweaters and they're coming along at a snail's pace.

Nonetheless, here's an update.

The back is done on the Debbie Bliss Rib & Cable Jacket and I'm working on the left front. I'm really enjoying the pattern, although I do have to pay attention with the center panel of cable work. I think I'm going to the love the finished product. Here is a closeup of the front.

It's a little blurry, but you get the idea.

And here is my version of Sahara.

I'm done with the waist shaping and ready to start increasing for the hips. I've put it aside at the moment because I feel like I should try it on, but haven't been motivated to transfer all the stitches to waste yarn and back again in order to do so. I can't say that I'm a fan of knitting in the round and/or knitting from the top down. Not yet anyway. Maybe because I've been knitting in pieces for so long, it's simply what I'm used to and comfortable with. But I'm open to trying new things and I won't shy away from a design that I like because the pattern is knit in the round. The verdict is still out until I make a couple of items. I'm sure I'll get more comfortable with the process.

I am liking the subtle striping in the yarn and, of course, I love the color. So I will keep plugging away and I'll be able to wear it in the fall.

Happy spring everyone!

Monday, March 26, 2007

It came! It came!

Secret Pal 10 officially started on March 15th and to my surprise I received a package in the mail last week. So soon! I wasn't expecting it, which made it even more exciting. I couldn't wait to open the box and see what was inside. Once opened, everything was wrapped in pink tissue paper with pretty stickers holding them shut. (I would have/should have taken a picture, but that would have meant waiting to see what was wrapped up.)

My secret pal sent me a card with beautiful peonies on the front, which happen to be a favorite of mine even though I love all flowers. Three balls of Dale of Norway Sisik yarn in a luscious deep shade of red. I think I see a preety scarf in it's future. A set of bamboo dpns. Some earl grey tea and a cute little saucer shaped like a teapot to hold your tea bag. Some Godiva chocolate - yum! A bar of rose scented soap. And last but not least, a whimsical book called Dancing With Cats, which has photos of people dancing with their cats. Who knew?!

Thank you Secret Pal!!! You made my day! I loved everything. : )

I'll leave you with this photo from the book.

For those of you who have furry feline friends (and I know who you are), go on and get your boogie shoes!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Stitches West, pt. 2 - The Loot

As promised, here's the damage. Served up on a cake plate because it's just as yummy and decadent as any dessert. I had to use my flash, but I think I captured the colors pretty well.

Here we have Socks that Rock. My first purchase. On the left is Lucy in lightweight - it's a beautiful colorway of blue, brown & tan. On the right is Ruby Slippers in heavyweight - I couldn't resist the red tones. And then there was the name. I was sold.

Last year at Stitches I didn't know who Blue Moon Fiber was and had never heard of Socks That Rock. I just remember everyone going crazy at the dinners when they would raffle off their yarn. Now I understand what all the fuss is about. It's worth waiting in a long line.

Next up is Black Water Abbey. On the left is Pink Heather, enough to make myself a sweater. On the right is Wheat, enough to make a sweater for the husband.

The yarn is pretty scratchy, but I think it will soften some after washing. The color choices are gorgeous. I think I stood in their booth for an hour trying to pick a color. I wanted all of them. I predict I'll be buying more of their colorways in the future. This would make a great coat with the right pattern.

This is 4 skeins of Brooks Farm Four Play. The color doesn't have a name, just the number PB7. It's darker than the picture suggests. More of a burgundy red. I'm planning to make Wicked with this.

I love Brooks Farm yarns. I've made a scarf with their Primero and I'm currently knitting the Sahara sweater using their Harmony yarn. It's a pleasure to knit with and the colors are scrumptious.

This was in the fashion show and I really liked it. I started looking at Noro at the Webs booth to see if I could find a color I liked. As if that wouldn't happen. ; )

I found this. It's Kureyon in color 185. And it became an early birthday present from my MIL who never knows what to get me. I keep telling her yarn is always a good idea! She's finally caught on.

I love these colors together!

And finally, (you were probably wondering when it was going to end) I was so inspired by Jane Sowerby who spoke during the Opening Day event and showed every single piece from her lovely book, Victorian Lace Today,

that I bought the book and began a crazed search for lace yarn. This was a surprise. While I admire the beauty of lace knitting, I still held the idea that lace was granny-ish. I know. I know. It's a terrible way to think. And I'm ashamed. We don't like it when knitting is referenced to 'old ladies' and we know that there are women and men of all ages and backgrounds who knit. Why should lace be any different. And while I've been intrigued by lace patterns, I just never thought I would actually wear a lace shawl. Well, Miss Sowerby has changed that! Just like the title of her book, she has shown how Victorian Lace can be modernized and truly fashionable.

And so I bought this:

Three cones of Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk from Webs. Colors from left to right are Dark Gray, Dahlia and Black. It's 80% alpaca, 20% silk. Very soft. I can't wait to try it.

Now after reviewing all my new goodies, I want to start knitting them all up! This is why I have Project ADD. I'm lured by the softness and the colors and the patterns...There simply isn't enough time in a day to enjoy all the knitting world has to offer - even if I didn't work. And I need to work so I can afford this addiction I adore.

Happy knitting everyone!

Next, I'll share my favorite purchase from Stitches with you.