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.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Secret Pal 10 Questionnaire

It time for another Secret Pal exchange! I'm posting this questionnaire for my Secret Pal.

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

I love Rowan and Debbie Bliss yarns. I love alpaca (Blue Skye, Honey Lane Farms), Malabrigo, Socks that Rock from Blue Moon, Sundara yarns, Mountain Colors, Koigu. I like natural fibers - wool, wool/cotton blends, silk, alpaca, etc...

I don't like novelty or acrylic yarns. *Please no acrylic*

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

I have a plastic bin/drawer that I store all of the needles & accessories I'm not currently using.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I've been knitting for about 15 years now. I took a class at the LYS when I was in college. I would consider my skill level to be a high-level intermediate. There are still some techniques I haven't tried.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?


5. What's your favorite scent?

I like most citrus scents, vanilla & lavendar (not necessarily together).

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

I do, I do! I like chocolate of course. Milk chocolate is my favorite. My very favorite candy are Cadbury Mini-Eggs - it's seasonal - you can only get them around Easter time (now!). I have to restrain myself from eating 10 bags this time every year. So far, so good!

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

Just knitting. I'm afraid spinning would take too much time away from knitting, so I won't let myself go there. I like to cook, but haven't had much time lately. I work at Williams-Sonoma, so that passion gets fed almost everyday.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I like rock - alternative & classic. I love U2, Pete Yorn, Cold Play, Radio Head. I also like what my husband calls "chick music" - Tori Amos, Natalie Merchant, Jewel, Traci Chapman. Yes, my computer can play MP3s. Plus, I've been enjoying a new Ipod that I got for Christmas.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?

My favorite color is red. I also like different shades of apple or lemongrass green. And blue-greens. I really love color, so there's not a color I can't stand. I tend to like more muted or earthy colors versus bright, primary ones. But there's always an exception here and there.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

Married, no children, one cat named Nikko.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

I wear scarves and hats when the weather is cold, which is seldom here in Southern Cal. I like gloves & mittens. I made several pairs of fingerless gloves this past year, which made nice gifts. I don't wear ponchos.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

I like knitting sweaters. Baby sweaters are the best because they're quicker to finish and they're super cute. I also like having a smaller project to work on, like a purse, scarf or gloves. I'm going to knit my first pair of socks soon!

13. What are you knitting right now?

I'm knitting Sahara in a varigated red yarn from Brooks Farm and a Debbie Bliss cardigan pattern in gray.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?


15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

Circular. A friend let me try out her KnitPick Options needles and I fell in love. I bought myself a set and prefer knitting with them over anything else.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

Yep - I just bought one last month!

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

Ugh. I'm too embarrassed to say. Let's just say it's years old, but not in the double digits.

18. What is your favorite holiday?

Thanksgiving & Christmas. I really like any holiday/reason to celebrate!

19. Is there anything that you collect?

Yarn. Knitting books. Cook books.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

Barbara Walkers Treasury books (I have the first one), anything by Elizabeth Zimmermann (I only have Knitting Without Tears), Yarn Harlot's Knitting Rules. I have subscriptions to Interweave Knits & Knitter's & Vogue Knitting.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

I recently took a class on Fair Isle, which was a lot of fun to do. I'm going to make a hat as my first Fair Isle project. I still want to learn how to do steeks. And socks.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

I'm a sock yarn buyer! I still haven't made a pair, but that's my goal this year. I keep buying the yarn!

23. When is your birthday?

May 22nd

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Stitches West, (Part 1)

You can create these cards here.

I attended Stitches West for my fourth year in a row. For me, the event gets better and better. This year was special because some of my knit sisters were there!

From left to right: Jillian, Madge, Marie, me (sitting) & Mary. I didn't think Stitches could get any better, but it did! It was much more fun having friends there to meet up with.

We had four days of knitting, shopping, taking classes and talking about yarn. Did I mention shopping? We did some major shopping people. When it comes to yarn, we are enablers at their best. Go check out their blogs and you'll see what I mean. At this point, you'll have to scroll back to Feb. I'm a little behind here in the news. Since my life isn't going to get any less busy in the near future, I'll have to post my experience in snippets.

Next up - photos of my loot!