Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Great Trip to St Petersburg FL and Sock Yarn Contest

I have been remiss in not posting to acknowledge my fantabulous Knitters Virtual Vacation Swap Partner. It took me so long to post because I had trouble getting pictures of everything!

Christine P took me to St. Petersburg, FL on an awe inspiring tour. There were innumerous postcards that showed how beautiful the country is there.It was also a testimony to the fantastic tourist attractions, museums and restaurants that one could visit.

And talk about food! She sent all kinds of treats, some representative of the citrus that is native to the area, some that was representative of what can be seen, like a chocolate alligator!
Christine works at this really cool sounding place called St Pete Shuffleboard Courts and it is the largest shuffleboard court in the world. It has all kinds of really artsy activities and she went above and beyond to get me one of their last available T-shirts. Thank you so much- I wish I could come down and play! It sounds like so much fun!

I love tea and Christine sent me 2 scrumptious teas from a place called Hooker Teas. OH. MY. GOODNESS. I never knew there were so many tea blends! They have like a 5 page menu! And weekly specials! OK, I would visit there just to be able to go to this place.

I even went on line to see if they had other stores but they don't. Wonder if they are interested in starting one in Bakersfield?

And a Knitters Virtual Vacation Swap wouldn't be complete without, duh!, yarn! And where do you think my favorite yarn comes from? Yup, Prism yarn comes from St Petersburg FL (OK, Anne! Did you realize this or was it just a lucky coincidence? Knowing you, it was all part of your master plan!).
Again, Christine outdid herself. She sent me Stuff in Periwinkle and 2 Andee in Senegal. But, as if that wasn't enough, she also sent a cool beaded row counter from an Etsy store called Hide and Sheep. I have seen these and thought they looked very cool. Now I just have to learn to use it.

Christine, thank you, thank you, thank you! What a marvelous vacation. I really hope to be able to visit your beautiful city someday.

And just a quick post of my Hogwarts Sock Swap II sock.
The picture is intentionally blurry so that the recipient can't tell what it looks like. But believe it or not, I am going to finish a pair of socks. Mark this day on your calendar- you won't see this often!

I am continuing the Favorite Sock Method contest until November 1 and the prize will be a skein of Baywood Sock Yarn-winner's choice. So let's hear it from all the sock knitter's out there- what is your favorite method and why?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Life's Too Short

I want to start this post off with some ruminations.

Unbelievably, it has been 2 years this month since my mom passed. There isn't a day that I don't think about her, miss her and, of course, have regrets about the last year of her life. The shoulda, woulda, coulda kinds-"maybe if I had done this, she would have pulled through" kind, the complete waste of energy kind. I keep thinking it should get easier but it continues to be hard and gut wrenching. But one thing this grief is teaching me- Make Every Day Count! Live it to the fullest and enjoy your family, no matter how much they might irritate you. Please, believe me, don't take anything in life for granted. Just enjoy. Thanks for listening.

Now, for your enjoyment, my first free pattern on this site. Hopefully, the first of many!

Loopy Ozark Wrap
Finished size- 18" X 50"

1 skein Drop Spindle Lusty Loop- approx 180 yds-"A"
1 skein Ozark Handspun "Secret Garden"- 34 yds-"B"
Size #19 & 35 needles

Gauge: With A on #19- 10 sts=7"

With A and #19 needles, cast on 70 sts.
Row 1: K3, *P2, K2* to last 3 sts, K3.
Repeat for total of 32 rows, piece should measure approx 12".
Next row: Join B. Using both yarns together and #35 needles, K2tog across-35 sts. Work 9 more rows in stockinette stitch; should measure about 5" from decrease row. You should have about 5 yds of each yarn left for bind off.
Bind off very loosely as follows: Knit 2 sts very loosely, *insert left needle into the front of these 2 sts and knit together loosely. Knit next st loosely and repeat from *, fastening off last st. Weave in ends.
The purl side of the collar is the right side. This makes it roll nicely. Fasten with stick or shawl pin. Weave is very loose so you can sew buttons along one side, if desired.

This is a really quick knit, like 6 hours. It can be worn so many ways and is flattering on everyone. Hopefully, it could make a great Christmas gift. And any bulky yarn could be substituted but I like the texture of these 2 fibers. If you make it, send me pictures or a link. I would love to see them and I'm sure everyone else would too!

And, of course, my life is not complete without some new animal story. I think Joey is in the process of becoming another dog/cat. My dogs hate him, you know, like the little brother "don't tag along with me" kind of hate. Despite the fact that they growl at him, he insists upon trying to eat out of their bowls (at the same time they are!) and making them groom him. His newest trick is sleeping with them. Now, mind, the dogs have both of our couches (Rick & I are relegated to the recliners) but Joey was laying on one of the couches, so both dogs squeezed onto the other one. When I looked again, where was Joey?

Where else? Wedged in besides Dottie. Poor dog, she kept rolling her eyes, like "get him out of here!".

Of course, I told her to just enjoy her family.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Favorite Sock Method Survey and Goodies Galore

OK, I have a question for ya'll. What is your favorite method of knitting socks and why is it your favorite? It seems that the "2 at a time on 2 circulars" is generating a lot of interest and I am curious. I've been content to keep plugging along on my handy-dandy, old fashioned double points/top down but I guess I'm going to get drug into some of these new fangled methods whether I like it or not, kicking and screaming. No one seems to care about the "trying to teach an old dog new tricks" adage. Oh, and if anyone wants to coach me on how to work this random generator thang that I keep seeing everyone talking about, I might even enter ya'll into a contest. Let's see.....what would be a good prize?

Now for some "swap gratification" pics.
This is from the Hand Dyed Sock Yarn Swap.

Sorry it is so blurry but this was the only way I could get the true colors. It is from Chris and didn't she peg my favorite colors? Just beautiful. And I just love your blog with your cats! I want to know how to add the captions like you do! What a hoot!

This is from Debbi for the Yarn Junkies 7- Brown Swap.Also hand dyed by Debbi in a colorway she calls "Rolled Golden Wheat". With a coordinating notebook and some very cool, hand made stitch markers.

This is a way awesome package from Wendy for the Prayer Shawl swap.

A beautiful calendar with pictures of the Thames (did I mention she was from across the pond?), a very beautiful and inspirational book, mementos of all the places she knit at which include the sea shore and her lovely garden with various, assorted creatures (it sounds so peaceful and nature oriented), candles, sweets, darling stitch markers, tea and yarn, just to mention some of the goodies. Oh, and this absolutely stunning wrap.

My pictures don't do it justice. It is Tri-aran-angle from Fall 03 in a yummy, heathery blue/green/lavender color. Awesome job, Wendy! I just love it and all the thought that was put into this package. I feel like I was there while you were working on it, thanks to all the "mood" items that you included. Thank you again and I hope the adoption is continuing to move along smoothly.

And here are the long awaited pictures of Bonnie and Abra's Mi-Ki pups. There 2 girls and 1 boy and it sounds like they are all already spoken for. One of the girls even has a tentative name-Aflac. It seems she has a marking on her back that looks like a duck! Can you see it?

Anyway you look at it, they are awefully precious!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Swap Progress and Scrap Painting

I have been working hard to catch up on my swaps and honoring my pledge to not join any more until I'm caught up, so I have no idea right now on what is going on in the world of swaps! Probably a good thing but it is so hard to not just peek. Anyway, here is a package from my SP11 spoiler from Australia.

Man, she really nailed me. Green and Malabrigo- what more could I ask for? How about a magazine I haven't seen before with some really cool, funky designs? And chocolate with raspberry filling (which is long gone, thank you very much!). What a thoughful partner!

Here is a picture of my Hogwarts Sock Swap project. Hand dyed bamboo/merino blend in the blue/bronze Ravenclaw colors. It is coming along nicely and I only had to start it 3 times to get gauge. I hope Sally will like it (Hi Sally!).

And this is for my Fall Felted Bag Swap spoilee. It is the Kiss Bag from Sally Melville's "Color" book using Kureyon (I know, Anne, but I luv Kureyon!). I wasn't sure at first about the colors but I think it is going to be really cool.
Sorry the picture is blurry but I ran out of batteries so couldn't take another shot.

I took a short detour when I found out that a co-worker was having a baby shower. When they told me that her theme was turtles and her colors were green and purple......well, what could I do but make her a blanket using the Embossed Turtle Dishcloth pattern as an intarsia block and scrap painted the rest of the blanket out of my stash (easy, with the color theme, lol).

We have been doing a lot of scrap friendly projects lately using the Magic Ball idea but I like the term "scrap painting" when it comes to color coordinating scraps into a project. It just seems to fit.

And this is what I felt like after working on all this stuff.
It seems like Joey is the only one getting his picture taken lately but he is the only one who is around whenever I have my camera out. Hopefully, I will have pictures of Mi-Ki puppies soon (hint, hint, Bonnie!) and can post them.