Monday, January 30, 2006

Mostly Party, Party, Party

This was my weekend.
And this:

There was a little bit of this:

and a little bit of that:

I sat outside and watched my daughter play with her new scooter and I looked up. This is for Sandy.

And then I looked down and saw these in a New England garden in January:

What a weekend!

Friday, January 27, 2006

A very special anniversary

January 29th marks a very special moment - the day I became a mom. I wrote the following to put in my daughter's scrapbook and to remind me that this is not only her birthday, but also an anniversary for me.

Today is not only your birthday, it is also my special day of becoming a mother…. Motherhood is a choice that permanently alters the way we view ourselves and the universe. It is the moment when we make a commitment to truly care for another human being. This vow goes beyond words or ceremony. This vow is etched in our cells and knitted in our heart. This day marks a moment when I begin my understanding of true unconditional love. I pray that I will always have the strength and the knowledge to help you as you grow and learn.

Happy Birthday to my special girl.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Monday morning

My "somewhat red" scarf in Mistake Rib is now packaged up and ready to be sent off for The Red Scarf Project. Here is a picture of it in the final stages. The Mountain Colors wool is a nice yarn to knit.

After finishing the scarf I moved on to the pieces of my Moriah's Wildflower Cardigan from the Green Mountain Spinnery. I am knitting this in their Mountain Mohair that I picked up at Cummington last year. The pieces are now all finished and the shoulders need to be sewn and the collar worked before I can block the pieces. I couldn't resist and I started another project - a sweater for my daughter. I am making this sweater out of the most fantastic yarn - Malabrigo. Try it - you won't believe how soft this stuff is - I think I'm in love. This instant Malabrigo love was mentioned briefly by someone else and now I know what she meant.

And Connie - this next picture is for you. My Charlotte's Web shawl which is waiting for an edging:

I was so happy that my Secret Pal enjoyed her first package. Apparently we have both joined the Knitting Olympics - big surprise there. ALOT of people are signing up for this. I am planning on trying some fairisle colorwork - either a hat or mittens. I already have Frostrosen and have ordered 2 hat kits and will most likely choose one of these projects. This leads into something else I have joined. How could I resist?? And you get this button - which describes me to a tee. I admit it - I have absolutely no willpower.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I won't grow up

My jaywalkers must not have listened too closely to the music when I took them to see Peter Pan because they are now all grown up and ready to go out to a night on the town - or in my case, a day at the office. What can I say!

I really like them and they fit well. Will I start another pair? I probably will just because I'd like to try them with some of the STR that I now own. I measured the leftovers from one of these socks and it looks like I used just slightly over 180 yards. I'll have to be a little more accurate next time - actually measuring the skein before I use it instead of going by the details on the label. But I found a matching color of Lorna's Laces to use with my STR and will probably do the toe and the tip of the ribbing on the cuff in the coordinating color.

I have also started the scarf for the Red Scarf Project - a Mistake Rib scarf made from Mountain Colors wool. I just did some blog surfing to come up with that last link and saw that Sandy and I must be kindred spirits. No pictures of the scarf yet, but it should be done in time for the deadline.

I'm off to wait for the furnace man - no heat this morning. Figures it happens this week and not last week when we didn't need the heat!

Friday, January 13, 2006


1. Send anyone who visits here over to this post at Norma's blog to read about a worthy cause - knitting scarves for foster children who are in college. She writes about it much better than I ever could so, please, go and read. And maybe put aside your current project and pick up your needles and cast on a scarf. They don't have to be red, but should be suitable for a young man or woman. I found some Mountain Colors that should be ok so this item is done (except of course for the knitting which I will start). Check.

2. Show this picture which reveals how well I have treated myself lately.

My holiday shopping for books this year was of the following variety - one book for you, one book for me. Plus there was the day at B&N that a percentage of the sales went to my daughter's school. How could I not shop then!! As you can see, I like socks (and mittens). I had taken Ann Budd's book out of the library so many times, I decided it was time for my own copy. And I just threw in Stitch 'n Bitch since I've heard so much about it. Somewhere in my blog wanderings there was a KAL where each month you took a pattern from one of your many books (that maybe you haven't looked at so much) and started knitting it. That's a really good idea since sometimes I buy the books and then life gets overcome by events and I don't look at them for quite a while. Anyway - reveal gluttony of book purchases. Check.

3. The update for Cara was done quickly last night since she needed it by 8:00. Check.

4. My friend Connie has been asking me for a picture of the Charlotte's Web shawl that I knit last year. I haven't finished the edges (either fringe or crochet) since I haven't decided to whom I am gifting it. I'm sorry but I still haven't taken a picture - maybe I can get my daughter to pose with it. I'll have to ask her when she wakes up. Can't check this off but I can tell Connie that I am once again enjoying the wonderful coffee you sent as I am typing this post.

5. Show the beginnings of the latest project. I've written before that I joined this KAL, but perhaps I haven't made it clear that I am quite intimidated by it. So, I decided to start the hat. Someone has already made it in Jaeger Shetland Aran and I have plenty of this yarn leftover from the Girlfriend's Sweaters so I took the plunge. The first obstacle was the tubular cast-on which was a disaster when I tried to do it in the round. So, I started it on straight needles (sorry for the blurry picture, but you can see the purls bumps that I have to pick up).

On the row where I needed to pick up the purl bumps, I switched to my dps. I will admit that this cast-on gives a nice edge, but it does take a while. So here is my progress to this point.

I think this ribbing will take a while. Maybe it's the aluminum needles or the fact that you have to knit each stitch twisted, but this is the first time my hands have ever started hurting after knitting for a while. Guess I could go shopping and see if bamboo needles would be better. Check.

6. Tell about my daughter's accomplishments in gymnastics during yesterday's practice. She participates in Level 2 Team at our local Y (this level consists of 4-7 years olds that have already perfected some of their skills from taking general gymnastics classes). She actually did her back walkover on the ground! They start by doing them on a wedge so that it's easier for them to get over. She was working so hard and it was so exciting when she finally got it. I'm so proud of her! Check.

7. OK, so I'm off to start a scarf for a worthy cause. Why don't you join me!! (End this post on a positive note - Check.)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Quick Update for Cara

My Jaywalkers are slowly growing up.

On another note, my Secret Pal from SP7 visited my blog and left me an anonymous comment. This is so exciting. I've also had a few emails with the person I am spoiling. All this is putting a smile on my face.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Secret Pal 7 Questionnaire

Here are my answers to the Secret Pal 7 questionnaire. Some more random bits of information about me. I'll try to get a way of linking to this from the sidebar to make it easier for my secret pal to find this information. I can't wait for all of this to begin.

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand?
I definitely prefer to use natural fibers. It just feel so much better to work with them and if I'm putting a lot of work into something, I like the results better with natural fibers. I try to match the yarn with the project and what might be right for the recipient. You know, those people that put everything in the washer/dryer vs. those that handwash. Or those baby gifts that need to be able to be thrown in the washer. It's important to me how the yarn and the final product feels. Some acrylics and blends feel wonderful while others just feel, well, yucky.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?
Yes, I spin and love it! I have done a little crochet - mainly afghans and washcloths, but I could be tempted with the right project to try other things.

3. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
Uhhh.. my double pointeds are stored in those M&M containers (you have to eat the M&Ms before you can use them so it's a good combination of chocolate and knitting). Otherwise, I haven't been able to find a storage system I really like so there is no real organization of needles here. That is something I need to work on.

4. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I learned when I was younger and then knit again a little in college. I started again about 12 years ago and haven't put the needles down since. I would say I'm an intermediate knitter -usually I'm willing to try any pattern as long as it is well written.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
No, but maybe I could make one.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
I love clean smelling scents, also citrusy or slightly spicy. I don't like anything that's too overpowering.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Are we only supposed to have one sweet tooth - no one told me! Chocolate is one of my favorite food groups but I also love those Jelly Belly jelly beans.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
I also do some quilting, sewing, beading, rubber stamping (make cards) and some scrapbooking.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD).
I like a lot of different music, but I'm definitely not up on the newer stuff (don't like rap music - just don't get it I guess). I was born in the 60s and grew up with my older siblings listening to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bruce, ... When I was older I gravitated towards James Taylor (still one of my favorites), Jackson Brown, Carly Simon, Simon and Garfunkel, .... I also like classical and listen to a lot of show tunes with my 5 year old. I've been thinking I'd like to start listening to more music again and yes, my computer can play CDs and MP3s. I'd love to be exposed to more music. Oh and I used to listen to a lot of Grateful Dead.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
I tend to lean towards greens and autumn colors. I don't usually do blacks.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I have been married for 14 years and have a wonderful almost 6 year old daughter. Only fish for pets currently, but I hope that will change (maybe a dog or cat).

12. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
I wear scarves and mittens. Don't do a lot of hats (the flat hair just doesn't make it), but some days it is necessary in the northeast! I haven't worn a poncho (although I have made a few for my daughter). I just haven't found a pattern that I love for myself. I do like shawls though.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
I think whatever I am knitting with at the time. Hmmm let's see, I like Manos, Fleece Artist anything, Debbie Bliss cashmerino, Lornas Laces, Brown Sheep, oh and Blue Sky Alpaca sportweight is gorgeous.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I don't know if there is a fiber I don't like although now that I think about it, I haven't been too fond of Lopi. When I first started knitting, I guess I pulled tightly and the yarn would actually pull apart. I recently bought some and found it a little too itchy although I love the patterns for their sweaters.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?
Socks and sweaters. Oh and mittens.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Currently socks - they are nice and portable.

17. What are you knitting right now?
Socks and some cardigans for me. After the holidays is "knitting for me" time.

18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Of course!

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
It really depends on the project. When I have been stuck not having the correct size dps, I have resorted to the 2 circular method. Whatever works!

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Bamboo or Addi Turbos. But once again, I'll use whatever I have.

21. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Yes, both.

22. How did you learn to knit?
I really don't remember. Maybe my mom taught me although I don't remember her knitting much - or maybe my older sister.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?
If I can remember, I would say my oldest knitting UFO is about 10 years old - one of those huge bags that is supposed to be felted. I think I got bored. I may have something older, but they tend to get put away and not heard of again.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
I've always liked the characters living in the 100 Acre Wood - Tigger being a favorite. And I love sheep and alpacas - for obvious reasons.

25. What is your favorite holiday?
Christmas and my birthday - what, aren't birthdays holidays?!!

26. Is there anything that you collect?
Besides fiber... Actually I've decided that I need to be in a purging mode - too much stuff and it is getting to be stressful. Although it is hard when it comes to my craft stuff (see question 8 above).

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I only subscribe to Spin-Off although I have started picking up Interweave Knits when it comes out.

28. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on?
I finally purchased some Socks That Rock yarn that I am dying to try. I really want to order some Blackwater Abbey and Alice Starmore yarn. And I have heard so much about Cascade 220 and would like to try that also. As far as books, I just bought a bunch of new sock books and some mitten books. I'll have to go and check out Amazon and figure out that wish list thing.

29. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
Well, I want to do more work with cables so I've joined the Japanese sweater KAL and I haven't done much lace work so that's another area I'd like to try. I also need to try more colorwork - I need to work on my tension when knitting with multiple colors.

30. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes, I am a sock knitter. I have a size 10 foot so I pity the person that might knit socks for me.

31. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
June 22

It's the Little Things

It's amazing how the little things can make one happy. I found one of the orange Chibis. I think it was in one of Norma's archives where I first read the saga of the pink Chibis. Apparently they are slightly older than the green ones and could be highly sought after. Well, I'm not selling my pink one on ebay and now I have an orange one. As Cara said, size does matter and I can't wait to use these to close up my toes on the Jaywalker socks. I'm not there yet, but .... soon ... And check out this cute little rubber stamp. Can't wait to use it on some handmade cards.

Last night we watched the movie Mighty Joe Young. Sunday night is usually a relaxing night since we order dinner and watch a movie. My daughter was in my lap because we were both a little nervous about the "bad people" (poachers) and what might happen to the gorilla. At the end there is this tearjerking moment - a horiffic accident where the gorilla saves this little boy. The boy survives, but you don't know whether Joe (the gorilla) will live or die. Tears are running down my face and my daughter looks at me and says "Mommy, don't cry like a baby." I tell her that this is a sad part and I can cry if I want to. Then she looks at me with this incredulous look on her face and says "Mommy, are you really crying?". So, here is another random fact about me. Yes, I do cry very easily at sad and/or sappy parts in a movie.

Friday, January 06, 2006

What a neat toy!

I decided to play with one of my new toys. I needed to divide a skein of STR for my next pair of socks and here is what I did. The yarn goes from the swift through the yarn meter to the ball winder.
I learned that I should have measured the skein first before dividing it. This skein was apparently a little on the lighter side of 360 yards so the two balls are not exactly equal. Here is a close up of the yarn meter.
Thank you to Elaine for a wonderful gift. The next step in my sock saga will be to measure the leftovers of the Lornas Laces but I still need to finish the Jaywalkers. Just starting the heels on both.
Sock on!!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


The last week of 2005 was spent in NJ - we went ice skating, traveled into NY to see Peter Pan and the big tree, exchanged gifts, ate cookies (this is the one time of the year that I really go overboard with baking), drank wine and martinis and had a good time with friends and family. Now the new year is here and I have been thinking of intentions. I borrow the word from Cate since I like it much more than resolutions. Resolutions are usually too cut and dry and get broken way to easily. For me, intentions imply more of a frame of mind - a general state of affairs. Anyway, I will start 2006 with a few intentions. I enjoyed doing the charity knitting last year and intend to continue with that this year. I've learned that I should never say that I'll give up buying yarn, but I will try to use more of the stash (probably for the charity knitting). And I do need to control the stuff that has been collecting in my house. A lot of it does bring me pleasure, but there are times when it feels out of control and ends up bringing me more stress than happiness. I definitely have had a lot of stress in my life lately - some of it is not in my control, but I need to determine which of it I can do something about and do it! And lastly, there are a few relationships that I need to try and work on. These will be my intentions for 2006.

On a knitting note, I wanted to share some of the gifts I made for the holidays. Earrings for a few sock knitting friends:

and the girlfriend sweaters.
I was also able to start my Jaywalker socks and I really love this pattern. It's only a two pattern repeat so it's easy to remember and it's fun to do. Here is the sock on the train going into NY - the sock enjoyed seeing Peter Pan. And did anyone hear that bump last week - that was me falling off the yarn wagon as I couldn't wait till the new year to buy some sock yarn. See I told you I should never make an intention to not buy yarn. Anyway, here are my 3 skeins of Socks That Rock, 2 skeins of Trekking and 1 skein of Cherry Tree Hill. This year I received a great gift - a yarn meter. This will make it so easy to divide those single sock skeins in half. Even though the STR now have more yardage, I'm still thinking I may not have enough for my rather large feet. I don't really know how much yarn I use for my socks. So, after I finish the Lorna's Laces Jaywalker socks, I plan to use the yarn meter to see how much yarn I have left over to determine how much yarn I need for socks. Then I'll know if I need to have another color for toes when I start using the STR.

If you've made it this far, Cara has created a site for the Crossed in Translation KAL. And since I just finished Persuasion, please send any suggestions for a good book. Thanks! Wishing everyone a wonderful and creative 2006!