Wednesday, August 27, 2008
This year, with my new job and all of the other insane things we have going on, we were only able to squeeze out a 4 day weekend. I do love a mini-vacation though, especially since it is much better than no vacation...
Anyway, this past weekend the hubby and I packed the girls into the car and headed north, to Seattle. each day we made a point of doing something special for each member of the family. This meant boat related things for hubby, the aquarium and many visits to the hotel pool for the girls and lots of visits to yarn shops for me
I seem to have forgotten to take pictures most of the weekend, which I think is probably a good thing. Means I was too busy having fun to think about it, right?
Among the many fun things we did was visit the Pike Street Market.
I loved seeing the sign from the back.
The girls, especially the oldest, love to eat anything that comes from the water. This is the girl who begs to try everything when we go to sushi and when given the choice of anything she wanted for her 5th birthday lunch chose lobster. Here she is ogling the crabs. She was not very happy about having to leave without one.
I ended up getting to four yarn shops over the weekend. The first was Little Knits, which is always great! Among the others, one was really not my taste, another way "just OK" although the owner was very nice and the final was Weaving Works, which was fantastic. I can see that it is going to become a regular stop anytime I am in Seattle. Yes,I did buy way too much yarn and no, I am not planning to show you any pictures right now. Maybe later.
By the way, I played Dish Rag Tag today. I'll tell you all about it next time...
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
In our parade, there were people dressed up like cupcakes, pirates, belly dancers, clowns and even patriots:
I can't tell you how unusual these guys looked. We are not in New England and I don't know if I have ever seen people dressed in outfits like that in a parade around here before.
These guys, however, have become a mainstay and are always very entertaining:
In addition to the stilt walkers and clowns, they also had a marching band that was lead by an electric base player. I don't usually think of the electric base as a marching band instrument, but apparently someone did.
The stilt walker was right ahead of this guy:
Continuing in the "rural/urban" theme, below is a picture of the group called CLUCK, which stands for "Children's League of Urban Chicken Keepers".
In Portland every household is allowed to keep three small farm animals (i.e. chickens, ducks, goats, etc.). I still find that odd, but wonderful at the same time. It has become a very popular hobby to keep three chickens in your back yard.
It just so happens that the father in this particular family is an old college friend of my hubby. This name is a bit of a joke in that this group is not a formal club. It seems that a few years ago the kids wanted to walk in the parade, but did not have the requisite dog everyone else had. However, they do have their three chickens and thought they might enjoy the parade too. Now they are another mainstay we look forward to seeing every year.
Still not convinced I live in a special place? Well check this out:
It's a "float" entered into the parade by the neighborhood yarn shop. Sorry for the less than stellar picture. The vehicle had roving "buntings" along the hood, yarn hanging out the windows and knitted garments on top and on the back. Unfortunately they were not tossing out hanks of Koigu, but there's always next year...
Speaking of yarn...as I sat down to wait for the parade to start, I pulled out my knitting. At the same time, the woman next to me also pulled out her knitting, which was also socks. I love it when that happens.
I was knitting on these monsters, which I finished at the celebration:
Pattern: Basic cuff down sock, Yarn: Big Mexiko by Schoeller Stahl, with a little Cascade 220 superwash for heals and toes. Size: 14 mens!
WooHoo, another Christmas gift is done! Oh, and another pair is almost done...maybe tomorrow...
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
I finished another pair of socks. I know, what a surprise? I actually finished these late last week, but haven't really had the time to sit down and document them for posterity.
Patter: Generic Sock, but with 2x2 rib at the top and eye of partridge heel, Yarn: Yard Sale Special - it had a label that said "Lydia's" and "100% Wool" and consisted of 4 strands that were unplied.
So, knitting with the unplied yarn wasn't too bad. I did have to pay attention or I would occasionally miss a strand. Overall though, not bad. The colors definitely kept me motivated. These are some psychedelic socks!
I love the heel!
It's been a little while since I've shown my WIP's, and even longer since I've shown them on Wednesday, so let's have a look in the old knitting basket to see what's cooking...
These are going to be the biggest socks EVER. Not really, but they are a huge size 14 men's!! Notice the unopened ball of yarn with the completed sock for scale. Good thing I love my giant brother so much because even on larger yarn, these things are taking forever...
To contrast, my other WIP is a much more petite pair of socks:
Assuming these turn out well, they are supposed to be for my hubby's petite step-mom and her size 6 feet. Such a difference!
Both projects are perking along, although I am a little behind schedule to have another pair complete by the end of the week. Ah well, seems summer has finally caught up with us and rather than slowing down, like normal people, we seem to be speeding up. We have definitely been the model of a social family the last couple of weeks. I've said it before, but I feel very blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives who want to spend time with us, who am I to turn them down, right? Just doesn't leave much time for the knitting.
Onto the next subject...shoes were also promised in the title and I have some really cool new ones. Check these out:
Why yes, that is my fancy new psychedelic rainbow sock you can see THROUGH my new shoes!
Since before I even began knitting socks, I have been thinking about finding clear shoes to show off the hand-knit socks I would eventually make. I really wanted them to be comfy and big enough to accommodate the thickness of hand knits - not an easy task.
Imagine my excitement when I took the hubby shoe shopping at one of those "super-hip" mall stores and came across these! Not sure about you, but I am a child of the '80's who pretty much spent my teen years in my Converse sneakers. My senior year of high school I had a turquoise pair and a pink pair. Sometimes I even wore one of each, I was that cool...so, of course, these had to come home with me.
Hopefully they don't make my feet sweat too much because I am looking forward to wearing them a lot. Too bad my kids are still too small to be embarrassed by me!
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Pattern: Karen's Sugar-Free Socks from Gardiner Yarn Works, Yarn: Universal Yarn, Classic Worsted, Long Print, Colorway: Purple Allure
I love these socks! The pattern is quick, yet entertaining. And even though the yarn is mostly acrylic, is was not bad at all to knit with. Since these are a Christmas gift for someone who I think reads my blog on occasion, I won't go into great detail about why I chose this yarn, other than to say I think it will be pretty indestructible.
So, that is pair 6 for the summer, of which 4 are destined to be Christmas gifts. I am feeling very productive and ahead of schedule at the moment. We'll see if it lasts!
My other bit of knitting news for today is that I signed up for the next round of Dish Rag Tag. If you follow that link you will get to the blog the woman running the event. She has a blog post that explains all of the rules and a button on the side-bar that leads to a sign-up form.
If you haven't already, you should sign up. It looks like it is going to be a lot of fun! But hurry, sign-ups close August 8 or when there are 300 participants, whichever comes first.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
I have picked a special surprise something out of my stash that will be on its way tomorrow. So, there were three winners after all. Yeah! Maybe I was just being clever and had planned all along to give prizes to the two people who guessed closest...yeah, that's it! I actually have really enjoyed putting together the prizes, so you never know, there might be more contests at some point in the future...
Last time I mentioned that we were putting together a 5 year birthday party for a certain small person in our family. Well, the shindig was yesterday and I think it went well. The theme was "flowers", which was a lot of fun. We had little flower pots for the kids to paint and plant seeds in, a flower pinata and other flowery related goodies.
Unfortunately, I never got a chance to stop running around like a crazy person long enough to take pictures. The hubby and my mom took a few, but neither of them think about the blog when doing so, so there really aren't any that show the decorations or craft projects off very well.
One fun thing we did was set up little tables under our giant magnolia tree for the kids and hung paper lanterns from the branches. It created a really fun, special kid space. This picture gives a little bit of an idea of what things were like, although not as well as I would like:
Of course, climbing in the tree was a popular activity until the hubby put a stop to it. The tree is sturdy, but he wasn't sure it could withstand the weight of 20 kids jumping on it.
Yes, that's right, I said 20 kids. Why no, I am not a complete idiot, thanks for asking! Since A's birthday is in August, we rarely have a big turn out for her parties. As a matter of fact, last year we only has one family show up. So this year I thought, "What the heck, let's invite EVERYONE, that way, maybe 4 0r 5 families will make it." I was so surprised when family and family said they would be there. Then my mom said "People are staying home more this year because of the gas prices." Duh.
Good thing we have a big back yard and the weather was nice. Actually, it really didn't feel like there were that many kids there, except when they were all climbing on the poor tree. Oh, and when they were all trying to help A. open her gifts.
Aren't they cute! The little boy in the green shirt right in front of A. is her "special friend". The two of them were found in a corner having a chat about how much they had missed each other this summer. It was so sweet!
I have to say we are truly blessed to have found the community where we live and the preschool A. attended. Not only are the kids delightful, but their parents are really fun too! I am so glad many of them will be in Kindergarten with her next year.
At this point, I was going to write about my latest pair of finished socks, but I'm feeling like this is enough for today. So, perhaps some knitting content next time.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
The totals broke down as follows:
- Hats: 18
- Pairs of Socks: 16
- Dishcloths: 13
- Scarves: 7
- Afghan Squares for the Great American Afghan: 6 (some might not consider these each a project, but the ones I knit are very complex and took several days each, so I'm counting them)
- Lace Shawls: 3
- Pairs of Fingerless Gloves: 2
- Pairs of Mittens: 2
- Christmas Stockings: 2
- Children's Sweaters: 2
- Lace Baby Blanket: 1
- Pair of Baby Booties: 1
- Small bag: 1
- Pair of Felted Clogs: 1
- Toy Owl: 1
- Neckwarmer: 1
- Helmet Liner for Marines: 1
- Adult size vest: 1
Whew! What a year!
This means the winner who guessed closest to the number of projects was Ikkilala. She guessed 71 items, which was pretty close! Ikkilala, I have already sent you an email requesting your snail mail address. When I receive it, I will be sending you the following:
That's two skeins of Brown Sheep's Wildfoote in colorway Ragtime, along with a copy of the Brick Rib Socks pattern from Gardiner Yarn Works. Hope you like knitting socks as much as I do!
For the question of which item I knit the most of, Kitten with a Whiplash was the only person to correctly guess hats. So, Kitten, I will be sending you the following:
That is two skeins of Plymouth Suri Merino in a lovely rose color, along with the Frequency Hat Pattern from Gardiner Yarn Works. This should be enough yarn to knit 2 kids hats or one adult hat, if you hold the yarn doubled...at least that's my theory. Oh, and I've also sent you an email requesting your shipping info.
Thanks again to all who participated! It's been a wonderful year. I have really enjoyed this first year of blogging and look forward to many more!
Now, I'm off to work on a certain almost 5 year old's birthday party...If all goes well I should have some fun pictures to post this weekend.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I've really been enjoying your guesses for the contest. It's interesting to see what people think is doable in a year of knitting.
I also have decided on what I am going to give for prizes, but am going to wait to tell you about them until Thursday evening because they relate directly to the "What have I knit the most of this year" question.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
This was one of my favorite knitting projects ever. I love the yarn and the pattern. Together they are even better.
I bought the yarn at Twisted in Portland. However, when I looked it up on Ravelry, I couldn't find this particular yarn. So, I sent a message to Woolarina asking her if it was listed on Ravelry. She said no, it was something she was trying out and had decided not to go with. The only place you can (or could) get it was Twisted. Too bad because it is fantastic. The BFL makes the turquoise glow. The pictures do not do it justice.
For those keeping track, this is pair #5 for Summer of Socks. I have 3 more pairs on the needles, so hopefully one of them will end up finished some time soon.
On the topic of yarn, today I went to a yard sale advertised on the local Stitch and Bitch message board. It was in SE Portland and had only yarn and knitting/crochet magazines. You never know how these things will be, so I did not have high hopes. I was pleasantly surprised. The owner had LOTS of yarn and not one bit of acrylic, as far as I saw anyway. Most of her prices were pretty good too.
I bought a couple of things. First, some Tiny Toes from Interlacements. I think the colorway is "Crocus", at least that's what it looks like it says on the label.
Second, something labeled "Fluffo". Not sure what it is...actually it might have some acrylic now that I look at it closer. It doesn't matter because I am absolutely in love with the color! I plan to make a special Christmas gift with it, if I get enough time after SOS.
Finally, I bought this gorgeous sock yarn. The label says the brand is Lydia's and it is wool. The woman selling it said it was from Australia, I think. I could not find it on Ravelry or Google.
Isn't the color crazy? I love it! It consists of 4 strands of very thin yarn that are not plied together. Here's what it looks like wound into a ball.
I haven't been too excited about trying Yarnia yarn because I did not like the "unplied" idea. Well, I guess I'm giving it a try anyway. I'm telling you, the colors are the motivation. Here's what it looks like when it is the beginning of a sock. Did I mentioned I bought this today? I'm predicting these are going to be done fairly soon...
So, if you have read this far, you must be looking for the contest. When looking through my archives, I noticed that not only is my blogiversary coming up next week (July 30), but I am also very near my 100th post! I cannot believe it has been a year already. Amazing!
To celebrate this momentous occasion, I would like to have a little contest. For those who don't know, I am a bit obsessive when it comes to tracking my stash and my finished objects. I only post part of my completed objects here on the blog or on my Ravelry page. However, I do track every single one in an excel spreadsheet...because I'm obsessive like that.
The contest is to guess how many knitting projects I have completed since starting this blog. I will give you a hint in that I seem to like to knit lots of little, quick things and a pair of socks counts as one project. I will plan to announce the total, with a breakdown by type, at the end of the day July 31. Add your guess as a comment on this post before then to be entered. The winner will be the person whose guess is closest. Oh, and I'm still thinking about the prize, so more on that later.
ETA: I decided to add a second contest. As I was looking over my spreadsheet of completed objects, I thought it would be fun to have you also guess which type of project I knit the most of. For example, you might guess I knit more adult sweaters this past year than anything else. By the way, you will be wrong if you guess that!
So, there are two ways to win which means there will be two prizes.
Friday, July 25, 2008
We knew it was bad because it was brown, ugly and swayed in a scary way whenever it was windy. Recently, it too had started to lean a bit, only this time it was toward the house! So, out it came, before the next wind storm could knock it down.
You can't see how big the tree is in this picture, but you can see the power lines. It was surrounded on all sides with power and phone lines. I'm not sure who thought it would be a good idea to plant a tree there!
Here's a nearly "after" shot. It was really interesting to watch the lumberjacks trim all the branches off first, then drop down the pieces of the trunk. They were really fast too!
I will admit that I always thought that tree was ugly and was not too sad to see it go. However, we had the "tree guy" look at another tree in the back yard that, I am sad to say, he confirmed needed to go too. It was a very old willow tree that was completely rotten in the middle. We were very lucky it had not fallen down, especially since it probably would have fallen on the neighbor's house. Again before:
I will admit, this one brought some tears to my eyes. I have to keep reminding myself that it had a nice long life and I would have been much sadder if it had smashed the neighbor...sigh. Of course, these were the only two trees that actually shaded our house. It looks so naked now.
On the plus side, we had three cute young lumberjacks running around the place for most of the day...
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
So, I finished another pair of socks last week. I added them to the Summer of Socks group on Ravelry, but haven't gotten around to putting them up on the blog until now.
Little V. has been asking me to knit myself a pair of socks to match hers, which I blogged about here. It seemed like a good time to oblige. Not much to say about these other than they were a pleasant enough knit and I liked watching the stripes change. With this yarn, the stripes never quite match, so it is always interesting to see how they turn out.
For anyone keeping track, these are pair number 4 for Summer of Socks. My goal is to knit one pair per week and so far I am on track.
Since I am well into 2 other pairs at the moment, I thought I would show their progress, just so you don't think I'm going to some magic hand-knit sock store and buying all of the finished pairs.
One down, one barely started. In this case, I did not start the striping in an intelligent (i.e. easily reproducible) way. Not sure what I was thinking, but I am now having a hard time motivating myself to get sock #2 going. The stripes are so regular, I HAVE to try to get them to match...sigh.
One down, the second well under way. These are one of my favorite sock projects to date and I am loving every minute of them.
More details on both pairs when I get them finished.
In other knitting news, I have been asked to knit a "yellow duck with blue feet and a blue bill" by a certain small animal lover around here. She actually purchased the yarn herself with her kitty sitting funds, so I feel obliged to comply. We'll see when I can bear to put the socks down...
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
I bought the yarn when I was in Los Angeles for the January TNNA and knit most of it on the show floor at the June TNNA. And no, I never miss my children when I am away, why do you ask?
The yarn is great too. Very soft. It is a Merino/Acrylic blend, but I think the Acrylic is manageable in this one...not really "plasticy" at all. Of course, it's washable, which is a huge bonus!
And my little one loves it! It's been warm since I completed it, but she still asks regularly if it is cold enough to wear her "new pink sweater" yet. I didn't really think about how knitting it in June was going to be such a problem for her!
Oh and by the way, today is my baby sister's birthday. She recently discovered my blog through Ravelry...I had kept it a secret from the family until then. Now that she knows about it though, I might as well use it to wish her a happy birthday! I can't wait till this weekend sis, I have a ton of fun stuff planned for us!
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Apparently, there are a bunch of Lavender Farms in the greater Portland area who have all gotten together and created the Oregon Lavender Association. This weekend, this new Association is hosting a Lavender Festival. I saw a poster for this somewhere around town and decided it would be great fun to drag the family out to it. I think I was right.
There is an Art Festival in Yamhill, which had an art show full of gorgeous paintings. There were also lots of interesting vendors, live music, yummy food and a killer play ground. The girls had a great time!
Additionally, twenty-one local lavender farms open their doors to the public, with smaller on site events. You can walk through the lavender fields, cut flowers to take home, make lavender themed crafts, listen to more music and buy plants.
This picture was taken at one of the two farms we managed to visit today.
Here are the girls, enjoying the flowers. One thing I can say for this event, it smells fantastic wherever you go!
We love all of the little festivals and fairs that happen around rural Oregon every year and this one was no exception. I think we will likely plan to attend again next year.
The other thing keeping us occupied this weekend is Mo:
Sorry for the blurry picture. He doesn't hold still much, so this was the best I could do. And no, we didn't get a new kitty. Our old lady cats would never tolerate that, especially not a male kitten!
Mo is actually our neighbors newest family member. However, they are away for the weekend and actually asked A. is she would like to babysit for them. She calls it her "job" and is absolutely thrilled with the task. She's doing a great job too. She even reminded me this afternoon that she needed to clean Mo's litter box, which she did on her own. I asked her if she would be sad when the neighbors return on Monday. Her response was "No, because I'll always be able to remember this weekend and all of the fun I'm having". How did she get so grown up?
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Pattern: I thought I was knitting something original, but when I was finished I discovered I had knit Blueberry Waffles at a smaller gauge. Since I don't recall ever seeing the pattern before I finished them, I think it was particularly talented of me.
Yarn: Mystery yarn from the stash which had no tags. I bought it at the Guild's yarn swap last year from Chrissy. At the time, I assumed it was Interlacements because the color was similar to a skein I had seen. Really though, who knows what it is - not Chrissy because I asked her!
The first photo shows the color better. I actually really enjoyed knitting these, except that the yarn was a little scratchy. I guess I have become a bit spoiled, with all of the Socks that Rock I have been knitting with lately.
Oh, and yes Katrina, those are sock blockers. I finally gave in and bought some in my size, but only because I have found the short row heals a pain to block otherwise. They look soooo much better after having a turn drying on the blockers.
Next time I am going to write about another knitting project I completed recently that is not socks. I know, crazy huh? I do have two more pairs of socks on the needles now though, so never fear, there are more socks in the near future too.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
But, even more exciting than that is the big tree that is now lying across our back yard.
Today I learned that it is absolutely impossible to get a decent picture of an 80+ foot tree when it is sprawled across my lawn. Good thing we have a big yard!
Why is there a huge tree just lying about, you might ask? Well, it all started yesterday when the hubby came in from the backyard and said "Honey, I think one of the trees is leaning a bit". Master of the understatement, that one!
Let me just say that we have a lot of trees in our yard and most of them have one issue or another - some are planted too close together, others are growing at odd angles, one has some sort of bug infestation that makes it look really ugly, etc. However, before yesterday none were leaning quite like that.
Anyway, the hubby spent the morning today calling around trying to find a "tree guy" to come and take the tree down before it fell. None were available...who would have guessed. So, the hubby called our very talented and handy neighbor to see if he had any ideas about how to handle the situation. Next thing I know, the hubby comes into the house and says "Honey, I think you might want to come see this". Again, master of the understatement. When I walked outside, the tree was on the ground, just like that.
Turns out that the neighbor's chain saw was on the blink, so hubby got out his little hand saw and just started sawing. He says he sawed for just a minute when he heard a loud crack and the whole thing fell over. It was definitely time for that thing to go. Thankfully, somehow, they managed to miss all children and other trees, landing the thing in the only open spot big enough on the property! It did smash my very favorite rose bush, but I am told it should recover by next year. Overall, not too bad, all things considered. Now comes the fun job of cleaning it all up...
On the knitting front, I finished another pair of socks.
The yarn was actually great too. I will be interested to see how it wears. The final fabric is very light and soft. It is very reasonably priced too, which certainly adds to the appeal.
It did pool very oddly on just one of the socks though...looks a little like a tie-dye. By the way, these are the first gift for Christmas 2008! I am so pleased with myself. I hope to get lots of Christmas gifts done this summer, but we'll see how it goes...