Monday, March 31, 2008

Another pair of Fred Flintstone socks

I finished another pair of socks for V. late last week, but am just now getting a chance to post some pictures:
Pattern: Basic socks, with some slipped stitches thrown in to make it more interesting, Yarn: Blue Moon Socks that Rock, Heavyweight, Colorway: Fred Flintstone

These are made with the left-overs from these socks. I love it that the girls still have small enough feet that I can get a pair of socks for one of them out of the left-overs from an adult pair of socks.
I am happy to report that these are as popular as the first pair. I finished them on Friday and they are still on her feet now! I'm going to have to sneak them away when she is in the bath tonight and wash them.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Happy Birthday to me

Every year, on this day, my mothers brings me daffodils. She says they are my birthday flower and who am I to argue? Aren't they cheery?

I am a big fan of birthdays and think one should always take time to celebrate. It is, after all, the one day each year that really is all about you. In my case though, I think my mom deserves to celebrate too. I have always been told that I was born after 72 hours of un-medicated labor! I still have a hard time thinking about that, especially now that I have experienced labor and childbirth myself.

I think I was born before the "natural" childbirth revolution, at least the version that happened in more populated areas. I remember in the early '80's my mom would laugh a little when folks asked her if she had us via "natural" child birth. She would say "In the small town where I had the kids, that's all there was!"

I had a big post planned for my birthday, but I'm not feeling it. Don't get me wrong, I have had a wonderful day. Lots of good food and good company! Too wonderful actually to interrupt it and blog.

So, I am going to go back to enjoying the last bit of my birthday. I'm nearly finished with V's new socks, so there will be some cute sock pictures soon...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wednesday Round-up

I have so much to talk about today I'm having a hard time getting started. Let's see...first I guess I'll update on my WIP's, since it is Wednesday. Two weeks in a row...perhaps I am actually starting something...

Not many pictures today, but here's the latest:

Happy Socks - done, see last post
Vest for Hubby - I actually finished knitting the pieces and they are now blocking. As soon as they are dry, it will be on to seaming and then all 600 miles of that i-cord edging. We'll see if I make any progress before next week.
Malabrigo shawl - I finished 1 more repeat

With the completion of the socks and making real progress on the other WIP's, I went ahead and started, and completed, some other stuff.

First, I finished a sample of a hat for the pattern line. I like the way it turned out, so now I just have to take a first stab at putting the pattern together...and I am going to try making some other sizes.

Next I started another pair of socks for V. She wears the other pair I made her EVERY DAY if she sees them, whether they are dirty or clean. I have to hide them to get them into the laundry. I have nearly finished the first one and wanted to measure it against the first pair, but of course she has them on her feet and is at my mom's right now. Maybe tomorrow, if I can wrestle them off of her.

Finally, I made this washcloth:

Pattern: Jonathan Livingston Seagull Cloth, Yarn: Cabled Cotton from Elmore Pisgah

I received this yarn from a very nice woman at Elmore Pisgah, also known as Peaches and Creme. For the last couple of years they have been sponsors of the knitting guild's shop hop. In a recent conversation I had with the Peaches and Creme lady, she mentioned this cabled cotton and asked if I would like to try it. She sent this ball for me along with the items for our event.

I have to say I love this yarn! It has a lovely texture, nice drape, the colors is super saturated and it was great to knit with. I'm thinking about buying enough for a sundress for one of the girls...someday, when I have more time. You can buy it directly from their web site for a great price.

In other news, yesterday I had jury duty. I was sort of looking forward to it until I checked with the court house and learned that you can not take knitting needles into the Multnomah County Courthouse. How weird is that? I can knit all the way across the country on an airplane, but can not knit in a courthouse.

Since I was never selected to go to a court room, I got to sit for 8 hours in the jury room...not knitting! It was so weird. I did read almost all of 'The Friday Night Knitting Club" so at least I got to read about other people knitting. Sigh. It's just not the same...

Finally, I have debated with myself whether to get all "braggy" and talk about the wonderful gifts my knitter friends gave me last Saturday. I decided the gifts are just too good to keep to myself - even though I think the three ladies who gave them to me comprise 90% of my blog audience.

So, the deal is that tomorrow is my birthday and today is Katrina's. To celebrate, Katrina, Amanda, Chrissy and I went out for some good food and good knitting last Saturday. I also left with some really great gifts.

The first thing I opened was an adorable card from Chrissy with a lovely note that concluded with "This card entitles you to a skein of your choice from the Handmaiden Wall O' Temptation". Oh, if only more of the cards in my life had words like those written in them! I should explain that at the time we were at Dublin Bay, which is Handmaiden central. I finally, after much deliberation, chose this:
It's a skein of Cashlana (90% Wool, 10% Cashmere) in colorway '"Fruit Punch". That's some seriously soft yarn and it is going to make very luxurious socks!

Next was a skein of Amanda's own hand-spun yarn and some gorgeous stitch markers she made.

Can you believe she just started spinning a couple of months ago? She actually learned how to Navajo Ply so that she could keep the colors separate. I love it! This yarn is going to have to be something very special.

Finally, Katrina gave me a box with many wonderful things, including this:

It's called "Flat Feet" and is a piece of machine knit cloth that is hand painted. The idea is that you start at one end and unravel it as you re-knit it into socks. Very clever! I saw this at TNNA in January, but had not seen it in any stores yet. I can't wait to try it out and see how it re-knits up.

I am, I think, a very lucky woman to have such thoughtful and generous friends! Thanks again ladies.

More on the birthday tomorrow.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Feet

I have very happy feet today for lots of reasons. First, it is officially spring and it actually feels like it today. I tried to take some nice pictures of all of the budding and blooming things in our yard on the actual first day of Spring, but it was so dark that my crummy little camera kept using the flash - outside, in the middle of the day! Those pictures were not worth posting...

Today though, it is beautiful, so I have included a picture of a magnolia bud.

I can say, without a doubt, our magnolia tree is the best feature of our yard. It is beautiful when in full bloom, which usually happens around the first week of April. Seeing this little bud today reminded me that it's coming soon!

Another reason I have happy feet today is they are going to take me downtown to a fun evening filled with knitting and good food with some of my favorite knitters in the world. Yeah!

Finally, the other reason I have happy feet today is that they are wearing my new "happy rainbow" socks.

Pattern: Same basic pattern, Yarn: Opal Feeling, Colorway: 1705

I love these socks. They made me smile every time I worked on them. They also garnered many comments and questions whenever I worked on them in public, from knitters and non-knitters alike.
The great thing about this yarn is how nice and perfect the stripes are. It made it very easy to make identical socks. Yeah for spring and spring socks!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

WIP's Wednesday

I have seen a lot of folks out in knit blogland showing their "works in progress" on Wednesdays. I thought "What the heck, why not?" So, in no particular order, here are the WIP's I am owning up to:

This is the Hubby's vest. The back is complete, as is the front up to the split for the v-neck. Once I finish the front, block the pieces and seam it, I then have to add about 600 miles of attached i-cord edging. Sigh. This will likely be on the WIP list for awhile.

This is the Malabrigo Kiri Shawl. I think it has languished mostly because I have found it pretty boring. However , when I pulled it our for the photo shoot, I was reminded again how wonderful the yarn is. I may need to get back to this soon.

Finally, these are my current socks-in-progress. Again with the plain pattern, but boy am I loving the "happy rainbow" yarn, as the kids call it. This yarn is a lot thinner than the other sock yarn I have used so far, but is making a very nice fabric. I took this picture yesterday and have since turned the heel on sock #2 and am almost finished with the gussets. These should be finished soon.

Also, I have a few design ideas rolling around in my head. If I can pull them together and, if Chrissy likes them, they may go into the Gardiner Yarn Works line for Fall.

Not too bad...oh yeah...I have a couple of dishcloths going too...that's really it though, I swear...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

If I Ran the Zoo...

...actually, most of the time I feel like I do! In this case though, I am talking about another of my special children's books, "If I Ran the Zoo" by Dr. Suess. I don't actually have much in my little collection in the way of Dr. Suess, so I was a bit surprised when this one jumped out at me the other day when I was scouring the shelves at one of my favorite little used book stores.

I certainly grew up with Dr. Suess and, I thought, had a good memory for his works. However, when I saw this one, I did not recall ever reading it before. It is, as with all Dr. Seuss books, absolutely delightful in it's whimsy.

It tells the story of what "young Gerald McGrew" would do if he ran the zoo, from turning out the normal animals to replacing them with all sorts of strange Suess inventions. I particularly liked the page when he decides to "...go down to the Wilds of Nantucket and capture a family of Lunks in a bucket..." I don't recall seeing any Lunks in Nantucket, but I'll have to look more closely next time!
On the down side, this book was published in 1950 and does reflect some of the cultural insensitivities of the time. It also has a very gung-ho attitude about going to the ends of the earth to capture the most rare and endangered creatures on the planet. I can't imagine we would see a new book published today that contained these ideas.
However, in my own little way, I have been enjoying it. Because of the old ideas and the fact that it is in pretty much pristine condition, I am not planning to share it with my girls any time soon.
What a shame, it will have to remain one of "mommy's special books" as the girls call them. Not bad for $1.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Fred Flintstone Socks

Yes, that's right, it's another pair of socks. Any non-sock knitters who may have looked in on my blog before are probably running for the hills. Not only am I knitting a zillion socks, but I also keep knitting plain old boring socks. In my defense though, the cool yarns I have been lucky enough to get to use have been keeping me very entertained. Also, work is kicking my butt, so stockinette in the round has been just about the right speed the last couple of weeks.

So. here are the latest socks - a pair of fun ones for the hubby:

Pattern: Same old, same old, Yarn: Blue Moon Socks that Rock, Heavyweight, Colorway: Fred Flintstone

The hubby asked for some really heavy socks since his feet are always cold. This was the heaviest sock yarn I had, so we went with it. He is very happy with the results. Actually, to be honest with you, he didn't really understand why I would ever want hand knit socks. He understood the colors were nice, but really didn't get why I would want to put all of that effort into something that would wear out. Then he tried the first one on and was hooked. His comment was "Why can't a store bought sock fit like this?" I said "it might have something to do with the fact that these were knit to fit your foot exactly!"

Trouble is, now I have created another monster who wants to make sure he has a place in line with everyone else for new socks. What a shame I am hating the sock knitting so much, huh?

By the way, this yarn also came from the Blue Moon stash sale last November. It was already wound and only had the "seconds" tag on the outside, which does not list the color. However, when I pulled the end out of the ball to start knitting, another tag had been stuffed inside that said this was the "Fred Flintstone" colorway. A quick search on Ravelry has confirmed it is accurate.

Here's one last shot. I think the hubby could have a career in sock modeling ahead of him, don't you?

I have another pair of socks already on the needles and am nearly done with the heal flap for the first one. It is another pair for me. I figure, if I follow the 1 pair for someone else, 1 pair for me plan I should have plenty of socks in short order. Not too many, because I don't think there is such a thing!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Yet more socks!

Lots of time on a plane, travelling across the country has turned into another pair of socks for me:
Pattern: Same old basic pattern, Yarn: Blue Moon Socks that Rock, Weight: Medium, Colorway: No idea

This yarn was some that I bought at the Blue Moon stash sale last Fall. I wrote a bit about the sale here. It is the one in the middle in the first yarn picture. It was the only one that didn't look like anything in their current line. I'm going to guess that it was something they tried out but never sold. In the skein and in the above picture, it looks very blue and yellow. In person though, there is a lot of green where the two colors met and bled together - something I think was probably not intended. Overall, the knit socks don't look exactly like I had hoped, but I'm still pretty happy with them.

This was my first time using STR and I thought the yarn was really nice to knit with, very sproingy and soft. I actually knit the entire first sock on my trip East and had to make myself wait to start the second one until I was on the plane, heading home.

It still went really fast and I ended up having to work on my husband's boring vest. I was smart (?) and didn't bring any other knitting. The vest saw quiet a bit of action while I was in my hotel and on the last part of the return home. It's still not even ready to be seamed up though. It sure is turning into a slog...

Anyway, long trip = happy socks for happy feet!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Excellent Mail!

Well, I made it back late last night from the LONG work trip. When you have to travel all the way to the East Coast from Oregon, it takes forever. The trip was completely uneventful, travel-wise and even a bit productive, work-wise, so it could have been worse. I also ended up having quiet a lot of knitting time and did complete something, which I will show you next time.

The reason I am waiting to show my new FO is I received a wonderful package in the mail while I was gone - my "Defeat the Winter Doldrums" Dishcloth Swap package. Many thanks go out to Alicia for such a great package!

Here's a terrible picture of all of the loot:

She sent three skeins of dishcloth cotton in beautiful colors, some yummy extra dark chocolate in convenient individual sized packages and some really nice smelling "Wild Orchid" Bath gel. I am kind of particular about scents but Alicia was extra patient with me, soliciting ideas about what I might like. She did great - I love it!

Additionally, she sent these gorgeous stitch markers, which she made herself. Again, sorry for the terrible picture. It does not begin to capture how pretty they are. I am not much of a jewelry girl, but boy do I love to "dress-up"my knitting with pretty stitch markers!

Next, she made me this really cool dishcloth. It is knit with the "illusion knitting" technique and contains a hidden picture of a snowflake. Alicia has a better picture over on her blog if you want to check it out.

It is knit with Cotlin from Knitpicks. I had never seen this yarn before, but it feels nice and seems perfect for dish or washcloths.

Finally, she also made two Tribbles for me. I have been thinking about trying this pattern for some time, but now can try the finished product first.

Thank you so much Alicia. I love everything! Thanks for being such a great swap partner.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Another week has gone by...

...and I don't have much to say. I found out Friday that I need to be away for work all this week. I just dread hearing that now. When I was younger, before the hubby and kids, I used to love to travel for work. I would get to stay in nice hotels, watch cable TV (we still don't have cable, can you beleive it?) and eat fancy food. I would meet interesting people and immerse myself in work.

Now, I just want to be home with my babies. Oh well, at least I anticipate I will have LOTS of knitting time on planes.

Speaking of knitting, I have a finished object to show you. It's a helmet liner, destined for a Marine serving in Iraq.

Pattern: Helmet liner pattern found here, Yarn: Cascade 220, colorway 1208

This was a pretty easy, fairly quick little project. Why did I knit this, you might ask? Well, my good friend Katrina has a cousin, her favorite cousin in fact, serving as a Marine in Iraq. She is planning to knit at least one too and asked if I wanted to join her.

Then, when I told my sister about this project, she reminded me that her best friend has two sons serving as Marines in Iraq right now too. Actually, one of them was the ring bearer in my sisters wedding, which makes me feel so old. She is my younger sister! Anyway, she was very interested in this project and has gotten her knitting group involved. They are planning to put together a bunch of liners and goodies to ship off to the young men they know in the Marines in Iraq. I think I will send my liner with them. I love the idea of helping out. It's such a small thing, but if it really makes a difference then I am happy to help.

I guess thats it for today. I'll be off-line for awhile, but hope to return with lots of finished objects to report on.