Thursday, October 22, 2009

Because I have no new knitting to show you...

...I'm still working on the same two pairs of socks, which don't look much different right now, and I have made no progress on the girlie's vest -- I thought I'd at least post some pictures of yarn. And the dog. Yarn first.

I've been really, really good about not adding to the stash lately, other than yarn I've spun (which I haven't done any spinning real recently either...sigh...). My main exception has been my membership in Three Irish Girls' Pick of the Knitter monthly yarn club. I love Sharon's yarns soooo much. I'm into my third three-month subscription now, and I can't stop. If you're looking for a yarn club to join, check it out. I think there's a waiting list for it at this point, but it's worth it.

Anyway, my most recent PotK yarnie goodness...

Seacoast and Sandcastle in the Adorn yarnbase...these are club-only colorways, though!

To further illuminate how good I've been about adding new yarn to my life, I should point out that I have not placed an order with The Loopy Ewe since APRIL. Seriously! Can you believe it? I know! Well, ok...I hadn't placed an order since April until last week, when I broke down and bought this...

Tempted Yarns, Festival of Lights colorway. As soon as I saw it, I envisioned a snowflake motif shawl or wrap...if only I could find the perfect pattern for such a thing!

and this...

Fiberphile, Batwings that name! LOL I'm going to use this for the sock pattern I've been designing. Really wanted a nice brown for it. I think this will do well.

and a cool hat pattern from Born to Knit (I rarely ever buy hat patterns, but this one was too cool to pass up as it features a dragon!) But hey...I had a $25 gift credit sitting there...since April! So it was almost like not buying anything really. :} (Yes, Rationalizations R Us. Problem?)

The other thing that kept me from adding to the stash in recent months was just avoiding the LYS. Yeah. Funny that. If you don't go to a yarn store, you don't tend to buy yarn. But, a couple weeks ago, I had to go there because I needed a couple pair of needles (I know, unbelievable that I was lacking needles, trust me, but I don't have huge numbers of 16" circs, and I needed two sizes that I didn't have...not that I've actually started the project I needed them for yet, but that's beside the point). Of course, I had to take a spin around the shop and check out the yarn while I was there. I was so good, though. I picked up nothing. Until. I came to the sale bin, and there was an entire cubby full of this:

Now, if you're like me, you'll probably think, "That colorway is kind of...ugly." LOL Seriously, neon purple and brown and a pukey is such an odd combo of colors and it in no way screams "yum" to me like so many Malabrigo colorways do. But, see, THAT was the challenge. I thought a yarn that looks this ugly surely will knit up to be a surprise and delight! I must try and see what I get! So I bought two hanks of it, and, well...we'll see. (As I was checking out, the person ringing me up asked what my plans were for this yarn...and I told her my theory...and then it dawned on me that maybe it is not considered polite to tell LYS salespeople that their yarn is ugly, even if there is a whole bin of it in the discount area, which pretty much says to me that I'm probably not the only person who thought it was ugly. But, you know... :})

Ok. Now, doggie photos!

Hi! I'm cute!

Why is she sitting me in this pile of crunchy stuff?

I'm not so sure about this...

But maybe I can eat it. Blech. Or not.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I'm so, so, so...

...glad this wish did not come true!

Temps in the 30s and 40s with lots of rain? Perfect fiber festival weather -- NOT! Yikes.

God bless y'all who are wandering around up there this weekend! :}

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Meet Muffin...

...the newest member of our family...

...she's a 3 year old Miniature Schnauzer...

...and she spent all but the last two weeks of those three years as a breeding dog in a puppy mill. :(

I'll be honest...I've never thought of myself as a dog person. I've always liked dogs more in theory than in practice. However, over the past year, the idea of getting a dog has been one I've batted around more and more. The kids had brought it up a lot, and I kept putting them off. But then we'd go over to the nearby park and see all of the people and their dogs and I realized...I wanted to be a dog person.

So I started scoping out the listings now and then in the past few months. If we were going to get a dog, it needed to be a small dog that would remain small. I preferred for it to be female and not a puppy. Short hair was also a preference due to Chris's allergies. I thought maybe a Yorkie or a Maltese would be nice, but I never found one that really struck me as right for us. And then last week I did a search for mini grandmother had one of these dogs when I was a kid, and I loved that dog! She was great. And so I searched and suddenly -- there was Muffin. I don't know why, but I knew she was the right one.

We're basically doing a crash course, learn-as-we-go, of how to deal with a puppy mill survivor. It's clear that patience is going to be key as she learns to trust us and learns what it is to be loved and to be part of a family. Surprisingly, she loves to be held, loves to cuddle. She's slept each night in my daughter's bed. After spending her first full day here mostly sleeping, she finally has begun exploring her new world today, and she finally started to eat as well. Pottying...well...that's going to take time, but we'll deal.

Last evening, I was the only one in the room with her and she was looking around for the kids. I called to her, as we're trying to get her used to her name, and for the first time, she came over to me on her own. It might seem like a simple thing, but I think for her, it is a big, big was a sign to me that Muffin is going to be ok.

And so now I find myself wiping doggie paws after we've been outside, and calling my daughter from the pet store to have her measure Muffin so I could buy a little jacket to help keep her warm when we go out to do the potty thing. And I find my heart just oozing and melting when this little face comes over to me and wants to be picked up.

My God, I think I am turning into a dog person after all. :}

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I wish, I wish, I wish...

...I was going to Rhinebeck this weekend.

But I'm not.

Sad. :(


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Looking ahead...

While I am still deep in the throes of Socktoberfest, I am looking ahead to November and have decided, after a two year hiatus, I am going to participate in NaNoWriMo again this year.

30 days.
50,000 words.
I've done it twice before.
2004 & 2006.
Can I do it again?

We shall see!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fast week...

I'll tell you what...time needs to slow down just a tad! September flew by, and now October is following suit! What's the hurry??

Last week was a blur of good things. My mom and step-dad were in town for a week, and while I didn't get to spend nearly as much time with my mom as I'd have liked, it was nice to get to visit with them here for a change (instead of us going to Florida).

Sadly, I took very few photos from my mom's visit. This is one of them. Mom, Ralph and Emma.

Last weekend was also the local Apple & Arts Festival, which Kevin and the kids always take part in (I go up for a few hours and walk around...they do the work!).

The shingle mill, where Kevin (on the right) spends most of his time at the festival.

Amid the visiting and the fall festivities, I tried to maintain a semblance of normalcy with regard to our school work, the gym and our fencing/climbing days, though everything got modified to accommodate the extra activities. One thing that was a constant throughout, though, was the knitting. I am working away on my socks, both the Zombies and the Mystery Socks for the Soctoberfest KAL. Also making some progress on the girlie's sweater, but mostly it's the socks that have my attention right now.

Lest I bore you with any more chatter, how about some pictures? (And warning -- there will be another picture of the mystery sock in this bunch, so don't look at the last photo if you don't want to see it!)

Apple & Arts Festival purchase #1: apples. Half of this bag has already been cooked and used in a pie. Yum.

Apple & Arts Festival purchase #2: freshly ground grains; in the jars there is whole wheat flour, buckwheat flour and cornmeal. I love using this stuff! So fresh and good! It all needs to be kept refrigerated or frozen since there are no preservatives in any of it, thus I put some in the jars and some in vacuum packages to use over time.

Apple & Arts Festival purchase #3: I usually don't purchase much in the line of the "arts" that are offered at these festivals anymore, both because I don't really need any more crap in my life and also because most of it is pretty country-themed, and I am not much of a country-themed person at this point in my life. Pottery, however, always calls to me. I found these buttons at the only pottery vendor at the festival...they're kind of quirky. Bigger than buttons I'd usually buy, but I thought they'd be neat to use one at a time for buttoned neck warmers or something. More than that and they'd get pretty heavy.

The Zombie lives and is coming along quite nicely! It's actually a couple more inches up the leg at this point. And look! I turned my first toe-up heel...

A gusset heel, it was very easy to do. I ended up with a little gap at the top of each heel where I rejoined the stitches in the round to the instep, but I think I know how to avoid that on the second sock. I'll just stitch these up to close them when I'm done.

And finally...the mystery sock. Clue #2 finished on the first one...

What a crazy-pretty sock this is turning out to be! It looks even lovelier from the side view, but both of those that I look on the sock blocker turned out blurry. Will try again later.

Oh, and though I have no pictures of the evening (or at least none that turned out well on my cell phone), my friend Angela and I spent a very loud night last Saturday at the Social Distortion concert, which was awesome. Totally love their music. (I will say, though, either I'm getting old, the acoustics of the Ches-a-rena leave something to be desired, or the people working the sound for the two opening bands were on crack because it was painfully loud at points, like I thought my ear drums might explode -- and that's saying something, live music lover that I am, the louder the better. But not so much in this case.)

Lastly...our VoaT photoblog is focusing on the theme "Small" this week. Tomorrow is the last day for it, as a new theme will start on Sunday. Stop by and visit! :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Yarn as home decor...

Check it out!

These are tiny balls of sock yarn that I got through a swap at Spring Fling last April for the purpose of doing this mini-mitred square sock yarn blanket, which I don't have a dream of starting anytime soon. In the mean time, I thought these balls were just too cute to keep hidden away in a Ziploc bag. Yesterday, when I was at Pier 1 on my continuingly frustrating search for some new year-around wreaths for the house, I found this hurricane globe. Perfect! Now I can enjoy the look of all those tiny balls every day until I actually choose to knit with them. Yarn as art, in a totally different way than usual. Love it!

And how about some pictures of yarn used in more traditional ways? One FO and some WIPs (SPOILER ALERT! The last picture is of my first Mystery Sock '09 cuff...if you're doing this KAL and don't want to see what the cuff looks like, don't scroll all the way to the last picture!): 

First, the FO: my September charity hat...woo. LOL Just a plain vanilla hat made with some CPY Taso:

Next, the Heather Hoodie Vest (pattern in Fall 2009 Knitscene) I'm making for the girlie using Nashua Woolie Stripes. 

This is as far as I've gotten on the back, but it's a good shot of the pretty cabling in the pattern. hopefully I'll continue to make progress on it even while I'm working away on Socktoberfest socks.

And speaking of Socktoberfest is the pair I'm making out of the Zombie yarn:

There's a big orange blob on my zombie! Does that mean it's name should be Blob Zombie? Ahahahahahaaa! Ahem. (The zombie puns...I'm just not running out of them.) 

Notice anything different about this sock than all of the other socks I've ever made? Yes! I started from the toe! I took Wendy Johnson's Heels & Toes for Toe Up Socks class at Spring Fling, and then promptly ignored everything I learned because I still found the thought of the reversed process intimidating. I mean, I've always done my socks cuff down and it has always worked just fine, thankyouverymuch. Why change? (Wow...that is the same horrible argument so many people use for not making beneficial changes in the world! Ack!) 

Then the other night, as I thought about what pattern I wanted to do -- originally it was going to be a broken rib hiking sock -- I realized I wanted a little more of a challenge, so I decided to try toe up. I had to watch a YouTube video to refresh myself on Judy's Magic Cast-On to start the toe, but it was really easy and the rest was just common sense. 

As it turned out, the yarn started to pool quite vigorously after I got through the toe, and while I'm not horrified by pooling in general, it wasn't doing anything for me in the broken rib pattern. So I ripped back the patterned part and started over, deciding to just do a standard stockinette sock, but adding a cable along the left instep edge. (Thus, this is the left sock. The right sock will have the cable along the right instep edge.) Liking this much better.

Lastly, the cuff of my first Mystery Sock (last chance to turn back!):

I'm having the hardest time capturing the true color of this yarn. I think natural light is going to be key to getting right right. It actually looks like a stone-washed denim when it's knit up...not as gray and washed out as it looks here. But at least you can see the pretty openwork in the middle of the ribbing.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Pardon me, but there seems to be a zombie on your swift...

Why yes there is! What better colorway to knit in the month of October, the month of Halloween, the month of Socktoberfest than one named "Zombie"?

This is Foot Prints yarn from The Unique Sheep, which I picked up at the Cloverhill Yarn booth at Maryland Sheep & Wool last May. I have been waiting for the perfect time to knit up these crazy-fun colors, and now's that time! I had a pattern in mind for them of my own devising, but I'm going to hold off on that because the design would get lost in the colors, I think.

Don't these yarn cakes remind you of those round bales of hay that you see sitting out in fields? But really, it's a zombie ball! Hahahahaaa! Ahem...

Instead, I'm going to make myself a pair of Broken Rib Socks (Rav link) from the first 101 One-Skein Wonders book. The first pair I made turned out to be far too small for either me or my daughter to wear, so they ended up with my tiny-footed daughter-in-law! I've wanted to make another pair for me, and I think this yarn will be perfect.

So, that's my first Socktoberfest project. My second will be the Socktoberfest Mystery Sock socks from the pattern that Kirsten Kapur has created for this year. I did this KAL last year, and it was a lot of fun, though I crashed and burned after the first three weeks (I went on vacation and got rather sidetracked) and didn't end up finishing the foot and toe of the socks until several months later. Hopefully this year I'll stay caught up!

ETA: The first part of the pattern is up! Yeay!

For that pair, I'll be using this (sorry..bad coloring from nasty indoor-at-night photo)...

...some Schaefer Yarns Nichole in what is really a lovely semi-solid blue-grayish color (no purple/pink tinge like this picture wants to make you think). I have to admit, this is not a color I would have chosen to buy, but it was part of my goodie bag that I got at The Loopy Ewe Spring Fling last April, so I've held onto it. Lo, the yarn Kirsten used for making her pair of the Mystery Socks -- Nichole! Clearly it was meant to be! And since I want to make both of these socks at the same time to have them both (theoretically finished) by the end of October, I split the skein perfectly in two! Each of those balls weighs 2 5/8 ounces exactly. Am I good or what? LOL's here! Socktoberfest is underway! And as much as I really, really should go to bed now, I think I'm going to go cast on my first Zombie sock first. Let the socks begin!

Help! There's a Zombie on Nichole! Ahhhh!!!