Socks and stuff

March 20, 2010

Thanks for all the nice comments and wishes about my 4 year blog anniversary!  I thought I better get the giveaway over first before the rest of my blog post – so without further ado…the winner (picked by Random.org) of the Wandering Cat Yarn certificate is….Lorraine!  Lorraine – I know you just posted about having too many choices…but hopefully you won’t mind picking just a little more yarn! 

I finished up a couple of projects this week – yes, I finally finished Citron!  I haven’t blocked it yet, so it will get its own post when its ready, but I thought I’d show you the socks I finished.

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Pattern:  Basic Gusset Heel Toe Up Socks (Wendy Johnson pattern)
Yarn:  Poems Sock by Wisdom Yarns, colorway 952
Started:  January 26, 2010
Finished:  March 19, 2010

OK, first off – these took forever.  I have to admit that I really love the colorway, and the color changes.  I love the pattern – just a basic stockinette sock.   I love the fabric of the yarn – these are superwash but just very wooly feeling.  Very perfect winter socks (just in time for the first day of Spring!).  But I hated knitting with the yarn.  It’s a single ply and extremely splitty.   I can’t tell you how many times I had to tink a stitch back because I had knit with half of the yarn.  So although I like the finished product, I don’t think I’d use the yarn again. 

I also screwed up the cast off on the second one – I used a cast off I found on Knitting Daily  – Version A – I usually do a sewn cast off for toe up socks but that takes forever so I thought I’d try something new.  I thought I did the same cast off on the first one (I really should start keeping notes on projects) – but if so I messed up the second and they are really hard to get on.  I thought (briefly) about ripping it back and doing it again – but I’ve spent almost two months with these socks and I think I’m done – I just can’t bear to spend any more time on them.  Poor Larry – he’ll be fighting to get them on from now on!

Since I finished the socks, I had to start new commute knitting.  I’m really sort of tired of socks, so I started a Traveling Woman with my Wandering Cat Yarn Top Cat – this yarn is so amazing!  So soft, so pretty – I’m enjoying every minute of the knit.   And the colors are perfect for Spring! (I think this would be a cute colorway/yarn for a baby sweater)

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I didn’t get a lot done on this shawl this week because I haven’t been commuting – I came home sick on Thursday and stayed home yesterday too – just a cold but so irritating that I’m sick.  I don’t get sick often so when I do I just hate it – I have to admit to being a little whiny.  So instead of getting my work done, and having knitting time on the train, and golfing on the first day of spring, I’ve been stuck inside – sleeping, coughing and sneezing (and whining). 

But last night Larry gave me a gift to make me feel better (he really has amazing timing!)

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He bought me a Hiya Hiya project bag from The Loopy Ewe.  He really is a great guy, isn’t he?  The bag is beautiful – I’ve been wanting it for months and every time they restock I drool over it.   The fabric is gorgeous, and the handle is part of the zipper and it just so cute!  And its the perfect size for a small project…

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Isn’t that nice?  It’s so well made and the little pocket is a nice touch.  Thanks, Larry!

I’m starting to feel a little better tonight and hope that I’m over the worst of this cold.  Tomorrow we are starting to clean out our room – the painter is coming a week from Monday and we have to have everything out of there (including all the closets).  Yikes!  I moved all my yarn out today – and that was enough to make me take a two-hour nap.    I can’t wait to get the room done – it’s going to be so nice.    I still have to buy new curtains and all that but I’ll get there.   Cleaning out the room has made me realized how cluttered it was – we are not going to be putting everything back in, and I’m hoping to figure out a way to keep it simple.   

OK, I’m off – we are watching New Moon tonight (I know, embarrassing but I loved the books!) and Larry and I made a crumb cake (3.5 sticks of butter – so unhealthy – but so good!) to eat while watching the movie.    I think I’ll knit the shawl too – I’m going to start the sweater tomorrow, but for tonight I think I’ll keep it simple.   I don’t want my stuffy head to lead to a bad start on the first sweater I’ve made in years!

Have a good weekend!

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Nice gift!

November 8, 2009

Valerie of  Wandering Cat Studio and her Mom of KnitObsession, started to dye yarns a few months ago and opened an Etsy shop – Wandering Cat Yarns.  I read both their blogs and was excited for them about the shop – and then when I went to check it out – sigh…so nice.  I love their yarn and have bought a couple of skeins (and I’ve sent Larry a list of a couple of other skeins that would be nice for Christmas!).    

The other day I got an email from Valerie – she sent me her pattern for Berry Hill socks as a gift.  How nice is that?  I was really touched  – and happy since I knew I was starting a pair of socks this week.   So I found the yarn, started them up and….

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These socks are flying!  This is a great pattern, and its one of those patterns that just seems to go fast.  I started these Friday morning, and I’m halfway down the foot – not bad for me since the last socks took me weeks and weeks to make.  I think I’ll have the pair down by next weekend.  The pattern is a cuff down – I haven’t done that in a while so it was sort of an adjustment (pick up the stitches?  what?) but I suppose its good to have balance – some toe up, some cuff down.  I actually think I could do these toe up, but wanted to knit them as written the first time.    The pattern is available on Ravelry – I know its going to be one of those that I make over and over.

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I love the pointy cuff – so pretty!  The yarn is Claudia Hand Paint Fingering weight – I bought it a few years ago to make a chevron scarf, but frogged it when I just couldn’t stand the project anymore.  I think this is a better use of the yarn – very pretty socks! 

I have been using a small project bag for my commute knitting.  I love the bag – its so tiny and fits well into my briefcase.  The only problem is that its so tiny.  If I have a large ball of yarn, or am almost finished a sock, there isn’t a lot of room.  And I have to really angle and fight to get the needles in – which always results in stitches off the needles.  So I decided to look for something a little bigger.  I found it on Wednesday, and ordered it – and it was here by Friday – amazing! 

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This is from Piddleloop – isn’t it nice?  Its a little larger than I expected, but I think it will still be fine for my briefcase.   Its 9″ long, 7″wide and is very roomy.  I used it yesterday, and had plenty of spare room after I put my sock in.  I think this could hold a large ball of yarn, a sock, or a scarf or cowl.  Its really nice, and I’m glad I decided to get a new one.  I have my eye on a couple of their other bags – very nice shop!

Life with Penny is starting to get a little less crazy – we are starting to train her and define some boundaries.  We really need to figure out a way to have her stop hassling the cats, but she’s learning that biting us is “no” and that going to the bathroom outside is “very good!”.  She is so much fun, and such a cutie.  And her ears are standing up now!

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Don’t let that sweet face fool you!  What happened right after this was Larry put her down and she raced around like a maniac for 5 minutes, harrasing Ruby and the cats.  She’s learned to not harass Duncan – he is the alpha dog, and he has no problem telling her that.  He’s also the grumpy old dog that is still recovering from knee surgery so we don’t let her harass him often.

We went to Westfield (NJ) yesterday – I wanted to go to one of my favorite places yesterday – Trader Joe’s.  Have you ever been to one?  Such a great store – and we bought an amazing bottle of wine for $6!  After we filled our bags with some really good food and wine, we went over to Crumbs and got some cupcakes (so bad for me, but soooo good!).    I even popped into Knit-a-bit to see what it was like (I was there less than 5 minutes – its small, but they were really friendly).  I love Westfield.  Larry and I are starting to think about what we want to do once all the kids move out – this is a big house for two of us with a lot of upkeep.   We have been talking about moving closer to NY so my commute isn’t as long – and I think we are going to put Westfield on the list of places we are going to look a little closer at.  Its such a cute town, with a great downtown, beautiful houses, and it would cut my commute from 2.5 hours to 45 minutes.  We have a little while to wait on this – but always good to start thinking about things!

Its going to be a nice day here – warm and sunny.  We are planning on taking the dogs for a nice long walk so we can get some Penny energy out.  Then its just relaxing and knitting.    I’m halfway through a Christmas present, but it will be hard to put down the socks and work on that.  I love projects that I can’t put down, don’t you?

Have a great Sunday!


Fall projects…

September 7, 2009

I’ve been working on Nefertiti for the last week – on the train, at night, during any free time.  I’ve made some progress, and I was reminded how nice this project is.  The yarn (Enchanted Knoll Farm Silk/Merino Lace) is so nice to work with – there is something about a wool/silk blend.    The pattern is interesting, but not so hard that I can’t do it on the train.  I’m really happy that I’m back working on it, and I hope to get it done by the end of the month. 

Its a good plan…except that my knitting time on Nefertiti will be limited to commute/knitting group/car riding knitting, and not night time knitting.    As I mentioned  a couple of posts ago, I was unable to resist a fair isle vest kit from KnitPicks.  I got the package this week – the yarn is really pretty, and I love the colors.  I was all set to start when I realized I didn’t have the right needles.  I have a Knit Picks Options set, so it just never occured to me that I didn’t have needles so I didn’t make sure, and order them with the kit – so stupid.  So I had to wait a couple of days until I had the day off work – on Friday I ran to my local yarn store and bought the right needles, and cast on immediately. 

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I really love the yarn – but this project is going to take forever – size 2 needles, fingering weight yarn.  But I’m enjoying it, and love the feel of the yarn.  When I first read the pattern I have to admit to being a little intimidated – there are increases, decreases, wraps/turns and steeks.  But I’m just taking it a section at a time, and am happy that I’m finally doing a stranded project.

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The needles I bought for this project are Addi Turbos Lace  – and wow!  I usually use Knit Picks Harmony, even for lace, because I like the grab of the wood.  I also have the metal KP Options, and use those for non-lace projects.  But I love these needles!  The tips are very pointy and its great even for a project like this – I would imagine lace is even better.  I love the feel of them, and they are so quiet!  I’m really enjoying them, and I just may have to get some in bigger sizes for lace projects (I think I do have a size 5 already that I’ve never used).  It is so amazing how different needles are, and how they can change a project.

So there you go – my two fall projects.  I’m going to be really focused and resist the urge to start anything else because I want to get both done this fall.  The only thing that really may be hard to resist is a puppy sweater…

I’d like to introduce our new puppy!

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She’s about two weeks old, and we will be getting her on October 18.  She’s a Westie, and we are very excited.  We are kicking around names (the current favorite is Penny) and talking about how to make sure the other dogs and cats still feel loved.  And we are looking around and talking about how to puppy-proof the house – its been 11 years since we’ve had a puppy, and we remember how they are (in fact my dining room table still has teeth marks on it!).    

In order to get Penny, I had to reallocate my yarn budget for Garden State Breeders and Stitches.  It was an easy decision – I have a lot of yarn already, but I’ll miss going to Stitches with my knitting group.    But at the same time, I’m ok with it too – my stash is a bit out of control, and I think its time I start to use the beautiful yarn I have and stop buying yarn all the time.  I know, I know – you have heard this before.  I’m not saying I’m never going to buy any – just that I’m going to try to look to the stash first.   I do have some really nice yarn that should be used rather than staying in a bin forever.  (But I have to admit I couldn’t resist a Labor Day sale at Wandering Cat Yarns!)

Today is Labor Day in the US, so we are off work and school.   I had a busy weekend – saw my sister, golfed with Chris and her husband, and shopped with Cieara and Larry.  Today is about staying home, puttering around, making cookies to send to Andrew, and knitting.   I have some movies on DVR, and I’m planning on just sitting down with a cup of tea, and getting past the ribbing on the vest so I can get to the good part!    Dinner is already marinating, and I just have to make some salad and corn, and we will say goodbye to summer.  Hard to believe that its over, but I’m really looking foward to fall!

Have a great week!


Blueberry

July 8, 2009

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As soon as I cast off Ishbel, I cast on for another project.   I had mentioned that I was looking at the Ulmus shawl – I was sort of meh on it when I first saw it, but after I saw a few completed ones on Ravelry, it started to grow on me.  It takes two different fingering weight yarns – I looked through the stash, but if I had two yarns that went together well, they just didnt have the yardage.  Isn’t it funny how no matter how big your stash is, you never seem to have the right yarn for a project?  Anyway, I looked around for yarn online – I was leaning towards Malabrigo Sock, but couldn’t decide on colors.  I went over to Etsy to check out some of my favorite places…and I saw the perfect yarn at Fearless Fibers.   Deb was so nice to work with – I really liked the colorway Midnight Passion and wanted to know if another color would go with it.  Deb was great – she sent back suggestions of yarns she thought would go better than the one I had suggested.    I picked Sloth and   I ordered the yarn on a Saturday and it was here Monday when I got home from work – amazing!  Gorgeous yarns, very good experience.  Can’t wait to order from her again!

So I cast on for Ulmus, and after one false start (it really pays to actually read the key to see what the stitches are), I am clipping along

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I think this is very blueberry looking – as I’m knitting it, I keep on thinking about blueberry pie, blueberry turnovers, tarts, buckle….I think I’m hungry!  I really am enjoying this – the yarn is gorgeous and the pattern is easy and its making such a great material.  I’m going to use the light blue on the edging lace, and I think this will be a beautiful shawl.  So glad I found the perfect yarn for this!

If you will remember, I bought a little bag from Stellar Babble Creations for my knitting tools.  I really love the bag, and wanted to buy some of her DPN organizers – so last week I bought the organizer for Sock DPN’s…my DPNs are all over the house, and I think that there is a good chance that I’m knitting with two different sizes.  So I think that this organizer will help!  Each sleeve is for a different sized DPN – I think they fit up to a 6″ – but they seem very roomy.

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Once I have them all filled, they pop into the bag, and I will no longer have to hunt all over for DPNs when I start a project!

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Cute, eh?  I think next month I’ll get the Hat/Mitten DPN organizer…

One of the blogs I read is Wandering Cat Studio  – she is very creative and makes gorgeous things.  Very recently, Valerie and her Mom opened an Etsy shop – Wandering Cat Yarns.   Very nice yarns – I have to admit that I couldn’t resist and ordered laceweight (I’ll show you when I get it – its gorgeous!  I’m thinking a nice lacy cowl for the winter).  Valerie is having a contest at her blog – so head on over, make a comment and maybe you will win some very pretty yarn! 

We finally sat down, figured out all of the college tuition and housing payment plan for next year (it is really a drag to have two kids in college!), and it looks like we will be able to squeeze out a vacation!  We are going to go to Cape Cod the first week of August – well, hopefully.  Everyone has confirmed with their work except Larry  – he’s working on it because the person that covers for him will be out that week.  But hopefully he will figure that out today.  We have a couple of houses that look like good possibilities – so I’m hoping to get it all resolved by the end of the week – then I can just look forward to it.  We haven’t been to Cape Cod in about 10 years  – it will be great to go back.  And having a week away is going to be heaven! 

OK, its time to get to work.  I hope you are having a great week!


Chores

May 28, 2009

So remember the very cute rainbow socks from last time?  How cute they were?  I was just about ready to turn the heel the other night…but it was late so I went to bed instead.  As I was washing my face, I saw lines all over my hands…weird….black lines.  Wrapped around my fingers.   In just the same place that I hold my yarn.  Yep – the black dye was coming off.    I found the dyer on Ravelry and sent her a message – and she responded very quickly with some ideas – basically really dark colors can do this, and I need to set the dye.  No biggie – I just had to frog the socks (sigh), skein it, and then cook it in the microwave.  This is how far I’ve gotten…

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Almost there right?  The yarn has been sitting on my table for a couple of days – I really need to skein it up and get it going.  But I’ve been distracted with this….

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I had to have commute knitting!  So I started another pair of socks – and for this, I pulled yarn directly out of the stash (not out of my sock of the month bags).  This is ShibuiKnits sock yarn – very pretty, eh?  This is another Wendy Knits toe up pattern (Diagonal Lace) from the book – very easy, but I think pretty for this yarn.   

And now that I’m distracted by the new socks, I really have to push myself to take care of the black rainbow yarn….although I want to because it was knitting up so nicely.   I do suspect that the longer I let this go, the more likely that this yarn will find its way back to the stash where it will wait for a long time for me to pick it up again!    Isn’t it hard to do the non-fun things in knitting – washing yarn, knitting gauge swatches, cleaning out your stash…

I ran across the cutest store on Etsy last week – Stellar Babble Creations – I haven’t wanted to mention it because I didn’t want anyone to buy the bag I wanted before I could get to it (I know – so nice of me!).  But now that I have it, I thought I’d share…

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Isn’t that cute?  Its a notions bag, and I love it.  The little bag is for needles, stitch markers, whatever.    I had an old Knit Picks notions bag that I keep in my purse – boring, too big, floppy, and I’ve been looking for something new for a while.

This is perfect – it fits all my things nicely and I know I’ll be able to find things a lot easier now…

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The bag is really well made, and the shipping was fast – all in all, very pleased with it.  Now I’m eyeing up the DPN organizers – what a good idea!

I got very good news yesterday at work – I can work from home one day a week now.  I was very happy, very excited.  I’ve missed being able to do this, and it will make things just a little bit easier.   I’m working from home today (no point in not taking advantage of it!) and it was really nice to sleep past 4:30.   

OK, I need to actually go work, so that’s it for now.  Have a great rest of the week, and happy almost Friday!


Little bag

May 1, 2009

I have two briefcases – one is my summer briefcase that Andrew gave me two years ago for Christmas – its my summer one because it doesn’t close, so I use it when we don’t have a lot of bad weather.  I love it because its nice and big and I can fit everything – including my lunch and laptop – and only need to bring a small purse for my wallet and and knitting.   In the winter, though, I use a different briefcase – it zips closed, and keeps my stuff dry in all the snow, sleet and rain that I get in the walk to the train station and to work from the train.  This one holds my laptop, my wallet and my knitting (but not my lunch).   

I am still using my winter briefcase since we’ve been having a lot of rain, and usually just toss my knitting into it.  Last week, after I once again pulled out the wrong needle when I was pulling out the sock project, I decided that I really needed to buy a little project bag.   I had just started reading Linda’s blog, and really liked the cute bags she makes.  I wandered over to her Etsy store, and found the perfect bag to go with my winter briefcase.

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This is such a cute bag – just the perfect size for a sock project.  Its holding my 6″ DPN’s and a half ball of Socks that Rock.  I was concerned when I first got it – it seemed a little small – but everything fits in perfectly, and the bag is very roomy. 

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I love having this in my briefcase – I don’t have to worry that I’m going to break one of the needles, or pull out something – or that my yarn will get dirty.  It is so nice to have this little bag keeping it all safe and clean.  And its so freaking cute!

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I don’t know how to sew, and never really had an interest in it.    So I like finding people that will do it for me – and Linda has such cute patterns – I think I may need to get another one for my summer project transport!

I took today off – it was a spur of the moment thing yesterday on the train – I texted Larry and suggested it, and we both moved meetings around and are planning on just doing some fun, relaxing things together.  I’m going to the gym in a little bit (trying hard to keep on track!), and then I think I’m going to check out the new yarn store (just looking!) in Bethlehem.  And the new golf store.  And lunch.  And maybe a nap – because its a rainy day here and what is better than a nap on a rainy day?

No Maryland Sheep and Wool for me this year – we are focused on paying off debt and saving money right now, so I am rationally ok with the decision.  But emotionally I’m sort of whiny (Larry would agree!).  This is the second year I haven’t gone, and I do love going.  But I really don’t need the yarn, and I know that I won’t be able to go and just spend a little – something about being there makes me go completely overboard.    Last night I looked through my stash on Ravelry – and really – I do have nice yarn and need to use some of it up.  I’m thinking of making the Maikell shawl next and just need to find the right lace yarn in the stash.    So I’m focusing on stash this weekend, and trying not to think of all the fun at Maryland.

OK, time to go to the gym.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  And if you go to Maryland – have a great time!


A little bit of everything

February 26, 2009

I’ve got a little bit of everything tonight….

First up…..I’m always looking for new stitch markers.  I have a little box next to my knitting chair full of them, and yet I always am searching Etsy for something new.  I found these a couple of weeks ago…

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These are two from Suann Stitches – really pretty, great for lace and an amazing price.  I bought two sets and I’m really happy with them.    I also bought other markers a month or so ago, but never took a picture, so I’ll show you those another time (they are very different – I really need to get pictures).

It has been a busy week, but definitely a better knitting week.  On the Vine is doing well – fortunately (knittingwise), there hasn’t been heat in my train car so its been so cold – too cold to nap, so I got a couple of repeats done.  But I was in the mood for something a little different at night…

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Forest Canopy Cowl and my handspun (or Ravelry stash info if you prefer).    I know, sort of loud, sort of “what is she thinking”.  But the colors are very spring-like, and I love the pattern.  And just perfect for relaxing, TV watching, knitting.  And it really does look better in person.  I think I’ll have this done this weekend, and then I’ll go back to a bigger project.  But I really think that 2009 might be the year of small projects – I really am enjoying them – maybe its just how fast they finish – or maybe it that I don’t frog the small ones.

I am really looking forward to tomorrow – its the end of the week, and I’m working from home.  I have to go for an ultrasound and to get my blood drawn – no biggie, just a checkup on an issue from last year.  And the blood is just standard stuff for a physical.  Larry also went for his, and now we are competing on who has better results – I won on blood pressure, but cholesterol is still up in the air…I know this is bad, but I’m hoping mine is better.  He goes to the gym every day, and I’m really lazy and never go – so it would be funny if mine was better.  And I’d definitely gloat.  We are a little competitive sometimes….

I’ll leave you with a picture from last weekend….this is Nala and Maggie.   I think they get along, eh?

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Happy Friday!