Friday, October 26, 2007

Sock it to me Twice Swap

I've joined another swap. This one is the Sock it To Me Twice swap. I think it will be a lot of fun. Participation is limited, so I think there will be more interaction amongst the participants. The only thing that scares me is the act of knitting socks for another knitter. I have yet to do a pair that I am completely happy with. So doing a pair to give to a knitter is enough to make me start shaking! But it gives me an excuse to buy more yarn from Woolgirl! of course, my husband would say that I never seem to need an excuse! :-)

Monday, October 22, 2007

oh to be home....

We have our first cold front coming through Houston today. When I woke up this morning, it was 73 degrees out. That is cool compared to the 80's it has been. But the sky is super dark and a real front is moving through. It is now 56 dgrees out. And tonight's low is supposed to be in the 40's.

Now how can any self-respecting knitter sit at work on a day like this and not pine for being home under a blanket knitting!? It's simply not fair. If it weren't bad enough, I am about 1/3 of the way done with sleeve number 2 of my sweater! I know that a good block of time would get me finished with it. After that, all that's left is doing the front placket and then sewing on buttons. I really think I could get it done in a day. You know, a day like today. Where the weather is cool, I could snuggle up with the baby kitty and knit. If I were home. Oh, the humanity.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Another SP 11 Package!

My SP11 pal has spoiled me rotten once again. I came home to another amazing package today. It's contents? All things right up my alley. Two gorgeous skeins of Katsara Merino yarn, in the maple colorway. It is really beautiful stuff-- pinks, rose, a slight brownish tint, even a hint of purple. Also included are the happiest and cutest stitch markers ever, in my favorite- bright green, orange and yellow colors. They were inside an awesome Chinese porcelain and silver box. And OMG look at the shawl pin-- it's a carved dragonfly. It will be perfect on my clapotis when I get it finished! I can't wait! My pal also included One Skein Wonders, a book I have long wanted. Oh, and a sachet of incredible smelling lavender. I have to go now, because I have to go look at my book and pet my yarn. THANK YOU SECRET PAL!!! You are truly, truly amazing. You have once again gone waaaaaay above and beyond.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

New Knitting Hazard

I have found a new fan of yarn. He isn't quite as much of a yarn snob as me. In fact, I think he likes just about any kind he can get his claws on. His name is Rainy, and he is our new kitten. After the evening that we had last night, I really believe that Rainy was meant to be part of our family. Here he is:

The saga goes something like this. I left the office early yesterday for an appointment with the eye doctor. My normally punctual eye doc picked yesterday to be running exceedingly late. I didn't leave the office until 2.5 hours after my appointment time, which coincided with the worst of Houston's traffic. I was already in no mood for traffic. My hubby called me and said that our usual route home was FUBAR and that the regularly 30 minute drive had taken him almost 2 hours. See, all HELL was breaking loose in North Houston, with wind, rain, horrible storms, flooding... I heeded his warning and took the toll road (which is normally free flowing and not affected by rush hour) home. Well, suffice it to say that it took me 2 hours and 15 minutes, going 5 mph to get home. I was ready to kill someone. I truly think that if the toll road is so bad that you can't go more than 5 mph, the tolls should be waived. I paid 3 dollars for the privilege of sitting there in gridlock. UGH.

Okay, so flash forward to me getting home. To a dark house. The power on our block and the surrounding 3 blocks was out. We couldn't cook dinner. We couldn't do homework. The kids were cranky, we were cranky... not a pretty picture. The power finally came back on at 12:38am. We got up early to get the homework done, and as a result, we were all cranky again this morning.

I got about a block away from the office on my commute and saw Purl in her office parking lot. I beeped my horn to say hello. Well, Purl and her paralegal beckoned me to pull in. So I did. That was my first mistake. Then Purl showed me what the paralegal had found last night in the pouring down rain. Yup-- a teeny tiny kitten. He is about 5 inches long and fits in your hand. The second mistake came when I held said kitty. I knew he had to be mine.

Did I mention that hubby is anti-pets? Don't get me wrong. We have a cat (she's 14) and a dog(a 2 year old bat-shit-crazy shih tzu). But hubby has long said that there could only be two animals in our house, and that even that was too many. Enter the long, heated negotiations. I had given up. I emailed Purl and said "nope, can't do it". Then hubby said "ok"!

I think that all that rain brought about something good after all! He's just as adorable as could be. He is currently exploring/spelunking in my office, meowing as loud as can be. He loves laying on the carpet in the sun. I absolutely CANNOT WAIT to take him home and show him to hubby and the kids. The kids will completely freak out. And I think even hubby will be won over by Rainy the wonder cat!

Monday, October 15, 2007

There and back again

That was my weekend. Hubby and son went to a Cub Scout campout. I had girl time with our daughter. We went to the park, painted our nails and ate cupcakes. While she played dress up, I knit. I finished the body on my sweater. Did the bottom edge ribbing. Picked up stitches and did the collar. Then I picked up stitches and started knitting the first sleeve. Until I realized (several rows in) that somehow everything was being purled on the right side of the sleeve. I have no earthly idea what I was doing. Frankly, I was so tired by that time that I didn't even stop to think about it. I just put it to the side to try to fix later. I have come to terms with it (almost) and I think I'll be spending a while tinking back on it. I'm deathly afraid of ripping out because if I screw up and lose a stitch, I don't want to lose the whole sweater that I've worked on endlessly for a month. Ugh.

Otherwise, I cast on with my Miss Babs yarn from the Woolgirl Sock Club. It's a sport weight yarn and a short sock, so it goes super quickly. I LOVE the pattern. It's called Waterfall. It is really beautiful with the yarn. The funny thing is that I wasn't so crazy about the purple in the yarn when it came. I am not a big fan of purple. But it is really lovely knit up. The pattern is written for the dreaded dpns, and it's the first time I've tried to convert that to 2 circs. I did fine through turning the heel, then managed to screw it all up and had to rip back. Luckily they go so quickly and I like it so much that I don't mind starting it again. It's been a first for me in a lot of ways-- first time to try to do that conversion, first time to use sport weight yarn (I LOVE how spoingy it is!), first time to do a patterned sock, and first time to do a sock club sock. It's fun!

We have a big trip coming up in 2 weeks, and I think I am going to try to find some more sport weight yarn to take on the long flights. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bad knitter

I have been unfaithful. I'm a bad knitter. I am home sick today, and I got bored with my beloved first sweater. All that stockinette stitch for days on end has gotten to me. I needed a pick me up. So I cheated on my sweater, and I cheated on Purl. I cast on my Chevron scarf. Purl and I bought our yarn together and were planning to start them together. Like I said, I'm a bad knitter. Purl has kindly agreed to forgive me. Besides, it seems like it might take an eternity to get to 78" on the darned thing. So there should be plenty of time to knit on it with Purl.

The good news is that I LOVE THE COLORS together!!!!! I chose Claudia Handpainted in Walk in the Woods and Claudia Natures Palette in Dark Teal. They are complimentary, rather than contrasting, and I am really happy with it. I can imagine doing a second one, and if/when I do, I'll try a contrasting one.

Here are the meager beginnings:

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

FIA Package!!!

I got my package today from my Fall Into Autumn Dishcloth Pal, Grace! Holy moly. Grace, you really spoiled me! I kept pulling things out, and I thought the package was bottomless! I got 5 skeins of wonderful yarn in gorgeous fall colors. Two Knit Picks cotton yarns, one in yellow, one orange. Another skein is the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino that I have wanted to try. I sent some to one of my own downstream pals, and it was hard to part with! Lots of fun Halloween items were included, and I've already strategically placed them around the house. Also some great smelling lilac soap and fall-themed notepads. And three awesome dishcloths. One pictures a bat and is done in my favorite color, ORANGE. Another is a beautiful lacy pattern in a taupe color. And the final one is a beautiful blue and white one. I'm afraid to use them because they are so nice!

Oh, and did I mention the treats? Grace, you obviously paid close attention. I received two packages of Twizzlers and two packages of Double Stuffed Oreos! One is even filled with orange for Halloween! Notice that those aren't in the pictures, as they are already in my fridge...

Thank you so much, Grace! I love it all and it was a really thoughtful package. I hope your pal treats you as well!

Knitters Coffee Swap Questionnaire

I have joined the knitters' coffee swap. I had so much fun with the tea swap and my wonderful pals Sarah and Lynne! It was one of the best swaps I've participated in. I am hoping the coffee swap will be as much fun. While I like tea, and enjoy it for an occasional treat, I am a coffee nut. Here are the questions:

1. Whole bean or ground?


2. Fully-loaded or decaf?

Fully loaded all the way, all the time! What's the point if it's decaf?!

3. Regular or flavored?

Regular, please. I am a purist and I can't stand flavored coffee.

4. How do you drink your coffee?

A little Splenda and a drop of half and half

5. Favorite coffee ever?

This is really tough. It would have to be a cup that I had in a little cafe in Seattle, but I couldn't tell you what it was! Lately we've been drinking Seattle's Best Organic Italian Roast. I have to say, there is nothing on earth like a great cappucino.

6. Are you fussy about your coffee or will any old bean do?

Hmm. I'm a little fussy, in that I don't like the store brands (Folgers, Maxwell House, etc.). But in terms of varietal of the beans, I like to try them and explore. I tend to like strong, dark roast, robust coffees. We drink a lot of French Roast, Italian Roast, Guatemala Antigua...

7. Favorite treats to have with your coffee?

I love scones and chocolate croissants. We have a new local coffee shop around the corner from my office. They make and amazing Cuban coffee and have great chocolate croissants. It's my favorite morning treat! There used to be a place near my old office that had red currant scones, and those were to die for! Yum.

8. Anything else about your coffee preferences?


9. Yarn/fiber you love?

With the change of season, I have been finding a lot of wonderful wools lately. The Malabrigo Worsted, Araucania Nature Wool, Queensland Kathmandu DK. are all favorites. In general, I like natural fibers. And positively anything from Woolgirl. I have to limit myself in terms of my number of visits to her website. I drool and my credit card starts shaking when I visit her site! Amazing, glorious things to be had!

10. Yarn/fiber you hate?

Acrylics and anything fuzzy (i.e., angora)

11. What's on your needles?

I am about 1/2 through my first sweater. I also have a Clapotis in progress and another one that I am chomping at the bit to do. A blanket for my son. And the block of the month afghan that I'm doing with my LYS. And of course, SOCKS.

12. Favorite colors?

Blue, Orange, Lime Green, Brown

13. Allergies?


14. Anything you really love, really don't like, or just need to get off your chest?

Nah. My only serious dislikes in relation to this swap are flavored coffee and synthetic yarns! Other than that, I am easy to please. :-)

Monday, October 08, 2007

FIA Question 4

The question of the week for the Fall into Autumn Swap is:

Either flash your needles and other items you use to make your wares or, if you don't have a camera, describe your goods for us in detail. Dpns, circs, straights, hooks, tape measures, darning needles, favorite stitch markers, needle holders, cases, the works!

Well, I have a camera, but it takes really crummy pictures. That is the main reason for the dearth of photos on my blog. Aside from that, I am at work (shh... don't tell that I'm blogging instead of working!) and not near the stashed wares. I will do my best to describe them.

First off, I have a wonderful
Namaste needle binder that my hubby and kids got me for Mothers Day. Mine is chocolate brown with blue interior. I love it. It really keeps me organzied. I also have an amazing needle box that my SP 10 pal MADE for me. I keep all of my straights in it.

As far as needles go, I think I have just about everything under the sun. I have Addi circs in size 3's for socks, size 6's and 7's. I have some wooden circs in size 5 and 8. I also have metal circs of some sort in size 5 and 10. I love my Lantern Moon wooden straights. I have a size 11 pair that came with the block of the month afghan that I am doing with my LYS. I also have a pair of 10's. Then in regular metal straights, I have every size from 2's to 9's. My grandmother-in-law sent me a wonderful surprise package early this summer and included many of her own straights. She doesn't knit any more, but was thrilled that I do. I cherish those needles!

I have a couple of sets of dpns, but I swear, there has never been anything more confounding to me in my life. I think I would be more successful trying to knit with an octopus. Since they are the bane of my existence, I put them in time out and pretend that I don't see them. So I can't tell you exactly what I have there. :-)

My tape measure is the freebie that my LYS,
Twisted Yarns gives out to first-time customers. It is a white, simple, round deal. It is my safety blanket in the knitting world. Why, I dunno. But if I have it sitting by me, I feel right. I also have to have my small crochet needle next to me for the inevitable, dreaded dropped stitch.

My darning needle is incredibly fancy-- it's a blue plastic one! But it gets the job done.

My other "treat" is my
Lantern Moon bag for carrying my work in.

I think that's enough for now.

Friday, October 05, 2007


I have had occassion to give a lot of thought to why I knit in the past two days. Yesterday, when Purl and I visited our work area's LYS, I was lamenting the fact that there are so many things I want to knit, and that while I make progress on things, I don't feel like I finish as much as I could because I have so many things going at once. (boy, how was that for a run-on sentence?!) I like having a lot of things OTN though. Sometimes I'm in the mood for a mindless knit, and picking up the enormous afghan for my son is great. Sometimes I want something more challenging. And sometimes, I only have 10 minutes, but feel the urge to knit, so I can get a row or two done on a sock. I know you know what I am talking about, even if you don't want to admit that you have this same project-itis disease!

Anyway, the owner of the LYS made a really good point in response to my lamenting. She said that knitting is supposed to be a hobby. Something you enjoy doing, and the thing that takes you away from the stress of life. The only pressure you feel in knitting is what you put on yourself. So do what makes you happy. I really liked that advice. Again, perhaps I am just trying to justify my own craziness! I really respect those knitters of you who can start one item and see it through to the end before even considering casting on for something else. I just don't have the patience gene, I guess. So having a large project, a small dishcloth project, socks and something more intricate makes me happy.

The other thing that got me thinking about the "zen" of knitting was an email from a dear friend. We have falled somewhat out of touch, and I told her that I had begun knitting. She asked how I find time between work, kids, etc. I told her that it's the one thing that I do that makes me feel as if I DO have time. Somehow, if I sit down for even 15 minutes with needles and yarn, I feel like I had some "me" time. And the process of knitting in and of itself is generally the most relaxed I ever feel. Something about the rhythm of the needles, the feel of the yarn (because I am a yarn snob, after all), the texture and the color of the yarn... it is incredibly appealing to my senses. It really makes me happy.

I know that every other knitter in the universe has probably had these same thoughts. But my email with my friend made me realize just how much knitting does for me. I love to have that finished object, but I dearly love the experience of making the object, too. Okay, except when I drop a stitch and can't fix it, throw the kntting across the room and scream and curse. :-) But even then, the knitting just sends me to a bottle of wine. So it's still not all bad!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Lunctime foray into yarn heaven

I was going to be good today. No, really. I was. I had my Lean Cuisine in the freezer and was all set to eat it. And then Purl asked me if I wanted to go to our LYS during lunch. While not my favorite yarn store, we have a a really good one mere blocks from our office. I should have heard the warning bells going off in my head. I have been project happy of late. I think that my success with socks has given me a new found confidence, and I'm excited to do "things" and not just blankets and squares. I've got the Clapotis going, a sweater, and I'm about to cast on for the Chevron scarf. I also found an amazing beaded scarf that I can't stop thinking about. But nooooo. I did not heed the warning sirens. I went. I found another sweater that I want to make. And I was reminded of the scrumptious Honeypot Yarns Cashmere that I am lusting for. They even have a sample scarf made up at they LYS with the Honeypot and it is spectacular. Oh my. I am trying to reason with myself. Really, project-itis or no, how many things can I have OTN at once? I should really, really, REALLY focus on finishing something before I begin one of these other projects. Right?

However, since rationalization is the key to sanity, I had to buy two skeins of Koigu Kersti. See, that only set me back $26. That's a far cry from the $100+ that the drool-worthy projects would have cost me today. Besides, the Koigu should be called "Cindy", because I could swear that the colorway was made especially for me. It's shades of blue, orange and brown. Gorgeous stuff. I think I'm going to do the Knitty RPM Socks with it, as suggested by good old Purl. For a few minutes, I flirted with the idea of doing another clapotis or a sweater with it. But then I remembered my project-itis and decided to do socks. Much simpler and less time consuming! Oh my. So many things to knit, so little time. And so many yarns to yearn for. What's a girl to do?

Monday, October 01, 2007

FIA swap Question Week 3

The question of the week for the FIA swap asks how you change your menu with the change of season. Are there any recipes you especially enjoy having in the Fall? Any foods that are seasonal that you especially enjoy?

Our menu changes drastically as we get further into Fall (again, in Houston, more like mid-late November). We grill a lot during the very warm months (March to October)-- a lot of fish, burgers, steaks, etc. While year-round grilling is do-able in Houston, we crave heartier things when it gets cooler. Veggie soup, stufffed cabbages, baked rigatoni with peppers and sausages, spaghetti and meatballs, and pot roast are all big hits in our house.

On the knitting front, I made a ton of progress on my first sweater over the weekend. I got through the increases entirely and moved the sleeve stitches off onto scrap yarn. Now it's just a matter of knitting in stockinette for an eternity. It's nice, mindless knitting, but it also keeps me motivated because I love watching the gradation in colors of the yarn. It is such pretty stuff. And seeing the sweater grow is exciting, too. I love this pattern. It's so simple, yet so well done.