Nov 30, 2006

ECF - Warm Hands Edition

Happy Eye Candy Friday! I was feeling a little down yesterday but today I feel ready to battle on.

Here’s a little Eye Candy duo with a warm hands theme. First up is a pair of beaded Mittens that I saw at the NMAI last Saturday. They are amazing. I love the design! One can only imagine how warm they must be.

NMAI - DC Beaded Mitts

I originally planned the picture above for ECF but it's even more perfect than expected because I finished another pair of Elegant Eskimo Mittens for Dulaan last night! These are very pink. I used Elann Highland Wool again but this time I know exactly how much I used – 2 full balls plus a tiny bit of the third just to finish the last thumb. The fur is a little different too. It’s Sirdar Funky Fur Magic.
Pink Mitts

The Drama Queen loves these so much that she asked for her own pair. Now she says that “of course” she’d wear mittens as long as I make her fingerless gloves too. That’s my girl!

November Fog

I can not believe that it is the end of November. That’s just one of the many things that seem to have snuck up on me. This weekend is the Drama Queen’s birthday and I’m really not ready – the house is a wreck and I have only a vague idea of how it all will work. I’m also not ready to bake the bajillion cupcakes I need to send to school with her tomorrow. Speaking of baking – I have no “plan” for her birthday cake other than the fact that it will be chocolate. I always try to create something marvelous, or at least really cool, for my girls’ birthdays. This year my mind is a blank. Maybe I’m spent. Maybe the baking mojo is gone or on hiatus.

I’m afraid that the knitting may have something to do with it. In past years I was able to multi-task to a much higher degree. These days I just want to knit. It’s not even any one project that I’m dedicated to. Yesterday I worked on the mittens on my commute in and during lunch but I switched to a sock for the ride home. After dinner I worked the mittens until they were nearly done before starting one of the gift scarves I’m making. All the while, I was pondering the colors of beads I’ll use to make the votive sleeves that will coordinate with the red candles in the picture yesterday. See? It’s all good as long as I’m in knitland.

I took a little time out to speak to a few friends about upcoming plans and my brain froze. I’m pretty sure I was completely incoherent. What must they think of me? Better yet, why do they put up with me? Perhaps I’ll be able to get my shit together better after…

Cupcakes and cakes are made;
Holiday shopping is finished…
And wrapped…
And mailed;
Holiday knitting is finished;
Birthday gifts are purchased…
And mailed;
We are packed up for our trip;
Once all the stuff I can’t speak about is behind us.

Nov 29, 2006


Thank you for all of the nice things that you said about the mittens. I also appreciate the advice about where to send them. Dulaan it is! I’ll send them, along with the hat and the pair of mittens I started last night, to Dulaan. I’ve wanted to participate in that effort for quite a while. There is something really appealing about being part of the effort to send massive amounts of warm hand knit stuff to Mongolia.

Yesterday was a huge relief for me because Bloglines apparently fixed my feed after 3 requests to do so and suddenly I had comments again. I switched to the new version of Blogger on the 16th and Bloglines lost the feed. It’s funny because my little corner of the Blogisphere isn’t particularly loud and rowdy but the silence was still really noticeable. I missed you all!

I’m so happy that you enjoyed the saga of the book. Hubbo wants it noted that his first trip to O.N. was not only to retrieve the book – he was doing a return and an exchange too. I’m amazed at how many of you commented on that. Clearly you are not skimmers.

The other thing that a few people commented on was the votives. I have to say that the first pair was a little rough on my hands but, once you get he hang of it they go really quickly and my hands didn’t suffer too horribly. My fingernails were another story. Not good at all. I do think that they were worth it though. I used Grumperina’s suggestions and got the votives and the round white candles from Crate and Barrel which look lovely but I also added these:

Actually, the candles that were wrapped up with the first set of votives aren’t in this picture. They were in shades of blue. Trust me, they were fab and I think that this is one handmade gift that will be sincerely welcomed. I hope!

Nov 28, 2006

Fuzzy Mitts

I mentioned yesterday that I did a little Black Friday shopping. I really don't know why I do that to myself. It's so frustrating and it leaves me drained for the rest of the day. At least it was productive because, in addition to gifts for my girls, I got a little something that I have been hunting since June - a new camera! It's a Canon Elph SD-600 and I think I'm in love. It's super small so i can carry it around easily and it's got a million neat settings. Did you notice the nifty shot in yesterday's montage with the red berries against the black and white shot of the NMAI building? No... what about this then?

Red leaf in grass
I promise that I will not play with this setting too often on the blog. I'll try to show a little restraint.

So, on friday morning, in addition to the electronics stores, I hit a certain bookstore where I picked up a book that the Drama Queen really, really wants. (a certain DQ will celebrate her birthday 12/3) I bought the book and headed over the Old Navy for a little clothes shopping. It turned into a lot of clothes shopping. I loaded all of the stuff into the car and, as I was driving down my street I suddenly realized that I left the book in the cart at Old Navy. I got home and just before I passed out on the couch I told hubbo to please call them, see if it was still there, and go retrieve the book. He did and a few hours later called from the store to tell me that he had successfully retrieved the book. Sighs of relief all around!

But wait, the story continues because when I went looking for the book to wrap it it was nowhere to be found. We checked all the bags, the car... everywhere! Hubbo was too embarrassed to call Old Navy again so my brother did the honors. The called on Sunday to say that, yes, the book was still there. Hubbo went back again, under strict orders not to return without the book, and picked it up. It may be a while before we can show our faces there again.

Maybe it's the influence of all the shopping I did but I’m really feeling the Knit Unto Others vibe. This past weekend was really productive. I cast on for these mittens on Saturday afternoon and felted them Sunday night. I adore them!

Mittens in the Wild

The pattern is the Elegant Eskimo Mittens that I found on Knitting Pattern Central. That is just one of my favorite resources. I can almost always find something cool to work on there - and it's all free! The yarn is random stuff from my stash. The fur is Moda Dea Jai Alai and the turquoise is Patons Classic Wool Merino – beyond that I can’t say. I'm not really into novelty yarns but, in this application, I really love the fur. It feels so nice when you slip your hands in these gloves.

The pattern is quick and easy and I will definitely be making more. Then I’ll have to decide which “others” these will go to. I was going to send them to Dulaan but the stuff that I see for Dulaan always seems so hardy and these are a little more whimsical. What do you think?

Nov 27, 2006


I hadn’t planned to take a vacation from the blog. It just kind of happened. It’s amazing what a four-day vacation will do to you.

My brother and his wife were here to celebrate the holiday and from the moment they arrived my house was caught in a whirlwind of activity. We hosted the Thanksgiving feast so I cooked up a storm that included apple pie, chocolate cake and Kristi’s Holiday Cobbler in addition to the turkey and it’s trimmings. We played games and shopped and loafed around. Of course I was knitting a lot too.

NMAI - DC 1Aside from waking at o'dark thirty on Black Friday to go do my bit for the national economy, I rarely left the house. The most notable exception was a trip into the District on Saturday to see the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, a place that I’ve wanted to visit since it opened in the fall of 2004. It's within view of the Capitol building which was neat because my sister-in-law, who just moved here from South Korea, had never seen it before. The first thing that we all noticed about the museum is that it is a stunning building. The walls of the museum are made of yellow stone that curves along in a warm and inviting way.

NMAI 11-25-06

Inside, the museum is stunning as well. Many of the walls are of the same stone as the exterior accented with warm, natural colors and beaten metal. There are very few straight lines in the museum which lends it an organic feel that is exactly right.

NMAI - DC 6 We just loved this guy but, as I write this I realize that I have no details about him. He’s just one example of the art that is displayed throughout the museum, presented in a way that encourages you to get up close and experience it. While the art was beautiful, it wasn’t the thing that made the strongest impression. The word museum usually makes one think of a window on the past but the NMAI is really a celebration and appreciation of American Indian culture. I noted that many of the objects on display and quotes printed on the walls are quite recent – well within my lifetime. NMAI is as much about the lives of American Indians today as it is about those of the past. It’s about their contributions to and struggles in our changing world.

Predictably, we didn’t have nearly enough time to see the whole museum but the beauty of living where we do is that we can (and will) go back. It’s just a short ride!

IMG_0045[1]Oh! I nearly forgot the knitting. I finished my hat for Knit Unto Others and Stinkerbelle was kind enough to model it for me.

I finished something else for Knit Unto Others too but I’ll save it’s debut for tomorrow.

Nov 22, 2006

Sunset Sox & a Charity Hat

Sunset Sox & 1st Hat for OthersI have no finished objects to share today. Here is what I’m working on now – a hat for charity and a gift sock. The hat is using up some leftover yarn from a scarf I made for my sister about a year ago. Not only is it charitable – its stash busting too. Hooray!

The sock is Elann Esprit and I have to say that I am really enjoying this yarn a lot. I know that cotton is not for everyone but this feels really good. The colors are making me surprisingly happy too. I’m not really a yellow and orange girl but every time I work on this sock I wish it was for me. I’ll just have to order some more.

Looking at these two projects, I’m noticing that they have something else in common – besides the fact that neither is for me. I’m working both of them with the magic loop. I’m not usually a magic loop kind of gal so I’m not sure what’s up with that. Weird.

Nov 21, 2006

Finished Objects in Blue

I may have misrepresented things just a little yesterday when I said that last week was devoted to the Yellow Bag. I did work on a few other things as well. I even finished a pair of votive sleeves.

Votive sleeves - take 2
If this isn’t your first visit to the blog then you may have seen my first attempt at votive sleeves. I ran out of beads that time but it turned out ok because I think that I like these much better anyway. The pattern is the Wire Menorah/Votive Sleeves from Melanie Falick’s Handknit Holidays and I used the 24 gauge wire specified. I have no idea about the size of the beads I used. Sorry! I can tell you that the square-ish beads are Czech glass in colors called Crystal and Blue Iris the round ones are glass too but I have no real details. I’m very happy with the way these came out and I will certainly make more – I need one more set to gift and, of course, one for me!

Mailbox I also completed another project last weekend. Well, I finished the first phase of it anyway. I installed my new mailbox. In this picture you can see the old mailbox, still sitting atop a worn and tilting post in it’s old spot on the other side of the driveway. It was a boring black plastic job with a red flag that had recently gone missing. I had been plotting it’s departure for a long time and made sketches showing a low curved brick wall around charmingly planted garden surrounding the new mailbox. As usual it’s a very ambitious plan.

Mailbox - view 2 There is still no fancy brick wall and no lovely plants but the mailbox is up and I love it. I took a plain white metal mailbox and a few cans of spray paint and went to town. I think it’s funky in a very cool way. This box won’t tip over either – we set it in concrete rather than using the lame-o post on a stake that we had before. This baby is built to last! She's off to a very knitty start too – yesterday she brought me a new set of Option needles.

Nov 20, 2006

Pay it Forward

I’m not sure where to start. This weekend was productive and wonderful but there was one thing that happened that just left me speechless. Lets start there.

Balloon Wind ChimeI wound up going to Sugarloaf with my girls on Sunday. It was a gorgeous day and, more importantly, the Brenda's Yellow Bag was finished in time so we went. There was so much to see. Many times the girls saw stuff that tickled them but Stinkerbelle fell hardest for one thing. There was a very colorful booth where a man had made wind chimes that look like hot air balloons. He makes a wood frame and stretches the fabric over it. Beneath it hangs either a traditional basket or some other figure, with the chimes below. Stink was drawn to the one you see here with the dolphins. She wanted it very much but I resisted and told her I’d think about it.

Later in the day we were passing by the booth and she asked if I had made up my mind. We looked at it for a while and I told her, as I reached for a business card, that I just couldn’t do it that day. It wasn’t unreasonably expensive but we had bought a bunch of stuff already and I felt like I needed to put the brakes on.

This is when the vendor did something that left me speechless. He reached up, unhooked it, and gave it to Stink. I sputtered something like “you don’t have to” but he insisted. I reached for my wallet and he refused. I was shocked. Stink was amazed too. He told her that he wanted to give it to her. Suddenly I was struck with the idea of paying it forward and explained it to Stink. We thanked him and, as we walked away, we discussed how we’ll pay it forward. The timing is perfect because for the next 2 weeks I’ll be knitting unto others.

Brenda's BagI worked on the yellow bag to distraction most of last week and by Saturday night I was close enough to being finished that I just planted myself on the couch and stayed there until it was done. I knit until my fingers started to go numb and then I knit some more. Somewhere after SNL the bag finally went into the washer for the first of 3 felting cycles and at 3 am my head finally hit the pillow. Tired doesn’t even begin to cover it.

I blocked the bag a bit and delivered it, still damp, to Brenda, who makes the funky beaded earrings I wear. (You may remember that I showed you some of them as part of my answer to the funky scarf swap questionnaire. I’ve been buying them from her for years and my daughters and I both wear them.) She liked it! I am so relieved. I love making stuff for people and I’m incredibly flattered when they ask for something but I always worry that it may not be what they hoped for.

Brenda's Bag 2I didn’t use a pattern for the bag so, instead I’ll give you a few stats and observations on it. The bag isn’t deep, only an inch or so, but it’s roughly one foot tall and one foot wide which is just what I was aiming for. I used a bit more than 4 balls of Cascade 220 (in 5 colors) to make it and I doubled it throughout.

I’m happy with the circles which I added randomly throughout the bag. I know that I complained about the intarsia. I really do stay away from it normally but there are some projects that just need it and this was one of them. The thing that made it bearable this time was that I didn’t bother to weave in any of the ends of the yarn and, instead, I tied them off inside the bag and clipped them after it was felted. Weaving them in would have driven me round the bend.

The strap for this bag is only 6 stitches wide so I knit it in garter stitch to add thickness and, hopefully, strength. It’ll hold but I think that a more substantial strap may have been better. It just doesn’t feel like enough to me.

In the end, the most problematic aspect of this bag was fixing a value to it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to be compensated in some way for my work and I know that it has value but I’m not comfortable thinking in those terms. That’s why I’ll never have a booth at a craft fair or sell my stuff in any formal way. I can’t imagine putting myself out there like that. I was one of those kids who couldn’t handle asking for a raise when she babysat and I haven’t changed all that much. Brenda did give me some mighty cool stuff though.

Nov 16, 2006

ECF and What Comes After the Storm

I took this picture last night as I walked to the Metro. The weather was quite bad here yesterday and the calm after the storm yielded a gorgeous pink sky. Very appropriate to this post.

After the storm
Nearly 3 months ago, my father returned home from a weekend away to find that his house had been flooded to a degree that required most of it to be gutted. We were happy to be able to offer him a place to live so he moved into the rec room of our small house.

The time since then has been interesting and I think that we have all learned a lot. My girls can now detect the opening of a tube of Ben Gay from across the house. We also know that sending my dad to the Costco can yield interesting results such as a refrigerator packed with 6 half gallon containers of orange juice. (He thought it might be too much but bought it anyway.) We learned that my dad’s taste buds may be a little out of wack. How else can you explain the fact that he didn’t notice that he was using GINGER rather than GARLIC on his pizza until midway through the second slice? Hmmm…

D RoarsI listened in amusement as my dad matched wits and wills with Stinkerbelle on a regular basis. Let’s call that one a draw.

I never expected deep conversation but my very conservative dad and I had a lot of very interesting conversations about the direction of the country and other, equally controversial issues. There was no yelling or bloodshed.

The biggest surprises were the conversations that my dad and I had about my knitting. The Shirley of the title was my dad’s mother. It is from her that I inherited my knitting needles and I taught myself to knit as a tribute to her. I never knew if any of this meant anything to him. It does. My unsentimental dad told me that he likes the name of the blog (so it will stay) and commented on the differences between my reasons for knitting and those of my grandmother and great-grandmother. It pleases him that I knit. It pleases me that it matters to him.

I mention this now because my dad moved out yesterday. I’m happy to have the house back to normal but I’m also pleased that we were able to spend some quality time together. Of course normal is a relative term and here it means that the chaos is diminished just a little – not completely eradicated. My brother and his wife will arrive on Tuesday for a Thanksgiving visit and, shortly after they leave, we’ll host a bunch of giggling tweens overnight in celebration of the Drama Queen’s birthday. See – the fun never ends!

Knit, Knit, Knit

Why oh why do people insist on crowding around the doors of the Metro trains? Lately I have been taking the train to work (instead of my car) in an effort to maximize my holiday knitting time. I’m lucky and get on at the end of the line so I usually get a seat. The part hat sucks is that every day I have to fight to get off the train because people crowd around the doors, and some really discourteous folks pile into the train before others get off. As hubbo reminded me last night – there is nothing common about common sense. I unfortunately see proof of this every day.

Blue EspritThanks for all of your, ahem, support of my holiday knitting plans. I am well aware that I’ve got a touch of insanity. My list of holiday knitting is best described as ambitious and may will be revised in the near future but, for now, I continue to give it my best shot. As proof I offer this sock which I finished last night. It’s just a generic toe-up sock in Elann Esprit. 1 down – 8 to go!

I can’t afford to have naked needles so I started another sock this morning but unfortunately it’s not the mate for this blue one. Why? I lost the other ball of blue yarn. Ugh! I think that my holiday knitting plans may be jinxed.

I also started something else last night – another votive sleeve. I’ve been very busy collecting beads lately and I’m pretty sure that I have enough to complete a pair of sleeves this time. Actually, I bought so many beads (a little overkill maybe) that I’m absolutely certain that I have enough. I also got something else that made threading the beads on the wire last night easy peasy. It’s this silly little bead tray thingy. It’s blue and it has 2 holes of different sizes with caps on them in 2 corners so that you can easily pour the extra beads back in the containers. I dumped a bunch of beads into it as I sat on the couch last night and went to town. So much easier! You really don’t want to know how I was doing it before.

Jasmine BagAs I write it all down I realize that my recent knitting efforts sound like those of a slacker. Not so! See this! It’s a bag that I started last weekend. I probably shouldn’t admit to any of this because it makes me sound more crazy rather than less. I started this last Saturday because it’s for a crafter who I hope to see at a craft show this weekend. I’m starting to realize that it probably won’t be ready in time because, as you see it in these pictures, it’s about 8 inches tall and I hope that it will be 18 before felting. Yep, I still have to knit 10 more inches... and the strap... and felt it. Also, I’m doing intarsia and I HATE intarsia. It slows me down. Don’t look inside the bag either. Ewww … nasty ends everywhere. I plan to felt it as is and clip the ends afterward. Thank goodness for the forgiving nature of felting - it hides a multitude of sins.

Jasmine BagThe thing that makes this really nuts is that I promised this bag to one of my favorite crafters back in February. Ack! February! I bought the yarn (her color choices) in March and it sat since then. Procrastination will get you every time! She is planning to embellish it with the cool glass beads that she makes. That’s why I went with the circle motif. Perhaps, if I pull and all nighter Friday and work on it all day Saturday, I’ll get it done in time. Did I mention that she’s gonna be in town this weekend?

Nov 14, 2006

Ruffles and Reality

D with scarfWhen I wrote about my purchases at Stitches last week, I mentioned that two things I bought found their way onto my needles immediately. One was the pair of Fetching that I made from the Brooks farm yarn. The other was this cool ruffled scarf. Walking through the hall, Felicia and I stopped at a booth where someone was knitting this up and we had to have it.

The yarn is Linie 194 Solo and 2 balls of it made up a 4 foot scarf. It's a nifty 2 color woven band that get's "knit" by poking the needle through it rather than wrapping the yarn around the needle. It was really good for TV and Merto knitting. I think this will be a perfect holiday gift for a certain green-loving 8 year old I know. I think I detect a hint of jealousy around my house. As I finished this last night my girls wanted to know why I’ve made 3 things for their cousin in the past month or so. I dunno. Just lucky I guess.

ruffle scarf

I was feeling good as I finished this scarf yesterday because it’s one more gift that I can consider done. I felt so good that I went back and reviewed my list of holiday knitting and created a nifty little chart for it in my sidebar. I thought that having it there would make me feel accomplished and successful. Um – not so much! Here’s what my holiday knitting chart looks like now.

Socks4 pairs0
Votive Holders2 pairs1 single
Fingerless Gloves1 pair2 pairs

Do you see the problem? It’s kind of glaring. Of the 4 pairs of planned socks, I’ve completed none. The horror! I’ve got to get to work fast.

Nov 13, 2006

Sam's Green Gloves

I finished yet another pair of fingerless gloves over the weekend. These were by request and they are going in the mail to my niece today. This is the same niece who got the green bag for her birthday. My sister saw the first pair of gloves and mentioned that something like that would be great for my niece to wear for horseback riding lessons. How could I refuse? I even had plenty of the Cascade 220 from the bag left over so they match the bag. How sweet!

D with Green Gloves

Stink and I were down in Alexandria on Saturday for more weaving – she got a loom! I brought the gloves along hoping that we’d have time for a photo shoot and we did. I hope that you like the pictures.

Stinkerbelle really liked the gloves and wanted to claim them for herself. She doesn’t know that a pair for her are already in the works. They’re going to be HOT! I am so excited. These fingerless gloves are a kick to make. I’m wondering if it would be wrong for me to scrap all of my other plans and just make a ton of them. Warm hands for everyone!

This was a super-busy weekend full of creative stuff. I can’t wait to share it all.

Nov 10, 2006

Eye Candy Friday 11-9

Stink Art
Last week the Drama Queen supplied my eye candy for Friday so it’s only fitting that this week Stinkerbelle does the honors. This is a sample of her artwork that I saw when I visited the school this past Monday for her parent teacher conference. This year in school they study insects and this is her representation of a cricket. What amuses me most is the overwhelming pinkness. Stink-o is so not a pink kid. She loves purple, blue, turquoise –not pink.

The meeting went as I expected with no unpleasant surprises. It’s nice to hear her teachers talk about how bright she is. Clearly they see the same things in her that I do. By the way, thanks for all of the warm wishes for Stink. She’s feeling much better now. Although we love her red hair we do not love the sensitivities and allergies that go along with it.

Kristi's Yarn How ‘bout this for a little Friday eye candy bonus? It arrived yesterday from Kristi. I posted the 1500th comment on her blog recently and I was rewarded with yummy chocolate and yarn that she dyed herself. She is so talented.

This weekend we may obtain a loom for Stink. It’s kind of a long story so I’ll wait till next week to share it. It’s all good though.

I have to thank you all for your comments about my chin photography. Don't be too impressed - you have no idea how many really lousy shots I had to take to get those two.

Thanks for stopping by!

Nov 9, 2006

Chin Shots

Have you ever tried to take pictures of your own hands with your chin? It’s not easy. Of course such things wouldn’t be necessary if I weren’t so stubborn. I finished another pair of Fetching late last night and I couldn’t wait to share so I took the pictures myself in the wee hours of the morning. Just remember this as you look at the lovely shots that I offer today and be kind.

One week ago I posted a pair of Fetching and told you that I wasn’t crazy about the pairing of yarn with pattern. They were a little more rustic than I’d like. Last Saturday at the Brooks farm booth I saw some sale yarn, random matchless skeins, and immediately knew what I’d do with it.

Fetching Brooks You are looking at a pair of Fetching gloves in Brooks Farm Four Play wool/silk yarn. This is one of the 2 projects that I cast on immediately after returning home from Stitches. Aren’t they great? I really wish that you could feel them. They are super soft and cozy.

Fetching Brooks 2 The color is not super accurate in these pictures but it’s not too far off. The gloves are very rosey looking with touches of coral and lavender. As with so many things this time of year, these aren’t for me but I really wish they were. I have plenty of yarn left over from the skein too. I’m thinking of a matching headband perhaps.

Ick alert. Read no further if it’s lunch time where you are.

These gloves should have been finished much earlier and they would have if Stinkerbelle hadn’t been having issues. She’s been congested lately so we took her to the doctor yesterday and they prescribed a nasal spray. Big mistake! It aggravated her nose and produced a wicked bloody nose all over the place. It also irritated her stomach which… well, I’ll spare you the details. It’s enough to say that my washer is working overtime. It was a pretty rough time at my house and we seriously don’t need any extra problems right now.

By the way, Bloglands own Melissa won her election on Tuesday. Go over and congratulate her. You know you wanna.

Nov 8, 2006

Proudly Blue

I watched the election returns last night with great interest and excitement. Naturally, I’m thrilled at the results in the House and I’m still optimistic about the Senate. Ya gotta love it when the public speaks so loudly to tell those who feel that they are somehow annointed - "eh, not so much."

While most of the returns last night made this blue girl happy, there is one thing that ticks me off. Voters in the Old Dominion (Red people I’m sure) approved an amendment to our state constitution to ban same-sex marriage. To me this is intolerance and discrimination and I find it deeply troubling. I fail to see how same-sex marriages and state sanctioned unions are more detrimental to marriage than, let’s say, people who change spouses more often than they change toothbrushes. Nuff said!

Moving along to more positive things, I should mention Sock Madness. Actually, I just love talking about it so please indulge me. It has taken off in a big way and I’m really excited about that. The SM blog has gotten over 6,700 hits in the week since we launched it. I’m speechless! Anyway, I just want to say that, I’m trying to update here and there separately so don’t look here for the heavy duty details. You’re more than welcome though. I’ve even been knitting.

PB071662 Do you remember this? It’s the Forest Canopy Shawl made with silk that I dyed myself. It’s been deserted abandoned forsaken sitting in the bottom of a Starbucks bag for many weeks but I’m working on it again.

The problem was the needles. They plainly sucked. I started out using a cheapo circ with a lousy join. You get what you pay for I guess. Anyway, I switched to my Addi’s but the blunt points were killing my knitting mojo which was at an all time low. I seriously considered frogging it and calling it a day.

PB071666 Options saved the shawl from the frog pond. Yep, Options with a capital "O". Felicia got a set and told me about how she loved them. She suggested that I try them many times and I said “thanks but no thanks.” I just wasn’t into the whole interchangeable needle thing. Truly I thought it would suck. I still hate the idea of them but I have to say that they are wonderful to work with. The points are sharp and the joins are smooth and the cord is just right. I still hate the idea of them but I may need a set. Ugh!

Nov 7, 2006

Vote or Shut Up

I Voted... Did You?
This is where I could easily post a rant about the current administration if I were so inclined. I’m not. It’s enough to say that I voted today and so should you if for no other reason than to preserve your right to complain.


Yes, I said complain! I’m a blue girl living in a very red state. In most elections I’m pretty sure that my state will go in a direction that ticks me off but still I vote because it is our responsibility to speak for ourselves.

While it’s true that your vote is just one of many, it still counts. Not voting insures that you won’t be heard. No vote – no voice! If you don’t vote then you abdicate the right to complain about out leaders and the choices they make.

Just my 2 cents.

Nov 6, 2006

Stitches East Haul 2006

This weekend was super busy. My brother was visiting us. It was kind of an unusual visit because he has been living in South Korea for the past 2 years and got married while he was there. This weekend we finally got to meet his wife. Is it wrong to say that I may like her better than I like him? Hmmm.

Pink Cashmere Anyway, the visit was great but that wasn’t all that was going on this weekend. Stitches East was too close to ignore so why fight it? My friend Felicia (co-host of Sock Madness) and I went to Baltimore on Saturday and brought home great stuff. I’m telling you - there was treasure there! What else would you call this pink cashmere? It’s destined to be gifted as socks. I have a pattern picked out and ready to go.
Fleece Artist

Speaking of socks, check out this Fleece Artist. I just love these swampy greens. I've wanted to try some Fleece Artist but I've never seen it in any of the stores that I've visited before. I guess that’s another yarn that I can cross off my list of things to obtain.

Tess Designer What do you think of this brightly colored skein? It’s Tess Designer and I fell head over heels for it. I really wanted to dive into the piles of yarn there and cover myself in them or, at the very least, bring home enough for a tank or a sweater. I just couldn’t do it this time but you can bet that this is on my list. Next time I’ll be prepared.

Brooks FarmI did get a little something special for me though. I saw Brooks Farm at MDS&W and I resisted but not this time. This big ball of Harmony is destined to become a shawl. I’m excited by the color which is soft and silvery and the softness has me petting it nonstop. These are all good things but the best is that I am absolutely positive that I will have enough of this gorgeous stuff to complete the project. That’s just priceless!

This isn't even all of the haul. I have a few more things but some of it's on the needles already. Can you believe that? I just couldn't wait. They're quick little gift projects and I'll just show them to you when they're done.

Nov 2, 2006


I was about three when my sister was born. I don’t recall my thoughts at the time but I suspect that they were a combination of excitement and jealousy. That’s just a guess of course, but I'm pretty sure that it’s on target. Just remember this when you read on.

In those early days a family member asked me the new baby’s name and I couldn’t remember or couldn’t pronounce her name so I got creative instead. I told them that her name was Erica Chopped Liver and it stuck. To me she is still Erica Chopped Liver or, more often, ECL. Like any sister, we have our ups and downs but in good times and bad she has always been ECL and always been there.

There has been a lot of stress in my life lately and when I called my sister yesterday to tell her about the latest and lousiest she found just the right thing to say. Just one word - “pudding” - a word that she offered to stand in for one I cannot say. In a weird way it made me feel better so, although I know it’s a little corny, I dedicate this eye candy Friday to ECL.

Eye Candy by L

I had the parent-teacher conference with DQ’s teacher this week and it went well. No surprises except for this. It’s a drawing that she did and it was hanging in the hall. Many of the kids did lovely pictures but I was struck by the one that DQ did. It’s not a simple sketch like so many of the other kids did – it’s a contour drawing. Once upon a time I was an art major and I cannot tell you how much this thrills me. I am so impressed.

Beaded votive 1

This was supposed to be one of a pair of votives from Handknit Holidays. Sadly I ran out of the beads and I can’t find more so this will be a lone votive. I have obtained the appropriate number of beads in other colors and I’ll try to do another set soon.

Everyone Else Is Doing It


It really does seem that way, doesn’t it? I’ve been watching the Lonesome Skein KAL and Fetching, a great pattern from Knitty has probably accounted for the use of more lonesome skeins than any other. There’s a good reason for that – it’s a darn good pattern. I completed these over the past weekend with no trouble and I’m quite sure that there are quite a few more pairs ahead of me this holiday season. For the record, this yarn (which I displayed recently) was very nice in the scarf for which it was originally purchased but it’s not my favorite for this pattern. The other pairs that I’ve seen have a crisp, well defined quality that these lack. Stitch definition aside, they are still nice and warm and I'm sure that someone will be happy to receive them as a gift.

gift socksHow do you like these socks? My sister sent them to me recently and they are so cute. If you can’t wear hand knits then these will do quite nicely.

Speaking of knitting socks, and you know I’ll be talking about socks for quite a while, I’m thrilled with the response to Sock Madness so far. I’ve heard from a bunch of folks eager to play, a bunch who are willing to design. there have been offers of loot and buttons too. I appreciate the plugs from Kristi and Wendy and Melissa too because without them I suspect that Sock Madness would still be my little secret. Thanks to one and all!

BTW, Yosemite asked: I would like to clarify. Each participant will have to design 7 sock patterns?
There are really 2 different types of participants in Sock Madness. There will be participants who design for the competition and each of them will only be designing one pattern. There will also be participants who sign up to play and, depending on how quick they are, they may knit up to 7 patterns during the course of the competition. I hope that makes it clearer but, if not then please let me know.

Thanks for stopping by.

Nov 1, 2006

Sock Madness - Call for designers!

I love blogland. It has so much to offer to us. In the year since I first started reading the blogs I’ve met fabulous knitters who’ve offered help, encouragement and camaraderie. I’ve found some creative patterns that have provided challenges and enjoyment. I’ve also taken part in a few swaps, KALs and other knitty events. One of these events, Sock Wars, inspired me and now, after months of planning I’m ready to invite you all to take part in Sock Madness. Please go over and check it out.

I hope that Sock Madness will be the kind of event that offers something for everyone – competition, inspiration, excitement and community. It is a tournament style competitive knitting event. Think of March Madness, the college basketball championship or Wimbledon. In February of next year, 128 knitters will sign up to compete against one another in a series of rounds that will culminate in one ultimate winner.

There is a blog with a lot more information and, if I can figure out Photoshop then there will be buttons posted there soon. Of course there will be prizes – at the very least for the ultimate winner and with luck, for many more. I have other cool stuff in mind too. I hope that there will be excitement and people to cheer on the competitors. There will also be original designs.

Original patterns are one of the key elements of this event so I need designers. I would like to use a different original design for each round in this competition. The patterns will increase in complexity and difficulty with each successive round. A new design will be distributed at the start of each round to all competitors – even those eliminated in an earlier round. Access to the great new designs should be reason enough to want to play!

Design for us!


If you’ve ever wanted to get a design before a large audience – this is your opportunity.

If you are one of the many knitters who enjoys sharing your craft with the community – this is for you too.

Do you still need convincing? Well, the only people who will get copies of the design during Sock Madness will be the competitors. Just think of all the spectators who will watch the matches and crave your pattern. At the close of competition anyone interested in obtaining copies of the patterns will be directed to the designers who may distribute it in any way they see fit. At the very least you’ll get a bit of traffic.

If you’re still not sure then what about yarn? Yes, for one lucky designer there will be a yarn reward.

There are design guidelines listed here. We ask anyone interested in designing to send us a statement of intent to design by November 22. Just send an email to us at at sockmadness at gmail dot com, telling us the type of pattern you want to submit, according to the design guide. Please put the word design in the subject. The patterns will be due January 15, 2007.

Since my co-host (my blogless buddy Felicia) and I will need to test knit the patterns in order to make our selections we’d like to offer an incentive for submitting them early. Here is where the yarn comes in. There will be an early submission date of December 15th. We will choose from among the patterns received by that date and someone will be getting the colorway of their choice from Scout. The final pattern lineup will be set by March 1.

Please go check out the site. There is a lot more information there. Most importantly – please help us make this great and spread the word.