Friday, December 14, 2007

Random thoughts part 1

Okay, here's the game plan...I have finally dumped all of the images off of my "main" camera. The back-up camera is a whole different story. Anyway, I am simply going to add images in the order I come to them and they will then be in chronological order. No other kind of order but, Hey! at least I am blogging again and sort of catching up... Oh well, take it or leave it...

"Anne" by Shaeffer. I have always loved purple. Or in this case a cranberry sort of purpleishness. It is only lately that I have also really come to enjoy orange. Used to be the only color (besides Chartreuse but that is a truly repulsive color) not in my closet. When I saw this yarn I HAD to have it. I tried to make socks with it seeing how it is a sock yarn and all. The yarn said, "NO!". I kid you not, this yarn was screaming at me. It is not supposed to be socks. Okay, okay...what? Lace. Simple. Easy. Lace. So, I started the first lace project from Meg Swanson's "A Gathering Of Lace".

Collinette Jitterbug in colorway "Mardi Gras". Love it! This yarn has a tight twist and the socks feel almost like cotton. I used a US size 0 or 1 and the yarn didn't seem any thicker than most sock yarn but the socks feel thicker, more substantial. Anyway, I love this yarn. Their colors are exquisite. Especially for someone who likes bold bright colors.

I couldn't resist this picture. We went kite flying so it was taken outdoors in natural light. The way all pictures really should be taken. This is one of the few pics of the hubby smiling naturally. Ususally he tries to get away or strikes a pose or has a fake smile when he sees the camera. He tries to give me a "nice " smile but doesn't get that it has the opposite effect. Anyway, how cute are they?

Mess up your home spun yarn? Who me?

But this dowel rod you are using for a make-shift bobbin tastes so good!

So. Those are the random thoughts for today inspired by the first 20 or 30 images from the picture stash. More to follow. Soon. Hopefully.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wow! I knew it had been a while since I last updated this thing, but I just saw that it has been almost 6 weeks!! So sorry to the blog and the 2 or 3 people who care enough to read my drivel. This will be a quick checklist of the things I need to update with (a pre-update list if you will).

Finally bought a swift and ball winder from Webs...

Finished the blue/green/black/white yarn and made a hat...

Have been making lots of hats for the guys at work or whomever they will fit...

Have a new LYS (well 20 min. away local) that I love...

Have bought lots of sock yarn and some Noro there...

Went to Rhinebeck with Needletart...

Have started MORE socks (because I got more sock yarn at Rhinebeck..Doh!)...

Have been spinning on my new tiny .5 oz. spindle (also from Rhinebeck)...

Got Jaquard dyes and size 0 (for more socks) Harmony Needles from Knitpicks...

Am waiting for books from Amazon (on dyeing) to use the above...

Am currently knitting, ripping, re-knitting, re-ripping, and knitting a hat for my buddy Steve with the Pittsburgh Steelers (Ugh, I am So a Browns Fan!!) logo on it using the intarsia method...

Okay, okay that is a plenty long list. I need to empty the cameras, find the photos, and do all of this...maybe I'll pretend I am at work tonight and just get it done when everyone else is sleeping. I acutally slept for 8 hours straight yesterday!!!!!!! Sorry to overuse the exclamation point but that is the first time in so long that I can't remember getting that much sleep at one time. I should be good for a day or two.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Organize, Schmorganize

The new storage cubes for my yarn. Trying to fit it all in and organize it is a bitch. The dresser is pushed over all the way to the door. It literally has just enough room to swing shut. The fabric drawers are great for coraling loose balls and odds and ends. I have so much crap acrylic I need to get rid of one way or another...

This is just some of the stuff I need to organize...

Not to mention the clothes that never seem to want to make it to their proper much stuff to clean, organize....blech...

Scotty's 40th

It's hard to see here but, first I made a pair of socks for myself. Then, because I still had a lot of yarn left over I made a pair of short socks for Jake. Then, because I Still had a lot of yarn left over I made a collar for the cat. Jaspurr the Wonder Dummy. Seriously, not the smartest cat on the planet...

Seen here less than 2 seconds from falling off the table. I have never met another cat with less of a sense of balance...

The Lemonade Socks...finished.

The blue and grey and white socks I made for my friend Scott's 40th birthday. Seen here in their infant state.

The cake I made for Scott to take to the office so that we could all properly embarrass him.

He and Kevin and Pete all work Fri night/Sat morning together. Just the three of them. No supervisors. No clerk (me). Just the three of them. I am so jealous. They are good friends and it turns out the four of us are all Leos. If you know anything about astrology and you were to meet the four of us it explains a lot. Scotty is the first of our birthdays (and the youngest)...July 26. I am next...August 6th. Then Pete on Aug. 12th (and the oldest of us at 44). And then finally, Kevin on August 19th. Kev and I are both 42 but I am older by 13 whole days!! Maybe one of these days I'll take my camera to work and see if it's possible to get pics of would think a bunch of egotistical lions would ham it up for the camera but I doubt these guys least not at work...

One last trip to the park

One evening late in the summer at Hershey Park. Max was somewhere else "hangin' out" with his friends.

So it was just Ad, Carter, and Jake the cranky midget...and me. These pics are not in order but I'm not in the mood to argue with Blogger.

He is only moments away from any given melt-down. He's at that age.

Only six more years till this one is old enough to get a license...

The Hershey chocolate factory in Hershey, PA. You really can smell the chocolate in the air. Of course, recently, the company has decided to close a factory in Canada, and reduce the number of employees here and in other factories in the US so that it can build a new factory in Mexico and export jobs there where the cost of sugar is much less due to US tariffs....

So, I try NOT to buy Hershey products anymore. The park is no longer owned by the candy company but by HERCO (Hershey Entertainment and Resort Co,)

These ariel views are from atop the "Kissing Tower".

The end of a long day...and a kiss from Daddy.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Women's Roles

I was absolutely flabbergasted when I read Stephanie's post titled "Just Keep Your Mouth Shut". I started to send e-mails to my state senators and decided instead to call their local offices Monday morning and then follow up with e-mails.

Yesterday we had to take Jake to the local emergency room. Addison was outside taking apart an old section of fence that he is going to reassemble in a different part of the yard. He hammered out a slat, it went sailing up into the air, and came down (nail point first) on Jake's little head. There was blood everywhere. We applied pressure and it had stopped bleeding before we could get out the door but we went anyway.

Jake was a real trooper. He took his little doctor bag with him. He answered their questions about where his boo-boo was. He didn't cry (or even fuss for that matter). And, he waited patiently with us.

After they showed us into an exam area and we were finally waiting for a doctor, Jake pipes up that when the doctor gets there, he is going to talk to HER and ask HER questions. It took me a moment to process what he had said and meant. My unrully, obnoxious when in his own home, beast of a 3 year old ASSUMED the doctor would be a WOMAN!! Our regular family doctor is a man so, where he got this I'll never know. I was so proud of him that I got teary eyed (of course, that's not unusual).

I tried to explain to him that there was a time when women weren't allowed to be doctors and he gave me that look. If you have kids, you know the one. Where he doesn't believe a word I am saying and I must be making this up for some strange parental reason.

Anyway, that's about it for today. I finished the multi-colored Regia socks for me. Made a pair from the leftover yarn for Jake, made a collar for the cat from the still leftover yarn. I still have a tiny ball is the neverending yarn.

I finished the Lemonade sock that was on the DPs and am on the toe decreases of it's mate (done on one long circ). So far, I can't tell the difference between them except for the swearing I am NOT doing on the second one that I did with the first...

I think I am going to try to finish ALL of the socks (including mates) that I already have on needles before I cast on any new ones. When I finish this Lemonade, I will be down to 3 (well, 4 technically since only the first one of the pair for my mom is started). I'm going to try but I doubt I'll manage to do it. Just typing this makes me want to cast on something new...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Bringing in hay

These pictures are actually from May. I am trying to improve the regularity of my posting and as such am sort of catching up on photos also. Jake wanted to help so much! Unfortunately, he didn't understnd when told that the best way he could help was to stay out of the way and not get himself hurt. Behind him (chopped off at the shoulders) is CJ (the almost teenager). Whose limitless energy would have been a huge help were it not for the fact that the hay bales still weigh more than he does...that should change in a couple more years.

Max was a huge help. I moved bales from 2 (okay 1 and a 1/2) of the 3 trucks. My back wouldn't hear of my doing any more than that. Between being overweight, out of shape, and having a bad back I was pretty useless. Max came to the rescue and put bales on the elevator and then also went up in the loft to help my Dad put them away. Oh, to be a young teenager with strength and stamina again...

This is the newest edition to Mom and Dad's herd. Her name is 'Rosie'. I don't know how she got that name or if she has a longer registered name (she is a Pony of the Americas). My neice, Katie, is attempting to bring her in without a such luck.

Here is the entire group. Buttons is off somewhere training (I think in the Philadelphia area but don't know for sure where). Harley has moved to Florida where my neice, Haley rides him. Bandit, my Mom's Appaloosa, died this winter. Dan (registered name Yankey Doodle) is on the far right and Muffy (Little Miss Muffit) is in the middle. Dan is now 23, Muffy is aprox 6 or 7, and I think Rosie is only about 4...I'm never sure on the ponys' ages. But, the Old Man was my horse (back in the day when I was thin enough to ride) and I will always remember how old he is.

What a pretty little girl!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Cherry Picking

Max (the teenager) and Addison (the hubby) picking sour cherries in the back yard. This is the view from Max and Carter's window.

Too high for me to help (darn) since the ladder only holds two.

Max!! Whos fourteenth birthday (Ohmygod I can't believe he's fourteen...where does the time go???) is TODAY! He was born on the Fourth of July and came home from the hospital on the 6th...our 2nd anniversary. Talk about an expensive anniversary present! He is my firecracker.

Here is Jake (the mighty midget) with Dad. I would say he was helping but someone once told me you can get in trouble for telling a lie. He was just looking for a good photo op.


This is all of them. I currently have five socks on the needles. And still, I want to start more. I seem more immune than most to the finishitis virus. This resistance also leaves me extremely vulnerable to the startitis bug that plagues the knitting community. Thankfully it's not fatal (to knitters...marriages and sanity are other issues).

These two are yarn I dyed. The one on the left is one I am particularly proud of. If for no other reason than it is the first time I have managed to dye something subtlely. It is called "Lemonades" (I used Kool-aid lemonade and pink lemonade). I know, not very creative but what the heck, the creativity is in the dying, not the naming. It was done in such a way as to have no true repeat of the colors. The one on the right is called "English Garden". It was supposed to be a masculine colorway. I used icing food coloring in black, blue, green, and brown. The lesson here is that the black food coloring is comprised of a magenta, a blue, and a green. When the food color hits anything wet it breaks down to the individual colors...they are gorgeous...however, the only one that 'sticks' to the yarn is the hot pink! Used in a stronger concentration and left on longer yielded a sort of lavender-grey. So, the 'masculine' yarn became "English Garden". With the olive greens and bits of brown combined with the pinks and bits of blue a garden is the only thing that comes to mind. The Lemonade socks are for me, the garden socks are for my sister.

I am doing the Lemonade ones on double points just to prove to myself that I can (and I couldn't find a sock circ at the time). For the record I hate knitting this way! For me it is like wrestling a porcupine! I started out on the typical 3 needles using the 4th to knit. I am used to thinking of my socks (and counting my stitches) in quarters. So, I switched to using 5 needles so I could keep each quarter seperate. I am past the decreases and knitting into the black hole. My biggest decission now is when I do the 2nd sock, do I make them the same and continue to torture myself or do I (happily) switch to a circ and then compare the results? I think we all know what I am going to do...anything in the name of science.

These are for Addison. I like the way the yarn is pooling on the rib sections. This is the first time I have carried a ribbing down the whole foot (sole side too). I like it but it is a pain in the hindparts.

This is more of the yarn from Loop that is Mom's. This is the same pattern (from the Schaeffer web site) that I used for Dad's socks that were knit with Anne yarn from Schaeffer. It is a simple k2, p2 twisted rib stitch. Every 4th row you use a right twist stitch instead of the k2. On Dad's socks I carried this stitch down the top of the foot. This time, when I get to the foot I am just going to make it plain.

These will be short socks for me. I love the colors but didn't realize the repeat is so short. Hopefully because I am making these with a short cuff I will have enough left over yarn to make Jake a pair too. He's growing like a weed and so his socks are taking more yarn. Mental note, stop feeding the kids or start buying more yarn....Hmmmmm


Last weekend I bought a new black lace camisole. I was thinking of it more as a tank top but the straps are lacy and it really is more camisole than tank. Anyway, I like wearing tops like this to work (now that the temperature in my office is tolerable) but I have to wear something over the top to cover my arms (and decolatage...sometimes, when the drivers start leering) and keep the whole thing respectable. So, I decided to knit a shrug to wear over this new thing. I started on Monday. I had hoped to finish on Wednesday but had to give in to sleep. I finally finished it Sunday. The problem is that I don't like it with the top it was intended with. I wear a 2x or about a size 20-24 depending on the cut on top. I'm thinking this thing is more like a 16-18.

This is me taking a photo in the mirror without the benefit of also being able to see through the viewfinder...I thought a straight-on photo with the camera in my face would defeat the purpose of trying to see me in it. The back looks okay. It's the front that bugs wants to pull back along the edge that goes from the back of my neck to the underarm...

Can you see what I mean? If the straps on this thing were wider it might be okay. The other problem is these straps are too long/loose/stretchy. I will have to tighten/shorten them to be able to wear this thing without being too self conscious. It feels like it wants to fall down and it's already low enough!

This was originally going to be all pink but I soon realized there was no way the 3 skeins of pink that I was using up from the stash were going to make it (Moda Dea Ticker Tape...discontinued, I think). So I used Lion Brand Incredible in Accent on Black held together with Lion Brand Microspun in black and saved a little of the pink for some edging (I-cord). There was no written down pattern. I measured from arm to arm around my back and multiplied by guage and we were off and flying. When it got to the point where it was wide enough to go around my arms I would pick up the end stitch from the cast-on row with the first stitch on the needle and knit them together (sort of like a bizarre 3 needle bind off). The only problem there is that I am not a good judge of how large something is and also forgot that your arms get BIGGER as they get closer to your body (Duh...) So, I would bind togther just 3 stitches at a time. Sort of a combination of short rows and binding off. The sleeves have a negative ease as a result.

I still like it. I just don't like it with the top that originally inspired it. I guess I just need to get over that, wear it with something else (less revealing), and knit something else for this top (after I fix the straps). I haven't tried cardigans yet... Of course, there is also EZ's surprize jacket...

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Busy, busy, busy

As usual, it has been a while since I last updated this...

I rarely go more than 1/2 a day without knitting (more like a couple of hours and I go into withdrawel) but blogging, that's another story. I get yelled at for the time I spend sitting at the computer. If knitting is a useless and expensive hobby (except when HE is getting the FO) then blogging ABOUT knitting is a sin of the highest order and spoken about in a disdainfull tone when complaining about the lack of housework being done. As if I need knitting or blogging to avoid housework.

Anyway, I have recently finished the socks for Mom and Dad that are the first pairs from the yarn we got at Loop in Philadelphia (in Feb). I have been dying my own yarn lately. The Entrelac socks I made for Jake were made with the first skein of home-dyed sock yarn (the only self-striping so far). I have done 4 other skeins but have not taken pictures yet. I have been using a combination of Kool-ade and food coloring for icing and experimenting. I need to get some Jaquard dyes and work toward more consistancy. I find it hard to take notes on measurements and times. I start out with great notes and then get cought up in the "experiment" and the art of the moment and then forget it.

On the design front, I am working on a tank top where I started with two provisional cast ons at the front bottom of the straps and am working up the straps, over the shoulders, and down the back with the idea that I will be working in the round top-down. I have planned short-row shaping for the bust (I wear a 40-42 DD so this is a neccessity or it will ride up in front) and then darts at the waist and finally a peplum inspired hem.

Because I have been working on the socks and also on some cotton shorts (from Knit Picks free pattern made with Shine Sport in seven colors...striped) I have not yet even made it to the "working in the round" part of the above description. I have just made it to the bottom of the straps and am starting the top of the back.

I did get some work done on the worted weight cashmere blend version of the Harlott's Snow Drop Shawl. Enough work to realize that I will run out of yarn (discontinued of course) before I get close to finishing. So, went to the store and picked out another yarn to use in conjunction and am now ripping back about 20 rows to where I want to start incorporating this new yarn...nothing is ever simple with me.

That's about it for now, pictures later....

Sunday, April 15, 2007

More pic's

Well, I do know how to move these pictures around. However, I find it to be a giant pain in the behind. So, I am simply going to comment on these in the order they are here now...

This is the 2nd incarnation of this sock. I had finishes it in a pattern similar to Grumperina's Jaywalker pattern but had started with 80 stitches and it was a little too big for either Mom or Dad. This is the Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in the color Mine Shaft that Mom got for herself at Loop. So, I had a formal "Death of a Sock" cerimony at work and then undid the tails (not an easy feat...ha ha unintended pun) and unraveled the whole sock...much to my boss's dismay. He could not comprehend how I could trash the whole sock when it would fit "someone". I explained that it was nice but not what I wanted. It is to be one of a special pair for Mom. If it is the wrong size what is the point?

This pair is now being done in a slip stitch pattern (rather hard to see in this photo). It goes like this:

Round 1: *K1, Sl 1 wyif (with yarn in front)*
Round 2: Knit
Round 3: *Sl 1 wyif, K1*
Round 4: Knit

That's it! I did 4 rows of knitting and then 2 repeats of the above pattern, 4 rows of knitting, and 3 repeats, 4 rows of knitting and 4 get the idea. I am almost on the heel. I haven't decided how to do the foot yet. The heel will be the typical K1, Sl 1 but this time I will keep the yarn in front instead of the back so that it matches. I thing I might do the top of the foot in the slip stitch and the sole in regular knitting. But then again, the slip stitch makes a more durable fabric...perhaps the whole foot should be done that way? Any ideas??

This is a quick vest done in an extremely bulky yarn. It is about a size 12-18 months. I could get it on Jake when I had finished it (almost a month ago) but just barely and he hated it. It is rather thick. I think I will just save it to donate to the auction next year.

I tell you what, that auction is a pretty cool thing to have around. I can design and knit anything I want in any size and if it doesn't fit anyone I know I can just put it in the auction pile! Who needs guage swatches anyway? (I know I have just angered the knitting fates but I am feeling a little reckless today. Must be the tall raspberry almond late I had this morning...first time I've had any coffee in months.)

These are the entrelac socks made for Jake's birthday from the first self-striping sock yarn I dyed. The tutorial for the yarn is here at Eunny's site and the lesson on Entrelac (also by Eunny) is in the current issue of Interweave Knits (of which she is the new Editor--go Eunny, you rock!). We call these the "Silly Socks" and they are so cool for a toddler!

These are toe-up socks for Jake. The only reason they are for him is because this is a 50 gram skein of Regia and the only one I had. I can make a pair of socks for him and still have scraps left over. For anyone else in the family it takes more than that even for short socks. Carter's foot is now 8" long (compared to mine at 9" and Max and Addison at 12"!!)

These are toe-up for me. The completed sock is my first toe-up. I found it to be an interesting way to do socks. I used the tutorial from Knitty. It seems like it would be a good way to teach someone how to do socks because you only need to learn one skill (the toe and heel are the same) as opposed to 4 or more different skills needed for top-down (heel, heel-flap, picking up stitches for gusset, gusset decreases, toe decreases, etc.) The only problem I had with the whole thing is fixing errors. I am practically fearless when it comes to ripping back and fixing most things (cables, lace, fair isle...) but trying to fix a dropped stitch in the middle of wrapped or god forbid double wrapped stitches gave me the willies but I did a pretty good job of faking it.

I am currently working on a pair of socks for Carter (his birthday is the 19th) and I also had a request from a friend to make her mom a hat. When I asked what color she said, "Who cares, she's having chemo". I almost fell over! So, I have so far made a ribbed thingie out of a soft worsted weight acrylic and just started a sort-of lacy thing out of a cashmere blend. I want to make one other using Lion Brand Microspun. Anyone have any pattern ideas? Of course, knowing me I will probably just design something myself. I printed out a bunch of patterns from on-line. I'm not feeling the inspiration though. I do know that I want to start at the bottom. The one I did yesterday I started at the top and absolutely hated doing it that way. I am knitting this one in the round and so I think I want to do the third one flat. I also think it should maybe be cabled since the microspun shows the stitches so beautifully. I think it's time to get out the Nicki Epstein book and the Stitchionary book...

Monday, April 09, 2007


This is the hat I designed (one of them...I took the other one in without taking any photos...OOPS) for the school fundraising auction. There was no planning involved. I had the yarn (dyed by me), a set of circs (6 I think) and half an idea. I cast on and away we went. In the end it was about a 12 month size. I figured no matter what size I made the darn thing, it would fit someone....

I was intrigued with the idea of the spiral that decreases can make. This ended up looking like a large flower. Sort of reminded me of a sunflower. The socks behind are a worsted weight pair of women's slipper socks that were also donated to the auction.


This is Loop. A fabulous yarn shop in Philly on South Street.

I love the simple white "cubby-hole" shelving. They tell me they got them at IKEA. They have a very nice yarn collection. And an amazing array of sock yarn in particular with selections from Lorna's Laces, Schaeffer, and I forget what else...the Lorna's and Schaeffer pretty much did me in.
This was the final haul. I bought the book. Mom bought the yarn. All. The. Yarn. The two bright ones on top are mine (Anne from Schaeffer) as are the blue/green skeins in the front (Lorna's Shepherd Sock). The rest are for me to knit for Mom and Dad. Mom had some in her hands and was saying how she wanted socks out of "this". To which I said, "Are you going to let me teach you how to knit socks?"

Her reply was in effect a big NO but she would buy me my own yarn as compensation for knitting hers. Talk about a rough situation. She provides the yarn for me to knit I have to give the socks to her and Dad (most of my knitting is for other people anyway) AND I get 3 skeins of some of the most gorgous sock yarn to do what I please with....boy let me have that kind of rough day every day!

The blue/green skeins are for socks for Addison. The funky brights are for me. It's hard to see but the skein on the lower right is a wild mixture of purple and green (Anne by Schaeffer) of Mom's.

I can't wait to see what they all come out like!


Meet Jaspurr Furrest Gump. The newest member of the family.
at home on everyone's bed (except Jake who is apparently the official Cat Torturer of the family)
And very comfy on this Land's End blanket.

I adopted him a little over a month ago. He is very sweet. Unlike our previous cats, this one has a limit to the nonsense (Jake) that he will tolerate. And, also still has his front claws. That will change soon. He comes when I call him...he knows who his Mommy is, and likes to sit on my head. What else can you ask for?