Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Doesn't Take Much...

to get me excited. I went to Michael's today in search of Dishrag cotton and came back with three balls of Sugar 'n Cream (the "original"). I'm going to try making one of them - I made sure to get a ball with two bias-knit dishcloth patterns on it so I can see just how easy this can be. Since I have to start off our team's relay, I'll have to be super quick. In looking at their blogs, it seems that some of my teammates are very accomplished knitters. I don't want to be the weak link in the chain!

Speaking of getting yarn, I had a great mail day on Monday. I got my package from The Loopy Ewe (it's true - Sheri is lightening fast). Along with the laceweight Lane Borgosesia Cashwool, I got some new sock yarns to try. There's Dream in Color Smooshy in the Nightwatch colorway, Fiesta Boomerang in Rhubarb, and yarn from The Knittery in Chocolate Royale. You can see my little swatch there for MS3. I really like the light feel of the fabric it made, but I obviously made mistakes and some of the yarnover holes are larger than the others. I'm going to give it a try, but I can see where I might end up doing the stole in a fingering weight yarn. When I went back to the socks I was working on, I was amazed at how much easier it was to work with, even with smaller needles!

My current sock progress:
Left is the Victorian Lace in Panda Wool and on the right is the Waving Lace in Zen String Bambewe. I have the other Waving Lace done to the heel, and the other Victorian Lace has to be frogged and begun again, since I experimented with a smaller cast on number and it turned out to be too tight. I'm always fiddling with the sock patterns because I hate it when the socks turn out too loose.

Today was finally the last day of school for our High School Junior-to-be. We have a couple of days, then we pick up our exchange student at the airport on Friday night. We have a Spanish young lady coming to stay with us for the month of July. We are looking forward to showing her some of the Pacific Northwest, and making a new international friend.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Call me Captain

I get to be a Team Captain for Dishrag Tag. The power! The responsibility! I hope I can fulfill my duties in a competent manner. PTA President is nothing compared to this...

Seriously, it will be a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to meeting my team members online (they're from all across the country). Actually making the dishrag will probably be the smallest part. I've never made one, but I imagine it will only take a few hours. Maybe I should start training now so I won't let the team down by being any slower than usual.

I'm training for Mystery Stole now. In addition to the Victorian Lace and Waving Lace socks I've been working on, I started the Branching Out Scarf from I'm making it with Handmaiden Camelspin, which felt so soft when I picked it up that I couldn't resist it. I thought the color was beautiful, too; a variegated mix of chocolate brown, black, and blue. Yum! I got it at Beehive Wool on a recent trip to Victoria, BC. What a beautiful and friendly store!I'm waiting for the actual yarn I ordered for the Mystery Stole to come in the mail; hopefully by Monday. I want to swatch it and be ready to go when the first clue is posted on Friday.

Now on to the garden and a yoga workshop with Felicity Green this afternoon.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Playing Games

I've signed up for two more knitalongs in the last few days. The first one, called Dish Rag Tag, I read about here. I thought it sounded fun and easy, and would be a way to add more "imaginary friends" to my circle. Word spreads so fast that it closed within days with over 200 participants. It doesn't begin until August 1, but the "teams" will be assigned soon and it will be fun to see who I will be racing with.

The second one, which I can't remember where I saw, is Mystery Stole 3. The idea is fun: you are given a list of supplies to purchase, and then on a start date, the first "clue" is revealed. Every Friday another clue is posted and if you follow the instructions, you will end up with a lace stole. I'm just getting into lace knitting with some socks, and enjoying it immensely. I finally figured out how to read a chart, and how to make sure the pattern is correct as I knit. I hope this project won't be too difficult. I just ordered some black Lane Borgosesia Cashwool from The Loopy Ewe. I waited for Sheri's weekly Sneak Up last night so I could make sure to order new brands (to me) of sock yarn at the same time! Never pay for shipping if you can order enough yarn for it to be free, is my motto.

What I've been up to lately: I finished the baby blanket for my neighbor. I made it out of Encore Worsted so it would be washable and soft, and I think it came out nicely.
I used a pattern called 8 hour afghan; two strands of yarn held together and size 13 needles. It went pretty quickly.

I finished the first of my Waving Lace socks in Bambewe Truffle from Zen String.
It was fun to knit and looks good.

Instead of starting the second one, I started (3 times) my Six Socks pattern, Victorian Lace. That's in Panda Wool, which I'm liking very much, and this time it looks like the sock will be a good size. I settled on 56 stitches around and US 1 needles, Knitpicks.
The patterns are giving me a good basic lace knitting education. I finally realized how the sections of pattern line up and that is saving me a lot of anguish and ripping. I've been able to tell right away if I make a mistake.

I'm still working on squares for Laura. These are fun to do, use up small leftover bits of yarn, and will go into afghans to keep tornado victims warm this winter. All good.
I also am planning to send this hat and pair of wristwarmers to Sheri for her Quarterly Challenge. They'll go to babies and girls in need of soft, warm items.
We spent yesterday morning in the yard, weeding and cutting ivy. Things look a lot better now, but there's still so much to do! We have so much rain alternating with sun this time of year that the weeds are incredible. I ordered a load of chips to make some new paths in my vegetable garden, which should help a little bit.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Fun Times

We had a great weekend that continued through Monday! We had a super time with family members visiting from Boston and Las Vegas on Saturday, I participated in a tribute to a beloved music director from our Temple on Sunday, and yesterday we visited College/Working Boy and brought him some items he needs for his new rental house on the other side of the mountains. And, there was a box of yarn from The Loopy Ewe in the mailbox when we got home!

On Saturday, we had a wonderful time visiting with cousins we rarely see, since they had the nerve to move far away from the Seattle area. It's great now that baby K is walking; ever notice how a get-together turns into a "show" when there's a baby, puppy, or kitten as the center of attention? That's how it was, but everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. Baby K really liked the chocolate cake!Sunday was a tribute to Samuel Goldfarb, music director of the Temple our family belonged to when I was growing up. My sister and I joined the choir reunion group along with our mom, and we all participated in the program. It ended up being a lot of fun, and we saw people and sang songs we hadn't thought of or heard in years.

Yesterday, we
loaded up stuffed the station wagon with some of the requested items College/Working Boy asked for. Little Sis drove us smoothly over the mountains after her half-day of school, so we got a relatively early start. We arrived in Ellensburg around 1:00 and found the cute little rental house where WB will be living for the next year. We unloaded all the stuff and drove to pick up the bed and tv he bought from another college student who was moving out. While Dear Husband and WB picked up the furniture, LS and I shopped. We intended to buy some cleaning supplies and a mattress pad, but also managed to fill a shopping cart with some of WB's favorite foods (mostly healthy!)

We got back to the house, WB went off to work and we finished setting up his new bed and making it with new sheets and his old, familiar comforter from home. He had a cozy place to sleep last night!

Here we are in front of his new home:

After we finished our work at the house, we visited WB at his job; cooking at a deli. We had to see with our own eyes (and taste with our own mouths) just how this was going. I can remember him cooking once at home when it wasn't food for himself. Anyway, we each had a different menu item (no one had taco salad, since we were advised that it was the hardest thing to make) and were pleased with the result. We enjoyed our early meal, and the extra time visiting with our boy in his work surroundings.
Anyone for some fries?

We dropped by the college bookstore to pick up some gear for LS, then straight home to the mailbox. Beautiful Lorna's Laces and Cherry Tree Hill's new Sockittome were in the box. There seemed to be a color theme with this order - I guess lighter colors for summertime knitting (not that I can guarantee starting to knit with these yarns anytime soon.)

I did get some knitting done on the car trip, though. I worked on squares for the Greensburg afghan project and got one finished and another started. I tried an experiment and found that if I wear my stretchy wrist things that I got for seasickness on a cruise, I don't get queasy while knitting in the car! Hallelujah!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

I believe in climate change

But it's not supposed to happen in one day!

Here in the Seattle area, in the last week, we've had beautiful clear skies with temperatures in the 80s, light breezes, and generally our idea of wonderful summer weather. Then, in a matter of a day, or sometimes only hours, we are treated to humidity, drizzle, still-warm temperatures, thunderstorms, heavy cloudbursting rain and a now grand temperature of 50. Planning daily activities becomes somewhat of a challenge unless you are always prepared to sit indoors or outdoors and knit!

I've finished about half of my first Waving Lace sock, and finally had an "aha" moment when starting over on the lace pattern for about the fourth time. I realized that when I looked at the chart, all the purl symbols lined up; therefore, each row's pattern had to have the purls on top of the other purls. Suddenly there was clarity and my knitting flew along. It was fun to see the pattern emerge, and look like the picture in the book. What a relief!

So, of course, then I had to cast on my Victorian Lace sock for the Six Socks Knitalong. I'm using Panda Wool in Misty Greens. I think it will show up the lace pattern well. I'm experimenting by casting on the 64 it calls for, but using a smaller needle. I have trouble getting socks to be tight enough, so I just knit awhile and try it on.

Why do I feel the intense need to start something new when one project is going well? Is it multi-tasking, obsession, or scatterbrainedness?

Now to begin the gardening portion of the blog, I am happy to report that strawberries are ripening, there will be great crops of garlic and raspberries this year, and the tomatoes and basil are looking good so far. The rest of the vegetable garden has been given over to dahlias, which are so beautiful in late summer and fall.

Here's how the driveway looked a few days ago before the torrential rains. The flowering trees and shrubs have been beautiful this year.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Wow, 11 years. It seems like the blink of any eye that we went from this
to this
And now it's even a year later than when we posed for this photo; two boys successfully finishing freshman year of college, and the baby is driving. It's been an adventure, and one that promises to continue with even more surprises, excitement, and love.

You'll always be my car guy, and I love you.

A good day

"It's a good day when yarn comes in the mail" is my new motto, and yesterday was a good day. I got a package from The Sweet Sheep with a skein of Colinette Jitterbug. I've been reading good things about it and "needed" to add it to my considerable stash of sock yarn. The colorway is Bright Charcoal, which has some black in it, which is what I've been looking for.

I also had tea with my friend Sandy at my local LYS, Village Yarn and Tea, which is a fabulous place. It's just like it sounds - you can have tea and scones, shop for yarn, sit and knit, and/or all three at once! The people there are so friendly and helpful, too. It's always great to stop by, and more times than not I leave with new yarn.

I went to yoga with my friend Priscilla, which was also great. Yesterday was my class at 2 Dog, and Tuesday and Thursday are classes at Treehouse. We had quite a workout today!

I finally finished my Panda Cotton socks last night. I frogged one whole sock when it turned out to be too loose. (I don't know why I couldn't decide that before it was done!) I knitted them both at once the second time on two sets of circs, size 0. It was fun ending up with two socks at once for a change! I like them; they're quite snug, but I'm sure they'll stretch as they're worn. The yarn is very soft but it tends to split a lot if you're not careful with the needles. The colorway is Vanilla Cream and was purchased from the ever-helpful and friendly Sheri at The Loopy Ewe.

My next sock project(s) will be for the knitalongs I've joined. I'm starting Waving Lace from the Favorite Socks book in Bambewe, my Zen String sock club March yarn. The colorway is Truffle, a softly variegated yarn, and I'll see how the lace pattern shows up before I go too far.

I'm also planning to begin the Victorian Lace pattern from the Six Socks Knitalong. I've been wanting to try lace on a small (sock) scale before I tackle a wrap, and this will be the perfect experience. I'm not sure what yarn I'll use for the second project; might have to buy some!

Then, of course, the dog wants a walk. Needs a walk is more like it. Here he is in one of his favorite spots, on "his" sofa that's right next to my desk. He hangs out and helps me, and also keeps an eye on the hummingbirds coming to the window feeder.

He also guards me by barking at any noise he hears from the driveway outside. Of course, if anyone actually comes to the door, he waits for me to see who it is in case they might be dangerous, but he continues to bark. Here's how he usually looks. I really feel safe knowing that he's on duty!