28 September 2007
Today we're crossing the bridge and venturing into new territory for us. We've never really been into the towns that we are going to today. We've driven through them but we've never stopped. This will be a real adventure. Most of the houses are in housing communities, which I'm not thrilled about, but if the houses are gorgeous, they have the open floor plan I want, and they have up to date appliances . . . I just may have to change my mind on that.
26 September 2007
I also bit the bullet and applied for a job. We'll see. I'm pretty well qualified for it and it doesn't involve teaching classes so I think I'd be pretty happy about it. But it does require going to work everyday which I'm not so keen on anymore. It'd be nice to have a second income though. The application due date isn't until August of 08 so I may not hear anything at all for a LONG time. I'm keeping my eye out for other jobs too but there's not all that much I'm interested in. If only we had a major natural history museum in this area!
25 September 2007
So, onto knitting. I apologize now for the horrible pictures, I just ran around the house and snapped a few pictures, I'm hoping to get this post up before Trapper comes downstairs from his morning nap. Here's the Sweet Pea Sock
Apparently the gauge issues I had are coming back to haunt me. It's a big baggy on the underside of the foot. The point it's at in the picture is right at the end of the gusset decreases. I think on the other sock I'll just pick up 20 stitches instead of 30 along the heel flap and see how it fits, if it's all good I may redo this one (probably not, I'm far too lazy!)
And now onto the knitting I'm doing for the craft sale. All I can say is that I'm not nearly as good at felting projects as I was last year. Everything just looks like crap (and it's not just because the pictures are fuzzy, they're really crap!)
First off is a dog toy that I thought I make a few of and sell with the dog treats I made:
It turned out ok, I even managed to stuff it and put a squeaker inside before felting so there are no seams the dog could rip open. The only problem is it's actually a lot of effort and quite a bit of yarn to make this thing so I probably won't make anymore. Oh that reminds to, I forgot to take a picture of the cat toy I made, I'll have picture next post.
Then there's a couple felted totes:
The purple one came out ok, the other one is a bit too short and the sides sag a little. I think I'll just use it to display the dog treats or cat toys.
Lastly is the little bag
It's very small. Maybe 6X4 inches or something like that. I tried to put a nifty magnetic closure but I had to put the bag so hard to get it open or pry it apart with my fingernails, so I took it off. I'm going to add on a black canvas strap and make it so it can go across your body, messenger bag style. We'll have to see how it looks after I add the strap, but I'm happiest with this bag so I'll probably make more of them.
I also attempted wristlets and decided that I'm really not a zipper friendly person. Maybe I'll make really small wristlets with a front flap and put those magnetic closures to good use!
And I made some progress on Super Secret Project #2. Not much, but the first section is getting closer to being finished. That's all for now.
20 September 2007
And all the beautiful goodies:
The goodies are:
~post it notes (which I think are awesome for keeping your place in a chart!)
~a container for organizing knitting notions
~A SKEIN OF OPAL SOCK YARN - it's purple and black and I can't wait to see what it will look like knit up, it feels so nice!
~a sparkley knitting journal
~a card that appears to be handmade
~two tennis balls (my secret pal has definitely been keeping up with my blog)
I wasn't able to just cast on right away since I've got lots of things to do after being out of the house for a few days but some other little ones were able to enjoy their goodies right away:
Trapper is the real ball boy and can often be found cuddling with his favorite ball of the moment on the couch, his new tennis ball quickly made it to the top of his list!So, once again. . . THANK YOU SECRET PAL!!!
Well, I usually don't write much personal stuff so I'm going to change subjects here, but you can read more about my family stuff on my sister's blog.
I went and met my family in NH and was able to spend a few days with my whole family. It was nice to see everyone, even if it was under horrible circumstances. We did take a trip to one yarn store where I got 2 skeins of yarn to make convertible mittens for me and my mom. I also spent a lot of time sitting around the cabin knitting with my sisters. This is what I made, obviously not finished yet:
I cast on before going to the airport and got 2 rows done and the rest was knit in the last 3 or 4 days. It's sock yarn from the Hill Country Yarns sock club knit in the pattern they sent with it, Sweet Pea socks. It's coming out very nice and I think it's my favorite pair so far.
New Hampshire was quite a bit colder than good ole Virginia, so I was able to do this:
Wear some handknit socks for the first time EVER! They were pretty damn comfy and warm.
I haven't quite decided what I'm going to do with this yet, but there's got to be some sort of inspiration in this:
It's a skein of Paton's SWS that I've been using for a felted bag and that's what it looked like when it was half used. It's so pretty. I know it's just a log cabin block (what kind of quilter would I be if I didn't know that!) and that there are already knit log cabin patterns out there, but maybe it's just the colors that are so inspiring for me.
14 September 2007
OK, now onto some knitting content since this is a crafting blog. I'm slowly working on the sleeve for my sweetie's sweater. It's growing:
The color is completely off on this picture but I had to go flashless to show the pretty cable. I'm very happy with the new cable design.
The jaywalker sock is also SLOWLY growing:
It's a very easy, quick knit. But I'm not happy at all with the color/pattern combination. This seems to be a reoccuring problem with my socks lately. I think that this is going to be frogged soon. I don't know what it will be. But I'm thinking that the knit picks essential that I got a while ago may make a much better jaywalker.
I've been distracted the last few days with a new thing. I've been wondering what I can do to make some money off of this craft stuff I do and I've been thinking of setting up an etsy shop. But then my friend asked if I wanted to share a table with her at a craft fair (well, she asked everyone in our knitting group and I think I'm the only one who responded). I'm going to make a few felted bags that were a big hit at last year's charity auction. Here is one pre-felting. I got yarn to make 4 and I'm going to felt them all together. I made up the pattern a while ago but never wrote down the pattern so I hope I'm remembering it right. Maybe I should felt this one first to see if it looks ok before I make 3 more.
I'm also going to make some home made dog biscuits from the left over grain from my sweetie's beer making, some felted dog toys, some cat toys (maybe), and I'm going to try to make up a wristlet pattern. The wristlet patter will be tough since it requires a zipper and I'm not so great at putting zippers in. The craft fair is October 16th so I'll be busy crafting until then.
13 September 2007
1. Who is the Hogwarts teacher that Voldermort performed the Avada Kedavra curse on in Deathly Hallows?
b. Charity Burbage
2. Who replaces the Muggles studies teacher in Deathly Hallows?
c. Alecto Carrow
3. When Harry meets Mr. Olivander for the first time, which wand law is introduced?
c. The wand chooses the wizard.
4. According to Mr. Ollivander, what is not necessary to take true possession of another wizard's wand?
a. to kill the owner
5. If you know anything about Harry Potter, you will know that Harry's Patronus is a stag. But what is his best friend Ron Weasley's Patronus?
d. Jack Russell Terrier
6. Now for the third member of the trio. What form does Hermione Granger's Patronus take?
7. What did Mrs. Wealey make to eat the first night that Harry arrived at Grimmauld Place?
8. In book 5, at the start of term feast, what is Ron eating when trying to talk to Nearly Headless Nick?
c. Roast potato
9. A half-giant called Rubeus Hagrid takes you to Diagon Alley for the first time. To get there, you go into the courtyard of a pub called the Leaky Cauldron. There, Hagrid taps a certain brick on the courtyard wall three times with his pink umbrella, revealing the entrance to Diagon Alley. As he decides which brick to tap, he mutters instructions to himself. What instructions does he mutter?
10. The first place you go in Diagon Alley is Gringotts bank, where you can withdraw money from your vault and Hagrid can withdraw a top-secret package from Vault No. 713 on Dumbledore’s orders. On the second set of doors leading into the bank you notice a poem written. These are the first two lines:
Enter, stranger, but take heed
Of what awaits the sin of greed,
What is the next line?
10 September 2007
The first step was to design my own stamp and carve it and come up with a trail name. I thought about using something like a ball of yarn and needles, but it just didn't seem to go well with the whole outdooriness of letterboxing. I figured maybe I'll do something about the dogs since I'll be doing this with them. I spent the morning designing and carving my stamp:
Then I looked up a nearby clue. There was one in the park I always walk the dogs in. I decided to leave the dogs at home for this first hike since I wanted some photo documentation of this first letterboxing attempt and I didn't have a good hiking bag (I have a specific one in mind that I want) so there would have been way to much to try to shove into my pockets and juggle with the 2 dog leashes. I headed out to the park all by myself. It's one of my favorite parks in the area because there is a big pond and they have these floats just for the turtles to sunbath themselves on:
Aren't they adorable! I go on the little hike, it was only a 1 mile trail so it didn't take too long. And I found the tree the box was hidden in pretty easily. But. . .
NO BOX!!!! I was pretty upset and, needless to say, I was a little disappointed:
So then I drove around town looking for this specific bag that I wanted for when I do a REAL letterboxing trip (the other ones in the area are on 5 mile routes so I want to be able to carry water, journal, pen, stamp, ink pad, and pups!) Of course I couldn't find what I wanted. So, again rather disappointed, I head home. I get home around 330. I was chilling for a little bit, watching a little TV for about 10 minutes when I realize Coopers muzzle was swollen. I go to take a closer look and decide it's vet worthy. By the time I made it to the vet it had spread to his eye and his eye was swollen shut. He got an antihistamine and an anti inflammatory shot and then had to stay for observation for a while. He's doing much better now. Now I've got 2 and a half hours left in my sweetie-less day. I think I'm going to watch Friends and whatever other sitcoms are on that he hates and knit like crazy (I haven't knit a stitch yet today and it's 6 at night!!)
09 September 2007
Yesterday was one of those almost perfect days that I rarely see! I had to go to Richmond for a bridal shower (which is about 90 minutes or so away). I figured since I'm up there I'll got to an old friend of the family's new gelato shop but he wouldn't be around until after 4. So, I mapped out a few yarn stores and hit the road! I left for the shower but got there about 20 minutes early so I sat in the car and knit (this will be important later). I went to the shower at the Jefferson Hotel (where the stairway scene of Gone with the Wind was filmed.) It was a great time but only lasted from 10-12. I thought it would go until 2 and I would only have 2 hours to kill, instead I had 4. The best thing that happened in the whole shower was the soon to be mother-in-law of my friend told me I have first dibs on her future alpaca fleece! She has yet to get any alpaca but is planning on getting 2 for her ever expanding farm.
So, the party ends and with my directions in hand I head out to the first yarn store. It was only a few blocks away in the Carytown section of Richmond. The Yarn Lounge. And what a lounge it was!!! First off, let me set the mood for you. I'm driving around and find Carytown, a cute artsy, alternative, part of town. I always FREAK out about parking in cities cause I DO NOT parallel park. I didn't see any parking lots. I get to the block the store should be on and there is one free spot. There was no choice but to parallel park. Usually if my option is parallel park or skip the store, I skip the store! But, look at what I do for the love of yarn:
Yes, that is my boat of a car, parallel parked and not too badly, if I do say so myself!! That traumatic experience behind me, I trek on to the yarn lounge. I walk into the store and there is gorgeous yarn in lots of little cubbies lining the walls of the long narrow store. In the very back of the store are lots of little IKEA chairs and couches to hang out and knit on. And in the middle of the store is a large wooden table with about 8 chairs around it. 5 of which are filled with people knitting. And here's the conversation:
Me: oh, is this a class?
Them: No, we're just knitting
Me: Fun, I have my knitting in the car maybe I should join
Them: Sure, that would be great
Me: running out to car to get yarn!!
I sat with the ladies and worked on my Jaywalker sock for about 2 hours or so. Then did some shopping. In the 2 hours of knitting. I knit about 7 or 8 rows and realized that I had made a mistake in the 20 minutes I did while waiting for the shower to start. I had to frog back past the mistake row and then realized I needed to go back one more row so I had to tink that row. It took forever!! But by the time I started shopping I had at least gotten back to the place I was before I frogged. Speaking of my Jaywalkers:
Isn't it cute! The yarn is Apple Laine, Apple Pie from the Loopy Ewe. The color is English Garden. I got it when I ordered the yarn for my HSKS 3 partner (it shouldn't be giving anything away since the loopy ewe sells about everything!
What about my stash enhancement from the yarn lounge. . . well, I really tried to be good and I think I did a pretty good job. I no longer buy yarn cause it feels good. I buy it with a particular project in mind. I recently got the One Skein book and really wanted to make the baby bolero (although I have no babies to give it to. . . it will sit around the house as an emergency baby present). I got yarn for that, Blue Sky Dyed Cotton in a very light green.
And then I got some sock yarn, Fleece Artist basic merino sock.
I can always find something to do with sock yarn and I always know just how much to buy to make a pair of socks.
That was it for that yarn store and I was off to the next. Unraveled. Now, the Yarn Lounge was a very hard act to follow. I mean really, it was the perfect knitting store experience. Unraveled was in the same shopping plaza as my friend's gelato shop, which was rather convenient. It's in a suburban outskirts of Richmond. I walked in and it was very pleasing to the eye because the yarn was arranged by color. . . all oranges together, all purples together, etc. But it was not so easy to shop in. I was trying to find some vegan yarns for my secret pal and I had a hard time digging through the wools of a certain color to find the vegan yarn and then having to take it across the store to compare it with another color of the same yarn. I did wind up getting two skeins of vegan yarn for my pal. But I didn't get anything for myself. Oh, and the sock yarn was just sad. They had 4 or so types, each in only one color.
I finish up there and meet up with my friend at DeLuca Gelato. If you are ever in Richmond, Virginia I HIGHLY recommend it. I had cannoli flavored gelato with bits of cannoli shell and little mini chocolate chips. It was fantastic!! I hope that they do very well.
I hung out at the gelato shop for about an hour and then started the drive home. When I was about 20 minutes away from home I get a call from my sweetie to see if I want to go out to dinner with some people from the bridal shower. Of course I did since our good friend Pamela was in town from Hotlanta for the night and I only get to see her every few months. I walk in the door and say hi to the pups then turn around and leave for dinner with my sweetie. I grabbed the mail out of the mailbox on the way out and there was a package for me. My September Hill Country Yarns sock club shipment. Good thing this post is so long so I can post a picture but give fair warning to anyone who hasn't gotten their shipment yet. So, are you ready for the last of my yarny goodness for this post? Here goes, Hill Country Yarns color periwinkle:
It's gorgeous. I was just discussing with someone how much I want more semisolid sock yarn. And the pattern looks just precious. I can't wait to start it. I've got too many socks on the needles now though. I really have to finish some of my big projects so I'm not so stressed about my knitting.
That's the end of my knit-tastic day (actually my night went until about 2am when I had to DRAG my sweetie away from our friends cause I was the DD and I just couldn't stay awake any longer.
04 September 2007
The markers will get out in the mail as soon as I get your addresses. My contact info is in your comments but I have been having gmail problems so please leave me a comment if your e-mail is bounced back to you.
So, today was a fun little day for me. I went to Office Max to get ink for our printer. We have not had a working printer in over 3 years because we just haven't needed it. We print out everything at work. But, being jobless we have to print out our stuff at home. I was getting tired of copying patterns into my notebook and inevitably making a mistake and getting very frustrated. We have no where to set up the printer, it will just have to sit on the floor while we print things. Anyway, trips to Office Max are almost as good as trips to the yarn store for me. I have an absolute obsession with office supplies. For no reason at all I have a million packages of post its, 2 million notebooks, and a cagillion writing utensils.
So, after that trip I went to Dillard's to get a bridal shower present for a friend's bridal shower that is this weekend and something to wear to the shower. I HATE HATE HATE clothes shopping cause I've seemed to gain a crapload of weight lately.
I was so upset by this clothes shopping that I had to go to a new yarnish store. Colonial Fiber Arts. There was very little yarn. It's more of a spinning/weaving store with roving, looms, and wheels for sale. I got a few little goodies for my swap partners. I also walked out with their schedule and I really want to take their intro to weaving class. Not that I need another hobby, but I've been fascinated by weaving lately.
Then I came home and sat on my hammock and knitting while playing fetch with Trapper. It was great for about 30 seconds until the hoards of mosquitoes found me. I managed to stay out there for about an hour but then I just couldn't stand it and I was worried all the dead mosquitoes on my fingers might start staining my yarn (oh the joys of living by the water in VA).
Yarn: Koigu KPPPM Color P803
Needles: US2 DPNs
Pattern alterations: I got gauge on US1 but I couldn't get the sock past my heel so I had to frog it and reknit it on US2. It's still tighter than I'd like but I can get it on my foot now! The leg was very short so I added an extra pattern repeat, even with the extra repeat it's still a little shorter than I'd like. But I wound up with very little yarn left over so I'm glad I'd didn't try to do another repeat.
Here's a shot of the foot detail:
I think I'll work on the August Mystery Sock. The last clue isn't up yet so I can't get too much further along. And when I do finish it I'm going to want to cast on another sock cause otherwise I would have no socks on my needles (oh the horror!) I do have some sock yarn on it's way from The Loopy Ewe and from the Hill Country Sock Club so maybe I'll wait for those to get here.
Super Secret Project #2 is going to take far longer than I expected. It's much more complicated than I thought and will start to take up a lot of my time. I'm also still working on my sweetie's sweater and an Irish hiking scarf. I have to make some serious progress on one of the projects soon!
And some very good news. . . Our house is under contract now. I don't know if I've mentioned that in the last week. We still have to get through the home inspection and stuff before anything is set in stone. And we still have to find jobs. We're not closing until the end of October so we still have some time. If October 1st rolls around and my sweetie still doesn't have a job, that's when a serious freak out will occur!
Other good news. . . After my bottle of wine the bag I made still looks pretty damn good to me! I made another one yesterday for my other swap partner. I'm going to make a couple for me in my thirties reproduction fabrics cause the bag is just too cute and perfect for small projects.
02 September 2007
Thanks to everyone who entered my contest so far. There's still time, you have until 6 Tuesday night.
01 September 2007
How do you enter?
Well, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post by 6pm EST Tuesday September 4 saying what knitting related items you would love to receive in a secret pal type swap. In other words, if someone were to randomly send you a little something, what would make you squeal with delight.
What's the prize?
I have a few sets of stitch markers I made in Gryffindor colors. I don't want to post a picture since my pal is Gryffindor and I made a pair for her. They can be passed along to your Gryffindor pal if you involved in the HSKS or just kept them for yourself.
Good luck, I'll pick a few winners randomly (if I even have 3 people enter!)
My favorite is by far the knit picks metal dpns. I think they're 6" and I usually use a size US2.
3. Would you like to try a new brand needle? If so, which brand? Size? Length?
4. If you are a RAVENCLAW, do you prefer the colors in the film or the book? Do you have a strong preference?
The movie (blue and silver). I'm not a huge fan of gold, although it can work well with other colors sometimes. But in terms of jewelry and such I NEVER wear gold, always silver.
I am allergic to cats. But it only seems to be being around cats that sparks the allergy. Yarn (or presents) stored in a cat friendly environment seems to have no effect on me.
5. Do you have any allergies?
Now onto my knitting adventures for the past few days. I already mentioned my major cabling catastrophe last post. You can see the devastation for yourself:
That last cable was supposed to cross behind not in front! I went and scoured the shelves of Books-a-million for the book Knit Fix. After about 20 minutes of looking through every title I resigned myself to asking for help. A 5 second computer search showed that they do not carry the book. Now, let me say, in general I am not a fan of Books-a-million. It's just a messy disorganized store (the knitting books were mixed in with crochet, quilting, scrap booking, and origami!!) But I have little options for local book stores at the moment since our Barnes and Noble closed a few months ago when they decided to rebuild the mall it was attached to. I miss my Barnes and Noble! So, back to the story. I drive to the Barnes and Noble that is about 30 minutes away in the next town over and I find the book in about 5 minutes (including the time to find the craft section of the store). I was a little distracted by all the pretty books and accidentally also bought Simply Baby. No, I'm not pregnant!!! But I hope to be shortly after my husband gets a job. I would make just about everything in this book (with the exception of one of the baby blankets and a coat.) I also plan on putting this book to good use before I would ever need it. I'm going to make either the cabled yoke jacket or the cabled sweater for my neighbor's son who will be 1 year old in October (the one I babysat for this week). Again I digress, back to the wrong direction cable. I get home and decide to wait until later that night when I can give the project my full attention. I took the jump and dropped the stitches to before the cross. So, the directions said to put the two cables on different holders. Done. I'll refer to them as the right cable and the center cable. The right cable is supposed to cross behind the center cable. Then work the left stitch from the center cable up to the left needle. Done. Repeat with last 2 stitches on center cable then knit them onto the right needle. Done. Seems pretty easy so far. Cross the right cable and work up to the left needle. This may require tugging on the fabric. Ummmm. Yeah. Well, this is the one part that could have used a whole lot more explanation! The loose ladder that you work the stitches up is on the right of the center cable and I needed to work the next cable up the left of the center cable. After tugging at the fabric for a while but not really knowing what way to tug, I whipped out the crochet hook again and slowly worked each loose ladder rung across the stitches from the center cable until I had all the loose ladder rungs on the left then proceeded to work each stitch of the left cable up to the left needle and continued knitting like nothing ever happened! At the end the book was worth it cause I didn't have to frog. And there are tons of other helpful tips in there. But right at the most stressful part I felt like I was left all alone, tugging at my knitted sleeve in desperation. But it's done now and I know how to fix it in the future. . . and now so do you!
On a less stressful note, Fawkes:
Well, just sock number one. But I was able to make tons of progress in sock #2 and I'm 4/5's of the way through the leg. I know you can't see the pattern very well. It's supposed to look like fire. Which it does and which you would be able to see if I knew how to take a decent picture with my camera. I'm going to take some pictures outside this weekend since it's gorgeous out right now and hopefully you'll be able to see the pattern then.
These started out as Super Secret Project #1 and were going to be a present for my sister for Christmas (yeah like it's a big surprise that everyone is getting socks this year, you just won't know what socks and what yarn until Christmas day!). If you were following Super Secret Project #1 then you are aware of the problems I had. First off I got gauge on size US0 which seemed weird to me. Then at the end of the 4 repeats for the leg it was only about 4 inches long and didn't fit over my heel. FROG FROG FROG!!! I started over using US2 even though the gauge was way off. I had to do 5 repeats of the pattern to get it to a decent length. I'm not all that happy with the heel. It doesn't fit nearly as well as the striped socks heel or the river rapids heel. They are all heel flap construction, but there's something different about this one. When I wear it it's pretty damn comfy though and it looks fabulous but I'm glad it's not being gifted cause I just have bad feeling about it and it's no fun to give gifts you don't like all that much.
Oh, and just cause I said everyone is getting socks for Christmas, you probably won't be. I PLAN on everyone getting socks for Christmas, but most likely I'll finish one or 2 pairs and then go out and buy presents for everyone else. Especially with Super Secret Project #2 underway. Geesh, that's a tough project!
So, I am anxiously waiting for my sisters and parents to return from a trip to NH. They are making a stop at Webs (America's Yarn Store) and they know I want sock yarn and I can't wait to see what they get me! Have you heard of Webs. I've never been there. My sister has been once. But I listen to their podcast all the time. OK, I really have to go enjoy the day and this post is ginormous!!