Sunday, November 27, 2005

Must knit socks

Must finish socks. Must mail socks to secret pal. Must not touch new yarn.

OK, so I have been doing good on the socks considering the fluster of the holidays. I even got a good six hours in on during the 12 hour ride up here, but today...temptation.

The Parental Units gave me an early Christmas present...a gift certificate to the Knitting Sisters here in Willy! Yeah!

So today we went over and I got to pick stuff out. I'll post photos ASAP, but the computer here (if it really can be considered a computer) lacks USB drives. I got Rowan tweed, some red and white yarn to make Girl # 2 a stocking and some other stuff, red wool with some other colors twisted in.

Can you tell I am being too lazy to go upstairs and check the labels??

In any case, Knitting Sisters has moved to a swank new location. Same shopping center, but much more space and a new room for classes. What a great store. Plus, now that we are out of Florida there's more wool available. I love the wool.

The best part is that my stepmother is going to take a knitting class this December. She is grand at all of the other needlecrafts (even made my wedding dress!!) and now she's trying knitting. The more the merrier!

(and apologies for any speling mishaps, working on substandard equipment here...and while I can do derivatives in my head I can't spell at all)

Adios from Williamsburg!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Gobble Gobble

Well, we leave for Willimasburg tomorrow morning. I should be able to post, but Dad's computer is knda like trying to drive a pinto uphill in an ice storm. In other words, slow going.

But, I do have the digital camera along, so when we return I'll have snappy photos of knitting on the road.

And how typical is this, I have spent all day getting everyone else ready. It took me 15 minutes to pack my clothes and such, but it is almost midnight and I still haven't decided on all my knitting.

Have a great holiday!!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Grape Ape Photos

Have I mentioned how much I love this yarn? Louet Sales Opal. Love it!! Soft and seems like it will be very durable. Best sock yarn I've used.

The sock is a bit baggy in the photo. It is for my Sox Exchange person, and her feet are bigger than mine. Still, I think you can get a good idea of the grapes and how they will look.

Once the husband gats home I'll try to get a better photo. Have you noticed how hard it is to get a good sock self-protrait? I am just not that bendy anymore.

One final note, someone had mentioned using the grape ape cable for a scarf. I think it would work very well (might even try one myself!). I would recommed making the bobbles bigger so they stand out. For the sock I just did 3 stitches for the bobble...I thought anything bigger might make it look like the wearer had something wrong with her ankles, and we don't want that. For a sweater or scarf a four stitch bobble comes out better, more grape like.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Not much doin'

I'm just here plugging along on holiday knitting. Once we have more batteries for the camera I'll post some photos. The first "Grape Ape" sock is done. Needs blocking, but otherwise turned out OK.

And an amusing story from the family:

So the husband is telling the girls their bedtime story tonight about a girl named Yawnifer, who only liked to do boring things and eventually marries a guy named Yani.

Girl #1: Like what boring things?

The Husband: Oh, like watch TV, or read books about dirt, or nap…

Girl #1: Did she knit?

The Husband can’t answer, he’s laughing too hard.

This is the respect for knitting we have around here. Deep sigh.

Friday, November 18, 2005

And the weiner is....

Seriously though, no one is a weiner. But we do have a winner. And I have to say, y'all are fast! Most folks got it right, I forgot to include one of the symbols on the chart. The corrected version is here (click to make it readable):
And our winner is….imaginary drum roll….Just So Carfty!!
Here’s a shot of her new Grape Ape Stitch Marker.t is being tested on my dad's vest, but it will be free in time to make the mail on Monday.
As promised, here’s some of the stuff from Sit and Knit. Amazing place. I know, badly lit shots of yarn are a bit dull, but in the pic you can see the beginnings of the grape ape socks. I turned the heel today, so I should be able to show a picture of how it looks knitted up soon. Also, have you tried Louet Sales sock yarn. Soft? Yes! Machine Washable? You bet! I love this stuff, it is knitting up wonderfully.
I'll try not to gush too much, I wouldn't want the folks at Fiber Protective Services thinking the yarn and I were inappropriately close.
Now, it’s Friday. I have had the hardest time thinking of a question for today. Really, I got to go to a real yarn store, so my fiber curiosity is fairly well satiated right now.
Still, I have only been to four real knitting stores in my time, all have their good and bad points. For instance, I know displaying yarn to the ceiling looks good, but I am only 5’ 1 ¼ ", so a bit impractical. And I can’t be the only one, I can’t imagine the Globetrotters knitting.
So what works for you? What are you looking for? Selection? Location? Helpful staff? Sale rack?
What makes a great local yarn store?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Fabulous Prizes!

Well, really if you look behind door number three, and really squint you might just spot it.

So I put up the Grape Ape cable pattern…one tiny problem. Did you spot it?

It’s nothin’ big, it would still work, but it might leave you scratching your head a bit. I'll correct it tomorrow. Since I went a bit crazy the other day making stitch markers, I figure I’ll offer one to the first person that can spot my dumb error.

So, whoever e-mails me the mistake in the chart first gets a fabulous grape ape stitch marker, free!

And I have stuff from by odessy to Sit and Knit yesterday, but no photographs yet. The girls and I had a great time, and we got stuck in traffic for over an hour coming home and I got one skein wound into a ball and a gauge swatch started. I love swatches!

And a tip…your house needs cleaning if you go to photograph you new yarn and cannot find a clean surface to put it on. Really! So I’ve got to go tidy up a bit. If I let that alpaca touch any surface in this house I’d have Fiber Protective Services here to take protective custody of the stash.

So I’ll update this latter with pics. Fun stuff!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Grape Ape

Grape Ape Chart is done!

Finally! Here's the chart.

Still working out the details on the to follow.


I confess, I have been a bad sock swapper. I have been so busy trying to get the socks I am making started, I have neglected to put up info for my secret knitter.

So this is a short dull post about my feet.

And, please forgive if it is a bit disjointed. Girl #1 is at preschool and Girl #2 is having some kind of fit about not having on sparkly shoes. She is a Wizard of Oz fanatic right now. I am tuning out as best I can, but really, it ain’t easy.

1. What are your foot measurements? My feet are different sizes. One is a size 6.5, the other is a size 5.5. You can average out to a size six, it always works for me.

2. Do you have a favorite sock yarn? Nope, I love them all

3. Is there a specific pattern you favor?...lace or ribbed? Again, I really am not picky. I live in Florida, so it’s never very cold here.

4. What colors do you prefer? Do you like solids or stripes? I tend to wear a lot of blues and greens. I am not crazy about most of the self stripping yarns, but I am willing to try them. Variegated is fine.

5. Do you have any allergies to a specific fiber? No Allergies.

6. Holiday that you usually celebrate? Christmas

Thanks! And sorry I've been so slow!

Oh, and the good news is that Girl #2 just ran to her room yelling “I not talking anymore to you!” A few minutes of peace!

The other good bit of news is I am planning a trip this afternoon to a yarn store!! I haven’t been past the small area that is Daytona Beach since we moved, and man do I need to get outta here. I have until 12:30 when Girl #1 gets out of preschool to get ready. We have snacks packed, music picked, kids books to read. So this afternoon, Sip and Knit.

Seriously, I have planned more for this 50 minute car ride than I normally do for the 12 hour drive back to Willy.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Hey Mr. Postman

So a few days back, that snappy gal at Knit and Tonic was venting about the postman. We have a similar situation here in sunny Fla. Our guy arrives anywhere from 11 to 7. My biggest problem is he refuses to get out of the truck to bring boxes that are too big to the door. This combined with the somewhat unpredictable weather makes for tense times when packages are expected.

Just a few weeks ago I had to sprint out to stop him from shoving a HUGE package the size of a king sized pillow into the mailbox. He was trying so hard to shove it in there that the mailbox had to be replanted. Turned out to be from Knit Picks. Several of the yarn labels were damaged, but nothing so bad that Fiber Protective Services needed notifying.

So today I was so happy when the whole operation worked correctly and THIS arrived:

I love these things. It is of course the New Lux Knitting Books from 1951.

And in case you have a teen in your life, e-mail and I’ll send you a copy of this: (It's in a section called Togs for Teens!)

So back to my real knitting life. I took a serious look at the calendar, and I am realizing I can’t wait for Willy to get sock yarn. No time. I still have to finish Dad’s vest. So the girls and I are making a big leap on Wednesday: ORLANDO.

Yup, They have yarn there. So off we go. That way if nothing hits I still have time to order some stuff online.

Now…think purple for me.

I am swatching for Grape Ape socks. I started playing with it last night while watching some Elizabeth I thing on PBS. All I have on hand is green Essential Sock Yarn from Knit Picks. So the swatch is green, but you can pretend, right?

Here’s the rough chart. I’ll improve in the next couple of days.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Home Again Home Again, Jiggety-Jig

Colonial Sheep

OK, so this is the umpteenth Sunday in a row the husband has worked, poor guy. Really, since July he has been working 7 day weeks and has only taken one day off.

Why do I tell you this?

Because today, I grow tired of my children.

Sure, they are cute, and fun, and even do small household chores. Still, if I have to wipe ONE MORE NOSE!! You know what I mean. It’s a cute nose…but …but…

So obviously I am a bit stressed. So when the husband announced we might be able to head home to Willy (Williamsburg, VA for the tourists) for Thanksgiving, I was all over that idea.

It’s always nice to see the family and all the friends we left in The Old Dominion. Even a break from the kids is good.

But the REAL reason I am excited?

THEY HAVE A REAL YARN STORE!! A good one, a great one. Called Knitting Sisters. I love it there. Plus, I might get to go see my teaching buddies in Richmond and they have TWO yarn stores there.

Did I mention this is like a yarn desert here. A real wasteland for fiber. A knitting void. The only place to buy yarn here is Wal-Mart, and you know how I am about the Homespun.

I so need a yarn store right now. You see, I have the most exciting person for the Holiday Knits Sox Exchange. I can’t say who, but she is so snappy. I have all these ideas for socks I have been trying to get to…”Ants in Your Pants” in a nice rusty red. “Grape Ape” with a nice bumpy texture, “Duck, Duck Goose” with some neat-o triangles.

But really, none of these are snappy enough for my secret sock buddy. I need to go someplace and touch sock yarn to get some ideas.

I do this all the time. I get so worried about making the perfect thing that I take forever to get it together.

So wish me luck. I need the inspiration fairy to hit me over the head, or at least jab me in the side with some DPN’s.

** Oh, and a side note for you tourist types, or “tourons” as we call them in Willy. Knitting Sisters is right down the road from Bush Gardens, so next time you head to the Colonial Capital have your traveling companions drop you there instead. Spend the ticket price on yarn!

Girl #1 scowls at a colonial cow

Friday, November 11, 2005

What are you watching?

Miss MarpleLast night was Netflix movie night, and the husband had selected Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Has anyone seen it? Remember the part where the Improbability Ship turns into a ball of yarn with big knitting needles, and the crew is briefly depicted as knitted dolls?

Well, it’s a roundabout way of getting me thinking about knitting and sweaters in movies. Of course, Gromit knits. And Miss Marple.

Beyond that though, there are some movies where I have a hard time paying attention to the plot because of the sweaters. Usually they are set in World War II era England. You know, tweedy woolen things perfectly shaped.

Two movies I’ve recently seen that had the “sweater distraction” are Charlotte Gray and Sylvia (2003). I also rather like the knitting in the current PBS Miss Marple series. I know, I know, they change Agatha Christie’s plots, and I am not crazy about that, but the wool! Have you seen it?

So for this Friday’s question, what movies/TV shows inspire your knitting?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I’m not telling

Talk about pressure. So I am finally catching up around here…and you will NEVER believe who my holiday sock exchange person is.

NEVER. Will you get it out of me…nope, 'cause I’m not talking.

Well, OK, just a little. The amazing thing is that I used to live less than seven miles from her house. Yup, that close. Can you believe it?? My first boyfriend’s house is less than two miles away. Spooky, huh?

I tell you, the memories are flooding back. He was 14, in my freshman English class. Dark and brooding, if that is possible for a 14 year old. He was an officer in the CAP (Civil Air Patrol). Ah, the romance. A pre-teen in uniform…

Anyway, back to the socks. I have no idea of what to knit. I feel like I ought to start NOW, I have a feeling I am going to be picky about this one. I had been thinking some sort of red and white holiday thing, like fair-isle candy canes, but I’m not sure if that will do at all.

In actual knitting news, the little cardigan I am working on is zipping along. I am working it in one piece until I reach the armholes and then we’ll start to worry about how to manage the sleeves. The nice thing about knitting for miniature people is it goes quickly.

Sorry for the lack of photos. Girl #1 had a big leg injury that ate up most of my "Free time". Hint to five year olds: If you are NOT supposed to climb on your furniture, tipping the dresser over so it pins you to the ground WILL get you caught! No broken bones, but hopefully she now realizes "maybe these arbitrary rules mom comes up with are good for me. Except for the one about not licking things."

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I’m Cheating on….

My Christmas knitting. Really, I know I shouldn’t be casting on a new project, but the Cotton Ease was calling me, and I love this ribbing:

The blue is much prettier, you know how it goes.

I am sure somewhere it is documented in one of the various knitting tomes and has a name. I sort of made it up, but I really can’t claim it as something new.

The plan is to make this a cardigan for Girl #2, with the light and dark blue stripes for the sleeves, and a collar of the same ribbing as the bottom.

But, since I have a total inability to follow patterns, mine or anyone else’s, we’ll see how it turns out.

On the up side I have 5/8th of Dad’s vest done, so that will take no time, right?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Why is it Tuesday and I am only now getting to post?? Because I am a mom, and we run a business from home, and sometimes life conspires so that knitting becomes impossible. I am so glad everyone left such great ideas on how they find time to knit. Today I need them all!

So in the last two days I have been to:

  • Laundromat
  • Playground
  • Bakery
  • Ridiculous five year old birthday party
  • Our local Zoning office
  • Grocery Store
  • Home Depot
  • Preschool
  • Library
  • Playgroup
  • Two Banks
  • Target

How do I cope? Well, I work on a strict treat system. So anytime I am overworked, I give myself a treat.

Yesterday’s treat was a trip to Hancock Fabric to look at yarn. I know, I know. Lion Brand is all they have, but it is what passes for crafting culture around here.

We are so fiber-isolated here I didn’t even know that Lion Brand now has a new 100% wool yarn. It is the only store in a 60 mile radius that has non-acrylic yarn. Plus bamboo needles.

The best part…they had three lonely balls of cotton ease for sale. I know, it has acrylic in it, but for a snappy new sweater for Girl #2, it is perfect.

And for the record, it takes REAL mom talent to entertain a two year old for two hours at a laundromat with only a piece of wool yarn.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Friday's Question: How do you....

Howdy folks!

I hope everyone’s week is winding down and you are all set for a relaxing weekend. Last week I got so many interesting answers to the knitting rules question, so I figured I’d post a new question for this weekend.

A while back the snappy Candsmom over at Bits of Knits asked how I found so much time to knit. I have been thinking about since then. I feel like I hardly EVER have time to knit.

So, I’m posing a question to everyone…how do YOU find time to knit?

This isn’t just for us stay at home mom types. We all are busy, so I am wondering what creative way you find time to accommodate your knitting.

My personal tip for moms: Duct Tape.

Seriously though, I knit everywhere. Doctors, preschool playground, library reading time, in line at the grocery store, anywhere. If I am not holding a child or doing household drudge stuff, I’m knitting.

So today after preschool the girls played on the playground for what seemed like hours. Not to worry, I got a good gauge swatch done for a cardigan I am planning.

I have even learned to hold a book open with my toes so I can knit and read. Didn’t work so well for Udolpho that we have been reading over at Knit the Classics, but otherwise I’ve had good luck.

So, share your secrets, how do you find time to knit?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Sign of a Good Project

There it sat. Neglected, Lonely, Forgotten.

Then, Socktoberfest passes and you look at the calendar. Christmas is coming!

So, it is time to dust off those needles.

The worst part about returning to an old project is getting that momentum going again. You know the question…”Now where was I?”.

What makes a good project?

One worth dusting off. I really love how this vest is turning out, but it feels like it is taking forever. There are so many NEW projects calling.

I need a Ribbed Cardi. Need people.

But then, before I click to order the yarn, I spot it.

This is the cardigan I started last year. Then we moved and it got stuck in a box. Just found it. Won’t it be pretty once it has arms and a collar? I am planning on doing the collar in a nice cable rib, just like the hem.

I cannot stand the waste of an unfinished project...I saved to buy all that yarn, but there it sits. All the unfinished projects reflect the year we've had. A lot of change, and not a lot of knittin time.

So, I'm dusting them off. First I finish the vest for Dad's Christmas gift.

Then, something for me!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Tag, I’m it, again!

Well, I was just tagged by Tammy at PuNk rAwK pUrL and Chrissy at Knittin Mom.

What is your all-time favorite yarn to knit with?

I tend to be kind of a purist with things. I make most of our foods from scratch; even occasionally do my own canning. Halloween costumes? Always homemade. Probably comes from reading Little House on the Prairie one too many times. So when it comes to yarns I am such a yarn snob…I prefer 100% cotton, wool, whatever. Cannot stand Acrylic, or any of its fake cousins.

Your favorite needles?

Brittany Birch. Unfortunately our cat, Mike, also loves to chew on them, making them useless. I almost always use wooden or bamboo needles.

(He look s so innocent)

The worst thing you've ever knit?

The shapely tank in Cotton Ease. I know, great pattern, and lots of folks love that yarn. It made me look shapely…like I was shaped out of mashed potatoes. Probably not the best thing to try to knit while my daughter was having (very minor) surgery. Bad knitting karma.

Your most favorite knit pattern? (maybe you don't like wearing it, but it was the most fun to knit.)

I have never actually knitted a pattern without changing it substantially. Keeping that in mind, it is probably the Anouk I did in Paton’s Grace. For once I kept the shape mostly the same, but did a totally different design. Girl #2 wore this SO much last year. I have now decorated her room with it:

Most valuable knitting technique?

Short row shaping. I am all about toe up socks.

Best knit book or magazine?

I tend to like books of stitch patterns, Like Nicky Epstein’s “Knitting on the Edge” series, rather than pattern books. Interweave press is always a good bet.

Your favorite knitblogs?

Oh, I cannot just one favorite! You are all just so snappy….I only wish I had more time to keep up with them.

Your favorite knit-along?

Socktoberfest! (Thanks Lolly!)

Your favorite knitwear designer?

Right now I am coveting several things by Bonne Marie Burn. I’m sure I’ll have a new fave by next week. I get restless easily.

The knit item you wear the most? (how about a picture of it?)

This hat:

I designed this last fall after I found out this yarn does not felt very well. It is Manos del Uraguay. Sorry for the sludgy photos...rain today!

Oh, and for Self Portrait Tuesday, me in the hat:

So I looked pooped? Well, since this month is about identity, this is me after a day of cleaning, and NOT strangling my sugar-high children post Halloween.