Thursday, November 06, 2008

Christmas Sock Knitting

Well I've finished a few things. Unfortunately, I didn't meet my goal of knitting 600 yards for the Stash and Burn Socktober challenge, but I did manage to finish these (I only finished the 2nd sock for the challenge - the first one was done earlier):

These were done in the Basket Weave Rib pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks. The yarn is Fortissima, and I cast on 80 stitches for this sock. They are for my dad. I sure hope he likes them, because they took forever to knit!

The other sock I finished in October was this one:

This sock is for my dad's girlfriend. The 2nd sock is currently in progress - I'm about halfway down the cuff. This pattern is a fairly simple pattern called Shapely Secrets Socks by Dawn Adcock. I've knit a pair before for myself, and they fit really well. They have some graduated ribbing at the top, and some extra heel shaping that makes the socks really hug your feet. The yarn is Opal yarn - I have no idea which kind, I've had this yarn in my stash forever and I can't read the ball band. However, I LOVE Opal yarn - it wears like iron. I've washed & dried my Opal socks for years and they are still going strong.

Can you tell my family likes blue? I love it, my dad loves it, and I'm assuming Alice (my dad's girlfriend) loves it too, because she wears a lot of blue.

Just for fun, here's my daughter at Halloween. She didn't go trick-or-treating this year for the first time (sob, sob - she's growing up!) but she did go to a party on Saturday. I kind of had to laugh - as I dropped her off at the party I saw the other girls dressed like ballerinas, butterflies, dolls - and here comes my daughter, the pirate!! It was kind of funny.

I hope everyone is doing well with their Christmas knitting if that's what you are doing. If not, I hope whatever you are knitting is coming along nicely!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Slow Knitting

I think I am a slow knitter. It seems to take me forever to finish anything. I know knitting on size one needles with fingering weight yarn is going to take awhile, but I keep reading about people who finish off socks like candy! I am taking part in the Stash and Burn Ravelry group Socktober challenge. You have to list how much sock yarn you have, and how much you want to knit up during October. As mentioned before, I discovered I have about 15,000 yards of sock yarn, and I was planning on knitting about 600 yards, or about 3 socks. Actually, 3 socks is probably more like 650 yards, but who's counting.

Since I joined the challenge, I finished the first sock of the pair I'm knitting for my dad, which was basically the last inch or so of the pattern plus the toe decrease, and I'm down just past the gusset decreases on the 2nd sock. Now, granted this is a sock of man-size proportions - cast on 80 stitches, size one needles, etc., but still - I'm still working on one sock while others in the group have completed pairs and pairs, or several single socks. I am either very slow or other people have a lot more time than I do!!

I will post a picture of the finished socks once I'm done. I already have a plan for the next pair of socks - they will be for my dad's girlfriend out of some Opal yarn I have, and the pattern will be more plain, not a basketweave (no dreaded purling!). I'm also slowly working on the Twilight socks for my daughter, but since I decided I really want to finish my dad's sock I kind of put the Twilight ones aside for the moment.

Off to my knitting!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

How Much Sock Yarn Does A Girl Need?

15,000 yards, that's how much!! I joined the Stash and Burn Ravelry Socktober challenge to find out how much sock yarn I actually have, and to say how much I will knit up this month. So last night I took a deep breath and pulled out all my sock yarn and added up the yardage. I found out that it wasn't actually quite as bad as I thought, although it is still a lot! I am going to try and knit three socks in October (around 600 yards) - the 2nd sock of the pair I am knitting for my dad, and the entire pair that I am planning on knitting for my dad's girlfriend. They are both Christmas presents. I took a picture of my stash (sock yarn only, let's be clear) for posterity:

As you can see, I have a fondness for Opal :} It looks like Trekking is coming in second, and I have a fair bit of Regia - although that black, gold & gray yarn I've had for probably 10 years. I can't remember what I was thinking when I bought that gold yarn, it is so not a color I would generally buy. Sorry the picture quality isn't so great - I did this last night after work, and I didn't want to leave it laying out all night. Who knows what my cats would have done to it!

Here is my dad's sock in progress - as you can see I am almost done with the first sock, hopefully I will finish it today. I ended up having to go buy a 2nd ball of yarn, since this sock is taking a lot more yarn than I realized it would. I'm knitting the Basketweave Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks on size one needles, and I casted on 80 stitches. My dad wears a size 9 shoe, so I think these will fit him pretty well. The only reason I will be able to get so much knitting done today is that my daughter is away on a choir retreat. I guess they are all "bonding" which will help them sing better together. I hope she is having fun. She loves being in this choir, so I'm sure she is having a great time. I have to go pick her up tomorrow morning, and they are about an hour away from here. Nothing like a Sunday morning drive! Due to traffic, the choir leaders decided to bus them all up together Friday night, thank goodness. But we, the parents, will be in for a mini-concert when we pick them up tomorrow, which will be fun.

In other news, I got my Harry Potter sock yarn from Simply Socks Yarn Company. I woke up one morning (Monday, maybe?) to find an email stating that the yarn was available to purchase. Before I was even dressed or had my coffee I had credit card in hand. Shipping was so fast - I had the yarn by Thursday. I totally love it, and can't wait to knit it. Unfortunately it will have to wait until after my Christmas knitting is done, which might be a while. But aren't these colors great? I ordered, from left to right: Hedwig, Tonks & Draco. I didn't much care for the other colors, but I thought these three were wonderful.

I have another pair of socks I want to knit for my daughter for Christmas, but I don't know if I can pull it off. They are the Eclipse Socks based on the 3rd book in the Twilight series. We both just read all these books, and loved them. I think I might be able to knit them while she is in choir practice - I have about an hour and a half of time twice a week. I don't even have the yarn yet or anything, so we'll just have to see. She would love them, though!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Another School Year

Boy, it's been almost a month since I posted anything. Could it have something to do with school starting again, along with all it's associated activities? I think so.

But I do have one FO to show, and here it is:

Yep, I finished one of the fingerless gloves for my daughter. I can't tell you how close I came to throwing this thing across the room! I finally got the lace pattern down OK, but when it came to knitting the thumb gusset I had to try about four times before finally getting it right. I'm really not looking forward to the 2nd glove. My daughter took pity on me and told me very graciously that I could take a break before knitting the 2nd glove to knit some socks. Since I have about three pairs of socks I'm planning on knitting various people for Christmas, it might be awhile until I get back to the 2nd glove. I have to admit they look good on her, so I really should finish them, though.

I didn't take a picture of the socks I'm working on right now, but I'm down to picking up the gusset stitches on a pair of socks for my dad. I'm using the blue Fortissima yarn I bought a few weeks ago. I decided on the Basketweave Rib pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks. I think it is making the sock a little thick, but I'm pretty sure my dad will like it. Once I finish these, I will be knitting a pair for my dad's girlfriend and then another pair for my brother. I'm thinking I'll use some self-striping Opal yarn for my dad's girlfriend and just knit a pair of "plain vanilla" socks for her. I'm not quite sure yet what I will do for my brother.

Before the summer ended and school started, I took my daughter down to the Seattle waterfront to visit the aquarium. Here is a shot of her while we were outside at the aquarium with the Seattle waterfront behind her:

And just for fun, the first day of school! This is always a fun day - she picks very carefully what she wears to school. In fact, this year she and her best friend went through her wardrobe and actually took Polaroid pictures of outfits she planned to wear for the first week of school. They had all the clothes laid out on the floor, including accessories. It was hilarious.
We are having a beautiful weekend here in Seattle. It's been a bit grey & rainy for the past couple of weeks, but today is about 70 and sunny. We are enjoying it immensely!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Labor Day Shopping Extravaganza

Holy Cow. My daughter and I went out to run a few errands, and came home with a haul. First, we hit the Redmond Farmer's Market, which was brimming with great fruits and vegetables. We started off eating Hawaiian hot dogs, which are totally yummy, then we picked up some blackberries, pluots (a combination plum & apricot), apples, pears, an onion, and some peaches. Oh, and I got something called a lemon cucumber. I can't wait to try it in a salad with some of the cherry tomatoes I'm getting off the plant on my balcony.

Then we went to Borders. I had a 30% off one item coupon, and of course we bought way more than one item! I got this:
There are some really cute patterns in there, plus a few sock patterns that I really liked. My daughter got the 2nd book in the Twilight series, and we picked up a few other odds & ends as well. Then we headed off to Bath & Body Works where they were having one sale after another, and I picked up a few nice smelly things for home & bath. Then......drum roll to Ben Franklin's. Oh my. I went in for this:
and came out with this:
A sad state of affairs I tell you! Every once in a while I get a 40% off coupon to use at Ben Francklin's through my email, and I tend to go in and buy a skein of sock yarn with it. Today I bought the Fortissima Socka with it, intending to make a pair of socks for my dad for Christmas. Then my daughter fell in love with that book in the picture, Creepy Cute Crochet by Christen Haden. I have been desperate to get her interested in knitting or crocheting, or some type of fiber hobby. She loves building legos, but that gets expensive after a while. So I caved in and bought her the book, a crochet hook, some yarn, and the googly eyes. I'm afraid she will get bored quickly, but I'll keep my fingers crossed. She also likes embroidery, so we bought a package of white pillowcases for her to embroider on. She got the bright idea that if she gets bored with one thing she can switch to the other, which brought to mind all the knitters I hear about with multiple UFO's - she'll be like that, only switching between hobbies! As you can see I also have some candles there. They are all fall scents, which just smell so good.

We also ran a quick errand to Staples to pick up the last couple of things we need for her back-to-school supplies. Thank goodness we didn't leave it all to the last minute, because that place was a total zoo! We only needed a protractor & some pens, and then we high-tailed it out of there!

I'm currently knitting my daughter a pair of fingerless gloves. The yarn is Paton's Stretch Socks in a black & white variegated color. I've not done very much lace, so it's a little on the hard side for me, but I think they are coming out pretty good:

For some reason I'm not really enjoying knitting these. I don't know if I don't like the yarn, or the needles, or both. I feel the pattern is not very well written, but I've been able to figure it out as I go along. The pattern is out of a Patons booklet written for this specific yarn called "Patons Stretch Socks Sweet to your Feet." It's Pattern #4, the Lace Wrist Warmers.

One of the things I bought today at Ben Franklin's is a set of bamboo dpn's in the size I need for these gloves to try with the next glove. I'm thinking maybe I don't like the metal needles. I hope switching from metal to bamboo won't change my gauge too much. I need both gloves to come out the same!

We are having a beautiful fall-ish day here in the Seattle area today. The sun keeps coming out from behind the clouds, but it's only about 65. The sun feels good, not to hot! I'm going to go enjoy my balcony for awhile now.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Crossed the Finish Line & Vacation Time

Wow! I managed to finish a pair of socks in 16 days - even less than the 17 days that the Olympics lasted. I had planned on blogging my progress each day of the Ravelympics - obviously that didn't happen. But here is my finished pair of socks and my medal:

I'm so thrilled with my finished socks. I am gradually getting faster and faster at finishing socks!

I also participated in my first swap this summer. It is the Sock Yarn Swap From Your Stash (a group on Ravelry). My spoiler, Nancy from MN, send me a wonderful box of goodies. I absolutely love the yarn. I haven't started knitting it yet, but it is definitely up there in my mental list of what's coming up. The Spam and the Trix are locally made in her area - I haven't eaten Spam since I was a kid, and I think it will be fun to have it for dinner some night! My daughter is anxious to try it too as she saw it all over the place last year when we were in Hawaii. For a few days during the Ravelympics, my daughter and I headed to Ocean Shores, Washington for a little vacation. This picture pretty much sums up how it went:
For three days before we left, we were in the middle of a sweltering heat wave (for the Pacific Northwest, anyway). It had been around 95 degrees each day. The day we left for Ocean Shores (Monday), the temperature dropped about 25 degrees and it started raining. And it kept raining. And raining. We took walks on the beach in the rain and wind. Then we gave up and hit all the gift shops in town. I bought this: at a store called Blue Heron Fabrics. They had both quilting and knitting items. Not a huge selection of yarn, but they had a lot of sock yarn that I hadn't seen in person before. I also got a mini-lesson on knitting socks on two circs - it looks pretty easy, I am going to have to give it a try!

The day we left Ocean Shores, the sun came out! Do you believe it. So we crammed in a game of mini-golf and a long walk on the beach collecting shells and rocks before we left for home.

Today we went to the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe. We had a ton of fun looking at all the animals. We watched a dog show, horse exhibition, went through all the animal barns and of course the textile arts building. There were also art exhibits, canning and cooking exhibits - it was what I think of as a "real" fair. In one of the sheep barns a lady was spinning and selling her handspun yarn. Yes, I bought this: I can't wait to use it. I'm thinking either a scarf or some fingerless gloves.

I have to go back to work tomorrow. At least it is only three days, and then I get a 3-day weekend! And thank goodness school starts again the day after Labor Day. If I hear "I'm bored" one more time I am going to scream!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Ravelympics, Day 1

So here is my progress for the first day of knitting in the Ravelympics:Pretty good for one evening of knitting for me. Even my daughter commented that I had "knit a lot, mom!" Could it be because I knit from 8pm until midnight? I think so! I even knit in between my turns of playing Parcheesi with my daughter. She didn't mind. She thinks it is hilarious that I entered the Ravelympics.

Although it was "legal" to cast on at 5am, which is when the Opening Ceremonies started in Beijing (8pm their time), I couldn't bring myself to get out of bed that early :} And I had to work all day, so I just cast on and knit away while watching the Opening Ceremonies on TV. Boy were they beautiful. The Chinese did a great job.

The pattern I'm using is called the Dublin Bay Socks, which is a free pattern from Mossy Cottage Knits. I'm finding it to be a perfect pattern for me - a little lacy insert up the side to keep my attention, but mostly stockinette for faster knitting. The yarn is Opal Neon, in color 1931. Love the colors.

I hope I can get a lot of knitting done today!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Ready, Set, Go!

Done, done, done - yes, I have finally finished the Horcrux socks. Here they are in all their glory:

I love the colors in this yarn, and the striping pattern, but the yarn itself was kind of splitty for me and hard to work with. Part of it might be the dark color of parts of the yarn, but I had more trouble with these socks that any of the other socks I've ever made. I dropped stitches right and left, and there are a few mistakes in there, but I still like them.

I have a pretty good amount of yarn left over because the cuff of the sock is shorter than most of the other socks I've ever made, so I think I am going to try making some footies for my daughter.

While I was out and about yesterday I was near the Redmond Ben Franklin's and had the urge to stop in and see what was new. A little stash enhancement ensued:

I totally love that Trekking yarn! I can't wait to try it out. The Patons is new to me, but it is a stretchy cotton blend yarn. I bought a pattern booklet made for the yarn which had some really cute patterns in it, including some lacy wrist warmers that I thought my daughter would like. They also had hats, and socks of course! We'll see who ends up with which color of yarn. I was going to make socks out of the turquoise, but my daughter decided that she would try to knit a headband that was in the pattern book - so either I'll wait until she tires of the knitting (although I hope she decides she likes it), or I'll just make myself some black/white socks.

Now that I have finished the Horcrux socks, I can be ready for the Ravelympics 2008! Here is my yarn, pattern, and needles all ready to go:

This pattern is mostly stockinette, but it has a lacy insert up the sides. The idea of the Ravelympics is to knit something that is a challenge to you during the 2008 Olympic Games. Cast on during the opening ceremonies, and hopefully finished before the flame goes out 17 days later. For me, knitting a pair of socks in 17 days is definitely a challenge! The Horcrux socks are the fastest socks I've knit so far, and that took a little over a month. It's not that I knit so slow (although I am not the fastest knitter in the world) but it's about how much time I have to knit. I'm lucky if I get an hour a few nights a week. However, I love the Olympics, plus I have a vacation coming up during the Olympics, so I may just be able to pull it off. And the pattern I picked is fairly simple, but still interesting. So we shall see!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Not So Lazy Saturday!

Today was pretty much the opposite of a lazy Saturday. This weekend is the Bellevue Arts & Crafts Fair, sponsored by the Bellevue Art Museum. There are basically three arts & crafts fairs going on at the same time, all within walking distance of each other. The "fancy" one is the one sponsored by the art museum, and it is held on the bottom floor of the parking garage at Bellevue Square, our local shopping mall. Having it on the bottom floor of the parking garage keeps the art safe from rain, which around here is a good thing (although this is supposed to be statistically the driest week of the year for us). This is where they have the expensive stuff that I love to look at, but pretty much can't afford. We walked through this one first. There is some really beautiful art out there!

Then there are two other street fairs, one in the Cost Plus parking lot, and one called the 6th Street Fair. We didn't go to the Cost Plus one, but we did go to the 6th Street Fair. I bought a nice variety of things at this fair!! You can see them in this picture:
Working from the top down: A variety pack of handmade soap, all very delicious smelling; hand-dyed yarn in a colorway called Dragonfly; an eclectic key holder to mount by our front door; a fused-glass pendant; and a pair of silver & gold earrings. Quite a haul, wouldn't you say? I thought it was pretty cool to see a yarn vendor there. Their name is Shoalwater Bay Textiles, but I don't think they have a website. The lady manning the booth said that her grandson asked her to dye a yarn in the colors of a dragonfly, and thus the name of this yarn. It is a worsted weight yarn, so I think I'll probably make a scarf or maybe some of those fingerless mitts I've seen. I love the colors.

The key holder came from the "fancy" part of the fair. There was a guy there who finds vintage books and makes the coolest looking bookshelves out of the books. They have all this weird stuff attached to them like wooden spoons, oars, etc. Really interesting stuff. My daughter wanted one so bad, but I couldn't afford $200 or more for some bookshelves, so we settled for the key holder. I just think it is the cutest thing.

Speaking of my daughter, she loves legos. Here she is with her latest creation, a VW Bug. I really wonder if she will grow up to be an engineer or something.

And in knitting content, here is my latest sock-in-progress. For the life of me I can't get this picture to upload in the right direction, so you'll just have to look at it this way :}

I've actually already finished this sock, and and halfway done with the second sock. I have to finish these because the Ravelympics start on August 8th, and I signed up for the Sock Put for Team Seattle! Go Team!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Lazy Saturday

My daughter has been back from camp for a week now. It is so good to have her back! Today we didn't have much we had to do, so we went to see the movie "Get Smart" with Steve Carroll and Anne Hathaway. It is hilarious - well worth seeing. We lunched on popcorn, candy and soda, and then attempted to hit the Redmond Library. Unfortunately our city is having something called the "Redmond Derby Days" and the area around the library was blocked off. Since I desperately needed to use the restroom, and a soccer team full of girls beat me to the restrooms in the movie theater, I opted to stop at the nearby Ben Franklin Crafts & Frames to use their restroom. Wouldn't you know it, the yarn is right on the way to the restroom!!!! (Like I didn't know that)

They actually have a pretty decent selection of sock yarn. It's gradually been growing, I think, over the last year or two. I noticed Fortissima, Happy Feet, Trekking, and there was probably more I didn't see. I came away with this:
Now, you may be thinking "With all that selection, she picks the Sock-Ease?" I'll admit, I was sorely tempted by some of the yarn I saw. But really, I already have those other yarns just waiting their turn to be knit up, and I am curious as to how the Sock-Ease will turn out. So I picked this skein, which is a colorway called Cotton Candy. I guess they named it well, because before I even looked at the color name I was calling them my Cotton Candy socks in my head.

I have to wonder what makes one sock yarn cost more than another when they are made from the same fiber. Both the Sock-Ease and the yarn in the bin above it (which of course I can't remember which brand it was now) are 75% superwash wool & 25% nylon. Yet the Sock-Ease is $10.99 a ball, and the other one was $15.99. And other types of yarn, like Opal, are even more expensive than that. Now I know that Opal has that polyamid or whatever it's called in it, which I'm guessing is maybe more durable than nylon. But when two brands of yarn have exactly the same fiber content, I wonder what makes the difference in cost.

After our fun in Ben Franklin's, we opted to drive up to the Sammamish Library. My daughter LOVES to read, and she wanted to stock up on some books. That's a nice library, even though it is small. She came away with this:

Easy to tell they are all girls book, isn't it! They ought to last her a week or so.

Now I'm off to knit a little on my Horcrux socks. I'm working on the foot of the first sock. I've dropped at stitch her and there, and managed to pick them back up, but one of the gussets looks a little rough around the edges! I hope I do better on the second sock. I'll take a picture when I'm done.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

New Socks in Progress

Yep, I'm back to socks. Can I say how much I love, love, love the color of this yarn? I can't wait to be able to wear these socks. I think I put a link in an earlier post to the blog of the lady who wrote the Horcrux Socks pattern. These are really fun to knit. The zig-zag pattern is slightly challenging (for me), but it doesn't last long enough for me to get frustrated with it. Now I am on the simple k3p2 ribbing, which will be perfect for a long car ride I need to take this weekend. Here are a couple of pictures - one of just the started sock, and one with the ball of yarn:
I am making this from Austermann Step, a yarn I haven't tried before. It has Aloe Vera and Jojoba Oil in it - maybe my feet will be a little softer after wearing these, lol! I go barefoot all the time, so the bottom of my feet are very rough, especially my heels. TMI?

So anyway, I am driving up to Canada on Saturday to pick up my daughter from camp. She has been gone for two weeks, and I am looking forward to having her back. It's much too quiet around here without her. But I've been having fun doing everything I want to do without interruption while she's been knitting as much as I want to without hearing "Mom, can we play a game?" Or, "Mom, I'm bored" get the picture. I've also been eating all the stuff she hates, like spicy food, lots of ethnic food, etc. She likes pretty plain food.

I am making this drive with the mom of another girl at camp, and she is doing the driving (he he) so I am definitely taking my knitting. It's a three-hour drive at least, with a wait at the border. We are leaving at 6 am, so there probably won't be too much of a wait, but it's better to be early than late.

Here near Seattle we have been having a lot of thunder and lightning storms, followed by a downpour like even we don't usually see. It's really weird. In the past, we've had the rare thunderstorm or two, but these have been going on for almost three days. Today at work we could hear the overhead speaker system crackle every time there was lighting. I kept thinking that the building was getting hit, but I don't think it was. Thankfully these are supposed to stop, and actually I think they already have. I haven't heard thunder since about noon.

Well, off to my knitting and "So You Think You Can Dance!"

Sunday, June 29, 2008

More Finished Objects!

Well, I am on a roll now! I finished this baby blanket Friday night while watching "Knocked Up" that I got from Netflix. I thought the movie was only OK (too much swearing for me), but I think the blanket came out really nice. Towards the end it got a little boring to knit, but it gave me some practice in knitting without looking at what I'm doing. I actually started to get the hang of it - I could watch some good portions of the movie while knitting & not looking at my needles. The pattern is from the book "Natural Knits for Babies and Moms" by Louisa Harding and is just called "Blanket and Hat". I knitted it in Lion Brand Cotton Ease, and I like the feel of the finished blanket - it's pretty soft.

And yes - I made the hat too! I don't think I've ever knitted something in one night before, but I made this last night (Saturday night) while watching TV. I was watching "The Next Food Network Star" on On Demand, and then I watched "Ace of Cakes" on regular TV. Love both those shows. Anyway, here's the hat on my daughter's Build-a-Bear:

I still like the yarn, although I may not be great at seaming up hats! This hat is knit flat and then seamed at the end, not knit in the round, and I'm not sure the baby will like laying on the seam. I tried to make it small, but I can feel it when I put my hand it there. This hat could probably easily be done in the round, but it is too hot here to think about it! Yes, it is over 90 degrees near Seattle, and I am sweltering.

One of the other things I did this weekend was get some plants for my balcony. The picture below only shows one part of the balcony, but as you can see I am trying my hand again at growing a tomato (the plant in the corner). The other blue pot has lettuce and carrot seeds in it, and the rest of my pots are all flowers. A little summer color!

Now I am off to start a pair of socks, the Horcrux socks I mentioned in an earlier post. Mostly I will just be trying to stay cool!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Finished Object & Stash Enhancement

Whew! It only took six months, but I finally finished my "ice cream sherbet" socks as I am calling them. I started them in December while visiting my Dad for Christmas, and it's almost July 4th now. However, I did have to stop to knit a couple of baby blankets in between, so I guess it's not that bad. I think they came out pretty good! I have a feeling my daughter is going to steal them, though. I knitted these on size zero needles, and they might be just a tad small for me. They look a little better on her feet than mine :} For my next socks, I am going to try size one needless to see how that goes.

In stash enhancement news, I bought some yarn from Little Knits (yes, I finally figured out how to do the hyperlink thing). They are having a great sale on Opal, plus I had to try out Plymouth Yarn Co. "Happy Feet" yarn. I've never tried it, or even heard much about it, but I loved the colors so I'm going to give it a try. It's 90% superwash merino wool and 10% nylon. I don't know how that holds up compared to the Opal content of 75% superwash wool & 25% polyamid.
Don't you just love that beautiful blue Opal? I'd give you more specifics but I can barely read the ball band! But I've always wanted to try a pair of solid-colored socks, and thought the blue would be nice. I am like a moth to a flame with the variegated and self-striping yarns, but I also want to try out some nice textured pattern socks, which don't show up so well in the more colorful yarns.

In other knitting news, I am almost done with the boy's baby blanket I started a few weeks ago. Amazingly enough, the baby isn't due until October. I don't think I've ever been this far ahead! I think now that I've finished the ice cream sherbet socks, I'll finish the baby blanket, and then start another pair of socks. I've already got the pattern & yarn picked out. And it's not even one
of the yarns I just bought!! I have to admit - I actually started them once already but had to rip them out. I traveled down to the San Francisco Bay Area last weekend, and since I was almost done with the ice cream socks I didn't want to be in danger of running out of knitting. So I started the Horcrux Socks which can be found on this blog. It's got a slight lace pattern up the leg, and I did part of it perfectly but then I messed up and got so mad I ripped it all out. So they're up next.

Speaking of San Francisco, I stayed with my brother in his condo which is right near AT&T park. How fun was that? He can walk to EVERYTHING. He has a Safeway, Starbucks, and Borders Books on the ground floor of his condo building. I'd never have to leave. The weather was a nightmare - I got on the plane in Seattle where they told us the temperature in San Jose (the airport I flew into) was 103! 103!! The entire plane gasped. It was at least 90 in SF, so after my brother picked me up we drove over to Pacifica, a city right on the coast where I used to live, and had dinner there. I snapped this picture as we watched the sun go down:

It almost makes me wish I still lived there. Even along the coast it was probably 80 degrees, and no breeze which was really unusual. It didn't cool down until Sunday - when of course I left to come home. There is a lot I don't miss about the Bay Area, but I really, really miss living close to the ocean. This summer my daughter and I will be traveling over to Ocean Shores on the Washington to coast to see what the Washington beaches are like. I've lived here 13 years and never gone over there! Time to explore!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Do You See What I See?

I was happily knitting away on my sock the other day, when I noticed this:
Do you see it? It might be hard to see in the picture, but yes, I dropped a stitch right about where I started the heel flap, and it has pulled back several rows. I have decided not to rip back & start over. I just can't deal with it on small needles like this - I don't think I would ever get the stitches picked back up properly. I think I am going to take a crochet hook and try and pick up the stitches back down to the start of the heel flap, then push it through to the other side and sew it down. Hopefully I will do it well enough that it doesn't unravel later on during washing! How totally annoying.

I have taken to knitting on my socks while I wait for my daughter during choir practice (an hour-and-half wait twice a week). I have also started listening to some podcasts while I knit. It makes the time go pretty fast! I knit on the baby blanket while I am at home at night, since it is bigger and less portable. But choir is over in another week, so I'll have to see what I work out then! I'd better get this sock done before the summer is over, that's for sure.

In other news, my daughter is off at a friend's bat-mitzvah party right now. Unfortunately the ceremony itself was this morning, and we had another appointment that conflicted. But the "after party" is going on now, and she is there as I write. She got all dressed up for the occasion - a cute sun dress, and shoes that cost thee times the amount of the dress! We found the dress on sale at JC Penny at a very reasonable price. But oh the shoes, the shoes....we couldn't find anything acceptable at JC Penny, Macy's, or Sketchers. So we went to Nordstrom who was having their half-yearly sale for women & kids. What a zoo. But we found shoes. Not on sale, but the perfect shoes. Shoes that make her taller than her mom. Here is a picture of the whole outfit:
And here are the well-loved shoes. I find amusing the contrast between the heels and the other two pairs of those in the picture, which are the shoes she wears to school pretty much every day.
What's really funny is that she will make her entrance with the "fancy" shoes, but she took a pair of flip-flops to wear when the dancing starts! Hilarious! I hope she has fun. I am about to either sit down and knit or play the Sims. I think the Sims is winning.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

I Love the Farmer's Market

I'm not really an early morning Saturday person. Saturday is for sleeping in, both for me and my teenage daughter (especially my teenage daughter!). However, aforementioned daughter is taking a babysitting class today, from 9am to 2pm. Since I had to be up anyway, I hit the Redmond Saturday Market early. Below is my bounty:
I bought the "official" bag of the market. I think they deserve the support, and I also would like to be environmentally friendly! There's not a ton of produce available at this time of year, mostly lettuce, asparagus, and apples is what I saw. But it's good enough - I happen to LOVE asparagus, so I bought some. Those apples are the "Pink Lady" variety which I've never had before. The vendor gave me a sample, and they seem to be rather tart, but good. And of course, the bread vendor. Who can pass up good homemade bread? Besides, he was totally cute!

It's way different going to the market in the morning instead of the afternoon. In the afternoon, we love to get the Hawaiian hot dogs, which are marinated in pineapple juice & beer before being grilled. And if it's warm, we also get a Hawaiian ice. A lot of the produce is gone by the afternoon, but the craft vendors are always there.

Today I also bought a tomato plant to put out on my balcony. Last year I successfully grew a tomato plant, but the fruit wasn't all that great - kind of mealy inside. This year, I got a "Sweet Million" type of plant - the girl said it would be good in a pot, and gives cherry tomatoes. So we will see! Too bad I don't have enough dirt to plant it. When I got home I realized that the bag of dirt I have is not enough to fill the big pot. So later today I will have to stop & get some.

Haven't done too much knitting in the last couple of days. A few more rows done on the baby blanket for my coworker, but that's about it. And now I'm off to pick up my daughter from her baby sitting class. I hope she had fun. When I left her she was sitting at a table full of girls who don't know each other and none of them were brave enough to say hello to each other!! Teenagers!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Vacation Time and Stashing

So I have a couple of days off. I extended my Memorial Day weekend by a few days - two before and two after. Here's what I did today (on my first "after" day):

I was running errands when I saw that the local Jo-Ann Fabric & Crafts is closing. I don't much like Jo-Anns, I probably would if I quilted or sewed, but I've never felt they had much of a knitting selection. Tons of fabric, not much in the way of yarn. However, seeing that everything was on sale, I decided to go in and see if there was anything I might be able to pick up. I was thinking maybe needles or something, but instead I found this beautiful yarn. It is Lion Brand "Landscapes" in the Rose Garden colorway. I bought 5 skeins at 30% off. Not that "wow" of a sale, but OK. I totally love the color, and am already thinking I will use it to make a scarf for a friend for Christmas. Actually, I bought enough yarn to make a few scarves, I think!

And here is what my daughter did today after coming home from school:

Our poor cat! She (the cat) is extremely patient. She was given to my daughter for her 3rd birthday. She is now 13, and loves this cat to no end. Obviously the cat loves her too to allow this humiliation! In every picture I took, I feel the cat is just saying "You've GOT to be kidding me!"

Now here is what we did during the Memorial Day weekend:

Yep - visited the Space Needle. My dad and his "significant other" visited for the weekend (thus the two days off PRIOR to the weekend for cleaning, etc.). She has never visited the area, so we did the touristy things. Sadly, I was unaware that this weekend was also the Northwest Folklife Festival at Seattle Center (where the Space Needle is located). We ended up waiting an hour and a half just to ride the elevator to the top. However, I do have to say it was magnificent when we got there. Because it was a nice day, there were great views. After the Space Needle I managed to get lost trying to get down to the waterfront and Pike Place Market. Eventually we got there, fought for parking, climbed the "Hillclimb" up to the market, swam like fish upstream to find the flying fish guys, who weren't throwing fish at that time, and then decided it was way, way, way to crowded to spend anymore time there. So back down the Hillclimb to the waterfront, where we promptly found a restaurant and fortified ourselves with a late lunch. The lunch part was actually fun - the rest not so much. I enjoyed being at the top of the Space Needle and my Mahi Mahi fish tacos for lunch, but by the end of the day I was hot, sweaty, and tired. I was so glad to get back over to my Eastside!

In other knitting news, I am knitting a baby blanket (another one) for a co-worker. He and his wife just found out that they are having a boy, so I did the typical thing and am knitting a blue blanket out of Cotton Ease. I took a picture but for some reason it keeps coming up rotated the wrong way. If you want to see it here is the link to my Ravelry page:

Someday I have to learn how to do hypertext - I think that is what it is called! Right now I am too tired to figure it out.

I have one more day of freedom before returning to work. My plan is to stay home, knit, play video games, and veg out!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Getting There

So I finished one sock. I was looking back through my blog, and see that I started this sock in December while at my dad's house during Christmas. How sad is that? As soon as I finished the toe on this one, I cast on for the second sock - and I have about two inches done. It's those darn baby gifts that take me away from my precious sock knitting!! Here are a couple of pictures of the finished sock - modelled on my daughter's foot (I have a feeling I may not have these socks for long myself):

Today was a fun day - we went to the Redmond Saturday Market at Redmond Town Center. We mostly ate - there wasn't much in the way of produce for sale, but I did get some beautiful flowers and some asparagus. While we were there we ate some "Hawaiian hot dogs" which are marinated in pineapple juice and beer (I think) and then grilled. So good! We also bought some kettle corn and some homemade brownies. Yum!

Then we hit the Borders located at the same mall, where I ended up buying a new knitting book. Yes, I am a sucker for a good knitting book. This one is called "Natural Knits for Babies and Moms" by Louisa Harding. There are a ton of cute patterns in this book. Since I have another baby gift to knit, I think I have a good excuse for buying this book. Uh-huh, that's it.

I think I am going to make the Cot Blanket for my next gift, although I really like Jasmine Lace Edge Cardigan too. But they would have to be having a girl for that, and we don't know yet. Decisions, decisions!

And just for fun - a picture of my daughter and her friends before the school dance last night. Why do they love to do the "Charlie's Angels" pose all the time?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

A Finished Object!

So I did it! I finished the baby blanket for my co-worker. Good thing too, because on Friday she had some contractions while at work. Two of my other co-workers took her to the hospital. Quite the excitement in our accounting department! It turned out to be a false alarm, but still, it means it won't be too long before we get to see this baby girl. I hope she likes her blanket :}

Here are a few pictures of it. In the first one it is being blocked on a bath towel. Oh, did my cats

love this! I sat there pinning and spraying, pinning and spraying (I decided not to just wet the whole thing in the sink or tub & stuck to just spraying it). They couldn't figure out what they had done wrong, lol!!

This pattern is called "Springtime Patchwork" from the book "Total Baby Knits" by Candi Jensen. This pattern alone caused me to buy the book. I just thought it was so cute and girlie. However, like so many patterns I like the look of, I would never knit this again. While I love how it came out, it is some very mindless knitting! (Although I did make a mistake, can you find it?) As you can see, there are 20 blocks - either stockinette, or a simple knit/purl pattern. Thank goodness for American Idol & Dancing with the Stars. I thought I would go crazy if I had to knit another plan square. For some reason, I didn't really mind the sewing together. Towards the end it got a little tedious, but I guess I was just so glad to be almost done I was happy to do the sewing.

Here are a couple more pictures - one of the blanket after blocking, and a close up of one of the embroidery squares. I had a hard time with the embroidery. I found it hard to embroider on knitting. I almost gave up, but I finally found the groove and I think it came out OK in the end.

The yarn I used is called Fantasy by Dark Horse Yarns. It is a blend of 50% nylon, 50% acrylic, and it is very soft. I think the mix of fibers is good for a baby item, as it can be tossed in the wash. I've noticed that this yarn does have a tendency to split as I knit, but I still really like it for it's softness. It also comes in a TON of colors.

On another note, today we had a beautiful, warm sunny day, and we made a little addition to our

balcony. Hard to believe that only a couple of weeks ago I was taking pictures of snow out there. Today we went out and bought this umbrella and the cushions for our patio chairs. Our balcony faces south, and the sun beats in all day. I figure the least we can do is have some shade to sit out there. Soon we will be adding some flowers, a tomato plant, and maybe some other vegetables. I hear you can grow lots of veggies in pots, and I want to try.

Last year I grew a tomato plant. It went pretty well, with all the sun we get it grew well and got lots of tomatoes. The only thing was, they didn't actually taste that great. They were kind of mealy inside. Not juicy like you would normally think of a home-grown tomato (the kind my dad grew when I was growing up!!).

That's it for now - I've decided to make a few baby booties with the leftover yarn from the blanket - we'll see how that goes. Hopefully she won't have the baby first!