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!