Thursday, February 28, 2008

Winter Doldrums Topic #6~~

For this week, go through those who've commented on last week's topic - find someone who had an idea on their day that sounded appealing to you, as well, and tell us why, or what appealed to you, and link to their blog! If you can't find someone who has a day you think you'd enjoy, find one that you thought was interesting, odd, or funny in some way, and talk about it!

Well, after reading everyones idea of the perfect day, I think I'm going to go with the very first one I read a few days ago. Grace and I seem to be thinking along the same lines... water, knitting, and serenity. However, her day is by the ocean, and that sounds wonderful. It's been years since I've been to the ocean. Besides, if she lets me join her for a while, then we'll get to meet and knit together, and that would be huge fun for me since she's one of my bloggy friends. And, I promise not to tag along with her and Tom for dinner. I'll have my own date!!

Monday, February 25, 2008

It's Fun Being A Misfit!!

Grace hosted a small swap for some of us who didn't get signed up for the cocoa swap, so ours became the "Misfit Cocoa Swap". Well, misfits we may be, but we sure had a lot of fun. I had a great pal, and we emailed back and forth all the time. It was not a secret swap, and we sent to each other. When my package came, I opened it to find all these wonderfully wrapped lovlies!
First, lots of great cocoa, and some delish biscotti...
Next, the yarn. What swap is complete without the yarn?? Everything in my whole package was color coordinated. It was just so fun to keep unwrapping! Both of these yarns are new to me, and I love trying new things. And I know my pal, Theresa, has a couple of ideas for this yarn as well. I wanted the counter, as now I can have one in my basket at home, and one in my traveling knitting bag. Not good to have to use a scrap of paper for row counting when you're "on the road"! I needed that size of needles, too.Theresa does beautiful bead and wirework, and she made me some fabulous accessories. Would you pull my hair and knock me down to get that great shawl pin away from me?? I lurve it to pieces! And... earrings!
And stitch markers in two sizes. Notice the adorable little knitting charms!
Then, the perfect scissors for my "on the go" knitting. How many times have I reached into my bag and stabbed my hand with my sharp scissors. Well, no more! These scissors have a point protector to keep me from harming myself, and a great fob (notice more knitting charms, and the one turned on its side is a fat little lamb) I've been using them ever since they arrived, and I love 'em!
My only regret about this swap is that it's over. It's been so much fun.
Thank you Theresa for all
the wonderful gifts!
You've been a great swap pal,
and it's been fun
getting to know you!!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Winter Doldrums Topic #5

If money were no object, and the day was just perfect - not to hot, not too cold, sun shining, slight breeze - how would you spend a perfect day out that had been given to you in the middle of a cold and blustery winter?

Sounds heavenly, especially given we're back in the deep freeze and can't seem to pull our temperatures above zero, even during the day. I'm freezing, even sitting inside my warm house with a blankie over my legs. And I usually run HOT, not cold. Anyway....

My day would have to be no muss, no fuss. Just somehow magically "dropped" there with all my necessities in the morning, and then gently "dropped" back home at the end of the day. Between drops I would be at a small lake where I could listen to the birds singing and the waves lapping. I'd be sitting at a nice umbrella table, with my feet up and a bag with a couple knitting projects and maybe a pattern book or two at my side. On the table would be a French press filled with hot, strong coffee (this would change to sweetened iced tea in the afternoon, and back to coffee later in the day), and a pistachio muffin.

I would saunter into the nearby log cabin to grab what I needed for snacks and meals. Perhaps a ham and cheese croissant with fruit for lunch, and maybe crab cakes for dinner. And occassional sweets to go with the beverages would definately be in order. Mmmm.... sounds wonderful!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I Want to Make This....

While looking at some yarn and stuff on some of my favorite shopping sites, I happened across this pattern for a wrap. Ooh-ieeee, I do think this is purdy.I'd like to drop everything I'm doing and cast it on right now. In fact, I spent quite a while looking at the yarn, debating the colors, and wondering if these colors are the ultimate combination or should I choose my own-- all that good stuff, when suddenly common sense kicked in (I hate when that happens!!) and I didn't order anything. Nuthin'. Doesn't mean I won't, but I least I haven't yet. Lots of $$ to buy the yarn for this project, so it might be one of those things that's better "slept on".

Well, I've slept on it, and I still like it, but I have concluded that maybe I should at least knit more than twelve inches on my current shawl project before I dive head long into another. I am gonna order the pattern, though, along with another one I simply must have. BYW, the pattern is from French Girl, it's called Zia, and I found it at Jimmy Beans Wool.

I have done a little knitting on my shawl, and love watching it grow. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the color changes in the yarn (Noro, you know), which works out fine for a project like this. I also learned a new way--new to me, at least--of starting a new ball of yarn without leaving a tail to weave in. Seems you kind of "fray" the end of the yarn on the ball you're working on, and then do the same with the one you're going to start. Gently twist them together, wet them (spit works just fine!!), and roll the join back and forth in the palm of your hand until they felt together. I couldn't believe how well it worked. I wasn't even able to see where my join was... just kept knitting and went from one ball to the other painlessly. Pretty cool, no??

Here's something fun! Donna is having a contest on her blog, so be sure to stop over and enter!

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Deception of The "Free Issue"~~

We all get them. Those magazine solicitations where we can get a free issue, and then if we don't want to subscribe, all we have to do is write "cancel" on the bill. These things really bug me. Big. Time. Bug.

I look at them, thinking that eventually some of the publishers will figure it out and it really will be an offer for a free issue, but so far that's only happened once, and that was years ago now. Have you noticed how the issue is only "free" if you DON'T subscribe?? If you don't want their stupid 'zine, then you write cancel on the bill and keep the issue they sent. However, if you DO want to continue receiving the magazine, then you pay the subscription price, and receive 11 (or 5, or whatever number plus one equals their yearly number of issues) for the regular subscription price.

So it's not free. It then becomes the first issue of your paid subscription. Those who subscribe get nothing, and those who say "phooey on you" get the highly sought after free issue. When I've actually taken the time to check regular subscription prices, my case is only substantiated, because the amount is the same as when you're a part of the "free issue" debaucle.

Just this week it happened again; this time with Interweave Knits, which is a magazine I would consider subscribing to. But, after all was said and done, the free issue was no longer free, and I would save 40% off the newsstand price. Well for cryin' out loud.... I can do that with a coupon at Michael's, plus there I can pass on an issue if it happens to be a dud.

Is it just me, or are there others of you who think this is just plain stupid? The last offer pushed me over the edge, and I had to get it off my chest. I feel better now. Do you think less of me?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A "300 Posts" Celebration~~

Nancy is having a contest to celebrate her 300th post! Go over and congratulate her, and please remember to tell her I sent you!

As part of her celebration she's asking us to share knitting tips and tricks, so I've been pondering what I might share, and have come up with..... not much! Here are a couple of ideas, though.

Those brightly colored plastic "springs" that are used to hold the tips of your needles together on your WIPs are also good for (maybe even better) keeping your sets of smaller dpns together. Especially all those small sock sizes that can look so much the same. Just wrap one of those springs around them, and they can all be in a box together and not get mixed up.

I don't know yet if this is a good idea or not, but it is something I have been experimenting with. I have found fastening ends on dishcloths to be a problem. I've been told it's not cool to use knots, but with the wear and tear that dishcloths take, the woven in ends do tend to work their way out. So, what I've been doing is weaving them in and then I split the plies of the yarn so I have two strands of two plies each. I take one strand under the nearest stitch, preferably one that's kind of tucked down into the work, and then I tie a square knot with the two strands. The knot is tiny, and often can't even be seen. Time will tell how well this works, but I though it was worth a try.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Two Fun Contests~~

I found a fun contest with a new twist. Stephanie is giving away a book (novel), with a knitting theme, no less! What fun is that! Check it out!!

Then, there's a Valentine's Contest over at BarknKnit, where you get to tell how you and your sweetie met. Go tell your story, and be sure to tell her I sent you!!

As She Knits, So She Rips~~

Do you see that little glitch in the alternating yarn-overs? Ya, well so did I. I'd made some little goof, now I can't even remember what it was, and that little "oopsie" was what remained after I repaired it.I knit a couple more rows, studied the situation, and decided it was a very small thing in the whole scheme of things, and I could live with it. I'm making a wrap, which IS a pretty large piece, so one itty bitty mistake, no? So, I spent the rest of my evening watching the subtle color changes and seeing my knitting grow to almost seven inches by the time I quit for the night.

This morning I got up, made coffee, and decided to pick up my knitting. Somehow in the light of day, everything had changed and I could no longer stand the mistake. After some sleep, my perfectionism kicked in and I knew I had to remedy the situation, which meant reducing a whole evenings knitting progress to this:
I could've (should've!!) ripped last night, when it would have cost me about two rows. But no, I waited until I could rip row after row after freakin' row! The worst thing is, I think I knew deep down in my gut that I wouldn't be able to stand the mistake, and yet I forged ahead. What's up with that?

Oh well, after picking up the stitches I knit three rows to make sure everything is in order, and it is, so now I can knit it all again, but with greater peace of mind. Maybe tonight. My goal is to get back to where I was, plus a decent chunk more, before I hit the sack tonight. Hopefully. It's a pretty stitch pattern, though, don'tcha think?
It's cold and windy here today. My son had to open Starbucks this morning, so headed off to work at 4:45 a.m. In his sleepy stooper he'd managed to lock his keys in his bedroom, and his spare keys in the bathroom (he's going to be just like his dad, which is scarey), so, being in a rush, I let him take my car. Well, at 4:45 this morning, we were having a blizzard, and he shortly called me saying that he couldn't see even two feet in front of him, and "What should I do?".

He was presently trying to turn around on this road where he couldn't see his nose in front of his face (take a breath, mom!). Since he had my car, and hubby is out of town, there was no way I could go "rescue" him if something happened. I told him to get off that open road and take the residential streets where the blowing snow might not be so bad, and visibility a little better. It took a while, but he finally called that he'd arrived at work safely.

I convinced one of my dogs to come sleep with me, and when we woke up three hours later, the snow had stopped and the sun was shining. If you weren't up during the night, you wouldn't believe we'd had such a storm. The wind is still strong, though, so I'm sure traveling in the open countryside is no picnic. It's so bitter cold out there that the kid didn't even want to go to Target with me when he got home at noon, and we'd been planning that little "outing" for a couple days. Oh well, I can live like Mother Hubbard a little longer, I guess. How long can you live on coffee??

Oh.... some things I CAN knit. And they usually turn out pretty good. Things like dishcloths. I finished a couple using the DW Cloth pattern, and they're great. I do like that pattern. This one is made out of Honeysuckle Cotton. It's funny how you can't see the little bars on the one side where the colors match up. Then look at this one!! OOOOOh-eeeee, if I do say so myself!! Aren't those colors most grand? Just don't ask me what I used, cuz I don't know. It's hand-dyed, and I got in on ebay last summer, and now I could kick myself for getting rid of the tag. (I know, right?) It's only 3 ply, so it knit up a little thinner. I like the way it feels. And looks. And the way the colors patterned.

Winter Doldrums Topic #4 ~~

Some of us get the winter doldrums and others don't. For those who do, what helps you get rid of them? If you don't get the doldrums, what helps you keep them away?

For the most part I don't get them, even though we experience severe winters here. I think it's because I'm a "home body", so I enjoy doing things around home, and love doing creative things with my hands. That keeps me occupied and content without having to be out in the weather.

Now, when we have a stretch of more than three days where the high temperature doesn't manage to creep above zero, that tends to be a little "doldrumy", and even going to and from work is a chore. Even then, once I'm home and can just stay in and do my thing, I'm okay. Just give me my knitting, my beads, or a book, and I'm happy. I don't even mind busy-work like paying the bills or organizing a closet!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Winter Doldrums Topic #3 ~~

This week we're asked to share pictures of our dishcloth making supplies. I have a small wood trunk where I keep all my cotton yarn. That way, when I'm headed out and need a new knitting project that travels well, all I have to do is reach in and grab a skein and I'm all set! Probably about three "layers" of yarny goodness in there!!Next, the accessories that I use for knitting my dishcloths. When my LYS gave me that little clear zipper bag, I must admit I thought it was kind of silly, but, it's turned out to be a favorite! Holds everything I need, and I can see just what I've got and where it is with a quick glance. The cute metal tin that holds a ball of yarn used to be my Grandmas, so it's very old. Works like a charm, though, and I love using it not only because it's practical, but because it used to belong to her!

Tagged For A Meme~~

A few days back Grace tagged me for some blog fun that got me looking back at some of the things I've posted about in the past. Here are the rules:

Go back through your archives and post the links to your five favorite blog posts that you’ve written. But there is a catch:

Link 1 must be about family. This post talks about my nephew showing me how to "finger knit".

Link 2 must be about friends. Can this include my furry friends? I hope so, cause my hounds love to go for a "car ride".

Link 3 must be about yourself. These are some things I am thankful for.

Link 4 must be about something you love. Spending time outdoors with family, friends, and my pups is time that I cherish.

Link 5 can be anything you choose. A memorable night last summer was driving alone through one of the worst storms I've experienced.

If you would like to revisit some memories from your own blog, then considser yourself **tagged**. It's fun looking back! And leave me a comment that you've posted, so I can check out your posts!!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

My Little Hat~~

I've finished my first little hat, and now I'm anxious to send it off to Amanda for her "Hats off to Megan" project! I'm a little iffy about the size, as I don't have anyone to try it on, and I'm new to hats, but hopefully it will work. Here it is perched on a dishtowel draped ball of yarn. There are three rows of a cute little "hole" pattern, but they don't show up on the pics.
I used Regia Bamboo, double stranded, which knit up like a dream. I had previously tried it while learning to knit socks, but I didn't like it for that. Too soft and mooshy--droopy on my foot. But, it worked out great for a hat!
Very blah day today. I usually love getting things done on Saturday, but not so today. I've managed to get some bug from all my snotty little students who are always coughing and sneezing on me, so I'm lazy and good-fer-nuttin'. I only did things that required little to no energy. I boxed up my goodies for my Misfit Cocoa Swap pal, so that's wrapped and ready to go. Wanted to get it mailed, too, but far too lazy for that, I fear. Going to the Post Office just sounds so much like... work.

I did get a bunch of patterns and yarn listed on ebay, which I've been wanting to do for a while. Last year my school teamed up with a Ben Franklin store that was going out of business for an auction, and I couldn't resist picking up some yarn that I'd been wanting, but didn't want to spend the money to get. It was sold by the boxful, so I'd get more than I needed of something, or some that I didn't want in order to get the items I really needed. Well, even though it's nice stuff, some of it I can part with, which will work out great, because then I'll have room for more yarn. Does that make sense? Well, ya, of course it does.

Last night I knit a couple of flowers that I will felt and put on a bag for a friend of mine who's having a birthday. I'd hoped to finish them this evening, but looking at the time, I see that the evening is just about gone. And, considering how well I didn't sleep last night, I should try to get to bed early tonight. But first, a long, hot shower followed by some tea and maybe just a little knitting...