Thursday, March 29, 2007

I'm such a groupie

When Sheri at The Loopy Ewe blogged about her weekend plans last Friday, she mentioned that she might be doing some needle felting for the first time. She got her kits from Laurie at Wool Pets and I had to check out the store. Oh. My. Goodness. These things are so cute. I've never done needle felting before but I've been wanting to try for a long time. I suggested to Mr. Baseball that he get me one for my birthday next week but he couldn't figure out etsy and asked me to order it myself. Here's the one I decided to get. Almost as soon as I ordered I had an email telling me it's on its way.


Isn't that the cutest thing?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A fresh start

Spring yarn

I mentioned in my last post that I was bone tired of the icy cold colors of the Project Spectrum color triad of blue, gray and white. I am so excited to move on to the new triad of pink, yellow and green. Truthfully, I don't really care for pink, green or yellow. You won't find much of my home decor includes those colors and very, very little of my clothing. I have olive skin and yellow and green make me look ill. Pink has always been a little too "girlie" for me and I don't wear much of it either.

BUT ... I have been strangely attracted to all three of these colors as I've been stash enhancing this winter. I tried to get a picture of all my triad stash together but it's not fit to share right now. I'll have to gather my yarn and head outside with it. For now, I'm sharing a picture of the yarn I picked up during the Loopy Ewe update a couple of weeks ago. It's by Perchance to Knit and the colorway is Mexicali Peppers. It is SO bright and cheerful it almost hurts my eyes. I have great plans for it and will use one of the Socktopia April themes. The April themes are the best so far.

Stay tuned to see what this snowboarding ball of yarn turns into.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A day to myself

It was a beautiful day here today. The sun was out and temps were in the high 50s. I was able to go out with just a fleece vest. The boys were all able to play outside and dinner was cooked on the grill.

I took the day to run some errands. I visited a LYS to see if they had More Sensational Knitted Socks. I really like this store and the owner is terrific. The prices, however, are high and sales nonexistent. I don't buy a lot of yarn there. The owner told me that they sold out of MSKS yesterday but I was able to find a copy of Lucy Neatby's Cool Socks Warm Feet which has become difficult to come by. I'm really wanting to learn some new techniques and this book comes very highly recommended.

I also got my hair cut. It hasn't been cut since last May. It's gotten rather long and the ends have gotten splitty. Most people have told me that they like my longer hair but even long hair needs to be cut to look healthy. She cut off 2 inches or so and put in some long layers. I think it looks much better but the lovely husband says he can't see the difference.

I also spent some time doing one of my favorite activities. Besides knitting the one thing I really like to do is bargain shop. Oh, you can't imagine the thrills I get when I find a good bargain. I'm a member of The Grocery Game and enjoy clipping coupons and finding food and health and beauty items for free or vastly reduced prices. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea but I love to buy deoderant for 8 cents. It's even better when a store pays me to take an item off their hands. So I had a good time at Target where I got lots of good stuff for very little money.

I even visited Borders to get my new educator discount card. Even with the 25% off sale this weekend there wasn't anything I was tempted to buy. I'm trying not to buy reading books for myself - borrowing from the library frees up more money to buy yarn. I'm always happy to buy books for the boys because I believe that having a houseful of books leads them to be active and voracious readers. Today I didn't even buy a book for them.

I have only knit 32 stitches all day. My wrists really hurt and I'm not really excited about either sock I'm knitting. I decided to turn the Claudia Handpainted toe up socks I'm knitting into shortie socks for my 12 year old son (who happens to wear size 12 men's shoes) but I need him around to try them on and I'm not really anxious to try the short row heel again. I sure wish I had someone around to walk me through it. All the helps I've found online just haven't worked for me. I need a real live person. Anyone want to come visit?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Cable Rib Socks

Cable Rib Socks

Pattern: Cable Rib from Interweave Press Favorite Socks
Yarn: Yarn Pirate's merino/tencel blend in Malamute
Needles: Size 1 & 2 Knit Picks circulars

I was so happy to finish the Cable Rib socks this morning that I went right outside in the below zero temps to try to get a good picture of them. I have found this colorway difficult to photograph and I wanted the pattern to show up too. I just parked my butt in my driveway and took some photos.

I don't usually worry about running out of yarn on my second sock but I started worrying as soon as I finished the first sock. I made these socks longer than my "normal" socks (a little over 7 inches from top to heel) and the ribbing and cabling use lots of yarn. Thankfully, the worrying was for naught as I had a nice ball of yarn left over.

When I first started knitting with the merino/tencel yarn I wasn't too fond of it. It felt kind of stringy. As I got used to it, however, I came to love it. I'm not sure what the purpose of the tencel is but the socks feel wonderful. The cables and ribbing make these very leg hugging socks - no worries about these puppies slipping down. I really enjoyed the pattern. It was simple to memorize by the first repeat. I love so many of the patterns in this book but I was looking for something that would work with this yarn. I think I made a good choice.

This will be my last Project Spectrum project for this triad of blue, gray and white. Truth be told, I am bone tired of these icy cold colors. I'm ready for SPRING and some new, brighter colors. My current sip is not very colorful but it is greenish in a khaki sort of way. I'm using Claudia Handpainted and going toe up because this time I know to be worried about the yardage. I'm almost to the heel of the first sock. I'm feeling confident that this short row heel will go much more smoothly than my last short row heel that had me pulling my hair out.

Just wait until you see my new yarn for my next project. I promise it's bright and cheerful and very, very springlike. It's made by Perchance to Knit - I bought it when The Loopy Ewe had their giant update a few weeks ago. It's certainly not like any yarn I've knit with before but I needed to make a drastic change to chase away these winter blues.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Got box?

Wouldn't you be excited if UPS showed up with a nice big box like this?

Big box

Imagine how you'd feel if you opened the box, dug through the protective bubbles, and found this:

Little box

Here they are together:

Boxes together

I ordered 10 reams of printer paper from Office Depot yesterday. I used a bunch of coupon codes and needed to add the paperclips to the order to bring it over a certain amount. The paper came packaged all together in a normal sized cardboard Xerox box. The paperclips came in this giant sized box. Do they not have smaller boxes at Office Depot?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Ski day

I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel that is winter. I love winter - I really do. One of the things I like best is that it gives me a time to regroup, a time to be idle without feeling guilty, a time to just be. By the end of winter, however, I start to get antsy. I'm tired of all the grays and whites. I'm tired of the layers of clothes. I'm sick and tired of being COLD.

Today was the last homeschool ski school day. The weather was perfect. The boys spent every minute on the slopes while I hung back in the lodge to help them when they came in. I got some knitting done - started that dreaded toe up Claudia's sock - but the wrists are still bothering me so I take a lot of rests. Mostly I chatted with another homeschool mom and various kids from homeschool families. Because the weather was so nice I was able to venture out onto the slopes to snap a few photos. This picture is of Mr. Baseball Knitter and our middle son. That middle son just loves the opportunity to have alone time with Dad and loves the chair rides up the mountain.

The early Daylight Saving Time, the end of skiing, temperatures in the 50s ... spring is right around the corner. I know the cold will return before spring is here for good and I know the reality of spring in New England (where it's affectionately referred to as Mud Season) but for now I'm happy to have had a taste of spring on a ski mountain in March.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Funny Way to Start the Day

At the risk of being redundant, I feel I must post this YouTube video. If you haven't seen it yet please watch it. I just about died laughing.

In an attempt to be completely honest, I have to say that my grandmother is a crocheter. I learned to crochet years and years before I learned to knit. I could crochet these cute little worm bookmark things which I gave to all the girls in the 4th grade (and maybe a boy or two). I also made about a zillion granny squares from great yarn like Red Heart which I purchased at stores like Ames or Zayres with my own money. I have no idea whatever became of all those granny squares but I know that I never put more than 4 together.

But back to Nana. Nana crochets. And smokes. Yuck!! Getting a gift from Nana is it's own special kind of torture because you have to act excited about the object while trying not to get sick from the stench of smoke. First of all, Nana believes in themes so I get questions like, "What theme is your kitchen?" Hmmm, I know there are theme people out there but I'm not one of them and Nana finds this incredulous. Secondly, Nana believes everything in the kitchen should be covered by crocheted items. To this end, and I kid you not even a little, she has crocheted throw rugs, curtains, tie backs, seat covers, magnets, blender/toaster/teapot covers, and tops of towels which then button around your oven door. She's also big into bathroom crochet objects - big butterflies that go on the wall, covers for toilet paper rolls (with granny heads on top), covers for tissue boxes, bathmats, toilet tank covers, skirts for underneath the sink.

I don't have a picture of the worst gift my Nana ever gave me but I wish I did. When my oldest son was born, Nana gave me the scariest shower gift ever given to womankind. Picture a slinky - a real metal slinky - that has been crocheted around. Yup, crocheted around the entire length of the slinky. Then on the sides are two crocheted arms with plastic hands and on the bottom are two crocheted legs with plastic legs. Finally, on the top is a plastic clown face with a crocheted ruffle around its neck. This thing actually gave me nightmares and I had to hide it in the closet (until I hung it from the shower rod of my girlfriend's house to "surprise" her in the morning).

I love my Nana. I really do. I'm glad she has found a way to occupy her time. She has even made a few beautiful things like bedspreads and afghans. Please know I mean no disrespect to Nana. You'd just have to see her house to understand.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

First Cable Rib

Cable Rib Socks 2

The first Cable Rib sock is finished. I really wish I had a better photo to share but it's WAY too cold to go outside to take a photo. I'll get a good shot when the pair is complete. Let me just say that I really like the pattern. It's quite simple with a 6 stitch cable on each side of the leg and the cables cross every 10 rows.

I have totally changed my mind about the yarn. I'm using Yarn Pirate's merino/tencel blend in a colorway called Malamute. If you had a Malamute dog you'd totally understand the naming of this yarn. I didn't care for the yarn at first but as I knit with it and got used to it I decided I really like it. This pattern pulls in quite a bit with the 2x1 ribbing and the cables but the yarn seems to have nice elasticity. It definitely has good stitch definition (even if the photo doesn't show the cables very well). I wish I had a digital scale because I'd like to weigh the remaining yarn and sock to compare them. I'm just hoping I have enough to complete the second sock.

Speaking of worrying about running out of yarn ... I want to start a pair of socks with some Claudia Handpainted that's been sitting in my stash. I tried to start a pair of socks a couple of weeks ago with it but had gauge issues. The yardage is also an issue with me (with my size 10s). I've decided to bite the bullet and do these socks toe up. I hated the last pair of socks I knit toe up and vowed never to do it again but this yarn is really calling for it. I'd prefer to do them toe up but with a heel flap and gusset. I just want a plain vanilla pattern, toe up, with heel flap and gusset. I'll be searching. I need pictures and very small simple words.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Knitting books 2007
I've been feeling a little guilty or overwhelmed or immensely grateful for my stash recently. At the rate I am knitting it will take me quite awhile before I could ever hope to knit it all and yet I keep buying more. The truth is, I've been indulging in some retail therapy. I haven't been feeling well - a combination of thyroid and hormone issues - and haven't been able to find a decent doctor to work with. The combination of some winter blues and not feeling well has me searching for ways to lift my spirits. I don't buy clothes or shoes or household decorative objects but I do love to buy yarn. I'll share a photo of some stash acquisition as soon as it arrives.

On a similar but different note, I've also increased my library of knitting books this year. This photo shows just the books I've purchased since January. Books don't make me feel guilty. In fact, they give me hope that I will indeed turn all this lovely yarn into items that can be worn. Oh how I love a good knitting book! I could thumb through the pages for hours and hours just planning which patterns I'll knit and which yarn would be perfect for each pattern. Sometimes I get industrious and make a list of possible pattern and yarn combinations.

I feel awfully lucky to have found a copy of Charlene Schurch's Knitting Marvelous Mittens at a local yarn store. This book is awfully hard to find. I'm particularly enjoying Knitting Vintage Socks and Favorite Socks. I've knit socks from both books already this year. I have a plan to knit at least one sock from each of my Nancy Bush books this year (they're not all shown in this picture).

What is your ONE favorite knitting book?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I'm coming around

Yarn Pirate Malamute

After saying last night that I wasn't so sure I had picked the right pattern for this yarn I decided to try the sock on. Wow! What a difference. The cable doesn't show up well as I'm knitting and I thought it was all but lost in the yarn. Once I tried it on, however, the ribbing and cables spread out nicely and I'm quite pleased with the pattern.

malamute beginning

See what I mean?

Okay, it's 40 degrees outside and we're expecting a snowstorm tonight into tomorrow. I didn't get my morning walk in today so I'm putting on my sneakers and heading out for a 4 mile walk.