Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I Can Stop Anytime I Want To

Honest. I can. (I think I can, I think I can, I think. . . )

This weekend I spent in relative peace. As opposed to TheWeekendFromHell the week before. Man, The Boy keeps me busy! We had to turn one birthday party down, then we STILL made time to: Have "movie night" - Transformers was the choice of the week - great special effects, silly story - go to the Renaissance Festival, party at the Soccer-dome (birthday party #2), read a book or two (I think), go to a soccer game (they lost - big time!), try to relax, do some laundry (he helps load the machine), and OF COURSE play outside. I needed a nap after that. Too bad I don't get them more often!

So this weekend, with virtually no one around (The Boy was at his dad's for the weekend, my mom went to visit her sister), I felt like I had a ton of things I could do. This is what I actually DID do:

Watched "Because I Said So" while trying to knit the cuff of my Hogwarts Pal's sock. We already know this did not work out to my advantage. As a result, I wound up undoing, then redoing the same knitting Sunday morning while watching "My Super Ex-girlfriend." That attempt worked much better, probably because I had very little desire to actually watch the screen during that second movie. What was Uma Thurman thinking?

In between all that cuff knitting, I rearranged my entire living room in order to fit this monster in there:

This is my new stash-management tool. It holds lots!!!!!!! My stash is pretty much contained in this one unit now. I still need to get one small container out of the attic, and all my sock yarns are in the basket beside the couch in the family room, but other than that, this baby holds it all!
The one bin that is closed in the picture holds my fiber for spinning. The back left one has UFOs, the two in the front are "stash." On the left is stash in general, and the right bin holds things that are actually waiting to go on the needles. My "cue" if you will. Of course, the projects in progress are in bags in various places. Spinning-wise, too! In the picture, you can see (besides my horribly mauve walls) some red Jitterbug, various laceweights, some black cashmere from Stitches in the discount, discount bin - I think I paid $35.00 for 1300 yards! Ca-ching! In the left corner is also a couple colorways of Koigu - yum! I actually wound up changing my mind on what I was going to use that for, so it's still in my stash, waiting for the next opportunity. It may become some keyhole scarves for gifties for my co-workers.

Also in the ottoman are two more of the things I picked up at Stitches:

Some Louisa Harding that I might make into this summer-y top. I'm also considering making it up into the Kimono Cardigan pattern I got from Ellen's Half Pint at the show as well. Not sure yet, but the bag of yarn was only $40 from Woolworks, so I couldn't pass it up. They always have great deals there - if you're into Noro, there were bags and bags and bags of all types for cheap, cheap (well, as cheap as Noro can get).

Next is some "Rainbow" yarn from Valley Yarns. I love this yarn. I'm not really a yarn snob, I don't think, but this is the most excited an acrylic yarn has made me in a long time. It's actually a blend, and it's spun with slubs now and then that make it look like it would be a bulky weight yarn, but it actually knits up at about a DK weight. I'm going to make the cardigan you see pictured with it. But, first I have to finish at least one of the sweaters I'm currently working on - I have two in progress (and two I need to "tweak" from last year so I can actually wear them). The yarn and the pattern came from WEBS, and of course, was a deal - gotta love WEBS!

More on my progress later. I need to go relax and knit! Tomorrow is Halloween, after all, and a mom/teacher needs her rest!


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Hogwarts, We Have a Problem

Dang! I did it again! I will eventually finish this sock!

I was trying to be a good girl, and would have finished these socks last night, tidied up the package and sent them off to my pal on Monday (after washing and blocking the socks, of course), but silly ole' me was doing two things at one time (I like to pretend I can multi-task). I was watching a movie AND finishing the cuff of my pal's socks. As you can see - I clearly CAN'T do two things at one time. When watching a movie, apparently my mind thinks a picot edge goes like this: K2, YO. Please stop laughing. It's truly not that funny. Sad yes, funny no. And now I even have the pleasure of undoing a cast off (yes, I ignored the gigantic cuff even through the bind-off - I know, I know). Sad. So sad. Oh, and I'm SUPPOSED to be rearranging my living room in order to fit in my brand new ottoman. I love it when things pile up and up! I hope to have time, eventually, to get back to my Tree Jacket this weekend. Not looking good. Not looking good at all!

But, I am taking a break to show you this:

Rogue stash-yarn sneaking in through all the Stitches East confusion:

Potters Covers Club sock yarn, right from Dharmafey. One in Sorcerer's Stone:

One in Chamber of Secrets:

Beautiful, ge-or-geous, and they come with patterns each time, too. I really, really like the Sorcerer's Stone. May be gifting the Chamber of Secrets to my auntie for Christmas. Much more her colors, she's a super sock knitter, and just read all 7 HP books this Summer. I think she deserves a skein of the Potters Covers, AT LEAST!


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Lil' More

Okay, here's a bit more of my haul from Stitches (see, I told you it was a lot). But, since this is "Theweekendfromhell" I can't stay long!

Here's a shot my spinning! Yes, spinning. I took a class from Merike Saarnit on the drop spindle (which she does NOT use as a drop). I think I really like it. I was very excited that I was making yarn, and feel pretty confident that I can make some that will produce likeable finished products. That was my whole issue going into spinning to begin with. If I can't make stuff I'd want to knit with as much as the stuff I buy, then why go to the trouble? Well, the answer is: because it's neat.

I got a bit carried away, however. The stuff you see on the spindle? Yeah, it was so much that the hotel room wasn't long enough for me to ply it! To do that, I was taught to hook it to a chair leg and walk back until you had the entire length straightened out next to each other, in order to let them wind around each other bit by bit. I didn't think that me standing in the hallway of the hotel was a good idea (I was by myself, with no other crazyknitter people, or I'd have done it - I need backup to be too eccentric!) So, anyway - I'm supposed to be keeping this brief! The purple is some Romney (roving, I think) that I'll spin up one of these days. I was very, very greedy and took the whole bag! It was a very nice color, with some brownish-tan in there once in a while, and I really liked it. I'm thinking I'll wait on this until I'm more confident, then knit a vest. Maybe the Back-to-School vest? Maybe by the next time it's back to school, I'll be ready. If the force is with me! Oh, and I got it from Woolbearers.

Next is some CHEAP undeyed mohair that I found at The Yarn Barn. Each skein was $4.00. That means there's an entire shawl for $8.00. And, of course, I have one in mind. That was the theme of this year's Stitches - if you don't know what to do with it, don't buy it! I do, however, plan to dye it first. I'll probably do that and the wool from Allenholm Farms at the same time. It'll be a little study in dyes and different fibers!

Also in that picture is some cool RED sock yarn from Sockotta. I am a bit sensitive to wool, so I like a blend in my socks, and Sockotta has one that's got a lot of cotton in it! YUM! Especially when it's red!!! I'm thinking some red Monkeys would be great, but sock yarn doesn't have to have a specific purpose, remember?

And the other red thing(s) in the picture? Those are two hanging organizers (for yarn, of course!) I got them from the same brilliant woman who made me this bag:

It's cool, huh? I had been looking for a new bag (that wasn't the size of my house), and I absolutely refuse to pay $100 + for a knitting bag. It's just so not worth it. If your name isn't Coach or Dooney-whoever, you're just not gonna get it from me (and then only if there's a massive, massive sale!!!!). This bag is really cool, sturdy patent-leather with a contrasting fabric trim. The fabric that you see on the handles and the bow outside? It's also used inside to make cool, deep pockets on the inside! And - drumroll please. . . . . . It cost all of $45! I fell in love instantly, but waited until Sunday to go back and order my bag (and it came in the mail here on Friday). The company is Mind Your Knitting, and she makes really cool stuff. Go check her out.

Oh, and next to the bag is my new, eco-friendly yoga block and strap. I'm really loving the yoga thing and - BONUS - I've lost 5 pounds since starting WITHOUT EVEN TRYING!!! And believe me, I haven't been THAT careful with what I eat! I'm also noticing an appetite suppressing type effect that I'm attributing to the yoga as well. Just not that hungry, and I have a bit more self control these days! I LOVE yoga!

I'm off to finish my weekendfromhell. Y'all have fun now!


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Okay, Just a Peek

So, apparently I can be easily persuaded.

I really, really wanna show off my yarn. But I'm also really, really embarrassed that I bought so much. Especially when my stash is already in three different locations in my house (at least). There's some in the attic (that's probably stuff that can actually leave the house, I'd just have to actually go through it and make a decision!), some in an under the bed storage box (okay, TWO boxes) under my bed, and then there's a basket in the living room. Okay, okay, so there's a basket in EACH living room in the house. But, in my defense, one basket (in "my" living room) is full of hat yarn and sock yarn (lots of friends with babies lately), and one basket (in the "family" room) is full of sock yarn.

Well, now there's a whole chair full of yarn as well - cause my Stitches additions take up the oversized chair in my living room as well. I'm trying to wait patiently for my new ottoman to come in so I can properly store all my yarn (the ottoman has 4 storage compartments - smart, eh?).

And I really wanna show it all off. Just not too much at one time. Maybe those reading will loose track of how crazy I was. Maybe?

So here's installment 1:

I met this lovely lady on the last day of the event: It's Karida from Neighborhood Fiber Co.
I was attracted by the lovely colors there on the right side of the frame. Then saw that she was knitting a Monkey (!) sock via the magic-loop method. After we got talking, I realized she was a "local" business that I needed to support.

I can't believe I went all the way to Baltimore to meet her - she's from DC. Not that I'm from DC, but it's closer than Baltimore!!! She is a really cool person. She dyes wonderful fibers in brilliant colorways and then - get this - gives each colorway a neighborhood or "place" name from DC! Genious, right? Yeah, well, looky what I fell in love with while I was talking to her

Remember, this was the last day of the event, and I was supposed to be "done." But, these colors just called my name! Wow. I love it. It's sock yarn in the colorway "Brightwood." 100% superwash, in a tight twist similar to Koigu. Everyone wants to be like Koigu, and that's not a bad thing!

She's got a new seacell and merino blend coming out soon called Watershed and is giving back to the environment with the proceeds. Her launch party is next Wednesday, and I'm considering cutting out early on The Boy's soccer practice to go by. If you're local, you should too - it's going to be at Knit Happens in Alexandria. A lovely place to get yarn!

While I'm discussing the last day of Stitches, I'll show you the yarn and pattern I got from my last visit to Ellen's 1/2 Pint. Yes, apparently I tripped and fell into their booth several times this past weekend. They probably think they have a stalker!

The pattern is the Fingertip Length Duster by Sue Mixer. It was in the fashion show, and part of the reason I had to go back. On Friday,when I went by, this little lovely was not there - it was in the wings of the fashion show. So I had to go back, right? I didn't get yarn from them for this one yet - it uses their wool/silk blend, which is $100 a hank. Yeah, couldn't go "there" on the last day. No way. But I did break down and get some sock yarn (at the bottom of the frame) for The Boy's first knitted socks (well, that he'll actually be walking in), and two hanks of their Baby Alpaca and silk-blend laceweight. This was a value, I felt, because one hank with 425 yards is only $15.00. So, a $30 shawl is in my budget, right? Please agree. Smile and wave, y'all, smile and wave!

Oh, and by the way - I always knit baby hats out of Lion Brand Microspun. Lovely, soft on baby's head, wash it, wear it, do anything to it and you can't kill it. Trust me, one lived at the bottom of The Boy's diaper bag for the better part of one year, came out with a bit of goo (diaper cream) on it, ex-hubby threw it in the back of his closet, and it didn't get washed until about 6 months after that, and it's STILL gorgeous! Even though this is 100% acrylic yarn, it's very soft, and won't irritate anyone's skin. After all, an infant can't tell you his head is itchy. He'll just cry and make everyone miserable. Yuck.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Not Tellin'

Well, I've come to the conclusion that I absolutely WILL NOT post the pics of my haul from Stitches East this past weekend.

I mean, why embarass myself like that? Why let the ENTIRE BLOGOSPHERE in on my weakness when it comes to buying yarn?

I'd rather not.

No, you'll have to settle with seeing each project as it rolls around, and hopefully that will be more often than it has been lately. I'm already well into the SKC KAL sweater, "Tree Jacket" - see:

And I've given myself permission to knit on it this week, but have reserved the weekend for finishing the socks for my Hogwarts Sock Swap (2) pal. I hope she doesn't think I've forgotten about her! I also hope she thinks the Stitches pause was worth it - I did find some great things to finish off her package. Now that I've visited Stitches and finished up the gifties, it's definitely time to bind off her last sock, get the cuffs right (I went and did a fancy cuff that is doable, but a bit of a stretch for my talents), get her package together and find the "owl" that will deliver it to her. If you're not a Harry Potter fan, you probably don't get that, but trust me, this is all normal!!

I did have a great time at Stitches, though. I only bought yarn that had a purpose (well, unless it was sock yarn, but hey - it's sock yarn - it has a purpose built-in, right?), but apparently, I can find lots of purposes for yarn these days! I may have to cancel my birthday trip to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, and I've already told myself that I can't go back to Stitches next year unless I've knit 5 garments. Most of those planned are cardigans or jackets - I think they are wonderful to have around for comfortable, professional work clothes, so I will hopefully be very diligent in my quest.

And, I met a couple fellow knit-bloggers - Robin, Jenny, and Marjorie. They were all lovely, we had a great time together, laughed a bunch, talked a ton, and had a great time relaxing after a bit of great yarn shopping. Wonderful. As soon as I figure out how to do a sidebar, these three ladies are on my list - in a good way! :O)

I've also planned a hat for my son in Berocco's Jasper yarn - a bright red to wear with his Spider Man coat this Winter, and some sock yarn in multi-colors from Ellen's 1/2 Pint for him as well. He is very excited that he is on the list for socks, finally. I've done hats for him before, but my mom has always done sweaters (and he's always too warm, so I kinda feel like that's overkill), and I'm hoping his feet have stopped growing at lightning speed so that socks won't be a total waste! Just in case, I'll knit them from the cuff down so that the toe can be ripped, picked up, and added onto!!

I'm looking forward to a lot of great knitting, but again, I refuse to take one collective picture of the haul. It's way too embarrassing!


Thursday, October 11, 2007

I'm Off!

Not that you'd be looking for me, but I'm about to go do my best imitation of a cat.

If you need me, I'll be at Stitches East, playing with string all weekend long. It was all I could do this afternoon to concentrate on getting cohesive sub-plans written out for tomorrow. You know that itchy creeping feeling kids get up their spines leading up to Christmas? Yeah, that's the way I was feeling all afternoon. I grinned the entire time during dismissal today - the kids wondered what was up with me, but I don't care! I'm going to play, play, play!!!

If you're going too, hope to see you there. Don't forget the meetup Saturday from 4-6 at the DSX Sports Pub/Restaurant!

I'm off!!!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


I'm in the market for a new car. This is all new to me. Never bought a new car before in my life.Considered it once or twice, but then always went for the cheaper, used option (or hand-me-down from family, long, long ago!). So I want to make sure I make the right choice.

Here's what I'm considering:

Option #1 - The Toyota Prius.

This car is very soothing to the sensible side of me. It calms the wanna-be tree-hugger deep down inside. But, in reality, the incredible gas mileage is really and truly lost on me. I currently drive a Jeep Cherokee, and only filled the tank once in the last three weeks. Still have half a tank, even though this weekend I actually had a "date night." So, better for the environment, yes, but I'm thinking I'm not really the target market for this vehicle. Plus, the inside is really, really small, and there's no hatch really, to speak of. The battery is back there, and there's virtually no room for stuff, much less a 5-year old to change into his soccer practice clothes!

Option #2 - Scion HB.

Okay, now I KNOW I'm really not the target market for this car, but it's appealing to my space needs. I'm pretty much over the fear of the Scion name-brand, since it's actually made by Toyota, and the shape of this car has been looking better since 2007. Much less like a pickup truck with a box around it, and more like a low-rider SUV. It gets just "okay" gas mileage, but like I said before, that's pretty much lost on me - I drive 2 miles to my office, another two miles from there to pick Zac up from school, then another 2 miles back to the house. I live, work, and do the mom-thing in a teeny tiny triangle. What's really appealing about this car is the price, and that may just be what gets me. I can soup this thing up with whatever the heck I want, and still have a car payment of about $250/month. Very easy to double up on if I want, and easy on the wallet in case the miracle of all happens, and I find an affordable, safe place for my son and I to live - you know, somewhere where we actually pay rent, not just a bill here and there to help out!

Option #3 - The Dodge Caliber.

I just plain think this car looks cool. It also has the price going for it, since it's a very reasonably priced car. Size-wise, it's pretty similar to the Jeep, which is also very appealing, considering my son's love for changing into his soccer gear in the back of the car. Seems he no longer thinks it's cool to go into the ladies room with mom. Go figure.

The hesitation with this one is that I'm hearing about company troubles with Dodge. Something about a takeover, or buy-out or something else. I'm going to go research some more and see what I can come up with, but I'm also looking forward to a free night or weekend where I can do some test-driving.

I also won't buy from a salesman who treats me like I don't know anything about the car. In this day and age, I think they should expect that the customer has researched a bit in advance, and not try to tell you things like "well, you can't get a standard transmission in anything but the top of the line model." DUH. Like I haven't "built" online versions of the car and know that they can get any model in any transmission I want (minus the Prius, of course). The Dodge dealership in Waldorf, MD is already off my list because of a silly mistake like that!

Wish me luck!