Monday, June 30, 2008

What The ???

Okay - here's a little contest for ya! :O)
The first person to correctly guess what this is:

Can have one sock's worth from here:

The rules:
1. Give me the pattern name and designer's name.
2. Leave your answer in the comment section here.
3. You are EXCLUDED if you are in my immediate family, or have been in my house within the past 2 months.
4. First to comment with the answer wins (if, say, by some MIRACLE, I have a ton of correct answers all on the same day (hopefully today!), I'll do the random number generator thingy to be fair.
5. **You will get to choose two yarns you would like to receive (I am in the middle of swapping for some much coveted Silky Tweed with this particular little sock yarn stash as well!).

Happy pattern hunting, and good luck!

Oh yeah - any LOSTIES? out there? Try this - it's really cool. I'm "Imelda." Go figure.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Puppy Breath And An Answer!

Okay, I know I said I'd update on the vacation, but really, it's only exciting to my family, I think! There's more exciting things going on in this house. It IS Summer vacation, after all!

Thing 1 - The Boy has the confidence to ride his bike without his training wheels! Just look at him go! I can't believe it! I ran along-side him for a while, but wasn't really holding him up at all. Finally, I let go completely, ran another 5 feet or so, then stopped and yelled - "I think you've got it!!!" He freaked out but didn't fall, and it was "on" after that. He spent the rest of the afternoon riding his bike yesterday, and was raring to go back out today after we got back from visiting the PUPPIES!!!!

Which brings me to:

Thing 2 - My mom is in the process of getting a puppy. I have begrudgingly decided that the thing might actually be cute after all. You can just barely tell from the pictures (because the breeder actually groomed them just yesterday) but they are Standard Poodles. Yuck. Such a froo-froo dog! We do NOT plan to show or breed the dog, though, so we intend to leave the hair in a normal state, not the super-stuffy show cut they are famous for.

I'm hoping the breeder decides to give us one of the brown puppies, which are all boys. The black ones are a mix of boys and girls, but I'm not particularly fond of the way the black poodles look as adults. Since they have actual hair, as opposed to fur like most dogs, the hair gets the look of needing some conditioner (what we black folk call "grease"). If we wind up with a black puppy, I may have to investigate all-natural hair grease to be sure that the "do" is done correctly! Hee hee! Problem would be solved very easily by getting a brown dog. We will have to see what the breeder says - the "good" dogs are going to her and the dad's owner since they are the ones that will be breeding and/or showing any "show-quality" dogs from this litter.

SP12 Question #3 - What would you consider the perfect amount of stash?

I think the perfect amount of stash is that amount which lets the owner go to her bookcase/ottoman/dresser/underbed storage bin/living room box and dig around to come up with the yarn to knit the next item on her wish list. Meaning, a good supply of some trusty favorite yarns to pick and choose from, only needing to go to the yarn shop for special assignments/presents, or for knitting group, or because she's got a secret pal (or two or three) to shop for!

That would be ideal, and that's what I'm striving for in my own knitting life!


Monday, June 23, 2008

Day one of any vacation to the Outer Banks is always THE DRIVE. Cause, "they ain't no airports out-deir"!
I've already mentioned that, around Chesapeake, Virginia, we started smelling the smoke from the forest fire(s). That lasted pretty much for two hours or so. Or maybe we just got used to it - who knows!

Avon, NC:
This year, for the first time, we rented a house on the sound-side of the island instead of the beach-front. We figured that would keep The Boy more entertained (easy water access) and also keep my Dad equally entertained. Again - water access! There were crab-traps and fishing lines in the water outside our house 24-7! They even caught a thing or two!

The first day we got there, we just basically checked out the place. I did make a very good mental note that there was a bead-shop on the corner (more on that later!) We looked around, ate some dinner, and gazed at the water surrounding us.

The house was just great - it was actually surrounded on 3 sides by water! It's right on a "point" that juts out into the sound, so there was water to the front:

Water on the left:

And water on the right:

Granted, it was about 3 feet deep at the deepest parts, but it was water, nonetheless! There was also a hot tub to enjoy, but that first night, we just chilled - driving can take a lot out of you, and the drive there, from here, takes a full day! It was about 7:30 when we got there, so we were done! The Boy and his Pop-Pop got the scoop on the crab traps that had been left at our own little pier (right in front of the house - you see the boy standing on it here), but other than that, we just ate dinner (pizzeria-pizza), unpacked, and settled ourselves in. It was lovely, and we were ready for a week at the beach.

Tomorrow, Day 2 - the fun begins!!


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Who'd-A Thunk It?

Who knew that, in the ACTUAL United States - not Narnia or Hogsmeade, or the outer reaches of the grounds of Hogwarts, that there was an actual place named The Great Dismal Swamp. I swear, it's true. Ask me how I know!

I spent a good chunk of my week-long vacation in the Outer Banks last week running from the smoke that's coming from massive forest fires there. I even spent part of my visit to Knitting Addiction talking to Jeanne about them. See, in addition to being a yarn-store-owner/pattern guru, she's also a firefighter. Pretty much, she rocks. She told me that she'd spent part of her duty the previous week helping to control the fires, but, that since the peat (think traditional Irish fuel for heating homes) that's currently burning in some of these fires can be up to eight feet thick in places, they are really just trying to contain the fires, and waiting for some really strong rain to saturate the ground before it can actually hope to be "put out." So basically, they're trying to help nature to (safely) run it's course.

What that means for people in Southern Virginia and North Carolina is - a lot of smoky days!!! We could smell it just driving in through Virginia. At first (since I'd also seen an ambulance around the same time), I just thought there was an "everyday" fire burning. An hour later, I phoned up to my mother - ahead of me on the highway - and asked what the heck was burning. We were very surprised to find that we could smell it (depending on the winds) from our little vacation house on the Pamlico Sound in Avon, as well!

The peat has a definite tang to it - almost like everyone in the state decided to cook-out at the same time. It's a bit overpowering. Depending on how the wind is blowing, it can be oppressive. Particularly for those with breathing problems. AHA! Insert one 6-year old bundle of joy with asthma. Then, tell him he can't stay outside near the beach or water for too long on his once-yearly trek to the Outer Banks. WAH!!!

Don't go feeling too sorry for him though - he'll be in Myrtle Beach with his dad and on a cruise to Canada with me before the Summer ends, so he ain't missing much in life. But, it was a bit discouraging on the days we didn't get to spend the requisite 12 straight hours outside.

So, obviously, we are back from our vacation (didja miss me?). I will fill in the details over the week. I'm going to take a cue from the ever-organized Robin and catch you up a day at a time. Because our days were jam-packed with excitement and I don't want you to miss out on one second!!!


It's actually because I'm scatterbrained and don't want to forget anything. This blog's serving a purpose for me, too, ya know!!! It's my own personal scrap-book, so I can't leave anything out!

See you tomorrow with Day 1!


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Quidditch, Round 2 - HSKS5

1. At the beginning of the year feast, who is the only person who rudely interrupts Dumbledore during his speech?

b. Professor Umbridge

2. Off what street is the alley where Harry first met Sirius?

d. Magnolia Crescent

3. Tonks’ mother had two sisters, both pure-bloods, and both left on the Black Family Tree. What are their names?

c. Narcissa and Bellatrix

4. What spell are the students studying in McGonalgall’s class when Umbrdige is doing her inspection?

d. The Vanishing Spell

5. Who comes to warn Harry and the rest of Dumbledore’s Army that Umbridge and her group of followers are coming to break up their meeting?

Answer: ____Dobby_______ (five letters)

6. Who are the members of the Order that met Harry Potter in the Dursely’s house during the summer before his fifth year?

a. Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, Alastor Moody, Sturgis Podmore, Dedalus Diggle, Hestia Jones, Elphias Doge, Nymphadora Tonks, Mundungus Fletcher

7. Moody used the Disillusionment Charm on Harry.

a. Yes

8. Which of these Death Eaters is Sirius related to?

d. All of the above

9. At what age did Sirius leave his home?

Answer: ____17_____ (Number)

10. How many of the original Order members were killed (don’t include those who disappeared)?

c. 6

Picture Scavenger

Kingsley Shacklebolt

Bellatrix Lestrange

Nymphadora Tonks

Remus Lupin


Friday, June 13, 2008

SO Proud!

Last night, The Boy "moved up." In Montessori school, that means graduate. He's moving from his Primary classroom (where he's been for the past three years) to Lower Elementary next year, so they have a special ceremony for the kids. It was wonderful!! I realized, too late, that I'd forgotten to bring tissues. I didn't think I was going to be emotional about it all, but dang if I didn't well up SEVERAL times! Just when I thought I had it under control, one of the teachers got me again. It wasn't even Zac's teacher, but another Primary "directress" as they're called there, who was a bit emotional since this was to be her last year in the classroom (for a while). Next year, she's gonna be running the show, filling in for the "headmistress" since she's decided to take an early retirement to save her health. Overall, it was a very emotional night!

The school moved to a bigger campus this year - with seven buildings in all (I think). They have named each of the buildings after a continent, which I think is amazingly cool. The Primary students are in "South America" and when they move, up, they go to "Africa." Hence, everyone was asked to dress in African gear. Regardless of race. Pretty cool.

Here's what turned out to be the only shot of my parents in their stuff:
Oh, and a sneak peek of the ex - he shows up when he's needed very nicely.

Here's the boy shaking his teacher's hand - unfortunately she was also fussing at someone behind her! Look how serious he is!

And a much better picture of the two, taken by the ex:

Here's all his buddies that moved up with him. Very cute kids.

Here's The Boy with his very proud momma:

Even his "diploma" has an African theme!

One little side note for some knitting content? I bought Plymouth brand Alpaca yesterday at the wonderful Cloverhill Yarn Shop (the new owner is lovely). Enough for a new Pi Shawl. I am very excited to start this, as it will be my vacation/summer/lace knitting, but can't find my Knitter's Almanac ANYWHERE!!! I may have to break down and get a new one, but I know it's stashed in a bag somewhere, probably with the first, and still unfinished, Pi Shawl (I didn't like the yarn). I'm forcing myself to finish Juliet first, so this next week, I plan on knitting on that like mad. I also have that tank top that will give me some stockinette relief if I need it, but my goal is to cast on for the Pi during the week or at the latest over NEXT weekend. If you don't hear from me, you can assume my fingers are cramped up from knitting so much!


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

One Step Forward . . .

Means one finished object!. . . Plus two more projects cast on! Isn't that the way it goes? Get rid of one thing (that's the one step forward), then put two back on the needles (that's the two steps back). Except that, since it's knitting, that really doesn't sound so bad, since I'm keeping at one of the things I love most in the world! Sad, but true!

So, I finished the blanket for my cousin's baby just in the nick of time. I sewed in the ends on Friday evening at about 10:30. The shower was Saturday at 2. Whew! Then, because of insane heat and broken air-conditioners in my life, I wound up skipping the party. I sent the packages with my mom and soaked up some cool air conditioning. It worked, and I was back in my wool socks by the evening. I think we are all becoming wimps with the luxury of AC. It cannot have been this impossible to work in the 60's and 70's when it was hot outside and most places DIDN'T have AC, so why is it such a bother now, and why can't I get anything at all done in the heat? I don't want to drive anywhere when my AC is out on my car (like now), and I think I'm being tortured to death when the AC is out at school (like now) and I am asked to do anything resembling "teach" or "pack." I'm a wimp.

Here's the beautiful blanket.

My auntie (really my cousin - the preggo cousin's mommy) sent me a picture that my preggo cousin had taken a couple weeks ago. You know, the belly picture. It is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! Makes me wish I had taken one like that when I was pregnant with The Boy. Makes me really wish I was gonna have another kid/pregnancy in my lifetime, but since the chances of that are pretty slim (unless I make a run to the "bank") I guess I'd better forget that one, eh? Besides, I was more amused by my body than anything while I was pregnant. To think my belly could get BIGGER than a normal day was quite amusing! That I had a dang good reason made me feel much better!

I didn't get that awestruck feeling until afterwards when I was nursing him. To think that I'd finally figured out what boobs were for really amazed me for some reason. Course, I still really really like their recreational use, but I'm just sayin'. . . . teehee!

Okay, back to knitting content - I cast on two more projects since finishing the blanket. One was the bag for my HSKS5 pal, which is actually almost finished! I am tweaking the handle (which I didn't like in the pattern picture) and plan to knit that while I wait for official papers tomorrow at the Department of Mental Health and Hygeine (the birth certificate folks). The other is the Tank Top from Oneskein. I'm using my Silky Tweed for this and think it will make a great summer top. I'm not really liking that I have to knit the largest size, but their sizes clearly are for the cheeseburger-deprived. I hate those people. Not really, but dang!

I'll show pics of the tank when there's more to show than some seed stitch and two rows of stockinette, and the tank is still a surprise, so no-can do for now. I may try some incognigro-type photos - we'll have to see how much it gives away!


Sunday, June 08, 2008

Didja Hear?

A wee bit of a storm hit our area last week. Quite scary/interesting/mind boggling/amazing. Really. Our street was the hardest hit in our neighborhood, but I'm still not sure if anyone's owning up to it being a tornado or not. Our house was not the hardest hit, either. Oh, and this is just one tree in the back yard.

This is our biggest headache right now. Also what scared the bejasus out of my dad. I keep chastising my mother for laughing, because this tree came darn close to hitting him. Had it come through the house, it would've, cause originally he was standing in front of the window that you can't see in this picture for all the tree/leaves. Apparently, about .25 seconds later? He was in the bedroom closet. She finds it hilarious. Bad wife, bad wife!

You can see from the picture that The Boy is finding the whole thing a bit upsetting. He used to have a swing in the tree that got hit. In this picture, he was actually saying "Oh no, don't tell me my swing is gone!" Why yes, sweety. . .

I do think your swing is gone. Plus a few other things.

In all, it wasn't too, too bad, but there are repairs to be done to the deck railing, a hole in the roof/ceiling (small one, really), and a broken window to contend with. Other than that, the real pain is going to come on days like today - when it's hotter 'n blazes outside, because now all our shade is gone along the back of the house and the deck. Dang.

We also had the next day off from school because of all the residual power outages. Which just meant that I got my report cards done during the day and was able to go home at a reasonable hour.


Saturday, June 07, 2008


I. Am. Beat. I was able to take my Saturday morning yoga class today, which I forgot until I got there, was being taught by a sub. Not a big deal, I just forgot.

Lemme just say, that woman kicked our asses! After about the 10th down-dog, my friend and I were just laughing. Complying, mind you, but laughing (and doing a little shaking!)

Here's the sequence:

After the centering, we did some Cat/Cow sequences. Then came the first Downward Facing Dog poses - she led us through a "kria" which just means you move with your breath, by the way! We would do Child's Pose, go into DownDog, then come back down to Cow, back to Child's, etc, etc. I think we did this about 6-8 times to warm/loosen up.

THEN! She had us move from DownDog right into Pigeon. Yay! I LOVE pigeon pose. But remember, you have to do Down Dog twice to completely do this pose, to alternate leading legs. Oy.

After the DownDog to Pigeon, she had us do DownDog into Warrior I. Agan, remember - Dog it twice for this pose! Then DownDog into Triangle (twice). That's when we just about lost it! And that was just the first part of the class!

Again. She kicked my ass. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Now I'm off to knit. My yarn came in yesterday from Webs for my Hogwarts Pal's bag. I'll show pics and tell ya about The Boy and his 100-degree soccer game later on - after I've cooled down some more. I think sitting underneath the ceiling fan to type up this post has gotten me about halfway there!


Monday, June 02, 2008

Secret Pal 12

I decided to go ahead with the Secret Pal swap again. They're up to 12! I think my first one was 8, and I did it for 2 rounds, but skipped one or two. I got sidetracked by the lure of things with a Harry Potter theme, and wound up knitting FOR other people. Not that I don't like that sort of thing, but I'm being a bit greedy with my knitting time, so I am opting for this swap where no knitting is necessary (although it's not off-limits, either!)

Here's the obligatory questionnaire:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I love SOFT fibers and wool blends usually – I am really intrigued by the sheen in wool/tencel blends, and/or bamboo blends

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? I have several cases for my needles and supplies, and was given a hanging circular organizer, so now I’m SET!

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I picked knitting back up about 8 years ago, after being taught as a teen by my mother. I consider myself intermediate/advanced in that it takes me a lot to try new techniques, although I do love lace knitting, and have done some fair isle work as well.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? I think I started an Amazon list before, but haven’t/don’t keep up with it.

5. What's your favorite scent? Lavender

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? Definitely have a sweet tooth, but try to keep my bad habits (chocolate) to junior mints or tootsie rolls, and I LOVE Skittles.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? Knitting is pretty much it. I do have a spindle and have tried spinning, but although it intrigues me, I don’t find it as satisfying, somehow, as knitting.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) I am a jazz person, if I’m not listening to my yoga music to relax. My computer does play MP3s.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand? Favorites = reds, blues, greens. Can’t stand/never use yellows if they wind up in my stash.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? My son and I are currently living with my parents. I’m hoping to win the lottery so that I don’t wind up in the “ghetto” on my teacher’s salary. Otherwise, we’re here until the urge to turn into Lizzie Borden can no longer be ignored. Then we gotta go! ;O)

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? Yes to all of the above. Not so much mittens, but if it’s cold, it’s cold!

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? I’m on a sweater kick right now, but I’m a pretty fanatical sock knitter (or maybe I’m just a sock yarn collector?).

13. What are you knitting right now? A cardigan (my 2nd “Juliet”), a baby blanket for my cousin, a Lizard Ridge afghan for my son to take to his dad’s, and about 5 different pair of socks. Oh, and a cabled shawl from a Vogue Knitting book.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Yes.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? Circular wooden needles are my norm, but I do love addi’s for socks (lately on two circulars).

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? Yes to both.

17. How old is your oldest UFO? OLD. – I’m talking years. It’s a Pi Shawl that I’m seriously considering frogging to recycle the yarn.

18. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas

19. Is there anything that you collect? Turtles, and sock yarn!

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? I want the Ring of Lace Wrap to use up some hand-dyed laceweight this Summer. I’d also like some of the Classic Elite booklets as I always love their designs, but never really focus much on booklets at my LYS – too distracted by yarn fumes, I guess. I have subscriptions to Interweave Knitting and Vogue International.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? How to knit faster so I get to knit all the lovely things I want!!! Yeah right.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? Definitely a sock knitter. I’m a size 9 – pretty wide foot, but “normal” ankles/legs.

23. When is your birthday? May 6

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID? I’m Heather219 on Ravelry. LOVE. Them.

That's all for now.

Oh, did I mention I joined yet another group in Ravelry? I'm now in the Seasons of Lace group, and trying to find the right yarn (hopefully in my stash) for a Pi shawl for REAL this time! I don't want laceweight, but don't want anything as heavy as DK, which is what I think the problem was with the first try. I need to not be so wimpy about knitting with thread!