Thursday, June 30, 2011

Aren't you glad?

You know with summer time and the heat, sometimes I forget, till I am rummaging through my pictures trying to come up with a blog post. 

While I love the snow and am really glad to have considerate bosses that occasionally tell me the roads are to bad to come into work, I'm glad my yard does not always look like this.

Beautiful, isn't it?

I just made you shiver a bit didn't I?

Enjoy your Fourth of July holiday, I know I will!

Happy Canada Day to my Canadian blog friend too!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Last year when we were in Newport OR on vacation I took a similar picture to this year's vacation shot.

D even has beer from the same Oregon brewery. He tried a Chipotle Ale. My interest was peaked, it was not as spicy as I thought it would be. I know D quite enjoyed it and I promised to have one waiting for him when he finishes his half marathon in October. I hope he will be smiling then too.

We were in Mooresville for friend's wedding, as with any wedding we did not plan on spending much time with the bride and groom so we found other ways to amuse ourselves. 

We found a car museum. I think my father in law is working on restoring a car similar to this, so I thought I would throw in some eye candy for him.

Along with some pedal tractors too since he is interested in them too. I think he would have loved this museum. I know d said it was one of the best ones he's been to. I liked it but not quite that much. I still love the Smithsonian better.

D pointed out the little Bull Frog Knits on this car. Do you think it was a yarn store at one time? Hold on I will go google it...... Nope it was the name of a race in the 80's. Or atlas that is what I found on it.

Best race car driver name ever! I know it is wrong but I don't want to be right.

Do you think Jesus was his copilot? No sarcasm intended at all. I have Proverbs 3:5-6 inscribed on my ipod. It helps me to remember what is important.

I don't know why this made me giggle but I had to have D stand next to Horses and Mules bought and sold. Maybe I secretly adore the word livery.

Well that pretty much wraps up the NC portion of the trip. I am still working on the Antietam Battlefield post. That one is a hard place to capture in words.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Two socks and a sleeve

Well let's see what have I been working on so far this summer? Yesterday I had three different socks on the needles but today I only have two. I finished a pair for D and will show them to you on Friday, for Finished Object (FO) Friday. That is assuming I get a picture of them before they go down to the laundry and stay there till next weekend. I think I am worse than a kid  in the candy shop, I can not wait for someone to wear the new item including me. I switched my socks at knitting group and wore the wavy cable socks home when I finished them. I guess I just can't wait to get started wearing them out.

I'm knitting Spring Forward socks from Knitty in yarn I bought at Rhinebeck two years ago. Ellen's 1/2 Pint Farm, a merino wool, bamboo and nylon blend in a lovely jaunty pink. 

This is another one of those patterns I see on all the blogs and tell myself "I need to knit that." I love that Knitty has such beautiful varied patterns and all for free. I do admit that I've looked at patterns there and decided they were not for me, until I rediscover them on a blog, knit with different yarn and fall in love with them. Isn't it amazing that changing the color or sheen in a yarn can make such a difference in how a patten is perceived? No wonder that designers get upset when someone messes with their vision. However, if you put a pattern out into the world you must accept that knitters are incapable of doing it your way all the time. I choose to believe that most designers are happy with that. Still it must be somewhat like having a baby and giving it away to the world.

Speaking of Knitty I found another patten there for this yarn, Malabrigo sock yarn in the Candombe colorway, Nemesis. Clearly I went on a pattern hunt on Knitty and found some pretty ones.

I needed something to knit while we watched a movie and all my current projects required charts so I started a basic 2x2 rib and figured I would find a pattern after. I got this far...

Then I remembered my first pair of Malabrigo socks are a bit loose and I meant to knit them with less than 80 stitches in a round, guess how many are on the needles in that cuff above. Yep 80 of those little suckers, so I frogged back and started again with less stitches as the pattern I'd found required and found the cuff should be shorter than what I have there also. Now I am ready to start the leg portion. With all my mistakes/'I'll figure that out later' things this sock may truly be my Nemesis.

Yeah, I know it is lame but I had to do it, I don't know why but I had to.

I pulled my Central Park Hoodie sweater out of the 'time out' pile and decided to start the other sleeve. I had misunderstood the pattern on the first sleeve and was debating making the second sleeve the same as the first just recreating the error in it or starting over and doing it the right way. I knit four pattern repeats and decided I really wanted to do it the right way. Maybe I just decided not to mess with the designer's baby in this case.

That is the offending sleeve of which we speak. I was going to rip it back this weekend so would not be tempted to use it, but I would like to compare the sleeves to see how they differ. Now I'm moving right along with it and have eight repeats done on it. Shortly I will be starting the sleeve cap and then it will be off to the blocking pile.

So, two socks and a sleeve, that is what I'm working on now. I felt so lost yesterday because I finished that sock for D and now my purse has no knitting in it. It felt so empty and without a higher calling. "What? All I'm carrying is your keys, wallet and cell phone? No Yarn? Where is the wool, woman, the wool?"

Friday, June 24, 2011

Wavy Socks

Well here it is Friday and I really do have a finished object for Finished Object Friday. I finished my Wavy Cables Socks last Saturday at knitting group. It is a good thing these knit up so quickly because I think I knit top down to the gusset four times with these, on three needle sizes. 

I realize they are just a tad large on me but there was no way either of the first two iterations was going to work with my feet. Cables are less stretchy than plain stockinette knitting so I tried something new and it seemed to work well for me. I knit a longer heel flap than I normally would, it gave just enough room to get the sock over my heel.  I am planning to do this anytime I have a less stretchy fabric. Now I've forgotten where I learned that so I can't give anyone credit for the idea, all I can say is thank you intelligent knitter!

These are out of Blue Moon - Socks That Rock medium weight yarn. In a colorway that I bought partly because of the name, Spy Say Guacamolay. With a name like that what is not to love, especially when the color is reddish brown and avocado green. I was lucky enough to pick up the yarn on my Portland Oregon trip last summer. The pattern is in Knitter's Book of Yarn or KB of Wool, one of the two. Really you should own both according to my buying habits.

Yes I am a little in love with the way these socks came out! I make cables and I feel like a real knitter too.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Not all knitting

I've been told that Memorial Day weekend, usually the last weekend in May, is the time to plant in NY. Well the last couple of years I've missed that date, and the weekends after it too. So the last couple of years our tomatoes have been from the store. Yes, I know I am hanging my farmer's daughter head in shame. Life sometimes it moves way too quickly for me.

This year we were in NC so I knew I would miss it yet again. I hoped I would go get some plants the weekend after we got back but nope that did not happen. 

Luckily we decided to go to the farmer's market the weekend after that and we found tomato plants! They were even good sized and healthy looking, yay. We dug up the grass and put in tomatoes.

We bought four different kinds and brought them home to plant while it was misting. Now I love trying different kinds and D just wanted some tomatoes so he let me choose. We have...well shoot now I forgot. There's an Amish one, a purple one, Sweet 100s and another one. I'll have to look again next time I'm out there. We plant them sideways to give them more of a root base.

Look what a difference a week makes.

The all figured out which way was up and started growing. D is so enthused he has been researching how to grow tomatoes and has a couple of sites bookmarked. He's taking out his water bottles to make sure they get the recommended water amount. He's looking into pest control. That reminds me I need to buy some cheep beer to control the slug situation.

I asked him the other day if he was talking to them to make them grow more, but he said he was not. I guess that is better than telling them to grow faster so he can eat their babies. Yikes that would sound scary to a plant!

Friday, June 17, 2011

I need a vote

I wrestle with some of my knitting ideas for quite a while before I jump into a project. My current opponent is the mossy/olivey green yarn on the top left of this photo. It is sport weight alpaca yarn that is soft and smooshy.

I bought all this yarny goodness at a a fiber festival last September. I already had a skein of it in grey from a year before that so I used it to make my grey Multnomah shawl, which I adore.

The yarn is alpaca and has a halo, fuzziness about it. One of the things I like about the Multnomah shawl is the simplicity of the pattern with the fuzzy yarn. It is just warm, soft and comforting. Not too flashy.

Now my dilemma with the green yarn is that I would like to do something a bit more fancy lace shawlish. There are three main contenders. Sorry I don't know how to get a good link for the first one and I don't want to show someone else's work without permission so I will just list a few and hopefully you will go look to see what I mean then come back to let me know what you think.

Evelyn Clarks' Prairie Rose Shawl from Knitter's Book of Wool
Evelyn Clarks' Swallowtail Lace Shawl from Interweave Press
Miriam Felton's Icarus Shawl from Interweave Press

I really like the idea of the Prairie Rose shawl since I am from the prairie, but I'm not sure this yarn is the best choice for that pattern. Will the fuzz haze the delicate pattern? Will the alpaca not block as well as sheep wool would? Will the alpaca weigh down and stretch out the pattern?     I don't know.

Same story for the swallowtail shawl. Are they really a match or just a divorce waiting to happen?

I worry a bit about the weight pulling down Icarus too. And the blocking may be an issue.

Maybe I should just knit another garter stitch shawl and see if I can find a nice lace edging that will play along?

So you can see what I am up against, any suggestions will be considered, but I reserve the right to plunge ahead and make all my own mistakes. Maybe I just need to swatch some and see what I like best. Naw that will never work!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Road Trip day two

After another 6-7 hours of jamming out to the tunes in the car we arrived in Mooresville NC. Home of Redneck Fries. You can see we decided to go for BBQ. I found out I am living in a mixed marriage, well I always knew it but I never had it so clearly defined as in this restaurant. I drink Southern Sweet Tea and D drinks...Yankee Tea! How will we ever be able to continue live together? Oh wait we live in a Yankee state it is OK.

All that beautiful Southern food was consumed at Lancaster's. We asked the desk clerk at the hotel to recommend a BBQ place and this is what she pointed us to. Yeah, I fell a bit in love with her. Her favorite thing is the fried pickles. I wanted to try them but my stomach overruled me for the Redneck Fries. Oh so tasty!

Since Mooresville, NC is Race City USA we got to eat under all these NASCAR hoods. Directly above me was a Cartoon Network Scooby Doo one. I love Scooby Doo and a whole lot of other cartoons, but Scooby is pretty close to the top of that list.

And on the lower level a bus you can eat in! The cool thing about this restaurant was their policy for the NASCAR drivers you're not allowed to ask for signatures while they are eating.

Since D and I are not big NASCAR fans we could have been sitting next to someone and not even have known it. Nah, the place was fairly empty and I think I could recognize some of them, or at least the driver type. Who am I kidding I was looking longingly into my lover's fries, I mean eyes.

Not a bad way to round out the driving portion of our trip. One thing I miss about not living in the south are the hush puppies. I don't think I've been offered hush puppies once while living in NY. Guess next year's road trip will have to remedy the hush puppy situation?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Road trip day one

D and I took a bit of a road trip to North Carolina to attend a wedding. We thought about flying and we thought about taking the train. It would have been our first train trip and I was pushing hard for that option till I found out driving would actually take less time. Well theoretically it would, I talked him into splitting the trip into two parts and only driving six to seven hours a day. Yes I know I am a wimp and I am ok with it.

Roughly halfway turned out to be Hagerstown Maryland. I was sold on the idea once I found out Antietam battlefield was a short distance away. But more on that another day, I want to do the place justice and encourage as many people to go as I can.

You know I am a vacation research freak right? I really like to look into things and plan them out. I also like to occasionally try new things. I found a KOA that rented wee cabins! For half the price of a moderate hotel room too. It had electricity, wi-fi and air conditioning. With temperatures in the 90s we had no idea A/C would be so important. We did have to walk to the bathrooms but I choose to think of that as exercise.

We had to supply our own linens but what is a road trip without a couple of sleeping bags, a bar of soap and some towels? Not too much luggage, we did veer off on our own course by bringing our tea basket (kettle, pot, strainer, cups and teaspoon.) Ah tasty tea we cannot go far without you.

Isn't just as cute as the dickens?

Inside were built in twin bunk beds and a large adult bed. Hubby is modeling the big bed in this shot. Well sort of.

They had a pool that D took advantage of right away. I even had to take a tootsies only dip. I'm not much of a pool person but with temps that high even I can be coaxed in.

Then I sat in the shade poolside and pulled out some knitting and made some hard decisions. 

To frog or not to frog, that is the question. Whether the yarn tis nobler than the foot it should encase? That is the question.

Yep that pretty much sums it all up there. Rip it Rip it.

I've finished one of these socks now and can confirm that it fits over my heel. I'll show you that one another day too.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Stash enhancement

On our recent trip to North Carolina I managed to find a couple of yarn shops and enhanced my yarn stash.

The first store was a bit of a disappointment for me. I would call it more of a craft store than yarn shop. Not that there is anything wrong with that just that my tastes obviously run more to the yarny side now. The service was fine but the selection was not the greatest. I'm not going to mention the shop name because I don't want to use this space to hurt someone's business based on my personal preferences. I can tell you it was not my cup of tea and move on from there. 

They did have a skein of yarn that I fell in love with when I first started knitting. Mountain Colors Barefoot in the colorway Crazy Woman. There was a time for me when I could not go on an internet site without running across this colorway and I always loved it! Now it is mine, see a shop can not be inherently bad if they have your dream yarn. Oh and they had highlighting tape that I wanted to try out too.

The second shop had a distinctly more yarn shop feel to it. My hopes were raised when I saw this sitting outside their door.

What says knitters gather here more than a big basket of yarn? I'm not that comfortable taking pictures inside someone's shop so this is the only yarny picture I took while we were there. The ladies in a class up front did give D a bit of ribbing when he left to walk down the street while I shopped. Don't worry he is a tough guy he handled it fine.

I can say that if I lived in the area, The Needlecraft Center of Davidson, NC, would be my yarn store of choice. They had plenty of sock yarns. I even saw the elusive Koigu but it was a bit spendy for my tastes so I was able to resist it. Plus I like my sock yarn to be in one skein, I've had yarns from two skeins of the same dyelot not match so I tend to shy away from them more.

These are the lovelies that I brought home. All yarns new to me. 

Up first we have two skeins of Blue Ridge Yarns Kaleidoscope superwash merino sock yarn. At 400 yards I know I can easily make socks out of these. The top colorway is Apple Rose and the bottom Crimson Redbud. The colors are a bit more dark than the bright sunshine allowed but they are beautiful. I could not decide which one to get so I walked around the store with both in my hands and did not want to put either back, so I didn't. That is one of my decision making tactics, sometimes I put things back because I don't really love them and other times if I still love both after 15 minutes I get both. It is not a perfect system but it seems to help me.

And this little lovely is Knit One Crochet Too, Crock-O-Dye in color 535. It must be hard to name all your colorways but I gotta say I really don't like it when they just number them. It gives no sense of what the color looks like. Now if this was named veggie time or spring grass, I would know it was green. But then how would you know what the difference is between veggie time and spring grass? But I don't run a yarn company so I don't make the rules.

This yarn is 100 grams of 65% superwash wool, 20% nylon and 15% silk. This will be my first partially silk sock yarn. No wait that is not true I have some Knitpicks Gloss in my stash, now we will see which gets used first.

The silk adds sheen to the yarn and gives it a smooth, silky texture. This was Gus' yarn of choice to bring us in the middle of the night. I really do think he loves my yarn as much as I do.

Now I know you are all worried about D wasting part of his vacation time in yarn shops with me. Have no fear we stopped at a bike shop for him to peruse after my yarn shops. Apparently it is easier to find yarn to buy in a yarn shop than to find bike stuff for him to buy in a bike shop. They did have a great 'Share the Road' jersey but it was in a too small size for him. Bummer.

Friday, June 3, 2011

New Socks

I know surprise Yarnkettle knit some socks, newsflash! And I finally have an entry and photo for finished object Friday.

These were knit from Fiber Optic yarn that I got at Rhinebeck last October. The colorway is named Midnight, or as I like to think of them as my Black and Blue socks. They are my standard 80 stitches around plain stockinette socks. These seem just a bit baggy in the leg but I would rather have that than socks I can not get on my little 2X4 feet. Slight bagginess does not bother me since they stay on my foot perfectly except for one pair of shoes that I'm planning to get rid of. Somehow those shoes pull the socks down till the heel is bunched up under my heel. And since my feet hurt in the shoes it is time for them to go.

The Fiber Optic booth at Rhinebeck stopped me in my tracks last year with all its amazing colors. I was looking for new yarns to try and boy did I find them. I bought another blue skein called Ink and let D choose between the two.

You've already seen these here once before.

He picked the darker color and I got the more electric blue. I would say that we are both happy but when I showed him my socks he got all hopeful and said "Are those for me?" Nice try bub! I already have that other blue pair on the needles for you. And I know he will love them too. He has started calling all my hand knit socks his running socks.

So that is the tale of my two blue Fiber Optic yarns, one for big feet and one for not big feet. Now I have a skein of Cashmere blend still to play with. What do you think my first cashmere socks or some lovely hand warmers for this winter?

Choices, Choices.