And not for lack of knitting. Its all because of that super-secret "Christmas Knitting". I have a few projects on the needles for the holiday, so I can't really share, as everyone (mostly) that I'm knitting for reads the blog. But I'm happy that I am knitting some things for other people. It just makes me feel good.
I spent most of the few days I had off around Thanksgiving doing that Christmas Knitting, but I also worked on another project for my Sockret Pal. One of the rules of Sockret Pal is that I have to knit an entire PAIR of socks. So I figured I'd start early. I bought two skeins of Regia Mini-Rigel while I was in Philadelphia a few weeks ago. My Sockret Pal said she likes bright colors, and this yarn fits the bill for that!
I also knit another Lizard Ridge square, this time out of colorway 124.
This one is pretty cool, if I do say so myself. And since I've gotten a lot of response about the Afghan, I put a "wish list" on my sidebar. This was mainly done for my mom, so she could buy me some Kureyon, but I also really wanted a place to look at my squares all together. They are such a quick, addictive knit. I did receive some Kureyon in the mail from Holly. What a sweetie pie! I'm so happy I was her Secret Pal last round. Thanks again, Holly, I'll get that sock yarn out to you as soon as I have time to go through the stash.
One of the reasons I learned to knit was to make an afghan. I inherited some books from my grandmother, and there was one afghan that I loved.
I also learned how to crochet, and thought of crocheting the afghan, but the beauty of stockinette was too much to resist. I haven't cast on a stitch for that afghan, because I soon realized that knitting is not the speedy project that I thought it was. But the call of the Afghan has always been in me. I think about knitting afghans, but then, I realize how much I love my socks, and continue to knit little socks. (Have I mentioned I love socks?)
So when Lizard Ridge came out in Knitty, and I started seeing little Kureyon squares pop up on the internet, I fell in love. But I still hesitated. 24 balls of Kureyon??!?! That's, like, a LOT of money. (cause the 30 balls of sock yarn I own was cheap?) But last week, while in Philly, I broke down. I figure, like many knitters, this will be a project for the ages. One that takes years to knit - as amassing 24 (or 21 as the pattern calls for) balls of Kureyon will be an expense. However... I love knitting these squares. Take a look.
My first square, out of colorway 95, was knit, for the most part, in the airport and on the plane on the way home from Philadelphia. I had a hard time getting the wrap and turns down, but this pattern really gave me the experience with wrapped short rows that I needed. I purchased the yarn at Rosie's Yarn Cellar, where they had a great selection of Noro yarns.
On Saturday I knit my second square, in between naps. This yarn, colorway 126, I had in my stash. I got it months ago when Webs had a Noro overstock sale. I still have 3 balls, but I'm not sure I want any repeats of blocks in my afghan. The yarn was originally intended for a kitty bed, but may become an Entrelac scarf. (Stacey has tempted me)
And I started my third block on Sunday evening, while watching Desperate Housewives. This ball of Kureyon (colorway 153) was also bought in Pennsylvania, at the Knitting Studio in Phoenixville. The woman there was a little off on her prices (trying to make me pay 11.50 for Kureyon... I don't think so) but the shop had a few things I don't normally see (regia mini-ringel and noro gemstones for instance).
So I'm now addicted to knitting these squares. I really want to make each square out of a different colorway, but I'm not sure I can resist the 3 balls I have in the stash. And I really do know that I shouldn't buy more yarn right now, but will common sense prevail? Will I be able to resist the call of the Afghan? Stay tuned...
Yesterday was my first day knitting in what felt like years. It was really only three days, but that's about the longest I haven't picked up the needles in a very long time. Probably since I started knitting. There was absolutely no progress made on anything, so I'm not even going to bore you with a picture. Needless to say, I only knit for a few minutes. I was rather busy preparing for my trip to Philadelphia, today.
Yup, I'm going to Philadelphia to teach today. I've been off work for five days and before that, with the travel and everything, it feels like I haven't worked in forever! I'm staying at my favorite type of hotel (sort of like a home away from home, because I'm so used to them), though, so I'm happy. And I just bought some software that allows me to import movies onto my iPod. I just need to get the TV connector for the pod and I'm watching movies this week. YAY!!!! While I'm in Philadelphia, I plan on making a trip to Loop, of course, and to Rosie's Yarn Cellar. Any other shops I need to visit while I'm there? I'm actually staying near Valley Forge Mall, if that helps.
I might be slightly biased, but Rhonda was one of the most beautiful brides I've ever seen. Here's another picture for proof.
The whole wedding was a beautiful event, with much humor and many tears of joy. The day started with a slight bit of rain, but it cleared up, and we were able to get pictures taken at McKinley monument in Canton. This is the spot where Todd proposed to Rhonda. It might have been freezing outside, but I think the pictures will turn out wonderfully.
The ceremony was fantastic! The officiant did a wonderful job, and Rhonda only cried, well, the whole time. When Todd and Rhonda presented a locket to Ashlee, Rhonda's daughter, the whole room cried, I think. It was beautiful. During the ceremony, as Todd was SUPPOSED to be saying his vows, Rhonda attempted to cue the man. However, the entire phrase came from Rhonda's mouth, "I Todd take thee Rhonda...". It was classic! No one will ever forget that.
Afterwards, of course, we had the cutting of the cake.
And the traditional feeding of the cake.
The happy couple danced.
Rhonda also danced with her daughter, which was beautiful, and brought tears to my eyes.
There was so much love in the room that night. I am overjoyed that Rhonda and Todd are married. I know they are going to be happy for a very long time!
Tomorrow... back to our regularly scheduled knitting content
(picture taken at the bachelorette party a few weeks ago... I assumed you all would like the hunky dude on the gift bag)
It is wedding weekend 2006, and we are spending the next two days in wedding bliss - or maybe that's wedding stress. I'm heading down shortly to the hall to decorate, and then, for the next 30 hours or so, its all wedding, all the time! I'm so very happy for Rhonda and her big day. She truly deserves the happiness that, I'm sure, she and Todd will share for the rest of their lives.
My Secret Pal surprised me with a lovely package earlier this week. So many goodies were inside! First, and foremost for all the fiber fanatics, the yarn!!!
2 skeins of Claudia's Hand Painted sock yarn, which is, apparently, the softest yarn in the world. I hadn't realized that all of the times I have pet it, but it really is super soft. And the yarn in the picture is really not as patriotic looking as it looks in the picture. It has more purples in it than blues. I really am thrilled with the yarn.
She (I'm assuming its a she, because she said something about her husband in one of the notes, but then, who am I to assume?) also included a row counter bracelet.
And some stitch markers, which I can't take a good picture of to save my life.
The total package (again, I can't take a good picture) also included a little bread pan (perfect for pumpkin loaves), a chocolate bar (great for my skin), some Harry Potter jelly beans, a hand stamped bookmark and card, the cutest little sheep clip, and a pumpkin spice candle. Have I mentioned that I'm a nut for pumpkin? I mean, seriously, anything pumpkin and I'm all over it. Especially pumpkin bread, pumpkin butter, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin soup. LOVE IT! And now, I have a pumpkin candle (one of my favorites). My secret pal must be psychic!
Thanks so much for the wonderful package!
I have to leave you with two of the cutest pictures ever. Monday, after taking pictures of the stash, Velvet hopped up on the table, and fell asleep on my new cotton chenile. By the time I got the camera out, she was awake, but didn't move.
And then tonight, when I got home from knitting group, I placed my purse on the floor next to my desk (I know, that isn't the place for it) and Tweed decided that would be the best kitty bed ever. I put an end to that pretty quickly, but not before I could snap the picture.
Can I just say how much fun I had? It was the BEST weekend. Seriously. The BEST.
The weekend started when I picked up Stacey and met Heather for the drive into Erie. We headed to The Bead Shoppe in a nice little snow storm. The drive took a bit longer than I thought, and by the time I reached the shop, there was about 6 inches of snow on the ground. The minute I walked into the store, the woman (I didn't catch her name) asked "Are you Amy from Akron?" Apparently, my reputation preceded me - or maybe Linda just told everyone in Erie we were coming. We looked around the bead store for a while, and purchased a few things, then headed out for dinner. We couldn't find anything, so we went to a local restaurant. Let's just say the walls were covered in taxidermy. You can imagine the place, then, right? The food was decent, though, so that was a good thing.
After the restaurant, we headed over to Cultured Purl. There, we were greeted by Linda, who recognized me from the blog. What a warm welcome we got, too! The owners of the store, Ann(I think) and Shirani, were very gracious hosts. Soon after we arrived, the rest of the Akron Area Stitch n Bitch came. Then the fun began. We mingled, oogled at all of the lovely fiber (Stacey fell in love with the Noro wall), drank a little wine, ate a little food... it was such a fantastic, warm night. I did end up making a few purchases. First, and foremost, is the Namaste handbag, which I bought with a 20% discount.
I am still discovering pockets in this thing! It is amazing - but HUGE. I'm not used to having such a big purse, and yes, I am using this as my everday purse. I very well may break down and buy another, in black, but this one is definitely going to be used for travel, as it can even fit my laptop! I love it.
I also bought some pink cotton chenile, to make the daisy washcloth from Weekend Knitting. I bought this book a few weeks ago at Half Price Books. I love cheap books
And my final purchase of the night was some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran for another pair of Fetching mitts.
After we left Cultured Purl, we headed over to Ann's condo at Peek n Peak resort. With the snow still falling, Stacey and I tried to make the trek up the mountain to Ann's condo. It didn't happen. I've never been so nervous/scared/upset/freaking out in my entire life! My car, a Honda CR-V, does not have 4 wheel drive. I thought, once we started sliding backwards, that I would die a firey death at the bottom of the mountain. Heather and Adrianne came to rescue us, though. I parked my car at the bottom of the mountain, and rode to safety in Heather's Subaru. I wasn't the only one who couldn't make it up. Meg, in VW, had troubles as well, so I don't feel so bad.
Once we got to the condo, the fun continued! We brewed some yummy tea and continued with the knitting.
In the morning, when we woke, we were greeted with about a foot of snow.
So we all decided that it would just be a knitting day. No going anywhere. It was fantastic! We snacked and knit and cuddled up with the Sasha, the party poodle, all day.
This is seriously the cutest dog ever. I love her and want one just like her some day. I can't wait to see pictures of Sasha in her new sweater that Ann knit her over the weekend. It was adorable when I left on Sunday!
For the most part, I knit ipod socks - not sure why. I did finish the first Jaywalker.
I love the way this sock looks on. I hate it off of my foot, though. I think it looks so stupid. But on, its comfy and pretty. Off, it looks wonky. I guess I'll just never take them off. I was nervous to start the second one for fear that I'd run out of yarn, but I just weighed the sock and the remaining yarn, and I'm good to go. I should have this pair finished shortly!
I also finished my Fetching mitts. I really didn't have far to go on them, so they were a quick knit for the weekend.
I love them, and will make several more pairs, I think. As a matter of fact, on the way home, Stacey and I stopped at AC Moore. They had the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino knockoff marked down (for clearance, sadly) to $2.97. I snatched some up.
I can almost guarantee that there will be more Fetching mitts in my future - or someone else's.
One last picture of the coolest project of the weekend. Meg knit this washcloth, learning intarsia as she did it. How awesomely geeky is this?
Again, this was such a fantastic way to unwind after one of the most stressful times in my life! I can't thank the girls enough for welcoming me into their group, and allowing me to share in this wonderful weekend.
As I stated in my last post, I signed up for a few swaps. Well, over the weekend, I got my swap partner information, and a comment from my swapper asking for my questionnaire. Here it is. I hope it helps!
Are you allergic to any fibers?
No, I'm not. But I wouldn't like fuzzy mittens.
What are your favorite colors?
I like blacks for mittens (or gloves) and reds, greens, blues, and pinks.
Are you a new mitt knitter?
I suppose I am, because I just knit my first pair. But I really enjoyed them!
Do you prefer solid or multicolored yarn?
It really depends. I think I'd like solid color yarn best.
What fibers do you prefer in mitten yarn?
Definitely wool. I wouldn't want cotton mittens... that wouldn't make sense for someone living in Ohio.
Where do you usually knit mittens?
I like to knit either at my knitting group, or on my couch, while watching a good movie.
How do you usually carry/store small projects?
I just recently purchased the Namaste Everyday handbag, and am planning on carrying small projects in that. Otherwise, if I'm not on the go, I keep my small projects in a basket on top of one of my book cases.
What are your favorite mitten patterns?
I like Fetching, but I'm knitting my second pair (Yes, I'll post pictures of my finished first pair shortly). There is a pair of gloves in the Vogue Knitting Fall 2004 magazine that I'm dying to knit. I believe Nicky Epstein designed it. They are embroidered and beautiful! And then are two Louisa Harding gloves in her Gathering Roses accessory book. One pair calls for one skein of Impression and the other calls for two skeins of Kashmir DK. So you can kind of see what I like by these patterns. I'm not into bulky mitts or anything like that.
What are your favorite mitten knitting techniques?
I don’t have any yet. The only mittens I've knit are Fetching.
What new techniques would you like to try?
I like to try anything new
What are your favorite needles for knitting mittens?
I'm going to go with two circular needles (Addi Turbos or Knit Picks needles). I can use DPNs but haven't in a while.
What are some of your favorite yarns?
I like incredibly soft yarns, but would prefer nothing fuzzy. I always get fibers in my eyes, and I think if knit gloves with fuzzy yarn, it would be hard not to get fuzziness in my eyes. The exception, of course, being the Louisa Harding yarns. They're both fuzzy, and I love them, and I'd love to knit the gloves out of Impression.
What yarn do you totally covet?
Cashmere, alpaca, silks.
Any pattern you would love to make if money and time were no object?
The Nicky Epstein gloves for VK Fall 2005 out of cashmere.
Favorite kind of needles (brand, materials, straights or circs, etc)?
I like aluminum needles mostly. Circulars are my friend. And I've been very keen on the Knit Picks needles lately. I love the sharp points!
If you were a specific kind of yarn, which brand and kind of yarn would you be?
Ummm... this reminds me too much of a very bad date I had once upon a time. He asked what animal I'd be. Very strange dinner conversation.
Do you have a favorite candy or mail-able snack?
I need healthy snacks, like tea. Loose leaf teas are my favorites.
What’s your favorite animal?
I have two cats, though I'm not sure they're my favorite animal. I'm also quite a dog person.
Would you prefer super warm mittens or something more like fingerless mitts?
Super Warm, preferably, but fingerless mitts are awesome, too.
If you were a color what color would you be?
Again with the bad date. I guess I'd be some sort of blue.
What is your most inspiring image, flower, or object in nature?
I love orchids of any kind.
Do you have a wishlist? No
Anything else you’d like to share with the group today?
I'm really excited for this swap. Can't wait til January 16th
I'm going to try to do this in order of how things occurred, becaue there's a LOT I need to catch up on.
1. My Secret Pal sent me a bit of a package a few weeks ago. In it, I found a hand stamped card and these.
Hand made stitch markers - pumpkins and candy corn - on a hand stamped card. Very, very crafty. I'm impressed Secret Pal, and completely embarassed that it has taken me this long to thank you!
I received this from Paula right before I went to Rhinebeck, and right before (literally, hours before) I broke my shoulder. I love this yarn. I've fondled it several times, and Paula tells me it will stripe. I can't wait to knit with it. I think its just going to be a fun scarf. Can't wait.
3. Finished SOCKS!!!
I finished these in the Rhinebeck hotel and wore them on Sunday to the festival. I love these socks - as I love all of my handknit socks. I'm really, quite comfortable with a boring stockinette sock. You can see that by the next picture of boring stockinette socks.
These, I almost finished on the plane ride out to Monterey. I finished them right after I took this picture and just never took another picture. I'll be wearing these to my knitting retreat this weekend (see number 10).
I also knit some Ipod socks from leftover sock yarn.
I love this idea! It looks so cool on the ipod. And then there's this one, which isn't quite done, but its cool.
4. SIP - socks in progress
When I was in Monterey, I had a little time on my hands, so I started the Jaywalkers with my Prove it All Night Socks that Rock. I started them casting on for the smaller socks, and I got a weird thing going on.
It was striping, but not really... and they were too small. So I ripped them out, and cast on for the larger size. This time, the socks are striping in a way that I liked, but I'm not in love with them.
Mainly, I'm not thrilled that my short row heel is HUGE. I knit it on half of the stitches (48) and have a total of 12 wraps. This comes all the way into the middle of my foot, and its not pretty. Also, I didn't do the sole decreases, so I'm still working with half of the total number of starting stitches, and I'm supposed to have decreased by 6 stitches here. That's almost an inch of extra circumference of sock. I'd like to rip out to right above the heel, but I'm not inspired by the pattern right now. Maybe I should just knit a boring stockinette sock. LOL. I like the boring stockinette socks.
5. Tracey sent me a get well package. Of tea, which I'm in love with. She was my Second Sock Syndrome Swap buddy, and she's been so nice to me ever since then. I really, truly appreciate the well wishes Tracey!
6. And about the shoulder... I'm doing much better now. Much. I can sleep through the night without rolling over and hurting myself, and the doctor said that the bone hasn't broken further. I'm going to start physical therapy right after Thanksgiving, so I can get some mobility back in my arm. No need to worry, though, I can still knit. I think we all knew that, though.
7. I had a couple of questions about Sock Wars, and its about time I told you. I'm dead. Posting from the other side. I received my killing package last night when I arrived home from California. Inside was a note from Dave:
Three knitters combine
Soft merino, needles click
Deadly socks inside
Apparently my socks started off in British Columbia and made their way through Chicago on to Dave, who lives in New Hampshire. The socks, well, they killed me.
The socks are knit out of Debbie Bliss Merino DK in a pretty green - not so limey, more olivey. I love the color! There was also yummy, yummy chocolate in the package. Thank you, Dave, for killing me. Like I said at the beginning, I had no hopes of winning. I just wanted to participate and get a pair of socks. Well, I got that. It was a fun experience, but I like knitting my own stuff. Not that I didn't know I was selfish, but its still good to learn a lesson from any experience, right?
8. My Sockret Pal sent me a Halloween card, and I just wanted to say thanks!!!
9. I signed up for two new swaps. What am I thinking? The first swap is the Knit Mitt Kit Swap, where I have to make a bag and send yarn and pattern for mittens (or gloves. I think it will be gloves). The second swap is the Coffee and Knitting Swap, which I just discovered on the Swap Bot site, so I'm hoping it works out. I love coffee almost more than I love tea!
10. My knitting group's knitting retreat is this weekend. We are headed up to the Peek n Peak area in New York for a weekend of fun and knitting. It should be a great time, as I get to know these girls a bit better. I'm still new to the group, so I'm slightly nervous, but mostly I'm very excited. Tomorrow, Stacey, Heather, and I are leaving and stopping at The Bead Shoppe. Then we're heading over to the Cultured Purl in Erie (where we'll meet up with Juniper, Ann, Rae, Meg and Adrianne) for their late night - and HAPPY HOUR! Yup, the yarn store is going to have some wine. Who doesn't like that in their yarn store? Saturday and Sunday, we're on our own, but there are a few yarn stores in the area, so I'm excited about exploring. And knitting. And spending time with cool people.
I think that's it. I've thanked everyone I need to thank, and told you about all the happenings in my life. Next Saturday is Rhonda's wedding. I can't believe its FINALLY here. I'm very excited about that!!!
is coming tomorrow. I've been so very busy that I've had no time to post, and I'd like to share my TWO new pairs of socks with you. One pair (the Trekking XXL socks I was working on) I finished before Rhinebeck!!! So it's been a while. The other pair (knit out of this) I started at Rhinebeck and finished on Sunday. I love the striping that is happening on these socks, so I can't wait to share a picture with you. I also started a pair of Jaywalkers in Socks that Rock's Prove it All Night colorway. This is the yarn I won in Cara's Jaywalker KAL, so I figured I should knit Jaywalkes with it. Can't wait to share that one either.
In other, completely unrelated news, congratulate me. The project that I've been working on since May is finally complete and delivered, and the customer was happy. I can breathe. I can stop stressing out that this won't be good enough. I can stop eating chocolate. I can start working on the stuff I normally work on, and quit not loving my job. I think this will definitely be a good thing for me.