Friday, February 27, 2009

Besides Shopping

Besides shopping with mom I have been knitting.

I have Jennifer's hat all finished (that's the blue one, Koolhaas with brim). Just waiting for her to come to town with Andrew. And I just had a call that they are in town and will be here before I get the house cleaned up.

I have Andrew's hat (Balmoral hat from Wild Woolies) all knit. Now, I just need to felt it but I need Andrew's head to do that. Then after it is felted I need to put the ribbons on.

Then I emailed knittycat after seeing the most amazing hedgehog and she graciously shared her pattern with me.

I made two hedgehogs, one mommy and one baby, for Jennifer to pin on her hats. The little one now has eyes and a nose.

Now, well after I clean the house, I have to finish the scarf, finish Andrew's kilt hose and the argyll scarf. Then, I can finish all the other projects that are started. Then I can be ready to do the Schoolhouse Press Joyce Williams KAL on March 9.

Don't laugh, it could happen.

Front Yard Pet

You've heard of 'back door' friends, right? Those are the ones who come to the back door and either knock or come right on in and call your name. Well, this is my front yard pet because it lives in my front yard. I'm wondering what it will take to tame it enough to get fiber off of it . . . and I'm wondering if he (she?) has any friends out there . . . .

Goodies in the Mail

So, you may or may not have noticed the Phat Fiber Sample Box blog listed over on the right, in the blog list. But it's there for a reason. I added it because I thought it was just the coolest darn thing I'd seen in a long time.

You know all those lovely hand dyed yarns you see on Etsy? And how about those hand spun yarns on Etsy and various other websites? Or maybe you've seen someone selling knitting tools and toys that they make themselves? And who hasn't seen patterns for sale by the indy designers? Then there is the fiber - oh the fiber . . . I want to buy the fiber from the person who gets it off the animal's back and processes it or maybe from the next person who has bought it after it's been processed and then dyes it or adds glitz. But how do I know which person selling fiber has something that I can actually spin? (Especially considering how little spinning experience I have.)
This, my friends is the answer!!! The Phat Fiber Sample Box from Phat Fibers. The nice lady who started this business, Jessie, contacted lots of independent vendors of various goodies and convinced them to send her samples. She takes these samples and divies them out into boxes which she then sells thru her Phat Fiber Etsy Shop which also has other goodies!

Once a month, these boxes go on sale in the shop and they contain the most wondrous goodies! In this pic you see some lovely lace weight yarn, two mini hanks of hand spun, some hand dyed sock yarn and a couple hanks of worsted yarn. These aren't full skeins, just enough for me to knit some little thing and see if I like the yarn. See that pink one from Aurora Fiber Arts? I'm either ordering some of that or some of the Sneaky Pig (pink, white, brown in a bag).

Then there is the fiber! It's gorgeous and soft and squishy and wonderful. There is wool, alpaca, silk, tencel and several mixes. Some of it is dyed and some is natural. Some of it is direct from the farm - see that bag with the purple/brown - that's from Moonwood Farms and if I can spin that, I WILL have more. Think I'd also like to order some of the Plum Crazy Ranch fiber - on the left in the long bag with the pink card cuz it's the softest thing I've ever touched. (See the little bag of dyed locks with a chocolate in it? Yum.)

And then there is the other stuff that shows up in the box - not yarn and not fiber and not even all knitting/spinning stuff, but still great stuff and fun to get! I got a knitting pattern, a magazine full of patterns, a diz that someone made, a stitch marker, a lovely yarn notecard, some goats milk soap and best of all a big, fat, fattening hunk of fudge! Other people got a knitting comic book, other knitting patterns, wood buttons, more stitch markers, shawl pins, hand creams, key chains, all sorts of lovely things made by hand by someone with an idea and a dream.
I'm thrilled with my 'try it before you buy it box' and I have plans to purchase more fibery stuff from some of these vendors. Now if only one of them would come teach me to spin better and maybe faster . . . .

Thursday, February 26, 2009

New Knitting

I suppose I should stop knitting and do some housework, but I really don't want to . . . need to brush the dog, but I'd rather knit . . . those kids want to be fed, but I'm up to the fun part . . . husband wants clean laundry but I'm in the middle of a row . . . .
New on the needles - a shawl using the Malabrigo Sock yarn in the Stonechat colorway. This picture doesn't show the color very well.

Can't stop that old clock from ticking!

The Biological Clock that is . . . . So, this is the Miss Babs Yummy Superwash Sock yarn I bought at SAFF that my husband claimed for his own. I've never made him socks before, so it seemed like if he wanted it, he should have it. I'm not sure what the colorway name is, but I liked it for it's subtle orange.

Since he has bigger feet, I wanted a toe up pattern so I could just keep going till I ran out of yarn. Mom sent me The Eclectic Sole: Socks for Adventurous Knitters as a present and I decided to knit the Biological Clock Socks pattern from it with minor changes to make it more masculine (no picot edge).

I love working with this yarn - it's so nice to knit and even nicer to put on my feet. I will definitely have to get a bit more. Fortunately I understand that she's going to be at Stitches South and so am I.

All done! And they are lovely things too! He hasn't tried them on yet, so don't know how they fit him, but if there is a problem, they fit me ok!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Building a Better Sock

Ok, so maybe this isn't really a better sock . . . it is, afterall, already full of holes! But that's the way the girl wanted it, so that's the way she got it.

First, we start with the yarn: Numma Numma Toasty for Needlenook in the colorway Lou's Brews. And the pattern: Monterey from the book The Eclectic Sole by Janet Laidman.
Next, you start knitting. These socks are knit flat, so they don't much look like socks while you are knitting them, but on the up-side, you can so easily knit two at a time. And they knit up quickly in spite of all the binding off and casting on that goes on while knitting them.

Then comes the grafting - miles and miles of grafting - way too much grafting. Once it's done, you have Yoga Socks! (Yoga socks with lots of little ends dangling!)
Then you pick up stitches and add toes to the socks. Now they are no longer Yoga socks, but heelless-topless wonders!
The heel comes next, but you probably already guessed that. You get to pick up more stitches for that!
Guess what comes after the heel!? You guessed it! You get to pick up still more stitches and knit the ribbing for the top so the socks don't fall around your ankles! I knit more ribbing than was called for but that's how I wanted to make them.
And after miles of grafting and hours of picking up hundreds of stitches and days of working in all the little ends . . . You end up with socks with holes in them!

Actually they were kind of fun to make and the girl loves them.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Funeral

On Monday morning, in the bitter cold Washington DC air, Douglas E. Fox was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetary. Sad as the occasion was, the service was extrodinary and quite touching. First, the entrance to the cemetary with the gates and the view of the Robert E. Lee Mansion.

Then the Honor Guard, and the Bugler and the firing party:

And the view from the final resting place . . .

More DC Pics

We did manage to get away and do a little sightseeing this weekend - not much but a quick visit to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and while there some pics from the Mall. First a pic of the capital and then one of the Washington Monument.

And a picture of the Hope Diamond which Miss M really, really wanted to see. There was a huge crowd around it, but I took a couple of shots. It's prettier in person because it reflects all the camera flashes (and there were a LOT of them) and changes color.
These were the diamonds I wanted Steve to get for me - a deep red and a gorgeous pink teardrop. Apparently pink and red are the rarest of diamond colors and are therefore, incredibly expensive. Wonder if he'll get me one for Mother's day?

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Finally! I finally finished one of the pairs of socks I've been working on forever. The Miss Babs Biological Clocks are done. I did not do the top edge suggested by the pattern, but used a ribbing instead. The pattern assumes they will be a woman's sock and mine are for my husband, so ribbing is better. Next time I have the brilliant idea to knit socks for a man, reming me that men have huge feet! And next time I knit socks for a teenager I must remember not to use yarn that felts. Actually, I did use yarn that was supposed to be machine washable but it wasn't. I told her that many people who used that yarn said it would felt and she shouldn't use the machine to wash it, but she either forgot or did not listen in the first place. Normally, I would have been doing her laundry, but since she has refused to even bring it out of her room for 2 months, I refused to do it for her. No more sock knitting for that one!

And just to show my only sister how much I loved her gift, here are a couple more pics of the birthday goodies! (I love them, really I do!)

Pics of the Miss Babs Biological Clocks when we get back from the funeral . . . middle of next week.

An End and a Beginning

First the End
I finally finished the scrap afghan and one box is almost empty. I already know what I am taking out from hither and thither to fill it. The pattern is actually Shell Stitch Corner to Corner afghan found on Ravelry. It is queen size and doesn't look half bad. Since I really didn't need an afghan that big except to use up yarn, I really didn't know where I was going to use it. Mom suggested putting it on the queen sized bed in the motorhome and that sounds really good.

And lastly the Beginning
The last skeins of yarn in the box were two skeins of Sugar and Cream Ombre - only about a third of a skein each. Well, I had been wanting to try the squiggly wiggly crochet and decided to do that instead of starting the two hats for Andrew and Jennifer. I mean, I have a week to get them finished, so why rush now. I love how easy the hot mat is to make but do not recommend doing it in two variegated colors. I think it would be best in no variegated but at the most, one variegated alternated with a solid. It starts out with a grid made very much like a filet crochet grid - but bigger. Then double crochets standing up to make a very nice, easy quick hot mat.
The picture here is of the grid but this mat is almost done so I will post a done picture soon.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

In no particular order . . .

Bits and pieces of life in no particular order. First, this box came yesterday and I was surprised that it came so fast. Two new bobbins and a speed flyer for my wheel. They are so nice and bright and new . . . . Now I must spin like a madwoman and fill them with yarn. Think I'm going to give up on the nasty brown stuff and start to spin some newer, better fiber because if I like it better, I'll do more and do it more quickly.

Progress is being made on the socks that took forever. First, the Monterey out of the Numma Numma Toasty for Needlenook: The knitting has been done to this point for quite a while, but that much grafting was daunting. I finally got around to kitchenering (is that a word?) both socks - all the way up the side - and am ready to add toes, heels and cuffs. That much picking up of stitches is also daunting, but one sock now has most of a toe.

The Miss Babs Biological Clock socks are well on their way to completion, but as they are knit on size one needles, I have to take more breaks from knitting them. I do like the pattern and I really like the yarn - the color, the texture, the knitability, all of it. Both patterns are from The Eclectic Sole which Mother gave me as a present. I really like that book.

The teenage girl and her boyfriend spent the evening of Valentine's Day needle felting on the kitchen floor. That may not seem romantic to you, but they seemed to have fun. She made the heart (and I think gave it to him) and he made the plane. The bird was the one she made a few months ago . . . he was very impressed with it.

And these are my new 'business' cards. They are tiny, about an inch by 2 1/2 inches and each one has a picture (or portion of a picture) that I took. I got them from Moo which is a british company that prints things using pictures from your flickr account. Each of them has my name, address, phone & email address on the back. Cute, aren't they?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Different Hat

Andrew was home this weekend with his young lady, Jennifer. He told me yes to the Balmoral hat but absolutely no to the blue coonskin cap. I really like the coonskin cap and wanted to make it but the only one I can imagine talking into wearing it was Andrew. So I guess I won't be making that. He also said he wouldn't wear the Viking hat or the Chicken hat.

But he did ask me to make a hat for Jennifer and to make something for her birthday. He told me her birthday was in a week (it isn't). So Jennifer and I looked at hats and decided on the Koolhaas Hat but she wanted a hat with a brim. So I made the hat and added a brim from another pattern. I think it turned out quite nice. Here are some pictures of the hat (Jennifer is modeling for me) and one of Andrew playing some stupid computer game.

Friday, February 13, 2009

New Projects - maybe

Since I now have glasses I can see with, and I have eyes I can see out of, I decided to think about starting some new projects. I am 75% done with my scrap afghan (and why finish a project when you can start 2 new ones).

Since we were at the yarn store and I had remembered to bring the kilt with me, I was able to find the yarn for the Balmoral hat. The pattern is Classic Highlander's Balmoral Bonnet by Anne Carroll Gilmour (Wildwest Woolies). Remembering to bring the kilt allowed me to match the green exactly.

And I have had my eye on the Frontier Hat (available from for a while. I can't seem to find the Funny yarn it calls for and, although I had lots of Fun Fur, I seem to have used most of it up. I had wee bits of the black and the brown multi but not enough. I have looked each time we went where there was yarn but they never had the two colors I needed. So . . . while cleaning out all the places I had yarn stuffed, I came across a bag with dark blue and a light blue/brown mix. Two skeins of each, just what the pattern called for. So I will knit it up in those colors. Andrew WILL love it.

So I won't feel completely guilty, I will finish the afghan first but since these are done on size 10 & 10 1/2 needles I will put them ahead of the unfinished projects that are on size 1 and size 2 needles.

This is just so cool!

So, my girl friends took me to lunch to celebrate today. One of them gave me this lovely bottle of champagne. She knows it's my favorite beverage and it's hers as well. I thought it was so nice of her. Then when I got home I found several packages on the front porch.
One of them was this strange little jar of 'Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup'. I've never heard of such a thing, but I'm willing to try a lot of things.
So, I follow the instructions which say to take a flower out of this jar and put it in a wine glass. Then you add a splash of the syrup they come in, so that is just what I did. Looks pretty - nice color and nice thick syrup.
Then you are supposed to pour a little sparkling wine or champagne over the flower. Well, it just so happens there is a nice bottle in the fridge. So I pour some over the flower and it bubbles - very pretty isn't it?

After a couple of minutes this is what I had. I'm drinking it now and it tastes as good as it looks! Wish you could join me in a glass!
Thank you, my only sister, for the lovely gift! I'll let you know what the flower tastes like when I eat it!