Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year's eve!

My camera's dock has died with pictures of both my Saturday Sky and current WIP (knitting tote for Knit Mitt Kit Swap) in it. So I've diagnosed the problem (I hope) and ordered new parts. Pictures will follow eventually, but here's a recap: The sky was beautiful, lightly brushed with thin clouds and lots of sun... and I'm about halfway up the sides on my tote.

My SP gave me some Burt's Bees hand salve- this is fantastic stuff! Despite the warmer than usual weather, my hands have been painfully dry- and somewhat crone-y looking this year (to the point of the skin splitting- youch- NOT a good thing to discover when using purell). I've stopped using the purell, but I am taking all vitamins and am drinking as much water as a person can. No such luck. I'm actually starting to think that it is stress, because this is limited to my hands and usually, that's not the skin that dries out for me. (Excessive wringing of the hands during finals, perhaps?)

But the hand salve is absolutely wonderful!! Very moisturizing and the scents are so yummy. Thank you, SP! I'm going to look around today for my paraffin wax manicure set. We used to slather our hands with body butter and then dip them into the paraffin wax and let the warm wax help the cream penetrate the skin.

I'm hoping to get quite a bit of knitting done today before the champagne flows tonight. Mostly on this tote because I'm dying to try needlefelting on it. Happy New Years!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

One last splurge

I have a sister who is an engineer with Toyota, and as a result, she is often standing on her feet on hard cement in steel toe boots for very long periods of time. Her birthday is coming up mid-January, and I was hoping to send her some cozy slippers or socks to 'baby' her tootsies when she's not working. Especially since she sent me a decadent package from Knitpicks (including Knitpicks Options Set and a KIP bag!)... I wanted to do something personal for her.

So I splurged on some Austermann Step sock yarn which contains Aloe Vera and Jojoba Oil in the colorway "jeans". (It was part of a great sale they are having at Yarn 4 Socks through January 1st... seriously, check it out!) /enabling mode

Since it was before the first of January *and* for someone else, I don't feel guilty. Especially at 30% off! It was by far the best price I've seen for this yarn and I've been really curious how it knits up. When I realized how perfect it would be for her with the Aloe Vera and Jojoba Oil, it was a no-brainer. I'm very happy to have thought of this before the "Knit from Stash" begins. And the colors are perfect for her- she would be a bit surprised at some of the more... vibrant colorways that I love.

I joined a Sock KAL to help me work through this pair as well as my Sockret Pal pair.

I've thought about all other birthday/gift occasions that would happen during this Stash-busting and I'm happy to say, I think I'm covered.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Upcoming projects

Goals for 2007:
Learn to do basic crochet, entrelac, basic lace and move beyond a basic stockinette sock

  1. Bag for my KMKS pal out of a gorgeous turquoise Cascade 220 (the one I'm needlefelting)
  2. Socks for my Sockret Pal
  3. Finish my dishclothes
  4. Finish up scarves in progress
  5. Finish a couple of dye projects I've been kicking around in my head...

  1. Pair of felted slippers for my sister, with extra comfy soles (Lamb's Pride)
  2. Fetching with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran
  3. Cabled Footies from One Skein Book for me out of Lorna's Laces Worsted
  4. Nakiska out of some Classic Elite Lush
  5. Cold Weather Corset out of some hand painted yarn
  6. Wristwarmers out of Lorna's Sport Yarn that I won
  7. Branching Out with Silky Wool
  8. Mrs. Beeton (I decided on these today... a pair for myself, and possible gifts for a friend or two) I ordered the yarn today, now I just need to find the beads
  9. Assorted Dulaan/Afghans for Afghans knits
And I have several skeins of sock yarn just waiting... the gorgeous Lorna's Laces Bittersweet from my SP, and some yummy Socks That Rock that my Sockret Pal gifted me with (both of these skeins I admit, I pet occasionally) and a really pretty CTH Superglitz that I picked up that may end up being wristwarmers too. I've been saving them for a prettier pattern than just plain stockinette... Jaywalkers for the Lorna's Laces, I think... not sure about the STR but someone just gave me a great resource for free two circular sock patterns. I'm not sure why but I love buying sock yarn a LOT. Now I just need to learn how to knit them, in pairs, quickly!

Looking at my project list... I think I can handle the Knit from Stash without too many major withdrawals, at least for a while. Add in a few more pairs of socks and this may be my entire 2007 (I say that as if I don't get easily distracted and go tearing off on some tangent to try out something new with yarn from SPs and swaps).

My 'Knit From Your Stash 2007' guidelines

Knit From Your Stash 2007

(Kaylee Edition)

Knit From Your Stash 2007 Guidelines

1. The Knit-From-Your-Stash-a-Thon will start January 1, 2007 and run through September 30, 2007 -- a period of nine months.

2. I will not buy any yarn during that period, with the following exceptions:

2.a. If someone asks for a specific knitted gift that I really and truly do not have the yarn for, I may buy yarn to knit that gift. However, I will look through the stash to see if I can find an acceptable alternative prior to buying the yarn.

2.b. If I am knitting something and run out of yarn, I may purchase only enough to complete the project.

2.c. I get two "Get Out of Jail Free" cards -- I am allowed to fall off the wagon two times. Purchases will be kept under $50 each time.

3. I am allowed to receive gifts of yarn, as well as participate with pre-existing stash swaps or secret pal exchanges. I cannot buy anything to enhance my own stash if I do participate in exchanges.

4. Dyeable yarn is exempt but only after I have dyed what I already have.

Here's the original guidelines

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

School's out!!!

I'm done- for two whole weeks!! I will still be working fulltime, but my evenings and weekends are free again! I have a mountain of things to do, including making my bag for my knit mitt kit swap partner and finalizing my own "Knit From Stash 2007" rules. And there's about ten different things I want to dye.

My needle felting kit arrived... I can't wait to knit the bag so I can try needle-felting.

But right now, I'm going to drink some champagne and zone out for the next two hours. And I am *not* checking out some of these awesome end of year yarn sales that are soooo tempting.

Is it bad that I don't remember a thing I wrote for the last two hours on the project I just turned in?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

After much anticipation, I opened up my package from my spoilee from Secret Pal 8

Inside were some awesome crocheted slippersocks in a gorgeous, vibrant blue wool, and two of the Ballband Washcloths. The slippersocks went on immediately, of course, and the washcloths are already hanging near my sink, waiting patiently for after Christmas dinner. Thank you! I was so touched by you taking the time to make these little beauties for me!

This weekend, I did a custom dye project for someone at work to gift to her sister who loves to crochet. She liked the color of one of my first dye projects so I tried to go with a foliage/redwood type color scheme. The colors came out really well... it's vibrant but not overly so, and very autumnal. I don't crochet but she should have 425 yards of worsted weight wool, so I'm hoping that gives her enough for a scarf.

We'll see on Wednesday how my co-worker likes it, once I get it labelled.

I also received a set of knitpicks options needles from my sister, along with some cape cod sock yarn and some Jacquard dyes and superwash Bare yarn! What a suprise... I can't wait to try it out.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Saturday sky and yarn yumminess

I'm in the midst of putting together a final project (31 pages and counting!), so I'm stopping in long enough to post Saturday Sky and one of my final stash enhancements for quite some time (with the exception of swaps/exchanges/gifts). Yep, I'm committing to the 2007 Knit From Your Stash (idea courtesy of Wendy). My unique guidelines will be posted after class is over on the 26th.

But knowing I'd be limited in projects once 2007 started, I decided that in 2007, I wanted to try knitty's Cold Weather Corset as my first venture into making shaped garments. It's perfect for me... a thicker yarn for a quicker knit, simple shaping and something I can easily see myself wearing.

I couldn't locate the suggested yarn but I did find this beautiful yarn (Mediterranea bc) at Handpainted Yarns.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Knit From Your Stash 2007

This is what happens when I am surfing while trying not to do homework. I find all sorts of crazy ideas out there... ok, the idea is not crazy. I am crazy to consider it (especially since I was worried about doing Stashalong for three months). But here it is...

Knit From Your Stash 2007!

"L-B mentioned to me that she was thinking about attempting to knit from her stash exclusively in 2007. I, of course, laughed at her initially, but started thinking that attempting to knit from my stash exclusively was not a bad idea. Both L-B and I have stashes of epic proportions. L-B had suggested a period of 9 months of knitting from the stash, so that we could go to Stitches East next October and buy yarn there.

So, in a phone call, we sketched out our guidelines.

Knit From Your Stash 2007: Guidelines for L-B and Wendy

1. The Knit-From-Your-Stash-a-Thon will start January 1, 2007 and run through September 30, 2007 -- a period of nine months.

2. We will not buy any yarn during that period, with the following exceptions:

2.a. Sock yarn does not count. What? You think we are made of stone?

2.b. If someone asks for a specific knitted gift that we really and truly do not have the yarn for, we may buy yarn to knit that gift.

2.c. If we are knitting something and run out of yarn, we may purchase enough to complete the project.

2.d. We each get one "Get Out of Jail Free" card -- we are each allowed to fall off the wagon one time.

3. We are allowed to receive gifts of yarn.

4. Spinning fiber of any sort is exempt.

Anyone else who would like to join us in this is welcome to do so! Feel free to link to this page or to post the guidelines on your own blog. You may also alter the guidelines to suit your own situation."

I'm seriously thinking about it. I just need to figure out how to adapt the guidelines to me since I don't spin and I like to buy yarn for swaps/exchanges. But I do have the yarn to last that long (it helps I don't have a lot of knitting time) and it would help me save for a potential move upon graduation.

Any takers?

Too busy for words... (and 6 wierd things)

Or Saturday Sky pictures, apparently. I'll take two next time around. I'm lucky even to be posting this right now.

Work's busier than ever- you'd think that there would be a down time at some point but it seems that we save even more 'big projects' to do during the slow season so that the slow season is busier than the hectic season. (huh?) Add that to everyone else taking vacation and me trying to get everything done before they take off... and it's a lot of stress. I would not mind so much if I could just knit during my lunch hour but lately I've either worked through those or did homework.

School: I'm hitting the home stretch- it's all over on December 26th and I can finally take a breath. However, there's a final project due for one class and a not-exactly-minor project due for the other on that day so I am going to be burning the midnight oil so that I don't have to spend my holiday typing up media plans. They were interesting classes. I'm just ready for them to be done. now. I'll have a two week break before the next two start up again. It's a killer schedule but I'm thrilled to say I will have completed 9 grad classes in 2006 (out of 13) with (hopefully) a 3.9.

I did get a break this weekend and saw Charlotte's Web, which I loved. (yes, that was me sniffling in the backrow at the end). It was very well done. It was so funny to watch the previews for children's movies. I saw a preview for some strange Nancy Drew movie which made me feel unexpectedly sad, and every year of 35... it was not at all what I would have expected (think Clueless meets Mean Girls).

Which is a strange segway to the 6 Wierd Things Meme that's been making the rounds...
  1. I love children's books and still read them often when I'm in the mood for a touch of comfort. Favorites include Little Women, Anne of Green Gables series, Narnia Chronicles, Velveteen Rabbit.
  2. I always remove the jackets from my hardcover books and store them separately. I do not like reading a book with a jacket on at all.
  3. The time in my life when I felt the most beautiful when I shaved my head a few years ago. It's since grown back but I sometimes miss being bald.
  4. I always pick the magazine or book that is behind the front one. Especially magazines. The first ones are the ones people flip through and I prefer to have a brand new one instead of a 'used' one. Unfortunately, I am also a flipper so I realize this is a hypocritical quirk because I will readily flip through the front book/magazine, and then put it back and select a nice new one to buy.
  5. I love doing math by hand. I used to doodle, now I just calculate figures in meetings (which is very impressive to whoever is glancing over to see if I am taking notes and sees a page full of math instead my horrendous doodles).
  6. I have a terrible short term memory but I have an insane amount of useless 80s pop culture trivia (particularly music) stored in my head.
You're tagged.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Saturday Sky and some knitting progress

Taken this morning, looking out at the dawn from my back porch... As much of a night owl that I am, watching the sun rise is my absolute favorite time of day. It takes my breath away and gives me a sense of being vibrantly alive.

In knitting news, I told a friend I have not done much lately, but then I looked at the only project I'm working on at the moment, and it grew quite a bit while I watched Amadeus.

2 x 2 Rib Scarf using Patons SWS Yarn in the Natural Pink color (on second skein now) I like the yarn, soft, beautiful colors and very smooth to work with.

I wish I've done more but these holidays are catching up on me much faster than I expected. I have resolved, however, to join Stashalong and only work on yarn from my stash or through gifts/swaps/exchanges (starting January 1). I'm starting with one month at a time, and will see how that goes. In the meantime, I'll be making a list to see what projects are must-do's, and if there's anything I need to get before then.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Knit Unto Others

For Knit Unto Others...

I finished two Caps for the Capital (out of Knitpicks Shine Worsted, just like my first one) and my Mother Bear Project Bear (out of assorted washable yarns)

Saturday Sky

Saturday Sky...
A welcome change from all the grey thunderstorms and wind yesterday... we went from 75 degrees to 45 degrees in a matter of hours.

A BIG Thank You to my Sockret Pal, who sent me a lovely box of goodies this week- a skein of pretty Noro Kureyon, daily S&B Calendar, a fragrant candle, some yummy snacks and a book about olive oil which has some really interesting recipes. I've marked a couple of the recipes to try in the upcoming weeks. I've not been online enough to post a thank you to my pal to the blog... but it is very much appreciated.

Also, I got another surprise yesterday... I recieved my first holiday package from a dear friend whom I spoiled this summer. Two wrapped, delightfully squishy packages were inside and I immediately had to go hide them because I am really bad about opening up gifts right away. I have been so curious, though! I had her package ready to mail but we got to the post office after it closed yesterday. Thank you!!!

Gypsy will keep an eye on me, make sure that the packages stay intact till the 25th.

The person I am spoiling for Secret Pal will find out who I am sooner than usual because she will be moving overseas and she mentioned that customs is not kind to packages in that country. So she's already received her two major packages and her final little reveal one will also go out this week. It seems so strange to be this accelerated. She's been a very sweet person to get to know... I have lucked out each time they match me up for Secret Pal.

Holiday Meme

A fun little Christmas themed meme from Fuzzy Britches

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Hot Chocolate... or hot cider.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wrap... although there was a time when he left tiny presents in my shoes on the hearth

3. Fake tree or real tree? Real.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? When we decorate and if we can find real mistletoe, yes.

5. When do you put up your decorations? It really depends on our schedules.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? I'm not sure I have one that is associated with the holidays. We do a nice dinner for Christmas Day, though.

7. Favorite Christmas memory as a child? Sneaking out at 5:30 am to check my stocking.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? When I kept asking Santa for his autograph (I lived in the Netherlands at the time. They had a friend at work write me notes in German from 'Sinter Klaus'... he left me a German-English dictionary in my shoes to translate my notes... confused me quite a bit since the writing was different and my parents don't speak German)

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yes

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? I like having a coordinated tree. White and gold ornaments, wine velvet bows and white lights. I love [real] wreaths/garland and candles, but am not a big fan of large plastic/blow-up lawn ornaments or faux plants.

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? I love it, but I don't like to drive in it. But watching it come down is so peaceful, especially with hot cider and a log fire going...

12. Can you ice skate? I'm originally a southern girl. I can wobble around upright on skates but the little kids zooming around at breakneck speed makes me a bit nervous.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Most have some special meaning at the time I receive them.

14. What’s the most important thing about Christmas for you? Being with loved ones.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? I honestly don't think I have one. Christmas Creme Brulee?

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? In Texas, we would open presents with lots of pictures, then relax for a bit and then head over to our closest family friends' house and do a second gift exchange, play board games and have dinner. I also enjoy caroling parties.

17. What tops your tree? I'm not sure... I think we have to buy something this year. I'll know next week when we decorate.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? I loving giving... from planning it out depending on the person to watching their face when they open it. Sometimes I start planning in the summer. I enjoy receiving, especially when it's been thoughtfully selected.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? Please Come Home for Christmas. Or when caroling... God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. Although I'd really like to get the new Sarah McLaughlin Christmas CD... her voice is so angelic.

I do get burned out on a lot of Christmas Music, though, because the malls start playing it in mid November.

20. Do you like Candy Canes? Sometimes?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Queso Recipe

Sure, you can microwave Velveeta and salsa together to make a quick queso, but this doesn't take much longer (15 minutes, tops) and tastes much better.

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups low sodium, low fat chicken chicken broth
4 cups shredded cheese
1 small can diced green chilies (or a couple of chipotles, if desired)
A few heaping teaspoons of fire-roasted salsa

1. Melt butter in large saucepan and add in flour. Stir with whisk to remove lumps.
2. Cook over low heat for a few minutes until it is smooth and has a soft nutty flavor. (Make sure the flour is cooked... raw flour has a distinctive taste).
3. Add in chicken broth. Stir until smooth, and cook until it begins to thicken (5 minutes or so). Stir occasionally.
4. Add in four cups of shredded cheese... I did sharp cheddar but Jack cheese is also good.
5. Stir in green chilies and salsa to taste.

You can use this as a queso dip (as pictured), or in cheesy chicken quesadillas, or my absolute favorite... chicken nachos (we use shredded rotisserie chicken).

Chicken Nachos
Using large pyrex dish, pour some of the queso on bottom.
Add in layer of tortilla chips.
Add in layer of shredded chicken.
Add on layer of queso.
Repeat for a couple of layers, and bake in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.
Top with fresh salsa, fresh cilantro, guacamole or sour cream.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

This and that...

It was a productive weekend... just not for knitting or dyeing. But we finally finished some chores that we'd been putting off for entirely too long, so I'm happy. I just realized this weekend that I'll graduate with my Master's degree in about 8 months, which sort of snuck up on me.

A friend told me about a opportunity in my field and it dawned on me that I need to start looking at some point in the next couple of months, and that I'm not prepared to make that kind of a move yet. After the holidays, I'll start seriously looking at what- and where- my next step is going to be. In the meantime, I'm sorting through books, closets, clothes... donating, storing, purging or packing. I've been living with G for so long that it's strange to sort out my items from 'ours'.

So far, I've lived in:
  • Louisiana
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Texas (north)
  • Texas (San Antonio)
  • Netherlands
  • Texas (College Station)
  • Santa Monica, California
  • DC Metro area
  • West Virginia

I'm hoping to get a lot of knitting and studying done this next week, since I'm only working Monday and Tuesday.

On my needles:
  • Dulaan hat 3*
  • the irish hiking scarf I just need to focus on and finish*
  • children's socks*
  • scarf out of Patons SWS
  • scraps dishcloth
  • mohair scarf (on the backburner... not sure how I liked working with the mohair)
  • aqua socks
*Priority for next two weeks for Knit Unto Others

I seriously need a couple of pairs of the Knitpicks sock sized circulars. But as much as I love the aqua socks, I think I'd have more fun knitting on more than one at a time so I don't get sick of the one I'm working on. I've been putting it off because I know that I'll end up ordering other stuff, too. Knitpicks is dangerous that way, but I'm going to summon up all self restraint and order them tomorrow.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Double-O Yum

We just got back from watching the new James Bond and it was great! A little longer than I like... two and a half hours and I usually get antsy. But the pace kept up through most of the two and a half hours. I didn't have a problem with the new James Bond- he's brutal, gritty, ice-cold and charmismatic without being campy. I'm biased.... I have a soft spot for men who are very intense AND coolly reserved. Yum.

And I adore Dame Judi Dench :)

I have pictures of happy feet:
These are the berrylicious fuzzy feet I made for a friend of mine's b-day. The yarn was dyed just for her and I love how they turned out! I mailed them off to her with instructions on how to wash them so they would shrink for a custom fit.

We went to go see a band play a few weeks ago and I never really touched on it... G asked me if I wanted to see a show and I said sure, why not. He mentions it's a band with a side burlesque type show. Ok, that's fine. We get there, and I notice that the crowd at the venue is a bit older than I was expecting. Then he mentions it is surf music... which I normally don't listen to. So I'm adjusting to that little tidbit when I mention there's a man with a mask behind one of the speakers... and he gives me this: "Oh yeah, I forgot to mention they all wear Mexican style wrestling masks." what? (Seriously, G should learn what 'disclosure' means).

The next thing I know... out they come in all black suits and different masks. With a Buddy Holly type guy and dancing girls. I was not even sure what to expect looking at the group up on stage but they were a LOT of fun!

Friday, November 17, 2006

catching up...

Not much knitting going on in Casa K... mostly being sick and counting down to Thanksgiving. I received a wonderful ecard from my secret pal with a cute little puppy on it- reminded me of Gypsy when she's actually behaving.

My SP8 spoilee has been working on some really cool crocheted slippers, and out of the blue, she sent me an awesome kit how to learn to crochet, a couple of patterns (not pictured because I promptly filed them like the organized person I want to be), and a cool wooden 'k' which is currently gracing my study desk! The patterns look like fun and now I can finally learn how to crochet. She's been such a sweet person to get to know. Thank you!!!

My yarn for the felted bag that I'm making for my knit mit kit pal arrived and it is a beautiful brilliant turquoise. Since there will be some needlefelting (my first attempt at that) I wanted it to be a bright color that would contrast well. It's a little more rich and saturated than the color would indicate in this picture but I love it. I'll start that this weekend if the pattern arrives in time.

And I'm nearly done with my first teddy bear for the Mother Bear Project. What a fun knit! All that's left is putting on the eyes and mouth (which has been a bit challenging... I tried one face already but it would have scared small children!) I also overstuffed the poor bear but then decided to put him on a diet and he is much more cuddly this way. I'm going to try to make another one for the Knit Unto Others KAL starting tomorrow.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Belated Saturday Sky

Saturday was cold and rainy all day... it's not snowing in the picture... just the reflections of my flash on the raindrops.

I received a lovely surprise on Friday but have hardly been online this weekend. Completely unexpected, and so sweet! I'll write about it tomorrow, when I'm fully awake!

Counting down till Thanksgiving... I'm due for some much needed rest.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Plotting and planning...

Mail's been good to me lately, but it goes both ways. I've been wrapping and planning up a storm for some upcoming swaps and super secret holiday gifts. I love planning gifts for other people. I have little lists tucked in my pockets, my purse, my desk at work, where I keep track of what would be perfect for who. I've been on a shopping kick the past couple of weeks and I think I am 95% done with all my swap and holiday shopping. I should definitely be done before Thanksgiving. Whew!

After that I will not tempt myself by looking for really good yarn sales. Not even the "too good to be true" ones.

I am so happy to have received some information about my mitt pal, and to have formulated a plan. I need to include a handbag project bag. I'm more of a fabric bag person as opposed to a felted bag... so my first thought was to sew a bag. I thought my lack of sewing skills (and sewing machine) would not be a problem... I can hand stitch well for small items.

But after browsing a LOT of patterns and realizing the amount of sewing involved (especially for it to look good), I realized it would need to be a knitted bag. And quite by accident, I found the perfect pattern!! I may have to even make me one- it's that cute. So all is good!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Saturday Sky

Pittsburgh at night.

My camera does not like nighttime pictures, apparently. But the moon was gorgeous, and the reflection of the lights on the river were really very nice!

Thank you, Secret Pal!

I was on a road trip for much of yesterday, but right before I left the mailman brought me a special package to my doorstep! It was gorgeously wrapped, with gifts nestled into tiny white boxes and a sweet card from my Secret Pal. Thank you, Secret Pal - you selected items that are really well suited to me. I appreciate it, so much!

My pal thoughtfully sent two skeins of Lamb's Pride Bulky in white, ready for the dyepot. (I am so excited about this... I have the Fiber Trends pattern for felted clogs and have been wanting to make them for myself using LPBulky! Now if I can figure out what colors I'd like...)

There was also a pair of skeins of Lorna's Laces in Irving Park which were so soft and absolutely divine!! The colors were so striking- (I noticed there was burnt orange in the colorway... my Pal is going to entice me into wearing UT colors but the colors are so beautiful, I will wear them with pride!!) It will be a gorgeous pair of socks. I have not worked with Lorna's Laces yet but with the sport weight skein I received earlier, and this gorgeous duo, I cannot wait!

There were also some cute candles and a tiny incense burner, with some Lavendar incense sticks which I will probably try this afternoon. And some hand salve from Burt's Bees... I have such a hard time with my skin being dry in the winter- I should buy stock in a shea butter company. The salve felt wonderful on my dry hands- thank you!! I can tell this will provide some relief this winter.

Sock update:
Here's the sock to date but it's been so hard capturing the color in the right light. It's somewhere in the middle of the following two pictures.

I'm still doing decreases on the gusset and hope to make some serious headway today.

The hardest part will be casting on for the second sock in this yarn when I have some other tempting socks waiting in the wings. I'll have to finish the first one and immediately cast on the second one. (One of the good things about having a limited number of knitpicks classic circulars means only one pair of socks at a time).

Knit Mitt Kit Swap Questionnaire

What are your favorite colors? Blues, greens, plums. Wines and rich earthy colors that are not drab. Deep, vibrant shades as well as soft, muted coastal shades.

Are you a new mitt knitter?
Brand new.... as in first timer!

How long have you been knitting mittens?
First timer.

Do you prefer solid or multicolored yarn?
I like tone-on-tone or multicolor. Solids have their place, too... it just depends on the pattern I'm knitting.

What fibers do you prefer in mitten yarn?
Natural, but soft and not itchy. Wool, alpaca, cashmere, silk blends.

Where do you usually knit mittens?
I will most likely be knitting them at home, due to my schedule.

How do you usually carry/store small projects?
I use a hot pink Clinique bag until I get something better suited for the task.

What are your favorite mitten patterns?
Fetching from knitty has been on my to-do list. I also like the look of cabled wristwarmers... anything that leaves my fingers free.

What are your favorite mitten knitting techniques?
never tried them before

What new techniques would you like to try?
they are all new to me.

What are your favorite needles for knitting mittens?
I like circulars and am learning how to use DPNs.

What are some of your favorite yarns?
I adore Lisa Souza and I'm just about to try Lorna's Laces but it feels fabulous so far. Fiesta Yarn's Watermark has been my absolute best knitting experience so far. And I use Lamb's Pride a lot for snuggly slippers.

What yarn do you totally covet?
Sea Silk. Lion and Lamb. Cherry Tree Hill. But really, I'm fairly new to knitting and still exploring all the options out there.

Any pattern you would love to make if money and time were no object?
Lady E out of Noro Transitions

Favorite kind of needles (brand, materials, straights or circs, etc)?
I really like the Knitpicks Classic Circulars and Options.

If you were a specific kind of yarn, which brand and kind of yarn would you be?
I'd love to say cashmere... but my personality is more of a handpainted superwash merino sock yarn... unique and vibrant, durable, soft and easy to care for.

Do you have a favorite candy or mail-able snack?
I try not to indulge often.

What’s your favorite animal?
My adorable lab/springer spaniel pup Gypsy.

Would you prefer super warm mittens or something more like fingerless mitts?
fingerless mitts.

If you were a color what color would you be?
Black cherry. Or periwinkle. Or a rich caribbean teal/sapphire blend.

What is your most inspiring image, flower, or object in nature?
Northern Lights.

Do you have a wishlist?
Not an updated one.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Harvest Soup (Butternut Squash and Apples)

6 tablespoons chopped onion
4 tablespoons butter
3 pounds butternut squash, halved and seeded
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cubed
3 cups low sodium, low fat chicken broth
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
6 ounces low fat cream cheese, cubed

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking dish, place the squash cut side down. Pierce squash in several places with sharp knife. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until flesh is tender.

2. Scoop out the cooked squash when cool enough to handle. Discard peel.

3. In a large saucepan, saute onions in butter until tender. Add apple cubes, chicken broth, ginger, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Cook until apples are tender.

4. Add in squash and cream cheese cubes. Use hand held blender (or food processor) to puree the soup. Heat soup again right before serving- do not boil.

Box o' goodies and new swap

I received a box o' goodness today from Jody at the Javajem blog Thank you, Jody!! You are so generous!

There was candy but it was (ahem) consumed before the camera came out. Inside was a beautiful card, these neat turquoise and silver earrings which look fantastic on me, yummy smelling candle and tile, a cool gecko mat, jumping beans (!!), felted soap which looks so very cool, and yarn: one skein Lorna's Laces sock yarn in Glenwood (such a pretty autumn color) and a skein of Orchid Thistle Lamb's Pride! I love it!

Ohh... and Gypsy LOVES the felted pet toy. She decided that playing "fetch" was not as much fun as playing "hoard the ball". Thank you, Jody!

I decided to knit up a pair of wristwarmers out of the Lorna's Laces... and while searching for a suitable pattern, I signed up to participate in another swap... this time around it is the Knit Mitt Swap Kit.

While the idea of making a bag is a little nervewracking to me at the moment, I think it will be a lot of fun to put together.

And... I received my final grades from last term- I'm rocking a 3.9!! A very good day overall!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I won a contest at Jody's blog in honor of her 100th post! She's put together some wonderful goodies (including Mexican Jumping Beans!) What an unexpected surprise! Thank you, Jody!

I love talking with G- he makes me laugh like no one else. We were talking last night after leaving a restaurant. I was really fuzzy from meds, and tired from being back at work before I was 100% better... so I wasn't thinking all that clearly. We see a woman walking in with a man: she is talking on her cell phone and the man is twirling his keys around on his finger, and wearing saddle shoes which struck me as a little odd.

G: Hey its Doc Holliday!

Me: What do you mean? Doc Holliday didn't wear saddle shoes.

G: No no. He's twirling his keys like a tin cup.

Me: I was talking about his shoes. Did you see them?

G: Don't you remember the movie? You know... "I'm your pumpernickel"?

Me: . . .

Me: What are you talking about? Did you say pumpernickel?

G: Yeah. Doc Holliday, in the movie... you know (said in a way that implied maybe I should see the movie again)

Me: . . .

Me: That's "I'm your huckleberry." (starts laughing)

G: Whatever.

On the knitting front, I've been stumped on my Dulaan children's socks. I'm used to working from the pattern that came with my DVD on how to knit socks and while I found a pattern to do child socks, suddenly it said to do whatever kind of heel I wanted. How many rows?? I know I can do a heel flap but have no idea how large to make it, and have no children to test out various heel sizes on.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Saturday Sky and dyed skeins

I'm late in posting my Saturday sky since I've been under the weather *and* having a birthday! Here's the brief interlude when it looked nice yesterday... the rest of it was overcast and windy and all around gloom. Seriously, ten minutes later it was raining and howling outside.

Yesterday was a lot of napping, watching a new DVD set (sports night) my sister sent me, a little bit of dyeing and talking to family from Texas. Ohhhh! and a delicious dinner cooked for me!

I played around with dyes on two white skeins of Cascade 220. Each skein was dyed especially for a certain individual, but both persons won't know it until they receive their swap/gift packages. I did a sock yarn skein for myself but its still drying.

(the bottom skein has turquoise, sapphire blue, and shades of purple blended in, but its hard to get all the colors to show without it being washed out.)

The Case of the Missing Dog: I looked everywhere for Gypsy, checking all the nooks and crannies in all three floors of the house. Normally when I'm home she is contantly underfoot. Finally, I found her all snuggled up in her kennel, enjoying her doggie downtime.

Friday, October 27, 2006


I did not go to Rhinebeck although it seems as though everyone else did. So I've been admiring everyone's purchases via their blogs, and came across this gem of an idea: Karrie is pretending she went to Rhinebeck and shows off the 'new' stuff she got (from her stash).

So I went shopping in the plastic bin under my bed, and look at the lovelies I found:

Clockwise from the topleft corner:
1. Suri Dream from Knitpicks in Gloxinia (beautiful deep plum, hopefully to be a Bella Scarf)
2. Sock yarn from Lancaster Cty. Yarns & Wools (courtesy of my Secret Pal 8 spoiler)
3. Cherry Hill Glitz in Foxy Lady (currently on the needles for red sock KAL)
4. Classic Elite Desert (color #2015) from my One Skein Pal. Lovely greens and teals.
5. Twilights Handpainted merino sock yarn .... dyed by me :)
6. Blues and Violets dyed Lamb's Pride... again, dyed by me :)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

More mail love!!!

Today I went into work, only to be sent to the doctor and come home with a verdict of bronchitis. My cough suppressant is making me very sleepy so I am all curled up under my comforter with the Brat Pack True Hollywood Story, knitting away at my socks and trying not to nod off like I did about an hour ago. That Rob Lowe was so cute in St Elmo's Fire!

My Sockret Pal sent me a fabulous package for my birthday. S/he's already been so generous to me, and this was so sweet of my pal to send. Thank you, Sockret Pal!!

Inside was Apple Creamed Honey which I've never heard of but I gave it a taste test... delish!!! I'm already planning some biscuits tomorrow to enjoy. And there was some wonderful citrus spice homemade soap which made me immediately want to run a warm bath, give that a test run too. And there was... Socks That Rock in a very pretty, springy colorway called Watermelon Tourmaline. This made me catch my breath.

One of the first things I heard of when I started learning to knit was Socks That Rock. It made me wish I lived in a more populated area where I could go see their yarns in person... to give them a test squeeze, so to speak. I just never thought I would ever get the hang of socks, and definitely not be able to make socks worthy of a skein of STR yarn. I'm still practicing on inexpensive sock yarns as I am learning, but once I finish up the current sets I'm making, along with the extra practice I had on the fuzzy feet, I'm ready to try out one of the nicer yarns.

Thank you, Pal, so very much!! Between this and the lovely package I received yesterday from my SP8 Spoilee, I am one very lucky knitter. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Mail Love!

I have been dragging just a bit, fighting off a cold. I came home early today to rest, and came before the mailman did. So it was a complete surprise to wake up and find a package waiting for me from my spoilee from SP8 for my birthday!

Our kitchen is a soft cornflower blue with lots of white trim and this dishcloth matches it perfectly!! She put in the sweetest card and the yarn... oh my... She purchased it on a recent trip and it is so soft with such beautiful colors of yellows, periwinkles and corals. I adore it. I will have to find just the right project for this. Thank you!!!

I finished my second Dulaan hat last night. It's slightly smaller than the first. Double stranded Lamb's Pride makes a very thick hat, and I like how bright this one came out too.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Saturday sky

We just got back from the park... saw some beautiful Saturday sky peeking through all the foliage.

We also saw four fawns running through the trees but by the time I snapped the picture, I could only find two.

more beautiful sky... so relaxing

Gypsy's all worn out from running and playing

A little bit of progress

I cast on a new sock (it started off as a swatch), but am only letting myself knit a couple of rows when I take study breaks. I'm liking the soft, heather-y ocean colors and subtle variance of tones.

I'd really like to do a bit of dyeing, seeing as how I just received some new dye a couple of days ago and my Sockret Pal kindly sent me some yarn to dye. But I think I am going to save that for my birthday next Saturday. I have already proclaimed the 28th "the day where I will do no homework, nor chores nor anything I think I 'should' do". Only fun and relaxation allowed! And probably a long nap somewhere in the midst of all that fun. Someone at work nicely pointed out that 35 was middle-aged, which instantly made me feel about 30 years older.

One of my breaks today will hopefully be to visit a nearby park and take my Saturday Sky pic and get an hour of fresh air and some exercise. It's sunny and breezy outside and I want to take advantage of it while I can. Next week they are already calling for snow.

After tomorrow night, this semester is done (and two final projects will be submitted) and on Monday, I start my next semester without even a day off! The schedule is grueling but it will let me get my Master's in 18 months while working fulltime. Thank goodness for knitting my stress away!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sockret Pal goodness!!

When I came home tonight, there was a package waiting patiently for me, from my Sock-ret Pal.

Inside was such a sweet gift!! There was a really nice journal to keep track of my dyeing, patterns and recipes (which is a really good idea since most of my dyeing is... shall we say "one of a kind" because I never remember to write it down). And a beautiful beaded ornament which I've already found a place for in my home.
There was also
some mango mandarin eau de toilette, which smells clean, fresh, and absolutely divine!

My Pal also picked out a book, "Knitting for Peace" which I have heard a lot of good things about, so I'm excited to have a chance to read it.

And to cap it off, some Henry's Attic Monty 3/9 yarn for dyeing socks! This completely made me over-the-moon happy because not three hours earlier, I was trying to decide whether to get more dyeable yarn since I have some new dyes coming my way this weekend. I couldn't decide what type to get... which turned out for the best since there was new yarn waiting for me!

My pal must be my Psychic Sock-ret Pal! Thank you, Sock-ret Pal, so very much!

Monday, October 16, 2006

A sense of accomplishment

My berrylicious fuzzy feet are done and shipped off to their owner-to-be. I forgot to include directions so she'll get an email with directions on how to felt them down so they custom fit her feet. Otherwise, she will think I sent her the biggest socks in the world, as my sister did when I proudly showed her my work in progress.
Also made: one super snuggly hat for Dulaan 2007, made of double stranded worsted weight yarn (orange: hand dyed wool, green: dyed Lamb's Pride courtesy of my Secret Pal 8 spoiler, BJ) I just used a simple hat pattern.

I also received this lovely yarn today, it's the new super sport from Lisa Souza. What amazing colors!! It's so incredibly soft, I can't wait to knit it up.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

4 things.

Four jobs I’ve had:

  • Clinique Consultant
  • Community Relations for a water company, where part of my job was in-home inspections of water efficient toilets. Wooo! (That was not in my job description when I applied)
  • Advertising Account Exec.
  • Marketing Manager

Four movies I can watch over and over:

  • Grease
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Monty Python's Holy Grail
  • Chicago

Four places I have lived:

  • Netherlands
  • Santa Monica, CA
  • College Station, TX (Fightin' Texas Aggies!)
  • Falls Church, VA

Four television shows I love to watch:

  • Daily Show/Colbert Report (I sort of view them as one show)
  • Amazing Race
  • Project Runway- except this season, not liking it as much.
  • Law and Order rerun marathons on TNT

Four places I have been on vacation:

  • toured Greece
  • skiing in Munich, Germany
  • dancing in a Scottish pub (and waking up to the haunting strains of bagpipes being played each morning across the loch)
  • doing the beach thing in Cancun, Mexico

Four of my favorite dishes:

  • creme brulee - too rich to eat often, but so good
  • tenderloin salad on spring greens with blue cheese, tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette
  • fajitas on homemade flour tortillas- really, it's just an excuse to eat my homemade tortillas
  • butternut squash/roasted apple soup with a mixed greens salad and crusty bread

Four websites I visit daily:

  • for mail, maps, news, sometimes groups.
  • for searches... for every search, it donates money to my specified charity

Four places I would rather be right now:

  • visiting my mom and sister in Texas
  • visiting family in San Diego and spending down time at La Jolla Cove
  • exploring New Zealand
  • flying in a helicopter over Hawaii

Meme courtesy of Crazy Aunt Purl (highly recommended read... love her sense of humor)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Saturday sky/Day trip

We went on a trip today, just for a change of pace. We drove through the mountains into VA, where we visited an Amish farm, a harvest fair and a wonderful non-profit craft store that provided a venue for the local artisans to sell the items.

I'm a bit tired now that we are home, but we did get some lovely homemade goodies from the farm and fair, and some beautiful pictures. I wish we had waited for next week for brighter foliage, but that will be crunch time for my final school projects and we would have missed the fair. And we could not ask for better roadtrip weather!

I just know this little guy's bleating meant... "Take me home, please!"

Friday, October 13, 2006

My favorite FO (response to SP9 question)

My SP Hostess, Lorinda, asked what FO I like the best or am proudest of. Not having a large number of FOs to my name, I did look through my mini-collection. Granted, I will say that I am probably most proudest of my dye projects since it's harder for me to capture my mood and express it in color but since those aren't FO's, strictly speaking...

My favorite FO are my first pair of fuzzy feet that I made for someone I adore. It was especially fun to do they are completely unique. I dyed the yarn for him, tackled a new pattern, and the gift is appreciated and worn as much as I had hoped.

I overdyed some camel tan Lamb's Pride into some rich, redwood colors: gold, pine, chestnut and red. G tends to be pretty conservative with color, but this fits his personality well.

The pattern knit up easily and it gave me a chance to improve my sock skills. And the colors were so pretty I'd have to stop every few rows to admire them. About halfway through I started thinking about wearing them myself if he didn't like them (which he overheard me muttering and but a stop of THAT line of thinking: he likes them!)

Best of all... he loves them! Since he didn't actually express any interest in slippers before I announced I would make him these, I thought he would maybe wear them once or twice a year to be polite, but on cold nights, he's quick to pull them out.

And the success with this FO has led me to make a pair for a dear friend who's birthday is rapidly approaching! I dyed her yarn a gorgeous colorway... sort of berrylicious. I'm about 2/3 of the way through and should be done tomorrow, which is just barely in time to mail them off!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

My latest dye jobs :)

I debated on whether to post these or not, as I might be using them for gift knitting. But I'm so pleased with the outcome that I will just be extra careful with what I say.

Last weekend, I handpainted two skeins of sock yarn. I will say the oceany one had me worried about halfway through... just was not sure how the colors were going to look but I am happy with it now.

I'll be casting on one of these this weekend, just to see how the colors look when knitted up. I just can't decide which one to cast on.

In other news... I have been matched for SP! Let the fun begin!!!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Get to know you Secret Pal 9 Questions

From Jody's Blog:

1. Where is your favorite knitting spot?

On the couch, with my pup snuggled next to me. But if I had the choice? I'm pretty sure relaxing on my balcony on a cruiseship at sea would rate pretty high up there too.

2. If you suddenly could never knit again (shudder) - what would you do instead?
Handpaint yarn.

3. If you could travel anywhere in the world - where would you go and why?
New Zealand . I've wanted to visit, possibly move there, for years- beautiful country, great adventuring and less commercialized than the States. I've heard there are many more sheep than people.

4. When you were little - What did you want to do "when you grew up?" Are you doing it? I wanted to be a writer who lived in a lighthouse, who listened to the waves crashing and walked along the dunes for inspiration. I do get a chance to write copy in my marketing job but I think I like my childhood vision better. And one day I will do it (maybe not the lighthouse, but I'd settle for a view of a lake or ocean).

5. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Coffee or mocha.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Saturday Skies

1 A.M.
Beautiful, chilly night with a brilliant full moon peeking out from behind the clouds.

9 A.M.
Crisp morning that is nearly radiating energy with this deep blue sky. An instant mood lifter, especially after about a week and a half of chilly rain.

I've decided I am going to dye today, simply because the colors are so vibrant outside and I can't wait to see my own colors hanging out in the sunshine.