Monday, November 28, 2005

26 Knitting Days Until Christmas

I am hoping to turn these balls & skeins of yarn into Christmas presents for my family. Yikes! Only 26 days left to make it happen. Believe me, I am not complaining. I am so thrilled to be hand crafting gifts instead of mall shopping.

I felted my bucket hat last night and it looks great (even on a weighted training ball). Bonnie Marie Burns is a fabulous designer!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

One Sock Done

I finished the first sock for my secret pal. Yeah, I know. I have green and purple pools of color on the leg. I just love variegated yarn and don't know what to do to prevent the pool effect. Hopefully my pal will not mind. But just look at the finish on the toe. My first successful toe grafting with the kitchener stitch!

Today I took a break from the size 2 needle socks and experimented with the bucket hat from ChicKnits. I'll start the the second sock tomorrow. My son was nice enough to model the bucket hat before felting look. I'll felt it in a hot water wash tonight during Desperate Housewives. There is certainly room for shrinkage!

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Day After

I am finally making progress on the socks for my secret sock exchange pal. The yarn is Cherry Tree Hill in colorway Spanish Moss on size 2 needles. Although my sock pal wrote that she loves all colors, I noticed from her blog that she has a fondness for purple. The colors of this yarn remind me of the NH landscape in late fall with blue sky, green pines and "purple mountain haze".

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving hosted by my knitter sister-in-law. She was the lucky one to entertain our family of 28 (Mom, Aunt & Uncle and the families of 6 siblings). It was a wonderful afternoon filled with great food, loving family and of course a little football on the side. Patty is the ultimate party host!

This morning I left the house at 5am to catch a few early bird specials at Circuit City and Dick's Sporting Goods (new additions to the Keene retail scene). I basically rolled out of bed and out the door figuring I would not see anyone I know. I walked in the door of Circuit City and immediately ran into my son's hockey coach, another hockey Mom, a former co-worker and a runner friend. You can't get away with anything in a small town.

After that shopping mob scene I treated myself to a visit to Green Mountain Spinnery. As part of the Putney Craft's Tour they opened their entire facility to the public. It was fascinating to watch the spinning process from sheep shearing to luscious skeins. I picked up a couple irregular skeins of Mountain Mohair with which I hope to make regular mittens.

We are out of here in a bit to bring Cara for a walk in the woods. It's a beautiful day with fresh snow on the trails. And we will not forget to wear orange to alert the hunters of our presence.

Monday, November 21, 2005

No Road to Oslo Here

I love Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road sock pattern collection and in particular the Scandinavian look to "The Road to Oslo" pattern. I was not sure about the fold down cuff, but stuck with the pattern besides that. The k2tog/yo row was suppose to create a scallop edge, but mine resulted in a sock with holes on the top. The worst feature is how tight the ankle is where the two yarns meet to make the cool pattern. It is so tight that I have to point my foot like a ballerina (that I am so not) to get the sock on. I guess I should not have pulled so tightly on the yarns at that point. Ahhh...knit 'n learn. Even though it's not worthy to give as a Xmas present as planned, I still like the sock.

I am also struggling with the socks for my holiday exchange pal. It's my first time with needles less than size 3 and I'm dropping stitches left and right. I may look for yarn that knits at a bigger guage.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Waiting for the cable guy

I started vacation today. First of 10 straight days away from the office. Vacation started off great with a guilt free morning knitting. I was waiting for the cable guy who would arrive between of those deals. Before I starting knitting I would of said I wasted a whole morning waiting for the cable guy. Instead it was a great morning.

I finished this hat for my 14 year old. He probably will not wear it, but I think he appreciates the effort. It matches his new snowboarding pahka, but not a perfect match because that would not be cool. The hat is made from Jo Sharp Silk Road Aran Tweed color Brindle. I used Alison of the Blue Blog's basic hat pattern, without the rolled brim.

Next on the needles will be socks for my holiday sock exchange pal. Can't wait!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Cooking and Knitting

The spaghetti sauce class I attended on Tuesday was awesome. I'm not sure if I will be able to duplicate the sauce, but I learned a few tricks.
  • Instead of using puree, puree a can of whole tomatoes.
  • Take a good look at the tomato puree and crushed tomatoes and make sure they are bright red in color.
  • Do not stir too much, it will thin out the sauce.
  • Always add tomato paste at the start after the onions are done. If added at the end you'll taste the paste.
  • Add the garlic with the other spices instead of cooking it with the onions.

You know, I think cooking is more of a crap shoot than knitting.

I LOVE Malabrigo yarn. I finished these mittens for my Mum, during my son's hockey practice last night. I'm not sure how durable the yarn will be for mitts, but they sure are soft.

Just put on the needles is a hat made out of Jo Sharp Silk Road Aran Tweed for my son. My son is actually letting me knit him a hat so this project takes precedence before he changes his mind. He's the BLT without mayo or T, pasta without sauce, fajitas with just chicken and cheese kind of guy. This will be a very plain hat.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Chicken Soup Day

What makes it a chicken soup day?
1. It's November. In New England, 28 out of the 30 days are appropriate for Chicken Soup either because of the weather, dark afternoons or someone in the family bound to have a cold.
2. It's raining.
3. Temperature is in the low-forties.
4. I spent 1.5 hours in the dentist chair yesterday fixing a broken tooth, so I'm not in the mood to chew.
Anyway, I've got all the fixings for Chicken Soup in the fridge ready to boil. Perfect!

I need to whine about the weather just a minute more. Why is it so difficult to get motivated to run in the cold rain? If it was just 10 degrees colder and snowing, I would be bounding out the door to run.

I have to miss my last "socks on circulars" class tonight because of a conflict scheduled weeks ago. My favorite restaurant closed - the bad news. But the owner/cook is offering a class on how to make her spaghetti sauce - the good news. That's where I will be tonight (after I make chicken soup), learning her secret recipe.

I know I said I would wait for instruction on how to graft a toe since I have failed so miserably in the past. But, I could not wait. I do think I did a little better grafting this time. These are my "socks on circulars" class project which I was working on at knitting group last Thursday when a fellow knitter asked to see them. After touching them she said "Wow! That's a sock. Maybe they will soften with a washing." She's right. They are thick and tight. See pic below. I don't have any implements propping up these socks, they stand on their own. My rationalization is that they MIGHT make great ski socks. I hope to try them out on the slopes during our Thanksgiving vacation next week.

What would I do differently...
Listen to my instructor who has a zillion years experience and owns the store so obviously know more about the yarn than I do. She said size 6 needles would be better than 4's. But I said I wanted them to be thick. Be careful what you ask for.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


As I knit on my second "circular" sock yesterday evening, I watched my 7 month old lab trying to capture four tennis balls in her mouth. She'd get 1, maybe 2, tennis balls locked in her grip and then go after the loose tennis balls. Inevitably she'd lose the tennis balls in her mouth and be back to chasing all four around our living room. I realized I'm a little bit like her. I really should be concentrating on one project rather than trying to work four at a time.

At the bottom right of this pic is a mistake rib scarf knitted with pumpkin rowan yarn. Love the stitch, love the yarn. I intended to finish this in time for Keene's pumpkin festival on October 22. The pumpkin fest is long gone, so I may abandon this project for a few months.

Clockwise from there is the start of an Easy Bulky Sweater in Lamb's Pride Bulky Winter Blue. I have a real block (and it's not the good kind of finished knit blocking) when it comes to sweaters. I gravitate toward the quick knits like socks and mittens. Some one of these days I have to suck it up and commit to a sweater.

Then we have my first pair of "socks on circulars". I love this project. But I am waiting to corner the owner of my lys on how to graft a toe. After 9 pairs of socks, I have still not mastered grafting a toe. This weekend, I occasionally put the circular socks to the side so I could knit these Malabrigo mittens (upper right of pic above).

I picked the Malabrigo yarn up at my lys on Thursday and could not wait to cast on for mittens for my Mom. The yarn is soooooo unbelievably soft and I think the medium blue color will match Mom's winter pahka perfectly. I have had bad luck with variegated yarn, but these mittens seem ok so far. When I knit with variegated yarn, the colors seem to always pool in one spot like the red in these socks.

If I always wear them like this, it's possible that people might think it was an intentional "design consideration". Nahhhh. Who am I kiddin'.

I can't wait to finish either the mittens or the circular socks. I am anxious to start a bucket hat from a chicknits pattern I bought months ago. Not sure if it will be gift worthy for Christmas, but I hope so.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Into Fuzzy Feet

I'm loving my fuzzy feet. They are so comfy. Life is good with warm, soft slippers.

I had my second class on "socks on circulars" last night and I am a convert. We worked on the heel flap, heel turn and gusset. Finally I got the rhythm of the circular needles.

Just in time for the Holiday Sock Exchange. I emailed my assigned pal today. Can't wait to hear back from her so I can plan (and shop for) her gift.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Fuzzy Feet

Here is the before...

And the after felting...

Can't wait until my Fuzzy Feet dry so I can enjoy!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

One Foot Down

I joined my very first knit along fuzzy feet. I'm using Lamb's Pride bulky because I want the slipper to be thick. Not sure if this choice is going to work out as I hoped. When the designer said "gigantic" in the pattern did she mean this big!?!?!
One more foot to go and we will see what happens after felting.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Red Sox

I am taking a socks on circulars class at my wonderful lys. I'm using "Yarn for Sox" in red to honor my favorite team. I have about another inch to knit on the leg for homework, then I will be free to start on "fuzzy feet".

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

My Dear Friend

Here is a pic of Cara Mia (Italian for my dear friend) when she was 6 weeks old. She is now 6 months old and full of puppy exuberance.

The other day she spent the afternoon in our yard jumping in the air in an attempt to catch falling leaves in her mouth.

Me Blog. Why?

I never thought I was the blogging type. I'm a fairly private person. Why would I open myself up to the BIG HUGE online world by blogging?

I live in a small town in New Hampshire. It's just right for our family. I would never want to live in a huge city. About 15 years ago, I visited NYC with a friend to run the Legg's mini marathon. Before then NYC was big and scary. What Jane showed me is that the little neighborhoods of NYC were friendly communities with caring neighbors, local restaurants and comfortable routines.

So, I am starting to blog to be part of the knit blog community. I have been reading knitting blogs ever since I started knitting 8 months ago and I was starting to feel like a voyeur. It's time for me to get off the sidelines and get in the game.