Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sorry Mamie...

...but I finished your Socks of Doom tonight. I will be sending them out in the mail tomorrow. But don't give up--you never know how the postal service will behave. It's simply not over till it's over. Here is a preview:I truly hope you will like them. They're only the second pair of socks I've finished to date.

I've tried to wade through the genealogy of assassins on yarnmonkey's blog, and that could take forever. So I'm just going to wait until I receive a package in the mail--it will either be an unfinished pair of socks for me to finish, or it will be a finished pair of socks signalling my demise. Either way, I feel good that I finished these socks in record time for me, qualified for my "S" for September in the Sock-a-Month 2, and especially that I've made a new blog friend in Mamie. You rock, Girlfriend!

Here are the specs on the socks: International Socks of Doom (having a heck of a time linking to the pattern, will try again later), knit with a ball and a skoshe of Plymouth Dreambaby DK yarn (50% acrylic microfiber, 50% nylon). (Now, lest you think this is yucky yarn because of its acrylic content, I will assure you that it is wonderfully soft and supple and knits up beautifully. You must feel it to believe it.) Needles used: size 5 addi's for the magic loop. Pattern notes: What I enjoyed most about this pattern is that I didn't have to keep referring to it every inch or so, because it kept the same ribbing of k3,p3 on one row and k1,p1 on the next row throughout the sock. That came in handy for me, not having to think.

Now I've got to get started on knitting a little sumpin' sumpin' for my Chocolate Swap pal. Don't you worry about me--knitting is what I do. It's who I am.

(Trying to keep a straight face.) Is it working?

Sock-ret Pal Questionnaire

Sock-ret Pal Questionnaire

The basics:
How long have you been knitting?
In earnest about 3 years now
Do you consider yourself a beginning sock knitter, an intermediate, or have you been doing this so long you could probably knit a pair in your sleep? Probably strong beginner

The measurements:
While your pal may ask for some additional info to ensure a great fit, please provide your shoe size, or any other fitting related info you think is pertinent.
I wear size US 5 shoes.

(fiber related) Favorites:
What colors do you love?
Purples the most, periwinkles, lavenders, blues, pinks
Do you prefer solids or variegated? Doesn't matter
What fibers do you most love to knit with? cashmere/merino wool blends
Who do you consider your favorite yarn vendors? Koigu, Lorna's Laces
What projects (other than socks, of course*S*) do you most enjoy knitting? Anything and Everything, especially baby sweaters

(fiber related) Dislikes: I love all yarn, but I'm kind of moving away from the novelties such as fun fur or bulky yarns like Lion Brand Homespun that don't show off your stitches when you knit.
What fibers can you not stand to knit with? To wear? Can not stand fibers? Oy vey! Not here.
What colors would you never wear? I would wear any color of socks.

The Tools:
Plastic or Metal? Bamboo or wood?
Metal all the way.
Circs or Straights? Depends on the project--I really like them both.
DPNs or Magic Loop? Both again, though I'm in love with Magic Loop. I'm loving the new Knit Picks metal DPN's.
Are there any knitting accessories you don't have in your collection but would like? I'm a huge fan of any and all knitting gadgets. You could never go wrong there. Plus, my kids lost my sweet little white fuzzy lamb tape measure.

The Extras:
Do you have a wish list?
If so, please share the link! My Amazon Wish List
Do you like sweet, sour or salty? (or all of the above? *S*) All are good, as is spicy hot.
Do you have any allergies your pal should know about? (Certain foods, smoke, pet hair, etc) My boys have asthma, so cigarette smoke is not good for them to be around or smell
Favorite scents? Scents you can't stand? I love gardenia and pink grapefruit the best
Do you collect anything (other than yarn and knitting toys of course)? tea cups and saucers
When is your birthday? (month and day is fine!) March 26
Do you spin? Dye your own yarn? No, I think I'll try to skip over those obsessions (you've got to stop somewhere)
Your favorite author/band/vacation spot, anything you think will help your pal know you better... Hmm, I love Victoria BC, English black teas, 80's music, and of course Jamba Juice!

Thank you, Sock-ret Pal!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Sock Wars Update # 4

Back from my busy weekend with friends and family. Everyone I talked to about the Sock Wars thought I was nuts. In fact, I guess I talked about it so much that today when the Count got home before me and was looking through our pile of mail, he showed me this bundle and said, "It looks like you just got your socks in the mail."Good thing for me, it was sock yarn, but in its hank form, from Hip Knit's sock club. So I'm still in the tourney. For now.

Because of the hurricane situation and the hostess' inability to email dossiers to everyone, a lot of people have been put in the position of emailing their targets to get their mailing addresses directly. And a lot of these targets have been uncooperative. Shame, shame. In the words of the wise philosopher Earl J. Hickey, karma will bite you...well, you know where.

Fortunately for me, I've got a very cool target named Mamie who is very charming, funny, and forthright with her information. I almost hate to eliminate her. I know, I know, I've been trained to be a professional and not let personal feelings cloud my judgement, but come on, how can you not like someone who doesn't put up with any guff at snobby yarn shops and has the cutest haircut on the planet?

I've been knitting away on my socks of doom:mostly because I had some time to kill (ooh, pun not intended, but it fits) during Girlie's book club meeting at the library today and soccer practice afterwards. The thing is, my heart just isn't that into it. I wanted my target to be evil, or worse yet, boring. But alas, she is neither.

What's a girl to do?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Day 2 of Sock Wars

And we now have a sock:A little more than 24 hours after casting on for the first sock of doom, I have finished it. That's pretty significant for me, considering it took me a couple months to complete my first pair of socks. I've cast on for the second sock, and will probably just finish the seven rows of k1, p1 ribbing before going to bed tonight. I knew that this weekend would be the only time that I would have to stay up late to make these socks, then it would be catch as catch can from then on. But it's an easy pattern; fairly mindless. Which is how I'm starting to feel now that I've stayed up until the wee hours for two nights in a row.

My intended target wears size US 10 shoes, so the foot is much longer than I'm used to knitting when I knit socks for my size 5 feet. I always wondered how you allowed for different sizes of feet when knitting socks for someone else, and now I know it's not that difficult to do.

A glitch in the system (only Hurricane Gordon) prevented the hostess, yarnmonkey, from sending out individual emails with the information on our intended target. This morning I had to wade through a mile-long list of assassins to find who my target was to be. Then it was suggested that we email our target to ask them for their mailing address so we can send them the finished socks and thereby eliminate them. Like that's gonna happen. But on good faith, I emailed my target, who sounds like a fun gal from her blog. I bribed her with the promise of chocolate, so she might just come through yet.

And now the initial craziness is over. I expect to make slow and steady progress on the second sock, but nothing like the push that I got over the last two late nights. My little body just can't take the all-nighters like it used to. Go figure.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Sock Wars Update #3

We have a finished heel, ladies and gentlemen, and are ready to begin working the foot section of the Sock of Doom from the Sock Wars. And that is all for tonight.Must. Sleep. Now.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Sock Wars Update # 2

The pattern is up! The pattern is up! The pattern is up!

Yes, Yarnmonkey was affected by the hurricane, but thankfully she is fine. She is unable to send out individual emails (aka our secret mission dossiers) so she posted the pattern on her blog. (I included the link for those of you curious about the pattern) .

So I'm off to start my covert mission. Wish me luck! I'll inform you of my progress before I go to bed tonight (and then you'll really know how slowly I knit and how much of a night owl I truly am). I'm more of a leisurely knitter, after all; it's therapy for me, rather than a race. Why am I in the Sock Wars, then? Because I just couldn't resist.

See you all tonight (or tomorrow morning, depending on how many of you share my nocturnal tendencies)!

Sock Wars Update # 1

And the word on the Sock Wars is...No Word.

The pattern was supposed to be sent out today, Friday, September 22nd. Sent by email? Posted on the website? That is unknown.

There has been No communication from Yarnmonkey, the ringleader of the whole shebang.

There are participants waiting (im)patiently from all over the world. In Australia and New Zealand, it is Saturday, September 23rd already. And still no pattern to begin.

Word is that Hurricane Gordon has hit Ireland (where Yarnmonkey is located) and that there are massive power outages. Ironic, don't you think? If that is the case, I do hope she and her family are all right.

Jittery doubters on the Sock Wars forum, most of whom didn't go to sleep last night waiting for the pattern to suddenly arrive at a moment's notice (and who are running on pure adrenaline and too much caffeine) have suggested that this is all a cruel hoax. After all, how can you organize something like this with 800-odd participants?

Personally, I think there are major flaws in the system; big issues that would need to be worked out for this to work properly. But I'm still game. I would love to see how this all turns out after the dust settles.

If there is any dust to be settled.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Soccer and Sock Wars

**********I started this post on Monday. It literally took me three days to load all these pictures onto blogger. What is UP with that?? Is anyone else experiencing difficulties with loading pictures, or is it just me?*************


Look at this beautiful little soccer player:
That's my sweet Girlie, and I love her so.

We are now in the middle of outdoor soccer season, and I'm enjoying it while the weather stays above freezing. Sproutie and ZimDee are loving it too:SproutieZimDeeSproutie taking it easy on the sidelines.

Girlie is improving every year. She's got a great coach this year, and she's learning a lot.
But what she does best is Goalie:She is truly gifted in that position. I think she likes it best because it involves less running (she takes after me, you know). I am very proud of her, and she takes pride in doing it well. She says to me, "Mom, no ball gets past me!" And she's right. You go, baby girl.

In knitting news, I've finished the secret test knitting project for Chrissy and I will be showing it to her tonight at the Tigard Knitting Guild meeting. It was a fun little knit.

Congratulations go out to Tam for winning the movie line contest from The Color Purple. Way to wow me with your elaborate explanation of what you thought of this movie in your very long, drawn-out answer, there, Girlfriend. :)

I'm resting my fingers today and taking time out to play with my children before the craziness of the Sock Wars begins tomorrow. Instead of disappearing completely, I will be posting daily reports so you can stay informed of my progress and share in the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat.It's a top secret mission, I know, but instead of giving away my position if my blog is infiltrated, I think it may serve the purpose of scaring my enemies. Oh, who am I kidding? I'm going to get creamed, but you'll be with me every step of the way, won't you? Aren't you excited? I know I am. I am listed in the forum as "Force of Nature". Hey, if they're going to name a hurricane after me without my permission, I might as well go with it, hmm? You can follow my progress on the Sock Wars forum by clicking on the link on the button above.

And a big shout out now to my fellow Sock Warriors and friends, mamma and Chrissy. Good luck, ladies! I'll be rooting for you!

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Where does the time go? It's been far too long since my last post, which is not like me. Everything is fine. I've just been settling into the schedules of the new school year and adjusting to the new rhythm that brings. I've been following everyone's blogs and it's so nice to hear you all are doing well.

At the beginning of the week, we had a nice visit from Uncle Dan, my sister A.'s husband. He was in town on business and stayed with us for a few days. We got to see a movie, go out to eat, and have a great dinner in. Here is Girlie hitting him up to order something from her school fundraiser.

What a great little salesperson. Thanks for your support, Uncle Dan!

And knitting? Boy, have I been knitting. I still marvel at the thought that my approach to knitting is so unlike any other aspect of my life. In my everyday life, I am loyal and focused. In knitting, I seem to flit from one project to another without warning. Is there such a thing as knitter's ADD? If so, I have it. The good thing is, the projects do get done eventually.

Ho that I am, I've joined several more swaps and knitalongs:
What is not to love about chocolate? Especially when you add knitting to the mix. What's really cool is that my swap partner, Angela lives not too far from me. How did that happen? However it did, I'm looking forward to spoiling and being spoiled by her.

I had such a great experience with SP8, I was happy to hear that sign-ups for SP9 are now open.

Jennifer started this blog for crafters who are interested in keeping up with their beading. I love to do beadwork, but it has definitely taken a back seat to my knitting obsession. If you're interested in beadwork at all, take a peek at this new blog.

I'm very excited about Sockret Pal since my compadre Amanda got me hooked on knitting socks. Thanks, girl! I've never had so much fun!

And sign-ups are now open for Socktoberfest. Count me in!

I missed the Knitters Tea Swap the first time around, so I'm glad they decided to do another round. I do have to admit, I'm a bit of a tea snob. Just ask Chrissy. I have to bring my own tea bags to restaurants, since they rarely serve my favorite. (For the record, it's PG Tips).

Cables, anyone? What I love about cables is how deceptively easy they are to do, yet they look very complicated on a finished object. I learned how to do cables while practicing on a dishcloth, which I highly recommend. But watch out: knitting dishcloths is another highly addictive aspect of knitting!

I've also joined Jennifer's brand new Fiberflix KAL, which will be run in the same manner as Knit the Classics, which sadly I missed out on. Instead of books, the group will be knitting along to movies. I do that already!

And a warning beforehand: I stand little chance of making it beyond the first round of the Sock Wars, but I'm not going down without a fight. The pattern is to be released this coming Friday, and I will probably be a bit scarce for a few days after that, carrying out my top secret mission. Spy stuff, you know. I have several blogger friends who are in the Sock Wars as well, so I may not be the only blogger out of commission for a little bit. Here is my arsenal, all primed and ready for battle.

I've been working on Chrissy's Sugar Free Diabetes Walk Socks, with all their cable-y goodness, and I am loving the pattern. I'm using Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, which the pattern calls for, and is among my favorite yarns.And a closer look at the cables:

I'm also making sure and steady progress on my Mystery Socks.Gotta love the magic loop!

And in between those two projects, I've been working on a test pattern for Chrissy. I'd love to show you pictures of that, but that is strictly verboten. Suffice it to say that the pattern is a lot of fun, and I'm enjoying myself immensely. No surprise there, since I'm a big fan of Chrissy's work. When I'm finally able to share, you will be the first to know.

And how long has it been since we had a good movie line contest going? Let's go back to the mid 80's with this one:

"You sho is ugly!"

As always, the winner will get a nice chocolatey treat. This time it's M&M's. Good luck to all.

Friday, September 08, 2006

A Good Cause From a Great Designer

You all know what a fan I am of Chrissy's designs. She created the Ziggy scarf for Mag Knits as well as the Winter Branches sweater that I'm knitting for my lovely sister A. I was a fan of Chrissy's designs before I ever met her. And in fact, when I did meet her, at the Tigard Shop Hop in April, I was actually working on one of her patterns, the said Winter Branches sweater. I was happy to find that she was as delightful in person as she sounds on her blog. We've become friends, and our girls adore each other.

Chrissy has a fledgling knitting design business which I just know is going to be huge someday. I'm a part of her team of test knitters, though I have yet to contribute much. She is soon going to release one of her first self-published patterns, a fantastic pair of socks that I have seen in person and which made my heart flutter. She is raising money for her friend Karen, who suffers from diabetes, for the Walk for Diabetes, to be held on October 15th. All proceeds from the sale of the pattern before the walk will go to Karen's pledge drive. This is a great cause, and one close to my heart, as I lost my dear grandma, my uncle, and a great friend to this disease.

Won't you please go visit Chrissy's blog for the details.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Not Nice Today

Ok, so, you all know me as a pretty nice person. And I try to be. I'm not big on drama--I don't thrive on it, choose to create it, or live with it in my daily life. Those who know me well would say that I'm very easygoing, even-keeled.


The fact that I'm small (4'10") leads certain people to mis-judge and think that I can be pushed around because I look pretty defenseless.

This is not the case.

Growing up always smaller than everyone in my classes at school and in my age group taught me to be pretty scrappy. Because little people get pushed around a lot. It's either grow thicker skin or go home crying every night.

And I won't even get into the being ignored by store clerks when I'm needing assistance while they all trip over themselves to help my tall, blonde, beautiful sister. I'll save that for another time.

What I'm talking about right now are the unfortunate souls who walk around angry at the world and constantly looking for a target. They're mad because their wife burned their toast that morning or their dog peed on their tire and they're out for revenge. They'll take it out on anyone. Their mistake is zeroing in on me as easy prey.

I happened upon one such idiot just today.

The situation was that I came to pick up Girlie after school. There is a parking lot fashioned into a loop so parents can drive up, stop, load their children, and keep driving. Good system if your child is there waiting for you. If you're early, which I was, you can loop around, and if you don't immediately see your child and there's a parking spot available, you can park. But you'll need to back in or else you'll be stuck there until every last car has left the loop. Some greedy parents hover too long in the loop, or even stop even though they're not in the process of actively loading a child. This is against the rules and highly frowned upon by all who encounter these people who think they're the only people in the world that matter. Again, a story for another time. The loop is meant to be in perpetual motion.

So, driving up, I came to the loop but did not see my child. I encountered a hoverer, but being of good nature and not stuck, I decided I would go around this rule-breaker and properly park myself. There was an open spot that looked maneuverable. Believe me, in the van, I'm not going to even attempt to back into a parking spot if I didn't think I could do it. Especially when all the other drivers of the parked cars are sitting behind the wheels of their cars watching me.

So I positioned myself well and started the process of backing up. Plenty of room on both sides. Checking, good, backing, good, checking, still good, backing, good...then HONK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
which, of course, freaked the crap out of me and caused me to slam on the brakes to see what the emergency was. The honk came from the car on my left, manned by an older man in a Ford Taurus. There was at least two feet between my van and his car. He glared at me, and I motioned to him with my hands (no I didn't give him the bird, I held my hands apart showing him how much space there was between our vehicles). Then I proceeded to finish parking.

When I turned off the engine, I turned to the man and said to him through our open windows, "Did you just honk at me?" and he of course tried to pretend that he didn't hear me. That's when you know you've got them. When they try to pretend that they don't see you or hear you when you confront them over something stupid they've done. So I asked him again, "Excuse me, was it you that honked at me?" and he finally looked up and said "Yeah, you were gonna back right into me!" and I said "There was plenty of room between our cars! There was no reason for you to honk!" and he said "well, from the way you drive, I figured you were gonna hit me!" and I said "What makes you think you're an expert on how I drive?" and he said "from the way you whipped around this parking lot!" (which was not true). I said "My driving was fine. You just freaked out over nothing." At which point big-man-behind-the-wheel-but-chicken-when-you-confront-him-about-it got out of the car to walk away from me toward the school. I couldn't resist yelling after him "HAVE A NICE DAY!" Mr. Think-you-own-the-whole-entire-parking-lot-because-you-got-there-three-minutes-before-I-did. I've got better things to do than to try to scare little mommies just coming to pick up their kids from school. Gay your life must be (to quote that old kookabura song--does anyone remember that one?)

Anyway, go pick on someone your own size as my kindergarten teacher used to say. You chose the wrong mark today. I'm not going to sit there and take it.

Which brings me to my last point: if you're going to act like a jackass, be prepared to take your lumps when someone calls you on it.

Something Harlot This Way Comes...

Last night Amanda and I rode together across town to see the Yarn Harlot (Stephanie Pearl-McPhee) speak at Powell's bookstore. Chrissy got there before us and saved us some seats (thanks, Girl!) I got to meet Tiffany, another blogger who used to live near my hometown on the Oregon coast. She brought her 2-year-old son Ben, who was a complete angel throughout the entire 3+ hour process. Chrissy also pointed out to me several people in the crowd who she "knat" with in the past. We got such a chuckle over that word that I'm going to use it from now on whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Let me just say, if you've never heard the Harlot speak and you get the chance to, GO! She was so witty and funny, our faces hurt from laughing all night. Here is a picture of us together after she signed my book:

I had a great time.

Amanda also got me back on track on my mystery eyelet socks. I worked on them until the Harlot started speaking, at which time I had to put them away or risk completely losing my place in the pattern from laughing so hard.

What a fun night.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

It's back to school for Girlie

This morning I put Girlie on the school bus for her first day of 3rd grade. Here is my sweet angel, getting bigger every day:Her brothers and I surely miss her sweet presence throughout the day. But it's time fer her to git some more book-lernin'.

I've been looking over some of my previous posts, and I realized to my horror that I haven't shared with you some great news: Sproutie is walking! He's been mobile for about three weeks now, and boy is he fast!Forgive his silly mommy for dressing him so funny. I had just sorted through the kids' closets over the long weekend and thought we'd play a little dress-up.

Speaking of Labor Day weekend, we also went to the Oregon state fair with Chrissy and her family. It was a fun day.

And tonight Amanda and I will be going to see the Yarn Harlot at Powell's bookstore. Amanda has agreed to help me with a roadblock I've come up against with my magic loop mystery socks. I'm not sure how to start the heel flap...

And finally, I've finished Girlie's swing coat sweater! My goal, as you remember, was to have it done before her first day of school. And last night I did just that.

Here is my beautiful girl in the sweater she loves:

Pattern: Girlfriend's Swing Coat Sweater by Wendy at Knit and Tonic.

Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton, 5 hanks (very yummy, and I would definitely work with it again).

Needles: Size 8 Addi Turbos for main body of sweater, Size 8 double points for attached I-cord

Verdict: This is a very cute sweater pattern, all knit up in one piece. I especially love the back; the collar and the way the bottom of it swings out. But if I'm being completely honest, I'm not in love with the front. No matter how much blocking I did, I could not stop it from curling inward. (Most likely from user error). Even after adding attached I-cord all around the edges of the sweater, the curling continued.(Forgive the stitch holder pin). I wouldn't enter this into the state fair to be judged, but the only person whose judgement matters on this one is Girlie, who loves it. So there you have it.

I've made three baby sweaters for Sproutie, so this is the biggest sweater I've made so far, and that is significant.

I'll leave you now with a picture of my three growing children.I love them so.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Thank you, Maribel!

Look what my One Skein Secret Pal Maribel sent to me in her reveal package:A gorgeous cabled scarf made out of Lorna's Laces Superwash in my favorite purple-y colors. It's exquisitely soft and very well made. I can't wait to wear it this fall. Maribel lives in the Bronx, New York, and also sent me a lovely picture book of the city. She also sent knitting note cards and three Godiva chocolate bars. My kids came sniffing around when they saw the shiny packaging, and I shooed them away. I'm usually very generous with my kids and don't mind sharing my sweet treats with them, but I blame my uncharacteristic selfishness on just getting over being sick, and my animal instincts taking over. STEP AWAY FROM THE CHOCOLATE. And they knew enough to skedaddle. I mean they scattered right out of there. They'd never seen that look in their mommie's eyes before and they were afraid. (Like that scene in the first Lord of the Rings movie, for those of you who've seen it, when Bilbo says he'd very much like to see the ring again, and quick he turns into a scary monster face, then just as quickly changes back to his old self. That was me today on the kitchen floor). Scary scenes aside, thank you so much, Maribel, for your very thoughtful gift. You are far too kind.

It's been a busy day in blogland as I learned the identities of my spoilers from SP8 (Wendy) and the One Skein Secret Pal exchange (Maribel). I got to reveal myself to my SP8 spoilee Madame Purl and my One Skein Secret Pal Diane. It's been great fun checking out everyone's blogs and seeing how much the spoilees liked their packages, and finding out more about who was spoiling me. I've added everyone's names to my blogroll and hope to see you all now and again.

In knitting news, I've finally learned the magic loop method of knitting socks. As you all know, I've signed up for the Sock Wars, and even though I don't have much hope of making it past the first round, I wanted to give myself at least a fighting chance. I'm practicing by working on Ellie's Eyelet Socks for the Mystery Sock KAL, and I have to say that I'm really loving this pattern. I'm using Rowan Wool Cotton and it feels very soft. I can't wait to wear this pair of socks. Here is a better picture of the true color of the yarn.I wasn't able to finish this pair of socks in time to be counted for the month of August for SAM2 due to the bronchitis I had, but now it's knitting in earnest time again.

And speaking of socks, I've signed up for Sock-ret Pal. Click on the button below for more information.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
If it sounds interesting to you, I'd love to see you there!