Monday, July 28, 2008

Fair Ribbonage and Some Hopscotch

So are you wondering how our entries did at the county fair? Because I'm here to tell you.

My red and white gull wing socks got 3rd place. Still a ribbon, no? They fared better than the face cloth, which is my first submission ever to not win a ribbon. I figured out the problem: I entered the cloth in the knitting: other than specified category, not realizing that that term is so broad that it encompasses, well, everything else. So the little face cloth, while cute and pretty, had to compete against a lot of unusual and gorgeous items. So I'm ok with that.

The jams fared better. Girlie won 2nd place for her raspberry jam, and I won 1st place. Here is Girlie standing by the jams, with the arrow pointing to her red ribbon. My blue ribbon is on the shelf below hers.
I'm so proud of you, Girlie!

Sunday morning ZimDee discovered some sidewalk chalk and made his way out to the driveway. When I followed him out there, this is what I saw:
I had no idea he knew about hopscotch. I asked how he learned about it, and he said his kindergarten teacher showed him at school. You will notice that each number is drawn in a different color. The boy's a genius, I tell you.

So me and my boys spent the morning playing hopscotch.
I hope your weekend was as wonderful as mine.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Today is my 16th wedding anniversary. As I rise before the sun comes up (and those of you who know me well know how unusual that is) I am flooded with memories.
I remember how beautiful my sisters were that day (and you still are, ladies!) Inside, we'll always be three little giggly girls, playing with Barbie dolls and chasing cars.

I remember my brother David walked me down the aisle to give me away.

I remember that fidgety little flower girl-- the niece whose own wedding I just attended last month (and who asked MY daughter to be the flower girl at her wedding). How does time go by so fast?

And looking over these photographs that become grainier every year, I remember the man I married. So strong, so sure.

Today, I remember. Oh, yes, I remember...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Works in Progress

I had gotten so used to not being able to share the knitting process with all of the secret projects I did that now I almost forgot that I could. Come along, friends, and see what I'm working on now:

First is the Creatures of the Reef Shawl.

This is my second Loopy Ewe knitalong. The first Loopy knitalong I participated in involved a project I couldn't talk about. Where was the fun in that? That project was knit with Dream in Color Classy yarn. This knitalong is all about Dream in Color Baby, which is almost lace weight. The color is Beach Fog. I had bought the Creatures of the Reef pattern almost a year ago, but was too intimidated to try to knit such a large project that involved hundreds of stitches with tiny yarn. When the knitalong came along, I finally felt up to the challenge.

Some of it is surprisingly easier than I expected, and other parts are, well, challenging. It's exciting to see the pattern emerge from the knitting. Below is a close-up of scalloped sea shells that involved purling 13 stitches together through the back loop. It sounds a lot harder than it was.
I'm getting a real sense of accomplishment with this project, and gaining confidence in my knitting. This shawl is definitely only for at-home knitting, when I can pay full attention. But I'm having a great time with it.

Next, I'm in the middle of a 4-week series of a sock class with Judy Becker, she of the magic cast on fame. We're learning how to do two socks at a time toe up (say that ten times fast) in class. I had tried this method before on 2 circular needles and found it too fiddly to enjoy. I thought I'd give it one more try, having the chance to learn it from the master. Imagine my absolute happiness when Judy said you can do this method with the magic loop, which is my favorite way to knit socks. The heavens opened up and angels sang and rejoiced. Endless possibilities for my knitting became known.

Here are the socks that I cast on for in class. The yarn is Lorna's Laces Flamingo Stripe, sweetly gifted to Girlie by Patti from my knitting guild. This is my stopping point until the next class on Saturday. Yes, I've finished my homework early like a good student.
In fact, I'm such an over-achiever that I cast on for a second pair while teaching my mom how to do the magic cast on. This time I used Crown Mountain Farms Sock Hop in the It Takes Two colorway.
I am in love. The colors, the texture of the hand spun yarn, oy vey. I think I may have found my new favorite sock yarn of all time. Granted, I haven't knit with Wollmeise yet, but until I do, my heart belongs to Sock Hop. (And yes, these socks are also knit to homework dimensions. I wasn't teacher's pet all through school for nothing.)

So now you know what is occupying my time these days. And happily so.

For all of you that remember the fun I had with Dish Rag Tag last summer (my team won 2nd place--way to go, Ladies!) I wanted to let you know that Emily will begin sign-ups next week for Dish Rag Tag 2 on Friday, August 1st. I highly recommend it. The number of participants is limited, so mark your calendars. Who knows? Maybe we could end up on the same team this year. If not, I will root for you wherever we land.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Zombie socks

I participated in Sock Madness II this year, and once again I made it only to level two before being eliminated. Who am I kidding? I don't knit for speed, but for the relaxing nature of knitting. Still, it's good to know that I'm consistent, having made the same showing as the year before. And I love a good challenge.

The result is the Zombie socks.
I used a mystery colorway of Blue Moon Socks That Rock that I obtained from their barn sale in Scappoose last November. The scattered bits of red and charred black just screamed "zombie" to me.

I have to admit to not being terribly thrilled with the socks. And I take full responsibility for that. I have seen and felt socks knit with Socks that Rock that look gorgeous and feel heavenly. The fabric has a wonderful drape and density. I think I should have knit these socks on a smaller needle size (or two). Has anyone else out there noticed that the longer they knit, the more they start needing to use smaller needles, or is it just me? I overheard a conversation in a knitting store where two ladies were discussing this phenomenon, and one said to the other, "I hope I don't end up having to knit on ought-4's". Yeah, no kidding.

Another reason I didn't particularly like the socks is the same reason why other people love them. If we all thought exactly the same way we wouldn't have much to talk about, would we? And I'm cool with that.

It's the runs in them, or what I refer to as holes. They were really fun to knit, but for me not so much to look at or wear. To me they look like I poked my fingers through them when trying to put the socks on.
There are sock patterns out there that incorporate lace in them, with the yarn overs creating a delicate design. I look forward to knitting and wearing some of those. My favorite sock patterns, though, have more texture than, well, holes.

So I put these socks in the limbo knitting basket. You know the one: it holds projects that you're not quite sure what to do with, or misbehaving yarn that you wound thinking it would be perfect for this pattern, but was not. I couldn't decide if I wanted to frog the socks and make something for myself that I would really like, because if I didn't like these, who would?

Enter my mom. She was here for a visit and happened upon the socks and gasped. I'm like, "I know, aren't they awful?" and she very reverently proclaimed them to be the most beautiful socks she had ever seen. Flippantly I asked, "Do you want them?" Another gasp. A speechless nod yes.

So the story has a happy ending after all.
My mommy loves her socks. And they couldn't be going to a nicer home.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Going to the Fair

It's that time of year again.For the second year in a row, Girlie has submitted her raspberry freezer jam to the Washington County fair. Her brothers are in awe of their multitalented big sister and just had to get right in there and see everything she was doing.
Girlie's mom also submitted raspberry freezer jam and some knitting to be judged. One is a cotton face cloth, seen blocking below in the lower right hand corner (details to follow in a later post).
The other is a pair of socks (called Gull Wing Socks) that the very talented Cindy designed. I "borrowed" this image from her blog. The yarn is Stitch Jones in the Secret Touch colorway. The socks are knit on size 0 Addi's, using the magic loop method, which is by far my preferred method of knitting socks. You can find pattern details on Cindy's blog or over on Ravelry.

We will be going to the fair this weekend to see if any of our submissions earned any ribbons. I always get a little tickle in my tummy when we walk into the exhibition booths and search for our entries. Will it have a white, red, or blue ribbon, or any at all?

I'll be sure to let you know.

Wish us luck!