Personal thoughts on knitting, crochet, and other aspects of my life...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Greyhounds Reach The Beach

Ever since I have become involved with Greyhounds and Greyhound people, I have heard people talking about an annual event, held every October for the past twelve years, in Dewey Beach and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. In Greyhound circles, it is simply referred to as 'Dewey'. And, starting towards the end of Summer, you can hear Greyhound adopters asking others "are you going to Dewey?"

A couple of weeks ago, the hubby and I packed up our Greyhounds, Stella and Rumor, and drove 9 hours, to attend this annual October gathering of Greyhound lovers and their hounds called Greyhounds Reach The Beach. In 2005, it was estimated that 3,000 Greyhounds were registered for the event----and this year's numbers were expected to be the same.

It's all about the Greyhounds! The rooms of every motel, hotel, and inn are booked out to Greyhounds and their people from all across the country, and beyond. We even met two women from England who have attended (sans dogs, of course) for the last five years.

Stella and Rumor loved our room which had two double beds...they had their own bed. The inn we stayed at was full and every room had at least one Greyhound; yet, we never heard any gotta love these quiet, gentle creatures!

Everywhere we went, we saw people with Greyhounds. There was shopping galore...anything and everything Greyhound that you could imagine. There were book signings in a coffee/book store, psychic readings (for the dogs), a Greyhounds in Art
show, caricatures were done, an ice-cream social (again, for the dogs--frozen yogurt was served), a Beer and Costume Ball (beer for the people) and Greyhounds on the beach as far as you could see.

It was an incredibly memorable weekend.

So close I can taste it...3 Days Until Stitches

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Swap Meet

Oh, how I love when the USPS truck stops in front of my house and rings the bell...

I received my package from my Hot Socks Swap partner...Yippee! I have been spoiled!

There are 2 skeins of a gorgeous Lorna's Laces yarn in the color called 'Cool'. It doesn't show well in the photo. It is beautiful shades of turquoise blue blending into other blues, green, and even some purple tones. And, not showing in the photo is, what looks like, hand-made sterling silver stitch markers with gorgeous blue glass beads. I love them. The rings are small...ideal for sock needles and the beads on them coordinate perfectly with the yarn.

Being that it was the Hot Socks swap (combining sock yarn with hot beverages), she sent some whole bean Kona coffee. I have brewed it and it is wonderful. And, as if I wouldn't already be feeling like I had died and gone to heaven with rich coffee and beautiful sock yarn, she sent some extra goodies: an aromatherapy lavender candle, several Spicy Chai tea bags, Ferrero Rocher and a dark chocolate bar...yumm-o! Do I need to say that the chocolate is gone? I had to really focus just to keep it until the photo was taken. Finally, she included a packet of these very cute winter-themed Page Bubbles.

This was such a thoughtful package...thank you so much Hot Socks Swap partner!!

The swaps I have participated in have been so enjoyable that I signed up for another one today. Where the Hot Socks swap was specifically about sock yarn and your swap partner's favorite hot beverage, whatever that may be; this new swap is specific about the hot beverage, which is coffee, and not so specific about the long as it is not the crappy stuff.

This is the Knitters Coffee Swap. In this swap, you must love coffee (perfect for the serious coffee connoisseur in me) and be a knitter or crocheter. If you're interested, click the link quick. They are only taking the first 50 people and the sign ups end on November 8th, or earlier if they reach 50 before then.

It's getting close...4 Days Until Stitches

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Socks Appeal

Well, it's happened...I finally understand what all the fuss is about socks!

Since I started knitting (again), close to 4 years ago now, I have not really been interested in knitting socks. I knit a pair a few years ago. They were thick ski socks for my husband. They were knit up in a really nice natural, undyed wool from a rare sheep farm. I enjoyed the process at the time; but, basically had no interest in making more socks.

And then...the power of the internet. Over and over, I would read blogs about sock knitting and sock yarns and sock patterns. I already was addicted to podcasts. And, over and over again, podcaster after podcaster would ooh and aah over sock knitting and all things associated with sock knitting. The Jaywalker pattern came up many, many times. I followed links to blogs where knitters weren't knitting a pair of Jaywalkers; but, could not stop knitting Jaywalkers, so many that a Jaywalker KAL was started. It seemed to me that sock knitting was serious was the new scarf. And, the energy was contagious...I wanted to knit a pair of Jaywalkers, too. About this time, my friend N was cleaning up her stash and gave me a skein of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn.

Pattern: Jaywalkers
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill 1 skein
Needles: Addi Turbo circular, size #1/2.5mm 40" Magic Loop
Notes: None

That was all I own love affair with socks had begun. And, of course, after reading the JanuaryOne blog about her ongoing obsession with Socks That Rock yarn, I wanted STR yarn. But, what's the point of buying just 1 skein of yarn when for the same shipping fee you can buy 4 skeins of yarn? Well, 4 skeins skein went to N and with my first of three STR skeins, I made the RPM socks.

Pattern: RPM (from Knitty
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts STR, 1 skein of Scottish Highlands
Needles: Addi Turbo circular size #1/2.5mm 40" Magic Loop
Notes: Decreased 1 stitch creating a 1-row spiral pattern repeat of K6, P3 on all rounds.
Thanks to soapquiltknit for this tip. Used Twisted German Cast On and chose Short Row Heel and Pointed Toe from pattern.

I am now pretty much obsessed with knitting much so that I have joined the Six Sox KAL, the Townsend Socks KAL (I have not yet knit any socks from this KAL) and the Cascade Fixation Ankle Sock KAL

Pattern: Alison's Ankle Socks
Yarn: Cascade Fixation, 1 ball main color and 1 ball multi-colored for edging
Needles: Addi Turbo circular, size #5 40" Magic Loop
Notes: None

Pattern: Snake Skin Socks from Six Sox KAL
Yarn: Fearless Fibers, 1 skein Thoroughbred
Needles: Addi Turbo circular, size #1/2.5mm 40" Magic Loop

Notes: Used Twisted German Cast On and Sherman Heel

This photo even made it to the Fearless Fibers blog on October 09...on Mondays, Deb posts customer photos.

I have 2 more sock projects on the needles and many waiting in the wings. And, my sock yarn stash continues to grow. I guess when the sock bug hits, it hits hard.

P.S. I almost forgot...I posted a response to Cecily's challenge...
better late than never. I don't know what it all means; but, we'll see what happens.

The countdown continues...5 Days Until Stitches

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

SP9 Questionnaire

Secret Pal 9 begins on October 15th. I'm very excited. And, this time I am early in posting my questionnaire. So, here goes:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I love luxurious fibers—cashmere, silk, alpaca, merino wool, or blends of these…especially hand-dyed yarn. I love specialty yarns, like those from small farms or cooperatives, or small hand-spinners or hand-dyers. Also, I get very excited over yarns that I can't normally find at shops around here, yarns like Handmaiden/Fleece Artist or Blue Moon Fiber Arts, to name two.

I definitely am a yarn snob, which I say with no guilt…I openly admit it. I do not like acrylic.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
Currently, my circulars are in The Circular Solution hanger thingy, hanging on my wall. My straights are in a beautiful glass vase that was a wedding gift, just 3 years ago. I don’t have dpn’s since I do all small circular work using the Magic Loop method (1 long circular).

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I learned to knit about 17 years ago; but, put it aside until about 5 years ago. Now, I’ll never stop again…I love it!

I learned to knit when I took a class at Elizabeth’s Knit Shop, in Chicago, back about 1989, I think. It was a 6 week course and the project we learned to knit was a sweater, which I still have. That's right, the first thing I ever knit was a sweater.

I would consider myself to be an intermediate knitter…don’t really understand fair isle or intarsia too well—all that color changing.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
No, but I’ll look into it.

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
Let’s start with what I don’t like—coconut. I tend to like spicey, woodsy scents, an example being Sage n’Citrus, which is a Yankee Candle scent. I also like some fruit scents like apple, melon, etc. I love most Origins scents.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Uh, yeah! Chocolate!!

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I recently learned to crochet…took a class about 7 months ago. I do not spin, yet. I bought a Drop Spindle (and some roving); but, have yet to use it.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I like current music, current hits mostly. Some favorite artists are Ben Harper, BlackEyed Peas, David Gilmour, Coldplay, Dave Mathews, Melissa Etheridge, Jack Johnson and The Fray. Yes, my computer plays MP3’s and I also have an iPod (which I love else would I be able to listen to all the knitting podcasts!).

9. What's your favorite color(s? Any colors you just can't stand?
I like a lot of colors…jewel tones, soft muted tones. I like black, purple, red, pink, turquoise…depends on my mood. I pretty much stay away from yellow-based colors…tend to prefer cool tones more.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I am married (3 years this October). I have no children; but, my husband has two, both are in college. We have 4 dogs (2 Greyhounds, a long-haired Dachshund, and a Puggle) and 3 cats. Three of the dogs and 2 of the cats were adoption/rescues.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Yes, to all.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Mostly accessories, like hats, shawls and fingerless mitts. And, as of the last couple months, socks. The sock bug has finally bitten me. I like the immediate gratification of a small project. Also, I find they keep my interest as there is a lot less repetition in something small.

13. What are you knitting right now?
Currently, I am working on 2 different pairs of socks, the Streakers! Shrug from Interweave knits, a pair of Tilli Tomas fingerless mitts, and the Big Bang Wrap from Sally Melville…to name a few.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Circular—My favorite circulars are Knit Picks! My 2nd favorite are Addi Turbo's. For straight needles, my favorite needles are Lantern Moon, 10". I also like other hand-crafted straight needles, preferably no longer than 10-11 inches max.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Yes, to both. I even own a yarn meter...I love gadgets!!!!

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
To be honest, my very oldest UFO is about 16 years old and is an ankle-length Kaffe Fasset coat; but, I don’t know if I will really ever finish it since I have never gotten past the ribbing. Besides that, I also have a beaded scarf project which is about 4 years old…when I first took up knitting again.

I’m a great starter of projects. My greatest knitting joy is starting something new. However, recently, after counting up how many projects I actually have currently on needles, I have been in a finishing mode. I have finished 7 projects in the last month.

18. What is your favorite holiday?
My birthday! Then, my Anniversary. Besides those, Thanksgiving.

19. Is there anything that you collect?
I guess you could say yarn, or UFO’s, or dogs...The real answer is “no.”

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I usually do buy books that I want; I have a pretty good collection. I subscribe to Interweave Knits, Knitters and , as a member of TKGA, I receive a subscription for Cast-On (they have good articles).

I would like to try the Socks That Rock yarn, in the thicker gauge. Also, Fleece Artist sock yarn and Schaeffer Ann sock yarn. Also, would love to try a skein of Sea Silk yarn from Handmaiden...actually anything from Handmaiden would be scrumptious. There are also a few fibers that are interesting to me, like Buffalo and Camel yarns.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I would like to try color work like fair isle or intarsia. Would like to try a pair of Toe-Up Socks.

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes, I have become an avid sock knitter in the last couple of months. My shoe size is 9 (big foot), which measures 10 inches long. My foot measures 9 inches around the ball of the foot.

24. When is your birthday?

The countdown continues...29 Days Until Stitches

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Knit Yourself Silly

I found this knitting music video and thought I would share...hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

After watching this video a few times, this saying came to mind:

I knit; therefore, I frog.

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The countdown continues...32 Days Until Stitches