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

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Secret Pal 10 Contest

My SP 10 Hostess, Shelby, is hosting a contest for participants in her SP 10 group. Here are the details:
It's a 2 parter!! First: You must have your questionnaire posted where your pal can easily find it.
Second: I'd like to see what you're all working on! Please make a post, where you pick one of your favorite current projects and explain why you love it so much! What yarn and pattern are you using? Who is it for??
Here you go, Shelby...

For my favorite current project, I could pick my Rockin' Sock Club 2007 socks. I am loving knitting these. I love the yarn, I love this club colorway (Monsoon), and I especially love this pattern. I would have chosen this project; but, it is currently on hold. For the stretchy, ribbed foot and instep to fit correctly, I am going down in needle size to a-believe it or not-US #000, which I do not have, and am still waiting to receive the needle I ordered.

Then, I could pick my Chevron Scarf, from the Last-Minute Knitted Gifts book. I am enjoying the pattern and what it does with the two different variegated yarns. I love how the colors are showing up. But, alas, it is a track record with finishing scarves is not that great. And, I can already feel the boredom setting in at the thought of continuing this same pattern for another 70 inches, or so. All that said, I am not choosing this as my current favorite project.

Instead, I will go the route of sweet and simple, and choose the Peekaboo Mittens, from MagKnits, as my current favorite project. These are easy, quick, and a really fun design. I am actually making these up for the store so I am using the suggested yarn, which is Lamb's Pride Worsted. One of the perks of working at the shop is that I can knit up anything I want, with no charge for the materials, as long as I leave the finished item at the store for six months. Then, it is mine. My fingers are somewhat long and this mitten is a snitch too short for my fingers, so I may end up gifting it; but, I don't know yet to whom.

A picture of my little ones...Elphie and Patriot...they're just too cute not to show off, even though they are looking pretty serious here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Let's Put an End To February Already

Here are my February FO's:

In February, I finished both February Dishcloths from the Monthly Dishcloth KAL. The beginning of the month KAL is usually a picture of something relating to the current month or season. So, what else for February? Hearts, of course.

Tahki Cotton Classic; US #6

The Mid Month KAL is usually a repeating pattern stitch.

Sugar 'n Cream ; Color Creamsicle; US #7

Here, you see my Lacy Cashmere Scarf blocking.

GGH 100% Cashmere; Color #8 Rose; US #8

From Knitty, I made another pair of Fetching mitts. Man, these things are like eating potato can't stop at one pair.

Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran; Color 300502; US #6

Also from Knitty, I made a Calorimetry. I think I see another one of these in my future, too.

Auracania Atacama Alpaca; Color 513; went down 2 needle sizes to US #6; Only cast-on 90 sts.

And, from Knitty again, my first Lizard Ridge square.

Noro Kureyon,; Color #102

As I mentioned before, I did start a new job in February. I now work part-time at a new LYS. It is called The Yarn and Fiber Company and is located in Windham, NH. It is run by two of the nicest people on the planet and is fabulous! If you live within driving distance, get in your car now and check it will love it! Seriously! Tons of Debbie Bliss, Rowan, Noro, GGH, Cherry Tree Hill, Classic Elite, Elsebeth Lavold, and much more. And, be sure to look for me and say "hey." If you are out of the area, no problem. We have a wonderful site online, and...shipping is free, no minimum order requirements.

This is Stitches, the sweet and absolutely adorable store mascot.

And that, my friends, is IT for February!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Birthdays and Vegas

At the end of February, I celebrated a milestone birthday. And, maybe as an attempt to help me forget it, my husband took me to Vegas where we spent a glorious weekend wining and dining (and seeing the show "O" by Cirque du Soleil) at the beautiful Bellagio. I share with you now various photos from the Bellagio.

This is the view from our room which faced the fountains, with the Paris on the other side.

The lobby is stunning. Look up at the ceiling and you see a display of 2,000 hand-blown flowers.

One of the Bellagio cafes hosts this incredible chocolate fountain...

Inside the hotel, we were able to stroll through the gorgeous Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The current theme celebrates the Chinese New Year.

We also spent time being pampered in the spa. And, of course, we watched many, many incredible fountain shows.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

My SP10 Questionnaire

is answered...

Questions and Answers

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I love luxury natural fibers, anything from merino wool to cashmere. I also like to knit with silk and alpaca, and blends of these. I am always interested in unusual fibers like buffalo, qiviut and camel. I especially like handspun and hand-dyed fibers from indie fiber artists, such as Black Bunny, Brooklyn Handspun, and Sweet Georgia, to name a few, and others from so many of the Etsy stores. I regularly stalk different art yarn sites like Yarn Wench, and Material Whirled. And, I love the yarns from Handmaiden and Blue Moon Fiber Arts.

I definitely am more of a fiber purist (a nice way of saying “snob”) and do not like acrylic.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? At home, I currently have my circulars hanging from The Circular Solution and my straights are in a glass vase (I don’t use DPN’s). I tend to carry a lot of circulars with me in my knitting bag; but, don’t really have a good case for that. Knitters Review just reviewed 2 cases specifically for circulars on the go that I thought looked nice.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I have been an avid (or rabid) knitter only for about the last 4 years; but, I learned to knit from a 6-week class I took at a yarn shop about 18 years ago. My skill level is probably Advanced Intermediate, if there is such a rating.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? I do not; but, I’ll let you know if that changes.

5. What's your favorite scent? I like fresh, clean scents. I like lilac and lavender. I also like citrus scents and powdery scents. I do not like coconut (the scent or the food), or mint scents, unless the mint is mixed with other things.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? I do, I do. I love all chocolate; but, especially dark chocolate. I like chocolate-covered things like espresso beans, blueberries, and cherries…most things, except I don’t like anything with coconut. I also love toffee

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I have, at different times, done many different crafts; however, right now I only knit (and crochet some, too). I have a nice drop spindle and roving; but, haven’t really done anything with them.

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 most music, although, my least favorites would be country and heavy metal. My computer plays MP3’s and I have an iPod.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand? There really are no colors that I just can’t stand. I like most colors, and lean towards different colors at different times, depending on my mood. One of the things I really enjoy about SP is that I end up with choices I might not have made for myself. The current STR Club sock yarn is almost a camouflage colorway which I probably would not have picked out for myself; but, I really love it.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? I am married. My husband and I live with 3 cats and 4 dogs.

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

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? My favorite projects are small, accessory items like hats, fingerless mitts, and socks.

13. What are you knitting right now? I am currently working on a Lizard Ridge (Knitty) square, a Chevron (Last-Minute Knitted Gifts) scarf, Monkey (Knitty) socks, STR Club socks, the Mid-month Dishcloth KAL, and Peekaboo (MagKnits) mittens, to name a few.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Yes!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? I prefer circulars over straight for most knitting; but, love specialty (hand crafted) straight needles. My favorite circulars are Knit Picks and Addi Turbos. I can’t wait to try out Addi’s new lace needles. My favorite straight needles are Lantern Moon 10 inch.

Updated 3/28/07-I currently have the LM 10" in US#5, #6, #7, #9, #10, #17.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? Yes, to both.

17. How old is your oldest UFO? I have a couple of projects that are really old; but, I haven’t worked on them at all in several years so they may end up being frogged instead of finished. I have started many, many things. I think I have a severe case of Castonitis. I like finishing things; but, I think I like starting something new even better.

18. What is your favorite holiday? My birthday, then my anniversary. I seem to especially like the holidays where I get gifts.

19. Is there anything that you collect? Unless we’re counting yarn, not really.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? Right now, I am dying to get Yarn Harlot’s new book; but, will probably snatch it up the moment I see it in a store. I’m like that with books; so, I have most of the ones I want. I have subscriptions for Interweave Knits, Knitters, and Cast On magazines.

Updated 3/25/07-Have seen 2 more books that I don't have that I do want...'No Sheep For You' by Amy Singer, and 'The Best of Vogue Knitting Magazine: 25 Years of Articles, Techniques, and Expert Advice.'

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? I can’t really think of anything; I have taken a lot of classes. On second thought, I might like to take a class focusing on a Fair Isle project, since I am not too comfortable with that technique.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? Yes. My foot length is 9 3/4" and my foot is 9 1/4" around (size 9 shoe size).

23. When is your birthday? February 28th

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

What Happened to February?

Secret Pal is back...SP10, to be more specific. And, with that, I am back from my break from blogging. So, what happened in February? Well, SP9 ended, I switched jobs, had a major birthday, went to Vegas, have some FO's to show, and signed up for SP10.

I will play catch-up, in greater detail, over the next few posts; but, for today I would like to do a public display of gratitude to Knitting Sheeple, my spoiler for SP9. (I did send her a thank you card privately right away.)

This is what I saw as I opened the box...colorful and enticing, the kind of package that has me all a twitter even before I know what’s in it.

And, it did not disappoint. Inside...a plethora of goodies!

A beautiful skein of TOFUtsies sock know, the new sock yarn from SWTC that contains Chitin, made from shrimp and crab shells, described as being naturally!

And...what could be better? More sock yarn! The color did not photograph well; but, it is a beautiful purple...100% Alpaca...super soft and luscious.

Is a package really complete without...CHOCOLATE? Uh, no! As I said...Knitting Sheeple did not disappoint. These chocolate bars were really scrumptious...with exotic flavors mixed in of hickory smoked almonds and gray sea salt in the bar on the left, and ground coffee and cinnamon in the bar on the right. Yum!

Finally, the perfect pattern for my single skein of SeaSilk yarn. Remember this? This is the absolutely gorgeous skein of SeaSilk that Clandestine Knitter (how she was originally known to me until the reveal) sent in my first package. Since receiving it, I have not been able to decide what to use it for. I've been looking for just the right pattern. And, here it is. After a photo of this finished shawl appeared on Yarn Harlot's blog, it became the shawl to do with just one skein of SeaSilk.

All in all...a great package, and a great Secret Pal. Clearly, she read in-between the lines of my blog and knew just what I would like. Thank you!!!!

So as not to start off on the wrong foot with my SP10 Spoiler, I will give the answers to the SP10 Questionnaire in the next post...probably tomorrow. Until then, here is how I answered the questions in SP8 and SP9.