Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Moving Day

My new site is ready for visitors!

Click here to see my new home and find out who won the soap contest.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Milestone And A Contest

Someone mentioned to me the other day that subscriptions to my blog's feed on Bloglines recently reached 1,000. I checked and, sure enough, it's true. Yikes.

I figured I'd better hold a contest to commemorate the occasion before too many of you unsubscribe and I dip below 1,000.

First the prize:

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It's a bar of Blessed Juno handmade soap in the "Hand Knit" special edition and a color-coordinated warshcloth knit from Euroflax linen.

Next, the particulars of the contest:

I recently purchased a domain name and hosting services and have been busily preparing to move my blog to its new home. But I could use some help. Here's where you come in.

Leave a comment to this post before next Wednesday with a suggestion on how I could improve the substantive content of my blog, or tell me what you like or dislike about the appearance of the current blog so I can decide how to format the new site.

That's it; not hard at all.

For each comment you leave, your name goes into the virtual "hat" one time. But, to encourage the 999 Bloglines subscribers who lurk to reveal themselves, if you leave a comment and I don't recognize you, your name goes into the "hat" two times!

So, go forth and comment and possibly win a really great bar of soap.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Holiday Headstart

When I learned last year that Marcia was setting up a Holiday Headstart group, I joined immediately. The basic premise of the group is that you knit at least one holiday gift each month so you avoid last-minute frenzied knitting.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a bit of a planner and I typically have all my holiday gifts knit by the end of the summer. But my daughter . . . well, she's not quite so far-sighted. Each year I swear I won't succumb to her last-minute pleas for hand-knit gifts for her friends, but when actually faced with the alternative--i.e., a trip to the dreaded mall--I usually give in and whip out a scarf or a hat.

So I viewed Marcia's group as an incentive to stock up on teenage-friendly gifts. Yah, I know, teenage girls are fickle and I run the risk my daughter will reject things in December that she approves in May. No matter. Anything she doesn't want next winter can be donated to a shelter or Dulaan.

Surprisingly, however, my first Holiday Headstart project is neither a scarf nor a present for my daughter's friends. It's a hat for my neighbor.

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I used this hat design as a guide and a chart from Nanette's excellent booklet for the stranded motif.

My neighbor's wife died last year. Although she was quite possibly the best knitter I ever knew, I swallowed my pride each December and knit something for both her and her husband. She loved felted items and he was usually on the receiving end of a hat or mittens. He’s a very fit octogenarian who walks every day regardless of the weather. Even last week, when the day-time temperatures here barely rose above the single digits, I saw him pounding the pavement early in the morning on my way to work. One day I saw him wearing a hat I gave him a few years ago knit from this pattern. The recent frigid temperatures convinced me it was about time to knit him a new hat--one with even longer ear flaps.

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My neighbor is Norwegian, so I thought he'd appreciate the Norwegian star. I had to fudge a little to work the decreases into the pattern but I'm pretty pleased with the finished hat.

It was a fun, fast project; I completed it in just one night and part of the next morning. You gotta love those size 6.5mm needles.

Or not.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sun, What Sun?

A nasty funk has settled into the Salt Lake Valley and, dude, I'm sick of it.

Basically, the weather conditions have been perfect for creating a craptastic inversion that has lingered for more than a week. Essentially, cold air and pollution are trapped in the valley, with the warm air above. So if you can escape to a higher altitude, it's actually sunny and warmer than it is in the valley.

Thankfully, there was a small snow storm last night which pushed some of the yucky air away and this morning I woke to see actual, real, live sunshine at my house which is at a higher elevation than most of the valley. But a quick peek out the window revealed that the lower part of the valley is still covered in a layer of gunk. I'm enjoying my sunshine while I can.

Update: Click here for a nice, big photo of what I'm talking about. See the layer of grey crap trapped below my sunny, blue sky. You can barely make out the buildings downtown.

The dreary days had left me with little motivation. Although I did finish the samples for Amy and I mailed them off yesterday:

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I also finished my January project for the Holiday Headstart Project but I don't have photos yet. Later this week.

To shake some of the funk, I met up with Teri and Anne yesterday at Three Wishes, a fantastic fiber arts store located miles, and miles, and miles from me in a part of the valley I view as a foreign land. Okay, so maybe it's only ten miles away, but it feels like 100.

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I received some of Anne's Vermont Maples roving in a swap and started spinning it up when I got home.

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It's amazingly soft and a riot to spin. Added to a little sunshine, and I'm right out of the funk.

Now where's that hand lotion?


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Dies Und Jenes

Several people wrote and asked me about the swatches I'm knitting for Amy. The question I got most was about the name of the colorway in the last swatch. Amy tells me the colorway is called "Leaf Peep" and she'll be dyeing more shortly.

I finished that last swatch on Monday and then used the rest of the skein to knit a mini Forest Canopy Shawl (nail polish bottle included for scale).

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It might make a cute kerchief for a little girl. Or, am I up in the night.

On Saturday, I got a wild hair and organized a section of my stash room. Don't worry, no UFOs were harmed in the process. This is one of the few times I couldn't bring myself to frog incomplete projects. But I did put each project in its own bag so they'll be easier to pick up and work on if the mood strikes.

Of course, the down side to cleaning up is that I found some long-forgotten yarn and cast on for a bottom-up sweater.

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Anyone remember this yarn?? Probably not, since most of you probably weren't born when it was manufactured.

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It is, however, wonderfully soft and easy to knit. With any luck, I'll have a cozy, warm sweater just in time for spring.

I also bit the bullet on two skeins of sock yarn and posted them for sale on the DeStash blog.

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I feel a little better now that I'm destashing this sock yarn.
With these two gone, I only have 497 skeins of sock yarn left to sort through.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Just Swatch Me

I'm taking a little break from the Fun Fur hats to help Amy with a few swatches for her booth at SPA. I've spun up plenty of Amy's roving (and bought plenty more) but I'd never tried her yarns until this weekend. Yum!

This first swatch is knit from Amy's Speckles yarn, which is a beautiful, soft merino wool that needs handwashing:

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Next up, is her Superwash Sport/DK sock yarn:

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Then, there's the superwash wool/nylon blend sock yarn.
For the bottom half of this swatch, I used Amy's Razor's Edge pattern.

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Finally, the swatch I have on the needles now is Amy's "Skinny Socks," a machine-washable merino wool. The ribbing portion is done in the Fluted Bannister stitch pattern. I love these colors:

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I'm hoping to finish this one up tonight while I watch the next 2 hours of the 24 premier. Did you catch the first two hours last night???

And for all of you who are not knitting from your stash in 2007, you'll be happy to know that Amy's running a yarn sale until Wednesday. So there's no time to lose.


Sunday, January 14, 2007


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Friday, January 12, 2007

Fun Fur Friday

I've been busily knitting up novelty yarn hats for Kate and the kids at Children's Hospital.

Since last Sunday, I've made one from Lion Brand Fun Fur:

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one from Patons Cha Cha (which was shockingly easy to knit with):

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one from Bernat Frenzy:

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and one from a double strand of some furry, uber-soft, 100% nylon yarn I bought at Target a year ago:

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That brings my grand total to 7 hats in 7 days. Not bad.

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Now that I'm ahead of the game, I hope to complete at least 1 hat each week until the deadline of February 28th. That should deplete my current stash of Fun Fur:

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Several people have asked me privately why I seem to possess so much Fun Fur yarn. Most of the skeins were purchased years ago when my daughter and her friends clamored every summer for crocheted flip flops. And I bought several skeins last weekend when Jo-Ann Fabric had them on special for $1.00 a ball.

Can't beat that.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Birthday Gala

The Salt Lake Stitch 'n Bitch Anniversary Gala is now just a memory. But what a great memory.

Katherine received my silk yarn bra in the Arrowhead Lace exchange and I was fortunate to receive this fabulous "Espresso Scarf," designed and knit by Cheryl:

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The yarn is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in a gorgeous shade of chocolate brown. There was also a coffee cosy/wrist warmer/beer bracelet made from the leftover yarn but I left it at work so there's no photo. Trust me though, it was a very clever use of the Arrowhead Lace theme. Cheryl included her pattern for the scarf and the coffee cosy and promised she'd post both patterns on her blog in the next few days

Laurie came armed with an entire box of soap; enough so each person received a bar.

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She's calling the new formula "Hand Knit" since one of the ingredients is lanolin. Other ingredients include French green clay and essential oils of bergamot, lavender, litsea cubeba and lime. Yum! I'm such a sucker for citrus-scented soaps.

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Laurie doesn't have any plans to duplicate the special batch she created just for us, but maybe if you go to her online store and send her lots of emails with preorders, she'll consider adding it to her line.

I think every knitter needs a bar of Hand Knit soap, don't you.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Happy Anniversary

Tomorrow night our Stitch 'n Bitch group will celebrate its three-year anniversary. Little did Laurie know when she started the group, that it would grow to be the weekly event we each look forward to.

Last year, to celebrate the anniversary, we had a Yankee swap. This year, we're swapping again but there's a theme--Arrowhead Lace. Each swapper was required to make a knitted item incorporating Arrowhead Lace in the pattern. You could make up your own design or knit from a pattern.

There was a dollar limit of $15.00 so to get the most luxury for my buck I bought one skein of Debbie Bliss Pure Silk. That put me right at the spending limit. But, what to make from only 125 meters of yarn? And how to incorporate Arrowhead Lace?

I finished knitting my item last night, right under the wire:

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What the hell is it, you might ask. Here's a hint:

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A silk yarn bra, of course.

I even covered a piece of foam with some silky fabric and put it in the bottom to help give it a little shape.

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Ridiculous? Cute? What do you think?

I filled it with 230 yards of wool yarn, hand-dyed by me.

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But best of all, look how little yarn was left:

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No kidding.

As for the Debbie Bliss Pure Silk . . . well, it was soft and smooth and nice to knit with. But, as I expected, it is softly spun so it is starting to get fuzzy already. When I bought this skein, one of the employees at the shop tried to talk me into the Debbie Bliss book that supports this yarn. One of the designs in the book is a cabled sweater. I opined that cables knit from softly spun, 100% silk yarn might not stay very crisp and she begged to differ with me. Hmmm . . . I should have put a little money on that one.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

Can't Make Just One

I finished two more Fun Fur hats for Children's Hospital today.

The first was knit from less than one skein of Bernat Boa yarn using 6.5mm needles and 56 stitches:

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The second is my favorite so far. It was also knit on 6.5mm needles but I used 60 stitches for this one:

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Look at the cute way the yarn created rainbow spirals. There's no way you could do that if you actually tried.

The yarn is called Peacock Multi.

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I'm not even sure when or why I bought it. Maybe it was fate.


Friday, January 05, 2007

I Love Fun Fur

Look into my eyes and repeat after me:

1. I will buy some Fun Fur.

2. I will knit a hat using said Fun Fur.

3. I will email Kate and get her address so I can mail the hat to her for delivery to Children's Hospital.

Got it? Good.

Seriously, check out the post on Kate's blog today and knit up a couple of caps for the kids at Children's Hospital. She has all the information on the blog. This project is dear to my heart because I had a friend who was treated for leukemia at Children's Hospital many years ago.

If I can knit with Fun Fur, you can too.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

First FO of 2007

Not surprisingly, my first FO of 2007 is the last project I cast on in 2006:

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Yes, I know it's just one sock, but I made a second just like it a few weeks ago:

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That counts as an FO, right?
Work with me here, people.

Next on the sock agenda is this fabulous skein of Regia that Sibylle sent me for Christmas:

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But first I intend to complete my contribution to the Arrowhead Lace Swap we're having next Tuesday at Stitch 'n Bitch. After much indecision and gnashing of teeth (not to mention purchasing of materials), I've decided to stick with my original idea which involves this luscious skein of Debbie Bliss Pure Silk:

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Tip of the Day: Don't wind this yarn on your skein winder. Use your hands to wind it into an old-fashioned ball. Trust me on this one.


Running commentary on my unending quest to knit up my stash.