Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Regular blogging to resume when I get caught up on all the "real life" stuff that piled up while I was watching figure skaters non-stop for four days!!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The genorosity of knitters!!

Take a look at my final Walk-A-Thon total!!! Chrissy donated a whopping $450 from the Walk-A-Thon sock pattern to put me will over the $1000 mark!! Thank you so much Chrissy, and everyone who pledged and bought the pattern. I remain speechless by how well the fund-raising went!

I'd like to draw your attention to another excellent cause.The Soaring Eagles Project

This project is all about sending some hand-knit presents to some underprivileged kids. The hats, gloves and scarves they receive may very well be their only Christmas gifts this year. You can find out more by reading the first post on the Soaring Eagles blog. If you have some time, I urge you to knit up a hat and donate to the cause.

On a completely unrelated note, guess what I'll be doing for the next four days? OH. MY. GOODNESS. Wow!!! Those of you who are big skating fans like me know just how thrilling this will be!!! We have tickets to all four days and will be allowed to sit in for the practice sessions also. So if you don't hear much from me until next week, you'll know I'm in Skating Heaven!!!!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

New site to check out!!

Long, long ago (well, okay, about 14 months ago) I made my very first blog pal. I've often talked about the days when we were the only ones who commented on each other's blogs. It's fun to look back and think how far we have both come.

Chrissy is now a budding designer, and has just re-launched her very own Gardiner Yarn Works web-site. It's beautiful, and was designed by none other than Jordana Paige! How cool is that?

Click on the button to go check it out. She's already got a few patterns up for sale. More are coming soon, so be sure to check back often!! And please join me in sending Chrissy some super "best of luck" wishes!!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Is it too cold for Ice Cream?

No way!! In fact, it's perfect ice cream weather here in New England!! The Ice Cream Man socks made their debut at Rhinebeck.

Wendy's Toe-Up pattern, with a seed stitch cuff.
Yarn: Koigu KPPPM
Needles: Knit Picks size 2 circulars
Cast On: August 10, 2006
Completed: October 16, 206

This was my first time knitting with any of my Koigu, and I must say, I should not have waited so long. This yarn was a joy to work with, and I fear it may have ruined me for any Knit Picks sock yarn in the future. *sigh* I like having a simple stockinette stitch pair of socks on the needles for mindless knitting. These traveled with me on my summer journeys (remember seeing them at the Renaissance Faire?) and were great to work on while (nervously) awaiting my turn at the dentist's office. But of course, their favorite car ride was the trip to Rhinebeck!!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Yet another Rhinebeck post

Are you tired of hearing all about what we did, bought and saw at Rhinebeck? Well, I've got yet another telling of the same old story.

Just about everything about the day was perfect. It was an ideal New England fall day, and we enjoyed our two hour ride to the Duchess County Fairgrounds.

Once we got our tickets, things became a bit of a blur. There was yarn, bloggers, yarn, sheep, yarn, money, yarn, bingo, yarn, food, yarn, wheels, yarn, needles, yarn . . . and, um, some yarn.

Then there was the meet-up at 1:00. We must have been a site to see, running around chanting "Are you a square? Me too! Who are you? Do I have you? Do you have me?" It was so much fun!!

I even got to rub shoulders with a celebrity!!!

I got to see some blog pals, and I might have bought some yarn.

I'm a little sore today from carrying around that heavy bag. I spent every last cent of "yarn money" I had saved up, but I didn't dip into my other spending money or put anything on a credit card, so I think I was pretty restrained!! What? You want to see a full picture of the loot?

Can't really tell what's there? That's because it isn't all for me. There are a few gifts and Walk-A-Thon prizes hiding in the pile. And since I shop using the "one to gift, one for me" method, I can't really go into details about what I bought. (Although sad to say, I didn't see any official "NY Sheep and Wool" tote-bags.)

We left about 10 minutes before closing time, exhausted and broke. We had a bit of a scare when Pea's "Service Engine Soon" light came on when we were still over an hour from home. Luckily, the car (and we) made it home safely. I'd say it was the Luck 'O the Rhinebeck!! And now, to knit up some new yarn and start saving my pennies for next year.

Friday, October 20, 2006

"Yarnbeck" bound!!!

Apparently, the excitement over Rhinebeck has gone straight to my brain. A few weeks ago, I accidentally called it "Yarnbeck", so Pea and I have been referring to it that way every since.

Pea is not quite as excited as I am, although he perked up a little when Elizabeth mentioned that there would be a wine tasting there. Here is our conversation from yesterday:

Pea: You can drop me off at the wine bar and look at yarn as long as you want.
What I thought I said: You would really stay at the wine bar and send me out all alone?
Pea (laughing): Do you know what you just said?
What I thought I said again: Yes, I said You would really stay at the wine bar and send me out all alone?
Pea (laughing even harder): Do you know you called it the "yarn bar" both times?

Okay, I could swear I said wine bar, not yarn bar. But Pea insists I said yarn bar, and I can always tell when he's lying. He wasn't lying. I'm obsessed.

I'm also a square. If I can get my computer to recognize my camera again, I'll take a picture of myself to help you out. In case I can't, here's the most recent one I have.

My hair is a bit shorter now. I'm not sure what I'm wearing yet, aside from jeans. And I'll be carrying an I'm A Square bag. Hope to see ya there!!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

How about we give out some prizes??

You heard it here first . . . It's Prize Day!!! Things aren't going exactly as planned, but I don't want to wait another day to announce the winners. I have a great picture of all the prizes piled together, but I can't get my computer to recognize the USB cable so I can't post it. I also have three prizes that have not been added to the prize blog, but I can't upload those pictures either. I haven't even had time to notify all the winners by e-mail, I'll probably have to do that tomorrow. But I'm not going to let that stop me from the moment you've all been waiting for. So, without any further ado, the winners are . . .

Keohinani wins the Pansy sock yarn donated by Christine.
Heidi of But Mom . . . wins the Daisy yarn donated by Scout.
Michelle of Me & My Girl Productions wins the big Cherry Tree Hill ball donated by Kimberly.
MissyJoon wins the beautiful sock yarn donated by Kirsten.
Heather of the ADD Knitter wins the lovely handspun skeins donated by Kelly.
Affinity Laura wins the Harlots Peacock yarn donated by Susie.
Kathy of A Vast Amount of Spare Time wins the Tahaki yarn donated by Nancy.
Cario Kate wins the Gettin' Knit Together Kit I've donated. (Not pictured on the prize blog yet.)
Denise, who I believe is blogless, wins a spicy bunch of goodies donated by Melissa. (Not pictured on the prize blog yet.)
I Think I'm Gonna Purl Casey wins some soft, beautiful yarn Katt donated all the way from Australia!! (Not pictured on the prize blog yet.)
Random Fibers Elizabeth wins a project bag and stitch markers made by me!! (Not pictured on the prize blog yet - not even made yet, so e-mail me your color preferences!!)

I decided to hold a separate drawing for those who donated prizes to the pool. Scout and Katt are the two winners, and will be receiving something pretty and fibery from Rhinebeck! (Ladies, please give me some idea of what kind of yarn or other knitting accessory you might be wishing for.)

I apologize again that this post didn't go quite the way I had planned, but hopefully I can upload some pictures tomorrow. Again, I'd like to thank each of you who supported me by making pledges, donating prizes, or just commenting and e-mailing to cheer me on. Your support has meant more to me than you could know!! To all the prize winners, I will be sending e-mails tomorrow (I hope!!), but if you've read this please feel free to e-mail your address on over.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


When Scout had announced her Indie Swag Club, I knew it was the perfect way to spend my graphics money. I was thrilled that I was lucky enough to get in. And I was even more thrilled that my first package came yesterday.

As usual, the swag from Scout did not disappoint!! So I don't spoil the surprise for any swaggers who haven't gotten their packages yet, you'll need to click to see the pictures.

** Well, okay . . . the glasses were $1 at Target. But they are vital to completing the set, aren't they??

Monday, October 16, 2006

Less is more

I feel like I've been having some time management issues lately, and obviously blogging is one of the things that's been falling by the wayside. So I've decided I need to get on a schedule. Break my day into smaller increments and do a different "task" each hour. And my posts, well I've decided the don't need to be as long as they usually are. I can keep them shorter, each with one topic, and post more often. I find I get overwhelmed by how many things I want to post about and feel like each post needs to cover EVERYTHING that's going on, and then it seems like such a daunting task to sit down and write it all. I know, I know, I tend to create my own stressful situations.

Today's post could have covered a finished pair of socks, my marathon dentist appointments, my new Indie Swag, an update on the house, and a meme I've been meaning to do for a month. Instead, it will only be about the Walk-A-Thon yesterday. It was just wonderful!!! Pea and I were joined by Elizabeth, which was a lot of fun. Actually, I thought Pea might get a little bored by all our talk of knitting, yarn , blogging, pod-casts and Rhinebeck - but I think he found it nice to tune us out and be able to think about anything he wanted to. If Elizabeth hadn't been there, he'd have to pay attention to my rattling on about knitting, yarn , blogging, pod-casts and Rhinebeck!!

The walk route was beautiful, with much of the route within sight of Long Island Sound. (Yes, I did bring my camera, and yes, I forgot to take pictures again!!) We lucked out with the weather too. It was bright and sunny, and cool enough to be comfortable through the whole six miles. The miles few by, and I was less sore this morning than I thought I might be. Must have been the soft, cushy cashmerino socks!!

I want to thank everyone again for their generous donations!!! I am so thrilled to have raised more than I could ever have dreamed. And I'll do the prize drawing later on this week and announce the lucky winners. I also have a couple more prizes I need to get posted up on the prize blog, including a Gettin' Knit Together kit and a something Spicy!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Socktoberfest Questions

It's just like me to always be late to the party. Last week Lolly asked about our Sock Histories, and I haven't answered yet. Yesterday she asked a couple more questions, so I decided to roll them all into one post!!

When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?
I taught myself, using an on-line sock tutorial, but a class might have been a good idea for my first sock venture. I started my first pair last year during Socktoberfest, while on a Caribbean cruise. I have vivid memories of trying desperately to cast on and join in the round, but constantly had to rip and start again. I finally managed to get going, but got discouraged when I had trouble with the gusset. I picked them back up in January and got them done.

What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?
My first pair was Socklings. They are holding up pretty well, and they got a lot of use when they were my only pair of hand-knit socks. Actually, I even have them on today. However, Knit Picks Essential yarn is not one of my favorites for socks. I find it kind of splitty and not as nice to handle as other sock yarns.

What would you have done differently?
I wouldn't have tried to knit a worsted weight pattern with sock weight yarn and size 2 needles!!

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
I love love love Koigu. Trekking is wonderful too. I have some Socks That Rock in my stash, but haven't tried it yet. If it lives up to what I've heard, I'm sure it will be added to my list of favorites.

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?
I love to knit on 2 circulars, although for some reason I've only done toe-ups that way. I cast on a cuff down pair the other day on 2 circs, but can't show them yet as they are a test knit. It's going well though. I also don't mind DPNs once I get past the first four rows (though I do still find the beginning rows tricky on DPNs). I plan to try Magic Loop as part of my Socktoberfest celebration.

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)
I think flap heels look much nicer, but I'm getting better at short-row too. I find I still need more practice at both. For flap heels, I have a hard time picking up the gusset stitches neatly, and on short-rows I have a hard time knitting in the wraps. Neither comes out as nice as I would like, but I do see improvement with each sock I knit. For now, I think I like them both equally as well.

How many pairs have you made?
Nine, with only three inches left before I finish my tenth pair, the Ice Cream Man socks!!! I always have at least two pairs on the needles, but I'm not the fastest knitter.

Do you have certain patterns planned for some of the yarns? Do you buy yarn and then choose a pattern?
I think I've always bought the sock yarn first, and then chosen the pattern. I have no willpower when it comes to sock yarn, and I also have amassed a huge file full of sock patterns. I don't pair them up until I'm ready to cast on though.

Does a certain sock yarn you have in your stash take you back to a certain event? (where you were when you bought/received it? what was going on in your life at the time!)
Oh yes, I have so many very special sock yarns in my stash. I have yarn I bought on vacations to Vermont, New Orleans, and Cape May. I have yarns that were gifted to me from several special blog pals, and won in fun blog contests. I have yarns I've wished and wished for, finally broke down and ordered, and have be savoring the knowledge that they are tucked safely in my stash. In fact, I get so attached to my sock yarns and the memories they hold, I don't want to use them to knit gift socks. They all need to be socks for ME!! My mom has asked for a pair of socks for Christmas, and sure enough, I had to go buy another skein of sock yarn to knit for her. I can't even bring myself to share my sock stash with my own mother. Now you know my guilty, greedy little secret!!

Monday, October 09, 2006


I've been trying to get this post written for four days, but things have been pretty crazy around here. Progress has been made with both knitting and on the house!! Hurrah!

First up is the knitting, of course. I finished my Sugar-Free Walk socks!

Karen's Sugar-Free Diabetes Walk Socks by Chrissy Gardiner
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, 30001 and 300003
Needles: Clover and Knit Picks Size 3 DPNs
Cast On: September 9, 2006
Completed: October 5, 2006

It goes without saying that these socks are very near and dear to my heart!! Chrissy is pledging 100% of the proceeds from all patterns sold before my Walk-A-Thon on Sunday - and last I checked she was up to an amazing $425!!! But fund-raising aside, this was a really fun pattern to knit, and the perfect use for the three balls of yarn I had found in my Christmas socking last year. The little cables are so cute, and kept the knitting interesting. And the Cashmerino Aran knit up really quickly, so I'm thinking about knitting another pair or two for Christmas presents. As for this pair, I will be proudly wearing them on my 6 mile walk on Sunday!! (By the way, my pledge total has climbed to $820, plus the $425 from Chrissy, putting me at $1245 with six days left to go!! Thank you all so much.)

And now, on to the house. We found out at the last minute (like 10 minutes before the workers arrived) that they were starting on Thursday instead of Friday. So we scrambled around trying to do all the last minute things like taking down the mailbox and house numbers and putting away the deck furniture. Then I was exiled to my parent's house all day Thursday and Friday while the old siding was being removed. It tested positive for lead paint, as all old houses do, so safety precautions needed to be taken and they recommended we leave while the work was being done. We were still able to come back to sleep though.

Right now the house looks like this.

If you are interested, click on the picture above to see an album of before and during pictures. I'll be adding more each day as things progress - including the work that was done Friday and Saturday (I'll be taking pictures of those sections some time today).

It's so exciting to see the house evolving, but it's also more of a disruption to our routine than I had imagined. As problems get uncovered, we are trying to fix the minor ones that we can handle on our own. And it's tough to schedule our day around the contractor's schedules. (For example, we must be showered and dressed before the men start walking on the roof outside the bathroom window!!) But we are so thrilled with the whole process. We don't even mind sleeping in a COLD house protected only by some sheathing and a tarp. Well, maybe we mind a little, but it's so fun knowing that it will only get warmer from here on out, because the insulation guy arrives tomorrow to get started. After seven un-insulated winters in this house, I'm looking forward to a warm home this year!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I haven't posted since WHEN?????

Oh my, it's been almost a week already!! Things here have been fine, just a little busy. A blood test and trip to the doctor (nothing to worry, just the normal quarterly visit for diabetics), a trip to the dentist, a day at The Big E, a day at another Renaissance Faire, a day on the couch with a cold, meetings about our house, and . . . well . . . not much knitting.

I had hoped to have a finished pair of socks to kick off my first October post(which is, of course, a Socktober post), but they aren't quite done yet. Soon, but not today.

So I will leave you with a picture of what has been taking up the bulk of our time over here. A "before" picture of my little house.

Click to enlarge for a better view, and you'll see all the problems. Peeling paint . . . rotting wood . . . it's needed work since I bought it 7 years ago, but after replacing the roof I didn't have money left to do anything else. However, on Friday the make-over will begin! The big bushes you see in front are already gone. Next the shingles (with all the lead paint) will be removed, insulation will be added (so it may actually feel warm in here this winter) and new fiber cement siding will be installed. We are so excited to see the progress . . . but it is seriously cutting into my yarn budget!!!