Friday, June 30, 2006

June 26, 2006 . . .

we were here!! (Are you getting tired of all these anniversary posts? I promise, this is the last one!!) Our second anniversary brought us back to lovely Cape May. We've gone a few times before, when Pea was living in NJ, just outside of Philadelphia. It was a tough time for us, being so far apart, so we took a couple seaside get-aways to Cape May.

Cape May is quite a beautiful and historic town, being the oldest seaside resort in the United States. Cape May's history includes several big fires, the largest happening in 1878 and ruining 35 acres of buildings. On the up-side, rebuilding brought the wealth of Victorian architecture that makes Cape May so charming today. The town has since been declared an historic landmark. Here are a few of the beautiful houses I was able to photograph before my camera batteries died. (I always forget to recharge them before vacation.)

Pretty houses in Cape MayWe stayed at a lovely B&B, where we got quite used to being served big delicious breakfasts every day!! To alleviate the guilt (and any high blood sugar readings), we took long walks along the beach each morning after breakfast. In the afternoon, we browsed through the many cute shops, and sat on the porch of Captain Mey's to read . . . and knit!! In the evenings, it was a nice walk to tons of great restaurants. My favorite was Martini Beach, where we feasted on tapas while overlooking the beach on our anniversary. Alas, no sight of the ghost who haunts the building though!

As for the knitting, there was a wonderful yarn store right up the block from the B&B. I had planned to visit several times, but unfortunately we never made it back there after our first visit. Some pretty Fortissima sock yarn did manage to come home with me though. Good thing, because guess what I worked on in Cape May, and finished today??

Blues Power!!

Blues Power Socks
Yarn: Knit Picks Color Your Own
Cast On: June 9, 2006
Completed: June 30, 2006

This yarn did grow on me, and I guess the socks look pretty good for my first dye job. They are just a basic toe-up, stockinette stitch sock, with ten rows of K2, P1 ribbing on the top. They're so comfy that I almost wish it was cold enough to wear them all day!! Oh well, at least I slid them just under the wire for the Sock A Month KAL and Project Spectrum June!!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

June 26, 2004 . . .

on the five year anniversary of our first date, Pea and I were married. Once we got engaged and I looked at the 2004 calendar and saw June 26th was a Saturday, we had our wedding date set!!!

The day started out rainy, so our outdoor ceremony got moved inside. I wasn't too disappointed, because I knew SOMETHING goes wrong on any given wedding day. My philosophy was, as long as the Justice of the Peace showed up to pronounce us man and wife, I'd consider that the day went off without a hitch. The indoor ceremony was lovely (most of it is actually a blur, but the wedding video proved it was as lovely as I imagine). I cried through almost the whole thing, and nearly couldn't get my vows out.

Luckily, the skies cleared in time for our pictures to be taken outdoors.

Isn't my bouquet beautiful. It was always my dream to have my grandparents do my wedding flowers, but they had passed on long before I met Pea. Enter my best friend since 6th grade!! She has worked as a florist too, so she did my wedding flowers (in my own kitchen, I might add!!). She was also Maid of Honor (we made a pact at her wedding that we wouldn't have to call her Matron just because she was married first), deliverer of the wedding toast (Pea's best man was in boot camp - good thing Heidi is an actress, she was quite comfortable with a microphone in her hand), and "hatcher" of my ring bearer (her son / my godson Zach!!). We wouldn't have had a wedding without her!

We STILL haven't gotten around to choosing the pictures from our photographer and getting the photo CD, so these are not my favorite wedding pictures. Pea's got his sunglasses hiding his wonderful eyes, and I more often than not have a weird expression on my face. But Pea particularly likes the one on the right above - he claims I give him that glare all the time!!

And, of course, we had to go back to our bench for pictures after the wedding!!!! There is a dedication plaque on the bench, and we often wondered who the woman was. On that day, one of her friends was there on the beach. He told us what a wonderful woman she was, and we shared with him how special "our bench" has been to us.

I have to admit, the one above is not one of my favorites, but everyone else seems to love it.

I like the one on the left, because you can see my shoes!!! I LOVED MY WEDDING SHOES!!

And why not wade in the water a bit? It was a beautiful day!!

You guessed it . . . Part 3 tomorrow!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

June 26, 1999 . . .

Pea and I went on our first date. I had been in my new house for a week. When he picked me up I was so excited to show him all around - even though most of the rooms weren't painted and there was plastic lawn furniture in the living room until the couch was delivered. But, being the granddaughter of a florist, I did have plenty of vases around. Which was good, because he brought me a beautiful rose.

It was a really warm night, and his parents had borrowed his car for a long trip. He had their car, which had no a/c. I didn't care . . . . actually I barely noticed. He took me to a lovely restaurant for dinner, and after that we walked on the beach. I've found some pictures here, but don't want to infringe on any copyrights by posting directly to my blog. If you click on the link and scroll to the second picture you'll see "our spot". There are two benches in front of those trees, a little to the left. We sat there and looked at the water, swatted bugs, and talked . . . and talked . . . and talked. (No kissing, he was quite the gentleman!!)

We've been back often to visit "our bench". One of my favorite visits was in May 2003. We sat on our bench and Pea proposed!!

Come back tomorrow for Part 2!!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Vote Vote Vote!!!!

Remember little Garrison and the Cutest Toddler Photo contest? Well, he's been way out ahead - until now. He's tied with the cute little hula girl, and voting ends at 6pm tonight EST. So click on the button and go vote for him!!! We knitters have to support our own!!!

After you vote, don't forget to let Melissa know you did. You'll be given an entry in the drawing she's having for a Knit Picks gift certificate (and I know we are all dying to get our hands on their new needles!!)

I'm outta here!!! I'm hoping to have internet access tomorrow for my Wedding Anniversary Post, but if not I'll have to upload it a few days late. Send out thoughts for sunny skies, okay? And enjoy your Sunday!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I'm here!!!

Everything has been okay . . . just busy. We had an out-of-state wedding to go to this weekend. You know, the wedding I was going to wear Kiri to. A quick look at my status bar will tell you that didn't happen. It's okay though. I ended up with a pretty $10 wrap I got at Marshalls, and I only wore it in church anyway. The reception was outdoors and we did a lot of dancing, so the wrap spent the night over the back of the chair. And no, I didn't remember my camera, but I'm hoping my friend will e-mail me some pictures. The reception was in a garden and it was beautiful, so hopefully I can show you soon!!

We got back just in time to spend the evening with my Dad for Father's Day. We decided to postpone dinner, just in case we hit traffic or something and missed our reservation. But we're taking him out this weekend.

And now, we're busy getting ready for a little anniversary trip, along with some other stuff that has us on the go. So, I'm a bit doubtful I'll have much time for blog reading or commenting, and I probably won't get a real post written until some time next week. Nope, not much knitting has been getting done either. (I've been too busy and it's been TOO HOT!!) But I do have an awesome new knitting bag to show you - wait until you see it!! Oh yes, and a little contest too. See you soon!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Eso si que es

If the Google Spanish to English translator is any indication, the sentence above makes no sense at all. But it still makes me laugh. Quite some time ago, I saw a spoof commercial for "Learn to Speak Spanish" (it might have been on SNL, but I"m not sure). "Yes, you too can speak Spanish by simply spelling common English words. S-O-C-K-S". I hope I"m not offending anyone - the reason I think it's so funny is because I have tried just about every "Learn to Speak Another Language Easily" book and tape out there for a variety of languages. I can still only (barely) speak English . . . um, along with a few choice Italian and Jamaican swear words (thanks to my grandmother and former boss, respectively).

But anyway, the subject of today's post is . . . S. O. C. K. S. SOCKS!!! All I've been interested in knitting lately is socks. I've been plugging away on the first Embossed Leaves sock.

Embossed LeavesI can't tell you how much I love this pattern!!! It has gotten me over my fear of charts. It's the most complicated sock I've ever knit - although it certainly isn't hard. It's also the nicest sock I've done. I loved the stockinette st heel flap, with three garter stitches at either end. It looks so pretty, and also made picking up the gusset stitches much easier for me. Those gussets are always my worst part, but this one actually looks great!!! Could I have somehow have become a REAL SOCK KNITTER? It sure feels that way.

As fun as Embossed Leaves is, I also needed a "mindless sock project" for TV knitting. And, I was anxious to see how that gaudy blue yarn I dyed would knit up. So, I cast on for Blues Power!!

I cast this on last Friday, and I'm surprised by how quickly this is going for a slow knitter like me. I'm using the Cable Top Socks pattern from Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles. I think I've finally mastered knitting in wraps on short-row heels! And I love the entire heel construction on this sock too. I don't plan on knitting the cable top though, just some ribbing. The yarn color is even starting to grow on me, the variegation is knitting up just the way I had hoped.

Aside from all the socks, I've been working on more graphics as well. I did a fun button for Kathy's blog. This one was a great collaboration, and the end result is really cute. Go check her out!! I also did a banner and button for Elizabeth. She came up with the idea, and it was a lot of fun to make it happen. So go check her out as well. I've got two more in the works that I should be able to show you soon.

And don't forget to put in another vote for Garrison - you can vote once every 24 hours. (Click the button to vote!!) Last I checked he was ahead by 4%. Come on, we knitters can do better than that!!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Help out!!

I've been blogging for less than a year, but one of the first thing I learned is that knit bloggers are always willing to help out a good cause. Well, I've got a really fun, really quick "cause" for you to help!!

Melissa of Melissa's Adventures in Knitting just found out that her son is a finalist in a Cutest Toddler Contest. He needs you to help him win!!! And just look how cute he is!

So click on the button or here and go vote for Garrison. If you really want to help, you can go back once a day to vote!! (I plan to . . . just look at that precious face!!) I know you don't need a reward to persuade you to vote, but Melissa is offering one anyway. After you vote, go on over to Melissa's blog and let her know you did. Once the voting is closed, she will draw a name from all the voters and someone will win a Knit Picks gift certificate. How cool is that??

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Happy Happy, Joy Joy

First, I wanted to thank you all for the nice comments about my gaudy blue yarn. Trust me, it looks MUCH better on your screen than it does in "real life". The camera muted the bright blues down to a much prettier color. That said, I have cast on with it and it's kind of endearing itself into my heart. It's my first attempt at dying, so it will always be special to me.

Speaking of dying yarn (ah, what a segue, huh?), I've got some great yarn I've been *dying* to show you. Since it FINALLY stopped raining here on the East Coast and we actually got some sunshine, I was able to get some worthy pictures of the treats my mail-carrier has been bringing all week!!

First up is the wonderful package from my Dye-O-Rama swap buddy, Jenny of Vertigo Wool!! She not only sent me a wonderful variegated skein . . . but dyed me up a self-striping skein too!!! She scoured my blog and saw I hadn't done self-striping socks, so she dyed the extra skein - isn't that sweet?? (Funny thing is, I saw the dying post on her blog and loved the yarn . . . never dreaming it was for me!!!!) And look at the great cow card and awesome Burt's Bees pack she sent along too. The whole package had the most wonderful minty smell to it. Great foresight putting it all in a water-proof envelope also. It was sopping wet when I took it in, but all the contents were safe and dry. I shutter to think of my beautiful yarn getting ruined in the storm. Thank you, Jenny, you were a wonderful swap pal!!

Up next,a package that arrived from Susie at To Knit, Perchance To Dream. I entered a little contest where she asked us to go wish her daughter a Happy Birthday. The birthday girl picked a random number for a prize to go to one commenter, and the number she chose was mine!!! The yarn you see is called Regal, and Susie dyed it specially for me!! Isn't it beautiful! I love the regal reds, purples and golds. I'm having a tough time deciding if I should make socks or a scarf or shawlette. And look, she included a pretty matching stitch marker . . . AND SOME ROVING!!! She also scoured my blog and saw the spindle I bought at the fiber fest. So she pre-drafted (is that the right term) some rainbow roving so it will be easier to learn to spin, and sent it along out of the goodness of her heart. How sweet is that. She's got plenty of pretty roving and wonderfully dyed yarn in her Etsy shop, so go check it out and get some for yourself!!!

The old expression "When it rains, it pours" applies to more than the weather here, because I'm not done sharing yet! I did a little blog button for Kathy B and look at the wonderful treat she sent along with my payment!!

It's a wonderful tank pattern from Blue Sky Alpaca!! It fits my style perfectly and I can't wait to cast on for it. Tanks are great because not only do I wear them in the summer, but I wear them in the winter too for ballroom dancing. (Dancing in long sleeves is way too hot, even in February!!) Kathy is a sweetheart (I've been reading her blog since before I entered and won her contest). She loves getting comments, so go on over and say hi!!!

Can you stand one more picture? Here's some yarn I just bought.

SWTC bamboo to make the Lotus Leaf Tank from the new IK (that's it on the cover). I just bought a new floral skirt at The Gap, and this yellow yarn will look great with it! I normally look for less expensive (read: Knit Picks) yarns to substitute for patterns, but I splurged on this with my Graphics Money (thanks Karyn!!!) and can't wait to knit with the soft, silky bamboo.

And that's why the mail-people have me singing the Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy song!!! (Do you all remember where that's from?) With all this great new yarn, I guess I'd better go get some knitting done!!!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Blues Power

Bet you didn't think I knew how to rock 'n' roll.
Oh, I got the boogie-woogie right down in my very soul.
There ain't no need for me to be a wallflower,
'Cause now I'm living on blues power.
-Eric Clapton and Leon Russell

Presenting, the next yarn for my "Classic Rock Socks" series. Remember the Fields of Gold socks?? I planned to make more Classic Rock Socks, and what is better for June than Blues??

And where does one get such an odd skein of blue yarn? A skein that, to quote another first-time dyer out there (I wish I could remember who), only a mother could love? Well, yes, I guess I kind of gave that away, didn't I? I DYED IT MYSELF!!! It's weird and bright and funny looking . . . . but I love it!!

Yup, I joined Dye-O-Rama. Given all the time in the world, I will always wait until the last minute. It's just in my nature, I guess. And since the yarn must be sent out by Monday the latest, I figured it was time I tried the dying thing. Since I didn't think I had any blue sock yarn in my stash, I decided to gather up my blue Kool-Aids and dye some June yarn. (Turns out my sock stash has grown faster than I can keep track of, and there was plenty of blue in there already. Oh well, the more the merrier!!)

Oh my goodness, this is fun!!! The first pot has one packet of Berry Blue. The second is one packet of Blue Moon Berry with one packet of Raspberry Reaction. The third, which I forgot to take a picture of, is my favorite of the three sections. I used three packets of Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade and threw in some Grape to darken it up. It's the section toward the front in the "Drying on the Line" picture. Yes, I'm sure my neighbors think I have really gone over the edge now. Not only am I hanging this butt ugly blue yarn on the line, but I'm out taking pictures of it too!!!

What I learned??
  • Rip the packets open from the BOTTOM so you don't tear off the name!
  • Don't squeeze the yarn right out of the pot (it is HOT!!!).
  • Tie the yarn tighter. (My section bands started to slip, so one section is much longer than the others).
  • Be sure to dye all the way to the tied band (to avoid those white gaps between colors).
  • Use a combo of packets to get better colors.
  • This dying stuff will be addicting!!
I am now armed and ready to dye my pals yarn!!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


What's that? You want to see some actual knitting content? You're tired of all the rambling and graphics and pictures of yarn? You wonder if I actually have any yarn on the needles?? Okay, that's fair. Today it's all about the knitting.

Slowly but surely, the Embossed Leaves socks are coming along.

Isn't Scout's yarn beautiful?? (Go check out her new shop!!!) I've decided to add one extra pattern repeat to the leg because I like my socks a bit longer and I will have plenty of yarn. I should be ready to start the heel flap tonight!!! Ya hoo.

Oh yes, and do you remember my other WIP?? No? Think hard, it's been a LONG TIME. Need a hint?

Yes, that's it! The Sunrise Circle Jacket!! It's been ages since we've heard anything from this WIP. I got really tired of working on it somewhere during the Right Front. Not that the pattern isn't great - because it really is. I just was having trouble get the yarn around the Denise Needles once Sunrise started getting big. I also think I'm used to smaller projects, so this was really putting a strain on my short attention span. But after finishing Camden's sweater I couldn't figure out what I wanted to work on next (the socks weren't calling that night). So, I cast on Sunrise's Left Front. It's been cold enough here lately that I could actually wear it if it were done. Of course, by the time I actually do finish, it's sure to be 102 degrees out!!!

And last, but not least, the debut of my Amazing Lace Project. I cast on Saturday evening without a problem and made it all the way through Chart One. I present to you . . . . KIRI SHAWL!!!

No no, don't adjust your computer monitor. There is something very wrong with that picture. Yes, I did make it successfully through Chart One. What I failed to mention was that things took a turn for the worse early on in Chart Two. On the third row, my stitch count was suddenly off. I examined and studied Kiri, but couldn't figure out where I went wrong. Okay, TINK back to row one. Start again . . . nope, still not quite right. No problem, rip back to the lifeline put in at the end of Chart One. Mmmm hmmm, something is still not quite right. I see a wonky stitch, but can't figure out what I did wrong to get it. At that point, the best option seemed to be to rip the whole thing and start again from scratch. I'm chalking my first attempt up to training. You know, some practice to get a feel for the yarn and needles. Yeah, that's it!! Attempt two will go much better. Won't it??

Friday, June 02, 2006

Meet the team

As we gear up for the Amazing Lace challenge, it's high time to introduce you to the (Mostly) Self-Taught Knitter Amazing Lace team.

Our first member of Team (M)S-T is Karen.

Heritage: Mostly Italian, with some Polish and English thrown in. The hot Italian temper may be a problem. However, she also inherited a huge stubborn streak from the Italian AND the Polish grandmothers, so once she sets her mind to something, she is not likely to give up.
Expectations: Low. However, she did make it through a Lopi Lace scarf and is currently having success with Embossed Leaves socks.

The next member of Team (M)S-T is Peat.

Heritage: 100% Wool Fingering. Discovered at a Fiber Fest in April. Joining the team from Thing Remembered in Slate Hill, NY.
Expectations: We see problems ahead. This member, being Fingering, is extremely anorexic. Will be hard to work with.

The last member of Team (M)S-T is Prym - a late arrival, having just shown up yesterday.

Heritage: German, although there are rampant rumors that this member actually joins us from Mexico.
Expectations: This seems to be the strongest member of the team, having already been paired with Karen in the Knitting Olympics. They won gold (as seen above . . . Karen's team photo is from her post-Olympic photo shoot).

The challenge:

The team is well advised to be afraid. Be very afraid.