Saturday, May 31, 2008

At long last . . .

the socks for my mom are done!!!!

Birthday / Mother's Day Late Socks
Waving Lace Socks (from Favorite Socks)
Cast On: 1 April 2008
Completed: 31 May 2008
Yarn: Great Adirondack Yarn Co Silky Sock - Foliage
Needles: Knit Picks US2 (2.75mm) DPNs

I don't ever remember being so happy to finish a pair of socks. I'm not sure why this pair was particularly painful. Well, yes, they were literally painful when I started needing to do 9 - 12 fingersticks a day to test my blood sugars. But for the last week or so, the fingers seem to have adjusted. The socks just seemed to drag on forever. It's a great pattern, but I started craving some simple, self-striping sock knitting. (Yes, that's what my next pair will be.)

moms socks

All in all, they were worth every LONG moment they took - and I know mom will love them. And if anyone is worth socks that seem to take forever, it's my mom!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Yarn P*rn - Special Edition

I know I promised to post my sock yarn from Harlot Day this week - but I have something better that just couldn't wait. What could be better than Harlot Day Sock Yarn P*rn? Why, birthday Yarn P*rn. Especially when it's . . .


Lety over on Ravelry sent me a wonderful birthday RAK that included this beautiful skein of Malabrigo in the Intenso colorway. (Since we have the same birthday, I had also RAKed her back.) The skein is not quite as dark as the picture above, but not quite as bright as the picture below. (I guess it's about time someone reads her camera manual to see what all the settings do.)

Pretty, huh??? Wasn't it worth preempting the sock yarn for?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

They say the memory is the first to go . . .

and I guess it must be true. Pea and I had a little adventure this weekend, and I forgot to bring my camera. So I guess you'll have to use a little imagination and click some web-links!

When I went to bed on Sunday night, I was 39. When I woke up Monday morning, I was 40.

Nope, that's not my cake either. Forgot to take a picture of that too.

To celebrate, Pea surprised me with a trip to the Taj Mahal.

No silly, not the one in India!! He booked an over-night stay at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City! I'd never been to Atlantic City before, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. It's tacky and gaudy in the best way possible, and we had so much fun. We stayed in a suite and laughed about how it had more bathrooms than our house. (A girl could get used to that!) We walked on the boardwalk, we had a nice dinner at the Safari Steakhouse, we played a few slots, we did a little shopping and we watched the water show.

It was the perfect place to spend my 40th birthday, because it made me feel like a kid again! If only I'd remembered that camera . . .

Friday, May 23, 2008

Harlot Day Yarn P*rn - sweater yarn edition

So yes, my trip to see The Yarn Harlot at WEBS was about a month ago. And I still haven't gotten around to blogging about my yarn. But look - I posted FIVE DAYS IN A ROW this week . . . . so clearly I'm turning over a new leaf. And today, we'll start with the Yarn P*rn from Webs. I'll feature the rest on the next two Fridays. Yeah, there is enough for three posts - what of it! I finished spending all of the Birthday and Christmas money I has been hording saving, since it's almost time for another birthday anyway.

Today, we have the sweater yarns. You will note, none of these yarns are extra luxurious or snuggly. I was going for sturdy yarns and big bargains for some thick winter sweaters.

First up, Cascade 220.

cascade orange
Yup, it's sure orange, isn't it? I spotted the orange right off (I mean, how could anyone not spot it right off). Pea gave it a thumbs down, so I left it on the shelf and chose another color. But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted the orange. So orange it was. I'm thinking it wants to become a cardigan.

Next up, some Eco +.

This is slated for the Big Sack Sweater, but if that doesn't work out I have a back-up plan for the yarn. Bet you can guess what it is!!

And lastly, I snapped up some Valley Yarns Northampton.

Not sure which pattern this yarn wants to be paired with, but I figure you can't miss with Navy wool.

Next Friday, we'll delve into the sock yarn.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

New Podcast alert

Looking for a new weekly knitting podcast to add to your rotation? You definitely need to check out The Manic Purl podcast.

The host is my blog-pal Chrissy, whose blog I've been reading for quite some time. I had a feeling she'd be a very good podcaster, but she really went beyond my expectations. In the first episode, I got to learn even more about her than I already knew. She also talked about what was on her needles, some great yarn finds, and let us know what we could expect from her future podcasts - including the fact that each episode will be built around a central theme.

The theme for Show #2 was Lace, and again I really enjoyed the episode. In fact, it has me itching to cast on a new lace project! After hearing the description of her recent lace projects (which I had admired on her blog), the book and yarn reviews, and the wonderful lace designs on the "featured blogger's" page, I can barely hold myself back and get my current WIPs (like those Mother's Day Socks) finished.

I haven't had a chance to download Episode 3 yet, but I am quite sure it will be just as enjoyable as her first two episodes. Hop on over and download them now - you won't be sorry!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

WIP Wednesday - Secret Project

It's never a good thing when a Secret Project is featured in a WIP post. When that happens, it can only mean one thing. The gift being knitted wasn't finished by it's deadline and has been gifted on the needles. Such is the case with this pair of socks.

socks for mom

They were originally planned as a birthday gift for my mom. When April 15th came and went without me finishing sock one, I decided she didn't need to know about that plan. (Hopefully she's not reading this post.) I decided I could easily finish them for Mother's Day and no harm would be done.

As you can tell, I didn't quite make the Mother's Day deadline either. *sigh* I love the yarn (Great Adirondack Silky Sock) and I love the pattern (Waving Lace Socks from IK). But sore fingers and low blood sugars have significantly slowed down my knitting progress. Mom got to see her new sock(s) on Mother's Day, but can't wear them yet. I am determined to finish them by the end of May, so she can finally wear them and I can get my May Sock A Month 5 credit. It's totally doable, right???

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lucky me - part 2

So, as if my contest windfall from yesterday wasn't magnificent luck enough, also won a contest over at Adventures in Life and Knitting. I recently "met" Qutecowgirl through my blog (or was it Ravelry?) and around the time I started on the pump we began swapping e-mails about injections. Unfortunately, she has just started doing weekly injections, and I've been trying my best to offer any tips from my years with needles.

Anyway, she had a contest where we needed to guess what her big announcement would be. I took a wild stab (no injection-pun intended!!) and guessed correctly that she would be opening an Etsy shop! My prize was to pick any item from the shop, but I told her it would be more fun if she just surprised me with something. And look what came in the mail!!

Straight from the brand new Qutecowgirl's Barn Yarn - a beautiful skein of superwash DK yarn in a new spring flower inspired colorway called "Marigold". It's bright and cheerful and gorgeous, and I couldn't have wished for a prettier yarn! She also included a matching packet of Soak Wool Wash and a cute little stitch marker that's made "Just for Me".

My camera won't take a good picture of smaller things, but the little charm on the stitch marker says "Just for You". I feel so lucky to have won this gorgeous yarn from Qutecowgirl's new shop!! She's got many other pretty skeins available, and some roving for you spinners - so hop on over and take a look!!

As it turns out, luck smiled on Pea and I one more time last night. We were happily watching Dancing with the Stars, which this season combines both my love for Ballroom and my love for Figure Skating. (Go Kristi!!) We heard loud voices outside, but figured it was just the usual teenagers wandering up and down the street. When flashing lights began to shine through the window, we realized something was wrong. It was hard to get good pictures in the dark, but here's what we saw.

as always, click to enlarge

The street was blocked off and our next-door neighbor's car was on fire. Huge flames shooting from the hood and a scary wind blowing them around. The firemen sprayed it with foam, it died down, and then caught again. They finally got the hod extinguished, only to have the interior burst into flames too. Luckily, that was put out quickly and the fire never reached the gas tank. No other cars were damaged and our houses were fine. We aren't sure what happened to cause the fire, but I suppose we'll find out soon enough.

Pea and I are very thankful when we think about how much more dangerous the situation could have been. The car was parked out on the street, but what would have happened if it has been in their driveway? Our driveways meet and our separated by only a thin row of (flammable) bushes. And our houses are only about a foot away from our driveways. And the wind was whipping pretty good last night. I think if the car had been in their driveway, our houses may very well have ignited as well.

So yes, when things look sad and dim, the universe will show you how very luck you are. Not only with happy crafty prizes and wonderful blog-pals. But also with a guardian angel looking out for the things you love. I'd say I'm one lucky girl.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Lucky me - part 1

Often when things seem bad and you're feeling low and sorry for yourself, the universe will remind you just how good things are. And how many wonderful people you are lucky enough to call your friends. Including all the wonderful people who left supportive comments on my last (whiny) post.

On top of all those nice comments, I had some great luck in a couple of blog contests lately. First off, I won what was supposed to be a "little contest" over at my dear friend Ragan's blog. I was bowled over when I saw all of the wonderful things she sent me, all hand-made, while she is in the midst of packing up her house for a big move.

First, the beautiful packaging and hand-made card.

Inside was four cute packets, each with a card and gift inside. Wow!!

The first held the most unbelievable crocheted earrings! Did you know you could crochet earrings? The thought of crocheting something so tiny makes my head spin.

The next two packets had a gorgeous set of pearl stitch-markers and a matching pair of earrings! And yes, she made these too!

And the final packet had an unbelievable beaded strip with my name on it. I treasure this one most, because it was inspired by crafts Ragan's grandmother used to do for her.

Isn't it all just amazing? I am truly blown away by the love and generosity Ragan put into my prize - which she still tries to claim is "just something small". I have to disagree - I know these gifts are priceless.

And tomorrow, I'll be back with another contest prize to show you!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Whine, moan and complain . . .

So, I haven't been around much. No blogging in over a week, not much commenting and e-mails that are few and far between. What gives?

The pump is kinda kicking my butt. When I first got hooked up, I was getting lots and lots of low blood sugars. They make me feel fuzzy and it's very hard to concentrate. Ugh. After 2 weeks it was time for my follow-up appointment and the doctor changed some settings. This brought mornings that were mostly good, afternoons and evenings that were low, and nights where my blood sugar would skyrocket up as I slept. Turns out, that's very exhausting and I'd wake up feeling achy and hung-over (without the fun night out to make up for feeling like crap in the morning). I called the doctor, and we have a third round of settings to try. Fingers crossed, things may start to even out now.

Although that last paragraph doesn't show it, I'm actually not as discouraged as you might imagine. I do love my pump, and it's already made things much easier - even with those scary lows and icky highs. I know it can take a month or more to figure out what settings will work for me, and each setting we try brings us closer to where we need to be. In the long run, it's so worth it.

Since no post is complete without a picture, here's an old picture of my sweet Charlie. Yup, just because he's gone doesn't mean I can't keep making you admire him!!

It's actually three months today since we lost him, and he's been on my mind more than ever. I miss him just as much as I did in February. I think I'm driving Pea crazy because I keep saying I wish he could come back. I second guess every thing I did for him, and I wonder if I could have helped him more if I had done something differently. I will probably always feel like I somehow failed him.

See, I told you. Moaning and complaining about the pump and the blood sugars, followed by whining about my Charlie. I promise, I've gotten it out of my system now. Just hang in with me a bit longer, and I'll be back with knitting (I hope - I haven't had much energy for knitting lately either), a wonderful contest prize I received from a dear pal, and the specs on all that yarn I bought at WEBS!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Ugh. May.

Usually I like May. But not this year. Can we skip May and get right to June? Why? Well, the fact that it's May 1st means that in 25 days, I have to turn 40. I'm SO not ready to be 40.

So, to distract me from thinking about getting older, let's talk about socks. Another reason I wasn't looking forward to May was because I didn't think I'd get my April Sock-A-Month socks done in time. But luckily, around 9:00 last night I kitchenered the second toe!!

"Speedy Seal Rock Socks"
Pattern: My own generic pattern
Cast on: 21 April 2008
Frogged & Restarted: 24 April 2008
Completed: 30 April 2008
Yarn: Socks That Rock Mediumweight in Seal Rock
Needles: Clover Bamboo US3 (3.25mm) DPNs

Unless I've miscounted along the way, this is my 25th pair of socks. And I don't plan on stopping the sock knitting any time soon. If you're an avid sock knitter too, why not check out Summer of Socks 2008?

Summer of Sock 08

Jessica always does such a great job running this KAL, and this year promises to be the most fun one yet. She's got some wonderful contests planned and a bunch of great sponsors already on board. Sign-ups are only open until May 15th, so go join up now, okay? :)