Sunday, December 17, 2006

December Socks - Done!

December is usually a busy month round here, so I knew that if I was to have a finished pair of socks this month, I'd have to use a thicker yarn.

Aqua, blue, charcoal & rust -- Hello Yarn Fat Sock -- 100% superwash Merino -- totally yummy.

A quick knit, soft, warm thick --no weird pooling or flashing -- just semi-stripey goodness.

They'd be perfect for a Canadian winter, except --

-- we don't really quite have winter yet. Despite the storms happening elsewhere, it looks like it could well be be a green Christmas here, as evidenced by this pic of the grass out front. I'm not complaining, though, because ....

In the Other News Department:

Christmas has come early! Look at this gorgeous yarn I won in a contest from Simply Socks! Schaefer Anne, in the Gertrude Ederle colourway! Thanks, Allison -- it's beautiful!

And my yarn has arrived from the Amazing Lace contest!

It's Helen's Lace, 50% wool, 50% silk, in the Pewter colourway. This is destined to become the Heere Be Dragone shawl .... umm, eventually. Thanks, Rachel!

I think I'll use the rest of the month to clear up some other little projects I've had on the go for a while, and I need some new slippers, so some felted clogs may well be in the future as well. And while I'm felting anyway, I might as well do the ... guess it never ends, eh. :-)

Happy holidays, everyone!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Yarn Aboard!

Knock, knock.

Who's there?

'Tis Meriwether and --

What? I don't know any Mary.

No, sir. We are Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.

Sorry, dudes, but whatever you're selling, I don't need any. Wouldja mind moving on? I'm kinda busy right now.

Sir, we're sorry for bothering you, but we seem to have become lost.

Dudes, go down to the corner. There's a bus stop and a map with all the bus routes.

Sir, please. We've been wandering for days. We have asked many strangers for assistance, and no one will help us. Everyone is speaking a language we don't understand, and we fear we have wandered into the Spanish territory.

Dudes, you are Very, Very Lost. That isn't Spanish, it's French. And you're in Canada, not the Spanish territory, whatever the heck that is.

Oh, my, we are much worse off than we previously thought. Please, sir, would you render us a kindness and assist us in regaining our way?

Dudes, I don't know what kind of game you're playing here, but if you don't move along I'm gonna call the cops. Go find some other scam -- this one is kind of lame.

Sir, we have no scam, whatever the heck that is, as you might say, but if you would but give us a moment of your time, we do have trade goods to recompense you for your efforts. We can offer you some wonderful tea and --

Tea, didja say? Well, umm, yeah, I could use some tea about now, but, you know, I'm really too busy to stop for tea right now.

Sir, we also have chocolate, which is a confection that is savoured --

Chocolate? Why didn't you say that in the first place? Come on in.

(a few minutes later, over a nice cuppa and a munch of sweetness)

Dudes, according to this map, all you hafta do is head south and west, and you'll eventually get where you're trying to go. It might take you a few days, but you'll get there. Hop on the No. 7 bus and transfer at the --

Sir, we know naught of any bus. To be honest, this strange country of yours has us totally befuddled. You have strange, hard pathways with eery lights and --

Yeah, well, all you hafta do is just walk along one of them pathways and stick out your thumb, like this. Someone will give you a lift eventually.

Sir, we beg of you. We are finding the language here difficult, and navigation next to impossible. Whatever path we take, they all seem to lead to a territory strangely called "Construction." Given your familiarity with this area, if you might take us only to the border of your Canada and our --

Take you to the border? Are you nuts? That's like an hour and a half away. The train station is just over --

Sir, please, we realize you are busy, but if we are only an hour and a half off our route, that is most wonderful news! We have other goods we can trade for your assistance. We have a wondrous letter-writing material, with incredibly beautiful pictorials of spun fibre that can be --

Spun fibre? You guys are starting to get a little more interesting. I kinda have a thing for "spun fibre." Those are really nice note cards. I guess I could give you a lift to the train station.

Sir, you drive a hard bargain. We need to get to the border, not a "station." Perhaps we can barter some livestock --

Dudes, I don't want any livestock. Trust me on this. I really don't need livestock.

Sir, this livestock is of a rare variety that you may have heard about but which you undoubtedly will not have seen previously. You may actually find it to be very useful, given your propensity towards the fibres.

Aww, dudes. That is so cute. Look at his liddle measuring tail just a'wiggling away. Err, ahem.

Okay, tell you what. I'll take you to the station and make sure you get on the right train, but I'm not going all the way to the border. That's too far, and I just don't have the time right now. If I were you, though, since you seem to be in such a hurry, I'd probably fly. Rather than a coupla days, you'd be back in Oregon in a few hours.

Sir, are you mocking us? You want us to fly like a bird? We beg of you, take our plight seriously. The American Congress has authorized us to --

Whoa, dudes, I am NOT getting involved in some international incident. Why didn't you say you were feds? I'm gonna turn you over to the embassy and they can ponder your problem. That should give them bureaucrats something to do for a coupla months.

Sir! You offer to assist us, and then you threaten to detain us? Your moods are most mercurial. We are not "feds", as you say. We have a commission to fulfil, and we must be on our way as expeditiously as possible. Perhaps you will reconsider if we offer you a bag.

A bag? Dudes, I'm gonna bag you if you don't --

Oh. That kind of bag. Wow. Look at that. You know, I think I could actually think of a purpose for a beautiful, hand-made bag like that. Yeah, it'll come in pretty handy. It's the perfect size for what I have in mind, the colours are fantastic, and the craftmanship excellent. Ok, no embassy. We're back to the train station.

Sir, you do indeed drive a hard bargain. We almost wish we would have started our journey with you in our Corps of Discovery. Perhaps our trading would have --

Dudes, I don't want nothing to do with no corpse. If you're going to get all weird, you can leave right now.

Sir, you misunderstand. Very well. You leave us no choice. We will offer you the finest trade goods we have in return for conduct to the border. We will give you .... Toast.

You are the strangest little dudes I have ever met. I can make plenty toast all on my own, thank you very much.

This is special toast, Sir, made by a woman in the fine state of Virginia.

Oh, great, stale toast that you've dragged all the way from Virginia to the "Spanish territory." Forget it.

Sir, this woman, by the name of Claudia, is world-renowned for her expertise. I think you will reconsider once you see this Toast.

Grab your coats, dudes. We'll hafta gas up before we leave town.


Fun courtesy Amanda, host of Yarn Aboard -- thank you, Amanda!

A most excellent Yarn Aboard package courtesy Allison , enabler extraordinare -- thank you very much, Allison!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

SAM2 - November done!

I finally finished my D-Mac socks! I can't find my sock blockers right now, so you get yet another "front stoop" photo.

I must say that I LOVE these colours. The yarn is Mama-E's C*eye*ber-Fiber in the D-Mac colourway. Very beachy -- steely blue, chocolate brown and a bit of misty green.

For some reason, these socks took forever. I've been knitting on them since the beginning of October, and now that they're done, I kind of miss having them on the needles.

I did the Vikkel braid short row-heel again, this time with a small gusset over the instep and the fit is improved.

However, just because production has slowed down around here doesn't mean that my mailbox has slowed down. The sock yarn still keeps pouring in.

I love Mama-E's yarn -- I've joined her sock club series twice now. I previously posted about how much I like Spunky Eclectic's wild colourways. I'm in her sock club too, and I'm always tickled with what comes in.

But I don't think I've posted about another one of my favourites -- this time more on the subtle side.

Jessie over at A Piece of Vermont does subtle like nobody's business.

She's been trying out different yarns, and now has one that is a mohair mix grown, processed, spun -- and dyed :-) --locally.

You know how sometimes you get some yarn and you just want to sit and look at it all day?

That's what I want to do with this ...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

ISE3 - Rocked by Betty Crocker

It was a good mail day today -- my ISE 3 scarf arrived!

My swap partner was Liz, formerly bettycrockerpunkrocker, but now blogging here. She sent me this gorgeous scarf knit from Debbie Bliss Soho, some wonderful tea, chocolates, and a very cool "pencil case" which we know is not likely to see any pencils but will instead house a tape measure, stitch markers, scissors, etc. -- totally cool!

Thanks so much, Liz -- the scarf is perfect!

The mistake rib pattern really shows off the wonderful colours and texture in this yarn. This is exactly the kind of yarn that would follow me home from the LYS. The scarf is soft, cuddly, thick, warm ... and it smells real nice too. :-) Thanks, Liz!

In the Other News Department, I'm onto the second of my Socktober socks (yes, I know it's the middle of November), and I've finished the back of my Noro sweater and barely started the front. No progress pics, sorry. I also have a secret project that is temporarily stalled while I sort out some equipment issues. I've been digging about in my UFO pile -- chucked some stuff and resurrected others. What I really need right now, though, is something big that I can just knit away on without having to think too much and that won't have any tricky bits that hit me at 11 o'clock at night just when I don't want to get hit by tricky bits. I'm thinking afghan. I have the yarn and pattern in mind. Will it materialize? Stayed tuned.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Something old, something new

I went digging through the cupboard, looking for something to do, and look what I found.

A pair of mitts, started when? Last year? The year before? I can't remember. All they needed was one top finished and a couple of thumbs. Knit with two strands of Patons Decor held together, colour Tapesty, at a thick, warm and hopefully windproof gauge of 5 stitches per inch, based on the generic mitten pattern in Ann Budd's generic book of patterns. I finished them.

What looked like brown and beige as I was knitting them inside turns out to be brown and purple in the brighter outdoor light. Never mind, they'll be good this winter when I'm shovelling, sweeping and scraping my way through the snow and ice.

I also found this.

It's Noro Silk Garden, colour No. 203. I bought it a while ago as a bribe to myself. In an effort to overcome my sweater phobia, I said, "Dave, dude, you have two sweaters on the go. Finish them. One is a year old, and the other probably two years. Finish them. Then you can knit the Noro."

I don't always listen to myself. I really want a cardigan. I have two underway. Somehow, I find myself knitting a pullover.

Doesn't matter. I'm happy.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


October has continued to be incredibly busy at work, to the extent that I feel totally drained, physically and mentally. For the first month since joining Sock-a-Month, I have been unable to finish a pair of socks. In Soctoberfest, yet.

That is the sum total of my progress. One sock, just past the heel. I've had to re-do that heel three times, because I seem to have lost the ability to count, and, for the first time ever, I also managed to lose a needle along the way. Trying to look at the positive side, I am one-third of the way done for November.

I don't even have any doodads to share with you, unless you count this:

My new sock blockers! For which I have no new socks!!

So, in lieu of pretty socks, I will leave you with a picture of some pretty yarn.

I'm gonna go have a nap -- cya next month.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Cabled Rib Scarf

I have finished and mailed off my scarf for the International Scarf Exchange. From reading my recipient's blog, I got the impression that she wasn't too much into the frou-frou but definitely would welcome a touch of utilitarian luxury.

The pattern is the Cabled Rib Scarf, designed by Anne at Knitspot. It was easy to remember after the first repeat and fun to knit.

I used Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, which apparently may or may contain cashmere, but in any event was a pleasure to knit with, has great stitch definition while remaining incredibly soft and cushy, and has wonderful drape. This yarn also apparently has a bit of a reputation for pilling, but it behaved well as I dragged it to and fro while knitting.

I have fallen in love with reversible cables. I may have to make another one for me, but in a different colour because 5.5 feet of grey is quite enough, thank you very much. :-)

In the Other News Department: I continue to be amazed by the generosity of knit bloggers as they support each other in various activities, be they walk-a-thons, causes for cures, blankies for various people or general emotional support. With this in mind, I come to you, hat in hand, and ask for your assistance. It seems that one of us is in desperate need of an intervention. I ask not for your monetary assistance, nor your knitted squares. I simply need someone, anyone, to please, please, please design another dish cloth. I am feeling extremely guilty. (Hi, Shannon!)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Knitters Tea Swap 2 - Package Received!

A most delightful package arrived in the mail yesterday -- my swap package from the Knitters Tea Swap 2!

Melinda, from Chicken Without a Head, sent me this delightful assortment of tea, yarn, cookies and chocolate. Yummm!!

Melinda is lucky enough to live in the beautiful city of Seattle. Ah, the joys of living in a port city! She sent me some green pear tea from one of her local shops, as well as a sample of their black tea. She also sent a box of her favourite herbal - Strawberry Vanilla - and some Seattle signature tea, Market Spice. To munch while drinking the tea, she sent some Ginger Nut cookies (I love ginger!) and some chocolate. (Note to self -- remember to renew membership at gym.)

For the yarn portion of the swap, Melinda sent me three skeins of deliciously soft and beautifully blue baby cashmere and .... a humongous hank of her own handspun!!! This yarn is gorgeous, and I tried to capture it in "pr0n" shot.

Blues, green and -- sparkles! How totally cool is that!! Melinda reminded me that it should be knit tightly to improve durability if I were to use it for socks, but I'm thinking maybe scarf? I'll wait to see what Anne comes up with for her next man-lace design. Sparkly blue and green man-lace -- yipeee !!!

This was a most delightful ending to an extremely hectic week. Thank you very much, Melinda --

-- I'm about to enjoy a cup of green pear tea (which smells wonderful!), some ginger cookies, and catch up on my blogs, a great way to spend a Saturday morning.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


I continued to be amazed, astounded, astonished -- gobsmacked -- at the generosity and kindness of knit bloggers.

A short while ago, Julia at Knitting History had a contest. She discovered she had an "extra" copy of Alice Starmore's Sweaters for Men and offered said book as the prize. All one had to do was post a comment. Can we say "Starmore"? Can we also say "hard to find"? Can we also also say sweaters for "men"? Of course I entered because I've longed for that book for, well, a long time. As it turns out, however, I did not win the contest. Seems a certain Miss W had the luck of the random numbers in her favour that day, and I am very glad she won, because she is a very nice person, and I hope she enjoys the book.

However again, as it also also turns out, Julia had an extra "extra" copy of said book and she offered it to me. Out of the blue. Just because she's an extremely nice person. I accepted her offer. :-)

Thank you, Julia! I've already flipped through it, admiring the Veritable Variety of patterns, and will pursue it at my leisure when I have more time. Some designs seem a little dated, but many are classics. I may actually knit a sweater. :-)

In the Other News Department, I have made some progress on my Sockterbest Mama-E D.Mac sock.

It's ready for a heel, but it's also on hold for a moment because I discovered that the scarfs for the International Scarf Exchange are to be "received" by November 1, not "in the mail" by Novemer 1. Oops. I mailed out my Tea Swap and Chocolate Swap packages just about two weeks ago, and they still haven't been received. So much for expedited delivery, thank you very much, Canada Post. 13,728 stitches knit, plus the five rows I had to rip back and do over, and about a gazillion more to go. Gotta knit faster !!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

G, B & U

G is for Good

Good # 1

Although I do not usually post about acquisitions, I feel compelled to celebrate the fact that Koigu, a yarn dyed in Canada, is *finally* available in Ottawa, the nation's capital. Hallelujah!!

I might have bought a skein or 10.

Good #2

I haven't posted a doodad for a while, so in honour of Socktoberfest, allow me to share my method of storing DPNs. I used to use one of those roll things, but then I came across this:

I found them in a local dollar store. I believe they are originally designed to store utensils or silverware, but they're the perfect size for DPNs. I can keep each size in its own little tray. They stack for neat storage.

B is for Bad

Bad #1

I was going to post my answers to Lolly's Socktoberfest questionnaire (BTW - What's the difference between a questionnaire and a meme?) but I decided, after coming across the gazillionth questionnaire on other blogs and saying, "Yikes, not another one," that I wouldn't. My BAD. Sorry, Lolly.

While I was preparing to answer the questionnaire that I am not going to answer, I was digging around trying to find my first pair of socks that I knit back in 1999 using the famous Two-Strand Wool-Ease Socks that was all the rage many, many years ago that I had knit just to see how socks worked with the intention of determining how they held up, but I couldn't find them, and since I'm not sure whether I kept them or gave them away in the first place, I reminded myself that if I was to have done something differently, I really should have kept better track of a little piece of history, and likely should have used a nicer yarn, like Koigu, or Cherry Tree Hill, or one of the many wonderful handpaints that are available, but since I just wanted to figure what the heck a heel flap and gusset were, and I obviously did figure it out since I've many too many pairs to count since then, in the end, it was probably irrelevant. :-)

Bad #2

I did, however, find the second pair of socks I knit. I remember slaving over them, playing with gauge and stitch count so the colours wouldn't pool or stack but would still give me a nice pair of socks. And nice they were, for many years. Alas, Cleckheaton Tapestry, though beautiful, isn't really meant to give you socks that last for 20 years. The socks, though wonderful, are on their last legs .... err, toes.

U is for Ugly

Ugly #1

I apologize if I owe anyone emails, or responses to comments, or anything like that. It seems my computer was hit by an Ad-bot, despite about 37 prophylactic programs, and it is slowly eating its own hard drive. I have managed to save all my saved knitting patterns and photos and am in the process of saving all the rest of the crap I have accumulated over the past five years with this machine. My inbox has managed to empty itself several times, and my address book is now toast. It seems I get to spend the long weekend reformatting my hard drive and trying to load everything back on.

Ugly #2

I didn't pay much attention to blogs until I found Bloglines, and then I fell in love. At last count, I am subscribed to 718 blogs. (No wonder I don't get much kintting done.) However, in the last few days, Bloglines has decided that it wants to "help" me by automatically refreshing itself every five minutes. And while it does that, I get to sit and watch it, because it won't let me continue reading the blog I'm currently viewing. And if I should happen to go somewhere to comment and try to get back while it is refreshing itself, it freezes and shuts itself down. Thank you, Bloglines, for trying to be ever so helpful and thinking I am too stupid to click refresh myself when I want to refresh.

Jason, over at Jason Knits, has a very cool Google Reader blingy-thingy on his blog, and I am Very Seriously considering taking my blog reading business elsewhere.

According to the Bloglines home page, if you put the phrase bloglines freedbacking into a post, Some Poor Sap from Bloglines will actually read what you've written. I apologize, SPSfB, but since Bloglines has wasted an inordinate amount of my time this week, I decided to put this little bit of bloglines freedbacking way down at the bottom of this post so you can also waste a bit of time reading a bunch of nonsense about socks before you get to the bloglines freedbacking that you want/need to read. Turnabout is fair play. Unless you are a fellow socknitter, in which case, I hope you enjoyed the post.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Smothered in Chocolate

My swap package arrived today, and I have been absolutely smothered with chocolatey goodness!

There was a gorgeous mug that will be perfect for hot chocolate; a beautiful hand-made bag that's perfect for a sock-sized project; a very cool "Parisien" tape measure; some wonderful note cards; and some chocolate! Chocolate shortbread cookies, chocolate covered caramels, chocolate covered espresso beans, a dark chocolate Toblerone bar, a Dagoba chai bar, a Dagoba hazelnut bar, a Jamaican rum-filled chocolate bar and a trufle-filled chocolate bar! WOW!

I also got some yarn :-)

Isn't it beautiful! One of a kind, specially dyed just for me in a chocolate-covered cherry colourway, by my wonderful -- and perhaps sneaky -- swap partner. Attached to the yarn were some incredible beaded stitch markers -- three in chocolate colours and one completely personalized.

I was lucky enough to be paired with the incomparable, and wonderfully generous, Mama-E !!!!

Thank you, Erin -- I'm totally overwhelmed!

One of the stitch markers has been transferred to my current project. I've been saving a Very Special Yarn I received a while ago for a very special occasion, and I had decided that Soctoberfest would be the perfect time to finally enjoy a colourway named for me, now officially christened with the stitch marker, beautifully dyed by none other than the very same Mama-E. Yes, Erin, D.Mac is finally on the needles as my Socktoberfest project!