Sunday, August 27, 2006


If you're reading this, you're tagged. So there.

1. Grab the nearest book. Open the book to page 123. Find the fifth sentence.Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.

The ensuing sock knitting craze gripped the state and assured that no Alabama soldier would lack warm socks even though he suffered from other shortages. Attached to a shipment of 1,200 pairs went this note from knitters: "{M}any willing fingers are diligently plying their needles to furnish much more of the needed socks." Those fingers continued until Alabama's heavy casualties compelled them to produce linen and bandages for hospitals.

This is taken from No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting. Damned interesting book, and though I have a copy from the library, I really wish I owned it. The passage in question is speaking of knitting during the Civil War.

2.stretch your left arm out as far as you can...what do you touch first?

Um, air? Well, the couch is over there, but I'd be more likely to whack the stack of papers & stuff-to-be-filed on the end of the desk.

3. what was the last thing you watched on tv?

Oz, the first season (again). I don't actually have cable tv (or any tv reception, for that matter), so everything I watch is on dvd or tape. I love my Netflix, lemme tell ya.

4. without looking, what time is it?


5. what is the actual time?


6. with the exception of the computer, what can you hear?

The neighbors banging around upstairs, the kids little pencil scratches (they're working on math & writing right now). Not much else, as the windows are closed right now, due to insane amounts of humidity.

7. when did you last step outside?

An hour or two ago, to check & see if the humidity had gone down enough to open the windows back up again. Sadly, it's still sticky as heck. NOT good for even tension on your knitting, ya know.

8. what are you wearing?

A chocolate brown scoopneck t-shirt, jeans shorts, and flip flops. Standard uniform for the summer for me.

9. when did you last laugh?

This morning, at my demented kitty.

10. seen something weird lately?

My cat carries her kitty cookie jar around in her teeth. It's just a small plastic container that holds kitty treats, and I only put in a few at a time, because she likes to take it down & open it up & eat the contents. It's really entertaining to watch her get into it.

11. what did you dream last night?

I can't remember for certain, but I know it involved my husband somehow.

12. what's on the walls of the room you're in?

A bulletin board, an Ansel Adams print, several Art Nouveau advertisements, the family coat of arms, photos of my kids & my wedding, an antique map of England & Wales, a couple mountain bikes, huge amounts of books on the bookshelves, and more music/drum gear than you can shake a stick at.

14. what was the last film you saw?

Well, lately it's been more about the tv series on dvd & the documentaries than actual movies...we watched an interesting documentary on Theremin the other day, and I watched a few silly Learn To Knit videos (sadly, I already knew everything she taught, though I can see how it'd be a good dvd for a brand-newbie). The last movie I saw in the theater was Monster House. you like to dance?

Um, not really...I'm terrible at it, so I don't really have any fun because I'm too self-conscious.

16. would you ever consider living abroad?

Heck yeah! I'd love to live in Ireland or England somewheres. Especially the Yorkshire countryside. Of course, I'd probably only live there for a limited time before I came home to the midwest, but I'd sure love to try it for a few years!

17. if you became a multi-millionaire overnight what would you buy first?

A home! Actually, what I'd buy *first* would probably be a nice dinner out. I've been dying for a really good steak for months, but can't cough up the dough for a decent steakhouse. Wildfire in Chicago calls to me. I tell ya, the filet mignon there will just about change your religion. But I digress. I'd definitely buy my cute little farm in the cornfields somewhere, and pay off my car. I'd take dh on a shopping spree at Interstate Music, just to watch him go crazy. Then I'd go on a major yarn binge, and get all the pretty colors I've ever drooled over. Heh.

18.tell me something about you that i don't know.

I've never broken a single bone in my life.

19. what would you change about the world?

Good heavens, where does one start? Well, I think the first thing I'd do is give every person an acute awareness of how their actions affect others. Just think how different our world would be if Hitler had had a conscience.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

*Now* will it work?

The aforementioned loot pictures...

Isn't it wonderful?? Lessee here, we have on the top row, starting from the left, two skeins Lorna's Laces Sock in Camouflage, two skeins Lorna's Laces Sock in Tuscany, Mountain Colors Bearfoot in ??(can't remember...I want to say Wild Cherry, or something like that), Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Obsidian, six beautiful skeins Socks That Rock (scroll down for color names), Koigu KPPPM (dunno the color, but it's purty...looks like clouds on a summer day), Koigu KPM (again, dunno the color...bright red, though, and not as brick-like as I'd thought. Oh well.), and my first skein of Opal, color unknown. Bottom row, from left, begins with some gorgeous Claudia's Hand Paints in Chocolate Covered Cherry, six skeins Malabrigo in Olive (sweater for meeeee!!), two honkin huge skeins of a squishysoft 100% alpaca 3ply that's being swatched up & blocked (sweater for my ma, who hopefully never reads this blog), three skeins Noro Kureyon, rather unfortunately purchased *before* I saw the sale table at Webs, selling the exact same thing for three bucks less per skein, and one skein Transitions by Noro. The Kureyon is already on the needles, working towards becoming a Booga Bag, and the Transitions will sooner or later become a scarf. Isn't this just the most gawjus stuff EVER?? Here we have the much-coveted Socks that Rock, in colorways Fred Flinstone, Lagoon, Ruby Slippers, Highway 30, Metamorphosis, and Terra somethingerother. Soooo pretty! Honestly, the Highway 30 is incredibly pink for me (really, when was the last time you saw something pink on this blog?), but it's just so pretty, I couldn't leave it behind. Besides, maybe it can become socks for someone else for Christmas or something. Or maybe I'll just pet it a lot. I'm such a sock ho.

And, because I am so very much in love with my sock yarn collection, I pulled the whole darn thing out & rearranged it several times, just for fun. I do have a picture of the whole beautimous thing, but of course, it refuses to post. Sigh.

I'm not dead, I swear!

I am, however, massively behind in the whole posting thing. Good lord, where to begin?? Okay then, random & barely coherent it is...

First of all, I had a lovely visit from my pal Shanelle, who is an extremely talented knitter, and a fabulous seamstress as well. She's incredibly nice & interesting on the boards where we met, and REALLY nice, interesting, and damn funny in person. And, she brought me fudge, which always wins my heart. I'm cheap that way. She went with my parents, my boys & I to an old-timey steam engine show, where we went half-deaf from the engines, ate corn dogs, gawked at the awesome antique cars & tractors, and just generally had a grand 'ol time. I just love events like this...the whole thing is held in the back 40 of some old farmer guy, and there's huge trees everywhere, and old men in overalls & seed caps, and farm kids learning to run the hundred year old machinery, and fried food, and such an air of history! These are the machines that created America as we know it, and being so close to the country's history like that is just amazing to me.

Shanelle also accompanied me to that wonderous mecca of all things fiber, that black hole of finances, that paragon of yarny goodness...Stitches!!! Oh my good lord, I thought I'd died & gone to heaven. The only way it could have possibly been any better is if I'd had a special card that assured me that every skein would cost only a dollar for me that day. Hey, a girl can dream! It was soooo much fun, though. Shanelle & I were lucky enough to be at the very front of the line to get in, though we were beaten to the door by a *really* determined older woman, who got us laughing so hard that I almost couldn't walk properly. (Seriously, this lady raced us up the stairs! It was a good way to start the day, laughing & running like crazy people. Which we are.) I, of course, immediately made a beeline for Blue Moon Fiber Arts, home of the much-coveted Socks That Rock. I reeeeaaaalllly wish they'd get around to finishing the updating/upgrading of their website. Many of the colors that they had aren't listed there, and dangit, I may want some more lightweight soon! I did, however, come out of there with six skeins of the gorgeous stuff, which pleased me immensely. After we managed to pry ourselves out of that booth (omg, it was packed! I'm really glad I chose to go there first), Shanelle & I started a methodical, don't-want-to-miss-a-single-thing pattern around the room. Truly, it's the only way to do it...there's just SO much fiber, SO many beautiful colors, that you'll get completely overwhelmed & scatterbrained otherwise. I still can't believe all the was so amazing just to touch them all! Silk & quiviut blends (oooooh my!), finest merinos, bamboo, buffalo (!!).... Endless amounts of fibers & yarns. Honestly, I just wanted to hop on the tables & roll around in it. There were gorgeous orenburg lace shawls that were so beautiful it almost made you weep, socks in every color known to man (and a few previously unknown), sweaters of every skill level imagineable. Let me tell you, quiviut lace is something everyone must feel before they die, in my opinion. It's so light, so feather-soft, you almost can't feel it as you hold it. Becoming skilled enough as to be worthy of a skein of quiviut laceweight is one of my loftiest goals.

Of course, I was a complete dolt & forgot my camera at home. You do, however, get pics of the spoils! Now, see, this is where my single-mindedness & planning really pays off...I'm really rather poor, financially speaking. Putting a day like Stitches on a credit card is just shockingly unwise, and having much extra money at any given point is highly unlikely, especially since we just bought a car. Knowing all this, I started saving money for Stitches back in May, setting a little bit aside every week, and earning small amounts here & there that also got socked away (like the stupid pun there?). I'm incredibly proud of myself for that, I'll have you know. It was WONDERFUL to be able to buy all the pretty yarns I coveted that day!! Granted, given the opportunity, I could have spent ten times what I did, but I'm still quite pleased with what I brought home.

*SIGH* It seems Blogger doesn't care to post my pictures right now. I took pics of the whole sock stash, too...grrrr. I'll try that part again another time, I suppose. My Stitches loot amounts to 14 pairs of socks, two sweaters, a Booga bag, and a scarf. Yeah!!

More at a later, more cooperative (in the Blogger sense) time...

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Yarn & oddments for swap/sale!

Help me clear up some space in my stash for Stitches! (Have I mentioned, by the way, how BLOODY EXCITED I AM about Stitches??) Okay, here's what I've got....

This is a sweater's worth of Hayfield Vintage DK (60% wool, 40% nylon, machine washable). There's 10 50gm balls, which adds up to about 1230 yards or so. Some have been frogged, most are in yarny cakes (I do so love having a ball winder!), but ball bands are (obviously) there. This is a really nice, soft yarn...I just don't do pink, generally speaking. This is four balls purple boucle (I think that's what you'd call it), and four balls blue boucle. I have no idea what fiber, probably acrylic, but there's no ball band. Each ball is about four ounces, so there's a pound of purple and a pound of blue (And fyi, they aren't *together* or anything...if you just want the purple and not the blue, or vice versa, that's totally okay. I just took the picture like that to save photo space.). This is all a VERY soft, fleecy chenille sort of yarn...I have no idea what it's called, but it's really soft (and likely acrylic, I'd think). There's 2.5oz of each color--blue, pink/purple/blue, and white with pastel flecks. This would make terrific baby hats, or something of that nature. This particular yarn is really neat...I'm guessing it's mohair, as it's got a pretty halo-like quality to it, and is very light & fluffy. There's 4.5oz of the natural/cream color, and half an ounce each of the grey & moss green ones (I'll just throw those two in with the cream). The pretty multicolor at the top is 13.5oz of the same fiber.These also would make great baby yarns...each ball is 1.5oz, and the two on the left are pink & yellow, the two in the middle are muted rainbow colors with a neat plied stripey effect, and the two on the right are more pastel versions of the two in the middle. Again, all wound into nice yarny cakes for you. These three are all random balls of off-white cotton. There's about 4ish ounces total. These would make good dishcloths, I think, or scrubby things.

I also have a few more things not pictured...

1lb white Red Heart (y'know those ginormous One Pound skeins? Yeah, that.)

1lb off-white Red Heart (same thing, slightly different color)

2.2oz Caron Jewel Box chenille yarn in a really pretty cream color

1/2oz Berroco Quest in Ruby Red. There's only a small amount, but maybe somebody can do something neat with it. It's really pretty!

1sk black Caron Wintuk

3sk TLC Macaroon super bulky, moss color

6oz cream/off-white cotton chenille--really nice yarn, perfect for those flower facecloths from Weekend Knitting

Interweave Knits-Spring 06 (I wound up with two of them)

Fiber Trends pattern in page protector sleeve-Chained Melody (vest)

Fiber Trends pattern in page protector sleeve-Easy Hat & Mittens

Crocheters Value Pack crochet hooks (comes with size 5, 7, & 10 steel hooks and size G, H, & I aluminum hooks, plus basic instructions)

Pile of Random Crochet Hooks (size D, H, J, E, E, I, & H)

Package of four Button Clams (weird little plastic doodads that you can place over ceramic/decorative buttons to protect them in the laundry)

And these aren't knitting-related, but they're in great shape and awfully darn cute, so it's a shame to let them go to waste, simply because my kids have huge feets...

Buzz Lightyear slippers! These are size 11-12, and they're in darn-near-new condition. The cool thing is, when the kid steps down, the buttons on Buzz's chest light up. And Mickey, too! Mickey Mouse in a car slippers, size 7-8, and like the Buzz Lightyear ones, when the kid takes a step, the headlights on Mickey's car light up. Very cute.

All of these things are up for sale or swap. I'm interested in Paypal, all kinds of sock yarns (Lorna's, CTH, Mountain Colors, STR, etc. etc), dpn cases (my sewing skills still aren't up to par yet), sock bags, gift cards, natural fibers, knitting books, whatever! Drop a line in the comments here, or over at the boards, and help me clear up some storage space for my trip to Stitches!!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I am so very blessed

Y'know, I have no idea what cosmic good I've done to deserve my lot in life, but it must have been spectacular. I have the BEST swap pals right now!! Y'all know I'm in the One Skein swap, and this is the first time the organizers have done anything like this. I'm really hoping they decide to do another one over the fall/winter season, because I'm having a blast! My downstream girl is absolutely adorable, and just so much fun to shop for, and my upstream is wonderfully generous & has fabulous taste! I recently received the July box from her, and oooh my! She chose sock yarn (and heavens, how I do loves me some sock yarn) in a beautiful green/blue/purple colourway. I'd tell you the name of the maker, but it's really German, and I don't know if I'd be copying the name of the company, or simply the german words for "sock yarn". It's beautiful, though, and even comes with a really generous skein of matching reinforcement thread! Not only that, but she also sent along a Chibi, which I've been wanting for quite some time (how did you know?). It's a clear case, with blue caps, and it's perfect to toss in the pocket of my knitting bag. Thanks so much, One Skein Honey!! You rock!

I'm also really enjoying my time in the Blogosphere SP8. It's absolutely HUGE, and just way too much fun! There's about a million people involved, so it's really fun to go blogstalking & see who else is playing too. My downstream is really interesting here too, and again, it's just *so* much fun to shop for people! My upstream, though...oh my. My upstream has this weird mind-reading thing going on, and I absolutely worship at her feet. She's got a real gift for choosing the *perfect* things, and she's totally topped herself this time. I've been wanting to learn to spin for some time now, pretty much since I started knitting. I've always loved the idea of a spinning wheel, especially the classic ones that you see in museums, but I *know* that even if I could afford to buy such a thing, I'd never be able to keep it in my home! Space is soooo at a premium around here. I live in a small two bedroom apartment with my cat, two boys, all their billions of toys (omg, the legos!!), my beloved husband, and his DRUMS. There's very few musical instruments that use up more space. Fully half of what would actually be a fairly generous living room is taken up by my sweetie's drums & electronics & random gear. Long story short, there's zero room for a spinning wheel, and I don't expect to be able to get one for at least five to ten years or so. I've been eyeballing drop spindles, though I'm pretty clueless yet about the pros & cons of each. Anyway, I open up the mailbox the other day, and omg!!! The most beautiful drop spindle EVER, custom painted for ME!! My all-time favorite flower is painted on the whorl, and wow, you can almost smell the lilacs. And, it even came with some beautiful wool roving started on it, spun into the finest laceweight. I'm sure I'll goober it up when I start to spin it, but no biggie, beginners always start sorta sloppy. I'm just SO excited about this!!! Having a spindle just opens up sooo many possibilities, and I'm incredibly fortunate to live within reasonable driving distance of The Fold, which is a spinner's wet dream. I blame that store for really making me want to spin...she has these huge sacks full of rovings of all kinds, and you can stick your hand in & grope them to your hearts content. The alpaca roving is so soft it kills me, and omg, the Blue Moon Fiber Arts roving has the most incredible colors!! Of course, I'll be starting with less amazing wools, because I want to be *worthy* of the really fine stuff before I go winding it into a wad, but someday, I *will* be skilled enough to make beautiful yarns out of that stuff. Thank you thank you thank you, SP8!!! I'm just so excited about all the incredible options that are open to me now, and I can't wait to get started!

*Wanders off to roll in fiber-induced bliss coma...*