Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gratuitous Pug shot

In checking the pictures from Christmas, I found this great one of our pug Gadget. Sadly I did not take it myself, all credit goes to my six year old. But since this is a knitting blog, not a pug blog, I also have a few other shots...

The finished socks for my mom. I'm really happy with how they turned out. My minor modifications made them fit her really well. The nice part is knowing she will wear them a lot. I read somewhere the best gift you can give a knitter is by wearing their knitting. I can't agree more.
I'm excited about the new year, what new skills I will acquire. What new projects I will work on. I'm hoping to do more in lace. I've purchased some really nice lace weight and am deciding what those skeins want to be when they grow up.
So I got started on a new pair of socks for me, simple plain vanilla socks. Using Harry Potter sock yarn, in the Tonks colorway. No counting required, just simple soothing knitting. I like it. I'm using my new sock needles and they are smooth and the knitting is moving along...
This week's work schedule is a bit odd, I have tomorrow and Thursday off, but back on Friday. Usually we get to leave early the day before a holiday, but I'm doubting that will happen today. However, if we do get to leave, I just might head over to Borealis yarns to see what might need to come home with me.
Enjoy the New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Pictureless blog - Christams Knitting Success

Christmas knitting is SO done! My mom loved her socks. The adaptations I made worked out perfectly, they fit her perfectly. While I didn't finish the mittens before giving them to Anna, she loved them and I finished them over the weekend. Success! And I'm glad I did it. But oh man, I can finally cast on for something new, something dare I say, for ME! And while I got the new book Hand painted Socks, beautiful Claudia Hand painted sock yarn and a batch of sock needles, I started a plain vanilla sock for myself, plain stockinette and in the Tonks colorway of the Harry Potter sock line. And I'm loving it. The joy of watching the colors flow through my finger tips. No counting necessary, but just beautiful simple knitting. Doesn't get much better than that.

My girls had a good Christmas, gifts they knew they wanted, delighted gasps when they received something equally wonderful they didn't even know they just HAD to have....

I'll get pictures uploaded soon, one more week of weird work schedule, and then time to settle into the long winter. No trip to focus on to Dallas this year, instead I will have to hang on until we go to Florida for my niece's wedding in July. But much knitting will take place between then and now.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Top 5 perks of working on Christmas Eve

1. No traffic. After a couple of weeks of triple the normal commute time, today I flew in under 30 minutes.

2. Parking spaces available in the front row. No parking in the second lot waaaaaaaay in the back, or sneaking into the intraoffice parking section. Nope, today I breezed in and scored a spot in the front row.

3. Total silence in the cube filled world I work in. Instead of hearing phone conversations, meetings, copiers humming, phones ringing, today it is nearly total silence. That happens when less than 10 people are here on a floor with normally over 60 people.

4. Time to really dig into those projects that you've been stalling....umm saving, ya that's what I meant, saving to get into.....or just move piles around on your desk to help foster that look of I'm working here people!

5. Getting to leave early at 2, so by not taking a lunch, you can head out at 1!

I tried but I don't think I will finish the second mitten tonight. So I will wrap up the completed one and tomorrow will show Kyle's Anna the partial second one. I know I can finish it probably even tomorrow night, but I'm not staying up all night tonight to finish it.

But the fact is, tonight is Christmas Eve. The girls and I will head to church so I can work in the nursery for the 4 pm service. Mom will stay home and get a lovely dinner of crab and other wonders ready for us. After a quick clean up, let the present opening begin!

We will then attach our Santa key to the front door (Santa left us a magic key, this can be used for homes without fireplaces, and even to alert Santa when you are not at home for the stocking fill up to occur. Who knew it had a GPS chip in it. We hang it on the front door of where ever we are and when the girls wake up on Christmas morning, the stockings are full of wonders from Santa!)

Tomorrow morning we will get up and load the van and head out to the wilds of Wisconsin to spend a few days with my sister and family at her log cabin on the lake.

I wish you a Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Socks DONE! Happy Birthday Anna!

I'm relieved to say I finished the second sock as hoped for on Saturday night. Now I still have many ends to weave in between the two socks, but the knitting is complete! And I'm really happy with how they turned out. I can't show you how they turned out because the batteries in my camera are dead and I had no extra ones at home. Not a good thing a few days before tonight will be one more stop on the way home to pick up batteries so the camera is fully charged for all the gift opening mania. I also got to the main color work section of the mitten as well. So I'm really in good shape to finish both knitted presents before the time to open them. Of course by not only saying it but TYPING it, I've just now waived a red flag at the knitting gods...but so be it.

Yesterday was my Anna's 12th birthday. TWELVE years old. My girl is amazing. Funny, goofy, and such a good kid. Since the weather was awful we did not go anywhere yesterday, but we had a nice time just the four of us. She loved her presents, especially when her grandma handed her a sizable chunk of cash to spend on anything she wants. Loved the open mouth, wide eyes look. Of course I look back in my mind to her first birthday, when she was baptized on her first birthday. We had been home from China for only a month and I could only dream of what our life together would be. But it is because of Anna's joyous happy soul that we became a family of 3, her love for me encouraged me to pursue getting her a little sister as well as another daughter for me.

I remember walking into daycare the 3rd day she started there, the other days she seemed indifferent to me picking her up at the end of the day, but this time it was like she got it, she knew I was ALWAYS coming back for her, I wasn't leaving her in another orphanage, she saw me that day, squealed and lifted her arms to me. The first time she did that. And always, every night when I would come pick her up, she would see me, her face would light up and run to me, arms wide open, hurling herself into my arms for a hug and a kiss. When I pick her up now from church or school, she may no longer hurl herself into my arms, but her eyes gleam with joy and there is always a smile on her face. This is the child that I was blessed to receive a little over 11 years ago in China. The best Christmas present I have ever received.

So I wish everyone a wonderful blessed Christmas. I'll probably be back before Christmas, hopefully to show pictures of the completed socks as well as mittens.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

T minus 6 days and counting

I'm doing the typical Christmas scramble. In years past I've been better about buying gifts ahead of time. Not this year. But I think I'm basically done. I'll need some stocking stuffers but that is it. And Anna's birthday is in good shape as well. Just need to finish wrapping those last few gifts tonight. Will fed ex presents to my niece in Florida and then I can sit back and go whew!

Oh wait, no I can't, see I have 6 days remaining in my mad dash to complete my knitting. So last night when I should have been pushing out the sock, I instead sat. Stared numbly as more snow is predicted over the next couple days. Oh and needed to color the gray that was shining through the rest of my hair. So I did. Pushed the snow out of my mind. Can't change that, it will do what it wants. Colored the gray, banished it for a while at least. Then sat down to knit.

I'm just starting the heel of sock two. Started the first color work section of the second mitten.

Now doesn't that just instill great confidence that these will be added to the completed single mates for both? sigh...I still believe they can be finished in the next 6 days. Just will be a bit harried I think. I know I can get the sock done. Hopefully this weekend. Just not as confident on the mitten.
And I'm feeling some bah humbug creeping in.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

no new pictures

But the good news is sock one is done, done I tell you. And half of the unending tails have been neatly woven in. The second sock is 9 rows from completion of the cuff, (ya, my great plan of immediately knitting the second cuff before completing the plain body of the each sock went by the wayside). Tonight I will finish the cuff and launch into the body. I should finish the second sock by Sunday (dare I hope Saturday?), which leaves me 3 1/2 days to finish the second Norwegian mitten for Kyle's Anna. Still doable, but teetering on the brink of disaster. But really, I have one complete sock, and one mitten (minus the thumb) that even if I don't knit one more stitch would show the gift recipient what they will receive. So it is not going to be a disaster no matter what. And that works for me.

Today is one of those challenging days in MN. The temp this morning was -8, -30 windchill. No matter what, that is cold. My normal commute of 35 minutes took over an hour. Just no fun, it wasn't white knuckle driving, just slow, plodding, creeping along driving. The rest of the week will be challenging, but slowly warming up (warming is used loosely here). And to top it off, we are getting 1-2 inches of snow each day this week. oh boy, we know how to party here!

I guess you could say we are just getting our outside ready for Santa to feel comfortable in! Welcome Santa, the snow bound frozen tundra is here in MN waiting for you!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Knitting crunch time

The good news is I'm on the home stretch of sock one, reaching the toes tonight, should be able to kitchener off tomorrow and start the race on sock number 2. I think the fit is good, my mom has some feet issues and I have to adjust the sock to her foot. It is a bit of a loose fit on my foot so it should fit well on her. I have made gifts for my family for years. I've been doing one type of needlework or crafting since I was a teenager. They always appreciated anything I ever gave them. But I must say, my mom has enjoyed my hand knit socks more than almost anything I have ever given her. Funny how something as simple as a sock can bring such joy to a person.

And hard as it is, I'm desperately fighting the urge of spinning. I simply can't break now. I have 13 days to finish both socks and a second Norwegian mitten. Both the socks and the mitten are fair isle so I'm not as fast as I could be on "plain" knitting. But I'm pretty sure I can still get these two gifts done.

And watch on the day I get home from celebrating Christmas at my sisters, I'm betting I will be online picking out a couple new batches of roving to send to me from Etsy. smile....see that is only 16 days away. So while one part of me is wishing time would slow down so I could knit faster, the other part of me is wishing time to fly by so I can get to spinning! No wonder I'm in such a quandary.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

No picture today

Why you ask? because the sock karma is fading! I did turn the heel last night on sock number 1. There is still hope, but between work and shopping for others, my time seems to be slipping away faster than normal. Lists to prepare for others to shop from. Shoes to find by searching multiple stores. Deals that must be purchased TODAY ONLY! all kill my knitting time. I slog home at the end of the day tired and dragging. But I still believe I will make it. yup, that is my plan anyway.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Socks sabatoged

This is what threw me off my carefully calculated path. Roving. Pretty roving. And an empty spindle. sigh...empty no more. but it is sure a nice diversion.

All is not lost, just merely delayed. I wouldn't want to be cocky and just fly through those socks. No, I'm much better at working under pressure. Let's see, from today, I will have 16 days until I must have 2 completed socks under the tree. TWO....not one, not one and 1/2. But two. And I'm sure I will do that....see here is how far I got....still sock one, but heh! I'm through with the cuff part and flying on the plain section. Tonight's plan is to stop with sock one and start the more labor intensive part of sock two.

But guess what is calling my name....

Darn if I don't have more roving....and more room on the spindle....sigh...I'm hopeless....well after all I still have 16 days to make a pair of socks. I'm sure if I have 15 days I can still make a pair of socks!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Day 3 in the Christmas socks campaign

Well I didn't get as far as I hoped last night. My mom and girls and I watch Survivor together and couldn't very well knit on the socks during that! But after getting upstairs I waded through another 10 rows of the chart. So I'm only on row 30. 14 rows left. Hopefully I will finish the cuff tonight. I am happy with how it is turning out though.
Tomorrow is my Emily's first sleep over. She is so excited, that may be why her suitcase was packed last night! smile....
While Emily is away, I'm hoping to take Anna and do some Christmas shopping. Then later I can take Emily on her own and see what we can take care of.
I'm wishing Santa would bring me a spinning wheel for Christmas but since I'm Santa for my family and we put the Santa gifts in our stockings, I strongly doubt that will happen! But maybe I can convince Santa to leave me some nice that I think I can do!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Day Two of Christmas sock

So here we are, day two in the mad dash to the finish of the Christmas knitting....see Exhibit 1

I made good progress in just about 2 hours of knitting last night. I'm on row 19 of the 44 row section of the cuff. Then it is plain knitting for the entire rest of the sock. Since I also will drop down a size in needles at that time, it will be easy for me to immediately start again on the second cuff and churn out the fair isle section again. My fear is I will be knitting late into the last few nights and mistakes in fair isle are much more likely when I'm tired versus knitting plain stockinette row after row. So my goal is that by the end of next week, I will have both cuff sections completed. We will see.

I also think it will take at least a day to weave in all the ends, good grief, do you see that mess? But I'm also loving the pattern and the yarn. I haven't knit on socks for the last couple months and I really miss it. Between using Addi turbos and lovely sock yarn, there just isn't nicer knitting around for me.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Knitting

So call me crazy. I have 3 weeks to finish a pair of socks and a pair of mittens. And one mitten is about an hour away from being done.

see? This is for my nephews lovely fiancee, Anna. I'm farther along than this picture, I'm actually reducing for the top of the mitten. I figure about 10 more rows there and the thumb and cross off one mitten from my list. But then I realized I didn't think things through quite as well as I should have. See I'm not going to see Anna for Christmas and I will see Kyle at his folks place for Christmas weekend. But I will see my mom and that is where it gets interesting. I plan on giving my mom her socks on Christmas Eve when it is just the four of us, mom, my girls, and me. Yup. That is in exactly 3 weeks. The socks I picked out are from my favorite sock book, Favorite socks, 25 Timeless patterns from Interweave. And her socks have a beautiful fair isle pattern on the large cuff which then turns into plain stockinette for the leg and foot. She asked me for them last year, but I was a newbie sock knitter and wasn't comfortable with fair isle yet. But I've gotten better, can do fair isle (see above) and am thrilled to be able to make these for her. But that means I need to have these socks finished in 3 weeks. And the knitting must be done when she isn't around. hmmmm....and here is where I am today with her socks.....

Yup, I think I'm in the phase of knitting delusion that the Yarn Harlot talks about. But man, I'm sure I can get it done! Stay tuned.....

Monday, December 1, 2008

Spinning 101

I took a spinning class a week ago and I'm thrilled. I tried to learn from a DVD but clearly I needed more interactive help than that. So I was frustrated trying to create something that looked remotely like yarn. When I saw the class at All About Yarn to learn on a drop spindle, I think I called to sign up within 2 minutes of receiving the email update of their classes. And it was great. The end result is that I can now spin something that resembles yarn. The first attempts resulted in lumpy bumpy yarn which we were corrected and told we had made "Designer Yarn" smile....whatever you call it, I was still proud of my efforts.

Lumpy bumpy it may be, it was still something I made. The drop spindle works quite well although I admit I'm not great about letting it remain spinning while I'm drafting etc and pinching the yarn to move the twist up. I tend to send it spinning and then clamping it between my knees while I work the twist up the roving. Maybe with more practice I will get more confident on that part.

So after working on half of the roving I had 3 balls of lumpy bumpy designer I started again and look what I ended up with this time!

This looks much closer to regular yarn to me! Still have sections that are lumpy than the rest, but I'm quite proud of this. There will definitely be more spinning in my future. I might have gone online to Etsy and purchased a couple more batches of 4 ounces of roving. smile....can't wait to get it and start spinning.

But in the mean time I have some Christmas knitting to take care of.

I'm about 2/3 done with the first mitten for my nephew's fiancee, Anna. Although my knitting was slowed this weekend because I tweaked my back. But I'm much better and think I can handle sitting for the amount of time I need to get some knitting done.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Christmas Knitting Begins

The craft fair went well I think. I was surprised that I sold all of my "expensive" knitting. The nice stuff, the good stuff, the stuff I was secretly hoping to take home with me for ME! Yup, that all sold. And sold fast. Even though I had the fingerless mitts I wanted in the back row, kinda hiding, they were snatched up in the first half hour. All the simple, inexpensive hats and scarves I made did not sell. They won't be wasted though, I'll keep a couple for our own hat basket at home and the rest will go to my church's warm and fuzzy gift wagon.

The biggest surpise I think was that very few of the ornaments went. I thought having things priced underr $8.00 would make them simple gifts for teachers etc. nope. Only a few sold. But that is fine as well. They will become MY girls teacher's presents and family presents. So nothing lost. And I like them, so I'm sure a few will end up on our own tree.

The biggest news I have is I've learned to drop spindle. I took a course at All About Yarn and I'm very happy with the result. I worked last night and spun up half of the 4 ounces I got of roving. My spinning has really improved. However, my plying has not. That is my big hurdle at the moment. But what I may do is go ahead and sping the rest of my roving and take it to help night on Monday at AAY and my teacher is there so maybe she can help me figure out what I'm doing wrong. But I fear I really REALLY like spinning. where can I stash ROVING!

Most of our family is coming to our house on Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to it. And more than anything I'm looking forward to a break from my hectic schedule. And finally FINALLY I get to start my Christmas knitting.....I think I'm just going to do 2 presents, a fair isle pair of mittens for my nephews finacee and a pair of fair isle socks for my mom. Seems to be a theme. I think that is pretty doable in a month. We will see if I'm up late on Christmas eve, weaving in ends!

I hope everyone has a safe and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pennies for Bella

I read a blog today, The Knitting Wannabe, ( and she had a story of a little girl who needs help. Her blog is much more eloquent than I am, but if you choose to donate some money to Bella's family, you have a chance to win some pretty darn nice yarn. I know the economy is scary, but if we all help just a little, maybe it will ease some pressure on Bella's family.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Santa's Workshop

As you can see I finished working on the Christmas ornaments for my craft fair on Friday. Give me beads and a hot glue gun and you better be moving fast or I'll slap you full of beaded glory. The girls helped a lot. They would plop on the glue, their favorite task, while I poured beads over the areas and risked several skin layers while I pushed and pulled and prodded the beads into different places amidst the hot glue puddles. But all in all, I think they turned out nicely. I have 27 of these done, about 15 wooden ornaments I painted and then used beads or glitter on as well.

I liked making the ornaments, it is something new for me. It will be interesting to see if they sell or not. If they don't they are fine gifts for the girls' teachers and for other family members at Christmas. I'm good with that. The same with my knitting. Anything that doesn't sell I donate at church, so others can get to experience the joys of hand knits. It makes me feel good anyway.
I've been fighting a cold and I may be losing. And I get to go to the dentist tomorrow. Yup, I know how to party.
Mom and I are looking at flat screened tvs, who knew there were so many options. Hopefully it will be picked out and installed (read hang from the wall) before Thanksgiving. That is our goal anyway.
I'll take pictures of the craft fair and let you know how everything went.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Crafty Weekend Ahead

Once again it will be crazy busy for us this weekend. My craft fair is next Friday, leaving me 6 days of working time left. Tonight I will work on more ornaments. Tomorrow Anna and I are painting at our church, finishing our shift at noon, home to pick up mom and Emily, off to get lunch (Chinese Buffet I think) and a hair appointment for mom. Then the rest of the afternoon and evening will be spent finishing the ornaments. Give me a hot glue gun, beads, and glass ornaments and I'm wicked good.

Sunday I hope to knit the mate to one mitten, or I will have to hope I find a one handed person interested in buying a lovely mitten. The same problem exists for a kid sock, I have one 90% done, down to the toes, so I will need a one footed toeless person in need of a striking blue sock.

So between now and next Friday morning I need to finish 20 ornaments, 1 mitten and one sock. And work full time, take a 4 hour CPR course THURSDAY night, take care of my girls and sleep. Yup, I can see that all working out oh so well.

Stay tuned....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Winter is fast I drove in to work with snow whipping around me. I even remembered to put the snow scraper in the van. (yes that was me last year, scrapping with a plastic card, not this year!) It also means it was time to bring out the basket of hats and mittens and scarves...we tossed a few mittens/gloves from last year. Nothing knitted, but the kind that works well for snow ball fights....or snowman building. Hopefully we won't have to use them for those two things quite yet. But we are ready. In the scarf box I found one of the first scarves I knit.
Please forgive the picture, it was taken last year, lovely office carpet don't you think? but talk about an amazing scarf. Kid Silk Haze....the softest, lightest scarf that I love to wind around my neck and burrow into while walking out to the snow covered car...creams, lavender, and deep purple....crazy choices, but I love them. The scarf is a keeper.
I have a craft fair next Friday at my old law firm. I enjoy gong back, visiting with old friends, hopefully selling enough to make it a fun Christmas for my family. I've got both knitted things, hats, mittens, scarves, and this year I tried working on ornaments. I bought wooden ornaments at Michaels, some glitter, beads and paint, and I have a regular Santa's workshop upstairs. Both my girls have helped. Anna made a great panda ornament. Panda's are her thing at the moment. Emily is the best glitter spreader around....I'm sure we will be finding glitter in the carpets months from now. I think tonight I'll finish working with the wooden ornaments and expand to adding beads to plain colored glass balls. I'll see if they sell. If they don't, we have gifts for cousins, teachers etc. Nothing will be wasted. I have donated the hats and mittens that don't sell to our church who gives them away to families that need some help. Best thing I can do I think.
Emily has had a couple doctor appointments re her surgery and upcoming cleft surgeries. My girl is one brave and tough cookie. The next couple years may be tough ones, but she is going to come out stronger. It is hard to explain why though to a six year old. I love my girls.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

Surprisingly enough we did not have to wait in line to vote. We were in and out in less than 15 minutes. I'm glad the election period is over, no matter what, I'm tired of the political ads and how many of the races have devolved into nastiness. I'm ready to move forward. Either way it is a historic election.

After talking with our doctor, I'm having my youngest scanned re Melamine issues. Emily came home from China a little over 4 years ago. However, notices are popping up in the adoption community that several kids in that age range have shown up with some issues attributed to Melamine. So one more test for my child. At least it is an easy one. Not expecting any problems, but want to be sure it is noted in her chart at least.

My knitting has slowed to a crawl it seems. And I need it to move knitting is fast approaching! I may need to revise my list, but I still mathematically believe I can do it. Stay tuned....I've been up before at midnight sewing the last stitches or quilting the last section of various gifts in the past, so I'm thinking knitting will be no different. smile....

Monday, November 3, 2008


My girls had such a good time on Halloween. The weather here in Minnesota was unusually mild. So they were actually able to go from house to house with no winter coat on over their costumes. It was Anna's last time for trick or treating, so we went all out on her costume....I absolutely loved her hat...reminded me of Professor McGonagal. And Emily just loved her little vampire costume, although I thought it had a disco bent to any event they were thrilled and much candy was had by all.

I went to TWO yarn shops this weekend. I know, I know, I said I was knitting my Christmas gifts from my stash. Well I decided on what socks to make my mom and they are Latvian and so I needed some specific solid or semi solid yarn to do the fair isle cuff section. So I went to the LYS closest to my home. I go there once in awhile, but it is not my favorite, but since I was going to be in the same parking lot to take my girls to see High School Musical 3, I thought I would try and hope they had the colors I wanted. Well no such luck. I literally have more sock yarn than they stock in their store. I went once before looking at their sock yarn and mentioned that I belonged to a sock of the month club, and the owner was surprised since wouldn't it get boring after awhile. after leaving, my girls thoroughly enjoyed the movie.

The second yarn shop was hit on Sunday after I took my oldest daughter out just the two of us to celebrate her 11th Gotcha Day celebration. 11 years ago on November 2, I was in a tiny crowded room in Chang Sha, China and a smiling, laughing little girl was placed in my arms. So we celebrate every year on their Gotcha day.....I truly was blessed when Anna was given to me. And again a long 7 years later when again I was given a little girl named Emily. My family was complete.....but I digress....I ran into my favorite yarn shop, two minutes before closing and Bobbi very graciously helped me find yarn that will be lovely for mom's Christmas socks.

I'll try to take pictures of my choices when I am home with daylight...with daylight savings changes not sure when that will be. So stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mitten issues and vacation yarn

So much for thinking I would get this posted right away. Oh well, so here we go with the stash enhancement I did while in Duluth and Grand Marais.

The first yarn is from the Yarn Harbor. I found a great squishy wool to use for a pair of Norwegian mittens for my nephews fiancee. The colors are a great chocolate brown, white, and strong aqua blue. I'll post pictures of the progress as I go along. Although they won't be started until after Thanksgiving. The pattern is called LoveBirds, to celebrate my nephew's recent engagement.

The next yarn is Lorna's Lace sock yarn which I found at Grand Marais at the Little Red House. That is my favorite yarn store I have found on my travels. It is truly located in a regular house that has been turned into a yarn shop. The house is vintage, the main room is the former parlor, the dining room is filled with yarns of all kinds. The house still has its kitchen, (now a store room) bathroom and bedrooms. Almost makes me wish I could live in it!

I really can't wait until I finish working on things for a craft fair I'm doing the week before Thanksgiving. I'm doing generic hats, scarves, and mittens. But it means I'm not working with my really "nice" yarns. I'm using my cost effective yarns and while they are nice, they are not AS nice as some of my other things. But looking at my good stash of sock yarns has my brain cooking with how much can I do in the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas!

I'm planning on making a pair of basic socks for my sister. A cable hat for my brother in law. Both Kyle and his Anna will get mittens. Not sure yet for Kristin, my niece, as she lives in Florida. Makes knitting more of an issue for her. But Christmas will be here sooner than I'm sure my needles will be ready for.
And on another front, I photoed some of my WIPS.

I made a pair of mittens for my youngest daughter. The colors are perfect, a strong red, green and black that reminds me of a watermelon. I finished the first mitten in record time, then the second mitten sat there, I started it again, and can you see see the problem?

Do you see the size difference? I know I changed from bamboo needles to metal needles, but swear the needle size was the same. However, as you can see the second mitten (still waiting for its thumb) is clearly SMALLER. this means I still have 2 mittens to make. One in the larger size and one in the smaller size before I will have a matching set of mittens. Thankfully I have plenty of yarn to make the additional pairs, but it wasn't what I had planned. but I do love the colors, and I especially like the ruffled cuff with the tight ribbing to keep cold and snow out of the hands.....

And something I'm really proud of, my first pair of Norwegian mittens and only my second stranded knitting project.

Again, you see a theme in my knitting of mittens, this too is waiting for its thumb!

Yesterday I heard from the Twist Collective, I wrote a little thing called a Yarn Hop Day in Minneapolis and sent it in to them and they are going to post it on their blog in the next month or so. I think it is fun and I'm excited about it.

I'm trying to post here every few days, but with working full time and getting my mom and girls to all their various activities after work makes things a bit challening. And then since my plate clearly wasn't full enough, I also took a part time job at our church in the nursery. Just a few hours each week, but I figure the extra money sure won't hurt and after being responsible and using most of the new "extra" money for bills etc, I will be using a smaller portion of it for yarn! How can I not?

Stay tuned....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fall on the North Shore

We had a great weekend up north. Today will be the scenic pictures as I didn't yet take pictures of the stash enhancing I did this weekend as well.

The weather was perfect, cool, sunny, and just right for wandering Lake Superior looking for perfect rocks and wood to build treasures.

We took a cruise of the Duluth Harbor and nearby bays, windy, gray day.

One of my favorite things we did while in Grand Marais was to walk out to the Lighthouse along the cement barriers created to protect the harbor. You can see the people walking along the tops to get out to the lighthouse. It is reasonably wide enough except when you meet and have to pass people as you are coming and they are going. The girls are surefooted as goats, me, not so much. But there we went, and the view was spectacular and worth the moments of sheer terror as you look down and see waves lapping over jagged rocks...

Trying to keep the girls from hopping down and scrambling out on to the rocks was a big goal of mine. We did find places we could jump down and know we could get back up without struggling.

But it was worth it. The views are spectacular, makes me feel small and reminds me how vast our world is, even my little part of it.
So until tomorrow when I hope to have the yarn photographed, take a final look at this....and if you are near enough to come visit, make Grand Marais a spot to go. It is wonderful year around. Summer and fall offer hiking, biking, and camping. Winter takes on a whole different kind of beauty. And Spring reminds you why you live in the Northern Wilds of Minnesota.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Weekend of fun ahead

Thanks to the MEA school holdiay on Thursday and Friday, the girls and mom and I are heading up north tomorrow for some fun. The leaves should be glorious as we travel from Minneapolis to Duluth and then on to Grand Marais. Trying to find things that are fun for an age span of 6 - 76 can be a bit of a challenge, but I think we are set. We will get to Duluth tomorrow around noon, find a nice place for lunch, check into the Edgewater Resort (waterpark - fun for 6 and 11 year old), room facing Lake Superior (fun for 76 year old) and a mere 1.6 miles from Yarn Harbour (fun for ME). Our first big adventure will be a 1 1/2 hour cruise on Lake Superior (why does the theme song from Gilligan's Island keep floating through my brain?) will take place tomorrow afternoon. Then an evening of water splashing fun for the girls and me. Friday's plans are more loosey goosey, it may be rainy, so possibly the Aquarium or Imax Theater will be fit inbetween visits to the water park at the hotel. And finally on Saturday we will head farther up the lake shore to Grand Marais. I love this small town, snugged into the shores of Lake Superior. Vast expanses of water, trees, rocks, and air. We don't get there nearly enough. Sunday will be the long drive back home, with everyone but me snoozing in the car. Plenty of pictures will be posted upon our return.

Of course I have not packed or even thought about what the girls and I will need other than our suits for the waterpark. So there will be laundry done tonight and packing straight out of the dryer into the suitcase. This alone will ensure that clean clothes will be available for the trip. We will also need some hats and mittens as the weather will be cool and with the breeze off of the lake, it will feel cold.

While I have not packed clothes, I have figured out what my knitting projects will be. I'm bringing two socks, one is a second sock that is torturing me. It is a plain brown stockinette and it is taunting me, never seemingly will it be finished. The other is a much prettier blues kid sock that I'm sure will be finished before the mocking brown sock will be!

And who knows what new yarn will sing its siren song to me at Yarn Harbour that will easily shove that measly brown sock aside. Mock me indeed! And if I'm really lucky, I'll be able to squeeze a trip into the Little Red House at Grand Marias, another lovely little yarn shop.

So a well deserved fun weekend is ahead....stay tuned for pictures!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Wild Ride Friday

Trying not to pay attention to the stock market, sorta reminds me of the Chicken Little story and seeing people running around holding their heads, screaming the sky is falling, the sky is falling! I realize for some people that just may be what is happening.

Through all the upheaval I remind myself, I'm blessed. I have a job. I have my girls. I have a safe place for us to live. Thanks to my mom's shopping skills, we have enough food to eat in our house that if we did not go shopping for a month, we would survive. Of course we wouldn't have milk or eggs after a short while, but we would survive. So even as I moan over the stock losses, I well realize many people are dealing with much harder things than I am.

Tonight, Anna heads off for her first over night church retreat. I will snuggle in and play some games with Emily before knitting and falling asleep....hopefully not clutching needles...tomorrow we will drive for a family get together before returning home to pick up Anna. All things considered, a nice weekend.

So I will stop listening to the Chicken Little's of the world, hug my family, watch my pennies, and knit from my stash. I can live with that.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I'm excited....I'm going to take a drop spindle class at my local yarn store, All About Yarn, The class is in November and the best part is my nephew will watch my girls for me all day, so I'm going to also try and go see a movie that day. Doesn't get much better than that, spinning, yarn, and a movie. Pretty darn near perfect.

I'm starting to plot Christmas gifts. I'm leaning towards socks and mittens in all shapes and sizes. I've made fingerless gloves before and they worked well. I made these cabled mitts for my sister last year.

I also made these brown mitts for both my BIL and nephew. They were made from Silky Wool, I loved how they looked rustic but still felt nice against your skin.

This year I'm hoping to do some Scandinavian type mittens....a new challenge for me.

In an effort to be able to do some stealth sock knitting, we told family members that my oldest daughter had a math problem. We said she had to find out each person's foot size by tracing them on a sheet of paper, add up the total inches in length and divide by the number of people to get the average foot size of our family. So everyone gladly had their foot traced on paper and sent it to her. Which gives me the perfect way to make socks that should fit nicely. smile.....I'll let you know how that works out.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Party at our house

Saturday was a beautiful fall day in MN. And the best part was celebrating at our house with our family including my niece Kristin who lives in Florida. She was here for the weekend to run in the Twin Cities marathon with her brother, Kyle and his fiancee Anna. (They all ran and completed the cold drizzly race on Sunday.) We only see Kristin a couple times a year so it was a happy houseful of family.

On November 2 is Anna's 11th gotcha day, the day we celebrate that is the anniversary of when she was placed in my arms in China, so we will do something extra special this year, just the two of us....I haven't decided what it is yet, but will come up with something fun.

I was pretty tired out on Sunday and for the first time in a very long spent a lazy afternoon, knitting some on a spiral hat (free pattern at Ravelry, called Odessa, designed by Gumperina). I finished it Sunday night, turned out good. Will make some both for church gifts and regular presents.

We are going to go up north in a couple weeks for a long weekend, we will stay in Duluth for 2 nights, I'm going to look for a yarn shop there and possibly see what I can find maybe in Superior. Then one night in Grand Marais, where I hope to go back to the Little Red House, a neat yarn shop I found on our last visit. Hopefully between time in the water park with the girls and driving through the pretty scenery, there will be time for knitting....

The weather has turned so I can start wearing my hand knit socks I worked on during the summer. I'm ready to repair any as needed as I found a wooden darning egg and some directions on line for repairing heels etc...I am going to reinforce several of the heels prior to wearing them, as that is where I have worn through my first pair I made last year. I wore them a lot last year, hoping to help out the wearability both by having more pairs to rotate through as well as better choices in sock yarn.

In these times of financial uncertainties, I think it is interesting I'm going back to things that were regular everyday chores back in the 30's during another financial crisis, knitting socks, darning socks instead of throwing things away and buying more. Instead I'm trying to be more frugal, reusing what I can, not being as quick to toss things aside. I think a really good habit to get into....although I don't think I'm going to go as far as washing out plastic bread bags or washing aluminum foil and reusing it several times. I remember my grandma doing both of those things. I also remember her never using a dryer, but would hang the laundry out almost all year round, sometimes when it was so cold that the jeans and overalls of my grandpa would be stiff as a board when they came in from the winter cold. Then they all needed to be ironed before wearing. I do like most of my things to go through the dryer. I may get one of the wooden drying racks though, and see what I can do to reduce our items that we put through the dryer. Easily will work for my hand knit socks and I'm sure once I start with it I can find other good uses for it.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Yarn Hop and Birthday lunch

One of the nicest treats I can think of is taking a good friend to a birthday lunch and then browsing through not one, but TWO yarn shops. Sunday found my friend Ellen and I eating at a lovely restaurant (translates to having a menu and not ordering by a number) then traveling to two wonderful yarn shops. The first shop was Amazing Threads, where the store was packed with so many yummy yarns it was almost too hard to pick something out. Almost....I found a great lace weight, from Mountain Colors Yarns, the picture below does not do it justice...the colors are more vibrant and deep. It is truly beautiful and once the Christmas rush is done I will plot and plan what I'm going to make with it that is deserving of such beauty.

This is Winter Lace from Mountain Colors. The colors are deep purples, blues and a bit of a rusty orange, it is called Marias Falls, 50% Wool and 50% Silk....1200 yards of lace.

Amazing Threads was filled with knitters. The first conversation overhead was someone "lusting" after some sock yarn. We all laughed as we agreed it was a common feeling. Then as I placed 2 skeins of yarn on the counter, I was offered a basket to carry around, I quickly said NO! using the feeble logic that with a basket in hand I would fill it (and empty my pocket book) with more yarn than I could carry with just my hands. As I wandered around the corner, I hear the same offer being made to another knitter whose hands were full of yarn, only to hear her reply with a gasp, OH YES! I NEED a basket.....and more laughter ensued.....

Then we traveled to Needlework Unlimited. This is a chock a block full store, I can wander up and down, side to side and still not see everything. The employees are friendly and nice. I look forward to coming here, but it is only once in a while since they are over a bit too far from my house for a regular habit to form. But when I do expand my journeys, this is where I like to go. I also found a different weight yarn there from Mountain Colors

This called Mountain Goat, Juniper is its is 55% Mohair and 45% Wool with 230 yards. But I just had a great time. I found wonderful yarn in amazing colors and can't wait until I can dive into a new project....

Friday, September 26, 2008

2009 Year of Lace

I listen to Lime and Violet's podcast. They talked about a new club....2009 Year of Lace. It sounds fabulous....the cost is a bit out of my budget at the moment, but oh, man it looks wonderful.....I've added their button on the side and here is the link look...and dream.....I'm still thinking about it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A new violin

Last night my Anna went to school where we picked out a violin for her to play in orchestra. She is so excited. Doesn't matter that she doesn't know how to play it yet, her face glowed as she stroked the lovely wood of the "refurbished " (read used) violin. I'm happy she wants to learn and I'm happy they have a reasonable method of renting instruments. If it turns into a true passion, I will find a way to buy her a good violin. If it is used happily to play in school, renting is the way to go. She is already talking about her upcoming concerts in December. She already can play piano so that may help the learning curve. We will see.

Emily is healing beautifully from her surgery. I'm so happy we are over that hurdle and nothing new needs to happen until next summer. The people at Children's hospital were all wonderful to us but I'm glad we don't have to go back until summer.

My knitting is slowing at the worst possible time. I have a craft fair in 6 weeks. I sell baby socks, hats, scarves and mittens. I try and use up my left over sock yarn, it helps pay for the yarn, and the timing of the show helps me pay for Christmas gifts. The last couple weeks have been heavy with family medical stuff and I've been so tired at night, I'm lucky to do a couple rounds on a sock or a simple rolled brim hat. I'll keep working. I'll update with pictures soon of the craft fair items.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Emily did great and got through her surgery fine. She has had very little pain which is wonderful...she even agreed to model a hat I finished a while ago...

I was really proud of her. I knit on her sister's socks while I sat in the waiting room. But I wasn't able to concentrate very easily....but all is well now.

Anna is modeling another hat I made, I got the pattern from smariek's blog at She has many lovely patterns and great ideas....

The yarn for Anna's hat was a stash busting effort, I used some old Caron So Soft and paired it with a no name lace weight fuzzy yarn...the result was incredibly soft and with a slight fuzzy halo. It will be well used this winter.
I'm going to try and get several of my finished items posted and then track my current WIP's. How long can it still be classified as a WIP and not an UFO? hmmmmmm

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Today brought a dramatic temperature shift from yesterday's 90 degrees high humidity....which means only one thing! It just may be time to bring out the hand knit socks!

These are currently my favorite pair, waiting for cooler temps....

Not only is this blog a new adventure for me, today was the first day of middle school for A, and the first day of first grade for E. So I wait until they get home to call me about their first day.
The newness of middle school can be daunting. I hope A's teachers can see my shining girl. I wait at work for a phone call, telling me she navigated the hallways successfully to each of her classes....that she was able to work the lock on her locker... that she found friends to eat lunch with. All the things that are so scary to her.
And for E, newly in first grade, I hope her teacher can see past her shyness and find my funny, smart, giggly girl who is so ready to learn.
Tonight when I'm knitting on my lacy cowl, my light providing a night light for A to fall alseep with and E already tucked in, I will repeat my prayer that they find their way in the newness of their schools. And that this year is one of challenges and fun.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Beginning

Well, I'm going to start on a new adventure. I've been knitting for about 2 years now and it has become something I long to do more and more. This will be a recording of the journey. I have two daughters, A, 11, and E, 6. I work full time for a medical device company. My mother lives with my girls and I. Together we have blended into a multi-generational family. Our pug Gadget rounds out our life.
The socks I'm showing I'm calling my garage sale socks as I completed the first one while sitting in our garage trying to sell more of our things.
Socks are currently one of my favorite things to do. They are the perfect take a long project and I try to always have one in my bag. I usually have 2 different socks going, not because of second sock syndrome, but rather, I need a plain stockinette pair to be able to pick up and put down at any time and another one that has a pattern that I need to follow. Memorizing patterns is not one of my strong points! At least not yet. I clearly need to work on my picture taking skills. But for now, it will work...soon enough, I won't be able to take them outside, since fall has started here...
For now, I need to get A and E ready for bed. Tomorrow is a big day, E starts first grade and A starts middle school. Stay tuned...

This is a work in progress. I'll be adding pictures, keeping track of my WIPs and see where it leads.