Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thank You Secret Pal!

I love my new mug!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another Question for Pals

So what is your absolute, most- favorite knitting book? And which, if any, would you like to own someday?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What do you all think?

So, as you all know, I lurve etsy. I am completely enamored with hand-made goods. And I love to support folks who make a living being creative. If I could do it, I would.


I think this is just dumb. What do you think? $12 for that?

Now this, from the same artisan, I think is cute and probably useful. Especially if you like tea (like I do).

Friday, January 25, 2008

Thanks, Secret Pal!

Just wanted to say thank you to my Secret Swapper for the lovely bunch of blank notecards that I received in the mail today! As you can see, they are all different shapes and sizes and really pretty!

These will come in handy! Thanks so much!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Questions about beverages

A few of us have mentioned being fond of coffee or tea, and I figured it would be nice to have all of our preferences in one place to make things easier for our secret pals. :)

Please answer (in the comments to this post) the following questions:

What kind of coffee do you like? (Fully loaded or decaf? Flavored or unflavored? Any particular roasts?)

What kind of tea do you like? (Fully loaded or decaf? Black or herbal? Any particular varieties?)

And not to assume that everyone here is keen on coffee or tea...

Are you especially fond of any non-coffee/non-tea beverages? (Hot chocolate? Certain beers? Particular wine varieties? Juices? Sparkling waters?)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

What a sweet surprise!

OHMYGOSH, this secret pal thing is so nice! We just got back from Kate's
5th birthday party at the bowling alley and I went to get the mail.
It included a card for Kate. It was from my secret pal! I can't tell
you how *touched* I was. Secret Pal, thank you so very much. That was
such a sweet gesture.

enjoy your weekend, everyone. Again, SP, thank you so much!


Friday, January 18, 2008

Thanks Secret Pal!!!

When I came home today from picking up my girl from school, I found these lovely plants and a sweet card. There's a crocus for me and an African violet for Buttons (as I call her on my other blog). On a snowy day, a few flowers really help to cure the wintertime blues. What a thoughtful and warm gift. Thanks Secret Pal!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Circular knitting question!

Hi, everyone!

Looks like I am not going to make it to knitting tonight. It's just too nasty outside for me to make the trek.

But I do have a question that I hope one of you guys can help me with about circular knitting.

So I am knitting my second pair of socks. And I saw a pattern that I'd like to use on the leg part. However, the pattern is written for straight knitting, not knitting in rounds. I learned this the hard way by knitting a few rounds in this pattern and looking at the sock, then going ""

So, what can be done to adapt this pattern to function in the round as opposed to back & forth knitting?

With a number of stitches that is a variable of 2 +1 (so for my sock it would be either 53 or 55),

Row 1: K1 *YO, K2 repeat until end
Row 2: P1 *P3, PFSO (pass first stitch over) repeat until end
Row 3: *K2, YO repeat until last stitch, K1
Row 4: *P3, PFSO repeat until last stitch, P1

Would it work if I just knit wherever it calls for purl?

Thank you, Secret Pal

This week the girls got mail from my secret pal. My SP wrote each a handwritten note and facts/lore about sheep! "Do you think sheep really ride scooters and wear hats?"

This morning A. saw her card displayed in the bowl of clemintines and said "Is that my card? I better hold it."

The girls were thrilled to get mail! What a nice touch. Thanks, SP.

Not really resolutions

I'm slow to the 2008 resolution posting but thought I'd share my
plans for the year.

First, I have a LOT of yarn at home. Most of it was bought for a
particular project. Looking through the stash, I still love most
of those projects.

This year, I will finish some of the almost-completed-UFOs. I
have more of them than I realized. They include 2 sweaters for
me. One of the two just need sleeves and MINIMAL finishing.
The other is a Kaffe Fassett intarsia project that'd be more
involved BUT that I'd LOVE to wear when done. The list also
includes at least 2 almost-completed winter hats and several
pairs of gloves or mittens. These are small things that should be
completed more quickly.

Here's the biggee, though. Pat, are you reading this?
...........I vow to make significant progress on my TKGA Master
Knitter designation this year. I've done most of the swatches
and reading/research/writing. I've bought yarn for a sweater
and hat and have ideas for both. I just need to knock that
out. Pat, are you with me???? :)

with you guys cheering me on, I'm sure I can get it done!
(she typed with new-year's-enthusiasm!)

happy knitting!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Info for my secret pal

I can't seem to think creatively today so will use Marsha's two older questionnaires as guidelines about my likes and dislikes.

Non-knitting first:
At home I usually drink decaf coffee black (though will sometimes have high test before 2 p.m.). When I'm out, sometimes add Splenda and nonfat milk. At home I drink unflavored coffee. At Wawa, I often get Hazelnut if I'm adding Spenda and milk.

I also drink tea, but have enough for quite a few years to come.

I'm not into candles, bath products, etc.

My favorite music is classical, folk and "oldies but goodies."

I don't wear many scarves or hats, but do wear gloves and mittens.

I don't have an ongoing sweet tooth (only an occasional craving), but do love ice cream. I like my ice cream and other foods plain. I do like salty snacks such as chips and pretzels.

I like to wear fun earrings and rings.

I have two cats (Inky is 18 and Jessica is closing in on 15).

My birthday is in August (am a Leo).

Knitting related:
I posted my favorite colors as a comment to Marsha's question.

Except when I'm knitting for children, I prefer natural fibers like wool, silk, alpaca. My favorite yarn is Koigu and I like to blend their colors (like with mill ends).

I don't have a favorite thing to knit. Like most things in my life, I like variety. Since I'm on the go a lot, I like to take small things (such as socks) when traveling.

I don't like straight needles, only circulars or double-pointed. I have a hanging canvas gizmo for the circulars and keep the double pointed ones in three-hole punched plastic bags in a loose leaf binder.

There's nothing I have a burning desire for right now.

Hopefully, this will help my secret pal.

Ruth S.

Another question for our swap!

What is your favorite yarn to work with and are there any yarns in particular that you've been dying to try?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Getting To Know Each Other

I feel lucky to be a part of such an interesting and diverse group of women who genuinely
enjoy each other's company. I enjoy getting to know everyone better through the lists of

Not in any particular order, I'll make my list my first blog post. They include:
- a given here. I like all kinds from very challenging to brainless
Chocolate - dark
Coffee - also dark, black, flavored or not
Live Performances - concerts, theater, etc.
Water - the ocean, baths in the winter, swimming in the summer, the sound of water..........
Reading - I wish I kept up with my book club better. I'm currently enjoying "Pillars of the Earth" for the second time while looking forward to Follet's next almost-1000-pager, it's sequel. Mark gave me "Number Knitting" for Christmas which is THE gift I've asked for for a few years.
Friends and Family - I cherish our group and love it when I can spend time with folks.
Nativities and Christmas trees
- an eclectic mix of folk, 70s and 80s rock, old-time gospel, reggae, and almost anything live.
Antique Stores - I love old copper (and have a number of old copper knitting "holders")
Cuff Links and Funky Socks - some of the ways to personalize and differentiate while still wearing traditional, classic business clothes.

Also, I finished the Kathryn Alexander Color on Color Scarf today! I'm going to block it as soon as I quit typing! Elizabeth, I only have about 2 inches left on my afgan strip so I hope to finish it tonight, as well.

Enjoy the snow this evening -- safe and warm at home!

more than you wanted to know about Elizabeth

Hmmmm. . . no camera capability yet, so I can't do an appealing artsy shot like Pat's. (I think I'd need a few years of practice anyway, so that's just as well.)

OK, secret pal, here are answers to questions. You all know I like knitting! And I have a lot of stuff, and plenty to share, but that doesn't mean I don't like new things. . . I confess to serial abuse of my Jo-Ann Fabric coupons in the book section, so I already have pretty much everything that I want, so I'd advise steering clear of that. I like smooth yarns more than textured or fluffy yarns (although KidSilk Haze is highly acceptable). And, like Marsha, I'd never reject Koigu. . .Natural fibers. And please! No sock yarn, unless it's something new and wonderful. Lantern Moon straight single-pointed needles, 10-inch length, ebony preferred, sizes 4 and 7, are high on my list of wants. . .

I don't collect anything.

Favorite colors? I'm hopelessly out of style. I love virtually all shades of red, green, and blue; most purples; and nearly all grays. Cannot abide mustard tones. Take them away!!!! I prefer clear and "jewel" tones rather than spice tones, but I do recommend that all of you get a good look at Kristin Knits, by Kristin Nicholas (I'll try to bring it on Thursday). If I could start with an empty house, I'd design it to look a lot like Carl Larsson -- or maybe Simon Pearce -- had drawn it.

I love to read. Favorite book is The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver. I'm a good cook, but I find that the kind of cooking you have to do every single day is very wearing. I own loads of cookbooks.

Favorite music? Bach, hands down. Also, Cuban, Cajun, Celtic, Franco-American, folk in general; Renaissance [the era], lots of jazz but not the Sun Ra kind, um. . . . Self-indulgent singer songwriters? uh-uh. I like to sit at folk festivals and knit.

Favorite place to be? On the beach, preferably in Maine but any beach will do, especially in the winter.

I like most teas, and I love coffee. But never, ever dark roast. And not flavored -- cinnamon coffee makes me feel like I have dirt in my mouth, and all the others are just too sweet. Yup, I drink it black. I like mild, full coffee flavors. Ground for a Melitta drip filter.

Preferred chocolate? I know I'm "supposed" to express a preference for dark chocolate, but alas, I like milk chocolate better. I know, I'm terminally unhip. Best? One dark Wilbur bud and one milk chocolate Wilbur bud, eaten at the same time.

Fragrances? Can't use scented candles -- Bill is highly allergic. I do buy handmade soaps to fulfill my need for things that smell good. Favorite types of scents would be in the lavender/rosemary/lemon range. I loathe patchouli. The only floral scent I like -- and I love it -- is rose.

Gina, forgive me, but I'm not fond of cats. . .

If I were to pick the animals on my totem pole, they'd be elephant, penguin, flamingo, polar bear, frog, and rabbit. I'm sure this says something very odd about me.

Enough, already, Elizabeth -- how long do you think these people are going to keep reading??

P.S. One more thing -- if you are my giftee, you know I live in a different area. How shall I surprise you without revealing my zip code? I work during the day, and Bill's not home until late at night, so sneaking out to leave things on your doorstep isn't gonna work for me. . .

Saturday, January 12, 2008

this secret pal business is creating interesting outlets and ways to find out interesting things about all of us. our knitting group is very interesting in its people and its dynamics. and i love it. i can't repeat often enough how grateful i am to be a part of this group. being with the group has never failed to lift my spirits. i have never felt judged or pressured or any of the other not-so-nice feelings that i often get in other groups. it is just pure fun. THANK YOU.

to answer the questions, i love earthy tones. my stable colors are brown and green. when i evented with my domino i rode in beige and hunter green and managed to find halters and blankets in those colors for my horse. now i only ride dressage, no jumping, and they're rather stuffy about only wearing black and white (if i ever get back into competition). but i love all variations of those earthy tones and purples. yet my closet is full of reds and blacks. go figure. orange is not a real good color for me.

i have a penchant for collecting just about anything. if i find something i love i keep getting more of it. i discovered tea and have a cabinet full of so many different flavors. but i enjoy them. i do have a small but nice collection of snuff bottles. my uncle's partner gave me one for some reason and then i found a couple on my trip to scotland. when jim died, he left me his snuff bottle collection. they're all rather oriental in style, jade and cloisenet (sp?) and my favorite is carved cinnabar. other than dusting them and thinking of jim each time i do - i was going to say they're rather useless but making me remember jim gives them great meaning.

i also collect animals but i'm trying to give that up because i'll need a kennel license soon.

when i live my perfect life it will be filled with lots of knitting - using up my stash - lots of walks with my dogs and rides with my horse all on my own 5-8 acres near the mountains with incrdible views, lots of curling up with a good book and not falling asleep, lots of opportunities to play games (i love cribbage, backgammon, bridge, trivial pursuit board games, but don't really know anyone else who does), lots of time to watch old movies and garden, lots of time to watch ballets preferrably with my daughter on the stage, and not a court reporting machine in sight.

A visit from my secret pal!

I was out all day today, and when I got home a little after 7 p.m. there was a package from my secret pal waiting for me on the porch!

I love this clear zippered tote with handles--it is really going to come in handy for organizing and carrying works in progress. And these two skeins of yarn are lovely! I think they will be very nice on the needles. Thanks so much!

What shall I do with this fabulous yarn? Suggestions, anyone?

(Secret pal, can you tell me anything about this yarn? If you like, you can put an anonymous comment to this post with the info.)

Another question for our secret pal swap

Do you collect anything (besides yarn) ?

Secret Pal Information

Hi, Secret Pal'ing is fun, especially with a group like you!

I know that you know that I like to knit. But did you also know that I like to play games (cards, cribbage, board games) and work jigsaw puzzles. There's nothing like the feel of a brand new deck of cards in my hands! I like to walk, take a deep breath of fresh air, rake leaves, make snow angels, fly kites, pick up sea shells, skip rocks and stop for pedestrians in front of grocery stores.

I try not to accumulate too much stuff. That being said, I do collect cookie cutters. I'm trying to decide where I could post my database of all the coookies cutter shapes I own, any ideas Marsha?

Some of my favorite munchies are cashews, Frito-lay brand crunchy Cheetos, chocolate and pie - I won a pie eating contest in college and my birthday "cake" is usually a pie!

I avoid some things: smoke, mint, coffee, white chocolate, perfumy scented candles and shellfish. I like little things like pens, papers, notecards, pretty napkins and the Cooper Mini!

I hope this helps.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A question for our secret pal swap

Hello there, Just Knitters!

Here's a question for our secret pal swap. If you're participating in this swap, please leave your response in the comments to this post (where they'll be easy for your swap partner to find!). And if you're not participating in this swap, feel free to leave your response here anyway--it's fun to get to know more about everyone in this group!

What are your favorite colors?
What colors do you dislike?

My list for our secret pal swap

Since we don't have a formal questionnaire for our secret pal swap, I'll just point you to the questionnaires I've done for the last two swaps I participated in. They include lots of info that might be useful to my upstream pal. (And I know that it's Katie...I mean make that Linda...or Ann...maybe it was Beth...)

The questionnaire for SP11 (which ended two months ago) isn't totally up to date. For example, I've since acquired two of the books I mentioned in #20. And #16 is no longer true, too, because I now own my own swift and winder. (Gina rocks! But you all knew that already...)

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Some of my Favorite Things...

I know we all agreed to let our secret pals know if we have any allergies, kind of clue them in to things we like and don't like. I'm allergic to cats, molds, mildew and dust and I just don't like mustard or mayonaise. I think that's about it for negative stuff.

It was nice making a list of all the things I like; it was easier than I thought. Tomorrow is my birthday and I had some time on my hands today so I worked on a still life of my favorite things. Couldn't cram everything I like into one photo but I covered lots of it.

I like so much stuff it was hard to figure out where to start but here goes in no particular order:

  • My family (a given) and my friends
  • Knitting (duh) and all things knitting! Note to secret buddy - I probably own everything I will ever need but still covet new yarns and stuff.
  • Hiking and taking walks in new places...for that matter I don't mind walking around my neighborhood.
  • Photography (Anyone willing to pose for me? Anyone willing to have their kids pose for me?? Family shoot???)
  • Easy Crossword Puzzles, I work the one in the Daily Local News every day. On the days I finish the puzzle I feel like a genius!
  • Coffee and Tea (decaf only, yawn)
  • Eating out (especially lunch with dear friends)
  • Sappy Movies
  • Murder Mysteries
  • Sugar Cookies (well all cookies but sugar are my all time favorites)
  • Candles & Soaps
  • Snow
  • Dark Chocolate covered Carmel, Swedish Fish and those gummy frogs with the white bottoms

I'm pretty sure there's a lot of other stuff I like but this is a back to my knitting.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

2008 Knitting "Resolutions"

Well, I started to think about what I would resolve to do by way of knitting in 2008. And there are things I really want to do and hope to do, but there are only a couple things that I can firmly resolve to do. (I think!)

  • First and foremost, I totally agree with Ann: that I will make knitting a part of my life every day, even if it means just tidying up my yarn supply or organizing my needles.
  • More socks. I have acquired a lot of sock yarn in the last year. And after completing that first pair of socks (finally), I've decided that I actually LIKE knitting socks. Especially after I discovered the joys of Addi Turbos. So, that said, I cast-on a second pair of socks while in Illinois on Friday of last week (visiting Todd's sister) and got cranking on them. I am doing the gussets now. I don't think I can commit myself to a pair-a-month, but I do hope to get several pairs of socks done by the end of 2008.
  • Knit the cashmere stuff for me. As most of you know, I got this awesome cream-colored cashmere yarn back in November. I am going to make a scarf and some-sort-of-head-covering set for myself with the yarn. The scarf will most likely be this one, which is the same pattern as that fabulous purple one that Elizabeth knit. Head covering, ah, not so sure. Possibly a hat but I was also thinking a Calorimetry or some other sort of head-band thingie to cover my ears. I find that most hats overwhelm me.
  • Finish my mom's knit kimono. It's in merino wool, so hopefully before it gets hot here! I've got a good portion of the back panel done. It's just a lot of repetitive knitting, so my hands get tired.
  • Knit what will forevermore be called "Marsha's Sweater." Back over the summer, Marsha discovered this sweater pattern in a magazine of Rowan patterns. It's a lovely, wrap-tie sweater in a lattice pattern. Very detailed. Well, we decided that this would be the sweater we make for ourselves. I did some web surfing and found the yarn at a fairly decent price (Rowan Kid Classic). Of course, the pattern also calls for a non-US needle size, so I went and found those too (Size 10.75). Marsha knit her gauge swatch already. I have been a total Slacky McSlackerdoodle about getting my swatch done. But I RESOLVE to get it done. Honestly, the pattern makes me a little nervous. I feel that it is quite an undertaking for me, as it will be my first adult-sized real sweater. However, since I have a friend to commiserate with on it, I think I might just be ok. ;-)
So there you go!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Knitting Resolutions for 2008!

Elizabeth asked last week about our resolutions for 2008. I've been stewing on this since she asked and I finally came up with a few. In 2007 I set my sights on knitting a pair of socks per month. I've got five pairs to show for it so I think I'd better aim a little lower this year! Well here goes:

  1. I'm going to finish my blue sweater. It's been sitting in the "basket o' shame" for well over a year and it's time it was done. I do think I may have to lose ten pounds or so for it to fit me so part of this resolution is to have the darn thing fit me by the time I finish it...I may have to take my sweet time finishing it!

  2. Along the lines of finishing things, years ago I started a lace sampler and this year I'm going to finish it. I love knitting on it but when you set it down it's a struggle to know where to start again and when you knit on it you really have to pay attention. I do love long rows of mindless knitting, however; 2008 is my year to finish the lace sampler.

  3. Lastly, on my knitting resolutions list is to knit socks again this year with Elizabeth. This year I'm setting my goal at 6 pairs of socks or one single sock per month. Seems resonable as I finished five pairs last year.

I do plan to continue knitting for folks in need and I know that Elizabeth will continue to bring projects to my attention!