Sunday, December 31, 2006

more fun with Larissa

I'm taking time out from my Argosy to do another test knit for Larissa. This time it's favorite! Using Manos del Uruguay, they knit up very quickly and will be toasty warm. Mine are in colorway #113, Wildflowers.

Socks 101
[Click here for more photos.)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

For Me??!

My SP9 pal sent me three balls of gorgeous green Royal Bamboo in November. Through the holidays and all the gift knitting I've been doing for others, in the back of my mind I've been contemplating all the options for what this beautiful yarn can become. It is so soft and "drapey" that it really yearns to be something special.

In the current issue of Knitty, I found THE pattern. The Argosy scarf is lacy, but not too fru-fru. The lace design is simple enough to memorize, yet gives enough challenge that it's not boring. Here's how it's going after one ball. Thank you, Pal!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Here's to new family members!

I think this may have been the sweetest part of our Christmas celebration... I finally got to meet my Great Niece, Hailey.

More new family members: Dan's fiance, Terri and her daughter, Krystle. Welcome!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

...all wrapped up and ready to go....

Yesterday was an all-day driving event. I went up to pick up Mom and bring her down for the family Christmas festivities. We got in at about ten pm and I was exhausted. But greeting me were two things that made my heart dance little dog, Latte....she's ALWAYS happy to see me.

And my pile of wrapped knitting gifts ready to give! I am so glad I finished this earlier. Our family will be getting together today to celebrate. I can't wait to see if they love their gifts as much as I did making them.

Merry Christmas to you and yours! Have a blessed holiday.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....


if you are a family member or friend that may be exchanging gifts with me this Christmas!

If you do, I will haunt you wearing this....


I guess I surpassed my limits of photos on this page. Instead of giving you hit and miss broken links, I've set up a photo album of my handmade gifts. Take a look!

Click Me

Monday, December 18, 2006

Happy to Me!

Yesterday was my birthday. Originally, I had planned a low-key, stay-at-home day. This time of year is just about impossible to get friends together. Everyone is going in different directions, so I really didn't put much energy into it.

However, a friend from work (whose birthday is also this week!) changed all that. We spent most of the day in downtown Portland, doing a little shopping, sipping hot beverages in Pioneer Square in the sunshine (!), watching dancers under the Christmas tree, and listening to The Dickens Carolers in the mall. We topped it off with a wonderful meal at Macaroni Grill where we were serenaded by an beautiful young woman whose operatic voice gave the best rendition of the birthday song ever! And in Italian!!

What a great day! The weather was perfect and the friendship was spectacular! It was a truly special birthday. Thank you, Holly! And Happy Birthday to YOU!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I am so spoiled...!!! I have the greatest Secret Pal! I still haven't told you about the wonderful box of goodies she already sent. (More about that in a minute.)

Today, I got an early birthday gift...delivered!! I happened to be home with a yucky cold, so was here to receive it myself. Delicious chocolate-dipped apple wedges from Edible Arrangements. Yummmmy!! So, it's feed a cold....right??

Now, back to the first box... I haven't taken photos yet, but trust me...they're bee-you-tee-fulll! Her first ever felting project is now my favorite bag! She also included silk roses, chocolate, several knitting patterns, and three skeins of Royal Bamboo in a gorgeous green. I'm still dreaming of all the possibilities. Thank you, Pal. I feel wonderfully spoiled.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

No, I'm not hibernating...

I'm still here! I know it's cliche, but where does the time go? No, really... where does it go? Between work, making a few gifts, home life, and trying to find a minute to trim my toenails, I looked up, and it's only a couple of weeks of gift-making days left! Yikes! I'm sure glad I started in July.

Every so often, I have to remind myself to breathe and enjoy. Hope you are doing the same.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Sock Wars is finally over...for me. I just packaged up my last pair of Socks of Doom to be sent to Miss Mermaid, my sixth and final target. I am so ready to move on to the next chapter...Christmas gifts! Okay, now. Who's been naughty and who's been nice??

Friday, November 24, 2006

Wow! Now that was quick!!

I logged on. I wrote Yarn Monkey's address on my postcard. I walked out the door to the mailbox. I came back in and logged on again...and Heraldis had already won!! Wooo-hooo!! She had "Flowers of Doom" delivered to Yarn Monkey, thus ending Sock Wars with class.

Congratulations to Heraldis...well played.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Yea, Yarn Monkey!!

Yarn Monkey has heard our concerns!! She posted her New Resolution for Sock Wars on her blog. The goal is to make sure everyone (except the winner) gets a pair of handknit socks. Yea! Thank you, YM! So now... WHERE is my SiP???!!
And, Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Meathead KAL

Needing a break from all the socks of late, I joined the Meathead KAL. I was lucky enough to get in at the last minute. The KAL is also a test knit for Larissa's upcoming book.

I love test knitting. It gives me the opportunity to try something I might not have otherwise considered. It also forces me to follow a pattern. My right brain has to give in to the left and follow instructions AS WRITTEN. What a tug-o-war!

The pattern is fun and very easy. It should do well! Good luck, Larissa!

(Click here for more photos.)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Watch Out, Mamma!

One more hit! Merino Style SOD in Tide Pool and Storm went out this afternoon to Mamma. I took off this morning, running late again, remembered the socks, but forgot the tags and card! So when I got to the post office after work, I had the choice of sending the socks off naked, or waiting another day to mail them. So, sorry, Mamma... you get naked socks! Enjoy, anyway.

The tone of Sock Wars is changing again. Yarn Monkey announced this morning that all of the contestants who are still alive (88 of us right now) will be asked to send a pair of hand-knit socks to her in Belfast on November 24th. She will provide the address on that date. The knitter of the first pair of socks to arrive will be the winner of Sock Wars. All of those lovely socks will then be donated to charity.

In the beginning, this way of ending the game seemed fun and reasonable. I guess I assumed only a handful of individuals would be left and the contest would be on between the few of them. But how things have changed. Having this many folks race with the incredibly slow international postal services leaves too many of those who managed to stay in the game, often knitting several pair to make up others who deserted, without even one pair of socks! Hmmmm... I'm not sure I can get behind this part.

I have enjoyed the game, including the speed bumps along the way...until now. I'm still trying to decide if I want to finish it this way. My options would be (1) to continue on and in all likelihood, end with squat, or (2) stop now and be labeled a deserter. If I choose the latter, I could use the yarn I just purchased to make yet another pair of SOD and make them for myself. ... My very cold toes are trying sway my decision.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Okay, Who's Next?

Oh, Mamma... It's you!! Another Arizonan! Feel the heat of my breath on your back! When you least expect it, I'll pounce on you with my Socks of Doom!

But not too fast... Again, I am waiting for those darned (or undarned!) SiP!!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

SOD In My Dreams

Deep Ocean on its way to Arizona.

My dreams have been infiltrated by the Socks of Doom! I don't mean out of fear of being hit and knocked out. I mean that I've knitted this pattern so many times , that I am ribbing in my sleep!

I tend to knit like I cook. I rarely follow a recipe exactly. I add a bit of this or substitute some of that. The end result is always a surprise... sometimes it's even a good surprise! I am normally a person who makes a pattern only once. If I make it more than that, I'm bored. So knitting sock after sock of the same pattern is showing up in my dreams.

At the onset of Sock Wars, I thought I would only be called to create one pair of socks, then finish up others' work. But Sock Wars has changed its face, and has become a challenge on many levels.
  • A challenge to stay motivated...waiting sometimes for weeks for SiP to arrive. It's been tempting to go AWOL, myself.
  • A challenge to stay connected. With hurricanes, power outages, vacations, work, family, and LIFE (not to mention deserters who do not respond to anyone), communications have been exasperating at times.
  • A challenge to stay creative. Without the SiP of deserters, I have had the mixed blessing of initiating four different pair of Socks of Doom. Each has been the same, but very different.
So, what keeps me in the game? Curiosity. I am in deep enough now, that I am just "dying" to find out what will happen; how this war will end...

And I love a challenge. Sweet dreams!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

On to Arizona!

Next target...Arizona! I have Lisa Z. in my sites and I'm taking aim. The only ammo. I 'm waiting for another victim to send me her unfinished socks (aka SiP -- Socks in Progress).

Deserters and the slow international mail systems (not to mention hurricanes) have drastically altered the pace of the game. But "all's fair..." It's already been a fun experiment.

And who would have thought that my socks would be worn all over the world (Korea, Canada, US)?! I still find it amazing. I hope someday I can visit all the places my socks have already gone!

Election Day 2006

I support with everything I am the right of all citizens to vote their conscience on this day. I also pray that their conscience will lead them to bring an end to the abhorant behavior that has become our federal government. Please Vote!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Houston, do we have a problem?

I can't believe I'm not dead, yet. Today, I fired yet another weapon. This time, purple wool Socks of Doom are making their way to Knitting Reader of Houston, Texas. I don't know how cold it gets in the winter in Houston, but I am hopeful that my target will get to wear them a few times, at least.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Shot Fired at Canadian!

I love Canada. I would never wish any harm to any of our neighbors to the north. That being said, I launched my high-caliber weapon toward Ontario today! I finished the red wool Socks of Doom just after midnight, and rushed them to the post office right after work. Whew!! They are on their way. And may they bless the feet of their recipient during the cold winter months ahead. Love ya, Knitrovert!

With Sock Wars overlapping
Socktoberfest , socks are about all I can think about lately! My goal of two pair during Socktoberfest has been met, and I'm on to more for Christmas gifts! Go, Socks!!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The War Wages On

My first Sockwars victim, ROKJen, finally received the socks I made. Due to international shipping and a Korean national holiday, my SOD (Socks of Doom) were delayed (mailed 9/25; arrived on or about 10/11), adding more tension to the game.

I should have received SiP (Socks in Progress) from someone further downstream shortly after my kill, but alas, no. Nearly four weeks have passed. My nerves are on edge. I'm afraid to check my mail every day for fear that my assassin will get me first.

After numerous emails and forum postings, it has finally been determined that one of the warriors is AWOL. This caused a back-up in my stream (ouch!). After finally identifying my next target, it's back to knitting more SOD. (Watch your backside, Knitrovert!!)

So, off to the yarn store for more ammo. I chose a soft red wool...
I'm thinking holidays coming soon...
Okay, here I go... Ready, Set, Knit!!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Do BOOTies Count?

In celebration of Socktoberfest, and at the risk of letting the Christmas cat out of the bag, I present the following:

"BOOTies" (not-quite-socks) for my Great Niece (ultra petite - that's a quarter next to them). (Modified from an Annie's Attic pattern.)

And "Papa Sox" for my dad modeled by Zak. (My own design.)

Secret Pal 9 Questionaire

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I love natural fibers. I do use some acrylic or blends when making gifts for loved ones who refuse to hand wash anything. I would love to try some of the new soy silk, banana and bamboo. I LOVE hand painted yarns for socks and hats. (I detest most of the fake fur/eyelash "yarns.")

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
Hmmmmm... My straight needles are in a pottery pitcher hand painted with irises. My Circulars are in zip-loc bags in a three-ring binder. My crochet hooks are in a cardboard box I've been using since the early '80s(!).

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I learned knitting basics from my mother at around age 10. Soon, I was making up my own designs for my Barbie dolls, my pets (toy poodles), my brother, my dad, etc. I guess my skills are at the advanced-intermediate level... there's always more to learn.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Nope... maybe I should!

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.)
I am allergic to most fragrances... I love real roses, though!

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Mmmmmmmm....chocolate.....*drool, drool*

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
In addition to knitting, I spin, crochet, sew, cook, read and write.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
Love those MP3s! My music is very eclectic ... I don't care for most rap, heavy metal or anything that is louder than my teenager!

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
I love cool colors... blues, purples, greens. I also love dark chocolate brown (mmmm...chocolate...)

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Just me, my teenage son, two cats, a turtle and a laughing poodle... quite the zoo.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Not so much on the ponchos... I do love scarves and mittens. Hats depend on the style, color and fiber.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Socks, hats, bags, scarves, toys

13. What are you knitting right now?
Socks, hats, bags, scarves, toys (getting ready for Christmas gifts).

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Yes, please!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I'm and Addi Turbo girl...especially circs.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Japanese umbrella swift and two ball winders.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
*chuckle, snort* Does a partially finished linen bag from early in the twentieth century (circa 1930's?) count? I inherited it from a family friend, have worked on it, but still have not finished it. :o}

18. What is your favorite holiday?

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Knitting books, patterns, hand painted iris mugs.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I subscribe to Knitter's, Interweave Knits, and Spin-Off. I recently bought SnB Nation and Happy Hooker.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I have yet to knit socks using the Magic Loop method.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Love them socks! I have a nicely turned size 10US (41Eur) pair of feet.

23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
December 17th

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Recycling Experiment

Anyone who knows me very well, knows that I cannot just do one thing at a time. Undiagnosed ADD?? Maybe. I know that it's just the way I have always been. While I am working on one thing, I am also dreaming up many more. I will not have enough days in this lifetime to finish all my projects, so I can justify (at least in my own mind) jumping from one fancy to the next.

For some time I have looked through the sweaters at my local thrift stores with the idea of recycling the yarn. Recently, I spied a New Zealand wool sweater. While the sweater was nice and wearable, it didn't work for me as is. What could it become in it's new life?

I detached and raveled, washed, dried and skeined one of the sleeves. It yielded a 100gram ball of two-ply at approximately 150 yards.

I then ran a felting test... I knited a swatch in three different gauges and washed it in the machine in hot water, cold rinse. It didn't felt!! Hmmmm....

My son has an incredibly large's all those wonderful brains, right?! I bring this up because it's very hard for him to find a store-bought hat that doesn't cut off his circulation. So the first reincarnation of my thrift sweater is a beanie for Zak. Mmmmmm...warm... Cozy enough to nap in!

Okay, I'm still dreaming... How many other things will this one sweater become? More to follow...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Socktoberfest Meme

1. When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?
I learned to knit from my mother at about age ten. But I knit like I cook, rarely following a recipe exactly. It didn't take long before I was making up my own designs. Socks, however, came much later...after I learned to spin (circa 1985). I taught myself the techniques in order to use some of my handspun wool for socks.

2. What was your first pair? How have they “held up” over time?
I don't remember the very first pair. I do still have an "early" pair that have been darned many times. Because the yarn was softly spun and they were of a fairly loose gauge, they wore out quickly.

3. What would you have done differently?
Tighter twist yarn, smaller needles/gauge, more shaping... But I STILL love the handspun/hand-dyed yarn!

4. What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
I don't really have a favorite. The feel of my own handspun is comforting. The wear of some of the wool-blend yarns is good. I haven't found a cotton yarn I like for socks, yet.

5. Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?
I still use my trusty double points. I have also used 2 circulars and enjoyed it. I may try the magic loop on my next pair. My attempts at crocheting socks are not happy memories.

6. Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)
My fall-back is still the flap. I don't mind turning the heel. For some yarns (striping, etc.), I like to use the "second toe" heel.

7. How many pairs have you made?
I lost count just before the turn of the century.

Happy Socktober, All!!

Friday, October 06, 2006

I'm up for more!

While Sock Wars 2006 wages on, I'm taking up arms (hands) to make more socks for Socktoberfest!! My plan is to make at least two pair for Christmas gifts!!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Sock Wars Update

Still alive! Gasping for breath. Assassin's assassin hot on my trail. My target still elusive in South Korea. Holiday time causes logistical problems (mailing backlog). Can I possibly take out my target before being wiped out by Socks of Doom?! be continued...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Asparagus and Rhubarb

Sock Wars got off to a rough start due to a Hurricane over Northern Ireland! Yep. Yarn Monkey lives in Belfast, and just before the war was to start, the technology was interrupted. This meant that dossiers were delayed, some not received until much later than others. But Yarn Monkey hung in there and found a way to wage war!

Hurricane Gordon

My arsenal included the prescribed 50 grams of DK weight yarn. I chose Knit-Picks' Merino Style in Rhubarb. However, halfway through the first sock, it was obvious that one skein was not going to be nearly enough to finish my Socks of Doom. There went my plan.


Plan B: How about two socks of completely different colors? I started a second sock in Asparagus.


Hmmm...Even though I want my socks to be killers, I also want them to be wearable. Maybe Plan C: Stripes!!

Here's the finished weapons! Ta-daahhh!

What a difference lighting makes. This photo is truer to the real color of the yarn. I took this one outside in the sunshine (see the shadows?). And notice how little of each skein is left! Hmmmmm.

Friday, September 22, 2006

hats, hats, hats, hats

I was commissioned me to make hats for a friend's four wonderful grandchildren.
Each one is an original design. Here they are....

Here's a shot of two beauties in hats!