Thursday, November 30, 2006

Pleasant Surprises

Well, work didn't get much better yesterday. This week's issues seem to revolve around staffing shortages again. But I am happy to report that yesterday was filled with pleasant surprises that balanced the stress at work nicely!

Just after I finished posting yesterday, I checked my email one last time and discovered that I had won the Best Partner Contest in the October Birthday Swap! Lacey had written a very nice entry nominating me, and I guess it did the trick! I'll let you know what my prize is when I get it in the mail. I still say that was the nicest first swap anyone could have asked for. I hope my future swaps go as well.

Then, when I got to work, I received my second package from Amazon this week. I had ordered a book for my current Whoduknit swap, and it just didn't seem right to order just one book. (Never mind that I get free 2-day shipping regardless!) I had also ordered Victorian Lace Today without knowing much about it. So the second pleasant surprise yesterday was leafing through this book and falling totally in love with it! I want to make most of the projects in the book. The book is also filled with history and information about lace techniques and design. Best of all, a couple of the patterns use one skein of the Lacey Lamb yarn that I bought on vacation. And, in case you are interested, yes there is a KAL already for the book!

My last pleasant surprise for the day had nothing whatsoever to do with the fiber arts, but I am including it because I want to balance my complaints about work with some of the good things that happen there. We have a little boy who comes in with his mom frequently. He is about 2 1/2, and he is the most articulate, outgoing child I have ever met. We all love him to death! He knows all of our names, and he talks with us every time he comes in. Well, he came in yesterday afternoon while I was on my dinner break, but I saw him as he was leaving. Before he left, he came running over and gave me a big hug and a kiss on the cheek! As they left, his mom said to him "I think you just made her day" and I said, "Yes he did!" It was one of the sweetest moments I have ever had at work.

Not bad for one day!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Blog Roundup

There have been a number of interesting posts lately on the blogs I subscribe to, so here, in no particular order, are the links and my thoughts about each:

1. Norma brought this plea from a starving graduate student to my attention this morning, so in the interests of academic research, I am linking to his post and when I finish writing, I will ping Technorati. Following all the links from Norma's post, I finally learned what a "meme" is, and I discovered that knitters and crocheters apparently do have a plan for world domination. If you don't believe me, try doing a Google search on the words knitters (or crocheters) plan for world domination. The results are astounding! If you are so inclined, you too can help the academic research. If you have a blog, just link to Acephalous like I did and ping Technorati. It'll help his research. And if you could care less about academic research, go visit Norma anyway. She also has pictures up this morning of some of the most beautiful items ever made for charity.

2. On my shopping expedition earlier this week, I picked up Better Homes and Gardens Knit It! magazine because of the hat, mitten and scarf set on the cover. The set is orange with a blue Fair Isle design on each piece. (I tried this morning, but I can't find a link to or a picture of this edition of the magazine.) I took a good look at the pattern and I thought "I can do this." It is a fairly easy, one color stranded design. Anyway, this has reawakened a desire to add colorwork to my knitting. So I was extremely interested in Lolly's post this morning when she mentioned a new knitalong starting up in December - the Stranded Colorwork KAL. I haven't joined yet, but I am considering it. Even if I don't join, I know I will be checking in regularly for the inspiration. If I do join, finishing this will be my first goal.
Believe it or not, it is going to be a hat someday, and I have enough yarn to make mittens to match.

3. Dee is getting very close to her goal of "60 Scarves in 60 Days". She has me listed as having made 12 scarves over the last 2 months. I had to think about that, but I believe that is about right, if I include the scarves I made for the guild to sell. Wow! I have been a busy girl.

4. I also want to thank all of the bloggers who mentioned that going back to work this week after spending the better part of last week being domestic goddesses was really hard. I was miserable at work yesterday, and I thought it was just me. But apparently I am not alone in my misery. And regardless of whether it is my unhappiness on the job or my desire to do stranded colorwork, knowing that I am not alone is one of the best parts of the blogosphere!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Successful Shopping Trip

Yesterday's shopping trip was very successful! I found 30 different ornaments for my volunteers at Joann's first thing, and then I was free to shop for myself (and use those 40% off coupons)! I have really been enjoying making hats out of Wool Ease, but I needed more variety in my colors. I also wanted to find more "guy" colors for the boys. So I got 3 skeins at Joann's and another 3 at Michael's - blue, green, cranberry, off white, brown and grey. Then I finished the day at my LYS, where I got another 3 skeins of Plymouth Encore in white, light purple and a red/black marl. So here you see the new acquisitions, along with a couple of older skeins, all just waiting to be made into hats!

Even my pussy cat approves!

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Pause that Refreshes

I'm back from my week off, and I feel refreshed and rejuvenated! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We had a lovely day with the family on Thursday, and we had much to be thankful for. My FIL got home from the hospital last Tuesday evening and is still recovering well. He was understandably tired on Thursday, but he went and laid down when he needed to, and he was able to sit up and enjoy the entire dinner. Not bad considering he was exactly one week post-op.

Otherwise we spent a fairly low key weekend. My dh and I were both tired, and I was a little under the weather all weekend. Nevertheless, my house is considerably cleaner than it was this time last week, my laundry is caught up, and I went online Saturday morning and did quite a bit of our Christmas shopping. Granted we only buy presents for 6 family members in addition to each other, but I am still glad to have the bulk of the shopping done. Also, it looks like I won't be making Christmas presents this year, unless the spirit really moves me. After making gifts for the family for the past 6 years, I am tapped out of ideas for everyone!
And I would really like the time to enjoy some of the other Christmas preparations this year, instead of just rushing through everything.

I want to assure everyone that I didn't neglect my knitting and crocheting this weekend either. I finished 4 hats, and I started another 2 last night. I also made one mitten and cast on for 2 others. I concentrated on hats over the weekend because I felt just lousy enough that I didn't trust myself not to screw up mittens. I want to see how much I can accomplish this week, and then I will post pictures in time for the end of Knit Unto Others.

So I still have one glorious day off today (working Saturday again), and my major project today is to buy Christmas gifts for the volunteers at work. I think I need in the neighborhood of 20 gifts, and I would like to get each a Christmas ornament or something seasonal. Happily, Joann's has all of their Christmas items 50% off this week, and the other craft stores in the area are having 40% off sales. So it looks like my day will be spent doing a craft store crawl. It's days like these that I truly love my job!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Yet Another Charity Post

You know, it really is hard to blog when you are totally focused on one thing. I know there isn't a lot of variety right now in my posts because I am working so hard on all the various charity projects I have gotten myself involved with. But I am accomplishing a lot, and it's the only thing I have to talk about right now! So here is what I have accomplished in the last week - 3 hats for the Soaring Eagles Project. (I made the red hat some time ago.) The 2 on the left are crocheted, and the 2 on the right are knitted. All are made out of Wool Ease. It doesn't show in the picture, but the yellow hat was made with 2 strands held together, one yellow and one white. The white strand has a thread wrapped around it that makes it a little sparkly. It is still completely machine washable, though. It should make a nice gift for a little girl.

Between the holiday coming up and all the family stuff going on right now, I think that I am going to take a break from blogging for the rest of the week. I am working today and tomorrow, and then I am off for 6 glorious days! All I need to do for Thanksgiving dinner is make a jello salad on Wednesday. But I have some pre-Christmas house cleaning to do, I still need to pull out my winter clothes, and I intend to get a lot more charity knitting and crocheting done. I already have 2 more hats started. I also remembered that I did want to make one Christmas gift, and it needs to be finished by Dec. 7th. It's just a pair of fingerless gloves, so it shouldn't take long. I would also like very much to change the look of the blog. I am getting really tired of all the pink. So I have plenty to keep me busy for 6 days!

So let me take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very safe and happy Thanksgiving! Have a great week.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Knit Unto Others

I just want to remind everyone that today is the start of Knit Unto Others. I am continuing to work on my hats, and I hope to make some mittens, too. Unfortunately, I won't have a lot of time this weekend to work on projects. I am working today because I took Thursday off for the guild sale. And I am spending tomorrow with my dh and his parents. My FIL had an operation to replace his heart valve on Thursday, so I am going to visit him in the hospital. Everything went well with the surgery, he is recovering well, and he should be home before Thanksgiving. So we have a lot to be thankful for this year. Have a great weekend, and happy knitting & crocheting!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Second Guild Donation of the Week

I tried to write this post yesterday, but Blogger would not upload my picture. So today, I can talk about my week, and all the stuff in the picture, and tell you all about how the guild sale went yesterday.

In the picture are all of the items I donated to the guild yesterday for their sale. I made the turquoise scarf and the 3 pairs of wrister warmers this week. The rest I had sitting around waiting for the sale. I used Deneen's wonderful pattern for the wrist warmers and then embellished it a bit to make them match the scarf.

We did very well at the sale yesterday for the guild. We sold a lot of items. I was very pleased that one of my baby blankets, most of my baby hats, all of my baby booties, the purple wrist warmers and the turquoise scarf and wrist warmers all sold. Even better, we donated over 80 chemo hats to the hospital as a thank you for allowing us to have our sale there. We had the hats on display most of the day, and it was quite an impressive display at that. Unfortunately, my camera battery was charging yesterday, so I don't have a picture. I should add that we are still putting some sets together for the Salvation Army, so I don't have a total for that donation yet.

I also spent some time this week working on hats for the Soaring Eagles project, and I have one knitted and one crocheted hat almost finished. I wil post a picture when they are done. So my November projects are still focused on charity work, and it feels pretty terrific!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

More Charity Opportunities

I realize that there is probably no end to the good causes out there that we can knit and crochet for, and that everyone's time is limited this time of year. (Can you believe that Thanksgiving is next week, and Christmas is only 40 days away? Yikes!) However, I keep running into projects on my travels around the internet that really tug at my heart. So I have two more charity KALs to tell you all about.

The first is From Hearts to Hands, an effort to collect 300 pairs of mittens for a church in Buffalo, New York to give to children at Christmas. Seriously, link over and read the story. You'll be starting a pair of mittens in no time.

The second is called Knit Unto Others. They are trying to encourage people to make items to donate to charity during the last 2 weeks of November, to help everyone stay grounded at this time of excessive consumption. Just let them know how many items you finish, and you will be entered into a prize drawing. One entry for each item made. How easy is that? And I love their idea of focusing on what is important this time of year.

So how are my projects coming along this week? Well, I am still working on my red scarf, and I cast on a hat last night for the Soaring Eagles project. I am also working on more donations for my crochet guild, because we have another sale coming up on Thursday. So far I have finished 1 scarf and 2 pairs of fingerless gloves, with a 3rd almost done. I will try to have a picture tomorrow. I seem to be on a roll, which I am going to try to extend to the end of the month. As soon as I am ready for Thursday's sale, I will go back to work on the other charity projects full time. And I have 6 days off coming up over Thanksgiving, which should help me get some items finished as well.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Salvation Army Sets Done!

Here is the promised picture of the Salvation Army sets. It is a good thing I laid them all out for the picture because I miscounted. I only have 8 sets ready to go. But I am still happy with what I got done.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, November 10, 2006


Especially because it's a holiday! Unfortunately, I have to work tomorrow, so no 3 day weekend for me this weekend. But I still have today off with my dh. Of course leaf raking is in our future, but I will still try to fit in some stitches here and there.

I have had quite a week since Monday. I have crocheted another 2 scarves, and I hope to make one more before Sunday. That will give me a grand total of 9 sets to donate. Not quite the dozen I had hoped for, but nothing to sneeze at either. I will post a picture of all the sets over the weekend.

As it turns out, there have been some yarn related purchases this week as well. I had done a Knit Picks order the morning of my birthday, which finally arrived this week. I treated myself to an umbrella swift and a ball winder with my birthday money this year. I didn't take a picture because I haven't tried them out yet, and because I know you all know what they look like. I can't wait to use them, though. Maybe later today.

And then there is the yarn. From the top - Knit Picks Shimmer in Morning Mist colorway, 3 skeins of Knit Picks Swish superwash in Fired Brick, 2 skeins of Plymouth Suri Merino in a beautiful heathered dark orange, 2 skeins of Plymouth Encore, and a skein of Alpaca with a Twist baby alpaca & silk blend in a peachy orange. And finally, the Winter 2006 issue of Interweave Knits. I'm starting to think I should just subscribe to the magazine if I am going to buy every issue!

So obviously all the red yarn is for scarves for the Red Scarf Project. I am going to make one or two pairs of Fetching with the Suri Merino (Christmas gifts), and the Alpaca with a Twist is going to be a prize for the Red Scarf KAL. And I'm thinking of using the Shimmer for another lace scarf for me. I also think that skein is going to have the honor of being the first on the swift and ball winder. All in all, not a bad week!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

WIP Wednesday - Red Scarf Edition

I'm just so pleased with how my red scarf is turning out that I decided to blog about it today. I am using Caron's new Simply Soft Tweed on size 8 needles. The stitch pattern is called "Little Pyramids". I found it on, and I have used it before in a scarf for my dh, so I know that that this will be a good unisex scarf. (Check them out for other great scarf stitch patterns as well. Just use the link to The Stitch Library.) I tried, but the texture really doesn't show in these pictures. Besides being textured, this stitch lies flat right from the get go and is reversible - two real pluses for a scarf.

Now, talk about a coincidence. I cast on this scarf on Monday night, and then yesterday I came across a KAL for the Red Scarf project! This is different from the button and link in my sidebar, which is a site that is tracking finished scarves and building a picture gallery of them. No, this is an honest to goodness KAL, with some contests and prizes included. I have to say that I am so pleased that this project has generated so much interest around the Internet. And yes, I am going to join the KAL. Why not, since I am already making the scarf!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Weekend Roundup

In addition to knitting mittens this weekend, I got caught up on some real world chores (like bill paying), and I did some shopping, which is actually kind of unusual for me! So here's a roundup of my weekend:

I spent Saturday trying to get those mittens started. I tried this pattern, but the striping I wanted to do didn't work with the short rows. Then I decided to try the Magic Loop method to avoid sewing up a seam. Well, I can now say for certain what I have long suspected - my tension is a lot tighter when I use the Magic Loop. The mittens were way too small. So I finally gave up and went back to the tried and true method of making them on 2 needles. And they came together beautifully.

The poetry reading went very well on Sunday. All of the poems were by Mary Oliver, and if you like nature poetry, I would highly recommend her. I had never heard of her, but I was very impressed by her poems. After the reading, my dh and I went over to Borders to spend our birthday gift certificates. I acquired my own copy of One-Skein Wonders by Judith Durant, and Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. It seemed like time to beef up the sock library. I also picked up a couple of mystery paperbacks. One is called Murder Most Crafty, and it is a collection of short stories by some of my favorite authors with craft projects included. How could I resist?!

Then, yesterday morning, I went out to the shops again. I desperately needed new winter boots this year, so it seemed prudent to hit yesterday's sales since I was off from work. I got a pair at Kohl's for 50% off. And of course, while I was over that way, I had to visit Joann's and Michael's, conveniently located on either side of Kohl's! I will admit to buying some yarn, but it was all for charity work and it was almost all on sale. Michael's had Wool Ease on sale for $2.00 a skein, which I thought was a great price. I just wish they had a better color selection.

Finally, last night, I am happy to say that I started 2 more scarves. I am crocheting one to complete yet another set for the Salvation Army. Then I finally cast on for my Red Scarf project. I decided not to swatch. The stitch pattern called for a repeat of "6 stitches plus 5", so I tried 29 stitches and it is a perfect 7" wide! So I got 4"-5" done last night. I will tell you all more about it when it is finished. I also looked at my list of FOs, and I realized that I have 2 scarves to add to Dee's total for "60 Scarves in 60 Days", a maroon one and the purple one. And I should have a couple more by the end of the week. Not a bad start to November, I must say!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Mitten Monday

Here is my accomplishment for the weekend - another finished set for the Salvation Army! Actually, I only made the mittens this weekend. I made the hat and scarf on vacation in September.

This is also an experiment. The Warm Hands blog has a new home on Wordpress, and we are having an awful time trying to upload pictures to the blog. I managed to upload an image, but it was gigantic and I couldn't resize it. So I thought maybe if I uploaded it here and then linked to it on Wordpress, that would work. We'll see! More tomorrow...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

It's the Weekend!

Since I didn't do a "proper" post yesterday, I thought I would pop in briefly today and let you know how my week went and how the weekend is shaping up. Actually the week just got better and better as I felt better and better (just a little residual tiredness left from the viral infection). I actually managed to make 3 crocheted hats for my Salvation Army sets. It's not much, but it's 3 hats more than the week before! I now have 5 sets ready to go and another 5 in various stages of completion. I have an informal goal of 12 sets by a week from Sunday, and if the weekend goes well, I should make that goal.

I am actually off from work for the next 3 days, so I should have plenty of time to rest, get the house back under control, and work on projects. The only commitment I have is attending a library program tomorrow afternoon. Our Friends group has organized a series of 3 poetry readings this month, and my dh is reading one of the poems tomorrow. So I will go and be supportive. Actually, it will be a nice change of pace, although I may have to bring some knitting or crocheting with me!

In addition to the Salvation Army sets, I would like to cast on a hat for the Soaring Eagles project and a scarf for the Red Scarf project. I don't necessarily need to finish those projects this weekend, but I would like to at least get them started. I'm getting tired of laying in bed at night thinking about what I am going to do on these projects and then never doing anything about them! So wish me luck! I will let you know on Monday how I am doing with all these projects, with pictures. Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 03, 2006

KMKS Questionaire

The Questionnaire:

What are your favorite colors? Cool colors like pink, blue, green & anything heather

Are you a new mitt knitter? How long have you been knitting mittens? I have been knitting mittens off and on for about 6 years

Do you prefer solid or multicolored yarn? Either

What fibers do you prefer in mitten yarn? Anything soft and natural

Where do you usually knit mittens? In the family room, in front of TV

How do you usually carry/store small projects? In small bags

What are your favorite mitten patterns? I have 3 Leisure Arts publications with hat & mitten patterns that I love to use

What are your favorite mitten knitting techniques? I usually make plain vanilla mittens for charity, so I don’t have any favorite techniques

What new techniques would you like to try? Fair Isle or other 2 color techniques

What are your favorite needles for knitting mittens? No preference

What are some of your favorite yarns? Reynolds Odyssey, Cascade 220, Frog Tree Alpaca

What yarn do you totally covet? Koigu, anything alpaca

Any pattern you would love to make if money and time were no object? Norwegian mittens

Favorite kind of needles (brand, materials, straights or circs, etc)? I prefer shorter straight needles. If I need more length, I use circs. I am still getting comfortable with dps.

If you were a specific kind of yarn, which brand and kind of yarn would you be? Blue Sky Alpaca

Do you have a favorite candy or mail-able snack? Chocolate

What’s your favorite animal? Penguins

Would you prefer super warm mittens or something more like fingerless mitts? I love fingerless mitts and lighter weight mittens – it just doesn’t get cold enough here in Connecticut for super warm mittens

If you were a color what color would you be? Sage green

What is your most inspiring image, flower, or object in nature? A waterfall

Do you have a wishlist? No

Anything else you’d like to share with the group today? I don’t drink coffee or tea.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


I didn't have much to say today, that is until I visited Jane's blog this morning and learned about the Knit Mitt Kit Swap! This swap just sounded like too much fun, so I have spent most of my blogging time this morning signing up for it. Sign-ups end tomorrow, so if it sounds good to you, hurry over there and sign up! It's actually good there is such a short time to sign up, otherwise I would have agonized over the decision and then done nothing! Now I have to start thinking about a project bag, which might finally push me to felt something. And since I am out of time today, I will publish my answers to the questionairre tomorrow, I promise.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

November KALs

First of all, thank you to everyone who sent birthday wishes my way yesterday! I actually had a good day, despite the fact that I have been home sick since Monday at lunchtime. I get a recurrent viral infection, probably related to the several bouts of mono I have had in my life, that flares up now and again, and all I can do is rest, take Advil and force fluids until it settles down again. So I felt lousy yesterday, but I did rest, and I have to admit that spending the afternoon watching "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" wasn't a bad way to spend my birthday! And happily I felt much better last night, so I was able to enjoy both the trick or treating and my dh's celebration. And I will be back to work today.

Now, it is a new month, so that means new KALs! I have a slew of new buttons on my sidebar already. Actually, though, I am really focusing on charity work this month, and the buttons reflect that. It seems like the right thing to do with the holidays fast approaching.

I wanted to mention the Soaring Eagles Project specifically. They are looking for people to make hats and/or mittens for a school in Oklahoma in an effort to give each child at the school a handmade gift this Christmas. Many of the children at the school are in foster care or living with relatives other than their parents and have nothing to call their own. (The website explains the project more fully.) This just tugged at my heartstrings, so I signed up. I already have a hat made that I can send. I think I intended to make it part of a set for the Salvation Army, but I don't have enough yarn for that. I wouldn't have signed up if I didn't have something ready to go, but I will try and make a few more hats or maybe some mittens (since I am also signed up now for Warm Hands).

You know, I firmly believe that you just can't go wrong making hats, mittens & scarves, even if you don't have a specific charity in mind. There is just always a need out there for these items. So, will you join me in this whirlwind of charity knitting & crocheting? Let's see what we can accomplish between now and the end of the year!