I'm Back!

I took this photo in Jackson Square. I'm not sure why that man is using a Ken doll as a model, but to each his own I suppose...

Made it back from New Orleans after a flight cancellation on Friday night that kept us there an extra day. Still in St. Louis and was uploading some photos, so I thought I should post a quick hello! I've got a lot of things cooking right now, including some fun knitting stuff, so I want to get back to that...more later.

For now, Happy New Year, and I'll see you all again in 2007!


On Vacation...

So take a look at my Christmas Tree and the presents that have likely been opened by now. I'm in St. Louis and New Orleans, won't be back until the New Year...and hopefully, I'll have some new knitting goodies to show with my return!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


I'm such a joiner...

Remember this post? It's time for me to seriously consider this KAL (or would it be a Stash-a-long?) I don't need to buy new yarn. I just spent too much money on enough Noro to make 5 adult sweaters (no joke.) I'm trying to make 2007 the year of getting myself in order from head to toe, and that stash yarn is not helping. This is my public declaration that I am going to Knit From My Stash in 2007, abiding by the following rules:
  1. Timeframe - January through June, 2007.
  2. I will not buy any yarn during that period, with the following exceptions:
    2.a. If someone asks for a specific knitted gift that I really and truly do not have the yarn for, I can buy yarn to knit that gift. And if I participate in the next round of Secret Pals, I can buy yarn for my pal.
    2.b. If I am knitting something and run out of yarn, I can purchase enough to complete the project.
    2.c. If I am in another state, I can buy yarn, or if I'm shopping at a store that is going out of business, I am allowed to buy yarn.
  3. I am allowed to receive gifts of yarn.
  4. Spinning fiber of any sort is exempt.

So, here it goes! Wish me luck, and hopefully, 2007 will be a more knitterly year for me!

Edited 1/4 to change rules to ending in June 2007, and to be able to purchase yarn if out-of-state or if a store is going out of business. Go figure I'm already adjusting the rules...

More sad news...

The Village Knit Wit in Des Moines will be closed by December 31. It's so sad because it's only been open for a year, and it is the best yarn store in Des Moines. Best needle selection, best prices, best everything. They are selling everything at 40% off right now, and I went last night and got so much Noro I could probably open my own store. It's so sad to see them go. If you're a Des Moines knitter, I highly encourage you to get out there and support them in their final days.


HUGE loss to Des Moines

I just got this e-mail from Donna Martin, owner of Donna's Country Collections in Valley Junction.

News from Donna,
Because you have been a loyal customer of my store, I would like you to be among the first to know I plan to retire from retail. I will help my daughter with pattern designs through Indygo Junction.

You have made it possible for “Donna’s” to be a successful destination inValley Junction for 25 years. To thank you, I’d like you to benefit from upcoming sales of holiday d├ęcor (25 – 50%), select Brighton, includinghandbags, luggage, shoes, sunglasses and jewelry.

Knitting classes continue through January – come sign up or give us a call.Many yarns are now priced 25 – 50 % off. Prepare for your winter days ofknitting.

Thank you for your continued support,
Donna Martin
Donna’s Country Collection
234 Fifth Street
Valley Junction
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265

Is the store closing? Sure sounds like it! Huge loss to Des Moines there. I took several knitting classes there, and loved the teachers - Sarah Jane and June! I'll have to find out where they end up!

E-bay Woes

I'm an E-bay fan...I've purchased many things on there, from a bridesmaid dress to collectibles. Until now, I have NEVER had a problem. I won an item off there on December 8. I paid via pay-al immediately - it was about $20, so it wasn't too much. Well, the seller has not acknowledged my payment, sent me the item or responded to my requests to do so. I'm almost at the ten day mark, which means that I can file a grievance with E-bay, but I don't know that I want to. The seller had 99.1% positive feedback, so I didn't think there woudl be an issue. Plus, the seller has recieved feedback over the last few days so I know they are shipping something out. What should I do???

Updated to add that thanks to Kaitie's suggestion, I have requested contact information and will call her tonight. Thanks! I'll keep posting on this saga!


Heading to New Orleans

So J and I are going to be in St. Louis for Christmas (our hometown) and then New Orleans until New Year's. I've been to NO for Mardi Gras (in 2005) but I didn't get to do touristy things then - other than party. So, does anyone out there have any suggestions for what to do in New Orleans? We're staying in the French Quarter...


My New Toy

Attention all organization crazy knitters: get thee to Bath & Body Works and buy the "Perfectly Polished Manicure Kit." (Sorry, it's not on their Web site or I'd link it.)

Why? Because it makes your knitting

O.k. - I lied. It doesn't make your knitting flawless. But it does help you organize all of your knitting tools and gadgets! The open view:
That center piece is clear plastic so you can see through it, and it pops out!

This bag is pretty small - I'll measure it tonight and post dimensions later, but you can stuff it with your stuff! It's amazing how make-up bags can become the best storage units for all of your knitting gadgets and gizmos! This is a new favorite of mine. I'm not too hot on the color or the "flawless" on it, but storage is storage. Oh, and all the manicure goodies that were inside have a home in my manicure box! I paid $20 for this. It was $29.00 but I had a coupon for $10 off a $20 purchase. One thing to look for, especially after Christmas is when they clearance all of these kits...you can probably get it for cheaper than $20!!

There is also a hidden pocket:


Knitting + cats = crazy??

What is it with knitters and cats? We have some barn (outside) kitties to keep the mice away on our property( I live in the boonies and my nearest neighbor is the beaver family in our pond.) Mice used to be a huge problem when J (my boyfriend) moved into the house and traps wouldn't contain them all. Since getting cats, the numbers have gone from 15 a year, to maybe one or two. Cats are good.

So anyway, we have these barn cats that think they are lap kitties. We do spoil them (as evidenced by the dog bed they are in.) and we even cook hot meals for them in the winter (not all of the time, just some of the time, like last night.) I do have to say that our kitties make great garbage disposals - they eat all of our leftover food! They especially love chicken and deer meet (J hunts. )

Our kitties are all boys - the black one is Biggie (after Biggie Smalls the rapper - yes, I am a rap music fan) the striped one is Skunky, and the little one is Oreo. They are all brothers, just out of two litters. The two older ones don't get along too well - they kind of fight over who is the boss cat, but they both take care of Oreo like he is their baby.
So last night, Biggie and Skunky were "helping" us put up weather stripping on the door (and by helping I mean rubbing on our legs so we would pet them.) They were being sweet, and then all of a sudden it was scrappin' time. They were rolling around fighting like you would see in a cartoon. J had to use a broom to seperate them. Then I go back out there (in the garage) a few hours later, and they've obviously made up because that's when I took the photo. Reminds me of me and my brother when we were little. :)


See that!!!???

I added links all by myself! I'm so excited about the new blogger...it's much easier to use when customizing pages! My next trick...maybe adding a photo or two!

I started a new project last night from the latest issue of Knitty. Boy, do I LOVE me some Knitty!!

And did anyone notice this pattern? It looks just like the sweater I wanted to buy from New York & Company. See this post. I'll have to make a few modifications, but I think I can do it!! Could that be my first sweater for myself project?? It might be!!!!


New Blogger Notes and Recipe Contest Post

Obviously, I've switched to the new blogger. Good things - I like that I, as someone who has little HTML and/or coding knowledge, can change things around. Bad thing - I added one link - Hi Liz! and for some reason, I can't go back and add more??? WTF?? I'll get there one day I suppose! Edited to add that I somehow figured it out! Now, how do I add my Webrings back in???

The recipe part came to me this weekend, when I had an epiphany of sorts. You see, both the boyfriend and I came down with a sickness. It started out like food poisoning (I'll spare you the details on the symptoms) and then resulted in a flu-like stupor for both of us. He is actually still home sick today. Me, I needed a break, and headed to work, only to find out four of my co-workers are out today with the same symtoms. We really need to wash our hands more at work or something.

So anyway, my Secret Pal 9 hostess, Patty, asked us to post a story about a recipe that was dear to us and what it meant to us. Well, after this weekend, it was really a no-brainer. My mom can cook - very classic stuff - grilled pork chops, whipped potatoes, spaghetti, etc. But she always had one recipe that I could never duplicate - that of her homemade chicken noodle soup. I remember that stuff from when I was a kid - it was magic. At the first sign of a cold she would have it on the stove, and when we ate it, it was like it just killed our cold. The amazing part - there was never really a recipe. So, I thought I should share my mom's non-recipe chicken noodle soup. Oh, and I will say that it certainly saved me this weekend - it's all I could stomach!

Mom's Chicken Noodle Soup (serves about 6)
Take one @ 2lb chicken (remove giblets/neck/etc.) and rinse, pat dry. Place in a pot that is big enough to cover the chicken with 4 or so inches of liquid.

Pour two cans of chicken broth into the pot. Fill it the rest of the way with water (chicken should be covered by about 3-4 inches of liquid.)

Bring to a boil. When chicken is cooked, it will literally start falling apart in the pot - about 45 to an hour. Take it out, and let it sit on a cutting board for about 10 minutes. LEAVE THE LIQUID IN THE POT!

Pick the chicken apart into pieces suitable for soup - One thing I like to do is pick half the meat for soup, and then save half the meat for a casserole or something else. But I'm usually only cooking for two, so that might not be a great idea if you have a bigger family!

Put the chicken pieces back into the soup. Add 1/2 bag of wide egg noodles, bring to boil to cook noodles, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve when noodles are done! I like to add a dash or two of parmesan cheese to my bowl just before I eat it.

Optional add-ins for when you put the noodles in: carrots, celery, beans, spinach, onion, asparagus, etc. This is a basic recipe, but it's soooo good! Hope some of you get to try it!


Attention Des Moines Area Crafters

New event in town - check out Craft Saturday, a bi-monthly craft selling event. I haven't gone to one yet, but it looks interesting. The vendors are listed on the Web site. No yarn dealers yet (or hand spinners) but my guess is it's only a matter of time!

Sock yarn tangle

sock yarn tangle
Originally uploaded by The Knitting Fool.
The other day I decided to wind the Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn my Secret Pal gave me. Yeah, it turned out to be a bit of a mess. I didn't know this at the time, but that stuff is notoriously hard to wind. And I have a ball winder and a swift. So, I got it wound about halfway, then the ball exploded on the winder and went everywhere. Then I went to the swift and had to find the other end to start winding again. Needless to say, it because a bigger and bigger mess. So big that I took a photo.

Now I have it fixed into a nice tidy ball. One of these days I'm going to actually knit a sock instead of talking about knitting a sock.


The moon came out really early...

This was the view out of my back door on Sunday night. It was so pretty, but so COLD! I think it was about 5 degrees at this point. I took this around 4-ish...it seems it was dark really early that day. In person, the moon looked much bigger than this photo shows. What's really funny is that when I used PhotoShop to adjust the color, it takes the moon out!! It's much prettier with the moon in, and I would say that the photo above is of pretty accurate color.

I might have started knitting something else. I was going to give away this yarn, but I started a scarf with it in the Chinese Waves pattern. I like it so far...


The human head weighs 8 lbs.

Or maybe it was six pounds...I don't remember. I need 8 pounds gone for my next goal. I would like to have them gone by Christmas. I think I can do it, but I'm going to have to work hard!! And I'm a hard worker so that shouldn't be an issue! Give me good weight loss vibes! I'm working it!!


I want, I want...

Seriously, did you see Lolly's sweater? GORGEOUS! Beautiful! She did a fab job! Makes me want to get that book! I really, really want to knit a sweater, but I want to lose weight first (that way I can knit a smaller size :)

Maybe I should just find a really cute baby sweater. I have two friends with little babies right now, so that's what I'll have to do! Anybody have any pattern suggestions?


My 1st Secret Pal 9 Gift!

My secret pal has been fabulous so far, e-mailing me a lot, sending me postcards from all of her travels, and this weekend, I got a package from her with the (literally) yummiest stuff you have ever seen... Yummy thing #1 - Brittany knitting needles, in a size that I desperately needed!
Yummy thing #2 - REAL Vermont maple syrup!
Yummy thing #3 - Not pictured because me and my boy ate it too fast - a GIANT bar of Ghiradelli Chocolate with citrus - YUMMY!!
Yummy thing #4 - a Glow in the dark sheep - it's so cute! I tried to take a photo of it glowing, but it didn't turn out very well!
Yummy thing #5 - Super cute notepad with a hologram-type cover - I'm using that notepad for my grocery list now!
Yummy thing #6 - Burt's Bees soft hands kit - LOVE IT!
Yummy thing #7 - A CD of some of her favorite tunes...I'm listening to the CD at work today, and I like it a lot!
Yummy things #8 - Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Yarn in blues/greens! I'm so excited about that because I think I'm finally ready to take the plunge into sock knitting, and this yarn is AWESOME!! So soft! I took photos last night of winding it into a ball that I'll post later because they're pretty funny.

So, thanks secret pal! I hope that you don't have to travel too much over the holidays!


I want this sweater!

I want it in black, size XL. But they only have it in red in that size. Heck, I would even be o.k. in grey. The question is, do I buy the red so I have something to look at while I MAKE MY OWN, or do I just pout?



I guess I forgot to add that I'm going to be gone again for the next few days, heading home to St. Louis for family and friend time. So, no posting until I get back.

Happy Thanksgiving!

New Pattern

I love Berroco yarns. I don't really know why, because some of them are rather cheap and acrylic, but some of them are so soft and nice. Case in point: Pure Merino! I want it in every color. And today the Berroco Knit Bits newsletter came out with this fabulous pattern! I think I might try the scarf if I ever get my hands on that yarn!!


Fall Cleaning

So I was on a business trip last week and got back home on Wednesday. I should have gone back into the office, but instead I took Thursday and Friday off work to clean and organize my house. I got less done than I hope for during those two days and the weekend, but nice weather forced me outside for a while to help the boy-toy clean the garage and work on completing our shed in the backyard.

As part of the organizing, the yarn stash was unearthed. Here it is in it's glory on the island in my kitchen: That stash isn't as huge as I thougth it would be but it is stuff that I have things planned for. I have a little bit of everything, so I bagged it all up and put all of this into ONE rubbermaid container. Isn't that pretty?? There are definitly "mixed" yarns in some of the bags, but I tried to keep them all with the same fiber, etc. For instance, on the bottom bags, we have the soy wool bag first, then the cotton, then I'm not sure what's next, then the sock yarn, then another bag that I can't tell what it is, and then the denim yarn. The best part is, it actually all fit, and I can put a lid on it! So pretty, and it takes up a lot less space! My new rule is, no new yarn goes in until there is room, because that bucket is BURSTING at the seams with yarn!!


I entered a contest!

My SP9 hostess, Patty, challenged us to make a dish rag by Nov. 22. I did it! I made a washrag! I used peaches and cream yarn (or sugar and cream, I never remember which one I used) in my favorite color - the bright ombre! I used the pattern for Chinese Waves found here. Several glamour shots abound - the first being my new dishrag (on the left) with an old one that I made a year ago in the same yarn. I do like how the Chinese Waves pattern makes the colors pop a little more. These are close-ups of the pattern stitch on the right and wrong sides. The way the pattern works, the slip stitch side (the right side) looks like this: But I actually think I like the wrong side better. It looks like this: I think this pattern would make a nice baby blanket pattern as well, and it goes so quickly! I would say it took me a few (very interupted) hours to make this. If I didn't have knitting ADD, I bet I could have finished this in under an hour.


I'm back!

And I got to knit on my vacation! Since I'm at home, I can't post photos, but I'll get some up when I'm back on a computer with high speed access!


Thoughts on...

The weather - that photo was taken at lunchtime today with my camera-phone. It's snowing. Three days ago it was 75. I thought that only happened in St. Louis. The good part is that it's the big, fat, wet snowflakes that are so pretty. The bad part is that people in Central Iowa forget how to drive when it is starting to snow...

My secret pal - She sent me a postcard from Vermont! She was vacationing there, and it sounds like she had a great time. The photo on the postcard was a beautiful fall shot of red and orange leaves. She kind of left me a hint - that where she lives, it gets brown....wonder what that means??

Knitting - oh yes, I knit! Last night, I almost finished my fingerless mitts. I just need to finish the thumb part on the last mitt. It's just 1x1 fib for five rows, and it's only 11 stitches. I should have done it last night, but I was watching...

Grey's Anatomy - Thank goodness for that ending!! I don't want to ruin anything if you haven't seen it, but I was going to scream if Derrick saw McSteamy at the bar and walked out! I was also going to stop watching the show if McSteamy and Mer hooked up. I haven't been in love with the show this year like I was the last two years, but that episode seemed more like old times for me! Mer/Der all the way - can't wait for that steamy bathtub scene next week!

Work - I've been having some trouble with someone at work. Because I don't know who reads this blog, I'm not going to say who it is, but let's just say that today I am making a really assertive move to get the problem to stop. We'll see what happens. I'm out of the office all next week because...

Business trips - I'm heading to Salt Lake City for a business trip. I think it's going to be a fun conference. I have about half a day of sight-seeing time, so I'm going to try to hit up some yarn and bead shops while I'm out there. If anybody knows of some good ones, leave me a comment!

So that means I will not be able to post the week of Nov. 13-17. Stay tuned for an update later in November and since I'm doing a significant amount of flying, I should be able to get some knitting done!!



I was in a class yesterday, and the instructor had two quotes that really struck me, so I thought I would share them...

People often undervalue what they are, and overvalue what they're not.

It is up to you if you are going to let a moment wither you or blossom you like a flower.

I don't really know why those stood out to me so much, but I really liked them. The class I was taking was for Dale Carnegie. I took it a year ago, but never officially graduated, so I had one make-up class. It was very nice!



I actually only hate store-bought sweaters. I love real sweaters. The ironly is that I don't have a "real" sweater for myself - no hand knitted sweater for me! I really need/want one, too, but I need to lose weight first (so I can knit a smaller size!!)

My problem comes with pilling and shaping and sizing and..ugh, just everything I have wrong with the other clothes I buy. Isn't that the freedom of knitting? That you can knit it to fit you, and not have to buy it off the rack where it fits around your chest but is far too big on your waist?

Knitting is going to have to be my freedom. I will knit myself a sweater one day. I do have the yarn and pattern for a summer sweater, I've just never knit it. Maybe this spring!


Generic Update

So, been busy. No knitting to report (boo!)

What have I been up to? Well, this weekend, my boyfriend took me on a surprise trip to Madison, Wisconsin! I had a fabulous time and it really meant a lot to me that he took the time to surprise me. I brought knitting with me, but we were so busy with other stuff I didn't have time to knit.


Fall to Pieces

I love the fall. I love the weather getting cooler, the smell of fires in chimneys and the color. I especially love the color. We have this crazy bush in front of our house. It's rather boring...green leaves, etc. all summer. Nothing special. But, in the fall, it turns into a blazing red/maroon/purple color that is GORGEOUS. I just love it. I'm kind of sad that it stays that color for only a few weeks...usually it gets so cold here that the leaves drop off before they die so then the ground is covered in red leaves.

This year, it hasn't quite changed all the way over yet...it's still got some green...


Almost Finished...

If I can manage to knit while watching Grey's Anatomy tonight, I should be able to finish these. Just in time for winter! I started the other fingerless mitt last year in October - I knit it in the waiting room while my dad was having surgery. For some reason, I get second mitt syndrome and never knit the other one. Last weekend, I started knitting on it again and am almost done - I just have the thumb and top of the mitt to do. I'll post pattern and yarn detail when I finish!
I'm sure you've noticed that the finshed mitt is right side out. When I knit with double pointed needles, I tend to have the wrong side out---strange!!


A photo of a photo...

So I took this photo of a photo of a photo in the new Dale of Norway pattern book that I bought. Finally, a yarn store in Des Moines has Dale stuff! Anyway, I love that sweater. I want that to be my first fair isle project ever...but I'm not sure if it's too advantageous for me...anybody out there with experience?


What's that?

2.2 pounds gone forever in my first official week of Weight Watchers. I'm not dissapointed, but I thought I could have done a little better! My second week is cruising along just nicely, I'm not starving, I planned out all of my meals for the week and I'm excercising! I hope it's always as easy as this.

Oh, here is a nice little snack "recipe" for those watching their weight (or those who like healthy snacks:

Combine 8 cucumber slices with about 8 tomato slices. Add some cubes of mozarella cheese, and 10-15 green olives. Add a little olive juice, mix it up and eat! Very yummy!


SP9 Q and A

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I'm not very picky. I love anything soft. Noro and Berocco are my current faves as far as brands go right now. I am dying to get my hands on some Berocco Pure Merino in any colors from 8545 to 8560.
2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? Various things - I have a needle case for my dpn, however, I do need somethign for my longer straight needles.
3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I've been knitting for two years. I would say I'm fairly intermediate, but I'm lazy in that I prefer simple things. I keep telling myself that I want to knit socks, I just haven't found the patience for that yet...
4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? I do, but I need to update it - actually, I will have it updated by the end of the day today!
5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.) Vanilla and strawberry. I can't really do much scented stuff because it is a migraine trigger. But anything from Bath &Body or Burt's Bees is usually o.k.
6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? I do have a HUGE sweet tooth, but I'm trying ot watch my weight (actually get rid of some weight) I would still love candy (Dove chocolates, anything with chocolate and peanut butter, or nestle caramel crunch bars!) because I have to learn to moderate what I eat. :)
7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I scrapbook, I love to bake and cook. I have a drop spindle and I'm slowly learning how to spin.
8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) I'm pretty varied in my music taste. I listen to everything.
9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand? My favorite colors are richer colors, but really, I like everything. I'm not a huge fan of neons though.
10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? LIve with my boyfriend of 7 years. No pets. Well, we have barn cats.
11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? Everything but the poncho!
12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Tough question. Right now, I'm in a baby stuff phase.
13. What are you knitting right now? Baby booties.
14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? I never have, but I'm sure I would love it.
15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? Bamboo straight/dpn or Addi circulars!Right now, I am in desperate need of short size 9 dpn!
16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? I own and use both.
17. How old is your oldest UFO? really, really old.
18. What is your favorite holiday? I really like Christmas - the lights, the decorations the family togetherness - it's just great.
19. Is there anything that you collect? Yarn :)
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 don't have any magazine subcriptions, and I just about have every book I want.
21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? Socks. I have some books and stuff, but I need to just push myself!
22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? I wear a women' s size 10 shoe.
23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd) June 27.

Show me your knitting needles...

So last night I meant to knit a bit. I fiddled around some super cool yarn my secret pal from round 7 gave me, and I think I"m going to knit it into wristwarmers.

I was looking for needles to use. I needed #9s. (I am a very loose knitter and usually always have to go up at least two needle sizes.) So, I searched through my needles:

Can you beleive this mess? They are somewhat organized, but not really. I have loads of needles, in almost every size, except for 9s! I do not own a pair of size 9s - or even 8s. I guess I have to go shopping then...


Something new...

I started something new this week. Inspired by Lolly, I have decided that enough is enough with my weight loss and (lack of) physical activity.

As of Sunday, Oct. 1, I put myself back on Weight Watchers. I am excercising NO LESS than five days per week (I have three days of activity so far this week), and I will succeed this time. I'm not losing weight. I'm getting rid of it. I'm not dieting, I"m eating right to learn to be healthy and to set an example for others.

So, here are my virtual models. The first one is how much I weighed when I started this journey (and no, I'm not yet comfortable telling how much I weigh now, but when I lose some weight, I will share) and then below that is right around where my goal is (about 150 lbs., keep in mind I'm 5'9".)

I'm not going to turn this into a total weight loss blog (after all, it is about me knitting) but I do feel that if I"m putting it out there, it holds me a little more accountable. I might pick one day a week to update my progress, but I'm not sure yet. What I can say now is that I have a kickboxing class tonight at 5:30, so when I'm done with that I have some knitting time at home tonight!! Woo-hoo!


Another finished object

So that hat that I posted a photo about yesterday...it's done:

  • Pattern: Kim's Hat's from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, Infant Size
  • Yarn used - Clouds, but not Red Heart...it's some sort of wool/alpaca blend.
  • Modifications - made 2x2 rib for 1.5 inches at start, held two strands of red together for ribbing, then held one red and one yellow, then held two yellow together.
  • Time taken to complete: roughly 4 hours with many interuptions.

Now I have to make the booties to match so my friend's baby will look good in his Cyclone colors!!


Finished objects and knitting mojo found!!

I have a finished object!! The first in a while, actually! The knit baby booties. Now, I think I wrote previously that I was making them for one of the new babies that my friends have had, but they are all cyclone fans, not Hawkeye fans! So, anybody have a baby that needs some Hawkeye colors? These are free to good home!

Pattern - Simple Baby Booties from 50 Baby Booties to Knit.
Yarn - Lorna's Laces in Bee Stripe, worsted weight.
Time - About an hour for each bootie, including finishing. Very easy knit!

I also started (and finished) a hat for a Cyclone baby. This photo is of when I started it Saturday night while watching the Iowa/Ohio game. I picked it up again yesterday and finished it around mindnight last night. Finished photos to come, but here is my start...

I do think the cooler weather has my knitting mojo reving up again. I also knit another hat, but ripped it out when I figured it was WAAAAYYY too big for its intended recipient. More photos and info to come! I'm so excited that my knitting mojo is back!!


A knit animal?

Not really. It's actually a baby bootie that hasn't been sewn up yet. It does kind of look like a buffalo though, doesn't it?

I need to make the other one still, and then two more sets because there are three baby boys to knit for! I don't know that they are all Hawkeye fans, but I guess the colors are o.k. for now!


What a week...

Extreme Makeover is over in Iowa. It's going to air Nov. 5. If that changes, I'll post here. I've got to pick a few photos to post soon as well. It was fun, but I worked like a dog. I'm in PR, so I had to handle the media with my team, and it was exhausting. But, it was an amazing experience. I'll share photos when I can.

And, my dear boyfriend (he says accidentally, but I think it was on purpose) gave away my "sell or trade" pile of yarn. I'm not sure when or if I'm going to get it back now. I'm not very happy about that.


More scoop...

O.k. - I'm a total slacker on everything I said I would be doing. Here's the thing. You know that show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition? Well, it's in Iowa, and I'M HELPING OUT MOST OF THE WEEK ON SITE!!!


So you're not going to get much from me this week. Maybe, just maybe, if I get permission, I'll post a photo or two. In the meantime, visit the project web site here (and sign up to volunteer if you can!!)



Here's the scoop

You know, a big pet peeve of mine is when someone posts on their blog that they didn't have a camera to post photos with, so no photos, they'll do it later...blah, blah, blah...

You'll notice my last post was about posting photos the next day. Well, I kept leaving my camera at work all week. I have become those people. Actually, I was always those people, I just like to think of myself as better than that. ;)

So, went through the majority of the stash last night. I don't have as much as I thought I did. Most of what I'm planning on trading or selling is fairly novelty-type yarn, just because I used to sell knit scarves at craft shows, and I'm sort of done with that now. I do have a fair amount of wool in there.

Of course, I don't have photos. Those will be taken tonight...I PROMISE!!

Oh, and the knitting bug might have hit me last night....I started KNITTING again! Remember all of those babies (twins boys to one friend, and a surprise baby from another?) All three baby boys were born last week - so I'm making booties!!! Photos of those when they're finisehd next week...


Yarn Sale!!

Well, kind of. Tonight, I am going to (hoepfully) sort and inventory my yarn stash, and put some of it on here for trade/sale. My blog doesn't have a high readership, so I"m not sure how the sale will go, so watch this space tomorrow and tell your friends!


Secret Pal Finales!

Well, Secret Pal 8 is almost over, and I have revealed myself to my spoilee, and gotten a final package and reveal from my spoiler. Let's check out the goodies first:

This would be my attempt at and artsy photo. My final SP8 package include Four skeins of Cascade 220 (two in an olive green, and two in a lighter green "heather" color.) These will likely get felted into a purse at some point. Then, over to the right, you'll see a partial skein on Blue Sky Alpaca yarns - Suri Alpaca. SOOOO soft. There are actually two skeins in a light grey in there. I have no idea what to make with it. It will make a super-soft scarf, so I might have to do that! I also got a deck of Alaska cards, because my pal is from Alaska, and some more Burt's Bees lip balm!! My favorite!

So, MONICA - thank you so much for spoiling me the past few months! It's been so much fun, and I'm now happy to say I have a friend in Alaska!! I can't wait for the knitting bug to bite me again so I can dig into all of this stuff!!!!!

Then there is the issue of the pal that I've been spoiling. Her name is Laura. I had a great time spoiling her! She is in school in Oklahoma. And, she is a very inspiring person. I don't want to overstep my boundaries too much, but let's just say that Laura has a lot of challenges going on in her life and what impressed me most is that she is not a complainer by any means, and always looks at the bright side...read her blog and you'll get a lot of the details.

So, SP8 was a great time for me! Can't wait for #9!


Now she spins, too!

I'm a spinner...kind of.
This weekend, I thought I would bust out that roving I got back at the Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival in June, and try my hand on the drop spindle. First, I tried spinning from the long thick piece of wool like the lady at the festival told me to. That didn't work. Then, I pulled the roving apart into that little ball of fluff at the bottom right of the photo. That helped, but I still ended up with this:

I do think that it counts as yarn, but it's a little over-twisted. The thing is, if I let it twist any less, it fell apart. I'm going to have to keep practicing!


It is what it is...

What's that you ask? Knitting. Summer is not knitting time for me, this I've only discovered now that it's AUGUST!!

I did a little knitting here and there - made a baby bootie, didn't like it so I ripped it up. Started a baby kimono and log cabin blankie for one of several pregnant friends. Haven't quite gotten around to finishing those either. I need to get re-bitten by the knitting bug. I need energy and creative inspiration.

I'm going to try to inspire myself a little bit this weekend as I sort through my yarn stash and get rid of some stuff. In the past, I've donated it to Goodwill or just given it to knitting friends, but I'm not sure who/what I'm going to give it to this time. I'm also planning on going to the State Fair to check out the sheep and knitted items contest. I'm sure there is going to be some inspiration there!!

So the other part of this is that I have a secret pal named Laura that I have been spoiling during this round of SP8. I'm trying to give her hints to who I am, so I think this hint might help a little. So far, I've told her the following hints:
  • My name is Antoinette.
  • I live in Iowa.
  • I have blonde hair.

We'll see if she finds me!!


New pattern to try

Anyone out there subscribe to Berrocco's KnitBits newsletter? As you know, I am a big berrocco fan, and I've been getting their free patterns for some time now.

This week, I saw this pattern. So simple and basic, and I love it! I haven't tried their ultra alpaca yarn yet, but this might be the perfect pattern to use! I think it would make a cute black cardi.


remember me?

Slack knitter, slack blogger. I know, I know. Well, I do have some family members who like to tease me for having a blog (HI DAWN!!) but that doesn't matter.

I am still not knitting much, even though I have 7 days to complete the log cabin blanket for a friends' baby. The blanket is 20" by 20". I'm not sure if I can get it to 40" by 40" in that time, but we'll see. I'm heading back to St. Louis this weekend for friend's wedding shower that I'm in, so that's about six hours of knitting time in the car if I share the driving duties with someone. Then, when I'm at home, I'll be able to knit a little here and there.

The Iowa State Fair is coming up soon, and there is some sort of sheep to shawl demonstration that I'd like to see. We'll see though.


in search of...

someone to teach me how to use my spinning wheel and drop spindle, and to teach me to prepare raw fleece! Why? Because the farmer up the street said he will give me FREE raw fleece...because he throws it away every year!!

I'm going to make my own yarn! I'm going to have to learn how to die it, prepare it, etc. etc. And I have no idea how to start!! HELP!



Oh boy. Not much knitting to report. I started a baby kimono, but I don't know anyone who is having a girl, the Log Cabin Blanket is still very-slowly moving along, but the baby shower for the person I'm giving it to is two weeks away so I must get it done soon.

Photos to come.



That's a word for Buffalo I believe...isn't it?

Went to Jester Park just north of Des Moines over the weekend. They have an elk/bison observation area. I didn't know that mean they were behind this thin little wire fence...

That's not my hand...I'm taking the photo. Please notice though, how close that we got to these animals. We stopped because some people were feeding them bread. When they were done feeding the buffalo, the buffalo started to walk away. I got closer to the fence...TOUCHED A BUFFALO'S NOSE WITH MY HAND...and it snorted on me. Then, another one thought I had food and turned around quickly. I didn't have any food though.


Going broke...

Did they really have to come out with this?? I want it, need it, and have to find it!! Beautiful colors. Washable wool - and it's MERINO!!

Do banks give yarn buying loans?



No family gathering that I attend happens without someone (usually me) making some sort of dessert concoction. Usually I go for cookies, but cheesecake struck my fancy this weekend when Cooking Light came to my mailbox a few weeks ago with a beautiful cover, promissing the lowest fat and calorie cheesecake ever!!

So, I made this: Now, obviously there is no chocolate in a low-fat, low-cal cheesecake. I cooked the cheesecake at 1 a.m., so I was tired, and didn't follow the directions to leave it in the open, turned off oven for 30 minutes. Instead, I put it into the fridge, and the next morning it had a crack the size of the San Andreas Fault running through it. So, I put chocolate on it.

I'd give the cheesecake a B-...but I'm not the greatest cheesecake cook ever. (But I am the best chocolate chip cookie baker ever!) My brother liked it better without chocolate, so did my sister in law. I thought it was too dry. Oh well...I'll keep trying to perfect the art of cheesecake baking. If anyone out there has any fool-proof recipes, do share.

I wasn't the only dessert maker this weekend. My sister-in-law banged out this fantastic jello/pound cake/fruit thing..YUMMY!!

I hope she knows that I will not let her take my dessert crown from me...I hate competition.


Secret Pal Package!!

Finally, a photo!! I think that KnitPicks yarn would make super-cute baby socks/booties for a friend of mine who is having twin boys in a few months... And they're hard to see, but the Blue Mountain Beads go perfect with another set of beads that I'm planning to turn into something fun!!

Thanks, Secret Pal!!

Later this week - 4th of July adventures in cooking!



Interesting article in USAToday this morning. Read it here.

I would have to say that I am one of those people who values privacy a lot. That's why while I may write about myself, family and friends here, I'm never going to show a photo. I guess I shouldn't say never, but I will say that not for a long time. I want to keep that aspect of my life private.

So, I still owe my secret pal a big THANK YOU for the great package of KnitPicks yarn she sent me. I will take a photo at some point and post it.

I'm heading to Indiana this weekend, and won't likely be able to post again until July 5 - so have a happy and safe holiday!

P.S. Today is my 27th birthday. I'm now officially in my late 20's. Yikes.


Summer Solstice - one day late

Eek - summer is officially here, and I've become officially lazy about posting. Got a package with some great Knit Picks yarn from my secret pal, I just need to take a photo and post it! tomorrow is Pet Day at work - lots of fun!!

I'll post soon, promise!


The festival haul

I have to preface this by saying that I wanted today's post to have photos of the sheep shearing demonstration, but some of the photos might be disturbing. So, go here if you want to see them. That link is actually my whole photo album from the festival.

So, today I will show what I purchased at the festival.
This would be the total haul. Wool top roving (I'm not sure if that is the real name or not, but I know it's "wool top". Merino wool at that. Dyed silk hankies, a drop spindle, and two needles cases (one for me, one for a gift) made by Mango Moon.

This would be 130 grams of wool top roving (or whatever it's called.) The colors in the photo are right on - they're light and lovely. It's really soft, and I've tried and failed to spin it approximately three times already this week. I lack patience, but I know one day I'll get it.

This would be 21 grams of Mawata Silk Hankies. So soft, so pretty. I loved these colors. I was really drawn to them, and I'm not a huge fan of green. I have not tried to spin these yet. I bought this and the roving from the same place, Lone Tree Wools.

This is a close-up of the handpained drop spindle that I bought from Snokist Farm/Lamb Lane. It's of a Jacob Sheep! The owner, Kathy, gave me a demonstration of drop spindle spinning, and I thought it looked so easy, but I'm failing to master it at home. I told her that I would bring her some of my hand spun yarn next year, so I have to keep my promise!!

The needle cases are from the Huacaya Moon booth. They are made by Mango Moon. I love then - and I'd never seen them before. Got them at a great price, too - only $11.95 each! I would tell you what I paid for the other stuff, but I don't remember!!

Overall, I think the best part of the sheep and wool festival is the fact that people who run farms come to sell their wares, and you can find some very unique things. There's nothing like purchasing something that someone crafted with their own hands. The only thing that I didn't buy, but wish I did, was a dye your own silk hankie kit. Everytime I went to the booth that sold them, their were people talking to the owners. There's always next year!


Sheep Fashion Show

If you're a knitter and you go to a Sheep & Wool Festival, you're probably there for the fiber, not the animal. Well, I wanted to check out the animals, too. What I didn't expect to see what a bunch of sheep wearing clothes.

I'm sorry, but the white hooded robe thing is a little boring, and makes the sheep look a little angry and hateful. Definitely not my favorite look. Here we have a slender sheep in a nice blue speedo. Much better look. Does anyone know what the difference is putting the sheep in the tight swimsuit/speedo type outfits vs. the looser white robes with hoods? I know that both are used to keep the wool clean, but I think the speedos are a clear winner for style.

While I do think that this sheep is slender enough for a speedo, I have to question the stripes. Fashion has never allowed stripes to look good on someone.

Is it wrong to shear a sheep and then knit it a sweater out of it's own wool?


Iowa Sheep & Wool, Part 1

I don't know how many parts I'm going to have to a report on the Iowa Sheep & Wool Festival, but this is part 1 - an overview.

This was only the second year for the festival - and for the second year, I was quite impressed. It's definitely small, but the people are super friendly and the yarn goodies were UNBELIEVABLE.

These photos were from the vendor building. I would say that there were about 15 vendors total. It was smaller than I expected, but like I said, the yarn and other goodies made up for it!!

This is the booth for Lone Tree Wools. Those flat packages in the front are silk hankies (I bought some!!) They also carry wool roving (the top stuff that comes in a long string - I bought some of that, too!) The owner, Elizabeth Shreeves, was very nice and sat in front of her spinning wheel for quite some time spinning silk. They are based out of Lone Tree, Iowa.

Another booth that I really liked, and made some purchases from is the Huacaya Moon booth. This was like a mobile knitting supply and gadget store! This photo is only of the side of the booth - it was probably 20 feet wide. They had knitting baskets, rovings, dyes, needle cases, needles, swifts, winders, you name it! The company is based out of Bellevue, Iowa.

This booth is another place I bought things at (do you see a trend here?) This is the combined booth of Snokist Farm and Lamb Lane (no web address). These farms are in Southeastern Iowa, one in Fort Madison (strange fact: my boyfriend used to live in Ft. Madison and knew the farm's owners' cousin!) and the other is in Oakville, Iowa. Great hand-spun yarn. I wanted to buy some, but Kathy Blackett of Snokist gave me a lesson on spinning my own on a drop spindle. So I bought one!!

So that's kind of an overview of the vendors that I really, really liked. There were some other vendors, but I don't remember their names or didn't really talk to the people there. I will say that vendors should always have a business card or brochure available - that's why I had information about these vendors!!

Later this week, I'll show my actual purchases, photos of a sheep shearing demonstration, and a little more about some of the sheep I saw at the festival.