Tuesday, January 31, 2006

My favorite Things

In random order, except for number one...
1. My family
2. My pets
3. Spinning
4. Knitting
5. Baking
6. the smell of the ocean
7. the smell of new mown grass
8. the smell of wood smoke from a fireplace burning
9. baby animals
10. Jamocha Almond Fudge Ice Cream
11. Mocha Latte
12. Fresh Baked Bread
13. slipping into bed onto fresh sheets
14. diet coke
15. rainy days
16. warm clothes out of the dryer
17. naps
18. books
19. family photographs
20. talking with my sister
21. a perfect haircut
22. fresh fruit
23. my husband's scent
24. the way my husband's shoulder just "fits" under my head when we lay together
25. a good joke
26. classic movies
27. a soft blanket
28. warm socks
29. love songs
30. making a new friend
31. the scent of my baby granddaughter
32. good soap
33. ice cold milk
34. fresh baked cookies
35. the memories of my grandfather
36. my internet friends

Monday, January 30, 2006

19 rows to go

Only 19 more rows to go until I finish my very first shawl! Go me! That is only one whole repeat and part of another plus the edging. I can't wait to get it done and wear it just once. I may decide to give it away to my sister, but then again, I may not. I have more yarn to make another just like it, and it was easy enough to make. I just can't decide which colorway she would prefer. This first one is in the bright jewel tones I prefer and the other colorway is in more subtle colors. I almost think she'd prefer the other so.........

I picked up the yarn today for my Olympic project. In case you forgot I'm going to do the Kiri shawl. The original pattern calls for laceweight fuzzy mohair but that would make me insane in less than 5 minutes and I refuse to go there. I'm going to play it safe and go the route that Lesley went and knit it up in a medium weight merino wool. She said she did 8 repeats instead of the pattern called for repeat of 12's in size 11 needles. I'm not sure why she did that exactly, so I need to talk with her more about that particular aspect. I chose a medium denim blue color wool. I think it will be beautiful.

I also got some more Sugar & Cream on sale for my dishcloth exchanges. I'll be set now through June on cotton thread.

I'm working on getting my Secret Pal 7 gift together. I need to drag out the sewing machine for one thing. I'm going to make three of the same thing. My soap dish pal will get one too since she is also a knitter. Every knitter needs one of these sweet babies that I'm going to sew up. And of course I'm gonna make one for me. I tried to find some laceweight yarn for her today too since she likes to knit lace but I'll have to go to my LYS to find that. Hobby Lobby doesn't carry any "good" stuff like that of course. Either that or I'll have to order online for her. My pal, she has GREAT taste. More patience than I do to knit with that laceweight stuff I'll tell ya.

I got good news at the doctor's today. Apparently one of my cysts has busted all by itself and is gone and one of the others is shrinking. So, in another couple of months, I'll go back for another ultrasound for another look see and again decide whether or not if we need to remove them. Tony unfortunately didn't get that groovy of news. Well, he did and he didn't. He is still going to be off work for another 4-6 weeks but this new doctor thinks he can get him on the right track. He is going to start him on epidural steriod shots and cortisone shots and doing some exercises and stuff. He is working hand in hand with the neurologist to get Tony well so I am pleased with his care. I'm just really bummered that he isn't at work. But, the longer he is off, the larger the settlement will be at the end of it all. UPRR is NOT going to be happy with all of this. Thank GOD we went ahead and hired an attorney to handle all of this. It's pretty much a have to thing whenever you get involved with the railroad and the FRA. It sucks.

Well, today, I woke up without a headache. First time in 6 days. By the time I got done with the doctors and the grocery shopping etc, of course I was in serious pain and had to come home and lay down for a while, but at least I can happily say that I DO NOT have a headache! YIPPEE!!!! I can take just about anything until my head hurts. Now, I have the headache hangover. I'm exhausted and could sleep for 3 days.

I need to make soap. I have been getting a few orders in of late and my stock is getting a little low. I probably should make 4 or 6 batches this week just to be on the safe side. I really need to order a few supplies too, but I just hate to unless I get a really big order in. I need emu oil and that stuff is HIGH!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Secret Pal 7 Surprise!!!

I received the greatest surprise today in my mailbox today. It was the perfect day for it too. It's been gloomy and rainy all day, so it certainly brought a ray of light into a dark, gray day. Just LOOK at all those goodies! Itty bitty size 1 needles in my favorite bamboo both straights and DPN's, plus some cotton and a snowflake ornament pattern book to go with it. And the new Vogue magazine and some stitch markers with cute snowmen on them. How in the world she knew I collect snowmen I'll never know! Some cotton thread so I'll have some for next months dishcloth swap (Yah!!) and some delishhhh dark chocolate nonpareils. I'm SO glad Tony doesn't like dark chocolate hehehe!!

I SO enjoy doing swaps! I guess thats one of the reasons why I've organized and ran the secret pal program for the Soap Dish Forum for the past 3 years. That has certainly been a challenge at times with all the various participants and the problems, but overall it has been worth it.

I try to be a really REALLY good pal and for the most part I've had good pals in return. My biggest problem is that I want to get my pal everything, so I get stuck trying to figure out just exactly what to get my pal. Just yesterday I mailed off my dish pal's gift and I have yet to send off my first Secret Pal 7's gift. I just want it to be PERFECT is the thing.

I get paralized by perfection and indecision. A major charactor flaw of mine.

Another thing I love doing is swapping my soaps and bath and body product for fleece and fiber and spindles or spinning stuff. Most spinners aren't soapmakers but they sure do love fine handcrafted soap, so a good barter/swap such that we can make works out great for both of us. I'm always up for something like that, so if you see something you want and have something you think I might like just hollar.

I've got 2 sections left to go on my homespun shawl plus the edging until I'll be done! I'm so excited. I can't wait to get it blocked and see it. Whoot!!!

Dishcloth Swap

This is the dishcloth my WAS dishcloth swapper sent me this month. I've never seen cotten thread like this. I think it's real pretty! I love this color. I sure enjoy these little monthly swaps. They are small items that don't take a long time to make and it's neat seeing what other people make in exchange.

Bookmark Swapper

My Woman's Artistic Soul group bookmark swapper did good! I don't have a single tatted item until now and this is beautiful. I'll use it everyday! Thanks Leah.

Knitter's Olympics

When the torch is lit in Torino, my needles will begin to fly here in Conway. Yes, it's true. I have agreed to participate in the Knitter's Olympics. Am I nuts?? Probably.

Why oh why do I set myself up for this kind of pressure? Gee....I don't know. I guess I just love a challenge. Besides, it gives me an excuse to start a great project and keep busy knitting while the Olympics dominate my television for 16 nights.

I have select the Kiri Shawl for my project http://www.alltangledup.com/movabletype/my_images/my_patterns/kiri.pdf

My friend Twig has done this one recently, so hopefully, if I get hung up, she can help me get past my problem. I'm not sure what yarn I'm going to make it with yet, but I'm very excited about this project!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Blog, Blog, Blog

Ok, this is just about stupid. I've struggled for two days trying to find a decent blog host that A- is easy to use for a non-computer geek and B- is free. Heh! guess what? No such thing.

Blogger would be great if it didn't keep freaking out every couple of days. My main complaint with Blogger is that it hates my laptop. It works just hunky dorky on my PC, but I use my laptop WAY more. If it Blogger worked when I wanted it to, I could post to this thing more than I have been. I really DO think of things to post, but by the time I get around to going to the main PC etc etc etc....I have lost the mood.

And WHERE are all those other bloggers getting all those cool and groovy templates? And the add-ons? Whoooboy! Some are just outstanding! I want some too! What's the secret handshake so that I can get in the club that knows how to do stuff like that? I know it has to be simple and out there somewehre (the directions that is) because ALL those bloggers can't possibly be computer saavy.

It already takes me ten forevers to hunt and find stuff and figure out how to post the html code just to put stuff on my sidebar. So far I'm slowly figuring that out.

So what? Do I ask a blogger stranger when I see a neat feature? Do I ask a search engine? If so, what do I search for? Cool Blog toys?? Doubt it.

See......this is me......frustrated. I want a GOOD blog, but all I have is a BIG headache.


Monday, January 23, 2006

Looking for a better Blog host

I have just about decided that Blogger and I just don't get along. So, for now, I am on the hunt for a new host.

This is a royal pain. I would write more in my blog IF my service was better. But with the way this thing acts, well, what is the point?

I'm gonna go search now. If I get lost, send out a search party.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

It's finally winter here!

It snowed today. Big fat juicy beautiful fluffy flakes. Melted as soon as they hit the ground. Oh, and the snow burst lasted about 30 minutes. Then the sun came out and everything was bright and crisp. It is finally cool though, like it should be. I so love fall and winter, but this year it has not even hardly been cold enough to wear a coat outside most days. A light sweater or a fleece jacket usually does fine. Today, I actually got to wear the cap my Spindler pal knit for me. I had some chores to do outside and the wind was howling so it felt nice.

I finished knitting up Lady's doggy sweater. My daughter has YET to come pick it up. ARRRRGGGGG!! When she asked me to knit one, it was as if the poor pup was going to freeze to death possibly within the next instant if I didn't hurry up and get it done. Now it's been done three days and it is still sitting on the table by the front door. Oh well. She's had plenty on her mind this week so I can't blame her........much. My ex......her dad......is in the hospital trying to have a heart attack and trying to convince the doctors that he isn't an alcoholic etc etc etc. I am SO glad that is not my problem. I have enough of my own without adding booze to the mix.

My brother finally got into see an Oncologist today. The great news is that he does NOT have cancer. Apparently all the swelling and pain are some kind of weird rheumatiod thing. And the white blood cell issue is because they have been treating him with steroid injections for all that for so long that it has raised his levels. The oncologist is very curious as to why the arthritis doctor that my brother saw previously sometime LAST year did not figure all this out. Anyway, he (the doc) said that even though he didn't have cancer and rheumatism and arthritis wasn't his specialty, that he would get to the bottom of it and figure out a plan and course of treatment. So that is very good news indeed! I was so worried about what in the world my sister in law was going to do alone with 3 kids. Especially since they just had a baby.

Now maybe my brother will get up and get back into the game of life. He is a wallower. I guess when he thought that he might be dying, he gave himself permission to pretty much check out. Time for him to get moving. One of the worse things he could do for his arthritis is to SIT and stiffen up and stuff. He needs to get back into slowly becoming more active and fit again. My brother used to be quite the buff big stud. Now, his is just the big softie.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Secret Pal 7 Answers

I received notification of my Secret Pal the other day and totally forgot that I needed to make a blog post of the answers to the questions we were asked. I guess I was having one of the more frequent duh moments that overtake me these days. Sorry Pal. I am well meaning, but very very, shall we say, other worldly in my brain sometimes.

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Sort of but not really. Of course I love most natural fibers with a passion. But that said, I think that Lion Brand puts out some really really NICE yarn too. One of my frequent flyer stops is Hobby Lobby and they are big into Lion Brand and some other brands that I cant remember but most of what they carry is not natural and I do like an awful lot of it. When I look at the labels, I see alot of blends so maybe that is the key to what attracts me.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?
I learned to crochet many, many years ago. I have cranked out my fair share of crochet. Enough to say that I'm done with that except for the occacsional required edge or whatever. I also do spin. Spinning is new for me and I don't even have a wheel yet. I spindle spin just now. I really enjoy taking it from point a to z and making something totally unique.

3. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I have all my crochet hooks (all sizes) in a zip pouch that I've had forever that is made for holding crochet hooks. I have my needles in a Raku vase.

4. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I've been knitting for less than a year. I'd say that my skill level is somewhere between advanced beginner and intermediate. I have to read complicated patterns over and over and some things I just am having to pass on doing right now.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
I do but it is insanely long and there is no way I would burden anyone with it.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc) For things like candles etc, I love mulberry, a good vanilla, or a fresh clean linen or rain scent. For personal use I just like something that smells fresh and clean. I adore Pure Grace, which falls into that scent zone.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Do I have a sweet tooth?? Well lets see.....YES!!! I really don't know what my favorite CANDY is unless you count chocolate. Because see, to me chocolate is a whole nuther food group. I like Dove chocolate both light and dark. However, I really don't think that white chocolate actually IS chocolate. Somehow, it is missing the important choco ingredient in there..

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
Well, since I get retired (read---put out to pasture) I started my own bath and body business I would have to say that I love to make old fashion cold process soap. I also love woodworking and redecorating. Not that we have a woodshop or anything right now, but someday it would be cool if we did..

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3's? (if your buddy wants to make you a cd)
I like country, country rock, classic rock, pop, easy classics, Norah Jones, Josh Grobin. Anything that I can understand the words and isn't screaming at me pretty much is ok.

10. I love the deep rich jewel tones and also the rich earth tones. I really am not a pastel, easter egg color type person. I love rich teal, saphire blue, burgandy reds, topaz golds, emerald greens, royal purple, rich russet. The only funky color I kinda like is lime green. I have a couple tee shirts in that color that I seem to wear alot.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Married with 2 teen age boys living at home age 13 and 14 (what the heck were we thinking??) 2 grown kids out of the nest and 2 granddaughters.
An outside hairbag dog and 2 inside biscuit eater Boston Terrier's, plus one siamese cat.

12. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Scarves yes! Hats, I would if it got cold enough since I live in the South sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't. Mittens, no. Gloves, yes but I'm hard to fit cuz I have wide hands and short fat fingers. I'd like a pair of fingerless gloves to wear while knitting for when my hands are cold. Ponchos, I don't have one so I don't really know. I probably would wear one if I had one I liked alot.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
I like wool, alpaca, silk or blends of the forementioned with acrylics. I like smooth, plyed classic yarns. I also love wool yarns that are good for felting. I don't like to knit with anything finer that sock weight yarn. Even that is really pushing it for me right now.

14. What fibers do you absolutely "not" like.
I really try to stay away from anything that is just a straight acrylic like the typical Red Heart like you get at Walmart. Other than that, I can't think of any.

15. What are your favorite item/s to knit?
Boy that is a tough one. I am a very monogomous knitter, so I don't ever have very many WIP going on at one time. I like doing scarf's, dishcloths, sweaters, socks, felted clogs etc.

16. What it/are your current knitting obsession/s?
Socks. I just got the book Socks Soar on Two Circulars and I am going to master it! I am also a big pattern collector so I'm hunting that perfect sweater pattern. I want something that will make my favorite NORO Koreyon yarn look smashing.

17. What are you knitting right now?
Actually, nothing since I just finished a project. But, today I'm going to start on some socks. After that I'm going to start on a shawl. Oh, and then a bag that I'm going to felt. I have some Icelandic wool that I've spun and dyed that I think will be great for that.

18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
It depends on the project really. But overall I would have to say circulars if I were forced to pick just one.

20. Bamboo, aluminum or plastic.
Yes, I like them all. I invested in my first set of Addi's. OUCH!

21. Do you own a yarn winder or a swift?
No, but both are on my wish list.

22. How did you learn to knit?
Mostly self taught. Internet and a friend and books.

23. How old is your oldest UFO.
Don't have any UFO's

24. What is your favorite animated character or favorite animal/bird?
I don't have a favorite animated charachter to speak of. I do collect turtles if that counts.

25. What is your favorite holiday?
I'm not big into holidays really. I prefer seasons. I like spring and fall.

26. Is there anything that you collect?
Spindles, turtles, knitting patterns, books, dvd movies. Oh and the occasional dust bunny.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
None, but I regularly buy a few different ones. I plan on subscribing to Interweave Knits and Spin It.

28. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on?
Oh my goodness, of course there is! Noro yarns are SWEET!! I'd love to have a good book that had some nice simple basic patterns in it for women's sizes. (like 14 and above)

Addi Turbo's are nice. Size 2 24" for my socks.

Anything from KnitPicks is good. I love most of their stuff.

29. Ar there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
Just get better at what I know. I'd eventally like to learn to make lace.

30. Are you a sock knitter? What are you foot measurements?
I'm a wannabe sock knitter. I've tried the dpn's with no luck so now I'm moving onto the circs. If that doesn't work then the answer will be a resounding NO. I wear a size 9 shoe so I guess my feet are about 10" long.

31. When is your birthday?
March 11th.

Ok pal, I hope that is enough info. Whew! It feels like a ton. I'm very easy to make happy.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A change of scenery

Well how interesting is this? Finally I figured out how to make this blogger program actually work. Or maybe it worked all the time and I was the one who actually learned how to use it. I'm thinking that's the case. I still don't quite understand why it wants to type here in this certain mode, but hey, I'm not arguing because now I don't have to post on two different machines. That is a big time plus! It was a hassle to have to do that. Maybe I'll post more often now. Sometimes I think about things to post, but then I just skip it because I'm all comfy and too lazy to get up and move to the desk top. Now I can REALLY bore you with senseless nonsense.

I got another object off the needles today. That is rather amazing because I have had a roaring headache for about 4 days now. The saving grace is that it was a mindless pattern that I could sit and just knit and not have to pay much attention to. So that will take care of next month's dishcloth exchange. I like being ahead. Dishcloths are SO easy and fast to knit.

I'm still dopey with the headache. It's racheting down to about a 7 from a 10. The spasms have eased in my shoulders which is where they always start. But now I have this finger point of fire in my eye. I could feel this bad boy coming on a couple weeks ago. I always know. The little signs are always there. It's kinda like how the animals sense an earthquake I suppose. The foreboding of evil on the horizon. Best case scenario for me is to not make a trip to the ER. So far, so good this round.

My poor sister is going through a bittersweet time. Her youngest child, her daughter ships out to basic training in the Airforce on the 19th. Her baby. Her heart. Staci is going to Lackland AFB at San Antonio, TX to do her basic training. I am glad she is going there. It's one of the best airbases in the country. I hope to be able to go to her graduation ceremony in March. We'll just have to see. Maybe Tony will be back to work by then and things will be back to normal. Lord knows we need normal around here. It's been a long time since normal.

I have a couple of small Shetland fleeces that I am dying to get my hands into. I hope to start on them tomorrow. They are the double coated type so they should be interesting. The woman who gave them to me said that she will send me more if I like these. Such a nice woman. I've met so many NICE sheep people in my new wool world. It makes me have a renewed faith in the world that there are still some very nice people out there.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Finished Objects

Just to play a bit of catch up on what I've been up to lately.

First off is a simple diagonally knit dishcloth. Sugar and cream cotton.

Second is a really simple scarf pattern that nearly defeated me. I had to frog it a couple times partway because I got off track as to what was the front and what was the back. It is the Old Shale pattern. Made from mohair and wool bulky weight.

The third is a very simple felted bookmard I did for an exchange I'm in. Hand dyed wool. Knit quickly in a couple of hours. I'll be doing this one again.

And now for the requesite funny face dog photo. For without Rudy, my life would not be nearly as full of joy. He knows when I am happy, sad or just need a cuddle. He has my heart wrapped around his paw.

He is noble, and serious and sweet. He makes me laugh every day with his clownish antics. And just about the best foot warmer a girl could ever want. He never asks for anything except for unconditional love, and always gives the same. For the price of kibble and a few chewies and biscuits, I think that is well worth it.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Why my LYS is BAD

Why my LYS is BAD BAD BAD!!!

So, today, while Tony is at physical therapy, I have an hour to kill.  I decided to go downtown and go to the jewelry store to get the prongs checked on my wedding ring.  I’ve been meaning to do it for a while and just never got the chance or made the time to do so.  Anyway, in trying to find a parking place, I was forced to drive around and around and around about 4 times just to get heading in the right direction.  And where oh where did the God’s of parking just happen to open up a spot?? Yep, you got it…..right in front of Bella Lana, my local yarn store.  So, I walked down the block to the jewelers and took care of that business first.

Well, that only took about 20 minute’s total. So as I am walking back towards my car, I’m thinking, hmmm where now?  Do I slip into one of these antique shops for a quick browse or should I just give into my inner yarn slut and go ahead and go into Bella Lana.  Slut won of course.  

Stepping into Bella Lana is like walking into the center of a kaleidoscope.  The eye is literally bombarded with every color of the rainbow from 360 degrees.  Every color, any texture and any fiber that one could imagine is in that little tiny shop.  All the little cubbies that line the walls are filled with loads of fibery goodness.  You need a wool fix….it’s in there.  Eyelash and ladder yarn more your thing…..right hand corner.  Cottons, by the door.  Angora and alpaca, center stage left.  

And to what do my wandering eyes did appear?  NORO!!!  OOOOOOHHH my precious!!  I could not believe it.  Up until now, she had not carried Noro Koreyon.  I guess she got tired of not only me, but probably tons of other local knitters begging for it.  We all either had to drive to Little Rock or get it online before.  But no more!!  AND…she is getting BIG Noro Koreyon!!  See me do the jiggy (or is it jiggly) happy knitter dance!!!!

Now, a trip to my LYS is always a dangerous thing.  It is nowhere in the same league as a trip to Michael’s or Hobby Lobby or even JoAnn’s.  I spied a skein of yarn that I absolutely fell in love with.  I mean I wanted every single skein in the store……that is until I found out it is $25.00 a skein.  YIPES!!!  Maybe next month I’ll allow myself just one……for a scarf……..for ME!  Cuz I am definitely not making anyone anything out of something that costs $25.00 a skein until I hit my personal jackpot and can well afford it.  Today just ain’t that day.  

I couldn’t resist though.  I always always always buy something when I’m there.  This time I think I did well.  I spent some money BUT, as I told my husband, it was an investment.  I wound up getting 2 Addi Turbo circs size 3 for socks and the book Sock Soar on Two Circulars and a skein of sock yarn.  I’ll admit that the sock yarn I should have passed by because I do have some here in my stash but it is pretty and soft and well……you understand the siren song of self striping sock yarn.  So there goes my soap money income.  But hey, if my soaping is supporting my knitting, then it’s all GOOD!!!!