Friday, July 28, 2006

Ireland and beyond....

a mini post by wg.....

You have to take chances in life...otherwise life is just a bunch of endless Thursdays - Quote from the movie Rumor Has It

Flying into Dublin Thursday morning after being on a plane or in an airport for roughly 17 hours, more or less, we were, needless to say, exhausted, yet extremely excited and thrilled to be here. Most of us hadn't slept but a few hours (my husband Kevin and I came over with another couple), and some of us hadn't slept at all, so catching some shut eye, if only for an hour or so, sounded like a great idea.

First stop: The hotel. We are staying in the Stillorgan Hotel which is a really beautiful and all around Irish hotel. They have excellent coffee (better than any Starbucks or local coffee shop I'm used to) and the Guiness is so much better than any Guiness I've tasted in the states. It's rich, creamy and flows down mighty easily...a little too easily. It's my new favorite beer.

After sleeping for a good chunk of the morning and afternoon, we were more than ready to adventure some of this gorgeous and fast moving city. This city is crazy, wild, and and all together wonderful. It's also very expensive. The weather is gorgeous (which we hear is not normal for this time of year) and it was a perfect 70 deg and sunny. Just lovely. We're hoping it continues for a few more days, but no guarantees. But, we are prepared for the rain, if it happens to show it's weary head while we're here.

The day was spent visiting countless castles and churches in Dublin, shopping, and drinking beer. You can't walk more than a few blocks in Dublin (or Ireland for that matter) without drinking a beer. It's just the nature here.

More on Ireland later.......

Knitting news:
I'm off to more adventerous parts of this country tomorrow, so may not be posting for a couple of weeks, and may not even be internet bound, so thought I would post a few photos of what I'm currently working on and plan to work on while I'm here and in the near future.

Started Sock Hop Wild Thing socks. Love the colors!

I'm test knitting a sweater for Sundara Yarn, and recieved the yarn just before I departed for this fine country. The yarn was a mystery to me until I received it...and I immediately fell in love! (Pictures do not do this yarn justice!) Will post more on this when I return.

Started the Socks that Rock Sock Club socks, but don't have photos available yet!

Also almost finished the Petals Collection Sock Club socks, but don't have photos available yet!

Knit on!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

on casting on

posted by....sssssssssssssss

Knitting-wise, I finally feel like I am back. Sure, the socks that I was working on prior to the wedding are still languishing on the needles, with both heels turned, all ready for the legs and cuff, but, let's not dwell on the negative, okay? I have a finished object. American Pie Sock Hope #1 is complete. And I love it. So very very much. This yarn is oh, so thick and sproingy and vibrant and cushy. The second will go like a dream - turn the heel, knit the leg, cast off, and I am done.

As you may have noticed on the rest of the world wide web, the latest installment of the Socks that Rock sock club has hit the streets, and, bing-bing-bing! It’s a definite winner. The yarn is absolutely gorgeous – short color repeats, so I don’t anticipate a ton of striping; super-duper-softicity, which feels like a dream; a beautiful color combination; and, to top it all off, the pattern is da bomb. Lacey anklets. Yummy. I decided to actually FOLLOW the pattern this time, and let me tell you, casting on for the magic loop on addi 0s for the first time ever? It’s a bitch. On my first attempt, I had these massive jogs along both joins, so I played a bit of Frogger last night, and attempt #2 ain't bad (you'll just have to take my word for it, because, just because i am back as a knitter does NOT mean my blogging skills are up to par).

Speaking of casting on (and getting to the point of this post), this weekend I decided to cast on for a cotton project (it was hotter than blue blazin's here in the Pacific NW). In a weak moment, one filled with adoration for wendy from knit and tonic (that girl is TALENTED as all get-out), I pay-pal’ed my way to owning a copy of her Fad Classic vest/tank-toppy thing. This weekend, in an attempt to ‘beat the heat,’ I decided cotton was waaaay better than homespun merino. So I swatched. And swatched. And swatched. I ended up with 5 different swatches in 2 different yarns. In swatching, I realized that it has been at least 8 months since I actually CASTED ANYTHING ON. Yes, you read that right – what with the toe-up socks, using the figure-eight method, and my "all shawls, all the time," addictions of 2006, casting on just simply has not been in the cards for quite a while. Speaking of "a while," it took me one of those to re-remember and get comfortable with the whole casting-on thing again. Weird, huh? Back to wendy’s pattern, though – that woman is a smart cookie. The pattern is written such that there is no seaming, and as much of it as possible is done in the round. As an added bonus, the stitch pattern is both easy to memorize AND uber-attractive. I casted on this weekend, and joined the front and back while watching Sopranos last night (we are nearing the end of Season 3),

and am looking forward to spending some quality time with it at airports and on airplanes beginning tomorrow. We are heading to the great American Midwest, for a wedding in beautiful Columbus, Ohio. We are looking at a great deal of plane-time, so I consulted the NK this morning about what projects should make the trip with me. She gave me wise and sage advice. The Fad Classic, American Pie Sock Hop #2, and the newest STR Sock Club yarn and pattern are all climbing in my purse for the weekend. Which will be finished? Who will prevail? Or will everyone lose this round? Stay tuned to next week's installment to see...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Not knitting...

by Emily

Is this legal to post? The knitting blog police may come and arrest me, but I've been seduced by sewing lately. My inlaws were visiting (a good thing) and my mother in law recovered our sofa. She's a sewing wiz. My dog was "helping" a LOT during the process and spending all her spare time flopped on the pile of all our spare bits and pieces. So, we decided the leftover foam was just begging to be a dog bed. Then there was still some leftover, so that was begging to be a dog bed in the shape of a mini sofa. Spoiled? What? Who?

In other news, I bought Knit Picks Elegance (70% baby alpaca, 30% silk) in Cornflower to knit The Girl from Auntie's Eris sweater for my mom for Christmas. She saw Rogue when I was home last month and wanted something of her own. Wish me luck!

And, speaking of Knit Picks, I succumbed to their sale and bought enough Main Line for two sweaters - in cocoa and blueberry. For $2 a ball I couldn't say no. I think the blueberry will be for a "Not Your Standard Issue Sweatshirt" from The Yarn Girls' Guide to Beyond the Basics... which I may or may not have also ordered... And, as if we needed further proof that the heat has totally gone to my head, I got the cutest book called Natural Knits for Babies and Moms. Just on the off chance I have one/become one in like ten years or so.

Shannon and I also made a TGIF trip to the local Japanese grocery store to follow in Michelle's footsteps and get some books about adorable crocheted creatures. When I saw her "wonky duck" I believe the words out of my mouth were, "Holy crap and a half that is the cutest friggin thing I have ever seen." Here is her photo:

Now if I only read Japanese...

Monday, July 24, 2006

More Knitters Against MS!

Posted by: We Heart Yarn
Multiple Sclerosis is close to the hearts of us here at We Heart Yarn.
Neuroknitter is a Research Scientist in an MS research laboratory here
in Porltand, OR and Wool Girl is an Administrative Officer at the MS Center
of Excellence. We have friends with MS. We know children of friends with MS.
We know other knitters personally and from blogland with MS.

MS is an unauthorized attack on the central nervous system by cells
in the body that normally protect us. MS affects over 500,000 people
in the U.S., and over 6,300 people in the Pacific Northwest.
MS causes a range of chronic and progressive symptoms, including fatigue,
numbness and paralysis.
Let us introduce you to Nicole. Nicole is a dear friend of We Heart Yarn.
She is a colleague of Neuroknitter and also works in an MS research
laboratory. Nicole is also a lovely knitter and a newlywed. Nicole
told us that for the past 6 years she has been doing research on MS
and riding the MS-150 every year as another way for her to contribute
towards the goal of ending this illness that affects so many of
us directly or indirectly through a family member or a friend.

We Heart Nicole!!
Nicole and her new husband Jim (Congratulations!!) are both riding
in the MS-150 August 5-6.She hopes to raise $800 for the Oregon
Chapter of the National MS Society
. These dollars go to research,
education and support of MS patients.
We Heart Yarn applauds Nicole in her dedicated and tireless effort
to wipe out MS!! If you would like to learn more about Nicole's ride
and MS, please click her picture in the right side bar, it will send
you to the MS-150 webpage. If you choose to make a donation, that would
be awesome!
To donate: select the Sponsor Participant button. 
Search for Nicole Moes or Jim Yoder. Select on their name when it appears in the box below. 
That's all there is to it!
We thank you!! We are not giving away prizes, we are just
giving our support to Nicole and all the others fighting against
the devastation that is MS!
We Heart Nicole!
We Heart You!
We Hate MS!!
We Heart Yarn thanks you!

Friday, July 21, 2006

bye, bye, miss american pie

posted by.....sssssssssssssss

Meet Sula the Hula. Sula has lived in our car for years now, her hula skirt is faded, her face is a bit sunburned, but, oh, how we love her.


okay, now that i got that out of my system. blogger sucks sometimes. sucks big-time. i wrote this really sweet post (you’ll just have to believe me) with amazing photos, much more wit than even i could believe, and – whammo! gone. into the ether. forever.

so what was I talking about? oh, yeah, sock hop yarn. the wonderful, unique, absolutely gorgeous sock hop yarn. to say that i love this yarn would be kind of an understatement; this is some amazing stuff. i have always admired the hand-made-ness of handspun, although i have never spun and have never knitted with handspun. there is something that is comforting, real, even authentic about handspun yarn. i love the fact that, many times, the yarn is not uniform in thickness; it just looks like nothing else. in fact, in a local knitting store that is no more, i commented to the owner, who had a wheel set up with her own handspun in process, that i loved the thick-and-thin-ness of it, to which she replied, yeah, that’s not what i am going for. other spinning knitters have told me that when you start spinning, you aim for uniformity in your spinning, and once you achieve it, you start to long for the ability to do thick-and-thin.

so, sock hop. whoa. as i mentioned in my previous post, i casted on two very different toes on the way to montana. while increasing for the second one, i kept saying, S, J, (husband, sister), do these look different to you? does this one look, like TWICE as big as the other? to which they replied ‘well, yeah, but you should leave it’ (S) and, ‘don’t you have, like, 20 other projects in your knitting bag? just forget about that for a while and work on something else’ (J). i eventually listened to both, and decided to put it aside until post-honeymoon, but i did think about those toes. i am not one to mind fraternal twins in my knitting. i am definitely not the kind of knitter who will re-knit something 20 times, just so she can get the stripes to work perfectly. i don’t mind pooling; i never have consciously attempted to cast on two socks at the same place in the yarn; and if the socks don’t match, so be it. but two different sizes? not so sure about that. it's a bit much, even for me. the beauty and the beast in hand-spun, i guess, is that it is NOT uniform. so, last friday, i frogged. oh, yeah, i frogged those toes good.

pre-frogged, differently-sized toes

the solution: socks that rock, doubled, as the toe! (seen in spinel, from the knitting olympics fair isle socks)

and that sock hop, in full glory - american pie colorway

Thursday, July 13, 2006

back in the saddle, kind of

posted by ssssssssssssssssssssssss

Physically, I am back. Mentally, I anticipate it will be another few weeks, maybe months, until I am “back.”

The wedding was wonderful – it was everything I had hoped it would be. The weather was ideal (discounting the hail, rain, and wind storm we had 3 hours before the ceremony; hell, most people told me it is actually GOOD LUCK for there to be rain on your wedding day. And, it did serve to cool everything down so that at 4:30, when it all began, the sun was shining on a gorgeous and UN-HOT day).

I am now a married woman. Not that much in my day-to-day life has changed. I kept my name; we have lived together for six years; we own a house; and I am already used to wearing one ring all the time, so what’s another one? That is not to say that when I look at S, I don't feel it. I am now officially married to the man of my dreams, my one and only, my best friend, my favorite companion in the whole universe. We made a statement in front of 130 very important and loved people in our lives, we looked into each other’s eyes and said “I am yours forever,” and there will never be anything like that in my life again. He is such a sweetheart – he wrote our entire ceremony; he researched possible readings; (coincidentally, WG posted the exact same reading S and I had decided to have my uncle read right here, on this blog, mere days before our wedding; I told her that it is entirely possible that she was typing those words into blogger at the exact moment S and I were agreeing that those were, in fact, the perfect words for our own special moment...wierd); he even choreographed the whole beautiful ceremony. We had the JOP for Eureka presiding, and he was perfect - a 3rd-generation Eurekan whose grandparents homesteaded there. Our square dance caller was straight from square-dance heaven, complete with handlebar mustache. The food, oh the food, was wonderful - line-caught Alaskan salmon and amazingly tender bbq'd pulled pork. And the cake - whoo, doggy!

The whole two weeks were action-packed - getting ready to host all those people at all the functions we had decided to have. Family, friends, kids, all running around, cooking, cleaning, clearing, laughing, gossiping, oh how I love my family. We even had a crazy-ass party crasher and her grandson at the Thursday picnic at Lake Kookanusa. The women in my family are a force to be reckoned with, a fact that was reinforced every day we spent together. Our families got on fabulously; S's dad and his stepdaughter even went horseback riding with 20 or so members of my family. And this party reminded us just how lucky we are to have such loving and talented people in our lives. S's dad painted a beautiful watercolor for us; we received 2 handmade quilts, each so gorgeous and so unique from 2 different aunts; another aunt painstakingly cross-stitched a gorgeous herb-bag set and basket (smallest cross-stitch gauge i have ever seen, that's for sure); one of S's long-time family friends hand-crocheted a green afghan; and, as the bow on a present, there was some hand-dyed sock yarn for me IN MY WEDDING COLORS (thank you, Knitting Iris). I also received 2 different and beautiful necklaces from special lil kids in my life. Then there was all the work those loved ones did to help us get ready for the big day. Cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, sisters, brothers, all the gang was there, all the time, and it was absolutely wonderful.

Knitting-wise (oh, yeah, this is a knitting blog, is it not?)? Not too much action. I did get the chance to knit with
Siri on my folk's front porch, post-wedding, with many other women doing craftily-great things. There was laughter, a lot of games, some tears (there were, after all, kids there), and more food than anyone knew what to do with. I turned heels on both of my Dutch Canyon Oblique Openwork socks, but that is not as impressive as it sounds, as they are being knit with STR Mediumweight, which I knit on Addi 2s at 52 stitches around. On the ride to Montana, I also started two funky toes, with the Sock Hop yarn WG, NK, and M so kindly beat back the masses to procure for me at Black Sheep Gathering. What toes - before I frog them, I will definitely take a photo, but what it boils down to is that, due to my lack of experience with handspum, one toe is waaaaaaaaaaaay bigger than the other. Oh, and the needles I am using are waaaaay too small, so the fabric is a bit...dense The yarn is fabulous, though. Simply gorgeous. And the socks, when finished, will be spectacular.

I do have a photo of me, in my dress, with the shawl I knit for myself. Will have to track down photos of sister(s) in the shawls I knit for them.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

On Knitting and Drinking

It's a bad idea...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

On Knitting and Eating

"You do not sew with a fork, and I see no reason why you should eat with knitting needles."

--Miss Piggy, 'Miss Piggy's Guide to Life' (1981)

Miss Piggy is a wise woman, isn't she? Ha! However silly this statement (or wise, if you want to look at it the other way), it's so very true, isn't it? I never understood how anyone could eat with something as skinny as a knitting needle (what we call chopsticks when used with food) or why anyone would want to for that matter. In fact, last night my husband and I went to dinner with another of the We Heart Yarn girls (and her very sweet hubby), and enjoyed some fab Chinese food at PF Changs. We all receieved forks AND chopsticks, but interestingly enough, only one of us used the chopsticks. Why is that? It could be because we are all so uncoordinated that there's no way of hitting our mouths with the actual food if we were to use the chopsticks. However, that probably isn't it, because the two of us who actually knit quite often and are very skilled with knitting needles (and you would assume chopsticks also), were not using chopsticks to eat our meals! Hmmm. Why is that, I wondered? Maybe because knitting needles (or chopsticks) were meant to serve one purpose, and only one purpose, and that is to create beautiful pieces of wool art...wonderfully soft garments for our wearing pleasure. Because of this, I could never use a chopstick for eating...just couldn't do it! Just my thought on this issue. :)

While we're somewhat on the subject of eating, I decided that I had to post this gorgeous cake Danny made for Shannon's suprise wedding farewell and goodluck party at work a couple of weeks ago. Danny is a fabulous cake creator and designer, who just happens to be trapped in a government day job, unfortunately, as she should be creating these wonderful masterpiece confections full time, and making lots of money at it, as they are just divine! This is a fudge cake with mint cream cheese filling. Ummmm! She also made a variety tray of cupcakes to sample along with the cake, which were just as awesome...

And, a CONGRATULATIONS TO SHANNON AND STEFAN ON GETTING MARRIED! We all wish the very best for you both!

And while we're on the subject of yarn and knitting, I decided to include a photo of the sock yarn I just received from Sundara yesterday. OMG! When I opened this package I almost lost it, as it's really stunning. I ordered this yarn, mainly because I have been looking for something in this colorway to make socks for quite awhile, and nothing had really "struck my fancy", until this. It's her Denim sock yarn, and let me tell you, this photo does not do it justice, but here are some snapshots anyway....

I just love the variety of color in Sundara's yarn. The little splashes of pink, green, and purple mixed in amongst the denim colorway. Gorgeous!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Birthday Musings

posted by Emily

It was my birthday on Thursday. A close family friend of mine had breast cancer twenty years ago, beat it, and now says she gets really excited about birthdays. Like when she was a kid. And it's true - what better day to just count your blessings and see how good you've got it.

For example, I have a stack of cards and emails from friends all over the country and got phone calls from a few, too. How cool is that? All these people taking time to let me know they love me. And meanwhile, I'm probably sitting on the sofa watching Sponge Bob or something.

Then I stop at a bakery on the way to work and I'm chatting with the baker dude and he gives me this huge brownie/coconuty/graham crackery thing for free since it's my birthday. He didn't need to do that. He's just nice for no particular reason.
I love that!

Then I get to work and in come Julie and Wool Girl with a big package for me from the We Heart Yarn gang! Hmm... what could it be?...
Okay, so not only did they get me three skeins of gorgeous, soft, delectable yarn, but it was all so thoughtfully chosen I almost wanted to cry. NeuroKnitter got the red/orange/green skein in Virginia at a yarn show months ago! She brought it back 2000+ miles just for me! (And more impressively didn't keep it for herself!) It is from Kid Hollow Farm and is 50/50 wool and mohair in the "Autumn Leaves" colorway. And that is the perfect name for the deep, brilliant colors. Seriously, you cannot imagine how luxurious this stuff is. Plus, she remembered that months before that I had been mooning over some yarn at a local store that was these colors. How sweet is that?
And WG, Michelle, and NK (with plotting assistance from Shannon and Julie) picked up the bluish superwash sock yarn at the Black Sheep Gathering just last weekend. It is Crown Mountain Farms Sock Hop in the "Good Vibrations" colorway. Since, of course, I'm on a sock binge like everyone else. (I just move more slowly - how do you people find the TIME?!) It is so soft and silky and the plying creates textures and color combinations that you could spend forever looking at. I love the comparison of the skein and the ball next to each other...
I don't have a ball winder, but I still went straight home and wound it up by hand. And loved every second! What wonderful yarn! What wonderful gifts! Thank you thank you thank you! I love it!!!

After work, I went for drinks with my hubby, some other friends and my pooch. Then we walked around the Last Thursday art fair. I got to check out the new yarn store there, and found a pair of needles I've been searching all over town for.

What a great day! I am not usually a sappy sentimental person (perhaps more sarcastic and cynical?), but I truly felt lucky beyond all belief today to be surrounded by such wonderful family and friends. As my friend who is
ecstatic to be getting mail from AARP taught me, birthdays are about celebrating all that you have and all that is in front of you, not about how many years are behind you. Thanks to all of you.

Plus, 26 is way cooler than 25. 25 is sooo last year.