Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My day job is getting in the way of my knitting!!!

Yes, I said it - my day job is getting in the way of my knitting!!! I read a number of knitting-related blogs (see the list to the right if you are wondering which ones) and those folks get a lot of knitting done. Granted for most of them knitting is their day job but man, I don't think I could knit a sweater in a week if I didn't work a full-time day job. I can't knit an adult sweater in a year (I have completed a baby sweater in under 6 weeks but at the time my baby was sleeping 12 to 14 hours a day). Thankfully some of knitting blogs I read are written by people like Kay and Anne of Mason Dixon Knitting fame and they are more realistic in their knitting speed.

Here is to being a process knitter rather than a product knitter.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Finished Object Fridays: Finally Finished Silk Scarf

Two years ago my mom and I went to the LYS and she bought me some wonderful yarn for Christmas including 5 skeins of Debbie Bliss Pure Silk to knit the Hourglass Eyelet Scarf from Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2008. I started the scarf in March 2009 and had made good progress by May. Then we took a family trip to Eureka Springs and my 10 month old son got a hold of my knitting and putted the scarf off the needles. There was no fixing it. I frogged it and started over.

The scarf is supposed to measure 70". That's a whole lots of knitting. I have worked on it off and on since summer 2009 and last weekend, I finally finished the thing. It needs to be blocked but I'm waiting for a calm moment and then I will have some friends over to help me. Did I mention that 70" is a lot of knitting??!?!?!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I've been to the mountain...

I have been to the mountain and it is filled with fiber and knitting! Oh I couldn't resist.

It has been three weeks and I haven't had a moment to sit down and properly blog about the wonderful weekend that is the Arkansas Fiber Arts Extravaganza.

As always the Lodge at Mount Magazine was wonderful and my Husband and I had a relaxing weekend sans Son. I didn't go to any of the classes offered but I did watch the Sock Machine demo and the Weaving demo. The Fashion Show was a bigger hit this year than last year and there were many beautiful examples of knitting and crochet modeled by their makers (or their makers' friends). The vendor room was an overload for the fiber senses. I bought some beautiful commercial yarn as well as some amazing hand-spun and hand-dyed yarn. I got 3 balls of Kiwi yarn which has possum in it. But I think my favorite item was a small canvas project bag with a screen print of a ball of yarn. I have gotten a ton of compliments. It has the Interweave logo on the bottom so I may have to see if they have any more on their website.

The best part of the weekend (aside from having time away with my Husband) was sitting and knitting with my good friends Betsy, Marji, and Patrice. We so rarely get to spend the whole weekend sitting and chatting and knitting. I will miss the Lodge next year. It is such a beautiful location and a wonderful setting to sit and knit. I understand why the Extravaganza will have to more to a larger location but the warm fires and comfy chairs of the Lodge will be missed.

Here are more photos from the weekend (all taken by my wonderfully talented photographer Husband!).

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I am thankful...

I had a difficult week last week. Today I was reading one of the blogs that I read and she was making a list of all the things she is thankful for because she had had a difficult time too. So thanks to Nikol of The Thrifty Knitter, here is  my list.
  1. I am thankful for my wonderful son and that he is healthy and happy (well, happy for a 2-year-old!)
  2. I am thankful for my wonderful husband who is kind, caring and loving (even when I go all psycho crazy Doomsday on him).
  3. I am thankful to be employed in this difficult economic time.
  4. I am thankful for my creativity and my imagination.
  5. I am thankful that both of my parents are alive and well and that I get to see them on a regular basis.
  6. I am thankful that my in-laws are such wonderful people - I've heard horror stories from other people and I know that I am blessed.
  7. I am thankful to have a heated and air-conditioned home. 
  8. I am thankful to be a 2 car household even though one car doesn't get out much.
  9. I am thankful to have dreams.
  10. I am thankful for our wonderfully comfortable, pillow top, memory foam bed.
  11. I am thankful for flannel sheets (even when the high on December 21st is 71 degrees).
  12. I am thankful to live near a giant grocery store with produce that is beautifully waxed and arranged and carries all kinds of specialty items that they talk about on Food Network.
  13. I am thankful for Sprout (parents of toddlers - you understand!)
  14. I am thankful for NetFlix - too think of all the money I could have saved on videos and DVDs.
  15. I am thankful for my wonderful group of friends - I have known some of them for as long as 35 years - and they are a wonderful support network.
  16. I am thankful to be confident in myself.
  17. I am thankful for indoor plumbing and my garbage disposal.
  18. I am thankful for my health and for modern medicine that keeps me sane.
  19. I am thankful for Target brand fruit snacks. 
  20. I am thankful for knitting.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Zales Commerical

So my husband and I think this Zales commercial is very funny. Watch the couple at the dining table before the merchandise promo. In many markets, the commercial ends with the merchandise promo. So my husband and I think the woman at the end is thinking "Oh hell no!!! Jewelry is not going to make up for what you did - especially jewelry from Zales! Now if it were a little blue box with a white ribbon, then we can talk!"

Friday, December 3, 2010

Arkansas FiberArts Extravaganza at long last!!!!!

I am headed to Mount Magazine today for a weekend of rest and knitting. I can't wait to get there and see old friends that I only get to see once a year and see friends that I see all the time but don't get to spend as much quality time with as I would like. I'm looking forward to shopping in the vendor hall and watching the sock machines do their magic.  I'm looking forward to my wonderful room at the Lodge, the view from the balcony and the jacuzzi tub. I'm looking forward to a wonderful weekend with my husband. I'm looking forward to my mom and dad having our son for the whole weekend. Extravaganza here we come!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I'm going to work at a yarn shop!!!!!

I have exciting news and I've been dying to blog about it but I didn't want to jinx myself.

A few weeks ago the owner of our local yarn store pulled me aside and asked me if I would come and work for her part time. I was flattered and excited but needed to check with my wonderful husband because he would be on kid duty while I played with yarn.

So last week I made it official and told her that I would be able to work on Sundays and teach a class (probably 2 socks on 1 circ) on Thursday nights. I never thought I would be excited about working retail again but I miss the interaction with customers and other staff. I miss the merchandising and changing out displays. I miss seeing what comes in the next shipment. So if you are in Little Rock and you need a LYS fix, then stop by the Yarn Mart on Kavanaugh starting Sunday, December 12.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Work in Progress Wednesday: Cashmere Socks

Finally at Work in Progress that is actually on Wednesday!!!! I am making good progress on these cashmere socks for my mom. They are for Christmas and in a way I was guilted into making them. She was at the LYS with me a few months ago and was saying that she doesn't have anything that I have knitted. I reminded her that she has a few things that I have knitting included a tote bag and a dishcloth. Then she said in her very sweet way that she had always wanted a pair of cashmere socks. (Hint Hint!!!) So I purchased this wonderful thick and thin cashmere yarn and I'm making her some slipper socks. I'm considering telling her that she can only wear them while in bed because they are too luxurious to touch the floor or the inside of a shoe.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cheating on my Addis...

I love my Addi circulars for sock knitting. The needles are beautifully crafted, the joins are perfect and the cable is oh so flexible. In general I'm a bamboo girl. Medal needles are too slick but for sock knitting, my Addis are wonderful. I'm also a 2 socks on 1 circ person using Magic Loop so the flexibility of the Addi cable is great for me. But I've been cheating.

I was working on some cashmere socks for my sweet mama and my Addi Turbo were just too slick for the yummy cashmere yarn. So I trotted on over to The Yarn Mart and bought a pair of ChiaoGoo Bamboo Circulars (size 1). THEY ARE FABULOUS!!!!!! The needle points are sharp - perfect for this thick and thin yarn I'm using. The joins are beautiful. But its the cable that I'm loving the most. It's metal - like a super thin version of a guide wire on a electric pole. It is more flexible than the plastic that I love on my Addi.

I know I will not completely desert my Addi but I will search far and wide to find more ChiaoGoo Bamboo Circulars with this wonderful metal cable. I'm in love.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Works in Progress Friday (instead of Wednesday)

I'm declaring today is Works in Progress Friday. I know it doesn't roll of the tongue like Works in Progress Wednesday but I have been making progress on several projects but I can't get them on my blog on Wednesday for some odd reason. So it is Works in Progress Friday.

I have been sick - strep throat to be exact. And twice in 4 weeks. I blame my son's day school, my forgetting to take my vitamins, and my month guard that I wear at night so I don't grind my teeth and get a horrible headache. So Monday afternoon I felt something coming on but I figured it was just a cold. But at 4 am on Tuesday, my throat was so sore that I could barely swallow. To the doctor I went and was ordered to take my medicine, drink lots of fluids and rest. The rest part is usually hard for me because I'm a little on the obsessive compulsive side of the spectrum and need to do something. But rest was not a problem since I didn't have energy to move out of my bed. My wonderful husband brought me wonton soup from my favorite Chinese restaurant for lunch and I didn't even have the energy to get out of bed to eat it at the kitchen table. By Tuesday afternoon I will feeling strong enough to knit at little but even that took strength my body didn't have.

By Wednesday morning I was feeling marginally better and used one spurt of energy to sanitize all the doorknobs and faucet handles in the house and soak my above mentioned mouth guard in Listerine. I'm not really a germ-a-phob until I or someone in the family gets sick.

Very little was on TV - a few Law and Orders that I hadn't seen and Cold Case - but I was bored and restless by mid-day. So I knitted because it took little energy and kept my attention unlike reading. Having said all this, I got a lot of knitting done on all the projects I have been working. I'm not advocating sickness to knit but it is the bright side of my horrible pre-Thanksgiving illness.

So here are fruits of my labor...

I restarted the pair of cashmere socks I'm knitting for my mom for Christmas. I didn't like how they were knitting up and this restart was well worth it.

I've finished the back of my Lace Cover-Up in Noro.

And started one of the front panels.

And I'm almost to the end of my Jared Flood hat for my mom. I just need to move to double points and it will be done.

So all in all it was a productive couple of days, laying in bed, watching Law & Order, and knitting.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! (notice my got bob? window decal in the window)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Those are Jane's words...

 I don't care what Kathryn Sutherland wrote or said or believes. I don't care if Jane Austen's editor added a comma or two or a semicolon here or there. I love the stories and the characters and the events of the novels. I believe those words were written by Jane Austen herself and whether an editor or her sister changed a word or a mark of punctuation, it doesn't matter. She dreamed up those stories and had the courage to write them down at a time when most women didn't know how to write. She dreamed of being a novelist at a time when women were not supposed to dream of such things.

For more on this topic, there was a wonderful piece on NPR today by linguist Geoff Nunberg. Here's the link.

Don't mess with Jane!!!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Here are my husband and son making popcorn in our new air-pop popcorn maker. Son loves the bouncing action of the popcorn and when he wants us to make popcorn, he says "Popcorn mama!" and moves his hands up and down like popcorn popping! My wonderful husband is looking out the kitchen window - probably spying on the activity in front of the neighbor's house. We are noisier neighbors than one might think.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Frozen Juice???

I have just discovered Frozen Juice. I know...I can't believe it either. I don't know why my mom never bought it but we always bought juice from the non-refrigerated/frozen juice aisle or in the refrigerated section near the milk. I do remember my maternal grandmother or some other female relative on that side of the family using frozen orange juice when making her famous orange bundt cake.

So now that I have two men in the house (husband and son) who consume unbelievable quantities of juice, I have discovered frozen juice. And it tastes the same as the bottled stuff. And it is way cheaper!!!! All the money I would have saved...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

On being an yarn snob...

Yes, I confess I'm a closeted yarn snob. I agree with my friends that acrylic and acrylic blends have their place in the knitting world but after I knitted with real wool, real cotton, real bamboo, and real silk, how could I go back?!?!?!

When I'm at a yarn shop, I look at the ball band before anything else. If it has more than 50% acrylic or other synthetics, I'll think twice about buying it. And as a southerner, I prefer cotton, linen, silk and other non-wool fibers because it just doesn't get cool enough down here for heavy wool. 

When I first started knitting, I read something about yarn snobs and how the 21st century acrylics were not our grandmother's acrylics. My first yarn purchases were from the local big box craft store because I was too nervous to go to the LYS.  My grandmother shopped at the LYS for needlepoint supplies but I hadn't been there in years. I was new to knitting and I wanted to do my research before trying to mingle with the experts.

So my first skein was Lion Brand Homespun and I knitted a garter stitch scarf. The Homespun color was very pretty but the yarn didn't have much give and because of the way it is spun, I kept splitting the yarn. Do all new knitters get a chunky yarn and better needles because somehow that will be easier?

Then a few years ago the Hancocks Fabrics in El Dorado, Arkansas was going out of business and they had a 60% off sale on everything - including yarn. I went crazy and bought skein after skein of Loin Brand Wool-Ease, Cotton and Landscapes. The check-out lady asked me what I was going to do with it and I responded "At prices like this, who cares!!!!" I knitted a jacket for my son with some of the cotton and started a sweater for him with some of the Wool-Ease but I frogged it because it was not working out. I have done very little with it other than that.

But I've made a goal for myself to knit something with it. So last week I search the Pattern Browser on Ravelry and assigned projects to all my stash yarn - even the acrylic. So as part of my "knit my stash down" resolution, I will also knit my acrylic down. Yes, there is a place for acrylic and I do have some in my yarn stash but if I knit it all down then I have more room for other yarns. YEA!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Work in Progress Wednesday: Textured Circle Shrug, Noro Lace Cover Up and Jared Flood Hat

This post was supposed to go up two weeks ago and then again last week but with a husband out of town and a sick child and then a sick me, I just didn't get the post finished. So here is my long over due Work in Progress Wednesday.

My Noro Lace Cover Up is knitting up quite nicely. I'm almost done with the back and this lace stitch is wonderful.

My Jared Flood hat is coming along slower than I thought. It has been awhile since I've done Fair Isle and with this design I have to have all my attention focused on it. I can't talk and do it. It is best if my husband and child are out of the house.

And I'm at a stand still with my Textured Circle Shrug. I need some quiet time to figure out my weird marker placement and how to resolve my missing stitch issue.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Continental Knitting is not difficult!!!

For my birthday, my husband purchased me a copy of June Hemmons Hiatt's The Principles of Knitting. Let me put a disclaimer on this post. I love this book and have enjoying reading it. For the price, I have to love this book and I really really do. I have flipped through the pages and enjoy Hiatt's matter-of-fact information and techniques. She is no Elizabeth Zimmerman or Barbara Walker but the book is an excellent reference for the overly curious knitter.

But I have a beef with Ms. Hiatt!!! She acts as if Continental knitting is a backwards, unflattering, and the illogical way to knit. She says on pages 5 and 6 "there are some problems in bringing the yarn through the stitch, which make this a problematic method of knitting , although widely used." She cited the following pros and cons with this method - 1) the way the yarn is wrapped around the finger causes problems with "precise tension"; and 2) that "many specialty stitches are a problem" because the yarn is picked instead of thrown. She does admit that this method of knitting is good for stranded colorwork.

She states that the best way for a left handed person to knit is using the mirror knitting method. Now that is a backwards way of knitting - literally!!! She states "there is no real necessity for the left-handed person to learn a special way to knit - after all, one knits with two hands. I first learned to knit English and did everything the opposite and when I started knitting more complex patterns, things really got interesting and not in a good way. In mirror knitting you have to think all the time. Now what is the fun in that. Knitting is supposed to be relaxing. I love when I get a pattern in my fingers and can zone out.

After about 2 years of knitting backwards, I discovered Elizabeth Zimmerman and taught myself to knit Continental. My tension is better. I knit faster. And I purl faster. I think this a typical case of a right handed person not understanding why left handed person can't do it the right handed way. Well, Ms. Hiatt, I think all knitters - which ever hand is dominant - should learn to knit whichever way was comfortable to them. I know English style knitters and Continental knitters and I don't think that any of us hold the needles the same way or hold their yarn the same way but we all knit and purl and the final result is the same. So I say knitter's choice.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Arkansas State Fair

I have been meaning to post this for 2 weeks now. But late than never, right?

Well, my husband and I went to the State Fair this year. I've been many times in the past but this was his first Arkansas State Fair (he's from Tennessee). We went with a friend and we went during the free admission/free parking. I don't remember the fair doing this in the past but on week days from 11 am to 1 pm there was free admission and free parking. Have lunch at the Fair is the idea.

So we did and yes, we ate some weird stuff. Between the 3 of us we ate corndogs, gyros, deep fried Coca-Cola, beef on a stick, pickles, chocolate-dipped bacon, caramel apple, and deep fried Hershey's kisses.

This is what chocolate-dipped bacon looks like... And once you get passed the look, it is not so bad. Think salty and sweet together.

Pig Lickers aka chocolate-dipped bacon

And deep fried Coca-Cola is just fried funnel cake dough with Coke poured over it and a little (or a lot) of whipped cream on top.

Deep fried Coca-Cola
We also went to the Arts & Crafts Building (disappointment) and the Livestock barns (bigger disappointment). I had never been to the Arts & Crafts Building and there was a lot to see but I guess I expected more vendors selling yarn or roving, homemade preserves, or quilts. There was a soapmaker and he was selling his wares. The lots to see were the items that won prizes for various categories. As a city girl, I've only been to a county fair once and it has never dawned on me that you could enter your knitting or crocheting or photography or preserves in the State Fair. It was cool. I think I'm going to see about getting my knitting friends to enter some stuff next year.

The Livestock Barns were a big disappointment. I think we saw a total of 4 animals in the Cattle, Poultry, Goat/Sheep and Swine Barns. I guess since it was the first Monday of the fair nobody had arrived yet. But we did see some funny signage.

These are new signs that I haven't seen in the past. Was this a problem????

This is the Swine Barn. In front of the Swine Barn (on the right of the picture) is the Pork Chop Shop. I kid you not - they sell pork to eat right in front of the Swine Barn. No surprise for those pigs.
Then finally I got to see some fiber animals in the Petting Area. They had goats and sheep although the sheep were Mutton Sheep and not fiber sheep and then there was a llama and a Scottish long haired calf.

All in all a good day was had by all. Next year we will go on a day when more animals are in residence!