Friday, December 29, 2006

Bye, Bye Birdie

Mitzi is home from her multi-city tour and I am thrilled. I did miss her and our KnitNite. When we've missed a few and finally get back together there is so much to catch up on that little knitting is actually accomplished. On a few occasions I think my needles have never even left their bag - gasp!

This also means that Birdie will be going home. I was a bit worried about Birdie because she had been laying eggs. I didn't want Mitzi to worry while she was away on vacation and elected to not post about it. Birdie has still eaten pretty well and I hope she is excited to see her Mom. I will miss her chirping greetings, but don't think I am ready to sign up to be a permanent bird mom yet.

Bugg is re-cooperating from having 3 wisdom teeth removed this morning. This is the first 'major' procedure she's had and it turns out that she has her mom's flair for the dramatic. She hyperventilated and caused all sorts of commotion in the office. They were able to sort everything out and she is resting peacefully in her mama's bed. I have experienced the very same reaction during work on my wrist as it was healing and this was the same Doctor that had to deal with my 'surgery bleeding incident' in September. All's well, though and I am, again, thankful that we have a Surgeon who is on his toes.

Waiting room translates to 'knitting time' and I took my Make Tracks Cardigan to work with. This is knitting up nicely and quickly and I will try to get it finished in the next few weeks before beginning the Briar Rose Fibers KAL

If you haven't joined the Briar Rose Fibers Knit Along yet, we would love to have you join us. There is no deadline so you have plenty of time to knit what you like. If you want to be included in the first yarn give-away, be sure to join soon as we will draw a name toward the end of January - I will post the date on that site as it nears. Chris has provided 3 incredible skeins of her Sonoma yarn and one of our fellow knitters will get it all for their own.

Knitting on this pattern also offered a much needed break from a rather intricate sock pattern that 'looked like a fun challenge'. I am knitting this from an incredible skein of Schaefer Anne on size 0 needles. Once I get 4 inches for the cuff it will become easier with the back stitches changing to stockinette stitch. I have no illusion that these babies will be finished anytime soon.

I completed a scarf for my knit pal, Kristy, from ISE3. She made an incredible scarf for me So Am I that is incredible. I really should take another photo of me wearing it as I was fresh out of major jaw surgery during the last one. Kristy keeps meaning to post the pattern on her blog so check back there on occasion to see if it is available. Anyway, Kristy had not received her scarf until last week and I wanted to make one for her. I am dying to post a photo of it, but am refraining until she receives it...which should be tomorrow according to Bugg who was nice enough to drop it by the post office for me.

This New Year's Eve promises to be a calm one. I like to keep my brood near to avoid interaction with the people who choose to endanger others during their celebration. We do have a little bubbly in the fridge and I will toast to you and your health and happiness for the upcoming year - Cheers!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Hey kid, you'll shoot your eye out!

Merry Christmas!(Happy Holidays!)

How can you turn on the TV without running across A Christmas Story? My hubby is sleeping, the kids are at their dad's until tomorrow Blue and the dogs don't realize it is Christmas. As for me, I've gotten an opportunity to look through recent photos and reflect a bit. I have knitting on the needles that begs me to pick it up...and I will, in a moment. I flipped on the TV and A Christmas Story was on right at the point that Ralphie visits Santa.

I Wrap, Therefore I Am

Thank goodness for my hubby (and Bugg)! I loathe wrapping all of those Christmas presents. The shopping, I can handle, paying the bills? not a problem. The wrapping just gets me. I believe these feelings have their foundation from The Wrapping of Christmas' Past. When the kids were little, I pretty much did all of the wrapping when I could find time when they were not under foot. This translates to: late at night after their bedtimes, after work, after...being the single mom for the day. It was exhausting and with three kids, it was another job. The result was always worth it - if you're a mom, you know what I mean - but until the moment came when they ripped (literally) through every piece of tape and paper that took hours upon hours to assemble in seconds flat - the payoff was difficult to imagine.

Fast forward 10 years (exactly where did that time go?) and things look dramatically different. Blocks and Big Wheels have been replaced with I-Pods and video games. "The" items to have" come with hefty price tags and usually need smaller pieces of wrapping paper. We're at the bunny pj scene, now We also have an easier time getting the kids to understand what we are truly celebrating. They take time to watch each other open their gifts and share a particular story or two about how or why they chose a special gift.

Anyway, back to the desire to wrap has greatly diminished. I do enjoy seeing everything under the tree adorned in bright colors and ribbons. Thankfully, my family jumps in to bail me out year after year. He just shot his eye out! Bugg wrapped nearly everything that wasn't from Santa (yes, he still brings presents to our house on Christmas Eve). The items that she didn't have time to do were stuck in a bag, slapped with a name tag, and placed under the tree. Santa dropped off the Christmas Eve presents unwrapped this year and hubby helped. These are the items that the kids couldn't help wrap even if they were home. So, we prepared a glass of Christmas cheer (Bloody Mary) and dug in until it was complete. We were then rewarded with a couple of The Sopranos episodes from the fifth season. That is addictive!

The Knitting

Due to giftability, I can't post much about my current project. I can say that I am nearing completion and it is a scarf for Kristy. Kristy was my scarf pal from International Scarf Exchange 3 who made my beautiful scarf, but never received hers from her assigned knitter. I've been working hard to complete it in the hope that she will be able to use it this year (maybe if she visits my neck of the woods). The pattern is interesting and I am enjoying the knit.

Photos of the finished Christmas gifts along with a completed UFO photo will come soon. With that, I am off to have some coffee and enjoy a few minutes of solitude.

Happy holidays, my friends. May your day be peaceful and your travels be safe.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Is the Christmas Knitting over with yet?

I am tired of knitting Christmas gifts. I want to knit for me - literally for me. I want new socks, a sweater, a hat, and the calm that eases my spirit when I knit what I want when I want. I am tired of knitting Christmas gifts.

There! I just needed to vent and now it's almost better. Truthfully, I could finish the other thrummed mitten (and maybe I will) and that would be the end of my Christmas knitting OR I could just give a different hand made knitted gift that is already finished and just sitting on the shelf sans owner(and maybe I will). Truth be told, the mitten didn't take that long to make, it was the thrums that took so long. They are borrrriiing!

Sometime ago I made a hat which called for an I-cord bind off. I have used this method to bind off felted bags and thought it was pretty cool. I think it made the edging a little floppy in this case and I considered taking it off and just binding it in normal fashion. Then my youngest son tried it on and it fit looked it remained. This hat will go into a box headed for ____. What? You thought I'd slip and give the secret away?

The Rockin' Sock Club will be starting up soon and I am geeked up. An article in one of my current knitting magazines said it filled up wicked-fast and had a loooong waiting list*note - actual facts unavailable due to inability to actually find the article. I'm in - I signed up very early.

As if the sock club wasn't enough? I have doubled my pleasure with beginning the Briar Rose Knit-Along. Talk about being geeked up, I have been so excited that I can hardly contain myself. The only real rule is, you need to use a Briar Rose fiber! You can choose any pattern and it would be lovely to see your posted photos. No deadline, no pressure, just good clean knitting fun. And, if that didn't grab your attention, get this...Chris has decided to have periodic yarn give aways. My jaw dropped and my mouth watered when I saw the picture she posted a few days ago...3 skeins of Sonoma? Oh, be still my heart! I want that yarn! Actually, I am not eligible to win it so, that means another knitter who chooses to knit-along will get 3 whole skeins of Sonoma. I will enjoy it vicariously through the winner. We aren't actually beginning until mid-January, so you still have time to join up and cast-on. Who knows, you may be the recipient of that fabulous yarn.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Join the Briar Rose Knit-along

A Knit-along you don't want to miss!

There is a Briar Rose Fiber waiting for you! Use the Briar Rose Yarn already in your stash or order your yarn from Chris at Briar Rose Fibers and get ready to cast-on in January. While everyone else is exercising and breaking their New Year's Resolutions, we will be warm and cozy with one (or more) of Briar Rose's fabulous fibers. Just e-mail me at and we'll put you in 'the join'.

I am very happy to organize this knit-along and Chris has offered to sponsor periodic yarn give aways - what more could you want? A chance at FREE yarn? I am so there!

My First Briar Rose Fiber...

I had the most incredible knitting experience today...ok, I've said this before, but it is true - honest - yarn heaven!

Brenda Dayne's Cast-On Season 4 is sponsored by Briar Rose Fibers. I've been listening to Brenda's podcast from early on and was intrigued when she chose sponsors. I browsed the Briar Rose website stalking the fibers and longing to feel the yarn slide through my fingers on their way to becoming some fabulous garment that made me feel wonderful every time I wore it.

After missing every summer fiber event (and my chance to touch the coveted fiber), I was thrilled to find out that Briar Rose would participate in an open house very near my home. I planned it all out, downloaded the map to my PDA and was off...

...It wasn't difficult to find and I was giddy with anticipation when I asked for the fiber before even getting in the door (patience isn't a virtue I was blessed with).

Chris travels to fiber festivals and open houses to bring her incredible fiber to people like us. She spent a lot time talking with me and sharing our Christmas knitting lists - She is a very gracious person and I enjoyed talking with her. I felt like I had known Chris forever and am thankful that something that I love and am passionate about presents opportunities to meet such nice people.

Did I BUY anything?

On to the haul - you want to know what I bought, don't you? Let's begin with Earth Song - a yummy alpaca with incredible color. I chose hanks with green which moves into a grey-ish blue with tan, brown and a speck of plum-ish color. After seeing the Lacy Cable Shrug, I couldn't resist.
I had been eyeing the After Hours Shawl - have I mentioned my desire to knit lace? All the time, any time, I want to knit lace...anyway, this shawl is very striking in person and I chose an incredible skein of Sea Pearl.

The Tilly's Garden Shawl pattern had be tops on my list, but Chris couldn't bring EVERYTHING. I will be ordering Legend as a reward to myself when I finish my Christmas knitting (sigh)

No, thats not all. Would I leave without sock yarn? Grandma's Blessing 'accidentially' fell into my pile and I fell in love with the skein of olive, navy, and browns.

This yarn will become an incredible pair of socks for everyone in my family to fight over (sigh, sigh).

So, I began thinking - is it right to keep all of this fiber-y goodness to myself? Shouldn't I share with all of my friends? You know I don't share well when it comes to my yarn. How about I start a Briar Rose Fibers Knit-A-Long and we can all enjoy that hand painted heaven together?

Now, I know we're all down to the last minute on our Christmas projects so let's start in January. I will work on putting up a site and you work on getting your friends interested in joining. I only have to decide what the project will to the knitting board!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Christmas Knitting aka Thrummed Mittens

This is my first shot at thrummed anything and I know the fleece looks uneven. I think it can be manipulated a bit more and the result will be alright. The fleece loops inside feel wonderful and will felt together as the mittens are worn.

Making the thrums is a drag, though. The pattern recommended making all of them (over 200) at one time, but my attention span would never handle THAT! I decided to make them as I go and it is working out perfectly fine.

For certain - these mittens will be warm!

After making my list and checking it twice, it was painfully obvious that my Christmas knitting was going to be short a few items this year. I had picked up a sock blocker keychain and dug that out. It was really cute made up and I'm going to try and sneak away to the yarn store again to pick-up a couple more. I've already made an extra sock - they are super quick! This picture is blurry, but you will get the idea.
I've thought of making these little socks twice the size and connecting them as garland for my Christmas tree...(wistfully)someday.

Much of our shopping is finished, but there are still a few things I need to get accomplished. American Eagle really ticked me off! I ordered a coat that Bugg wanted (but didn't need) and it was backordered for just a couple of days. I checked the mail and it didn't arrive....and didn't arrive. I checked my e-mail...nothing. Finally, I checked my account at AE on-line and they listed the item as cancelled. I didn't cancel it, so I e-mailed to inquire to which they responded that 'my backordered items are no longer available and have been cancelled". Ok, I get it, but couldn't they have notified me? Hello...where are the customer service specialists of the world? Doesn't anyone care anymore?

On a brighter note, Briar Rose Fibers is going to have a road trip near my home. I have wanted to try their fibers since hearing Brenda Dayne of Cast-On fame rave about their products. I will post photos of whatever I procure.

I feel my tiredness creeping through my fingertips, through the keyboard, and into these words. Returning to work has been good, but difficult in the rest aspect. The things I am working on are diverse and challenging, but I am still looking forward to the weekend (sigh). It is dark in the morning when I go to work and dark most of the time when I get home Sad

I worried today because I thought it felt warmer outside...and it was 36 degrees! I need a warmer climate.

Mitzi's Birdie has been here for one week and I suppose it is time for a Birdie Note: BirdieBirdie is doing well. I leave the radio on for her during the day so she isn't lonely. And the light on so she isn't in the dark if I get home late. She will sometimes sit on my finger or shoulder, but it freaks me out when she pecks at my earrings.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

May we interrupt again?

I was so excited to share my Thanksgiving and knitting that I forgot to include something very important.

Mitzi and I have KnitNite on Mondays, but a series of unfortunate events has interrupted our meeting for the last few weeks - until last night.

I was very surprised to receive this beautiful tree that Mitzi made especially for me! If you look really close you can see the ball of yarn, a little sheep, and a very true statement - I SmileyCentral.comto knit. She insisted that it should be displayed in my sewing room, but it possesses a place of prestige for all to see and enjoy.

Mitzi is heading off for holiday travels and KnitNite will be canceled for a week or two. Her pet, Birdie, is coming to visit with me and if she cooperates, I will get some photos posted.

Have safe travels and enjoy your sunshine!

...We interrupt this message...

Fiber Guru is traveling somewhere in the United States and is apparently in need of some juicy reading material...this is for you (I miss you)

Thanksgiving has come and gone but the wonderful weather remains! It is over 60 degrees today but the cold snow is looming in our near future.

My family came for Thanksgiving and I cooked dinner (mostly) by myself. 'Big Bird' weighed in over 21 lbs. and was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I wanted to get a photo that would make your mouth water, but Hubs was anxious to carve right in...and he did. I was very pleased with how everything came out and wonder why we don't do this more often than once a year.

My brother is on an anti-shave campaign(grey shirt)...he brought my Sister-In-Law, my nephew, and the Littlest Princess. Queen Moo (ma) is to the left looking at the camera and Dad-E-O is next to her. Hubs and Bugg are at the far end.

The picture is pretty awful, but I was anxious to sit and eat myself.

I did manage to get Little Princess to try on her green sweater. You know, the one that I re-worked the neckline for multiple times? Well, this time, I put in a rolled collar and - voila!

She refuses to be still long enough for photos, but I managed a shot of her and her mom anyway. At almost 3 years old, she moves pretty quickly reminding me why I chose to have my children while I still had the energy to chase them.

The animals were exhausted and took much needed naps.

...Of course I've been knitting! I have a load of Christmas presents to produce...
The socks are finished...ONE to-be-felted slipper...

...and a partially finished hat!

...and I found a little time to finish the Ketchup sweater (I think it will be too small!)

Other than that, I did some shopping and knit on a cardigan for myself (mom's stuff had my necessities blocked in and I couldn't roll yarn for a Christmas present project)

As for the little guy wearing fashionable knits in the beginning of this post...I made him a couple of years ago and couldn't bear to part with him. He will be traveling to live in his forever home before Christmas. Maybe he needs a scarf...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

'Accomplishment' is a four-letter word

Where have I been?

What have I been doing?

Christmas is coming and I have a load of gifts to make, but with going back to work last week, I am finding it challenging to feel like I can get ANYTHING done.

I did manage to knit this sock and it is a gift - the giftee has two feet, so I have cast-on for the second. It is out of Knit Picks Simple Stripes.

In all fairness, I did crochet my quota of three (3) afghan squares. I allowed myself to revel in the glory for a moment and then realized I needed four (4) a week to accomplish completion before Christmas - guess what, it ain't happenin'

My efforts will be better directed at knocking everything else off and then finishing the afghan a few weeks after Christmas.

Needlework has taken a back seat as well. A lot of work has been done on my gingerbread stocking
and I feel good about it even though it will not be finished in time for use this year. If you remember, there was not much progress last July.

Fiber Guru turned me on to this cool bargello pattern that is really so much nicer than it photographed. This pattern is pretty quick and fun to stitch. I have decided to double the width and was thinking 'pillow', but the further along it gets, the more I think of hanging it on the wall.

I can see this piece being finished long before the others and with cold weather setting in, results should come quickly.

In parting, I am sharing a Halloween photo of my dear daughter. In case you are wondering, she did have the 'butt crack' going on, butt I am saving you from viewing that spectacle. She makes a mom proud!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Company Boycott and My New Yarn-REDUX!

First order of business - Zip-N-Squeeze representatives did contact me (FINALLY!) via e-mail. The extremely long, sometimes rambling summarized - the could refund the re-stocking fee of $6.30, if I wanted. My reply - yes! of course I want my money! How gracious of you to offer to return it! I accept your offer, deliver it to me as soon as possible! Voila! Done! Apparently, they are still researching the shipping cost.

Secondly, and most important - I have been on a little yarn tear! I guess there wasn't enough yarn here to keep me company and more just keeps following me home.

There is the sweet sock yarn - Interlacement's Tiny Toes at the far right, Great Adirondack's Silky Sock at the top, and a skein of Schaefer's Anne.

Some Rowan Kid Silk Haze, KnitPicks sock yarn for Christmas presents, and - oooh, Socks that Rock named X-Mas Rock...

...And a skein of Schaefer's Trenna (which really is more beautiful in person).

That's all, you ask?

Check out this HandMaiden Sea Silk! I've been eyeing this and my EBay proceeds really made the difference in helping me decide on the purchase. It does smell of the sea. **The HandMaiden came right from Little Knits. They carry great yarn - check out the color I have Autumn. Their photo is better than this one.

Sure, there are other odds and ends, but this is enough to leave me adequately ashamed...Not!

It sounds like a few of my friends are jumping on the Socks That Rock bandwagon. Yipee! It sounds like a lot of fun. We all have plenty of UFO's so we'll need to keep each other on task.

Finally, this caught our eye a few nights ago and I wanted to share. Had I more time, I would have edited out the sale sigh. **Dear, dear Stitcher Bomb, do not get excited - I am not moving. This is a lot across the the lot and you can get your very own moon straight out your back window!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Impromptu Knitting Just Happens

Where on earth did I find time to knit the Droplet Hat for my daughter? I was on a craze to get that yoga bag finished and felted in time for Monday night yoga class --
I know you're anxiously awaiting the news - did my felted yoga bag get knit?

Yep, looks like I did ok getting that part finished, but estimates pointed to the need to actually FELT the bag late Thursday or early Friday in order for it to be dry in time for use on Monday Night...

I passed on a very tempting day trip with my Hubs Friday to trek to the laundry mat (why do they call it that?) for the felting. My washer is front load and this bag was too large for me to feel comfortable to chance it. The water there was semi-hot resulting in about 20 minutes worth of washing before the dimensions were correct. The finished photo isn't great, but Darby was peeking around the corner and I liked it. -That is Lucy in the background.

The hat came to be as I was feeling satisfied having used up a lot of left over Manos...with the exception of one mostly intact skein. Hmmm, I have been wanting to make that hat in Knitting Nature...

Of course I ran out of yarn and had to track down another skein to finish it. Now I have another mostly intact skein. Hmmm, I wonder if there is enough to make some fingerless gloves...

I didn't travel 45 minutes to a yarn store and not bring home extra goodies...I'll be saving those photos for my next post.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Boycott Zip-N-Squeeze - A Rant to be sure!

Rarely do I company-bash. I have been known to bash those in customer service who have clearly chosen the wrong field of work - - you can tell who they are because they are miserable and treat you, as a customer, cruddy. When the two collided for me in the form of Zip-N-Squeeze, I could not resist sharing.

What is a 'Zip-N-Squeeze', you ask? How have they wronged me? What could they have possibly done to make things better before it came to THIS?

Zip-N-Squeeze is a company out of Orange, CA that offers products to aid when a person has had jaw surgery. You can pick up bottles and bags with straws to transport processed food to a place in your mouth to provide nourishment when your jaw is WIRED SHUT! They also offer ice packs designed to fit on your jaws to limit swelling and pain. Maybe they offer more, but this is what I know of them.

At my surgeon's urging, I placed an order with this company and paid through Pay Pal - right away! Then I waited and waited, but received nothing. I called to check, received a machine and left a message to inquire -- NOTHING! Sure the order was only $45.08 which included $8.78 in shipping, but it was what I needed, right?

Surgery came and went. During my 2 1/2 day stay in the hospital, my husband told me that the package had still not arrived - HELLO, think I needed the ice pack? We decided that I had made it this long and we probably weren't going to hear from them in the near future so my husband called, received a machine and left a message (does ANYONE work at this company?). My husband distinctly told them that the package had not arrived and we wished to cancel the order. Two days after leaving the message, we received the package - BIG SURPRISE!

My surgeon and the hospital were expecting a report on the helpfulness of these products due to the fact that they recommend them often. Of course, by this time we had figured out how to get me enough 'food' to continue to live and we were disappointed in the service we had received and we returned the package requesting a refund.

Get a cup of tea because this is where it becomes unbelievable

-On 10/16/2006 someone (who shall remain nameless) signed for our return package.
-On 10/23/2006 we had not received credit and had not been contacted in any way. I sent an e-mail detailing the package information and requested they let us know when to expect to receive the refund.
-On 11/2/2006 I called their number and -- received a machine and left a very long, detailed, frustrated message (SHOULD THIS COMPANY EVEN HAVE A PHONE NUMBER?)
-On 11/3/2006 I received a refund through Pay Pal. In the attached message Zip-N-Squeeze...oh, let me just cut and paste it HERE:

Message From Seller:
We do not accept returns normally. However it looks as though the package was not opened.The products were shipped in a timely manor. We do not credit shipping and there is a $6.30 restock fee. A credit of $30.00 is coming back to you today.

You are frickin' kidding me! I scoured my Invoice, their Website, and my receipt from the order and cannot find ANY reference to any restock fee. And $6.30, how did they figure that? MAYBE they only had $30.00 left in their corporate account? I expected to pay for shipping, even to be responsible for postage to send the box back (with receipt confirmation - smart on our part, heh?) The nerve of these people has sent me into this rant and I WANT MY $6.30, DAMN IT!

A very calm e-mail went to them this morning - yes, I receipted it and the message has been delivered. What do you think their next step will be?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Rockin' Sock Club

Blue Moon Fiber Arts is going to send Socks That Rock to MY mailbox!

They are hosting Rockin' Sock Club that you register for now and pay for in January!!! With the holidays coming, that deal fits into my budget.

Yarn, patterns especially designed for STR yarn and a ton of other goodies will arrive and all I need to do is grab my needles and knit. The excitement of being able to sample their other weight of yarn excites me to no end.

I can't wait!

I'm excited, can you tell?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Yoga Mat

Even though it seems like everyone has already 'done' yoga, I haven't. It has been a goal and honestly, some research was completed, but with the surgery looming, it was easy to plan for it after recovery.

The time is finally here and beginning a yoga class presented an opportunity to knit a yoga mat bag! I know there are patterns somewhere in my books, but time is of the essence - the class starts next Monday (11/6). is a felted yoga mat bag for me. There is a TON of Manos just hanging around here plus enough scraps from a prior project to add accent.

If the picture looks familiar, you've probably seen it in "Last Minute Knitted Gifts". It was designed by Joelle Hoverson and is available on Knitting Pattern Central. This pattern does have yardage corrections - check for a review of the book and corrections for the patterns.

Calculations tell me that the felting needs to occur late Thursday or early Friday to provide optimal drying time before class Monday night. I've changed the colors somewhat and am just beginning the section that is orange in the photo (work from the top down). I should be knitting!