Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Spreading the Green or Plastic...

The weekend of Valentines Day DH and I took a trip to Raleigh, NC for some time away. I have made it my personal mission to help turn the economy around so of course I started with yarn shops. I had to get references from the natives and I got two names; Shuttles, Needles and Hooks and Great Yarn.

When we arrived at Shuttles, Needles and Hooks, I thought we were in the wrong place. It's in a wood frame house disguised as a yarn store.
I would love to link you to the store website but all I get is the city directory listing. Not a good business move in my opinion but the shop has a following that connects on Ravelry. I scored three skeins of yarn there. Here is what I was lucky enough to get!

Being on Ravelry exposes me to yarns that I might not find here locally. So when I go out of town I look to see what is different. I bought a hank of Jitterbug. I have been reading about it in my sock group and thought I would pick it up to try it out. I love the colors, but I was disappointed this was the one and only hank. As I was leaving to pay the owner's daughter was unloading a nice batch of these.
This is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, colorway Mother Lode. I bought two of course! I took this picture in natural light it completely changed the color of my yarn. It's more earth tones with shades of purple, gold, maroon and plum. No blue. I have no idea why that it blue on the end. I am going to do my best to make a pair of socks that match. We shall see!

The next place I tried to help out was...
This is the front of the store. I was really thrilled at it's location. They are right down the walk way from this place. Be still my beating heart.
This was a wonderful place. It was well organized and I found some things that I wanted in there too. The ladies in the shop was very nice and they let me get off some great shops.

I found these amazing towers of endless buttons. If you need a button, I'm thinking they've got it. Have you ever seen so many buttons in a yarn shop before??
This is the backside to the one above. Just amazing!

Even though I don't look wonderful in gray, the display still caught my eye.

Pink is one of two colors that I really am not fond of but this was another display that I really liked.
I bought three skeins of this lace weight It's Jojoland colorway #Ms14. I swear it's not as pink as it looks in the photo. I bought three balls to make a shawl. Now if I just could remember the name of that shawl...any's lovely. Superwash lace!!!

I have never knit with Noro before but since I found a beige I liked I snatched it up. One of the women in the shop had a nice feather and fan scarf. I think I am stealing her idea. And lastly, my total weakness...more Misty Alpaca. I just love this lace weight. They had just gotten a new shipment of this color and I melted for it.
So I have documented my efforts to help the economy. Now the rest of you have to do you part. I have to knit now...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Same Song Different Verse

I have been working on knitting one pair of socks a month and want to continue to do this for the whole year. So I have been trying new things to see how I do. I had heard about the Monkeys socks over a year ago and decided that I was not skilled enough to give them a shot. That was so wrong. They are super easy and the pair I just finished this evening at 11pm are even more easy. They are the No-Purl Monkeys. I barley had the last Kitchener stitch done and was already thinking about my March socks. I have no idea what I will make but you know in the morning I will be digging through the sock drawer.

I knit these with Trekking XXL sock yarn. It's my first time with this brand. I seem to be about 10 miles behind the rest of the sock knitters I know. I have been reading about this brand for years and have never bought any until last year. This ball of yarn has been in my sock drawer for a while. This is what happens when you have too much stash and not enough knitting time!

I am really pleased with their fit. I think the stitch definition is about the same as the Monkeys. I thought they knit up very quickly when I had some blocks to time to devote to them.
Even though I loved my Monkeys I am not so happy about them lately. I have machine washed them twice and line dried them both times. Sadly they are starting to felt and they have become a bit snug. It's all my fault. I guess I misunderstood the signs on the label and wasn't supposed to wash them in the washing machine. Right now they are in "time out" until I can decide what to do with them. Should I give them to someone or should I keep them? They are a bit of a challenge to get over my heel but once there they fit fine. I know one thing for sure, they will never see the inside of a washing machine or dryer again. I want to smack myself upside the head. I just loved those socks and they were my very first pair of Monkeys. Drats!I just love these socks and can't wait until Cookie A's book comes out in April of this year. I think I might be getting the hang of this sock knitting thing...

Friday, February 13, 2009

25 Random Things about Me
I was stunned to read that I got named for a Meme. I don't usually answer them but thought since I am still plugging away on my socks this would be great filler. Sorry, sometimes it's just necessary when you knit as slow as I do.

I got tagged by Sharon for this Meme. I found her blog via this person.
Okay here we go...

1. First and foremost I am a native Texan. No matter where I live I always have a wall in my house full of Texas items so I can take Texas with me where ever I go. It's a must!

2. I love the country but live in the city. I lived on a dairy farm for about a year in my late teen years and loved it. I secretly wanted to marry a farmer but married a sailor instead and have been trying to get to the country ever since.

3. I love to watch true life murder shows, which creeps most people out. I love Dr. Michael Baden's show on HBO. Now you will not be shocked to read #4

4. I have been hooked on Patricia Cornwell's books for years. She has a new one out but I will wait until it's a paperback before I let it collect dust on my "to be read" shelf.

5. I lived in Japan and Germany as a child and loved them both.

6 .I collect fruit and vegetable teapots and pitchers. I have 37 currently. I have limit the cost to less than $15. I am dying right now because I found a bell pepper that would cost me $35. I don't have it and won't get it until the price drops....

7. I am addicted to salt and chocolate. I eat both every day in some varying amounts.

8. My 30th wedding anniversary will fall on Friday the 13th this year. And they said it wouldn't last.

9. I have a glass jar fetish but again limit it so that it doesn't get out of control.

10. I learned to crochet as a kid while my grandmother took a nap every afternoon while we visited. I really loved it but never really did anything about it until I was in my early 20s. I didn't really learn much about knitting until I was over 45.

11. I love everything fall and winter. I hate summer and I live near the ocean and never go there.

12. I feel lucky to have a green thumb. I worked at a nursery in college and took home plants no one else wanted. I got them to grow by talking to them and playing music to them. I had a jungle at one time in my apartment.

13. I went to culinary school and now hardly ever cook. I am burned out. If I stopped working I would cook more because I have the time to do creative things.

14. I don't have a lot of very close friends that live close by.

15. I love animals and wish that I could have more but they are expensive to keep healthy.

16. I would rather receive a handmade gift more than most anything. It makes me feel special because someone was thinking about you enough to give of themselves and their time.

17. I have had a weight problem all my life and I find it a bit ironic that I teach nutrition to culinary students. I tell them that I am the perfect example of what poor nutrition choices can do to you.

18. I have two sewing machines and never use them. I have them because they are connected to two women in my life and they remind me of them everyday when I walk past them.

19. I am not a great housekeeper but I try to keep things picked up in case someone comes by the house randomly.

20. The older I get the closer I think I am coming to becoming my mother. I am a negative person and fight that off almost everyday.

21. I would rather wear jeans and T-shirts than anything else in the world. I am not a girly girl and really don't want to dress up if I don't have to. I don't own a dress anymore. The only reason I own heels now is because I have to wear business dress to work everyday. Otherwise I would be barefooted in jeans all the time.

22. I like to strip old furniture to see what's underneath and make something more wonderful from it.

23. I judge a book by it's cover.

24. I am addicted to TV. Even if I am not watching it, I like the noise.

25. I can not text and really care very little about learning it. It's all I can do to keep up with one blog and a cell phone.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Fruit and Socks
by Vickie

I have been knitting socks like a fiend since the beginning of Jan. When I joined a sock group on Ravelry I have been trying to stick to my commitment of knitting at least one pair of socks a month. There is a sub group with in the sock group that is trying to knit two socks a month. Whew! When I thought I was going to quit my job, I signed up to do two socks. Since I am not quitting my job after all, there is no way I am going to be able to knit two pair of socks a month. I did however do it in the month of Jan. I had picked two easy pair of socks and made it. I finished the second pair (first pair of Monkeys) on 1/29. Cut that pretty close, huh!

These socks were started on December 9 and finished Jan 1st. It took awhile because of our Christmas vacation in Alaska. I knit my son a hat and two baby hats so the socks just got pushed aside. I have worn them several times and they have been washed as many and they look great so far.

I call these Pumpkin socks. The color is perfect for me since I love all the fall colors. The texture is bumpy and reminds me of the blemishes on pumpkins. This is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Stripe. Woodlawn is the colorway. It took two skeins with a total of 430 yards on #1 dpns. The pattern is from Sensational Socks by Charlene Schurch and is called Stansfield #11.

The pattern caused some pooling in the socks but it didn't really affect the look of the socks to where I wanted to frog them. The texture lessened the impact of the pooling which I usually don't like. This time it added some interest.

The socks are soft and easy to wear. They wash and dry well in the dryer. That makes me a very wool sock wearer!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Monkey See, Monkey Do
by Vickie

I really love being a member of Ravelry. It has opened up so many doors where my knitting is concerned. I think I belong to about 16 or 17 groups. I would belong to more but there just isn't time to keep track of all of the conversations so what I have is manageable.

Since learning to knit some where around five years ago, I made it my goal to learn how to knit socks. I took lessons, well a class and then have done everything else after that on my own. I knit cuff down socks and love doing them. Recently I have been attracted to some more fancy patterns that happen to be toe up socks. Since I don't do them yet...I am a wee bit limited but only until I take a toe up class.

So when I found a more fancy pattern that was a cuff down, I decided to step outside my comfort zone and try something new. I have to say that I am thrilled with the way they turned out. Many of you have already done these but it's my first time making them.

I made them with Rio de la Plata in the colorway of Chinchillia. They have flecks of dark brown, pink and with different shades of beige. I usually knit on #1 dpns but this time since the cast on amount was only 64, I had to use #2 dpns. I was surprised that going up a needle size did not make my socks bulky. I didn't want really huge bulky socks that I can't get into sneakers or clogs. Fat socks are only good for me when I don't have to be a grown up and wear shoes.

This is my very first pair of Monkey socks. I love their bumps and twists and turns. They look so much harder than what they really are.

Here are two shots that show the color variations in the yarn that made it perfect for this kind of a pattern. The yarn was so easy to use and hopefully it will be easy to wash and dry. I am not into hand washing my socks no matter how wonderful they are!
Not only are there the regular Monkey socks (that have the purl stitch) but someone has come up with another take on the Monkey socks, called No Purl Monkeys. The texture looks a little more smooth but from what I have been told by someone who has made them, they go faster. As if that is not there is another version called Micro Monkeys. I am going to try and do both patterns when I get a chance.

The designer, Cookie A has now even got a book with her sock patterns about to be published sometime around April. I pre-ordered the book and the delivery date is around the beginning of April. I am excited to get another sock book where I can knit them cuff down and I like her designs.

There will be other posts about socks since I belong to this group. I have to knit at least one pair of socks a month for 2009. This should be fun!