Archive for January, 2006

First – I saw this over on Knits and Grits – What’s in your toolbox? I love seeing little glimpses into people’s personalities… here’s mine – who knows what it says about me… I do know it all better be in there when I look for it – I HATE searching for things. The Bud gave me the pretty box one year for Mother’s Day, filled with candles. The cute giraffe eyeglass holder is a gift from my MIL. The hubby brought me the beautiful gold scissors from Germany when he was there on business, probably over 20 yrs ago.

Next, here’s something I saw on both Donna’s blog this morning, and Lolly’s. Pretty cool, huh? here’s the site– go make yourself one- it’s kind of fun to see what turns up.

It’s a “word cloud.”

Kind of cool.

And last, but certainly not least – you have to head over to Amylovie‘s site and check out her daughter’s very first FO! Very cool – gotta love young knitters! Good job!!!

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That’s the hubby’s motto – adopted from my brother… They both have the same hobbies, mountain biking and hiking, and when you are serious about both, let’s just say they’re not inexpensive sports. However, it’s like the Mastercard commercial…. bicycles worth more than some of our cars, down sleeping bags costing $100s, not to mention tents, boots, stoves, packs, etc, etc, etc, – having a stress-free hubby is priceless. He can spend all he wants – it keeps him stress free and happy. Priceless.

But, he does have good taste, and likes the best. So, this weekend when Kaity talked him and “The Bud” into stopping at our not-so-local yarn store on their way home from the backpacking store (the only reason Kaity went along for the ride) – this is what the hubby picked out for a hat – some beautiful KnitOne Crochet Two Ambrosia yarn, in a pretty spicy color – 70% baby alpaca, 20% silk, and 10% cashmere. The man knows how to pick a nice fiber combo!

He does have a few other hats we’ve knitted him, but they’re wool and itchy. He wanted something soft, and not itchy. He picked well.

Kaity had steered the duo towards some chunkier yarn at first, and they each picked out a nice Debbie Bliss alpaca/silk for hats. Something you can knit up on a nice size 7 needle. But then the hubby saw the Ambrosia. I wish I could have been there – I still can’t picture them in the yarn store. He showed it to Kaity and said – this would probably take a long time to knit, huh? (size 3 needles) – but he liked it and Kaity knew I’d take it on.

Here’s our progress so far, a simple stockinette hat with a ribbed brim, and a little blue stripe. This yarn is gorgeous, and if I had the stamina for it would make a beautiful camisole. The stitch definition in the stockinette is beautiful.

Carmen says it’s pretty soft, too.

And – get this – Kaity had him talked into buying a swift while they were there…. but they didn’t have any in stock!!! Arghhhhhhh!!! He could appreciate a swift, practical and actually kind of a cool tool (I think the Bud called it a “$60 wooden whirly thing”)…. but it was an impulse buy kind of thing, not a “order and wait for it” kind of thing, so it wasn’t meant to be, at least not yesterday. But, hey – at least he gets it and appreciates that even with knitting, “it’s nice to have nice things!”

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Good News/Bad News

First, the good news. Instant Gratification Socks are finished! Here’s the artsy-fartsy shot (albeit, slightly blurry – but hey, I was on my tiptoes, leaning over upside down to get the shot)…

and here they are in their natural habitat…

Specs: Hill Country Yarns, Instant Gratification Sock Yarn, color: BlueBonnet
One skein. Knit on two size 5 circs, in 5 days!
I didn’t really have a pattern, but cast on 44 stitches kind of winged it from there, consulting a few different books.

They may be a teensy bit small, because I may be a teensy bit impatient and, besides, I was racing Kaity. The Bud came in Thursday night and said, “what is this, a knit off?” – and well, the race was on…. Kaity won, but hey…. she was only making footies. I tried to send her to bed early so I could finish first, but she wasn’t falling for that. At least that’s my story…

All in all, they’re very pretty, very soft, and very wearable. Love ’em. Wearing ’em right now.

Here’s the sad part of today’s story…. look away if you can’t stand pooling, or sock blowouts.

Now, the pooling I don’t mind at all. I’m weird that way. These are the 2nd pair of socks I ever knit, with leftover Manos from the hubby’s hat – knit as slippers on size 7 DPN’s. Me, I didn’t every know what “pooling” was back then, or that it was a “bad thing.” I remember saying, “Hey, check out the cool pattern the yarn makes!”

Anyway, they make great slippers, but I obviously didn’t know how to finish a toe, because I wore them about twice, put them back in the cupboard, then the evil sock elves came and unraveled the toe while I was sleeping.

I’ve been looking at them, and I’m not even sure how to fix them, because I’m not quite sure how the elves unraveled them…. but I’m gonna give it a go, because, pooling and all, I like ’em.

Well – I’m off to elf-proof the house, and I think I’ll mosey on down to our local, TINY library and see if they have any knitting books. Kaity says she’s checked, and they don’t, but you know kids…. I’ll just go check for myself.

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Just The Facts, Ma’am

I don’t like misrepresentation – or someone trying to fool me into something being better than it really is. I like genuine. Now – everyone tries to play up their good points, that’s okay, but don’t lie to me.

When I was in high school I remember a time when “playing up my good points” failed, miserably. One of my very best friends in HS and I used to go cruising in LC’s Camaro every Friday night with all the cool kids, which I was not, but would have liked to have been. Anyway, we’d cruise up and down Main Street and look for hot guys and hot cars…. but the trouble was it was all the same kids we went to school with pretty much, and they already knew who drove what, and who was hot and who was not…. so it didn’t really get me very far in the social world.

So, one night we had LC’s CB radio (yep, it was the 70’s, and I’m old now) and, I figured this was a cool way to be incognito and put myself out there without anyone really knowing who I was. I really had no plan on what I was gonna do if anyone was ever really interested in my “new persona,” which really didn’t matter because I got shot down my first time I put it out there.

See, I was gonna make up a cool and sexy “handle,” something to do with my green eyes… So I make up the handle “Emerald Eyes.” I mean, come on, what guy’s NOT gonna want to meet me with a cool name like that. So, I get on the radio, and they ask who I am, and I mysteriously say “this is Emerald Eyes….” and the guy on the other end shoots back… “Hemorrhoids! – what kind of name is that?” I never got on the CB again, and never tried to pretend I was someone I wasn’t ever again.

(LC – do you remember this??)

So, even here in blogland, where I could pretend to be anyone I want to…. pretty much what you see/read is what you get. I don’t have the time and stamina to live a double life, and I’m not a good liar.

This is why I love knitting blogs – you get the straight scoop on yarn and patterns. If it’s cra*, someone will tell you, and you don’t end up wasting your time and money. And if it’s great, everyone will jump on the bandwagon. I have yet to be fooled by a blogger. I like getting the genuine truth on products!

So, in the interest of full disclosure, and how much I am loving knitting a fast sock, here’s a close up pic of my new (and finished) Hill Country Yarn sock next to my Trekking XXL Jaywalker (which I’m also loving), so that you can see the difference in the gauges. This is making a lovely, soft, functional and thick sock, and I’ll be wearing them like crazy with my clogs. They weren’t pulling your leg when they named it “Instant Gratification” sock yarn. Love this yarn.

And, here’s a plug for my favorite product line, L’Occitane. Do you guys know about this stuff? I LOVE IT. And, for me, this is saying something, because I am the generic/whatever’s-on-sale queen. Cheap. But I cannot live without their honey/shea butter soap, even take it when I travel, and this tin of pure shea butter is a lifesaver for chapped hands. It has been cold and dry, and WINDY here… and I LOVE this stuff. It makes my hands soft and, best, isn’t wet, sticky, etc, so immediately after you can pick up your knitting!!! They don’t know me from Adam, and this is an unsolicited commercial plug… but if you have dry skin, try it, it’s the best.

Well – hopefully after watching ER tonight I’ll have a pair of socks to show you tomorrow. Ok, well, I’m not gonna lie to you, maybe by Saturday, at the latest…

Emerald Eyes – signing off.

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Were Those Weeds?

My son (the Bud): Hey mom… I was pulling weeds for Dad like you asked me to, but out by the roses and bougainvillea there were some that I’m not sure were weeds after I pulled them… they looked like onions on the bottom.
Me: My daffodils!!!

Luckily, he stopped after only pulling a few. The hubby has done the same thing to me in the past. Now, I can’t complain AT ALL, because I HATE to garden. Hence, our yard consists of grass, roses, and a little bit of ground cover – all of which the hubby takes care of. I love the looks of a garden, but after a few futile attempts, I just had to realize I don’t like to garden. Bulbs I can do. Stick ’em in once… they come back every year and surprise you… if no one yanks them out and calls them weeds.

The point – God gives us the promise of Spring and the daffodil greens are up and in a few weeks or so I should have more green grass and flower pictures for you folks suffering through the cold and snow. Just sending a little California sunshine your way.

And for some more beautiful color – here’s the most productive knitting hour or so I’ve ever spent. Check out the progress on our Hill Country socks! Kaity is using the Strawberry Swirl, doing her first toe-up socks, making footies. I’m making a “traditional” top down sock with a regular heel flap, using the BlueBonnet. And look – no pooling – just beautiful stripes! We’re having a race – but you can be sure we’ll both be done with our first socks tonight!

I’m loving this yarn. It knits up quick (duh) and is making a really nice, thick sock. This is gonna be a great clog sock. They also make a lighter sock weight yarn, also hand-dyed, called Sweet Feet – which I think I’ll try next. I love the colors.

It may be cold out, but the California sun is shining and I’m feeling all “springy!” The wind has stopped and it really is beautiful out. We’ll need these few beautiful days to look back on when it starts to rain!

“Consider how the lilies grow…I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” Luke 12:27

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Springtime Anyone?

Here’s a little something for all of you dealing with the cold and snow right now…. I’m sending you a a little promise of spring….

Look what came in the mail today – and isn’t it pretty?!

Kaity and I are lucky enough to be test knitting a new sock yarn – and this has all the right stuff! It’s from Hill Country Yarns and, get this, it’s called Instant Gratification Sock Yarn, which means size 5-6 needles for a faster knit, 100% merino wool, hand-dyed, and, here comes my favorite part…. SUPERWASH!

Yippee! I’m setting the psycho-colored Jaywalkers aside for a few days and I’m casting on a little springtime tonight, as soon as Kaity and I duke it out as to who gets which color! At first I was sure I wanted the BlueBonnet – but now I’m kind of falling in love with the Strawberry Swirl….. decisions, decisions….

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Groovy Baby

One down, one to go…, and as this yarn doesn’t show any sign of a real “repeat” this is gonna be one funky pair of socks…. suits me!

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Casa Lagarto

I’ve always thought houses with names had a high coolness factor. Like Tara, or Roseville, or The Breakers, or even Southfork (ok, that’s a whole ranch). If we were going to name our house anything, it would have to do with lizards. We have an abundance of lizards. Just our house, too. Not wo much the neighbors. I guess we’re lizard-friendly. You don’t see them so much right now, when it’s cold, but in the summer they bask themselves in the warm sun on the walls. The wall next to our walkway leading to our front door is a favorite lizard sunning spot, and people always comment on our lizards.

When it’s at all warm, any time you look out you can find lizards if you just look. A couple of times we’ve had one get in the house – which is great excitement for the cats…. but generally they stay outside. We have so many that we’ve started collecting ceramic lizards for the yard to keep the real ones company.

So, for a house name, I guess we’d have to go with Casa Lagarto, Spanish for lizard house (loosely translated). Most things in So. Calif have Spanish names, so that would fit in well. We could pretend to be French and go with Chez Lezard… but we’re not French. We are German, but Haus Mauereidechse is a little unwieldy – not to mention I don’t have a clue how to pronounce it – and it’s a little much for signage.

Anyhooooo, my new Jaywalkers with the Trekking XXL yarn reminded me of the ceramic lizards by our front door. I’m kind of liking these socks – but Kaity says they’re the ugliest things she’s ever seen. I think they’re kind of hippie-funky… I don’t know – they’re growing on me.


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Check out our sluggo cat, Carmen. This is where she spends 80% of her day. She lives on this computer monitor. Luckily, this is the kid’s computer, my new monitor is thinner and she can’t fit on it anymore. I was constantly having to push an errant foot or tail off the screen so I could see what I was doing.

As you can see…. she’s pretty relaxed. She sleeps so soundly up there she’s been known to fall off. Sometimes off the monitor onto the desk, off the desk onto the piano bench, and off the piano bench onto the floor before she wakes up. Then she just shakes her head, looks a little embarrased, and hops back up.

It’s a good thing she’s “fixed”…. because if she ever reproduced I know her kittens would have three eyes or something from all the radiation she must be absorbing. It can’t be good for her… but she won’t listen to reason. Come to think of it, I’m sure it’s not too good for the monitor, with her up their clogging up the vents with her furry fatness. Hmmm, maybe that’s why the screen had been flickering between a white and pink background for the last couple of weeks.

I think when I replace the monitor I’ll check into a flat panel… is that mean? What would she do, where would she go all day?

Yesterday I caught her snoring. Little soft kitty snores. Yep – it’s a cat’s life.

So, Jeanie tagged me last week, and I’ve put off this meme long enough. I’m a champion procrastinator if it’s gonna involve sitting and thinking for too long… Here goes.

New Year’s MeMe

What are 5 things you’d like to do more of in 2006
1. Read my Bible
2. Spend time in prayer
3. Knit
4. Camp
5. Exercise

What are 5 things you’d like to do less of in 2006?
1. Eat
2. Procrastinate
3. Frogging
4. Worrying
5. Wasting time

What are 5 things you learned how to do in 2005?
1. Knit
2. Blog
3. Be a braver Search and Rescue wife
4. ?
5. ?

What are 5 things you’d like to learn in 2006?
1. Knit lace better
2. Entrelac
3. To organize/prioritize my time better
4. Discern better the Lord’s will for my life

What are your 5 best memories of 2005?
1. My sister and her family NOT moving away
2. My helicopter ride
3. My weekends away with the hubby
4. Times together with family
5. Taking the kids to Disneyland with my sister and her family

What are your 5 worst memories of 2005?
Not gonna dwell on those

What are your 5 best purchases from 2005?
1. New furniture for my home office
….. I really don’t buy a lot

What are 5 things you’d love to purchase in 2006?
1. A swift
2. College educations for two kids, and one more next year
….. that should about spend it all…

Who are 5 bloggers that inspired you in 2005 and how?
1. Kaity – for showing me what a blog was….
2. Wendy – my first real blog friend, and then a “real life” friend – she’s a great knitting encourager, and a great friend to Kaity. I appreciate her most for that.
3. I have met so many great knitters and made some REAL friends, I’d be afraid I might leave someone out if I started listing names. I hope you know who you are… you do, we talk back and forth and email and leave comments. You all inspire me in one way or another. Some by knitting amazing things, some with your love for the Lord which shines through, and others who share my quirky sense of humor…. and many of you do all of the above! You all inspire me.

Tag 5 people for this MeMe – I think I’ve tagged enough people this week! I’ll spare you.

PS – THANK YOU all for your kind words and prayers and wishes for my hands and headaches. I’m glad to report that a couple of weeks of taking it easier with my hands (making kids do chores!) and wearing my splints EVERY night has really helped and they are much better!

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That was last night and today…. wasted.

Not being the hypochondriac type, I always thought it was interesting that while working for neurologists and neurosurgeons I would end up with migraines and carpal tunnel.

If I had worked for an endocrinologist would I have diabetes and thyroid problems?

Nah – I know none of it’s related, but it’s interesting. And, believe me, if I was gonna come down with a neurological ailment – I could have ended up with something much worse!

Anyway…. last night I woke up around 3:00 AM with a doozie of a migraine. I’m blaming in on the Snowdrop Shawl. I picked it back up again last night, like I said I would, and it was two hours of torture. Knit – rip. Knit – tink. Knit – curse. and on, and on, and on. See all that chicken scratch on my pattern. That is no less than nine attempts to get this far…. and, again…. it’s not right. Argh….

Finally I just ripped the whole thing out, went to bed, and decided my knitting a laceweight shawl was just not meant to be. I just don’t have it in me. I need to put the laceweight back in the closet and stick with smaller lace pieces for awhile, like scarves, with DK weight yarn, no laceweight, and practice. I went to bed rather sad… resigned…. defeated. I had really wanted to be able to knit a shawl.

So, then the dumb migraine. I blunder through what seemed like an eternity of a day until about 3:00 this afternoon when the sledge hammer in my head finally quieted down to just a small hammer banging away behind my eyes…, then finally just the medicated, head-numbing aftermath.

It was then I decided that, darn it, I really could make a shawl, I just needed another pattern. Now, I have bookmarked about 10 Flowerbasket shawls made by numerous knitters. That one always catches my eye. So, I get out my pattern, and grab my yarn, and look! Compared to the two-hour migraine-making knit fit that was last night…. in half an hour this afternoon…. even with my fogged-up brain, I knit this!

It’s the beginning of my Flowerbasket Shawl (Interweave Knits, Fall 2004). And this one I can do! I haven’t had to tink back a thing yet! (note, the lifeline though…. I’m not taking any chances).

So, I’m just gonna take it easy, have fun with it, and put it down if I feel uneasy. But so far, so good. It’s fun, it’s a pattern that makes sense to me, it’s just repetitive enough…. I think I’m gonna make it after all.

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