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Sock(s)

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We are having the most beautiful Spring. Last year there was no Spring, just a very long wet Winter and then one day I opened the back door and was hit by the Blast Furnace that is Virginia in the Summer. We were robbed, especially since it was such a hot humid Summer. This year, Spring has gone on forever and I am loving it. I am sure that by putting this in writing I am cursing myself and it will be distressingly H-O-T in no time. Emily and M were laughing at me and my thinking that there is actually Humidity in Virginia. Well, yes living in Alabama I suppose you really Do Know Humidity. But after 15-ish years living in Seattle my ability to even cope in a place where there Sunshine is questionable. For the record, I love the Weather in Seattle. Love it. And it is easy to spot the tourists, they are the ones with umbrellas.

Socks for a nice Spring Day are called for,No? What should I call these? I love the colors and the stripes. The yarn is Koigu purchased from God Knows Where. The pattern is Simple Sock from Socks Soar. The pattern calls for ribbing the whole leg and the instep but because I wanted stripes, no ribbing- except for about an inch at the top. There are some rookie mistakes but all in all I am happy with it so far.I was going to Frog them, instead I think I will knit on and keep these as a reminder of where I started as a Sock Knitter.


This is the same pattern but with the ribbing, using Mystery Yarn that was gifted to me by my still as unrevealed Secret Pal 7. Hey- SP7, could you let me know at least the fiber content and washing instructions? An anonymous comment would be great, if you still wish to remain unnamed. (Sorry for the Blurry Picture)


And last, this is headed for the Frog Pond as the Pink/Orange is coming off on my fingers. It was a gift of Knit Picks Color Your Own from Tammy and I did not set the dye properly. Can I retro-set the dye, does anyone know? I love the color. I used Wilton and Vinegar. Please advise!


Have a Great Monday!

Fan Club President

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Oh my GOODNESS. That was SO much Fun. I adore Emily. She is hysterically funny. What can I say? I could not be happier that I got the harebrained idea to invite her to come to Maryland Sheep & Wool. It could be dicey, you know “Hey come someplace you have never been with somebody you don’t know and hang out.” Really it could not have gone better. Phew. I wasn’t nervous but I am relieved that it was so much fun.


How cute is she?

There so so much to say about what a blast the past few days have been like. The dinner, looking into my living room and seeing Emily read books to the small hollering boys who LOVE Mr & Mrs Ivey. Angus has a huge obsession with Alabama and when M started talking to him about Chucky the Alligator, I thought he was going to expire in the sheer joy of it. And, um Emily tried to teach Angus to say Roll Tide. Christian and Matthew if you read this, I am so sorry she brought him a Tide T-shirt. Yea, um, Em…Two Words: Beat Bama! But the Boys LOVE the T-shirts. And I love the Trekking she brought me some beautiful aubergine Trekking. And an Orange Chibi. I had no idea there was even an Orange Chibi.

Then there was the actual Sheep & Wool Festival. This was my second year and it seemed WAY more crowded this year. I was pretty restrained with the Yarn Purchases. Except, you know that seemingly genteel Emily? She is a force. She is a pusher, okay maybe pusher is too strong, maybe she is more of a nudger. How else could I have thought of buying a Turkish drop spindle and a Huge Wad of Blue Moon Fiber Arts roving in the Hot Flash colorway from the folks at The Fold. There was no STR by the time we got there. They sold 800 skeins in One Hour. Can you imagine? There was similar Carnage with the Koigu. I brought a camping back pack, last year I had to work really hard to shut the darned thing. This year, I had to pack it carefully but there was no stuffing. I bought some of my Fave Yarn from Three Waters Farm, the Wool & Alpaca. I bought a ton last year and a bit less this year but Mary Ann remembered me from last year. How great did that feel? A kajillion people and she remembered me? Awesome. They are only about 5 hours away and if they offered weekend workshops, I would go. Mary Ann and Stephen are so kind and the vibe is wonderful. More people I think I could really stick to. Yea, I have met them twice for a grand total of 10 minutes. Call me impulsive.

And Emily, gracious? Holy Southern Manners Batman! So, let me say it now for all to hear: Beltway, I HATE YOU WITH A PASSION THAT BURNS IN MY SOUL. YOU ARE EVIL EVIL EVIL. And I have a few choice words for you too, Baltimore-Washington Parkway. So after being spent and having our rears kicked by more fiber than you can imagine and after being blinded by some really awful variegated stuff, I um got us lost. A drive that should have taken about an hour took much longer and we ended up having to go the LONG way around the Beltway. Emily was the epitome of grace and charm. She knitted on her sockpal sock. Can I say to Emily’s sockpal (I don’t know who you are-don’t ask, don’t tell), you are one lucky sockpal. They are beautiful and have come from the hands of one of the nicest, brightest, most grounded people I have ever met. So, we are lost and Emily made it fantastic by enjoying the moment (or at least pretend to) and telling me tales of her family and her life. Really, she is a bright ray of Sunshine and I am all the better for knowing her. I vote myself President of the Emily Ivey/Yarn Miracle Fan Club.

Man O Man In a Heap

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About a billion years ago I thought that I would knit a mitred square. Didn’t do it. Promptly forgot. I know you see where this is going, but humor me please. Thanks. Due to the small hollering boys I thought that knitting big things was impossible. And it pretty much is. Yes I know big things are made up of smaller parts but I am a bit thick. And constantly interrupted. It has taken me 5 tries to write the 80 words you see before the 80. So I do not knit nearly as much as I would like to. Yes, the boys do go to school. I spend those precious moments lying (laying?) in a heap while listening to Uriah Heep or feeling like Uriah Heap because I have been Hollering at the Small Hollering Boys. Or I just drink more coffee and pray the ground will swallow me whole because of All the Things Which I Should Be Doing While the Boys Are at School But I Am Not For Which I Will Burn in Hell.

Well, apparently when I met the dynamic duo last week I inhaled the crack. Man, was it G-O-O-D.


Really, really good. So good infact that even though I goofed this one up (too many stitches on the top half, wrong number of cast on stitches -even though I counted 3 times) I am downright balmy over here. Dreamy. Oh so dreamy. Oddball knitting. Oooooh Bab-BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Oddballs for Oddballs, now there is an a-long I could get behind. Maybe it is the spring day we are having today, a brief respite before The Swamp that is Northern Virginia in the summer, but I am Giddy, Oh So Giddy. Can barely keep it in. How wonderful to feel this turned on by such a simple idea. The way I look at my stash will never be the same. That was some Migh-Tee Fine Stuff I inhaled. A frenzied stash dive yielded these combos:










A little washed out but you get the idea. No?

Woman in search of a sub-culture

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Well, it is the middle of April, might as well post. Sheesh. Funks are funny things and the best part of them is when they are over! Not all the way there yet, but I am forcing myself to stand in the light. And to not install wall to wall carpet in my rut. When I have the fountain diet coke machine plans drawn up, call for help.

What better way to pull out of a funk than to go and meet two of the most wonderful bloggers around? Got to meet Ann & Kayye last night! They are delightful. And funny. What can I say about them that hasn’t been said? Um, well they are quieter than I thought they would be and um, well let us see…very humble and very gracious. And and and I got to meet Buffy! The Sister and world famous champion eater! Okay, the fact that she is the size of a strand of my hair really aggravates me. But she is so nice and funny that I promptly forgot about her eating ways and the size of her waist. And we took pictures. Ann & Kayye were very indulgent of me and signed several (cough) books for friends of mine who aren’t the book tour circuit. It was wonderful to meet them and see them in action. Stitch DC is a great shop and very different from what I expected. Light, airy and has a great look to it. Many of the LYS here are cramped, dark and have a grandma’s attic feel to them. This was such a surprise and they served miniburgers and onion rings from the bar next door. I was talking with Bridgitte (Brah git tah) who is American born but has lived in Germany for a long while. She had NEVER EVER had an onion ring. I just about fell backwards. I mean, come on? An onion ring. Never? Crap.

Oh and the pictures:


Yes this is a picture of Ann’s back through the window while I was trying to park. Yes I got the time wrong and was so happy when I saw them I let out a whoop and a hollir and took a picture. Kayye is behind the white window pane. And I think Kayye is pretty convinced I am a stalker but she let me give her a hug, even though she is not a hugger. She does live in Manhattan after all. Here you go for another photo:


KT, Ann & Kayye. This is our happy picture. Shiny Happy People, indeed. Taken by Buffy!

This is our grumpy shot. For some reason we all agreed to look grumpy. I look like Uriah Heap and the two gals look great. Ann said she tried to look grumpy! Hah! See all that Southern Charm? And Kayye said she tried to look pleasant. See all that Northern Cool? She is one pleasant & cool cucumber! Man, I need to get my roots done. And my chins. Picture again by Buffy.

Great to meet all of you there and be greeted so warmly. Community is a great thing and very funk-busting.

Can I tell you how much it sucks to get out of DC to Virginia at night, by yourself with a broken mobile phone and a GPS that is like RainMan. A 30 minute drive took me an hour and a half to get home. I think I drove by the Jefferson Memorial about 800 times. And even ended up at the departures lane at Reagan Airport. Remember that Hardy Boys episode when they were in the old house and would open a door and there was a room there? And then they would close and re-open the door and there was nothing? That is how it felt getting home. But MAN it was good to get back to my hubbilicous. Jiggety Jig.

10 little blocks sitting on a wall

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Signing up for Block Swap was a risk and a lark. I didn’t know what I would do or where it would end up and I considered it a great adventure. My ten blocks are done. Each one taught me something different, each one is special, not perfect but special to me. Letting go and being willing to experiment and not follow rules was wonderful. At the beginning I thought the solid fabrics required for the swap weren’t all that attractive, especially the curry. I think it turned out to be my favorite. It makes things pop in a wonderful way! So without futher ado, the blocks!





































Off they go, in the mail tomorrow! What fun, I cannot wait to see what I get sent back to me from other quilters! Which one do you like, I would love to hear! Don’t like any of them, that is okay too. Let me know- I want to hear your thoughts…

Do you like Pina Coladas? Long Walks in the Rain? Dancing After Midnight?

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If so, then you might be my dear, darling Secret Pal, Susan. Yes, you Susan, who loves dark chocolate, animals, kids and likes to call herself “The World’s Worst Knitter”, which is a complete load of Hooey! It has been SO much fun to spoil you for the past few months and this is friendship is a joy. I have been holding back a bit on the blog because I haven’t wanted you to find out who I am or identify my particular writing style. Susan, you rock and I have loved every minute of our new friendship!

And a BIG Thanks you to Tammy, my SP7 hostess with the mostess! She sent me a lovely package with Socks That Rock, in Falcon’s Eye. And some Knit Picks Color Your Own for socks! There was Kool Aid and a fabulous Beanie Baby Lamb, notecards, soap and just general fibery love and goodness. Thank you Tammy, it has been a joy to become your friend. I will post a picture tomorrow as the small hollering boys are really acting up.

Craig and I took a mini-vacation Sunday to Tuesday. What a blast, we got to be tourists in our own town. Have you ever done that? Check into a local hotel (no not the places that rent by the hour, get your mind out of the gutter!), and see the sights in your own town? We moved here almost two years ago from Seattle and have never really spent any time in our Nation’s Capital, Washington D.C. Actually, D.C. is about 14 miles from our house but plenty of people who live here (Great Falls, VA) consider D.C. town and commute there everyday. So off we went to the Willard Hotel, which is awesome and about a block and a half to the White House. The Willard has more history than you can possibly shake a stick at. Everybody from Charles Dickens to Mark Twain to just about any other famous figure you can imagine, read here for more. They even had secret meetings to try and stop the Civil War there. Fascinating and a great way to learn more about the history of our nation on a personal level.

There was so much beauty to see, there was pattern and texture everywhere. When we walked into the lobby all I could say was”Honey! Look at the floors!” Beautiful mosaic everywhere.

The view from our room was incredible!




The Washington Monument is so startling and enormous. It may sound trite but seeing it in person is awe inspiring. They actually stopped construction of it for 25 years during the Civil War and when they resumed they used rock from the same vein that was used early, but as 25 years had passed it was a different color, you can see the line pretty clearly in this picture:


The World War Two Memorial is the newest memorial on the National Mall and it is beautiful. Here is the field of stars:



Could that be more lovely and moving? This is the middle section of the railing around the WWII Memorial. Look at this amazing bronze work commerating the naval aspect of the war:



Whew! More pictures tomorrow because we have late breaking news! Steve, our friendly UPS guy just left and look what he brought to Casa Lookie What I Made! Woooo Hoooo!!!!

This is a beautiful book, which I eagerly tore through and look forward to reading much more slowly and savoring every bit this evening. Off to chase boys (but not like high school).

What is the flap, you heel?

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I knew it was coming, the tag team. Two weeks ago Duncan was so sick and I knew there would be a brief interlude and then whammie! Angus is down for the count. The hubbalicious too. So, two sick guys, the littlest one at school and me doing the step and fetch. Reminds me of a sign I have in my kitchen:

After picking up Duncan from school, we were supposed to go grocery shopping. Well the good grocery store happens (cough) to be just near one of the yarn shops. So I asked Duncan if he wanted to go to run some errands with me and we agreed that we would go to the yarn shop and to the grocery store. You have no idea how cute it is to see an almost 3 year old little boy so excited about yarn. He named all the people he knew who needed yarn, including himself. He said as a statement, not a question: “You need more yarn Mom-mom!” He has proceeded to tell every person he has seen over the next twenty four hours “My Mom-mom is going to knit me socks. Green socks.” All this in his little almost three year old voice with the lisp. Makes my heart flutter.

So this was not to be a major outing to shop for yarn. Really I just wanted to check their stock on sock yarn. It is pretty hit and miss, I can’t tell if the owner/buyer has iffy taste in sock colorways or she just gets what she is sent. Duncan was told in very specific terms that he was to look with his eyes and not his hands. I sat him down in front of the sock yarn and told him not to move. He just sat there so sweetly and desperately wanted to hold some yarn. I let him hold it, I knew I was going to buy it anyway, so it was my loss, not the shop owners, if he wrecked it. For the record: I do not make a habit of bringing my children into a yarn shop. In my over five years of being a mom, this is the second time one of my children has been in a yarn store. And further for the record, the owner of the store was very gracious, showed Dunc behind the counter and talked to him while I shopped- without my asking. Yes, she enjoyed it as did he, and it was a great business move. She even invited him back. We bought some beautiful different sock yarns, which I’ll show you in a minute. Here is the startling realization I have come to: I have yet to turn my first heel of my first sock and I have a nice little sock stash starting. Now, it is not like Tammy or Emily (she is having a contest, go enter!) but it is a sweet and surely mighty little sock stash with some big aspirations.

Before I lay the sock stash on you, here is my very first ever heel flap (and attached sock leg)



This is the mystery yarn from my very sweet SP, you can see the skein in Saturday’s post. My SP also sent Socks Soar on 2 Circulars, and from it I am making the Simple Sock, in the woman’s size. Cat Bordhi recommends using circulars that are 24 inches, and boy is she right. I decided to get this cast on and found some 16 inches circs and it was a nightmare. I dug further in the stash and found some 40 inchers, too long but serviceable. They are working out wonderfully. They are both 3mm but one is labeled size 3 (Inox) and one is labeled size 2 (Addi). The join on the Inox is surely not as nice as the join on the Addis. The benefit of using 2 different brand but same size needles is that the cables are different colors. Very helpful as a new 2 circ sock knitter.
Okay, some of this you have seen before, the Koigu and the one ball of green Fortissima Socka but here is most but not all of the sock stash:


And last but not least, this was waiting when Dunc and I got home from the yarn store- never did make it to the grocery store…



ROCK ON INDEED!

This Sticker is so going to be seen in the pre-school parking lot.

Actual Knittng Content

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I maybe the last person on the planet to knit this but it is a Clapotis. For some reason I had to start this about eight times. My markers kept getting in the wrong place or the boys kept interrupting. It made me even more determined, I tell you. Paper, pencil and stitch markers can really be a girl’s best friend. This yarn is a wool/alpaca mix from Three Waters Farm purchased at MSW last year. My oh my, this color is devine. How I wish I could show it to you in person. The name is “Melon” and it truly is luminous and it seems liquidy somehow. The yellow orange has wee bits of pink and it is truly beautiful.

If you enlarge the above picture, you can see the bits of pink. Funny, when I look at it my brain says yellow but my sense says pink. I love a good color conundrum.

And now drumroll please!

Thank you Secret Pal for my fantastic package! Here we have one 100g ball of Regia in a great denim and white color way, which will make beautiful socks for the boys. Also 100g of some great, vibrant variegated sock yarn. There was no label, did you dye it yourself SP? It looks delicious. And Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles by Cat Bordhi. A knitting book I don’t own, Yippee! And last but not least a book to read to my boys. The Old Man of Lochnagar written by Prince Charles. It looks so very charming, it will be a perfect read for our Sunday morning.

This package certainly does inspire me to knit socks. I can’t wait. Thank you SP for taking the time to figure out what I would really like, you were right!

Ides of March indeed

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There is a church I drive by on the way to my local yarn shop. It is called the Church of the Holy Comforter. Every single time I see the sign I think it should be Church of the Holy Afghan. Wool on the brain. If none is on the needles, at least it is on the brain.




More block swap blocks. The yellow block is my favorite so far. It seems so alive to me.The blue one may not get submitted, it needs a bit of tweaking. The two large rectangles are not askew enough. I will fiddle with it and see what I get. It was suggested that we look at the Denyse Schmidt books for inspiration for block swap. Sunday morning I was chomping at the bit for the bookstore to open. Waiting to buy every Denyse Schmidt book they had. Odd, I made another cup of coffee, puttered around the house and somehow wasn’t excited to go buy the books. I am so pleased I never made it to the bookstore. I just began cutting, sewing, pressing, trimming and making it up as I went along. When I signed up for Block Swap I hauled out my Encyclopedia of Classic Quilt Patterns (which is a great resource) and marked 10 different blocks to make which would expand my skills. The idea was to make 10 blocks that I had never made before, using new (to me) techniques. Again, I am very happy I got caught up in doing something new. Confidence and satisfaction are the result. Funny, I was writing this post in my head and then surfed over to Yarnstorm and read Jane’s beautiful post. Her words were what I was thinking, except much more eloquent. Now If I could just get over my nervousness about paper piecing …

On a sad note: In the past two weeks, two really good men that we know have dropped dead. Sudden, immediate and so very permanent. Both were loving, funny family men and young, ages 39 and 42. Both left wives and children. So, today our hearts are heavier and life looks very different. Take a moment and do what you need to do. Now.

BlockSwapping Away

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As you can see, LWIM has a new look. Isn’t it swank? A huge thank you to the Hubbalicious for all the hard work to move LWIM over and for all the fiddling around he had to do.

Today I made three blocks for Jessica’s BlockSwap:



After a very long night, Duncan’s temperature was normal yesterday morning.When I said he was on the mend, it was more of the power of positive thinking than fact. Then he spiked a 104.5 Now he has been fever free for almost 24 hours! We know that your kind comments and emails made all the difference.

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