Friday, March 30, 2007

Eye Candy Friday

Somewhere in west Texas. Perfect for Project Spectrum - one of the few shots I've taken this month.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pirate, pirate, AR, AR

Finally. A success.

Many, many moons ago I knit a Pirate hat for hubbo. I finished it in late May of '06, and didn't block it. Why? Because it was, um, a little small. I kept putting off the 2nd attempt, but hubbo finally guilted me into it.

Woo Hoo!!
Pattern: Pirate Hat from Hello Yarn
Yarn: Knitpicks Telemark in Black and Poppy(?)
Needles: Sz US 4 Boye 16" cicular and Susan Bates DPNs
Mods: I didn't knit a lining - hubbo didn't want one.
Thoughts: I enjoyed the pattern again (a rarity for me to knit something 3 times!). I also really enjoyed the yarn - I would use the Telemark again - it was nice, not splitty, blocked out very well.

Hubbo loves it. Too bad it can't wear it until at least November. Ah well. At least it is done!

(The title of this post actually comes from my classroom - one of the "chants" we do for the sound of the letters a&r together.)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A day in the life

A few months ago I saw a few posts pop up in blogland in which the blogger took you through a day in their life. I've been meaning to do this for a long time, and finally got my act together and took all the pictures. While my day isn't particularly exciting, it's my life!

Morning - up at 5:30 for coffee and bloglines. Two great tastes that taste great together.

Arrive at school, do some work, welcome students and send them to PE/Art/Music (depending on what day it is). Grade papers/have meetings/etc. Oh, and drink more coffee and eat breakfast. This day it was goldfish crackers. What can I say. I'm not a breakfast person.

Oh - and here's a half decent shot of my classroom. Thrilling, ain't it?
Kids return, and we do our reading, eat lunch, write, do some math, and end the day with science and/or social studies. Some days I stay after school for tutoring.

Come home, play with kitty.

Snack, sock and more bloglines.

A walk.

Dinner and more schoolwork some nights - grading papers, progress reports, lesson planning - more fun than a girl can stand! Luckily, I do get in a bit of knitting time most nights.

I wish I had more excitement for you, but I didn't want to take pictures of my kids - privacy issues and all. And really, that's about as thrilling as it gets.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Hot knits in the summertime

While I'm still loving the Hourglass sweater (almost 1/2 done with sleeve #2), and I love me some wool, I'm itching for some spring and summer wearable knits.

Last summer I was not so successful with the summer knits. While Picovili and NBAT were ripped, Kyoto remains on the needles, in somewhat of a "stall" pattern (I haven't touched her since at least September).

This year, I resolve to triumph over the lack of summer knits in my wardrobe! So what am I planning? As usual, way more than I will probably ever finish.

First up - from the new Nashua North American Knits book - I love this sweater, and will be casting on for it very soon. I'm surprised that I haven't seen more talk of it in blogland, as I think it is a great-looking pattern, with enough lace to be pretty but still acceptable for work. (Apologies for the flash on the photo - the only way I could get a picture of this was to take it myself, and it was very dark outside here.)

Bobble Blue - from the Spring '06 Interweave Knits. I have been wanting this sweater since I got my magazine last spring. I'm planning to use some of my cotton-ease stash for this one.

This cute thing is from the Fall '06 Knitscene. I ordered the yarn for this way back in September. This will be the other "first" thing I cast on - perfect for spring!

This one is also from the fall Knitscene. Another use for my vast stash of cotton ease. I love the shaping and the reverse stockinette stitch.

Other contenders include Picovili and NBAT (of course), and I really like the Isabella tank from the new Knitty. I may also knit up Sizzle and Something Red, from the talented Wendy. But first, I may cast on for the Somewhat Cowl - seems like a good transitional sweater, especially in my usually freezing-cold classroom.

What am I missing? What is on your spring/summer to-knit list? I'd love to hear!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Cocoa welcomes spring

I love spring.

Birds to watch. Windows are open for prime bird stalking.

And the drooly ones are outside a lot, so I can order my slave to entertain me without fear of licks and chase scenes. Mwah!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Out, but not down

Thank you for all of your sweet comments about my loss. I'm really OK with it - I totally deserved to lose in the first round, when I spent time adding length to my socks, and read 2 books, packed, clean the house, etc. instead of focusing on the challenge. That said, I have a lovely pair of socks to show for my efforts in that round, and I plan to knit the other patterns "in time" with the other competitors, depending on how crazy my life currently is. And it's about to get crazier, but more on that later.

That said, this is the current state of the round 2 socks:

Yep. I was almost to the toe decreases last night when I decided to try them on. Couldn't get them over my heel. So I ripppped. Hey, if I'm going to knit these, and I'm already out, they're going to fit. I'm going to experiment with adding stitches the next time I try, which will probably be next week.

Why not right away? 'Cause I'm on a mission to finish up some things around here.

First on the list is Hourglass. No longer can I stand to knit only on this during "24" (plus I usually have a ton of schoolwork/grades/paperwork/etc. on Mondays, so I'm always "making up" the time later in the week. Kinda takes the fun out of it.), and I want to wear it before it is 90 degrees outside! I idly cast on for a sleeve this weekend, during some of my "makeup time" and I couldn't put it down! Voila - one sleeve finished! I have big plans to finish up this sweater before the end of the month. I'll cast on for sleeve #2 tomorrow, and I don't expect it to take long. It sure would be nice to have another finished sweater, especially since I kinda signed up for the sweater-a-month KAL, and so far I've only finished one sweater. One behind already.

I also spend some time on the Regia Bamboo sock - got it through the heel flap so it will make nice car knitting this week. The girl has a softball game tomorrow night, so I expect it to see some action, and hopefully it will be done by the end of the month as well.

Oh, and the pirate hat is finally blocking - a FO post to come as soon as it is dry.

Next up on the finishing list will be the grey scarf, some socks, and hubbo's sweater. But I will be starting some spring/summer knits. As soon as Hourglass is done. More on them to come!

Friday, March 23, 2007

And I'm out

The new Madness pattern was posted sometime yesterday afternoon, and hubbo was kind enough to send it to me at work, so I got started at knitting last night. Perhaps not the best locale to start a knitting competition, but my lack of progress was worth the joy of the evening. (I'm much further than the picture shows now.)

Sadly, my competition (who may be the first finisher in our bracket) apparently doesn't work on Fridays or is the fastest knitter alive. 'Cause she finished in about 24 hours. That's OK. I'm really in it for the patterns, right? :)
I am loving the pattern, and Scout's yarn is gorgeous, and smells good, and is soft and I love it. Thank you Scout!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

State of the Knits

I did do some knitting on spring break, but I was also consumed by a day full of watchin' the neph, and, as we all know, three year-olds are not usually entertained by pointy sticks, unless they're doing the pointing.

The Pirate Hat is done, but in need of a serious blocking. Hopefully tonight.

I finished one of my "sweet socks" - the needles are now free for round 2 of the madness, which starts Thursday.

I am almost done with the back of hubbo's sweater. Why are men so big? And mine's not even *that* big.

I knit up the second skein of the grey alpaca scarf. One more to go!

And some other socks saw some action - I started hubbo's second Trekking sock, I'm ready for the gusset on the Regia Bamboo sock, and I'm in the heel flap of the Feather and Fan sock.

I'm feeling pretty good about knitting up things I've already started, especially the socks. I have so many pairs close to being finished (four with one sock done, one half way done), that I'd like to have some new pairs!

However, I am feeling the urge for the spring/summer knits. I'll hold out until the end of round 2 of the madness, but I'm not going to be responsible for much past that. Maybe I can hold out until April. Maybe.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Mad Cows

Finally, a proper FO post!

Pattern: Mad Cows, exclusive pattern for Sock Madness
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Chocolate and Devon, purchased from The Loopy Ewe.
Needles: Sz 2.25 mm ChiaoGoo DPNs
Dates: Saturday March 10-Tuesday March 13
Mods: I added repeats to the leg - the pattern called for 4 or 5 repeats, and I didn't want a short sock, so I lengthened it.
Thoughts: Nice, easy starter pattern for the competition, but if I wanted my socks to stripe, I'd probably use self striping yarn. There is a bulge where I carried the yarn up the back of the leg of the sock and on the foot.
I love the Lorna's - for all the stash I have of this (four more pairs worth), this is the first time it's made it into finished socks (one sock was frogged in December '05 when it turned out to be too big). I can't wait to get to the rest of it! I especially like the Chocolate - a very nice, subtle varigation of browns.

The announced our next yarn - sport weight varigated - I'm so excited to use Scout's yarn! We tip off on Thursday afternoon, so until then I'll be trying to get some more things off the needles - stay tuned for the results of the vacation knitting!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Scenes from a vacation


Deer (I tried to take a good picture, but they move too fast!)

The Neph

Seen outside the yarn store

A yummy pile of Malabrigo, all for me.

Friday, March 16, 2007


Sadly, all of my pictures are trapped on my camera, which has dead batteries, so while they charge, I thought we could introduce a new sock-in-progress who has yet to see good blog time.

This is the beginnings of Lucy Neatby's Fiesta Socks. I'm knitting these via a class at my LYS. They are quite an interesting knit - the cuff is knit lengthwise and seamed, with stitches picked up for the rest of the leg. There are bobbles, stranded colorwork and other interesting designs. I think I'll be working on them in fits and starts, but I'll keep y'all posted. Here I'm almost done with the row of bobbles.

There aren't a whole lot of these finished socks out there in blogland. I found some here, and here.

I hope to have lovely pictures tomorrow to show you all of our escapades. Oh, and all the knitting? Yeah, I don't ski, so I have lots 'o knitting time. :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

On the road

We're en route to Colorado and had a bit of wireless (seriously - I *heart* La Quinta - free internet, free breakfast, clean rooms - what's not to like?), so I thought I show you what I didn't have time to show you yesterday.

First up is a pile 'o socks. 8 pairs of socks to be precise. I'm really hoping that at least one of these pairs will be complete before we get home, but all are going. And yes, there is a sock in there that hasn't been blogged about - more on it later.

The accessories - in this pile is hubbo's pirate hat (which he wants done in time to hit the slopes tomorrow), my grey scarf, and Icarus.

And finally, the sweaters. I'm bringing Salina (to see if it can behave), hubbo's Cambridge Jacket (which I haven't worked on in months), and a new sweater - another not yet blogged project. I wanted something wooly when I was having those bad weeks,(I'm not sure why, but wool was the only thing I wanted to knit with. Worsted weight 100% wool. I'm a freak.) so I started this - it is the Cabled Hoodie from the Paton's Street Smart booklet. I love it. I'm using Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool and I love that too. I'd like to get this done before I start more spring/summer knits, but we'll see.

I'm also bringing the long-suffering log cabin blanket. I want this to be done, but I don't want to work on it for long stretches, so I have no idea when it will be done.

I did leave Branching Out and Kyoto (and Hourglass since I only work on it on Mondays) at home, but otherwise this is everything in the WIP basket. What's in your basket?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Off to snow!

We're running out the door to Colorado - I managed to finish my sock madness socks - photo here. I'll post a proper FO post whenever I get internet access, which I should have, so hopefully I'll have some more FOs soon!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

One down

For the Madness

Also, the Knitted Toys blog is up! Feel free to join!

P.S. I am so frickin' sick of blogger not letting me upload pictures. Is anyone else having this problem?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Eye Candy Friday

I don't regularly participate in the Eye Candy Fridays, but today I have lovely eye candy - new sock yarn!

From Scout - special, one-of-a-kind, just for me and my indecision, sport weight in "Sageilicious." Our exchange went like this:
Me: I can't find any sport weight sock yarn that's varigated, a good price, and with enough yardage.
Scout: Well, take a look at the gallery.
Me: I can't decide - too many pretty colors!
Scout: I've been wanting to do something in peaches or sage.
Me: Oooooh, sage!
Scout: Done!

It really is pretty, and I'm so excited to use it. The Girl saw it this morning, and was telling me how pretty it was. It was fun (in my dorky way) to ask her if she remembered our stop in ABQ this summer, and to tell her that Scout had dyed the yarn special, for me, special!*

This lovely goodness comes from Yarn Love, a site I stumbled across last week (I honestly can't remember if someone recommended this, or if I found it), and it is lovely! All of the yarn is named after famous women (mostly literary characters), and it is gorgeous. They were super friendly, and gave me the option to ship first class mail, for only $1.75, which is so much nicer than the $4.05 of priority mail. Best of all, this particular line (Juliet) comes paired with one varigated and one solid - very easy for bad decision-makers like me!

And finally, from everyone's favorite crack yarn dealer, The Loopy Ewe, via the crazy Monday update, Apple Laine in Pretty in Pink (which is way more pink than my camera can show you), and one hank of Lorna's in Chocolate, and one in Devon (one of the new colors, which I like so much instead of the crazy color combos you get sometimes). I got the Apple Laine just for stash enhancement purposes ('cause it sells out fast), but the Lorna's is for the Madness.

Ahhhh, the Madness. Tipoff around 7 am CST, so even though Spring Break has started, I'll be getting up early one more day. Totally worth it though.

There is a ton of interest in the toy KAL - Sometime this weekend (after the first socks for the Madness are complete) I'll make up a blogger blog so we can all post to it. If you want an invite, please email me at knittoys AT gmail DOT com with your email address, and I'll send you the blogger invite. Look for more info here when it's up!

Off to have a lovely "it's Spring Break" dinner and drinks with hubbo - have a great weekend!

*Bonus points to anyone who can name this movie!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Knitted Toys

Okey dokey! I've heard the cries, so you get it - a review of Knitted Toys by Zoe Mellor. (BTW - that link takes you to the Knitpicks page where you can see more of the projects.)

First of all, let me say that I love Zoe Mellor's books - I have several, though I have yet to actually make anything. But darn if she doesn't have some of the cutest kid patterns around! and I love that she uses bright, bold colors - none of this pink and light blue nonsense.

This book has 25 projects - from dolls to finger puppets and lots of lovies. One thing I enjoy about it, just from browsing, is the size of the objects - these are no tensie stuffed animals - the monkey is nearly as big as the child holding it! (You can see one here finished.)

One thing I like is the variety of "extras" about these toys - the cat is a pj case, the cow is a pillow, the fish are mostly for decoration (and I think I need them in my classroom), the snake can double as a draft thingy (what do you call those things?), etc. I also like the variety in terms of finishing - there is a felted gingerbread man, a butterfly that uses felt for the backing on it's wings and the elephant ears use the same technique (as do the dog ears). The dolls have removable clothes, and would be tons of fun for a little girl. I'm not a huge fan of the owl (I think Lucinda Guy's is cuter) and the mouse pattern looks a lot like the mouse pattern from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation (but bigger), but overall, this is well worth the price (especially if you get it from amazon or knitpicks where it is reduced!).

I myself am a huge sucker for the knit toys. I've got World of Knitted Toys, Knitted Toys, Toys to Knit, and a variety of other baby books that have toys in them. I'd love to have Family Circle Easy Toys, but I haven't added it to the collection yet.

Sadly, with all of these toy books, I'm ashamed to say that I have yet to knit anything from them. I have made two dinos and an Oddfellow from Jess Hutch's book (which is wonderful, but sadly out of print), and I'd love to make more, but I just never get around to it. I am thinking that the nephew will get a new, bigger dinosaur this year for his birthday, and that some new and upcoming babies will get animals as they get older.

Perhaps we need a knit toy-along? Hmmmmmm, I just might have to do that. Anyone in?

The pictures are of my favorite toys from the book - and I don't know why the snake is sideways. I'm just glad blogger finally let me upload pictures. Arggggh!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

One of these things is not like the other

Two socks
Originally uploaded by balletbooks.
One of these things just doesn't belong.......

Now that you are all having Sesame Street flashbacks, allow me to introduce you to the two newest members of the Single Sock club:

One for hubbo, and one for me. These two will join the sadly single Regia bamboo sock, pining away for their mates....

In all seriousness, I'm really trying to finish up some of the things on the needles. I told myself back in January that I didn't need to join the UFO Resurrection, as I didn't have any UFOs. Ha. I have way too many. So, I'm getting them off the needles - ripped or restarted. Many of them will be going to Colorado with me next week (4 teaching days until Spring Break), and I'm not going to take any "extra" yarn for new projects. Only UFOs. Only.

Oh, and on the yarn front? Yeah, it's pretty bad....... I added (GULP) 31 skeins to the stash this month. I managed to knit up 6 skeins. Yikes. Lord help me. And there's more yarn in the mail. I'll quit when I'm dead......

Oh - run over and give Theresa some love - she's engaged!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

See, I can buy things besides yarn...

Yesterday was a very good mail day - my order from Knitpicks arrived!

I've been wanting Lace Style and Favorite Socks since I heard about them, but I had a devil of a time finding them locally. The last time I ordered from Amazon they estimated my shipping date (for in-stock items) to be several days later. Add that to their slow delivery, and I guessed that Knitpicks would be faster. I placed my order last Saturday, and I think one week is pretty good turnaround time for them. Plus, this way I could have an excuse to throw in some of their DPNs to try. I added Knitted Toys since I'm a sucker for anything cute and stuffed.

I'm very excited to say that I really like several patterns in Lace Style, and about 17 of the 25 patterns in Favorite Socks - a win-win all around. And Knitted Toys has a very cute dinosaur pattern that I can't wait to knit up for the nephew.

I also received my first Sock Club kit from Blue Moon's Socks That Rock Club, but I don't want to post any spoilers for those of you still waiting. I saw a picture on someone's blog on Friday and it pissed me off a bit - I know that it's their blog, but c'mon! When you know that most people haven't gotten it yet you could at least warn folks or hide it behind "the cut" or something.

On the upside, even Hubbo was into the kit and was intrigued by all it contained. The yarn is gorgeous and the pattern is very interesting, but I'm on a mission to finish what's on the needles, so I'm resolved not to cast on. Especially since I have to keep those needles free for the madness! There is yarn in the mail for the madness, hopefully pictures in a day or two!