Thursday, February 28, 2008

Seven Random Things about Me

1) Tomorrow I sign on property for my new house. The subdivision is so new that both Google and Yahoo Maps doesnt even have it on their maps. No internet directions to my house! 2) I found out today that Cherry Tree Hill has a new yarn called Lottery. It is so new that they dont even have it listed on their website, but they are selling it on Ebay. I also know that it is NOT a lottery. My LYS is NOT having a raffle of a basket of Wool in the Woods. The ladies behind the counter got so confused by my question today that they charged me an extra $2 for the skein that I bought. What I saw was an enormous basked to gorgeous skeins with a big sign that said, "Lottery $20". When I tried to buy a ticket for the "Lottery", all hell broke loose. 3) I'm taking off for Cabo san Lucas in four weeks, and I havent asked for time off from work yet. 4) I bought new house numbers for my mailbox that screw on because at 40F BELOW glue does not work and they all fell off. Stamps fall off envelops in the mailbox, self adhesive mailing labels line the inside. Let's see the cold take off my screwed on letters. Come and get me Mother Nature! 5) I lost 9lbs in the last two weeks on the South Beach diet. I am very tired of scrambled eggs and meat salads. I will kill any small child that might walk by me eating pancakes. Why a small child might walk by me with pancakes is another question. 6) I Zune, not I-Tune. But I would like to buy a MacBook. and... 7) Today is the 13th anniversary of the miscarriage of my first pregnancy. The wonderful man I married has a son who's birthday is today. I found my lost child through him. "Only through great loss can we truly appreciate the beauty of great joy."

Friday, February 22, 2008


Well, it has been almost a whole work week since I got back from HiOhSilver's work trip and subsequently my 1st ever Yarn Crawl. Flying into Seattle, I read about the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat. I so, so, so wish I would have known so that I could have attended those meeting. Walking down the halls to the open Marketplace , there were so many really great classes and wonderful women and knit goods, oh, and the Hello Cupcakes everyone was carrying around. Unfortunately, no classes for me, but there was lots of yarn. Here is the start of the ShiBui Vintage Baby Cardigan in sock yarn in a non-baby light slate colorway from the Knit-Purl's booth. The lampworked button is from Sheila & Michael Ernst's booth there.

Also at Madrona was Blue Moon Fiber Arts with all of their yarns. The Raven Series was there, their Leticia was there, all the weights were covered, and they even had the Sheep to Shoe kits. I must have walked around and around and around that booth. Oh, what can I make with this one? What can I make with that one?
I totally fell in love with the Turquoise colorway in the medium-weight. The colors remind me of the Lagoon in Bora Bora that I miss so much.

It must be the great weather that was going on while I was in the Pacific Northwest. They were having beautiful weather and I think I was a little bit jealous. I needed to take a little bit of color home. I will have to admit: I never pick colors so friggin' bright. Look at this colorway, Fire on the Mountain. I was looking at this for my Chevron scarf instead of the Farmhouse colorway. I am glad I choose the Farmhouse, but I couldn't pass up the Fire on the Mountain. I don't know if I will make socks out of these, or if I might make another Chevron scarf, maybe for someone else. Madrona Marketplace - A+ To add to my desire for brighter skeins, while I was down in Portland at Twisted on Broadway, I fell in love with a yarn I have never seen before. Zen String's Serendipity. This one is Hopi in a fingering weight. The colors are intense! The only pattern I could even figure that the colors would not overpower would be another pair of monkey socks. That pattern was really fun to work with, and who couldnt use another pair of Monkeys? I only have one now, and I am not a fan of the colorway, so maybe I will fall in love with this one? But don't let me put the cart in front of the horse. I visited Madrona on Valentine's Day, which this year fell on a Thursday. On Friday we drove back down to Oregon to stay with my MIL and on the way I planned to stop off at Twisted. The directions online were great, the traffic was not. Living in Alaska has many luxuries, and the lack of mass traffic is one of the foremost. Twisted is located in a quaint little area, surrounded by boutiquey shops. The women that were there (one being an owner) were completely down to Earth. Knew there customers, asked about me because they realized I had never been into the store by 1) the size of my eyes as they bulged out of my sockets, 2) the drooling from my mouth over all the delicious yarn, and 3) the speed of my fingers as I cluthed onto every skein in the store. I was feeling talkative as I had been sequestered in the car on the seven hour drive from Seattle (it is usually 2 1/2 hrs but it was a three day weekend, and all of Washington was making their exodus south on I-5). Both girls told me what I liked, found out I was down in a stash enhancement, told me about manufacturers, what drove them to order specific colors, the activities they were planning on for the store and generally made me feel very, very welcomed. As new customers came in, one of them would walk over and talk, but then wander back. As my talkative streak came to an end and all my brain power was computing how much I had left in the bank account and how I could maximize my purchases, they casually faded back into what they were working on before I made my introduction to their store. Excellent customer service, friendly atmosphere, stellar inventory. Twisted - A+

Also from Twisted,
here is Zen String's Serendipity in the November colorway. I love the color of this yarn. It is so soft, but I didnt notice the yardage. At only 241 yards, it might end up as a very short pair of socks. Most likely, I will have work them toe-up so that I use up every available inch of this yarn. It is gorgeous. I am thinking another pair of Roza's socks. I love the ones I already have in CTH. They are my favorite pattern/yarn combo.

Also at Twisted, I found yet another skein of Dream in Color, Classy. I used Happy Forest for Boy5's Log Cabin socks, I bought November Muse (brown) for a pair of Log Cabins for myself. But then I found this skein, Deep Seaflower. I fell in love instantly. The blues flow into the purples and back again. I can't wait to start on them. Boy5's socks are like dreams on my feet.

I used the flash to take this picture, so the skein is a bit lighter than the actual color. It is more of deep purple like the bottom right of the 2nd photo of the Dream in Color. I found a link to a Central Park Hoodie that is being made from this fiber and I plan to follow the creation of this sweater because I would love to make my CPH from this. It will be the most expensive sweater I will ever own (fingers crossed that I dont get futher demented and start buying even more expensive sweater yarn). But yes, I do really enjoy working with it.

Ah, I just couldnt pass picking one of these up from the Village Yarn and Tea Shop's booth at Madrona. I have been drooling over this from the Loopy Ewe, but they had so many of the WoolPets kits on the booth table that I just could not resist!

And as I was paying for my sheep, I ran across these stitch markers sitting so periously close to the cash register. They were just peeping, "take us home, we're the blue birds of happiness, and we make your knitting fun." Oh, sad little orphans without a home... How could I let you sit there lonely. Hop into my bag and I will take you home. And so they now grace my office desk. Never to be lonely again. I might be buying more and line a desk above the pictures in my office. They are just adorable. By Good to Be a Girl.

soak... oh yeah, dont forget the essentials! I guess with all the socks that I have now, and all the yarn I have to make socks, I will be needing to wash them. I love the samples that I have used, so it is about time I buy a full bottle and have it on hand. And there is NO WAY I am doing anything but handwashing a handknit sweater. Far too much work to see it ruined.

Okay, so not all my purchases were fiber related. I did stop at one other store during my crawl. It was Tricoter in Seattle. I drove down there by myself to take a look around and I was so disappointed with the service and lack of attention by the sales staff that I walked out of there without a single purchase. It killed me, they were having a AWESOME sale! I was "bumped" by two of their clerks, and neither even looked up. I was totally in the way. They knew the women that walked through their doors by name, knew their projects, do an awesome job with those they were willing to help, and yes, they had some gorgeous skirts (as their book covers). It was just disheartening to see that the reviews are true. They completely lack warmth to "traveling through" customers. They will stay in business with their established clientele, but they didn't get any of my money. Tricoter = D

Last minute purchase of stationary.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Photo shoot

Yesterday was way to overcast again to take pictures of all my stash, and I have been so excited to add all of the masses to my Ravelry stash. Well, today I figured, If I can't get the sun to come in to take pictures, I will take the stash to the sun. While yes, it is unseasonably warm here in the Interior, it is still not warm enough to take pictures outside, so I needed to find a south facing window. The changing room has plants cover the window, the bedroom isn't great, the living room has heavy curtains and a couch in front of the window, and the kids wouldn't appreciate me taking picture of their rooms (let alone I dont want to go in there unless ABSOLUTELY necessary.) So, how about trekking all of my stash, and camera, and backdrop down to the office. Besides, I am supposed to be working down there anyway. Taking my lunch break, I grabbed everything and began to set the "shoot" up. I have this awesome Radiometer which is sealed in a glass ball and when exposed to radiant light-sunlight, the black coated sides of the solar wings absorb more light energy than the silver sides. Air pressure builds up on the black side so it causes the wings to spin within the semi-vacuum. The spinning intensifies when exposed to stronger sunlight, but wont spin at all under fluorescent light. That way I know if there is enough light to take pictures without using the dreaded flash. When I started taking pictures, the radiometer was spinning slowly, as the sun was being obscured by the bunkhouse adjacent to my red office. As I was taking pictures, the sun came to the west side of the building and I was actually getting direct light into the office. The radiometer starting spinning like mad and I ended up taking over 200 pictures. I will narrow them down, photoshop the light amount to greater represent the actual colors, and post them tomorrow (hopefully). Here is how the set up began:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Back from Seattle

Yarn crawl from Seattle to Portland was great. I will blog the Stash Enhancement eXperience in another posting. Taking pictures now when it is so overcast does not work. No true color recognition is present with that cast from the artificial blast of light . Oh and speaking of stash enhancements: may I be the first to say, "These babies are gorgeous"? They are amazingly bright. I don't know what I was thinking, maybe it is the fact that winter is starting to wear me out. I needed some serious color. Flowers were in bloom in Seattle, my MIL's crocuses were flowering in the back yard and her tulips were just breaking out of their winter hibernation in the front yard. Jealousy took over and I had to buy everything in bright colors because I knew that I was coming home to the land of winter. Two more months, and spring will be here in Interior Alaska.
The whole trip was not all yarn, work, fiber goodness, work, drive, drive, drive. Almost 1,200 miles logged on the rental car going from Seattle to Woodburn to Seattle to Portland to Woodburn back to Seattle.
Here I am with my darlingMIL and MrAfternoonMoon. We got to drop into her "office" to see where she works and meet the kids in her classes. It was so cute when she introduced the Mr as her little baby, the youngest son to a passing fourth grader. He looked up at Mark and said, "Man, your big. You're no baby" It was so adorable.
My first stop was the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat. I didnt know anything about the retreat, but I read at Ravelry that there was something going on in Tacoma and then again on the Yarn Harlots page about laundry needing to be done or she would be forced to wear commercial socks. That would be embarrassing! Image being the Yarn Harlot and being caught in cheap Old Navy argyles! Needless to say, it was amazingly to walk through my first Fiber Marketplace. So many knitters, so many things to touch, squeeze, think about running away with. I will post pictures by the end of the week of all the goodness that I bought here. Shea and her two DD and her MIL came with us and we all had a blast. Gwennie got a stuffed black sheep and Layla got sweater yarn. And I walked away with several small bags.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Leaving again

Guess what? I am leaving again. Off on a buying spree for the giftshop here at work, and then off to visit my InLaws, whom I love, then off to sit in a hotel room for a couple days in Seattle working ('Cause it is beginning to look like that time of year when we start getting busier with tasks). I will hang out with Shea in the evenings, and will be on Yarn Crawl from Seattle to Portland and back.
Another reason I am leaving is because it is COLD. Capital C, capital O, capital L, capital D. COLD, just downright fridgid. Man, I hate when it gets like this. Although it could be much, much worse. I have seen it in the -60F's before.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Oh Yeah, and I made the Green Sock Knit Along postings!
Whoo hoo!!!

Log Cabin socks for the Bunkhouse

Patttern: Log Cabin Socks by Anne Woodbury from Handknit Holidays: Knitting Year-Round for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Winter Solstice

Yarn: Dream in Color Classy in "Happy Forest"

Needles: Brittany 7 1/2" US#5 dpns

Cast On: Feb2 Bind Off: Feb7

I loved making these socks. Yes, they were chewed on TWICE! Once from the skein and another while on the needles. I would spray bitter on them to get the labbie to stop chewing on them, but that would get in the way of my Pepperidge Farm Mint Brusssels enjoyment. What fun would sock knitting be if there were just a couple cookies involved?

I noticed that my snack of choice is mostly directly dependant on my sock of the moment. Knitting with the Duets made me hungry for Black Forest Cherry Cake and cinnamon hot chocolate. These made me crave mint Brussels. Fortunately, these only took six days, so I didn't go through a lot of cookies, just a couple.

This is the first time I have knit socks with wood needles. And hopefully one of the last. Yes, I know Brittany has a five year replacement guarantee, but that statement is not MrK proof. Dogs eating needles; I am most positively certain is not covered under that policy. Honestly, I did not even bother to check. I liked the feel of the knitting, the wood was rough enough to grib the yarn, and smooth enough to let it slide off when I wanted. No dropped stitches. I would have hated to use Inox with this fiber, it would have been like eating chalk. My beloved Susan Bates are not available anywhere in town under a size7, and I did not feel like ordering them online. First pair were from Memories and More, and the second pair were from Inua. I love going into Inua LYS because of Raveler sarahjean. So nice to have a friendly face and some to talk to. I wanted to go in next time she works and pick up some of the Cherry Tree Hill's Caribou Creek, which is so much prettier in person than it is online, but she works next on Saturday and I leave for work on Friday. Next time. Man, that Cherry Tree was gorgeous, and on sale. Since I am saving my pennies for a Yarn Crawl from Seattle to Portland and back, I only picked up some Lamb's Pride Worsted in Brown Heather for my next pair of Log Cabins.

And speaking of next pair of Log Cabins, I also bought some more Dream in Color Classy from in November Muse. The yardage on the label says 250yds and the pattern calls for 3 skeins of 120yd Rowan Cork, but I had 18gram left over from my boys size 7 (woman's size pattern). It is a sad day when you realize the youngest kid in the household now has bigger feet than you do. At least I am still a foot taller, for now.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Superbowl knitting and lab chewing

I was so excited with these Log Cabin Socks that I started for my sock model, Boy5. Ordered the Dream in Color - Classy in "Happy Forest" because he loves green and orange (but thankfully not together). This sock knits up tremendously quick. I started the ribbing Saturday night and worked my way past the heel during the Superbowl. I am not too excited about the hand-wound ball. It doesn't stay in one place like the center-pull balls on the winder, but MrK decided to bite into my stash while I was away. I have to wrap all my fiber in plastic bags, or else he drags them all over the house. I must have left it out of the sack, cause when I got home, it was all out-of-hank, in a large soft pile on my desk. Great, wool is not so easy to wind up when it is all tangled up, coated in dog slobber, seeded with traction sand and ingrained with mutt-hair. Took me nearly an hour to detangle and clean. He must have used it as a dry mop, cause it looked like a Christmas tree with all that ornamentation.
So, ball in hand, hours watching a game, I knit a whirl of green cabled madness. Fingers like lightning, feet up and down for changing the loads of laundry, sock with thick sock yarn knitting up mega-speed. I was excited to see the sock features so swiftly come about.
Incidentally, neither DH or myself watch football, so I have to plop down once a year and fully commit myself to America's pasttime and absorb the all important Superbowl commercials. My favorite being the eTrade ads. Nothing maternal or anything, but that talking baby has my vote for originality. And not near as creepy as the clown in the background.
Adding to my list of tasks for the day (hate Mondays), I now have to add warming up the truck. Now much easier with the assistance of the new auto-start remote. My old remote's key pad went the way of the trash having had it's buttons pressed too hard for the past three years. Driving into town is such a pain at oh... -42F this morning. Lovely, the truck NEVER fully warms up, there is almost no fuel in the tank, so I have to go to the gas station first, yarn shop second, and since it is such an endeavour to get all the way to town (10 minutes) I will most likely have to stop in at the gym and get in at least the requisite half hour of cardio. Damn dog.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Chevron Scarf: from Caribbean to Cold

Pattern: Chevron Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Art Socks that Rock medium-weight in "Farmhouse" and "Chickabiddy"
Needles: Lantern Moon size6
cast on: Jan10 cast off: Jan31

So I cast on here at home to make certain that the only thing I needed to do was the chevron pattern portion of the pattern. I love the color combo of these two. I kept wondering if I should have stuck with the golden-only colors of the 24Karat, but I really love the colors in the Chickabiddy. They match the red colors of both of my winter jackets.

I worked on this in the evenings when we had days-at-port and afternoons in the sun when we had days-at-sea. It was a great small project to carry around. Now that I am back in Alaska, it is well received for the weather that we are having. Left Tampa at 65F and back in Fairbanks at -45F. Thank goodness it was -10F yesterday, I was able to take pictures outside.

Here is the scarf in more detail. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the color combo. I didn't knit they whole 77", I stopped at a very reasonable 56" it wraps around the neck, both sides hang down. Works great.

side note: I really expected, since we sailed on a Holland America cruise, and the clientele is customarily the other end of the age range, that there would be more knitters on board. I saw that the Knitting at Sea cruise was Holland America (if I had time in March I would definately hop on that one) so I erroneously thought there would be knitting cohorts aboard. Nope, two crocheters, one tatter, but no knitters, no knitting friends. Just me, sitting on the aft deck at the aft bar knitting with the cigar smokers. It was still fun, kept me busy, and the pattern is so easy, the pina coladas didnt even mess it up!