Saturday, December 27, 2008

On the Sticks

I am "home" now, in the frozen city called Eagle River, Alaska. Though I've managed to come "home" every couple years or so, I rarely make it "home" for the holidays. I have my own "family" and to go "home" would mean that I'd leave one family, one home, for another. This is the first time in 11 years I've been "home" during this time of the year.

It's a bitter sweet time; I'm here to help my mom with her rehab from open heart surgery, as well as helping her with all that needs to be done when your spouse passes away. I've learned more about Social Security, Wills, Estates, etc. in the past week than I ever though was possible to learn in 2 short days while Mom and I got various things done, and I learned what I needed to know to help her.

There has been a lot of hurry up and wait, as busy as we have been, there has been time to knit.

Airplane Socks

I managed to get through security with my knitting needles, sat in the "middle row," with two people who could care less that I had pointy objects on the plane! I was able to just about complete on sock during the layover and flight. I somehow managed to purl while doing the kitchener stitch, so I'm trying to fix it (okay, so that sock isn't totally completed!)

Diann's Sock

I told Mom I'd knit a pair of socks my her SIL, my step-aunt. The dear sweet lady who dropped everything to come to Alaska to help out. She was willing to stay indefinitely! She wears the same shoe size, so it's pretty easy to knit her custom sized socks.

So, as I type this, I have managed to complete two socks, not a pair, but two socks, none the less (yeah, I know, the Air Plane socks really can't be counted as complete.....).

Liz's Socks

My niece wanted me to knit socks too, and as she doesn't have the same size feet as I do, as well as some issues with socks not fitting correctly, I'll need to knit her socks so that I can try them on her as I go. So, I started a pair of two-at-a-time-toe-up socks for her.

If I manage to meet my goals and get my niece and step-aunt's socks done, I will be ahead of schedule with my "year of socks." Upon completion of the three pairs in progress, that will bring my total to 11 pairs of socks since May. I also have a pair that I started at home that came with me in my suit case, just in case I end up with extra time - they've been put on hold while I knit socks for my family members.

Moosewood yarn, dyed in Anchorage Alaska

I picked up some sock yarn that is hand-dyed in Anchorage, Alaska. The colorway is called Moosewood.

Hope you will have a safe and happy New Year,


Monday, December 15, 2008

Decorating my Wheel

Part of what I liked about the Otium is that it came unfinished so I could decorate it as I wanted.
I wish I could say I came up with this design on my own. I wanted to have all season's on the wheel and when I saw a similar design, I decided this was the one I wanted to put on my wheel.
The green/blue/brown roving is what is spun on my spool.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Taking the plunge

Well, it happened! I did it! I took the plunge and got a wheel!

After a lot of research I became so confused at what was the "best" wheel for me; all I wanted was something to learn to spin on. I was not ready to drop $500+ on a wheel. When I found Heavenly Handspinning I really felt it was too good to be true. A wheel for $150? I found a group on Ravelry comprised of people who owned these wheels and they said they were good wheels, so I took the plunge!

Tuesday of this past week, the box arrived. I had a lot of outside chores to do, so I completed them before opening the box.

The wheel needed to be assembled, and then I started spinning. Well, not really, it's more accurate to say I attempted to spin on the wheel. In less than 30 minutes I was ready to toss the wheel out the window and was wondering about my decision to be an inexpensive wheel.

Many emails back and forth between myself, others who own Heavenly Handspinning wheels, as well as the proprietor of Heavenly Handspinning, a good night's rest, and I was spinning.

I've had the wheel for just under a week and I'm LOVING it!!!

Above is the first "skein" of yarn I spun and then did a Navajo Ply with it.

The second yarn I spun with the roving that came along with my wheel.
My third skein, plied and ready to go - about 100 yards of bulky weight

This is the last of the roving I've spun. Hand dyed by me. I just dyed some more roving that I am planning to spin and ply to this.

I am in LOVE with my wheel!!!

I am currently waiting for 1/2 pound of recently dyed roving drying before I can spin anymore!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Year of Socks Continue....

I completed the candy cane socks this week, so my December socks (pair #8) are completed.
Yesterday I attended my first Fiber Fair and Sale. It was not exactly what I was expecting, it was tiny, and just basically things members of the Duluth Fiber Guild had made.

I bought a pound of roving that is from "Quincy," a Romney Corriedale cross. So soft and yummy. I divided the pound 4 ounce balls, one ball being short a couple tenths of an ounce, so I started playing with that.

This is my third skein and I'm very happy with my progress!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Okay, I'll keep it short and to the point.....

Catching up:

Hubby's wool hunting socks (pair #6 )

River Rapids Socks (pair #7)

The "secret" knitting project. I knit a Prayer Shawl for my mom who is recovering from open heart surgery as well as dealing with the death of her husband. I can't be there right now, so I knit her a hug.


I couldn't put it off any longer. I have begun spinning! Like I have all this spare time, NOT!
This is the first of my spinning. A superwash merino wool.

Here it is plied, it's so nice and squishy, ready to be knit.

I just had to see how it would knit up, so I started knitting a 1x1 rib scarf (both sides look the same). Don't know if I'll keep going, or if I'll rip it out, find out how many yards I have, and look for something special to knit with this.
Yesterday I went and tried out a Babe Spinning Wheel. It is okay, just not the most attractive wheel. I've also thought of a HitchHiker, and just found Heavenly Handspinning wheels.
There is a fiber fair next weekend, so I'm hoping there will be used spinning wheels for sale or at least wheels I can try.
Too many decisions!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Baby, it's could outside

Okay, short and to the point -- it is warmer in Alaska!

That is so not right!!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Quick Update.

I have been phoning my mom several times a week; she sounds to be on the mend and is getting excellent care from her SIL (my "step-aunt").

Hubby took his new hand knit wool socks with him hunting; he tells me they are very warm (socks # 6).

It has been cold enough for me to wear the 100% merino wool socks I knit for myself -- they are warm and cozy and NOT scratchy at all!

The River Rapids Socks are almost finished -- I'm working on the last row before I bind off. These will be my 7th pair of socks since May, putting me ahead of schedule as these are will be my "November socks" with my goal of a year of socks (or one pair a month).

I've been knitting something for someone special -- this person does check in here once and a while, so I'll write more after he/she has received the item.

I had started my candy-cane socks a bit ago. The silk/wool blend is sooooo soft and smooth. No superwash, so I'll have to make sure they don't get into the laundry hamper and get felted in the washing machine. With my gift finished, I will be able to spend all my knitting time on these socks and will have them completed in plenty of time for wear during the month of December.

I will be flying home over the Holidays. I was able to get 7 additional days off. Not an easy feat for a teachers as, even though we do have more days 'off' than most other jobs, we don't get to choose those days. I was granted two days to take care of my mom, and 5 "funeral days".

The flight from here to Anchorage is over 6 hours, so I should be able to get some knitting done on the plane. I am thinking I'll knit some "Alaska socks" from yarn I will purchase while I am there. I am thinking I'll knit them with a snow-flake lace pattern (after I find that pattern!).

I'll post pictures of my River Rapids socks as soon as they are done, as well as Hubby's hunting socks and progress on my candy-cane socks. A picture and more details of my gift item will be posted after he/she has received it.

Knit on!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Difficult Weeks

The past several weeks, have been very difficult for my family.

In the early morning hours of November 5, 2008, my step-dad lost his battle with Pulmonary Fibrosis. His death happened only a few short hours after my mom had returned home from the hospital after having open heart surgery.

The ensuing days have been rather bumpy. The stress of trying to arrange a funeral so soon after a major surgery has proven to be just too much for my mother. She's doing well now, but all plans for a memorial have been put on hold until after she has had a chance to recover and heal.

Please keep my mom in your thoughts and prayers that she is able to have an easy and complete recovery, and is able to have comfort during her grieving process. Although I lost a man who's been more of a father to me than my own father, please also keep his children in your thoughts and prayers too as they deal with the death of their dad.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Guilt Free Knitting, or KIP while waiting

This morning, bright and early, I took my car in to have the snow tires put on. Hubby was stressing about how we'd get the car down there, and then pick it up. I told him no problem, I'd make it for early Saturday, sit in their waiting room and knit. So, that was what I was up to this morning. KIP in the waiting room of the tire store.

All that is left on Hubby's boot socks is the toe decrease. I want him to try them on one last time before I begin the decrease, so, until he comes home later today, they are as far as I can go on them. This is the same pattern I did the famous "Merlot socks" -- I chose to not do the contrasting yarn. I knit both of our pairs of socks out of 100% superwash merino wool which I dyed myself.

It took me only 30 or so minutes to get to where I wanted to stop on his socks, so I pulled out my River Rapids socks (which I almost didn't bring) and worked on them for the remainder of my time in the waiting room.

As I pulled out of the parking lot I realized how enjoyable that wait was. One hour of knitting, guilt free. I was able to sit and knit, without thinking "I really should be doing _______ . (Fill in the blank with any number of things I should be doing: laundry, scrubbing bathrooms, barn chores, vacuuming/mopping the floors, etc.)

And now, what am I doing? Typing on my blog when I should be working on my weekend chore list!

Guilt Free Knitting, or KIP

This morning, bright and early, I took my car in to have the snow tires put on. Hubby was stressing about how we'd get the car down there, and then pick it up. I told him no problem, I'd make it for early Saturday, sit in their waiting room and knit. So, that was what I was up to this morning. KIP in the waiting room of the tire store.

All that is left on Hubby's boot socks is the toe decrease. I want him to try them on one last time before I begin the decrease, so, until he comes home later today, they are as far as I can go on them. This is the same pattern I did the famous "Merlot socks" -- I chose to not do the contrasting yarn. I knit both of our pairs of socks out of 100% superwash merino wool which I dyed myself.

It took me only 30 or so minutes to get to where I wanted to stop on his socks, so I pulled out my River Rapids socks (which I almost didn't bring) and worked on them for the remainder of my time in the waiting room.

As I pulled out of the parking lot I realized how enjoyable that wait was. One hour of knitting, guilt free. I was able to sit and knit, without thinking "I really should be doing _______ . (Fill in the blank with any number of things I should be doing: laundry, scrubbing bathrooms, barn chores, vacuuming/mopping the floors, etc.)

And now, what am I doing? Typing on my blog when I should be working on my weekend chore list!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloween of Days Past

For some reason, this Halloween I'm thinking of Halloween when I was a girl "a hundred years ago" in Alaska.

We wore our costumes at our "Halloween Party" at school. We came home, ate dinner, and out we went gathering candy, in the cold and snow. One year I wore a long dress and went out with my brothers. They are 6 and 4 years older than I. We were out "forever" and they were supposed to be the responsible ones. Supposed to be! As my mom reads my blog, she will learn that they weren't so responsible!

The snow was up to my butt that year. We traipsed all over our neighborhood. Houses were pretty far apart way back when and we put on several miles. On our way back home, the boys had me sit in a ditch as they tossed snowball as passing cars (sorry, mom, I just sat in the ditch, THEY were the ones tossing the snow balls; okay, I made some of the snow balls for them). It must have been a rather fresh and wet snow fall as the snow balls were easy to make, my dress became wet from sitting in the damp snow. By the time we made it home, my dress was frozen solid.

I know we went out trick-or-treating every year, but that was the one year I remember. All that could be seen of my costume was the skirt of my dress over my snow pants and winter boots!

As I type this entry, Halloween is now only two short days away. There's no snow on the ground, the grass is green, and temps in the 40's are forecasted for this Friday.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


I know others in our country have already gotten snow. Growing up in Alaska, I don't recall any Halloweens without snow, and a lot of it!

I guess I've become a sissy, Halloween is 6 short days away, and I don't want snow just yet! I remember trick-or-treating with snow over our boots; could never figure out why we put on costumes only to cover them up with winter coats, hats, mittens and the like!
The weather forecast Saturday was that it would turn cold with a chance of snow by Sunday. So, Hubby and I spent Saturday trying to finish all the chores that need to be done before winter hits and the snow flies. Heated water buckets were brought out, summer lawn furniture was put away for the year, and the last of the summer manure was hauled away to help a friend's garden flourish next year.

Snow started to fall this evening. It was pretty cold and wet doing evening barn chores.
It was nice to sit down and knit this evening. I feel like I've been working on the for ever. Considering the fact I haven't had much time to knit in the evenings, they are progressing at a nice clip. This evening I began working on the heel flap.
I was able to knit some on the River Rapid socks, over the past few weeks and am working on decreasing the gusset.
Hubby's socks will be my sixth pair of socks in six months and will keep me on track. I might go back to the River Rapid socks before I start the Candy Cane lace socks.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Would Anyone Like a Puppy? Free!

For quite a while, Abby's been sleeping on our bed. She's been good, doesn't get up during the night and all's been well.

Until last night.

Not sure why, but she was up and running amok in our bedroom. Hubby shooed her back to bed at midnight, and around 1 am, she woke me. I reached over to grab my glasses on my bedside stand and they were gone.

WHAT!? GONE? Oh, no, don't tell me she chewed on them, PLEASE! These are the first glasses I ordered without asking about the price. I'm old enough to "need" bifocals, so I found the frames I wanted and ordered the various lens options right down to no-line-bifocals. I just about choked when I got the bill, but I liked them, and they'd last several years and I deserved them. After all, did I mention I'm now old enough to require bifocals?

Those were the glasses missing. My eye site is bad! I mean REALLY bad.
You know the E at the top of the chart? I can't see it.
Without my glasses or contact lenses, I am legally blind! My far sited vision is so bad that standing, I couldn't tell you if you're wearing flesh colored socks or are barefoot! I tell you, it is bad!
So, here I am, at 1 am, crawling (because if I was standing, I wouldn't be able to see them) around on the floor, searching for my glasses.

Yes, Little Miss Abby had chewed on them! Too deep to be buffed out. On a positive note, it was only one lens, so it should cost only 1/2 as much to have that lens replaced, right?!
If they've discontinued those frames I might be screwed! I will be ordering them askng for their price!
She went back into her crate for the night, which involved me moving the crate from another room into our room and tracking down a blanket for it. As well as tossing her in it, hearing her whine, and then hauling her to the crate upstairs, went back to bed, with a pillow over my head because she wasn't happy about being forced to sleep in her crate and wanted the world to know she wasn't happy about it!
I was so wide awake by the time I crawled back in bed for the 4th time before 2 am, that I was unable to fall back to sleep!
Does anyone want a puppy? She's cute, just loves to chew on things!
I'm off for another cup of coffee, and another, and another.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

This past week and weekend have been busy, just not a lot of knitting.
Over the weekend I drove out to Walker, Minnesota, to spend time with friend of mine. It was a "horse weekend" where we went shopping (I spent far too much money), had a late lunch, time got away from us so I spent the night. The following day we played with her horses before I headed home. I brought my knitting bag, but my projects only came out so I could show off what I was working on.

The drive there and back was beautiful. Most of the trees have lost their leaves, but the Tamaracks were bright yellow, and looked gorgeous against the other pine trees. With each drive to my friend's, the 2 + hours fly faster; 3 CD's and I'm there!
Last week we started putting Abby, the puppy, in a crate when we leave for work. She was having far too much fun in "her room" (my craft room), and seems much more at ease in her crate. She does not like going in it and we often have to play "catch me if you can" with her running all over the house with me in hot pursuit! Our older dog lays by the crate and I think it's easier on her instead of being locked in a room in the basement. MIL loves Abby and often comes over mid-day to let her out so she can go outside and go potty and run and play. Yesterday was the first day since we started crating Abby that MIL wasn't able to come over during the day to let her out. Abby put in just under 9 hours in her crate. She survived just fine, me, I had to rush home as soon as the students leave, so I guess it was harder on me than her!
This week was the return to not having to rake the toxic Red Maple leaves out of "the boys'" pen. It's been nice to come home and do other things besides 1 to 2 (or more) hours of raking! Monday Sox got groomed as well as his hooves trimmed; Wednesday was Willow's turn.
Last night ,while working with Willow I was reminded of why I like his so much. He is so laid back, and so patient. Because he didn't "argue" (pull his feet away from me) with me over trimming his feet, they were done lickity split!
Sox, on the other hand. OMG! He is three years old, going on four. Those are the years that horses start to make the change in their heads between child and adult. AKA -- it is their teen years! Now, mind you, Willow was not a dream either at that age, but he was in it and out of it rather quick, and has come out the other side a rather mellow old man (at the ripe old age of 4 going on 5).
Like human teens, where some go through their teens rather quickly and don't give their parents much problems; others have a hard time, fight tooth and nail, and seem to take their time. Willow was the one that gave me a couple issues, we had some rather, "No! I'm the leader of this herd and kicking humans is NEVER okay! You will respect me as the alpha horse!" discussions and he is great now. Sox? Well, not so much! He is just this little snot right now, everything we do is a discussion about who's the lead horse. He's really been causing poor Willow a time too. Sox will back up into Willow and start kicking! I teach at a school with students in treatment for emotional and/or behavioral issues. If Sox were a human teen, he'd probably attend my school!
I was reminded of this when I worked with Sox Monday and then with Willow last night! Night and day they are!
And knitting? I was actually able to spend some time after dinner last night knitting on hubby's wool hunting socks, otherwise, not much new knitting was done over the past weeks since my last post. Hopefully, with an extra couple hours back into my life, I'll be able to get those socks done before hubby goes off deer hunting.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I finished knitting the "Merlot socks" and am happy with how they turned out; I will not wait patiently (because I don't want to rush it) for the weather to cool off enough to be able to wear them! The flash does funny things with the color of the yarn as one time they look rather purple, another time, more red! With the price heating oil, I may be wearing them inside if my hubby has his way with the temperatures in our house!
I have started my husband's socks, so my rapid river socks are on hold for a time being. Deer hunting season is in November, so I really need to get cracking on hubby's socks. Though I'm sure it wouldn't bother him if I didn't get them done, the point is I want him to have them for deer season and the rest of the winter, so, knit on, I will.
My next socks will be cranberry red wool/silk blend candy cane socks (because I want to wear them in December). I dyed the yarn last weekend and it turned out the color I had been shotting for with hubby's socks. A nice deep cranberry red.

That means the River Rapid socks knit with Lorna's Laces will be on hold for a time being.
I'm already tired of autumn! Wish the trees would just drop their leaves and get over with it. I never felt that way until I had horses in the back yard. We have a few Red Maple trees near the horse pen and the leaves (wilted, not fresh from the tree) are toxic to horses in large quatities. Every day, I rake their enclosure! The amount of time I spend raking takes out of other pleasures; spending time with my family, working with the horses, and KNITTING! It makes from some pretty long days, home from work, rake while dinner is in the oven, eat dinner, clean up, back outside to rake, rake, rake!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Beauty of am Autumn Morning

After posting earlier this morning, I went to get a cup of coffee and saw this out my kitchen window. I love how the sun is coming over the house and the trees are lit up so pretty with autumn colors! I ran outside in my jammies (and let me tell you, it's COLD outside!) to snap some pictures.
The front of the house has frost on the grass, the the sun shining through the trees and couldn't resist taking this picture. There must be something on my camera lense because that spot appears in the same spot on all pictures!

I promised hubby I'd mow when the frost and dew are out of the grass. I think a ride on my horse may be in order this morning!

My week in Review

Work Resumes on my Winter Socks

Yesterday I received my replacement needle ends from KnitPicks so knitting can resume on my 100% wool worsted weight boot socks. They should be finished before the weekends over; last night I finished decrease on the gusset and am now doing straight knitting until it is time to decrease for the toe. The worsted weight yarn knits so FAST compared to fingering weight sock yarn!
Once they are off the needles, I'll begin work on my husband's socks with the same yarn, this time dyed the correct color!

Out of the Dye Pot

The above are the yarns from the dye pot last week. The Russet will become my husband's winter boot socks. The yarn didn't turn out quite what I wanted, but it will work. It's all a learning process. I wanted more variegation, more areas with dark and light colors, but I had some issues with getting the dye to set and the water to run clear.

The black skein will become socks for me. That yarn turned out just as I wanted it! It will become socks for me to wear with black slacks for work. I love how the nubs didn't dye up and have little pops of color. I've yet to decide what pattern I'll use, don't know if I'll just do a simple knit pattern, or find a lace pattern I'd like to try.

River Rapids Sock Progress

Here is the progress I made with my River Rapids Socks. They are turning out great and I can't wait to get them done! I was sure I'd be frogging as I seem to do with every new pattern. I guess I'm getting better at reading and understanding the directions in patterns better. I've been following the chart and maybe that is my salvation as the chart just makes far more sense to me than having to read each line!

They will need to be put on the back burner while I finished both my husbands and my heavy winter socks. There is talk of both hubby and son going hunting already next weekend, so I really need to get clicking!

Sneak Peaks
(qued projects)

I came across a pattern on Ravelry that I will try. It is called Cherie Amour, is a lace sweater knit from chunky yarn. I love it and will have to order yarn for it. The question for me is: do I buy the yarn pre-dyed, or dye it myself!? Anyone who knows me knows what I'll do....and it involves a my canning pot and an afternoon when hubby and son are hunting, I have the house to myself and it doesn't matter that it will end up smelling like wet wool and boiled vinegar!

I also have two skeins of yarn I fell in love with other the summer that will become socks (I have set a goal to knit one pair a month -- I am currently right on target). One of those skeins might become a lace shawl, but time will tell. I have two bare sock blanks that also need to be dyed (I have offered them to sock swap as KnitPicks has them on backorder, so I'll have to see if they remain in my possession or get passed on to someone in need).

Last Christmas I got the book Arctic Lace which is about the history of Alaskan Native women knitting with Qiviut (muskox wool). Having grown up in Alaska, I found the book very interesting and am looking forward to trying the patterns. I have some skeins of alpaca "mohair" that I am hoping to be able to use for one of those patterns. I think I'll wait until I get a little more savvy at following lace patterns.

AND, then there are my two WIP. The "Buttery Yellow short sleeved mock turtle neck" that I ran into all sorts of issues with -- I have to decide what I want to do, frog the whole thing, or see if I can fix the issue with the bad skein of yarn. Then there is the weekend sweater that is 90% done. I believe it needs sleeves, maybe an inch or two around the bottom of the body, but it's almost done.

We are going into winter, so, between those projects on the sticks, and ones qued up, I should have plenty to do when I'm home alone as a "hunting widow" or the snow starts to fly!

Knit on,

Monday, September 29, 2008

Knit Picks is the bomb!

I just received email from KnitPicks and they are sending me new needles, no questions asked!

I was going to drop by the LYS and pick up a replacement needle, but I think I will wait!

I dyed three skeins of yarn this weekend; maybe I'll see if they have a ball winder! Need to un-tangle them. While getting the dyeing supplies ready, "Abby the wonder puppy" managed to pull the bag of yarn off the dining room table. She proceded to "kill" the yarn for me and managed to mangle two of the skeins. This morning I was able to reskein the one I dyed (kettle dyed, wanted the difference in colors, so I just shoved it in the pot). The other poor skein of yarn will have to wait until I'm ready to dye it as I want to do something different with it.

Pictures to come of the dyed yarn and progress on my sock (it is turning out WONDERFUL!).

Happy Knitting,

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Combining Patterns

I have not yet heard from KnitPicks - I will phone them Tuesday if no email shows up over by the end of the day Monday in regards to the needle tip that broke Thursday.

I have begun the socks with Lorna's Laces Edgewater colorway yarn. I am going to attempt to combine patterns for the first time! I love the River Rapid Socks from SockBug, but I loving doing toe up socks (I can knit the socks as tall as I want them, either ending when the socks are tall enough, or when I'm running out of yarn). I am using the KnitPicks magic loop, toe up two at a time pattern, and attempting the lace pattern from the River Rapid Socks. I just started the lace pattern, so not much can be seen yet, but there is one of the socks. The flash makes the colors far brighter than they are.

I've spent the morning doing some of my bead work and have 6 or 7 items to list in my shop - I think the rest of my time in my shop will be catching up on work I brought home this weekend. It is overcast and raining so I'm not sure if we will be going up to the hunting shack working with Abby.

I learned one of our new teachers is a knitter and does "yarn road trips." Friday she brought in a bunch of her knitting for a little show and tell. She has grand-babies and I made me wish I had some too, but I'll be more than happy to wait for our son to finish high school and college!

Happy Knitting!

Friday, September 26, 2008


One of my new Harmony Wood needle tips broke last night! I had put my knitting down to do something, came back and one of them was broken. Our son wasn't home, so I couldn't blame it on him; it was on the coffee table, so no one had sat on it while I was out of the room; the dog was not running around with it in her mouth, so she hadn't broken it in half.

I've contacted KnitPicks with the hopes they will replace the tip, but in the mean time, my Merlot socks are in limbo!!! A couple more rows and I'll be done with the gullet decrease and another 6 or 7 inches before I'll decrease for the toe! I am on the home stretch!

My KnitPicks order of bare yarn arrived yesterday. So I should be busy dyeing this weekend, but now the rush to get the Merlot socks done and hubby's sock yarn dyed isn't such a big rush now!

Guess I'll get to work on the Edgewater colorway yarn and get those socks started!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Rainy Day Tuesday

Yesterday I had to go to the post office to mail an order from my store. The good news is that it is close to the LYS; the bad news is that it is close to the LYS!

It was a rainy day, the type that made me wish I was home, curled up on the couch, either knitting or reading instead of making a living at work. I am also fighting a cold or allergies and am wore out, often coming home and going to be early each night after work, the thoughts of being tucked in my bed floated through my head quite frequently yesterday too.

My KnitPicks order is due any day, so I really should have stayed out of the LYS - I don't need any yarn, but since when did that ever stop me!?

As my hand knit sock collection grows (and the temps drop), I find myself wearing my hand knit socks over my store bought ones more frequently. I have a pair of brown pants with no hand knit socks I can wear with them. I'd also like more handknit socks to wear with jeans, something that would match them more than what I have. I found skeins of Lorna's Laces in the colorway titled "Blue Jeans," then I found some beautiful kettle dyed brown yarn. I was looking at over $40 in yarn (for TWO pairs of socks!). As I sat in the sock yarn area I saw the most gorgeous skeins of Lorna's Laces in a colorway titled "Edgewater" in the most beautiful blues, greens, and browns. Now I was looking at spending over $60!

I came to my senses, after all, I DO have a large order coming from KnitPicks any day and I can dye those yarns any color I want (or at least attempt to dye them colors I want -- remember the "red" yarn I dyed for hubby ended up Merlot). I put the other two colorways back, and purchased only the Edgewater colorway. I had them rolled into balls. The only problem is that to knit them so that the socks will match in some way means I'll have to pull one from the center and knit the other from the outside of the other ball of yarn!

I now have even more desire to finish the Merlot socks. I am on the home stretch and am now knitting the foot part having turned the heel, picked up (and started decreasing) the gusset last night. After knitting with the fingering weight yarn, this worsted weight knits up very fast! I am thinking I might havel knit my husband's socks toe up so that I can more or less knit until I run out of yarn and make them nice and tall for him.

I now have 5 different colorways of sock yarn waiting to become socks, not counting the 5 skiens coming from KnitPicks that I get to dye before knitting into socks, or what have you. Oh, and I have two sock blanks I could dye.

I think I need to stay out of the LYS for a while as I might have enough sock yarn to last me a year if I stick to my "one pair of socks a month" goal!

Monday, September 22, 2008

What a great puppy!!!!

We were ditched by our son, so hubby and I went to the hunting shack alone, just he and I and Abby.

We didn't bring home dinner, but Abby did flush a bird three different times. The first one I was blessed with witnessing her almost touch the bird with her nose. She was going under a tree and as I watched her the ground explode as the bird flew up and away.

I think the best part of hunting is being in the woods. The colors of the trees are so beautiful this time of the year as they begin to burst into autumn colors!

I kept wondering how I could dye a sock blank or a skein of yarn to represent those exact colors! The blue of the sky so brilliant, the maples, an orange-yellow with bright reds looking almost like they were on fire.

It was a good day in the woods, despite no knitting!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Back Up and Running

As though of you who follow this blog know, we got a puppy this summer. Getting a puppy is like having a baby. Your life changes and ours sure has!

The first change with my Etsy Store was that I just didn't have time to play with my beads!

In preparation for when I returned to work as a school teacher earlier this month we had to find a place to put her during the day. A place that wouldn't matter if she had accidents in, and there wasn't much she could get into to ruin or hurt herself.

The room that I have my "workshop" in became the perfect place. This is also our "all purpose room," we have lots of shelves for storage, a laundry tub, a small work bench for my husband, my little craft corner, and, the important thing, no carpeting!

My beading supplies were packed up, with the idea of moving to a different location. I couldn't decide where I wanted to set up my workshop, my poor little Etsy shop remained on hold, along with all my beading supplies in a closet upstairs.

Everything is unpacked now, but not in a new location! After tossing a bunch of old crafting supplies I was able to make room so that I could store my beads, tools, and other supplies, out of Abby's reach. I set up my workshop in the same spot so that I could spend time with Abby in "her room " so that she didn't always associate isolation with this room.

I won't be able to leave all my beading tools and supplies out, so no beading during those few minutes here and there. I will probably be beading on weekends when we really don't lock her up as much and I can leave the 'stuff' out; she can lay at my feet while I bead. Or on those evenings when I have time to set up my table, and then put it all away again!

I just listed seven new items, stitch markers and a row counter, that I'd made prior to packing up that I never got around to photographing and packaging up. Just found two sets of Letter Stitch markers I'll have to try to list later this week.

I have bare yarn coming to dye as that is my goal - to add hand dyed yarns to my shop as a regular item to stock.

It's now time to pack up for the day and get going - a family trip to our hunting shack is on the agenda (still waiting to find out if our son will be available, or if he "forgot" and made plans with friends instead of hanging out with his old parents!). We bought me a hunting license this year; just "in case" I want to hunt with my hubby like we did way back in the day, BC (before children). Don't tell hubby, but I'd rather be riding my horse, but, you know, bonding time and all that! Besides, a walk in the woods is good exercise!

Now if I could only figure out how to walk in the woods AND knit without tripping or running into tree branches!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Merlot yarn for socks #5

Here are the socks made from the yarn I dyed. They were supposed to be red but ended up with too much blue. I love them, a truly happy mistake; but my husband will have to wait for his socks now!!

Hello Wasilla, and other knitting news

I often wondered if anyone ever checked in. Does anyone read my blogs?

Unless people left comments, I had no clue. Then one day, a friend told me about a site that will monitor hits on your blog.

Yes, I do have quite a lot of people checking in, only a few leave comments.

My greatest surprise was to have someone from my home state of Alaska check in. Thought it was my mom, but someone in Wasilla, Alaska, has been reading my blog! So, here I go, waving to you! HELLO, Wasilla! Hello to everyone else who stops by!

Back to Knitting

Since May of this year, I have completed 4 pairs of socks; pictured above, in order from L (first pair of socks) to R (most recent).

This week I learned the dreadful, yet wonderful, Kitchener Stitch (or 'grafting') on those lovely green "Girl's Best Friend" anklets. My first attempt created the oddest finish on the toe of that sock. After ripping it out, and re-knitting the rows that I dismantled in the process, I tried again. Nope, no go! I shoved it in my project bag and brought it to work with me with the plan to stop by the LYS on my way home.

At lunch, I figured I try just one more time. I did a search for videos demonstrating the stitch (just as I did at home). I wish I'd bookmarked the site I found as she made it so easy! EASY PEASY! WOW! Maybe it was because I had attempted, failed, and then gave myself think time. What ever it was, I'm did it!

I have my 5th pair on the needles. They were supposed to be a 100% wool, worsted weight socks for my husband. I hand dyed them myself, was told to add "a touch" of blue to tone down the fire-engine red. I must have added to many "touches" as I ended up with the most beautiful Merlot color! The flash gave them a very purple color so I'll have to wait until I can take them in natural light and post them at that time.

I now have to order more yarn -- but, do I just buy red, or attempt to dye again. The savings is not that much, so, maybe I'll just order him the red yarn and be done with it! Maybe I'll order more bare yarn just to play with!

In the mean time, I have an extra 220 yard skein of Merlot as my tiny feet only require 220 yards, not 330 his do. Anyone looking for Merlot Worsted weight 100% wool superwash yarn!? I have a lonely skein looking for a home...or maybe I'll knit two pairs for myself!

I did set a goal to knit one pair of socks each month from May on, so I am on target at this point in time. I'll finish my socks, and my husband's socks, that will take me to October. I have one on the sticks (one single sock), but several skeins waiting their turn to become socks!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

ah, autumn!

We have gone from warm, almost hot, summer, to a cool autumn. It's too early, BUT, that means I might get to wear my collection of new wool socks I knit soon!

School has started, which means I returned to my job as our school's Title One teacher.

Abby continues to take up an enormous amount of time, we have a neighbor girl coming 2 or 3 times a week after school to let Abby out and play with her. This should allow me time to drop by the stable on the way home from work so I can ride.

The location of my "craft room" is still up in the air. We pulled most of my craft items out of the corner of our storeroom/shop as this has become Abby's room when we are both at work. This weekend I sat in the room with her so that Monday the room wouldn't be a total shock to her system in addition to being locked up for 8+ hours. I couldn't handle the thought of that, so I came home at lunch time (my prep and lunch run back to back). Although she did potty in the room, she didn't destroy anything or try to dig herself out of the room through the door!

Once the location of my craft room/workshop is decided, I can set it up and then get back into making items for my etsy shop.

I am going to knit worsted weight wool socks for my husband; decided I'd dye them myself. He wanted red, but not fire-engine red. So, I added just a touch of blue. Not a good idea. The yarn turned out a beautiful shade of merlot, which will be great for MY socks, but not so much for him! So, to dye or just buy, that is the question for the red. I do love playing with the dyes and blank yarn, could list the extra 220 yards of yarn in my shop, but I'll just have to think about it!

It is time for me to get ready for work, take Abby outside for one last run before being locked away for the day (hmmm, wonder if I'll manage to stay at work all day or run home at lunch -- which is a 45 minute round trip errand!).

Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's in her breeding!

Abby, our little Springer/Britney cross puppy, has discovered how to use her nose this past week.

It's amazing seeing the qualities of her breeds coming through, watching her do things no one has taught her! Watching her figure it all out, and learn how to do it better all on her own!

She flushed and pointed a bird this weekend on a walk in the woods. When the bird took off, Abby froze in the point position! It was amazing to watch her!

Another time, when playing fetch, her stick landed in the tall brush and she couldn't see it. She ran back and forth over the area where she'd heard it land, and then started to circle the area, zeroing in on it in the brush!

Last night, on a walk in the woods, I noticed a rabbit far ahead on the trail. When we got to the spot where the rabbit had been, Abby stopped dead in her tracks and began sniffing the ground. It was apparent she wasn't sure what the scent was, as her hair raised up giving her a razor back look. She was curious, but cautious!

She is a very good little girl.

Now if we could be as successful with potty training! It was easier "house breaking" my miniature horses than her!!! She knows she's supposed to potty outside, but hasn't figured out that she NOT supposed to do it inside! Oh well, at least she is no longer peeing on my carpets, but has decided the linoleum is safe!

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Better Mouse Trap (Row Counter)

I often do searches online for row counters, seeing what's out there, what seems to sell, and seeing if I can I do anything to my row counters to make them better.

I came across the one pictured here. It looked to be great!

My own row counters, especially for larger needles, can be, well, in a word LONG! I've recently started adding a lobster claw on the end so the row counter can be made into a circle and shortened by half.

This abacus row counter could be it! With my own beading supplies I made my own to try out. After completing my Ravelympics socks were done, I was able to return to my work with my Girl's Bestfriend Anklets.
After completing the cuff, the pattern was to knit 50 rows. Perfect pattern to try out the abacus.
After each row, instead of slipping my needle into my the next number, I had to stop knitting to slide the ring over the next number.
When I hit row 11 I had to move the ring over all the numbers back to 1, I began to see the flaw with this row counter.
I decided I'd continue to use this row counter for all 50 rows; stopping every row to move the ring over the number, and stopping every 10 rows to slide it all the way back up to 1 to start the next ten. I have 9 more rows and then this row counter will not be used again! If the pattern calls for any more counting, I'll be using one of my Row Counter Chains!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My Much Needed Break

Between moving my horse to a new boarding facility, getting a new puppy, the death of my friend and doctor, and helping my MIL learn how to use her new laptop as well as making her home "wire free", there just really was not time in my life for my etsy store, Fiber Jewels & More. At first I felt guilty; I'd spent so much time, energy, and money getting it up and running, providing a good product and the best customer service I could, but my heart wasn't in it.

I'd thought of closing up shop, but at the advice of a good friend, I simply took a break from my store. I'm glad I listened to her advice!

Yesterday, while our puppy played in the back yard, I hauled my beading supplies out of my workshop and to our porch. It was enjoyable to be beading in the heat of a warm summer day, listening to the birds chirp, watching our puppy play, and my miniature horses sunning themselves.

I was able to create several row counters, one of which will be a door prize in Secret of the Stole - III. One of the items I made for the shop was row counter (pictured left) with the cranberry wonder beads, I always love the row counters made with these beads! I was going to wait to list all the items but figured there was no time like the present!
I also listed some seed beads in little storage jars. I just LOVE the jars, the beads were ordered in the wrong size, so I listed them in the store also.
MIL comes over today for more computer lessons; I'm hoping I'll get some knitting & beading completed. I need to finish the ribbing on my Ravelympic socks and I can be done with those. My Girlfriend's Best Anklets need to be completed also. Would be nice to have those done before school starts!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What a kid!

Yesterday DS decided he'd tag along with me while I ran some errands, one of which was to my LYS to drop off an order from my shop as well as purchase new circs to replace the set Abby tried to eat.

When DS learned how much my new circs cost (because puppy grabbed them yet AGAIN and I lost it screaming at her I just spent $15 on those needles!), he decided he'd fix my old ones. I tried to explain his ideas wouldn't work, but you can't tell a 17 year old anything! He assured me he'd fix them and they'd be ready for me in the morning.

They were waiting for me this morning. I don't think they'll work, but heck, how many 17 year old boys care enough to try to fix his mom's needles? Even after being dragged to a shop he said was "for old ladies"

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My week in review

I've continued to take some time off from my shop and am hoping that as Abby the puppy settles into a routine, I'll be able to settle into my own routine that will allow me to spend more time making items for my etsy store.

I've continued to knit on my Ravelympics socks for th SockPut. I'm about 90% done an then, Abby struck! Last night, she was asleep on the floor, I left the room to get a drink and upon my return, she was running merrily around the room, with my knitting in her mouth, the sock blank being unraveled! UGH!

Although the knitting and yarn were no worse for the wear, the cable has too many teeth marks to allow me to knit! $&$@% dog!

I have an order to drop off at the LYS, I guess I'll have to see if I can pick up replacement circular needles!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Death Sucks!

Earlier this week I received the sad news that my physician passed away Friday, August 8.

One would not think the death of a person whom you see once or twice a year could hurt so much.

Doctor appointments with her were like catching up with a dear friend over coffee (though no coffee was served and I might have only had on a hospital gown), it still was more like catching up than an appointment with my doctor.

Her death has really pulled the rug out from under me. Her online obit's guest book, has 14 pages and counting of people who have written in sharing memories of her. Like rubber necking at an auto accident, I keep finding myself back at her obit page.

I keep hoping I'll wake up and it just be a horrible nightmare. There are so many things I had thought of doing while she was alive and never did. A fellow knitter, I often thought of making stitch markers for her and mailing them in with a note about how much I appreciated her as my doctor.

My last appointment with her was my annual exam, 2 months after my riding accident and consequent surgery to fix my separated shoulder. I was her first appointment of the day and was in the waiting room when she entered. I was wearing one of the scarfs I knit; she asked me if I knit it and when I said yes, showed me hers and said that she knit too. I didn't say much and now I wish I had. I was still unable to do much knitting and wasn't the most pleasant when that subject was brought up.

And now she's gone.

And once again, as I've done off and on, I sit here, thinking about my friend and doctor, and tears roll down my face.

When one has to find a new doctor because of retirement or move, it has a totally different feeling than having to replace one due to death. I was lucky to have her as a doctor & friend over the past 12 or 13 years. She will be missed by many.
I guess it is true, each day is a gift that we are given. 24 hours to spend as we choose. She wouldn't want any of us to wallow in the pain that I have.
Death sucks!

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Was able to make some progress on the socks today; don't know what the rest of the day will bring, nor tomorrow.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Sock Swap & Olympic Knitting

I joined my first swap on the knitting/crocheting community of Ravelry.

I haven't always had good luck with swaps, but when I saw this one I thought it would be fun. We were to purchase a sock blank from KnitPicks, hand dye it, and send it along with some goodies to our swap partners. Someone else would send us our blank with goodies.

While awaiting the arrival of sock blanks, it was decided we'd do a KAL (knit along), and then a team was formed for the Raverly Olympics. I figured it would be fun, so I joined the KAL and an team for the "Sock Put."
I'm not sure what was harder, waiting for my package to arrive, or waiting until this morning to start!!!!

Earlier this week I received my swap package. Along with the beautiful sock blank of deep jewel tones, I received a small note book, with a matching pen and pencil case. I plan on recording my successes and unplanned results in the note book, and I just can't seem to have enough little cases for all my knitting gadgets.
This morning was the start of the Olympics so I finally got to play with my sock blank! My socks are turning out quite nice! I figured out "Judy's magic cast on" and have no seam at the toe!!!!

I'm just LOVING how they are turning out so far. They are creating a case of JOMR in me again!
I need to work on them and get the pair completed before the torch goes out for the Olympics. Ironic, the heat of the summer prevents me from wearing any of the socks I've been knitting this summer.
If I'm able to complete all the socks on the sticks I have at this time, I will have 5 beautiful pairs of hand knit socks!
I had hoped to complete the little "Girl's Best Friend Anklets" but the lace pattern did me in on
the first sock! I was able to complete both cuffs that will be turned over when worn. Once the cuff is completed, the sock is knit "inside out." These little puppies will sit on the sticks for a time until I get my pair of sock blank socks until they are completed. I have about 20 rows to complete before dividing for the heel.
In knitting these socks, I'm seeing possibilities of doing the toe up, and adding the cuff after completing the heel and the gusset.
Currently, I have three pairs of socks on the sticks, I need to get busy!
Knit on!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

By George, I think I've got it!

When learning how to knit winter of 2006, I read that both "poor knitters" and "good knitters" made mistakes. What sets them apart is that a "good knitter" knows how to fix their mistakes.

As I work on the second cuff of the Girl's Best Friend Anklets, that thought keeps jumping through my mind. I lost count of how many times I frogged the first cuff. The 7th row of the lace pattern just did me in.

I just completed the 8th row of the lace pattern on my second sock. I have made mistakes, yet, now that I've knitted the lace pattern and see how all those yo, ssk, k3,yo, TL, etc. all work together to create the lace pattern, when I realize I dropped a stitch or forgot a yo, I am able to pick it up, without messing up the lace pattern!

The cuff on this second sock will look very nice. I am tempted to rip out the first cuff, but heck, if someone is looking that close at my socks, I can kick them, right!?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Little Miss Abby

The puppy has a name now (Abby) and her training is coming along nicely! She continues to be a very good girl, even though she's beginning to show a little independent streak!

She slept in her crate all night, with me on my bed (not on the floor) so I'm feeling pretty good today.

Shortly after breakfast we go outside and "walk" the trails of our property. I walk, she runs and romps and bounces off trees and other obstacles. Our walks really burn her excess energy off, and gives me several HOURS to ... knit, read, surf the net. I stay close to the room she is in so I can keep one eye on her, as she will get up, check where I am and drift back off to sleep.

I've managed to get the cuff done on my "Girl's Best Friend Anklets." The sock pattern that caused me a lot of frogging. I will get the other cuff done and then will finish the pair knitting two at a time.

She has forced me to clean up my knitting corner. It sure was nice to find things I thought I'd lost!!!

Nap time is almost over, there are some things I'd like to get done before she awakes (like take a shower), until next time!

Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I'm a new mom!!!!!

Two years ago, my husband's dog passed away from old age. I've tried unsuccessful for him to commit to a new dog, but it just hurt too much when we had to put Reba down.

We met this little girl on the 5th of July; her parents belong to neighbors of BIL. She started to melt DS's, and by Sunday we got her!
I'm off for the next 5 weeks, so we are doing a lot of intense puppy training!
She is the BEST little puppy I've ever had the chance to know!
This week is crate training without her hating the crate. After a pretty rough first night of me sleeping on the floor outside her crate door, she's beginning to realize it is not all bad! I had a little better sleep last night; am hopeful I'll get even more sleep tonight.
Only two accidents in the house (it helps when we're outside all the time!).
DH hates it when I sit home all day and "do nothing" (knitting, reading, not working my tail off doing house chores), so now I have an excuse. "Couldn't do anything, had to watch the puppy!"
Well, she's awake after her morning nap, so we need to go outside for a potty break, and a romp in the grass, and who knows what else our day entails! I might have to take a nap with her after lunch!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Double Points or Circular?

Here are my first pair of socks that I knit using the Magic Loop (ML) method from a sock blank I dyed myself.
I'm not too sold on ML method, although it was nice to bind off and be done with both socks, at times, it felt like it was taking "forever" so when I was tired of them, I knit the cuff and bound off!
Those socks that caused me to knit late into the night with JOMR last weekend? Well, as you can see in the photo, I haven't gotten too far!
I'm SO glad I decided I'd knit one sock at a time as I knew I'd have to frog while I figured the pattern out. I've been this far before, and then frogged the entire thing when I noticed, way back when, I'd made an error in the lace pattern. I could have just added a stitch, but nope, I had to rip it all out and start over!
I'm tired of fighting the tangled mess the yarn and loops of the cable can become, so a trip to my LYS may be in order to get dpns for this project.
I was thinking I'd be done before I got my sock blank from my swap partner. At the rate I'm going, I'll be lucky to have them done before the snow melts next spring! We will Knit Along (KAL) with our sock blanks using the same pattern as the pink socks above I will need the circular needles this sock is on; I could use another circular set I have, but a trip to my LYS? hmmmm
I wanted to "just knit" last night, no counting stitches, YO's, ssk, TL1, etc., so I pulled out another project on the sticks. LOVE this yarn (Wisdom Yarns - San Diego), love the patterning, not too wild about the colors, BUT, another pair that I won't have to worry about DS taking and stretching to his size 11 feet!
No fighting with a tangle of yarn and cable from the circular needles, just simple knitting from needle to needle!
Oh, the joy of a simple knit stitch!!!
I got my package off for my swap partner and now awaiting my knit blank. As I said above, we will KAL a pair of socks with the two at at time toe up socks pattern, so I have to get the green socks off those needles. Yes, a trip to my LYS will be in order this week for some dpns.

I am coveting the purple sock blank I dyed and have listed in my store. If it doesn't sell soon, it just may find itself on my needles for my 6th pair of socks!