Monday, July 31, 2006

Austin Stash Enhancement

But before I talk about all the yarn I got at Hill Country Weavers on Saturday, let me show some surprises.....

good stuffI won a contest on Kim's blog. There was only supposed to be one winner, but her baby kept pulling out names, including mine, so I got a prize, too. When we met up at the Starbuck's on the way to Austin, she gave me my prize. Look! There's a Starbuck's card, some pretty little notecards, and some very pretty stitch markers (made by Kim) sitting on top of the notecards. And they were delivered in the cute box on the right. Thank you, Kim, and thank you, Kim's baby!

And finally -- see that J scrabble tile stitch marker Caro gave me before Stephanie spoke. I love it -- thanks again, Caro!

I haven't taken pictures of the new yarn yet. We actually shopped twice -- once before lunch and once after. Here's what I remember buying -- and, of course, I was in post-Harlot euphoria, so it's possible I bought more than I remember. And did I mention that HCW was handing out free Coronas and Shiner Bocks to cool us off? Carrying a beer made it a little more difficult to fondle the yarn, but a little easier to spend more money!

So here's what I remember buying: Cascade 220 in two shades of red, two shades of green, and brown for the Flying Geese blanket (it's going to be a gift); two skeins of JaggerSpun Zephyr lace-weight in Ice Blue; a skein of Kidsilk Haze in Blushes and a skein of a Rowan Wool Cotton in a similar color (Rich, I believe), both destined for a pair of Mrs. Beetons; and two skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd's Sock in Black Purl, just because.

And finally, I need to thank the girls at our Sunday Stitch'n'Bitch, who made it a very nice birthday. There were amazing brownies, a musical card, a CD of knitting music, and a beautiful shawl pin. Thank you all, and pictures next time......

Saturday, July 29, 2006

A Harlot in Church

Stephanie speakingSo how many Texas bloggers are going to use that title for their posts about Stephanie's visit to Austin? But how funny is it that the Yarn Harlot spoke to us from (next to) the pulpit at the Congress Avenue Baptist Church, conveniently located across the parking lot from Hill Country Weavers? Stephanie didn't point out the fact that the sanctuary was decorated in a "Great White North" theme for Vacation Bible School, although it seemed very appropriate for a Canadian visiting 100-degree Texas!

Kim, Susan, Mary, Enid, the other Kim, Amy, blogless(!) Claudine, and I carpooled the 75 miles or so from San Antonio. Oh, and Susan brought Ken, who had some trouble keeping his knitted shorts on while he perched on Mary's shoulder. Then again, at least he had pants on today!
Mary and Ken

Stephanie and socksStephanie spoke for over an hour, then took questions. If you ever get a chance to see her, go, go, go!!! She sounds just like her books and blog, but better. She points out that she's really just a regular person, and that seems so true -- I could imagine her at our Sunday afternoon SnBs. And after she spoke, she signed lots and lots of books, and posed for lots and lots of pictures. Here she is with her sock (the blue one) and mine (the orange one). I think our socks really hit it off!

After lunch, we joined the group that Christine had gotten together for lunch at Guero's . It was so great to get to meet Christine and other Texas bloggers like Caro (who brought me one of her Scrabble-tile stitch markers -- thanks!!!), Julia, and Kristen. Oh, and both before and after lunch, there was--surprise!--stash enhancement. I'll post pictures of that tomorrow.
Lunch at Guero's

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A Warshrag and a Meme

Warshrag in waiting
Warshrag in use

In my excitement over Simon's bib, I forgot to post a picture of my second finished MDK warshrag. I love the red/orange/hot pink combination!

And, just so you'll know that I don't have "precious handknits syndrome," here's my first warshrag in its natural habitat, draped over the faucet in the kitchen sink.

And Julia tagged me for this meme:

5 Things always in my purse:
  • sunglasses (this is South Texas, after all)
  • wallet
  • cell phone
  • Origin's "Jam Session" lipstick
  • my thumb/pen/flash drive
5 Things always in my wallet:
  • Driver's license
  • ATM card
  • American Express card (in case there's nothing to get out of the ATM!)
  • old receipts
  • San Antonio Public Library card
5 Things always in my refrigerator:
  • Tropicana Homestyle oj
  • Diet Coke
  • an open bottle of white wine
  • a bag of spinach
  • apricot preserves
5 Things always in my closet:
  • dozens of pairs of shoes
  • towels (I don't have a linen closet)
  • extra Q-tips (see above)
  • some clothes that don't fit
  • if the door's been open more than 30 seconds, at least one cat
5 Things always in my car:
  • insurance card
  • my gym bag
  • pen
  • phone charger
  • thingy that makes my iPod play through the radio
5 Things always on my desk:
(I don't really have a desk at home, so this would be at work)
  • this morning's coffee
  • sticky notes with phone numbers on them
  • several automatic pencils
  • a stack of professional reading
  • my computer

5 People to tag: (all San Antonio knit bloggers)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Simon and His Bib

As dignified as possible
Pretend like it's not there
I'll just leave now
Bib?  What bib?

Here's a little photo essay. (Sorry -- too lazy to figure out how to make the pictures line up better. That would require remembering more ancient html skillz.)

At first, Simon thought he would just ignore the fact he was wearing a pink and lavender bib. "Let me walk around," he says. "Let me sniff the carpet...... Maybe I can slip out of it one paw at a time." Which is exactly what he did!

He was actually not as crazed as I thought he might be, although he never let me get a good head-on photo. And Harley watched the whole thing from across the dining room, absolutely aghast.

Maybe I should have shown them the pictures of Chaos modeling first! (Not sure it would have helped!)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Saturday Sky

Saturday 7/22

I totally forgot about Saturday Sky until I heard thunder. And about fifteen seconds after I took this picture from my front porch, it started to pour. For the last week or so, San Antonio has been inundated by little butterflies and in those fifteen seconds, my yard was full of them. They knew the rain was coming and were headed towards wherever it is that butterflies go to stay dry. I wish I could have gotten that picture!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Actual Knitting Content

(Sorry -- edited to fix the url to Chris's blog!)

I shouldn't be blogging - I have work to do. But I thought you might want to see some actual knitting.

I have four items on the needles. Well, on the ACTIVE needles. Here we have a two patterns from Mason Dixon Knits (because you haven't seen these before!). On the left there's another warshrag and on the right a pretty pink and lavender bib.

Dishcloth and bib
I have no use for a bib. I just have this desire to see Simon wearing one, like Chaos does!

I also have two shawls on the needles -- the giant novelty-yarn garter stitch one, which is so boring that I can only work on it at SnB, and Seraphim, which I'm afraid has been a little neglected since I started the second chart. I may be procrastinating because I need to put in a lifeline soon.

And finally -- Harley doesn't like to have her picture made, but a couple nights ago she let me take her picture.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Happy (early) Birthday to Me!

As unbelievable as it sounds (especially to me!), I turn 50 in 2 weeks. The good news is that the Yarn Harlot is coming to Hill Country Weavers in Austin on the 29th just to help me celebrate (well, that's what I keep saying!).

This afternoon, while my friends were stichin'n'bitchin' at the Candlelight Coffeehouse, I got my birthday present to myself -- a tattoo! This is something I've been thinking about doing for years, but I never knew what I wanted. I considered a knitting-related tattoo like Julia's, but decided I wanted something more traditional. I looked at a lot of tattoo websites, and realized I liked the Celtic designs. Then, a couple months ago, I saw exactly what I wanted. It was the pattern on my watchband!

So I dragged my sister (who has two tattoos of her own) to Dandyland and got this on my upper back -- where it won't be seen most of the time, unless I want it to be.

tattooIt's still a little pink around the edges, and is shiny from the InkFixx, but I'm really, really happy with it. If you're in San Antonio, and get an urge for a tattoo, I would really recommend Dandyland and, especially, Laraine. She's got a BA in Art for Baylor (a Baptist university - I don't think tattoo artist is a common occupation for their grads!) and it really shows. She took my watchband, drew the rough design, talked to me about colors and shading, then came up the final art. That part took probably 45 minutes, with another 30-40 minutes for the actual tattoo.

As for pain -- it didn't really hurt. Mostly, it was annoying, and there were a few times, when she was filling in the red parts, where I wished she would just get it over with, but it wasn't really bad at all. It was kind of a scraping feeling, with vibration, and the needle sounds a lot like a dentist's drill. And there was one point at the top of the left side where, every time she hit it, I got goosebumps all over my left arm and leg!

Oh, I have been knitting, too! I'll show you some pictures in a day or two!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Saturday Night Sky

Night sky with bugs
I forgot about Saturday Sky until about 9:30. There were still some streaks of almost-light, and I might have been able to catch them, if the motion-detector light behind me hadn't come on just as a took it.

But I thought this was an interesting shot, anyway. See those spots? Earlier, I had noticed a little swarm of little-bitty bugs right about where I stood on the patio. Although I didn't notice them, I think the bugs were still there.

(And pretend that you don't see those tall weeds against my fence!)

Friday, July 14, 2006

More Yarn

But first -- a gratuitous cat photo:

Simon is peeved. He and Harley were having a nice cuddle, cleaning each others' ears, when I interrupted them. I just wanted a picture. Harley was sure I was approaching to beat her (because you know I do that all the time!).

bamboo fixationHere's the contents of the two boxes that arrived a couple days ago. One box from kpixie contained 4 skeins of black Southwest Trading Co. Bamboo. A fifth skein of the same dye lot is on its way, but the girls at kpixie apparently thought I should get started on Sizzle! The other box was from Simply Socks and had 6 balls of Cascade Fixation -- hot pink, light pink, and white. A couple weeks ago, I decided that I absolutely knit some footies or socks out of Fixation. Because I know the stretchiness of Fixation plays havoc with gauge, I also ordered two sock patterns written especially for Fixation. I'm not positive I'll actual use the patterns, but they'll help me figure out how many stitches to cast on, what size of needle to use, etc.

In actual knitting news, I just finished Chart #1 of Seraphim. The pattern gets interesting about 10 rows into Chart #2, so I plan on running a lifeline at about row 9!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Random Thursday

No photos in this post, because I'm supposed to be working - I have two big projects at work that are taking a lot of my supposed "free time." So, without photos, I figure this isn't really a post and therefore is not cutting into the work time!

I did finish my first warshrag last night. I meant to take a picture of it in its finished state, but I forgot. And now it's already draped over the faucet in the kitchen!

Tomorrow I'll post a picture of the contents of two boxes that arrived yesterday - both stash enhacements! And I had totally forgotten I had ordered one of them (which no doubt means I have too much yarn).

I feel like I've reached an important milestone as a blogger - I got my first comment spam today. It was on the post from June 12, which was about the lipstick-colored yarn. And the spam was about some website on the hazards (I think) of make-up. It said something along the lines of "women swallow 9 lbs of lipstick during their lifetime." Whatever..... I felt very powerful deleting it!

Monday, July 10, 2006

SP stash!

My secret pal knew I wanted Sugar'n'Cream/Peaches'n'Cream, and she really came through!

SP stash

Look at that 1 pound cone of pink Peaches'n'Cream! The only colors I've seen here in the pounder size are white and ecru. And the other colors are all perfect, too -- red, bright pink, orange, and bright pink/orange varigated.

MDK warshragIt's funny that this got here tonight. Over the weekend, I had this unquenchable desire to knit a 'warshrag.' I looked at my tiny stash of Sugar'n'Cream (bought at WalMart -- all varigated and neutrals) and was very unhappy. I went by Hobby Lobby and picked up a few colors from their rather pathetic selection and started this -- the blue is actually more of a blue green and the red is kind of 'off-red' -- close to real red, but just not quite. I'm really happy with its retro look but as I was working on it, I wished I had a bright pink or orange to do the last few rows in -- and now I do!!!!

Thanks, SP!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Saturday Sky

Saturday SkyThis Saturday's sky is not all that different from last Saturdays. It's very warm and overcast. This was taken at about 12:30 p.m. from my back patio, looking pretty much straight up (which I can do, since I don't currently have any sort of cover on my patio!). It's about 90 degrees out right now, according to Weather Underground. The high is supposed to be 91, but I'm guessing it will get hotter than that. The average for today is 94.

Although I've lived in San Antonio for almost my whole adult life, two things that still seem odd to me about the weather is that the high for the day usually comes around 5:00 or 6:00 p.m., not early afternoon they way I expect it to. It's not unusual for it to hit 100 during evening rush hour. It also doesn't really cool off at night. The average low temperature for this date is 74, and the record low (set in 1886!) is 66. I miss those cool midwest summer evenings, where it wasn't unusual for it to get down to the low 60s. That 10 degrees between 65 and 75 is a significant difference!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Is this really knitting?

ribbon shawl
This is the beginning of the novelty yarn shawl on size 19 needles. I'm sure once it's done and fringed it will be lovely, but I sure hate knitting with this giant needles. It doesn't even feel like knitting!!

I'm almost done with the first chart on Seraphim. Still no pictures. I don't know which knitblogger first used the term "boiled ass" to describe lace-in-progress, but that's my excuse, even though at this point it's mostly stockinette.

I've also cast on for yet another sock from the Lorna's Laces Lucky Stripes. Aren't y'all tired of my angst over finding just the right pattern? This latest one is sort of one of my own concoction, with much help from Sensational Knitted Socks. The leg is being done in the Welt Fantastic pattern -- very chevron-y -- modified to be a 13 stitch repeat rather than 11. I plan on doing a short row heel and toe, rather than the "forethought heel" the book suggests with this pattern.

In the Queue
Have you seen Wendy's latest pattern, Sizzle? I love it and have already bought it. I've even ordered black South West Trading Company Bamboo to knit it with. (Note that kpixie is now out of black Bamboo!!! Bamboo's not one of the yarns that Wendy is suggesting, but the gauge is right, and I think it will be nice for the climate here.)

And those of you who know me IRL know about my quest for the perfect fingerless glove pattern. I think I've found it in the latest Knitty: Fetching. I'll need to make them longer, though, since my foreamrs get cold in my office, too. And I'm hoping to find the perfect yarn for them in my stash. (Well, I can always hope.....)

Monday, July 03, 2006

Another Shawl

I'm exactly halfway through first chart of Seraphim -- still mostly stockinette, with the occasional k2tog/yo (or yo/ssk) thrown in. Chart 2 is where the real lace begins! Just in time, Mim has issued a new set of charts, with alternate chart rows shaded and numbered. Hurray -- and thanks, Mim!

In sock news..... well, the Lucky Stripes sock is in time-out. I think I love this yarn so much that no pattern seems to be perfect!

big needles To distract me from sock failure, I went out today and bought the giganto-humungoid needles (sizes 19 and 35) needed for the Feza Tango*-garter stitch shawl my friend admired in Phoenix. I think it might be easier to knit with 2x4s and barbed wire (a.k.a., 'bob wahr' where I come from), but I keep telling myself it will go fast once I get used to it!!!

My other adventure for today was making a batch of Strawberry Freezer Jam. I do this maybe every 5 years, and I really should do it more often -- it's so yummy and so easy! Hints:
(1) just use the recipe that comes inside the Surejell package (powder, not liquid). It's here, too.
(2) a pound of strawberries comes to exactly 2 cups of crushed berries, if you don't have to throw too many out. (Most recipes give you amounts needed in quarts, but my grocery store seems to now sell strawberries packaged by the pound.)
(3) use a potato masher or a big fork to crush the berries -- your Cuisinart will do too good of a job.

And finally, stop by MyLittleLambz and say hi to a brand-new knitblogger!

* Feza's a Turkish company -- you can explore their website in Turkish, Russian, or U.S. English!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Saturday Sky

Saturday Sky 7/1/06
From my front door, looking south, about 3:00 p.m. CDT

I joined Sandy's Saturday Sky ring. Our sky was actually more interesting this morning, when it was gray and windy and kind of threatening-looking, which preceded a very wimpy rain shower. Oh, well....

I have gotten past the stockinette section of Seraphim and am 5 rows into the first chart. So far, so good, although at this point all I've had to do was make a few k2tog/yo combinations. Seraphim eases you into the lace!