Monday, May 28, 2007

Two More Packages

Friday I received another envelope from my awesome Secret Pal, and again today I received another envelope from her. Here is what I got:Friday's envelope contained the pattern book to make a Scarecrow Family! How cute! There are patterns to make several stuffed scarecrow toys and they are all bright and colourful. I really want to make some of those (or even all of them). My Pal said she knew that I knit for charity and thought that I might like to knit some toys as some of my charity knitting - how thoughtful! I haven't knit any toys yet, but I've had my eye on a few different ones that I'd like to try and now I can add these little scarecrows!

On the right side of the picture is the package I received today. It's a little sock blocker key ring and pattern for to make the sock! I have had my eye on this particular item for a little while now and had planned on ordering one - now I don't have to, because my pal sent one to me! She said she is going to be opening a yarn shop soon, and she's going to be offering these in the shop too. I think she'll do well with selling them. I've seen these all over blogland and they are definately a popular item!

Not much knitting going on - trying to get a child's pair of socks done before the end of the month to count as my May socks and have been working on a pair I started awhile back and never got around to finish. I'm still on the first sock, and I'm going to have to knit like a maniac in order to get the pair done and a pic posted by the 31st! I've just quite busy the last few weeks and have been preoccupied with something else other than knitting. I should be able to let you know shortly what I've been preoccupied with...if all works out, it will be great news, but if it doesn't, then it will be bad news...

So, off I go to do a quick browsing of some knitting blogs and then work on the sock...must...get...socks...done...soon. Happy knitting!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Mail Call!

What a great mail day this was! Not only did I get a book to review for CFBA (Christian Fiction Blog Alliance), which I joined a couple of months ago (see my writing blog, Ink Scrawls, for reviews of some great books), but I got another little gift from my awesome Secret Pal and my prize from a contest I won!

Ok, first up, the gift from my secret pal:
Sorry for the terrible pic. She sent me some stitch marker supplies and some scrapbooking supplies (at the bottom). The stitch marker supplies are the pin thingys you put the beads on, and the scrap booking supplies are letter tiles that look like bottle caps. She also said that my big package will be sent out the end of the month so that I get it in June - I'm so excited! Thanks so much SP, I love it and I'm looking forward to the June package!

The prize I won was for some sock yarn, Sol Joy (100 grams, 100% Superwash Merino) in the colour Polar. It looks and feels yummy! I can't wait to see it knit up into a pair of socks. What pattern would I use? Not sure just yet, but whatever I choose, I know it will look awesome! It looks light in the picture, but in actuality, it is a little darker. Kerry held a contest on her blog back in April and she drew the winning name and I was surprised that I had won. I had actually forgot that I had entered the contest. So, I was scrolling her blog on the weekend (I had been busy and hadn't been by her blog or several others for a few days), and lo and behold was a post saying that I had won. I emailed her to let her know I had finally saw the post and given her my address. However, she informed that she had it already because she is my group hostess/leader for SP10, and she already had the yarn in the mail! Thanks so much Kerry!

Now, a couple of people tagged me for the 7 thing about me meme that is going around blogland. I am supposed to list 7 things about myself and then choose 7 others to tag, they in turn do the meme themselves. So, let's see if I can come up with something...

1. When I was little I was scared by fire truck sirens. My dad used to volunteer at the fire department (driving a tanker) and one year at Christmas he was holding me up at the Santa Claus parade when the decorated fire truck drove by (they would have some of the firemen dressed up as clowns and they would throw candy to the kids in the crowd). The driver saw my dad and right when he got in front of us, he blew the siren and it was so LOUD. I must have been about 4 at the time, and for the longest time (probably until I was about 9 or 10) I got scared and would cover my ears whenever I heard a fire truck's siren - especially it was close to us.

2. When I was about six or seven, there had been rumors that the world was going to end and naturally I got scared when I heard that. I envisioned everyone and everything floating in space forever and that just didn't really appeal to me. So, the day after it was supposed to happen, my brother, my mother and I were in my brother's room (don't remember why, just that that was where we were) and I looked out the window and asked my mom if the world had ended. My brother said to me, "No Stupid, we're still here. If it ended we wouldn't be here."

3. I have a crush on Matthew McConaughey. 'Nuff said.

4. I love rocking chairs - ever since I was little, I have loved rocking in rocking chairs. I find it relaxing and do all my knitting (at least when I'm at home knitting) in my rocking chair.

5. I am allergic to many scented products like flowery scented perfums/lotions/bath products/candles, some household cleaners, smoke (and dust but that isn't scented). However, fruit scented things do not bother me in the least.

6. I love the cranberry lemon muffins from Tim Horton's. However, this has only been a feature product now and then, and they don't offer this kind of muffin all the time. Such a shame really, because they are yummy!

7. Apparently I can't count. I had typed a 7 instead of a 6 and was in the process of saying 'ok, there are the 7 things about me' when I noticed the error. Sheesh.

Oh, and to end off, yesterday my friend Sarah and I took the morning off from our jobs so we could drive up to Fredericton (about 1 1/2 hours away) to the provincial passport office to take in our passport applications to hurry the process along. Anyway, on the way there we drove past a farm (there were more than one, but just this one in particular applies to the story). I look out the window and what do I see on the hill - sheep! So, naturally I point and say in an excited joy-filled voice, "Sheep!" Sarah just laughed at me as though I were nuts (ok, I am, but that's besides the point). I told her I would blog about this experience because anyone who is a knitter (and/or spinner) would totally understand my reaction. Sheep are a knitter's/spinner's best friend; we like sheep. I told her that I was going to tell you all how she laughed at me for my joy at spotting the sheep. She laughed at me again. These non-knitters, I'm telling you...I told her I was going to teach her to knit and she agreed; I don't know how serious she was though. She might have just wanted to humour the crazy knitter sitting in her car.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

It's Been A Week!

This week I received another package from my awesome Secret Pal. She sent a ring with an "s" scrabble tile on it - too cute! Sadly, it came unattached during its travel to my home so I'll have to reglue it. My pal also sent me some yarn!

It's sock yarn that she hand dyed herself! She sent a note saying that she knew I knit socks for kids and that I knit for charity. That's what this yarn is for - a pair of kids socks (which will go on the mitten tree at church). Look at those nice bright spring-like colours! I can't wait to see them knit into socks; they are going to look awesome!
Now we are to show our stash of sock yarn. This is something I have refrained from doing in the past. Why? Well, I'm not really sure. Maybe because I'm in denial that I have a stash of yarn, or maybe because I don't want to admit to how much I have, or maybe I just don't want anyone to know what the size of the stash really is. I do know that it isn't as large as some people's, net it is not as small as others have.

Well, since there is a contest involved (and you know me and contests, if it involves yarn chances are I'm entering) in showing your sock yarn stash, I figured I should play along.
To the left is the sock yarn I have in a 4-drawer rolling plastic organizer (two large drawers and two small ones), as well as the yarn my SP10 pal sent (see pic above). The yarn at the bottom is Knit Picks dye your own, though I think I might leave it as is as it has some little nubbins (or whatever you call them) of colour in it and might look nice as is. Aside from the yarn from my SP, the rest is either Knit Picks or Paton's Kroy. I will say that 4 of the skeins (the navy and the 2 skeins beside it) will be a pair of fair isle socks - I got the pattern from Knit Picks, but haven't made them yet (obviously).

In the next picture you will see some yarn I had downstairs (and a bit I had in my room, which were recent purchases). On the left is Cherry Tree Hill in blues and purples (was on sale), the green (called Shamrock) is Louet Gems in sport weight (anyone know if 100 grams will make a pair of adult socks?), both of these were on sale (I think) from The Sweet Sheep. The two light blue ones are Louet Gems in fingering weight (from the Loopy Ewe - button on my side bar), and the other three skeins are Patons' Kroy. I haven't knit with the Cherry Tree Hill or the Louet yarns yet. They both feel nice and soft and squishy, and can't wait to use them.

I will say that I am giving two of the skeins to a friend of mine, so I don't know if I should really count those in my stash count. These two pictures also don't include the socks I am currently working on (one child's pair, and two adult), nor does it include the skein I had gotten from Wooly Boully (link on side bar), or the sock yarn from my SP in the package she sent last month. As well, I know there are a couple of other skeins that I couldn't locate when I was gathering them together for the picture. So, really, my sock yarn stash isn't that big - not compared to some I've seen.

In other knitting news, I've finished the scarf for my ISE 4 pal, it is blocked and dried and I have a pic of it - but I'm not showing it just yet. I want to make sure she has it before I do so...either that or I'll post the pic when the scarf is enroute to her. I've contacted her a few times since the original email, but haven't heard anything else from her since then. I want to get a few little items to include in the package for her as well, so once I have the package enroute to my pal, I'll let you see the finished scarf. Oh, and I have the pattern for it written up as well which I'll be posting, should anyone want to try it.

Happy Knitting!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Finally...Some Promised Pics!

I finally have some promised pics to show you - the ones of the socks that I've been slowly working on. First up, the Secret Sock from the CD my Secret Pal sent me. This sock is done on two needles, and since I don't have any single point needles in this size (I think it's 2.5 mm) that are available, I had to use my DPNs and be careful so the stitches don't fall off the ends. What is showing, is the hem (by my fingers) which will end up being the cuff, and four repeats of the lacy pattern. I think if you click on the picture it should enlargen it so you can see the pattern better.
I'm going to have to listen to a bit more of the CD to see if it's time to start the heel flap. If so, I might do one more repeat of the lace (8 rows) before starting - otherwise the sock might be a little shorter than I like it to be.
The colours in the pic are a little darker (not a whole lot) than the yarn actually is, and I still think this might have been a bad choice for a lace pattern. But, I'm going to keep on trudging on with it and finish them up regardless.
The next sock is the Razor Shell Socks pattern sent to me by my Secret Pal as well (she is really spoiling me!), and I am on row 20 of 53 row leg. Depending on how long or short it is, I may add a few rows to the leg, but I'll just wait and see for now.
The yarn I'm using for this is Trekking (XXL), colour 283. I really wish they would name their colours instead of using numbers, LOL. The picture makes the red look a little pinker than it really is, but so far I think the colour is looking nice with the pattern. You can also see the "s" stitch marker I'm using; that is one from my Secret Pal - remember, she sent me stitch markers that spelled out my name.
I haven't taken a pic of the scarf I'm doing with my Easter Egg dyed yarn. I don't really have much of it done yet, but I'll take a pic when I get more of it. I'm working on it at work (breaks and/or lunch), but I might just work on it outside of then as well. I've also started a children's pair of socks (a simple stocking stitch pattern) to knit on during lunch/breaks/travelling to and from work. I'm just about to start the leg of it, but if I want to get a pair of socks done for May, I'll have to work on it more than I am doing so far...though to be honest, I just started it the other day. I'll show a pic of the socks as well at a later date.
I also finished my ISE4 pal's scarf this morning and have soaked it and have it out blocking. When it is totally dry, I'll take a pic of it and show you all. I've also written out the pattern and will post that as well, if anyone is interested in it.
For now, I'll end by showing a pic of Tinker Belle attempting to eat my sock when I was trying to take pictures. Prior to this, she was trying to eat the yarn...silly kitty!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Dye Job

Well, I've had a lot of free time since Thursday, and let me tell you I have enjoyed it! I have been working on some knitting - the "Secret Socks" from the disc my Secret Pal sent, another pair of socks from a pattern my Secret Pal sent, and my ISE4 pal's scarf...all while holding back from casting on for something else, because one can never have too many projects on the go!

So, the pattern from the Secret Socks cd is coming along nicely (no pics yet, I want to get another repeat done first), though I think I might have chosen the wrong yarn. The yarn I chose has some brown and grey and blue (and I think an orangeish shade) and as I'm knitting it up, I can't help but think it would look better as a simple plain stocking stitch sock, and might even look better as something to use for a man's sock. However, I haven't gotten far into it, so I might be surprised. I'm going to keep knitting on them though. The pattern is pretty easy, though I haven't gotten it memorized. As I was listening to it, I wrote down the directions for the leg pattern so I wouldn't have to keep rewinding to listen to it. I'm still not sure how it's going to work on the 2 needles...obviously there will have to be some sewing up afterwards. I just hope the bottom of the foot doesn't have to be sewn because I wouldn't think that would be too comfortable.
The other sock I started was the Razor Shell pattern, and I'm using my Trekking yarn for that. It's also a pretty easy knit, with 2 rows repeated for the leg. I'm not too far into that one yet though, so no picture of it either.
On Saturday I decided to try dying with the Easter Egg dyes I got on sale after Easter. I couldn't find the pack that had the tablets in it, so I used the one that had liquid dye. I decided to go with blue, red, and purple. However, as you can see in the picture on the left (and the others as well), the red is not so red - it's pink. But, that's ok because I think it looks good together with the other colours anyway.
There isn't as much purple in it as there is blue and pink, but that's ok - there are two sections of purple. I should say that I've not tried dying yarn this way (I've only done it on the stove), so it was a new experience. I put the dye in the jars according to the directions, shoved the yarn in and added some water so it would cover more of the yarn. I didn't let the wait til the dye was all exhausted, but for the most part it was. I lined one of the glass baking dishes with plastic wrap so that there wouldn't be any staining - though I don't know if it would, I just wanted to be on the safe side. I heated it for a couple of minutes (on high), waited, then heated it for another minute or so. I was starting to smell something - can't describe it - and since I didn't want to take a chance on burning the yarn or something, I didn't heat it any more. I hope that it was enough time though. Also, before I put the yarn in the pan I didn't squeeze any of the liquid out. The picture on the right is after I heated it, and was letting it cool in the microwave. It looks a little washed out or something in that picture, but that is just from the light in the microwave. Once it cooled down, I removed it to a plastic hanger and hung it up to dry.
The next day, this is what I had:

The colours don't look very bright, but that's just from the picture. In real life they are very bright and vibrant. When I was winding it in a ball (I don't have a ball winder yet), there was some dye on my hands after I was finished, but it didn't last very long. I think whenever I knit it up I will have to soak it some more to get the excess out. I used Patons wool in an off white shade, and there was just a little missing from it, as I had used it on a pair of children's mitttens. There is still plenty there, and I plan on making another scarf like the Noro one I made a few months ago. Since I started work today, I wanted some mindless knitting to have with my for lunch and/or breaks, and I figured that scarf would be perfect. I'll post pics as I get more completed - right now I only have about six or seven rows completed so it doesn't look like much.

So, that's all for now. I promise to get a pic of the socks in progress very soon so you can see how they are coming along. Happy Knitting!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Pictures, As Promised

Well, in last night's quick post, I promised to put up some pics of the lastest gifts. First off, (since it came first in delivery from the mailwoman), we have the little gift from my Secret Pal who is totally spoiling me (I love it!):
The Scrable Tile earrings and to the left (which I forgot to mention in the post yesterday - I claim extreme tiredness rather than forgetfulness), really cute purple sock shaped needle point protectors! Love 'em both! Thank you so much Secret Pal! Oh, and here is a close up of the earrings.

Next on the list, is the package that totally surprised me - though any package I receive (that isn't something I ordered) totally surprises me, because I don't get a lot of mail. Anyway, Rhonda's gift is a cute ornament! Look at that...a cute little sheep peeking out of a little red mitten! It's so appropriate, because like I said yesterday, she sent it as a thank you for hosting the Knittin' Mittens KAL. And look at the cute little Noah's ark card! There is no sheep on the card...I assume that is because Mrs. Noah (whose name is never mentioned in the Bible, btw) has it inside the ark, shearing it and preparing the wool to spin and knit something for Noah (or one of her sons)!

Thank you again to both my Secret Pal and Rhonda! Both gifts helped add some fun and excitement to a busy week!
In other knitting news, I joined Sockapalooza (yes, yes, we all know I'm a joiner) and have received my pal's name and specifications. I've got to find the pattern and yarn for her socks. She's pretty flexible with her colours and said any colour is fine. Of course I want to find the "perfect" colour/yarn and "perfect" pattern for her. I've sent of a hello email to her as well.
I've heard from my own pal, the one who will knit for me. She (I assume my pal is female) wanted a little more clarification with colours and the instep/heel circumference to help, so I've answered her questions to the best of my ability, and she said they help. So, at this moment, I'd like to say hello to my Sockapalooza pal, whomever you are!
Hopefully in my next post I will have some knitting content pictures to show you. I want to get some more of the socks in progress done before posting, but I promise to show them soon!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I'm Still Here!

Whew! I have been buzy since last weekend, and haven't had a whole lot of time for myself. I've had to work on lesson plans all week for the TESL practicum I had to do. That's done now (finished teaching this afternoon, actually), and finally I have time to sit and knit!

I haven't picked up the knitting needles since last Saturday and let me tell you, I've been in withdrawl! I was able to do a little bit of spinning earlier tonight and once during the week when I had a short amount of time. I figured if I picked up the knitting I wouldn't put it down, so I did some spinning hoping the same thing wouldn't happen. It was hard, but I did manage to put the spindle down.

I received a couple of packages this week. The first one was from my Secret Pal. She sent some really cute earrings - scrabble tiles (with the letter S on them)!

The other package I received was a really cute ornament from Rhonda. She sent it as a thank you for hosting the Knittin' Mittens KAL! Thank you so much Rhonda, I love it! I got it on Tuesday, but haven't had the chance to post about it or let you know I had it.

I will get pics up of both gifts tomorrow. Until then, I'm off to knit before I fall asleep - this week has really taken a lot out of me. I'll also be posting (probably tomorrow) about my TESL practicum on my Confirm The Work of Our Hands Blog. I'll let you know when, so you can go read about it if you want.

So, happy knitting for now, and I'll talk to you all tomorrow!