knitdds: thoughts on knitting, food, life

{October 25, 2006}   MY SECRET PAL ROCKS!!!!

Wow. . .if it wasn’t for my big project I would have posted this on Saturday, because that’s when I got a lovely huge package from my secret pal!!!

 See, the problem is, it takes forever to upload photos, and things here as usual, are busy, so at the moment I can’t SHOW you all the stunning booty that was sent to me. . .

But I got hanks and hanks of luscious hand dyed green baby alpaca, a cute baby hat kit, and some gorgeous, gorgeous green beaded stitch markers.

 Secret Pal, if you’re out there, I could kiss you. I meant to tell you that on Saturday. You have hit the proverbial nail on the head.

I promise, photos are forthcoming. I have loads of things to show you guys. The jaywalkers still progress, and are headed to the heel flap (only one sock I think, will be completed for socktoberfest), and I have probably progressed like, a row on the interminable baby blanket. See, things really ARE busy around here.

In the meanwhile, Fall in Chicago marches along. The weather here is clear, crisp, and sunny. . .in the 40’s or so. Apple picking weather, if you ask me, not that I really have a place to go apple picking. Despite the beautiful, sunny fall weather, I’m just. . .tired.


{October 18, 2006}   sp9 contest!

1. Where is your favorite knitting spot?

on the couch, in front of the tv. 2nd fave: kip-ing on a plane (I hate to fly and knitting keeps me from tearing my hair out from the roots) or in a waiting room (strangely, also hate waiting!)
2. If you suddenly could never knit again (shudder) – what would you do instead?

Not knitting would also mean I wouldn’t be able to work. . .need the hands and all, so I’d definitely have greater concerns. I’d definitely do more yoga, since that’s the closest I come to that zen-like feeling when I’m absorbed in my knitting.
3. If you could travel anywhere in the world – where would you go and why?

Peru. I’m dying to see Macchu Pichhu. India: got family there. South Africa: because I’ve heard that it’s stunning. Maldives: would like to go diving there. Red Sea: also supposed to be fabulous diving. Quite the list, eh? I’m a travel bug. . .and so are my folks, so I’ve been around the globe and back.
4. When you were little – What did you want to do “when you grew up?” Are you doing it?

Always wanted to take care of kids. And yes, I’m doing it. I have the greatest job in the entire world, and my emotional paycheck is HUGE.
5. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Rocky Road. Although, I’ve never had what I’d consider the perfect version, which is why I’d like to make my own someday with dark chocolate ice cream, mini marshmallows, and chocolate covered almonds. Hee. Baskin Robbins does an alright job of theirs, and Edy’s is also excellent, especially if you add in a little Magic Shell.

My big project, for those of you who are wondering when I’ll write something useful again, is still going well. It’s also completely absorbing and has to be kept completely secret for a while, yet. As for the Jaywalkers. . .they’re just stunning. If I get a nice pic one of these days I’ll post it up for you all.

{October 12, 2006}   Lawd help us, chillens. . .

socksforjan.jpg. . . it’s SNOWING in Chicago!!

My many apologies for not being here for you darlings, but I’ve got, um, a big project in the works. Which seems to take up all my time. More on that at a later date.

 Meanwhile, as you can see, the moral imperative socks are finished!! And delivered to their recipient, who was happy to have them.

 More later, but the husband has been on the computer for three days straight finishing his projects, so we’ll see if that continues. 🙂

{October 7, 2006}   Secret Pal Questionnaire

sheepmoves1.gifDarlings, you know I’m dying to give you a detailed account of my incredible evening of fantastic food and even more fantastic singing, but I can’t. I have a wedding to leave for at four in the morning and I really need to post the answers to my secret pal questionnaire!

Oh and by the way, the moral imperative socks are finished and will be delivered on Sunday, so I’ll post a picture of their completion and some gratuitous yarn pr0n (in honor of knitmongrel) after their delivery. So, here goes:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I started by making baby hats and so I’m super comfortable with a worsted weight. Generally, I prefer natural, non-itchy fibers, the softer the better. . .alpaca. . .mmmm. . .and I’m dramatically opposed to novelty and acrylics, as well as lion brand. Which probably makes me a big old yarn snob, eh? I adore Malabrigo, Lorna’s Laces, Debbie Bliss, Sirdar “tiny tots” and most karabella yarns.

 2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

Nothing sexy, but they are stored and categorized away. My mom bought me an icky flowery quilted needle case from Tuesday morning, but it’s green and gets the job done, and I have a little binder from KnitPicks for my circulars.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I have now been knitting for over 3 years. My dear friend Ami bought me yarn and needles for a christmas present and my cousin Scherezade helped me learn, and I was hooked from the very beginning. I suppose I’m intermediate, but on the beginner side of intermediate. I’m not afraid of teaching myself stuff, and I have a couple of learned friends who are good at answering my stupid questions.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

No, should I??? I could probably list a thousand things on there, though. Especially books. Not that I really need any more books.

5. What’s your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.)

I have been addicted to Lush’s Karma scent ever since I first smelled it in their Covent Garden store 10 years ago. It’s a bit much for everyday, so I go to an essential oil place and have them blend 1/2 lavender, 1/2 patchouli into my body lotion. I can’t deal with manufactured scents, they most of them make me want to retch. Go figure.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

I am a big ho for good quality dark chocolate. The darker, the better. Most milk chocolate is way too sweet for me, and processed candies are really not my thing.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I’m a beader from way back. . .although my supplies are sitting unused these days. I sewed myself some of those origami flowers on craftster last fall, and have more materials to make those, and the next non-knitting project is to sculpey myself some needle tip protectors for my ow! #1 inox needles. I wouldn’t know a spinning wheel if it jumped up and smacked me in the face. I really admire spinners though, it just looks so cool.
8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

Ha. Music. I will listen to ANYTHING. . .except country. I’ll give you a small sample of some of my favorites: opera, salsa, decemberists, almost anything 80’s especially prince and the police, monster rock ballads (my first concert was tesla, scary, I know), hip hop of most all kinds (although I’m an old school fan at heart, I have a thing for hip hop I can dance to). Classical: my favorite composer of all time is Bach.

9. What’s your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can’t stand?
GREEN. . . green and more green. I’m great in pinks, purples, and blues. Don’t mind reds and the occasional moderate orange. . .less of a fan of the yellow and orange family especially when bright. Brown or black is always fine. Royal blue is a particular favorite of mine, as is a blue/brown combo. But green is the best.
10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

Married and trying to start a family. No pets, the apartment is too small.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

All of the above!

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
So far, the socks I just made!! I’ve also really loved knitting teeny tiny baby hats for friends having kids.
13. What are you knitting right now?
The interminable baby blanket, socktoberfest jaywalkers, and my baby bro’s cashmere half-dome
14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Oh yeah!
15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Bamboo circs bite the big one, if you ask me. Love my addis, love my inox’s, and love my pink plastic susan bates dpns. (at least I think they’re susan bates). I’ve always wanted a pair of lantern moons but can’t seem to pony up the extra expense. I’ve recently invested in the knitpicks circular system, and bought tips from them in #15 and #17, so I’ll be buying circulars from them from now on.
16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

Ha. No. But my friend knitmongrel does, and she lets me play.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

It’s the interminable baby blanket, so. . .Feb? March? (of this year)

18. What is your favorite holiday?

Thanksgiving. Great excuse to make homemade pecan pie.

19. Is there anything that you collect?

Do books, yarn, and broken hearts (kidding) count?

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
Oh those lantern moons. I covet a copy of AlterKnits, and the One Skein book. No magazine subscriptions, but I’m a faithful knitty follower.
21. Are there any new techniques you’d like to learn?

The next big technique for me: lace knitting. I want to make the ‘branching out’ scarf from Knitty but haven’t found the perfect soft green yarn yet.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes! Just! Ok. . .hold on while I get the tape measure: around the ball of my foot measures 8.5″, and the heel to toe is 8″. I’m a solid size 7 in most shoes.

23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)

December 31. I’ve never loved it but hey, since when did I get to choose?

OK, bed, and then airport at 4am! Here’s to having scrambled brains tomorrow.

{October 5, 2006}   First blog questionnaire!

Some days, I feel like I’m just getting the hang of this blog thing. Today is a day when I could have woken up extra early and worked out, then headed to my appointment, but I woke up so sore and tired that it was just not happening. So here I am for your reading pleasure!!

Lolly was nice enough to post a blog questionnaire, and I was reading through answers on Grumperina and KnitMongrel‘s pages, when it hit me. . .I too, could answer. So without further adieu,

  • When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?

I am in the process of finishing my very first pair of socks, on Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted and #7’s, for a dear friend. Started oh, a month ago. The pattern is from the Knitty Gritty show on DIY, which my friend had kept on her TiVo for the express purpose of my learning how to make these socks. The instructions online are so clear and accurate that frankly, it was easy to teach myself and to knit the socks. (Plus the yarn really rocks.)

  • What was your first pair?  How have they “held up” over time?

Um, I’ll let you know?

  • What would you have done differently?

I already didn’t like how pointy the toe came out from this pattern. I think I definitely prefer a more rounded toe. . .I understand that had I made the foot a bit longer and done my decreases every round instead of every other, it might have looked more rounded.

  • What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?

I can’t WAIT to make my Great Adirondack “Soxie” yarn into some stunning socks. I swatched it up for my socktoberfest socks and had to hold back the drool. I have received many recommendations to try Grumperina’s Jaywalker pattern, so I think I’ll get started on those today (even though the interminable baby blanket is STILL not finished).

  • Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?

Ha. I’m a dpn kind of girl. Circulars scare the heck out of me, and once I saw a tutorial on knitty for knitting 2 socks at the same time? Petrified. The ones I’m using now, though, would be perfect for picking cigarette ashes out of Dolores’ teeth. Crochet? Not unless you make me, and then certainly not well.

  • Which kind of heel do you prefer?  (flap? or short-row?)

(sung to the tune of Tori Amos’ song “Cornflake Girl”) Never made a short row heel. . . thought it was a good solution. . .

  • How many pairs have you made?

Um, one, still in progress. Do baby booties count? I guess not, cause those were seamed.  I’m such a baby compared to most of you lovely folks online. Oh well.

Happy sock knitting, everyone!

{October 3, 2006}   Happy Socktoberfest!!!

Well, dears, the socktoberfest yarn is wound and ready to go, and I even swatched a little bit to check on my gauge as per Charlene Schurch. (how do you say that last name?!?!) Unfortunately, the baby cable rib pattern that I picked is completely indistinguishable from plain old ribbing. . .and the colors are so scrumptious that I feel I owe it to the yarn to do something stunning with it. I’m dying to do a lace type pattern, or even Grumperina’s Jaywalker pattern. . .but I’m a teeny bit nervous about the whole concept. Any suggestions, you guys? I could really use some help.

The interminable baby blanket continues to progress, so slowly!! I have a long, long meeting all afternoon tomorrow and while it would go three thousand times faster if I had my knitting, I’m sure that everyone will think me quite rude if I’m frantically knitting and purling away while they discuss their architectural plans.

 Off to swim. This is a backwards week. . .swimming on Tuesday and lifting weights on Thursday (I have an appointment in the morning on Thursday that will preclude any hope of swimming).  But THEN. . .on Friday. . . we’re going to Tru.  For those of you who don’t know, Tru is one of the true foodie restaurants in Chicago, celebrity chefs and all, and the food is supposed to be exquisite. I’m so excited that I’m having one of those weeks where everything goes by just a bit too slowly 🙂

My folks are coming into town and we’ll have dinner at Tru (our first time there), and then we’ll go see Renee Fleming sing her heart out at the Lyric Opera. Sounds like a good night, doesn’t it? I’ll have to wait until after the weekend to report back, because we’ll go out of town early saturday and won’t return until Sunday night at least.

{October 1, 2006}   Things that make me happy. . .

If you are one of those people in life, like my friend J (shockingly has never given his amazing wife a foot rub) who is not into feet, I suggest you scroll further down to previous entries, as I would hate to offend you.

If you’re not offended by my pedalian offerings, though, look at my fabulous toes!! My pretty toes!

I have this recent strange obsession with getting pedicures and having pretty, tiny flowers painted on my toes. Number one, the chairs at the pedicure place have rollers that massage your back WHILE your toes are being primped and tickled and groomed, and number two, the flowers just make me happy. As in, every time I look down.

I know, I know, it doesn’t take much to make me happy. Plus, I’m going to the wedding of a dear friend next weekend, and my dress is blue. So I’ll bring out the sparkly sandals and floss the toes, baby! (It amuses me to no end that “floss” is street slang for showing something off. . .here I thought it was merely a useful tool for oral hygiene)

In the meantime, I’m trying frantically to finish the interminable baby blanket. Let me tell you about this blanket. I’m sure you all know about the “Big Bad Baby Blanket” from the Stitch n Bitch book, right? Well, I decided that the Koigu PPM that was suggested was just too darn expensive, so I bought a larger gauge yarn from the wonderful Leslie P at Ewephoria Yarns, who custom dyed about 1500 yards for me in a roving explosion of various blues and let me pay less than half of what I’d have paid for the Koigu. I’m just past halfway on the blanket (been working on it since. . .Feb?), and unfortunately I was dumb enough to increase the stitch count for the cast on because I figured it needed to be bigger. OK, so who says I actually did any math. Anyway, I will be seeing the mother of the baby for whom this blanket was created, and meeting the baby for the first time, at this wedding. Hence my frantic attempts to finish. Wish me luck.

et cetera