Infidelity

I cheated on the blue cabled sweater this week. It was for good reason – my mom’s office is very cold and she needed fingerless glove bits so her hands wouldn’t freeze when she typed. Considering that mom spent her vacation sewing for me, it seemed only fair to return the favor by making her a pair.

With flash – a little washed out, but shows some of the colors better.
Without flash – color are a little harder to distinguish, but shows them a little closer to reality.

These were a quick little knit, taking a bit less than a skein of Claudia Handpaint in Argyle 2 on Clover bamboo US2 needles, and about three days worked in bits and pieces between working on the house stuff. They turned out beautifully and fit her perfectly. I washed them with some lovely handmade wool wash that I received in my knitting gnome swap package from Stephanie to get out some excess dye that stained my hands a smidge during knitting.

I’m going to pause a moment to wax rhapsodic about the wool wash: it’s really lovely. It’s a solid bar, like a bar of soap, that you lather under the running water. It’s 20% lanolin (so it softens your hands wonderfully when you lather it!) and smells delightful without being overpowering. I especially like that since it’s a solid bar, once it dries from being lathered, it can just get tucked away again. I’ll definitely be using this a lot, and once this bar is done, I’ll definitely be ordering more from her Etsy shop!

Mom has also requested some wool socks to wear around the house, and she picked out the yarn I won from one of the contests in the Coffee Swap, which I don’t think I ever took a picture of and posted. It’s a beautiful yarn and I’m enjoying knitting it up, but I don’t remember exactly what it is and it wasn’t labeled. I’m pretty sure it was dyed by the person who sent it though and I do wish that I had taken more care to jot down some additional information about it. I love that it has smaller and irregular splotches of the brown because it means that the yarn doesn’t really pool much.

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I’m taking this as an opportunity to finally try one of Cat Bordhi’s sock architectures from New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One. I’ve wanted to try Coriolis since I got the book (almost a year ago, for Christmas last year!), and I’m just about an inch into the start of the spiral on the foot. So far it’s very neat and a dead simple pattern to memorize. My swatch was 10 stitches to the inch on Harmony US0 needles, but my actual gauge is a bit looser than that – pr’bly 9 stitches to the inch, but I haven’t measured again yet. It may end up a little looser than I’d like, especially in the toes when I wasn’t paying as close attention, but since they’re socks to be worn around the house and not necessarily in shoes, I think that will be okay in the end.

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It’s all about the presents!

I got my CoffeeSwap III package today!

Coffee Swap Received (Clickable thumbnail)

I love the yarn colors and can’t wait to try out the two patterns Julie included – Snowflake Lace Socks by Melanie Berney and Rococo Socks by Lisa Parker. The coffee and mug will get “christened” tomorrow morning and I’m sure it will be a great way to start out a vacation day! “Knit’s End” is just too funny – I was in Barnes & Noble just this afternoon and picked it up off the display, but then put it back since we were in a rush and I didn’t want to have to go through the check out. What a treat to come home and find if on my doorstep!

Thanks so much Julie!

And since I’m posting, here’s a shot of the finished Charade socks:

Charade Socks

.. and the beginning of the DNA scarf I’m knitting for a friend:

DNA Scarf First Repeat

I’m actually knitting two DNA scarves in the round so that the scarf is both thicker and reversible, which is why it looks a little off-kilter in the photo. The yarn she decided on is KnitPicks Swish DK and it’s very knitting up very soft, though it’s occasionally a little splitty on the cables.

I *won*!

*squee!* I won a contest over at the Coffeeswap blog for posting about trying a new kind of coffee! I’ve been somewhat lax about keeping up with the group blog because things have been a bit busy lately, but I wanted to read about all the different kinds of coffee folks were trying and then had an opportunity to try a new one myself yesterday and managed to get my submission in just under the wire. Yea!  This definitely made my Monday morning better!

And while I’m on the subject.. I have the pieces for Jules‘ package mostly all planned out (though I’m waiting to receive some of them still) with just a few more fun bits to pick up, hopefully this weekend. It’s been a fun swap to participate in and a *great* excuse for me to seek out and find a few new things for me, too!

Confessions

I haven’t been knitting as much as I pr’bly should have this week. The shawl is 75% finished, but I’d hoped to be closer to 90% finished by today. I’ll knit some on it this afternoon and evening, and it will still be finished in time, so I’m not really that worried about it. I just.. didn’t feel like knitting much during the evenings this week and I drove in more often than usual because Jack was sick for several days (usually we carpool and I can knit in the car).

I have had fun acquiring bits and pieces for my Coffee Swap III pal, Jules, though. I hope she likes what I’ve picked out for her, and I hope that it all arrives in time to get it out to her in the mail on time!

Not dead (yet?)

It’s been.. well.. if life is what happens when you’re not paying attention, I’m not sure what it’s been lately. Busy. (Hrm.. I thought I posted this last night.. guess not..)
I have been knitting – the first Charade sock is finished, I’m almost through half of the third chart of the Peacock Feather shawl, I’m a skein and a bit into a holiday gift sweater – but not as much as I should (the shawl is due in mid-November, has 7 charts plus, and each pair of rows is two stitches longer than the last two). I have the yarn for the DNA scarf that I’m knitting, along with four sets of the new KnitPicks Harmony wood needles – two sets of DPNs (size 0 and size 2 – the set I’m missing 2 needles from and the set I use the most) and two sets of 16″ circs (size 2 and size4 – both needed for the DNA scarf, though because the points are sharper than my Clover bamboos, I’m currently using the size 4 on the Peacock Feather shawl). So far, I’m *loving* the Harmony needles.. can’t wait to try out the DPNs (and I wonder if I swap out for the bamboo ones I’m using in the second Charade sock if it will mess up my gauge enough to tell..?).

I would go back through and link all that, but.. well, those that are interested also pr’bly have Ravelry by now and you can find the details on my projects in process there. 😛

I did join a swap – CoffeeSwap III – and I am looking forward to it. If nothing else, it might be a good enough excuse to replace our coffee maker, which died a not-so-glorious death about a week ago. But I’ve already heard from my swap partner and I’m already stewing on stuff to send her!

Work is.. nuts. Non-work “work” is also nuts. It’s time for me to start disentangling myself from things, but the earliest I can disentangle from anything is the end of the calendar year, so .. yeah. Might be kinda quiet-like over this way for a bit.

Coffee Swap Questionnaire

Whee! As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve already been in touch with my pal for the Coffee Swap, but I’ve been terribly remiss in keeping up with the group blog. So I’m a little late getting the questions answered, but I s’pose better late than never!

1. Whole bean or ground? I can go either way. We have a grinder, but usually buy pre-ground for daily stuff since we’re not worried about it “spoiling”.

2. Fully-loaded or decaf? Again, either way. I can’t have caffeine after about noon, but sometimes like a hot cuppa in the afternoons or evening, so we usually have both on hand.

3. Regular or flavored? Um. either.. sensing a trend yet?

4. How do you drink your coffee? Oh, look! One I can answer definitively! Cream (not milk, not powder), no sugar. I do sometimes drink the flavored creamers, but they’re often too sweet for my taste. A well-brewed cup of coffee with just cream is perfect.

5. Favorite coffee ever? Huh. That’s a good question. Jack swears that the coffee from the Olive Garden is the best in the world, and I agree that it’s good, but I’m not sure I’d rave about it quite the way he does. I can describe what I like – not bitter, not dark, flavorful and robust – but I’m not sure I can come up with a specific one to represent.

6. Are you fussy about your coffee or will any old bean do? It depends. *smile* I think it depends on the occasion. For the sort of typical daily morning coffee, just about any old bean will do. But if I’m sitting down to relax with a cuppa, I want it to *taste* good. Rich and .. this is going to seem a bit odd, but nutty is the best I can come up with to describe it, and I’m not talking about nut-flavored coffee. There’s a .. quality to taste that strikes me as nutty; I find it in dark, malty beers that I like, too. Sorry that’s not much help!

7. Favorite treats to have with your coffee? Oohh.. cookies. I actually rather like biscotti, though I really rarely ever get it because it’s so much better fresh than pre-packaged. But I like good butter cookies with coffee, too; something a little rich, but not overly sweet. I’m not a huge fan of chocolate – I like it in some things, but can’t do the death-by-chocolate type desserts – but I tend to enjoy coffee with dessert, particularly if it’s something served ala mode! Oh, and canoli, but I haven’t been able to find good canoli since I lived in upstate NY.. mMm..

8. Anything else about your coffee preferences? I lived in Seattle for several years and learned that I’m not fond of Starbucks and that Seattle’s Best, while tasty, isn’t quite.. right. Tully’s was usually my preferred. Not that that’s likely to be much help, but if you’re familiar with those three, it might! Oh, and Caribou is good, but if I’m going to be in a Caribou, I usually will opt for a froufrou drink (I like the pumpkin spice latte things they have now) since their drip coffee is sort of hit-or-miss for me in terms of how dark/acidic/bitter it is.

9. Yarn/fiber you love? Hrm.. most of them? Actually, I take that back. It depends on what I’m going to make with it. I’m very much a project-knitter – I don’t tend to buy yarn just to have the yarn; I buy yarn for specific projects. For socks and the like, something squishy but that will wear well. For sweaters or other larger garments, something that won’t pill too much. For shawls and lace-type stuff, I can go just about any direction. There’s lots of sock yarns out there that are truly gorgeous, but for which I have a hard time finding a pattern I’d like with the yarn, so there’s that, too. I’m intrigued by silk, but haven’t knit anything with it largely because it tends to run pricey and I’d be afraid whatever it was wouldn’t turn out exactly right. :/

10. Yarn/fiber you hate? Bulky yarns; it hurts my hands to have to manipulate needles that are really large with the weight of something knit in bulky yarn. Most of the novelty yarns or carry-along yarns – I just.. I think it’s that I don’t wear a lot of flashy or extravagent things, so I’m never quite sure what I would do with a novelty yarn in a garment. I also am not fond of the pre-patterned “fake fair isle” type yarns, but I love hand-dyed and how it pools. The only caveat to hand-dyed, is that I’ve learned that I don’t like it when it has too many colors and when the colors pool in pairs so you end up with stripes of two colors alternating. So I guess that means long repeats and/or subtle color shifts.
11. What’s on your needles? Holiday and other gift knitting: a sweater (worsted weight, mostly plain stockinette at the moment); the Peacock Feathers shaw; Charade socks; and once the Charade socks are done, I’ll be casting on for a DNA scarf.

12. Favorite colors? Rich, deep, saturated colors. I’m not sure I can wear a deep orange as a sweater, but I can wear just about anything as socks.

13. Allergies? Nickel. This will only matter if you intend to get me accessories, though!

14. Anything you really love, really don’t like, or just need to get off your chest? Patterns are always neat – especially patterns for sock yarns that either aren’t socks everyone’s making or aren’t socks. I knit in the car on our commute frequently, so socks are a great travel knit, but I get kind of tied up about patterns so suggestions or links or actual patterns would be nifty. I like cables and lace both, even together, and patterns that can hold up to hand-dyed yarns without losing the pattern or making the yarn look like a jumbled mess. Oh, and just in case, I’m verymelm on Ravelry!

I think this was precisely the thing I needed to boost my mood a little this afternoon. *smile* How wonderful!

Red letter day!

Whee! Look what I got today!

Hee hee.. they’re *monkeys*! *GRIN*

And they were born in Oklahoma and Duluth, MN.

And they brought friends – a very fun little retractable sheep tape measure, a nifty little pin cushion thing (is it knit? it’s very kuhl..), and an Oklahoma Sooners t-shirt.

All complements of my most awesome upstream Sockapalooza pal, Rhonda! She and her husband, who is in the Marine Corp, are stationed at Fort Sill, but spent their summer vacation in her home town (gotta love a fellow Minnesotan) of Duluth, where her dad worked at US Steel. I hope she’s not having too warm of a summer back down in Oklahoma and I can’t wait to wear my Monkeys!

And since today is already a red letter day, I figured I’d post a picture of the progress I’ve made this week on my White Lies Designs Easy Lace Jacket:

This is the back, about half finished.

The yarn is Cascade 220 in color 9404. It’s a bit darker than the picture shows, but not a lot. This is a very quick little knit and it’s fairly mindless – I’ve been knitting it mostly while watching movies this week. I might make it through the rest of the back by the end of the weekend.. I have a couple more movies to watch before Jack gets home from his trip!