Thursday, February 26, 2009

Maine Maine Maine Maine



We're finally in Maine. I just typed out a detailed recap of our crazy move out here but it's so long I decided to summarize.

- we moved ourselves, 28 foot uhaul + trailer for Eric's car, me behind in the minivan with the boys and the houseplants.
- we got lost off the interstate in the middle of the night in the mountains during a snowstorm.
- Tommy and I both had the stomach flu... on the road!
- When we finally got here on Monday morning, Maine was cleaning up after a big snow -- 25" here.
- We found a house we love and can't believe we live in Maine!
- The first night we were here we heard moose in the woods behind our house.
- Tommy and Jake BOTH got the stomach flu again once we moved in!
- Tommy got terribly dehydrated. I sat with him on my lap on the couch yesterday and we didn't move for many hours. We watched Garfield cartoons on the laptop. All I wanted to do was get my baby back to healthy. It worked. I was very worried and almost took him to the ER many times.
- Today we needed to get out of the house for a while so wandered aimlessly around the area and are just sort of in awe that we actually live here now.
- It sort of feels like we now live in a foreign country.
- I'm overwhelmed by all of the knitterly goodness here.
- I went to Whole Foods today and loved it.
- I went to Purl Diva today, met Ellen, got yarn to make felted slippers.
- The ceramic tile floor in my kitchen is VERY COLD.
- I still have no groceries in the house other than pedialite and paper towels.
- I still haven't unpacked my kitchen.
- I still have no idea where the towels and pillows are (kind of important)
- I still have no idea when things will start to feel normal again
- My house is filthy from top to bottom.
- I miss Iowa. My friends. My family. My house. A lot.
- But Maine is going to be a wonderful adventure for my family.
- I'm overwhelmed by everything but just biting off things a little bit at a time.

That is all for now.

Maine Maine Maine Maine



We're finally in Maine. I just typed out a detailed recap of our crazy move out here but it's so long I decided to summarize.

- we moved ourselves, 28 foot uhaul + trailer for Eric's car, me behind in the minivan with the boys and the houseplants.
- we got lost off the interstate in the middle of the night in the mountains during a snowstorm.
- Tommy and I both had the stomach flu... on the road!
- When we finally got here on Monday morning, Maine was cleaning up after a big snow -- 25" here.
- We found a house we love and can't believe we live in Maine!
- The first night we were here we heard moose in the woods behind our house.
- Tommy and Jake BOTH got the stomach flu again once we moved in!
- Tommy got terribly dehydrated. I sat with him on my lap on the couch yesterday and we didn't move for many hours. We watched Garfield cartoons on the laptop. All I wanted to do was get my baby back to healthy. It worked. I was very worried and almost took him to the ER many times.
- Today we needed to get out of the house for a while so wandered aimlessly around the area and are just sort of in awe that we actually live here now.
- It sort of feels like we now live in a foreign country.
- I'm overwhelmed by all of the knitterly goodness here.
- I went to Whole Foods today and loved it.
- I went to Purl Diva today, met Ellen, got yarn to make felted slippers.
- The ceramic tile floor in my kitchen is VERY COLD.
- I still have no groceries in the house other than pedialite and paper towels.
- I still haven't unpacked my kitchen.
- I still have no idea where the towels and pillows are (kind of important)
- I still have no idea when things will start to feel normal again
- My house is filthy from top to bottom.
- I miss Iowa. My friends. My family. My house. A lot.
- But Maine is going to be a wonderful adventure for my family.
- I'm overwhelmed by everything but just biting off things a little bit at a time.

That is all for now.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Lacy Confections and Moving

I'm getting the urge to knit lace again. I have lots of softly spun fingering weight yarns that I'd originally intended for socks that would make some lovely lacy scarves. I'm thinking Montego Bay, Feather and Fan, Ostrich Plumes, etc etc etc.... I think I need some lacy scarves.

I also have a small stash of some pretty incredible laceweight yarn. The Plucky Knitter and Jade Sapphire Cashmere anyone!? I also have some heathery plum Knit Picks merino lace that I've always coveted. Alpaca with a twist merino/silk rounds it out. It's all just sat quietly in the far depths of my stash for quite a while. I have had NO desire to work up some lacy goodness but it's starting to come back to me.

Of course, at the moment it's all boxed up and added to the growing inventory of the rest of our belongings in boxes. My knitting books are far taped up and ready to go, too. So my current WIPs will have to suffice until we settle down again. I did snag a ball or two of sock yarn for emergencies. (haha)

Lately I've been selling a portion of my stash on Ravelry. I've gotten pretty good money, too! The goal was just to get stuff out that's been marinating too long and I've really given up on. Like the Noro Kochoran that I had... I loved the colors. I did use one hank to make a hat, but I had a sweaters-worth of this stuff and as a friend put it once, it just seemed too... beastial to wear.

The stash money I'm using for.... more stash enhancement of course! There's nothing better to liven up a stash than new stash yarn ONCE IN A WHILE. It's a rare thing around here that I just get to wander around the internets and buy pretty things without a purpose. Well, let me just say I have two packages on their way here right now with more sock yarn goodies.

Right now I'm looking for a simple fingering weight cowl pattern. I literally want to knit a plain stockinette tube in the round until I run out of yarn. I'm having a hard time finding a stitch count and I'm too busy packing/staging/everything else to sit down and figure it out. Maybe 175 sts on size 4 needles? What do you think?

I haven't knit a stitch in two days. Today looks doubtful, too. Between chasing the baby around and keeping him occupied, packing, sorting, cleaning, selling 2/3 of our furniture to Craigslist folks, running around town signing things, returning books, canceling this, etc. that... by the end of the day I collapse in to bed and sleep like a rock until morning.

I did let the babe play outside yesterday which he was thrilled about! Snow up past your knees makes it real hard to tromp around outside in the winter when you're nearly two and that's how it has been for months. Sure, we did it. But you should have seen the joy on his face to be able to just RUN around outside yesterday. Fun stuff.

Today looks gloomy and wet outside. My sons are waiting for breakfast so I should get going. Have a good Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lacy Confections and Moving

I'm getting the urge to knit lace again. I have lots of softly spun fingering weight yarns that I'd originally intended for socks that would make some lovely lacy scarves. I'm thinking Montego Bay, Feather and Fan, Ostrich Plumes, etc etc etc.... I think I need some lacy scarves.

I also have a small stash of some pretty incredible laceweight yarn. The Plucky Knitter and Jade Sapphire Cashmere anyone!? I also have some heathery plum Knit Picks merino lace that I've always coveted. Alpaca with a twist merino/silk rounds it out. It's all just sat quietly in the far depths of my stash for quite a while. I have had NO desire to work up some lacy goodness but it's starting to come back to me.

Of course, at the moment it's all boxed up and added to the growing inventory of the rest of our belongings in boxes. My knitting books are far taped up and ready to go, too. So my current WIPs will have to suffice until we settle down again. I did snag a ball or two of sock yarn for emergencies. (haha)

Lately I've been selling a portion of my stash on Ravelry. I've gotten pretty good money, too! The goal was just to get stuff out that's been marinating too long and I've really given up on. Like the Noro Kochoran that I had... I loved the colors. I did use one hank to make a hat, but I had a sweaters-worth of this stuff and as a friend put it once, it just seemed too... beastial to wear.

The stash money I'm using for.... more stash enhancement of course! There's nothing better to liven up a stash than new stash yarn ONCE IN A WHILE. It's a rare thing around here that I just get to wander around the internets and buy pretty things without a purpose. Well, let me just say I have two packages on their way here right now with more sock yarn goodies.

Right now I'm looking for a simple fingering weight cowl pattern. I literally want to knit a plain stockinette tube in the round until I run out of yarn. I'm having a hard time finding a stitch count and I'm too busy packing/staging/everything else to sit down and figure it out. Maybe 175 sts on size 4 needles? What do you think?

I haven't knit a stitch in two days. Today looks doubtful, too. Between chasing the baby around and keeping him occupied, packing, sorting, cleaning, selling 2/3 of our furniture to Craigslist folks, running around town signing things, returning books, canceling this, etc. that... by the end of the day I collapse in to bed and sleep like a rock until morning.

I did let the babe play outside yesterday which he was thrilled about! Snow up past your knees makes it real hard to tromp around outside in the winter when you're nearly two and that's how it has been for months. Sure, we did it. But you should have seen the joy on his face to be able to just RUN around outside yesterday. Fun stuff.

Today looks gloomy and wet outside. My sons are waiting for breakfast so I should get going. Have a good Wednesday!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Snow Moon



Feb. 9, 9:49 a.m. EST -- Full Snow Moon. Usually the heaviest snows fall in this month. Hunting becomes very difficult, and hence to some tribes this was the Full Hunger Moon. - via space.com
Kind of ironic that this is the Snow Moon and we have hardly no snow on the ground. I stood out front in short sleeves and took this picture tonight. We're having unseasonably warm weather here... a rare midwinter treat here in Iowa. We actually had a thunder shower this morning!

This is the last full moon I'll be looking at in the Iowa sky for a while. Next month it'll be from our new home in Maine! Exciting times. Beautiful moon.

Snow Moon



Feb. 9, 9:49 a.m. EST -- Full Snow Moon. Usually the heaviest snows fall in this month. Hunting becomes very difficult, and hence to some tribes this was the Full Hunger Moon. - via space.com
Kind of ironic that this is the Snow Moon and we have hardly no snow on the ground. I stood out front in short sleeves and took this picture tonight. We're having unseasonably warm weather here... a rare midwinter treat here in Iowa. We actually had a thunder shower this morning!

This is the last full moon I'll be looking at in the Iowa sky for a while. Next month it'll be from our new home in Maine! Exciting times. Beautiful moon.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

socks socks more socks please

Can you believe I actually fell off the sock bandwagon a while ago? Well, it was short lived and I've been knitting socks at a pretty good pace lately. What helped get my mojo back? My current stash of handknit socks is dwindling fast! I'm down to nervous levels... less than two weeks worth of handknit socks. ;) I know I know. But with having several of my favorites bite the dust lately, I had to kick it in to high gear.

Here are the socks that have been retired....




1. Cascading Leaves / Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino: One has a large hole in the bottom.
2. Garter Rib / Scarlet Fleece: They've both almost worn through on the bottom. These will forever been in my sock drawer for sentimental reasons -- I wore them during my csection.
3. Child's French Socks / Apple Laine: They've become bristly scratchy and have felted a little too much.
4. Diagonal Cross Rib Socks / Dream in Color Smooshy: They've worn almost all the way through on the bottom. These aren't even a year old. Once again I'm very dissatisfied with Dream in Color. I will be making a point not to buy any Dream in Color again.

So there you have it. It's a fact of a sock's life... they will wear out. It's okay. But I'm making an effort to use more durable sock yarns with a much longer lifespan. Lately I've knit...



These basic socks using Regia Canyon Color #2800. I love this colorway and the funky striping. I haven't added a finished photo of these but they're done and are already on heavy rotation. I knit the cuff with 2x2 ribbing on size 2 needles, and the heel and foot on size 0 so they're extra tightly knit resulting in a super warm sock which is necessary around these parts. Then I knit...

These are my first stranded socks. The pattern is Laila's Socks from the book Folk Knitting in Estonia, by Nancy Bush. The pattern is super easy and really moves. I used Brown Sheep Wildfoote Luxury Sock in Vinca Minor and Vanilla. Size 2 needles. They're a smidge too big but with proper washing/drying, they'll snug up just enough. I've figured out that I LOVE knitting stranded socks! There will be many more pairs in my future. Last but not least...



These are the Journey Cable Socks by Sivia Harding. I'm knitting the size medium, fingering weight variety. I used size 2 for the cuff, size 1 for the heel and instep, and may switch to size 0 for the foot after I get past the instep.

I love the cable on this sock and how it ends on the heel flap and instep. (the photo on the right is of the heel flap). I also am loving this yarn. It's Tess' Designer Yarn Super Socks & Baby which I bought at Tess' shop in Portland, Maine this past summer. It reminds me of our trip to Maine, of Tess' technicolor shop of yarny goodness, and I love the red color. I haven't knit a pair of red socks in a long time (perhaps never). It's an enjoyable knit that's moving right along.

All of these socks that I have been knitting have a high nylon/wool ratio... at least 80/20. That means that they'll all wash well and hold up over time which makes me happy.

What's next for my sock knitting? Well, nothing too adventurous ... I'm craving another pair of Monkey Socks and I have a lovely variegated Araucania Ranco Multi that I think would be a good match. That is probably what I'll bring with me to the knitting retreat this weekend....

Yes! My group is having a knitting retreat! Amanda and Kara have been organizing knitting fun for us for months now. This is the third retreat that our group has had. They're a great time! The retreat is being held at a local hotel. We're going to knit and socialize for three days straight! What a great respite from the winter blahs. We're all so excited!

socks socks more socks please

Can you believe I actually fell off the sock bandwagon a while ago? Well, it was short lived and I've been knitting socks at a pretty good pace lately. What helped get my mojo back? My current stash of handknit socks is dwindling fast! I'm down to nervous levels... less than two weeks worth of handknit socks. ;) I know I know. But with having several of my favorites bite the dust lately, I had to kick it in to high gear.

Here are the socks that have been retired....




1. Cascading Leaves / Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino: One has a large hole in the bottom.
2. Garter Rib / Scarlet Fleece: They've both almost worn through on the bottom. These will forever been in my sock drawer for sentimental reasons -- I wore them during my csection.
3. Child's French Socks / Apple Laine: They've become bristly scratchy and have felted a little too much.
4. Diagonal Cross Rib Socks / Dream in Color Smooshy: They've worn almost all the way through on the bottom. These aren't even a year old. Once again I'm very dissatisfied with Dream in Color. I will be making a point not to buy any Dream in Color again.

So there you have it. It's a fact of a sock's life... they will wear out. It's okay. But I'm making an effort to use more durable sock yarns with a much longer lifespan. Lately I've knit...



These basic socks using Regia Canyon Color #2800. I love this colorway and the funky striping. I haven't added a finished photo of these but they're done and are already on heavy rotation. I knit the cuff with 2x2 ribbing on size 2 needles, and the heel and foot on size 0 so they're extra tightly knit resulting in a super warm sock which is necessary around these parts. Then I knit...

These are my first stranded socks. The pattern is Laila's Socks from the book Folk Knitting in Estonia, by Nancy Bush. The pattern is super easy and really moves. I used Brown Sheep Wildfoote Luxury Sock in Vinca Minor and Vanilla. Size 2 needles. They're a smidge too big but with proper washing/drying, they'll snug up just enough. I've figured out that I LOVE knitting stranded socks! There will be many more pairs in my future. Last but not least...



These are the Journey Cable Socks by Sivia Harding. I'm knitting the size medium, fingering weight variety. I used size 2 for the cuff, size 1 for the heel and instep, and may switch to size 0 for the foot after I get past the instep.

I love the cable on this sock and how it ends on the heel flap and instep. (the photo on the right is of the heel flap). I also am loving this yarn. It's Tess' Designer Yarn Super Socks & Baby which I bought at Tess' shop in Portland, Maine this past summer. It reminds me of our trip to Maine, of Tess' technicolor shop of yarny goodness, and I love the red color. I haven't knit a pair of red socks in a long time (perhaps never). It's an enjoyable knit that's moving right along.

All of these socks that I have been knitting have a high nylon/wool ratio... at least 80/20. That means that they'll all wash well and hold up over time which makes me happy.

What's next for my sock knitting? Well, nothing too adventurous ... I'm craving another pair of Monkey Socks and I have a lovely variegated Araucania Ranco Multi that I think would be a good match. That is probably what I'll bring with me to the knitting retreat this weekend....

Yes! My group is having a knitting retreat! Amanda and Kara have been organizing knitting fun for us for months now. This is the third retreat that our group has had. They're a great time! The retreat is being held at a local hotel. We're going to knit and socialize for three days straight! What a great respite from the winter blahs. We're all so excited!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

NaKniMitMo

Last month I participated in the 'National Knit Mittens Month' Knit-along on Ravelry. I followed along with the message board for the group. I enjoyed the ongoing discussion and all of the fabulous and inspiring mittens that everyone was knitting.

I knit two pairs of mittens for the KAL...


Herringbone Mittens
pattern by Elli Stubenrauch

This is a free pattern that I've wanted to knit since it was released by Ms.Elliphantom on her blog a couple years ago. I love the overall pattern... it's really made up of just two different rows. There's a great rhythm once you get moving. What I really love the most about these mittens are the thumbs. I just love the structure and the way the yarn striped up. I knit these using Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride worsted which was a delight to knit up and resulted in a velvety, sturdy, warm fabric.

What I'd change if I knit these again are the cuffs. I used size 4 needles on the 1x1 ribbing and size 6 for the body of the mitten. The cuffs are very loose and unruly. They just sort of buckle and don't do their job. They don't have the structure to stand up to the sturdy double-thick pattern of the colorwork.

I probably could go down a few more needle sizes for the cuffs, but if I were to knit these again I think I'd do something different like a double-thick seamed cuff or something. The cuffs really have kept me from wearing these very much which is a dissappointment. Maybe I'll try to retro-fit them somehow.

All in all I LOVED this pattern. I've attempted stranded mittens many times before with NO success! These were the first ones that fit me well and were fun to knit.

Bella's Mittens
pattern by Amanda
(ravelry details)

During the first weeks of January, I read the Twilight book series hot and fast. I saw the movie. I gushed like a schoolgirl with my knitting friends about all things Twilight. It was a lot of silly fun! My friend Amanda is the one who initially got our group hooked on the Twilight series. She is the one who wrote up this pattern for the mittens Bella wears in Twilight the movie. What better way to round out our obsession than to knit these mittens!?

I used size 9 needles and Knit Picks Cadena in the Mist colorway. I also did two less cable repeats up the arm. They're super warm and cozy. Plus, they've already outlived the novelty of the Twilight series for me!

NaKniMitMo was a lot of fun. I enjoyed combing over what seems like hundreds of mitten patterns to knit. I don't knit a lot of mittens on a regular basis so this was a good opportunity to devote some time to all things mitten. I've already picked out a couple patterns to knit next year.

NaKniMitMo

Last month I participated in the 'National Knit Mittens Month' Knit-along on Ravelry. I followed along with the message board for the group. I enjoyed the ongoing discussion and all of the fabulous and inspiring mittens that everyone was knitting.

I knit two pairs of mittens for the KAL...


Herringbone Mittens
pattern by Elli Stubenrauch

This is a free pattern that I've wanted to knit since it was released by Ms.Elliphantom on her blog a couple years ago. I love the overall pattern... it's really made up of just two different rows. There's a great rhythm once you get moving. What I really love the most about these mittens are the thumbs. I just love the structure and the way the yarn striped up. I knit these using Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride worsted which was a delight to knit up and resulted in a velvety, sturdy, warm fabric.

What I'd change if I knit these again are the cuffs. I used size 4 needles on the 1x1 ribbing and size 6 for the body of the mitten. The cuffs are very loose and unruly. They just sort of buckle and don't do their job. They don't have the structure to stand up to the sturdy double-thick pattern of the colorwork.

I probably could go down a few more needle sizes for the cuffs, but if I were to knit these again I think I'd do something different like a double-thick seamed cuff or something. The cuffs really have kept me from wearing these very much which is a dissappointment. Maybe I'll try to retro-fit them somehow.

All in all I LOVED this pattern. I've attempted stranded mittens many times before with NO success! These were the first ones that fit me well and were fun to knit.

Bella's Mittens
pattern by Amanda
(ravelry details)

During the first weeks of January, I read the Twilight book series hot and fast. I saw the movie. I gushed like a schoolgirl with my knitting friends about all things Twilight. It was a lot of silly fun! My friend Amanda is the one who initially got our group hooked on the Twilight series. She is the one who wrote up this pattern for the mittens Bella wears in Twilight the movie. What better way to round out our obsession than to knit these mittens!?

I used size 9 needles and Knit Picks Cadena in the Mist colorway. I also did two less cable repeats up the arm. They're super warm and cozy. Plus, they've already outlived the novelty of the Twilight series for me!

NaKniMitMo was a lot of fun. I enjoyed combing over what seems like hundreds of mitten patterns to knit. I don't knit a lot of mittens on a regular basis so this was a good opportunity to devote some time to all things mitten. I've already picked out a couple patterns to knit next year.