Thursday, May 31, 2007

Almost Made to Order

Have you ever seen hand-painted sock blockers? Go to Leggy Creations and check out some of the designs Becky has done on sock blockers.

I recently commented to Becky that I love old fashioned flowers including Lily of the Valley (my favorite flower) and she created these: Lavender and Lilly sock blockers. Then Becky was kind enough to let me know before listing them for sale that she had made them. Yes, they are a splurge. Know what? I deserve a treat right now. And I can use them as wall art, too, when they aren't being used for socks.

More importantly, they made me smile when I saw them.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Knitting Nite Discussions

Put a room full of women together knitting and you just never know what will come up in conversation. Heh heh heh. Levitr@. The "longer than four hour" problem mentioned in commercials. The fix to the longer than four hour problem if one should go to the ER (thanks, Dr. Becky!) after using such a medication. Guys, don't ask. Seriously.

We did talk about knitting, too. Really! Sarah Lou just returned from Chicago and brought gifties! My fiber friend gave me a lovely nail file for my knitting bag all the way from Loopy Yarns that is covered with sheep in a green field. Isn't it adorable? And after discussing the Knit Lite needles last week, I was gifted with my very own pair! (Sorry, B, I guess I don't need that coal miner's headlamp you were going to get me for me for knitting in the dark with after all. I appreciate your thoughtfulness, though!)

We also had to admire Sarah's completed socks... The big pair, and the two baby pairs.

Sarah also wore her completed Rusted Root sweater which looks amazing on her, and makes me want to start mine. Must. Finish. Some. WIP's.

Johari made it to YH to knit with us again, and because all the cool kids are doing it, she started on her very first pair of socks. Yay! After finishing the block of my log cabin I was working on, I dug my sock out of my bag and Becky, Sarah, Johari and I all had our own little sock club going on in the book nook of the shop. I made some good progress on the gussett of my sock (Cider Moon of course) and Bobbi and Dale are now in love with Cider Moon yarns. Ummm, how could you not be??

After much yarn fondling and inhaling of wooly fumes, I had enough willpower to buy nothing. Yes, you read that correctly. I kept reminding myself that June 9 and Knitters Connection in Columbus will be here before I know it and I will want to spend $$ there!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Up to Some Mischief

What do you do when someone really, really annoys you? ("Annoys" isn't even the right word here, but I digress... ) Why, this of course! Heheheh

Comes complete with spell book.

And pins.

Most priceless of all? The true, loyal friends who got your back! (Rest assured, male readers, this has nothing to do with men.) And that's all I can say on this matter.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Still Saturday

Thank you friends, for your sleep suggestions! I finally went to bed a little after 2:00 AM and was up before the kids. During times like that, I surf the net, read and knit. Last night I finished reading EZ's The Opinionated Knitter, and admired her genius. EZ's prose is so gentle and soothing.

Speaking of Elizabeth Zimmermann, here is my progress on the Baby Surprise Jacket. Right now it is just the willow green and yellow, as you can see. I am thinking of adding the white to sweater, also. What do you think?

If you aren't familiar with this sweater, it is knit all in one piece, looking like a big amoeba, and then a couple of seams are sewn to, surprise! make it a sweater. The pattern is not free anywhere, but I have a feeling after finishing this one I will be making more, thus making the pattern purchase well worth it. K2's little sister is expecting her first baby, and this will go to her baby shower in July. I remember when she was born! (K2 and I were 10 yrs. old.)

The Log Cabin is growing. I added two more blocks last night. The Cotton Fleece is a bit splitty if I don't pay attention, but is not hard on my hands like other cottons. This is going to be a soft, soft, blankie. Absent Minded Professor is already eyeing it.

In the loot department, my Threadless tee shirt came this week. I wore it to Yarn Haven on Tuesday and the ladies got a great chuckle from it. Georgia the sheep really is quite cute, huh?

And just as I thought, my Loopy loot arrived today. I had a store credit, so I didn't have to pay much for my order. Yay! That's a sock pattern, All Things Heather superwash in "Woods" and Panda Cotton in "Strawberry Lime." Oh! There's also some Loopy Kisses.

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What Day Is It?

Oh, by my clock it's Saturday morning. Insomnia strikes again. I even have meds for just such an occasion. Just yesterday my doc gave me samples of something new to try. "I take these when my kid has traveling soccer and I have to stay in hotel rooms," he said, "I don't hear a thing." I suppose I have to take it for it to work!

Thank goodness it's a long, holiday weekend and I do not have to get up for anything tomorrow. Mayhem and Absent Minded Professor know that on Saturdays they can have their cereal in front of the TV and cartoons if they do it quietly. My bedroom is on the first floor, in close proximity to the the kitchen and family room, so they can't get away with much mischief. The Big Labs will make sure anything that might try to be spilled won't even touch the floor. Good dogs. Because of the holiday weekend, the kids' karate school is closed and I don't even have to schlep them over there for class with their dad.

My school was hot and stinky this week. Temps met or broke records twice, and when it's hot outside, it's even hotter inside. Seventh graders have to be reminded to wear deodorant. When it's 91 outside, imagine what it's like in a 4-story school building. Who gets air conditioning? The principal. The library. The computer labs. We also made the news this week. Not for the temps in the building, but for kids wearing gang colors. That's notoriety we really don't want.

I have been knitting and tomorrow I will post a Log Cabin update and a Baby Surprise Jacket update! How exciting. Plus, I think my latest Loopy Ewe loot will be arriving.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The World Is Shrinking

Last night Sarah and I went to Yarn Haven again for S n' B, a regular Tuesday night occurrence there. I had the great pleasure of finally meeting Becky! She's sweet and softspoken, a pediatrician outside of the knitblog world. Becky brought her Bayerische sock to work on, which just blew me away. Oh my, did we ever laugh last night! There was another bonus to the evening; I won the door prize! Last night's goodie bag contained a skein of Plymouth Encore chunky, a pattern for a hat and scarf and a retractable tape measure. While there I treated myself to EZ's The Opinionated Knitter since it was the last one on the shelf!

I blame last night's bout of insomnia on Becky though. She showed me the fugliest pants in the world in an otherwise beautiful knitting book. Mitered squares and 17 skeins of Koigu. Check these out! Warning... really, really, bizarre! Koigu pants Seriously, people. If I had the opportunity to splurge on 17 skeins of Koigu, I surely wouldn't be knitting pants! I'm just sayin'.

Last night's insomnia had some benefits, though. Loopy benefits. Yes, I was awake for the latest Loopy Ewe sneak-up. Now there's a surprise. (NOT!) After that, I spent some time googling the Koigu pants to see if I could find anyone who had actually made them. Lots of opinions, no actual finished pants.

The shrinking world thing? Through blogging I have met three other knitters right here in my own T-Town. They aren't imaginary friends!
And just so you know that I'm knitting, here's my Log Cabin afghan as of today:

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Just a Suggestion

A couple of days ago, I was reading the blog over at Cider Moon. Jacki was showing off some newly dyed yarns, (Yum!) and said that one had yet to be named. I just happened to comment that maybe a little contest should be held to name that yet-to-be-named yarn. Well, lo and behold, a Name This Yarn contest was born! Many, many coments were left with name ideas. The winner will be announced sometime today and will receive a skein of that lovely yarn as the prize. Even if *I* don't win, it was so much fun! (But pick me, Jacki & Gail!)

All of my other knitting has been set aside for the Log Cabin right now. I've been working on it the most, even at work, while it is still small enough to be portable. I think it will go with me to S n' B tonight at Yarn Haven. That, and the Baby Surprise Jacket. Two projects are enough to take along. I'm going to try to not buy yarn, but may buy a pattern or two, or a book.

How many days of school now? 13. Not that I'm counting. Every day this week has me busy running to the elementary schools to talk to the 6th graders about coming to junior high. It needs to be done; those little guys need reassurance about coming to my great big building. But I also need to be in my office finishing things up.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Tag! I'm it!

Seven Random (and little-known) facts about me...

You may have seen these lists on other blogs. I noted the other day that Becky tagged me, and have been thinking about what to list here ever since. It hasn't kept me awake, but while I've been unable to sleep, it's been on my mind. Anyway, the rules are to post seven random, interesting or weird facts and then tag seven other people. Leave a comment on their blogs letting them know they've been tagged.

1. I am a first generation American. My mom and dad both came here from Germany in the early 1950's. Separately. They met here, in Ohio, got married and had 5 kids. All of my relatives, except for one of my dad's brothers (and his family) are all back in Germany. I have a half brother there, whom I've never met. (Not because I haven't been there, but because he's supposed to be a secret.)

2. My best friend is also named Karen and we've been best friends since 3rd grade. We don't live in the same city anymore, but still finish each others' sentences and often show up for visits wearing almost the exact same outfit. If you unpacked our suitcases, you would find that we packed the same things - even the same color nail polish! Our friends call us K1 and K2.

3. Unlike some other people, I am not freaked out by the sight of blood or bad injuries. When our school nurse is not around (we only have her 1-2 days a week) I am often called to help with injuries and emergencies at school... broken bones, seizures, diabetic issues. Maybe it's from all my years as a lifeguard/pool manager and then all my time with Absent Minded Professor in NICU and his seven surgeries afterward.

4. Critters and animals don't freak me out either. I regularly catch snakes, turtles, frogs, toads, tadpoles, fish, praying mantis... for the kids. Later they are released. And bugs in the house don't get squashed. They are caught in the bug jar and released outside. I do, however, refuse to have a pet that poops in the house. If it can't be trained to "go" outside, I'm not having it!

5. What does freak me out? Thunder and lightning. Send me a blizzard. Send me a flood or windstorm. Just don't send any thunder or lightning. Long story.

6. One thing I really want to do before I die is sail in a hot air balloon. I don't mean a hot air balloon that is still tethered to the ground, but a real, honest-to-goodness balloon ride where a crew on the ground is chasing us until we land.

7. I still have my teddy bear from when I was a kid. I've had him since I was about three years old. My oldest sister brought him from Germany for me when she was 14 (yes, she's that much older than I am). His name is Humphrey. Here he is!

Now, who shall I tag? Liz, Kelli, Susan, Mark, Sarah Lou, Sherry. I know. That's six, not seven. I am not going to tag more.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Here and There

Warning! Photo intensive post today!

First up, a couple photos of my most recent Longaberger basket arrivals. They are so new I haven't even gotten the shrink wrap removed from the wooden lid. And the lid? All the better for helping with the stash of yarn! The little dark brown basket is shown to give you some idea of just how small the weave is that the talented people at Longaberger use on some of these baskets.

Next? Yarn p0rn of course! Claudia Handpainted in Peppermint Mocha and Copper Pennies. Cider Moon (glacier) in Superman and (blizzard) Morning Sky. Wipe the drool off your monitors and keyboards now.

What else? Oh yes. The gorgeous, cranberry Namaste Messenger Bag. Trust me, this bag holds everything but the kitchen sink. Inside mine you'll find 3 projects, 3 patterns, 2 books, a notebook, notions bag...

Lastly, the project I can't put down right now; the beginning of my Log Cabin afghan. It's already 2 blocks larger than the photo taken earlier this evening! Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece. The side with the royal and green also has navy blue.

Becky has tagged me for the Seven Random Facts meme, so watch for some fascinating, little-known details about me soon. Like, just as soon as I fabricate them! ha ha ha ha ha

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Summer Knitting Goals

With no "knitalin" to be found and so many projects going at once, I need some goals here! While reading my daily dose of Stumbling Over Chaos, this morning, I serendipitously found that Chris had posted just what I needed. Look: Summer Contest! If you decide to join, make sure you mention how you found the contest (via me!!).

My Summer Knitting Goals:
  1. Finish WIP's (Mayhem's slippers, banana cabana socks)
  2. Make a Log Cabin Afghan (started yesterday!)
  3. Complete EZ Baby Surprise Jacket as a shower gift (scheduled for July 15)
  4. Make Rusted Root Sweater (for me)
  5. Bonus: Socks for CJ (Cider Moon Superman yarn arrived for him)

It's gray and gloomy here, so I will hold off on taking photos of my Namaste bag and the newest Cider Moon yarn that came.

17 days of school and then 90 seventh graders and I head to Washington, D.C. and Gettysburg. (I know, I'm nuts!)

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

My Mother's Day

Here they are, the two incredible beings that make me a mom. They share the same parents and couldn't be more different than night and day.

Exhibit A: Absent Minded Professor. Born 15 weeks premature almost 11 years ago, weighing in at a whopping one pound, 12 oz. He was in a rush to get here, and has been in a rush for everything ever since. Moves at hyper-speed. This photo caught him today in a 30-second stop to check for a fossil on the beach. He and I find many there.

Exhibit B: The Mistress of Mayhem. Born on April Fools' Day, after 34 hours of labor. Stubborn and determined. Funny. Bossy. This photo caught her after being told 3 times, "Do NOT go in the water." She's been asking since the ice thawed to go swimming. At least she took her shoes and socks off.

The conversation today...

Mayhem: Have I ever been to a Flea Market?
Absent Minded Professor: Of course you have, banana. Where do you think we got you?!
Mayhem: Well you have the attention span of a flea!

This is what I planned to be doing:

Instead, I was watching the sky, daydreaming, wishing I was with those folks up there...

Motherhood ain't for wimps!

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

From the Peanut Gallery

Since I don't seem to be finishing anything, and I have yet to find a drug called "Knitalin" to cure my knitting ADD, I thought I would address some of the comments previously left for me in this entry.

Beth asked "Is there enough in the Duets yarn to knit the socks w/o using the coordinating heel/toe yarn?" I suppose it would depend on the pattern. The total yardage is 360 yds., but separate yardage for the solid and variegated is not listed on the label. Want me to weight them?

Becky C. said, "I think you and I could co-enable each other right into the poorhouse!" No doubt about that, Becky. Sarah and I are doing a great job of it already. Good thing all three of us haven't manged to meet up yet!

Sarah Lou commented, "thanks for enabling me... again!!" No problem... again. Just remember you asked, no *begged* for that Loopy Ewe info! (Hey, we knitted together this morning and didn't buy any yarn.)

Liz left this comment, "Unfortunately, I am buying yarn faster than I can knit it. MUCH faster." Same here, friend. Same here.

My Namaste Messenger bag arrived and wowee! does it ever hold a lot of stuff! I'm loving it! Right now it has the following inside, and isn't even full:
  • Cider Moon banana cabana sock - in progress
  • Baby Surprise Jacket- in progress
  • Clapotis - in progress
  • practice sock on 2 circs - in progress
  • Sensational Knitted Socks book
  • Notions bag (stitch markers, scissors, etc)
  • Patterns for the 4 projects above
  • Notebook, 2 pens
  • 3 hanks of yarn (Yarn Pirate and Claudia Handpainted - to show Sarah today)

What am I trying to NOT cast on? My Rusted Root sweater and my knitted Log Cabin afghan. Seriously. I have to finish something!

Happy Mother's Day to those of you celebrating this weekend. My mom is out of the country right now... in her mid-70's and traveling with Dad in Germany.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Told Ya

Yesterday I mentioned that I have been buying a bit too much yarn lately. Maybe. I promised a photo to show you what has crossed my doorstep most recently. But first, a little disclaimer.
I'm sure I've forgotten to include something in the photo. In fact, I know that there are 4 skeins of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in my car (destined to become Rusted Root) and 3 balls of wool from the Yarn Tasting in the car as well. The Namaste Messenger Bag I ordered expressly for my knitting hasn't arrived yet. That's the last of the packages. Honest.

Notice my Loopy Ewe tote? Yay me!

So, let's take a closer look... Claudia Handpainted in Summer Rose (red) and Shark (turquoise and black) at the top. Chewy Spaghetti in Fresh at the bottom right. Those all came from The Loopy Ewe. The green/blue/lavender yarn at the bottom is Seacoast Handpainted Panda in Rain. To its left is a freebie that came in my Loopy Ewe order, Online Nepal Supersock. Last, but not least, Duets Sock Yarn in So Chic. This comes with the variegated sock yarn for the top and foot, and the solid color to make the toe and heel.

Not all of this came from The Loopy Ewe. I did order some from Pick Up Sticks, an online source out of Canada. They included a free mini sock blocker keychain with my order.

I like my yarn issues.


Monday, May 07, 2007


Life is complicated with its 'ifs' and 'ands' and 'buts.'
It's alright to be crazy, just don't let it drive you nuts!
~Jimmy Buffett~
~Ahhh, there's nothing quite like a junior high in May. Mid-quarter reports for the last grading period are going home. Kids who know they have to go to summer school have pretty much checked out mentally. Parents that haven't called or come to any conferences all year are coming out of the woodwork wanting their kids "saved" with 23 days of school left. (Not that I'm counting!) And where am I? In my office? Nope! I'm spending 2.5 to 3 hours each morning in a classroom with kids who missed the stupid state-mandated achievement test trying to make sure everyone makes it up, or as much of it as possible. From there I head to the cafeteria for principal-mandated cafeteria duty. Ugh! I am a glorified babysitter right now. By the time I get back to my office and try to get something accomplished, the day is more than half over and I feel like I'm spinning my wheels. Crazy.
~ Normally knitting helps. It seems, however, that instead of knitting consistently enough to finish anything, I've been acquiring yarn. Too much yarn. Insane amounts of yarn. Enough yarn to clothe a small country, if I could knit that fast. Crazy. I've been considering reverting back to crochet, even temporarily, since I can do that so much faster, to use up some of this stash that is accumulating so quickly. I'll take a picture tomorrow of recent arrivals at my house. One involved becoming a Loopy Groupie!
~ A friend suggested today that I put a spending freeze on myself in terms of buying yarn. Now that is really crazy. It would probably drive me nuts.


Saturday, May 05, 2007

Very Tasty

I was cordially invited, by Sarah, to attend a yarn tasting last night with her and Johari. The event took place at LYS, Yarn Haven. Having never attended a yarn tasting, I found myself wondering what to expect. How well-cooked would the yarn be? Felted or raw? Does one use fingers or sticks? What if something tasted icky? What if I *gasp* spilled something? I decided to take my set of Denise Interchangeables just to be safe.

Being among other fiber fanatics, I shouldn't have even worried a single bit. Sarah did insist on taking a few photos of us tasting the yarn. (And I DO mean tasting!) Photos may show up over on her blog. (Go wish her a Happy Birthday!!) I didn't take any pictures. I do have a shot of what we tasted, though:

Starting at the top left and going clockwise, Amaizing (made from corn), Paca De Seda (alpaca), Karaoke, Dream, and Flake Cotton (orange). I enjoyed knitting with the Flake Cotton. The thick/thin texture of the yarn creates a pattern of thick and thin stitches in whatever you knit. I didn't buy any of these yarns, though. I bought 3 balls of Naturally Nazareth wool in shades of blue (on clearance) to make a felted bag and some Addi Turbo needles.

Why more Addi's? you ask. This week, while babysitting students who were making up the required Ohio Achievement Tests, I taught myself a new trick. Look!

Yes, that's a sock on two circular needles. Lorna's Laces Red Rover, if you want to know the yarn color. Addi size 2's. Last night I bought two pair of size 1's.

Why size 1's? In anticipation of this, which arrived in the mail today. Yarn Pirate yarn!!!

"Malamute" is here! and "Cannon Beach."

The long-coveted "Malamute"

When I get stressed or have decision-making to do, a couple of things happen. I lose sleep because I can't shut off my brain. Second, I have occupy my brain with something else, like learning something new. Hence the sock on two circular needles. I just needed to wrap my brain around something other than what has been bouncing around in my head lately. Might as well learn a new trick, right? I also cast-on for the Baby Surprise Jacket this week. (Don't worry, it's not for me!)

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Some Things I learned

Once again, I found meeting a Knitting author to be enlightening. Like me, Annie Modesitt is a self-taught knitter. She's been told, "you're doing it wrong," more than once, and has even had people take over her knitting to show her the right way. Ha! Annie has also worked for Vogue Knitting making samples and as technical writer. She eventually got over what others thought about her "wrong way" of knitting, discovering later that it is actually "combination knitting". Again, there are many ways to get to the end result. Knitting has kept Annie sane through some tough times and there are many, many readers out there who can relate to that. You know I can.

Know what else I learned? Annie grew up in Toledo. OK, I knew that from her book, Confessions of a Knitting Heretic. BUT, she went to school in the district where I work. Annie went to junior high here, in my building where I work every day!!! Annie walked these halls, and sat in these classrooms where my knitting and I spend our days. How cool is that? We had the chance to chat about it for a couple of minutes. She admired my simple garter stitch scarf and signed my book, "To Karen - I love your scarf!" The scarf is made from Cascade Malizia in a rose, green and tan colorway and looks like it has butterflies or flowers in it because of the way the yarn is made. Here is Annie's account of the evening... you can even see Sarah in the bottom right of the photo!

Vintage Yarns owner, Shirleen, was sweet enough to give everyone in attendance a 15% off coupon for her shop. After Annie finished speaking, Sarah and I headed into the store to get goodies! We both bought Cotton Fleece to make the Rusted Root sweater. Sarah chose two different colors, Candy Apple and Periodot. I chose a very light blue called Nymph.
Pictures of the evening...

Lovely Sarah modeling one of Annie's hats.

Annie Modesitt with her amazing hats and knitting.

Me, Annie, and Sarah. "Say 'Sheyboygan'"

Other news? I finally managed to score some of Yarn Pirate's lovely "Malamute"!! How? I commented recently on Sheri's blog (you know, Sheri from The Loopy Ewe) about missing a recent update but being told there wasn't any Malamute that time around anyway. Georgia, the Yarn Pirate herself, emailed me info about where and approximately when to find some Malamute. Today, One Planet Yarn and Fiber had an update and I grabbed my Malamute and ran! Yay me!

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