Saturday, September 29, 2007

My Other First Swap

I have been participating in the Hogwarts Sock Swap as well as the football a long, and my package arrived from my pal all the way from Wales.
She sent me a teapot, cup and saucer with a tea cozy and tea, sherbet lemon drops, mint humbugs, dragon souvenirs of Wales, bamboo needles, 4 knitted beanies for my former student in Iraq, a whole box of stitch markers, and some great socks.
I had to laugh when I saw the socks. You can see in the picture, I had started the same pattern! And, what great luck, the symbol for Wales is a dragon, and I collect dragons.
My quality control supervisor checked out the box and all the contents; he gave it all his approval.
Thank you Rowena Acromantula (Sandra).

Monday, September 24, 2007

From My Morning Commute

This was the view from my school last Thursday morning.

I really love some parts of teaching in a semi-rural school. The sunrises are definitely a major perk!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

My First Swap

How much fun is this??

OU crimson and cream wool, so I can make a felted bag or some slippers. Crimson and cream stitch markers, a Cowboys lanyard, great coffee, and an ESPN paperweight. My pal outdid herself! And a dip recipe - it calls for Rotel and cream cheese - it has to be good!

Thanks Robin; you made my first swap great!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Knitpicks new Harmony needles

I have been following the thread on Knitters Review regarding these needles and was surprised at how many said they hated the colors. I didn't hesitate to order as soon as I saw them because I loved the colors.

Anyway, they arrived today and I had to cast on and try them. One of the concerns expressed was how they would be with varigated yarn. I am using Seacoast yarn in the Acorn colorway, which is a pretty bland varigation, but I see no problems.

I know the image is sort of dark, but it is clear that the colors are not blinding. One thing though is that these are US size 2. The colors certainly could be more obvious in larger sizes.

The needles are smooth and light, the joins are smooth, and the tips are sharp. I really like these needles! I will be ordering more soon.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I had a question about the pattern for one of these baby sweaters, so I thought I would repost them all. I made all of these over the last 6 months or so from the Knitting Pure and Simple Top Down Baby Cardigan pattern.
The brown in from Knitpicks washable merino, the blue is a mercerized cotton that I can't remember, the yellow is from Cotton Ease, the multi-color stripe is Plymouth Encore, and the pink-red stripe is Patons SWS.
I really love this pattern because it has been so easy to do and so easy to create different looks. Although I do hope I can take a break from baby sweaters for a couple of months at least.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Hogwarts Sock Swap Meme

What type of pet do you choose as your companion at Hogwarts?

Since I have four at home, of course I would choose a cat! Although I would really like an owl, but birds and my cats just do not mix well.

While shopping in Hogsmeade you stop by Honeydukes for some sweets. What treats do you purchase for yourself?

I love chocolate and usually have something chocolate every day. I also really like peppermint.

A potion you are preparing needs an ingredient available only at muggle shops. You don't want to stand out in your wizards robes, so you resort to traditional muggle clothing. Describe your outfit in detail.

If I'm coming from work, it's usually khakis and a solid colored shirt; if it's a weekend, I'm in jeans. Whatever time, I'm always in something casual and comfortable - usually browns or greens (my husband says I dress in swamp colors).

What is your favorite subject to study at Hogwarts and why?

Care of Magical Creatures because I really love most animals.

Likewise, what subject is your least favorite and why?

I would not like Defense Against the Dark Arts or Divination. It all sounds creepy to me; I really don't like horror stuff.

Back to the potion you were shopping for ingredients for, what type of potion are you making, what color is it, what are the ingredients, and precisely what does the potion do?

I would make a form of a love potion except that I would use great pieces of writing to infuse a love of reading into my students.

And, isn't this the classic cat expression? Such disdain for this thing I brought home!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Yet Another Knitalong

After watching from the sidelines and reading all the great stories, I decided to join the Hogwarts Sock Swap. While it's not finished, it has been great fun, and then someone on KR wrote about a football based knitalong.

What fun - a combination of two things I love!

So, I have joined footballalong. The first project was to knit a teddy bear outfit for the Cubs for Kids charity in your favorite team's colors. Of course, I went out immediately looking for crimson and cream - hard to find in Texas! I found something close, so here is the result.

I am still finishing the scarf, but I wanted to get this posted before school starts tomorrow.
And, the first OU game is next Saturday! Knitting may have to wait a bit.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I've Learned Something New!!

. . .but I'm not going to say what it is until the Hogwarts Sock Swap is over.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Look What's Cooking

I can't say exactly what's cooking since my sock swap pal knows my blog address - but it's not spaghetti! I have used pineapple, lemon, tamarind, and mango.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

KPS Cardigan Number 5

This is the last for awhile, I hope, of the baby cardigans. I started this one for my niece's new son, but wasn't happy with how it was looking, so I made the blue one instead. I was cleaning out a drawer however and found the buttons, and I thought they would improve the sweater, so I finished it today. The buttons are wooden acorns and leaves. My husband says it looks like a druid's sweater.

Now I'm going back to UFO's. I have nearly finished the front of the Rowan Audrey that I started nearly two years ago. When I get that done, it's back to the Rogue Hoody.

Of course, I also joined my first swap, so I have socks to do for that. I have had a terrible time finding yarn that I liked since I need Hufflepuff colors and I want to avoid the bumblebee look. However, I think I have figured that out and just need to get started.

I go back to school August 17th though, so my free time will soon be limited.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Booking Through Thursday

I just saw this on another blog.

Booking Through Thursday
Okay, love him or loathe him, you’d have to live under a rock not to know that J.K. Rowling’s final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, comes out on Saturday… Are you going to read it?
If so, right away? Or just, you know, eventually, when you get around to it? Are you attending any of the midnight parties?
If you’re not going to read it, why not?
And, for the record… what do you think? Will Harry survive the series? What are you most looking forward to?

Yes, I am anxiously waiting for midnight Friday. We are traveling to see our daughter and her husband. Marley and I will be at the midnight sale, get our books and get home as fast as possible. We have both planned snacks for our marathon read and will finish the book early Saturday morning.

This is what we did with the last book, although Marley was in Chicago and I was in Texas. We talked by cell phone as we waited in line, got the book, and read through it. She reads faster than I do; she was through by 4 am and I finished around 4:30 am.

If JKR follows archetypal writing, Harry should survive although probably with some sort of major loss. I am afraid at least one Weasley will die, although I hope not Ron, and I am sort of worried about Neville. I think Remus Lupin might be a possibility also.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Want to Get Sorted?

a Ravenclaw!

Hoorah! I've joined my first swap!

Hogwarts Sock Swap Questionnaire

1. I was sorted into Ravenclaw.
2. I wear shoe size 8.5
3. My foot length is 9.5"
4. Foot circumference is 8.5"
5. Favorite DPN: a. Bryspun Size 2 US, 4" length
b. Any other wood or plastic - metal needles hurt my hands.
6. I'm always open to trying new needles. I generally make all socks with size 2 US.
7. I am a Ravenclaw, but I have no strong preferences as to color.
8. I am asthmatic, so any strong odors can make me wheeze. There is no smoking in my house, but I do have 3 cats and 2 dogs, so there is generally animal hair in anything I knit.
9. I am in the US, but I am willing to have an international Pal.

This is really exciting, but somewhat scary - I have never knitted for someone I didn't know. I've already started looking in the stitch library books because I really want to make some great socks.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

KPS Baby Cardigan #4

One more KPS cardigan. This one is mercerized cotton. I thought it seemed kind of plain, so I tried embroidery. I haven't tried embroidery on my knitted things before - it was a challenge! I finally printed star patterns from Word, cut them out, pinned them on and stitched around them. The tail on the shooting star sort of droops because I don't think I pinned it enough.
Anyway, my niece had her second son last Friday (the day before her scheduled shower!), so this is ready for him.
I really love this pattern; it is so basic and it is easy to customize. I don't have another baby to knit for on the horizon, but I already have some ideas for different looks.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

One More Project Completed

This wasn't a UFO, but one I needed to complete. This is a baby cardigan in Cotton Ease from the Knitting Pure and Simple top down pattern. One of my daughter's college friends is having a baby boy next month, and my daughter requested a sweater.
This pattern is so quick and easy to do. The sweater seemed sort of plain until I added train buttons, so I hope the new mom likes it.
I bought a bag of three skeins of Cotton Ease at Tuesday Morning on clearance, and I have enough to do another cardigan like this and probably a hat or two.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Alaska - More About the Cruise

I have had a lot of questions about the cruise. We went on Holland America, on the Amsterdamm. This was our first cruise, so I don't have any comparisons, but we were very happy with this ship. As you can tell from the picture on the bow, I am not altogether comfortable on a ship. In fact, I normallly really hate being on water, but this was a very pleasant experience. This picture was taken the first time I went out on the bow. After this, the bow became one of our favorite places unless we were at speed, because we could see so much. It was really great to be out there when we were coming into a harbor because it was quiet and we could see so much of the places we were going.
This ship was one of the smaller ones, holding around 1300 passengers. This is what we were looking for - we didn't want to be with hordes, and we didn't want to be in a perpetual party. This cruise tends to attract older people (older than we are!), so we thought it would be more sedate, which it was. That doesn't mean there weren't things to do on the ship, but there wasn't a rock wall, wave pool, no big bar/dance places. They had games, competitions, some sports things, shows, etc., but the second picture shows our favorite place which was the library although I didn't get a lot of reading done because I was watching the scenery go by and watching for whales most of the time.
Our room was very comfortable, the food was good, and the crew was great. We really had the trip mojo going because we got an upgrade which put us about two cabins from the stairs/elevators; our dinner table assignment was right by the stern windows so we had an amazing view, and our tablemates were interesting and great to talk to. Even though it's not something I would normally do, I went to the casino a couple of times; trip mojo again because I hit a nickle slot for $180!! The only time I felt crowded on the ship was the first meal when we were all put in the buffet area while the rooms were finished. There were just so many public areas that we never had a problem finding a place to sit and stare out the windows.
Finally, I would go again in a minute. I have already started looking at cruise/land travel packages. A big part of that is Alaska itself - I really want to see more, but I would choose Holland America again also.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


My husband and I just got back from a seven day cruise to the Inside Passage of Alaska. We left from Seattle, went to Juneau, Glacier Bay, Sitka, Ketchikan, Victoria and then back to Seattle.

It was absolutely amazing. We went on a couple of excursions and saw humpback whales, a gray while, sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters, porpoises, a grizzly bear, bald eagles, and lots of birds I couldn't identify.

I took lots of whale pictures. I think seeing whales was the best thing for me. Coming from landlocked Texas Panhandle, I was just taken aback at how beautiful they were.

We also saw a grizzly bear, sitting on a small island eating grass. The naturalist on the boat told us he was probably not long out of hibernation and was trying to get his system restarted. The waterfall in the background is coming from Redoubt Lake feeding into Redoubt Bay outside of Sitka.

We saw a lot of bald eagles and some nests. Wow, those nests are huge. We saw one eagle down in the water, evidently fighting to get a fish out and saw a lot just soaring. It was hard to get a picture of those; this was was easier to catch.

We saw several glaciers, although we had to miss the Johns Hopkins glacier because of fog. We stood out on the bow of the ship and we could hear the ice popping and cracking. We even saw one glacier calve, losing a chunk of ice that we think was about the size of a Suburban. It truly sounded like thunder! And, arent' the colors amazing??

And, of course, I bought yarn. Thanks to nice ladies at Knitters Review, I had an address for Skeins in Juneau where I found some DK wt. for socks from Rabbit Ridge in Anchorage. In Sitka, we went to an Arts and Crafts center where I found yarn that had been dyed in Sitka, Raven-Frog Fiber Arts. I bought some merino/silk to make a stole in a colorway called Kelp. This seemed appropriate - we went out to kelp beds to look for sea otters in Sitka. Then in Ketchikan I found a store that had both yarn and beads - Alaska Bead Shop. I found some Lorna's Laces in a colorway called Baltic Sea - of course, I wasn't in the Baltic, but I saw all those colors in the seas we were in. And, I met some really nice people. It is so nice to travel for thousands of miles and still find something in common with the people you meet. The ladies in Alaska Bead Shop were especially knowledgable about the different yarns, and they had a lot of yarn!

So, now I have to get back to the real world, but I am determined to get back to Alaska again.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Knitting meme

I have never done a meme, nor have I even wanted to do one until I saw this on Knitters Review. This made me feel really good about what I have done!

Bold for stuff you've done, italics for stuff you plan to do one day, and normal for stuff you're not planning on doing.

Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-upMittens: Top-down
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with bananafiber yarn
Domino knitting (=modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting (?)
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Baby items
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffitti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money
Knit lefty style (backwards)
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dyeing with plant colours
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies, coasters...)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items)on two circulars
Olympic knitting!
Knitting with someone else's handspun yarn
Knitting with dpns
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dyeing yarn
Knitting art
Knitting two socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars simultaneously
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO

Knitting with beads
Swatching (it's happend once or twice, not often)
Long Tail CO
Entrelac Knitting
Purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with selfpatterning/selfstriping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/armwarmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair (all the time, but not on purpose)
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

Knitting Retreat Project Finished!

I finally finished the alpaca hand warmers. We started these at the Gourmet Yarn knitting retreat. I had to learn tubular cast on, Magic Loop and tubular bind off.

I really love Magic Loop, and I'm now looking for a size 2 circular needle, so I can try socks using Magic Loop. Tubular cast on/bind off didn't impress me that much.

Cat Socks

No, not socks for the cat, but socks in a colorway that matches the cat.
He wasn't happy about posing, and you can't see his bright blue eyes very well, but I bought this yarn because it matches "Kittyboy".
This is a Socks That Rock line named Lucy, I saw the yarn on another blog, although the colorway in those socks made a sort of flame pattern - the mysteries of gauge!
I have been knitting as fast as I can to get these done, so I can have the needles for the cruise - we leave in less than a week. I want to start a new pair on the trip, so I will have Alaska socks.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

No Knitting - Just a Brag

If you don't live in Texas, this may not make sense to you.

My school got our TAKS results Thursday. I teach 8th grade English and my students' percentage was - 98% passing!!!!

And, I had 60% make Commended for Reading!!!

This is justification for me because I absolutely refuse to focus on TAKS through the year. My philosophy is, if I am teaching what I should, then students should do well on the test. I do not use TAKS materials and try not to even mention TAKS through the year. I usually use a PreAP curriculum for both PreAP and my on-level classes and just use different readings for the on-level classes. I have the reputation of being a hard teacher, and I do have high expectations.

This has been a difficult year. I have had a rough class - lots of cheating, lots of defiance, lots of disinterest in school. We have had conflict in our building.

So, this is a great way to end my year. Yay for my kids!!

Monday, May 07, 2007

My First Knitting Retreat

How exciting to finally get to go to a knitting retreat. You guys who have local yarn stores and who have knitting gatherings might not be able to understand how nice it is to be in a group of people with the same interests and skills, to be with people who know KnitPicks and Jo Sharp and Noro, to have someone understand when I say things like yarn over and felted.

A colleague and I drove 4 hours to Oklahoma City, shopped for awhile, and then drove east again to get to the conference center for the retreat. It was certainly worth the effort - what a wonderful group of people. We learned several new skills such as Magic Loop and tubular cast on, had some alpaca to play with and, best of all, made some new knitting friends. The setting was beautiful, the food was good, and we had a great time. I have one completed wrist warmer, about a third of a lace face cloth and many great memories

We even met another Texan - the star of the wrist warmers section - Dawn was the first to finish!

I also met someone I had known previously through blogs and Knitters Review. Blogland is great for finding new yarns and patterns - thanks Kay for giving me more to look at!

Thank you Margaret for putting this together - I'm sorry you weren't able to stay. Thanks Melissa and Nancy for all the help and encouragement and instruction. Thanks to Linda for a lot of information and advice. Thanks to Nina and Lillian and Anita for all the great book talk. To all the others whose names I can't quite remember - thanks for all the fun.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

How Bizarre

I had noticed the Project Spectrum buttons on some blogs, but I really hadn't paid attention until I read a post in Panhandle Knit and Sew and realized what it was. So I followed the button - sounds like a fun thing to join in on and (This is the bizarre thing) the colors for this time period are gray, blue and white. And, here are the socks I had been working on this month, before I ever read about Project Spectrum.

I seldom buy blue yarn - it's just not a good color for me, but I wanted to try this Regia cotton blend, and I wanted socks to wear with jeans. The gray socks are Cashsoft 4 play. I found the pattern stitch in a couple of books. In the Barbara Walker Treasury 2 the version is a little different, but is called Turtle Tracks.

I knitted both on size 2 needles, starting with 60 for the striped and 56 for the gray. I had some trouble with ladders on the striped ones, but my experience has been that these will disappear after the first washing.

Another view of Turtle Tracks. I really like the cable-esque look combined with some eyelets. This is an easy pattern to follow - only eight rows with YO's and decreases that move over a stitch every other row.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Four FO, One more UFO

To date I have finished a baby blanket, a baby sweater and hat, and two pair of socks. I have posted pictures of the blanket and sweater earlier, and I forgot to take a picture of the college bowl socks before I mailed them, but I also finished my Socks That Rock. I started these last July while flying to Copenhagen. I broke one of my needles on the plane, so I had to limp along with 4 DPN's instead of 5. I put them away because I really wasn't thrilled with the color, but in the spirit of finishing, I dug them out last week and finished!
While looking for some stray needles, I found this T-Shirt that I started for myself last summer, out of elann's Sonata. I love the pattern, but I really have trouble knitting for myself - evidently I have a distorted self image because this sweater is about 6 inches too big in circumference. All I have left are the sleeves and the neck ribbing, so I think I will finish it and try to tactfully find someone to give it to.
The last picture is my idea of a great Sunday afternoon. I have a fire in the woodstove and my buddy on my lap. (Note the "Rock N Roll Knitter" shirt)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

And more UFO's

So, I found 3 more UFO's. The red is the start of Rowan's Audrey in Calmer. I can't believe I forgot this because I loved this color when I saw it in a yarn store, but they didn't have quite enough. I took a chance, bought what they had and then tried to find more. Luckily I found some online and, even though the dyelots aren't the same, they all look the same. Now I just need to get this done.
The other two are furry scarves - I am so tired of novelty yarn! Again, color caught me on the orangey one - it is a great blend of orange, pink and gold. I bought the yarn for the other scarf on a clearance for possibly gnome beards. However, it has quite a bit of metallic copper, so I don't think it would be right for beards, but a colleague thinks she would like a scarf, so I'll get it done. I only have about 6 inches left.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

And, here is why I had time to get out UFO's and finish some things. Snow started here Friday night, and it snowed through late Saturday night; we had around 9 inches total. I spent most of Saturday knitting in front of the woodstove. However, this picture is from Sunday morning, and the melting has already started, which is great since we have to be in school tomorrow.

UFO's - Batch #2

Another sweater for me - this will be a hooded tunic out of Paton's SWS in the Earth colorway. I made one for my daughter and loved it, so I started one for me. I currently have four (actually five) socks in progress. The red are out of WoolEase and have a candy-cane pattern, so they can wait for next Christmas; The purple are Chutes and Ladders pattern, the purple blue striped are my first use of Socks that Rock yarn, which I just got bored with. The brown tweed are for my son-in-law and this is the second sock, although neither one is finished yet. I am doing parts of each one after another, so they stay the same.

Cleaning out UFO's was such a help. I found the baby blanket, and I found this sweater that is knit from Canadiana when my daughter was about 13 (she's 23 now), but I think it will still fit her because I didn't understand gauge very well then, and it's really big. All I need to do is sew it together and finish the bands. Then I have a bag of scarves in progress - the green is elann's Baby silk in (I think) a Cascade lace, the black is some alpaca I bought at an alpaca ranch in Taos, N.M., the pink is my first attempt with mohair (which I hate), and the purpley black is Branching Out in some wool I bought in Copenhagen this summer. I don't know who will get the scarves, so I don't feel much pressure to finish them. They are mainly for me to try new fibers or new techniques.

I joined a UFO group in Yahoo with the hope that public display would be humiliating, and I would get some finished. I didn't take pictures of the things that I am just frogging and/or giving away. I have 3 sweaters that need minor finishing work, but I hate them, so I will finish them and give them to a local charity - nothing really wrong with them except that I no longer want sweaters out of acrylics. I also had 3 sweaters that I gave to others to either finish or frog and use the yarn.

I also set a goal this year of knitting from my stash. I know I won't go for very long without buying yarn, but I set a rule for myself of no new yarn until at least 3 UFO's are completed. Well, I have finished two, but I also have already gotten some new yarn. I have a hard time resisting sales, and I found RYC Cashsoft 4 ply on sale at Webs, so I ordered enough to make 4 pair of socks. Oh well - I can rationalize this because I also worked 4 basketball games at my school, which paid me enough to nearly cover the cost of the yarn.

UFO's - Batch #1

Here are the two that I have nearly finished. The pinwheel blanket was for a great-nephew - who turns 5 next month. However, his mom is pregnant again, so it will be great for the next one. The sweater and hat are for a former student's baby. I don't normally knit for ex-students (or current ones) but this young man is on his second tour in Iraq, and I teach with his mother.

The striped sweater is from the naturally colored cotton; I can't remember the name, but I know I bought it from elann. This was going to be a V-neck pullover for me, but I think I am going to frog it and use the yarn for something else. The other sweater is a Rogue hoodie for my daughter. You can see the body is to the armholes, and I have started the sleeves. I got off on the cables on the sleeves, so I need to rip some out and try again. I have enjoyed this pattern but it has also been incredibly frustrating.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Bowl Socks

Football and knitting just go together for me, and this college bowl season has been great for these socks.

I started them on the 23rd, ripped out and restarted them on the 26th, and turned the heel on the second sock this morning, the 2nd. I would have gotten further last night, but those Sooners!! They had to play such an exciting game! Even though they lost, I am still so proud of those young men, and I know next year will be spectacular for OU.

Anyway, I have mainly worked on these during games, most of which didn't turn out to my liking. I always pull for Big 12 schools, and this just wasn't their year.

The colors are really skewed in this picture also. I used Photoshop Elements to try to get it to somewhere close, but it still isn't right. I am using Regia in a brown tweed, and am using a pattern I found on the net called Gentlemen's Socks. I really like the twist in the rib, and I plan on making myself a pair with this same pattern, probably with some self-striping yarn. It makes a really cushy sock.

Edit: After looking at this picture on my blog, I realized that one sock was shorter than the other, so I pulled out the heel and added more to the leg - much better!