Friday, August 31, 2007

Where do I sign up?

A fellow knitter, spinner, quilter, co-worker, and all around good person clipped this from the newspaper for me. Since she does not have a blog (although I'm trying...) I'm posting it on mine! Thanks, Pat!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Dogs on Thursday

For this week's Dogs on Thursday post, I give you Emma only. Tara was much too shy. Either that or she was too lazy to drag her but off the sofa to join in the picture-taking festivities. You decide.

Anyway, this is the lovely Emma.
Hey - what's that she's looking at? My newly-bound copy of Charlene Schurch's "Sensational Knitted Socks"! Thanks to the brilliant HDW of the Crafty Momma blog, this book has a new spiral binding. Much easier to use!!!! It can now lay out flat on my lap while I'm struggling with mastering the intricacies of the various stitch patterns. I took the book to Staples and they cut off the old binding and replaced it with this swanky spiral binding for the grand total of .... [insert drumroll] .... $2.00! Talk about a bargain. Thanks for the suggestion, Crafty Momma! (Go check out her blog. She lives on a beautiful island off the coast of Maine, and has three great kids!)

In case you think it was a piece of cake getting a picture of Emma where she appeared to be engrossed in the spiral binding, I give you these:

These are just a few of the many, many shots I took to try and lure Emma close to the book. Yes, you might see some treats that I used to get her into the shot. Yes, that is, indeed, doggy slobber on the ottoman. Oh, was all in the interest of capturing a blog-worthy picture.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Ode to #7

Ahh, fair Jaywalker,
You are my seventh pair.
I love your pattern,
Your yarn, beyond compare.
Grumperina’s pattern,
Is my favorite, so far.
No other socks,
Have been up to par.

The yarn is Cherry Tree Hill,
Merino Supersock,
From my
Secret Pal 10,
(Hey, Eve, you rock!)

I know you must think,
That I'm pretty fickle.
I worked on you for days,
But now I'm in a pickle.

Yes, I love your pattern,
Yes, I love your yarn,
But I got a
new sock book,
And all I can say is "Darn"!

Between the Mosaics and the Ribs,
Cabled, Gartered and Waffled,
My heart is beating faster,
And my mind is becoming baffled.

Not for ordinary yarn,
These patterns are so cool.
I’m paging through this book,
And beginning to drool.

What sock shall I knit?
Of which pattern am I most fond?
One thing for sure, dear Jaywalker,
You are going to the frog pond.
Ahh, fair Jaywalker,
Pair number seven.
If there is a God,
I'm sure you are in Heaven.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dogs on Thursday

Can it be Dogs on Thursday already? Tara says "What do you mean 'already'? EVERY day should be 'Dogs on Thursday'!" To spite me, this is the best picture I could get of her, and yes, she is sticking her tongue out at me. I get no respect.

Here is the lovely Emma.She would like to do something cute and creative for this week's picture, but she is just too tired. You see, she has been spending the better part of two weeks trying out new places to sleep at night. Mommy's bed is no longer good enough. She has to wander around. She has been in the other bedroom, the dining room, the living room...all in an effort to get away from me, I am sure. I take my pillows and follow her, and she promptly gets up and wanders to another spot. Let me tell you, it hurts my feelings! I give her everything she could ever want, and this is how she repays me? I scratch her ears when they need scratching...I rub her belly when it needs rubbing...I kiss her nose when it needs kissing...I lift up the covers so she can climb under them when she is chilly. Suddenly she is developing an independent streak. I won't have it, I tell you! She will snuggle up and sleep with me, or else! Or else, what? I'm not sure. I haven't figured that out, yet. It will most likely involve grovelling (on my part) and the dispensing of an enormous quantity of treats and beef jerky.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Secret Pal 11 contest!

My Secret Pal 11 hostess is Heatherly of Yarn Yenta fame. She is holding a contest, and all we have to do to enter is answer the questions below. No problem!

Here are the questions:

1. What is the one knitting accessory you could not live without?

Hmmmm, tough one. I think it would have to be coilless safety pins. Love 'em! They have to be the ones without the coil, though, as traditional safety pins get stuck in the knitting. I use the little ones as stitch markers, counters, or just to hold a yarn needle or extra counters or whatever. I use the bigger ones as stitch holders, but first I blunt the sharp point with a metal file- makes it much easier to slip the stitches onto the safety pin.

2. If you're heading on vacation, do you take knitting with you? If so, how much and what type of project?

Vacation...what's that? I haven't been anywhere since 1997. I just can't leave the dogs. "So, take them with you!", you say. I did. In 1997, we all went to Boothbay Harbor, Maine. It is lovely there, and we had a great time, as long as we didn't leave the cabin and try and take the dogs into polite society. My dogs are spoiled, undisciplined hooligans, but I wouldn't have them any other way. (Well, maybe the tiniest bit of discipline wouldn't be such a bad thing.)

Back to knitting, though. I always take a sock-in-progress where ever I go. Appointments, errands, day trips, etc. You never know when you will be delayed somewhere, and knitting keeps me sane. I keep a "mindless" pair of socks on the needles in the car at all times!

3. Where have you travelled to that you'd consider your favorite spot?

Well, see the answer above. I've not really been anywhere, really. I've been as far west as Ohio (for a jigsaw puzzle contest! FUN!), south to Florida (the obligatory trips to Walt Disney World) and north to Maine, and somewhere in Ontario, Canada. I don't remember where, exactly, it was so long ago, but it was a cabin on a lake, and it was beautiful. The trips to Maine and Canada were my favorites.

4. What is your favorite knitting book at the moment? Do you own it?

Now that's a tough question. I think my all-time favorite knitting book would have to be "Folk Socks" by Nancy Bush. It was the first sock book I purchased, and I go back to it again and again. I'm also a big fan of the Yarn Harlot. I have all of her books (I think) except for the recent release "Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off".

5. Do you listen to podcasts? Which is your favorite(s)?

I haven't listened to any podcasts. Can anyone offer a suggestion?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Dogs on Thursday

Emma and Tara read about "Dogs On Thursday" at Nichole's blog, and decided that they would like to be featured on mommy's blog each week.

Here are the little beasties beauties enjoying a ride in the car:

They say that every day should be "Dogs on Thursday," as there is really no need to talk about knitting or kayaking or anything in the world except for them!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Stuck in a rut!

My sixth pair of Jaywalkers. Ta Daaaa!

So what do you do after knitting six pair socks in the same pattern? Cast on for a seventh pair!
I just can't stop myself. I spent quite a while going through my sock books, and surfing around on the Internet while on vacation last week, and considered the Monkey pattern by Cookie A., or the Double Eyelet Rib or Cabletini patterns by Wendy Johnson, but no, back to the tried-and-true. Wendy's patterns are both toe-up, and although I've tried toe-up patterns in the past and didn't really like them, Wendy's construction is different, and think I'd like to give it a go. For now, those Jaywalkers just have a hold on me and refuse to let go!

On another subject, I was reading this post on Criquette's blog, and for a few fevered minutes I considered getting myself out to Kansas in mid September to join in on the seaming party for afghans for the Rebuilding Greensburg project, and to see the famous YARN HARLOT in Wichita on September 15th. How fun would that be? One problem - Wichita is 21 hours away. That's a loooong drive. Another problem -- I am terrified of flying, even if I could afford it, which I can't. Another problem -- it would take days to get there and back by train. Cheaper than flights, but still can't afford it. Another problem -- how could I ever leave these sweet little faces?

Well, it was a fun virtual vacation while it lasted...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Who Did This?

Quick post before heading off to work. We made Emma and Tara's dog food for the coming week on Sunday, just like we do every weekend. The meatloaves were cooling on the counter, waiting to be portioned & frozen. Apparently someone couldn't wait:

Here is Emma. Does she look guilty or what???

Sunday, August 12, 2007

What I did on my vacation (warning: picture-heavy post)

I can't believe it is Sunday already, and I have to go back to work in the morning. I've tried working, and I've trying being on vacation, and I much prefer being on vacation. But, I have to keep the pups in vittles, so... off to work I go.

This has been a weird week. In one sense, it was steeped in all things Jane Austen. In another sense, it was full of unsuitable activities for the average practicing vegetarian.

First for the Jane Austen. I watched Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility on TV this week. The 1995 versions, as opposed to the many other adaptations that have been made. 1995 was a very good year for Austen remakes. P&P with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy - be still my heart. S&S with Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson. I have seen this film at least 30 times, and cry like a baby every time Edward... well, I don't want to ruin it for anyone who has not seen it. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.

We also went to the theater and saw the new movie Becoming Jane. Cried at this one, too, but had to try and restrain myself because I was out in public. It's not like I was sitting next to a stranger and blubbered on his sleeve. I was seated between my mother & sister, but still had to choke back the tears. Highly recommend it, also. The movie, not the crying.

Now for the non-vegetarian part. Mom has always wanted to go to Havre de Grace, Maryland. It's a nice, quaint little town on the Chesapeake Bay, or maybe the Susquehanna River, I'm not sure which. Anyway, there was water. We stopped to look out at the water on a public pier, and met the nicest people. They were fishing, and happened to catch a catfish while we were there. Mom, S and I were all ooohing and aaahing over the fish, and, thinking they found an appreciative audience, proceeded to show us a lovely beast they caught earlier in the day. It was a 2 foot catfish. Here is the nice young man who caught it. You might not be able to tell from this picture, but there is, indeed, a big catfish in that basket. It was looking at me with sad eyes, begging me to rip that basket out of the boy's hands and set him free to go back to his catfish family in the river. I didn't, and that fish ended up on the dinner table, I'm sure.

Then we went to the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum. I was thinking it would be full of lovely bird carvings. WRONG! There were a lot of carvings, but they were carved into bird-shaped lures to entice unsuspecting feathered friends into what they think is a nice place to stop and rest on their long journey, but then before you know it they are under attack from men with guns! In a word - DECOYS!

Why did I not see this coming? There were also lovely displays of boats and blinds and guns. Yuck. Now, please don't comment on how fees from hunting licenses, etc. are used to preserve wetlands, and how hunters are doing a service by "harvesting" the "crop" of ducks or geese or whatever so that they don't starve to death over the long, cold winter. I've heard it all, and "to each his own." I just think the museum's name should clearly reflect what you will see when you enter. What's that? Oh, right. The Havre de Grace Decoy Museum. Never mind.

To top things off, on Friday we went to Cabela's in Hamburg, Pa. Friends were going out there to buy an outboard motor, so my sister and I tagged along.

This also falls into the category of "Why did I not see this coming?" Sure, they had some boating things, but the store was filled hunting supplies. The worst part was the stuffed animals. Not the cute cuddly kind made out of fake fur & polyester stuffing. The real, honest-to-goodness, used-to-be-alive kind of stuffed animals. Hundreds of them. Truly. Geese suspended in V-formation hanging from the ceiling, a safari area with an elephant & zebras & a bunch of other animals, and in the center of the store, a huge 2-storey mountain with every kind of bear and elk and deer you can imagine. It was so horrifying, I couldn't look away from it. At one point it felt like the blood was draining out of my body & I started to get chills. Icky. Anyway, I went to the dog supplies area and between the doggy hunting vests and "training" collars, I found some all-natural cookies and bought them for my girls.

In between these fun activities, we did manage to get out in the kayaks several times this week. We tried a new lake, which was nice, but came back to our favorite the last few trips. One day we saw a pair of Bald Eagles. Yes, the former endangered species. Right here in southern New Jersey. It was amazing. I didn't have the camera with me that day, and they were too far to show up on camera, anyway.

Yesterday I did take the camera out with me to shoot some pictures of the progress on my most recent pair of Jaywalkers.Yes, finally some knitting content. But that's it. No more knitting. Instead, look what came right up to my kayak while I was juggling the camera and the sock:

Can you see how close they were? That's the kayak and the paddle in some of those pictures. Amazing. They are such huge creatures, yet so graceful. I was absolutely blown away by how beautiful they are. (I know this seems like a lot of pictures, but I took 74 shots of the swans, so this is a very small percentage!)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Secret Pal 11 Questionnaire

I had such a great time in my first Secret Pal exchange, that I signed up for Secret Pal 11. Here are the answers to the questionnaire.

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I like all kinds of sock yarn, and generally use US size 0, 1 or 2 needles, if that helps. Any and all fibers. I'm not picky.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I store my needles in shallow plastic boxes that were meant for fishing tackle, but I have moved the partitions around to accommodate double pointed needles. The circulars are in one of those canvas things you hang on the back of a door and each size is separate. I forget what it's called, but it's great.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I first learned when I was a kid, but only made a few dorky projects, which I thought were fabulous at the time. I picked it up again about 10 years ago, and mostly knit socks, but some baby/toddler items, too. I would consider myself at the intermediate level.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
No. I haven't quite figured out how to do it.

5. What's your favorite scent?
Anything floral, rose & lily of the valley are my favorites, also fruity or spicy. Anything that smells "natural" and not too strong.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Oh my, yes. Chocolate is a favorite, and I have unsophisticated taste buds. Plain old Hershey's milk chocolate or M&Ms put a smile on my face. I like anything that does not contain marshmallow or gelatin or an animal product of any kind. "No food with a face" is my motto.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I spin, a little, but would like to do it more. I also enjoy making beaded stitch markers for my knitting, and I like fussing around in the garden. I also recently got into kayaking, and it is seriously cutting into my knitting time!

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I like a variety of music: country, bluegrass, celtic harp, English folk songs, classical, anything Yo-Yo Ma does. I also enjoy audio books.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
I like blues and greens and reds, but I don't really have a favorite - I like knitting with a variety of colors.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I am single with lots of pets. Two dogs (Emma and Tara), two rabbits, (Momma Bunny and Sunshine), and two chickens (Ducky and Blackie), and the "stray" cats: "Joseph" who seems to be a resident, and "Tigger" and "Marcelle" who are frequent visitors.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
I wear scarves, hats & mittens, but have never had a poncho.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Socks, by far, but I'm branching out. I've made baby layettes, sweaters for toddlers, a couple of hats, mittens, and a scarf.

13. What are you knitting right now?
Socks, of course. I always have several socks on the needles at any given time. I'm also working on a Mitred Square Blanket (using odd bits of sock yarn - really fun), and I'm working on an Aplhabet Blanket from one of Debbie Bliss' baby books.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Of course!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I use double points and the occasional circular for socks, and circulars for everything else. I have mostly aluminum needles, with a stray bamboo here and there to make things interesting.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Yes, and yes.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
I have some partially finished socks that have got to be at least 2 years old, maybe more.

18. What is your favorite holiday?
I'm not big on holidays. Maybe Christmas Eve is my favorite, because that is just my sister and parents. I like the changing of the seasons, and especially the ENDING of winter.

19. Is there anything that you collect?
I don't collect anything in a big way (other than yarn, yarn and more yarn!). I like candles, chickens, anything "country."

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I love books! I haven't gotten the latest Yarn Harlot book "Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off" or the "Mason-Dixon Knitting" book. I subscribe to Knitters and Spin Off. Of course, one can never have too much sock yarn!

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I'd like to work up the courage to knit a lace scarf or shawl.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes, and I wear size 8 1/2 shoe. I'd measure my foot, but I can't find a tape measure, like always!

23. When is your birthday?
May 12

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?
Yes, yes, yes, and I love it!!! My ID is BritKnitter

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Loving Ravelry!

If you haven't signed up for the waiting list to join Ravelry, just go over there and do it. You won't be sorry. That is, if you knit or crochet. Otherwise, well, never mind.

Anyway, I've been loading pictures of my stash and WIPs, and there is a little place for comments on the projects. As I was entering the information on the Debbie Bliss Alphabet Blanket I've been working on, I wrote a short comment - something like "there are errors in the pattern-- must remember to search for errata on the Internet." A couple of days later, there is a message in my Ravelry mailbox:

Hi Dianne,
In case you haven't located it yet, the Debbie Bliss website has the errata for this pattern.

I love the color you are using. Have fun!

How cool is that? I didn't even know that my comments would be viewable (is that a word?) by other Ravelers (now that CAN'T be a word!) but they are, and someone was kind enough to help me out. Thanks, Hope!

Here's a recent picture of the blanket. Half way done! Woo Hoo. That is, it's half done if you aren't counting the border, which I am totally NOT counting. I'm going to do the border, but I don't start counting that until the body of the blanket is done. Weird, I know, but my rules!