Sunday, August 29, 2010

Striped Socks

I decided to participate in the Summer of Socks again this year, despite the fact that I did not achieve my goal in either of the other years I played. This year, I made it really easy on myself. I wanted to knit one pair of socks. Just one. Nothing fancy. Just some socks.

I cast on for these socks on August 1st, while hanging around Connecticut, waiting for the Lilith Fair to start. (I did not bring them into the concert, although a number of other people were sitting on the grass and knitting. Blows my mind that knitting needles got in, but my M&Ms didn't). I kitchenered the toe to the second sock a few minutes ago while watching the Emmy Awards. Here they are:

I'm quite pleased with the way the stripes are lining up. I was a little bit nervous about that part. I thought the yarn (Plymouth Sockotta) was fair isle effect, but it seems I bought the striped effect instead. I just knit a basic sock with a 2x2 rib throughout. They feel a little on the large side, but I think a washing or two will help with that.
We are back home, safe and sound from a great visit with my parents. We visited the Genesee Country Museum (where I neglected to take pictures of the handspun yarn), went rock climbing, and ate most of my favorite WNY foods (Mighty Taco, fish fry, DQ, Tim Horton's doughnuts and pizza and wings). One more week of summer vacation, and then DH and the oldest are back to school, and little girl is starting kindergarten. Sigh. I'm not quite prepared for that, but I'm trying.
The beginning of school also signifies the beginning of the Christmas knitting frenzy.
I'll keep you updated.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Visiting my Parents, Again

I randomly wound up reading this blog tonight. Is it weird that I've been to all those family vacation spots too? Including Carson City, which no longer exists. Nor, by the way, does the Catskill Game Farm, which was pretty much next door to Carson City. (We won't talk about how much it hurts me that my kids won't have those experiences).

We're in Buffalo, visiting my parents for a week. I've been knitting on a sock, started a scarf with the bamboo I bought in Fort Ticonderoga, and learning to sew skirts for Little Girl. I've been to my favorite LYS, gotten my hair cut and colored, and the three little kids and I have all been to the BEST dentist ever (no cavities!).

On Sunday, we visited the Buffalo Museum of Science, which currently has robotic dinosaurs on display. There is a hanging dinosaur in the lobby. This exchange took place between my dad and little girl:

Dad: "Little girl, that's a pterodactyl."
Little girl looks at the dinosaur for a moment and replies: "I think it's a pteranodon."

We're pretty sure she was right.

Happy knitting!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Little Sister

I finished the "dress" for Baby Girl the other day. However, it's now a shirt, and not a dress. I'm glad the pattern is worked top down, so it was easy just to end when it seemed like I was running short on yarn. I can't get a good picture of the color. It's a beautiful, bright teal that really highlights Baby's blue eyes. I also couldn't get a good picture of the buttons (someday, I'll get a better camera), but they're really cute little flowers. What do you think?

I have to thank my neighbor Darlene. She's a lifelong knitter and crocheter, and I had to seek her help in the little bit of crochet edging that is around the neck opening. I didn't have the right sized hook, and I just could not remember how to do a crochet edging. I brought it across the street, and Darlene showed me how to do it, and then proceeded to do it for me (which is totally the kind of help I needed at that moment). I did crochet the loops for the buttons and attach them to the shirt.

I'm really pleased with this project. The pattern is well written, and it knits up beautifully. However, I really do need to take the time to learn a more invisible method of M1 besides kfb. Do you have a favorite method?

Currently, I'm working on a pillow for a friend. She was visiting the States from Sudan, and had bought some fabric in a market there to be made into curtains. Her mom just happened to have perfectly coordinating yarn in her stash, and my friend brought it to me and asked me to make a pillow for the couch. I opted for a log cabin style. Here it is so far:

I'm working on the backside now. It won't be log cabin, but rather a flap of the green and a flap of the pink that will button together to form a pocket. I wish I hadn't used the darkest color as the most predominant, but by the time I thought of that it was way too late. I'm hoping to make coordinating Dorset buttons for the pocket, but we'll see. (I've never made Dorset buttons before).

Christmas is approaching much too quickly for the knitter in me. I really have to start to prioritize the projects on my to do list. Once again, joining the monthly Christmas knitalong group has not actually prompted me to do any Christmas knitting. So far, all I have done is one sock! I'll have to make a list after this pillow is done, or start neglecting everything else I have to do except knitting.

How's your Christmas knitting coming?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Yarn Shop Run-Down

I took the opportunity to visit a few yarn shops while I was on vacation. First, I visited The Crafty Ewe in Ticonderoga, following our visit to the Fort. The shop has a nice variety of yarns, a lot of notions and books (including some handmade shawl pins, buttons, and stitch markers), and a "customer computer" so customers can access Ravelry for ideas, or check on yarn requirements. I bought a couple of gifts (shawl pin, stitch markers) and two skeins of MeiMei Bamboo. The yarn is destined to become a scarf or shawlette as a memento of our vacation.

(Sorry, the picture is sideways).

That was the only yarn shop I visited in New York, but I got to three different shops on my way to and from and Connecticut on Sunday.

First, I visited Mt. Laurel Yarn Boutique in Sturbridge, MA. This was a quick jump off the highway (maybe 3 minutes?) They stock a ton of yarns and books, and there are a lot of samples around the store. Nothing really tempted me enough to buy though.

Once I arrived in Connecticut, I still two hours before I could check into the motel, so I visited Creative Fibers. I am IN LOVE with this store. Their stock is enormous! I spent an hour just looking at all the different yarns, including many yarns I've read about, but never actually seen in person. The store also had a clearance section, where I picked up this kit for less than the price of a skein of yarn. I also picked up this pattern. I have an adult felted clog pattern, but I know a couple of little girls who love all things pink and novelty. There were many other things I could have willingly purchased, but I didn't want to spend too much money before the concert. I hoped to get back to the store the next day, but it just didn't happen. :(

On the way home, I stopped in Natick to visit The Iron Horse. I have to say, this shop was a disappointment. They do have a lot of handspun yarn, and a variety of other crafty notions, but nothing really grabbed me. (In fairness, I was operating on less sleep than normal, and had spent an inordinate amount of time in the car over the last three days).

Finally, on our way to the Clambox for dinner, we made a quick stop at the Loom 'n Shuttle. This shop has a lot more fabric than yarn, but the yarn they have is very nice yarn, including a big variety of Noro. I brought home this one skein of Ella Rae bamboo silk in a very pretty color.

I'm not quite sure what this one 99 yard skein will be yet, but the yarn and I are having fun bonding.

Tonight, I'm finishing up Baby Girl's Little Sister Dress. I hope to get to buy buttons tomorrow.

Happy Knitting!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

8 Random Things

1. We drove to Ipswich today to eat at the Clam Box. The food was worth the hour long wait from the time we got in line to the time we got our food. We stopped at Loom 'N Shuttle on the way. Does anyone else feel obligated to buy a little something when visiting a yarn store, just because you walked in?

2. Yesterday, I biked 18 miles on the Minuteman Bike Path. According to my new heart rate monitor watch, I burned almost 1800 calories. I celebrated by eating a Snickers bar. Also of note, Wild 'n Woolly is located right next to the bike path in Lexington. I could bike and buy yarn - does a better exercise exist?

3. Last night, DH and I put the kids to bed early and had a quiet dinner. Lobster was $4.99/lb, so I bought one. I bought haddock for DH. We ate well, and for under $20. Way cheaper than a real date.

4. I've been trying to focus more on knitting, because I have a lot of projects I want to do. To name a few: Twirly skirt for little girl, Carmen the Monkey from Knitpicks, a couple of hats for winter for the family, at least one, if not two Christmas stockings, and three pairs of socks.

5. My allergies have been causing problems with focusing on anything.

6. Last night I dreamt that I had dinner with three girlfriends - women from my past who I haven't seen in person in years, although we keep up through emails and blogs and stuff. I dreamt the dinner bill was over $1,000. At some point, in the dream, I realized we hadn't actually eaten anything, so I must be dreaming. And then I decided, in my dream, that we would still have to pay the restaurant bill because they had made the food. Does anyone else have these kind of dream problems?

7. Have you seen this Knitmare? It just makes me laugh.

8. I really hope to tell you about the yarn shops I've been visiting, but I haven't had time to take pictures of my stash additions yet.

Happy knitting!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lilith Fair

Before my birthday this year, I was telling my best friend how I really wanted to celebrate by doing what I did before I moved to Boston - eating breakfast at The Original Pancake House (Dutch Baby for me please), going to the Allentown Art Festival (a Buffalo event conveniently held the weekend of my birthday), and going out to dinner and dancing with friends. Alternatively, I would skip the dinner and see the Indigo Girls in concert. (Which is how I spent my birthday in 1997).

Being a resourceful, smart person, Lisa did a little research and discovered that the Girls were joining the Lilith Fair for some of their concert dates, including playing in Hartford, CT, a scant two hours from me and four and a half from Buffalo. Lawn tickets were ridiculously inexpensive and we found an equally inexpensive motel, and so the plan was hatched, husbands approved, and I left Sunday morning for one night in Hartford.

The Indigo Girls are the only non-Christian band I've ever paid to see more than once*. There was a time in my life when I felt their songs were very meaningful to me. I'm mature enough now to not look for validation from secular works, but I do still enjoy listening to their music. (Disclaimer: I enjoy their music. I do not support the majority of their politics). Since most of you have probably never heard of them, I've included this video clip of their song Ghost.

Lisa and I had a great time! We met up at the motel and had a late lunch/early supper of turkey sandwiches, chips and salsa (chips and salsa being a requirement for most of our get-togethers). The motel was in easy walking distance of the concert venue (saving us $30 in parking fees) and we arrived about half an hour after the gates opened. I opted not to bring knitting, because I had heard the gate people were pretty strict about what was going in. Silly me, since at least four other people on the lawn were knitting away. Sadly, my M&Ms did NOT make it through the gate (although the cookies did!) We visited all the random tents of vendors (thank you Apple for the free iTunes downloads) and then parked ourselves on the lawn, chatting our way through the opening acts.

The concert tickets must not have sold as well as expected, because the venue was selling upgrades from the lawn for $30, and the price went down to $20 halfway through the event. Finally, the Indigo Girls came on! We were excited, and got up to dance and sing along. At this point, we were approached by an employee of the venue (complete with ID badge) who offered us FREE upgrades to seats! (I guess they wanted the final performers to see a packed audience, and not just empty seats in front of the lawn). Lisa and I literally ran down the lawn to get to our seats before the next song. Slowly, more people began to fill the seats around us as the upgrade fairy visited them too. We enjoyed the Indigo Girls and Sarah McLachlan from our seats, and for the finale, all of the artists joined in a rendition of Because the Night (and no, Natalie Merchant was not there. It's a Bruce Springsteen song. DH was very proud that I knew that). GREAT concert!

We walked home, ate some more chips and salsa, watched a girlie movie, and got to bed. We were tired!

This was the first time I'd been away from the kids overnight, except for the nights I was in the hospital after giving birth. You know what? It wasn't all that traumatic for them, and I had a great time. Plus, I came home to extra big hugs! Lisa and I hope we can get away once every other year or so together. (She's taken up knitting in the last couple of years. Maybe a Rhinebeck trip is in our future!)

I did visit a handful of yarn shops over this vacation week, but I'll save those details for another day. I'm trying to knit more and spend less time on the computer and doing housework so that I can start to feel caught up with my knitting to do list!

Happy Knitting!

*Actually, now that I think about it, that's not true. I've paid cover charges more than once to see the Nickel City Pimp Choir, but Silky J is a good friend of mine from high school. I've also paid to see the Canadian band Sloan a number of times. But they've also only played at smaller venues, and I'm pretty sure it's never cost me more than $11. So, I'll revise my statement to say that the Indigo Girls are the only secular band I've paid more than $11 to see more than once.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Vacation Recap

A week ago Saturday, I packed three little kids into the van, along with a whole lotta stuff, and took off for the Adirondacks. DH and Big Boy left later in the day, packed into the other car with a whole lotta other stuff.

After about a 4 hour drive, we met up with a Ravelry friend of mine, Beachsideknitter.

(Little Girl took this picture). We met up at a local park, and the kids behaved AMAZINGLY well, playing on the playground and enjoying snacks. Mary and I had a great visit. She brought some of her knitting, sewing, and quilting projects to show me, and we talked about all kinds of things. Mary is a Christian, so we prayed together before we left the park. I am so blessed by a particular group on Ravelry, and it was a double blessing to see one of my friends in person!

After our visit, the kids and I headed to our cabin. Initially, I was a little disappointed. The cabins are all situated around a giant parking lot, and obviously used to be on motel. However, once inside, all disappointment vanished. The cabin was gorgeous and clean! There was plenty of space for everyone (including my parents, who joined us on Sunday). We spent Saturday night getting settled in, and DH took the kids to Stewart's for ice cream. (I know, those of you who know the area know that Stewart's for ice cream is no big deal. But when I was a kid, we used to walk from my grandfather's house in Nelliston to Fort Plain to make a sundae at Stewart's and I have great memories of that).

Sunday morning we got up early and took the kids hiking up Severance Mountain. This is the longest hike we've done with the kids. We hiked a total of 2.8 miles in just under 2 hours. The kids are good little hikers
and the baby hung out in her new backpack carrier. Although it was a little cloudy, the view from the top was still pretty good.
I loved that the hike was a bit of a challenge, and the kids obviously felt a sense of accomplishment when we finished. On the ride home, we saw the biggest chair EVER.
When we got back to the cabin, we ate lunch and took a nap, and then my parents arrived! We spent the rest of the day and evening visiting with them, making s'mores in the fire pit and finalizing plans for the week.

Monday, my aunt came up from Fort Plain to spend the day with us, and we drove to Lake George and walked around. The kids all got new cap gun rifles (little girl's is pink) and we ate lunch at a restaurant on the water. We spent the remainder of the afternoon at the beach across from our cabin, and had another nice evening of visiting.

On Tuesday, we left the baby with my parents and went to the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves. This was more of a leisurely walk than a hike, and we very much enjoyed the beauty of God's creation.
Tuesday afternoon my aunt and uncle (not technically, but close family friends) came up from Speculator and spent the evening with us. I haven't seen them in a few years, so it was great to get to introduce them to all the kids.

On Wednesday we visited Fort Ticonderoga, thus passing on a family tradition of visiting forts and battlefields on vacation.
The kids took part in a militia drill, which thrilled Big Boy to no end. He's been running drills with the little kids and their new cap guns ever since. Little girl was quite taken with the Fife and Drum corps
and although all the kids enjoyed the gun and cannon firing demonstration, it was a bit loud.
Despite the busy day, my dad and I stayed up extra late to go to the Painted Pony Rodeo. I've never been to a rodeo before, but it was fascinating! Unfortunately, I didn't get any good action shots of the riders, but my dad and I snagged this picture together. Do you like my new hat?
We spent the next two days at the cabin, relaxing, fishing, canoeing, swimming, and playing in the sand. After all those busy days, we needed it!

I drove home with the kids on Saturday after a lovely breakfast at Suzy Q's. We already have plans to go to Buffalo at the end of August, so it was too hard to say goodbye to my parents (I really hate living so far away from them.)

After we got home, I did laundry and then packed up again. I went on a little overnight trip on Sunday. I'll tell you more about that tomorrow.

Until then, happy knitting!