Sunday, January 27, 2008


Today the sun has been out and it was a bit warmer. It's been a perfect day for hunting down sun spots in the house. The clouds are moving in, the temperature is dropping, and my head hurts, which means snow is on it's way. My African violet, however, continues to brighten up the room and our spirits with its lovely blooms.

Last weekend we had our knitting weekend at Edgar's Acres and a good time was had by all. We did a lot of knitting, laughing, sipping of wine, and of course, eating of very good food. We visited two yarn stores and bought yarn.

In early January I heard a rumor that a new yarn store was open in Port Hadlock. Being the yarn sniffer that I am we set out to find it. The shop is called The Textile Arts Co. and is located at 41 Colwell Street in Port Hadlock. Textile Arts opened late October 2007, and the lovely owner of the shop is Sandy Hill. Her shop is so new that she hasn't gotten her sign yet. When we drove into the parking lot, we noticed a sign in a window ...

Upon further inspection, it looked like this might be the place (excitement is mounting) ...
We found it!
Sandy was at the door to greet and meet us. What a lovely lady and a lot of fun.

Susan was wearing her Baby and Bears Sweater for Grown Ups by Cottage Creations, and Sandy was thrilled to see a sweater knit in yarn that she is carrying in her shop.

The shop used to be a child care center and all of the little cubbies that held toys, shoes and blankies are now holding yarn, yarn and more yarn.

The lighting is excellent and there are comfy chairs and couches to sit and knit, sit and talk, or just sit. All four of us had a great time checking out everything Sandy has in her store.

Sandy really knows her yarn too and was so helpful in helping all of us find what we needed/wanted/lusted over/had to have.

Cynthia was looking for some knitting needles and Sandy started opening up drawers and both Cynthia and Virginia had a great time checking it out.
Of course, we all bought yarn, and patterns, and magazines...

I found the yarn I want for the Knitting Pure & Simple Neckdown Pullover for Women. The yarn is Naturally Tussock Aran 10 Ply, which is 85% New Zealand wool and 15% polyester. I've never knit with this yarn before but Susan has and loved it. In fact (of course), she has knit the same sweater in the same yarn, but fortunately in the grey tone color. It is true what they say about knitters hanging out together too long... they start thinking yarn alike. I am looking forward to getting started on this. The big question is going to be if I wait to finish a couple of other projects, or start RIGHT AWAY!

We will of course, be visiting Sandy at The Textile Arts Co. again. We had a fun time and felt very, very welcomed.

We next visited A Dropped Stitch in Sequim, our LYS at Edgar's Acres and saw Jean and Nora. We love this store, and the ladies are delightful as always.

Virginia found the yarn she wanted for a sweater and asked me to take measurements to make sure she got enough. Well, one thing led to another, I ended up measuring another lady in the store, and told Jean and Nora I would be happy to come back and help measure. GOOD MEASUREMENTS ARE KEY!

I found the perfect orange sherbert dk yarn for a baby blanket. Jody is crazy about orange. It is her favorite color. Jody is also going to be a first time grandma next month so I am knitting a baby snuggle blankie for her grandson. It had to be in orange, of course, but not a bold, loud Oregon State orange. The yarn is Universal's Bella DK, which is machine washable.

The blankie is just a simple square where you cast on 5 stitches and add on with a yarn over for the first half, and then decrease with knit togethers and a yarn over. The pattern is below. We've all made it at one time or another. It makes for a great commuting project (mindless knitting).

BLANKET Cast on 5 sts.Row 1: Knit.Row 2: K 3, yo, k 2.Row 3: K 3, yo, k 3.Row 4: K 3, yo, k to end of row.Repeat last row until you have 207 sts on needle.Next (decrease) row: K 2, k2 tog, yo, k2 tog, k to end of row.Repeat last row until 5 sts remain. Bind off. FINISHING Weave in ends.

This is going to be a nice soft, snuggly blanket for Jody's grandson.

I love local yarn stores. They each have something different to offer the knitter. It never fails that if I can't find what I want at one LYS, I'll find it at another. The owners of the shops are always delightful, so helpful, and FUN. That's got to be best part, they are FUN. Isn't that what knitting is all about? There some online yarn companies I do use because I don't have time to run all over the place, and there are just some items you can't find locally. When I have to order online, I choose to use a local company starting with Washington state, and work out that way.

Well, speaking of knitting I better get back to it.

Stay warm.



Thursday, January 17, 2008

I Got a New Chair!

I got my new chair today! It's a beautiful chair. It is a special chair as well. First of all, it was purchased BRAND NEW. Second of all, I can now sit in a chair without my neck killing me. There is a long story behind the sore neck. Let's just leave it at as an injury that hasn't been settled yet. It left me with a very painful neck and our living room furniture has been murder for me to sit on. So I got me a BRAND NEW chair today. The brand new is special too because we have generally purchased used furniture or have been happy with hand me downs. When you have boys and dogs, new expensive furniture really doesn't make sense.

Isn't my BRAND NEW chair pretty?

This is my knitting chair, my watch tv chair, and just sitting and being lazy chair.

I've already mentioned in an earlier blog how brain dead I have been when I get home from work. The other night I put on a pair of socks because my feet were cold. These are the first pair of socks I knit. Louie was in his usual spot while I was knitting and he was all of a sudden very fascinated with my foot. This was odd indeed. I couldn't figure out what the problem was until I felt his cold wet nose on my big toe ...

Yes, I have a hole in my sock. I think what I'll do is frog it out to a couple of rows below the hole and reknit it. Let's hope I can find the left over yarn. I know, I should have noticed it when I put on the sock ... I told you I was brain dead when I came home from work.
Tomorrow Louie and I are joining Susan and heading over to Edgar's Acres for a knitting retreat. Of course Cynthia will be there, and Leslie will be dropping in from next door. Mary may get there, she's at a continuing education class in Richland over until Sunday, and Virginia is going to be joining us. I am really looking forward to a weekend without talk about men, moms, or work.

I'm taking along a couple of current projects.

First is the pinwheel baby blanket. This is fun to do, and is knitting up nicely. Right now, however, it does look very strange, more like an amoeba or jelly fish.

I am knitting with Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Brushed Heather on Size 8 needles. I think it will take three skeins.
I'm making great progress on Frank's fingerless gloves. Just another inch on the palm portion and then on to the fingers.
While we are yarn shop crawling over the weekend, I am going to hunt down a pattern and yarn for fingerless gloves for myself. It's been cold, and it's going to be colder at the end of the month and next month.

On a final note, look at this precious baby boy Johnnie.



Monday, January 14, 2008

I've Been Busy

My gosh, I didn't realize it had been so long since I posted on my blog. I've been so busy. Work has been insane lately due to the "after holiday" rush. All of our clients are back from vacations and it's now the new year so let's get going on new filings and research for new trademarks. It makes the day go by fast, but by the time I get home my mind is numb.

I've been knitting a lot too. I'm on the second fingerless glove for Frank. He came up last week to help with a few chores since David's been sick, and while he was here he tried on the first glove. Well ... it fit like a glove! He really likes it too.

I'm working on two baby blankets, and two socks, as well as my lace shawl.

I have a special story for all of you, however. Here is a link for a story of a dog rescue in Ireland. This is so beautiful. Be sure to look at the doggie's face while he is waiting for help, and then after he has been rescued. The story is under one lucky pup and the heroes of Oideas Gael. Yes Virginia, there are a lot of very kind and good people in this world!

It's going to be another busy week, and then I'm out of town for the weekend. I'll try to be more attentive to my dear blog this week.



Sunday, January 6, 2008

"Where old stories are knit into the new."

I love the tag line for A New Yarn, a new yarn store in Seattle, Washington. Where old stories are knit into the new. Isn't that nice!

Susan and I headed out at 9:30 yesterday morning for Northgate, to check out A New Yarn. They open at 10:00 on Saturdays and we wanted to leave before the Seahawks traffic got started. Who wants to be stuck in traffic when there is a yarn store to go to.

Here they are. A charming, warm, and welcoming yarn store. We were greeted by Kathleen and immediately felt at home. I told her I had been communicating with Claudia and that I wanted to take pictures for my blog.

You see, all of the profits from this yarn store benefit abused women and children, through the free educational and support groups offered by Northwest Family Life. Kathleen told me that there are two non-profit yarn stores on the West Coast. The other one is in San Francisco and benefits the local humane society. What a lovely way to raise funds for such an important service.

There is a very good selection of yarn. There are wools, wool blends, cottons, novelty yarns, and synthetic fiber yarns as well. Everything is so well laid out and the yarns are easy to view, touch, and think about. The lighting is nice and bright, and with all of the big windows, there is a lot of natural light as well.

They feature a yarn of the month, which this month is Schulana Merino-Cotton 90, which is 53% wool and 47% cotton. It's in the brown bookcase in the center of this picture. These are very lovely yarns.

There is yarn displayed in old suitcases and baskets, all providing a clear view of what you are looking for. Everything is laid out with such charm and good cheer.Now look at this ... a Kids' Room. Any mother of young children will tell you how hard it is to shop when the kiddies are bored. Well, this kids' room is well stocked, and the kiddies will be entertained while mom is enjoying her visit through A New Yarn.
This is a delightful room for the kiddies. As I said, this is too cool. What a thoughtful idea.

I asked Kathleen where I could find the sock yarn and she said "it's in the piano bench." Look at this. I found some Wildfoote yarn in Blue Flannel, which is what I have been looking for. (I got the last two too!)

A New Yarn has books, magazines, needles, notions, and individual patterns for sale as well. Now on the right side of this photo you can see a basket in front of the window. Well, there are several baskets, and they are full of a variety of yarns. These are donations of the left over yarn we knitters end up with after finishing up a project. These yarns are for sale by the bag full. You can fill up a grocery bag full of acrylic yarn for only $3.00, or a bag of wool, cotton or novelty yarns for $10.00. Kathleen said these sell out fast.

Kathleen showed me some of the donations A New Yarn has received. As you can see, they get full bags of yarn so you can find what you need for any project. This is a full service yarn store.

I was pleased with what I found. I got the rose colored bulky weight yarn for a baby blanket (which is half done, by the way), the two skeins of Wildfoote, some Lion Brand Jiffy for another baby blanket, some Red Heart Fiesta for Operation Holiday Stockings, and some Austermann Moda Color for a scarf for me. Not bad, and the price was very reasonable.

Susan, the hat and scarf expert, was pleased with her purchase as well. She's on to knitting more hats and scarfs for the homeless. She is just too cool.

We were able to get back to Bellevue before the insane Seahawks traffic got too bad. It was a great trip, and a lovely way to spend Saturday.


Friday, January 4, 2008

I Never Knit Alone

Today both David and I were home sick. David's been down with the cold bug, and then came home last night with "Pink Eye." Me, I was home because my chronic skin condition kept me from going anywhere. So far, we've done real well being home sick at the same time. I've moved myself to the guest bath to keep from getting David's ugly eye. Fortunately, the drops he got from the doctor today are really helping, and the lense in his eye is fine.

With my condition, when I get stuck at home I keep busy. I stay busy so I don't feel sorry for myself. I keep doing stuff so I don't dwell on how angry this condition makes me.

So what do I do? You guessed it, I KNIT.

Now around this house knitting is a primary activity. I have a room devoted to my yarn, patterns, and projects. David and our sons know to stay quiet when I'm counting stitches. All of the dogs know better than to injure yarn, knitting or finished projects (except Dudley ... I'll post that story another day).

Today David was napping and I decided I'd go into the living room and knit. The sun was out for a brief moment and I thought I'd take advantage of natural light on a winter day. I generally will make a comment about going to go knit, but today all I did was think "I'm going into the living room to knit for a bit."

The dogs, the dogs still knew. I never get to knit alone. I always have company. This is what I found when I went into the living room. They were all waiting for me. Edgar is the Rhodesian Ridgeback/Greyhound mix. The other three are bichons and starting with Louie on the hammock, we have Johnny behind him, and A.J. staring at Edgar because he wants to be where Edgar is. They LOVE me. They want to help me. You see, knitting time is snuggle time. (Look at that beautiful sunshine coming in the window!)

Louie wanted to see what I was knitting. It's the first glove I've ever knit. It's a fingerless glove for Frank. Louie is glaringly white with the sun shining on him.

The glove is done on size 1 needles in the Pace yarn from Universal Yarns. It is knitting up beautifully.

Either Louie really likes it, or he's bored.

As I was getting ready to work my way onto the love seat I noticed my violet was blooming. This reliable African Violet has been with me for almost 20 years. David's mother gave it to me and told me to take care of it. It's amazing it has survived me.
When I turned around to sit, one of the dogs had decided to be funny.

Look what was in my seat. I perserved, however, and got to sit down.
I am knitting [Flip Your Lid] Diamond Mittens. I chose this pattern because it was in the fine gauge I was looking for and I love the clear, step by step instructions Judith Durant provides. Of course, I made some changes to suit what I wanted. I didn't do the mitten flap and left the top of the thumb open like the fingers. The book is Never Knit Your Man a Sweater* *unless you've got the ring! It is a great book, with very nice, conservative patterns for men, well written instructions, and lovely photographs showing how the garment looks. My sons will be happy to know I finally have a book of patterns for men.

Here I am working on the middle finger. When I started this project, I was apprehensive about using the double points, especially for the fingers. Well, it was just fine; in fact, enjoyable.

Forgot to mention, Abby the Alpha Cat was in the living room helping as well. She likes what I did.

I'm pretty pleased myself. The glove is big on my hand, which is saying a lot because I have large hands for a woman. Frank and John have very large hands.

This was a fun learning experience for me. I learned how to knit gloves, and got some good practice on double pointed needles, and did something new. I also learned about the anatomy of a hand.

I knew the thumb was off to the side, it was the placement of the little finger in relation to the other fingers I never really thought about. You'd think that after 56 years I would know this. Just took it for granted, I guess.


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

I Love Books

I love books. I love books about knitting and gardening. I love books about dogs and cats too. I love a book that guides me along in learning something new.

There are some books that are truly my favorites, books I go to over and over again. I love learning new things from a book, and I love books that have answers for me. I got a new book for Christmas from John that is now in the list of books I will go to over and over again. It's Clara Parkes' new book The Knitter's Book of Yarn.

I've been reading Clara's newsletter weekly and have learned amazing things about yarns. She provides a clear and insightful review of each type; swatching, knitting, washing, blocking, and even putting the yarn to the test of wear and tear. She has compiled her reviews, together with facts about yarn, added how fiber starts out, how it becomes yarn, and what we can do with the yarn, all in a great book.

Another knitting book I use a lot for reference, patterns, and encouragement, is Sally Melville's The Knitting Experience Book 1: The Knit Stitch.

When I started to get back into knitting something other than afghans, I looked for a book to tell me I could. Sally's book did just that. Not only does she make sense with her styles, techniques and little bits of wisdom, her patterns go up to plus sizes. The first sweater I knit for myself was Sally's Best Friend Sweater. The first year I went to the Madrona Fiber Arts I was on the elevator, when this woman walked on and stood next to me, turned to look at me and said "I LOVE your sweater." I turned to her to say thank you, and that is from Sally's Melville's book, when I realized I was talking with Sally herself. Later on we had an opportunity to talk and I told her how much I appreciated her book. She also appreciated the fact that my book looked used and loved. I have recommended this book for a lot of knitters who are getting back to the art of needles.

Another reference book is Maggie Righetti's Knitting in Plain English. This is a great reference book for things like "how to knit two stitches together (k2tog)" or how to "slip slip knit (ssk)". I especially love the chapter on looking at pictures of the knitted garments before purchasing the pattern.

The last book I'll comment on tonight is Arctic Lace (scroll down) by Donna Druchunas. I got the book because we lived in Anchorage, Alaska and I loved it there. I was fascinated by the concept of the Oomingmak Musk Ox Producers' Co-operative and the wonderful Alaskan Native women who run it. And there is the mysterious yarn Qiviut, which comes from the Musk Ox. The lace patterns are beautiful. When I got the book I was still recovering from my concussion and was having problems with visualizing stitches and how they all work together. I sat down with the tutorials in Donna's book, and learned how to read lace charts and was on my way. It was a challenge to me, but in the end I finally was able to understand how different stitches went together, and how to do them. I have purchased some of the precious Qiviut, but have yet to actually knit it into something. It's in the safe deposit box at the bank.

Happy reading!


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

I Got a Phone Call Last Night

I got a phone call last night from Major Rick's Mom, Virginia. They got their stockings.

First I should tell you a little about Major Rick. For security reasons I need to be vague. He and his soldiers are currently in a very dangerous location. While out on a mission, they got word that their "camp" was blown up by enemy fire and several soldiers were killed. On the 23rd Major Rick called his wife to let her know he was alright and that it would be a while before anyone heard from them. Virginia was concerned our box of stockings was lost and that the love they carried with them wouldn't be delivered to the soldiers.

Last night Virginia called me to say that her son just called and told her they got our stockings. He is so grateful. He passed them out to his soldiers and they all had a bit of Christmas. They were "tickled pink" and had a great time checking out what each stocking contained. It really lifted their spirits and morale to know that we care. He told Virginia he couldn't really describe how much the stockings meant to him and his soldiers. He thanks us so very, very much. He said he would contact me when he has access to the internet.

Ladies, this is why we have Operation Holiday Stockings. To let our soldiers know we love them, care about them, support them, and pray for them. Just one little stocking filled with goodies can lift a soldier's morale.

Yes, there will be OHS 2008. Why? For the soldiers like Major Rick.

Have a blessed New Year and everyone stay in touch. Start knitting, crocheting, sewing and decorating!