New Socks!

Look at these gorgeous, I mean GORGEOUS, pair of new socks that just came off the needles a few minutes ago! They are made of the softest Marino wool I have ever had the pleasure of touching. And the colors?  Turquoise, purple, rust, chartreuse – oh my!  They were an absolute joy to make. I started them a few months ago (September maybe?), but have worked on them off and on over the past few months. I had to get them done because I have a very important pair of socks to make for a very important woman and I want to use my favorite wood needles, which were occupied with these until now.  The wool came from a St. Paul dyer named Aiesha Celia.

Socks for Nancy

Now that she has received them in the mail and opened the package, I can finally share these on my blog. These are socks I made for my bestest friend, Nancy, who just moved from LA to Bellingham. I figured since she’s in a cooler climate, a nice pair of warm, comfy, handmade socks were just the ticket. I started them on Sunday May 18th and finished them on Monday, May 26th, a new record for me that will likely go unchallenged any time soon.

Nancy, girl, to quote Clairee Belcher (from Steel Magnolias) – “I love ya more than my luggage.”  I am so happy you like the socks.  I knew you’d like the colors.  Wear them in good health, my friend.  I miss you way much!

Happy, happy, joy, joy …

I bought a new pair of Blue Sky Alpaca’s Dalbergia rosewood DPN needles last week after seeing them at the Shepherd’s Harvest fiber festival.  I skipped them when I first saw them, but I kept thinking about them and days later drove the 30 miles to the “local” yarn shop that carries them.  I was so happy when I came home with them on Thursday night.  Yesterday was the first chance I had to use them so I cast on and started a new pair of socks with a yarn I’ve been itching to begin.  Everything was going great, and I was really enjoying my needles.  I put the sock down to go downstairs a minute, when my beloved basset hound, Beulah Mae, decided she loved those new  needles as much as I did – and promptly destroyed one of my *brand new* needles. I know, “Bad owner!  Bad, bad owner.”  After I managed to salvage the  sock and pick up all the dropped stitches and fix all the runs, well, let’s  just say I was not a happy camper and leave it at that.

This morning I woke up and decided to give the company a call.  I got a helpful woman on the phone and told her I was calling to throw myself at her mercy and beg for her help.  I told her the whole sad tale, and she’s putting a replacement needle in the mail and she isn’t even charging me for it.  She laughed and  said “Well, we don’t normally do this” but I guess “the dog ate it” pulled some extra weight.  In any event, I should have my new needle within 2 days and I’m so happy I can hardly stand it.  The needles really *are* that nice and I absolutely LOVE the tips on them.  So please, patronize Blue Sky Alpacas for their compassion and kindness if nothing else.

In other knitting news, while I was at the yarn shop last week, I found a pink fingering weight wool that I really liked and I bought 4 skeins totaling about 1300 yards. I was looking forward to making the Forest Canopy shawl, for which I’ve already bought the pattern, but this yarn just “spoke” to me as perfect for my mom.  I have started a freebie shawl pattern called Matilda from an English designer.  Boy, those lace patterns keep you on your toes, don’t they?  Anyway, I’ve got chart 1 done and am ready to start on chart 2, which is the body of the shawl with the pattern repeats.  One thing I’ve discovered quickly.  The Addi lace circs really do make the work easier.  I had started with another circ (Prism?) but got frustrated pretty fast at trying to work those SSK and K2tog right after a YO with the blunt needles.  So I ran out and bought the Addis.  It is much easier and quicker, for me anyway, with the Addi lace needles.  Again, those sharp points and long tapers really assist.

Is anyone planning to participate in events during Worldwide Knit in Public day? It sounds like some of my knitting friends are wanting to get together at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum so we may have a little knit-in there that afternoon.  It would be a lovely place to sit and knit.

Today is a “me” day …

What I really needed to do today was stay home and finish the socks I am knitting for momma and that I have intended to send her for Mother’s Day.  I meant to finish them earlier this week, and had all but the toe of the second sock done by Tuesday.  But the last couple of days have been unexpectedly distracting and I haven’t been able to focus enough to finish them.  So I stayed home this morning and took care of that.  Here are the socks, knit from Nancy Lindberg’s knit-to-fit pattern, worked up in Trekking XXL color 181 on 2.75mm metal, circular needles from KnitPicks, which I love.  I have better luck with the magic loop method than anything else, because I get a nice, tight, even fabric with no ladders at the needle joins.

  Socks for Momma

And here are some other things I’m sending down Florida way.   Even though it is much too late, I am sending a scarf I knit in Plymouth Boku that will match the purple coat and gloves I sent her for Christmas.  She’ll be all ready for next winter now.

  Scarf for Momma

And I got this wonderful imported Italian cotton yarn in the clearance bin at Coldwater Collaborative in Excelsior and thought it was just too good to pass up.  The colors are so incredibly cheerful and the joy of dishcloths is that they work up so quick.

  Dishcloths for Momma

The Yarn Harlot

OK, this all happened a week ago today, so I better write already!

Last Thursday a knitting buddy joined me to go hear The Yarn Harlot a/k/a Stephanie Pearl-McPhee at a talk she was giving at St. Thomas University under the sponsorship of The Yarnery, a wonderful St. Paul yarn store.  It was a dreadful night, weather-wise that is.  She more than made up for that bit of nastiness though.  You can click here to read Stephanie’s take on the whole evening and to see some fun pictures of the event, especially the moms and babies that were present.  One of the highlights was her “warm up” act, which consisted of the Yarnery Family Singers doing their revised versions of some favorite Sound of Music tunes.  Shelly Kang, the Heathen Housewife, has posted her recollection of the evening and some YouTube videos of the singing performances.  Go watch it.  Now.  I’ll wait until you get back …..

To say it was a thorough enjoyable evening would be a severe understatement.  I had a blast.  So did my friend.  I was sorta actually relieved when Stephanie stopped talking, because I needed to stop laughing for a few minutes an absorb it all.  She had a good and serious message, but she wrapped it up in such a thoroughly humorous and good-natured package that it was a pleasure through and through.  And it was such a delight to be in a crowd of hundreds of knitters, most of whom were working away on one thing or another, many of them socks.  Of course, there were some spectacular knitted things in the room that various attendees were wearing.

I highly recommend that you go hear Stephanie talk if she is coming to your neck of the woods.  You can view her travel schedule here.  You won’t be sorry.  Trust me on this one.

The tulips are coming, the tulips are coming!

Hard to believe since there is still so much snow on the ground, but the local TV station is reporting the current temp as 44 degrees and climbing. If you can’t wait to see buds blooming, (and there’s a woman in Western Washington – you know who you are – who can’t!) you can click here to follow a map showing the progression of tulip blooms from south to north. Oh, I wonder if our 2nd and 3rd year tulips will bloom again? Will the bulbs we planted much too late last year do anything at all? Either way, I can barely wait to find out.

Country Threads, Garner, Iowa

Country Threads, Garner, Iowa

(Click on the photo to see the slideshow of our trip!) On Saturday I headed down to Iowa with three of my quilt buddies, Joan, Karen and Dawn. It was a perfect fall day for a car trip. We were off for Garner, Iowa, about 145 miles from my house, and a fabulous quilt store on a little town west of Clear Lake. On our way back, we stopped in Northfield. We were going to go to a yarn store called Cottage Industry, which we discovered had closed over a year ago. So we went to Digs instead. They took over the yarn stock of the place that closed. What a fun little store. Actually, all of downtown Northfield is fun – great little shops along Division Street. If you haven’t been, you should make a day trip of it. Just don’t show up at the Indian restaurant expecting to eat between 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm. They won’t be waiting on you.