Saturday, November 1, 2008

We Have A Winner!!

Two posts in one day??? What is going on here??

First, in a very scientific manner, I wrote down all of your names.

Then I took a hat that I didn't knit and put all of my papers in there! It has occurred to me that I could have used a random number generator, but that would not have been as fun.

I then swished around the names a bit and picked one!

Well, I have a winner! I am so happy to announce that RaenWa is now the proud owner of more yarn!!!! This picture is rather dark, but I figured that you all might be interested to see what Rae is going to be receiving!

Go congratulate Rae! She has a lovely blog that I enjoyed reading this morning.

Now. Everyone seems very interested in the ideal Cabana Boy. People were also pretty interested in hearing about SAFF. I have decided that while I will indeed blog about the ideal Cabana Boy, I will also include pictures of my SAFF haul, and point out which is to be used for Holiday Knitting. I think that will make for a pretty big post and cover all of my bases. We shall save random for another day, because that's just a lot of fun to do.

Try and remember this isn't Burger King, kiddos. You don't get it your way every day!

Thank you to all who took the time to check out my blog and leave a comment. I am happy to have you along for the ride!


Ok, just a disclaimer that voting is now closed.

I have yet to pick a winner - I still require additional caffination for that ;-)

Thank you to all who took a minute to inspire me!! I do think that Cabana Boy is the winner, but I'll work the other items into the post, just because I am cool like that!

Hugs to everyone who left a comment!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Crown me Ms. Un-Motivated 2008!

Doodes. Seriously.

I've been thinking of you, fair blog readers. I've got plenty of things to share, I'm just feeling extremely lazy and unmotivated. In honor of that, I'm having a contest. (Yes, a contest to celebrate my own laziness - go figure.) I figure that by having a contest that requires me to post again shortly after it, I will have no choice but to get off of my duff and blog.

Here are the topics that I have a decent amount of crap with which to blog:


2. Holiday Knitting

3. The ideal Cabana Boy

4. Random Thoughts about whatever (remember the Fancy Chicken post?)

Ok - everyone decide to what you want to hear about and post your choice in the comments section. I'm not promising fancy, woo-hoo pictures, or a fabulously written piece of work, but I can promise you that I will make you laugh and you'll want to come back. Whichever topic gets the most voters wins and I will be forced to blog about it.

If you vote, I will write down your name, put it in a hat (that I didn't knit myself) and I will have someone (not me) pick a name. You will win two skeins of Lorna's Laces Storm Watch. (Are you expecting some sort of photo here? Sorry - that's too involved for me at this point.) They are already wound up into cakes, and I think I have at least 1 label. I think. I have never used them, and they are just marinating away in my stash. I may even include something else, just because I am fun like that.

I will draw a name on Saturday - you have until 10am on Saturday to post your choice in the comments! Please feel free to also share something funny in the comments. Laughing is good.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Can You Follow The Fiber Buying Rules?

Rules? What rules? There are rules when it comes to buying yarn? Hey, and since when does Megan follow rules?

Yes, friends, there are now rules. Tragic, yes, but unfortunately necessary. The goal here, is purposeful spending. I know that it seems scary, and that there is a bit of heresy involved when it comes to not populating the stash, however, the rules allow for expansion and so I think I can live with it!

For your enjoyment and so that you can have a nice chuckle, here are the rules I am going to bravely attempt to adhere to (I believe that Akamai Knitter is going to be following these rules - 2 heads are better than one, ya know?):

1. Yarn purchases can be made when there is a purpose for it and you are ready to use it immediately. Gifts fall into this category. Yarn, say for a sweater, also falls into this category, HOWEVAH, you must be ready to knit the sweater right then and there.

2. Fiber/Yarn Clubs are allowed. One of each. When you take the time to add up the monthly expenses of a Club and then all of the Etsy/LYS buying, it is more than we realize. The Clubs will be the monthly treat. It's your yarn to play with, or, to set aside for a special project for someone.

3. You may not purchase fiber/yarn just because it's pretty. (This is the hard part). No matter how soft, how smooshy, how yummy or how silky, you just can't do it. The only exception is if you are following rule #1.

4. Fiber Festivals are different. They only rule is that you can only can only spend what you bring in - cash only. No trips to the ATM once you run out - not allowed. Credit cards don't count unless you can pay it off in full when you get the bill. (Which really means, don't bring the card.)

5. Recognize that your stash building efforts are by way of the Yarn/Fiber Club. You should remind yourself that pretty yarn/fiber comes once a month so do not fear!

6. If you valiantly support a friend on Etsy, you may continue to do so, within reason - say
, when they do an update. We must support those who support our addiction!

Can you see the rationalization behind this? For me to go on a complete fast would be asking too much. It would mean that when I fell off of the wagon that I would buy half of Etsy and have to feed Mini-Me ramen and ham sandwiches for a month, and I would feel incredibly guilty. So, rather than try to fast and fail, I'm going for purposeful buying!
  • The Yarn/Fiber Clubs replenish/build stash. (necessary to a knitter, no?)
  • The fact that you can buy yarn helps you resist the urge to spend a whole pay check on yarn.
  • Buying specifically for a project that you are absolutely ready to cast on for reduces the risk that the $80 bag of yarn will not languish in the back of the yarn bin.
Feel free to participate in the Fiber Buying Rules. If you need support, please drop myself or Akamai Knitter a note - we will help you, or you can just remind us that we are crazy for doing this!

Speaking of purposeful buying...

Mama's got a brand new bag!!! (Or two - maybe three if you count the one I didn't photograph!)

See? Big and Little! I think they are great. I love Le Sportsac. They last forever and have great prints. I have been carrying two bags. A purse and a knitting bag. What a PITA! Too fiddly. Too much to remember. Sooo.....

Now everything fits nicely into one bag, and I have a room to spare - either for a large project, work papers, a change of shirt (because I spill everything), you name it, I can get it in there! I love the fact that the purse is small and fits in the bag. Because I have a shoulder issue, small bags mean that I can't carry around two tons of fun. Having it kept in a larger bag means I carry the larger bag to the car, or into work, taking out the purse if I don't have the need for the bag! Plus, I got the bags at TJ Maxx, so I paid way less than retail. Smart, purposeful buying, no?

Two Fingers, because she is a curious lady, had to check it out. She has promised to stay out of the bag - at least when I am not looking! (Notice the red satin knitting bag, ahem.)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Cabana Boy! Pass Out These Awards!

My good friend Opal nominated me for a Blog Award!! Thank you Opal!! I try hard to bring smiles to everyone's life with the calamity from mine, and I am glad that it is working! I really enjoy reading Blogs. I love the fact that we get to share in the joyous moments and even in the hard moments. There is something about a good blog that lets you into a person's life, and makes you want to keep on reading to see what's next.

In return for my nomination, I have to nominate four other blogs that I love to read! It was immediately clear to me that I couldn't just nominate the blogs that get read by the masses. I needed to chose blogs that I enjoy reading because they are fun, and because that blog writer shares a bit of themselves with you.

Drum roll please (that's you, Cabana Boy):

1. Cursing Mama - She makes me laugh on a daily basis, and she's always sharing something fun. Her new background and title make me giggle.
2. Yeah I Knit - Dani is a riot. There's always something new going on with her blog, and lately, she has been a blogging queen. Way to go, Dani!
3. Ms Create - I think that Daniele and I were separated at birth! I'm not sure how it happens, but she and I are always on the same wave length and it's good to know that I'm not the only one out there =)
4. The Carantit Chronicals - I have know Tyler since kindergarten. He has a great writing style, and it's fun to get to know him all over again as an adult. I find his blog heartwarming and funny.

Please take a minute to check out these blogs! They are worthy of your time, and I promise that you will find them entertaining. Kudos to all of you, and thanks to Opal for allowing me to pay this one forward.

Oh! I almost forgot - there are some rules.

1. Please put the award on your blog.

2. Add a link to the person who awarded you

3. You must nominate at least 4 fellow bloggers for this award.

4. Add links to the recipients.

5. Leave a comment so the recipients know they have received an award.

I'm adding a 6th, ahem:

6. You must, in turn, nominate 4 other bloggers that you think rock!

Have a fabulous weekend, fair readers! May Monday treat you well - I, for one, am taking the day off. Woot!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Sock Is On Fire!!

And no, it's not because I left a cigarette burning too close to the wool. (Knotty girls use ash trays outside, not near stash or projects, ahem.)

I am working on a pair of socks for my girl, Wendy Lee. She is a very worthy recipient - not only does she create fabulous hair for me, but she is one of my dearest friends and it's her birthday on the 8th!

This is a project I am very excited about for a variety of reasons. I'm sure that you would like to know what they are, so I will feel free to share:

1. I'm using the Lime & Violet Intentions Yarn - Inspiration #1. I really love the colors in this yarn - they are quick jolts of colors, very intense colors, with a lot of depth. Take a minute to read up on Intentions Yarn - it's a great idea. I chose to use the Inspiration colorway because we all need inspiration from time to time - it encourages us to go out and do great things!

2. I decided (after much debate) to knit Express Lane Socks. The pattern itself is very easy, and because I have moved over to the "dark side" and am knitting on 2 circs, they are going very fast. Plus, the recipient of these socks moves at a high rate of speed on a frequent basis. Fitting, no? I am loving knitting these socks.

HOWEVER!!!! (Mentally make the noise of a scratching record, seriously, we're about to go off of the tracks)

The original pattern calls for a short row heel. We all know how I feel about short rows when it comes to socks. (Think of a SNL Bush Sr spoof and raising taxes "Not gonna do it.") I decided that I was gonna be slick and insert a heel flap in it's place, and of course, I am going to utilize the one that I have in a Wendy Johnson (aka Sock Goddess) pattern. My stitch count on the Express Lane pattern (60 stitches) is not exactly dead on with the Nanner Sock heel pattern (64 stitches), so I tinkered with the numbers a bit, consulted the Sock Goddess and determined this could easily happen! I was so happy that my brain is working in the appropriate manner. Please make note of the stitch counts for each pattern - it will make my story funnier, I swear.

Monday night, I started working on the gusset - so exciting, I love knitting this part of the sock. Yesterday I notice I'm not liking it, and there's an error (I switched up how I did my M1 - blech), so at about 7:30 pm, I decided to frog the gusset, fixing the error, and going back to my old ways of doing a M1. I know that Wendy Lee won't care about one error, but I would, ya know?

So I frog. I pick up my stitches, and painstakingly figure out where the seams are, and count my stitches. First, I count them and I have 59. I count them again, I have 61. I count them again and I have 60, 30 on each needle. In my brain, I am thinking that I need to have 32 stitches on each needle, because I need a total of 64 stitches. Well, this sock only has 30 stitches per needle. I curse, I threaten to throw the sock, I contemplate burning it, then I call Opal for an intervention.. She's such a cool cookie, she listened to my rant and talked me out of burning the sock, and we jointly come up with a way to increase 4 times within the lace pattern so it won't be noticeable. All this time, I am trying to figure out, how in the world did I loose 4 stitches? Where did they go? Oh well, I have a plan, so let's move on. Woot!

Yeah, no, not so much.

Think about it, if I'm missing 64 stitches, I can't just increase in the lace - I have to increase on the sole of the foot as well, so that there will be 32 stitches per needle. Follow my thought process here... I can see how I lost a stitch or two in the lace - it happens. But to loose stitches on the sole? How is that? I have checked the sock over with a fine toothed comb - no dropped stitches.. What the hell is going on here?? Whatever - it happens, and if I need 64 stitches, I need 64. Increase 2 stitches in the lace pattern, and 2 on the sole of the sock. (I have a plan, remember?)

I proceed on with the plan ('cause I made one) knit across the lace, adding in my extra stitch, and then realize, I have too many stitches for the lace pattern. Huh? What? If I'm supposed to have 64 stitches, how can I suddenly have an extra stitch - I shouldn't have enough! I bust out the pattern and look at the lace chart. I've got the appropriate amount of stitches. How can this be? How can I need 32 stitches per needle, yet the pattern only needs 30? Where have I gone wrong? I've spent over an hour figuring out how to fix this, yet now my fix won't work!

Get your lighter ready friends - I hear that wool has a nice blue flame.

I decide to read the whole pattern over again, just to see if I missed something. Apparently, I did.

Dear Ms. Knotty Knits,

We regret to inform you that the pattern you are using only calls for 60 stitches in the S/M size. While we do understand that this is frustrating for you to read, and it may cause you to have a fit, it is the only answer we have for you at this time. Next time, read the pattern at the first sign of trouble or frustration.

The parts of your brain that read patterns

What in the h-e-double-hockey-sticks was I thinking? How did I not notice this?? Since when have I been knitting 64 stitches around for this pattern? NEVER!! After an hour and a half of plotting and wrangling and complaining and cursing it, reading the pattern showed that I only need 30 stitches per needle!! Darned cursed Nanner Sock heel!!! It invaded my brain and took over the Express Lane Sock pattern! Remember when I shared that I had gone through and tinkered with the numbers from the heel of the nanner socks to replace the short rows with the heel flap? Why did I have to tinker? Because the Express Lane socks only have 60 stitches and the nanner socks have 64, so I had to mess with the numbers a bit to center the short rows and the gusset increases! But never did I want to change the stitch count from 60 to 64 in the regular pattern! Never! Again, let's repeat a much used phrase from this blog - What was I thinking???

I really had the lighter ready folks. I looked at the sock, looked at the lighter, looked back at the sock, and had mental images of it going up in flames. I thought about sticking it in my empty Hornsby's Hard Cider bottle and made a "Sock-al-tov Cocktail" and throwing it out into the parking lot just for kicks. I thought about putting it in the litter box and letting Two Fingers punish it. I thought about throwing it off the balcony in a "Walk the Plank" sort of fashion.

Instead, I called Opal and gave her the good news. I'm not nuts, I'm just a non-pattern-reading-can't-keep-two-patterns-straight crazy lady who had contemplated destroying a perfectly good no errors anywhere sock.

PS for your viewing pleasure, here's what Cindy sent me for the Plurk Swap. Isn't she just fabulous!!!!! She rocked my socks (literally)! Don't worry, Plurk Swap partner - your box will be on it's way soon!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A MeMe from Opal!

Your Autumn Test Results

You are a energetic, warm, optimistic person. You approach everything with a lot of enthusiasm.

When you're happiest, you are outgoing and expressive . You love celebrations, and you enjoy showing off a little.

You prefer change to come slowly. You need a long transition period when your life changes.

You find solitude to be the most comforting thing in the world. Being alone with your thoughts feels very peaceful.

Your ideal day is active and full. You like to keep busy with your favorite things, and you appreciate a routine.

You tend to live in the moment. You enjoy whatever is going on, and you don't obsess over the past or future.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

How many WIPs does one girl need?

Well, apparently I need a few! Not that I need to have a few going, but between gifts and my personal projects, I've got a houseful! Here is a peak at what's going on!

First, let's discuss what's on my mind. This so-called thing called a "jogless jog".
I've been working on the "Turn A Square" hat by Jared Flood. I like the simplicity of it, and thought, what the heck - I've got spare wool for that! Well, the "jogless jog" that is used on this project is apparently unattainable. I just can't seen to get it right - when it looks right, I have a hole, when I have no hole, it looks like, well, crap.
Daniele (who had a super blog, so read it) is having difficulties with it as well. Why is this so hard?? What in the world is wrong with my knitting brain? Anyone have a solution - I promise I will share with Daniele. If I can't get this thing down soon - I'm gonna be very done with this project. I won't even frog it - I'll just pull the needles and toss it. It's a flippin hat, for Pete's sake!! (Jared, if you are listening, I think you are divine and I want to lick you, however this hat - which is very simple - is upsetting me. Can I send it to you and you can finish it? Promise, I will love you forever.)

Moving on! I've been working on the fingerless gloves for my friend, Gabe. I love them, and have had a lot of folks ask me to make them some. (NOTE: MsKnottyKnits is not accepting new projects at this time, unless you want to pay. Ahem.) It's actually a very easy pattern, and I am enjoying it. I'm half way through the second one, and I almost think I'm going to need my own. I am enjoying the color - It's Plymouth Yarn Happy Feet, in color 6 on size 2 DPNS.

Next, I've obviously been busy with the drop spindle! Ohh Baby. I decided to put some thought into how I break up the roving. My friend Opal brought up using fractal spinning to control which colors end up where. Here's what I did:
I unbraided the roving and laid it out on the floor, splitting it in half.
I then took one half, and split it in half. It's very dense fiber and has required a lot of pre-drafting, as well as some help while spinning.
I took the remaining half and put it in a bag. It's resting until I'm done with the first bit, but when I go to use it, I will split it up into 4 pieces, and spin another single.

Eventually, I will ply the two together. I'm hoping to have a very lengthy color repeat and a much shorter one. I think it will add interest to the final product. Did I mention that I am aiming for thin? (Shoot me, please, now, shoot me.) I picked this roving up from Allspunup. It's very soft and springy!

Yesterday, I headed out to my A Row of Purls and hung out for a bit. They are such nice folks there! We have been collaborating on the Great American Afghan, and are putting on the final bells and whistles. The Afghan itself will be raffled off to raise money for a scholarship at the local high school. If you are interested in purchasing one, it's $1 for one or $5 for six, you can contact me via email, and we will hook it up through Paypal. Easy Peasy.

While I was there, I had a Malabrigo moment. See, what had happened was... I bought the wrong size of needles. I could for sure have gotten a refund, but why not just trade them in? I love the colors in this - they go from purple, to blue, to green - lovely. I'm going to use it to knit my Morning Surf Scarf, using size 8 needles. I think everyone should knit with this yarn, mainly because it's just so soft and their colors are just outstanding. Apparently, the good ladies at my LYS are going to order more colors - as well as different types. (I plugged the silky.)

Last week, I hopped on the Tempted Yarn bandwagon - I've held out for so long, and it's been soo hard, but I finally found a lace pattern I just knew I needed to knit, and then Stacy posted her Lace Grrl yarn. I picked up Horn of Plenty, and I am going to use it to knit the Ring of Lace Wrap. I am really excited about it, because I really think I'm going to be able to get a lot of use out of it! Here's a sample, and because my camera doesn't do it justice, I'll link you to her Etsy site.Alrighty, fair knitters! I'm done blabbing for now. I know I am falling short of my 3 posts a week goal, but I figure that one major post could count for three!

Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pass The Cheese Please!

I'm tired.

It's Tuesday, but it's really Monday. (gah.)

My shoulder hurts because I am an idiot and decided to spin for hours this weekend. Back to the pain med chest I go... (happy trails, to you...)

I managed to get housework done tonight, but when I look around, there is still more. (Crap.)

I am perfectly happy with the fact that I really didn't do jack all weekend, but it was a difficult one emotionally, and I am so spent. (Geesh... some people just know how to kill a weekend)

I can't get my blue tooth and my phone to cooperate. (Who can turn wool into yarn, but can't work a phone??)

I definitely do not want to go to work tomorrow. (blah.)

Oh - I lost the link to the Cabana Boy I was going to buy to handle all of this crap for me. (Damn it!!)

Can you see why I am drinking fermented grape juice tonight?

At any rate, here is what I think about whine - err.. wine!

Favorite wine: Tintero's Muscato D'Asti.
I'm not really into sweet wines, but this one is not that bad - I think the bubbles kind of help. It's a white, and it is fruity, but very light on the fruit - think pears and citrus. It's got a lovely case of "buttery Chardonnay" going on, and it just makes me smile. For the record, I do not like Muscatos. Ew, yuck, blech. However, this one is so divine that Georgia boy and I used to drink this all of the time - it was the official wine of the "Fruity Wine Night." We found it at a local wine store here in town and every time I am near the place I stop and buy a bottle. Delish.

Least favorite wine: Shiraz
Mainly because it gives me heartburn, but also because I just don't find it that appealing unless it is dry and paired well with a meal, even then It's only something that I will sip. Nothing I will go out of my way to purchase.
(Note, Megan likes to drink wine - not just taste wine)

Favorite Cheap Wine: Bohemian Highway, Merlot, please.
Yes folks, it's the hippie in me coming out. We drank this at my favorite Hippie's house when we went out for my birthday... Oy. Costumes, Woodford, and Bohemian Highway, all the while wearing 4 inch stilettos. Seriously, the stuff is about $5.00 a bottle. It doesn't leave you feeling like you got run over by the cheap wine delivery truck, and all of their varieties have been nice. It's a great wine when you feel the need to entertain a crowd because it's just a generally descent wine, and everyone likes it. It also works well for a Girl's Night celebration.

I know that there are some of my friends who have a difficult time with the sulfates in wine. I did a bit of research, and here is what I have come up with:
  • There is, unfortunately, no wine that is truly sulfate-free. It's a naturally occurring thing that happens when during fermentation, however, sulfates are added by winemakers to as a preservative and to prevent oxidation.
  • European wines have higher levels of sulfates than US wines.
  • Organic wine has NO sulfates added. So.. Instead of being able to have 350 ppm, organic wine makers are held to 100 ppm. The lower level of sulfates can make a good glass of wine possible for those who have had adverse reactions to the "s" word.
  • Sulfate free wine does not have a long shelf life - sulfates are preservatives. They are also darker in color because of the oxidation process.
  • Some wine snobs think Organic wine tastes like poo - well, I happen to think that some very expensive wines taste like poo as well. (Yes, that would be you, Mr. California and the $200 bottle)
  • Taste is personal. Try it.
Ok fair blog readers - your mission is to tell me what your favorite wine is. If you feel so inclined, I would also ask you to seek out some Organic wine and report back! There is a Plurk buddy out there who deserves a great glass of vino and will thank you for it!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fancy Looking Chickens

Please tell me you remember Deep Thoughts.... By Jack Handy! I decided that I needed to share some random thoughts with my favorite blog readers, and it made me think of Jack Handy. (The elevator music is currently playing in my head) Please take a moment to ponder one of Jack's deeper thoughts before proceeding.

"If I come back as an animal in my next lifetime, I hope it's some type of parasite, because this is the part where I take it EASY!"
(For more deep thoughts, you can go here.)

At any rate, here are some things that briefly passed in and out of the hall of greatness today (yes, that would be my brain):
  • There will never be a time when handing out crappy news gets easier. Period.
  • Eating "Live Active" products can hamper normal routines.
  • I love knitting the gusset when a pattern calls for it.
  • I would like to meet a man who would be willing to shower me with love and attention, while providing unlimited funds for my hobbies and allowing me to knit and spin to my heart's content. (Actually, I would really just like to be independently wealthy, and knit and spin to my heart's content - big girls can take care of themselves. Ahem.)
  • I would like to have fancy looking chickens. The only eggs I really eat are deviled eggs, so I could give them to Wendy Lee and she could make them all the time.
  • I could really go for a nice long cuddle. (Yes, I know I stated I'm a big girl, but cuddles are something you can't give to yourself.)
  • A wide open field with plenty of wildflowers would be nice for a back yard.
  • Ex Husband's birthday is the 30th, and if I had thought about it, I could have knit him a lovely object shaped like a turd. Just like him.
  • I'd rather be at the beach drinking a wine spritzer.
  • Fall weather would be nice, and my hair would stop frizzing up so much.
  • This post is seeming rather selfish.
Do you ever have one of those days where you would like to poke your eyes out with a very sharp object? I had one of those days today. Unfortunately, in order to see I must refrain from this method of bodily harm, so I just let my mind wander where ever it wanted to go instead, hence the random thoughts. It was great fun. I even used the Internet.

I saw this - you know, a fancy chicken:
And this - ok, so it's Mt. Rainier, but I that doesn't mean it can't be my back yard, right?

I will spare you from the remainder of my Internet surfing. Trust me, it only got worse, because I moved onto websites where they sell things after the whole back yard episode. I almost plunked down a whole lot of money on things I didn't need, like anti-frizz hair product (like I need more), 12 months worth of fresh flowers, a lovely carrier for deviled eggs, and a page-a-day Deep Thoughts Calendar. Oh! And I almost hired a cabana boy to serve wine spritzers.

Tomorrow will be better. It's got to be. It's going to be Friday, and that means no suck-fest for three days (suck-fest=work).

Happy Labor day fair readers!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Shh! I'll get to you in a minute!

Last week was my summer vacation. I know that it is a poor excuse for why it's been almost a month since I have blogged last, but I've been busy.. You know... With stuff... I know you are just dieing to know what I've been up to, so in an effort to be charitable, here is a brief run-down of recent events in no apparent order. (Welcome back to my world!)

This roving decided to become this yarn! It was my first time plying, and I enjoyed the results!!

I decided to use the purty new hand spun, along with this pattern to create this lovely little beret, modeled by the fashionista herself, Mini-Me. If you are interested to know the specs, please check out this. This pattern, by the way, was pretty simple to modify.

Zion decided to come over and play one morning! He and Two Fingers played nicely together. It should be noted that right after I took this picture, he threw the pacifier off of the third floor balcony. When he realized that Mini-Me would retrieve it for him, he did it again. And again. So I had to put the balcony off limits. Poor Mini-Me.

We went down to the beach for a few days! I didn't take a lot of pictures, but I would like to share the dynamic duo of Mini-Me and Sporty Girl. They enjoyed their time together - movies, boogie boarding, and sand crab chasing.
We had not been to visit our friends in quite some time, and the reunion was a great way to wind down the summer. Beer and steamed freshly caught shrimp never tasted so good!
I enjoyed my vacation, albeit uneventful! Most of all, I enjoyed just being Mini-Me's mom for a week! I purposely chose to stay close to home so that we could just do whatever we wanted to. It felt great just letting the phone ring if I didn't feel like answering it. There were times when I actually left the dang thing at HOME. I know, scary, but it felt sooo good.
Let's take a moment to review the summer goals shall we? (Oh wait, I only had one)
Learn to knit socks. Check!
Oh boy, I sure did push myself real hard with the amount of goals I had set, eh? I did manage to find other items to fill up the time - I learned to spin, I became part of a knitting group, I participated in the Ravelypmics, and to top it all out, I got to be Bobicus Maximus for a few days and hand out medals - that was super fun!!
All in all, I'd say it was a good summer! I've made a lot of new friends, tried a lot of new things, and have become much more confident in my skills as a knitter, thanks to the encouragement and assistance of a few awesome ladies! I'm glad I took the time to learn my new skills on my own, and would recommend it to anyone who is looking to start a new hobby. I have my own style, that works for me and I don't feel confined to someone else's way of doing things! Because I suffer from arthritis in my upper back and shoulders, I need to be able to do what works for me. I love my hobbies, but not when doing them means I can't sleep because it hurts, ya know?
Speaking of which: Please support those who suffer from arthritis. Here are a few ways that you can do so very easily!
1. Knit socks? Purchase this pattern by Wendy Johnson. Wendy and The Loopy Ewe are donating a portion of the proceeds to the Arthritis Foundation.
2. Visit the Arthritis Foundations' web site, for pete's sake!
3. Go do something nice for someone who has arthritis!
4. Remember that you can be young and suffer from arthritis - it's not just something your grandma gets, people.
Ok, I've briefly run down the highlights of my vacation, shown you what I've been up to, double checked my goals to make sure I had attained them, and discussed arthritis.
I'm glad you all can keep up with the subject matter(s), I can't help it if I've had a lot on my mind!
PS - The goal through Thanksgiving is to blog at least 3 times/week. I wonder if someone can help me find a nifty ticker or something to put on my blog for accountability purposes?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Yes, I've been a lazy blogger

(this is the part where you wonder what has changed!)

I've been working on the project from hell - square #6 from the Great American Afghan. I've ranted enough on Plurk about it, but I just need to say that it's not because it's a difficult knit, it's soo fidley!! Gah!

I sat down and made my favorite hippie's Calorimetry this weekend. I love it. Mini Me gladly modeled it for me, and I think I'm going to make her one next. Thi
s was such a fast knit - perfect for gifts, just like the article says!

Can you tell that I she checked out the Knitty write up as well? This was a great little knit, and I hope my hippie girl gets lots of use out of it!

Speaking of On Line Magazines I checked out a few this week! I feel the need to ramble about them for a bit because each has their own finer points.
Knotions Magazine
I like it! The patterns are - gasp- FREE! They don't have a ton of patterns, but some of them are quite nice! I like the sock patterns a lot. They have a great section on techniques, which will become a handy reference! I like the way you navigate around - it makes fining things pretty easy! I also like that there are easy things and more challenging things - even in the techniques area. This is a practical handy website to bookmark

Twist Collective
Squee!!!! Where Knotions kicks arse for practicality, Twist Collective kicks arse for dreamy and over the top! The patterns are amazing! If I had to pick a place to look once a year for a major project - I might have to look here. They had beautiful, challenging and downright artful projects. The patterns are not free, but they are reasonably priced. They layout is very original - I like how you can go through the website by just clicking on the arrows, very similar to a regular magazine. The pictures - fabulous. Added bonus - the Mason Dixon Knitters have their own little Q & A corner. What more could one want out of an on line magazine?

So your task, fair blog readers, is to check out both websites and let me know what you think of each one! Maybe you'll stumble onto something I missed, or even -shocker- learn something new!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Busy Busy Busy!

Which can be a good or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it!
Saturday, I went down to my LYS and met a great lady, Meg! She is a spinner/weaver/brand new knitter! I got to try out a beautiful little spindle, which spun on forever! It was really neat! She also let me spin on one of her wheels! It was great fun. She has her very own sheep, and brought her very own wool! It was very interesting to talk to her and learn more about the entire process.

I've been plugging away at the colonial wool that Opal sent! I finally managed to finish it up tonight and here's what it looked like on the spindle:And here is what it looked like after I wrestled it off:
Mental note #5,432,738 - a Niddy Noddy will be a good purchase.
Mini-Me and I managed to finagle her desk chair into becoming a stand in swift/winder. She turned the chair while I kept the tension and controlled the spindle.
It's currently hanging up in the bathroom after a wee bit of a soak. It still has some kinks in it - not very severe, just some rolling hills. I tried weighting it down more, but it really didn't seem to help much. Perhaps when I get it into a ball it will decide to behave! I will be utilizing this yarn for the 2008 Ravelympics! I'm pretty excited about it. I have no clue what my yardage is - I'm guessing maybe 100, but who knows. I would like to try and do a funky sort of hat - kind of like this. Maybe using a generic wool for the underside, then my wool for the top. Hmmm. Any suggestions? I'm open!
I'm going to spin up this beautiful roving that I picked up from FlawfulFibers. It's BFL and sooo soft I just want to wear the roving itself - it oculd pass as a scarf, right? The colorway is Siouxsie. (The bright gold spots you see don't exist in real life - POS camera)
Anyway, my goal for this roving is to just get it spun up. Period. If I manage to knit something with it - super. If not, oh well! If you are participating in the Ravelympics and are not on a team - why not Team Splurk? Plurkers knitting with handspun or spinning up fiber. It will be fun, and we will emerge victorious!

Have I missed anything? Hmmm... Oh! I made this for Frankie. It's his birthday in August. I'm hoping this keeps his balding head (uh-huh, I said it) warm while he's off keeping us safe. It's called the Utopia Cable Hat, and you can get the pattern here. Oh yeah! And I'm almost done my first nanner sock! Woot! Woot! It's been taking a while, but it's my travel project, so I'm ok with that

I think that's it for now! The pillow is calling my name, and I think I may have overloaded you guys with all of these crappy pictures. Hope the remainder of your week is a good one!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Things I like - I'm starting a MeMe....

I saw this done last year, and I thought it was pretty cool, but I could never figure it out. So, I challenge everyone to do this - it's pretty flippin' simple. Just take pictures of some of your favorite things, upload them into Flickr, and then make yourself a pretty little mosaic!

You can find this feature of Flickr by using the drop-down menus at the top of your Flickr page - click on Explore, then select do more. Once you get there, select QOOP, then make a poster!

See? You don't even have to come up with witty answers, or try and remember something pointless like the last time you wore blue underwear. Just pick out pretty pictures of your favorite things, then, viola!

Happy Monday everyone!

PS - Make sure you comment me when you get yours done - I wanna see!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It kept me up until 1 am!!

So yesterday, I get home from work and find this!!!

First, let me tell you, that there was another box from my mom filled with pretty little things for me and for Mini-Me, but I knew what was in this box, so sorry mom - yours had to wait.


My Plurk Bud, Akamai Knitter had offered to send me a drop spindle - and I only accepted once she gave me her address so that I could send her a box of treats in return.

I NEVER expected to get roving - which is beautiful! I had a quivering chin folks. Opal and I met through Plurk and now visit each other through blogs, plurk and email. I enjoy our conversations a lot - she sees things in the same way that I do. And, bonus - she lives in Hawaii - one of my favorite places on earth! Oh, and wait - can you say pearl stitch markers????

Here is a close up of the spindle top and the pretty yarn that was still attached to it!

For real, folks - quivering chin turned into tears. Opal's generosity has blown my mind! After I had completed gushing and ooooo-ing, and saying thank you about 3 million times via Plurk, I opened up my box from Nanna Cassidy. More on that later - for some reason I can't upload a picture. (Boo!)

Once I had calmed down, I sat with good ole' Youtube open and figured out ho w to get my new buddy to spin - and I got it after about the third try! I think I went crazy with excitement and the sheer joy of it. I admired it for a while... I put it gently on my table and walked away. I finished off Opal's goodies, and then laid down. I could hear the spindle calling my name. I got up, put it in the box it came in and laid back down. It started screaming for fiber. I put it in the hall closet and shut the door. The spindle then started clunking around in the closet and screaming "Try me!" It was awful. It was gut wrenching to lay in bed trying to watch Bizzare Foods with Andrew Zimmern's when the spindle clearly crying out for attention.

I got up, pulled up some more YouTube videos, and gave it my best shot. At 10:45 at night. I can tell you that I did have issues (ha ha - go figure) - mainly with the concept of letting the twist travel up the yarn and how to ply and twist, so it's not pretty, but there is a wee bit of yarn on the spindle this morning. I will not be picturing the yarn, however. It is simply too pathetic to share with Blogland - or Plurkville for that matter. But I am proud, and freakin' exhausted today! My new buddy kept me up until 1am!

Please check out Opal's blog!! She is spinning up some seriously delicious yarn. Rumor has it, ahem, that she will soon be opening an Etsy store. I'll keep ya'll posted on the grand opening. Well, then again, maybe not, because if you don't check it out soon enough, I will have bought everything.

Friday, July 11, 2008

What Inspires You?

This last week, I have really tried to pay attention to what inspires me to take on a project. Let's face it - some times there are projects that are just downright beautiful and we feel compelled to make them! But there are often times when it's quiet, we dream of our own projects, or how to change a pre-existing project into something that is distinctly our own.

For me, it's color and people. I can see a color and it just screams "YOU NEED ME!" Many times when this happens, I have no true plan, but I know I need it. ShibuiKnits Orchid did that for me. I love the way that the pinks quietly change colors, and the bright shot of chartreuse that comes at the end. It excites my senses and plants the "what could I do with this" seed. I love variegated yarns - the way the colors flow together, the variations of the colors, and the unknown factor. I get excited watching the colors knit up! I have often wondered how hand painted yarn is thought through - any one can paint yarn, but true artists paint yarn that looks beautiful when it's used. Last week I got some super colorful yarns!

Lorna's Laces in Black Watch and the beautiful yarn Bellamoden dyed up for the Loopy Groupies that are reading The Historian. Not sure what the Lorna's Laces is going to be yet - definitely a pair of socks, just unsure which ones. The Historian yarn is going to become a pair of Mitred Mittens for moi. Yay!

People often ask for me to make them something. Gladly is always my reply. What kind of yarn should I get? None - I'll find one that fits. I love looking at things and matching them up with people. Even Mini-Me will see some thing and tell me who needs it! I think that yarn itself has personality. You get a different vibe when you look at a tweed as opposed to a fingering weight merino. One makes you think of warm winter sweaters - the other a baby sweater or a beautiful shawl. A friend of mine's husband wants a scarf. He's a character - always making me laugh, and loves playing with Mini-Me. I think I'm going to look for a chocolaty hand spun make a real earthy, cozy, manly looking one for him. All I need to do now is find a pattern. I'm thinking that some sort of rib would be cool, however, I think that the linen stitch would be down right scrumptious in some squishy yarn (but if I do that, I'll have to stray from hand spun - crap)

Last but not least, I get inspired by others! Some times it's the challenge of learning something new. Wendy inspired me to knit socks. Opal inspired me with her cable hats to knit a hat for Mini-Me and to use a pattern with cables. Mini-Me is inspiring me to become Jackie O.

At any rate, my point is, take a minute this weekend and figure out where your mojo comes from! The more we pay attention to what makes all the wheels in our brain start to spin, the more focused we can be on our goal - making things that we love and get excited about!

So tell me, fair knitters, what inspires you?? Inquiring minds want to know!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Holiday Rambles and Yarn Stuffs.

I grew up very close to where our Nation's Independence was started - Boston, Massachusetts. When I was in school, most of our field trips were some how related to our Nation's history - either early settlers or the various historical monuments in and around that area. At that time, I had no desire to visit those locations. BORING. It was the only word that could sum it up. Now, as an adult, I gobble up history like it's the last thing I will ever learn.

What I find extraordinarily interesting is how everyone views their patriotism. I will go ahead and state for the record, that when it comes to patriotism, I am such a right winger. My social views are quite left, but when it comes to most of my political views I'm a righty. I think it's difficult in this day and age to separate patriotism from political views. People tend to place importance on patriotism based upon their values and what impacts their lives on a daily basis. I don't think that's wrong, but I do think that when we allow our political views to take over our patriotic views, we do ourselves and the nation a huge injustice.

Here are some things that I want you to think about over the long weekend:
  • Read up on your history! I think that as an adult we need to go back and review what we learned in school and see it from a more mature standpoint. I think that as we grow in our knowledge and world view, we can come to appreciate our history in a much broader sense.

  • Be humble! If you can take our own beginnings as a nation and apply what you know to the world 200+ years later, you will start to have a greater appreciation for the democratic political process and the hard times that go along with becoming a new nation. There democratic process is just beginning for some nations. Instead of complaining that it isn't to our liking in belief systems and laws, humble yourself and remember that to each his own and support the struggle for freedom of any type!
  • Support the Struggle! We struggled against social injustices, tyranny and a corrupt political system to become what we are today! Folks, support the struggle. There are fledgling democracies in the world today that need our help to make them great. No one likes war. It's ugly and painful, but it is what it is. There are thousands of great Americans putting their life on the line for it as you read this support them any way that you can! They are doing their best to provide others with something we hold dear to our hearts.

  • Recognize! No matter how you cut it, we are a great nation. We live in a country where we can (for the most part) exercise one of the most basic of god-given gifts - FREE WILL! Bask in the ability to use it!! Millions of people will never know what it's like to be able to live freely and honestly.

Ok - Now that I have come down off of my blah-blah soap box, I have some things to share. Last Saturday, Mini-Me and I packed up in the car and headed out to A Row of Purls. Yay! I spend 2.5 hours there. I let Mini-Me pick out yarn for her birthday, and I picked up some yarn for a special gift. Here they are!

So are you noticing the trend of pink, purple and green? Of course! Because ya'll are smarties! Mini-Me picked out some Cascade Sierra Quattro and I picked out some Noro Silk Garden. We enjoyed ourselves in a big way. We will be going back for sure! She even said my 1st sock ever looked great! For those of you who read regularly, you will know that I have had sock knitting dreams for about 3 months, and I completed one!!! Who cares if it's too short, or the heel is too narrow, of if the toes are lumpy. It's a freakin' sock people!!!!!

Please hold your applause - throw money for yarn instead!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hello Plurkette Hencircle!

Hello, my name is Megan, and I'm a knitaholic.

I am also a single mom, who knits and avoids household chores like the plague. My daughter, aka Mini-Me and I take the world by storm daily, and enjoy ourselves while we do it.

I got interested in the Henhouse because although I live in a third floor condo, life wasn't always that way. I grew up in a very small town in New Hampshire and miss that type of life. It was much slower, quieter and above all not so freaking hot. My mom was always very crafty - and thrifty. She made a lot of our clothes when we were young, always kept a garden, and made sure we had plenty of hand knit mittens to go around when the snow got deep!

Because it's just myself and the kiddo, I find myself moving at a consistent break neck pace, and when I stop, I have very little energy for much else. By joining this group, I hope to re-focus myself on what's important and get back to basics. I also figure that Mini-Me will enjoy the projects as well, so we will just become our own little Plurkette-mother-daughter-Hencircrle -tag-team duo! While we may not be able to have a garden or chickens, there are lots of things that we can do from our third floor balcony! One day, I hope to be financially well off enough to get us back to the country, where we can have a garden.. maybe even a sheep or two. Until then, we'll just sit back and wave at the clouds!

There is a lot to be said for being independent. I have been out of my mom's house since I was 18, joined the military, and became a military spouse. 14 years of being on my own and living away from the nest has forced me to become self sufficient, strong, and resourceful. To me, that's part of the farm girl way of life!

Oh! And I need to learn how to sew too. (I broke the sewing machines when I was young - maybe at the fine age of 32 I can get with it)

Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday Stupidity

Fingering Weight Bison/Bamboo Blend: $84
Cost to make a shawl with it: $600+ (depending on shawl)
Realizing that some times yarn can be stupid: PRICELESS

We can all thank DreamWeaver Yarns for this bit of stupidity - it's their fault, they sent the email telling me to look. (By the way it's only 25% Bison - thanks LBinVA for pointing out even more stupidity!)

Now really, I'm a sucker for good things, such as expensive yarn. I'll admit it, the more soft, squishy, yummy goodness the yarn contains, the better, as far as I am concerned, but this blows my mind. I will admit that the yarn is definitely beautiful. I will also admit that I remotely wish I had the kind of budget that would allow me to purchase such yarn. But for now, it's just the Stupidity for the week. Never did I think I would consider yarn stupidity. What a sad day.

And it's only Monday. Oy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Mum!

My mum turns some-age-she-doesn't-want-known on Saturday 29 June! My mother and I have not always had the best relationship. Partly because I was a nutty teenager, but partly because we are so very similar. Once I left the nest and grew up, I came to realize that no matter where I am or what is going on, my mother is always going to be there for me.

I think my mom would be the first person to tell you that I don't always make the best choices, I don't always take the easy route, and I am independent to a fault. No matter where my choices or path take me, she is always there for me with more love and support than I could ever ask for. We have grown so very close over the last 10 years, and I cannot tell you how happy I am to have her by my side.

For those of you who don't know, I live in North Carolina and mum lives in New Hampshire. I've been out of the state since 1994, and still to this day we will cry together over how bad it hurts sometimes to be apart. Although I am reasonably happy here in NC, I do struggle with being a single mom, and being alone and there are days when I wish that I could just pack up and go home. To my mom, who will still rub my back while I go to sleep if I ask her to. To see the delight she takes in having Mini-Me around, and how much of a bond there is between the two of them fills me completely. She has this way that she always smooths down Mini-Me's hair on the top of her head when Mini-Me cries or is upset. It makes me feel better just watching it. When we travel to her house, I wake up to an empty bed in the morning, and find Mini-Me curled up with my mother having either a quiet conversation about the topic of the day, or just snuggling and watching TV. I could not ask for a sight more beautiful.

(ok - no more of that because now I'm crying)

Top 10 Reasons Why Nancy Lillian Cassidy Is So Freakin' Awesome

1. The is one of the most crafty people I know!! (jewelry making, weaving baskets, knitting, painting, the list goes on)
2. She bakes the best English Muffin Bread!
3. Her hair is nice!
4. She took me to my first concert - Crosby Stills and Nash (who we sing along with to this day)
5. She lets us call her the Ayatollah when she acts bratty.
6. She always sends Mini-Me and I little care packages with fun stuff inside.
7. She gives me the best encouragement when I try new things (like knitting socks)
8. We can laugh hysterically about the most trivial things!
9. She puts up with my wacky ways.
10. She loves me no matter what!!!

She asked me for a summer weight scarf, and this is what I made her:

(I tried to be a bit artsy when I took this - heh) I got the pattern from here. I used Elann Callista - about 1 1/3 skeins. I like it.

Ok, so now that I've taken you on the emotional roller coaster for the day, please make sure you tell your mum that you love her!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Corona and Crackers

First, and this will come as no surprise to most - it's been flippin' hot. I am alright with the current hotness, because the humidity is only 65% which is low for my neck of the woods. Mini-Me told me yesterday "Mommy, I watched the weather channel, and they said the "human" was low - is that good?" Yes, sweetheart, although you should really call it the humidity.

  • Funny story - Mini-Me goes to Sunday School. I ask how it was. She tells me great! We had Corona and crackers. Huh? (I'm really thinking, please don't tell me you have said that at Sunday School!) I call the Sunday School teacher, who luckily knows me, and asks what the heck her child is talking about. After a rather long belly laugh, she tells me they had "Communion" and that they used crackers for it, and grape juice for the wine!! (They were getting them used to what the things were and what to do) At least we know she has some sort of functioning word association!!
(I had to use this picture - it has a rather holy looking glow, don't ya think?

Second, I have got a toe and a half of a foot done on my #1 sock! (That's what it's been named). I'm tickled pink. I'm using Wendy's Generic Toe-Up pattern, and it's not that hard! I did have to change needles because it was really loose when I tried it on after starting out with US 2. I've now switched to US 1 and am loving every stitch! Yay! Also, I have researched easier to methods, as the toe on #1 sock looks like a toe, but a rather ugly one due to my inability to do short rows. I'm scared for the heel, folks - really I am.

Third, I'm going to have to give up some things in order to maintain sock yarn... Scratch Tickets and unnecessary new clothes for myself must go. Boo.

Fourth, I've met a lot of new people on Plurk, and I am enjoying the conversations and the knitty-speak! It is rather fun, rather time consuming, and rather inspirational! I really enjoy the camaraderie that goes along with being with a group of knitty-folk. Because I am the only one in my circle of friends that knits, and there's not a big knitting community locally, it's something I've never had before and all I can say is: "Me likey."

Fifth, and final. I don't often talk about my depression and anxiety troubles. Partly because it's my business, and partly because it's not exactly like you get awards for having either problem! (Please laugh at that - I am!) I know that knitting helps with my problems - it's a good way for me to focus on something else other than what's wrong. I think that's why I like garter stitch - mindless, mindless and more mindless. I also know that when I surround myself with good things, most importantly people, I feel better. I know that people who are consistently angry bring me down, and while I won't swear them off, I know better than to talk to them daily. People who can be sympathetic to my situation are a huge help as well. Many of my friends understand that when I'm upset I need to feel supported - and not alone. So after rambling for a few sentences, I want ya'll to know that I can overcome anything!! My good friend Frank always reminds me that after 10 years of being a military spouse, 5 of that being a Special Forces wife, I am a strong woman capable of tackling anything life sends my way. I need to stop "knowing" this and start "living" this.

Ok, so maybe there is a sixth.. I've got some fun new (well, new to me) knitting books for weekend pool side reading! Wendy J, EZ and Cat Bordhi. Yay for me!

I know that this blog post was a bit deeper than most (in some ways, anyway) but some times it's good to just let it out!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Happy Thursday!

I have been on Plurk waaaay to much this week. I see dancing bananas in my sleep.

BUT - I do love my little group of friendly Plurkers. They can be a source of inspiration, knowledge and laughs. I could go on about this, but I'll stop... You should just go and see it for yourself!
At any rate, Ms. Madelini has been gone all week to her dad's. (Hence the maniacal Plurking) I do miss her when she is gone, so in honor of her, I'm going to put up my favorite picture!
Well, one of my favorites, anyway! Whew, my hair was super short, and super blond as well. Although she is a pistol, she can be such a patient child. When I'm having a bad day - that's all I have to tell her and she proceeds on with little to no complaint!
I've suffered through depression off and on, and it breaks my heart for her every time. I'm not the fun mommy - I'm the mommy who sits at home when I get like that, and I'm not exactly happy, either. She always manages to break through the grey for me and helps me see all of the wonderful things that surround me.
I think it's a gift that children are given. They have this magical way of showing you things you've never seen before - a pig made of clouds, a monster in a rock, or just the simple happiness there is to be had in the world.

I love my M.R.E.S.

PS - I'm posting a picture of purple lupins - my mother and Madelini are obsessed with them!