Sunday, January 29, 2006

Joy of Socks

Just started on a new pair of socks. Ahhhh, the Joy of Socks!! :)

And I'm using new yarn. Sock Memories from KnitPicks is just awesome to work with and I love the colors they have!! I'm working with Flower Power, and want to order some of the other colors!

Isn't the color pretty?? I just love it! Sock Memories is 100% merino wool -- so soft! And it isn't hard to work with on dpn's at all. I'm using size 3's.

I really enjoy knitting socks. I'm using a simple knit crew sock pattern from Bernat. You can find it here.

It's just Nirvana to sit and knit a pair of comfy socks while watching sitcoms our Tivo has recorded this week. Just a relaxing Sunday evening. :)

The next sock project I want to try (in honor of Spring) are cute sandal half socks. Check out the pattern here. It will give me a good excuse to go to the salon and have a pedicure, and then a trip to the shoe store to get a new pair of Spring sandals!! :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Tag.....I'm it LOL

I was tagged by Jenny

So here goes!

4 Jobs you've had
1. Newspaper Reporter
2. Radio News Director
3. Grant Writer
4. Collection Agent (UGH...horrible job!)

4 films you'd watch over and over:
1. A Fish Called Wanda
2. Wallace and Gromit
3. Winnie the Pooh
4. The Philadelphia Story

4 tv shows you love to watch:
1. Family Plots
2. Yes, Dear
3. Two and a Half Men
4. CSI

4 places you've been on holiday:
1. Paris
2. London
3. Yellowstone
4. Florida Keys

4 places you'd rather be right now:
1. Disney World :)
2. Hawaii
3. Yellowstone National Park
4. Italy

4 sites you visit daily:
1. Crochetville
3. Crafty Losers yahoo group
4. Yahoo main page to read news

2 Bloggers I am tagging:
1. Karla
2. Allena

Hugs! Juli

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Just Playin' Around

Last night, we had a nice family game night. We love to play board games. We literally have hundreds of them. My husband collects games of all sorts.

So, yesterday we played St. Petersburg. It's a really fun family game for 2-4 players (age 10 and up).

My husband is smiling because he's about ready to win the game. lol. See the green token on the board that's wayyyyyyy behind everyone elses?? Yep.....that's me. I lost. Someone had to. :)

Then my husband and son decided to make up their own game because they were bored, and more than a little silly. They took some little glass pieces we use as counters for games, and made up this mix of shuffleboard and marbles.

Here's Mikey getting ready to shoot at the goal:

Everyone knows you aim better with one eye closed. :)

But he missed. So here's his 2nd shot:

Aim works even better if you close one eye and hold your mouth just right. lol

Mikey did end up beating his father at this game 2-0. But I am sure that they will have a rematch.

The wool I dyed yesterday is still hanging up to dry. I will wind it up later today and see how it looks. I had to banish the cat last night. I hung the yarn up on a hanger outside for awhile. When it was done dripping, I brought it inside and hung it up near the ceiling fan. The cat was just too tempted by the moving poor Frenchie had to be sent outside.

Alone, abandoned, rejected......doesn't he look pitiful?

And the yarn is hanging just out of his reach taunting him. Poor Kitty. lol. He was so insulted by being sent outside. He pouted in the window until a moth flew by and he found better things to do than look miffed.


Saturday, January 21, 2006

I was dyeing to try it!!!

The Natural Wool of the Andes I got in the wool swap at Crochetville didn't stay natural for very long. I could hear it calling me.....

dye meeeeeeeeee dye meeeeeeeeee dye meeeeeeeeeeee HEY WOMAN! I said DYE ME!!!

So, I decided to dye it!

I read up on how to dye wool, and got out my food coloring. :)

Here's what the yarn looked like before I dyed it.

For those who haven't dyed yarn before, I'll show you what I did.

First, I rinsed and soaked the yarn in warm water and vinegar in a glass baking dish.

Then I squeezed out the excess water, and covered my kitchen counter with an old towel doubled over.

I put several drops of blue food coloring, a Tablespoon of vinegar and water in a coffee cup, and put the 1st 1/3 of the skein down into the cup, letting it soak up the dye for one minute. The yarn sucked up all the liquid. Then I rinsed out the coffee cup, and made purple dye by mixing red and blue food coloring (equal drops of each), and did the same 1 minute soak using the middle 1/3 of the skein this time. Then I did the blue again with the last 1/3. I darkened the purple and blue by making more dye and doing the process one more time.

Here's the yarn getting it's 2nd visit to purple dye:

Then I put the yarn back into the glass baking dish and put it in the microwave. I microwaved it for 2 minutes. Then I let it rest for 2 minutes. Then I microwaved it again for 2 minutes.

The yarn came out steaming hot! Here's what the colors looked like:

The yarn turned out pretty good! But I did forget one thing......GLOVES.

But, thank god for Clorox! lol. While I cleaned up a couple boo-boo spots on the kitchen counter, I used Clorox Clean-Up cleanser and got the dye off my hands. Good as new!

And here's the yarn drying out on the porch:

I had a great time!!! I will definitely try this again and again and again and again. :) I know there are lots of books out there that give great ideas for using commercial dyes, etc. I'm going to have to try it all! For anyone who has wanted to try it and hasn't..........


Now I just have to figure out how to wind it into a hank. I've never done that before. lol.

Next time I will try koolaid and see if I can get a darker color.


Wild and Woolie!

My postman made me smile this morning. He brought me a big box from Cindy at Crochetville -- my wool from the yarn exchange!!! WooHoo!!!

Nothing better for a knitter than getting a box of wool!

Lookie, Lookie!!

She sent me two skeins of Sock Memories in Flower Power. It's Merino and a really yummy retro variegated. I love it!!! I'm already itching to find a pattern so I can knit or crochet a pair of socks! :) There are also four skeins of Wool of the Andes -- two in Stream and two Chocolate. Very pretty!! I have several small skeins of coordinating wool....I think I'm going to make a freeform scarf with it, or maybe a color block scarf. Haven't made up my mind yet. I also got two skeins of Andean Treasure (100% baby Alpaca) in Moss and Lagoon. And one skein of natural Wool of the Andes that I can dye! :)

I've been dying to try dyeing my own wool -- I have one other skein of this same yarn, so I'm going to buy the Koolaid and supplies so I can give it a whirl this week. I'll be sure to post pictures of the outcome. :) Payday is Thursday, so that gives me a couple of days to read up on what I'll need and how to do it.

I started on a new scarf last night using Fun Fur. Someone sent me a really pretty variegated FF -- turquoise, lavendar, pink and all sorts of shades in between. It's kinda wild, but I really like it! The blue is so pretty!

Here's the couple of inches I have done. I'm using size 13 needles, so it will be light weight for spring. :) Something to go with a white shirt, or to brighten up a pastel top.

This came to me with no label. So I don't know whether it's actual Lion Brand or another brand. Looks close to Fun Fur Tropical...but not sure. I love it!!


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Thriftshop finds!

I went by the thriftshop in town after having lunch with a friend, and lookie what I found!

Lots of knitting needles, dpns and some weird wooden crochet hooks. I got the whole bunch for about the same as buying one new pair of knitting needles at Walmart. :) And there were only 3 or 4 with no I'm doing the happy dance!

Now I just need to get something to store all my knitting needles in. I have them in a big tupperware container right now. And it just doesn't work. My circulars fling all over the place and get tangled, and it just looks nasty.

I think I have too many needles for one of the sewn needle holders....not sure what to do.

Any ideas?????


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

UFO Sighting and Seasonal Confusion

I finally picked back up a long-standing UFO -- the 63-square Heirloom crocheted afghan. I did the first 4 squares last March -- and then didn't do any more. And it's been sitting in a basket in my bedroom for 10 months gathering dust.

This weekend, I pulled it out, gathered up the yarn (which I hadn't pirated for other projects....believe it or not!), and found the pattern book. I couldn't find the double crochet square (#3) last night, I made that one again. (and of course this morning while hunting up an I-hook in my craft room, I found the Just my luck...hee hee). I'm working on square #5 right now -- front and back HDC square. I haven't done any of the funky ones yet....just the regular easy stitches. But, the funk will be coming soon....or as funky as squares can get. :)

I joined the 63-Wannabe Crochet Along on Crochetville and I'm going to actually make a point of working a little bit on it each day.

I do have an excuse. Last March, I took my first knitting class at the local community college, and I was hooked from the start!! I didn't do any crocheting for a long time because I was having so much fun knitting. Now, I do both. I love both!! After crocheting for 15 years or so, learning to knit was a breeze. And after reading thread patterns, deciphering knit patterns is pretty much a breeze. 2 main stitches and variations on each, and that's all she wrote. I wish I had learned years ago!

We've had great weather the last few days here in NC. Even after living here for a few years, I am still surprised by how mild winters can be here. And, obviously, so are the plants in my yard.

I actually have flowers blooming in January:

To me, being a Midwest gal, flowers in January unless they come from the florist are weird. :) But my Camila bushes seem to bloom this time every year, and again later in the spring. They are either confused by the thermal belt here at the base of the mountains, or just overzealous.

I'm sure my neighbors think I'm weird taking pictures of spiders and flowers all the time. But hey, I really enjoy the weather here. I love calling my mother back in Kansas to let her know it's January, and it's 65 degrees or so here. Hee hee. Wicked, aren't I??! I wouldn't ever go back to a Kansas winter. I don't get sick here because it doesn't drop below Zero like it does in the Midwest. Ugh. I'm not a snowman! Anything above 20 degrees and I'm happy.


Sunday, January 15, 2006

I haven't had much time to work on any knitting or crochet the last few days. I've been concentrating on my diet and organizing the house. Hopefully, tonight later I will be able to pick up needles or a hook and start on something. :) I think I've earned some me-time! :)

I've started using my Flylady Control Journal again. I'm updating the pages to fit what I need now. It's been gathering dust on my bookshelf since before Joshua was born in 2004. For those who aren't familiar with it, Flylady is a website about using time management and organization to keep a household running smoothly. The website has lots of great ideas on how to get things done! A control journal is a book with plastic covered sheets in it that you can mark on each day with dry erase markers. There are sheets for daily stuff, weekly things and monthly stuff. It really helps me keep track of what I'm doing. And saves me time. If I spread out the housework over the week, and do a list of small things every day, it never gets messy.....and I have more time for crafting!

Here's an updated photo of Millie the Dog. She's a lot bigger than when my husband brought her home in November!

And here's a picture of Baby Joshua being silly. :)

Hopefully I'll have some crafty stuff to post in a couple days!


Sunday, January 08, 2006

I'm so excited!!

Lots going on this week!! I'm working to start a TOPS group in the town where I live. TOPS is Taking Pounds Off Sensibly. It's a diet support group with weekly meetings and weigh ins. Someone recommended it to me, but the closest meeting in my area is 30 miles away. So, I got on the phone to some friends, and we're going to start our own chapter! :o) I'm really excited! It sounds like a real blast!

I also started a weight loss blog. It's at I have a lot of weight to lose, but I'm determined to do it! :o)

For anyone who is also interested in losing some weight, the yahoogroup I started is really going great!! We have about 80 members now, and since it started in late December, the group has lost a total of about 30 pounds!! Check it out

Come be a loser with us!!!

I'm also excited about Secret Pal 7!! I just got my secret pal's info tonight!!

Here is my survey for SP7 in case my pal (and the peope who read my blog are interested in knowing more about me)

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? No, I'm not a yarn snob. I like to try new things. Love wool, alpaca, etc. But I also use a lot of acrylic too.

2. Do you spin? Not yet. I want to try it, but haven't bought a spindle or anything yet
Crochet? I crochet, knit and tat.

3. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? I have a needle holder for my crochet hooks. But unfortunately, my knitting needles are in an ugly tupperware container or are all over the place. Ugh.

4. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I've been knitting since March 2005, but I crocheted for 15+years before that. I caught on fast. I'd consider myself an intermediate knitter.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? No, I don't.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.) Cinnamon, Patchouli, warm scents. Not floral -- makes me sneeze. :o)

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? I'm borderline Type 2 diabetic. So no sweets unless they are sugar free please.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Anything!! plastic canvas, latch hook, tatting, embroidery, miniature painting, jewelry making, stitch marker making, etc. I would love to learn to spin and dye my own yarn. But not sure where to start, etc.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) 60's/70's classic rock is my favorite. But I listen to a wide variety of things from swing and jazz, to classic rock, to alternative. No rap please.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand? My favorite color is blue. I love jewel tones and autumn colors. I don't care for pink.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? I'm married with two teenagers, an 18-month old, 3 cats and one puppy who thinks she is a person. :o)

12. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? scarves, hats, mittens -- yes. Ponchos - No. I'm overweight -- I'd look like a grape. LOL.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? Neat bright fuzzy or unusual yarns to make cute scarves with! :o) I also love to make kitchen stuff with cotton.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I can't really think of anything I haven't liked unless it's acrylic yarns that split too easily.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s? Socks!! But I don't have very many patterns or sets of dpn's. Wish I knew how to make them using circulars, but haven't learned yet. And I want to learn to knit with lace weight -- I want to make a pretty shawl out of a really pretty lace weight yarn! I also want to start making baby afghans for women at church and friends who are expecting.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Dishcloths, socks and scarves! :o)

17. What are you knitting right now? A cabled knit vest for my mother in law, 2 scarves, a shawl and a dishcloth. I always have several projects going at once. Keeps me from getting bored working on the same one.

18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? I love hand-made gifts because I know how much work goes into them!!

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? I use both because for some projects one works better than the other.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? I use all 3 types. Depending on the yarn I'm using, sometimes one sort works better than another. Like I use aluminum with acrylic yarns. Bamboo with slick novelty yarns. And plastic when I need a bit of give in my needles.

21. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? No, I wish I did though. I plan to buy one very soon.

22. How did you learn to knit? I took a class at the local community college to get the basics, and then taught myself the rest.

23. How old is your oldest UFO? The cable knit sweater -- 3 months, or so. Still working on it. I can only work on it in the evenings when the baby is already asleep because I really have to pay attention for all the cables and twists.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird? Wallace and Gromit!

25. What is your favorite holiday? Toss up between Halloween and Christmas.

26. Is there anything that you collect? Exercise videos. Teddy Bears. Buttons for crafts. Knitting needles and crochet hooks.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? I subscribe to Interweave Knits. And I buy some knitting mags at the grocery store.

28. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? I'd love to have the scripture afghan pattern book in crochet or knitting.

29. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? I want to learn to spin and dye yarn.

30. Are you a sock knitter? Yes!

What are your foot measurements? Women's 8 1/2 shoe size. I can take precise measurements if my partner needs them.

31. When is your birthday? (mm/dd) July 11th.

That's the whole survey!!!


Sunday, January 01, 2006

We have a winner!!!

The winner of the contest on my blog this month is.......


Andi of !!!!!!

There were a lot of entries, and Andi's name was the one drawn out of the jar this evening!!

Congratulations Andi!!!

If you'll email me your snail mail information to , I will get your prize box mailed to you!!

Thanks to everyone who entered this month!! It was a really fun way to celebrate my blogiversary!

Hugs!! Juli