Monthly Archives: April 2013

If it’s really going to snow on May 1st, at least I can wear this…

Colorado is officially in a drought, so I shouldn’t be whiny that we’re getting an absolutely nutty amount of spring snow. But I am. Driving to work in the snow is one of my least favorite tasks. Scraping the car off? I’d rather do nearly anything… And it’s even worse now, as I broke my good scraper during the storm that accompanied the meet & greet with Amy Butler 2 weeks ago.

It was 80 degrees this weekend, which made Annie’s birthday trip to the zoo truly awesome. I broke out my flip flops. That made me happy. But the temperature is supposed to drop 50 degrees from that high and be in the 30s tomorrow- and the weather folks, who have been very very wrong this season, are still saying that we’re going to get actual snow tomorrow. Maybe even 7 inches worth.

My only consolation is that if it is indeed cold and nasty, I’ll have a reason to wear this.

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This gorgeous new shawl just finished blocking tonight, and since the yarn is a 95% wool/5% silk blend, it’s not a light piece. Frankly, I wasn’t sure I’d get much use out of it before fall came around.

Pattern: Glacier Sweep by Stephen West/ Westknits, part of the ChoreoKal series.

Mods: I used size 5s instead of the called for size, and the yarn itself was worsted rather than fingering or heavy worsted, as called for in the pattern. I followed the fingering weight directions.

Yarn: Plymouth Mushishi, used 1.75 skeins, as well as a tiny bit of leftover Lamb’s Pride worsted in a hot pink for the i-cord bind off. Purchased 2+ years ago at the Lamb Shoppe, with a gift certificate and on sale, so it ended up coasting me next to nothing- the best kind 0f yarn!

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I love this shawl. I love the color, the texture, the stitch pattern, the size, the contrasting i-cord bind off. All of it. But you know what I love the most? That Stephen West himself was at Fancy Tiger when I stopped in to buy some yarn a few weeks back, and I happened to have this particular WIP in my car, and he kindly posed for a photo with the shawl, and Annie and me!

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I love his shawls the way I love Cookie A’s socks. I love to follow his patterns. And he himself is just a fabulous guy. In fact, this wasn’t even the first time I got to meet him- at Fancy Tiger no less. He was in town for the first time ever back in September 2012, but, it was while we were at the beach. Our only annual vacation, planned nearly a year in advance, no way to switch it up. I was so sad. And then, he loved Denver and FT so much that he hung around for an extra week, including craft night, where I totally got to meet him after all! And that time as well, he was super gracious, and posed for a photo with me and my most recent Westknits finish, which I just happened to be wearing…

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So, if it really is cold and snowy tomorrow, May Day, at least I can bundle myself up in my latest creation, while I wait to bring the flip flops back out…

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Happy Birthday, Dear Annie!

On Tuesday, my firstborn turned 12!

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Colorado weather treated her to a super snowy morning to celebrate, but no school delay 😦

Our family tradition dictates that the birthday person gets to pick anywhere they want for their birthday dinner. (Within reason- we have to be able to realistically drive there, which can be a challenge on a school night, and it can’t be crazy crazy expensive, and it can never, ever be Chuck E Cheese.)

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Annie went back and forth on her choices, and ended up wanting something “chill”. Apparently in tween speak, this meant “casual”. It was very nearly burgers, but then she picked her favorite ramen joint- it’s a total dive, with sticky tables and this time, no wait staff, just the chef himself filling all roles- and that’s where we went.

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Since my mom now lives nearby, we got her to join us for the big night out. (She gave Annie that cute little dog she’s holding, FYI.)

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So mom could take part, we opened presents at the restaurant. There were only a few, as this year Annie chose to raise funds for Freedom Service Dogs, a nonprofit agency, in lieu of asking for gifts. (You can check out her page here- she raised nearly $400!) But what few gifts there were were awesome. Recently, Annie has rediscovered My Little Pony in a semi-ironic way, and she also has a newfound love of Dr. Who. When she learned that there is a Dr. Who inspired MLP, Dr. Whooves, her head nearly exploded. And we found her a T-Shirt of the character, complete with his own Tardis… I think she likes it.

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For the last few years, Annie’s favorite treat has been fro-yo. She begs for it weekly. So we ended the evening at a favorite local joint, Yogurtini. There was no candle in the yogurt, but, it worked!

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Happy birthday, Annie! Here’s hoping 12 is great, for all of us!

 

 

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Amy Butler in person is as amazing as her designs…

Tonight I had a wonderful treat! Amy Butler, the one and only, was in Denver and meeting and greeting her fans and signing her books, all at my favorite local craft mecca, Fancy Tiger. (She’s teaching at The Makerie this weekend, so she was going to be in town anyway…)

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Tonight was a nasty, horrible, icy cold and snowy night here in Denver. Which was awesome in some ways, because the event was nowhere near as crowded as I would have expected. And that meant that everyone in attendance got the chance to truly chat with Amy, not just get books signed and move on. Amy was lovely- that is truly the best word to describe her. She was gracious and kind- she even travels with thank you cards thanking YOU for taking the time to meet her. Really! (And the cards contain a coupon code for her website, too…)20130417-214246.jpg

 

Amy took the time to notice something nice about everyone she met, and to comment on it. She made MY night by admiring my modern quilt wrap- yes, I am a big enough nerd that I deliberately wore a knitted quilt when I met her- and even to call Annie and Henry adorable when she saw them as my screensaver on my phone. She admired my friend Kristin’s earrings, and her stunning crocheted scarf… And on and on.

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She didn’t just sign our books; she personalized them with special messages. And see that charm pack of Cameo? Happy happy me won it by knowing that Amy’s husband David has a fabric line, Parson Gray. Fancy Tiger had some wonderful prizes that we could win by answering Amy Butler trivia questions… Happily, my friend and date for the evening also won a charm pack (Amy’s new magazine is called Blossom.)

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Here’s a photo that Fancy Tiger shared via Facebook of many of us with Amy. That lucky lady in the middle won an entire Cameo fat quarter set!

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Even with the foul weather, we had to hit Sputnik after the event. Fried pickles, a baked avocado, and mac n cheese. But, I think for the first time ever at Sputnik, no booze- the roads were to awful to chance it…

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Doesn’t my favorite dive bar look lovely in the snow?

20130417-214523.jpgAnd here’s what my house looked like when I got home. April 17? Yikes! I’ve used my ice scraper more this week than all winter… But being out in it was totally worth it to have met Amy Butler- and I would have even said that if I hadn’t won a charm pack!

 

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A(nother) Year’s Worth of Cookies

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2012 was the 2nd year of the Cookie A Sock Club, and my second year in the club. You can read all about the inaugural year here (not to mention see the 6 pairs of glorious socks that resulted…)

Are you back? Good- now I can show you all the goodies from 2012 (also know as the year of Sam’s Sad Blog…). Since we’re already into the second shipment of 2013, this post is a bit overdue, but like everything about my blogging life lately, that will just have to be okay.

Febraury 2012: Wayward, knit in Alisha Goes Around Richness of Martens Fingering, colorway Genevieve.

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These socks took me forever- from March through July! That never happens to me- a pair usually takes 2 weeks to a month. But for some reason this pattern kept slipping out of my head, and I had to have it in front of me at all times, meaning it wasn’t great to carry around with me to work, movies, baseball practices, etc. Even though they took me forever, they truly weren’t a hard knit. (In fact, I finished the next two pairs before I finally finished these!) And the finished product is stunning! I love the red, love the yarn, love the pattern…

April 2012: Nainaimo, knit in Socktopus Sokkusu Original, River Styx colorway.

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This pattern was simple mindless bliss, especially after the trouble I had with the Waywards. It’s one of those simple yet truly effective stitch patterns that creates a lovely visual effect without straining the brain too much during the knitting process. I did still manage to make one large error in one sock, but if I don’t point it out, no one will ever have to know. So of course I pointed it out to all sorts of people in person… Sigh. Why do we do that? The yarn is wonderful and has held up well after many washings and wearings. I feel like this one makes an excellent unisex sock.

June 2012: Reyjavik, knit in The Plucky Knitter Primo Fingering, colorway vintage icebox.

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LOVED this knit! Fun to work on, easy to memorize, but still not boring to knit, and identical right and left feet. Finished these in about 2 weeks. Like normal. The blue makes my heart sing. And, in a super fun side note, viewed upside down, these socks look just like the Atari logo! Secret nerdy pleasure…

August 2012: Gyoruko, knit in Enchanted Knoll Farm EKF Superwash Sock Yarn, colorway Genmaicha.
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Oh, this green was divine! LOVED this color so much. This was another pair that took me too long to knit- and it appears I didn’t even remember to record when I started, but I know it was AFTER our September 2012 visit to HHI. Took the wound yarn to the beach with me, but ended up only working on the shawl I’d packed, as it was more appropriately brainless, and, took longer than I expected to finish it (bound off on the plane home). I love the effect of this pattern, but it took me a while to get into the groove of knitting it. My brain resisted memorizing the flow, who knows why? I also made some dumb mistakes, probably because of the trouble I was having internalizing the pattern. One toe in particular is, um, unique, but I got so far past the mistake before I realized what I had been doing wrong that I didn’t have the heart to rip back. Finished these in November and have happily worn them several times since. The yarn is not as sublimely soft as the earlier shipments, but the texture and drape are still quite pleasant.
October 2012: we’re going to skip this one and come back later in the post…
December 2012: Striation, knit in Stricken Smitten Sinful Sock, colorway Scheherazade’s Sky, dyelot CC
striationI’ve already told you a bit about these socks, but to recap: simple pattern (but not boring to knit), wonderful effect when complete, heavenly yarn. My only sadness? I tend to get the pattern PDF downloads before my mail carrier shows up with the yarn itself. In the PDF pattern it appeared that this yarn was a lush, deep purple- and we all know how I feel about purple. When it arrived bright blue, I was momentarily sad as I had grown very attached to that purple. But it’s such a lovely yarn, I got past it…
Okay, back to October. The October yarn did not float my boat. It wasn’t just the color, or the texture, or the drape, or the feel- it was all of it. That happens, and it’s the risk you take when you join a club- you never know what you might get. I truly loved all of the 2011 selections, and 5 out of 6 for 2012 ain’t bad. (We’ve already received the first 2 for 2013, and I love them both as well. You’ve seen one finished pair already.)
But the October patterns? One of them could seriously be one of my faves ever- it’s called Sarsaparilla, and consists of gorgeous huge cables all down the socks. So I sold my October yarn to another club member, and put the pattern aside to wait for the right yarn. Then, right before Xmas, Fancy Tiger Crafts had some lovely Lorna’s Laces Solemate in a red and white colorway (Folk Red) that tickled my fancy- and I had a coupon expiring 12/31/12 that was burning a hole in my pocket… meant to be, right? I was picturing candy cane socks for holidays to come, and since peppermint is my favorite holiday flavor, what could be better?
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Well, I’m mixed on this pair. the yarn did NOT knit up like I expected, and the saturation of the red shifted SO dramatically from the start to the end of the skein. You can very easily see what I mean, right? The more distinctly red sock is the second sock. They look like they came from different dyelots, but it was all one skein. I wound it into a cake myself… I loved knitting the pattern, love the way it looks, and love they way the yarn feels in the sock. But I hate the way the color turned out, and the way the beautiful cables got lost in the yarn. I plan to knit another pair in solid or near solid yarn, soon.
One year, 6 shipments, 5 successes, and one to grow on. 2012 was a pretty good year for socks! Now, to cast on the April 2013 yarn!

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Filed under CookieA, Knitting, Socks

WIP Wednesday: Sunny Day blocks (during a blizzard)

I’ve had two weeks with no sewing- which sounds like a long time, but for last year, it would have been more like a blink! I think that it’s a good sign that I was twitchy and anxious about not having had a chance to sew lately. I MUST be getting back into the groove…

Today in Denver we were treated to a “blizzard”- I use quotes because, after basically the entire city shut down, including my kids’ school district, I think we got about 3 inches of snow. The defensive meteorologists are busy reminding us that “blizzard” is defined by wind, not snow, and we DID have blizzard-level wind gusts. What they’re not mentioning is the foot of snow they predicted… I shouldn’t mock them, though, because their dire predictions meant that I got an unexpected day at home- a day to sew! (I might have let the kids enjoy too much electronics so I could play in the sewing room, but hey, it’s their first and most likely last snow day of the school year.)

I’m still mulling over the future of the feather blocks, so, while they percolate, I had time to complete the April block for the Sugar Block Club BOM. April is another foundation pieced block- which made me antsy at first. I didn’t do so well with the last one, in February. You know what I just remembered today? I taught myself how to foundation piece many years ago, last century, technically, before there were millions of amazing internet based tutorials. Turns out I could have used some help back then. Amy gave wonderful, detailed photographic instructions in this month’s pattern, and I don’t think I’ve ever had such an easy time paper piecing! No, my points still aren’t perfect, but oh my goodness, they’re so much better.

Don’t you think?

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(Remember, I’m making 2 Sugar Blocks- purple is for- duh- me- and brown/orange for my mom- shhh, it’s a secret.)

When I first saw this block, Sunny Days, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. In fact, I’m still not sure about my orange version. It’s so much brighter than the other 3 blocks.

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But I have 8 blocks left to brighten up the quilt, and several more shades of yellow and orange in the pile waiting to go…

Meanwhile, I am absolutely in love with my purple version. Modest much? I love love love how the Kaffe print pops against the purple backgrounds, and also how the directionality of the print works to add motion to the points.

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Sadly, there is a downside to my new understanding of foundation piecing. I want to go back and redo at least one (the brown), and maybe even both, of my February blocks. I could make them so much better now… and it will frustrate me to no end to see them wonky and with errors, knowing I could have improved them.

Think I’ll get another April “blizzard” day to spend sewing anytime soon?

Linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced

 

 

 

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Wordless Wednesday: Spamalot

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