Thursday, January 31, 2008

Someone else's contests

Okay ladies, since it seems that you come out in droves for free yarn, here are a few more contests for you...

LaVerna needs thoughts of spring. Tell her I sent you.

The Spirit Trail is giving away cashmere - (this one pains me to tell you about).

Put your math caps on for this one at the Purl Zen.

Contest Part Deux

This has been so fun. I can’t believe the number of entrants to the contest. It just goes to show that we are a bunch of loose women when free yarn is at stake. I am so glad that all of you came by and took a look at my blog. Make yourselves at home and stay a while. Feel free to subscribe. I promise that I won't take up huge amounts of your time with daily posts. Honestly, most of the time, I'm lucky to post weekly, sometimes it is bi-weekly. See? No huge time commitment here.

While you’re at it, let all your friends know about the contest. Let’s see if we can’t get the comment count up to 100. (I was going to say 50, but then a whack of comments came in at the same time… Apparently a bunch of us take our lunches at noon Central time.)

Don’t forget that the more people who tell me that you sent ‘em, the more entries you get. I have grandiose visions of this being like the next supervirus to hit the knitting community, sort of like llama, llama duck. (I'd do the whole link thing, but it's blocked here at work.)

With this many comments, I may have to draw more than one winner… Who knows what the criteria for that may be…? The most referrals? Additional random drawing? Best plea for yarn? I may just swoon from the power. hehehe

I will be cutting off entrants at Midnight Central time on Monday the 4th.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


At least so far. I am hoping that the fates let the number keep on risin'.

Good thing the first: Caleb received a subscription to National Geographic for Christmas and I was frustrated because it just is too "adult" for him. Over the weekend, I emailed their customer service department asking to have the remaining subscription converted to the kids version. Without any questions, today I received an email indicating that starting in April, he will get National Geographic Kids. What great service!

Good thing the second: I received an email from my Brazilian host brother. (I did an exchange program to Brazil my Junior year of high-school.) The entire family changes email addresses more often than most people change their socks, so it is always a bit of a surprise to hear from them. Turns out one of the sisters is in the states and wants to get in contact! Hopefully she is in the upper Mid-West.

Good thing the third: I won this contest over at Shan's. She is giving away some scrumptious yarn. Honestly, I can't believe she is willing to part with it! I'm thrilled with the opportunity to play with a little bit of Sweet Georgia goodness.

Again - don't forget to enter the contest. If you've posted a link on your blog - let me know in the comments.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Living in a major metropolitan area, I am quite lucky to have my choice of yarn shops to frequent. There is the one that is cramped and dimly lit. Oddly enough, this one is my favorite. I just plain ole like the staff. There is another that just changed locations. I will have to be going there more as they carry Dream in Color. A third caters to weavers and you can purchase yarn on huge cones. The forth store (that I have been to) has elicited very mixed reviews from customers. I've not had the greatest of experiences there, but after a very favorable interaction with one of their employees on Ravelry I decided to give it another whirl.

I took my son with me and we purused the aisles and I fondled new yarns and said hello to some old favorites. But the main reason for going was to pick up some kind of wool wash. They happened to have the best price in town so I went with it. I really like the scent of the Kookaburra. The tea tree oil is divine.

The highlight of the drive up there is this.

I'm not sure how clear it is, but the name of the place is The New Pitts Mortuary. Honestly? The images it evokes make me shudder and giggle at the same time. How hard to you think their marketing firm has to work?

Dont forget to enter for a chance at a prize for my 2 year blogiversary.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Upcoming Anniversary

Business first. My 2 year blogiversary is coming up on February 4th. To celebrate, I would like to give away a few goodies. (No, I CAN'T tell you, it would ruin the surprise! Yes, it will include yarn. Heck - since it is cold out, you might even get chocolate, or some other yummies).

There are 3 ways to enter.
  1. Leave a comment on the blog.
  2. Mentioning the contest on your blog will get you another entry.
  3. Every time someone else mentions that they found out about the contest from you, you get another entry.
All entries need to be in by Monday February 4th.

The fronts are done on Ribby Cardi. I'm not thrilled with how the decreases came out in the last few rows. Either I am stupid or the directions aren't entirely clear...

You there in the back, stop snickering.

I realize that since I am not the first person to knit this lovely pattern, that the issue most likely resides between my ears and not with the designer.

Really, I must put down the Merlot before I knit, it would make life so much easier. The final few rows may get ripped back and redone. You know, so I can live up to my claim of being persnickety.

I've started the sleeves and thought a few stripes might liven things up a bit. I'm not entirely sure yet. To keep the spontaneity going, I will finish off the last row or 2 of the collar in the grey - for balance.

Yes. I am calling it balance, not schizophrenia.

Last week, Caleb and I spent the night at the Dells with my family for a fun-filled 24 hours of swimming at the Kalahari Resort. We had 13 people (including 6 kids) in a 3 bedroom suite with a full kitchen and living area. All the cookware and dishes are included. Caleb had a blast riding all of the slides. He even tried out surfing!

Look Ma, no hands!

We started for home at bedtime and while he wanted to watch a movie on the portable DVD player (it is a 2 hour drive), I was Cruella DeVille and told him that he needed to sleep. He made one protest at the 15 minute mark and that was the last I heard from him!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Fronts 2.0

Finally. I reached the armhole shaping on the fronts. Again. I managed to slog through the tedium and have come out victorious. (Knock on wood – I wouldn’t want to incur the wrath of the knitting gods and get smacked down. Again.)

I’m really looking forward to getting to the sleeves. If nothing else, the change in color will be good.

But to be completely honest, this project will contain a whole bunch of firsts for me. I’ve never knit a sweater with a zipper before, so sewing one in will be, um, interesting. I’ve also never seamed a sweater before. I know, I know. I've knit at least 6 sweaters or vests. It’s crazy that I’ve always managed to get around it by working the piece in the round. But this time, I decided to bite the bullet and actually knit the dang thing as it was written.

I also finished the garterlac dishcloth and I love it. I think it will be great for using up some of the odds and ends that I have left over from various balls of cotton.

I think I'm hooked!

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Price is Right

It was such a busy weekend. I always feel behind and I hate it. I was grouchy and so was Eric. Fun times.

Winter increased the laundry exponentially which just compounds the behindedness. (I want someone to explain how I can go from 1 load of darks in the summer to 4+ a week in the winter. I realize that jeans and sweaters/sweatshirts take up more room, but this is ridiculous!)

At Christmas, my SIL gave me a recipe for making laundry detergent. I’ve waited to post it here because I wanted to see how well it worked for myself.

The very first load of laundry I did was towels that had been used to sop up spilt coffee. They were filthy. I figured it would be a good test load, if it could get the towels clean then there wasn’t much it couldn’t do, especially as the towels had sat for a couple of days before I got a chance to wash them. And if it didn’t work well, then, it was just a bunch of towels.

They came out from the wash without a spot of coffee on them. Pale blue towels, no less. The only other concern I had was fading and while I’ve only washed each article of clothing a couple of times, I haven’t noticed any so far.

Honestly, I am a convert; at this point, I can’t image buying detergent again.

Here is the recipe:

1/2 cup washing soda (not baking) (Arm and Hammer) (~$2.99/box)

1/2 cup borax (~$1.99/box)

1/2 bar of Fels Naptha soap grated ($1.09/bar)

Heat 1 gal. of water on stove. Grate the soap into a 5 gallon bucket. Add the boiling water and stir until melted. Add the washing soda and borax stirring until dissolved. Let cool for 1 hour then add 2 gallons hot water to bucket*. Pour into old milk gallon jugs with a funnel.

Use 1/3-1/2 cup per load
Makes 3 gallons

So, the first batch cost right around 6 bucks and made 3 gallons. (I was able to nab 3 empty laundry detergent bottles from our upstairs neighbor and filled those. The cap is a ½ measure. Milk cartons would work as well.) The next batch will be free because I already have the other half of the Fels Naptha. After that, each batch will only cost 55 cents because I already have the washing soda and the borax.

The only down side that I have notice so far is that when the detergent sits for more than a few minutes, there is a gloppy something that rises to the surface. A quick shake of the bottle takes care of it, so it falls under minor inconvenience rather than deal-breaker.

I have been doing some knitting on the Ribbi Cardy and am about halfway to the armhole shaping on the fronts. I’m still doing both of them at the same time which makes for slow going. I will most likely do the sleeves the same way. I really don’t want to cast on for something else until I get something off the needles. Even though it is the same project, I need to have the feeling of accomplishment when I bind off something.

*I have to admit that I was impatient and didn’t wait an hour for the mixture to cool and added lukewarm water to cool it off enough to bottle it.

Friday, January 04, 2008


Okay - I think it is a fair assumption to say that I am not a serious blogger. I think about blogging much more frequently than I actually sit down and compose a post. Daily, I compose a bit of something in my head, but then 8 pm rolls around and either the thought has flitted away or I am stuck scrubbing some baked on gunk off the stove.

I have been knitting, but the Ribbi Cardy is in time out because of ripping back both of the fronts. It depresses me to look at it. Honestly? I'm sick of the beautiful cranberry color. Which gives me a thought... Maybe I should cast on for the sleeves so I can get sick of the grey. Hmm, this might just work.

While stumbling through Ravelry the other day I found this pattern for a garerlac dishcloth. Entralac has NEVER appealed to me. All that turning and knitting back. Besides, what do you do with it? Wearing a garment composed of teeny tiny squares would look odd on me. I like a lot of shaping in my sweaters and entrelac doesn't seem to have the flexibility to modify things on a whim.

Yes, this means that I am apt to just dive in and make changes, the consequences be damned.

Yes, this typically means a lot of frogging and profanity.

But, it also results in some stuff that fits me pretty darn well and a lot of, ahem, learning experiences. Let's not mention the alpaca and merino blend that sags atrociously.

Anyway, back to my point. I found this pattern and decided that a garter stitch washcloth was the perfect project to try out this new technique. It is much more fun that I thought it would be. I like the modularity of it. I can knit a small square and set it down having a feeling of accomplishment. I can easily see how people get hooked on it.

Now that I have done a few repeats of the pattern, it is somewhat intuitive. At least the squares. Not so much the triangles.

I've done a lot of thinking about Resolutions for 2008. I could be like some and try to knit a pair of socks a month, or more than one sweater. But, keeping up with my business and maintaining some semblance of sanity will not allow such lofty goals. So, I decided that what I will do instead is try a few techniques. I am always looking for a challenge and I think that this will keep me on my toes, without compromising my mental health. I've added a list of my goals to the sidebar. Here's hoping that I can do it.