Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas Swag and Other News

The DCA granted practically all my Christmas wishes this year. I now have extra cables and size tags for my Options/Harmony set. I also have new circs in US sizes 0, 1, and 2 for when I feel like doing two socks on two circs. I asked for a couple of knitting books and received Mason-Dixon Knitting and Cat Bordhi's New Pathways. The DCA also added to my stash by buying enough superwash wool so I can knit myself Mason-Dixon's perfect sweater. On top of all this, I also have two sets of blocking wires (a story in itself) and the complete Gilmore Girls collection as accompaniment for all my knitting. (The first set of blocking wires were crushed and bent during shipping so Knit Picks replaced them for free. Only one end of the first set is bent, so I can still use them for blocking small things. Bonus!)

I have spent a bit of each day of my Christmas break knitting or working on something knitting-related. I have a new pair of Fuzzy Feet for myself--the DCA let me borrow his one night, and they were so yummy that I had to have my own. I finished knitting Mystic Waters, and I made two Kate the Cats for Roo and Moose. I've been blocking like crazy for the last several days with the new wires, so now Icarus, Maude, Hanami, Guinevere, Mystic Waters, and my mom's Chevron Scarf are all in near-perfect shape. I say near-perfect because I found four holes in Icarus where it has gotten snagged and a dropped stitch in Mystic Waters. I think they can be easily repaired though. I finally fixed the Other Morgana's sock and dropped that in the mail before Christmas too. My only disappointments are that I'm not far enough along in Roo's socks or in my new Perfect Sweater.

I keep trying to remind myself that it's not that important, because I'm about to have a lot more knitting time than I'm used to. The DCA has finally received his new orders, and we're headed home to the right coast in a little less than 6 weeks. After we move, I'll be "unemployed" while I wait to take the Praxis test for my Virginia teaching license since my California credential doesn't immediately transfer. You gotta love bureaucracy! I'll need lots to keep me busy after we move while I homeschool the Roo and maybe the Moose too and while I fight all the red tape.

We're thinking of homeschooling, because Roo would have to start a new school when we get there and then start a totally different school again in the fall. That is just too many transitions for her at one time, and once we mentioned homeschooling, nearly all of her apprehension about the move melted away. She's not nearly as stressed out as she had been--the nuclear meltdowns over minor issues were starting to kill me--so it's probably the right way to go. The Moose won't have to change schools again in the fall, so we are thinking of registering him in our local school right away so he'll have lots of friends for the summer. Unfortunately, a Christian school in the new locale is financially out of the question since I'll be jobless and they are all ridiculously expensive. Some schools cost more per year than one year of college cost for us! Frightening! Thankfully, the schools where we're headed are really good, and they even have a strong GATE program for the kids once they're tested.

I know I don't post a lot, but it may get even quieter around here for a while we get ready to move and then actually head east. I also have a lot to do to turn over my classroom to the long-term sub who is replacing me at the end of January (or sooner if I can swing it). I'd like to be out of there before the movers come at the end of the month, but I don't know how the administration is going to feel about that. I'll probably start working on that issue once my replacement is officially selected. The frontrunner needs the position more than I do, and I could really use the time off to get ready to go. I'm so ready to be out of here that it is hard to focus on work at all.

Keep us all in your thoughts and prayers while we're going through this big change. We need all the help we can get!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Reason for the Season

There's still no knitting content, because our family is busy celebrating the birth of our Lord. God came into this world as a tiny baby and, as Jesus, became the most influential person in history. What an amazing story! He means so many things to so many people, and each of His names is special.


For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will
be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of
his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.

Isaiah 9:6-7 (NIV)

I got lots of knitting goodies for Christmas, and I'll share those with you soon!

Merry CHRISTmas everyone!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Real FO

And in what might be my last update for the day, I present a real finished object--my oversized cardigan.


The yarn was originally intended for a turtleneck, but it was just too "thick and thin" and too chunky. It works much better this way. It was a very fast project--only a week from start to finish even though I had to work each day. I even liked doing the finishing on this one!

The pattern is from Knitter's Stash, and it claims to be "one size fits all". It must be true because the kids can fit in it with me when I wear it! Ha ha! I like that it's too big, because there is even more to wrap up in when it's chilly.

I probably should find some suitable buttons for it someday, but since it's so big I don't really see the point. I may just invent a tie for it instead!

For now, I'm going back to my shawl. I really would like to be all caught up on Mystic Waters for this week for a change!

Bonus Socks

Along with all my other knitting, I participated in two sock exchanges this year. One was Sockapalooza 4, and my pal was the famous Adminnie over at LimeNViolet. She made me the most wonderful socks! I wish I could get the pattern, but they were a test knit so it's not available yet. I feel so special knowing that I have the socks before anyone else. Insert maniacal laugh here. Here is one of Minnie's fabulous socks. Aren't they gorgeous? The shades of blue really are among my favorite colors!


She also sent some pretty, pretty stitch markers to fit my DPNs. I am searching for a sock pattern that calls for markers just so I can use them! I got some yummy chocolate too, but that's long gone! Don't you just love the knitting themed note card?


Morgana Too from the Hogwarts 2 sock swap says I am the best sock pal ever, but I happen to disagree. I think SHE is the best sock pal ever! Here are all my treasures! The Harry Potter things are the coolest, and I am keeping them well hidden from the kids because they are coveting them madly! I really love my bonus row counter--I can never have too many of those because I lose mine like some people lose tape measures. The stripey socks fit perfectly, and are super-comfy. I especially like how she made the textured stripes in the cuff. I have never thought of doing that in a sock!


I can't wait to try out my new DPNs (maybe they'll go with Adminnie's markers) on the socks I have planned for the Roo. They're next in the queue after I finish Moose's socks.

Here are the socks I made for Morgana Too's package. They were a bit challenging because of the slip stitch, but I loved every second I spent making them. I think I like the slip stitch mosaic patterns in the Sensational Socks books ever more than regular colorwork like Fair Isle. Unfortunately, one of the socks is currently back visiting me for some small repairs. It basically amounts to darning a hole, so it shouldn't take too long. Morgana Too will have her sock back in no time!


I had such fun with Morgana Too's pattern that I also made her a bookmark to go in her package that matched her socks. I unvented someone else's pattern who had contributed it to the sock swap blog. I read through what she had done, and I had a pretty good idea of how to start my own version. I started toe up on one end of the bookmark, knitted for a bit, used Fair Isle style colorwork to mimic the pattern in the sock, and then finished it off by kntting the other end cuff down. I would definitely try this one again, but I don't know if I would do the colorwork in the middle. I think this one might have been a once in a lifetime offering only for Morgana Too. It was fun to try out, and I think it might be a good way to use up some extra sock yarn to make some small Christmas presents. It might be time to start working a couple for the kids and my teaching partner at school.

Believe it or not, I still have more to show you, so come back in a few for the latest update!

To Be Blocked and Finished

I am an extraordinary procrastinator. Anyone who knows me at all can vouch for this fact. Today, however, I have made some effort to overcome my shortcomings and present these (sort of) finished objects. The knitting is all done, but they still need a few ends tied off and/or they need to be blocked. (I really need to invest in some blocking wires!)

Here are this summer's socks. First up is Fawkes. I used the Chinese New Year yarn from Scout's Indie Swag Round 1. I really like them, but with some loose ends, I haven't had the chance to wear them.


The same is true for my Rockin' Sock Club Solstice Slip Socks. They are absolutely yummy--Socks That Rock really is my favorite sock yarn--but they have loose ends too.

I also finished a pair of socks in Perchance to Knit's Dianthus Pinks colorway. This is one of the patterns from Interweave's 25 Favorite Socks.

Here is the Chevron Scarf I made for my mom while we were on vacation. I really have to get this one finished, because it's supposed to be for Christmas! It's made from more Socks That Rock in Mudslide and In the Navy.


This is my version of Maude that I made for the knit along. I would love to be wearing this in our lovely SoCal fall weather, but I'm too lazy to get out my dental floss and sewing pins.


Here is my new beanie for this winter in case I get tired of Le Slouch. The pattern looked interesting one night so I went stash diving and cast on for it immediately. I think I'll tie it off today so I can wear it this week.


Here is my Hanami stole. This is what I used to occupy my time during the wildfires back in October. This one will be finished in time for spring even if I have to unvent some blocking wires from old clothes hangers!


Last but not least is my finished project for Secret of the Stole. I still haven't figured out the theme yet, but to be honest, I haven't really tried. Work has kept me way too busy to play with puzzles. I'll just wait for the announcement when it comes out. I may give in and block this one with dental floss this week. It might be nice to wear it for the DCA's party for work on Friday.


Stay tuned there is more to come!

Archibald Asparagus

You Veggie Tales fans out there will probably understand the reference. Even though I've supposedly had vacation this week, I still have Archie's song from "Are You My Neighbor?" running through my head. "Busy, busy, dreadfully busy..."

I had to work at school on Monday and Tuesday even though the kids were off. The staff normally attends a conference on those two days, but this year the school board elected to keep us home for in-services instead. I know it wasn't wasted time--we all got a lot of work done--but I really would have preferred to be at home with the DCA and the kids. I guess the highlight was knowing that all my lesson plans are written until Christmas, my homework assignment sheets for this week are done and posted online, and my report cards are written, sealed, and ready to go home on Wednesday.

Wednesday consisted of running a bunch of errands and a bit of knitting. Thanksgiving Day was probably the most restful of the bunch. We spent the afternoon with some friends, so I didn't have a lot of cooking to do. We just had to take along a bunch of side dishes to share. On Friday, the kids went to the Advent kick-off at church while the DCA and I got some Christmas shopping done. We are almost all finished except for shopping for each other.

On top of everything else I do, I'm the church's wedding hostess. Normally, it's a job I enjoy, but it was hard to get into this wedding since it was on the DCA's birthday. I really resented the interruption in my day with him. The rehearsal was on Friday evening, and it went fairly smoothly even though it was long. My friend, who always runs the sound board, and I will get some overtime pay out of it. The wedding was yesterday evening, and it was the longest wedding I've done in the last six years. The sermon during the ceremony was longer than any wedding I've done in the last six years. We actually had guests leave early! I certainly hope it was so they could get a head start on the way to the reception.

After the wedding, the DCA and I went out to a local Cuban restaurant to celebrate his big day. We didn't do anything fantabulous, but it was nice just to have some time with him. My favorite part of the day was when the children came to say good morning and happy birthday to him. They brought him a hand-written menu of items they wanted to make for his breakfast. He was very gracious and allowed them to serve him even though we had originally planned to take them out for pancakes or something. I did have to help a bit with the eggs, but it really is the thought that counts.

I've asked the DCA to help me take some pictures for the blog this afternoon, so I'm hoping to have a bunch of photos and updates to share. I just have to go look for everything that needs to be "shot"!

Back in a bit!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Safe for Now

Thank you for all your prayers, mental hugs, and good wishes. Our family has made it safely through the 2007 wildfires. There are so many people who haven't though, so please keep praying for the ones who have lost homes and the firefighters and rescue workers who remain on the lines helping to fight and to control the remaining fires.

The fire actually came within 1 to 2 miles of our house on Tuesday morning. We waited all day for the reverse 911 phone call to tell us to evacuate our home. We spent Tuesday watching the firefighting helos drop water on the active flames on the hills and mountains behind our home. By Tuesday night, the fire line had moved back to the east with the help of changing winds, and we were out of immediate danger. We continued to watch the fires all day Wednesday and yesterday to ensure we were safe. As of this morning, there are no remaining active hot spots in the fire closest to our home, but the firefighters are remaining on station to control any smoldering areas. There are areas in the county with active fires though, and some people are still being evacuated from their homes.

When some friends of ours who had to evacuate moved back into their homes yesterday, we decided it was safe to unpack the cars, and we did that last night when the DCA got home from work. Through all this, we only lost the glass in one picture frame. We are so blessed--especially in light of all those who have lost so much.

I've spent this week watching the news--in spite of my class's media fast--and working on Hanami. I bought the yarn and pattern earlier this year to remind me the school's spring trip to Washington, DC and that wonderful city I called home for 8 years. Now it will also be a reminder of this trying time San Diego has made it through. I think I'm about halfway through the stole now because I've started working on the cherry blossom petal sections. I've set it aside today to work on the Secret of the Stole, because hint 4 was released this morning.

I will probably find the camera later so I can post some shots of some FO's like the other Morgana's socks and some socks for me and my progress on both stoles.

Thank you for your comments this week--they've been a great morale boost in this scary time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Flashpoint Flashbacks

It's like deja vu! It was just four years ago this week when we last had wildfires on this scale in our area. It was our anniversary that week too. I've told the DCA we really need to stop celebrating by having wildfires in SoCal. It's just not good for anyone when it happens!

So far, we're okay. We can see one of the fires from our dining room, but it still has quite a way to go before it reaches our neighborhood. Our cars are packed and ready to go--all we have to do is grab the cats and throw them in the car.

I know you're thinking, "What does an obsessed knitter pack when possibly evacuating their home?" Here's what I grabbed:
  • Every skein of unused sock yarn in the house
  • Sock pattern books
  • Knit Picks Options set
  • The other straights and DPNs
  • The ballwinder and swift
  • The UFOs and any yarn needed to finish them
Amazingly enough there was room in the car for all that even after we packed the college diplomas, framed wedding invitation, cross-stitched wedding sampler, the kids' cross-stitched birth announcements, and family photos in frames. We also grabbed our lockboxes with important papers, jewelry, sleeping bags, pillows, enough clothes and uniforms for a week, cellphone stuff, toiletries, Legos, a few books, and stuff for the cats. The PC will be disconnected and stuffed in the car as soon as we have an evac order.

We've been up since 3 a.m. when a friend called to tell me she and her girls were leaving home to go stay with a friend. The fire looked menacing in the dark so we finished our packing from the night before. The kids got up at 4 a.m. when they heard us moving around. In the light of day, it doesn't look nearly as bad--it's smoky but not unbearable. The winds are shifting and starting to blow away from our house so we might be able to stay here a bit longer. It's just a matter of "wait and see."

Right now, my favorite pair of jeans is in the dryer so I can wear them out of here when we leave. It's so important to have comfy clothes!

Private to the Other Morgana: Your package arrived safely on Friday before all this started. I loved every precious bit of it! The box from you is in the trunk of my car, and I tossed all your items into the top of it. It may still be a while before I can get it in the mail, but for now it's all stowed safe and sound.

To the other Hogwarts Swappers: I'm sorry for not posting pictures of Morgana's fabulous box, but the camera is stashed somewhere in one of the cars. It's just going to have to wait until later!

If you're in SoCal with me, I pray that God protects and blesses each one of you in this time of trial. If you're somewhere else, please pray for all of us here and all the fire and rescue workers who are working so hard to protect us. God be with you all!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bad Blogger, No Cookie!

I finally have a spare moment to sit and reflect on the ultimate goodness that was my Sockapalooza package (among other things). I never imagined such wonders when I first signed up!

Firstly, I was amazed to discover that I now have one degree of separation with Miss V over at the podcast. Anyone who knows of my knitting obsession also knows of my blog and podcast stalking of Miss Lime and Miss Violet. Imagine my surprise when I opened my package and realized that my partner is none other than Adminnie. I was completely starstruck like I never have been in my life. I'm such a knitting dork!

Minnie was a great partner to have! She sent me some fabulous socks for which I simply must find the pattern, some lovely matching stitch markers, a skein of dharmafey's Rob Zombie sock yarn, and some delicious chocolate. I will try to get pictures up later today of everything (except the chocolate--it's long gone). Minnie was so kind to delay mailing my package until we got home from vacation, and everything was well worth the wait!

I was being fabulously good for a while about what's on my needles. I promised myself I would only work on UFOs (as if it were really possible). I'm now in total UFO rebellion--I'm working on a pair of socks in Perchance to Knit's Dianthus Pinks colorway, an entrelac scarf in some yarn a student gave me, the Invisibility Shawl from Charmed Knits (the latest version of the pink mohair shawl that was supposed to be a variation of Branching Out), and the DCA's Aran squares blanket.

I'm also trying really hard to resist the Point Five Cardigan in Knitter's Stash, because I have some yarn on hand that would be just perfect for it. I'm really just itching to start a sweater because it's gotten so chilly so early in SoCal this year and to top it off it rained this morning.

Then there's also the Secret of the Stole that starts in a mere two weeks. I already have yarn and beads for it, so everything else is going to get tossed aside in its favor when the first pattern section is released. The yarn may change though, because I managed to score some of Perchance to Knit's Harlot's Peacock boo-boo skeins earlier this week. It's what I really wanted to use from the beginning but I couldn't find any at the etsy shop or at the Loopy Ewe. I'll have to make up my mind when it gets here.

I also fell off the sock yarn wagon and picked up some Lorna's Laces in the Sand Ridge colorway from Amy's destash and 3 hanks of Socks That Rock when the resting colorways were announced. I've just been back to the site to see the new colors that went up this week, and I'm itching for Atomic 6, Grinchy, and Hard Rock.

I think it's time to start making a Christmas list and those new Harmony tips for the Options set are right at the top...

Monday, September 17, 2007

One for the DCA

I found this quiz at another blog, and I had to check it out. Apparently, I'm a descriptive word!

HoyaGirl --

[adjective]:

Like in nature to a kangaroo



'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at QuizGalaxy.com

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Back to School

It's been quiet around here, because we're back in school. We finished our prep week, we had our back to school picnic, and we had our first week of school. I survived the open house last night, but I'm so tired I just want to sit around and knit. I can't wait to get used to being back at work so I'm not so exhausted by the early, long days in the classroom. I really am blessed to have finished so much work this summer, or I don't know what I would be doing!

Thankfully, I've had a bit of time to work on my knitting. I have the first sock for the other Morgana finished, I'm about 1/3 done with the foot on the second cuff-down sock, I made a little something special to add to the box, her stitch markers have arrived, and I'm waiting for the needles to come. Everything is coming together so nicely! Since I'm in Hogwarts mode, here are the answers to the latest questionnaire:

What type of pet do you choose as your companion at Hogwarts?
I have brought my cats to Hogwarts because they make great companions. My muggle family doesn't have an owl because they prefer to use something called electronic mail. Please don't tell Professor Flitwick that I have more than one cat here in the dormitory. I'm afraid he would have Mr. Filch take them away!

While shopping in Hogsmeade you stop by Honeydukes for some sweets. What treats do you purchase for yourself?
I would definitely buy chocolate frogs, and I am very partial to chocoballs for their resemblance to the muggle chocolate truffles I get at home.

A potion you are preparing needs an ingredient available only at muggle shops. You don't want to stand out in your wizards robes, so you resort to traditional muggle clothing. Describe your outfit in detail.
Because I was raised by muggles, I am an expert at blending in with them. Since it is still summer and warm where I live, I would most likely be wearing a pair of blue jeans shorts, a t-shirt (so named because of its shape and I usually choose purple, pink, or another pastel color), and some sandals. During the winter, I like to wear relaxed-fit blue jeans and jewel-toned sweaters. I do dress more formally to attend my classes at school.

What is your favorite subject to study at Hogwarts and why?
I do enjoy Potions class the most because it is so mathematical and scientific. I like classes that demand precision!

Likewise, what subject is your least favorite and why?
I have no use for Muggle Studies. I don't see the point of taking a class about muggles when I was raised by them and live in their world during all my school holidays.

Back to the potion you were shopping for ingredients for, what type of potion are you making, what color is it, what are the ingredients, and precisely what does the potion do?
My potion ingredient is a light caramel-colored toffee nut flavoring syrup, and it is unfortunately not yet available at Honeydukes or in Diagon Alley. I am able to buy it at the famous muggle coffee shop Starbucks and at some other common locations. The syrup is a last-minute addition to another muggle potion known as an americano. After brewing deep, dark brown espresso coffee and adding hot
water, I add one ounce, no more and no less, to the hot drink along with one half cup of hot milk. It makes a delightfully flavored, light pastel brown potion that cheers me and enlivens me. On occasion, I will splurge and also add whipped cream.

In other knitting areas, I have ripped back the meadow flowers shawl to make a variation of the Branching Out stole pattern over at knitty.com. I wasn't into the triangle shape anymore, and I really want to use up all the bright pink yarn I have laying around. I also picked up some laceweight over laughingratstudio on Etsy and some beads at Michael's to do the Secret of the Stole KAL at yahoo groups that starts next month. While I was in Michael's, I also grabbed some clear beads that I need for the Hanami stole. I keep promising myself I can start Hanami as soon as the other UFOs are out of the way. Who knows when that will be!

Time to head back to work on Morgana's sock. I really think she's going to like it!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I'll Huffle, and I'll Puff

The yarn for Morgana Too's socks arrived today from WEBS. It's Dale Baby Ull in the classic Hufflepuff colors of black and yellow. The stitch markers I ordered also arrived, and they are lovely. I wish I had a Ravenclaw set of my own, but I'll just have to wait until the end of the swap! I got a notice that the needles I ordered will be delayed for a few days, but that's okay since it's a while before we ship our packages. Now I just have to go get started on the socks. I'm using a pattern from More Sensational Socks, but that's all I have to say about that!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bemoaning My Fate

Summer is drawing to a close. I return to work on Monday for our week of classroom prep before the students return after Labor Day. I don't want to go back. I like living in my jammies. I don't want to lose all my knitting time. Rant over.

I am looking forward to teaching math again and to having only 3 or 4 lessons per day in my two sections instead of the 8 or 9 I had in last year's two sections. It will seem like cake in many ways. It's also better knowing we have our own pastor again for our chapel so we can be separated out from the younger kids. The older kids have different issues and deserve to have some special time on their own.

On the knitting front, I finished Mom's chevron scarf (but it needs to be blocked), the DCA's sailor rib socks, and the Rockin' Sock Club Solstice Slip socks, and Maude (it needs to be blocked too). I've started the Roo's seeded ribbing socks, and they'll be my traveling knitting for a while. I am also hooked on the idea of making Aran stitch pattern squares (inspired by an episode of Knitty Gritty) and sewing them together for a lap blanket for the DCA. The Aran squares are much more entertaining than the mitered squares I had started and quickly tired of. I'm using up some Wintuk acrylic someone donated to the stash, because it will be just perfect for a small afghan that will see lots of love and abuse. I have six skeins each of crimson and cream, so it will be just perfect for my favorite OU alum.

In Sock Swap news, I have ordered Morgana Too's yarn, needles, and stitch markers. The pattern is already selected, so I just have to wait for the yarn to arrive so I can get started. I'll be throwing Roo's socks aside as soon as everything is here because I need to concentrate on the sock swap until I'm finished with my Hufflepuff creation. Even my new Rockin' Sock Club shipment will be ignored!

The boys are out of town camping, soI'm headed back to the couch for my final movie and knitting marathon of the summer. Maybe the Roo will join me with her knitting too before we go out to a girly-girl tea this afternoon. Bring on those Aran squares!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hogwarts Sock Swap Contest #2

It's the Six Degrees of Draco Malfoy! Go see the Swap blog for details of the contest.

Here is my chain relating the Dursleys to Draco:
  1. The Dursleys let Harry live with them when his parents died.
  2. Harry is the son of James Potter.
  3. James was the best friend of Sirius Black.
  4. Sirius hated and regularly teased Severus Snape.
  5. Snape is the head of Slytherin house and, as such, is responsible for Draco Malfoy.
Someone noted in the comments on the Swap blog that the example there was only 5 degrees instead of six. So, to cover my bases, here's the same list with an extra step just in case!
  1. The Dursleys let Harry live with them when his parents died.
  2. Harry is the son of Lily Evans Potter (the sister of Petunia Evans Dursley).
  3. Lily was married to James Potter.
  4. James was the best friend of Sirius Black.
  5. Sirius hated and regularly teased Severus Snape.
  6. Snape is the head of Slytherin house and, as such, is responsible for Draco Malfoy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Traveling Objects

We went to visit the DCA's grandmother in Delaware yesterday. When we first started out, it reminded us of a National Lampoon's Vacation movie--it could have been called "The Griswolds Go to Delaware". It's quite a challenge to get 7 people into a mini-van by 6:30 a.m.! We had the DCA's parents, the four of us, and our niece, TM, from NC. (The DCA's sister brought her up to visit until we head home tomorrow.) We were expecting to have whiny, fussy kids with us, but they were troopers and didn't give us any trouble all day.

I finished my mom's chevron scarf in the car on the way over. I still need to weave in the ends and block it to death, but the majority of the work is done. I had the DCA's red sock with me to work on during the rest of the day, and I finished it in the car on the way home just as the last vestiges of sunlight faded from the sky. I started working on the Roo's bubble gum sock last night after we got home.

The sock got to see many cool places like Thrasher's fries, Fisher's popcorn, the Atlantic Ocean in Ocean City, and three states along the way during the trip. It is by far the most-traveled sock I have ever knit.

Tomorrow we head home, so the next post will be from there. Maybe I'll have another sock done!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Hot, Hot, Hot!

We had a great time in Florida. Disney World was great as always, and it wasn't too crowded until we went to the Magic Kingdom on Friday. Lots of people must start their weekends early, and it must be the most popular of the parks, because it was the most crowded of all the parks we went to. Seeing my brother and his family made up for it though. Pictures of our escapades will have to wait until we're home--I don't want to try to download pictures anywhere but there. The DCA might try from his parents' home this weekend, but that's his bag not mine.

We've spent most of the last weekend in NC with my parents, and it is super hot here. We get temperatures in the 90s and 100s at home in CA, but the humidity is giving us heat indexes in the 110s, and that's a little more than we want to deal with. Yesterday, we just stayed in the house and relaxed after a bit of traveling around on Tuesday. Today we have some things we want to do, but the heat might just keep us home.

The knitting front is slow and unproductive. I ripped back the Nagini sock completely. I just don't like toe-up socks, and I felt like I was slogging along. I am going to attempt Nagini again, but I'm going to change it to a cuff-down sock and work it on US size 2 needles with fewer stitches or on US size 0 or US size 1 needles according to the pattern instructions. My US size 1 Addi circs are really more like a 1.5 and the sock was just too loose.

I finished the first Red Rover sock and left it in NoVA at the DCA's parents' house on Sunday morning before we left to drive down here. I just haven't been able to get into knitting the second one because I want the first one to look at. It's a good thing we're headed back to NoVA tomorrow so I can find my inspiration! (It also doesn't help that every time I walk by my suitcase the Rockin' Sock Club kit screams my name and begs to be started. I'm having a hard time ignoring it.)

I've been trying to devote my time to knitting my mom's Chevron Scarf. It helps with the desire to play with Socks That Rock, and I like to see how much it's growing. I think I'm a little over halfway done at this point, so she should have it in plenty of time for the cooler weather this winter. I wish I could have gotten it done so I could leave it here, but it will have to be shipped back later. She likes the colors she chose now that's she's seen them in person, and she also likes how the scarf is turning out.

I think I may have found some stitch markers for my Hogwarts swap partner, and I also have found my yarn. Now I just need to place orders for them so I can start her socks! Needles are proving a bit more problematic since she likes wooden ones. I don't want to send plain old bamboo, but I don't know much about wooden needles since I prefer aluminum. I have a few good leads though--I'm just looking for some reviews or some blogs to see what people think about a few of the brands that are out there.

The next post will be from the road in NoVA!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Travel Plans

First things first: I finished the Fawkes socks. I know I don't have a picture up yet, but that's because we've packed the camera for our trip. The FO eye candy will have to wait until we return.

Secondly, I have a vacation plan! I started the Nagini socks today using the Scout's Indie Swag Glampyre yarn. I think the snakeskin cable pattern might be hard to see in the variegated yarn, but it just seemed to be the right choice. Here is the rest of what I'm packing for tonight's departure:
  • Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in the Red Rover colorway. These are to do the Sailor's Ribbing Socks from More Sensational Socks for the DCA.
  • Cherry Tree Hill yarn in the Sugar Maple colorway. This skein is to make a pair of Welt Fantastic socks from Sensational Socks for the Moose.
  • Seacoast yarn in the Bubblegum colorway. This skein is for the Roo's Seeded Ribbing socks from More Sensational Socks.
  • The June Rockin' Sock Club pattern and yarn.
  • The Chevron Scarf for Mom.
This should be more than enough to keep me busy, but I did tell the DCA that I could always make an emergency yarn acquisition at the LYS near his parents' home. I hope it doesn't come to that, because I have no idea where new yarn would fit in the suitcase!

Lastly, the next post will be from the road! Mouse House, here we come!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Flying Along

I've finished Fawkes #1, and I'm about to go cast on for #2. I can't wait to finish this pair so I can start Nagini. Then my set of Harry Potter socks will be complete!

In other knitting news, this blog will be a little more quiet starting on Friday. We're about to head out on "obligation" (a vacation to visit family), and I don't know how often I'll be able to check in to update my knitting progress. I hope to get lots of sock knitting done on all the planes, trains, and automobiles while we're gone.

I have started thinking about what to pack for the trip. The DCA says I'm not allowed to take an extra suitcase to hold the ongoing projects and yarn (he knows me so well!), so I need to plan well for things to fit in my suitcase alone. I will probably just be taking sock projects because they're small, lightweight, and perfect for the expected heat and humidity. Tomorrow, I'll be winding up the yarn from the Loopy Ewe shipment so I can take it along on the trip. I figure one pair of socks for each of us will probably provide enough entertainment. I may also pack the chevron scarf, just in case I need something extra to do.

I'll post the detailed plan once it's more concrete. Now, back to Fawkes!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Crash and Burn

I made great progress on Fawkes yesterday during the wedding. I put it down last night while I read the new book (it's a great read, but I still have a few unresolved questions). I worked on it some more this morning, and then I tried it on after church. It was too small. Sigh. I frogged it all, and gave up on it until I finished the book this afternoon. I've started it over on US size 2 needles instead of size 1. I hope it helps!

I've also decided to shorten the ribbed cuff to 12 rows instead of 14 and to work it in twisted rib (k1 tbl, p1) instead. I also inserted a plain row of knit stitches before starting the pattern. It just looks neater somehow with the phoenix stitch.

I took photos of several of my most recent socks. I've downloaded them from the camera, and I will probably post them tomorrow after they've been edited. Keep an eye out for them!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Fawkes Is Flying!

(Edited on July 22, 2007 to add the picture of the finished socks.)

I finished Bellatrix yesterday during the children's piano lessons. Because I need to keep busy while I wait for the mail carrier to deliver my copy of HP7 this afternoon (my book was delivered to my P.O. yesterday afternoon), I immediately cast on for Fawkes using my Scout's Indie Swag Kung Hei Fat Choi as soon as I kitchenered Bellatrix's last toe. It also helped to pass the time while I was hosting a wedding rehearsal at church last night. (Among my many other activities, I act as liaison between the wedding party and the church for any wedding which takes place on our campus. This afternoon, I get to hang at the church and keep working on Fawkes!)

So far I have only made a few changes to the pattern. Instead of doing "sl 1, k2 tog, psso" in row 5 of the chart, I'm using "sl 1, ssk, psso" because it bettter mirrors the k3 tog in row 11. I'm all about symmetry--it's that math teacher thing. So far it looks like four pattern repeats is going to give me a fairly short sock, so I'm thinking about doing five repeats instead. Six would be ideal, but that may be too many for the amount of yarn I have. I'm also going to center the offset column of purl stitches from where each round begins and ends over the heel before I begin the flap. I am considering doing an eye of partridge flap instead of the one in the pattern to keep with the whole bird theme. I may play with it when I get there to see how it looks.

I received my first shipment of the Harry Potter Sock Yarn Club on Thursday. It's called "Another Weasley" and is a great mix of autumnal colors that call to mind Molly, Arthur, the twins, Ronald, and Ginny. I can't wait to try it out even if it's not a regular colorway I would pick.

It's time to get off the computer now, so I can avoid any spoilers for the book ending. I'm also avoiding the TV news by watching movies I've saved on the DVR. I may drop in tomorrow to update the Fawkes progress, but it's probably not likely since I'll be deeply immersed in the wizarding world later.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts...

If you haven't received your acceptance letter from Professor McGonagall yet, you need to stop by the Hogwarts Sock Swap blog and notify the Deputy Headmistress that you would like to be included. Specific instructions for second year students and for first years like me can be found here. Signups began on July 14th, so you need to hurry before the swap begins on August 1st!

Here is my homework set by the Deputy Headmistress. I'm sorry that it's not on parchment, but I didn't have a piece quite long enough.

Hogwarts Sock Swap Questionnaire

1. What Hogwarts house have you been sorted into?
In the words of the Sorting Hat: "Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw, if you've a ready mind, where those of wit and learning, will always find their kind," I am a Ravenclaw.

2. Shoe size?
U.S. Ladies 9

3. Foot Length?
My foot is 10 3/8" (26.4 cm) long from my heel to my big toe.

4. Foot Circumference?
The circumference around the ball of my foot is 9" (22.9 cm). The circumference around the middle of my calf is 11 3/8" (28.9 cm).

5. List your three favorite double-point needle brands, including size and length.
I don’t know my needle brands because I received them from a friend of mine who was sorting her mother’s things before an estate sale. My favorites are mostly aluminum and really old, so they might be Susan Bates or something similar.
a. U.S. size 1, 6”
b. U.S. size 2, 6”
c. U.S. size 3, 6”


6. Would you like to try a new brand needle? If so, which brand? Size? Length?
I would love to try some of the Knit Picks DPNs. I usually knit with U.S. size 1 (2.25mm) needles. I could REALLY use a set of U.S. size 0, though, because I don't have any. I prefer 6” needles.

7. If you are a RAVENCLAW, do you prefer the colors in the film or the book? Do you have a strong preference?
Go Ravenclaw! I prefer the film colors of blue and silver, but that’s only because they match my wizarding robes better than blue and bronze. A purist, however, would stick with the book colors, so surprise me!

8. Allergies? Do you have any? Will your knitting be exposed to smoke or animals?
I am allergic to tobacco, so until Madam Pomfrey finds a cure, I would prefer a smoke-free pal. I have two cats here in my Ravenclaw tower dormitory room, so my pal’s socks will be near the two felines but not in close personal contact with them.

9. Are you an international participant (outside US)? Are you willing to have an international Hogwarts Sock Pal?
I am a resident of the continental U.S., but I’m willing to have an international pal. According to Professor Dumbledore, it’s all about International Magical Cooperation!

(The DCA thinks I'm a total geek for writing in character. It must be why the hat sorted me to Ravenclaw.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bellatrix Is Not Lestrange!

I love Bellatrix--it's so easy to do! I finished my Grasshoppers last night and cast on immediately for the Bellatrix pattern using my Scout's Indie Swag Punk Pink. They are turning out so well in the leg!

(Edited on July 22, 2007 to add the picture of the finished socks.)

I have fought and fought with this skein of yarn trying to find exactly the right pattern to use with it. It pooled terribly, it made fat spirals, and it made beautiful stipes and then pooled later in the gusset. Nothing has worked until now.

The yarn overs in the pattern are breaking up the pooling by allowing the tiniest of stripes to cross each pool, and the loosened stitches are providing the perfect contrast on their own. I hope it continues to be this wonderful as I approach the heel and move into the gusset later today.

I have changed the pattern just a smidge though. It does not affect the pattern at all, just the way I'm choosing to work it. Instead of placing yarnovers between stitches, which meant I had a lot of adjustments to make to them later, I wrapped the yarn extra times around the needle when making a single stitch. Here's what I mean: instead of "yo, k1, yo 2 times, k1, etc." I did "k1 wrapping the needle twice, k1 wrapping the needle three times, etc." It just works better for me in the long run, and it creates exactly the same effect intended in the pattern.

I think this pattern must have been designed just for this yarn. I adore my new evil socks!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sock Ideas!

I am completely obsessed with knitting socks. They are my "go everywhere" project because they are so portable. Due to my complete and utter addiction to all things sock, I started listening to DharmaFey's Socks in the City podcast. It's full of lots of great sock patterns and sources for indie dyers.

In one of her most recent episodes, she mentioned the Harry Potter patterns available at Socktopia, and I couldn't resist downloading all three. Bellatrix, Fawkes, and Nagini are all designed to keep us busy while waiting for Book 7 to arrive. I think I'll be knitting Bellatrix in the Punk Pink yarn from the first round of Scout's Indie Swag, and Fawkes will be in the Kung Hei Fat Choi yarn from the same club. I'm still musing over Nagini, but the Indie Swag Glampyre colorway is definitely in the running. If you love Harry and socks, you should check out the site. You just might be Dobby the house-elf in disguise!

In fact, I'm so entranced by Harry and sock knitting, that I have signed up to join the Harry Potter Sock Swap. I'll be a first year, so I'll have to watch out for those prefects patrolling the corridors. Just in case you didn't know, I, Morgana Bagman (my groovy Hogwarts name), have been sorted!

Want to Get Sorted?
I'm a Ravenclaw!

I'm really not surprised--I get sorted here all the time!

It's time to go finish up my last Grasshopper, because I can't wait to start working on some great Harry socks!

Confidential to My SockPal

In case you drop by, I have a message just for you! You said you were rushing to finish up my socks, and I want to let you know you can take your time!

We are headed out soon on our family vacation, and we will actually be gone during the "mailing week" for Sockapalooza. We will be back home on the 15th after our bi-annual trip to the right coast, if you would like to hold off on mailing it until we're back. I would rather that you hang on to it for an extra couple of days (and have oodles of extra time!) than to have it sit in the P.O. with all our held mail.

Just thought you should know! I can't wait to see it!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Sockapalooza Sigh...

I thought I planned it all perfectly.

I bought a skein of Socks That Rock Titania and the Titania's Revenge pattern by Cookie A. It seemed like the perfect combination for a Shakespeare professor who loves A Midsummer Night's Dream. I tried the pattern--I did! I knit one sock, and I was happy with it. I wasn't so happy later when it became obvious I was going to run out of yarn halfway through the foot of the second sock. I got gauge, so I'm confused as to why I was running short on yarn. I ripped it back and re-started them in a few different designs before settling on Carolina, Queen of Naples.

I finished the pair today, and the first one is blocking as I write this. I don't normally block socks, but I feel it's kind of necessary for the exchange. It's going to take a couple of days since I only have one sock blocker, but it will be worth it in the end.

(Edited on July 22, 2007 to add the picture of the finished socks.)

I know I must have chosen the right color for my pal. I checked her blog yesterday to see what she's been up to, and guess what she bought? Yep, that's right! She has bought her very own skein of STR Titania in the last 2 weeks or so. Sigh. I really hope she doesn't mind having two pairs from the same yarn! She is considering Monkey, so I might be safe as long as Carolina is out of the running.

Maybe she won't cast on at all, I'll send her the Titania pattern, and she can knit it herself! Wouldn't that just be perfect??? She knits much more than I do, so I just know she can get it to all work out!

Where to Begin?

Yes, I'm still here (thanks for asking, Sock Pal!), and I'm still knitting away.

I can't believe it's been 2 months since I posted. The end of May was insane because school was winding down. The first half of June was also intense because I took my class on a three-day trip to camp on Catalina Island right before the last week of school when grades, awards, and end-of-year office items were due.

After all the craziness was over, I just wanted to knit. I was even ignoring my daily blog reading in favor of my sticks and string. It's taken me this long to actually want to blog again.

It's easier to write bullets for this update, so here's what I've been doing.
(Edited and corrected on July 22, 2007 to include sock pictures and other FOs.)
Finished items:
  1. Clapotis - it's my second one, and it was knit from Briar Rose Fibers Wistful in a pretty rose and olive colorway.
  2. A matching Dream Swatch Head Wrap designed by Wendy.
  3. Lisa Souza Mardi Gras socks in the Child's First Sock pattern from Knitting Vintage Socks. I ripped the first sock I had done with this yarn because of gauge issues with the second sock.
  4. The Rockin' Sock Club Inside Out Monsoon socks.
  5. Black Bunny Fibers Fairy Wings socks in the omnipresent Monkey pattern.
  6. Black Bunny Fibers Senior Citizen socks in plain old stockinette for the DCA.
  7. And, last but not least, my Sockapalooza 4 socks.
On the needles now:
  1. Maude (again) in Koigu. this time it's turning out beautifully. It helps to use the correct needles!
  2. Chevron Scarf from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. This one is done in Socks That Rock Mudslide and In the Navy, and it's for my mom. I told her she should try knitting it, but she said purling affects her blood pressure, so I'm doing it myself to save her the trouble.
  3. Rockin' Sock Club Kneehigh to a Grasshopper socks in the Silkie Socks That Rock Walkin' on the Wild Tide. One down, one to go with this pair. I took a break from these to work on my SockPal's pair.
In the immediate queue:
  1. A sweater for me using my pretty purple alpaca in my stash. I'm considering Notre Dame de Grace from the most recent IK. I have a couple of other ideas in case it doesn't work out.
  2. Hanami Stole from Pink Lemon Twist with the Black Bunny Fibers Laceweight I bought especially for this project.
  3. Rockin' Sock Club Firebird Socks - I'm absolutely itching to do this pair!
Extremely extravagant purchases:
  1. Harry Potter Sock Club from Sunshine Yarns.
  2. Enough Cherry Tree Hill, Claudia Hand Painted, Lorna's Laces, and Seacoast from The Loopy Ewe for 6 more pairs of socks. (This isn't as bad as it seems because I was spending the gift certificate to buy yarn for the patterns in Favorite Socks--both of which were birthday presents. The DCA rocks!)
  3. The Yarn Harlot's latest and More Sensational Knitted Socks--I picked these up yesterday because I don't want to wait until Christmas to get them.
That's all the latest. I'll try to be a bit better about updates, but with an upcoming vacation, I make no promises!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Birthday MeMe

I stole another meme from Heather’s blog. I just couldn’t resist.

Here's what to do if you want to play along. Go to Wikipedia and type in your birth date (omitting the year). Then share (at least) 3 events, two births, and one holiday that share your special day.

Here are my favorite June 5th observances. It was too hard to stick to the minimums.

Events:

1851 - Harriet Beecher Stowe's anti-slavery serial, Uncle Tom's Cabin or, Life Among the Lowly starts a ten-month run in the National Era abolitionist newspaper.

1968 - U.S. presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy is shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California by Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan. Kennedy dies the next day.

1977 - The Apple II, the first practical personal computer, goes on sale.

1989 - The Unknown Rebel halts the progress of a column of advancing tanks for over half an hour after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.

Births:

1646 - Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia, Italian mathematician and first woman to receive a Ph.D. (d. 1684). I’m a math teacher—go figure.

1718 - Thomas Chippendale, English furniture maker (d. 1779)

1878 - Pancho Villa, Mexican revolutionary (d. 1923)

1895 - William Boyd, American actor (d. 1972). This guy is better known as Hopalong Cassidy.

1971 - Mark Wahlberg, American singer and actor. Yep—Marky Mark and I are exactly the same age.

1977 - Liza Weil, American actress. I’m a huge Gilmore Girls fan, and so much of her Paris character reminds me of my high school self.

1979 - Pete Wentz, American musician (Fall Out Boy). This one is for my students who adore him. I have no idea who he is.

Holiday:

Constitution Day in Denmark. My father was once offered an assignment in Denmark when I was younger, and I always thought we should have taken it so I could celebrate my birthday as a national holiday. I was a little self-centered then (and still am on occasion).

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Another Knitting MeMe

I saw this over at Knitting in Pink, so here's mine. I added my own comments in blue when appropriate.

Mark with bold the things you have knit, with italics the ones you plan to do sometime, and leave the rest.

Afghan (lap blanket in progress for the DCA)
American/English knitting
Baby items
Bobbles
Buttonholes
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Cardigan (only for babies so far)
Charity knitting (for Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society)
Continental knitting
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/armwarmers (hasn't everyone done Fetching?)
Darning
Designing knitted garments (only some socks)
Domino knitting (=modular knitting)
Drop stitch patterns
Dying with plant colors
Dying yarn
Entrelac (I tried it once just to see if I could)
Fair Isle knitting
Freeform knitting
Fulling/felting
Garter stitch
Gloves
Graffiti knitting
Hair accessories
Hat
Holiday related knitting
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies…)
I-cord
Intarsia
Jewelry
Kitchener stitch
Knitting a gift
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting and purling backwards
Knitting art
Knitting for a living (don't I wish!)
Knitting for pets
Knitting for preemies
Knitting in public (almost every day!)
Knitting items for a wedding
Knitting on a loom (so I could show the Roo)
Knitting smocking
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on one or two circulars
Knitting to make money (donated items to craft sale for missions at church)
Knitting two socks on two circulars simultaneously (don't like it)
Knitting with alpaca (only in a blend)
Knitting with bamboo yarn (sock yarn in the stash)
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Knitting with beads (Hanami pattern in the queue)
Knitting with camel yarn
Knitting with cashmere (only in a blend)
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with cotton
Knitting with dog/cat hair (every time the cat is in my lap)
Knitting with dpns
Knitting with linen (Mason-Dixon dish towels!)
Knitting with metal wire
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Knitting with self patterning/self striping/variegated yarn
Knitting with silk (only in a blend)
Knitting with soy yarn
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with synthetic yarn (Hey! I was a kid then!)
Knitting with wool
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Lace patterns (but not true lace with patterning on both sides)
Long Tail CO
Machine knitting
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Moebius band knitting
Norwegian knitting
Participating in a KAL
Pillows
Publishing a knitting book
Purses/bags
Rug (Mason-Dixon strikes again!)
Scarf
Shawl
Short rows
Shrug/bolero/poncho
Slip stitch patterns
Slippers
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Steeks
Stockinette stitch
Stuffed toys (bear in progress)
Swatching
Sweater
Teaching a child to knit (both Roo and Moose and two kids from school)
Teaching a male how to knit (the Moose)
Textured knitting
Thrummed knitting
Toy/doll clothing (Cabbage Patch Kid sweater and a Phrygian cap for an American Girl doll)
Tubular CO
Twisted stitch patterns
Two end knitting
Writing a pattern

What have you learned to do that has marked a definite change in your knitting life?
I loved learning to knit socks. They make a great project that I can take anywhere, and they are also a great conversation starter.

I had no idea I knew how to do so many knitting techniques. One of my friends said I needed to try the Master Knitters program and now I think she's right!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

And Now We Wait

...for the baby to arrive! I finished the Kenyan Baby Sweater last week, and I blocked it this morning before I went to school. As soon as I install the snaps, I will try to find the camera to take a picture before it's gifted.

The sweater is intended for the baby to be named later of two missionaries in Kenya our school helps to support. T&L have been home on furlough for almost 8 months now, and they are returning to Kenya next month. Before they go back, the school is hosting a baby shower for them after our weekly chapel, and the sweater will make its grand entrance then. I made it large enough for a 12-18 month old because I want them to have things for when the baby is older and for next winter. I know they will have plenty of newborn things from Grandma, the Moose's teacher.

My inspiration for the sweater was Staci's Letterman-Style Hooded Baby Cardi. I only changed a couple of things: I knit it with stripes instead of the "varsity jacket" sleeves, and I used a crocheted cast-on so I could pick up live stitches to knit a different style hood. My hood has an i-cord pull string so it can be snugged up under the baby's chin when needed. Everything else is just the same, and I think it's a great pattern! Go check it out!

I also finished my Nodding Violets socks this week. I wore them to school on Tuesday, and they are some of the most comfy socks I own. I do love STR! I used the Rainy Day pattern over at MagKnits, but I changed the needle size so I could have a much smaller gauge. They're beautiful no matter what size!

(Edited on July 22, 2007 to add picture of the finished socks.)

I have started working on my second Rockin' Sock Club Upside Down and Inside Out Monsoon sock. I actually had knit the entire leg down to where I needed to start the heel when I realized my picot hem had too many stitches in it. Of course, I had to pull it all out and start over, because it would have bothered me intensely to know one sock had a larger hem. (I really do admire knitters who can tolerate such unique differences between socks--they just make me insane.) I'm past the first cable crossover and I intend to finish the leg tonight if I can.

The main reason I'm determined to finish the Inside Out sock is because my new Sock Club kit arrived today! After being one of the last few in the last round, I was thrilled to see my kit arrive so quickly this time. I'm posting no details for at least another week because I refuse to be a spoiler. You'll love it when you see it though! I can't wait to get started on the new pattern with my new oh-so-squishy yarn.

My other project in queue is Hanami by Melanie over at Pink Lemon Twist. I had seen it a few days ago and really wanted to try it out, and then when Kay over at Mason-Dixon Knitting picked it as a project, I just knew it had to be a good one. I picked up some Alpaca Silk laceweight from BBF, and I knew it's deep pink tones would forever remind me of the centers of cherry blossoms. It's kind of fitting since I did manage to survive this year's trip to Washington, DC. I can't wait to get started on it!

Pictures are forthcoming!

Monday, April 16, 2007

I'll Fly Away!

My Icarus is done! It really does look like wings when it's all blocked out. I finished it up last Wednesday, and I blocked it on our bed on Thursday. I finally got around to taking pictures today. Let's recap, shall we?

Here is my first attempt at Icarus. It was knit on a US size 4 circular needle, and I was running out of yarn way too soon.

On New Year's Eve, Scout challenged everyone to "Just Froggit!" if there was a project that just wasn't turning out right. Remember these before and after shots?

On Valentine's Day, the new swift and ballwinder turned the above ball of yarn into a yarn cake.

During the last week of March, I found my US size 3 circular and started off. Icarus and I spent the next week wandering around Virginia and Washington, DC. After a few days spent recovering, I went back to work and finally finished off this beauty.


Isn't she lovely? I tried to get the Moose to take a picture of me with it, but his photographic skills require more development (ha ha!). Instead, I snapped this shot of Icarus with our favorite Platypus in his natural habitat. I have plans to wear Icarus very soon when the right weather presents itself here in SoCal. Here is what is left of my wonderful Black Bunny laceweight. Even though I was on 3's, I came right down to the wire! I don't think I've ever been so nervous about a project before.
I'm sure you're wondering about the Platypus by now. This particular Platypus (Platy, for short) joined our family when the Moose was just a few days old. He lay untouched in the crib for nearly five months until the fateful day when the Moose grabbed him on his way out of the crib after an afternoon nap. They have been nearly inseparable ever since. Some kids have blankies; we have a Platypus. We actually have several Platypuses (Platypi?) roaming about our home now, and they represent all colors of the spectrum and all sizes imaginable. Who knew there could be such Platypus love? The Moose has informed us that he's going to be a zoologist specializing in monotremes and that he's moving to Australia to take care of the Platypuses in their zoos. I'll keep you posted if his plans change.

When I downloaded the Icarus shots, I also downloaded the DC shots. If I have any good ones, I'll be sure to share so you can see all the places Icarus, the sock, and I got to visit, even if there are no pictures of us there!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Here I Am!

So, I've been busy. The DCA let you know some of my recent activities--like the middle school trip to Washington, DC. I've also been obsessed with finishing Icarus, and that alone is enough to keep me from my blog!

My knitting did, in fact, accompany me to our nation's capital. Unfortunately, I failed to take any sock or Icarus pictures to document their visit. I have lots of photos of major landmarks, and as far as I know, I, myself, only appear in two of them. Try to follow along as I recap the trip.

March 29: We departed SoCal for DC on the red-eye to Dulles. The almost-non-reclining seats, the noise, general discomfort, and screaming child kept most of us from resting.

March 30: We arrived way too early for our personal liking at Dulles, and my mother-in-law surprised me by meeting our group in baggage claim just to say "hi" because she was volunteering at the USO that morning. After we collected the bags, we hopped on our tour bus and headed south to Colonial Williamsburg. My parents met me there, and I spent the afternoon with them while the kids, staff, and chaperones took the nickel tour of the town. We all collapsed into bed at terribly early hours realizing that the red-eye is a cure for any jet lag we might have experienced otherwise.

March 31: We spent the morning in Jamestown and the afternoon in Yorktown. I was still enjoying my parents' company until we headed west on the bus to Richmond for dinner and on to Charlottesville for the night. My parents headed east to Virginia Beach for the rest of their weekend.

April 1: We visited Monticello in the morning after our tour guide sweet-talked our way into an earlier tour than scheduled. We spent a couple more hours on the bus afterwards and drove up to Luray Caverns. After we saw the underground wonders of God's creation, we headed north to Manassas for dinner and our new hotel.

April 2: We visited the Capitol in the morning and were subjected to only minor brainwashing by the congressional staff assigned to our tour during our hour-long wait in the security line. Thankfully, it didn't take. From there, we hit the mall, and my small group and I made our way over to the National Museum of the American Indian. I wish we had more time there, because there is so much more I want to see. It is definitely top on my list of things to visit when we go back to visit again. From the mall, we went over to Arlington National Cemetery and saw the changing of the guard and a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. We also stopped by the Kennedy grave site. After dinner, our group headed south to Potomac Mills shopping mall, and the moms in our group were able to get a shopping fix.

April 3: We drove out to Mount Vernon in the morning, went to the National Museum of Natural History and to the National Archives in the afternoon (no, the movie wasn't filmed there), and had dinner at Union Station. After our late dinner, we visited the National World War II Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. It was well after midnight by the time we went to bed that night!

April 4: We visited Ford's Theatre in the morning to hear about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, stopped by the Supreme Court, drove up Embassy Row on Massachusetts Avenue, and then stopped by the Washington National Cathedral. On our way out of town we made a brief stop to grab a quick lunch at the Wisconsin Ave. location of Booeymonger (a personal favorite from my college days) and headed out to Dulles. We made the plane right on time and arrived safely back in SoCal that night.

The trip was exhilarating while we were there, but I was completely exhausted when we returned home. I spent last Thursday trying not to break down in tears from the sheer tiredness.

The sock in progress (a twisted rib in STR Nodding Violets lightweight) made only a brief appearance in Jamestown. Throughout the rest of the trip, I worked almost exclusively on Icarus during all our rides on the bus and times standing in lines. When we got home, I only had to do one more repeat of the main body pattern and the decorative edge charts.

I've been nearly silent the past few days because I'm anxiously knitting away and waiting to see if I have enough yarn to finish or if I'm going to have to rip back to where I was when we got home from DC last week. I have three rows left in chart 4 and the four rows of the edging to do. I get more and more nervous every time I look at what remains of my yarn cake.

Stay tuned to see if I actually finish Icarus or if I have to break down and send it on a temporary visit to the frog pond!

No, I Haven't Hidden The Body

For the readers out there, have no fear... HoyaGirl has not come to any harm nor permanently checked off the net. After surviving her trip with 6-8 graders to Washington D.C. (knitting in hand of course), she will be back soon with new updates and tales from the stash. Maybe even some pictures!

DCA

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Lord is risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!

The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia!

(I don't miss the current state of politics in the Episcopal Church, but I sure do miss some of the fancy words and rituals of my youth.)

This morning we went to the Sunrise Service and celebrated His resurrection. I love getting up early to welcome Jesus every Easter. (Hush, DCA, I was just grouchy earlier because I wanted my turtleneck and needed some coffee.) It just puts me in the right frame of mind for hearing the Easter story.

Nothing amazes me more than the knowledge that Jesus died a horrible death for you and for me and returned to life three days later to prove He was the Son of God and had conquered death and the grave forever. What an awesome miracle!

The Resurrection

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

Matthew 28:1-10 (NIV)

Take some time today to think about the wonderful gift of salvation we've been given, and say thank you to the One who made it possible.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Inside Out and Upside Down

After many fits and starts with the Monsoon yarn from the Rockin' Sock Club, I finally have sock #1 knitted up through its heel.

I started the Inside and Out pattern, and I just couldn't get by the shape of the toe. Apparently, I'm not the only one because Stephanie had similar objections. From there, I tried 4 or 5 different patterns starting them multiple times before I finally decided I liked the Inside and Out pattern, but that I would rather work it from the top down. It's my anti-toe-up bias again!

Here's what I've done so far:
  1. I used the crochet cast on for 60 stitches because I wanted a picot lace cuff instead of ribbing at the top. I knit 7 rows, the picot row, and 7 more rows before knitting the stitches from the waste yarn and the stitches from the needle together. I used US size 1 needles for the hem.
  2. I switched to US size 2 needles and worked the pattern rows of the leg for two and a half repeats.
  3. I switched back to US size 1 needles to work the garter stitch short-row heel and 10 rows of the foot.
  4. I switched to US size 0 needles to work the remainder of the foot, and I'm now heading for the toe.
  5. I plan to do the garter stitch short-row toe with the size 0 needles and kitchener stitch the remaining stitches together at the end.

After all the time I have spent on this sock so far, I can't wait to see it all finished up even though I know it's going to take me a few more days.

The DCA found the camera for me the other day, but as I'm sure you've noticed, I haven't picked it up yet. Maybe I should sweet-talk him into being my photographer!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Monkey Socks? Check!

I have finished the Monkey socks! I know I should post pictures, but I have no idea where the camera is and no desire to go look for it. Knitting and report cards are my life this week.

(Edited July 22, 2007 to add picture of finished sock.)

I am convinced I am the only person in the universe who doesn't have their Rockin' Sock Club kit yet. Sigh. I was so frustrated by the delayed arrival yesterday that I grabbed a skein of Nodding Violets STR lightweight from the meager stash and started some new socks. Today, when the kit still hadn't arrived, I felt particularly smart for making this move.

The new socks are Rainy Day which I found over at MagKnits. All this means I'm still ignoring the over 400 stitches I have left to bind off on the scarf, and I am still balking at starting Mardi Gras sock #2.

I'm ignoring my gradekeeping program too--I am going to go soothe my Club angst with my new socks now.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A Stolen MeMe!

I saw this over at Karen's, so I stole it. She stole it from MissyJoon! I don't get tagged for a lot of MeMes, so I decided to try this one out. I found I've read a lot more books than I expected, found some I want to read, found more I've never heard of, and found the ones I'm still trying to avoid. Check it out, you'll learn a lot about your literary preferences!

Look at the list of books below:
* Bold the ones you’ve read,
* Italicize the ones you want to read
* Leave plain the ones that you aren’t interested in.

1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell) One of my all-time favorites!
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel) - I own the whole series, and I'm waiting to see if she writes a sequel.
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini) - The DCA read this one, so I guess I should check it out.
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. The Bible (God) - I've read almost all of it except some of the minor propets.
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy) - I've started this one about 9 times, but I keep getting stuck on all the Russion patronyms.
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy) - I've started this one about 9 times too, and I have the same problem as with Anna Karenina.
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo) - I cheated and read the abridged version without all the French history and politics.
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez) - Only because it's in the movie Serendipity.
73. Shogun (James Clavell) - I tried this one before I understood enough Japanese history, so I might try it again.
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According to Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Monday, March 05, 2007

All Done...Finally!

I have an unexpected work day today--it was supposed to be three weeks from now, but another teacher needed my day for some personal time. I, of course, have put it to good use by FINALLY finishing the Science Fair papers. There's nothing like taking a whole month to get them graded! They are all out of the way now, and they are safely stored in the trunk of my car so I can deliver them to school in the morning. The children will be so thrilled. Actually, I'm expecting an outright rebellion because so many of them lost huge amounts of points for not following the given format. I was extremely lenient in my grading to begin with, but it's really hard to be nice when they don't even follow the rubric! I guess it's all a learning experience, and it's all over until next year.

I did all my grading at Panera over a Cinnamon Crunch bagel with Honey Walnut Spread and coffee. Then I ran a few errands, and I grabbed my "lunch", a Coldbuster smoothie from Jamba Juice on the way home. I have a terrific head cold, and I'm willing to try anything to make it go away.

This afternoon, I intend to camp in front of the TV and watch The Dark Ages which I recorded on the DVR last night while I work on Monkey sock #2. I'm in the heel flap, so I feel like I'm in the home stretch.

Being in the home stretch is a good thing, because I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of my Rockin' Sock Club shipment. I admit that I couldn't wait for my package to arrive, so I have snooped on some other blogs to see what my goodies might be. Trust me when I say, you'll love it! I am going to throw all else aside and work with the yarn and package as soon as it's here and #2's toe is kitchenered!

Time to go soothe my cold with some veg time, my smoothie, and some rabid sock knitting.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

13 Down, 16 to Go!

I spent the morning grading some of those evil Science Fair papers. It's so much easier to do once you're on a roll. It also helps to have a sugar-high and a great cup of coffee to keep you company while you're working.

Time for lunch and a quick knit before I head back up to school for my weekly math homework help!

Sentence Starters

In the middle school English classes at our school, our students are encouraged to use a variety of sentence starters to make their writing assignments more interesting. This is not a novel (tee-hee) concept, as I noticed over on Carol's blog.

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest 2006 Results from San Jose State University have been announced. Each year since 1982, the school has parodied the memory of Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton who penned the immortal words so beloved by Snoopy--"It was a dark and stormy night." The contest accepts entries for the bad opening sentences of fictional novels. There a multitude of categories, and I think my favorite by far is Vile Puns. Of course, it helps that the runner-up's entry appeals to my mathematical nature:

Herr Professor Doktor Weiss' reputation was made when he conclusively proved the fraudulency of the Mayan codex that claimed to show that that ancient people knew the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter to an exactitude unknown until modern times, in his article, "Bye, Bye, Mesoamerican Pi."

John L. Drost
Barboursville, WV

Not only does it include references to geometry, it highlights a great American song. I think I'll be humming all day now.

Be sure to stop by the web site to read some more!