Thursday, May 31, 2007

Deep Fried Monkey Toes

Seriously. Site meter told me that somebody found my site by Googling "deep fried monkey toes." Turns out I'm the ninth link down. Dream come true, peoples, dream come true.

(Maybe by making the title of this post "Deep Fried Monkey Toes" my rank on Google will increase?)

Not too long ago my friend
Nicole tagged me for the "Seven Interesting/Weird/Bizarre/Random Things About You" thingie. I don't even like sending back those email surveys I get every other week. So I decided I would write a blog and tell you a bunch of things and you could choose which things were random or interesting about me and which things were just things I wanted to tell you. Ready?

* My knit-blog-reading has been kind of sparse and dry lately. I think I just needed something fresh and new to read. Here are some new-to-me knitting blogs that I highly recommend for great projects, beautiful pictures, and fun people.

- KelinCal at hypKNITized. She has some uber cute puppy action going on in between all the knitting.

- Monika at
Smoking Hot Needles. Check out this handpainted shawl that was dyed AFTER it was knitted!

- Julie at
Little Cotton Rabbits. Apparently her toys sell out quicker than a cat on bath day, but methinks meneeds one of her little monkeys.

- Dave at
Dave Daniels Cabin Cove. He has his own store for his hand-spun and hand-dyed yarn. Gorgeous stuff.

- Ruth at
Ruthless Knitting. She's the one who designed Sheldon, for pete's sake. Why didn't I start reading her blog sooner? Seriously, check out her Buster sweater. LOVE IT.

* Is it just me or did I wind a plaid ball of sock yarn?

* As of the time of this blog posting, I have less than three hours to purchase sock yarn for the next six months. I've somehow successfully kept from purchasing this absolutely stunning sock yarn on, but I want you all to know that I am allowed to accept sock yarn gifts throughout the next six months. (Just drop a note in the comments if you need my snail mail address... *winkwink*)

* Site meter also told me that one of my blog posts was featured in an
internet marketing article on how to get comments on your blog. I thought that was pretty cool.

* I'm amassing an amazing affinity for argyle.

* I'm headed to
TNNA in Columbus for the weekend. Look for me again on Monday.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

So What'd You Get?

Kimmie, my mom and I spent most of Sunday at the Great Lakes Sheep and Fiber Festival, in case you didn't already know. We had an excellent time meeting fiber folks, seeing fibery goodness, and finding fantastic deals on our favorite items.

Mom fell in love with a bunny,

some alpacas laid down on the job,

the goats were adorable,

and we saw the happiest sheep on earth.

My first purchase was this awesome bag from the ladies at RoseSpring Farm in Pennsylvania. I fell in love with it immediately, and I think it will be a great summer/project bag.

Kimmie and I both took advantage of this awesome deal. FIVE DOLLARS for a three pound bag of wool yarn (ie: all the yarn in this picture) au naturel. We're going to save these for a dyeing party some time this summer. I'm very excited to try dyeing yarn for the first time.

I wasn't able to put this cobweb lace yarn down after I picked it up. The colors drew me to begin with, and the softness of it won me over. There are 2400 yards in this ball. The yarn is called Graceful and it comes from The Yarn Place in Sunnyvale, CA, by way of Noah's Landing in Shreve, Ohio.

These polymer craft buttons from Yarnsmith's in Springfield, OH, amused me to no end.

And lastly, what you've all been waiting for, also from Yarnsmith's...

My only sock yarn purchase of the weekend. A 50% cashmere, 50% silk blend sock yarn unlike anything else in my stash. I can't wait to work with it.

I got a couple other little things over the weekend, but I want you to know that despite finding the yarn shop in Amish Country, I still only bought the one skein of sock yarn. Thanks again to my mom for her hospitality and to Kimmie for braving Wooster for the event of the season one more time.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Knit Knack Takes Great Lakes Sheep & Fiber Festival

Drunken Monkey Press

Wooster's favorite knitted turtle took the Wayne County Fairgrounds by storm this past weekend during the Great Lakes Sheep & Fiber Festival. Not wanting to be outshorn by his wooly brethren, he donned sheep's clothing to join in the festivities.

Early in the day, Knit Knack was pleased to find a yarn company bearing his name. He spent a fair amount of time admiring their fine linen yarn.

There were plenty of friends to be made at the festival, including a group of very fuzzy bunnies.

Knit Knack made a special connection with one particular bunny in the group.

He was a little intimidated by the alpacas. He did, however, attempt the alpacas' nasal honking noise, but his lack of any nasal structure whatsoever seriously thwarted the attempt.

Knit Knack was surprised to discover that he had the only green face in the sheep barn's sea of brown, black, gray, and cream colored sheep faces.

One of the vendors at the show happened to be a milliner, and Knit Knack stopped by to try on some of the original new hat styles.

This one was certainly a crowd pleaser.

Forget Where's Waldo... it's time for Where's Knit Knack?

Knit Knack met an amazing artist named Stefanie who was kind enough to let him pose with her artwork.

According to Stefanie, this is a portrait of a turtle disguised as a sheep, disguised as a turtle.

After a long day at the festival, Knit Knack found a wool filled mattress for a refreshing nap. Although the day was exhausting, he is already planning the same trip for Memorial Day Weekend, 2008.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Queen of Sock

Over the past couple of months I've been making some discoveries and realizations about my sock knitting. I am the purported sock queen at the yarn store, mostly, I realize, because I teach the basic sock class and am in charge of sock club. However, I seem to have developed (understandably) the reputation of "Queen of Sock". As in, I have trouble finishing a PAIR of socks once I've started them. So far I've joked about this malady of mine, but no more. I've determined it's necessary to fix that reputation, and I've developed a personal challenge to do so.

It's a two part challenge. First, I have committed to finish one pair of socks each month for the next six months, starting in June. Second, I have committed to not buying any sock yarn for six months, also starting in June. A number of terms and conditions apply, for example, all of the socks must be adult socks, and I only have to finish a pair per month, not start AND finish the pair within the month. There are to be no exceptions on the sock yarn buying, however.

The punishments? Well, if I fail to complete a pair of socks in a month, I must donate sock yarn from my stash to an established sock club incentive. If I purchase sock yarn between June and November, my friend Wendy will choose sock yarn from my stash to donate to said incentive.


I'm pumped. I know lots of people are able to knit a pair of socks in a month, there's even a
knit-a-long for it. This is my own personal challenge. Some people I know are also joining in the challenge, but they have to set their own challenge and their own rules. I'm bound and determined to succeed and change my title from 'Queen of Sock' to 'Queen of Socks'!

Here's the proposed lineup, however, roster changes may be made as I deem necessary.

Co-worker socks. Gentleman's Fancy Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks. Lorna's Laces, Vera colorway. US 2 dpns.

More co-worker socks. Jaywalkers with modified picot edge. Artyarns Ultramerino, pink/white. US 1 dpns.

Store sample socks. Cherry Tree Hill, orange. Basic toe-up pattern. US 2 dpns.

BFF socks. Cable rib pattern from Interweave's 25 Favorite Socks. Claudia's Handpainted, black walnut colorway. US 2 dpns.

Argyle socks. Modified basic sock pattern. Opal and Pace yarns. US 1 dpns and 24" circular.

Arrrgyle socks. Modified basic sock pattern. Chart from Moth Heaven. Pace sock yarn. US 1 dpns and 24" circular.

Scapegoat socks, just in case. Railroad rib pattern. Orange Pace sock yarn. US 2 dpns.

You'll notice I finished the real scapegoat socks last week. There's a reason for that. I'm trying to show I'm serious about this challenge.

You can rest assured knowing that if any of these pairs of socks don't work out, I really have enough sock yarn in the stash to continue this challenge through sometime in 2009. Rest easy, dear ones.

This weekend, though, Kimmie and I are off to the
Great Lakes Fiber Festival in Wooster, OH. (There's a reason the not-buying-sock-yarn part doesn't start until June, you know...)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Happy Dance

Yarn: Lorna's Laces Seaside
Pattern: Raindrop Lace Socks from Fibertrends
Needles: US 2 dpns

First sock started February 6, 2006

First sock finished
March 7, 2006

Second sock started
March 21, 2006

Second sock finished May 17, 2007, only FOURTEEN MONTHS AND TEN DAYS after it was started. I think this is the part where I start to regret how accurately this blog marks my progress, or lack thereof.

These socks were originally intended for me, but after I passed the heel of the second sock, I started to hate the very idea of these socks so much that I put them away. Umm, as you already know, I put them away for a Very. Long. Time. In that time, I decided that if I ever finished the darned things (that's sort of a sock joke... "darned"... get it? nevermind) I would give them to someone else.

Of course, now that they're finished, my feets like them very very much. But I'm still going to give them away. And I already have a recipient in mind. But thanks for offering!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

As My Grandpappy Always Used To Say...

"Half of a FO is better than no FO at all!"

Disclaimer: This is not actually something either of my grandfathers ever said to me, or to anyone else as far as I know. I just thought using "grandpappy" would be better than using Mr. T, who would have said, "I pity the FO!"

Disclaimer Number 2: I wouldn't have been able to use any real sayings from my Grandpa Higgins anyway, as his commentary would not have been appropriate to the family-friendly content of this blog. Man, I wish I'd had the chance to meet him.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Fun In The Sun

Everybody Into The Pool!

No, seriously... look at the pooling colors on the foot. The striping action of the cuff started to repeat itself after the heel and then got stuck in some interminable broken record pooling action. I was going to finish this sock "real quick" when I got home from work tonight, then take a picture of it finished, but it's being stubborn and refuses to get longer, despite the whole four rows I knitted before I got impatient.

(Anybody notice that I switched back to double points from the magic loop? Magic loop is nice, but DPNS are so much faster!)

Hoodie Madness

While I'm flattered by the fighting in the comments over who the recipient of this hoodie should be, I might mention that this finished hoodie will fit a child roughly the size of a small elephant. It's going to have about a 26" chest, and that's for the smallest size of the pattern I'm using. The pattern is from Knitting Pure & Simple and is the Children's Tunic. This is my first time working a top-down sweater in the round, and despite my newfound love for seaming, I'm pretty darn excited about this construction.

Witness: loverly raglan increases.

I'm also pretty darn excited about this yarn. Being the traditional-type knitter that I am, I'm usually not drawn to novelty yarns. And while Patons Fresco is on the conservative side of novelty, it's still pretty non-traditional. Props to Wendy who convinced me to snag it on our field trip.

I started this hoodie on Friday night, and after working with the yarn and pattern for a while, I decided to research the yarn on the internet and see if it was still available anywhere. It seems to be discontinued (although available in limited places in limited quantities), but I did learn something pretty interesting. Yarndex lists this yarn with an MSRP of $3.99. I bought it from the sale room in Indianapolis for $4.00 a ball. Some sale, eh?

Never you mind, though. I made up for it this morning on eBay... 10 balls for 10 bucks. Anyone out there looking for a pink hoodie?

Avert Your Eyes!

I blame this totally and completely on Kimmie. Shame, Kimmie! Shame!

A while ago, someone gave me a couple of patterns they'd found in a Woman's Day magazine (dated 9/16/03 if you really must know). One of the patterns is an awesome shoulder bag made from pieces of leather with holes punched into them and crocheted into. Yes. Crocheted. I've had this pattern for at least a couple of years now, and I've slowly gathered the materials to make it. Most recently I acquired a cheap leather punch, and drove my neighbors crazy on Sunday hammering some holes into my leather. Observe:

Cool, huh? Once I figured out how to get started, this wasn't any big deal. I'm obviously not very far, but I'm trying to decide if I want to stick with the chocolate brown Hemp For Knitting, or if I want to switch to some plain off-white crochet cotton. The hemp is pretty, and very sturdy, but not very smooth. I'd ask for your thoughts, but maybe I'll finish punching the holes in another piece, and start with the cotton on that one, and then ask you to compare. Deal?

P.S. Kimmie... can I have the pattern for your ripple afghan? The new colors of Cotton Ease are calling me...

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Making Up For Lost Time

Occasionally, my four day work week schedule gives me a four day weekend. Such was the case this past weekend. And what a wondrous, fibery-filled weekend it was.

Friday, Wendy and I took a fiber field trip (for research purposes) to the Mass Ave Knit Shop in Indianapolis, Indiana. This was Wendy's favorite yarn haunt when she lived in Indiana, and she wanted to share the wealth. And there was an amazing amount of wealth to be shared. Want to see some of the wealth I brought home? Of course you do.

Here's the obligatory sock yarn. Artyarns Ultramerino, pink/white and gold/yellow/white. I realized not too long ago that I didn't have any yellow sock yarn, and Wendy will tell you that this yellow yarn was the first thing I picked up when I walked into the store, and I had a hard time putting it down. Bee-youtiful. I think Artyarns Ultramerino might be my absolute favorite sock yarn. There's only one tiny thing I don't like about it, and that's that it works up best on #1s, and I prefer #2s. But I can get over that in order to use the Artyarns.

Umm, I may have cast on already with the pink and white. Maybe. Because I didn't have anything else in the works. You know how it is.

From the sale room: Patons Fresco. This stuff is 100% acrylic, but it's like knitting with tiny tubes of t-shirt. I mean,

check this out:

I was a little unsure of this stuff after I found it, and Wendy convinced me that I needed it. It was only $4 a ball, after all, and I've since found the perfect little hoodie pattern for it. Now all I need to do is find an adorable little man to fit in it.

I also got some Euroflax 100% linen. I've been wanting to try some for a while, but I'd not seen it in any exciting colors before. I was smitten as soon as I saw the orange.

Saturday morning I had the first sock club of the summer newsletter, and I introduced four new sock clubber incentives, including a "buy 8 get 1 free" punch card and a different 10% sock-related discount each morning of sock club for sock clubbers only. I think the ladies there Saturday morning were impressed, especially the one who received that morning's free pass.

I worked the rest of the day at the store, then Dani and I went out for sushi again. (For my first sushi experience, go
here.) We went back to Soho Japanese Bistro since we'd had such a good experience the last time. Dani insisted we try all new things this time, even though I'd had my heart set on another Angry Dragon (he's SO cute! and tasty!).

Here's our first plate. On the left top and bottom are our two sweet shrimp nigiri. Listed in the menu as "Crunchy" is the roll on the left in the middle. It's crab and avocado in the middle with a crispy tempura batter coating. I didn't think it was all that crunchy. Over on the right top is the Tiger Eye: smoked salmon, cream cheese and jalepeno rolled in seaweed, tempura battered and deep fried, then rolled with spicy mayo and masago (smelt fish eggs) in soybean paper. It was kind of a whole new twist on the jalepeno popper. I really liked this one.

Here's the second plate. On the top left: Spicy Salmon Roll, which, surprisingly, is made with chopped salmon and spicy mayo. Not bad, but not all that spicy. Diagonally down the middle: Hot Roll -- thinly sliced snapper tempura battered and deep fried, rolled with Japanese spicy mayonnaise, masago, and scallions. This is my new all time favorite (but I still love you, Angry Dragon!). SO yummy. Lastly, in the bottom right corner is Bunker Shot: eel, avocado and cucumber inside, salmon and eel sauce on top. Not bad, but not a favorite.

Sunday I worked the First Sunday event at the store and stayed for the store meeting afterwards.

Monday I met some friends for lunch (Hi
Kimmie! Hi Leslie!) then spent four hours at the store working on my switch hitter sewing project. Some project, eh? Especially since I'm still not done after four hours. However, it shouldn't take another four hours before I'm finished.

Monday night I worked on a few more knitting projects. The tough thing about being a gifter-knitter is that most of my gifted knitting goes to my friends and family, and I like things to be at least something of a surprise, and that makes it difficult to have a lot of knitting content on the blog when almost everything is a gift. However,

The fancy sock is off the disabled list. I ripped back to just before the heel, and I've almost gotten past the gusset decreases again. I'm so much happier with the slip one knit one heel flap and the not-so-pointy heel turn.

I tricked the (no longer rookie) blue thing into finally reaching its 9 inches worth of stockinette.

And the turtle got his Mother's Day outfit. Maybe I can convince Mom to send a picture of him wearing his Sunday best.