Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I Almost Forgot to FLASH MY STASH!

I joined the Knitters Tea Swap 2. I've been contacted by my spoiler and have contacted my spoilee. However, I forgot to FLASH MY STASH of tea! Here it is.

About a year and 1/2 ago, a co-worker got a bunch of us hooked on tea. She had found TEAVANA and wanted to share the experience! She had some taste testing going on. She'd find a new kind she liked and would call us all in for a taste in the afternoon. It was good.

Upon her recommendation, I took the plunge and bought the 'Gift Set.' The set included four loose leaf teas in small tins, the "Perfect Teaspoon" to measure the tea into the "Perfect Tea Maker" and German Rock Sugar for sweetening. I liked two of the four teas (I loved the Rooibos Tropica; Maté Vana is okay for a black tea and best served with Milk; the Holiday Blend has a wonderful aroma, but I don't really care for the taste; and Empress of China was just too strong). I liked a few others she had us sample. I stocked up (as you can see in my picture!).

The business apparently began in Georgia (at least their headquarters are in the Atlanta area). My MIL lives outside of Atlanta. On a visit to her home, I was able to stop at the actual store (I had ordered my set online) and pick up some teas and a couple of pretty tea canisters (I'd show you, but I bought them as gifts and have one left to give to my spoilee ... don't want to ruin the surprise!) and was able to taste test and get some pointers from the friendly, helpful staff! (One tip: they put the German Rock Sugar in with the tea leaves and let it sweeten and steep at the same time!)

I believe a store is located at a Mall in my state and I know there is one in the neighboring state (my co-worker shops at that store), but both of these stores are more than an hour away. Some day I'll take a road trip and scout out LYS and the tea store in those areas. For now, I shop on-line!

My stash includes: (day) Rooibos Tropica, Rooibos Chai, Honey Bush Vanilla, Green Tea Heaven; (night) Floral Sunset, Night Night, Egyptian Chamomile; (morning only, with milk) Maté Vana; and (occasionally, but mostly I offer these to tea drinking company) Empress of China, Holiday Blend, and Casablanca Spice.

My maternal Granny drank tea all day long - Tetley Tea bags, two per cup, steeped forever, then sugar and milk. I didn't care for this brew and generally preferred Diet Pepsi over a cuppa with granny! Her dog liked it. Shu-Shu always got a saucerful!

In college, I drank iced tea made in five gallon buckets with industrial-sized tea bags. (I never drank it when it got near the bottom though - boy, was that strong!) I poured it over a 32 oz. glass of ice then added Sweet and Low.

My newly acquired tea fancy comes on the heals of over 25 years of not drinking much tea at all. I was glad to acquire the new taste, and I'm looking forward to seeing and tasting whatever my spoiler picks out for me!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Saturday Skies on a 16th Birthday

Today my baby is 16! To celebrate, he wanted to attend Virgin Festival ("virgin" as in Virgin Records and Virgin Mobile so you can just stop, okay? :))

Virgin Festival

I did not want to attend and was going to drive him and his friend there, hang out at Columbia Mall, pick up some tea at the Teavana store there. Then I'd wander over to Ellicott City and pick up some fiber at the Celtic Knot and maybe have lunch or dinner with a friend that lives up that way - ending my day at the beginning by picking the boys up at Pimlico. Turns out the friend's whole family was going, so my son got to ride along with them and I got to sleep in!
As you can see by my Saturday Sky pics - it was a perfect day for sleeping in... I still want to go to the tea store and the Celtic Knot, but I can now do that as the sole destination rather that as a 'fill your day' maneuver!

I hope it stays cloudy and breezy and holds off on the dumping of the water and the possible thunder and lightening until they are home.

Let me present our Saturday Sky!

edited several times because I can't seem to get my act together today! :)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Size Matters!

It is hard to believe these two pairs of mittens have the same number of stitches!

The Charcoal Grey/Brown mittens - made for Bitchin' Mittens - were made with Chunky Merino and size 10.5US dpns. The blue mittens were made using Patons Classic Wool, Worsted Weight, with size 7US dpns. Same exact pattern - Plaid Mittens. Same cast on, same increases and decreases. The only thing that may not be exactly the same is the number of rows on the hand, because the pattern suggests you keep trying the mitten on and stop when the mitten reaches a certain place on your hand. Since the hands that will be wearing these little blue ones were not available to try them on - the little blue ones are destined for The Six Pair Challenge - I had to guestimate the size of the hand. I just made sure I did the second mitten with the same number of rows as the first!

And because I always like to try a new technique, new approach, different patterns, I made the pink/white mittens from Bev's Two Needle Mitten pattern. These mittens were made from Froya Narvik wool, which is 100% pure new wool that 'knits to standard d.k.' and, surprisingly, is machine washable. I can't remember if I used size 7 or 8 needles, but they turned out about the same size as the blue ones.

I'm satisfied with the results, the time it took to make them and the patterns. I think I'll do matching hats and mittens for Dulaan. A few sets anyway. Dulaan knitting will start after Christmas I think... except for the "October sign up and commit to five items" drive. I finished these two pairs of mittens (and several triangles on my shawl) this week. I'll be able to do more than five Dulaan items!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Nothing to say, really...

I missed Saturday Sky - it was dull, grey, misty, rainy. Decided that wouldn't add much color to the Saturday Blog World, so I skipped it.

Mom and I ventured out into the misty day and did a little browsing, a little lot of shopping and ate out instead of making dinner. Our first stop was a Home Party Show at a local church. Twenty-five companies were represented from The Pampered Chef(r) (unfortunately, not me - some other consultant got there first) to Tupperware to Linen World (which was new to me, buy quilts and pillows and throws at a party, in your home - odd). A local vendor was there as well... she isn't a home party company (direct sales), but she has a business out of her home. It isn't a craft business, so she can't be in the November craft show, so they fit her in here. It was interesting.

Next, we went to Tia's Tex-Mex Restaurant for lunch/dinner (whatever you call a meal you eat at 3:30 PM! :)) Mom had received a gift certificate for her birthday last March and wanted to spend it.

Then we went to Macy's (formerly Hecht's) where Estee Lauder was giving away a free gift with purchase (Mom uses their make-up and needed some and she only ever buys it when EL is giving away goodies). Macy's was also having an American Heart Association Fundraiser - for a $5.00 donation you got a 10 - 20% off certificate to use for shopping that day. So, we donated and browsed and I found clothes that fit (YEA!) and soft towels and a soft throw and feather pillows -- and I donated to Macy's as well! :) (Oh, and some of my finds were CHRISTMAS presents!)

I've also been knitting - mittens - Dave started something with his Bitchin' Mittens contest!

I ran across a blog message that sent me here Six Pair Challenge. The challenge was issued in June for six pairs of mittens to be knitted and sent along by October 1. Well, I only discovered it on 9/16 - so I doubt I'll have six pair by the deadline, but I cast on for a pair Saturday night and got about 3/4 through mitten number 1 using one of Bev's patterns. It means I have to seam... not really my cup of tea. But the mitten is coming along nicely.

  Click for larger image

I was heading to a picnic today and the pink and white mitten needed too much attention so I decided to try the Plaid Mitten (my Bitchin' Mitten entry) pattern with smaller yarn (Worsted Weight instead of Chunky) and smaller dpns (US7 instead of US10.5) and see how it would turn out. Waiting for the food to be served at the picnic, I cast on for smaller mittens - knitting in public. Lots of questions, little progress! But it got me going. I hope to have at least these two pairs ready to send off for the October 1 deadline.

  Click for larger image

Thursday, September 14, 2006

What Kind of Knitter are you? - A Quiz(illa)

I was called a "communications guru" and the "training guru" at work by a couple of people... now this Quiz(illa) says I'm a "knitting guru". I'm not sure how I attained the 'guru' level when I've only been knitting since February. But there you have it!

What Kind of Knitter Are You?

You appear to be a Knitting Guru. You love knitting and do it all the time. While finishing a piece is the plan, you still love the process, and can't imagine a day going by without giving some time to your yarn. Packing for vacation involves leaving ample space for the stash and supplies. It can be hard to tell where the yarn ends and you begin.
Take this quiz!

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

My Treat (to me)!

I said earlier that I would not start something new unless two things were done on my WIP list. Well, I finished weaving in all the ends of all the baby hats and booties I found tucked here and there and have prepared them to be sent to my friend Toni to send to MD area hospitals that request them. I finished my Bitchin' Mittens entry. AND I finished my warshrag. So... I cast on my first pair of socks!

These are my first knit socks. I started with these on purpose. They use larger dpns (US6) and smaller amounts of yarn! :) I figured if I totally messed up the sock making I wouldn't have spent much in time and money... but I think it looks pretty good! I did make one mistake and did not frog to correct it, as these are the learning socks. I didn't pick up one of the gusset sides at the correct angle and it's a little holey. I'm going to try a different tack on the second sock and see if that corrects the issue. Otherwise, I'll be looking for help!

These dpns were recommended by the owner of my LYS and they are fabulous - Crystal Palace Bamboo Needles - made from "...specially selected, cured and polished bamboo." I think that 'polished' element is what makes these so easy to use with my cotton/acrylic/nylon yarn from Plymouth Yarn. It is called Wildflower D.K. Fancy and the 50 g ball runs about 116 yards. The color is #841 and it is white blended with variegated primary colors.

I think it's looking cute and it may turn me into a sock maker yet!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Directional Mittens Complete!

I am teaching my almost-16 yo son to drive. He has a bit of a problem with what is left and what is right! :) So, in honor of the ordeal teaching moments, I have knitted some driving assistance for him.

Using the Plaid Mitten pattern from the blue blog patterns; Debbie Bliss Chunky Merino in both brown and charcoal; embellishing with Berroco Suede embroidered letters, I present to you my first pair of mittens (Click for Larger Image):

The Pair:

Showing the Rights:

Showing the Lefts:

The mittens may be worn on either hand - no need to tell the right mitten from the left mitten. If your thumb is in the right correct place, the correct letter is showing to tell you which way to go. I thought opposite colors on each would make an interesting directional statement - sort of up and down, left and right. The Suede was used to add sort of a non-slick palm treatment, in case these are ever actually used to drive!

As with all things knitterly, this was not a smooth sail for me. I did drop a dpn or two a time or two -- but that was to be expected, being very new at all dpn knitting. The BIGGEST issue I encountered was the loss of the first mitten. In a previous blog post, I displayed my first mitten ~ sans embroidery and thumb. I pointed out the M1L error, planning on leaving the 'air holes' as a design element instead of tinking back. I was proud of that first mitten. I carried it in the knitting bag to compare to the second, to be sure the cuffs and color changes were in the same place. I compared cuffs last Thursday ON THE BUS. And where did mitten number 1 stay?? ON THE BUS! :( Waaaaaaaaaa!

I only ride that particular bus on Thursdays (it's an early bus), so I knew all was lost and I would need to knit a third mitten (Sniff!). You see here today Mittens 2 and 3 - presenting all their glory in honor of the lost mitten.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Whippin' the Wips into shape...

before any NEW projects can be started.

Well, since that's not really possible, I'll follow the old "Two Steps forward, One Step Back" maxim and require me to finish 2 wips before I start One (and ONLY 1) new project, until all these wips give me back my bedroom! :)

WIP #1 -- I have 8 baby hats to weave in the tails so I can mail them off to my friend that takes them to the hospital. (crochet)

WIP #2 -- I have 3 and 1/2 6"x9" rectangles done for the put together on Saturday, Sept 9 to meet my goal of 21 rectangles (I've turned in 17 already). (crochet)

WIP #3 -- One third finished turquoise baby blanket from One Pound Baby yarn (crochet)

WIP #4 -- One third finished jeweltones lapghan (crochet)

WIP #5 -- barely started 'lullaby' variegated baby afghan (crochet)

WIP #6 -- 3/4 finished baby jacket (crochet)

WIP #7 -- barely started loomed baby bootie (loom)

WIP #8 -- Homespun One Skein scarf - lavender - (crochet)

WIP #9 -- Another lapghan - half done - (crochet)

WIP #10 -- Ball Band warshrag that need about 18 rows to completion

found and added:

WIP #11 -- multidirectional scarf (knit)
WIP #12 -- swirl hat in camo colors (knit)
WIP #13 -- Mitre Square pillow (one square of four complete) (Knit)
WIP #14 -- Mile-a-Minute afghan (just needs putting together!) (crochet)
WIP #15 -- Fir Cone Scarf (knit)
WIP #16 -- My First Baby sock (knit)

These 10 16 (and growing) are just those unearthed in one little corner of my room. I know there are more -- there are three things in my work tote not listed above. I haven't sorted my plastic drawers or tubs yet! The things I listed I found in "Go" bags and a laundry basket I commandeered for yarn storage duty that have been sitting in my "yarn corner". There would have been a longer list, but I took a few minutes and frogged three barely started projects.

I know, I know - I was cheating the WIPster, but I knew I would never continue, let alone, finish those projects.

And you'll notice a trend - they are mostly (crochet), You see I found KNITTING and have been on a knitting acquisition rampage since the Olympics. I forgot the poor forlorned crochet pieces! And, while my stash grew with new fibers, new tools, new patterns, new ideas, these poor things were being buried beneath the new and languishing away under my neglect.

Okay - so the plan is, finish two WIPs before starting on my next PIM (project in mind) and I have MANY!

Think I can do it?

But I really want to try socks.

I shall resist the pull of the puny needles...

I will not succumb!

Oh, but I must finish my Bitchin' Mittens before putting my plan in place! FINISHED!!

Ernie Makes A Mess

Ernesto's remnants, downgraded to a Tropical Depression, blew through our neighborhood yesterday and last night. Power went out at my house around 6:30 PM. Restored, thankfully, this morning at about 10:30 AM. He was not as powerful as his cousin, Isabel, from a few years ago - but he was wetter!

And he left a beautiful (because we need rain desparately!) grey cloudy sky for this Labor Day Weekend Saturday!