Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Treasure, Me Mateys, Treasure!

Ahoy, mateys! The knock on the door was a friendly pirate with a treasure chest for me. A very wonderfully filled treasure chest sent my way by the lovely Cynthia with a little help from her hubby, Ed.
Let me say, they did Lewis and Clark proud, sending enough provisions to see this knitter through more than a pair of socks!
Behold the bounty. I could barely pull the L&C box from the outer shipping box...Ed did a great job of packing the box!
As I unpacked the loot, I could barely believe the haul. Cynthia, you made me cry...that takes a LOT. So carefully choosen were: Trekking XXL (color 77), 2 skeins of Knitpicks "Bare" to dye with the Strawberry Kool Aid included, hand dyed Fleece Artist, a sock bag made by Jen, stitch markers, a Fiber Trends sock pattern AND a skein of STR in Scottish Highlands! To say I am touched is an understatement. Thank you!
Like most bloggers, I am touched deeply when someone takes the time to leave comments. Especially when the comment is filled with kind words such as this one left by Ingrid after my last post:

Unfortunately Jill, I haven't knitted since I was about 15. But I am feeling very inspired by all the wonderful things I see knitters making and especially your socks. In fact I have been thinking about socks a lot of late because as I said my daughter is a bit fussy in the sock department. I have been trying to learn to crochet but my mum keeps telling me that knitting is easier, so I am about to take the leap. And luckily we are about to head into summer here, so I will have quite a while to get my knitting up to speed and produce something wearable by the time the weather gets cold again.
I will keep popping back here as I always feel inspired by your lovely creations.

Ingrid's words sent my mind back about 20 years, to the time not long after we lost my knitting grandmother and how I swore off the needles when grief and frustration overwhelmed my mind. See, the connection between knitting and my grandmother for me is as strong as air and breathing, even to this day. For almost 10 years, the most difficult thing I knit was dishcloths. Simple, garter stitch dishcloths was all I had the confidence for despite a deep, undeniable yearning to create something much more, something bigger, more complex like socks. Now as a semi-mature knitter, the thought of socks being complex makes me laugh out loud. Dpns no longer send shivers of fear down my spine or cause me to break out into a cold sweat as they once did. Now they produce a giddy, fearless feeling akin to the sensation I remember from mastering a bicycle. Much like riding a bicycle, knitting is something that for me, is not forgotten no matter how many years passed before picking up the hobby again. Someone once told me that to possess that ability is a sign of true talent. While I cannot attest to that, I do know that knitting comes easily for me as a whole.

Darn it! I just get into the groove and someone knocks on the door, blowing my train right off the track. At least it was a good mail!! A box! I'm trying desperately to hold off until school is over for the day to open it but since I have a hunch it is my Yarn Aboard box, I doubt I will be able to resist for long.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Just Stuff

Lynn had asked me to decode the knitter's language. Simple enough to do. Here are the basics, the ones you read here the most:

KIP~ Knitting In Public. Ya know, at the library while the kiddos drag their feet, at the doctor's while I wait for Hubster. That kind of thing.

WIP~ Work In Progress. Is also a quilting term. Just what it says.

UFO~UnFinished Object. Again, just what it says. Also a quilting term.

DPN~ Double Point Needles. AKA Sock needles or giant toothpicks as I've seen them described around blog land.

Frogging~ Ripping something out as in to start over. Called Frogging due to the rip-it, rip-it sound we knitters sometimes hear. Also referred to occasionally as heading to the pond.

LYS~ Local Yarn Store (or Shop). Something my area is sorely lacking. The closest one is over an hour away, at least. Thank heavens for the Internets and good old mail order!

SPI~ Stitches Per Inch. Or otherwise known as gauge. Very important for fit and also quite a filthy word for some knitters. As in of the 4 letter variety at times.

Big thanks to MCM for her kind words on Miss E's socks. After consulting with my sister who enters open class things each year, I have decided that entering just the socks is not worth the $20 exhibitor's pass it would cost me. Who really needs a blue ribbon anyway? I think I can buy myself one at the school supply store if I ever remember to go.

And thanks to Ingrid for stopping by. Since she didn't mention if she is a knitter and just fearful of socks or not a knitter period, I'd just like to say that learning to knit socks is not at all as hard as it seems. I taught myself from an Edie Eckman(sp?) booklet during a bout of the flu which ran through the entire household population. And I was hooked from the first turn of the heel. It is a truly magical thing for me. So, Ingrid, if you want to learn sock knitting, feel free to ask me questions. I am far from the expert but do my best to encourage others to pick up the needles.

And because school has been on the front burner here, a quiz. Very on target, this one. I AM an unschooler. And while the girls are doing well with the curriculum from OHVA, they are unschoolers at heart as well. Miss E's wealth of knowledge continues to astound me right into silence at times. Her favorite subject is Art which cannot be a surprise to anyone who knows her (or me or the sisters as she calls them). In true artist fashion, a brand new box of 48 Crayolas was greeted with "OH, MY!" and kissing the box.

What Type of Homeschooler Are You?

Salvador Dali Melting clocks are not a problem in your reality. You are an unschooler. You will tolerate a textbook, but only as a last resort. Mud is your friend. You prefer hands-on everything. If your school had an anthem, it would be Dont Worry, Be Happy. Visit my blog:
Take this quiz!

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ETA: If you followed Jane's link over about bags, email me at sewjillquiltsATverizonDOTnet for custom orders.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

New work is afoot. LOL. This is the Child's First Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks. Vital stats: US1 dpns (I LOVE Crystal Palace bamboo!), Lang Jawoll Solids #162 (found at Simply Sock Yarn)for a song and the absolutely fastest service I have ever had from a company without paying for overnight or 2 day shipping! Gauge: 8spi. Believe it or not, this sock fits Miss E perfectly so the pair will be part of her bday package in October. She asked for almost knee socks and that is what these are. I am toying with entering them in the county fair next month along with some baby socks.

Remember this? FROGGED. Then I discover that it might have fit a babe after all. Probably not so I am relieved I frogged it. The blue yarn is currently paired with some grey from Knitpicks for the Gentleman's Winter Sock from KVS as well. They look huge and Hubster hasn't tried it on yet for a test fit so they may be off to the pond as well shortly.

And these? FROGGED as well. In a few weeks, maybe I'll order some US1.5 dpns and see if those help because I really want a pair of Jaywalkers. Not like I have a lot of time for knitting right now.

School has begun here at the School for Wayward Girls (lol). We decided to switch from UNschooling to something a little less stressful for me: OHVA. Miss E and I began working yesterday and so far, I am pleased with both the staff and materials. When they say they supply everything except paper and ink, they mean it. The poor UPS man has already been here twice this week...something like 350 POUNDS of materials and that's just for R and Miss E. We haven't received our computers yet so I imagine he will be stopping several more times before the offical first day (Aug 28). Since we had the option to begin early, I thought that would be wise so we could ease into it, get a feel for the program and identify favorite subjects quickly. E loves it all. Science has all sorts of neat-o hands-on things to play with and of course, being the homeschooled child that she is, we had to play with many of those things. Fun, fun, fun! Daily prep is fairly easy, lessons seem straightforward and the best more hassle trying to find someone to either do assessments or administer testing!

Now for some knitting time. Athena headed to the sewing machine "spa" today and will return on the 1st, hopefully rested, oiled and ready to work hard. The mood to sew and quilt has been quite strong lately but with Athena unhappy, working together was simply out of the question. Keeping my fingers crossed that all she needs is a simple, inexpensive tune-up and nothing major.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Are you kidding me?

Listed among Yahoo! Top Stories today: China Bans Simpsons From Prime Time. Basically, China is banning foreign cartoons during prime time to help spur their own animation studios into success. HMMM...why doesn't the USA ban Chinese products to spur our own items into success? Too busy being the world player to look at the small picture, evidently. Ever notice how much of the cr*p they sell at WalMart is now made in China? Just the other day, I was in search of a new skillet. Only one I could find made in the USA was this beauty from the Lodge MFG company of South Pittsburg, Tennessee. So far, I love it! And the price was very right at under $15! I should never have to buy myself another big skillet during my lifetime now. Yippeee!! The girls are not thrilled with it though due to the sheer heft of the thing. Now they understand the old jokes about cast iron skillets upside the hubby's head (not MY hubby).

This concludes our commentary for today. This in no way tells the whole story but you can follow the links and fill in the blanks yourself. I'm not Paul Harvey, ya know!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Stolen from Emily

Emily had this link posted over at her blog. Go say thanks to a soldier whether you support the war or not. Being away from your family is a huge sacrifice and we should all be grateful for what they do. I'm not going to climb on my soapbox about war and administrations simply because there are others who can do so better. As the mother-in-law (ok, stepMIL) to a career Air Force man, I know how hard it can be when the troops are deployed. I've sent my thanks along with thanking my father and Hubster for their stints.

Posts may be non-existent for the next few days. Mid-August is always a rough time for me and I find it a little easier to cope with if I limit my creative endeavors a bit. I'll be back soon, maybe sooner than I think.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Thrift Store Finds

Late last month, the local Goodwill store closed due to structural problems. Not good news folks. I *heart* the Goodwill most of the time. The neighbor lady had told me about another thrift store in town but I kept missing it during the day. We live in a small town, population 13,000, SALUTE! (HeeHaw anyone?) So having two thrift stores is kind of amazing to me. Yesterday, the girls and I had to pick up requested materials at the library so while we were out, I decided to swing over a few blocks and check the new store out. Can we say SCORE?!!
A quarter a piece and three of them are UNCUT. The apron pattern is too small for me but I'll find some vintage something somewhere to whip one up just because (any "medium" sized cooks out there? Will trade apron for ????) The girls jacket will become a fall item for Miss E using fleece from my JA days. I used to own the very same bathrobe pattern believe it or not and cannot find it now. For a quarter, it was a steal. I'll trace off all the sizes (xs,s and m) to make all the girls robes for Christmas if J&R don't decide to make theirs beforehand. And the bag pattern just was a whim. I like the portfolio type thing and think that maybe after making one, I will be able to adapt it to either a knitting bag of sorts or a quilting WIP bag.

If I had not had my hands full of keys, wallet and finds, I could have easily spent an hour sorting through stuff there. They had stuff the GW never, ever has anymore: pans, pots, dishes, fabric and boxes and boxes of patterns. E found 2 "My Little Pony" things and I snagged 2 old round cake pans for the dog. Total spent: $1.82!

A problem has come to light with the Jaywalker socks. I'm off on gauge which is not all that surprising considering I refuse to knit a swatch for most socks. Seriously off this time. I'm getting over 10spi and the pattern calls for like 9.5spi. So here's the dilemma: Do I frog them or continue and donate to a charity hoping someone can wear them? Anyone? Anyone?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Me Thinks We Are Spoiled

Miss E has been patiently waiting for a dollhouse of her very own now quite a while. Hubster let it slide that we had one in the garage but it had no furniture. Could she have it, she wondered? She did not care that it was "empty"...she was quite sure her Barbie and Polly Pocket things would work nicely with it. That was Friday afternoon. It is now Monday afternoon and I can barely drag her in the house to eat and sleep. Which today was a good thing since I was not listening for the mailman to make a repeat appearance with these:
Someone decided to spoil her favorite little sister with two of the must-have books on my list. Thanks, BS! What a treat and definitely a surprise. Looks like I will defintely have to get my fingers flying to finish up some of those works in progress so I can devote time to socks, socks and more socks. I wonder how long it would take me to knit up every pair in both books?

Saturday, August 05, 2006


When it comes to knitting, I almost never have multiple projects on the needles. It drives me batty. (be quiet, Lynn and Jan!) However, lately the need to downsize the "stuff" about the house has been quite strong so I have cast on several projects to make room for "new stuff" AKA more crafting materials at some point.
A top-down baby raglan using leftover Elann Essential (I think) sock yarn. I fear it will be too tiny for even the smallest of preemies but I trudge ahead just the same. If it is too small, I am sure a little girl somewhere would love a new sweater for her doll or bear.

The ever-popular Jaywalker Socks, which I swore I would never make because I had being a follower. That was until I saw a similar pair in blogland using the exact same Knitpicks Simple Stripe yarn in Storm. At Christmas, I had purchased the SS sampler they were offering. The only color left in the stash was this "Storm".(Also, the last full skeins of sock yarn!) My apologies to the blogger whose socks inspired me to make a pair. I can't remember whose blog it was or if it's even one of my regular reads.This was just cast on last night in a fit of startitis.
A 100% cotton baby blanket which is coming in off gauge and therefore may become a Christmas gift for a bigger person. From the Vogue Baby Blankets book pictured. A quick, easy and fun knit for the most part. I can crank out two 8" squares in a day if I want. I have a cone of Peaches 'n Cream white cotton which will serve as the third color. In order to finish this, I will have to purchase more blue and green yarn at some point but since Walmart carries them both, it can be a last minute thing.

Which brings us to Miss E's vintage cardi. The back and both fronts are complete. They all knit up quickly but I am bored with it already. One sleeve is languishing rather leisurely on the needles right now about a quarter done. Every day I work another few rows then lay it aside in favor of something different. Must be just the summer blahs. I hope they pass quickly.

The day in pictures

Some of my new favorite pictures were snapped during our visit with Duck at the park. Many thanks to the blossoming photographer, R, for capturing us all so perfectly.

J, myself and Duck deep in conversation. Or giggling wildly, I'm not completely sure which. Probably giggling because we seem to do a lot of that. Notice how R captured the elusive Duck's hand and cane while hiding her face with my head? Neat trick.

Then we have Miss E practicing climbing the blocks. She discovered she could do so much more than she could during our last trip to this park: the bridge, the blocks and the chain ladder all by herself. Did I mention the temp was above 90 while she played? Did I also mention the girl hardly stopped at all to visit, rather delighting in the nearly empty playground and having all of Gram's attention? Can we say spoiled just a bit? LOL. Notice the new favorite blue dress being worn again.

Here is J, striking a pose. Really she was probably watching over E at some point and R just thought it was a great shot. (It is!) We tease J mercilessly about her softball shirt wearing style despite not having played or pitched for several years. Old habits die hard.

The best picture of R since her mystery project with Super Grandpa. I wish I knew what had made her smile like's priceless. Hard to get a picture of her without some goofing around or refusing to smile so prettily. Snapped by J during the one time R relinquished the camera. (Did I mention they were each equipped with cameras and only one was really used? Grandpa's old 35mm film one!)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Because Lynn asked!

Finally fixed my computer (we think!) and took a little blogging break only to discover that LWorley ('nuther of my far-flung "sisters") wants to know why I'm not posting. Hrmph. Ain't that just like the older sister to want answers? LOL. Seriously though, it's been HOT here. Not just the usual steamy SEOH hot but dancing next to the flames of Hell hot. Of course, we live in a 2 story house without central air so the window a/cs are doing triple time so Hubster can breath.

In other news which has not appeared on the nightly broadcast yet:

Have picked 2 quarts of green beans. Have eaten one quart and the other is being cooked for dinner right now along with fresh onions, potatoes and smoked pork chops.

Have also picked 2 tomatoes. Both are gone. They were good. Waiting on more. Hurry up already!

Knitting is moving along. Miss E's vintage cardi is 3/5th done now. Both fronts and the back. One sleeve has been cast on...I should have done them together but really hate the thought of that so I am doing them solo. Quite possibly a FO next week...well, maybe. On the needles also: a baby cardi from leftover sock yarn and a cotton baby afghan for TLL. More knitting sorta news in a minute.

Adventuring yesterday despite the price of gas. Duck had asked if I could take the girls to meet her for a few hours while she was close for a follow-up with the knee guy. Sure thing! We spent a few blazing hot evening hours at our very favorite park chatting and watching E play. After our visit, the girls and I headed to two of our favorite old-haunts: Target and Borders. Target was not so great this time. E found a skort for $1.98 and we picked up stuff like dog food and Kleenex but otherwise it was a bust.

Borders had a few of the knitting books I wanted but definitely not at prices which fit in the budget. Since our library system does not have Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks, I have been anxious to find a copy to glance through. Another must-have title added to the list. Along with the XRX Socks, Socks, Socks book. I keep watching the Destash blog hoping someone wants rid of their copies at a price I can live with.

Maybe pictures later. R took some great shots of her sisters using Grandpa's 35mm...several I think I will have enlarged and hang in the house somewhere since I refuse to pay for professional portraits anymore.