The adventures of a knitting grandmother

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She spins, she knits, she blogs about it all.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

It's Cold Up Here

No pictures today. I'm remote blogging, and no upload capability. We're in Flagstaff, AZ, and it is freezing. And windy. We climbed Mt Eldon today in gale force winds. Well, alright, it felt like gale force winds. And the Jaywalker came with me and we took pictures at the crest. I'm bundled up like Nanook of the North. I'll post it, Abigail, when I have picture capability.

Tomorrow, the Grand Canyon. Yes, that was a picture I took last summer.

Thank you for all your nice comments for Annie's graduation. And for our trip.

Plenty of knitting getting done. Oh, Abigail? I fell off the wagon when I got to Unravel (Major LYS in Flagstaff). Well, I had to spend some birthday gift money. By the way, folks, I'm getting a year older this week. I ain't saying when, and I ain't saying how old. But I'm saying, I'll spend the day on the trail. Trekking.

I'll post again when I'm able to connect to the internet. Hope it's warmer where all of you are.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

It's Time...

...For another graduation! Congratulations, Annie, for finally getting through high school. And for the achievement of being #6 in a class of 670 students.

...For another summer sock KAL. Go join up with Abigail at Have Socks, Will Travel. Why not? Especially if you're going any where this summer with a pair of socks on the needles. Double especially if you're going Trekking.

...For so not showing Kathy a picture of the trailer. I just don't have one right now. But I will take one and post it soon.

...For going on vacation, for not going back to work until June 20, and for heading out in the morning with a destination of one of my most favorite places to camp and hike.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

And She Has a Fit!!

A great fit, that is. The first Jaywalker is done and the fit is fantastic. A bit tight over the ankle, and then a dream the rest of the way. The second is already cast on, of course. I measured out the remaining yarn from the first ball of Sock Memories, and found that this sock took just under 200 yards to knit. That's good to know; it also means that I won't be able to use STR unless I shorten the leg. That's what comes of having big feet. They used to be a few sizes smaller, but then I got old and they just got bigger. Come to think of it, so did a lot of the rest of me, too.

Thank you, thank you to everyone who left such nice comments and emails about "LittleLace of the Desert". It was fun for me to write it, and it makes me happy that you all enjoyed it. As to what comes next, only time will tell. But I already feel like a winner. I've already made some new blog friends because of it. If you haven't been to see Knitnana, by all means, do. What a neat blog, and beautiful knitting! Plus, another knitting grandma! Then go to visit Guernsey Gal, and see what a neat feathery costume she made for her daughter. Fantastic!

So what's been happening lately? I've been walking a lot in the evening, breaking in a new pair of hiking boots. Plus getting ready for camping. The trailer has it's own sets of dishes, towels, pots and pans, etc, but when they haven't been used for a while, it's time to wash everything and get it all freshened up.

The garden is doing great. Lots of greens, yellows, purples, and bits of pink. Come to think of it, the Jaywalkers have lots of greens, yellows, purples, and bits of pink.

Does anyone else sense a pattern here?

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Amazing Lace: Challenge #1

LittleLace of the Desert: Chapter One

The birds were just beginning to sing, and the desert sun had just peeked over the horizon when Momma LittleLace woke up. She lay still for a moment, thinking about the long journey ahead. Everything had been packed into the covered wagon the night before. Now it was time to go, before the desert sun rose much higher.

Poppa LittleLace was already feeding the horses. Momma sighed. Horse feed had gotten so expensive the last few months, almost three dollars a pound. And with the drought having ruined the corn and lima bean crop for the last two years, there wasn't much extra money to pay for the feed that the horses seemed to always need.

Momma slid out of bed and quickly dressed. It was time to feed the girls. She quietly went to wake the two oldest. "Moira, Magda, wake up."

Moira felt Momma's hand on her head. She wanted to keep sleeping, but she forced herself to get up. She was the oldest, and Momma would need help with the breakfast. She quickly slipped on her plain green dress and pulled her hair back into a simple knot at the back of her neck. She felt that, of all her sisters, she was the plainest. She was anxious to be grown and out on her own; perhaps the coming journey would bring her the maturity she sought. She found the bacon and eggs and began to fry them up.

Magda slipped back under her blanket. She did not want to get up. she did not want to help. Sometimes Moira got so irritated with her sister that she almost couldn't bear it. Magda wasn't plain. Magda always wore pink ruffles and thought she was better than everyone else. She was always prinking and polishing and playing with her hair. She was vain; Moira was plain. Moira worked hard and tried to always help Momma and Poppa. Magda always seemed to disappear when there was work to be done.

Soon the air was filled with the aroma of frying bacon. Moira heard her younger sister waking up. Megan LittleLace toddled in with the little quilt she carried everywhere. Megan always looked rumpled, and her hair went every which way. This bothered Moira. But Momma said not to worry, that Megan was growing very fast and someday she would be very tall and slender. Her hair would straighten out overnight and she would magically turn into a beautiful, elegant lady.

Moira could hear Momma singing to the newest member of the LittleLace family. Her name was Victoria Anastasia Patience Amanda Madelyn Susanna Charlotte Sophia LittleLace, but everyone called her Baby Lace. She was only a few days old, and very tiny.

She'd had a difficult birth, and was still very fragile. Moira was afraid that she was too tiny to make the long journey. Why, she was so small, her eyelets weren't even open yet.

Momma and Poppa came when breakfast was ready. Moira took a few bits of bread out to the family pet. His real name was Stan, but Moira called him Max the Wonder Sheep. Max went everywhere with them, and shared in all their adventures. This journey would be no different.

And so, when breakfast was over and the dishes done and put away (Magda dried 2 forks and a cup and went to lie down with a tension headache), Poppa hitched the horses to the covered wagon and the LittleLace family set off to find fame and fortune in THE AMAZING LACE!

------Our Cast----
Momma LittleLace.................Pumpkinknitter
Poppa LittleLace...................Joe Pumpkinknitter
Moira LittleLace...................Simple Lace Scarf/Louet Gems Pearl
Magda LittleLace..................Lace Kerchief Scarf/IK Summer '05/KnitPicks Shine
Megan LittleLace..................Branching Out/Frog Tree Alpaca Fingering
Baby Lace...........................Sensational Knitted Socks, Harebell Lace/Naturespun Fingering
Max the Wonder Sheep...........Himself
Covered Wagon courtesy of Coleman Camper Trailers
Team/Family photo courtesy of Annie Pumpkinknitter

Friday, May 19, 2006

Mimosa Time

Every May, like clockwork, the two Mimosa trees in the front yard burst into bloom. They will bloom for three to four weeks, perhaps more. They attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and of course the bees. But the scent is heavenly and pervasive. Every morning when I head out for work, the sun isn't quite up yet but the sweet scent is like a blanket thrown over the house. Other parts of the country have lilac bushes in bloom. We have mimosas. Fair trade.

Next time, the opening challenge to the Amazing Lace.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Officially Addicted

To socks, that is. I admit it, I have succombed, hook, line, and sinker. I am a fiend. I have insatiable, inexplicable cravings. Resistance is futile...

Here are the Jaywalkers. Or I should more properly say, the Jaywalker. After a short hiatus so that I could finish the baby sweater, Jaywalker is back in the rotation and fitting perfectly. I couldn't ask for anything better. Trek suggested that I pick up an extra three stitches with the gusset and it worked beautifully. Thanks, Trek! The colors are a little wild, no? The thing is, one of my favorite tops has these colors in it, but they don't seem quite as overwhelming as they do in the sock.

I took the Pumpkin yarn that I got in the Sisterhood Stash swap and started the Pumpkin Socks on Sunday. This Nature Spun fingering is really fine-gauge!! 310 yards in 50 grams. I am planning, so far, on doing the Harebell Lace pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks.

This is really fine gauge. I'm using Size 00 needles. The gauge is around 12-13 stitches per inch. I think I've lost it. Is this a serious addiction problem, or what? I'm not sure yet that this is going to work. I'm pretty sure, though, that a larger needle would make the fabric too loose. And I don't like loose. In other words, I'm not a loose woman. And don't you forget it. But I digress. If this works out, and I don't lose my mind -- or my eyesight -- it should make for an interesting challenge.

And then, of course, we have that which pushed me over the edge. That which transformed me from an okay, this is cool stuff sock knitter, to a raging, sock yarn hungry full blown addict. The Sockapaloooza socks I received, and THIS YARN!!

The socks I got from Songbird completely turned my head. I had to have more of this yarn. And this past Saturday, when I ran into the LYS in Tucson after the graduation JUST to get some circular needles, I found that they had started stocking new yarns. Including Trekking! Of which there was only a little left!! But there it was!!! The very color my socks had been knit from!!!! And I couldn't resist!!!!! Sorry, Abigail, I had to use my free day for SYAC. Because I HAD TO HAVE IT.

And since I was already buying sock yarn, some Lang Jawoll came home with me too.

The Trekking will be used for Trek Along With Me. I am going to use the Chevron pattern in Sensational Knitted Socks. And that will make three pairs of socks on the needles at once. Raging addiction, here I come!!

In other news, Ruth has received the Sisterhood box. Go check it out at The Sisterhood of the Travelling Stash weblog.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Days

Happy Graduation Day, Michael! Congratulations on achieving your Master's in Public Health!

And Happy Mother's Day to everyone!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Last-Minute Stripes Sweater

The Simple Stripes Sweater
Pattern: Free Download at http://www.KnitPicks.com
Size: 12 months
Needles: US Size 1s, straights
Yarn: KnitPicks Simple Stripes in Sunset
The pattern called for 3 skeins, I finished it with 2 skeins but with only a couple yards left over.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Stash Has Left the Building

With more stuck on the side. I added an Arizona postcard, so why not everyone else do the same? (Might help to hold the box together.) And, ummm, I don't quite know how to say this, ummm, seems the box is now somewhat, ummm, heavier? than it was a week ago. Not quite sure how I did this, but I think the next person in line probably needs a Dalegarn book. Because I really don't think I put that much tape on the box. And the postcard isn't that big.

The lovely man at the post office is very nice about my well decorated boxes these days. I mailed it with a 3 - day delivery, so start looking on Monday, ladies. Or maybe Tuesday. That's what the man said.

And for those of you looking for new projects to start chez Pumpkinknitter, don't hold your breath. It's going to hit 100 degrees in Tucson on Saturday. So I won't be knitting any wool Cascade in the forseeable future. But those Pumpkin socks, now, that's another story. I just got my copy of Knitting Vintage Socks, (finally) and I have to find an appropriate pattern. Any suggestions? Because it's not like I've had time to sit down with a glass of ice tea and read the thing yet.

Tomorrow, a new FO.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Sisterhood Part 2

It's a good thing the one week time constraint is in place, otherwise I might have dithered around for a week or so yet. But I had to make some decisions, and I did. This is what I am keeping. 5 hanks of the red Cascade 220. One hank of the gold Cascade. I intend to make the Wool Peddlers Shawl, but if I find that it's too heavy, or just not working out, having the gold will allow me to knit a Harry Potter scarf. So I am guaranteed to be able to finish something I want out of this yarn.

I'm keeping two shawl patterns. Not the laceweight. I only have one hank of laceweight in my stash and I'm not giving it up. But I have some on order. And by the way, I got a catalogue in the mail the other day. Woodland Woolworks. Has anyone ordered from them? Are they reliable?

I'm keeping a couple straight needle sets. And the Trekking. I am trying to get my hands on all types of sock yarn to see what I like best. And I know I will love the Trekking, because that's what my Sockapaloooza socks were knit from. I'm also keeping two balls of Nature Spun Fingering (Sock) yarn in Mango, which to me looks like Pumpkin. And I certainly need a pair of signature Pumpkin-colored socks.

This is what I am putting in. Numerous straight needles that I will not use because they are too big for my hands. One sock book (9 patterns) and a Dalegarn book with 22 patterns, a couple of them shawl patterns. 2 balls of Encore Worsted, 2 skeins of Wildfoote Handpainted Sockyarn in "Bluegrass", 1 hank KnitPicks Andean Treasure in Lilac (leftover from Sockapaloooza), 2 skeins Kroy Sockyarn, 1 skein Nature Spun Worsted, and 3 balls of Butterfly, a light worsted weight in neutral colors, perfect for the last month of Project Spectrum. I bought that a few months ago and then found out it wouldn't work for the project I had in mind. So someone can have it and hopefully make something amazing with it.

I wanted to keep the box filled with a variety of yarns. I've got tons of Walmart type yarns around, but I certainly wasn't going to put any of that in. Ann has put so much wonderful stuff in the box, I felt I had to raise the bar a bit, as it were. And I hope everyone will keep a good selection in the box for the next person.

Hopefully I will get off work on time tomorrow and make it to the post office in time to mail it to.....guess!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Stash

This past Friday, as I posted earlier, I had a horrendous long day at work. But I was able to break away for a quick dinner (husband cooked for me -- he got burgers at Wendy's) and when I got home, there was this lovely big enticing box from Ann, enticing because I knew it contained all kinds of goodies and I just didn't have the time to open it then. I had to go back to work and later, when I was finally done for the day, I got to come home, get out of uniform, and dump it all on the living room floor.

Now let me tell you, this is beautiful stuff. Ann hasn't held back on anything. There is lots of Cascade 220, two big cakes of laceweight, some Noro, a good selection of sock yarn, including LL, Trekking, and Regia; there is some bulky yarn as well as some interesting novelty types; there is wool and cotton both. There are nice patterns and some flex needles, among other things. It's just a TREAT to be able to pull one goodie after another out of this box.

I dreamed about yarn that night. I thought about it all day at work. (It's okay, it was a slow day.) I thought about what I would like to have. Not the bulky yarns, I can't work in big gauge. Not the big needles, for the same reason. Some of the Cascade? Definitely some sock yarn. How much could I trade with what I have in my stash?

It was after about the fifth or sixth time I went through the box, pulling out yarn and putting it back, that I stopped seeing individual bits of yarn and seeing the whole box. I started thinking about how good it is of Ann to want to share this lovely stuff. Ann first stopped into my blog the night before Thanksgiving last year. She took the time then, time I'm sure she didn't really have, to look up a pattern for me on the net. I was very touched by that. And I want you all to know that. We started visiting and commenting on each other's blogs, a little at first and then a lot. (She has been known to comment on my latest post before I'm even done editing the thing.) To make a long story short, we emailed several times about the Sisterhood of the Traveling Stash before she made the decision to run with it. And now here I was last night, looking at this box filled with her yarn, and thinking that it's the next best think to sitting with her in her closet, going through her stash together and having her say, "Here, I don't really need this, let's trade."

See, I live in a small Arizona town out in the high desert, and I don't know any knitters except through the internet. But for me, it's similar to when I used to belong to a quilt guild in town. Except that we only met once a month. Here I can jump on line every day and talk to my friends and read the blogs I find inspiration in. Because of the internet and knitbloggers, I know about such things as socks and Sockapaloooza, Noro and cobweb and the Amazing Lace. There is only one store in town with a tiny yarn section, and I wouldn't know how to appreciate the yarns they carry unless I had read about them on the web. Otherwise I might have remained a Walmart knitter, and frustrated by not getting the results I wanted.

So here I am looking at all this lovely yarn that I never get to see in the flesh. The Trekking is staying here, because the only other Trekking I've ever seen was a six hour drive away. The red Cascade is staying, so that I can make a Wool Peddlers Shawl out of it. There are two shawl patterns that I'm sure I'm going to keep, and probably more sock yarn as well. The bulky yarns and the more unusual yarns are safe, because I don't work with heavy stuff. My thing is socks, and shawls and scarves, lace and cables. What am I going to donate in their place? Certainly whatever maintains the integrity of the box. Sock yarn for sock yarn, worsted for worsted, etc. I would love to snatch up the two cakes of laceweight, but I have nothing to replace it with. There ain't no laceweight out in this desert, folks, and certainly not in that quantity. And the box needs to keep it's variety.

What will I donate into the box? Well, for one thing, I haven't decided yet. So you will have to wait until I post it in a day or two. What I can tell you is that I will probably be throwing in a little more than I take out. See, there's stuff that I know I won't use, and I'd like to share it with my sisters, the way Ann is sharing with me and everyone else. See, it's my sisters we're talking about here, my sisters who talk my language and share with me.

Even out in the middle of the high desert. Having my sisters means I get to be as much in the middle of things as anybody else. To have as much fun as anybody else. Having my sisters means I get to at least touch and play with yarn I wouldn't get to see otherwise, and learn things and do things that you don't find at Walmart. So remember, when you're putting stuff into the box before you send it on it's next stop, remember that what you can't use, and what may be commonplace to you, may be pretty special to the next person in line.

Thank you, sister Ann. And thank you, all my other sisters.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Joe called me at work this afternoon. There was a package in the mail, exactly sock sized!! I could hardly wait to get home. And here's what I've been waiting for, beautiful socks by Martha "SongBird" at http://revsongbird.typepad.com/set_free. Aren't they beautiful? And can you believe that these are only her second pair of socks?

She also sent me this sweet potholder which I know she must have made herself. Plus postcards from Maine, a place I have been to exactly once, and it was a long time ago, at that. Martha, thank you so much, you are the best!

Here are the socks being modeled. Don't you just love those blues?? I had asked for one of two color choices -- fall colors or blues and greens of the ocean -- and these shades of blue are perfect for the colors of the ocean water. And they feel wonderful -- they haven't come off my feet yet. Only one thing is missing. Martha, tell me please, what yarn and colorway you used, because I want more of this yarn!

Joe has been working on the camper all day, getting it ready for a ten-day trip later this month. He insisted that I pose with the socks, and I was more than happy to oblige. The socks are going on vacation with us as it is, so why not show them what's in store?

In other socky-news, I got my gold star from the SYAC for not buying any sock yarn during the month of April. I don't know that it will continue through May, however. I may have to use a free day. And June? I can't think that far ahead.

The box from the Sisterhood of the Traveling Stash arrived yesterday. Of course I was working a 14+ hour day and didn't get to see it until late at night. You will have to wait until tomorrow to see what came in it. And what yarn is begging to stay at my house. Heh heh.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Bye Bye Socks

It seems to be a week for KALs to take the headlines. The Sockapalooza package is in the mail, and since my sock pal doesn't have a blog, I have taken the liberty of posting the contents of her box.

The socks are in their yellow wrapper -- I really love those wrappers, and extra wrappers are decorating the mailing box. (The clerk at the post office thought they were "cute".) Instead of a post card, I sent a small Mexican blanket, one that I got while in Mexico in March, as well as what was left of the three balls of purple alpaca. All this, plus a notecard, were sent to the Boston area.

Hey, I'M going to the Boston area next month.

In other news, I wanted to jump into the knitting support group for Mr. Etherknitter, and "Knit Up Some Bone", but I can't get the button to cooperate. My heart's in it, anyway, and I offer up today my Jaywalker sock, which now fits. If I can get Jaywalker to work, then my knitting mojo has got to be aworkin' for the cause.

Let's get that broken bone mended!

Monday, May 01, 2006

KAL's Galore

Now, some folks might remember that I had a New Year's knitting resolution to join at least two KAL's. And already I've gotten involved in a few more than just two. The Knitting Olympics, 40 Days for Others, 200Sox, SYAC, Project Spectrum, and so on. Now I find myself aboard two more.

Ann has started up The Sisterhood of the Traveling Stash. Lucky me, I get to receive the stash box first, which means I have first pick of the goodies. Ann has promised that there will be bunches of good stuff in the box, which makes it all the more enticing.

And today I jumped aboard The Amazing Lace, hosted by Theresa and Rachel, where I and my partner lace projects will compete for fame, glory, and lovely lace yarn. Run on over and check it out. It's not too late to join in, I wouldn't think. My initial project will be my green lace scarf, which by the way will also be my May Project Spectrum knitting. (Let's not dwell on the fact that I have yet to finish a single PS project, okay?) And I suppose my Lacy Kerchief Scarf, which hasn't been touched for a while, would qualify for this as well. Plus I'm planning on doing some Branching Out scarves for Christmas presents, so there is plenty of lace in the knitting lineup.

And tomorrow the Sockapaloooza Socks get mailed! The fun just never stops.