January 30, 2007

Mega Boots and stash!

I finished another pair of socks, plus I've taken inventory of my sock stash. It's all good!

The socks that I finished are my Mega Boots socks, first shown here. The yarn has a bit of stretch in it similar to Cascade Fixation (but not quite as stretchy). The color reminds me a great deal of Trekking XXL color 100, although with longer color sections.


  • Yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit Mega Boots Stretch in color 710
  • Pattern: none; 64 sts worked in 2x2 ribbing for 1", stockinette leg, basic heel flap and gusset, and star toe
  • Needles: Addi Turbo circs US 1 (2.5mm) 32"
  • Recipient: me
  • Notes: Not much. These socks worked up quickly and I enjoyed the color changes. In fact, those color changes that I enjoyed so much kind of kicked sand in my face by changing up their sequence so that I couldn't make the pair matchy-matchy, even if I wanted. And again, I'm finding the star toe to be very comfortable.

But on to the other news. You've been so polite and patient waiting through my sock details, but I know what you're really here for: my sock stash count. That number which will either astonish you or admonish you. That will make you feel good about your own stash or envious of mine. Is it monstrous or moderate by comparison? (And which non-knitting muggles -- and non-sock knitters -- will cringe at.)

drum roll, please


I have enough sock yarn to knit ninety-seven pairs of socks, including four pairs currently on the needles.

So close to 100, but still shy of it. And I am trying to knit up more socks than I buy yarn for. Will I drift farther from my sock centennial as the year progresses? Can I withstand the new sock yarn cravings? Any bets?!

I was able to do this sock yarn round up and concurrent inventory because we have new-to-us furniture for the craft/guest room. (Yes, there's a full Excel spreadsheet of data on my sock stash.) So while transferring the sock yarns from the old dresser drawers to the new armoire drawers, I took stock. And pictures.

Posted by Nanc at 10:06 AM | Comments (13)

January 25, 2007

dinner in the den

Eating our dinner in the den/TV room isn't all that new and wonderful, we do this all the time. But yesterday our den got a bit of an upgrade, which makes it special.

Yes, we do have a dining room and table, but we've gotten into the bad habit of watching TV while eating. Maybe this will change some day.

Why is today (er, yesterday) special? Because we got a new couch! A big, honkin' leather sectional that takes up just the perfect amount of room!

Why leather? Well... it just seems to be required in this room. This is our TV room and lounge. With the wet bar and darker walls, this room just cries out "manly den." (Although with the crying, it's a bit of a sissy. Ha ha ha)

We have big plans for this room, or at least Matt does. I'll just sit back and enjoy. There are obvious pieces still needed in here, like art on the walls, cozy throws, and more/different pillows. But it's slowly coming together. And with this couch, we now have seating for a baseball team, plus coaches. Maybe two on-field soccer teams and the refs.

Okay, that's weird. I have no idea why we'd have any sports teams in our house. Scratch that. Let's say the we now have enough seating for a good bunch of knitters. W00t!

The couch comes with two ottomans, which serve as storage and table tops/trays, if needed. We still have our red rocking recliner loveseat, but we don't know if this'll stay or get moved some where else. But for now, we're comfy, cozy, and cushioned on cow.

I also celebrated our new seating arrangements with a showy meal: spaghetti squash lasagna. (Okay, so the name could use some work.) Basically it's spaghetti squash cooked like normal, but then you use the empty shells and layer sauce, squash, and cheese like a lasagna. Bake 20 minutes for melty goodness, and yum! Served with a tasty salad and ice cold milk.

And no, I did not expect either of us to eat the entire half-squash shell full. But it's tricky to serve otherwise.

Oh... and the ducks were back this morning.

Posted by Nanc at 10:48 AM | Comments (5)

January 24, 2007

Our fowl weather friends

Hey! The ducks came back this morning, and we were able to get some better pictures of them. W00t!

I don't know how long they were hanging out there, and if they were waiting for breakfast to be served or what. The girlie duck had climbed out of the icy cold pool and must've been sunning (ha!) herself on the deck, but boy duck was still swimming in circles around the pool. (Yet he stayed pretty close to girl duck.)

They stayed put until Matt had to go to work. It wasn't the garage door opening, but Jimmi (our Honda Civic Hybrid) pulling out that sent them off. And I was waiting with the camera! (Who knew that girl ducks have a pretty, purple-ish stripe under their wing... 'cept naturalist, I guess.)

I probably won't take any more photos if they come around again, but I will let y'all know. Because really, it tickles me -- and that's what counts, right?

And no, I'm not going to apologize for the pun.

Posted by Nanc at 02:53 PM | Comments (4)

January 23, 2007

Going to the birds

This past weekend was for the birds. Literally.

So okay, three birds. Well... ducks, really. But they're birds too! And our own bulb-bird.

Read more to understand my prattle and read what I've been up to this weekend (and continuing on this week).

First, the birds thing. On Friday, an e-mail came alerting me that our bird was "up and flying" at the Bird for Bulbs site. Heck, I had almost forgot about this. But I am very excited to have our own bird.

Bird for Bulbs is a site by two artists that want to encourage everyone to change over to CFL light bulbs to help the environment. And if they have to draw you your own personal illustrated bird to do it, they will, by god! And although I didn't need that kind of encouragement, I did it anyways -- 'cause I wanted a bird. Like a family crest.

The other bird incident(s) occurred on both Saturday and Sunday mornings. I was soundly sleeping when Matty nudged me awake. "Come look at this. Hurry, you won't want to miss this!"

So I grabbed my glasses, bathrobe, and slippers and trotted out after him. What could be so amazing early on a Saturday morning? What, indeed, but for two ducks floating (swimming?) in our pool!

I was the first one to wake to their quacking on Sunday morning. Quack! Quack! Quack! Quack! (Man, that's just not an easy word to type.) Two mallard ducks, one male and one female, quacking up a ruckus in our pool! Sheesh.

Both mornings we tried to get a picture of them. But the flash (or the red-eye pre-flash) scares them off, and without the flash they're blurry. So no good pix of them. I did include one, though: it's dark and they've just taken off.

The ducks haven't been back since. I'd like to think that it was the same ducks both mornings and they were taking a weekend mini-vacation... in our pool. Are ducks auspicious?

In other news, I've been doing some house work (but not the cleaning, mundane kind of house work). Nope, I've been painting the craft/guest bedroom. And since this is kind of my secondary space (Matt has his own PEZ/guest bedroom), I got to choose the colors and do all the work.

Yep, that's right. I said colors. As in four. Four different colors of paint, plus the trim color. So, er... FIVE colors! [sigh]

I'm actually still enjoying it, but I only do a little each day. So I'm not killing myself in a day or two to get it all done. I've got the trim and a bit of the closet left to do before I'm done.

Here's some tantalizing peeks at the colors to wet your appetite. I'll take more pictures once we get the furniture moved in.

Posted by Nanc at 03:27 PM | Comments (5)

January 18, 2007

The sale.

This is no fairytale, happily-ever-after story of love lost and found. No lessons learned, no changing of ways or ideas. No informative story or dark fable to be found here.

Nope, just what I bought at a yarn sale.

The Woolie Ewe has a great sale every year on the last Saturday of the year. This year there was a pre-sale week and yarns were discounted a bit (20%). On the day of the sale, all yarns are discounted 30%. But... for those intrepid few who like a challenge and a reason to make anything crazy, you could get a 40% discount if you were at the store before Jill (owner) arrived that morning. And you know that I was there!

(I didn't go to the sale the previous year, but two years ago I went and it was a set number, like the first 25-30 customers would receive the greater discount. And yes, I was there in line early for the extra discount.)

Anyhoo, its not like I need this yarn, but it was sure nice to get it. Like always, I fell for the sock yarn but tried to keep it to a minimum (6 pairs). I also got two sweaters-worth of yarn; one for me and one for Matt. And the rest? Total splurge, I've-always-wanted-to-try-it, spoil me yarns!

The pictures give all the details (yarn brand, quantity, etc.). So sit back and enjoy. (As I will be enjoying those yarns when/as I knit them up!)

Posted by Nanc at 10:08 AM | Comments (9)

January 16, 2007

Its a Breeze

Well, the yarn is; Sirdar Breeze, that is. And my contribution to it was pretty much a breeze: simply knit a few (four) squares. But I know that Good Girl Purl had a bit more in store for her part.

What am I blathering on about? Well, just a beautiful and wonderful baby blanket gifted to GGP's Diva Sister this past weekend!

A group of us were asked to knit some 6" squares for the blanket and GGP gave us the yarn - Sirdar Breeze in Cream. We had plenty of time, although some of us procrastinated until the last possible moment.

Four squares... not too bad. Funny thing? Of the 7 or 8 girls contributing squares and the 30 squares used, not a one of them are duplicates. No discussions were made about what squares to make; every just kind of did their thing. How cool is that?

Anyhoo, the shower was this weekend and Purse Ho has already blogged about it. So I guess that I can jump on that band wagon and show you my squares. (In these pix they have not been washed or blocked yet. See how much work GGP must've put into it?)

BTW, I didn't get a picture of the fabric backing, but I hope that someone did (at least GGP). It was really cute with lil' kid cowboys wearing a red cowboy hat and such.

Posted by Nanc at 12:45 PM | Comments (5)

January 10, 2007

Good times

Ah, these are the good times. The bright winter sun stretches long into my back. The shadows make art of everything.

I arrived early to knit nite. So I sat and knit and relaxed before I sat and knit and laughed (with the grrls). Crumbs of oatmeal raisin cookie and chai latte kept me company.

I'm knitting a pair of basic socks (1" 2x2 ribbing then stockinette) from Lana Grossa Meilenweit Mega Boots Stretch in color #710.

I'll try to get a close-up picture of this yarn to show you the difference in how it looks (fluffy and thick) and how it knits up (stretchy and thin -- like Trekking). But the colors are wonderful!

Posted by Nanc at 04:03 PM | Comments (7)

January 09, 2007

What would you do?

Perhaps I should save this for the "Weird Things About Me" meme, but I've just got to say it: I'm stubborn. Horribly stubborn. Like 'I will always win at chicken' stubborn, despite what injuries may occur. (I don't believe that I'm stubborn when it comes to reasoning and logic and getting along with other people, but I could be fooling myself.)

I am stubborn about my knitting, though. Like when I should just stop knitting and look for a solution or a different project, instead I carry on.

Which is just what happened with my latest project. There I was knitting away and making fabulous progress. And then I added a new ball of yarn. [doom]

Sure, I noticed when I was winding the skein into a yarncake -- this one was more variegated in hues than the last. And I saw it right away as I was knitting; the stripes, the tonal changes from pale tomato to a dark crimson. But I just kept knitting.

Now I have a finished scarf (ends woven in, washed, and blocked - all of it), and its just not working. One side of the scarf is nearly completely solid tomato, the slight variations only noticeable to the knitter. The other side is boldly and beautifully striped! (This was the effect from the yarn that I wanted when I purchased it -- the more solid skein being the heartbreaker.)

So... what do I do? This scarf is meant as a donation to the Red Scarf Project. As I see it, there are a few options for me to play with:

  1. Work the split personality angle. Call it the Jekyll-Hyde scarf and let the recipient decide how flashy or tame he/she wants to be.
  2. Make up a batch of red Kool-Aid (black cherry, perhaps) and try to even up the colors some what.
  3. Split and separate the two versions and find the yarn to complete both. (ha ha ha -- this really isn't an option!)
  4. Hide it in the closet and never speak of this again.

So... which should I try?

Despite the issues with the coloring, this was a quick and fun scarf for me to work on. I learned a new technique (entrelac) and figured out a design element all by myself. (Yes, I'll take that cookie if you're offering.)


  • Pattern: modified Danica from Knitty to be ribbed around the neck like a seaman's scarf
  • Yarn: Araucania Nature Wool Chunky in color 101
  • Needles: size US#10.5 (6.5mm) Lantern Moon Ebony needles gifted to my by my MIL a few years ago (they're luxurious to knit with)
  • Notes: Check your yarn before you purchase it. When you find the "perfect" colorway and go to grab for a second skein, verify that its truly the same not matter what the label says. Ah, but the yarn is so soft, cozy, and cuddley after its had it's bath.

Perhaps I'll go with option #4 and keep it all for myself - defying anyone to question what they see?!

Posted by Nanc at 01:11 PM | Comments (9)

January 04, 2007

My sweet Melody

It's good to have friends. Even better to have knit friends that will help you cut your knitting with sharp, pointy scissors.

So this is the story of my Melody shawl...

Travel back in time with me, to a moment when sheep were bleating and lamb tasted good. Yep, in May of last year ('06) three of us Texas knitters flew up to MD for the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. And what a good time we had. Ah, the fresh scent of sold out Socks That Rock mingled with the heady perfume of way to many knitbloggers.

During our last trip around the vendor stalls on Sunday that weekend, slightly bored and still overwhelmed by it all, we stopped at a spot we had passed many of times the day prior. What made this time different was that we didn't have to wade through hordes of knitters grabbing fistfuls of mill end Koigu. (Yes, I was one of those knitters. Why do you ask?) What we hadn't noticed until then was the Morehouse Merino folks were directly across from that fiasco.

Can you imagine? We almost didn't even see Morehouse Merino! How sad would we have been had we learned of their attendance only after the event? I can't even bare to think of it.

But that didn't happen. (yay) We did see them on Sunday and we most definitely did partake of their wares. There I picked up a skein of lace weight merino in foresty greens to make their Melody shawl.

Shortly thereafter, we returned home from our holiday. We showed off our wonderful bounty and awed fellow knitters with our goods. Yarn was squeezed, sniffed, and cuddled by one and all. (But not the 'muggles' -- they find this odd.) Quickly I forgot about my merino lace and continued on my merry sock-knitting ways.

And then I notice that Petra has started working on her shawl. And I love it. It's not difficult, not too fussy or girlie, absolutely wonderful. And I want mine!

I started this shawl mid-October during the Stalk the Stalker knit event. I remember this because I purchased the needles at the LYS down there and they didn't have size US#10 - 32", so I got the #9s.

I finally finished knitting the shawl on the day after Christmas. That Wednesday I went over to Petra's for a finishing (and knitting) party. There I enlisted the help, fortitude, and extremities (aka hands and arms) of my knitgrrls. The pattern calls for you to intentionally drop {gasp} some stitches and then cut {eep} between these to create a large rectangle with fringe! Shazam!

I lovelovelove my Melody shawl. It is long and warm; it can be worn bunched up like a scarf or over the shoulders in a more traditional shawl-like manner. And it is amazingly light and soft. So yay! My first shawl/wrap ever, and I owe it all to my knitgrrls!


  • Yarn: Morehouse Merino Lace Monet colors in Zaandam (more foresty greens than what the color shows on their site)
  • Needles: Addi Turbo US#9/5.5mm 32"
  • Pattern: Melody shawl
  • Notes: I would suggest for anyone else making this shawl (which I highly recommend) to use either size US#10 or 10 1/2 needles for a more open lace. Also, the yarn is a single ply lace weight, it likes to stick to itself, and will break under pressure. I found this out when I was first winding it into a ball. After a bit of tug-of-war, the yarn gave out and snapped. This wasn't too much of a problem, I simply wound it into two much looser balls and had at it.
  • Posted by Nanc at 12:43 PM | Comments (7)

January 03, 2007

The last of 2006

Wow - the new year came and went pretty darn quick. And it's not like I've been super busy with parties like some of you. We've just... been. You know, here and there, existing -- doing "stuff."

But I did finally get to washing and blocking my final FOs from last year.

Oh, sure. I've told you about some of these. There's the pink scarf that I finished this summer, but I never washed/blocked it. (And now that it is cold, I'd like a little softness against my neck.) The Noro wrist warmers were discussed here, along with the start of the EZ baby surprise jacket. And the pair of JwaT socks that I finished just before the holidays (despite the publish date).

New to the mix is the finished EZ baby surprise jacket, which I think turned out fabulously. The colors are amazing and so cheerful, and the pattern is genius. I still need to get buttons on and sew up the sleeve seems, but then it is ready to go. (Go where, you might ask? I plan on donating this and other items to the Dulaan Project.)

There's also another pair of socks. These socks were knit during my last contract job, and I'm calling them my Dixie socks. While working at said job, I was introduced to a group of knitters that met during their lunch break and one of the ladies is named Dixie. Dixie admired my sock projects, knit up some of her own while I was there, and inspired another knitter to try her hand at socks, too.

During a few of these visits we would be gifted with yarn by another coworker. She would literally bring in large garbage bags full of craft store yarns! Sock yarns one day, then baby yarns, then bulky yarns -- crazy! So I picked up some of this Magic Stripes yarn, and knit these almost entirely during my lunch breaks.


  • Yarn: Lion Brand Magic Stripes in 'Purple'
  • Needles: size US#2 Addi circs (3.0mm; 32") for the leg and heel, and size US#1 Crystal Palace bamboo dpns (2.25mm) for the foot
  • Pattern: K3,P2 rib for leg, regular heel flap, stockinette foot, star toe
  • Notes: I liked the ribbed fabric on the 3.0mm needles, but it would've been too loose for the foot (makes for an uncomfortable wear). That is why I switched needle sizes. Plus, that gives me a more snug foot on a section with no ribbing. This was my first time doing the star toe, and I like it. I didn't think I would, because you don't kitchener the toe closed but decrease down to 4-6 stitches and draw the hole closed. But I don't feel it with my toes like I expected, so it's all good in my book.

All said and done, I knitted 11 pairs of socks and 3 singles (swaps) in 2006. Not too shabby. I will continue knitting socks, but will it continue to be my obsession? Who can tell.

Tomorrow I'll share with you one last FO of 2006: my Melody shawl!

Posted by Nanc at 02:07 PM | Comments (5)