Friday, June 30, 2006

So much knitting, so little time...

I mentioned quite awhile ago about some designs of mine that had been accepted for Potter Craft's Just Socks and Just Gifts books (sponsored by Lion Brand). Originally, we were to get the yarn in mid-April and the designs would be due by mid-May. Well, mid-May came and went without any yarn or word. I kind of filed the acceptances away in the back of my head, since this kind of thing will happen in the crazy world of knitting design.

Yesterday, I get an e-mail from the acquisitions editor. The publisher has finally gotten off their butts and finalized the designs that are going into the books (mine are all still on), and the new deadline is mid-July. Yes, you read that right - I have until mid-July to do two pairs of socks and two gifts. Today is June 30. There is no sign of my yarn. Hmm...

Fortunately, I put out the word to my awesome pool of test knitters and have some flying fingers lined up to help me out. This is a very good thing, since I'm working furiously on three other designs that need to go out - the Knit Simple design, which is due at the end of July, a new Y2Knit design and the Big Girl Knits 2 socks, both of which are due at the end of August. So extra knitting time is something I just do not have at the moment. Thank goodness for sample knitters!

Needless to say, my poor Meilenweit socks will be sorely neglected for awhile. I did get the first one completely done, apart from a couple ends that need to be woven in.

Another thing I wish I had some extra knitting time for is happening over at the Harlot's blog - check out her post from yesterday. This little project combines knitting with promoting breastfeeding among low-income women in California. And who knew that the Harlot was an IBCLC (int'l board certified lactation consultant) and a huge breastfeeding advocate? I find it funny that she posted this at the same time as I was railing about the Victoria's Secret stuff... Thanks to Yvonne for the link!

And speaking of Yvonne, I met up with her on Wednesday after my mother-in-law and I packed up the kids and took them to Hood River to ride on Thomas the Tank Engine. The lovely little shop that she works at, Knot Another Hat, is right up the street from the train station. In fact, they have a sign out on their balcony that's visible from the station that simply says "YARN" (talk about the siren's song). I really wish I had some pictures from the whole event, but sadly my camera's memory card was still plugged in to my laptop, rendering my camera cute but useless.

Anyway, it's a lovely little shop, and I found a couple treasures there (can I EVER leave a yarn shop without buying something? If history is any indication - no I can not!).

Dang it all! Blogger is yet again refusing my pictures. I have a lovely picture of a pile of grey and burnt orange Cascade 220 (which she had on sale for $3.50 a hank!!!) with a ball of Austermann Step (that funky sock yarn that has Aloe and Jojoba in it) and a ball of Trekking XXL sitting saucily on top.

I will end this post with an apology to my mom. I am sorry that I don't have more pictures of the kids. I guess if you want to see them, you're going to have to come visit!!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Nurse-In at Victoria's Secret this Saturday - nationwide!

Apparently, there have been some recent incidents across the country where VS employees have insisted that nursing moms use the restrooms to feed their babies instead of doing it on the sales floor or in the dressing rooms. Moms have been told that it would be "unsanitary" for them to nurse in dressing rooms (never mind that breast milk is sterile and actually have anti-microbial properties - kind of the opposite of "unsanitary" in my book). Ironically, Victoria's Secret makes their living from boobs but heaven forbid they be used for their intended purpose in their stores!

There has been a call to nursing mommies and their supporters to go to their local Victoria's Secret store on July 1st at 1 pm to protest their mom-and-baby-unfriendly policy. In Portland, there will be nursing moms at Lloyd Center, Clackamas Town Center, Washington Square and Tanasbourne Victoria's Secret stores. I will be at Clackamas with my entire family, and it's rumored that there will be press coverage at that store.

In addition, you can send Victoria's Secret and Limited Brands an e-mail demanding that they change/clarify their corporate policy to be breastfeeding-friendly. Go here to send an e-mail, provided by our friends at

For more info on the specific incidents, you can visit the Reluctant Lactivist's blog.

Again, if you're a new reader and haven't yet been subjected to my pro-breastfeeding propaganda, this isn't about being able to show off our boobs in public. This is about feeding our babies whenever they need it. I strongly believe that the taboo on breastfeeding in public is the reason why more moms don't breastfeed exclusively longer. If there was no nervousness or stress about nursing anywhere (grocery store, mall, park - wherever), it would make it so much easier for moms to stick with doing what's best for their babies.

Some benefits of breastfeeding over formula? Higher IQ, less illness, fewer hospitalizations, lower incidence of SIDS, reduced childhood and adult obesity... The Oregon DHS just did an ad campaign that I thought was great that showed a pregnant woman riding a mechanical bull with the caption "You wouldn't take chances while pregnant - why start after you give birth?". However, they didn't go as far as they could've because they did focus groups and people felt that it would make formula-feeding moms feel guilty about their choice not to breastfeed.

Now, I'm a huge advocate of eliminating mommy guilt, but the benefits of breast milk are SO incredible I think that a little guilt might be healthy in this case. I can understand if a mom can't breastfeed for whatever reason (inability to produce enough milk, adoption, etc.), but I don't think it should be considered a lifestyle choice. Yes, formula-fed babies turn out fine, but plenty of our parents/grandparents smoked and drank during pregnancy and had kids that were fine. Does that mean we should do it? If you think formula feeding vs. smoking/drinking is a harsh comparison, it's not as far off as you think (for example, there is a statistic that formula feeding has the same effect on IQ as lead poisoning, although I can't vouch for it's authenticity). The final factor in my decision not to give my babies formula was going to the store, looking at a can, and seeing that the first ingredient was "corn syrup solids".

Okay, back off the soapbox. Join us at your local VS on Saturday if you support the cause. Nurse on, mommies!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Test knitters needed!

Hi, guys! My goal for the second half of this year is to get my own little pattern line up and running. And to do this, I need some tech editing and test knitting help. Here is the dealio:

1. I will post a new pattern to the group, and if you're interested, you grab it and knit it up. You can use any yarn you want, as long as you can get gauge. Just let me know what you used.

2. As you're knitting, you take notes as to any errors, unclear things, etc.

3. When you're done, you send me your notes along with photos of the completed item.

4. In exchange for your work, I will give you an acknowledgement in the pattern and a free copy of the final pattern either via .pdf or printed on nice paper in a sheet cover (your choice).

5. When the pattern goes live, I will put everyone who has test knit the pattern for me into a drawing for a cash prize (value to be determined based on the pattern complexity) and maybe even an occasional goodie from my stash.

6. When my line starts making some money, I hope to be able to pay all test knitters, so doing a good job will possibly get you on the payroll!

This setup is sort of modeled after what Stefanie Japel (Glampyre) does with her design incubator. I need knitters of all levels and abilities - the only requirement is that you can knit from a pattern and tell me when you find something that doesn't make sense to you. Very easy!

Let me know if you're interested, and I'll send you an invitation to my test knitter group. Please e-mail me at sevenby30 at hotmail dot com instead of leaving a comment (since the way Blogger does comments makes it VERY hard if not impossible to get to your e-mail addy sometimes). Include your blog address (if you have one), how long you've been knitting, your ability level and why you're interested in knitting for me (not meant to be hard - I'm just curious!). Also, what kind of patterns you are most interested in testing.

Thanks, guys!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sheep 'n Socks

Grab a cuppa coffee, because we've got lots to talk about today! First, the report from Black Sheep Gathering. Just to get you in the mood, here are some sheepies:

See the black one? This little guy was talking to me:

It was really funny, because he had such a flat little "Baa". He didn't have any vibrato at all, so he almost sounded like a person.

Anyway, Black Sheep was HUGE and so fun. I drove down with my new friend Nicholette (we'd met up to knit a couple of times, but yesterday we REALLY got to know each other after spending 8 hours together), and it was delightful to hang out with someone who is just as happy to talk about knitting and fiber as I am. She's another local designer and knitting teacher - you may have seen her work in the latest Interweave Knits. She's also a mom, so we talked about knitting, kids, designing, yarn, politics, our childhoods in the Midwest, how we met our husbands, etc. etc. etc.

When we got there, we started making the rounds, petting all the amazing rovings and handspun yarns. If you don't have the yen to spin, going to a fiber festival will really make you reconsider. There were so many incredible rovings, and they were so cheap! There were also many, many unique fibers and blends. There was one booth that was selling completed Orenburg Lace shawls, and they had about 50 of them draped all over the place. They were incredible, and to go along with it they had piles of ultra-soft yarn like qiviut, camel, yak, angora, cashmere - Nicholette picked up a hank of amazing laceweight yak-cashmere blend in this incredible pewter color. Don't ask me why I didn't take more pictures!

I was totally on sensory overload most of the day and didn't end up buying much yarn. I did stop by the Blue Moon Fiber Arts booth to drop off the Bambu tank I designed for them. Fortunately, they absolutely loved it and apparently there were people asking for the pattern all day. Yay! I even got a big hug from Tina as a thank you. It was hard for me to part with it, but fortunately it wasn't in my size. I of course bought some yarn from them, some of which is for secret pals and can't be shown (especially now that one of my secret pals knows who I am...), but here are a couple hanks of STR that will be going into the grand prize Sock-A-Month basket:

And just what I need - more bumper stickers! How could I resist, though? At 1:30, a bunch of us knit bloggers met up and did a little knitting.

Here we are with our socks! From L-R, we have Dene, Tammy, me and Jen (who had her adorable little guy Andy with her, but he didn't make the picture). We also met up with Yvonne, but she was too busy shopping to do any knitting (who can blame her)? She did have a hank of her hand-dyed yarn along with her, and it is totally gorgeous. It was so much fun to meet everyone!

After I got home, I continued work on the sock I'm making from my One Skein Secret Pal yarn.

I know that I said I didn't have any socks on the needles the other day, and technically that was true. I'd pulled the needles out of these to swatch for something else, and put them back in yesterday morning so I'd have something nice and portable to drag around Black Sheep. I have so many dropped stitches with the kids pulling my needles out of things that I have absolutely no fear of yanking needles out when I need them for something else and putting them back when I'm realy to start knitting again. Unless I'm knitting with mohair.

I'm kind of at a project impasse right now, so the socks may be getting lots of attention this weekend. The Big Girl Knits 2 cardigan is ready to steek, but I haven't gotten up the courage to stick it under the sewing machine needle just yet. I have three other design projects to work on, and some submissions that it wouldn't hurt to make, but I just don't feel like doing any of them. The submissions would be to JCA, which is the yarn company that makes/distributes Reynolds and Artful Yarns. It could be that the Reynolds that I bought to swatch with is Lopi, and I hate the stuff. It feels like baling twine to me. I was going to felt with it, but I'm having problems touching the stuff even for that purpose.

I'm really trying to decide which way to take the design business anyway, especially after talking to Nicholette, who sells her patterns through the Yarn Garden and has only submitted a couple designs to magazines. She makes SO much more money selling her patterns wholesale than I would ever make from a magazine or book submission. I love seeing my stuff in print, but I think self-publishing is going to be the way to go if I ever want this to go beyond a hobby and actually turn a profit.

For example, the BGK2 cardigan, which is a size XL sample, has stranded colorwork around the yoke and is steeked up the front, is paying me $200. So that works out to, what, 50 cents an hour? No, it's not quite that bad, but it's not much. Definitely below minimum wage. I know it's bad manners to talk about money, but I think it's important for people to know how little knit designers get paid, and why it's so important to BUY PATTERNS and not copy them!!! Unless all you want is garter stitch scarf patterns knit in novelty yarn that the yarn companies will give you for free on their yarn ball bands. But creative designs from good designers are going to be a thing of the past if they can't make any money from it!

One of the designers on a mailing list I'm on said it well. When someone asks her to copy a pattern for them, she asks them if they're planning to steal the needles and yarn they're going to use to make the item. They get all huffy and irate and say "Of course not!" She then explains to them that copying a pattern is the exact same thing. Just because you're much less likely to get caught doesn't mean it's not stealing...

Okay, I'm off my soapbox. Let's see some socks (and we've got a bunch of them)!

Adelle finished some Meilenweit socks for her friend Al.

Sheri knit up some warm little socks for the Dulaan Project.

Karen's got two pairs - French Socks and a pair of Meilenweits.

Lisa finished the last pair of Unity Socks!

Kat finished a pair of Pomatomi.

Emily has a pair made from her own handspun (scroll down past all the Alpaca pics to see them).

Sonya finished a pair of those amazing Norwegian Stockings. Love them!

Ragan finished some Mom socks and some blue cabled socks for brownie points.

Lu also knit some blue socks.

Pam knit up some cool green socks w/ variegated heels and toes.

Rachel knit up something fishy...

Jennie has more blue socks. Seeing a blue trend here?

Newlywed Elizabeth has two pairs of socks - one from before her wedding and one from after, and lots of wedding pics in-between. Congrats!

Jennifer whipped up a pair of Fixation footies.

Jamie finished some lovely shell socks.

Mary Beth has some gorgeous Cherry Tree Hill socks done.

Debbie finished a pair of Simply Lovely Lace socks. However, I can't show them to you since Blogger is once again refusing to upload my pictures. Gah!

Roberta's got Ruby Slippers and Fire on the Mountain. I love them both, but you all know that I am STR-biased...

Stariel knit her 13th pair of socks for the year!

Erica has a pair of Meilenweits (what is with this yarn suddely ALL OVER THE PLACE, including on my needles?) and a pair of twisted Trekking socks.

Kristy in NC finished a lovely blue pair of lace socks, modeled by her daughter, but Blogger refuses them also. I'll try to post the missing pics when Blogger decides to behave again...

Adrienne knit up a very pretty pair of socks she designed, but I can't show them to you either. Sigh.

Nelda finished two stripey pairs.

For those of you who are still with us after this ridiculously long post, I have a very special announcement. Mama-E is going to be dyeing a very special Brownie Point colorway for us that will serve as the brownie point prize at the end of Sock-A-Month. This will also be the August Project Spectrum colorway, and it is going to be fabulous. I can't wait to see it!

I was going to leave you with one more sheepy picture from Black Sheep, but...I don't even want to talk about it.

Happy socking, everyone, and have a great Sunday!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Wontcha let me take ya on a...

You guessed it! Sea cruise! We are officially on board. Now I just have to twiddle my thumbs, waiting for April to get here... I've been pestering poor Mama-E, asking her if I can teach a class on-board or design some socks for the cruise, but of course she has all that stuff already taken care of (she just announced that Amie of 2000 Socks in 2006 is one of the teachers/designers, and she's got one more up her sleeve). So I might just have to sit back, relax, and knit! Poor me.

This morning, however, I'm going on a very different kind of adventure. Sydney has been potty trained now for about a year, but night times are still only about 70% dry. We've been using Pull-Ups, but they're not always 100% effective against the onslaught and I'm getting tired of the huge pile of garbage they create when using them every night. So I am heading to a friend's house to borrow some nighttime training pants that she had good luck with, and then to a cloth diapering store that's around the corner from her to pick up a couple other options.

Then, it's back to the knitting. Project monogamy continues. I don't even have a single pair of socks on the needles right now. What is up with that?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I'm such a sucker.

Did you guys know that as soon as I heard about that sock cruise, I'd be doing everything in my power to figure out how to go? Well...I thought maybe I'd have a little self-control and think it over logically, take some time to ponder, but no. I did wait a little while before I mentioned it to Bill, and his reaction was about what I expected. So I e-mailed the link to my mom (who is much more adventurous when it comes to yarning around, even though she's not a knitter), and I think I'm well on my way to convincing her to come with me.

Someday I'm going to realize that I can't do everything, but that day has not yet arrived. Bill is so delighted at the prospect of five days at home by himself that he doesn't care what I have to spend! He's already making plans to clean the basement, although I have a feeling he might spend the entire time with his horribly neglected PS2.

I've also got my weaselly little brain trying to figure out how to attend the fall Tigard Knitting Guild retreat (with Nancy Bush). This is one where I can't take the kids, but Bill's a good sport about being left with them. If Owen's still not weaned, I'm even hatching a plan to have Bill drive him out there, leave him overnight (assuming I have a room to myself or a VERY understanding roommate), and pick him up in the morning. He's amenable - isn't he a great husband?

Anyway, enough about my trips. I want to show you the most fantastic new product. Cat tipped us off to this in class on Saturday, and when I hit Fabric Depot on Monday for some buttons, I found two of them (and immediately grabbed them both).

Yes, folks, that's a Chibi with two new sizes of needles. The big gold thing on the left is my old Chibi needle. The new one has two medium-sized needles (good for that dk and sport-weight stuff) and one tiny little needle (um, could that be any more perfect for sock-weight?). And all with the curved tips I can't live without. If you haven't tried a curved tip yarn needle, do it. You'll never go back.

Speaking of Cat, I want to let Amanda know that she's not dumb - Cat isn't from Portland, she's from Seattle. I was including all of the Pacific Northwest in my "in-the-area" reference from the last post... My bad for not being more clear!

In other news, I'm getting a quote to have my design website redesigned. I've been trying to maintain it myself using the software offered by my webhosts, but I haven't had the time to do it properly and the software is often sorely lacking. Since I'm going to have my web address listed in a couple big publications in the next year, I really need to get my act together and have it professionally done. I'll let you know when it's finished, and I'm hoping to start putting patterns up for sale before the end of summer. I'm going to start with Winter Branches, since it's no longer on Knit Net, and there will be others in the works very soon. I'm also going to try to open a wholesale account with Blue Moon so I can sell those patterns that I've designed on my website as well.

I got my Summer Sock Party swap partner assigned to me yesterday, and one of the patterns that will be up for sale soon is going to be the swap sock pattern. I'm going to design and knit the first sock, and then send it to Melissa to knit the second sock as a test knit/edit. How fun is that? I think the swap is such a great idea because I will be knitting a pair of socks and have a pair to wear at the end, but it's two different socks! So no having to knit the same sock twice! I usually don't mind knitting the second sock, but why knit the same thing twice when you don't have to?

Finally, I've gotten another acceptance for a design submission that has been at Interweave since January. I'm going to have a design in the Spring '07 issue of Knit Scene! It was a design that was on the short list for Lace Style, but must've gotten cut and passed on to the Knit Scene folks. I would've loved to have been in Lace Style, but hey, Knit Scene will be great, too! Yay!

I will try to post once more before Saturday, but if I don't, look for the big report from Black Sheep on Sunday along with a huge sock update. Remember, if you're going to be at Black Sheep, meet up with us at the Blue Moon booth at 1:30 on Saturday afternoon! I can't wait!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Let's try this again...

I really hope Blogger is feeling better today. Now, for the pictures I was trying to show you last time.

(Also, I will be doing a sock update at the end so I don't have to blog on Father's Day - don't know how well that would go over with Daddy.)

First, the other garden picture:

Yay! It worked! The back bed is strawberries on the right and sunflower sproutlets on the left. The front bed, obviously, is pole beans. These poor things sat in pots for weeks before I got around to planting them a few days ago and were completely rootbound when I finally rescued them. I hope they do okay!

Next, my loot from the Tigard Knitting Guild garage sale:

In the back left is a lovely Lantern Moon knitting bag that was filled with all that funky handspun that's barfed out up front (winning bid - $11). Not sure what I'm going to do with it, but I might try to felt it into something. Next to the bag is a copy of Knit Lit ($3), some Socks That Rock (3 hanks for $17) and two hanks of recycled silk ($11).

Finally here is my goodie package from my SP8:

An air freshener, some ice tea, stickers, a really cool postcard w/ fabric sewn on to the picture side, a little sewn card case and a sock pattern. I think my SP is a sewer (as in, person who sews - not the other word that's spelled the same but sounds different and has a much less pleasant meaning...)! Thanks, SP!

On the flip side, I accidentally outed myself to my spoilee. I sent her a gift package directly from Amazon, and a few days after it arrived, I got a lovely thank you card from her. Oops! Just a warning for anyone else thinking of sending directly from Amazon - they tell the recipient who you are! So now I am her not-so-secret pal, but I still get to send her secret presents.

Today I attended an all-day workshop on Sockitecture with the amazing Cat Bordhi (author of "Socks Soar On Two Circular Needles" and "A Treasury of Magical Knitting", for those of you living in a cave). I can't show you what we made, because it is top secret (I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you). She has an amazing sock book coming out next spring that will show you a whole bunch of very different, very creative ways to knit socks. There will be a special preview in the August (I think) issue of Vogue Knitting, which is dedicated to socks and sounds absolutely AMAZING. It will have patterns from all the big-name sock designers and will have one from Cat using some of her new sockitechture techniques.

I can tell you that I learned the figure-8 cast-on for toe-up socks, and the Japanese short row technique for hiding wraps. She also showed everyone a very cool way of purling with the yarn in back to tighten up the tension on purl stitches, but it only works for pickers (and I am stubbornly stuck on throwing).

She also did a little demonstration of all the different things you can do with a set of Denise interchangeable needles. She shares them here under her link to the Denise website. If you have a set, go check these tips out. They are tres magnifique. Apparently they're planning to come out with a pink set sometime soon. Cat suggests that anyone who calls Denise for any reason asks them how the pink needles are coming along (just to light a little fire...).

I worked on the sleeve for the Big Girl Knits 2 sweater in-between bouts with the little baby socks we knit up as samples, and I was a little bit embarassed to be knitting on double pointed needles. I ran over to the Yarn Garden after lunch and picked up two Addis, started working the sleeve on them, and felt much better. I mean, how uncool was I to be using dpns in front of the two-circ goddess? Plus they were driving me crazy, since the sleeve barely fit on 4 of my little Clovers. I am so thankful to be living in a town that first of all is close to so many amazing knitters (i.e. Joan Schrouder, Cat Bordhi, Leigh Radford, just to name a few) and second of all, has a place like the Yarn Garden that brings them in for these amazing workshops!

Okay, enough gushing. Time for the sock update. No, wait! One more BIG announcement. Those of you who are on Mama-E's mailing list have already seen this, but for the rest of you, she is helping to organize a sock-knitter's cruise! Hello! How great is that? I'm sorely tempted to try to go, even though I am already pushing it going to TNNA in January in addition to a potential trip to Boston so Bill can run the marathon (also in April) and a trip to Tokyo next summer to visit our friends who are living over there for a few years (we have to get there before they come back here). If only I had unlimited time and money. Oh, the things I could do!

Okay. Socks. Or maybe not. My internet connection is acting squirrely and I think I'm just going to publish this and go to bed before I throw this (expensive, new) laptop out the window.

Happy Father's Day, if I don't make it back tomorrow!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Where do I start?

I just realized I haven't posted since Tuesday, and there's so much to talk about. First, have you all been hearing all the buzz from the recent TNNA show? For those of you who haven't heard of TNNA, it's the big twice-yearly trade show for the needlearts industry where retailers go to check out/buy the next season's yarns and patterns. Amy and Amy were both there, and give perspectives from a designer and a retailer's points of view. Anyway, I was so jealous hearing everyone's raving reports of the show that I am determined to attend the next one, which is in San Diego in January. I just hope Owen's weaned by then so I don't have to drag my pump (or him) along...

The Association of Knitwear Designers (AKD, formerly PKDG) has been doing some reorganization as well and unveiled the new name along with a new website at TNNA. Any of you fledgling designers out there who are serious about designing should really check this organization out. When you join at the "aspiring associate" level, you can request a mentor who is an established designer and can answer all those silly little questions you have but don't have anyone to ask about. I also noticed that once I started listing AKD on my resume, it got me in the door at a couple of the print magazines. It could be coincidental timing, but I also think that it shows that I'm serious about designing and not just a dabbler. It's a great way to get people to take you seriously.

And now for a little non-knitting interlude... I thought I'd share some more garden photos with you. Everything is going nuts, and we are soon going to be totally overrun with tomatoes.

The tomatoes are in the back bed on the right-hand side, if you hadn't already figured that out. Peppers are next to them, and then in the front bed is our zucchini (back right w/ all the big yellow flowers), our cucumber (front right, looking a bit bedraggled) and our pumpkins over to the left.

Wait! There's more!

Or, maybe not. Friggin' Blogger won't let me load any more pictures. So, that kind of screws the rest of this post. I had a couple more garden pics, a picture of the first little goodie package from my SP8, and pictures of my haul from the Tigard Knitting Guild's knitter's garage sale last night. This was a crazy fun little event, where everyone in the guild brought some stash and it was sold off silent auction style. I brought about 8 bags of yarn of varying numbers of balls, and sold three along with one book. I bought three bags of yarn and bought one book. The monetary values were quite similar, so all in all, I came out about even. I also had a blast sitting and knitting with Amanda, Katrina and Donna (who recognized me from this blog!). I think Donna scored the best at the sale out of all of us - she grabbed a big bag of Noro, a couple hanks of Cascade Magnum and a little drop-spindle starter kit. But then, she's a relatively new knitter and doesn't have a ridiculous stash at home. Yet...

There was a gorgeous spinning wheel that someone brought in, and it didn't get a single bid. As the clock was winding down, I was sorely tempted by the opening bid amount of $200. I must've walked by that thing 50 times. But as much as I wanted to, I couldn't bring myself to do it. I'm barely keeping my head above water as it is with all my design work - how can I take up another totally addicting hobby? Unless I started selling homespun... That's how Tina Newton got Blue Moon started... Hmm. Maybe next year!

I'll be back with the pics as soon as Blogger is in a mood to cooperate!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Pictures, pictures, pictures!

I've got a boatload of pictures to show you. While I didn't manage to take any pictures of us actually camping, I did take a few before we left. The kids both got new sleeping bags (REI Kindercones), and here is Sydney modeling hers:

Owen wouldn't sit still long enough to model his, so here's Bill doing it for him:

Doesn't it look like he's being swallowed by some sort of weird fish/snake? And check out Owen practicing for his future periodontal career.

The kids decided that they'd rather sleep like this instead of in their own bags:

It was a this point when I decided to go shopping for my own one-person tent...

While all this heavy-duty picture taking was going on, I took a couple snaps of my Spring Feet Swap Socks, which of course were on my feet at the time:

Look at those matching stripes! Aren't they pretty? They kept my feet warm all weekend and are about to get a much-needed bath so I can put them back on. Jenipurr also included a box of shortbread, all the way from Ireland (these socks've got some Irish in 'em, having been partially knitted there) along with a lovely kitty card. How did she know I was a total shortbread fanatic?

And here is the gift basket sent to my by the lovely Tammy, my spoilee from SP7.

Mmm, coffe, tea and chocolate! What could be better? And yes, I know, the last to pics in this post are not centered. Blogger, for whatever reason, refused to load any more centered pics. Go figure.

Today was a pretty good mail day, too. I got the Hip Knits sock yarn!

The two lovelies in the middle are the cashmere (and it is just decadent). Funny thing is, it smells soooo good. You know how sometimes yarn just smells delicious? That's how this stuff is. One of those hanks is going to be a prize for you sock-a-monthers, and the rest are going to be designs for the Hip Knits Sock Club. I haven't decided which one to put in the prize basket - what do you guys think? It's between the middle two.

I'm currently knitting my way through the Big Girl Knits 2 sweater. I've found myself becoming monogamous to these design projects. I'll swatch while I'm knitting them, but I haven't been inclined to start more than one at a time. What's up with that? It's quite different from my 5-projects-going-at-all-times frenzy of the spring...

Anyway, this sweater is going to be a cardigan, but it's knit in the round. This is because of some colorwork that will be going on the yoke. What does cardigan-in-the-round-with-colorwork mean? Yup! Steeking! Eeek! I've steeked a swatch, but never an actual sweater. Perhaps a design assignment is not the best time to start? But hey - why be timid? I really hate the expression "balls out", but sometimes you just gotta go for it.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Ah, nature!

We just got back from a weekend camping trip to the Oregon coast, and I'm all dirty and stinky and I love it! Well, I should clarify - I'm stinky in that my hair smells like a campfire, not stinky as in BO smell... We met up with some friends at Cape Lookout State Park and roasted marshmallows, played on the beach and slept in a tent for the first time (for two of us, anyway). I haven't been camping in over a decade, although I used to go all the time when I was younger. I didn't realize how much I missed it!

Plus, we started and ended the trip with a stop at my favorite spot-near-the-coast, the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Unfortunately, they aren't running their production facilities anymore on weekends so we didn't get to watch the cheese run around the huge factory room on the little conveyor belts, but we still got to sample some cheese, buy some cheese curds and get some of the ice cream flavors you don't always see in the store. We love it so much we stopped going both directions.

We had an amazing campsite (which unfortunately had a retaining wall "cliff" at the edge that led down to the parking lot - not a good feature with small children who will run off of it like lemmings), right on the other side of the dunes from the beach. We were lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves, and woken at 5 am by a ridiculous chorus of over-enthusiastic birds in the trees over our heads. After we got our camp packed back up, we went down to the beach (or rather, over the huge dune) and ran in the waves for almost two hours. Owen was too funny - he would just run straight for the water every time we let him go. Needless to say, we are all totally exhausted. Some vacation, huh?

Believe it or not, I didn't take any pictures. I was too busy "living in the moment". I also had a great mail day right before we left, and got my Spring Feet Sock Swap socks (gorgeous striped Jaywalkers, which I don't have pics of yet either - bad me!) from Jenipurr and a coffee gift basket from the person I spoiled for SP7, Tammy. I'm using having to take pictures as an excuse not to tear into it and devour the whole thing in one sitting...

Not everyone is as bad as I am about pictures, so here is your always much-anticipated sock update!

Virtuella made up a little pair of footies that look suspiciously like the socks I'm making out of my One Skein SP yarn.

Tonia has a lovely pair of Simply Lovely Lace socks. She's also setting up a little sock swap, so go over to her blog and sign up. She's got a fun twist on the usual swap (one that even I can handle, even though I thought I'd totally sworn off swaps for the rest of the summer). She needs some participants, though, so GO SIGN UP! I have had such great luck with my sock swaps, I just can't resist.

Julie has some late May socks and is also asking for help with a button for her new hand-dyed yarn shop. She has a prize for the person who can help her (is it yarn?'d better go see for yourself!)

Ragan finished some Little Man socks.

Helene knit up some lacy Kool-Aid Socks.

Cece finished her Cripple Creek socks.

Lara knit some Petticoat Socks from Weekend Knitting.

Adelle finished up some Sherbet STR Jaywalkers.

Very nice socks, ladies! Next time, pictures - I swear!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Black Sheep

To clarify, since I'm an idiot and forgot to say which day we're meeting, we are going to be there on SATURDAY, which is June 24th. I'm looking forward to meeting some of you in person!!!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Oh, Sure!

The one morning that I go nuts and decide I'm going to blog AND read blogs/comment, stupid Blogger is down all day. Oh, well. I wouldn't want to ruin my reputation as a non-commenter by leaving a bunch of comments all over the place!

The kids and I went over the river and through the 'burbs to hang out with Katrina and her small fry. We had a great time and, in fact, Sydney had so much fun she wanted to move in with them. Both kids fell asleep in the car on the way home and Sydney's actually still asleep. Every once in awhile she'll have one of these marathon sleeping sessions where she goes down at 5:30 and doesn't wake up until the next morning. It's great for everything except night-time potty training...

Attention Black Sheep Gatherers:
Let's meet up at the Blue Moon Fiber Arts booth around 1:30 and find someplace to hang out and knit after that. Leave a comment if you're going to join us so I know to look out for you. If you need to know what I look like, you can check out the latest Mag Knits pattern.

God, that is a hideous picture of me! I keep waiting for it to show up on You Knit What? In fact, I'm more than a little tempted to submit it myself! It's really a cute vest, I swear! But you can't really tell that from the picture. A model, I am not. However, I will say that the picture looks much better on my PC. I don't know if the resolution went way down or what, but I am just a little bit horrified at how I'm looking at the top of the Vegan pattern. But then again, anyone who knows me is probably used to seeing me like that. I'm still secretly convinced that I have the same figure as I did pre-Sydney, or nearly so. That is, alas, not the case.

Speaking of Mag Knits, the editor, Kerrie, also recently bought a little yarn shop called Hip Knits. Those of you whom listened to the interview with her that aired on Knit Cast already know this. They sell many lovely hand-dyed yarns including - are you ready for this? - cashmere sock yarn. Aaaaah! But I digress.

I don't know if you all remember me saying I was going to do this, but I submitted my Spring Feet Sock Swap sock pattern to Kerrie for Mag Knits. She wrote me back asking if I thought it would work in Opal, which of course it would. We got to chatting (via e-mail) and it turns out she's starting a sock club. And she needs four patterns for the four months of sock club. And then she asked me if I wanted to be the exclusive sock club designer. How could I refuse, especially when she offered up that lovely cashmere yarn to knit one of the patterns in (although sadly, cashmere doesn't look like it will be included in the sock club yarns)? So go join the sock club and get some exclusive Knittin' Mom sock patterns and some amazing hand-dyed yarn. As an extra little perk, Kerrie is throwing a couple extra skeins of sock yarn in the box she's sending me, which I will include in the end-of-sock-a-month drawings. Yes, one of them is cashmere!

I guess that makes up for the horrible picture on Mag Knits. Cashmere and chocolate will salve just about anything!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Socks galore and our May winner!!!

And boy, do we have some socks! Did I mention that I actually finished a pair myself? My Spring Feet Sock Swap socks are finished, blocked, photographed and submitted to Mag Knits, and ready to mail off tomorrow. Yay, me! I also got a huge batch of submissions swatched, sketched and ready to send out. These will go to Classic Elite (they sent me all that yarn, so the least I can do in return is send them a few subs, right?) and Creative Knitting. I also worked up an awesome sock design for the next Stitch 'n Bitch book, which is going to be an advanced knitting manual. Of course, just because I think it totally rocks doesn't mean that Ms. Stoller will agree, but we'll see.

But enough about me. Let's talk about you!

Lauren finished some Ribbed Lace Socks That Rock.

Dene has some late-entry April socks - she knit up a total of 31 pairs of charity baby socks but didn't get a chance to tell me until now because, sadly, a friend of hers lost her fight with brain cancer. She also has some May socks - Opal Dreamcatcher socks and her Sockapaloooza socks. And her June socks are just in - Cedar Creek socks from the Socks That Rock club. Whew!

Kristy finished some generic stripey socks that she found very entertaining (and so do we!):

Elizabeth's got some Embossed Leaves.

Amanda's got Mardi Gras socks on a road trip.

Roberta's got some River Rapids socks (her 11th pair of socks so far this year).

Johanna's got some Falling Leaves and they are just SO pretty.

Carol's got some Hederas.

Leah has some fair-isle argyle socks and a great Subversive Cross Stitch sampler (so cool).

Jenni finished her Step-Dad's socks. She has a brownie point pair, too, but she was a bad girl and didn't post a picture of them, so she can't have it yet...

Manda has some Bi-Color socks.

Adrienne has some secret Little People Socks that are too cute.

Pixeldiva has Sockapaloooza socks.

Kris has Pomatomuses.

Erica has some stripey afterthought-heel socks and a REALLY cute baby.

Persnickety Knitter knit up some fabulous socks out of some gorgeous handspun yarn she received as a gift. Yummy!

Stariel knit some Opal Zebra socks that she had to give away due to smallness caused by lack of yarn. Doh!

Shelley knit up some Lichen Ribbed Socks.

Jennie knit some Sad Socks (sad because she can only get one of them on).

Jessica made some cashmere socks. Mmm, cashmere!

Living Lakeside finished some Fuzzy Feet but you'll have to scroll down past all the fleecy (and subsequently de-fleeced) animals to see them!

Nelda knit her son some green socks.

That's it for the May socks, and we have a few early June entries.

Quikeye made some Evening Stockings for a Young Lady. Gaw-jus!

Lolly finished some May Green Anklets just a little bit late.

Stariel finished some Lava Flow socks out of some mystery Chinese yarn.

Great socking, everyone! Now we will draw our May winner, who will receive this fabulous ball of Trekking XXL (generously donated by Zonda) as their prize:

And the winner is...Karen! Congrats, and send me your address so I can get your yarn in the mail.

I have a few more things to discuss before I FINALLY wrap this up and go watch Big Love with my hubby. First, I'd like to rally you Pacific Northwesterners to gather at the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene in a couple weeks. This is the biggest fiber festival on the west coast, and I've been getting so jealous listening to all the Easterners go on and on and on about Maryland Sheep & Wool and the NH Fiber Festival. Come on, you guys! Let's gather! I am driving a vanload down on Saturday, so if anyone wants to meet up and knit Saturday afternoon, let me know. No reason to let those East Coasters have all the fun!

Next, I wanted to let y'all know that I'm getting the final prize packages together, and they are going to be HUGE! I'm still looking for any last-minute donations, but we'll have at least two prize baskets and possibly a couple brownie-point prizes. I'm also going to draw for the signed copy of Knit Socks! amongst all you sockers who have finished a pair every month throughout, starting in January. Also, do you guys want to continue with Sock-A-Month 2? I'm having a much better time with the updates when I only do them once a week, and if you guys are having a good time, I'd love to continue. Let me know what you think, and if there's interest, I'll start sign-ups in July.

And that's all she wrote! Happy knitting, everyone!

Friday, June 02, 2006

A two-fer

I've got two exciting things to announce. First, the new Mag Knits is up with my Vegan Suede Vest pattern in it. Second, Owen actually slept "through the night" for the first time last night! He went to sleep around 11:30 (yes, he's a night owl) and didn't wake up to eat until 5:30. Wow!

Now, the fact that he's over a year old makes that both less and more exciting at the same time. I hope this is a trend rather than a fluke!