Friday, August 17, 2007

Wound up tighter than a $2 watch . . .

one of my mother's phrases for when I was excited about some coming event. It's still appropriate. I feel like I could jump out of my skin. What has brought on this "condition"?

It's about two weeks and five days until my sister-in-law arrives from Texas, and we're off to our annual Quilt Guild Retreat. The theme this year is "Run for the Border", and we are covering border and binding techniques. I haven't made a solid decision about any projects that I intend to work on, but have been anticipating the laughter and joy of being with my friends. I'm only teaching a basic class on calculating and constructing continuous bias binding, so I'll have the better part of three days just to sew on my own projects. Of course, the time goes much more swiftly than any ordinary days . . . especially those at work!

On my sock knitting front, I'm finishing the leg of the second sock for my 18th pair in the 52-pair plunge. Yesterday, I prepared some "wrappers" for three pairs which I donated to the Barn Dance and Auction for the Prophetstown State Park. One of my dear friends from Card Club is on the board. Last year, I was dumbfounded when four-sets of quilted coasters brought in over $50. I'm anxious to see what the socks will bring. I gave a green pair of Embossed Leaves, a pair of Jaywalkers in a red-white-blue denim colorway, and a pair of variegated browns in a garter-rib pattern. To jazz up the labels revealing size, fiber content, and care instructions, I imported a couple pictures of the Farmstead and Barn from the park website.

A very talented contemporary sock designer is Cookie A. Her pattern called, "Monkey" is enormously popular among current sock knitters, to the point that there have been some sock swaps dedicated to that pattern only. In fact, there is a sign-up for the third round, and I've decided to play. It won't be any extra effort, since the pair I knit for my swap partner will still count toward my 52 pairs, and I've wanted to start another pair anyway. A criteria for playing in this round is to answer a questionairre, and next topic is those questions, and my answers!

Monkey Sock Swap THREE Questionnaire

The basics:Do you consider yourself a beginning sock knitter, an intermediate, or have you been doing this so long you could probably knit a pair in your sleep?
Intermediate – need to add some toe-ups to my techniques. When I first was knitting, about 45 years ago, I made a pair of knee socks for one of the guys I grew up with. In his college colors, they had his school up one side, and his greek affiliation up the other . . . and he wore size 15 shoes. Kind of burned out my interest in socks for all the intervening years!
The measurements:
Shoe Size: 8 1/2 (US)
Foot circumference: 10 inches
Foot length: 9 inches
Yarn Preferences:What colors do you love? Yellows, pinks, reds.
Do you prefer solids or variegated?
In Monkeys, I like the solids because it shows the pattern more clearly, but I love racing to the next color change in my knitting..
Do you prefer wool, cotton or acrylic yarn? Superwash wool, any natural fiber, really
What colors would you never wear? Never met a color I didn’t like!
What are your favorite brands of yarn? Opal; Lana Grossa; Regia, Trekking, Austermann Step
Are there any new brands you would like to try? SWTC Maizie! Louet, Cider Moon, anything!
Cookie A. Patterns: Which of her patterns have you already knit? Just Monkeys, so far
Which pattern(s) would you like to knit and don’t already own? Twisted Flower, Flicker, Gothic Spire . . . they all look wonderful, so surprise me!
Other pertinent information:Would you be willing to have an international Monkey Pal or do you prefer one in the US? Surprise me
Do you have any allergies? Not that relate to my knitting!
Will your knitting be exposed to smoke or animals? No
Are you on Ravelry yet? If you don’t mind having new friends, what is your Ravelry name?
Plan to join the wait list!

Plan to "plow" the studio this weekend, and start a stack in the "staging area" for supplies and items to go with me to Camp. It's a little different for me in some ways, because I keep spare items for my dear sister-in-law, who flies in from Texas for the event. So, I have two sewing machines, two sets of bedding . . . just like Noah, only different!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Playing catch-up . . . again!

Wow! Where does the time go. Actually, I do have a couple valid excuses for not blogging in a month. First, and most sadly, we lost a dear nephew on July 5th to cancer. David was just 47, and I've decided as the weeks have passed that his legacy was his sense of humor. We didn't realize how many times we quoted him, as in "How hard could it be?" He tossed that phrase in a lot as he reported on the installation of hardwood floors a couple years back, making his woes and struggles fodder for hysterical laughter. So, we all miss him, and think about him a lot as the days go by.

Then, I was in Virginia for about a week, with a couple days travel on each end of the visit. It's about a 12 hour drive, when going straight through, from our home to our son's home. The grandchildren have grown like weeds, and are very entertaining . . . especially the youngest. He's just a laugh a minute . . . a big Pokemon fan. He told me he likes Pikachu because he's cute, just like him!
As you can see, I did manage to find some fabrics. On the drive out, we spent part of Saturday in Lexington, Kentucky, and I acquired a background fabric for my bright stars block swap due next week. Also visited Rachel's in Staunton, Virginia, a delightful shop located in the old railroad station. A couple of those prints will become doll dresses in my never ending quest for the title of "Nana of the Year".
Grandpa scored a huge number of points when he delivered a Samantha to our granddaughter. We had piled a few doll sweaters and dresses on top of the doll. When Lisey opened it, she said she thought it looked like an American Girl doll box, but for a moment believed it had only clothes in it. She gave a shout and a squeal when she pulled the clothes out to reveal the doll. She said it is one she has been wanting. So, that was lots of fun, and Grandpa was somewhat surprised by the enthusiastic response.
We try not to disrupt their schedule completely when we visit, so we usually left after dinner, in hopes that they would settle down enough to get adequate sleep each night. After scouting around in shops that we like, we went back to our hotel, and I had my Featherweight, along with several patterns and fabrics for additional doll clothes. Each morning, I would bring one or two more garments for Elise, and one or two more for Ben's "American Boy". He took them and proceeded to dress all his favorite stuffed animals, too. I'd have to say the biggest hit for him was the Spiderman shirt.
The last two days we were there, we got to see Elise and Addison swim in a statewide competition held at the Natatorium of University of Virginia. This was Addison's first competition on this level, and he came in 17th in the backstroke. There were about 2000 kids participating in all. Elise also had a phenomenal finish, taking 14 1/2 seconds off her record for the back stroke. We had to start for home, so I don't know where she fell in the overall standings, but the new record for herself was certainly a great accomplishment. I can't swim a stroke, so it's nice to see them enjoying the water.
We brought two big boxes full of books home with us, too. We stopped in a Half-Price Books in Lexington, and subsequently located a church book sale there also. I found two titles that were just published this year, "Dragonwell Dead" by Laura Childs, a tea shoppe mystery, and "Daddy's Girl" by Lisa Scottoline. I had my list of titles that I am seeking on index cards by author. We made our customary stop at "Read it again, Sam" on the Mall in Charlottesville, and picked up 34 paperbacks there! I filled in the gaps in about three different series that I was looking for.
Next big event on the agenda is our Guild Retreat, September 6-9. Our theme is "Run for the Border", and we will cover borders and binding techniques, along with some related projects. One is a lovely quilt from Canadian Living magazine, which they were kind enough to authorize us to use. We have a few other little things up our sleeves. It's going to be fun . . . again!