Friday, October 27, 2006

Color My Grey's Anatomy World

Well now, how crummy is that? I settled down with knitting and lavender tea last night, turned on the television and was treated to....a REPEAT of Grey's Anatomy!!!!

A repeat already?!? Come on! Of course, I did watch the repeat....and I did still laugh, cry and get all giddy inside at both episodes. Okay - my secret is out....that I (along with millions of others around the world) am a Grey's Anatomy fan (smiles sheepishly)

So here is my post, both in honor and protest of Grey's this week ~ color and grey, mixed up in my world.

Some of the more colorful aspects of my weekend, yarn dyed by me (wool/mohair on the left, 100% silk on the right):

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

An absolutely perfect Saturday last! My day began at 4 am, because I had to be awake in time to prepare a sack lunch and be on the road by 5:30, heading for East Lansing. Had to be at THE horse show (Michigan Great Lakes International) at the MSU Pavilion by 7 to catch the first few classes and visit with friends (and my dad!)

Did that and then headed across town to a splendid, creative Dyeing Workshop with Nancy McRay, owner of Woven Art. I joined Nancy (instructor), Kathy and Jill (students like me) and we just had a relaxing yet rejuvinating day putting color to yarn. I followed this with a visit to Nancy's shop to both see the fantastic lace on disply (through the end of this month by the way)and shop - I bought some yummy little cashmere/silk/mohair yarn! I will most definately be back to shop some more...there is just a wonderful feeling when you walk through the door of Woven Art - both energy and serenity. (Forgetful Cary left her camera at home, so no pictures of other dye creations or the front of the shop!) We are blessed by serveral yarn shops in the mid-Michigan area (please don't make the mistake of thinking there is only one!) ~ TREAT yourself to a trip to Woven Art!

Next, another cup of Beaners coffee and I was back on the road to visit my sister and brother in law, see their newly remodeled kitchen and the greenhouse work-in-progress (both are fantastic by the way!). Then off to an authentic Mexican restaurant (oooh, yummy-yummy) and then Kim (sister) and I decided to hit the thrift stores. We had soooo much fun there! Time just flew by, darkness fell and we had to have another Beaners latte on the way back to Kim's house. Then I left to drive home in the rain, but just felt so was truly an amazingly terrific day! (Though sadly, I ran out of daylight time before I had the chance to make it to another Lansing area yarn shop, Rae's Yarn Boutique. Rae is the colorful and creative designer of the current sock pattern for the Six-Socks-KAL group. I think that just means I am going to have to make ANOTHER special trip back to Lansing to visit yarn shops, right?)

Oh, and here are my thrift store purchases (sweaters from Ralph Lauren, JCrew, LL Bean and more....all in shades of Grey! How funny is that?)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

My final somewhat colorful photo this post is of the first half of my pair of Jaywalkers in STR Fire On The Mountain yarn, complete with lime green toes (you might recall that I didn't pay attention to the yardage required for these socks and am, just about positive, that I don't have enough to complete both socks with just the STR) The lime green Regia came to the rescue, and I LOVE it! Wish I would have done the heels in the same shade, but not enough to rip back and do so - LOL!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

What is coloring your world today?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Gift From A Friend

Look at this wonderful collection of goodies!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

All from my Feet To Prayers Partner, Pamela...who has blessed me beyond measure! I wish my camera was a bit more powerful and could capture in close-up detail her fine and even stitches in this unique sock. Pamela was so troubled about ladders, but I HONESTLY see NONE!!!

I love the sock pattern because it combines some techniques I have never used in a sock before. The sideways knit ribbing is wonderfully elastic and stays right up! I don't know if it shows in the photo or not, but the burgundy "solid" color of the Lorna's Laces yarn is not quite solid, it has the most subtle shading that makes it look rich and elegant.

I have been dreaming of a trip to England (a leftover childhood fantasy, I'm sure) Included with all of the gifties, Pamela sent me a DVD with highlights of her part of the world, which happens to be Nottinghamshire, England. LOL...the DVD starts out with a well muscled, handsome man in tights running through the woods with a bow and arrow and I wondered just what kind of movie Pamela had sent to me...hehe...but I am sure he was meant to be Robin Hood! Now I know that I could very happily visit not just Pamela (because we would have so much fun!) but that I would also enjoy the scenery and many neat places to visit (hey, maybe that cute guy in the tights could be found?)

There is also a nice, well crafted writing instrument (ink pen). This is so appropriate because as I child I was always confiscating my dad's nice pens every time he got one....I just loved a good pen and a blank sheet of paper.

OH, Pamela, you just can't know how much you have blessed me these past few weeks! The sock is just the icing on the cake ;) Thank you, thank you, thank you ;D

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Socks, Secrets and Fun

A very special person is sending me gifts for our Feet To Prayers Swap - Pamela in the UK. We have lots of things in of knitting, love of gardening, love of the Lord. She also has a great sense of humor!!!

During the course of this swap, not only has Pamela sent me encouraging notes and prayers, but little gifts have been arriving daily. Seriously!!! Just about every day, a little brown paper wrapped gift comes from the UK!!! Here are the latest two:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I'm sorry about the flash on the scissors, but I think you get the idea. I have been enjoying some of the packaging as much as the gifts - giving me stores in her area to go on line and look at! And can you see the tea??? Now I have tea from England - woo-hoo! I'm going to take it with me to visit my sister this weekend. Her husband, my brother in law, is from England but I forget the town now, drat ;( I think it is somewhere in the Cotswolds? I just love it - Pamela, you are the best! I'm praying for you, too!

I sent out a package to my Sock-ret Pal, and she has received it!!! I don't want to show an actual photo, but I did knit her some socks in a pretty blue/green color that reminded me the whole time of water. She lives in a southern state surrounded by water and I live in a northern state surrounded by here is my water picture:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The Mighty Mackinaw Bridge, with Lake Michigan on one side and Lake Huron on the other - simply known as "The Bridge" around here (and everyone would know exactly where you mean). I was just there a few weeks ago (it is about two hours north of where I live), meeting a lady to pick up a pair of Shetland sheep.

I also sent out a package to my Harvest Sock Swap pal, Laura, just today. I won't show a picture here until she receives the package, but remember the apples I showed you the other day? That is a color teaser!

That is the latest sock news from Serenity Farms. How about everyone else? What is up with your sock knitting?

Friday, October 13, 2006

My Garden Is Confused

(Or, I live in Michigan where the weather can change completely in just an instant!)

Last week I was showing you photos of the lovely maple trees as they began to show their fall colors. Here is my garden on Thursday morning:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

We have learned to kind of ignore the weatherman's dire predictions of doom and gloom on any given forcast day. Especially when all of the local channels make weather their lead story (what? slow news day fellas?) But this time the prediction of rapidly falling temperatures and yes, some of the white stuff (snow) was true. In the span of about ten minutes of time, maybe fifteen, things went from this:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

To this:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And then, the sun came out briefly:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

These same weathermen say that our temperatures are thirty degrees below average for this time of year. Winds are howling around thirty miles an hour. But I am warm (well, except for when I am outside doing chores...there was ICE on the water tanks today!) and I have hot coffee and wool socks and wool yarn to work with. I am blessed and happy. I am a girl who loves her wintery weather.

So I dedicate this post, happily and teasingly, to my warm weather friends (and especially to Deborah...with hugs)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Socks, Socks & Sock Knitting

Socks have been consuming my life recently...but what a nice thing to be consumed by!

First some updates...for my Harvest Sock Swap '06 Pal:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting, I am not expecting Laura (my pal) to wear apples on her feet - but these lovely Michigan MacIntosh apples very nearly mimic the colors of the yarn in her socks. I am all ready to send the package out to her...and can't find the pattern! It was a purchased pattern for her, and now I can't find it here in my cluttered knitterly house, so had to order another. Then your goodies will be on there way to you.

Also have my first package ready for my Sock-ret Pal. But I am not going to say much here, because I believe she has read my blog and I'm not ready to give away my identity just yet!

A Feet To Prayers Update:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

From my not-so secret Feet To Prayers Gifter...three neat little packages came in the mail to me all the way from England! I love Basil the sheep (the little sheepy bookmark) and then the Jesus band-aids!!! Wouldn't those just be the neatest things for a Sunday school or vacation Bible School class? And just as special and oh-so-cute - Jack 'o Lantern chocolates!!! Thank you Pamela!!! Now, I can forgive you for the scratchy grey wool!!!! LOL

At the bottom right of this photo, do you notice something else? That's right, empty needles, signifying my lack of progress in the sock knitting department for my Feet To Prayers Giftee ;( Not for lack of trying though. I have the yarn and thought I had chosen a pattern that would both challenge you and be soothing (my Pal is an accomplished knitter) Didn't work with the chosen yarn. Okay, went to the second pattern choice. Uh-uh....looked even worse. Hmmm - do I change yarn choices or try another pattern? I was trying to combine some knitting goals for the fall...knitting toe up (for My First Toe Ups), trying a new pattern (Mystery Sock KAL), learning a new technique (a different cast on technique for the toe ups) and finishing something on the needles (Socktoberfest) So far, none of these things has been accomplished. EXCEPT I am still praying for my Feet To Prayers Sis...and that is the biggest accomplishment of all!

More sock news...I am teaching a Toes First Sock Class at a local yarn shop, Sip 'n Knit. And I have a GREAT group!!! I mean they are fast learners, funny, fearless and fun! It has been a joy teaching them, and I will hate to see the class end. I will try to get some pictures next (final) class.

So, there is my sock knitting news and un-news. I have some big fiber news in the works, too...maybe I will post about that later this week - you will just have to wait and see. Grin....

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Why Knit Socks Toe Up?

Or....what is wrong with this picture:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Do you notice anything not quite right in the photo above? Other than the mushrooms that are sprouting all over our yard and pastures thanks to SO MUCH RAIN? Hmmmm....look closely. Do you see the small little remaining ball of STR Fire On The Mountain yarn, sitting grimly on the toad stool? Do you also see that the foot of my Jaywalker sock is not even halfway complete? Have I mentioned that Jaywalker is now one of my favorite sock patterns? Do you think that I am going to have enough yarn to reach the end of that foot?

I don't think so either.

I carefully measured out my skein of yarn, dividing it in half by yards (not by weight). I have gauge and I am even knitting the Jaywalker pattern with four less stitches per round. I probably made the leg a bit longer than the pattern suggested. And I am not going to have enough yarn.

Had I been knitting TOE UP, I could have corrected this problem by knitting a shorter leg in the sock. I cannot knit a shorter foot and have the sock fit. Sigh.

But there is still hope. See the complimentary ball of Regia yarn in this next photo?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

It is going to save the day (it really does compliment the STR, though the picture may not show it) I am going to chance knitting to the start of the toe, then knit the toe with the lime (frog) green. If I run short on the second sock, I will rip out (frog) back to the start of the heel and knit the heel and toe of the socks with the lime (frog) green. Watch for progress reports in coming days...

And that is ONE reason I really prefer to work my socks Toes First.

By the way, as an off shoot of Socktoberfest, Rebecca and Ozknitter have started My First Toe Ups, a blog/kal for those learning or upgrading their toe up sock knitting skills. Go check it out!

Update: Since writing this post two days ago, we have actually had TWO full days of glorious fall weather, complete with sunshine and full, silver moon at night. I think this is due to the prayers of my knitting and gardening friend Pamela in the UK. Thank you for the prayers Pamela ;D

ANOTHER UPDATE: Well, DUH! Maybe I should change the title of this entry to Why Read The Pattern? The Jaywalker pattern calls for one 465 yard skein of Opal (doesn't say whether or not you have any yarn left over) and I believe this skein of STR is something like 360 or 380 yards? Well, no wonder I am running short on yarn!?! Let this be a lesson to me and (maybe) a help to you in the future.. Thanks also to all of you who have offered your support for the frog green Regia...I have grown quite attached to it myself! My daughter thinks I am going to have enough STR to finish the socks, but I don't want to chance it so will use the Regia toes anyway. Sheesh...I sure feel stupid! But love my socks ;D And still could have avoided the problem by working toe up!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Dear Sock-Ret Pal

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

A quiet, non-assuming cardboard box arrived in the mail today. Hiding inside was the lovely confection pictured above. I took a moment to just gaze at, the packaging itself was so pretty! Remind me to show you a picture sometime of both my living room sofa and the wallpaper border I have for my wool room ;) You will see that your taste was right on!

I carried my Sock-ret Package to one of my favorite quiet places, my shade garden (and the weather is nice here today, so I could do that!) You might notice that a lot of blog photos are taken in this garden. I lifted the lid:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Oh joy of joys! More surprises!!!! I opened each one carefully...five in all:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Dark chocolate with orange is one of my absolute favorite treats in the entire world!!! How did you know? Had I mentioned that somewhere? Then there are the cutest little beaded sheep stitch markers...little spotted sheep ;) A very silky lotion, Aveda Caribbean Therapy (hey, maybe I can spin some of those silk caps I have if my hands are a little smoother!)...a pattern for lace gloves (not shown in the photo)...and finally (with great fanfare) a skein of Misti Alpaca Lace yarn in a rich, elegant burgundy/maroon color. 437 yards worth!!!

What a very special Sock-ret Pal I have! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! You made an already good day ever so much better!

Sending you hugs, wherever you are! The box came from New York....are you there, too?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

More Benefits to Sock-ret Pal Participation!

One of the (many) benefits of participating in the Sock-ret Pal swap are the special things offered to us by special stash, I mean artists who paint a masterpiece or two into yarn. Another wonderful thing is "meeting" new friends who share a love for some of the same things we do ;)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

One of those people is Susie from Perchance To Knit (Hurry, go check out her yarns!). I got the sweetest email, introducing herself and letting me know she is right here in my own state! And she spins! And she is not that far away!!! And...she has some amazing yarns, including a specially created colorway for the Sock-ret Pal knitters. Can you see it in the photo above? It is so amazingly colorful and beautiful that Bamboo (my kitten) can't believe his eyes! He has to have a closer look:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Isn't that just the prettiest creation? And a sparkly little stitch marker as well! Woo-hoo!!! I have decided that I am going to give myself a Sock-ret Pal gift by "giving" this yarn to ... ME ;D Thank you Susie for sharing your talent! Thank you Rachel and Dani for this Swap!

The other neat part of the Swap is that I have a really fun person I am gifting to. I have really been enjoying her blog and so far I haven't slipped up and given away my identity. I have a pair of socks nearly finished for her and some little gifts to go along with that I hope to get in the mail by first of the week.

And to my Sock-ret Pal, gifting to me...did you see my note about my sock/foot size? I will share it here, too ;) My foot (in U.S. measurements) is 9 1/2 inches length from heel to toe; 9 1/2 around the instep; 11 inches around the widest part of my calf; and I usually knit to a height of around half way between my ankle bone and knee (around 7 inches high) but I really don't mind if they are a little shorter. My feet are medium all the way! A womans medium anything fits me pretty good and I am not fussy about my socks, if they are a little big I will still wear them. To small, well, then my daughter would have to have them ;D
By the way, you are very good at being a secret! Grin...

Its October

Or should I say, its "Sock-tober"?

LOL - Sock knitting has a tendency to take over my life at times. It is my all time favorite thing to knit; I generally have at least three pairs of socks on the needles at any given time and I have a file full of free patterns from the internet that I would like to knit at some point as well as several sock pattern books (both old and new)

Presently, I am part of three sock swaps and two sock knit-a-longs (see links in the sidebar). I am teaching a Toes First Sock Knitting class at one of your local yarn shops. And I have been POURING over Nancy Bush's Vintage Sock book....oh, oh, oh LOVE that book ;)

Because most of the socks I am knitting right now are for other people out there in blog land who MIGHT stumble across this blog, I am not going to show any pictures of socks in progress. But since it is fall, and I am mostly knitting in fall colors, I thought I would include this photo from the Burnham woods as it is beginning to make colors. Happy sock knitting!!! And be sure to check out some of the links connecting us to the far-reaching world of sock knitting!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting