Monday, April 09, 2007

Happy Birthday to My Blog / Moving!

It's a few days late, but I've been chatting with y'all for a year now. Thanks so much for keeping me company.

As a birthday present, I've given myself a new address. Please change your bookmarks, RSS feeds, etc. to my new home:

See you over there.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Saturday Sky - 7 April 2007

It's chilly in North Carolina today. With out-of-town guests here, I entirely forgot to look up today. So, here's a cheater Saturday Sky from our trip to the Smokies last month. Enjoy!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Horses and Kid Socks

Lynn commented:
Ok you SO need to tell me abt this kid friendly B&B in the Smokies... We have a trip planned for the area and I would love to stay in a place like this......

I know how you feel! I wasn’t sure a kid-friendly bed and breakfast really existed. Many B&B’s have an outright “no kid” policy, and many that say they’re kid-friendly seem to just tolerate kids. This was the first one I came across in my search that seemed to actively embrace families. We were extremely happy with our short stay there, and will be going back. A word of warning: you may want to plan one full day to stay at the farm. The kids didn’t really want to go anywhere.

The B&B we were at is called Persephone’s Farm Retreat. You can find them online at If your kids like gathering eggs and petting animals, this is the place for you. There is a large farmhouse with rooms, as well as two cottages (full kitchens) down toward the paddocks. We opted for a cottage – there was no extra charge for the kidlets - and lucked out with a really nice family in the cottage next door. The kids all got along; they petted the animals and played with the outdoor games together. The innkeeper also has musical instruments on hand for those who play and a fire circle for evening fires when appropriate.

What? Knitting content? OK!

Spring has sprung chez Flyin’ Needles. This is a sock for Tweedle-dee from some panda cotton we picked up on vacation. He says the yellow is like “having sunshine whenever you want it!” This kid is destined for marketing.

The Panda Cotton is treating me all right so far. It’s less bumpy than I had anticipated, which is a pleasant surprise. Also, it doesn’t annoy me nearly as much as Cascade Fixation does with its use of elastic. I have a hard time getting even tension with Fixation. That said, it can be a rather splitty yarn, and don’t think about frogging and reknitting large sections. “Rather splitty” morphs into “these seven strings are all one yarn?” at that point. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Saturday Sky - 31 March 2007

The sky wasn't much to look at this afternoon, but there were leaves! New, pretty green leaves all over our oak trees.

I almost had a lovely going-on-toward sunset sky for you. I was at the grocery buying copious amounts of spring water for my first batch of home-brewed beer when I saw the sun doing its thing behind some clouds. The backlit pinks and oranges against the dusky blue of the clouds were quite striking. "Ah, well," I thought, "the camera is at home."

When I returned home, hubby sent me directly back out for some honey. Great! I grabbed the camera and headed back to the grocery. The clouds were a little different and the sun a little lower, but it was still a nice shot. I framed it up, managed to get the electric wires out of the way, and hit the shutter. Nothing. Hmmm. I did it again. Still nothing. That's when I remembered taking out the memory card and putting it by my keyboard this afternoon as a reminder to post tonight. Oops. But, trust me, it was lovely.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Car

My car got this way in a 24-hour period. What is covering it?

a) Dust
b) Yellow tempera paint powder
c) Pine pollen

Yes, friends, the answer is c. Welcome to the south. *sniff* *sniff* ACHOO! * This stuff runs like paint when it rains; it's amazing.

* Yes, I know pine pollen is too big to be causing my reactions. All the stuff that blooms at the same time, however, is another story.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

In Which I Contemplate My Toes

My travelin' socks are done. The first one (on the left) was done mostly in Ohio, and the second mostly in Alabama and Tennessee. They are now off with their new owner, who pronounced them lovely.

Can you believe that's the color AFTER a bunch of dye came out in their first wash? I must admit, it was fun knitting them just to watch the colors fly by.

That said, I need to rethink this short-row toe thing. I like the way it looks, but it doesn't seem to fit my feet correctly. Maybe I'm still making the toe too wide, or maybe I just like pointy socks. This makes no sense, because I have square duck-type feet. Not that it helps when I swim, but there ya go.

This is my second pair of actual woolen socks, and I must say that I love the sproing of wool. This yarn was quite different than my first, in both the feel and the fact that it smelled. Of vinegar. I'm thinking maybe it was part of the dyeing process? At any rate, the socks bled like a stuck purple pig when I washed them the first time. I rather feared for the yellows, but they appear to have survived.

Started:9 Mar 2007
Finished:27 Mar 2007
Pattern:Wendy's generic toe up sock + feather and fan
Yarn:100% superwash merino wool from JitterBug, in the Mardi Gras (155) colorway.
Needles:My little metal 4" needles from addi, size US 1.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Monday's Saturday Sky - 24 Mar 2007

We're back and slowly acclimating to life at home. Now, if I could find the energy to buy some milk for the fridge and groceries for dinner, we'd really be on our way. So, in the name of procrastination, I'm writing my Saturday Sky entry instead of doing what I should be doing.

We had a lovely time in Huntsville, though I am glad not to be living in a hotel. We spent most of our adventure time at the US Space and Rocket Center, though we did get out to Sci-Quest (a children's science museum) and a few playgrounds. On the way home, we stopped by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I love this place; it's lovely out of season as well as in. We spent Saturday at a kid-friendly B&B with lovely views. Here are some of my Saturday Sky photos from last Saturday:

The morning:

Mid-day, on the way over to Cades Cove:

Sunset, shortly before we had a nice little campfire:

I'm glad to be back! The second sock is almost done, so expect photos later in the week.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Saturday Sky - 17 March 2007

Happy St. Paddy's Day! This was the view during our weekly Saturday Drive.

This gorgeous stuff is on my needles now. Just the thing for the winter blahs. It's Jitterbug 100% superwash wool in the Mardi Gras colorway.

Last week we were up in Ohio, and my sock came along (as always.) This week, I'll make its mate on the way to Alabama. Life lately has been a lot of laundry and packing with homeschooling stuck in between. I'm pretty bummed that I'm going to miss the Harlot's event in New York this week. But, my hotel in Huntsville is only three minutes from a yarn store. The fact that I know this before leaving home amuses my hubby.

So - we'll be hitting the space and rocket center, the local science museum, and the yarn store. Is there anything else in Huntsville that we really must see?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Monday Sky

Sunrise from my mom's front yard. Happy Birthday, Mom!

In unrelated news, this sock is no more:

I could have gotten away with the 60% cotton / 40% acrylic black yarn. What I didn't count on was stepping on mercerized cotton all down the bottom of the sock foot. With my newfound ability to knit machine washable wool, there was just no need to torture myself. Bye bye, sock. I shall meet you again with more suitable materials.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Its amazing how having my boys opened up my world. I'm the sort of person that goes through a store with a smile, but doesn't really talk with anyone. I'm not anti-social; just terribly introverted. Backwards, as my kindergarten teacher used to say.

Some of my shyness has fallen by the wayside as I've gotten older; even more has fallen away since having the boys. Tweedledee, in particular, will chat up anyone he meets. And, not surprisingly, they chat right back - he can be rather engaging.

So, it's no surprise that I'm on a first name basis with many of the pharmacists that we see at our neighborhood Target. What's a little more surprising is that one of them - we'll call her Em - calls out to the boys whenever she sees us pass down an aisle, or stops by the cafe if she sees us there having a snack. If the boys spend their allowance on something, they want to go by the pharmacy to show Em. She's one of those natural kid-people. Happily, Em just gave birth to her first little one. He showed up a bit ahead of schedule, but everyone is doing fine.

For Em, I jumped in and made my first Baby Surprise sweater. I love that this:

folds up and turns into this:

Too cool. I love me some Fun with Geometry. Tweedled'oh and I picked out these buttons:

The little guy has an Irish name, so it works out well.

As for the pattern, I had a smidge of trouble. I'm great with mindless knitting, and difficult knitting. It turns out that mostly-mindless knitting trips me up. It's not hard enough to keep my attention, so my mind wanders off and the next thing I know, I see that I very visibly messed up an increase six rows down. *sigh* Rip. Do over. Pay attention for a few rows. Repeat ad nauseam.

Details, details:

Started:31 January 2007
Finished:Knitting - 26 Mar 2007
Finishing - 2 Mar 2007
Pattern:Baby Surprise, from Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Workshop
Yarn:Plymouth Yarn Dreambaby DK. 50% acrylic microfiber, 50% nylon. Lovely and soft; I'd use it again.
I picked up the buttons at Jo Ann's. I can't find the button card to tell you the brand.
Needles:Circular aluminums, size US 5 (I think.)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Saturday Sky - 3 March

If I take the photo on Friday, and post it on Sunday, is it still a Saturday Sky?

Friday's sunset from my front yard.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Feather and Fan

Seven years ago, I was in a hospital bed living my own personal movie of the week. About this time every year, my thoughts turn to how lucky and unlucky we as a family have been. All of you who have been through your own movie of the week (and, really, who hasn't?) know what I'm talking about.

So, it amused me to no end when I realized what I was knitting. A little less than seven years ago, I sat in a NICU and knit this:

Don't look too close - it's pretty horrendous. One seam is still undone, and the ends were never woven in. No button at the top. It kept me sane whilst I sat in the NICU with the boys for a few months. That, and a bunch of preemie baby booties for my boys and some other little guys in the NICU. By the time it was done, I knew the boys were probably going to make it. I also knew that there was no way I'd have time to knit a second one. And, it was WAY too big for either one of them. After spending spring and summer at the hospital, we finally came home. Through the next three years when we struggled through our days, and then the four years of "normal" life that followed, this baby sweater sat around. It popped up from time to time, during a move or when I was reorganizing the craft closet. I thought about finishing it several times, but it never felt right. It was therapy for me, and I think it's finished just as it is. Time to pack it away.

This week, I finished a little something for myself.

Feather and fan strikes again. It's the first time I've knit it since that baby sweater. This is nylon/merino sock yarn from Cabin Cove - 'boquet'. I am happy to report that I can knit with (and wear) this wool. It's a teensy bit itchy on my feet, but I'm really sensitive. Knitting it didn't cause any breakouts on my hands; I'm surprised and amazed. If you have trouble knitting wool, try wool that's been treated to be machine washable. It's lovely.

This was my first toe up sock, and my first sock with a short-row heel.

Comfy cozy!

Started:Around 10 Feb 2007
Finished:28 Feb 2007
Pattern:Wendy's generic toe up sock + feather and fan, modified for my feet. 60 stitches around (could stand to be smaller), 72 on the leg for the feather and fan (note: switch to smaller needles next time.) I knit 7.25 inches before the heel, and that should be a little less, as well.
Yarn:Merino nylon sock yarn (80% washable wool, 20% nylon) from Cabin Cove Mercentile in the 'boquet' colorway.
Needles:My little metal 4" needles from addi, size 1.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Saturday Sky - 24 February

This afternoon's sky, Photoshopped for fun (the real one was a more uniform blue.)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Panda Update

An update from sunny Florida...

Much to my surprise, Crystal Palace yarns came by the blog to visit. Thanks for stopping by! I also received a rather prompt reply to my inquiry there. You see, I'm still quite excited about their Panda Cotton and Panda Wool - especially the wool. To date, I have found one store online that stocks the wool: Little Knits. I also found a nice little shop across the country from me that said they'd order it and ship it to me. Isn't that nice?

To be fair, it is really new, so I'm sure it will be easier to find in a few months.

In the meantime, I shall continue to play with this...

That's my very first ever toe-up sock in the Blossom colorway from Dave's Place. I've just turned the heel and am ready to start the cuff. I might be making it a smidge too loose, but I'm really not sure how much (or if) wool shrinks*, as this is my first woolen sock. I have no idea how well it will fit, but it sure is fun to knit.

Tonight, the family and I had quite a treat. We were at an uncle's house, and he took us on a guided tour of the property - including the cypress trees, dry lake and creek bed, and a bald eagle's nest. There were a few trees down where the lake ought to be that are amazing. I am assuming they are live oaks. Huge, and majestic. Unfortunately, the light was failing so my photos aren't that great.

I'm standing on the dry lake bed here, looking back up the hill.

This is the walk down towards the lake bed. No eagle sightings today; I'd stay in my nest, too. Brrrr!

* Yes, I know I CAN make it shrink. I just don't know if it'll shrink if I manage to treat it nicely. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Saturday Sky - 10 February

Today's sky: blue as can be. Wispy clouds, if you can manage to catch them.

Dear Yarn Shop Owners

Dear Yarn Shop Owners,

Crystal Palace has two new sock yarns, Panda Cotton and Panda Wool. For someone, like myself, who lives for a fingering-weight yarn with less than 50% wool, this is a Big Thing. I would be oh-so-happy if someone would actually STOCK the stuff. Yes, I've looked. Yes, I've worked the phone. I have found a sum total of one (1) store that stocks it... and they only carry the cotton; I'm really looking for the wool. I'm getting a little frustrated at this point.

If you stock it, allergic sock knitters will come.

Thank you.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Honey and Berries

So, I've been knitting. Inside the house, this stuff looks dark blue/black. But, get it out in the sunshine and it reminds me of berries. Yum. I'll show you what it is when it's done.

On the way back in through the kitchen, I caught sight of liquid gold. Doesn't this just look like summer? A side effect of having a husband that brews mead for fun is the abundance of honey in the house. I snagged this bit to use in my honey oatmeal bread. Mmmm.

I've taking the 100 miles by April 1 out of the sidebar... I was hurting my back trying to stay on track with my goal. So, out with the old goal and in with the new: I just joined up with the Sock a Month KAL. Should be fun, interesting, and easier on my back. To celebrate, I went out and ordered my first-ever real wool sock yarn from Cabin Cove. I can't wait till I have it in my hot little hands.

And now, for a completely random moment:

Why is six afraid of seven? Because seven ate nine!

Yes, I live with two six year olds. Why do you ask?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Saturday Sky - 3 February

Happy February. It was sunny here today, as usual. The gulls in the mall parking lot were having fun playing in the wind.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Blogger's Silent Poetry Reading

It's time to share some poetry.

Though this poem is very traditional, it speaks to me as few poems do. So, instead of broadening your horizons with some exciting new bit of poetry you've not seen, I invite you to slip through the lines of this classic with me.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost

Red Scarves and Such

My first FO for 2007 is this little number for the Red Scarf Project, sent off in my usual style (i.e. the Very Last Minute) on Monday.

Details, details:
Started:30 Dec 2006
Finished:27 Jan 2007
Pattern:Modified version of Hugs and Kisses found here designed by Helen. I had a bear of a time with the pattern, but once I used it as a guideline instead of a rule, the world became a happy place. I rather like this scarf, and might just make it again. That's high praise from me. I'm usually a one-time-per-pattern gal.
Yarn:Lion Brand Wool-Ease, worsted weight. Color 102 - Ranch Red. A bit under two skeins; each skein contains 3 oz. / 197 yards.
Needles:Bamboo, size 8.

Oh, and also. The big news.

SNOW! Real snow! This is the first time in the last three winters that we've had a real snow. If only it had lasted more than two hours, I'd have been really happy. Oh, who am I kidding? I'm happy anyway.

The kids got to go run around in it. Within five minutes, they had made up "Footprint Hide and Seek", wherein one child covers his eyes and counts. The other runs about, creating a long trail before hiding himself away. When the counter is done, he doesn't look around for his brother. That would ruin the fun. Instead, he follows the footprints to find him. Too funny.

At any rate, they stayed out until the snow turned into freezing rain, and Insufferable Mommy made them come in. It was a good day.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Hugs an' Kisses

This, my friends, is justification to learn how to cable without a cable needle. I came, I cabled, I conquered.

For those of you who stop by just to see what the sky looked like in my neck of the woods on Saturday, here it is. The moon was lovely.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Saturday Sky - 20 January

Saturday's sky from the parking lot, courtesy of my early evening grocery run.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Saturday Sky - a few days late

Yes, I know it's Monday. Day late and a dollar short, this week. This lovely sky courtesy of a local park on Sunday. We went out for a picnic and some roller blading/scootering/walking. I was doing the walking, though it was more of a two steps, stop and encourage the boys on their new scooters, two more steps sort of walk.

We're all down with the creeping crud this week. I'm ready for it to be gone now, please.

Through the haze of my cold, I decided that it would be a good idea to take advantage of the warm weather and our lack of appointments (due to said colds) by doing my first dyeing on some cotton/lycra yarn I've had lying about for a while. Said yarn is now a tangled mess in my kitchen; half in a ball and half on the back of a chair. Maybe I should have waited for my head to clear first. I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Saturday Sky - 6 January

The weather felt like spring today.

Did the first bit of my 100 miles by April 1. 1.5 miles down, 98.5 miles to go.

Happy Saturday, all.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Branching Out

Remember the lowly scarf that tripped me up in December? I belted it out in record time, and had it blocked and wrapped in time for Christmas (whew!) Of course, it was at the expense of finishing another gift. C'est la vie.

This gift made me smile while I knit - so much the better for knitting it twice, I guess. Mom taught me to knit when I was quite young. She knits, increases and decreases with the best of them, and can cable to her heart's content. She shies away from lace and colorwork, though, so I made her something she'd never make for herself.

Here's the end of the beastie before and after blocking:

Here's a truer representation of the color, though it's more of a royal purple than this:

The lovely lady in the photo below is my Mom. I haven't taken the time to explain a blog, let alone a knitting blog, to her yet. I should do that. In the meantime, isn't she gorgeous in her new scarf?

Details for my "what did I do last year" self:
Started:12 December
Finished:23 December
Pattern:Branching Out by Susan Lawrence
Yarn:Debbie Bliss Cathay (50% cotton, 35% viscose, 15% silk). Color 12012, 2 skeins (100m / 50g per skein). Lovely, soft yarn.
Needles:Clover bamboo, size 8
Notes:This was a great beginning lace pattern; I'd knit it again.

Dimensions pre-blocking: 47" x 5.25". After blocking: 51" x 6". I might have gotten more out of it with blocking wires - the yarn could take more stretch, but my cotton thread and sewing pins weren't up to it.