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When Sarah made plans to head to London this past April for her birthday I figured I would be lucky if she would pick up a few candy bars for me. Heck I would have been more than happy with that. When she asked if I wanted her to visit a London LYS while she was there I promptly hopped online and found I Knit. A knitting store with a bar. Sarah said that sounded like the best thing and laughed over the image of it happening in Seattle. Drunk knitters everywhere! 

I pointed out a few yarns that I Knit had listed on their website that sounded interesting and gave her the suggestion of asking one of the employees for help. I wanted something I couldn’t get back home.

A package arrived today and boy oh boy did my sister do good (or the saleperson at I Knit is REALLY good at her job).

First out of the box was this.

Garthenor 100% Organic Jacob in chunky. I’ve got 104yds to play with and it might make an excellent hat.

Next out of the box.

3 skeins of Easy Knits Bamboo Mix sock yarn. According to the note Sarah sent these are colors only sold at I Knit and I couldn’t get it anywhere else in the WORLD. I think that definitely follows me ‘please only get me something I can’t get in Seattle’ request pretty well 🙂 The colors are Big Spendor (yellow and red), Atomic (pinks and purples) and Ashes to Ashes (blue and orange). I wonder if it’s a coincidence that Ashes to Ashes are almost the exact colors of her alma mater….hmmm.

Then came….

4 skeins of Sheep Shop Wensleydale Long Wool. I love the attached note and ‘suggestion’ for a good project to make with the yarn. I’ve only ever come across wensleydale roving before so I love how silky and drapey this yarn is. Definitely going to be a fun knit.

Then I got a big surprise!

A Starbucks mug from Edinburgh! I now have one from my birthplace and while I have no idea where she got it from (still waiting for an answer to that text) I am thrilled. Yeah I know it is only a mug and there are people who are anti-Starbucks but I’m not one of them. We are a Starbucks family in a way. Both Sarah and I have been collecting the city mugs for a while now and while she has far more than me I still enjoy the ones I have. They are great souvenirs and since I like giant mugs of tea these are perfect for that purpose. 

Then lastly…

Candy!!!!! (there is also a package of Jaffa cakes hiding behind the note).

I think the yarn Sarah sent will definitely still be in the stash come Christmas so I certainly won’t feel sad I don’t get to open a new present that day because holy crap this is one heck of a package I got to open today.

Do I have the best sister or what?

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I’ve lived in the Seattle area for almost 11 years now (will offically be 11 years on my birthday in a few weeks) and yet in all that time I’ve never once made it up to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Tulips are one of my favorite flowers, right up there with irises and somehow I have never made the 60 mile trip north to check out the monthlong festival before.

Since I have typically been employed for most of the last 11 years the only time I was free to go to the festival was on the weekends. My dislike for crowds (ah the irony when you consider where I grew up) pretty much ruled out any weekend visits. Since I am still part of the evergrowing legions of unemployed right now I figured this was as good of a time as any to go on a weekday.

Turns out I picked the perfect day to go.

Check out that stunning clear blue sky. 

Mom and I wandered around a couple fields, took lots of pictures (I took 177 apparently) and came home with 50 cut tulips for the dining table and demolished a bag of kettlekorn. All in all it was a great day and having the freedom in my schedule to do it right now felt wonderful.

Just when I thought Spring would never arrive I made a trip out to the P-Patch last week. 

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A little line of spinach seedlings. These were one of the first things to get planted and seeing the bright green leaves made me so happy. The peas are taking a little longer so they were a no show when I checked on them last.

Next on my list to check was the Tatsoi. We planted seeds from two companies this year to see if we had a preference. The ones you see here are from Territorial Seeds. If all goes well we should be eating plenty of Tatsoi this summer.

Technically these were starter plants from the nursery and not grown from seed but it still counts! I used to buy lettuce seeds but it got a little insane since I like growing more than one variety and I don’t have the space to plant 2-3 seed packets worth of lettuce nor can I eat that much salad. I still plan on planting some of my Tom Thumb seeds from last year but now I just buy the mixed packs of red and green loose leaf lettuce that the nurseries carry.

The blackcurrant is blooming. Granted the flowers really aren’t that interesting but oh those tart tiny black berries that come afterwards are worth it. I still have a tub of blackcurrant juice in the freezer from last year and soon I need to make that into some jelly and mixed berry jams.

The last photo I took isn’t technically in my garden, it’s in the flower bed at the northend of the property but I couldn’t resist the colors.

Spring is here!

The need to cast on for a new project got too strong last night.

It’s an incredibly wonderful blend of superwash merino, cashmere and nylon. At almost 530 yards for 4oz it is one hell of a deal too. It’s a new yarn that I’m testing out, so far the dyeing is great, the finished yarn feels wonderful and now I’m roadtesting the knitting of a pair of socks.

Since my knitting is always a little loose I’m working these on 00 needles but for most people I think 0-1 needles would be just fine. I’m also getting 9st/inch and they are still very pettable socks. Granted there is only a toe right now but I think this is going to work out well.

Oddly enough I haven’t taken any pictures of the Dream Swatch yet but it is about 50% done. The Panda Cotton was a good choice for the pattern and the Strawberry and Lime colorway isn’t nearly as obnoxious as it sounds 🙂

In other news…

I learned to weave this past weekend. A couple of friends signed up for the Weaving Works rigid heddle class and we had so much fun. Only one of us actually has a loom so the rest of us have to save up our pennies. We all made scarves using handdyed yarn from our instructor and I combined mine with some Lambs Pride worsted in Blue Heirloom. The photo is pre-washing so now it is much softer and has fluffed up a bit.  Now I just need to figure out how to squeeze weaving into my already full fiber arts arsenal.

For now though…I’m off to continue knitting on the really wonderful cashmere sock. Seriously every now and then I catch myself just stroking the sock. I’m pretty certain that is weird.

I’m nothing if not a follower so when Cristi blogged about knitting socks this summer I decided to hop on that bandwagon.
Third Place Books has a copy of Sock Innovation on hold for me right now and I will be heading there tomorrow to see what inspires me. While I was at it I also ordered Intentional Spinner and reserved a copy of Alice Starmore’s Fair Isle Knitting. (It’s dangerous knowing a book buyer there)

I was apparently in a book buying mood today.

In an effort to avoid spending an entire summer with my hair once again tied in a ponytail I came home with a few cotton blend yarns from Little Knits the other day. I have a crazy idea of wearing knitted headbands to keep my hair down yet out of my face (plastic headbands always pinch my head and give me headaches).

A garter stitch headband in Bamboozle. Cast on because I got tired of knitting the garter stitch blanket. Oh the irony. 

I’ve been wearing it all day and so far it works well. I can see it being useless in strong wind but for everyday wear it should be fine. The other 3 skeins of Bunny Hop, Panda Cotton and Coton Micro Fibres will be made into slightly more interesting headbands.

Then again once I pick up the sock book I may be consumed by only knitting socks.

I’m trying desperately not to get cocky about how I’m ahead of schedule with my garter stitch blanket. I’m fighting the urge to not pick up the needles and start a new project because I can justify it by looking at my spreadsheet and seeing how far ahead I am.

Instead I’m vowing to knit the garter blanket until I can’t stand it anymore. I know that in the next 9 months there will be times when I can’t bring myself to work on it so while I have the mojo I should use every ounce of it up.

I’m not even 50% done.

The recent weather in Seattle has made gardening a welcome springtime activity. I got around to planting green peas, snow peas, snow peas grown only for their pea shoots, chinese mustard, bok choi, potatoes and spinach. The new strawberries got planted and the old ones got new hills to live on. The irises that struggled in the semi-shaded backyard have been moved out to join the rosebush, the new dahlia and donated irises in the flower bed at the p patch.  

The paths have been covered with new woodchips and the decision was made to replace the original raspberries this year. I’m a little sad at the thought of removing the old ones since those were there when I got the garden plot 8 years ago. I never knew what kind they were but the previous gardeners had left them behind. Those raspberries are the last remaining piece of the original garden plot and it’s stupidly sentimental for me to feel sad about it.

I’m hoping for a wonderful summer bounty of veggies and berries but for now I think I’m going to take a little afternoon nap. I have sourdough bread and naan dough waiting to be baked and tandoori chicken marinating in the fridge. If only I had everything for a mango lassi right now…dinner would be perfect.

I caved a few weeks ago when I saw that Little Knits had a huge sale on their Panda Wool. I guess the new version of it will actually be superwash but what is on the market right now isn’t. Since I refuse on principle to knit non-superwash socks I thought I could resist…until I realized that the Ultramarine color would make a beautiful shawl. I even had the perfect pattern queued in Ravelry (Gail)

I cast on after reading a lot of Rav posts about how difficult the pattern was to understand and working myself into a nervous mood. I blame that for my frequent mistakes in the first 30 rows. There has been outright frogging once I realized that the chart I was reading was only half the row pattern. There was tinking back when I realized my row count was off because I had missed a yarnover on the row below. There there was another round of frogging the entire 2 repeats I had managed to finish due to my confusion over what part of the chart was the pattern repeat.

I think the root of the problem is that it’s been almost exactly 2 years since I last knit a shawl pattern that required row by row attention to the chart. It’s like I had to learn that skill all over again. 

Totally worth the initial grief. The yarn was great to work with and the pattern was much easier than I expected it to be based on the Rav comments. I used a chart that another Rav user had made up since a lot of people had more success knitting from the newer chart. The original pattern is beautiful though and totally worth the initial frustration of frogging.

The final dimensions are 64″ x36″ and I didn’t block severely. I’ve had this waiting to be photographed for a couple days now and needed to have a clear day to really capture the great blue green of the yarn. Since my backyard is quite ugly right now I took the shawl to Greenlake and snapped a couple pictures before my 6 mile walk. It felt great to not only finish the shawl but actually walk outside in the sunshine for a bit. I think I need to do it more often.

As for the rest of my lazy beautiful Sunday… it’s time to plant some seeds in the P Patch and try squeeze in a little knitting time. Right now the only project on the needles is the Garter Stitch Blanket and in a fit of insanity I did the math this week. If I want to finish the blanket in 2009 I need to knit at least 9200 stitches per month for the next 9 months. I think I need to scheduled garter blanket knitting night each week in order to stay on track.

Perhaps it’s time to sign up for Netflix again.

I swear I spent most of March knitting like mad and I’m pretty certain* I didn’t buy any new yarn yet my stashdown progress is pitiful. 

I’m down 1 whopping ball of yarn and that is only because I am 8 rows from completing my Gail shawl so I made the executive decision to count that usage in March 🙂 It’s close enough right? 

My biggest project is still the garter stitch blanket and that alone will help me reach my Stashdown goal so once the shawl is off the needles I think it is time to pay some attention to the blanket. I could count all the skeins I’ve used up so far but I have decided not to count anything until the project is completed. It means the Stashdown numbers aren’t ‘realtime’ but it’s a good motivator to finish my projects.

No pretty pictures today but please head on over to the Dragonfibers shop and take advantage of the 20% off everything sale. Even Fiber Club memberships are on sale!

 

  • One can never be 100% certain about yarn purchases.

Flickr Photos

Dragonfibers

On the needles

February Fitted Pullover

Sapphire Waves of Grain

On the Bedside Table

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan (ok not really since I can't find the book anymore)

on the wheel

Absolutely Nothing.

Stashdown 2009

January 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins of Yarn: 233 Total Weight:33.13lbs Total Miles: 27

February 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins of Yarn: 213 Total Weight:30.09lbs Total Miles: 26

March 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins of Yarn: 218 Total Weight:31.95lbs Total Miles: 27

April 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins of Yarn: 217 Total Weight:31.45lbs Total Miles: 26.5

May 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 229 Total Weight: 33.8 Total Miles: 28.4

June 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 210 Total Weight: 31.9 Total Miles: 27.7

July 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 201 Total Weight: 30.5 Total Miles: 26.5

August 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 228 Total Weight: 34.0 Total Miles: 28.8

October 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 254 Total Weight: 38.2 Total Miles: 31.8

November1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 224 Total Weight: 34.9 Total Miles: 29.9

December 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 206 Total Weight: 31.9 Total Miles: 27.1

KAL

World Bread Day '07

April 2009
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