Tuesday, April 29, 2008

BAT Bike

It's funny what it takes to get us going sometimes. I've been thinking for a long time about running some of my errands on a bike. I use to do that but when we moved to the country and everything was so far away I stopped. Well, it's not the country anymore. But, I always seem to have an excuse...too much traffic, don't want to chance my bike being stolen, what to carry stuff in, etc. All bad excuses...and I know that for sure now.

I was inspired yesterday by the author of my favorite blog, Claudia's Blog (you can access it from the right side of this page). She decided to start replacing some of her car trip errands with a bike and has challenged others to do the same. She's calling it BAT/KAT, Bicycle As Transportation/Knitters Alternatively Transporting. We can do our part to use less gas and get some cars off the roads. She's going to get a tally on Mondays of how many BAT trips we're all making. This should be a lot of fun to see how the idea spreads.

It's funny how that one post finally got me going. My daughter had recently cleaned up my '64 Raleigh (she thinks it's cool!) and my husband had some packs to put on it and I was off. I ran my first BAT trip this morning to make a bank deposit. It was actually really fun. The fresh morning air and the birds singing was really nice. I enjoyed sitting upright because I'm usually bent over on my road bike, mountain bike or our tandem. It was nice to be able to easily look around at the scenery. I could enjoy the scenery more too because this bike is NOT fast. It reminds me of the old Volkswagens we drove years ago...we learned to enjoy those trips in a different way because they were slow and we didn't go anywhere very fast. The bike clinks and clicks, has really only one gear, and the brakes aren't the best. But, I love this bike. It's so cute and fun to ride.

I felt like Merin (sp?) on "Men in Trees" (one of my favorite tv shows right now). She's always riding her old bike around town in Alaska looking cute and cool. I felt soooo cool this morning. Like the surfers down at the coast who ride their bikes with their surfboards attached to the side. Or the few people in cities that ride a bike to do errands. I always think they're so cool. I was cool today! And I felt like I was doing something important by not using my car. I even found a tool along the way (my husband always finds tools on his bike rides...he loves that). It was broken though. But...I brought it home to throw away. So, I did my part to pick up litter too. :)

It took twice as long (40 minutes) to run this errand than it would have in a car. But, I also got exercise. I've been walking about that long each day. So, I actually came out ahead, time wise.

This is a picture of the chain ring on my 'vintage' bike. Notice the goose heads. So cute!

I can't forget to mention that I took my knitting along for the ride. I wasn't planning to stop and knit but I don't like to go anywhere without it!

If anyone would like to join in on this project it would be great. You can check in with Claudia or me or just do it on your own. However you do it, I think you'll be glad you did. It's fun, it's good for the earth, and it's great for the body and soul.

Happy knitting...and biking! :-)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sunshine, Simplicity and Recycling

What a wonderful weekend! It was sunny and warm and I spent a lot of time outside working in the yard and knitting. Ahhhh! Life is good! :- )

I started these socks to have a mindless project to work on at knit gatherings but I am enjoying working on them so much that I don't want to stop. My husband kept catching me knitting so much this weekend that he started saying, "you are addicted" (in a good way). It's the only knit project I worked on all weekend. It's relaxing and it's fun to see a project grow quickly. I started them on size 3's but they were turning out big for my small ankles so I decided to set that one aside and start another one on size 2's to compare. It's interesting to see what a difference it makes, especially since both needle sizes are so small. The size 2 sock has the same amount of stitches but it's almost an inch narrower. I think it's going to fit so much better and I like the look and feel of it better. It's interesting to see the difference in the color pattern between the two sizes too. I'm using "Silver Creek" space dyed Blue Face Leicester yarn in "Herb Garden" (although, I think it looks kind of like Easter Camo or like Easter threw up - lol). It's not my favorite in the way of color but I had it and it's growing on me.

Notice the little bread ties at the top of the picture. I saw Lily Chin a couple of years ago and she had mentioned using them to keep ends safe and out of the way while working on a project. It was an interesting idea but I hadn't tried it until recently when I saw someone using them at a knit group and it all of a sudden seemed like a great idea. The next day I was busy stealing bread ties from bags in the pantry to gather lots of colors. It's fun and it's actually really nice. I don't have any problems now with the end getting tangled in the yarn I'm working with or grabbing the end by mistake. It looks nice and neat and it's fun to try to coordinate a bread tie color with my yarn. lol Hooray for recycling! :-)

I will get back to working on my Potamus socks. I'm just going to enjoy some simplicity for a few days.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

So Much Fun!

What a fun day yesterday! I went to Crochet Cafe in Temecula for the Wednesday morning knit/crochet group and started a new pair of socks. I decided to make a plain pair with a short rib on the top and knit legs. It was fun to knit something very simple for a change. I'm knitting them with a variagated wool that I had in white, purples and greens. I didn't realize until I started knitting them that there is a sort of peachy color too. I'm not sure I'm crazy about how it's looking so far but they are soft and fun to knit. I noticed something interesting with knitting these...I'm using a set of Plymouth bamboo knitting needles that I haven't used in a while and they are soooooo nice. I've been using Takumi needles on the last couple pairs of socks and the points on them aren't very pointy, I can feel the grain of the bamboo as I knit, and as I slide my needles through the loops I can feel the printed size scritch through. I'm not crazy about that. I couldn't believe the difference with the Plymouth needles. The points are so nice and pointy and the needles are so smooth. I don't feel the grains at all and the size printed on them doesn't have a noticable feel either. I love them. Next time I need more needles I think I'll look for more of this brand. Very nice.

While I was at the shop I decided to do a little shopping and bought a bag full of yarn. Of course, it was a ton of fun to get new, pretty yarn but it also felt good to support the shop owner as she is battling cancer and going through a tough time right now. That was my main reason for the shopping spree because I don't really need yarn. I bought some more Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn (above) to make the snowflake socks. I needed to get a solid color so the lace can show up. This has some variation because it's handpainted but it's so subtle that in some light it's not noticable. It's such a pretty pink color. I also bought some blue bamboo yarn for one of my summer projects. Bamboo and summer go together (can you tell I'm longing for warm weather?!) and it will be a great project to take to the beach and knit washcloths. The shop owner has made some and they are so soft and wonderful. I also bought some cotton yarns for unknown projects but they are nice and the price was right. One is brown and white (Rodeo Tan) and the other is blue and white (Stonewash). Fun!

As if that wasn't enough yarny fun...I had another knit group here last night (second one this week and there's another one today) to work on a comfort blanket for the shop owner. We made a lot of progress and it was so much fun. One of the ladies stayed longer and we stitched and chatted until after midnight. It's coming along well. It probably wouldn't win any prizes for beauty but it's so filled with love. We all hope it brings her comfort as it's being made to do. She so deserves and needs that right now. :-)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

In my effort to post more often and to always try to post with a picture...here's a picture I took of the sock yarn I'm currently working with. The picture didn't quite turn out how I'd hoped but I've been so busy lately and I don't have enough done on my sock to make a picture worth while, or have the time to take one before I take off again this morning for another busy day. I love the colors in this yarn. So pretty! I'm hoping to make some progress on my sock this week.

I've been trying to be so good this past year or more with finishing projects before I start new ones. I've still had several going at times but lately I don't and I'm realizing that maybe it's not so bad to have several going at once. When I go to knit with a group I have trouble concentrating on a challenging project like lace socks so I need a simpler project for that type of situation. I've just had a hard time finding a simpler pattern that I want to make. I'm tired of scarves. I'm not very enthusiastic about knitting hats right now because it's spring (and it should be warming up...or maybe soon...hopefully). I have a vest pattern to knit but it is a challenging pattern too. I'm going to a knit group this morning and I don't know what to take. Hmmmm..... Maybe another ribbed pair of socks? I have some yarn for that. I'm just tired of those. Well....I better get to searching and find something before I go.

Have a great day! :- )

Monday, April 21, 2008

Eye Candy to Start Out the Week...

How about a little eye candy to start off the week? Monday's could use a little sweetening up sometimes. :) So...here's a picture I took yesterday of a yucca in full bloom. I always thought they were creamy white. I never knew they had purple on the edges of the blooms. Sooo beautiful!

We took the dog on a little hike yesterday and enjoyed the sunshine, wild flowers, all the new greenery, even all the interesting bugs and baby bugs. I even realized that oak trees have a scent. I was enjoying deep breaths of the fresh air and commenting about the wonderful smell and then realized it was the oak trees! Who knew?! I've smelled that scent so many times but never realized it was my favorite tree. I should have known. But, I'm happy to know now. Oaks are so amazing! I love them sooo much and they are looking so gorgeous after all the rain they got this winter. It's wonderful!

I'm still working on lace socks but it's a different pattern than I had started on last week. The snowflake pattern I had started suggested using solid color yarn because the pattern doesn't show up well with variegated yarn. I thought that since the variation in color in this yarn I'm using is so subtle that it would work out fine. Well, they were right...the pattern didn't show up very well at all. Plus, after I was well into the first sock (enough to see the pattern forming) I made a mistake that I didn't know how to fix. I decided that it was time to just rip it all out and try a pattern more suited for my yarn. So, I'm trying to make the Potamus socks by Cookie A. I had the cuff done and even though I'm always careful to watch for mistakes, I missed one. I had just started the lace part and realized I had an oops in my cuff. Well, I was able to rip back a few rows into the cuff and save it. Whew! I've been so busy today with other things that I haven't had a chance yet to knit on it but I hope to tonight. I hope this pattern works out. Wish me luck! :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

She Can Do It!!!!

The cat has learned to sit!!! I got a silly idea in my head a month or more ago to teach the cat to sit and wait when I'm getting her food. She is probably the most stubborn cat I've ever had so this was no easy task. We kept working with her every time we fed her (she's a pig so that's quite often) and just when I was ready to give up...ta da!!! She can do it!!! She needs a little coaxing to get her bottom all the way down to a sitting position but then she waits and watches while I take the lid off of her food canister, scoop the food, pour it into her bowl, put the scoop back, replace the lid, and give her a little hug as she looks up at my face sweetly with a little meow, I let go and say "ok" and she calmly begins eating. I think it may be good for her because she seems more calm when she eats now. She use to just gobble up her food like there was no tomorrow.

This is a picture of Duchess enjoying her new kitty bed before I felted it (notice all the yarn labels...crochet takes sooooo much yarn! I think I'll knit the next one. lol). In fact, I think she liked it even better before I felted it. She does lay in it sometimes though. The dog loves to lay on it but it's way too small for her. lol

Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Beary Nice....Socks! :-)

Little bear will be meeting her new friend today and wanted to show off her new little shawl before she leaves. I crocheted this yesterday. It's a little more like what I had in mind. It looks so cozy and warm. So cute.

I started a new pair of socks last night. I'm using a pattern called "Snowflake Lace Socks". Their so pretty. The pattern is more challenging than the "Monkey" socks and I've had to go backwards a few times but so far so good. I'm excited to get working on them again at the knit group this morning. I'm using Cherry Tree Hill yarn for these. This is my first splurge on more expenisive type yarn and I love it. It's so soft and nice to work with. This sock addictin is funny...I've barely started these socks and I'm so excited about future socks. I've been collecting patterns and have several I can't wait to start. I want to find some nice solid color yarn for my next pair. Sooooo much fun! Happy knitting!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Little Bear

Meet little bear. She's a sweet little girl that was just born this week. She's excited to meet her new friend tomorrow to keep her company while she goes through her radiation and chemo treatments. Who says grown-ups are too old for teddy bears?!

I had an idea to make this little bear and a picture in my mind but she looks very different than what was in my head. I had wanted her to be smaller but that's pretty hard with a felting needle...and it can get a bit dangerous too. Those things are very sharp. And, I really wanted to give her shiney bead eyes but the smallest round black beads I can find are still too big (I'm going to search online and see if I have more luck finding smaller ones than at the local bead shops. It seems like there would be smaller ones than what I have I just haven't found them yet.). So, I gave her soft little wool eyes. It's not the same but I wanted her to be small to fit into a purse or pocket if her new friend does want to carry her around. She turned out to be about 3" tall when standing.

I had imagined a pink ribbon around her neck tied into a bow...like the color of breast cancer cure ribbons. But, one morning it popped into my head to make her a little shawl instead. Well, this is sooooo cute but it's not what I had in my imagination either. Believe it or not I started, tore out, and restarted various ideas of this so many times that I lost count. This was the result of another attempt last night that somehow worked out great. I had decided to just make a little rectangle and drape it around her shoulders and tuck it into her arms but after I bound off and tried it on it turned out to be the perfect size and shape for a little capelet. I made a little loop, sewed on a pretty little pearl for a button, and here it is. I love it. I think it turned out so cute. It looks like it has a little collar and a pretty little edge on the bottom. It's not quite the same pink as cancer ribbons but I love it. It's so cute.

I also hadn't planned to make her jointed but after I made her legs she looked best sitting down so I thought I'd just connect the legs in a sitting position but my husband encouraged me to make them jointed...even though I thought it might be weird to have the legs jointed when the arms aren't. I'm happy I did it this way. Overall I'm pretty happy with it (once I touch her up a bit more), I just really would have loved to have given her sparkly/shiney eyes. I hope her new friend loves her. :-)

It's interesting how something can turn out so different than originally planned. Is it because this is how this one is suppose to be? I wonder. Maybe I'll try to make another one and see if it comes out more like what was in my mind or if it'll be another little bear that just needs to be born and I'm just here to make it happen and it will be who it is meant to be. Hmmmmm?

Monday, April 14, 2008


I have been enjoying the warm sunshine the last few days! Ahhhh! It's so nice! This picture is from a warm, sunny day at an herb farm with my daughter and a friend a couple of years ago. It's so pretty and sunshiney that I thought it would be great to post today.

We spent yesterday at the Pet Expo with our dog, Salsa. We get to spend some time each year hanging out at the Airedale booth letting Salsa show people what Airedales look like and what cool dogs they are. Salsa does a great job. Afterwards she got to hang out under a tree with us while we had lunch and then relax behind the scenes while we looked around. My mother in law was in the "Mutley Crew" show with her dog. That's always fun to see. The dogs and their owners have fun with agility, frisbee, and other cool dog tricks. We've been working with Salsa on dog dancing moves. Maybe she can be in the show sometime. :) The llamas were awesome...as llamas always are!!! lol :-) It was a fun day!

I've been working on some needle felting projects the past few days but I don't have any pictures yet. Soon....I hope. In fact, I think I'll get off the computer now and get back to work/fun. I'm working on one that I want to finish by Wednesday for a gift. That should give me something fun to post soon too. :)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Monkey Off My Back!

Here they are...my monkey socks are done! :) I had so much fun knitting them. This project really increased my knitting confidence. I'm considering patterns that I never would have had the courage to try before. This has opened up a whole new world of knitting for me. :)

Besides finishing these last week, I finished knitting a bag and felted it. It felted weird though...it shrunk down much more than I had anticipated and stretched out wider. Very odd. I've done a lot of felting but I've never had anything do this. It has me thinking up creative solutions to be able to use it. I'll post some pictures when I get it all worked out. I'm also working on finishing up some other small projects. I hope to have some completed to post tomorrow.

My husband and daughter and I had a fun day yesterday at "Super Bug 33" at the Fontana Raceway. My husband is restoring a '65 VW Bug and wanted to go look at other VW's for fun and inspiration and to look for parts. We all had so much fun looking at all the cool busses, bugs, notchbacks, etc. And, to all our surprise...we even enjoyed the drag racing. Who knew an old bug could reach 150 miles per hour! I even knitted in the stands while they cleared out a crash. Fun!

Later we checked out a new store in Rancho Cucamonga called "Bass Pro Shop". Wow! What an amazing store!!! So much creativity went into making the building and decorating it. It has a creek with live trout, waterfalls, a big fish tank, the fishing pole area looks like you're underwater....you look up to see the bottom of a boat and there are fish hanging from the ceiling, there's an incredibly beautiful fireplace when you walk in, lots of cute clothes with great prices, a restaurant, etc., etc. Such a fun place!!! It was a great weekend with my family. :)

Happy knitting! :-)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Pack 'O Fun

This is our dog, Salsa, with her new "pack pack". Sooo cute! She is practicing wearing it on her walks so she'll be ready to use it on hikes to carry her own water and treats. She did great, and looked very stylish and cool at the same time! :) Yay, Salsa!

In the fiber world....my daughter had spring break last week and I didn't get much time to knit because we were out and about having fun together...we had great weather last week too...yay!!! But, I'm almost done with my second monkey sock...all that's left is the toe. I was inspired yesterday at a knit group to learn the toe-up, circular needle way of making socks. I saw someone starting one yesterday and thought it was pretty cool that you don't have to sew the toe closed, it's made in the begining and when you bind off at the cuff, you're done! Wow! I think that's what I'll try for my next pair of socks.

I'm getting anxious for spring. It seems like we're having an endless winter...although, I know I really have nothing to complain about compared to many other parts of the country...but, I live in Southern California....it's suppose to be warm and wonderful here. Right?!! lol I've talked to other 'spoiled' Southern Californians lately who are tired of it too. It's funny to hear others say they do something I do to get warm....sit in a car in the sun....ahhhhhh! lol I know...I'm a wimp!!! But, I prefer to call myself "solar powered"! :-) I'm excited to work in the yard and plant a garden. My husband has been busy working on the yard and we got some seeds yesterday. I did some re-potting of indoor plants yesterday too. It was fun to play in the dirt and plant. I haven't done that for a long time. I'm looking forward to fresh herbs and veggies again! Yum!!!!