Friday, October 31, 2008

Wickedly Wonderful

Hubby took a day off this week and we drove up to the little community of Oak Glen. It's a beautiful place in the bottom part of some of our local mountains where they grow apples. We had tried to go a few weeks ago on a Saturday but the traffic going up was so bad that we turned around and went home. A weekday proved to be a much smarter plan. It was like days past with very few people and no lines. That made for a fun and relaxing day. Plus, the weather was absolutely perfect. We had lunch in a little coffee shop, did a little shopping, had hot apple pie with ice cream, enjoyed the scenery, and bought some delicious apples and apple butter. Yummy fun!

At one of the places we stopped at, there was a huge tree with prickly balls all over it and on the ground below. It turns out that it is a verrrrrry old chestnut tree. The spines on the balls are verrrry sharp. When you step on a ball and twist your foot around, it opens up and beautiful chestnuts spill out...

I carefully picked one up to show the scale of the chestnuts. They're such a rich, beautiful brown color...

Who would have imagined that something so wonderful can come out of something that looks so wicked?!

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Halloween Fun

Yesterday we went to an Airedale Halloween party/picnic, "Night of the Living Airedale". A local Airedale breeder hosts this fun doggy extravaganza each year. It is an afternoon full of Halloween fun for the doggies and their owners.

First, is the costume parade where doggies take a walk around the park with their owners to show off their costumes. Our Salsa was an "aire-plane" this year..."Dale Aire". We like to come up with costumes that have "Airedale" in the name. Last time, Salsa was "Aire-Dale Evans" with a country western outfit. One year, another Airedale owner came up with "Chippen-Dales". He dressed up his 'dales with bow ties around their necks, and cuffs around their ankles. They were adorable.

Here are some of the costumes from this year...

Granny (notice the glasses)...


"Hugh Hefner and the Bunny"...

A flapper girl...

A Pig...

After the parade, all the happy 'dale owners enjoyed a yummy potluck lunch and barbeque. was on to the...

There was the hot dog toss and catch contest; the costume exchange race; pumpkin head dash; pumpkin pie eating contest (for the doggies...whipped cream included); and bobbing for hot dogs...

Not all of the doggies dressed up. But that's ok...especially when you're this cute...

After the games, there was a raffle of lots of fun stuff (mostly doggy stuff) donated by everyone that came. The proceeds from that and a little auction go to an Airedale rescue. And, there were prizes for various costume categories.

It was a fun afternoon, as always. It's great to see so many 'dales in one place and visit with their owners year after year. I think we'd all agree that it's pretty awesome to own an Airedale. We sure love our "Salsa". She brings so much love and fun to our lives. Here she is sitting next to my daughter as they took a break and watched one of the events...

There were a some bumper stickers passed out yesterday with a great little saying...

"Life is better with an Airedale Terrier."

I agree. :-)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Experimental Spinning

I had an idea... Spin a bobbin of medium green, dark green and yellow, and spin a bobbin of royal blue and turquoise. Then, I'd ply them together. On each bobbin the colors would spin together randomly as I'd hold two different rovings together.They'd kinda of do their own thing, creating a unique and one of a kind yarn. It seemed like it would be really pretty.

Here's how the first bobbin was turning out...

After I spun the second bobbin with the blues and tried the two singles together it didn't seem like such a good idea anymore. I was trying to think outside the box. Maybe I was thinking too far outside the box.

I spent a couple of days figuring out what to do. I decided to spin another bobbin of blue and turquoise and ply them together. It turned out pretty but the process of trying to hold and spin two rovings together at the same time was a bit frustrating at times. I ended up with thin and thick spots, and tight and loose spots as I fiddled with the roving to get the colors to keep spinning around each other.

The singles turned out really pretty. However, when I plied them together they lost their individual details of the colors twirling around one another. The way it looks in the end result probably could have been achieved much easier by spinning a bobbin of blue and a bobbin of turquoise. But, maybe when it's used in a project the details will show up. At least they'll be fun to look at as it's being worked with.

Here's a close up where you can kind of see in each single how the colors wrap around one another like a candy cane...

The yarn is very pretty and I took a lot of pictures trying to capture the true colors and details but it's just not showing up the same in pictures. These are the best ones...

With a little evening sunshine...

Now, I need to figure out how I'm going to save the bobbin of greens and yellow. Hmmmm?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Itty Bitty Sock Blocker

My teeny weeny itsy bitsy sock...for an itty bitty sock blocker.

I found an adorable wood sock blocker key chain that came with a pattern to knit a sock for it at a yarn shop this weekend. I had to have it! It's so cute and it was a quick and fun little project.

I found it at "The Yarn Deli" in Redlands, California this weekend. I had heard of this shop earlier this year but it's almost an hour from my home. However, on Saturday I was in the area and decided to check it out. I love what was on the window... "Sit. Knit. Be." Inside, it's a cute little yarn shop with lots of natural yarns, nice sample projects, and a friendly atmosphere. The owner was very welcoming and gave me a bunch of goodies...a brochure about the store and how it got started, a class and group schedule, a pen, a needle holder, a card to keep track of my needles, and a hand knitted sachet filled with lavender (mmmm, I love that smell). Wow! How nice! They had a lot of great yarns, especially wool and sock yarns. I'll definitely go back again.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday's Find

I was running a few errands this morning and decided to go into JoAnn's to look around. I wasn't really planning to buy anything. But, sometimes a good bargain is hard to pass up. I found some yarn that I liked, they were the last two balls, and they were badly tangled. Being the bargain shopper that I am, I asked if I could get a discount because of the mess they were in. No problem. They were normally $5.99 per ball. They were marked down to $1.99 each. I got them for $1.19 each. Score!

I can't imagine how they got so tangled with each other. It was worth the effort though to untangle and wind them into balls. The yarn is a wool blend that is soft, with a bit of sheen, and very pretty. The color is "Sea Blue". I'll add it to my stash until I find the perfect use for it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ravelry Rave

It seems like everyone I meet that knits or crochets is talking about Ravelry. If you haven't heard of it...check it out! It's amazing!

I joined it in January but didn't quite get what all the excitement was about. I've slowly been discovering how it works and some of the features on it. I love being able to search for all kinds of patterns and that you can search by type or yarn or....probably many other ways. I love that you can see how a pattern worked out for other people and see the results in pictures. I love that I can post my projects for others to see. I love that you can compliment people on their's and pick their projects as "faves" and vice versa. I recently discovered that you can have "friends" and I've found a bunch of people I know. I also recently found out about groups. Today I dove in to really see what that was about and...Wow! How fun! I found groups for people who knit and have Airedales; lovers of knitting/crochet and photography; deaf/hard of hearing/or deaf friendly that sign; spinners; weavers; sock knitters; those who love to make hats; etc., etc., etc. And, whenever I join a group I get a cute little label on my notebook. This is so much fun! Whoever invented Ravelry is a genious! It's fun, it's informative, it's helpful, it connects people, it inspires....It's great! I wonder what else I'll find on there?!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Yarn Fun!

On Sunday a bunch of us from a local knit/crochet group took a field trip to Encinitas for a day of yarn shopping and fun by the beach. It was a beautiful day and we all had so much fun. We visited the two yarn shops in town, "Common Thread" and "Black Sheep". I always enjoy shopping at those stores but it was even more fun to see how excited the other ladies got over new stores and all the beautiful yarns.

My purchase that day was "Knitcol Trends". I love self striping yarns! They're so fun because every few rows the color changes and it's like a new project over and over. I thought this yarn would be great for a simple scarf. But...I'm thinking that fingerless gloves might be even better. They'd be adorable!!! So...I'm setting it aside for now as I look for the perfect pattern. Either way, I love the stripes and colors of this yarn!

Last year I was inspired by some free form crochet projects happening at a LYS and decided to try it out. They had classes but being the budget minded person I am, and that the concept was that it's "free form" and you do what you want, I figured I didn't need lessons and decided to go for it. I was determined to make it with yarn from my stash and not buy any. I played with various yarn combinations and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. It started out looking like an octopus and ended up as beautiful bag (It looks much prettier in person as the photo doesn't show the details or the colors well). I lined it with black fabric (the only thing I bought for it) but got stuck on what to do for the handles. So, it's been sitting and waiting for inspiration which I got this morning. I quickly got to work and....Ta Da! A completed, free form crochet bag! I'm really happy with it but it's not quite my style. So, I'm not sure where it will end up. Maybe I'll be brave and daughter loves it...maybe she'll get it...or...maybe I can sell it. We'll see.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Gauge Lesson

The "man socks" are done! I knitted three socks to make a pair! I learned a lesson about gauge! Sock on the top = wrong! Sock on the bottom = success!!! Whew!

If you've been reading this blog you know I started these weeks ago. And, I said I was almost done a while back. Well, something went a bit you can see with the sock on the top. It's ok to laugh. It does look pretty funny. And, I've had some pretty funny comments like how the heel is "substantial", and how it looks like it was made for someone with a club foot, and lots of "ohhhh, my!".

I tried to find a pattern that would be perfect for what I wanted and for this yarn (Moda Dea, Sassy Stripes) but had no luck. Through all the patterns I looked at, I decided that casting on 64 stitches would be perfect. As I knit the leg it looked great. The heel was ok. But, as I knitted the foot it started to look weird. I tried it on hubby and it seemed ok, loose, but ok, so I kept going...even if it did look ridiculous. I measured for the length of the foot and added the toe, tried it on hubby again and it was a bit tight in length. So, (I know this was silly) I added a couple more rows and stitched it up. That gave it a pointy toe. Ta Da! A man sock for a club footed elf!

Oh Boy! What to do?! Ah ha! The "Sock-U-Lator"! (there is a link to it on my side bar) I typed in the gauge, shoe size, measurements, etc. and had a perfect recipe for what I wanted. Turns out that I only needed to cast on 56 stitches. Who knew that only eight stitches less would make such a huge difference?! The two new ones fit perfectly now. And, they look like normal socks! Yay!

What a lesson in how important gauge is. Hopefully, as I knit through more patterns I'll get an even better understanding of gauge and be able make it work. In the meantime, I'm so thankful for people that design things like the "Sock-U-Lator" that can save my project.

Best of all...hubby loves them! He was so excited the whole time I was making them. When they were finished last night he put them on right away. I told him it was love on his feet. :-)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Knitting as Exercise

The "Quote of the Week" (on the right) from last week gets to stay least another week. Wishful thinking! I knit so much that if that quote were true I'd be in such great shape!!! I want to be in shape but I just don't seem to have the motivation or something. Ugh! I walk fairly regularly but it doesn't seem like enough and it's getting pretty boring. I think I'm in the worst shape of my life. A workout buddy would help but I can't seem to find one. Hmmmm? Back to knitting...for now.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Eye Candy Friday

A beautiful Fall day on a Texas ranch. I took this picture a few years ago on a trip to visit family. My cousin's in-laws have a gorgeous ranch with a little lake, beautiful houses, and they'd decorated a lot with pumpkins to celebrate Fall. I love this picture of an old wagon full of pumpkins. It was such a wonderful day and a great trip. I can't wait to go again.

I haven't posted much this week because I don't have any new FO's to show, yet. And, I haven't started any new projects. Although, I have gotten my wheel spinning again. I hope to have something to show for it next week. Which, happens to be "Spinning and Weaving Week". Hey, maybe I'll use that as an excuse to stop procrastinating and order a new reed for my loom. I've been thinking of getting one with less dpi (dents per inch ) so I can use thicker yarns for warp. I currently have a 12. So, I can only use thin yarns. Dish towels, towels, and rugs have been fun but I think something with fluffy, thicker yarn could be fun for a change. Plus, I have some things in my stash that have been there for too long. I'd like to bring them out to play. I'm thinking of getting a 6 dpi reed. If you're a weaver and you're reading this...I'd love any feedback you may have.

We may actually have cool, Fall like weather this weekend. That would be so great! I'm keeping my fingers crossed...or might be hard to play with yarn that way. lol

Have a wonderful weekend! :- )

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

It's Hot!!!

This last Summer was pretty nice. Temperatures here were usually under 100. I think that's good! Now, the calendar says it's Fall but it sooo hot! It's been over 100 during the day and last night at 9 pm it was 92! Yuck!

Temperatures at the beach this Summer were very cool, often in the 60's. The water temperature was also in the 60's...brrrr! And, it was cloudy and overcast much of the time. We had planned to go often but only went once because of the chilly temps. Now it's hot down there and water temps are in the 70's!

Maybe it's time to go to the beach?!!