Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Completed Sock

Thanks to everyone for your kind words and messages! Every one of them meant alot - I especially loved that Karin rushed to phone her mom after she read my post. Try to treat people so that you will not have any regrets after they're gone. Not to get all preachy - but the one thing I knew after my mom died was that she knew I loved her, I knew she loved me, I did everything I could for her, I didn't leave her alone at the hospital for a second. After she died I remember our priest said that I felt as bad as I did because we had had such a good relationship and were so close and that was a good thing. How horrible would it be if someone died and you didn't really care. For whatever reason, hearing that made me feel better - I kept telling myself I feel this bad because I loved her so much and for that I am lucky. If that is the price that I had to pay for having that mother, then I would and did gladly pay it. I call my grandmother every single day and have for the last 10 years - same reason, I do not want to feel any regrets after she's gone. She's even told me not to cry when she goes because we've been so lucky to have what we have.
Ok so...enough of that! See my finished sock! I'm very proud of it!

Last night, it was snowing. A beautiful thick fluffy snow - I was wishing it would snow and snow and snow! This is what it looked like this morning -nothing like a fresh snow fall in the country.
Lots is coming to Pick Up Sticks - new yarn is on the way from Apple Laine - all colorways should be restocked by the end of the week. All 13 new colors from Claudia Handpainted are being wound into skeins for us! New Spinning Bunny! New Yarn Pirate! And....a few surprises up my sleeve! Stay tuned!

Monday, January 29, 2007

These are good socks to knit when you want to be distracted. The pattern is Adare Manor by Meghan Jackson and the yarn is Louet Gems Merino in Pink. It's a really nice pink. Look at the cabled heel - have you evern seen such a work of art. This sock kept me knitting all weekend and today I am just decreasing the toe so should have a finished sock for you tomorrow. And...guess what I'm going to cast on the matching one right away. Adare Manor is the first of Meghan's designs for the Pick Up Sticks Sock Club!

So...you might be wondering why I needed to be distracted - well, today marks three years since my mother died. I had thought to do this elaborate post listing all the things I miss about her but that seemed ridiculous - I mean, of course I miss her and I miss everything about her -not just a few things. She was too young- just 62 - but then lots of people are too young. She's in a mausoleum. I'm not crazy about that - but then I'm not crazy about any where she'd be other than with my dad. I visited today with my grandmother and what struck me was that it's a place full of sad stories. I took 3 pink roses - one for every year she's been gone. It's hard for my grandmother - she's 87 years old and she faithfully visited my mom every single week for the last three years. It's a very sad sight. I miss her - plain and simple. And thank God, I know how to knit.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

I'm nothing.....

if not fickle when it comes to sock yarn and sock patterns. The Two Feet in Tuscany has been frogged yet again and become this! This one is making me very happy - it's Meghan Jackson's first pattern for the Pick Up Sticks Sock Club - a cabled cuff - lace panels down the leg. Yuuummmmy! Meghan was over on Wednesday night and commented that I never knit her patterns so I thought I better get to it - they are beautifully written with lots of detail and no guess work. She certainly knows what she's doing. And there is not enough to be said about the Gems Merino - I can see how this yarn and this pattern could easily become a favorite. I'm already planning what other colors to knit it in!

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Ok so I promised progress and there's not much! Mainly because I frogged about 25 rows last night and switched from Claudia Handpainted to Mama E's Pick Up Sticks Signature for the varigated yarn. The whole time I was knitting I was thinking I don't really like this - I want more contrast but I kept knitting until around 8 pm last night when I tore it all out to start again. The stitch work is simple but detailed and the Pink Dot Claudia Yarn had lots of pink in it so you couldn't really see the detail. It says in the pattern to choose either a yarn that contrasts or blends - I guess it just depends on the look you want. But....if I'm going to do all this slipping stitches and yarn forward, back, over and sideways you can be sure I want to see it.

Today it's absolutely freezing here and so it's a great day for knitting - I have some parcels to get out and then it's back to this sock.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

What is A Girl To Do?

See these two balls - the varigated is Claudia Handpainted in Pink Dot - the solid is Pink Panther in Gems Merino. What would you do
when faced with two such lovely balls of yarn?

I've decided to do this and nothing but this all day! Yup - that's right, starting at noon today this will be my job for today!

I'm weak.....very, very weak!

Why noon you ask? Well, I do have some responsibilities other than knitting so if I rush out now to the grocery store, rush back home, peel potatoes for dinner, throw the roast in the oven - I should be all prepared to do nothing but knit!
I'll post progress first thing tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Two Makes A Pair

Here's my Mama Llama socks in Winter for my niece's birthday! I loved knitting with this yarn. Self striping was a fun change from hand painted. There was no row counting - I just matched up the colors and everything worked out perfectly! I've cast on a new yarn from my stash (gasp!) from before I was a shop owner but it's another pair for my niece with lots and lots and lots of pink and purple which is her favorite. I'm trying out something new to combat my attention deficit disorder for socks - finish a pair, try new yarn, finish a pair, try new yarn. I'm absolutely dying to try some Gems Merino - I can't decide which color and can't decide which pattern.

I finished the Knitting Circle by Ann Hood - I loved it! Someone who writes so convincingly of grief must have experienced it. While we are talking about books - another book I really liked was Good Grief - yup another story about grief - but it was at times hysterical and at times heart wrenching. The main character realizes she's in deep trouble when she shows up at work in her pyjamas and fluffy slippers because getting dressed was just too much trouble. I totally get that - after my mom died, I'd sit at the kitchen table and think I should have shower, but then I'd think well, if you have a shower, then you have to get dressed and if you get dressed, then you will have to dry your hair - forget it - it was all just too much trouble.

I'm reading another knitting book now - it's called the Friday Night Knitting Club - Julia Roberts has bought the rights for this and is going to play the shop owner. It's a really nice read - no grief! - so far I'm really enjoying it. If you happen to be reading it to - let me know who you think should play the other characters.

My haircut was very successful today - I really like this hairdresser. For about the last year, I've had a horrible time with an itchy scalp for about two weeks after I get my hair colored - I know, probably too much information - but anyway.....he suggested not to wash my hair for a couple of days and he put conditioner in with the color so fingers crossed. So far so good - usually by this time my scalp is throbbing from the color and there's none of that. It better work because I cannot possibly go around completely gray - which I am under this ever so subtle blondy brown color I've got happening.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Look What Arrived!

Louet Gems Merino Solids! They do have a slight sheen to them - this is the base yarn that Claudia Handpainted uses! Now the only decision I have is which sock to cast on in which color?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

I Better Blog Today....

because tomorrow I will be out all day taking my daughter to the dentist and then visiting my grandmother and Tuesday I'm going to a new hairdresser for a cut and color. This guy used to do makeovers on Cityline - so I just wonder what he will do to me!

I've been busy finishing up matching socks for their lonely mates that are floating around my knitting bag - it's torture though because there are visions of new socks dancing in my head. I must confess I gave up on the huge Debbie Bliss cardigan - Sarah is going to knit it for me in exchange for yarn. She's happy with that deal and so am I. I just have zero interest in big projects.

Tomorrow my order from Louet arrives - super quick service! I'm very excited to get the solids because there are some beautiful patterns out there that deserve solid yarn to show off the stitches! And how about those Hand Dyeing Kits - I might even have to give dyeing yarn a try!

Oh yes and the sock club boxes went out yesterday - the club is up to 50 members! Yahoo!

I have a cute story - my grandmother was extremely skeptical about this whole selling yarn online business and has asked me regularly (daily) since August how it's going! I told her that last week I sent yarn to Italy and that I've sent yarn to Australia and Norway. Her comment was, "What? I didn't know the internet went that far?"

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Book Recommendation

I'm reading a really good book right now - The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood - it's about a woman trying to recover from the death of her daughter who joins a knitting group. She learns that no one is without pain in their lives no matter what it looks like from the outside. For me, this book is very appropriate - this month marks 3 years since my mom died from heart bypass surgery. And that is also when knitting became a huge part of my life - I remember seeing a couple of women in the surgical waiting room knitting scarves - I thought - hmmm I used to do that and never gave it much thought. After the funeral, I had an overwhelming desire to knit so I went to my LYS and spent a fortune on a Noro Silk Garden blanket. Whenever I was feeling really bad, which was mostly all the time, I was knitting that blanket. And after I finished that blanket I knit the most complicated Rowan fair isle cardigan ever. It was beautiful! I gave it to a friend for her birthday. After my mom died, there were days I didn't get dressed, there were days I didn't get out of bed but I always, always knit every single day and have for most of the last 3 years. I've learned that the rhythm of the needles really can heal a broken heart.

Monday, January 15, 2007

A New Trick!

Good morning - I've been awake since 5:30 am - my daughter woke us up because she heard scratching in her room. Turns out it was ice pellets hitting the window - this prompted me out of bed to go have a look.....yup ice out there and lots of it! School buses were even cancelled by 6:20 am which never happens - usually York Region waits and waits and waits unti the last possible minute so it must be bad!

I took a class at Unwind on Saturday with Meghan - amazing friend, pattern designer and teacher! It was learning to make a beaded scarf - Meghan was sure I wouldn't last for the whole 2 hours - I'm not known to like or have the patience for fussy stuff but guess what? I not only lasted for the whole class, I actually loved incorporating beads into my knitting. Look!

Sorry it's blurry - could be that I've been up for hours and feel kind of blurry myself!

Here's the Zen Yarn Garden! This yarn is amazing - it comes in these tiny 60 grams skeins which make you think you will never be able to finish a pair of socks but the yardage just goes on and on and on - I'm almost finished this sock for a size 7 shoe and there is plenty left for the next sock! This colorway is Northern Lights.

I need some help - thinking of new sock yarns? What fibers would you like?

Kona Superwash

I'd love some feedback!

Friday, January 12, 2007

First Things First!

I hope everyone has had a chance to read the Yarn Harlot's entry from yesterday - if not, go and read it - it is so worth it!

Who do you think is the kind of person that would decide that there could not possibly be enough people interested in sock knitting to participate in a club and then just decide - just like that - that it must be a scam and refund all the money. Are we the only ones on the planet who know about knitting and particularly, knitting socks! I imagine a room full of stuffy, know it all executives just being soooo proud of themselves for slamming the door shut on a bunch of criminal yarn dyers. And....I would especially like to have been present when they realized what a mistake they made! I'm afraid that if I would have been put in that position, I would not have been nearly as nice as Blue Moon was to the bank. I would have turned sock knitters everywhere lose on them! Kind of like I would have like to sock knitters lose on a particular politician when she indicated that she had a life and didn't spend it at home on Friday nights knitting!

And now on to my completed sock: here it is!
Mama Llama's Winter Self Striping
Jaywalker Pattern

This yarn is absolutely lovely to knit with. I can't believe I've never used the Jaywalker pattern before because it was fun and held my interest! Self striping was a nice change and especially one that stripes so beautifully!

After I finished this one last night, I was working on my Zen Yarn Garden sock - I'm just about to turn the heel so you'll get a peek at that one in a day or so!

More Apple Pie yarn should arrive today and hopefully, some more colors of Seacoast!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ten Things That Irk Me!

or make me want to scream!

1. People who insist on talking on their cell phones in public in a loud voice as if everyone in the world should be fasinated and transfixed by their conversations. Today, my sister and I went for breakfast at the Bayview Diner in Newmarket and there was this guy a couple of tables away that was not only talking on his cell phone in public but using the walkie talkie option so we got to hear both sides. He was sitting with this gorgeous blond woman and I tell you, if I'd been her I would have grabbed that phone, hit him in the head and walked out!

2. There is a new subdivision that is going in near where I live. A regular subdivision just like many others, except for their advertising. It's called the Bayview Club and there are pictures of horses, wild life, it looks very serene - now I'm sorry but these are 30 foot lots - there is not a friggin horse to be seen for miles - the only wildlife is the wildlife that's been scared away by the bulldozers, dump trucks and coffee trucks. For whatever reason, this false advertising drives me nuts!

3. Chewing crunchy stuff like chips when it's quiet. This I definitely get from my grandfather - when I was little and was chomping on a hard candy, he'd give me this look and say "Don't chew the candy!" So now I've expanded it to include anything crunchy at all - if I'm crunching along with you that's fine but if I'm not - look out!

4. No snow - I never thought I'd say it but I miss the snow - the snow in the country in beautiful. There is nothing like getting up in the morning and having everything covered in a blanket of white.

5. Rudeness to seniors. My dear grandmother is an 87 year old dynamo and I cannot stand when people are rude to her. I feel like a mama bear with her cub. She says you become invisible when you are old so I always, always make an effort to be nice to every single older person I meet - let them go first, open the doors for them, offer to help them carry their packages. I figure if I'm nice to them then hopefully, someone will be nice to my grandmother when she needs it.

6. People that say, "oh, you are so crafty!" as if I have a disease of some sort or, because I choose to spend time creating something with my hands, that I'm somehow at a disadvantage. Like, you poor thing - don't have anything constructive to do with your time? To me, knitting is very constructive and for the information of those who feel some kind of misplaced sympathy for those of us who knit - let it be known that we feel sorry for you!

7. People that honk at me at an intersection when THEY THINK I'm taking too long to turn. How can you possibly judge when it's safe when you can't even see what's coming? One of these days, I'm going to get out of my car, walk to car behind me and say - here you drive, if you think you can do a better job.

Ok....so that might be all that irks me - I'm sure there's more but right now I'm drawing a blank? What about you? What makes you crazy?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Six Weird Things

about me.

1. I sleep with one foot out of the covers at night. It keeps me from getting too hot or so I think!

2. I say "shut the light" when I mean turn off the light. My dear husband pointed this out to me recently and said that is how he knew I had an Italian background.

3. I only like to eat sandwiches that I have made myself. Especially if they are made with cold cuts. I don't even like my husband to make them for me.

4. I fold the freshly washed towels in 2's width wise and then in 3's length wise and will unfold and refold any towels that aren't done that way. My husband will fold them differently and show me that it's not that much different but no it has got to be my way.

5. No one can change the bed that I'm sleeping in but me - again, my husband will stand there making all sorts of military noises but it's got to be the way I was taught by my mom - nothing worse than getting into bed with messy sheets.

6. I hate gardening and I regularly kill house plants. We've lived on our farm for 6 years and in the back yard surrounding our deck was a beautiful rock garden. I tried for 6 years to weed, plant and grow that garden. Last summer I gave up - gave all the plants to my neighbours and put in an above ground pool in the exact spot where all the garden was. Now it's just pool and river rock and I couldn't be happier!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Sock Showcase

I've decided that I am doomed to be a one sock knitter and I've also decided that this is totally business related. It is an obligation to my customers and friends to show off the new yarn in knitted form. So there....now I will not feel

bad for not completing the companion socks - it is just a job hazard!
Here's a little sock showcase showing off the yarns I have in the shop!

Yarn: Sweet Georgia Speed Demon
Colorway: Fondant (currently only available in handpainted sock)
Pattern: Crusoe from Knitty.com

Yarn: Mama E's Ceyeber Fiber
Colorway: Pick Up Sticks Signature
Pattern: Northern Sunshine Designs Sunflowers

Yarn: Sweet Georgia Handpainted Sock
Colorway: Blue Steel
Pattern: my own (and of course, not written down!)

Yarn: Zen Yarn Garden
Colorway: Northern Lights
Pattern: Basic Sock Pattern

This yarn is really fun - and creates a beautifully soft fabric!

Yarn: Mama Llama's Dye Pot Yarns
Colorway: Winter
Pattern: Jaywalker by Grumperina

Catherine does a wonderful job on this self-striping yarn. Even the stripes are slightly varigated in the same shades. These socks are a gift for my niece for her birthday and I know she's going to love them!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I've Been Knitting

Here is a sock out of new yarn that is expected any day. I really enjoyed knitting this one - I love the way to colors move around - hopefully, this yarn will be here by the end of this week!

Now this is my knit, knit, pet, pet project meaning I knit a row, knit a row, spread it out on my lap and pet it for a few minutes then I knit a row, knit a row. How many of you do that? Have you even noticed this crazy little habit? It's a Debbie Bliss Cabled Jacket out of super chunky Cashmerino. That's 27 rows of ribbing at the beginning on 94 stitches - yikes! This was almost enough to stop me in my tracks - I haven't knit a big project like this for ages. Sarah is knitting it too - in fact, we cast on together watching season 2 of Grey's Anatomy. I love Grey's Anatomy and was disappointed to learn that there won't be a new episode until January 12. Anyway....if you go here, you can see Sarah's progress on the same sweater in the same color. We had to decide on the same color so we could economize on the yarn.

This little monster is the reason that all our Christmas decorations came down and were put away on December 26. This is Panda who is our very curious, very cute, very annoying kitten. She has an identical sister named Oreo who is not nearly as much trouble.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy Happy New Year

Provided Canada Post co-operates the new "stuff" will be on the website on Wednesday afternoon. It's a one of a kind yarn, in one of a kind colorways. You're going to love it!