The mailman is my friend

See what he brought me on friday?

My coffee swap partner, Sheri, really outdid herself. On the edible side of things, there was two pounds of coffee, chocolate (dark and milk with hazelnuts), dark chocolate covered macadamia nuts (very yummy and very gone), and chocolate mint covered graham crackers (gone just as fast as the nuts). There was also a really pretty mug, and a funky lime green flower. I love that shade of green! The flower has now replaced the rather drab looking seed pods I had in a vase by my kitchen sink. It really was time for a change.

Saving the best for last, the yarn. Let me tell you, I feel really, really spoiled. Not one, or even two, but three whole skeins of hand dyed sock yarn! The first is from Spritely Goods, a pretty combo of greys and tans. The yarn is doubly appropriate, since the color name is Coffee Pot Rock, perfect for a coffee swap, and the yarn base used is Sylph, which has been my username for over a decade. It doesn't get more perfect than that.

If that wasn't good enough, there also were two skeins of Apple Pie in Garden Party from Apple Laine. It is a blend of superwash merino, silk, kid mohair, and nylon. The yarn just about glows, it's so lovely. And the colors... the camera just doesn't do justice to them. I just couldn't get a picture where they weren't over-saturated, but trust me, it's downright yummy. Kind of makes me think of a candy store explosion. I think I'm going to have to use a simple pattern for this one, let the colors do all the work.

And no, the cat didn't come in the package. ;) Nigel just decided he absolutely had to be in the pictures. Either that or attacking the green flower. He was so excited about that flower that it took me a few minutes to get him calmed down and not in the middle of things. At least he wasn't trying to disembowel the yarn. That he left for Peri to do later that night.


Above and beyond

I've always heard of the amazing generosity of knitters. Hell, I'm a knitter and I'd like to think I'm at least fairly generous. I never truly expected to be on the receiving end of such generosity though. So needless to say, today's mail held quite the surprise for me.

First off, a little background is needed. Earlier this week Lorette put out a call for help. She needed a bit of Kid Silk Haze to fix a hole in a shawl. I had a little ball of the right color languishing in my stash from a scarf I made a while back, so I decided to send it her way. She offered to dive into her stash for a bit of something to send my way in thanks. Granted, this was not really necessary, but I seem to be singularly incapable of saying no to yarn.

When I opened the package I recieved today, my jaw nearly hit the floor. Here's what was inside:

Not only was there a good sized ball of Beaverslide, but two skeins of Shepherd Sock in Icehouse! Seriously, she had me with the Beaverslide, it's so soft and cushy. Those two extra skeins just make me feel like I won the yarn lotto.

I already have plans for all of it. The pink will be perfect for a hat for the little miss, and the Lorna's is screaming out to become Pomatomus. I've been wanting to make those socks for a while, but none of the yarns in my stash seemed suitable. They are now third in line in my sock queue, after the purple and green yarn from Scout and some gorgeous yarn I just got from Hello Yarn. I'll say more about that one when I get around to taking some pictures of it.

Now I think I'll go squeeze that ball of Beaverslide again. It's just so squishy, I can't resist.


Sleep is for the weak

Sick babies suck. Sick babies who don't want to sleep suck royally. And of course, all this happens on my birthday. It's a damn good thing she's so cute.

I think I'll just go fall over now.


Knitting... what knitting?

So any of you who know me probably have heard me talk about projects I'm working on, but rarely ever do you see an actual finished product. Hell, you rarely ever see works in progress. They exist, honest they do. To prove that I'm not all talk, here's what I'm spending most of my time on at the moment, Belle.

I already have the back and both fronts done. Actually, I think I finished those in 2003 or 2004. Yes, this has been on my needles for a long time. Some people suffer from the second sock syndrome. I, on the other hand, am one of those people who seem to be incapable of starting sleeves. At least I avoid issues with the second sleeve by knitting them both at once. It took me only one sweater to learn that lesson. Now I knit them both at the same time. If I didn't, I don't know if I would ever finish a sweater.

I really like the pattern. It's got just enough going on to keep me interested, and isn't hard to keep track of, so I've found I don't need the chart any more. As I was telling Kat yesterday, I am very visual in how I learn and remember things. Charts are my friends, and even better is when the pattern is straightforward enough that I can just 'read' my knitting to know what to do next.

I have done a few little changes to the pattern. The main one is that I am using 1824 Cotton, instead of the wool. I live in tank tops all summer, so I really want a cardigan that I can toss on over them when it gets cooler. Hopefully, this summer will be the year I get to finally wear it. The other change is that I'm making it a bit longer. The pattern makes a cropped sweater, but I really don't like it when my tops hang way below the bottom of my sweaters. I think I made it two inches longer, but honestly I can't remember any more.

Ohh... and remember how I mentioned that I got into Scout's Indie Swag Club? Well, April's swag landed on my doorstep on Friday.

The colorway is called Lavender Mint. I had to laugh when I saw it, since I have a bit of a thing with combining green and purple at the moment. I'm not sure what pattern to use with it, but I'm thinking of something stranded to minimize any potential pooling. I really hate pooling. I'm up for suggestions on this one, as nothing has jumped out and screamed 'knit me' for this one.


Caffeinated goodness

The little bug was nice to her mommy this morning, so I actually managed to get my questions for the Knitters' Coffee Swap answered. I've been dreadful about getting things done lately, so I was really afraid that I was going to leave my partner Sheri hanging on this one. While you're at it, do go check out her shop. She has a drool worthy selection of sock yarn there.


1. Whole bean or ground? Whole bean, the fresher the better.

2. Fully-loaded or decaf? Fully-loaded of course. What's the point of decaf?

3. Regular or flavored? Regular. Great coffee doesn't need anything else, except maybe a little cream.

4. How do you drink your coffee? Drip I take with cream, espresso either straight or in a latte. Turkish coffee heavy on the sugar and cardamom is great too.

5. Favorite coffee ever? I am a die-hard Cafe Vita drinker. Their Cafe del Sol is the best coffee to have in the morning with cream.

6. Are you fussy about your coffee or will any old bean do? I'm fairly fussy. I really don't like heavily roasted beans. I prefer to taste the bean, not the roast.

7. Favorite treats to have with your coffee? Good chocolate (the darker the better), shortbread, ginger cookies. Actually, just about anything heavy on the chocolate goes lovely with coffee.

8. Anything else about your coffee preferences? I do occasionally adulterate my coffee (beyond the cream, that is). Orange and chocolate are my favorite. On a random note, my husband considers this, and all other additions, polluting coffee, as he likes his black.

9. Yarn/fiber you love? I'm really a sucker for both Manos del Uruguay and Noro Silk Garden. A respectable portion of my stash is taken up by both of them. Currently though, I'm on a bit of a sock yarn kick. I really want to start getting yarn from all the great indie dyers out there.

10. Yarn/fiber you hate? Anything that comes close to being a novelty yarn. Glittery fluffy yarns really don't work for me. I also prefer to avoid manmade fibers. There are some exceptions, but usually I don't like the feel of them.

11. What's on your needles? Do I have to list them all? Let's see... a bright purple lace shawl, a cream cotton cardigan with cables and lace, an avocado green angora scarf with cables, another cardigan in Silk Garden, a little tiger for my daughter, and golf club covers for my uncle. I have a raspberry and lime green knee-high that needs a mate, but I really don't want to cast on for it right now. And then there's the stuff I need to make for the shop...

12. Favorite colors? I would have to say that red, purple and green are my three favorites. I'm starting to get rather fond of orange as well. I really prefer nice rich deep colors. Pastels just don't do much for me.

13. Allergies? None fiber related, thankfully.

14. Anything you really love, really don't like, or just need to get off your chest? I've stared at this question for a good five minutes and haven't thought of anything that seems to need mentioning. There are tons of things I love (like orchids), as well as things I hate (vegetables), but what they have to do with swapping coffee and yarn, I have no clue. Oddly enough, I have both orchids and vegetables growing in my basement right now.


Lessons learned

Never, ever leave a baby in close proximity to a kitty toy with only the supervision of a half-asleep adult. Especially if the toy has feathers... non-colorfast dyed feathers. This is the sight that my husband came fully awake to today:

No picture really does justice to the state she was in. Every exposed part of the baby was blue. The inside of her mouth was blue. The comforter, her jammies... you name it, it was blue. She will undoubtedly be pooping blue feathers for days. *sigh*

I did pass the uptight mommy test with flying colors though. My first response to the sight of her was to burst out laughing. Honestly, what else can you do when faced with a child who has essentially dyed herself, and everything around her, blue? A madly grinning child, no less. I can only hope that I react as well to everything else she has in store. It's bound to be interesting.


Mama's been a bad, bad girl

What have I done now, you ask? Oh, nothing... nothing except put my name in the lottery for round II of Scout's Indie Swag Club... and get in!!! Yes, you heard right. I have six full months of gorgeous hand painted sock yarn coming my way. And then there's the super cool indie swag, like an exclusive pattern from Cookie. It doesn't get much better than that.

*does a little dance of joy*

I still can hardly believe it. There were only 34 six month spots, so I really didn't think I had a snowball's chance in hell of getting one of them. This completely and utterly makes up for spending my anniversary weekend home alone with a teething baby, while my husband was in Portland racing.

Ok, enough blathering about that. I really did more than hover about the computer and sooth a cranky baby this weekend. Actually, I was rather productive today. The little bug was being fussy, so I decided the both of us needed some time out of the house. An hour or so at Swanson's later, I had enough plants to fill all the pots I got last fall. Paul was home by then, so I actually got some time to get them all planted. I now have a very welcoming front porch. See...

I always forget how satisfying playing in the dirt is. Just a few minutes with my plants does more for my mood than anything else, even knitting. Yes, plants trump yarn, but then I'm a botanist, at least by education.

So I have Paul home, new plants, yarn, and a sleeping baby. The only thing that will make this even better is a nice cup of tea.