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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Final November contest winner!

Happy Friday ya'll! I hope your week has been a good one! Thanks so much to all of you for participating in the contests this month. I'd like to make it a regular/monthly thing but maybe it will have to start in January, since December is going to be nuts for me.

I've got knitting to finish (I swear I'm knitting!) for Christmas and tons of yarn to dye for a shop or two. So everything you see up in the etsy store is ALL I HAVE through the end of the year. Please go get what you want NOW. I won't be able to do custom orders or restock the shop until some time in January. Unless you're really sweet and send prizes. Hehe.

We've got one final winner for the November contests, and I bet you'd like me to to ahead and get to it.

I grew up listening to bands like the Violent Femmes, and I feel it absolutely essential to include them in my work. This one is called Kiss Off, and it makes me giggle like a 12 year old!!

I hope you know this will go down on your permanent record...oh yeah!

Mmm yarny goodness! Two shades of pink, two shades of brown!

The winner this week is Elaine!

Congrats! Email me your addy and I send it out asap!

Ok, that's all I can handle today. My fall on Monday messed up my back and hips pretty good, and they were already in bad shape. I got adjusted yesterday and it almost made me pass out, which sucks, but is typical for me when I haven't been worked on in a few years. I feel pretty loopy and I have to go back today and Tuesday. Fun. But I'll feel better when it's over.

Have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dear Monday

You are fired.

Why, you ask? Whatever have you done to deserve such a firing?

Because all wrongs happen on Monday (other days: don't try and break the streak, i like my catastrophes predictable mkay?), and it isn't just a "case of the Mondays," you do in fact actually suck.

Lucky for you I didn't crack any ribs, break my arms or legs or bust my head open this most recent Monday as you had me tumble ass first down a flight of wet, slippery marble stairs. In front of a bus load of people. All graceful like and soaking wet on a Monday morning. Thank you for your generosity, Monday, I should have expected as much.

It's almost as if the entire week saves up its punches until you roll around again. I think you do it on purpose. You hoard all the drama until it's your turn and then unleash your hell when I least expect it. Seriously, I manage to navigate those stairs in my rubber soled shoes on a regular basis. I'm not feeble, old or clumsy. I blame you, Monday. Kiss my ass for making me hold my germophobic hand over all nearby stair rails. No, I'm not going to touch them unless you make me. Other people don't wash their hands.

And no, you can't come back. Don't beg, lie, or make excuses. It just makes you look insincere, when we all know the incredible brute force of a fucked up Monday.

Don't slam your ass on the stairs on the way out.

On second thought, do. It's fun. Promise.

Monday, November 26, 2007

And we're back!

Gosh, what a weekend! I hope yours was great! (I won't bore you with my Monday, which already sucks - yay for rain, boo for falling down stone stairs in it.)

My week/weekend was full of travel and lots of food. Most of Thursday was spent on the road. We drove to my dad's house in Alabama, had lunch and enjoyed family, then drove back to Georgia to my grandma's house. I've managed to screw up my back pretty good in the last week, so we stayed in a hotel rather than sleeping on an air bed. Friday included more good food, zero shopping, and driving back home. Saturday we slept in, then went to Nate's parent's house to eat and watch the UGA/Tech game (go dawgs!) and enjoy more family time. So we've seen all of our immediate family in 3 days. Crazy. No pics from the festivities cause I was too lazy to take many.

I also was made keenly aware of a few more things I'm really thankful for:

1. Good, affordable chiropractors - I've managed to tweak 2 muscles in my back last week, and of course everyone is closed.
2. Free massage therapy (close friend is a CMT, but now lives far far away) - Much needed, hard to afford.
3. Advair - It's amazing how you can depend on something you use every day and not realize it until you're out and your damn doctor's office is closed for the ENTIRE holiday week. I forget how bad my asthma is when I don't have this stuff.

Moving along! Sorry for not posting last week's winner on Friday. There was so much cooking, traveling, and trying hard not to feel like crap that I just wasn't up to it. Thanks so much to all of you for chiming in with your favorite things on Ravelry! It's fascinating to know what people's most loved parts are. Sorry if I didn't respond back to everyone, but now you know why!

Without further ado, our winner for last week's contest is:

Edina of KnitWithMe!

This pretty teal semisolid is called Prayers for Rain dyed on the Buddha superwash merino/nylon yarn. There will be two up in the shop later today! Edina, shoot me an email with your address and I'll send it out tomorrow!

And now, for the final contest question this month:

A few weeks back we discussed our knitting fears. This week I want to know what you LOVE to knit. Sweaters? Socks? Giant squid? Are there patterns you've knit more than once? Are there patterns you want to knit again but haven't gotten to yet?

Ya'll know the drill. Leave a comment answering the question before midnight on Thursday to enter. Mention it on your blog and refer folks for extra entries. This week's yarn is a painted colorway...and that's all I'm saying!

My favorite knits right now are socks. I have several in my queue, they're easy, quick, and portable. I also love hats and scarves for the same reason. I've knit Shedir 3 or so times, and the Irish Hiking Scarf twice. I want another Central Park Hoodie, but I haven't made time to knit it yet. I'd really like to work on more garments for myself and overcoming my shaping issues, which I suspect has more to do with how I feel about my shape than the actual garment shaping, but I digress.

Honestly I'm in a knitting funk at the moment. There are items I want to cast on, but I have gift knitting to do and I just don't feel like doing it! I did start and finish a pair of socks over the holiday but they're for me (shocking, I know). Pictures later this week.

One last note: I'm going to be adding a few things to the etsy store this week and then I'm done until next year. I have a ton of wholesale dyeing to do in December, so if you see something you like get it asap!

Have a great Monday (if it's possible)!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Week O' Thanks & Contest #3

One Last Edit: I'm *not* going to draw on Friday. I'm too sick and I have too much to do, and I'm sorry! But I will draw and announce the winner on Monday with the last contest question. Have a great holiday, ya'll.

ETA: The
Fearless Knitting KAL is up (though very rough)!

****If you're Jess or Casey, move along. This is not the blog you're looking for...****

I don't know about you guys, but this time of year makes me a real sap. I think it's good to be reminded of all the things we're truly grateful for as often as possible, though a full on holiday is a nice reminder too! It really irks me that Turkey Day gets pushed to the side in the commercialization of Christmas. This year, the decorations in our town were up at Labor Day. September 4th, people. Halloween barely had a chance, and Thanksgiving is relegated to "fall themed" dinner plates and napkins with turkeys on them. Lame.

Anyway, aside from all the usual stuff I'm thankful for this year (Nate, good friends, family, our furr babies, sanity, etc), I'm especially thankful for Ravelry. It's a place I visit several times a day, and I often spend hours reading the forums. I've been wanting to give back for a while, so I advertised on the site, though that helps me far more than it gives to Jess and Casey.

Some folks on the boards have cooked up something special here for Thanksgiving. Seriously, go check it out. There are cool avatars for Thanksgiving (or, Ravatars, if you will) and a special thank you thread and donation plan. The link above has all the info on how and when to donate for the special day. I plan to give, but no dollar amount would truly reflect the gift that Jess and Casey have given me. I love that site!

This week's question is: If you're on Ravelry, what are your three most favorite aspects, the things you're most grateful for? Communities/Groups? Forums? The Notebook? Pattern searches? If you're not on Ravelry, are you on the list? What do you hope to find when your invite comes?

As always, you have until Thursday night at midnight to comment
(I know it's a holiday, so get your answer in early!) . Mention the contest on your blog and/or refer folks for extra entries. On Friday I'll randomly draw a winner and post a pic of the skein of yarn and the winner's name. No hints this time! Good luck!

My favorite things on Ravelry change pretty often. The ability to look at friends' queues makes me really happy. I love seeing what sparks another person's interest, and I'll often add things to my queue from other queues. I'm especially thankful for my own queue. God knows I'd never find anything or remember that I wanted to knit something without it.

I love the diversity of the groups and forums. I love that most issues rarely become inflammatory, but I also love reading about those that do (especially the Big Issues/Debate board...thanks Carrie, I'm totally addicted). I like that in general there's a feeling of good will and helpfulness in the forums. That feeling is a real gift, cause I know as well as ya'll do that shit can get ugly fast in a forum!

Most importantly, I'm thankful for Jess and Casey (and Bob too) for creating the site. It is truly an ingenious work of art, and even my networking hubby thinks it's pretty awesome. And it's hard to impress this man with computer stuff. Very hard.

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone! Hug your families and furr babies for me!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Friday, Friday, Friday!

Wow, thanks for to all of you who participated in this week's contest!

It seems like there were several themes to our knitting technique fears. Lots of you are intimidated by Fair Isle, entrelac, steeking, and socks!

I'm resolving to get over my entrelac, Fair Isle and steeking fears starting in 2008. I have too much personal and Christmas knitting to finish before then, but here's my plan: I'm going to choose a project for each of these three categories and I'm going to learn them in succession. Trial and error is fine, so is ripping back. I'm going to put the pressure on myself to learn these things by coming up with a goal, but at the same time I'm going to take the pressure off by relaxing, buying cheap yarn for the projects (or better, using stash), and not being worried about the outcome.

Don't we all feel some sort of desire to not only knit and learn new things, but to have everything we produce be fabulous? Maybe it's just me. I want everything that comes off my needles to be as glam and fab as possible, and I think that holds me back when it comes to new techniques. So in my learning processes with these new things, I'm letting go of the results. Beginners mind, right? If I hadn't done the exact same thing when I first started knitting I never would have gotten anywhere!

My question for you guys is this: If I start a KAL based on conquering knitting fears, would any of you be interested? Should I just focus on one technique or should it be a free for all?

I searched the interwebs for good places to start with each of these big fears and I've included some links to good places for information on getting started with each. I hope this helps some of you overcome your trepidations!

Fair Isle:
Knitting Help (video!)
Eunny's Tips & Tricks (awesome tips)
Headbands (cute small pattern, thanks Madge!)

Eunny's Steeking Chronicles (details)
Knitty's Steeking article (more details)
Jared's pictorial (great pictures)

Silver's Sock Class (excellent online class)
Socks Compendium (great resource links)
Knitty's Socks 101 (excellent walkthru)

Forest Path KAL (these ladies culled a lot of resources so I linked them directly)

And now, for the drumroll please.......

This week's winner is Kendyl!

Bet you'd like to see what you won, eh?

Walking With a Ghost!

It's a light silver semisolid, and in this instance it's dyed on a merino/silk/nylon silver yarn. YUM. Kendyl, email me your address and I'll have it out to you tomorrow!

I'll have some up in the Etsy shop today!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 12, 2007

A Day Trip and Contest Question #2

Happy Monday! Hope your weekend was great. My Saturday was spent in gorgeous Helen, GA.

The weather was perfect and the photographic opportunities were numerous. I met my brother, sister-in-law and some friends, and we hiked up to Anna Ruby Falls to do a photography assignment for their class. I tagged along hoping to learn something. What I learned is that I need a photography class. And a tripod. I added a bunch of stuff to my Amazon wishlist today!

They were working on shutter speed and taught me a few tricks.

Here is my original picture:

And here's the same location after messing with my shutter speed. Pretty! (Don't ask about settings, I haven't the first clue.)

There were lots of folks around, but I was able to get a few shots with no one in them. This is the overlook bridge.

And this is the path leading up to the falls. So lovely.

And you can't have the mountains in fall without some gorgeous leaves.

Anna Ruby Falls and some more shutter speed action. Woo! If you click on the link above, you'll see what the falls *should* look like. At least there's some water, but this is so sad.

But still pretty.

Now, on to the knitting content! I've been working on Nate's Cobblestone sweater off and on and I'm just now on the 3rd ball of yarn. There isn't really much to photograph, so I haven't taken pics of it yet. Maybe when it grows some more. I have until his birthday, 2 days before Christmas, to finish and I think I'll make it. Nate loves it already and is practically standing over me while I'm knitting hoping it will be done soon. I update him on how many balls of yarn are left (13) and he gets a sort of sad face and walks away. Eventually, my love.

Unfortunately there are a few other projects demanding to be knit, and even more I'd love to cast on for in the middle of the night, totally exhausted and bound to screw it up, but that's how bad I want them on my needles. Some of them are a little intimidating though. By now I shouldn't ever be intimidated by knitting, but some projects make me drool and hesitate at the same time. I love a challenge and I want to try new things, but I'm also aware of my frustration level and my tendency to put a project into the basket o' shame when I reach my limit with a new technique (or sometimes just the pattern in general).

I've added two projects to my queue in Ravelry in the last few days in an attempt to try new things. The Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole is one of them. (Link goes to the fig and plum blog, since her photos are gorgeous.) I know I could totally rock some Entrelac (and rhyme in the process), but it freaks me out for some reason. I can't seem to wrap my brain around it. I know I could do it if I tried. But eek! All that picking up and sideways knitting!

Another is the Hanami Stole. I'd love to cast on for that thing right this second, provided I had the yarn, and knit just the Cherry Blossom section, but...I don't know what's stopping me. It's not that I can't or won't knit lace. It's a stunning pattern and I've bought, downloaded and printed it. I think it's my fear that I have no use for a stole/shawl/wrap sort of thing. And maybe that keeps me from starting Lady E also, except that I really don't have the yarn for either project. Oh darn, must go out to the LYS and fill up the stash again. Poo.

So my contest question this week is this:

Do you have any "dream" projects that you have trepidations about casting on? Does a new technique keep you from trying a pattern you love? Or do you just try everything, no matter what? Give an example!

Ok, leave a comment with your answer to enter to win this week's skein of yarn. You have until Thursday night at midnight! If you post about it on your blog you get an extra entry, and you get another every time you refer someone who mentions you.

This week's's a semisolid.

Good luck, and thanks for playing!

Friday, November 09, 2007

We Have a Winner!

***ETA: Seven Nation is now up in the shop!***

First, thanks to everyone who entered the contest! It was a lot of fun reading your answers. There are so many gauge rebels out there! Who knew?

(also, thanks for all the well wishes. i'm looking for a new doc along with a chiropractor and massage therapist...i need lots of work, lol.)

I'll have a new question posted on Monday, so get ready for another fun contest and a new colorway!

Now, down to business. Using's list randomizer, I plugged everyone in, plus their extra chances and the winner is....

Anna of Knitting Up a Storm!

Congrats, Anna! You've won a skein of Seven Nation Army! Email me your address and I'll send it right out!

This is a brand new colorway (props to Cher), and I'll have it up in the shop later today!

Also, I've fallen in love with my lightbox again. I got frustrated when I first made it, but I'm learning more about my camera (finally) and now it's a lot more fun! I'm going to go take pics of all the yarn I have dyed up and post the new pictures in the shop. Whee!

Have a great weekend everyone! I'll be in Helen, GA taking pictures with some friends and checking out the fall foliage! Oh...maybe I should cast on for my Foliage hat on the way...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Moving Forward, Awake

***Thanks everyone who has entered so far! You have until Thursday at midnight to enter if you haven't yet!*****

There are no pictures or knitting in this post, sorry. I've been debating posting about this for over a month now, but I figured I'd feel better if I just got it out.

The last year or so has been kinda rough for me physically. The past 3-4 months have been especially difficult. I've been sick at least once a month, sometimes more often, and I've used all my sick days at all my jobs for the last 2 years, even going over into my vacation time. Lately I've been dragging so bad that even though I have the motivation to work out I can barely make it to the treadmill, much less walk on it. It's affected every part of my life, and it sucks.

Generally, I'm tired. All the time. I feel damn near narcoleptic. I also have severe allergy symptoms so I get upper respiratory infections pretty regularly. I'm prone to vicious colds and the flu. I tell Nate that if I had been a pioneer woman I wouldn't have lasted very long. And the 16th century, with all the plagues? No way I'd have made it to 30.

But I've been doing pretty well this month, and I'm glad for it. I get so tired of being sick. I worry that people think I'm making it up or it's all in my head. I wish. I've been keeping very good notes about *when* I'm sick and in what ways and I've got a pretty good little chart going. I took it to my regular doctor and he says things like "oh well, you have allergies, so you're going to be weaker sometimes and get sick often". Um, ok, but surely there's more? It isn't *just* a cold or an upper respiratory infection, often it's other strange occurrences (I might go into those later, but for now they're not relevant). He keeps prescribing allergy meds, but I'm immune to all of them. Shots don't do anything either.

I've had blood work done in the last 3 months and I'm not anemic, diabetic, or hypoglycemic. I get a decent amount of sleep every night, but I could easily nap for 2-3 hours every day. I'm tired a LOT. And while yes, there's a certain element of laziness to me, I'm rarely too lazy to dye yarn or knit. When you find me on the couch passively watching TV with NO KNITTING in my hands, something is VERY wrong.

The last time I felt like a normal person I had taken two huge vitamins, 3 omega fats pills, 2 green tea pills (caffeine!), a sudafed, an allergy pill (just in case), and had a nice cold 32 oz diet coke (more caffeine!!). That was breakfast. By lunch I felt like a million bucks. Sure my pee was neon green, but hey, I felt amazing! Well, awake at least, which was an improvement.

A few weeks ago I saw my obgyn for another opinion. I guessed that it's hormonal. She said that a hormone test would be inconclusive since they fluctuate all day long, and I'm on a pill so it would be very unusual for it not to be working properly. So they siphoned off some of my precious blood to do a few tests (I'm kinda protective of it, cause the evil needles wantses it all!).

Heard back from her in the last two weeks. I'm officially diagnosed with PMS (ok, there's a hint at those other symptoms). HAR! Who knew there was an actual diagnosis?!? And possibly PMDD. Oh dear god, I'm not that girl. I'm just sleepy! And a little grumpy sometimes.

There's also a severe B12 deficiency. B12?!?! That's it? A freaking vitamin? Um. Yes. But the deficiency can lead to anemia and it looks like my iron was on the low side this time. She also mentioned that maybe my body isn't absorbing the B12 I get regularly and it could be an intestinal issue. Yay. So she put me on a new BC pill for the crazies and a pretty serious vitamin dosage for the fatigue. I go back in 8 weeks to see if I'm making progress. If not, there may be scans of whatever variety on my intestines, and prozac for the wackiness. Sweet.

While it's good to have a better idea of what's going on with me, I'm so glad that thanks to my mega dose of vitamins and new BCP I'm starting to feel like a normal person again. It's like coming out of a 3 month long coma. I know I did things, like go to work and be somewhat social, and sometimes I could even get in a run or two, but man I feel like I slept through most of it.

I still want a nap some days, but I'd like to think that's normal. On Sunday I actually worked in the yard. I haven't done that since March! Then I exercised. I shocked myself with how much energy I had! Of course I took a nap later, but it was good while it lasted.

I'm looking forward to getting a run in today, and then dyeing massive amounts of yarn!

Monday, November 05, 2007

An FO and Contest Question #1

And a very happy Monday to all of you! I tend to dislike Mondays, so I'll usually grab something caffeinated on the way in to work, read some email and blogs to wake myself up, and then get moving on to the actual work part of work. Today is different because I'll be in meetings all morning, and then I have to jaunt off to the lovely DMV to get my license renewed. Yay.

Before all that though, I have an FO to share. I finally finished my Socktoberfest project, though I'm a few days late.

Meet Tyrolean Stockings. These are my favorite socks EVER.

Forgive the blur. In my excitement I didn't really care about picture quality. Also, one sock is not actually taller than the other. Posing is not so important to me either.

The closeup is better!

These socks are wonderful. I still can't believe I made them. They just look so very cool. And the Swish Superwash is WARM.

Pattern: Tyrolean Stocking, Interweave Knits, Fall 2007.
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Superwash (worsted) in Camel Heather, 3.5 skeins
Needles: Knit Picks Classic Circulars, US2.
Gauge: eh, whatever
Result: Super happy!

And now to the part you're really here for.

Here's the first question of the month. Leave a comment answering the question to be entered into Friday's drawing for a free skein of Lotus Yarn! Per your request, the prize will be a surprise until Friday! I'll give you a hint's a new colorway. Feel free to post about the contest on your own blog. The more folks you send over, the more chances you get to win.

Question: You can see by my project details above that I don't always pay that much attention to gauge. How often do you knit a gauge swatch? Be honest now. Every time you plan a project? Do you wash and block too? Maybe you check your gauge on the fly. Cast on, knit for a while, then check and see how close you are, and rip out when you're way off. Or are you a 'fly by the seat of your pants' kind of knitter who never checks gauge. It will fit someone right?

Leave a comment with your answer!

Friday, November 02, 2007

good grief

I'm having a very Charlie Brown sort of day, and I'm beginning to wonder if Lucy will let me pay a nickle for her services. If only all shrinks were so cheap. You get what you pay for though...

Yesterday Nate got his annual "Happy Birthday, pay your taxes" bill from the tag office, which made me realize that I never got one in September. So I raced out to my car to discover that indeed my tag is expired as of Halloween. Shit.

So today I get in my car to drive out to the dreaded tag office to relieve myself of $200. They ask for my license and insurance. Right. Those would be important. Managed to find my license. It too is expired. My insurance card is nowhere to be found. Dear gods, someone get me off the streets, I'm clearly an insane person who can't keep up with anything. Thankfully I don't have kids. They'd be jumping on a trampoline with scissors and eating candy with razorblades.

Paying better attention to my life might be a good course of action here. Ahem.

I'll start on Monday.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Positive Karma and a Contest

First, I want to thank all of you who contributed to my Habitat for Humanity fund! Together we raised over $300!! You guys are great! Thank you so much!

November represents a time for us to be thankful. I'm thankful for so many things in my life, not the least of which is you guys! I've made so many great friends through this blog and Ravlery, and it's such a pleasure to get to know all of you. You enrich my life in ways you'll never know!

To honor your greatness, I'm going to hold a month-long contest. Each week of November (that's FOUR whole chances) I'm going to give away a skein of yarn! I'll ask a question on each Monday, you reply in the comments and I'll draw a winner on the following Friday. Easy enough, right?

The first week's contest question goes up on the 5th!

However, I have a question before we get started: Do you want to see what's up for grabs each week or would you like it to be a surprise?

Also, these were delivered to me at work today, because I'm awesome. And because a student made a very big mistake and this is the very expensive apology. Mostly cause I'm awesome though.

Enjoy your virtual flowers! Have a great Thursday!