Thursday, July 22, 2010

What's this? Email from Pam Allen?!!

 Remember this post telling you about this drawing?

I really feel like one of the luckiest knitters in the world right now, so excuse me while I gush for a minute....I'm so excited!!  I checked email last night and there was a message from Pam Allen at Quince and Co. notifying me that I won their random drawing.  I enter these things never expecting to win, so it was a more than pleasant surprise!  It really made my day to hear back from her again this morning when she wrote to say I can choose which 10 skeins of yarn I would like to receive, along with the other items in the prize.

I've always been a fan of Pam Allen.  She was the editor of Interweave Knits magazine while I was learning to knit and her work was always inspirational.  Now, she, and her two business partners, have created a company with a conscience, manufacturing yarn in a "earth- and labor-friendly" way.  If interested you can read more about it here.
And I've grown to be a big fan of Cecily MacDonald, who is one the people designing for Quince and Co. 

Given all of that I can't wait to get my hands on the new yarn!

So, I'm off to peruse the Quince and Co. patterns as well as my Ravelry Favorites list.   I'll keep you posted about further details.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer Knitting

Thank you everyone, for your kind comments after my last post.  Raven is missed, but our other dog, Roxy, is now getting twice the attention and treats.

Since then, between gardening and houseguests, I've only squeezed in bits of knitting here and there.  I did mail off the pair of socks I'd been knitting for afghans for Afghans, along with a 2nd pair from Angie.  Yay Angie! 
Here's my FO, yet another pair of Priscilla's Dream Socks, this time knit in Lorna's Laces sport weight yarn in the "Glenwood" colorway. 

Although I love Lorna's Laces, and I don't think I'll ever tire of the Priscilla's Dream Sock pattern, I'm not thrilled with how the color pooling changes from the foot to the leg of the sock.  Still, I hope they help keep someone warm this winter.

I started the next pair on my not-so-secret birthday sock list.  Back to beautiful Malabrigo sock yarn:

After being encouraged to do so, (Thanks Jeanne!), I decided to try a method of knitting 2 socks on one long circular needle.  I can see the benefits of getting both socks done at the same time.  Both will turn out the same, and no 2nd sock syndrome.   It does seem like I am fidgeting with my needles a bit more than when I use the magic-loop method on one sock at a time, but that may be just because I am getting used to something new.  I'm going to stick with it and see how I like it after some more practice.

Lastly, I have to share this cute baby gift that was a perfect quick summer knitting project.

Pattern:  Greenleaf Baby Hat (Ravelry link) by Evelyn Uyemura
Source:  available for free from Lost The Thread
Materials:  1 skein of Be Sweet Bambino Taffy, and US 6 needles

The only drawback of this project is that this yarn has a knot tied at each color change.  If I had known about this ahead of time, I may not of bought the yarn, yet I'm happy I did.  It is soft and colorful, perfect for a baby gift.  In addition to being able to make a cute hat, buying this yarn supports a company that creates jobs for women in South Africa.  You can read more about the Be Sweet company mission here.  And really, now that the hat is finished, the knots don't seem to be a problem. 
I'm off to wrap the gift.  I hope you all are enjoying summer and maybe squeezing in a little knitting.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Story of Raven

I grew up with dogs, including a big black collie named Raven.   Throughout college and my first few years of working and parenting, I knew I wanted to have dogs in my life again when the time was right.  When we finally moved into a house with a yard ten years ago, I started volunteering every week at our local Humane Society, with the goal of finding a dog to adopt.  At the time, our son was only 4 yrs. old, and I wanted to find a big dog that could be good with kids.  That dog turned out to be a great big shepherd-akita cross that had been brought in as a stray.  By adopting him, we saved his life, as he was due to be euthanized.  We let our son choose his name, and he named him Raven after my childhood pet.  We all fell in love with him. 
My friend at the shelter took this photo the day we brought him home:

At first, he did behave like the gentle giant he had been in the shelter.  But he had come home untrained, underweight, and with a case of kennel cough.   We were told to keep him from being active, and we had to feed him medication hidden in treats multiple times each day.  Along with other dog-training mistakes we were making, our treatment of him turned out to be a perfect recipe for making him think he was the dominant force in the household.  After a few months, smart guy that he was, he was behaving like he was boss, including guarding his food. 
By that time, he was healthy, and I had been taking him to obedience classes back at the same local Humane Society.  So I asked Carla Jackson, one of the trainers, to come to the house to see him in action and give us advice.  To my surprise, he snapped at her hand while she was teaching us how to train him out of the food-guarding behavior.  She was immediately concerned about him being a danger, and asked to bring him home to work with him.  Luckily for him, and for us, he was a quick learner.  With her help, he got another chance at being a family dog.  Once we understood how to show him he was not the leader of the pack, he was once again a lovable big lug, a beautiful teddy bear of a dog.  I continue to see Carla, as she boards dogs as well as trains them, and Raven would always wag his tail excitedly as we neared her house to drop off the dogs before a trip.
Ever since, he was a wonderful part of the family.  He won over the affection of my husband, who was never a dog person before we brought Raven home.  He loved to play fetch with our son.  He would always crack us up when we were playing a board game at the kitchen table. . . he was so big that he could scratch his back by walking under the table, and his curled up wagging tail would sweep the game tokens off the board.  He would even behave submissively towards our cats, as if trying to show he just wanted to be friends.  Seeing his exuberance at the sight of his leash, and watching him happily roll around in a patch of snow on a hike, was worth all of the slobbering and shedding he managed to do around the house.  And when we adopted another dog, they became an inseparable, matched set.

He lived a full life, but his death this week was still unexpected.  I wish I could take him for one more walk, and give one more peanut butter treat.  We'll miss him, but we will always be grateful he got another chance, and that he was part of our family.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Returning Home to my Sock Obsession

I'm back from visiting with my brother, sister-in-law, and 3 nephews on the East Coast.  Who knew you could have such a fabulous vacation in New Jersey?  My son and I were treated like royalty.  We walked on the boardwalk, ate seafood with a view of the ocean, and saw a small town 4th of July parade.  We swam, sunbathed, boogie boarded, and saw dolphins at the shore. 

We canoed in the nearby river, paddling by lobster traps and watching jellyfish swim by. 

We really felt like we were in New Jersey with a visit to the race track, where a guy that could of stepped right out of "The Sopranos" asked us which horse we liked in the next race.  With all of the fun activities though, one of my favorite memories will always be just sitting and chatting after dinner, as the fireflies came out, and the four cousins played together.

I did knit on the airplane, (I was so happy that my knitting needles got through security!) but I came home with just one sock.  Ironically, the jetlag helped me get through the mild case of 2nd sock syndrome.  It was still the holiday weekend when I got home somewhat sleep-deprived, so I took it easy around the house, and powered through the most of the 2nd sock.  I've decided that I really like the toe-up method for it's speed, and I'll be sending this pair off for the afghans for Afghans sock campaign very soon.

Here are some patterns I'm thinking about for my next pair which will be Angie's birthday gift.
She mentioned that she is interested in Wendy D. Johnson's patterns so I perused Ravelry and found these:
Nanner Socks - The pattern on WendyKnits doesn't have any photos, so here is a link to finished Nanner socks made with Malabrigo Sock yarn.
Rivulets Socks - Ravelry link is here.
Halcyon Socks - Ravelry link is here.

Here are a couple of other patterns I want to knit sometime, but it doesn't have to be for this pair:
Embossed Leaves, from Interweave Knits, Winter 2005
Angee, from Sock Innovation by Cookie A.

I know you said I could choose which ones to knit, but do you have a favorite?  (And don't forget to act surprised when they are done!)