Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pre-Travelitis

I've been feeling completely overwhelmed this week with planning and packing for our Bahamas trip. I should be getting excited, feeling grateful to be going at all and carefully cleaning the house before we leave in 9 days. Am I feeling or doing any of those things? No.

I'm a list-maker, so I'm going to list what's bothering me:

1. No matter how many times I clean the house and do laundry for the trip (not wanting to do everything the day before, of course), everyone keeps on wearing clothes, eating and using the toilet. Okay...it may not be their fault, but it IS annoying.

2. I was amazed at how much little stuff I use everyday...toiletries, accessories and sh*t....contact lense case/saline/glasses, cleanser, moisturizer, scented lotion, deoderant, qtips, toothpaste/toothbrush, perfume, powder, razors, soap, shampoo, foundation/eyeliner/lipgloss/blush, and brush/comb/hair dryer. It's a bit crazy, isn't it? Nevertheless, I cannot do without any of them (well, maybe the powder or hair dryer....) so I've been trying to get those on a list for packing.

3. I'm sick over the amount of money I need to spend BEFORE the trip....new shoes, dresses, beachwear, bathing suit and wrap, etc. I thought we spent enough on the trip itself, but we haven't even left yet and I still have to buy our clothes (including new shorts and polo shirts for Ian). It's frightening!

4. The only slightly easy thing has been planning my knitting. The first thing I did was to order the new Knit Picks Harmony circulars for my sock knitting. They are sooo cute! That way, I can take my sock project on the plane and be happy listening to the lovely, soothing voice of Brenda of Cast On and the fantastic and spunky Marly of Yarn Thing podcast. They are definitely coming with me on my trip : )

5. And, lastly, there is the pool to close, the cat box and bunny box to clean out, the wood to stack and groceries to buy for the kiddies/my parents while we are away.

hysterical and unreasonable sobbing

Okay, I'm alright now....

One other sad thing to mention. I'm going to stop doing the Sleepy Eyes Knits podcast in October. I started last year in October and really think it's time to quit. Working at the yarn store, teaching yoga, spending time with the family and knitting/spinning is taking up all my energy and time...and I feel like it's not as rewarding as it was before.

(I've looked over the downloads and I was happy to see that I've gotten an average of 2000 downloads per month. That's pretty cool.) But, this is what I'd like to do. I'd like to end the podcast with a HUGE BANG and I'm asking for people to send me some great ideas/questions/essays/funny knitting stories/comments to me and let my last podcast be totally great. What do you think?

Can you help????

On another, happier, note, I have some pictures to share with you:

-The wonderful Julie and fantastic Patti from the Yarn Sellar at our Friday Night Knitting group last week. (oh, the fun we had!)



and



-The beauitful Jackie in her newly finished Children of the Liur stole:



-The Group at the Yarn and Fiber Co. last week:



-The yummifying Socks That Rock yarn that Ericka and I ordered last week. Front to back: Backstabber (mine!), Puck's Mischief and Tide Pool (Ericka's). I send Ericka a silly "yarn blackmail" email, too...so go and check out her blog to see how she responded!



(I have three FO's that I'd like to share, but I'm waiting faithfully for Friday....just in case I have no idea what to blog about...though they are already up on Ravelry.)

Anyone have any suggestions for my Pre-Travelitis?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

New Podcast- Episode 14 Playing Catch Up....and Bahama Shopping!

Hey everyone, guess what??? The NEW podcast is up!!!

It's called: "Playing Catch Up" and you can download it three ways:

1. Click HERE.

2. Go to the sidebar on the right, scroll down to the Sleepy Eyes Knits Podcasts and click on #14 link.

3. Go to iTunes or Podcast Alley, search for "Sleepy Eyes Knits" podcast and subscribe/download the latest episode. (If you had a subscription before, but weren't getting updates, try completely unsubscribing, wait a minute and then resubscribing. Don't know why it works, but it does.)

I would love some feedback on the episode and what things you'd like to hear for the next one. I accept stories, jokes, and can answer any questions you submit....well, at least try to. LOL!

(Sponsor and music links on right sidebar under "Sponsors")

And, you know what else????

Ian and I are going on a MUCH needed vacation in the beginning of October (sans kids!!) with the company Ian works for: Newpoint Technologies. If you click on the link, you'll see a computer screen with a sample of their software on it...Ian designed that! Pretty cool, huh?

Anyway, we haven't been on vacation in almost 5 years, so I'm soooo excited. I am frantically trying to find clothes and things to bring with me, as well as figuring out what knitting I should take.

I think I've decided to take the Poseidon Sock Kit with me and maybe some lace. What do you think? This sock pattern looks like so much fun and the hand dyed yarn is comes with is so soft and very pretty....a semi solid of pale turquoise. Lovely!

Next on my list was finding a feminine, short sleeve, cool dress to wear one of those hot Bahama nights. Here is a cute one that I found:



Like?

I also needed shoes. Gorgeous, sexy, high heels to wear with my Sahara sweater on the first night (there is a fancy dinner party). I begged Jackie to take me shoe shopping because she has the BEST taste in shoes. We went to Off Broadway Shoes and I got a pair of pale bronze thong sandals that glisten and slightly shine to wear with my chocolate brown swimsuit (oh, no....I forgot to take pics of those!)...and I also got THESE:



Aren't they fantastic?? I couldn't decide which picture looked better of them on my feet, so I'm showing all three. You decide. (It's very difficult to take a pic of your own feet, unless you have one of those "feet mirrors", which I don't.)

Side pic:



Front pics:



and



They are a bit hard to walk in, but actually very comfortable just on when I'm sitting. I'm not used to thin high heels, I usually get chunky ones. Guess I'll have to practice, huh?

I also got a new winter hat yesterday at TJMaxx. I don't usually wear red, but this cloche (Jackie, is this a cloche?) just called my name. I'm going to try to find a red wool or alpaca yarn and knit a long, cabled scarf (and mittens) to go with it. Please, I need suggestions!!! Please email or leave a comment with your suggestion for patterns. I need help!



Okay, you think I'm crazy with this hat, right? I know, it's a bit old fashioned, but I love it. I've been reading all of the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear (They're awesome!) and Maisie is usually wearing a hat like this on the cover. Yes, I want to be Maisie Dobbs....LOL!



and



Good? Bad? Shall I give it up? Or do you think I can pull it off?

I also wanted to show you an update of my Sahara. I've got to knit the hip part until it's 24" and it's about 20" now. It doesn't look that long because it's on the needles, but it's coming along nicely. I will definitely have done before we leave, but I keep getting interrupted with other knitting projects, so I keep putting it aside.



And, finally, here is the new Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn, Sock It To Me, that I dyed up....I'm calling it "Ecstacy". I was going for a semi-solid blues colorway. This yarn is super soft!



Last, but perhaps not least...a few pics (from my pamphlet) of the place we're staying at in the Bahamas.

The Resort:



The Pool/Beach Area:



The Room:



Where I'll be:



Soooo......who wants to stow away in my luggage? I may have room for 1 or 2 knitters....

Friday, September 14, 2007

FO Friday: New Sleepy Eyes Patterns!!!

I'm SUPER excited to share two new Sleepy Eyes Patterns with you today. The first, is named after one of my closest friends, Laurin aka "La La", whose love of the Karabella "Boise" yarn (and the color purple) inspired me to design these mittens. (Well....also a new shipment of this yarn to Yarn and Fiber Co....he he)

The second pattern was a wonderful opportunity to spin up some of Sereknity's gorgeous hand painted fibers....which was a pleasure to spin as well as to feel. I used the handspun yarn to create a simple, but beautifully elegant scarf pattern...which reminded me very much of the owner/creator of Sereknity, my dear friend Heather.

Below are the new patterns and descriptions. Please feel free to download both (links on right under Sleepy Eyes Patterns) and I would love for you to email me pics of your finished projects. Both are also listed on Ravelry, so I'd love some comments on the patterns there, as well.

La La Mittens



Scrumptious, orgasmic yarn and a simple slip stitch cable pattern make these mittens perfect for a holiday gift for that very special someone. Takes only 1 skein of Karabella "Boise" and size 5 or 6 needles. Luxury and beauty without breaking the bank!

Note: I used size 5 needles because I am a pretty loose knitter, so try both in a gauge swatch and see which size is closer to the gauge. The pattern is written so that it's easily adaptable for dpns, 2Circs and Magic Loop. (I used ML for test knitting these.) The size shown is the smallest size, but comes in a larger size as well. The mitten is easily made longer on the wrist/arm by adding an extra inch or two to the cuff and making another repeat of the slip cable pattern on top of the hand. Very adaptable for any size hand.




Roman Princess Scarf



A perfect scarf pattern for your handspun yarn (or any light bulky yarn you are keeping for something unique/special) and knits up especially well with handspun of a semi-solid colorway. The ribbed/drop stitch/cross pattern is very elegant, but also simple and easy to remember. If you've been dying to try knitting up a project with your handspun or one skein of luxury yarn, this would be it. Looks wonderful for any occasion....I've even made a couple to go with various outfits I have. You deserve to feel like a Princess for a day!



Note: I used Sereknity's hand painted fiber in the "Bonfire" colorway for this pattern. I fell in love with this fiber and the way it transitioned from one subtle color to the next. Also visit her Etsy Shop for more fibers. For the pink scarf, I used a handspun angora/merino, which creates a soft, fuzzy halo the more you wear it. Very quick to knit!



And, finally, I finished spinning up, setting and finishing my handspun that I created from Oceans of Fiber's "Geronimo" wool/mohair blend. Did I tell you how much I enjoyed spinning that fiber? I MUST get more of this in another colorway. It practically spun itself!



What do you think? It came out to be almost 190 yards of 2 ply light worsted. I'm planning on knitting Tim a hat for the winter with it, to match the green mittens I'm making him in November (Month of Mittens!!!). I'm calling this yarn, "The Jolly Green Giant".

And, now, onto my two in-progress spinning projects:

1. Sereknity's "Lilacs in Bloom", 50%lambswool/50% angora fiber. I'm spinning it at a fine wpi....probably between laceweight and fingering. It's softer than clouds and I can't wait to feel the finished yarn when it's done. Sooo lovely.



2. Sereknity's "Smouldering Embers", romney/corridale/merino/leicester lamb/silk blend in such rich, deep colors. This yarn will end up being a bit "tweedy" and since some of the fibers are a bit on the short side, I'm spinning it more of a sportweight single at the moment. I'm in love with the way it's coming out and think that this might make a really gorgeous sock yarn for the winter, once I'm done with it.



After I finish these two, I still have to finish poor Donna's Ashland Bay merino from WEBS and I'm DYING to spin up more Lambie Locks (in aqua and fushia) from Oceans of Fiber. Mmmm.....

Having a bit more trouble with my "tennis elbow" and it gets worse the more I knit. I'm trying desperately to finish up my Sahara and Tim's sock is just about at the toe. I'm frustrated because, after organizing all of my pattern collection, I realized how many fantastic patterns I have and want to knit and.....THERE'S NEVER ENOUGH TIME!!!!

I guess I could stop reading, but....that would be MADNESS! I tell you, MADNESS! Speaking of reading and books, Laurin has finally enabled ME for once and got me to join the new site, Good Reads, which is like Ravelry for bookworms. Not quite as spectacular, but I'm addicted none-the-less and have been going there almost as much as on Ravelry. Eeek! If you're ever on there, add me as a friend- I've love to see what you're reading.....

Okay, well, it's almost time to get ready for work and, if you can believe it, I am REALLY excited about it! Well, of course you can believe it. The Yarn and Fiber Co. is soo great. Remember, if you're ever in the area (Exit 3 off of Rt. 93 in NH), please pop in for knitting and shopping on a Friday night. Would love to see you!

Have a great weekend! G : )

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mom and Dad

Tomorrow, for FO FRIDAY, I have two new patterns to show you.

But, for today, I have pics of my mom and dad from the wedding.....

Here is my beautiful mom with her fantastic new haircut (Mom, you look so pretty!) and wearing the lace shawl I knit for her:



And here is my handsome dad in his kick-ass outfit as best man for his friend, Joe. Dad, you look fan-tast-ic!



The only complaint I have is that neither of them is reallly SMILING...and my dad looks a bit menacing....don't cross him, dammit! LOL!

I am thrilled to see these pics...I only wish there was a pic of the two of them together! They just celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary last month and it's so wonderful seeing them all "gussied up".

Love you, Mom and Dad!

Monday, September 10, 2007

In Loving Memory: Mr. B, 1995-2007



We've had a very sad and difficult morning. Our wonderful and loving cat, Mr. B, was diagnosed with severe kidney failure and had to be put to sleep. We've had Mr. B since Tim had just turned 4 years old...over 10 years...and I can't imagine our family without him. He was there through all our big family events, celebrations, sadnesses and joys. From the very beginning, he was a shy and very frightened cat. His past family had abandoned him outside and he was thin, malnourished and alone. When we took him in, it took a very long time for him to warm up to us and even hold him. It's been a wonder the past few years to see him really and truly become a friendly and sociable cat. He especially loved our friends, Scott (who was HIGHLY allergic to him), Matt, Jackie, GiGi, Heather and Ericka...those who always gave him a good petting and love when they visited.

It's been even harder losing Mr. B because we lost poor, sweet Little Miss Tubbsie (our angora bunny) at the beginning of the year. Going to the vet today was almost an exact replay of the last time and I had a really hard time holding it together. Ian's always got to be the strong one and I am so grateful for that. He had to go and pick Tim up at school and take him over to the vet....Mr. B was more Tim's cat than anyone else's....and I knew he wouldn't want to come home and find him gone without being able to say goodbye.

Mr. B was a quiet, loving and soothing cat to have as part of our family and I will miss him so, so much. The house feels so empty without him and just "not-quite-right". Seeing Tim break down and deeply cry was almost unbearable for me and hugging him was all I could do to keep us sane. I haven't even told Ben yet.

We've got a lock of his fur and we took him home so that we can bury him in our backyard. I feel a bit angry at the universe that this is the second pet we've lost this year and that our backyard is becoming a pet cemetary. After a whole childhood of not having a pet and losing two in the span of 9 months is very, very hard.

Please send loving thoughts towards Mr. B and his passing on to a better, painfree life with chicken aplenty, catnip socks 24 hours a day and caring arms to hold him when he's lonely. We love you, Mr. B and we'll miss you more than you'll know.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I Love My Job!

Have I told you the news???? I'm now working at the Yarn and Fiber Company in Windham, NH. And, you know what? I LOOOOOOOVVVVE it!!!

Cyndi...the fabulous and "boss from heaven" Cyndi...helped me learn the cash register and credit card machine on Wednesday (the last time I used one, I was 18 and working in a gun store) and showed me all around the shop. (The mock shopping spree she did so I could try out the routine was very funny.....)

The shop, of course, is fantastic...with all my favorite yarns and patterns. It's just the right combination of faint music, the smell of yarn and fiber, big table with comfy chairs and....best of all...the friendliest people. Truly. They go out of their way to help you with anything and answer any questions you have.

Nancy, one of my coworkers on Saturday, has been super helpful...showing me how to stock online orders and been very supportive and wonderful. Hannah is a sweetheart and, please don't let her pretty and youthful face fool you...she knows yarn, patterns and knitting...so make sure you don't overlook her when she says, "Do you need help with something?" She is my lifesaving angel on Saturdays when I make a mistake on the cash register, have no idea where something is or have an avalanche of Rowan Kidsilk Haze drop on top of me for the fifth time. (I swear, that stuff is possessed!) I've only met a couple of other people who work there....Jerry (Cyndi's fiance) is hilarious and a whiz at the sock knitting machine I'm sure everyone else will be great, too.

On my first night, I hosted the very first "Yarn and Fiber Co. Knitting Group" and it was a great success. What a fun night....we, of course, knit...fondled the yarn, had dinner, fondled more, knit more and laughed and talked. I was blessed by the arrival of the Manchvegas Knitters....or more specifically....Lovely Laurin, Sexy Jackie, Hot Heather, Blogless Koigu Donna and Super Hands Sarah...(massage therapist, people!) Wanna see?

(L-R: Donna, Heather, Jackie, Sarah's forehead and Laurin)


(Laurin, I know you are going to kill me for showing the pic, but I just had to because it was so funny....and also 'cause you shared that narsty pic of me on your blog...even? LOL!)

And, I learned on Saturday that Donna (Chris' Mom, not Koigu Donna) tried to come to the shop, but went to the wrong place...so technically, she was there, too. Thanks, everyone, for being so supportive and hanging out with me on my first day!

I can't tell you how lucky I feel for having a job that I love with awesome people and one that is not too far from home. If you are ever in the area on a Friday night or Saturday, please come visit me! (oh, and buy stuff....)

On the knitting front, I haven't worked on the Sahara since last week, but will be working on it all this week. I've designed a new pattern, which I will be showing in the next blog and posting on Ravelry as well. I think you're going to like it. I hope!

On the spinning front, I am finishing up plying with my green Holly EQQ fiber (came out soo nice!) and am going to start my Sereknity batt...Smouldering Embers. Pics on the next post probably.

On the podcast front, I am finally, finally going to get the podcast out, so if you have unsubscribed or whatever, make sure to resubscribe to my podcast on iTunes. It seems to work better if you unsubscribe and then resubscribe every 6 months or something. Not sure why. It's only been, what, y-e-a-r-s?????

And a belated Happy Birthday to GiGi!!! Here's the cupcake I knit for her...what a fun project...



I will leave you with a pic of Ben wearing his new Ben10 costume for Halloween...he's been wearing it almost every single day for a week. Hopefully, it will still be in existence by Oct. 31st.



P.S. Don't forget to visit the Yarn and Fiber Company website!!! Happy Knitting! Did I tell you that I love my new job??

Monday, September 03, 2007

Fibergasm!



I finally got it!!! My Bee Fields Stole Kit from Wooly Wonka Fibers in the luscious colorway of "Buckwheat Honey". The price of the kit was very reasonable...great even....and I am so happy to finally have it. I'm not sure when I'll be starting it, but most likely in the later fall. (Which would actually be a great time to knit and wear it...)

I was thrilled to get another fantastic package in the mail last week. One of my all time favorite fiber gals, Holly EQQ, sent the fibers I ordered (plus a little extra something...which was so nice!) from her out-of-this-world shop, Oceans of Fiber.

Wanna peek?

GERONIMO

A brilliant, bright, and startling mix of greens...I love it! It's dyed using Brown Sheep's Wool/Mohair blend.



So easy to spin, though a bit "hairy". I love the way it's coming out. I'm actually almost done spinning it all up and just have to ply it. Not sure what I'll use it for, but I'm thinking either mittens for me or the kids.

PURPLE RAIN

A super shiny, silky soft parade of purples. You can't tell how shiny and soft this is. 100% Bamboo.



Once you try spinning bamboo, you won't be able to stop. Easier than spinning silk, as soft as silk and as shiny as tencel. I've almost spun up the other batch of bamboo I got from Holly last time....Bali Hai in peaches and pinks. A little goes a LONG way!

SKUNK

Yup, you read this correctly! S-k-u-n-k! And, no, it doesn't smell at all like one. I'm pretty sure it's just a wool blend, but it jumped right out at me and I just HAD to have it!



If anyone has any ideas of how I could spin this up, I'd love some suggestions. It will have to be something really special! The contrast of black and white is something I've never done before. A new experience....

And, if that weren't enough, Holly threw in some gorgeous deep purple locks for me. I love her locks!



(Forgive this picture...it looks a bit...intestinal, don't you think????)

My other treat was to pick up a skein of Heather's new colorway, "Pumpkin Patch". It's a soft, muted and beautiful color...in a bamboo/superwash merino/nylon blend! I can just imagine how wonderful it will be to knit this up. Mmmmmm.... You can check out some of her other 'selling-like-hotcakes' yarns and fibers here and here.



In the midst of "Weekend Madness" (Jackie knows what I'm talking about, right?), I had two ideas:

1. I must organize my patterns.

2. I must make a list of winter-knit-to-dos.

So, here is what I came up with:

1. Patterns- I bought 3 pretty 3 ring binders and I'm going to spend one day this week sorting through them all and putting them in appropriate catagories (yes, I'm very picky, perfectionist and...well, detail-oriented). I think some of the patterns are REALLY outdated and some I've totally forgotten I had. Before I go buying more, I think it's a good idea to just take stock...and then proceed. Anyone else thinking that, too?

2. Winter Knit To Dos- This is my list of things to knit before the end of the year...necessities in my mind. (These are totally new projects, not ones I've got OTN...like Tim and Ben's sweaters...sigh....)

*Mittens for Me (to match my Tassled Hat)
*Mittens for Tim
*Mittens and Hat for Ben
*Holiday Stockings for all 4 of us

Not sure if I'll be able to get ALL these done....with all the other things I need to do, but the mittens are pretty easy projects and I think I can do a "Month of Mittens" in November. Yeah! Actually, I will do a contest for it! So, start putting patterns and yarn aside...you can join me and win some free yarn to boot! What do ya say?? (I'll make a button that you can put up on your blogs, too.)

Is that all? Hmmmm....I think so. I just cooked a 3 lb. chicken with potatoes, carrots, and celery for lunch and now I'm sorting through the grosstastic stuff that's left so I can make homemade chicken soup for lunch tomorrow. YUM!