Tuesday, May 30, 2006


We are getting two alpaca! Well, not exactly us, but the in-laws are. They are going to be in the pasture right behind our house though.

Alpaca are so cute. And their fleece is so soft. Looks like I'm going to be learning a lot about alpaca.

I wonder if two alpaca can give you enough fleece to produce enough yarn to make a sweater? I guess I may have to learn how to spin after all.

I'm going to check out the The Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association website to get more information. Any one have any good resources about alpacas?

They are coming Friday so expect pictures over the weekend!

Spiral Socks - Sock One Almost Complete


The first Spiral Sock is nearing completion. I really like how the ribbing wraps around the sock. I think these will be ankle socks. The ribbing at the top isn't as tight as I'd like and I don't think it will hold up the sock on my leg. So I plan on folding over the ribbing at the ankle.

Now on to completing the first sock and on to the second. I've told myself that I can't start another project until these socks are done. I want to make a cardigan to wear at work in my cold, cold office. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Spiral Socks

I've started these spiral socks from the Sweater Workshop. It is a beginning knitting project that the author suggests for first time knitters. I'm new to knitting socks so I thought this would be a perfect start.

We are going up to Dallas for the weekend for Memorial Day and I wanted a small, portable project to work on.

I keep reading people's blogs that they always keeping a sock in their purse to knit. I thought that sounded strange at first. I imagine a small child pointing and saying, "Hey, Mom, look at the strange lady who just pulled a sock out of her purse." But now I get it. Socks are a great portable project.

I'm using Lion Brand Yarns Magic Stripes and I am totaly enthralled with the fact that it does make stripes magically with no thinking/planning on my part. It is fun to see it knit up. The color is #203 which has blues and purples (of course) in it. Yummy! Posted by Picasa

Entralac Wrap Complete

Pattern: Kalediscope Entralac Wrap
From: Encyclopedia of Knitting
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden #8
Needles: Denise Size 6

This was a fun knitting project. I had never done entralac before and the Noro is just perfect for it. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Tribute To My Dad

November 7, 1944 - May 23, 2004

Two years ago today my father passed away. This is what I wrote in my journal last year and read at his memorial:

My dad was one of the my best's friends. He was always there for me, treating me with respect, patience, and love. I wasn't always easy to get along with, as my mom and brother will surely attest, especially during my teens and early 20's, but my dad was always there for me and I knew I could turn to him when I needed support no matter what kind of support I needed.

My dad loved to cook and some of my fondest memories of him are in the kitchen or at the grill. He got better at it over the years and could prepare wonderful meals although we might not have guessed it as children when we had his famous "hockey pucks", the biggest and driest hamburgers you ever had. He was so proud of those burgers. I didn't know as a child how truly awful they were!!! He took it well when we joked about it later in life and he had expanded his cooking repertoire.

My dad really loved computers. One of the other early memories I had, besides those "great" burgers, was going to work with him when he was on call working as a computer programmer or operator in the early 70's. Here where these huge computers that my dad was in charge of. He put me in front of an 80-column card punch machine to play with and the transfer of his love of computers was passed on to me.

I am so happy to have had the opportunity to share our love of computers together over all these years. We worked together a couple of times. He could be a demanding boss but also understanding and patient.

I will miss my dad. He was so young, to young to be gone. But I'll always remember his laugh and his smile and his never ending optimism. He was my father and my best friend.


Saturday, May 20, 2006

Texas Fiber Event

I just got done posting the upcoming knitting and fiber related events on the Knitting News Cast website.

I plan on post each month's events as I come across them. This list is through the end of June.

It seems like all the upcoming events are everywhere but Texas. But I did find one that is being held in Houston at the end of August. It is Houston Knit at Night Guild.

It sounds like a great event. They are having a bunch of great knitting classes including:

  • Basic Lace
  • Modular Knitting
  • Knitting Socks
  • Crotchet For Knitters
  • Mobius Knitting

Registration for non-Knit at Night Guild members opened up on May 15th. I got to hurry before all the spaces run out!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Week End Plans

Yeah! It is Friday! Even though I only worked two days this week since mom was in town and flew out on Wednesday, I'm glad to be away from work.

Tomorrow, I'm heading back into Austin for an art get together day with some friends at Ava's house. I'm bringing my entralac wrap to work on. I bought another skein of Noro Silk Garden so that I can make it longer. Will post a picture of it in the next day or two. It is beautiful!!

I'm also bringing a few skeins of yarn to knit swatches from. I plan on reviewing about four or five different yarns on this week's episode. So far I've knitted up Blue Sky Bulky (50% alpaca, 50% wool), Di.ve' Fiamma (100% Wool), and Cascade Yarns Luna (100% Peruvian Cotton). I have 3 other yarns I'd like to include but I might wait on those until the next episode.

I've also been putting together my show notes for Sunday's Knitting News Cast podcast. I haven't been able to stick to my every other Sunday recording lately. I've only been able to record every third Sunday. I hope to get back to every other week starting in June after Memorial Day weekend.

I have been keeping up with knitting news though. I've posted several entries on the knitting news page. Most noteworthy are World Wide Knit In Public Day and the Knitting World Cup.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Secret Pal Exchanges Begin

I'm already having fun with my Secret Pal 8 and One Skein Secret pals. Both are women who live in California, one in northern and one in southern.

Both are new knitters, knitting for less then a year. So we are all at about the same experience level. But my Secret Pal 8 pal has also gotten into spinning and dying.

I'd like to try my had at dyeing. It seems like it is its own art form. But my time is limited between work, writing, and podcasting. I hardly have time for knitting!

And to my secret pals, I'm really looking forward to keeping in touch with you. I've already received nice e-mails from them. And look forward to the rest of the exchanges!

This is so much fun!

One Skein Questionaire Answers

1. Which yarn is most like your personality (you can be specific or general with your answer- brand, type, color, fiber, whatever)?
Non-novelty yarns. I'm not a fru-fru kinda gal although I like to throw in a little bit every once in a while. So solid color wool, cotton, wool blends, etc.

2. What is your favorite color yarn to knit/crochet with?
I like blues, greens and purples.

3. Have you ever used variegated, or magic, yarns?
I have used Noro for a felted Booga bag and for a entralac wrap I'm working on.

4. Do you tend to favor certain fibers when choosing yarns?
I like natural yarns like wool, cotton, or wool blends.

5. Do you prefer to work with center-pull or traditionally wound balls of yarn?
I like center pull, but traditionally wound balls are okay because I have a ball winder to make center pull balls.

6. Have you ever worked with organic yarns or are you interested in trying them?
Yes, I like the blue sky organic cotton and wool, especially the alpaca (so soft, but expensive)

7. How many and what projects have you made in the last year?
10 - 20, I think. I've made 6 or so scarves and hats. Several felted bags, a couple of sweaters. I'm working on a wrap right now.

8. Will you be knitting any gifts this year?
Yes. I'm making the clutch from the one skein book that is made with lamb's pride bulky. They have great colors and they knit up fast. I plan on using them as gift bags and fill them up with little samples of bath and beauty products and some chocolate.

9. What is your favorite one skein project?
I love the felted clutch. And I really enjoyed making one of the cabled scarfs. I think the cupcakes are cute but I don't think I'll make one (but I'd love to receive one!)

10. How much yarn do you have in your stash and how do you store it?
When I started knitting last year, I told myself I would only buy enough yarn for my current project and I would do one project at a time. Of course, that didn't work out. I have a rolling yarn bag from JoAnn's that I just love. It is filled to the top with yarn. Plus I have several shopping bags full. I haven't stored them because I keep telling myself that I'm going to get back down to only the rolling yarn bag. Right! ;)

11. Do you have a yarn in your stash that you love so much you can never use it or part with it?
Yes, I have some GGH yarn that I bought because I saw it used in a skirt pattern in a Vogue Knitting magazine last year. But I figured out it would cost over $100 to make the skirt so I scrapped that idea. Now I'm hoping to use it as trim for a cardigan. Otherwise, I'll just keep it in my stash and bring it out every once in a while to look at and admire.

12. Do you knit less or differently in the summer?
No, it is so hot in Texas that we live indoors during the summer in air conditioning. But I'm more apt to make sleeveless tops and gifts during the summer and sweaters and cardigans and scarves and hats in the winter.

13. Do you belong to any knitting groups (online or offline)?
I was going to a SNB group in Austin but now I have a commitement on the nights they meet. I used to post on LiveJournals Knitting forum but haven't done that lately. Mostly I read other peoples blogs.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Secret Pal Blues

I still haven't gotten my assignment for my secret pal for the Secret Pal 8 exchange. And I haven't heard from the person who is supposed to be my secret pal.

I've contacted the hostess but I haven't heard back from her either. I'm worried that somehow my assignment has gotten lost. I had received an e-mail from my hostess that she'd be doing the assignments soon, so I know that they got my registration.

I'll try another e-mail this morning to see what's up.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Gracy's Calf

Secret Pal 8 Questionaire Answers

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I like plain yarns (wool, wool blends, soy, etc.) over novelty yarn. I'm not particular about fibers but perfer less scratchy and more soft ones.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I use the Denise system and keep those needles in the case they came in. I keep my DPNs and other circulars in my rolling knitting bag. I have some straight needles that I also keep in the rolling knitting bag but I never use those needles.

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
1 year. Beginning to intermediate.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
No. But I'll take a look to see if there is anything I'd like and post to my blog.

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
No, I'm trying to avoid sweets.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
Book binding, rubber stamping, collage, podcasting. I don't spin but I'd like to try my hand at dyeing.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I mostly listen to country but also like popular rock too. I can play MP3s on my computer and my iPod.

9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
I like greens, blues, turqoise, and purple. I'm not too fond of red.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Married. Three cats and a dog.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
I wear scarves but not hats. I don't have any mittens or ponchos but would wear them if I had them. In Texas, it doesn't get too cold for too long. And we never get snow. So I don't usually get to wear those type of items too much.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I'm pretty new to knitting. I've knitted a bunch of scarves and hats. I've knitted a couple of sweaters. I've also knitted some felted bags. I'd like to try a lace shawl and socks. I also want to knit a cardigan or a shrug.

13. What are you knitting right now?
I just got done knitting some clutches/purse that I felted. And I'm working on a bunch of dish clothes for mother's day. I've started and entralac wrap with Noro Silk Garden #8. This is a wonderful colorway.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Yes. And I like to make them too!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I like circular needles. And I like bamboo. The Denise system only comes with sizes down to size 5. I'd like to get some smaller size circular needles.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Yes, Both.

17. How did you learn to knit?
I took a class at my LYS. It was a knitting 101 class. I also took a sweater class and made my first sweater in that class. That class taught me a lot about different aspects of knitting like increases, decreases, mattress stitch, and reading patterns.

18. How old is your oldest UFO?
1 year. I have a couple of novelty scarfs I started when I first learned to knit, that I never weaved the ends into. They ended up too short and scratchy for my taste.

19. What is your favorite holiday?
Winter Soltice. It is a pagan winter celebration. Also, know as Yule. Usually occurs on the 21st or 22nd of December.

20. Is there anything that you collect?
Yes, too many things! And I have enough of them! But I'd love to have a knitting themed rubber stamp or two.

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I don't have any knitting magazine subscriptions. We will be on the road later this year so I can't really start any of those. I've got plenty of knitting books. I've got a good collection going for only being at it for a year now.

I'd like some of the dye your own yarn from Knit Picks or somewhere similiar.

I'd love to get a pattern with the yarn to go along with it. The pattern doesn't have to be purchased. It could be a free one from online.

I'd also like some rust-proof pins and some blocking wires.

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I'd like to learn how to do cables. I've made a scarf with some cables on it but the yarn was cotton and so it was little difficult. I heard of a fisherman's DNA scarft pattern that sounds interesting. Also, I'd like to learn how to do lace. I have some pink alpaca yarn that I think woud make a lovely lace scarf.

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Not yet. I'd like to give it a try again. I tried both DPNs and Magic Loop but didn't have too much luck. Plus the yarn I used was scratchy and no fun to knit with. I wear I size women's 10.

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
08/01 (I'll be 40 this year. Ouch!)

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Entrelac Wrap - WIP

Pattern From: Encyclopedia of Kntting
Pattern: Kaleidoscope by Lisa Daniels (page 128)
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden #8
Needles: Denise Size 6

I'm really loving how the color changes make each square a different color. This by far is my favorite Noro colorway. The combination of purples, greens and blues are divine. I'm thinking that if Noro makes this colorway in their 100% wool that I'd like to try making an entrelac felted bag.


Daisies In My Garden

I planted this daises a few weeks ago. I love the color combination of the yellows, greens, pinks, and purples of the plants along with blue of the mexican watering pottery.

Cactus and Mesquite

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Two Hour Swatch

Last night I started on the interlac scarf/wrap from the Encyclopedia of Knitting. It uses Nori Silk Garden Yarn and takes advantage of the color changes in the yarn.

The suggested gauge for the pattern was 30 stitches over 10 inches in the interlac pattern. The pattern starts with three triangles and then you do another triangle, two squares, and then another triangle.

That took me about two hours sitting in front of the TV watching CSI and Without a Trace last night. I used a size 6 needle instead of the recommended 8 because I usually have to go down in size. That made the first end.

It did measure about 10 inches. But I'm not happy with the width of that. I think I want a wider wrap. The pattern calls for 4 skeins of Nori Silk Garden yarn but I bought 5. I could either add a couple more triangle across or I could go up in needle size.

At first I was thinking I'd go up in needle size to the size 8. I'm worried that will throw off the color changes though. So it might be better to add more triangles and thus more squares. The 68 inch length seem like it will be longer then I would like.

So if I make it wider and have more yarn. I should get something I like better. Something that is wider and shorter.

Of course, I'll have to undue the knitting I did last night. But that is okay. I'd rather have something I like instead of something I don't and won't use.