Monday, December 31, 2007

Best of 2007

I saw this new meme going around on Lolly's blog (It's from Knitlit originally), and I wasn't going to do it until I found myself coming up with answers without having to think too hard. It's just a questionnaire; no rules; no muss; no fuss.

Jenny's Best of 2007 awards:

1. your best FO of the year
Hands down, my Two Toned Shrug from Fitted Knits. I wear it so much, as it goes with everything. The yarn is great, the fit is great, and it was super easy to make.

2. best FO of the year made by a blog you link to
I would have to say Jessica's Tree Jacket. I know dozens of bloggers were inspired to make this after seeing hers, including me. I didn't even like it before I saw hers. Now it's a major player in my wardrobe rotation!

3. best yarn you tried
I have two that I really liked that I had never tried before; one sweater yarn and one sock yarn. The sweater yarn is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino. Pilly? Yes. But, get a little fabric shaver, and it will stay looking nice day after day.
The other yarn that I LOVED was the Painted Sock by the Painted Sheep. I'm not just saying that because I know the owner of the company, either. It was great to work with and didn't pool or make weird stripes like say, Lorna's Laces. The big thing for me with sock yarn is that it not be too grabby on the needles. I'm a tight knitter, so it sucks to have to force my stitches to the end of the needle. I didn't have this problem AT ALL with the Painted Sock. It was smooth knitting the whole way, and it made for very speedy socks.

4. best new book/mag/pattern of 2007
Book: Fitted Knits by Stefanie Japel. Magazine: Interweave Knits. I know Interweave isn't new, but I think the editor change made it a much improved product.

5. best new knitting technique or gadget you tried in 2007
Technique: Fair Isle knitting. Gadget: Knit Picks Inter-changeables. They qualify as a gadget, yes?

6. top 5 inspirations--what five things inspired you the most over the past year?
In no particular order:
-Sexy Knitters Club. Being part of this KAL has really gotten in the way of my queue getting done, but also has gotten me to make some pretty darn cute sweaters.
- Fitted knits KAL. Same reasons as SKC
- Robin! Whenever I need a good kick in the pants, I go check out all the stuff she's up to, and am instantly inspired. I have never seen someone get so much done! What can I say, girl? You rock!
- Ravelry. I am eternally grateful for this site. Whenever I'm bored to tears at work, I just click around on Ravelry for a while, and I get so inspired to make just about anything. Honestly, what did we ever do without it?
- Finally, I have to give Joe credit for this one too. If he didn't watch such crap on TV, I wouldn't get half the stuff done that I do. Thanks for never giving up the remote, babe! ;)

7. designer who most amazed & inspired you throughout the year
I have to go with Stefanie Japel. I had no idea I would like her book as much as I did. I was especially amazed that she sent it to me for free as a thank you present!

8. knitting resolutions for 2008--what's next for you and your blog?

My goal for this year is to knit at least half of my Ravelry queue. I especially want to get Clapotis and Salina done. I also NEED to destash in a big way, so that's a little goal as well. I'm not making any pledges or promises, but I have enough yarn to keep me busy for quite some time, so I'd like to see how far it can take me. Also, I can't find a pattern I like for the Hermione sweater, so I'm going to attempt to design it myself. Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Santa Came! Santa Came!

OK, so I know everyone else already posted their Christmas pics, but I've been on Virginia time, so everything was going a little slower than usual (especially my parent's internet connection. Yikes!). Now I'm back in CT, and ready to show all my gifties. First, I'll show what Santa Joe brought, pinking shears and the Harmony Needle set (YESSSSSS!!):
Pinking Shears
Harmony needle set
I got other stuff too, but that's all the blog worthy stuff. Next, my Secret Santa from work got me all these goodies:
Happy Feet
Lantern Moon Bag
Lantern Moon bag, Brittany crochet hook, Happy Feet sock yarn, and the Secret Language of Knitters book. She also got me a Creative Fibers gift card too. I don't think she got the memo that said the SS limit was $10, even though she was the one that sent the memo. Moving on, this was from my BFF:
Solitude Wool Sock Kit
It's a sock kit from Solitude Wool in Virginia. Her MIL is a knitter, so I think she had a little helper pick it out. Whatevs, I scored! This is what I gave her (No, I didn't finish the blanket):
Swedish Lodge Teapot
Tea Cozy
(the teapot from her china pattern plus the matching cozy.) Per Blogless Audrey's suggestion, I needle felted the little swirlies on the already felted cozy--which I had never done before. What a great idea that was! So easy and WAAAAAY better than duplicate stitch. Thanks, Audrey! :)
I finished mom's socks in the car on the way down to Virgina:
Mom's Socks
They are knitty's toe ups made with Painted Sock by the Painted Sheep. They were a big hit. Too big of a hit, in fact. She asked for more for Mother's day. I politely told her to not hold her breath. ;)
This is the scarf I knit for Joe's daughter.
Olivia Scarf
It was not as big a hit as the socks. It's still sitting on the steps with the crap her grandmother bought her. Oh, well. 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Monday, December 17, 2007

What's one more tiny project?

I was almost done with my Christmas knitting. I only needed to needle felt a little embellishment onto my friend's tea cozy; I'm through one of Mom's socks, I can probably finish the other one in the car on the way to Virginia; Olivia's scarf is done, wrapped, and ready to go. Then, I remembered this 'little' giftie:

I was supposed to give this to my friend as a housewarming gift 2 summers ago. Then, it became a possible wedding gift for her that fall. Then, I vowed to have it finished for Christmas. That didn't happen. So, here we are, a year and a half later, and I am vowing yet again to get rid of this thing. I completed the squares and the horizontal seams this weekend. Hopefully I can get the rest done this week. It's only 100 or so ends to weave in. Simple, right? ;)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

7 Random *Christmas* Facts

I was once again tagged for 7 Random things, and since the knitting blog fodder around here is pretty non-existent these days, I figured I'd play along. I decided to do a theme list like my tagger, Robin, did. This now makes 22 random things you guys know about me...

1. I L.O.V.E. Christmas. I love the decorations, the baking, the shopping, the songs, the craziness and everything about it. I hate to hear people complain about the commercialism, the money strain, blah, blah, blah. I only celebrate as much as my Christmas savings account will allow, and encourage others to do the same.

2. I found out about Santa at a pretty young age. It was the big Cabbage Patch doll year, and I overheard my brothers ask my mom if Santa was bringing me one, and she said say yes. Whatevs, I got my Cabbage Patch baby. I was happy.

3. Joe has asked me like 20 times if I want the “Journey diamond” necklace for Christmas this year. NO! A hundred times, NO!! I know he means well, but if I don’t get those GD Harmony needles, I’m going to poke him in the eye. ;)

4. My brothers’ wives get in a little spat every year about who brought more stuff to Christmas dinner. I find this immensely entertaining. They always try to drag me into the fight, but I never take the bait. If they only knew how much that shrimp cost me every year, they would shut the F up.

5. When we were little, my brothers & I would go downstairs at like 4 AM and get our stockings and bring them back up to my bedroom and open them and get all high on chocolate. We weren’t allowed to wake my parents until the sun was up, so we would take turns opening one thing each to make it last longer. This is honestly one of my favorite memories as a kid, as it was one of the few times we all got along whilst unsupervised.

6. I secretly like it when people ask for hard to find gifts that I have to go 10 places to find. It’s like a little project. I’m not kidding.

7. The thing I look most forward to at Christmastime is Joe's family's celebration on Christmas Eve. We stuff ourselves silly, do secret Santa, have a Yankee swap, have way too much dessert, and Joe's mom even fills a stocking for every single person there. It's so much fun. I hate to be a traitor to my family and all, but we just don't know how to party compared to these Italians!

I don't want to tag anyone--the holidays can be stressful enough without an extra meme to do, but it was pretty fun; give it a try if you have time!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Knitting

After declaring (rather loudly) that I would not be making any knitted Christmas gifts this year, a couple people hinted that they can't wait to see what I'm making them, so I have caved. Nothing major, just a few small items, but caving nonetheless. I almost finished a scarf for Joe's daughter, finished the knitting part of a felted tea cozy for my BFF (I only call her that b/c she hates that I call her that. LOL).
I haven't started my mom's socks, though. I can't figure it out; why don't I want to knit for her? Is it because she never wears what I make her? Is it because she knows how to knit, but refuses to apply herself and learn new techniques beyond knitting and purling? I know she'll like whatever I make her, and there's never been a more appreciative recipient of a hand knitted gift, but the fact that she won't wear/use what I make her because "it's too pretty" drives me absolutely insane!!

On a lighter note, here's what's been making me all giggly lately:
He practically LIVES under there lately. So cute!

Friday, November 30, 2007

New York City!!

Part 2 of my birthday present every year is a trip to NYC to go shopping and sight seeing. After reading a very positive blog entry by Stephanie (and just about everyone else that's ever been there), I had to check out Di Fara Pizza in Brooklyn. Let's just say that I will be back many, many times (OMG, the square pie!! I'm still purring about it). Mr. DeMarco was not the cranky old man I was expecting from other blogger's testimony. He was cheery, sweet, and almost chatty with me. Joe thinks he must have a thing for redheads. MMMM. Maybe he's onto something. ;)
Then, we went to Purl. I forgot to take pictures of the yarn I bought, but it's just cascade 220 & some more Jitterbug. I think we can officially confirm I have a Jitterbug problem.
Then, we stalked the Waldorf Astoria for a while to see if any NASCAR drivers were hanging out there since their awards ceremony is tonight. We saw Matt Kenseth, Jeff Burton, and Dale Jarret. If you're not a NASCAR fan, I'll just say these are pretty big names. We were stoked. We swung by M&J trimmings at some point. I didn't get anything, but that place is just amazing:

We went to top of the rock next:

It's the roof of Rockefeller center and it has AWESOME views of the city & beyond. It's 17.50 per person and way less crowded than the Empire State Building. I highly recommend it. And, no trip to NYC is complete without a cheezy self poitrait in front of the tree at Rockefeller center!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanksgiving & birthday recap

We always fry a turkey on Thanksgiving. This year was no different:

The finished product:

Mmmmm. Deep fried goodness. Yes, it's worth all the work. Yes, it will be the best thing you ever tasted. Feel free to ask any more questions you have. I am now an expert at this.

Then, today was my birthday:

Joe totally surprised me with a new dress form:

I named her Scarlet. What else could I possibly name her, right? I thought he was a good boy and got this sucker on the black Friday special at Joann's. Um, I would be wrong. My little honey bunny paid FULL PRICE for this. No coupon. No special. I wanted to kill him. He promises he will go to Joann's tomorrow with the coupon and convince them to refund the difference. It really was a great surprise, though. And I thought I was getting the Harmony needles from Knitpicks. Ha!

Monday, November 19, 2007

When was the last time you went wahoo?

Alternate title: Holy Mackerel!!
We're back from Aruba. SO. MUCH. FUN. We told Joe's parents to just go ahead and section off the timeshare in their will to go to us. We have found our second home. So, here's what the post title is all about:

Joe is so proud of it! It is a wahoo, which we are told is some kind of mackerel, but it tasted way better than mackerel. I caught a few small tuna, so we had the wahoo one night and the tuna the next. We only took a small chunk of the wahoo, but cracked up when we saw that the special that day at a local restaurant was fried wahoo salad. Here's the tuna at Chez Jenny:

I never realized how much of a difference fresh caught fish makes. It tastes a zillion times better than anything I ever got from a fish market.

Anyway! We sat by the pool a lot, shopped a lot, ate a LOT, drank a lot, and had the best time ever. We both agreed it was better than our honeymoon, which is really saying something. As promised, here is my dress, modeled:

I thought my plane knitting was pretty funny, so I thought I would share...
This is how much plane knitting you can do when you are all jazzed up about your impending vacation:

And, this is how much plane knitting you can do when you are so tired from said vacation that you could pass out at any second:

Well, I better go get started on my 354 unread blogs on bloglines. Forgive me if I don't comment! I'm tired!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

FO: Simplicity 4224

So, did I MENTION that I'm going to Aruba on Saturday?! (I know I have, but I just like saying it). I took sundress inventory on Friday and determined that I was one short. I hit the fabric store Saturday morning, and by Sunday night I was spinning around in this little baby:

Sorry for the lame hanger photo, but dudes, I am WHITE right now. I'll model it after my spray tan on Friday.
It's Simplicity 4224 (scroll down to 4224, then click the link), view B (the green one).
Closeup of the fabric:

Pattern: Simplicity 4224
Fabric: Henry Glass Plain & Fancy cotton
Mods: none

Monday, November 05, 2007

Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater

So, I didn't carve our pumpkin this year. We usually have a pumpkin carving contest at work, and after that got nixed this year, I just wasn't in the mood. Apparently, someone was though:

We couldn't figure out what could have possibly done this, but when Rocco started barking at the window yesterday, I saw the culprit:

It was hard to get a picture without Rock's big head in it, but I managed one:

I guess there's slim pickings out there for food this year, so we bought a new bag of bird seed for the poor little critters. They supply such great entertainment for my boy; I have to keep them happy!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

FO: Tree Jacket

Well, I'm done!
Tree Jacket
That face isn't my feeling for the sweater; it was really sunny and windy out. I wasn't sure at first about this pattern, but I like it! The sleeves are really roomy, but that will be good if I want to wear a long sleeve tee with it. I wore a black cami for the picture, but I don't know what I should wear under it in real life.

The stats:
Pattern: Tree Jacket by Zephyr Gals
Yarn: TLC Cotton Plus, 6 balls
Needles: Size 8 Knit Picks
Mods: I was a 'tweener size, so I added enough increases to do 20 lace repeats around the body instead of the recommended 19.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Rhinebeck was not the major stash expansion expedition my wallet was expecting. We mostly walked around and chatted and window shopped. Although, if Briar Rose Fibers had the right colorway for this, I might have been swayed to purchase it. Audrey, Peggy, Amy, and I went the scenic route (which was only 20 minutes longer--totally worth it) to get there. Peggy & Audrey got their new books signed by the one and only Clara Parkes:

Peggy was very impressed with her penmanship:

We saw some "famous" bloggers, some friends, and a lot of yarn. It was a really relaxed atmosphere this time; even the Fold didn't have super long lines. I bought a couple knitted toys for Rocco, but they are already under the entertainment center, so no pics of those today!

Confession time: I actually kind of missed taking those back roads on the Harley.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

8 MORE Random Things

Robin tagged me for a "8 random things" meme like two weeks ago, and so I thought I'd finally play along. I did the 7 random things meme earlier this year, so it took me a while to think of 8 more!
Once tagged, you must link to the person who tagged you. Then post the rules before your list, and list 8 random things about yourself.

1. I’m completely addicted to the Food Network. I even Tivo it when I’m not going to be home. So sad.

2. On a related note, cooking was definitely my first love. My mom just stopped cooking after my brothers moved out, so my dad and I had to fend for ourselves. I was pissed at the time, but it really forced me to learn how to cook & I love to do it now.

3. Keeping with the food theme, I love grocery stores. I could grocery shop for hours, checking out new ingredients & imported products. I’m a weirdo; I know.

4. Even though I’m a natural red-head, I am not Irish. People don’t believe me when I say this, so I have just started lying and saying that I am. It’s easier.

5. I think my cat can understand me. He does whatever I ask him to do. It really freaks Joe out.

6. I have ridiculously sensitive skin, but am not allergic to poison ivy, oak, or sumac. I am, however, allergic to everything made by Bath and Body Works, so please don’t buy me any of their crap for Christmas anymore, K?

7. My mom is allergic to shellfish and I am terrified that I am going to be allergic one day. She grew up eating it with no problems & one day she almost died from eating clams & had to get rushed to the hospital for that epi shot thing.

8. Speaking of almost dying, after my brothers were born, my dad went to get a vasectomy. He actually *did* die from the anesthesia, and they had to resuscitate him. He saw it as a sign that he should not get the vasectomy. Five years later, I was born. Spooky, huh?

As usual, if you’re reading this, consider yourself tagged. And since I think picture-less posts are no fun at all, here’s Rocco sleeping in my lap the other night:

Monday, October 15, 2007

Yarn hangover

I am sooooo tired today. Joe and I went to Baltimore for Stitches East over the weekend. We went down Saturday morning, shopped for a while, then went to Robin's blogger meetup across the street from the convention center. It was Robin, her husband, Marjorie, Heather, Joe, and myself. Several beers later, Marjorie and Heather needed to head home so I convinced Robin & her husband to walk with us to the waterfront (because it is just WRONG to go to Baltimore & not visit Inner Harbor). We had more beers, some crabs, and lots of fun. OMG, I don't think I've laughed that much in a long time. My throat still hurts from laughing! I didn't manage to take my camera out of my purse the entire weekend, but I did get some pics of my haul this morning:
Knitting Pure & Simple hoodie pattern from WEBS,
Socks that Rock, even though I SWORE I would not buy any,
Some really nice Aussie wool from a vendor I can't remember right this second,

And some of the new grapefruit scented Eucalan, also from WEBS. The Aussie wool is to make the sweater Hermione is wearing here:
hermione sweater
I've been pretty obsessed with making it since I saw the movie, so it was such a relief to find the right color wool for it finally.
I took a Steeks class Sunday morning, but I don't think it's worth recapping here. My mommy taught me to keep my mouth shut if I don't have anything nice to say, so that's what I'm doing.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Weekend Recap

It was a pretty quiet weekend. Joe had to work, so we didn't do anything too crazy. We did go to the local fair Saturday night. I was a little put off by the $12 admission, but I wanted a pulled pork sandwich in the worst way so I was not turning back. They have a baking, quilting, sewing, knitting & crochet competition every year (which I always seem to forget about until it's too late). I was looking at this pair of blue ribbon winning socks and admiring them when I noticed the name on them said Karen C! OMG OMG OMG! Yay Karen! I actually saw more of her stuff (all with ribbons!), but I don't want to steal her blog fodder. Plus, all the items were displayed in huge chicken cages & my camera kept focusing on the chicken wire & not the knits. Ugh!
I had started my Mirepoix bodice on Monday, but the ribbing was starting to make my left eye twitch, so I decided to take a break & start on Tree Jacket. I never really liked this pattern until I saw it on Green Apples blog a few weeks ago. Hers came out so cute; I just had to make it. I ordered yarn for it, but it didn't arrive on Friday, so I just bought some Cotton Plus from AC Moore's on Saturday. The Zephyr Gals suggest Cotton Ease as a good sub, so Cotton Plus should work too.
I'm loving it so far. I needed some instant gratification BADLY after hours and hours of never-ending, never-growing ribbing & this was just the ticket.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Knitting in Advertising

Joe got home late last night. Another too dark picture:

But, we went to the mall & this huge store-blocking wall piqued my interest:

It's for a store called Martin & OSA. It looks like another version of Banana Republic. Like a grown-up American Eagle. Anyway, that chick is totally knitting in that picture! What's up with that?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Making up for last weekend

Last weekend sucked. This weekend ROCKED! I got so much done & we went to Jersey for the day on Saturday too! Joe's godmother/great aunt turned 85 last week, so we all threw her a surprise party Saturday. She is in very good shape (works out every day for 2 hours), so we weren't too concerned about her having a heart attack or anything. She is always complimenting my knitting, so I had to make her something:
I used the waffle stitch that I used in the Back to School Vest, and what I'm calling the "dunkin donuts" colorway of Sugar n Cream. We also gave her some DnD coffee & a mug to stay with the theme. She was ecstatic. She is such a great lady.

On Sunday, I did all the laundry, cleaned our bedroom, made a pie, made stuffed peppers for supper, and finished my shrug from the Fitted Knits book. All without Red Bull!
"Two" toned shrug
(Sorry for the crummy pic-it was getting dark). I am really loving this book. I want to make the Cozy V-neck sweater next, but I have too many other things I need to make first.

Shrug details:
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran (7 balls) purchased from Needleworks during their going out of business sale. I actually bought it specifically to make a shrug like this & could never find a pattern worthy of such great yarn.
Needles: Knit Picks Options size 9
Started: Sept 16
Finished: Sept 30
Mods: Sleeve length; that's it. It's a great design. Just don't kid yourself with your measurement. Mine was 17, which was the 5th size up. I'm usually the 2nd or 3rd size in patterns, but I went with my measurement & am so glad I did.

What a great weekend. I got tons done, had fun, and even cranked out a FO!