Tuesday, July 31, 2007

All good things must come to an end...

...and others must begin.

Work continues on the painting front. Many thanks for your kind words - both as to our efforts so far and as to our colour choices. Green is apparently not a traditional or popular house painting shade - and we've gotten many a raised-eyebrow because of it. We, however, like it very very much.

Tomorrow is August 1st. Tomorrow is also for a group of some knitters Get Your Sockpalooza Pal Package Prepped & Ready To Go Day, as the official send-out day is August 2nd.

I have ready to go in my package:

  • One finished pair of bright pink knee-high sockpal socks. (check!)
  • One mini skein of bright pink sock pal pink sock yarn for darns (check!)
  • One package of Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans (check!)
  • One lavender-scented candle (check!)
  • One package tarantula gummy candy (check!)
  • A large handful of locally-made saltwater taffy (check!)
  • One tongue-in-cheek greeting card (check!)

Hopefully the gummy candies and candle will suitably distract her in case the socks don't fit or are too short or too slouchy or just..................not to her Sockpal taste. So that package will get prettily wrapped up and packaged up tomorrow and then first thing on Thursday I'll walk it to the post office and send it off 2-day priority mail. As the package only has to go about 2 states over I'm guessing she'll get it by Saturday. I should say, I'm hoping she'll get it by Saturday.

So that is ending. But what fun it's been!

And tomorrow (yes tomorrow!) the official Dish Rag Tag begins! I'm one of the 200 or so folks that joined up to play in Emily's fun race - and I'm on the Cotton Commandos Team. We've been discussing and plotting and chatting for the past several weeks, and we've got a loose strategy in place and know where we're mailing things and how - so all I now get to do is keep one eye on the team's forum page and keep the other on my mailbox!

Also today at work I got a lovely message in my inbox:

Dear Susan ______

A loan that you had requested:
Loan Title: The opinionated knitter : Elizabeth Zimmermann newsletters 1958-1968 /
is now available for checkout.

So what fun, too! That means that a BSJ is soon to be working it's way on my needles. The first of (probably) many. This particular BSJ will be worked up in an eye-blazing yellow/orange/green/purple yarn that I have absolutely tons of - and the jacket will be (of course) for The Munchkin.

I can hardly wait - even though the first few lines of the pattern look like gibberish at the moment. However I've always found that with the yarn and needles in hand most patterns tend to make sense after a bit of head-scratching and squinting.

Progress on all fronts will certainly show up here - including the Belle Shrug! I picked a cuff pattern and cast on yesterday and am up to the crook of my elbow as of this afternoon.......

Monday, July 30, 2007

E. X. H. A. U. S. T. E. D.

Man o man, but it's amazing how much scraping and painting almost two full sides of a house can really knock the stuffing out of you! Honestly. I'm more tired & sore now than I was after delivering a baby.

Much more so!

We made very good progress last Tuesday, and then amazing progress on Saturday. We made only so-so progress yesterday due to massive & stunning thunderstorms that rained sideways.


After 3 solid days of work:

You can unfortunately now all-too-clearly see how the paint that I carelessly slopped on the front porch screens two years ago really shows up like never before. That is all of the white bits around the dark brown trim on the porch. You can also see how the white railings inside the screened-in porch now glow in their stark-white-paintly way. Once everything is said and done we'll bit by bit pull off the dark brown porch trim, carefully pull out each staple holding the screening in place, and then paint the backside of the porch moldings and railings - and then when dry and topcoated properly put the screens back up and then nail the trim pieces back in place. That should help a lot. I'll also work on carefully scrubbing that old white latex paint off of the screen so that it looks tidier in general. We'll also paint dark brown the pieces of (currently white) lattice that we installed on either side of the screen door. The lattice was installed to put a stop to the catfights that would happen between our two housecats and the neighborhood outdoor cats.

I still have to finish up some last bits of trim work on the 2nd floor windows and soffit - but once that is done the front of the house will be finished. Then we can turn to the work still left to complete on the cemetery side of the house. (Ahem - so called because we live next to a cemetery - in case you were wondering................)

The bottom half is single-coated green. That is why it's so blazingly bright & streaky. The top half is not. The left half of the top is scraped but not primed. The right half of the top is scraped & primed.

The boys needed the good 26 foot extension ladder to reach the absolute tip-top of the house, so you can see how high I could & couldn't reach when I was priming the window and side trim using just the basic stepladder to climb up and down.....

....and you can also see where the huge thunder storm literally washed my 2nd topcoat down the side of the house taking away the nice deep green even-ness that I had created and putting back a neon green streaky mess in it's place......


In the midst of all of this I have still been knitting. I have cast on for a pair of screw-y socks for Peggers in some Gryphon Traveller yarn. She custom-dyed a new colourway just for him - it is called Wales and it is stunningly beautiful.

I have come up with an idea for my Belle shrug - a way to do the cuff that is slightly different than the Laura Chau pattern calls for. I'm excited about that, and hope to start it this afternoon when Kim and I sit down to knit in approximately............oh...........4 minutes.

I finished Peggers' vest and have only to seam it and knit up button bands or zipper bands for it.

I am frogging my Mystery Stole 3 and instead will eventually purchase a different stole pattern from Pink Lemon Twist and will knit that instead.

I also knitted the Cinchy Hat from the latest Knitscene - but alas have no pictures of any of these things.

Just pictures of a green house.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Seriously Cutting Into My Knitting Time

I came home last night to some Bad News. My lovely old house (1920) - she is old and in rather frail shape - and the city officials feel that she needs a face lift, and needs a face lift badly. And unfortunately they have also decided that she needs a face lift in just one month's time. Our girl's trim is cracked and peeling and flaking - and it simply has to go. An exfoliation and rejuvenating program has been officially called for, so exfoliating and a-rejuvenating we will go.

This is a picture of my house. No, not that house - that's my neighbor's house. My house is the one buried behind all of the trees on the left. This picture was taken about a week after we moved in........ Needless to say, the trees and bushes and shrubs are no longer there...

...this was taken from approximately the same angle several months later after some major chopping and weeding had been done. I think we actually startled some folks in the neighborhood. {GASP!} "You mean there has been a HOUSE in there all this time?????"

It does give you a goodish idea as to the amount of scraping and painting that we have lying in wait ahead of us.

So over the next month my knitting dollars and time shall rather unfortunately be devoted to scraping the trim on my rather lovely, rather huge house, and then priming and painting. While the deadline is rather unwelcome (uh, hello - painting in July & August is hot, nasty work!) the drive to get this done is oddly enough not. Both Peggers and I love our house, and would like to see the outside look more like the inside. When we bought the house it was just falling apart - and as such we've done a huge amount of rehab on the inside, but other than the garden I put in we have yet to really and truly start to make a dent on the true exterior needs.

In five short years we have:

- gutted and redone the entire kitchen - including new cabinets, counter tops, appliances, and even installed a dishwasher ourself where there had never been one. Pipes were shifted to make this all possible, and a new (clean) 220 line was routed to the circuit breaker box by yours-truly.

- the dining room lost approximately 6 layers of really and truly ugly wallpaper, each interspersed with a few layers of paint. Everything was then re-painted and re-installed. The ceiling was covered with a faux-pressed-tin treatment to cover up years and years of previous abuse.

- the rotted back threshold was completely removed - along with the entire door frame - and a new door frame and threshold was put in place. As nothing in this house is even remotely plumb this was a seriously challenging project. Tempers were lost. Major swearing occurred*. All small children were therefore summarily banned from the worksite after the first five minutes.

- the back porch floor - nasty beyond words - was removed, scraped, and new tiles laid in its place.

- a gaping hole in the stairwell (kindly left by the previous tenant, who nonetheless collected insurance money for it!) was shored and patched with drywall and spackle, and faux-tin-ceiling treated as well. (That stuff is a girl's best friend!)

- the attic stairs were only summarily fixed. The door mostly stays closed - and as you can see, we have lots of other more important things to work on. ;)

- the back bathroom's sad excuse for a sink was removed. New pipe has been properly laid for when we can find a fixture small enough to fit in that corner, and all old leaks have been stopped.

And then we've also re-painted every room in the house except for one, ripped out old flooring, redone both front and back porches, fixed leaks, re-wired electrical outlets, and done major landscaping improvements on both the front, back and side of the house. We've also managed to somehow find money to professionally have central air installed, one chimney removed, another chimney replaced, a huge rotting hole in the roof fixed, a rotted soffit replaced, and another rotted soffit shored and the culprit leak stopped.

SIGH. All in five short years.

But apparently now we're on the docket for painting.

So painting here I come! We easily agreed yesterday that ultimately we want to live in a mossy-green abode, so for us that will mean chocolate brown trim with golden, wheat-y highlights , with said highlights done only when time allows after everything else is finished. For now the scraping and priming and painting in only a month's time will most certainly keep us busy and exhausted. It will be a, er, fun and interesting adventure and endeavor - won't you all join in with us and help track our progress? As it will be consuming my days and nights (and dreams!) you can bet I'll be documenting it here!

*I'll have you note that the swearing was done by Peggers and his Dad - I was smart and stayed Very Far Away from that particular project!!!!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Newspaper Clipping Archive

p.s. pattern for Belle Shrug nearly ordered. Workable yarn partner found for chocolate alpaca. Snicket sock into frog pond to provide said yarn partner. MS3 progress stalled due to exhaustion, crossed eyes, and inability to read a knitting chart with botched vision. We shall see what tonight brings.

Monday, July 16, 2007

newly converted

For ages now I've been listening to everyone rave on & on about the Mason-Dixon knitting book. How fantastic it is, how brilliant the two authors are, yet every time I'd open it (while shopping/sipping coffee in Barnes & Noble) I'd flip through some pages, and then put it back, a bit puzzled as to what all the fuss was about. Then the other day, in my shrug-knitting-starting-designing frenzy I went to the public library to snag some Nicky Epstein books (hey, I've never knitted a ruffle before, and I wanted to be sure that I was going to do it right!) and there was M-D Knitting right next to my outstretched hand........so I added it to the pile. And over lunch I browsed it and was thoroughly entranced - not only the ball band washcloth but also the log cabin examples (and those mitered squares!) but also the possibilities of calamari knitting. That is when you take very looooong loops (think about cross-sectioning the body of a t-shirt into long loops about 1" wide) and chain them together then roll the whole long thing into a ball and knit up the resultant "yarn" with huge-mongous needles. In such a way you can recycle old t-shirts into lovely things like placemats, cushion covers, bathmats, rag rugs, etc. And you don't have to sew any rag strips together or other such malarkey! As Peggers owns roughly 500 extra t-shirts that he doesn't wear and doesn't like and totally need to be rag-bagged, this is a perfect project for the fall - and as t-shirts all take dye fairly well anything that comes out a blah-ish colour can easily be tweaked to a nicer shade with a packet or two of Rit dye and a spin in the washing machine. What fun! So after a read or two I'm now a Mason-Dixon convert. While I might not buy the book anytime soon, I'll most certainly check it out again from the library - ditto with their next one which is due out next year!

I also spent the weekend working on my shrug with very very very disappointing progress. The shrug that I ultimately fell in LOVE with and am absolutely dying to make is the Belle Shrug by Laura Chau. It's available via Lettuce Knits, yet so far I have yet to hear back from the shop (I contacted them via e-mail.) I know that I can guesstimate how the pattern is put together, but I'd really rather read it for myself. However this is a moot point, as I know that I need about 1,000 yards of yarn for it - and I have only 665 yds of alpaca to work with (either the grey or the brown - take your pick.) Which means that I need to go stash-diving to make up the difference - and here is where I'm TOTALLY stuck.

I sat and stared at various skeins and balls of yarn for two whole days - trying to figure out if one colour or another would work - or trying to figure out if I could dye some yarn a different complimentary shade instead. Above you see the most likely contenders. The chocolate alpaca (currently the winner in my "what yarn for the body of the shrug?" contest) you can see wound into a huge yarn cake, while the other remnants cluster around wishing they could be that big & mighty.

In the photo above you have (clockwise from the alpaca): a ball of blue/white twist wool wrapped together with a strand of what looks to be alpaca in a light blue shade; a lovely ball of pink bamboo/merino Sockpal sockyarn that was hand-dyed for me courtesy of Jessie at Piece of Vermont; next up are two skeins of brown yarn - the one on the right is a skein of Claudia handpainted sockyarn that was a gift from Miriam Felton - on the left is a partial skein of Knitpicks Essential sockyarn in a chocolate-y brown; and at the very top, last but not least is a ball of three-ply alpaca in white/grey/black. I had huge hopes for this, but alas it seems far too thick compared to the chocolate alpaca (which isn't quite laceweight, but is thinner than most sock yarn!)

Checking to see how the brown & pink work together, despite the fact that I am **so not** a pink kind of girl........

Claudia Handpainted above the yarncake of Chocolate Alpaca....

So all of these look.................okay but when you compare it to the original shrug I just don't know if I like any of them well enough. Part of the problem is that this is really a lot to try and visualize - so today I reached the decision that I'm going to have to go ahead and knit what my friend Susan referred to a as a "monstrous colour swatch". I'm going to knit a huge bit of stockingknit - I'm thinking maybe 4"x18" and then along the sides of this swatch I'll pick up with the various colours and will knit the ruffle just like on the real shrug so that I can get a true feel for what it will ultimately look like. At this point I'm planning on knitting a brown ruffle, a pink ruffle, a brown sockyarn ruffle, and a blue maybe-alpaca ruffle. I'd prefer the blue to be darker, so I might dye a test bit first before I knit. But maybe not. First I probably need to skein it so that I can even see if I have enough blue to bother with.

A lot of knitting in preparation, I know, but as I really do just adore this chocolate alpaca and as I've been wanting a kick-ass shrug for quite some time now I really want it to come out nicely - so in the end it probably is all worth it.......

The saddest part of all is that I started both of the cuffs last night thinking that I could knit them at the same time and then Kitchner across the back (to be 100% certain that I didn't run out of yarn!) but now the colour combo that I originally settled on just isn't looking too good to me. But that's probably because I'm impatient and fickle - I figure that knitting a huge gauge/colour swatch will probably calm me down and help me to get some of the ants out of my pants where this pattern is concerned. Plus this way I might - just might - actually get the pattern from Lettuce Knits after I've spent several several several days knitting huge swatches and ruffles!

This is currently what my knitting basket looks like. At the very front is a pair of Snicket Socks. Looooooove that Sundara sockyarn! To the right is more Claudia handpainted. Behind the Claudia handpainted hiding under a yellow tape measure is P's vest waiting for me to knit it's last few crucial inches. To the left of the vest is some leftover bright orange/pink/purple sock yarn that I will be able to *finally* post about once the recipient's package arrives in the mail and they find out the surprise first. And finally, hidden in the lower left corner is some purple bamboo yarn still in raglan form waiting to be frogged.

Hmmmmmmmmm...............now looking at this picture I'm starting to wonder. Should I knit the shrug ruffle in the Sundara sock yarn and the Snicket Socks in the Claudia? I wonder if the Sundara yarn (which is a bit lighter w/ shots of orange & green in it) has a better colour scheme in general to it for this particular project and might work better as the Claudia is currently looking too dark to me.....................?

{sigh. That's me. Fickle.}

Friday, July 13, 2007

Happy Friday the 13th!

I myself have never believed in the whole 'Friday the 13th' malarky - for the majorly huge reason that I myself was born on a Friday the 13th. So you see, for me, it was a very very lucky day.

No real knitting progress to report here - I proctored a friend's exam today for him and was able to get in an hour's progress on the Mystery Stole3 (I'm now up to row 60 with nary a hitch, I'm pleased as punch to say!) and about 45 minutes of work on my Designing Sock project.

All quite boring blog stuff, as a picture of one will just look like a pearly grey scouring pad and the other can't be shown.

Well, I can at least show you a nicely artsy shot of the yarn I'm using - that would at least be a nice bit of colour on an otherwise text-full page!

There is an extremely good chance that I might have already showed you this picture already. If so my apologies - I didn't sleep all too well last night and waking at 5 to hear the sound of rain pitter-pattering down (a simultaneous joy and horror to me - joy because we're long overdue for a nice soaking - which is exactly what we got - and horror because I knew that at least two of my car windows had been left completely wide open) didn't help.

I had a friend over last night to do some knitting with me after the Munch went to sleep, but alas the little guy knew that I was eager for him to zonk out - with the end result being that he finally fell really & truly asleep around 10:30 - my friend having pleaded exhaustion and left a full half hour before that. I felt so bad that once he was finally down I went downstairs and made a batch of cherry vanilla cookies for her, and this morning packaged up a half dozen to bring in to her as a "sorry!" sort of gift. Don't you know they're still sitting on my kitchen counter?


In the comments from the last post, my Mom (also known as Oma Annie) asked about a child's raglan cardigan pattern - as she has many many little ones to knit for. I gave her some recommendations - one of which being the Baby Surprise Jacket from EZ (I know, not a raglan, but it fit her other knitting requirements!) and suddenly I'm BURNING with the desire to get working on one myself in this otherwise somewhat dry knitting time. I could probably churn one of those babies out in just a week or two using some of the Gedifra yarn that I have a total plethora of - and my Munchkin can always use a new jacket come cooler weather, plus it would really eat a nice hole out of some of my stash yarn, which I'm trying really really REALLY hard to currently work from, having spent enough money lately on MS3 supplies and name tag bits and bobs.....

But as I have neither the Opinionated Knitter nor the Knitter's Almanac (the February Baby Sweater is also something I'd love to knit up!) I've ordered both books via ILL and will have to sit on my hands and wait until the former shows up. So I'm going to start a pair of Snicket Socks out of some amazing Sundara sock yarn

(the yarn is actually much more chocolate and less orange/red than this pic shows)

in the meantime, but as we all know very well that socks don't count I think I might also start a shrug - either the fabulous Drop Stitch Shrug by Meema Spadola in some chocolate

alpaca that I've got or the Twin-Set Shrug by Sharon Shoji in some slate

grey alpaca that I also have - both from the Misty Mountains booth at Maryland Sheep & Wool. I could wind either or both of them up tonight into center-pull balls while Peggers cooks dinner and then I could cast on one or the other during our after-dinner movie entertainment.

Why all the sudden starter-itis? Because I've recently finished so many things and it feels just BIZARRE to be without my normal number of WIP's. I'm a girl who likes her knitting variety, after all, and to be knitting only a mystery stole and to have only a few inches of P's vest left to finish feels like a knitting desert to me - not nearly enough to fully immerse myself in. So now all that's really left is peeking over these two patterns for the rest of the afternoon and making my choice!

{sigh} I've got such a tough life on a balmy Friday afternoon, don't I?????

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Munchkin, having a fantastic time this weekend at the beach...

I'm not exactly sure why, but I ache everywhere. My back, all along my spine, is stunningly sore. My knees, hip joints, neck, and the left hinge of my jaw aches. My shoulders ache too. When I mentioned this fact to the Munch's daycare provider this evening as I went to pick him up, she said that maybe I had fibromyalgia. Or else maybe I had previously-undiagnosed rheumatoid arthritis and the incoming thunderstorm (and corresponding change in barometric pressure) was causing it to seriously twinge.

Cheerful, isn't she?

Peggers has it too, tho' - when he came to get the Munch he said that he too aches all over - mostly in his back - which makes me wonder if this isn't the start of something ickily viral that we've both caught and will soon fully come down with. Either that or else we've been bitten by the same tick and both have Lyme's disease. I'm guessing it's viral, myself.

Damn viruses.

It's not only achy and potentially stormy here, it's also STUNNINGLY hot. Today's heat index was 102 degrees, with almost 100% humidity. And while I went for a walk/run yesterday the warnings against such strenuous activity were just too obvious for me to do so again today. So rather than come into work a wee bit early and get in a run/walk (I work until 9 PM tonight, so I got to stay home until the early afternoon) I instead sat on the couch in my central-air-conditioned house set to a lovely and low-humidity 81 degrees and started watching the second season of Deadwood while I worked on a new pair of socks.

New socks that I can't show you, as they're an *original design * (Say it all together, now: "ooohhhhhhhh, ahhhhhhhhhh") of my own that I might - just might - submit for publication somewhere. Depending on what my design workshop folks tell me. Even if they're not accepted anywhere, I really really really like them - which is good - because no matter what at the end of all this I'll have a nifty & beautiful pair of handknit socks for myself, which is always a good thing, right my lovely ducklings?

New stamp, stamp pads - black and brown - and twill tape. All 15 feet of it.

I'm also currently working on writing up the pattern for my Screw-y Socks - one that Gryphon might take as a pattern to sell on her Etsy shop. I'm having fun typing it up and making it look all magazine-y and official. When I'm done I'll put it in pdf format, so it will look really and truly special and official. (Again, everyone: "ooooooohhhhhhhh....................aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!") To help me in this endeavor I was able to steal back the original pair of Screw-y socks from their gift recipient which is extra extra extra helpful - nothing like actually physically counting stitches and poking at a gusset to help you to remember what you did while knitting! That also means that I can take extra pictures, which is always good as well.

Speaking of extra pictures, here are some recent ones from my digital camera taken over the weekend, this morning, and this evening:

A finished sockpal sock heel. More pictures will - of course
appear here eventually. Many, many more. :)

Beautiful, beautiful, smooth organic woven cotton ribbon/twill tape.

Pink sockpal footsies.

Remember how I won a contest at Mim's blog? My gift box from Miriam came! 2 skeins of Claudia handpainted sock yarn ('Chocolate' colourway) plus real chocolate as well! That's in my tummy - so no pics of that, I'm afraid.....

A shot of how I more (or, in this case, less) managed to get
the cuff of my sockpal socks to match.

And I have a confession to make about Mystery Stole 3. I've frogged it. Again. You cannot cheat with Ms. Mystery - she's not a Birch or an Icarus that is quite so easy and forgiving as those two kind, kind souls. There is no room to craftily hide your lack of attention or your extra stitch or missing yarnover - she's a demanding, demanding snippet of a mistress. Every stitch, every row, has to be carefully counted, watched, looked after and scrutinized. And what that means for me is a book on CD or iPod (goodbye 2nd season of Deadwood - you and I shall henceforth only meet over vests and socks!), a cookbook holder used to prop up my chart and written directions, a pencil to shade out my knitted rows/stitches so that I can better keep track as I go, and - last but certainly not least - a lifeline every 10 or so rows. I'm personally a lifeline virgin - I jumped right in to the lace game with Birch and never looked back - in fact I even arrogantly scoffed at lifelines when it came to knitting Icarus - and either because Mim is extremely kind or else I just got very very very lucky - I never needed a lifeline for either lace project.

But Ms. Mystery - she is a-kickin' my ass - and with her I need all the help I can get.

I just might - maybe, possibly - start her tonight. Sitting comfortably propped up in bed, embroidery thread poised & at the ready to be my first lifeline somewhere around row 10 or 15 - with Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix (read by the superb Mr. Jim Dale) keeping me company while an achy hubby peacefully snoozes next to me..........

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Holy Knit One Purl Two!

My sockpal socks are done. Both of them. Holy knit one purl two speedy knitting, Batman! (The blog post title refers to this lovely little snippet that Peggers e-mailed me earlier this week while I was home on full-time mommy duty. Amusing to see how we knitters are shown as total psychopaths, huh?) They are currently at home, washed and blocking. The second cuff was snipped, the top cast-on edge taken off, and then I did a horridly inexpert job of picking up the stitches. Well, I picked up the k2 stitches easily, but I'll be damned if I could find the purl stitches - so I kind of had to make it up as I went along - which took me two separate attempts - and even then I knit it once, cast off, and then glared at it, as it looked so half-assed'ly done. So I undid the cast-off, ripped it back down, and tried picking up the stitches again, doing a better job this time with the cabled stitches and did the cast-off with EZ's sewn cast-off to make sure that the edge was nice and stretchy. They still don't match perfectly, but they're much better than they were before I tried, so that's a good thing. Otherwise I think they're near twins which is always a nice thing in socks. And appropriate, seeing as how my lovely sockpal is mommy to twin girls herself!

I immediately pulled out some stash yarn and started knitting away on a new WIP - but one that I can't post about here as it is ultimately destined to be a gift knit for someone that I know reads the blog. For those of you in Ravelry (and said gift recipient is currently NOT yet in Ravelry) take a peek in my projects notebook to see it - my Ravelry username is susanb.............. However the knitting of these is going so quickly that I'm guessing I'll be finished in the next two weeks and so they will be unveiled quite quickly. So for those of you that are impatient and not yet in Ravelry, there won't be much waiting.

I am half done with the First Clue on my Mystery Stole. I'm somewhere around Row 56. I think. The First Clue goes all the way up to Row 100 - and Clue #2 comes out tomorrow. I obviously won't be ready to start the Second Clue tomorrow, but that's okay. I'm still having loads of fun with this and am just in seventh heaven with the softness and colour of the yarn.

Happily enough, the chart has also been kindly posted in written-out form - BUT - it was written out (for the first time that I've ever seen!) in the way that I write out charts - in column form instead of lengthwise. I cannot tell you how lovely this is going to be - to be able to have someone else write out these charts for me! I can most certainly work from charts - I just prefer not to. Finding this out today and seeing other folks' finished Chart 1 work in the Yahoo Group for the project has totally spurred me on to work on this tonight, if I'm able. Go on and join - you've only got until tomorrow to add you name to the group before Melanie shuts the group to all other joiners!

Other than my finished Sockpal socks, my new secret WIP, and my Mystery Stole 3 progress my other Big News is along the finishing school line of thought. I've seen several knitters out there who have spent some major money buying their own custom name tags to sew into their pieces of handknit. One of my absolute favorites, hands down, is Caro's. However while I'd love to have something similar, not only am I currently trying to pay off my current yarn bill but I'm also not sure that I really and truly know what I'd like to have on this ol' name tag. And while the name tags aren't like buying a car or anything - they're not exactly cheap. Well, once again thank goodness for the collective knowledge of knitters and crafters out there. Parikha of The Brown Sheep is both a knitter and a crafter - so she keeps her eyes on blogs that would otherwise go totally unread by yours truly.........and while reading a Shim + sons blog post from last fall she read about the option of using a custom-designed stamp (less than $5, generally), some heat-set ink pads, and twill tape and making your own............

Photo used with extremely kind permission.

Doesn't it look fantastic? I ordered the heat-set ink pads in both black and a chocolate brown, and my stamp is identical to Parikha's - { by susan}. I know - not terribly original - but I tried loads of variations - *astericks*, ::colons::, carrots>< - you name it - and nothing looked good. So I went with what I liked.

Now I just have to be patient and wait for everything to arrive in the mail.

So if you'll excuse me, I have to leave work now and go check my mailbox.