Shoes and Yarn

This blog is dedicated to my search for the perfect shoes and the perfect yarn.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Ahhhh Air Conditioning... Bliss

Monday, August 29, 2005

What are these???

Day 2 of no air conditioning. Mental note, next time do not tell apartment complex that you will not be renewing your lease on the same day that you call to say that your air conditioning isn't working. It's a balmy 87 degrees in my apartment at 10pm. Thankfully I spent most of the evening away...

Today is my sister's birthday. She's 29, lucky dog. Happy Birthday Kelly! In honor of her birthday, I made her and her daughter matching socks.

One of my secret projects that I've been working on. I tried the socks on Lindsay. At first she was like "What are these???"

Which swiftly turning into "Get these off me now!!!" oh, well. She's a cutie pie. We'll forgive her poor taste in not liking the socks for now.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Bad News Good News

Bad News - My air conditioning went out. It's about 90 degrees in here at 11pm. It's going to be a good night. I told my mother not to be surprised if she hears her door open at 2am as I seek refuge from the heat. Worst part, ever since I opened the window, I've been sneezing up a storm. Uggh.

Good news - I bought a new mattress this weekend. Mine is about 10 years old, so it needs it. It will be delivered next Saturday. Yippee.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I paid them $250 and they gave me a pen...

Yes, my car is back from the shop. We'll all do a short jig of eternal joy. I was at the shop like 10 minutes after they called. It looks so pretty, it almost brought tears to my eyes. They even cleaned the inside and left me a fancy pen all wrapped up in a box in my cupholder. Now, hopefully the weather will cooperate tomorrow and I can drive with the top down. Yippee.

Good news on the "must use yarn in my stash regime" where I'm on self-exile. We have a match! The cabled sweater pattern I bought at Stitches from Blackwater Abbey yarns works with the tweedy yarn I ordered from last year. I have no idea what I was doing ordering it. I don't even think I had a pattern in mind when I ordered it... Stupid Gwen... But, it's a pretty yarn and now it has a purpose. Hurrah!! I think I'll work on a guage swatch this weekend. It will be the perfect winter sweater. Starting the sweater may mean that I'm going to have to exchange my lunch reading time for lunch knitting time in order to complete projects. My christmas knitting list is more challenging this year as I have been on a more difficult pattern type kit. Yes, I'm starting obsessively early. I know about my propensity to procrastinate and I had two choices-make the list realistic or start early. I'm still probably deluding myself, but we'll see. On the bright side, knitting could get me outside. We have a little block park stuffed inbetween several buildings and our parking garage with benches. I could knit there. See the justification working already???

So, I came to the final conclusion to move. My lease is up at the end of October, but my apartment complex is already on me to renew, so I knew I had to make a decision. In fact, I got the letter that said I needed to give them 30 days notice (which would be Sept 30th for me) and notify them immediately (which would be more than 30 days???). This place is pushy I tell you. Moving is a huge pain, but my rent went up $100 last year and would go up $55 more this year (for the record 18.5% last year and another 8.6% this year). My salary doesn't increase that fast, I don't know about you. Besides which I work downtown and it takes me 15-20 minutes to get to a highway (stupid high school...) in the mornings and, even worse, I don't have a patio or balcony. Which bugs me. I want to BBQ. Before I moved 75% of what I cooked was BBQed outside. What was I thinking when I found this place... So, I found a place that has all the amenities I want. It's actually less money than I'm paying now. Closer to the highway with a balcony/patio and possibly a fireplace. So, what's the problem you're asking??? I don't move for 2 more months. I'm ready to go now. Worse, I have no desire whatsoever to clean my apartment since I know that I'm moving. What's the problem you ask??? I have yarn everywhere. I usually keep it contained, but it's on the kitchen table, quilt rack, hanging on hangers on the ironing board, on my dresser, on the table in my family room, on the end table, stuffed in the bookshelves (when did that happen??) I have books everywhere too. They used to be neatly put away in the book cases which now seem to be stuffed with yarn leaving no place for the books. I think this weekend is going to be a major cleanup operation.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

For Beth: There has been spinning. See! I bet you despaired that I would ever spin
Still working my way through the original fiber I got at Stitches, although I will admit to oggling roving on ebay for the past several days. We'll all say it now, together now real loud..."GWEN YOU'RE ON A YARN DIET." Buying fiber to spin into yarn will not help the problem... I need that reminder when my good sense tries to run away with my credit card. Although, I will admit I will probably buy more fiber before I allow myself to buy more yarn. I'm trying to use up some of the yarns that I currently have around and will admit to giving yarn for a scarf away this past weekend (:-0), just to cut down on the number of things in my to be knitted pile.
I came to the conclusion that I needed to rip out the broadripple socks that I started on the way to Stitches. I can barely get it on. If I add another pattern repeat, it would be too big. I could finish them and give them to someone else, but I really, really like the yarn and want to make something out of it for myself. I might try the retro rib pattern from one of the past IK instead. I've been eyeing it for awhile. I think I'll try the broadripple again because I like the patter, but I think in the Fixation I got at Stitches in the distant future

So, the project scorecard for the week so far:
Ruffles: Finished
Broadripple socks: Frogged
Lindsay socks: Sock #1 50%
Faina's Scarf: 80% (I swear I'll finish this one day...)
Bistro Shirt: 50%
Lindsay's sweater: 60%

It looks as if I need a new project. Hmmm. Now the dilemna...start a Christmas Present knitting project or start a Gwen project...

Sunday, August 21, 2005


So, I have all this beautiful yarn that I bought Stitches and the stuff I dyed this weekend...I needed to finish some of the projects that I'm currently working on. Hence---
Ruffles in all it's finished glory. From the ubiquitious Scarf Style book. I worked it in the Classic Elite Premier that it called for, but 3 balls rather than 4. It's still 6 feet long. I loved working with the Premier, it's definitely on my list of yarns I must knit with again. I ended up working on this for about 4 hours today at various times. Mostly procrastinating housework and laundry. Laundry got done, most of the housework did not, so it obviously worked well. I also cast on for the second front side of the ballet sweater for x-mas for my neice. I finished about an inch of that too.

Brief movie review for you...Alexander was is not a good movie. Even Colin Farrell in a short skirt wasn't enough to keep my interest. It was rather like sitting through a file in a history class in high school, except with famous movie stars. Don't waste your time. I only made it through the first hour and half before I gave up.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The mad scientist tea party

Two women, 14 skeins of yarn and an array of koolaid, wilton cake dyes an array of analyne (sp?) dyes and two very large glasses of tea left us with fun stuff...

At the first party, I was a bit hesitant and couldn't figure out what I wanted to do. I had no problems trying out the fun and unusual this time...

This first skein of fingering weight is half Changin' Cherry koolaid dyed and half pink analyne dyed dyed in the ball.

It yeilded yarn that looks a bit like a peppermint candy. I pushed down on the ball in the dye, the middle still had a fair bit of the white left. I kind of like the overall effect. I would definitely keep in mind how hard it was to get the dye into the middle if I tried it again.

The next two skeins was some very old mohair rescued by my aunt from my grandparent's house along with the monster swift some time ago. Good yarn never goes out of style.

The blue skein was done in a ball with a turkey injector with pink and light blue analyne dye. The second was actually a ball of this really pale pink mohair to begin with and I overdyed it with a black wilton dye. It turned out rather nicely.

These two skeins are done with light blue, royal blue, light green, and turquoise analyne dyes.

The final 3 skeins of laceweight were done with pink, royal blue, light blue and purple dye.

All in all, it was a fun experience. The analyne dyes turn out more brilliantly than the koolaid dyes with less used. I still have one more skein of laceweight to play around with. I think I want to play with more of the overdying. It was fun. I'll leave everyone with the moral of our day spent dyeing....

She who wears plastic gloves does not end up with blue fingers... (Susie...)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Sudden stop

I was going to entertain everyone with my review of one of the classes I took at Stitches, but that was until I came to a sudden stop this morning. My sudden stop looked kind of like this...

My car is the red car. Convertible Seabring. Beautiful... Yes, that is a Blue Ford Focus sitting on top of my car. She stopped suddenly this morning and although I tried to stop, the wet pavement hampered my efforts and I ended up beneath her car. It's rather freaky to have someone drive off the top of your car... Thankfully, neither she or I were injured. I was a little freaked out, but it was okay. I sincerely apoligize to the travelers on Hwy. 40 this morning...

So, my car is now at the shop and I'm driving a Dodge Neon, which is rather like riding a roller skate on wheels. I really should have stayed in bed this morning...

Monday, August 15, 2005

Adventures of a beginning spinner...

So, here are some very bad pictures of myself so I can illustrate what I learned about spinning in my first try. You'll see our beautiful hotel room as I couldn't wait to try it out and came right to the hotel after classes and shopping all day to try it. So, here I am. I've got the fiber attached. I got it spinning. I decided to do the trap method since I'm still a newbie and personally, keeping that many things going at the same time was just not an option that evening. So, everything looks really good so far...

Lesson #1, keep track of your fiber. If it gets to close to the spinning, it gets sucked in like a black hole...

Then you have a whole other mess to clean up.

So, I got it all back on track. Notice the intense concentration and if you look closely, yes, my tongue is sticking out. Which is a sure sign of concentration...

So, here it is, my first attempt on the spindle.

I, of course, couldn't wait to find out what it will look like so we did the double up the single to produce my first attempt at yarn.

My yarn

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Yarn and Classes and Firemen...Oh My!

Back from Stitches Midwest 2005 and I'm absolutely exhausted. We shopped and we looked and we shopped and we looked and we walked, oh god did we walk. We took the occasionaly break for a class and, of course, slept when the market was closed. :-) I began to think of the trek from the parking garage to the classrooms and marketplace as a death march. I swear, in the mornings (8am) with no caffeine it sucked, even more so since you had to walk to the Hyatt which was through the conference center and down another set of long hallways to get caffeine. In the evenings when you're feat hurt, even more so. Ugghhh! I was even wearing comfortable shoes.

So to show you a brief glimpse, below is our haul from Thursday evening on our 1 hour sprint through the market place.

One ball of Tess' Super Sock Yarn.

On day two, I took a class in Fair Aisle knitting from Beth O'Brien. The class was good and I even managed to figure out how to knit with the yarn in my right hand. It wasn't fast and it wasn't pretty, but I figured it out.

This is the haul after day 2. Keep in mind that this is for Beth, Suzie and myself...

Isn't that a cool Basket. Suzie won that as an attendance prize in the marketplace. You'll also notice the IKEA bags... Yes, after shopping all day and taking classes, we got back on the road and drove to IKEA. Got even more stuff there. I'ms sad to say, that there are no pictures of the day 3 haul, but suffice to say it was extensively larger...

Here is my total haul...

This is what I bought:
1 skeins Interlacements RickRack II
1 skein Interlacements Seeds
2 skeins of some Bright green cotton rayon yarn (it was on sale the last day)
1 Skein Tess' Super Sock Yarn
1 Skein Blue Moon "Socks that Rock"
2 skeins Lorna's Laces
2 skeins Cascade Silly Strips
2 skeins Cascade Fixation
1 skein Just Our Yarn Cashmere laceweight
1 Old Interweave Magazin
1 pattern from Blackwater Abbey yarns
And yes, your eyes do not deceive you, I gave in... I bought a drop spindle and some fiber...

Isn't it pretty??? I still can't believe I bought it. I've been intrigued by spinning since I started knitting. Lately, I've been even more curious and this weekend, I just jumped...

So, of course, when we went back to the hotel, we had to try it right away...

Here I am spinning my first single. Any advice from the spinners out there would be greatly appreciated.

I wasn't the only one bitten by the make-your own bug...

Suzie and Beth bought kits to make their own silk yarn for scarves. Suzie couldn't wait to try it out either.

The trip was not without it's excitement. Everywhere we went in Chicagoland, men in cars were staring at us. It was strange and then there was this...

Yes, a firetruck in the dark. We had a fire alarm go off in our hotel. Beth's first instinct was to get out of the building alive as she quickly put on her shoes and started out the door. I was more worried about the yarn and inquired as to whether or not we should bring it with us while we evacuated... I think my priorities might be a little bit skewed...

Tomorrow - My first spinning pictoral and a summary of my Cuff Craze Class

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Going to Stitches...

So, as promised, I was up until 1am last night packing my clothes and knitting bag. It was sadly harder to decide which of my knitting projects to pack than it was what pack to wear... I finally decided on The Bistro shirt - car ride should be some good knitting time for that, Ruffles scarf because it's pretty light in the bag and the new Broadripple sock I'm making out of some blue variegated Opal. I did pack my ball winder for Beth and remembered to pack my homework... I still need to do the dishes, take out the trash and get on a conference call this morning.

We're leaving early enough to get to the Market this evening. Our plans in Chicago do include more than just Stitches. IKEA (yes, we worship from afar) is 10 miles away and open til 10pm so after finishing in the marketplace which closes at 5pm, we'll head on over to there. We'll also plan on heading downtown for dinner for the evening. So, I won't totally miss out on Chicago.

The pilgramage begins...

Monday, August 08, 2005


In an effort to delay cleaning my apartment, which I successfully put off for a bulk of the weekend, I finally got around to blocking the Soleil tank. Now I can wear it at Stitches. Here it is in all it's glory.

I should be deep in the midst of my "Oh my god I'm leaving my house for 4 days I need to clean everything in sight" phase, but for some reason I'm not. Which, of course, means I'm going to come home Wednesday night from knitting with the posse and spend half the night cleaning. I have this weird thing where I cannot go away, even on a business trip for 2 days without cleaning my entire apartment. The bathroom, the kitchen, clean all the clutter, vacuum, mop, take out the trash, new sheets. The whole 9 yds. Yep, that's what I'll be doing on Wednesday night. That and packing... At least I finished the laundry tonight, so that's done.

The weekend was good. I babysat for my neice. She is officially a creeper now, although she has amazing speed for someone who has only been crawling for a week. She exhausted me. I'm not used to that. Sunday I went my friend's annual "Cold" party. Where we celebrate in the cool basement by eating a potluck full of foods that are cold. Good Stuff. Fun as always.

Stitches Coundown:
2 working days (Yippee - not a bit excited about that truly...)

Friday, August 05, 2005


I'm back. Took a little hiatus. Hopefully this is my last busy week... but I somehow doubt that because I think that every week.

I've been working on my Bistro shirt. Below is the progress.

Look what came in the mail!!!! The knitpicks Haul!!!!

There's a full bag of lace weight and 4 skeins of the fingerweight in the other bag.

I'd like to say that I have gone a week without buying more yarn, but I'd be lying. I went to the yarn sale at Knitorious and bought some more Opal sock yarn in a grey and some blue Plymouth Baby to make another Baby Einstein sweater. Shame on me. I will admit that today's yarn purchase is not yarn for me, but will be made into gifts, but that would just be useless justification of stash enhancement...

Stitches Midwest Countdown:
6 Days
3 Work Days!!!!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Look at me Sock Pal!!!

First things, an sockapalooza update. Tada. The finished pumpkin socks!!!

On my happy feet!!!

This is made from some orangey/brownish variegated Trekking XXL on size 2 needles. The pattern is a mock-rib cable. So, now all I have to do is get them into the mail a little bit before the 9/15 deadline so I'm not a deadbeat pal.

So, the parentals are back from their Alaskan cruise. My mother has finally found a way to travel that she enjoys. They checked in their bags in St. Louis, turned them over to the cruise people, they arrived in their room. They put their bags outside their room on the ship and they magically reappeared back in St. Louis. I will say that my mom knows my sister and I very well. Instead of cheesy tourist t-shirts, my sister and I got jewelry. Isn't it beautiful?

Isn't it beautiful? Hematite necklace and earrings. Very cool. Literally. You put it on it on and it's so cold agains your skin, but soon warms up. Lindsay got a stuffed moose.

The yarn washing experiment with the Webs cone yarn did not yield the desired results. Rinsed yarn and washed yarn feel pretty much the same, so instead of ripping out all my work on the Bistro shirt, I'm going to continue. So, here is a picture so far. I decided to do it in the round rather than as two separate pieces simply because I hate to seam. This way only the shoulder seams to do. So, I've got the slip stitch ribbing finished and about 3 inches of the body.

Stitches Midwest Count down
10 days...7 working days