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On Thursday, July 10th, I took another step on the birthday hill and I can see the top so clearly, that I’m ready to start walking backwards. No really, I must admit I’m a bit sad to hit 39 years old, but that’s only because my 30’s have been my best years ever!

Since my father’s retirement party was in southern Idaho the day after my birthday, we left on July 8th for our drive from Southern California to Southern Idaho. The drive through southern Utah is so beautiful and I just love this red rock that is everywhere.

Originally I was very worried about the 14 hour drive to my parents home and since fuel costs are so high, we really couldn’t afford to stop and stay at a hotel. I was especially concerned because with my fibromyalgia, you just never know how a lengthy car ride is going to be. Thankfully, my most amazing friend Laura came to the rescue and allowed us use of her timeshare points to stay at the Cedar Breaks Lodge in Brian Head, Utah.

Miraculously the lodge was exactly the midpoint in our trip, so we stayed there the night of the 8th and woke the following day to this beautiful view.

The lodge sits at the base of the Brian Head Ski Resort and I can just picture this all covered in snow. It must be beautiful.

The following day, July 10th, had an auspicious start (that’s a whole other story), but at noon I was surprised by getting to visit the local fiber farm, Hartwell’s Lazy PJ Ranch.

Hubby gave me a card with a bunch of money in it to spend at the fiber farm, and so I got some superwash merino and soysilk fiber, a latern moon spinning basket, some back issues of Spin-Off magazine and a beautiful Gita Marie orifice hook.

Of course the batteries on my camera died. So, I was at the mercy of my mother’s picture taking skills. I won’t humiliate myself with showing the photos of my eyes closed and my tongue sticking out, but I do have this photo of me with a suri alpaca.

After the fiber farm, we had lunch at the local Mexican restaurant and later that day I received a few gifts. My favorite one was this “cake” my sister made me.

It’s a pile of the most delicious chocolate frosting ever with 3 balls of marzipan yarn in the center. I know she was disappointed that she didn’t have time to make me a “real” cake, but she was so busy making the retirement cake for my dad, that I asked her not to make one for me. After that candle was blown out, I asked for a package of graham crackers and scooped up piles of frosting on them. Mmmm …. my favorite.

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Labor Day was fairly uneventful around here, since it’s honestly too hot to do anything. If you read any blogs from others Californians, then you already know that we’re having an extreme heat wave. For example, last night at 7pm it was 90 degree INSIDE my home and I’d had the air conditioner on since 8am that morning. In addition to the hot weather though, my health has taken a turn for the worse and in addition to my normal Fibromyalgia symptoms, I’m battling the return of all my Epstein-Barr Virus symptoms. Supposedly it has returned because my immune system sucks, so I’m attempting to remedy that with a 30-day trial for what I hope to be “miracle” vitamins.

Laura recently asked me about the sock I was designing to see if it were complete. I’m on the verge of posting about it, but not today, so here’s a sneak-preview photo.


Wendy wrote a post last month regarding this light tent. I’m feeling tempted into purchasing it. Although my photos are alright, I would love for them to better. Also, with this tent, maybe my photo assistants wouldn’t steal my props. Currently I photograph everything outside by placing a few sheets of white tissue paper on my backyard patio or walkway, and I keep it from blowing away with a few rocks stolen from the base of my water fountain. Unfortunately, my golden retrievers think they are my photo assistants and just for giggles they like to steal the rocks off the tissue paper when I setup between photos.

All setup and ready for it’s picture
Kya nonchalantly standing near the photo setup acting all innocent
The little thief stealing the rock from the bottom left corner

The yarn in the photos was recently acquired from Jenny of the Stash & Burn podcast. She was doing a de-stash and I decided to pick up these two skeins of Lamb’s Pride Worsted in the Prairie Fire colorway. I’m considering using this yarn to make a scarf for the Red Scarf Project. They’ve changed the guidelines this year to sending in a maximum of five scarves and they need to be received by October 15th, but they are also recommending no mohair scarves. There is 15% mohair in this yarn, so do you think it would be alright to use this, or should I find something else?

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My May SAM 3 KAL socks are complete and these are also socks for my mother for Mothers Day. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize until towards the end that a more appropriate pair should’ve been knit in spring colors, but since these are complete and there’s no time to knit another pair, they will have to do.
Pattern: Snake River Socks
Pattern Source: PersistentIllusion.com
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in Green Mountain Madness
Needles: (2) KnitPicks Circular size 1 US
Notes: This is my first time knitting with Cherry Tree Hill yarn and let me just tell you it will definitely not be my last. Although the colorway isn’t one of my favorites, I must confess that the yarn was heavenly sliding through my hands to the needles. So far, this pattern has been one of my favorites not only because it was written toe-up for two circular needles, but because it was so simple to follow. These socks also fit my feet probably better than any I’ve ever knit. I suppose if they don’t fit mom, she could send them back to me. I’ll definitely keep this pattern in my sock binder to knit again in the future, but I’ll probably add the yarn overs as in the inspired River Rapid Socks just for something new.

Those silly dogs of mine kept running through all my photos, so I thought I’d include one to show you. Although the photo of the socks isn’t the best (and you have to deal with my hairy white legs), I just though it was fun to include a photo of what it’s like to be out on my backyard patio.

Also, remember those stitch markers I’ve been bugging all of you about? Well Ana opened her new online store, so please go take a look around. I can’t believe her low low prices!

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I placed another order with Sheri at The Loopy Ewe. That darn free shipping and handling for orders over $50 gets me everytime. That also happens to me with KnitPicks and their $45 free shipping limit. Oh, and did I fail to mention I also placed an order with them on the same day? Somebody please help me. So are you wondering what I ordered? Guess you’ll have to wait until everything arrives so I have photos of it. (he he he)

Did I hear you just ask what’s on my needles? (Or, were you cursing me for not telling you what I ordered?) Well, not pictured is the Handsome Triangle Scarf and the Matinee Coat because there’s not much of a change in either. I just cast off a square for Julie and it’s currently blocking although I don’t have a photo of it. I did start a sock though! I know, you’re not surprised. I mean, how could *I* not have a sock on my needles? This is Cherry Tree Hill Supersock yarn in the Green Mountain Madness colorway and I’m knitting it into the Snake River Socks pattern. I love the yarn, I love the pattern, and I think I may give these to my mom for Mothers Day. After all, she does live next to the Snake River.

I also received my order from Sundara Yarn. I ordered this sock yarn back in March and had honestly forgotten about it so it was a very nice surprise to see Mr. Mailman bring me a package. I ordered this yarn for 3 reasons.
1.) She lives in the city I was born and left my heart in: Seattle, Washington.
2.) The yarn is named after one of my most favorite trees: Cherry Blossom.
3.) Her yarn always sells out and I was curious to see if the yarn is as good as I’ve heard.
Although I haven’t knit with it yet, I can say that I’m very thrilled with my purchase even though with the shipping and handling costs, I doubt I’ll order very often from her in the future. We’ll see if I still say that though after I knit with it.

I also received the sweetest surprise from Entrelac. I was commenting to her that I needed a contrasting stitch marker so I could identify the center of my shawl and before I knew it, I had this beautiful blue Swarovski crystal marker in my mailbox. She even sent me this one from her personal collection … for free! I am in love with these dangle free stitch markers and I’m definitely impressed by Ana and her amazing turnaround time and customer service.

Inspired by Teyani’s post, here’s “my knitting spot”. This is where I usually sit to do all of my knitting. DH and I have been married for almost 4 years, and the first 2 1/2 years were spent sitting on the sofa next to him. However, when I learned to knit, I then discovered that this chair was more comfortable than the sofa, so I moved and poor DH has had the sofa all to himself. He probably prefers it though since when we used to sit together and he’d start to doze off, I’d tap him to wake up. Now he’s across the room and when he dozes off to sleep during a movie we’re supposed to be watching together, I just ignore him and keep knitting. He gets his beauty rest, and I work on my knitting. We’re both happy.

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I love the anticipation of waiting every day for the mail when you know you have something arriving, but when you get two items in one day, it’s difficult not to hug the mailman.

After receiving my first order from The Loopy Ewe, I now know why everyone loves Sheri so much! I had a difficult time narrowing down my yarn choices on her website, but I let Project Spectrum be my guide and I stepped out of my comfort zone to purchase only yarns in shades of green, pink and yellow. I also decided to try out some new yarn companies. I mean, how can you say you adore Socks That Rock if you’ve never tried Fleece Artist or Lorna’s Laces and such?

from top to bottom:
Fleece Artist Basic Merino Socks in Nova Scotia
Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Tickled Pink
Cider Moon Glacier in Congo

Not only did I receive my order in just a few days of placing it, but everything arrived packaged beautifully. The skeins of yarn were wrapped in white tissue paper and finished off with The Loopy Ewe seal. In addition, my invoice included a personal handwritten note from Sheri as well as needle inventory cards and small sample yarn cards of Regia Silk and Regia Bamboo. I will most definitely be purchasing more yarn from Sheri in the future.

On the same day, I also received another set of 10 stitch markers from Team Entrelac. They arrived just in time since I’ve started my next (first?) lace project. It’s hard for me to put into words how ideal these markers are. There’s not a single open gap or rough edge (burr), so I’m not scared of it snagging the delicate laceweight yarn, as other makers have done before. I also love how beautiful each tiny bead is, so it looks like jewelry for my knitting. You also can’t beat the price or the speed at which she ships! Both my orders arrived on my doorstep in less than 48 hours! It seems that she doesn’t have a lot of her stitch markers on her etsy site since she’s trying to open her own storefront, but you can see all of her stitchmarkers here. Go ahead, take a peek, she makes them in ALL sizes!

I finally decided on a pattern for the dark navy Grignasco Regina that I purchased when I was with Laura at our LYS. The photo shows the beginnings of A Handsome Triangle (page 32) shawl from Victorian Lace Today. So far, I’ve completed 80 of the 212 pattern rows and since it’s a triangle shawl knit from the bottom point up, I increase four stitches every other row, so progress is just starting to feel slow to me. I’m probably being either daring or stupid for jumping right into an intermediate pattern for my first lace shawl, but if all goes well, this should be a nice present for my mother-in-law (mum) for her June birthday.

DH & I entertained ourselves for a few days by finally adressing our landscaping problem. The sprinkers were all checked and broken ones replaced. New sprinklers were added to two areas that only grew dirt. 5 palm trees were added (2 in the backyard and 3 on the side yard of our corner lot). Last but not least, half the backyard was re-seeded for grass, since the dogs tore up the old pathetic grass that used to be there. This is just the beginning though. Hopefully soon (after recovering from all the money those palm trees cost), I’ll be adding all sorts of blooming plants.

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It’s like a broken record. Everywhere you look people are having a blogiversary. I believe something must have been in the water (or yarn) that month because a year ago today, I also got bit by the “blog bug”! I think I started reading 10 blogs consistently then, but as of today, I have 216 blogs that I’m subscribed to. Yes, insanity has hit an entirely new level around here. So much has happened in a year and I’ve made some great new blogging friends (although I’ve only met two of them) and I’d love to increase that number this year.

Of all the stats I located about my blog though, these are my favorite:

  • 4,776 people have visited my blog (about 1,000 of those were in February)
  • 127 posts have been written (including this one)
  • 536 comments have been left here

Thanks to all of you who frequently comment. It really does make my day to see so many comments on a consistent basis. I sincerely try to respond back to every comment I receive, but occasionally one falls through the cracks (or I can’t locate an email address) and for that I’m sorry. I hope you continue here with me for my adventures into my second year, and I look forward to whatever my blog brings me. (an income would be nice)

In honor of my one-year blogiversary, I’m going to do the predictable and give away yarn. I was going to make it a contest, but I don’t want you to have to work too hard for your freebie, so here’s what I’d like. Leave me a comment on this post about your favorite yarn, knitted item, knitting book, and knitting accessory between now and Monday, March 19th at 12:00pm PST. I’ll use a random number generator to choose the winner and that person will receive this skein of Trekking XXL. Come on people, it’s time to finally de-lurk. After all, this is FREE.

Since I haven’t posted since Monday, I could bore you with all the things I’ve been doing, but I won’t. I will, however share with you the best part of the week. On Wednesday I went to Laura‘s beautiful home up in the hills of Orange County California. WOW! Talk about some stunning views!! Of course, I didn’t think to take any photos because I’m an idiot! It’s the truth, what can I say? We had a wonderful afternoon of showing off some of the items we’ve knit and I brought my yarn haul from Stitches West to show. The time passed too quickly (as usually is the case when knitting and yarn are involved) and as I drove home I was very thankful for blogs. I finally realized that the reason I blog is to keep in contact with those of you who have the same obsession for knitting as I do. I love connecting with people who can appreciate the joy, happiness, sadness and frustration that we call our craft, and the opportunity to hopefully someday meet some of the amazing people we correspond with through our blogs. Am I sounding too sappy? Okay, I’ll shut up now.

In family news, my baby girl is turning 4 years old on Saturday.

This is Kya and I guess she’s really not my baby, as much as she is my dog, but since I never had kids of my own, (other than step-children) I consider my pets my kids. I know some of you may understand. Ever since she was a puppy, she’d lay on the ground and roll her ball around with her paw. It’s one of my favorite things to watch her do, so I just had to include a photo of it for you.

And just so my handsome 3-yr old doesn’t get left out, this is Duke.

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In great anticipation of the three-hour class I signed up for, I arrived at the convention center thirty minutes early and started to search for the classroom. I must say that Stitches really has done a beautiful job at setting up information displays to help get you where you want to go. I entered my classroom, met a few classmates, pulled out my materials and anxiously waited. It was another one of those minutes feeling like hours moment, but then the instructor, Gwen Bortner, began to speak. The class was called Pattern Customization & the description basically stated that you would learn how to recalculate a pattern you love, to work with the yarn you love, just by utilizing a gauge swatch & a bit of math. Of course nobody ever wants to knit a gauge swatch or do math, especially me, but that must also be why the sweater I knit DH did not fit very well. After this class I now understand why making a gauge swatch is critical to success. This class well exceeded my expectations and not only did I learn a great deal of usable information, but it was presented in a straight-forward and organized manner with unexpected humor. Gwen was entertaining, informative and engaging. I hope to take another class from her in the future.

DH met me for lunch after my class and we purchased a ticket for him, so that he could experience “knitters shopping heaven” firsthand. Our first stop was the XRX/Knitters booth were they were promoting their latest book release: Victorian Lace Today. As I started thumbing through this exquisite book, I not only appreciated the beautiful photography & stunning shawl patterns, but also realized that there are 40 patterns and the book was priced at only $29.95. I was quite shocked! I don’t even knit lace and I thought it would be a perfect addition to my knitters library. In addition to this beautiful book though, most (if not all) the lace shawls from the book were displayed throughout the booth. Each shawl was a beautiful work of art and even though all the exquisite detail of each one made me feel a bit intimidated, I did notice that a few of the scarves in the book said “beginner”.

As I was carefully examining each shawl, I realized that it was 1 pm and we had scheduled to meet up with Lain. I have been corresponding with Lain via our blogs for almost a year and she was actually the person who left the very first comment on my blog last year in April. Even though she has an amazing personality which shows through on her blog, she’s even better in person. We had a wonderful time looking through the vendor booths flipping through books, fondling yarn, and chit-chatting about this and that, but the time passed by too quickly & she was off to a game for one of her beautiful children. She has the cutest post about us all meeting which is funny & definitely worth reading! I know if Lain & I lived closer to each other, I’d have her knitting more & she’d have me scrapbooking!

I’ve debated off and on for quite some time about knitting the Clapotis. It seems like everyone has been there, knit that, but it’s a pattern I come back to time and time again. I never had the right yarn for the project though, and so it remained on the back burner. At the Brooks Farm booth however, they had TWO Clapotis on display each knit in a different yarn type. I showed it to DH & he immediately said he liked the one knit in their Four Play yarn, a 50/50 wool and silk blend, and then proceeded to choose a colorway for me. The colors are definitely not in my typical wine palette, but I really do like them and I’m glad he talked me into purchasing it.

One of the best items of advice from my class this morning was to purchase a skein of yarn you think you love, knit a swatch with it and if you still love it, go buy the yardage you need for your project. Since I wasn’t in love with the yarn I used on DH’s last sweater, I asked him to choose a skein/ball of yarn at the WEBS booth and I’ll knit it into a swatch at home for him to see. I told him if he still likes it, I’ll order enough yarn to make him the sweater of his choice. He chose this skein of Valley Yarns Colrain, a 50/50 blend of merino and tencel in a colorway named Majestic Blue. It’s soft, has a beautiful sheen & is hopefully a dream to knit with.

As I wandered around looking at all the vendor booths, the Victorian Lace Today book kept sticking in my head and I decided that since it had left such an impression on me, that the best thing to do was just purchase it. As I started walking towards the XRX booth, I remembered seeing something about book signings. I wondered if this author was also signing so I checked my schedule and sure enough, she had signings scheduled most of that day. I located her last signing at 4:30 pm and figured we had a few minutes to get to that booth.

We arrived promptly at 4:30 at the YarnDogs booth and there was only one woman ahead of me in line. I don’t know what I was expecting, if anything, but this beautiful mature woman with a slim build was sitting before me and spoke in a soft English accent. I told her I’d never knit with lace weight yarn and that in fact I’d never knit any lace items, but that her book just captivated me and I was so surprised that such a beautiful book had been written with so many patterns for such a low price, that I knew I should own it. As she opened her book, she proceeded to tell me that her publishers didn’t think the book would sell for a higher amount and she also implied to me that she wasn’t happy with her publishers for underestimating the value of her work. She then started delicately flipping through the pages and shared with me the patterns that would be perfect for my first project. She took off one of her shawls and told me where she had found the original pattern for that particular lace edging and how it was only a partial pattern, and the history, and so forth. She mentioned that on one of the scarf photos it shows an edging that does not match the pattern in the book but that most of the edgings can be changed anyway.

At some point I realized that quite some time had elapsed and I looked behind me to find nobody waiting. ??? She kept speaking to me like I was the only person in the room. I basked in these moments with the author until we discovered that someone else was waiting for their book to be signed. I guess I couldn’t complain though, since I had just spent about ten minutes talking to her and it is one of those once-in-a-lifetime things you never forget. I will treasure the moment and this book for my entire life.

After the book signing I was floating on cloud 9 and believed it couldn’t get any better, but of course while I was looking through my bag of yarn when we arrived back at the hotel, I found a small blue box. I opened it and found an absolutely beautiful pearl & sterling silver bracelet from Harlan Beads. I have no idea when or how DH managed to sneak away from me to purchase this, but him doing things like this for me are one of the millions of reasons why I love him! We finished off my perfect day with a lemon drop cocktail at the hotel bar followed by sushi for dinner. Unforgettable!

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