Monday, May 28, 2007

Mission Accomplished

The yard is thoroughly and completely wacked! What a relief! It was a hard-working weekend.
To reward ourselves today, we took ourselves on a hike we've been talking about doing for years. You see, this is the view from our house:
Isn't that pretty mountain? For as long as we've lived here we've said that we'd climb to the top of that mountain one of these days. So today, on a whim, before we could talk ourselves out of it, we hopped in the car, with the dogs and set out to hike to the top. And what a fabulous hike it was! It's about a 2,000 foot elevation gain (top of the mountain is 2,730 ft), in a pretty short distance (I would guess no more than 3 or 4 miles), so it was a fairly steep climb. From the top there were gorgeous views of all of Sonoma Valley. We couldn't spot our house from there, but I guess that's not so surprising. Here's the view back toward our house (which is somewhere along the top of that ridge):
A happy Jasmine. She loves to hike and her energy always amazes me.
So those are my major weekend accomplishments. Oh, and I finished one waving lace sock and got started on another. They're taking me forever, but I feel like I'm on a bit more of a roll now so hopefully this second sock will go more quickly.

Monday, May 21, 2007

I am NOT a Slacker

I've been a blog slacker lately, I know. But I have a pretty good excuse. Taking up much of my time these weed-wacking season. Oh how I love to wack those weeds! Our yard consists of a little more than 2 acres of weeds that need to be wacked once a year. It is a very big job, and I love the challenge, though I will probably feel differently about it after another week or so of this. Everyone thinks we should get a riding mower, or some other heavy duty yard maintenance equipment. Believe me, we have tried a lot of different tools, and the weed wacker has turned out to be the right one for the job. The yard is fairly rocky, and not level and the grass gets to be more than 5 feet high in places, so everything else we've tried has failed, but I do love my trusty, industrial strength weedwacker. It makes me feel powerful, and destructive and all in a good way. Somehow the weedwacking has come to be my responsibility and I love the challenge. I usually try to wait until we're fairly certain that we've had the last rain of the season, and til most of the grass is good and dead, dry. But my goal this year is to complete this job by the first weekend in June. So far I've only put in an hour or two at a time, usually after work, but I'm going to have to put in some longer shifts at this if I'm going to meet my goal.
Here's my progress so far. It is less than 1/4 of the yard, but still it feels like an accomplishment.

As for knitting, I'm working on a waving lace sock from Favorite Socks, I'll post pictures of that when I've completed one. And I'm slowly making progress on the Kimono shawl. I'm taking a very relaxed approach to both projects. No manic knitting for me right now. There's just too much else to do this time of year.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Simple Stripey Socks

I finished my plain ol' 64 stitch striped stocks in Knitpicks Simple Stripes. Boring boring boring. But I have to say it was nice to have an easy peasy project to carry around with me. And they're really very comfy, and the colors are quite cheery. So no complaints.

And now I'm almost to the end of my sock yarn stash. I've got one pair's worth of J.Knits left and that big tangled mess of Shaeffer Anne (which I hate to even count at this point since who knows if I'll ever conquer the untangling trauma. But fortunately next week I'm heading to Monterey for a few days and there is a lovely yarn store in Pacific Grove where I will surely find some very nice sock yarn to take home as a souvenir.

And here's the start of my Kimono Shawl (from Folk Shawls):
I am LOVING this pattern. LOVE it. It's a 10 stitch repeat so it's easy to memorize and it seems to move along quickly. I'm a little concerned that it may come out bigger than intended, but I guess a lovely large shawl is not such a bad thing.

Happy Mothers Day to all!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Winding Down

I got in a yarn winding mood on Friday and really went crazy with it. My friend Katy brought me two huge skeins of this lovely lavender laceweight alpaca from Argentina, and two big skeins of laceweight wool too. So I went to work on all that beautiful Argentine yarn, along with some skeins of sock yarn. Thank goodness for the yarn swift and ball winder. I do love cranking that baby up and winding away. It is so satisfying to watch them both spin and the little yarn cake magically appearing on the ball winder.

So here's my successfully completed yarn cakes. Aren't they beautiful! The top two are J.Knits sock yarn in the Boston colorway, and everything else is from the Buenos Aires laceweight yarn collection. Look at all the lavender! Lordy that's going to make a lot of shawls. I immediately started a Kimono Shawl from Folk Shawls in the lavender alpaca. It's wonderfully soft and pleasantly fuzzy.

My one failure of the day, and yes, it's a big one, is my Shaeffer Anne. For some reason it became hopelessly tangled on the yarn swift. I am so disappointed! It's going to take me the rest of my life to untangle this mess. I've been patiently working on it, little by little, but at times I am tempted to toss the whole thing. I bought it at Stitches West and it wasn't cheap, and I've been looking forward to trying this yarn so I think I will persist in my efforts to untangle. It is indeed trying my patience though. Just look at the mess!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Sock Monkey Love

I'm a big fan of sock monkeys. My great aunt made one for me when I was little, and I still have it and display it proudly along with my brother's sock monkey of the same era. And I've made a few for the children of friends and family. I even dressed as a sock monkey for halloween one year. God that was hillarious! So you can imagine my delight when I got a surprise package in the mail today from my friend Donna and this is what was inside:It's a fabulous sock monkey quilted bag! How cute is that! Here's the back side:

Here is a closer up of the fabrics. I can't get over how cute it is!

Years ago I made sock monkeys for each of Donna's two boys and they both seemed to love them. So much so that when I went to visit a year or two later they showed me how they had made stick on mustaches for the monkeys, which I thought was super clever and adorable. Sock monkeys in disguise. Kids just crack me up!

Here are my childhood sock monkeys, circa 1974ish: