Nittany Knits

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A lovely new gal joined us on Thursday night for sit 'n knit. When she was showing us what she was working on, I fell in love with the 'Calorimetry' from Knitty she was knitting with Patons Soy Wool Stripes. I of course had some sitting in my stash, so while I was in Pittsburgh I whipped one up, and here it is!

The button is the antler button that I purchased while I was there. I actually bought three different sizes of buttons since I didn't know what size I would need.

My daughter has requested one in different colors. I would have to modify it, since this one is huge on me. It was so quick and mindless, the child might actually get one in between all the socks that I've got lined up. By the way, aren't you proud that I knit something besides socks!

Those of you who know me know that I am having a difficult time pronouncing the 'Calorimetry', and it has somehow undergone a name change between Large Marge and myself. It is now being referred to as the 'High Colonic'. What can I say? I got into Penn State because of my math skills, not my verbal. Those of you who read this blog often will agree with that statement. Proper sentence structure has never been a top priority with me, and spell check is my best friend.

On to the big news of the day. My first shipment of Socks That Rock are officially on the way. Many e-mails arrived in my inbox telling me the good news. I've have to hurry up and finish my last three inches of the second Crusoe sock so that I am ready for the big day!!!!! Lots of sock knitting got done at Borders yesterday thanks to Miss Sheila. Thanks to her retirement, she is available for last minute sit 'n knits that last many many many hours when you feel like playing hookie from work. Bad influence enablers are always welcome in my world!

Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Here's my new Tofutsies yarn I purchased in Pittsburgh. Under the crab it tells you what Chitin is. The yarn is 50% Superwash Wool, 25% Soysilk Fibers, 22.5% Cotton, and 2.5% Chitin. For those of us who did not know what Chitin was, the South West Trading Company was kind enough to not make us feel stupid and provided the answer for us. (I'm sure many a local yarn store owner was thankful for this!) "Chitin is fiber from shrimp and crab shells! It's naturally antibacterial!" How cool is that??????

What you can't see in this photo are the other two skeins of sock yarn that are sitting to the left of the Tofutsies yarn. Apparently Miss Margaret did not find them interesting enough to take a picture of. She was too into the crab on the label. Funny, since she doesn't like crab. Wonder what she'll think of knitting it instead of eating it????

Happy Knitting!

Monday, February 26, 2007

We are back from Pittsburgh safe and sound. We had a blast at my mother's party, and most importantly-my mother loved her presents! I love my mother very much, but she is very difficult to buy presents for. I tend to freak out while finding her presents that express how much I love her. We did a great job this year. Not only did she love the presents I had brought for her, but she even took the Jaywalker pedicure socks off my feet and claimed them as her own. Alrighty then. I held my tongues and didn't mention the time it takes top knit socks on size one needles. I just smiled and told her I was glad she liked them.

She did make up for it by watching the kids while I went off to my favorite yarn store in Pittsburgh to pick up some Tofutsie sock yarn and some great buttons made out of antlers from a neighborhood man. I also swung by the local Irish store to pick up a book of Aran sweater patterns. Yeah!

Happy Knitting!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thanks to Large Marge, you can now check out the photos of the Granite Socks That Rock in the Crusoe pattern from Knitty. Yummy!

I didn't have any of my finished projects with me at Sit 'N Knit tonight , so these are the only photos I've got for now. May be next week I will remember to haul out my finished goods.

I'm off to Pittsburgh for my mother's 75th Birthday Party. Here's hoping the trip is uneventful heading over the mountains while there are wind gusts of over 55 miles an hour, and for the return trip with icing in the forecast. All prayers are appreciated.

Happy Birthday, Mommy!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Hello, my name is Nittany Knits...and I have a problem! It all started at the 2005 Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, when I picked up a skein of sock yarn from the people at Tess. Sure, I had purchased yarn before, but I had resisted the urge to actually use the stuff. This time, however, I was not so lucky. I gave into the shades of blues and the fact that it was machine washer/ dryer safe. What a little price my soul can be bought for.

"Just this one time!" I told myself. I actually fell for that old line. I knit that skein of sock yarn into the most pathetic pair of socks you could imagine. One sock was WAY too short. The other sock had a huge ladder on the bottom of the foot. (Too much sangria during a 6 hour BBC mini series 'Pride and Prejudice' marathon). I worn them everywhere. How proud I was to have turned two heels. I was such a fool.

It started out slowly. At first I would only knit socks in the summer. A seasonal disorder of sorts. Self stripping, simple lace patterns- it didn't matter. I was starting to get hooked. I thought I had everything under control. I only purchased one pair's worth of yarn per visit to the yarn stores. I could handle it. Right?

Wrong. Signs of the total breakdown were showing. 2006 Stitches East in Baltimore is when even I started to admit I was having issues keeping things under control. When I laid out my loot from the multiple days of shopping, I was hit with the cold hard facts. 90% of my loot was sock yarn. And then it happened. January 2007, I was back to knitting sock after sock after sock. It wasn't summer! It was the dead of winter! Chaos ensued.

All knitting was pushed aside in favor of my latest socks. I wouldn't be done with them before I was already itching to move on to latest and greatest sock pattern. Those Jaywalkers that I NEEDED to have, I could barely finish before casting on the Crusoe. Now those Crusoe are just getting the second sock's heel turned and I am already lusting my latest obsession. The Fearless Fiber sock yarn that JavaJem got me for SP9 in the Monkey pattern from Knitty.

And the yarn! It's everywhere. When Large Marge asked me how many skeins I thought I had, I realized that I didn't even have to turn my head in the room that I was in to spot 26 pairs of future socks waiting to be knit. Didn't turn my head, look into containers, nothing. 26 pairs!

The final straw occurred last night as I paid my fee to enter the 2007 Socks That Rock Club. I used the money I was going to use to upgrade from dail-up into the world of high speed internet. Which, if you think about it, it is probably a good idea my computer is slow. Could you imagine me with free access to enablers like Lime & Violet!!!!!!! OMG! Quickly accessing sock yarns from around the world? I don't think so!

My Name is Nittany Knits, and I am addicted to sock knitting. I have a problem!

Monday, February 19, 2007

I realized after I posted yesterday, that I forgot to mention what the grand prize was for my 100th post.

The Grand Prize is:
* The book 'Knitting Lessons, Tales from the Knitting Path' by Lela Nargi
* Opal sock yarn 'Parrot' from the Rainforest collection.
* and knitting themed stitch markers

Congrats again to Miss Beth!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Happy 100th Post!!!!!!

Congratulations goes out to brsmaryland for winning the 100th post contest. I scientifically put all the names in a hat and shuffled them until the 'Monkey ' sock pattern finished printing (6pages), and we had a winner.

Thanks for sharing your favorite projects. I admit, I've been checking out some of these projects for the first time (like the 'Monkey' pattern listed above) and am excited to start some of them myself!

I have learned my lesson about having a contest over a holiday weekend. Since I am working, I forgot it was a holiday weekend and that many people went away and had much better things to do than post comments on blogs! Soooooo, if you missed the contest, please feel free to comment about your favorite project that you are now working on, or a favorite yarn you are working with.

Border's had a coupon for the holiday weekend, so I picked up another knitting fiction book. This one is a mystery, and the first in a series. "Died In The Wool" by Mary Kruger. Has anyone read it yet?

Off to finish the first 'Crusoe' sock and start the second.

Thanks for sharing my 100th post with me. Happy Knitting!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Today is the last day to be a part of the 100th post grand prize giveaway. Just leave a comment on your favorite project you are working on or favorite yarn before tonight, and you will be entered! Isn't that simple?

Today is looking like a great knitting day. A weekend day with no plans and flurries in the forecast! I've got lots of great movies lined up, and the kids have lots of indoor activities of their own lined up for minimal interruption. The meal is in the crockpot, and the laundry is already spinning. Life is good! While others have a three day weekend, this is my only day off. I'm going to make the most of it!

I should spend the day getting back to the fourth square of the Aran Afghan, but my Crusoe sock is probably going to lure me away from it. I just love the way it's coming along! Hopefully I will get access to a digital camera soon so that I can post some pics.

Happy Knitting.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone!

This is my 98th post. Can you believe it? I sure can't. I know Java Jem sure can't! She had to force me into doing this blog in the first place. Now that we are almost to the 100th post milestone, it's time for a contest!!!!

I know I have a lot of stalkers out there who like to read and not comment, but this time you are going to have to comment if you are going to be up for the GRAND PRIZE, and those of you who know me know I love to give prizes!

You have until 6pm Saturday February 17th to comment on this post or the following post. I would love for you to comment on the project or yarn you are most excited about working on or with right now. Since it's Valentine's Day, it's almost like remembering to send your knitting or fiber a card.

Since I never ask others to do something that I would not do, I will start. I have used my snowday to start my 'Crusoe' socks from Knitty using my 'Granite' Socks That Rock yarn. I have so many other things to be working on right now, but I just couldn't wait anymore to start this project!

I'm knitting these socks on size 2 double pointed needles, and I am blown away by how much faster it is going than the 'Jaywalkers' did on size 1 needles.

Enjoy the snow! Happy Knitting.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The train ride home was much less eventful, which means I got to finish 'The Knitting Circle' by Ann Hood. I thought this was a great book! If I hadn't been on a filled to capacity train, I'm sure I would have cried more than the little tear that managed to escape before I got myself back under control.

I also got to finish those pesky Jaywalker pedicure socks finally. They feel just dreamy on.

Now I am knitting up some of my yummy Brooks Farm yarn from Stitches East for a birthday present for my mother. I would much rather be working on my next pair of socks, but your mother only turns 75 once. At least I'm getting to work with yarn I adore!

Off to sip some Night Night tea while I enjoy what is probably the only bad weather we will get this winter in Maryland.

Happy Knitting!

Monday, February 12, 2007

It all started on the Amtrak to New Your City. We were having a lovely, if not entirely too early, start to our trip to upstate New York. Then we stopped in Trenton.

Since there were three of us traveling, we had an an empty seat in our row. Enter our main character. If you have ever read a Stephanie Plum mystery, you are well aware of the humor involved in our main character hailing from Trenton, NJ. This guy was straight out of one of her books. He was a larger, unkept man who was very loud and liked to yell at people on his cell phone. The extra seat in our row must have looked great, so he joined us for the remainder of our journey to the City. To his credit, he only cussed once, and stopped when I asked.

Enter the train conductor. A couple of minutes after boarding, Our conductor started making his way through the coach car to our new passengers, so that he could collect their tickets. Upon arriving to our row, Mr. Trenton realizes that his ticket is in his beat-up briefcase. The briefcase had had enough of whatever abuse had been heaped upon it in order to look in the sad condition it was in, and was refusing to open for Mr. Trenton. I had stopped knitting long enough for a quick game of go fish with my son while all of this was starting to play out. Many things were attempted to try to convince the briefcase that it really did want to open, but nothing was working. Our once kind and jolly conductor was starting to look more and more like a nightclub bouncer. At last Mr. Trenton says the fateful words, "If only I had something long and sharp to stick in here to try to unlock this!" Well, being knitters, you all know what comes next. Without a moments hesitation, I whip out the metal double pointed needle sitting next to me with my socks, and say, "You mean like this?"

Now you would think that this instant reaction would have brought smiles and thanks from the men in this story, but alas, the exact opposite occurs. The conductors face turns three different colors and his eyes start to blaze as he stares at the long needle. "Why do you have that?" he booms in a terrifying voice? I look at him, I look at the needle and realize I'm in a post 9/11 world and reply in a small voice, "It's a knitting needle. I'm knitting socks. Look!" There is a very long and uncomfortable silence while everyone stares at the needle. Finally Mr. Trenton, being from Trenton, acts first and takes the needle while saying, "That should work!" I am still under the hawk-like gaze of the conductor, who is waiting for me to make any sudden moves. I am am too afraid of jail to see what Mr. Trenton is doing to my double pointed needle. After what seems an eternity, Mr. Trenton pops the lock and happily returns my now mutilated double pointed needle to me. Mr. Conductor relaxes a bit and says to me, "Tell me the truth, is knitting just a cover. You don't strike me as the assassin type!" I'm slightly miffed by this. Is he insinuating I do not look like sexy Jennifer Gardner? I decide to let this comment pass due to recent events and tell him that I am really a knitter.

With the excitement over, everyone returns to their normal lives except of course, me. I have been left with a needle that snags my yarn and 4 hours remaining in my journey. I, of course, knit with the needle and cuss him in my head every single stitch.

On the next train to Albany, the man in the row next to us had a hoagie he could not free from it's hermetically sealed wrapping that the Amtrak snack car had wrapped it in. Seeing as the needle has already seen excitement that day, I offered it up again to the hungry gentleman. He was extremely grateful for the use of the double pointed needle!

At the end of the journey, my friend was excitedly waiting for us. All I could do was show my non-knitting friend my needle and pronounce, "I need to go to the yarn store, NOW!" All five of the other people who were present rolled their eyes, but I was immediately escorted to the yarn store of my choice. A big thanks goes out to the Spinning Room for their kindness and understanding, after a rough day on the train.

Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I'll be in upstate New York in 48 hours, and I need to find a way to ditch the kids for a bit to hit up yarn stores! Since we are taking the train there, I get to knit and knit and knit, while sending them off to the snack car to chit chat with each other. Smart Mommy would even buy them a new gameboy game to ensure plenty of knitting quite time on the trip. Once we arrive, however, I need a game plan.
I love my children more than anything. Yet, shopping in yarn stores is just not possible while they are in the same yarn store. I feel the pressure to shop and get out quickly. This goes against everything a yarn store stands for!!!!! Their impatience and disgust against everything yarn sends out bad muju vibes.

It's all my fault I realize. I started knitting much to late in their young lives. They remember when vacations did not revolve around sheep and wool festivals/county fairs. They remember a mother who hung on their every word instead of muttering, "Huh? OK, wait 'till I get to the end of this." They remember when souvenirs were keychains and magnets, not skeins of yarn. I should have started all of this much earlier in their developmental process, so that they would not have known a life outside of fiber. My bad.

Anyone out there live in Voorheesville, NY need some cheap labor this weekend????????? I've got two kids to rent out for about an hour or two.

Happy Knitting!

Monday, February 05, 2007

The countdown to the 2007 Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival has begun! Click here

to see exactly when you may begin shopping. I based my countdown by the 8am time that most people take over and start shopping, not the 9am time they are supposed to wait to open.

As usual, this is of course the same weekend of the Fairy Festival in Glen Rock,PA. Much conflict arises every year because of this scheduling conflict. I of course need to be at Sheep and Wool every second of the weekend, and my daughter needs to be at the fairy festival. This year however, I have won! The fairy festival will not be having it's star band perform. The group 'Albannach' is an intense drumming and pipe band from Scotland. They are not performing at the fairy festival this year, but will be at the WV Strawberry Festival instead on May 18 & 19.

Now all I need is a camper with a blender inside (to make my Cinco De Mayo margaritas) and I won't have to leave the fairgrounds for any reason!!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Happy Knitting!

This past weekend was truly super. Not just because of the football game, or commercials, but also because of the sales at the local yarn stores. My stash gained about as much weight as I did this weekend!

I did manage to finish the third block of my aran afghan during the game last night. My next block is Susan Atkinson's block from"The Great American Aran Afghan." I had to rip out what I started last night since I didn't read about the needle size being size 6 and not 7 like the other blocks until I was 14 rows into it. I kept wondering why it was soooo big. Yes, gauge is NOT a four letter word.

That second Jaywalker also (finally) has turned the heel. The end is near! I'm so excited to start my next sock. Just keep knitting, just keep knitting...

Last, but certainly not least, congratulations go out to former Pittsburgh Steeler Tony Dungy on his Superbowl victory. His former teammate, Randy Grossman, is a knitter. Perhaps he taught Mr. Dungy a thing or two about knitting at some point???? I know it's a long shot, but it's possible.

Happy Knitting!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Is it me, or does Phil look like he could use a knit item to help get him through the humility that he is forced to endure every year? Since I'm a Pennsylvania girl, I do believe that Feb. 2nd is a special day that should be marked by no school or work and general overall merriment. I do, however, feel for the poor groundhog who is unceremoniously ripped out of his temporary home at an early hour. He always looks so miserable!

There are sweaters for dogs, and even sweaters for trees. Poor Phil needs something special. A knit garment as special as he is. But what? Perhaps a felted groundhog bed fit for a king?

Don't worry Phil. I'll keep an eye out for you.

Happy Knitting!