Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Guess what made their debut in the airport screening line on Thursday?

The finished (Seedless) Watermelon Socks are lovely, warm and, ahem...too big. At least, the second one is. It's loose around the picot edging. And the heels don't exactly match. And they don't have the little dyed seeds that the knitted-up samples in the store have.

But I still love them in all their seedless glory. Here are the specs:

The Pattern: Judy's toe-up socks (always handy, always useful) on 56 stitches

The Yarn: Hand-dyed by Robin from Yarns Unlimited in Bloomington, a birthday present from the first KnittinSis

The Modifications: Picot edge cuff from this wonderful tutorial and short-row heels by Wendy and Lucia

Time: Dec. 1 to Dec. 20 (only two days for the first sock, longer for the second...isn't that always the case?) I think this is the first pair since the Socks of Doom that I have started and finished both in the same month for my Sock-a-Month challenge.

The guy who sat down next to me while we were putting our shoes back on at the airport kept checking out my socks. That's about the only checking out I get nowadays, so I appreciated it.

Thank you to everyone who commented and told me to keep my head up about the house hunt. I really appreciate it. I know it will get better. And it's amazing what a little sleep and getting over a sinus infection will do for your outlook on life.

So Slim and I have made the journey up to the grandparents in Indiana for Christmas, but since he's napping before the unwrapping, I thought I would catch everyone up on our trip. The socks were welcome company on the plane. And Slim made friends while we were waiting to board. The picture is blurry because it's frankly difficult to catch a 19-month-old and an 18-month-old in stillness at the same time.

The trip was uneventful, though much singing and reading was done on the plane to keep Slim entertained. We've actually had time to relax up here because the family parties don't start until today. So there is knitting content to share.

ALERT THE MEDIA: We have a new knitter joining the fold! Besides the first KnittinSis, we have KnittySissy (we'll maybe let her pick a new nickname) practicing her first garter stitch last night while A Christmas Story played.

Isn't it even stitching? Don't we hate her because her first swatch looks so cute? I think she may have the gift. But I was having trouble showing her different ways to hold the yarn because I'm so used to the way I do it now. Does anyone have any online tutorial tips for how to hold yarn?

And I have to say that KnittinSis has completely come over to the dark side. Check out what she travels with for a one night stay:

The little blue bag on the left (I love it: Will Knit for Tattoos) carries clothes and overnight accessories and the other two (the grocery bag and the giganto Tilli Tomas) carry her overnight knitting stash. You know, just in case she runs out of projects to work on.

Maybe a guest blog from her is in order so she can describe what she's working on???

I am practicing project monogamy on this trip, and it's already killing me. However, great progress has been made on my Child's First Sock in the Shell Pattern from Knitting Vintage Socks. I'm through the first heel and I think the foot will go even faster.

Mom has made a request for the next pair of socks: Child's French Socks also from KVS. She wants blue, green or purple yarn, so I think that will be my purchase at our planned yarn crawl to KnittinSis's LYS on Wednesday. Also, I'm thinking of making Baby Dos a baby kimono and hat from Mason-Dixon Knitting, and they carry Dale of Norway Baby Ull.

I better wrap this up before Blogger decides to kick me and my prolific mouth off this thing. Here are two final photos and a moral: The kid always decides when he's finished with a popsicle. Always.



Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Well, That Was Quick

Our offer on the house was rejected. Apparently, an investor made an offer significantly above asking price (which we couldn't have afforded anyway), so that's that.

I'm a bit devastated. And I can't cry because I don't want to upset the kid.

I am going to try to count my blessings, that I have a nice, warm (tiny) place to live and a good husband and a healthy baby and an uneventful pregnancy and a dog that loves to cuddle up to me.

But you might have to give me five minutes....

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

WARNING: Grumpiness Ahead

Well, actually, not until Dec. 22nd...we put an offer in on a house today and gave them until Friday to respond. I don't have high hopes, especially since I actually like the house, it's in D.C. in a not-so-bad neighborhood and it's not an absolute shithole.

The Cap'n doesn't want the house anyway, so it'll probably be better to have the (low) offer we made rejected. Our realtor had me write a cover letter, and that helped me get some of the emotions of wanting the house out, so now if it doesn't work out, I can rationalize that it's because the seller is a Grinch.

Welcome to the Cranky Zone.

I was hoping this post would have a picture of some finished watermelon socks, but I've had no time to knit at all. Also the second short-row heel is coming out with bumps on both sides, though no holes. And I'm worried that I might run out of yarn. Whoo-hoo! We're a barrel of laughs around here, aren't we?

So, let's change the subject, eh?

Happy Hanukkah!!

As we were lighting candles this morning with the boy, I was trying to count my blessings, I really was. He's digging the 8 days of presents, once he learned that there was something cool behind the paper. And he's learned to cheer when we spin the dreidel.

So far we haven't missed a night of candle-lighting. On Saturday, the Cap'n made latkes for friends visiting from Philly. And in the grand tradition of gift-giving for the Cap'n, I've had my usual 50 percent success rate with presents. So it's back to the store tomorrow for a return. I'm sure there won't be any crowds, right?

Sorry. I was going to drop the negativity, wasn't I. I'm sounding like this...

Hello, we're horrible parents who take pictures of our child having a screaming temper tantrum. Don't you wish this thing came with sound? He's fully hit the terrible twos 6 months early. What a funny little boy...he's also taken to walking backwards lately. Why?

I have to share this story about him. Yesterday at the park, Slim picked up a ball just laying on the ground and started to walk toward me with it. All of a sudden, this 5-year-old boy with his 3 or 4-year-old sister ran up and grabbed the ball out of Slim's hands. The girl was giving Slim the evil eye and standing between him and her brother. She had her arms crossed and was trying to stare Slim down for having the nerve to pick up the ball.

She stuck out her hand in the universal "STOP" sign to Slim, as if to say he better never even think about getting that ball or any other ball, for that matter. So what does Slim do?

He gives her a high five and walks away.

Y'all. He is a funny kid.

And I did get to finally open my gift from North Carolina. May I present a Big Ole Box O' Yarn?

I have ideas, thoughts, inspirations from this...I'm actually thinking about the "C" word...

Likely no posts til Indiana this weekend...and I promise to be in the Hanukkah spirit by then, 'kay?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Secret FO

I can't show you pics, but a little less than a day and a half worth of knitting got me another FO this evening. I will tell you some of the specs, you know...just to tease.

The Pattern: the Spiral Top-Down Hat Calculator
The Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick (they aren't kidding)
Colorway: I'd tell you but I'd have to kill you
Needles: Susan Bates aluminum US11 DPNs (set of 5)
Time: cast on Saturday at noon, cast off Sunday night around 10pm
Circumference: 64 sts, 22in or so

That pretty much tells you everything you need to know right there, but isn't there a good chunk of the story missing? The who(m), most certainly, and the why, which is an interesting story.

But it is proof that stash diving is a fun and diverting activity.

Will have more pics tonight of Hanukkah fun and a big ole box o' yarn...stay tuned.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Want to Knit....

I saw a knitter on the Metro today. My first encounter with a fellow subway train KIP-per. It looked like she was working on a scarf with some nice worsted weight purple (maybe tweedy?) yarn. She was a thrower (English), working with some wooden straights.

That got me to thinking about sitting down with my KnittinSis at Christmas and having our very own SnB. I really want my mom and other sis to join in with us, so I think I'll bring along some extra needles and yarn for them, or pick up some from Sarah's stash. It would be really nice for the 4 of us to do a crochet class together, since that's something I want to learn too.

I can't wait for vacation. It should be great.

Of course, I really need to get to work on the watermelon socks if I'm planning to wear them on the plane to Indiana. I didn't get any knitting in today at all, what with cleaning the entire house and having friends come visit from Philly.

We hit the National Building Museum and Smithsonian American Art Museum today. I think it's on to the Holocaust Museum tomorrow, and maybe another one. We'll see what the kid is up for...

I gotta get some stitches in tonight while we sit up chatting...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Random Wednesday

1. I love Wednesdays. It's my favorite day of the week. I think it's a leftover from school, when it meant the school week was half over. And today was such a lovely Wednesday, with some mild weather for a December. Slim and I spent a couple hours at the park.

2. Reason #139 why I am so cool and in touch with the trends: So there's this little show called Scrubs that I just found. It is hilarious. And it has apparently been on this newfangled gadget we call the "teevee" for like six seasons now.

3. Decorating for Hannukah is priority #1 right now. I planned to do it last weekend, but my kitschy menorah from Tar-jay didn't work, so I have to return it tomorrow and decorate in the evening. Presents also need to be wrapped. I'll be listening to the Cap'n's cousin singing "Hooray for Hannukah."

4. I'm planning to get the watermelon socks done before leaving for Indiana next week. So the preparation for knit packing has already begun. I'll definitely take the Child's First Socks with me, which means I'll need the Vintage Socks book to finish the pattern. So I'm thinking I'll take some yarn with me to start another one of the patterns in there. I have some Sunbeam St. Ives in a very manly color (Mallard, maybe?), so maybe the Cap'n will get another pair of socks? I like the Gentleman's Sock with Lozenge Pattern and the Gentleman's Fancy Sock, but the latter may be too close in pattern to the Purled Ladder from Sensational Knitted Socks that I first gave him.

5. KnittinSis and I were chatting today about our planned yarn crawl to her LYS with our cousin when I'm visiting Indiana. She said they have Dale of Norway's baby yarn, which I thought I had seen in previous trips. I am thinking of a souvenir yarn purchase to make a present for Baby Dos. Maybe the Mason-Dixon baby kimono? But with a button or bobble closure instead of a bow/ribbon. I want it to be unisex, so I'm also thinking a nice sage-y green.

6. I have this idea for a book...

7. In a huge sign of restraint, I have a box full of yarn and knitting supplies sitting in my living room unopened. My Dad and MawMaw have been on the hunt at yard sales for KnittinSis and I now that we're into this crazy craft. So they divided up their haul and sent it to each of us. The Cap'n says I must wait to open it until Hannukah (his Moldy Ogre side coming out), so in a few more days I'll present the photographic evidence.

8. Slim has been convinced to wear his Elf Swirl Hat by me telling him each time that he looks as cool as the Cat in the Hat. Have I mentioned how much he L-O-V-E-S this book? I have it memorized. No, really. The whole thing. If he's crying in the stroller, I can start reciting it, and he stops.

9. The other thing that gets Slim to stop crying is when the Cap'n or I start singing Johnny Cash's version of "Sam Hall." It's got an interesting history. We're raising one tough little boy.

10. Does it violate the spirit of Random Wednesday to have an even Top Ten random list?

11. Oh well....I can't remember the rest of the random things I was going to put in here, and Seconds from Disaster is on. I luuuuve this show.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Eh, Who Knows?

That pretty much sums up the way I'm feeling right now...I think it is the socks that are holding me together.

I was talking to my sister earlier this evening about house hunting in D.C., and I just got depressed. There is seriously nothing we can afford. And I SWEAR I am not exaggerating. What you can get in the city for under $250K is either in the ghetto or needs to be completely gutted and redone with an additional $100K, but most of the time it's both. And if I'm lucky, there's a bus nearby...not the easy access to Metro that I really need being car-less.

So we also are looking in this little suburb of D.C., Greenbelt. It's a wonderful community, totally planned and walkable, and it's more affordable. That is: If we had an extra $25,000 lying around to put down on a townhouse in the cooperative there and we could afford the condo fees on top of the mortgage. The houses are affordable because they are in the cooperative, but we can't afford one because we can't meet the downpayment requirement. Is that the definition of ironic?


No point in stewing over it. The four of us will be very "bonded" in March in our little 550-sf apartment.

I am also starting to get anxious over having nothing prepared and no space to prepare for Baby Dos. We have no room for two sets of diapers, bringing back the newborn clothes, the co-sleeper, etc. But we'll have to make do. It's only 13 weeks away, and I'm starting to feel the pressure. I guess I should be happy that it's only kicked in now.

I have been working on my law school applications, but will have to kick it into high gear this week so that I don't have to spend vacations working on them. The Cap'n has been really helpful about taking Slim in the mornings. Today they went to the National Building Museum, which is an almost unknown gem in D.C. They have a great kids' playroom that makes for a wonderful (free) activity when it's cold out.

I also feel rotten today because I fell off the 4-day wagon and had a Diet Coke. See, I'm not making a big deal out of it, but I'm trying to get off the DC so I don't push out a hyper-caffeinated newborn who is going to start having caffeine withdrawal symptoms. Also because there are very confusing statistics out there about the safety of aspertame (NutraSweet) in Diet Coke. So for the last few days, I've been slugging back the flavored seltzer and being really good. And today while I went to the coffeeshop to work, I was back in a familiar habit -- having Diet Coke while studying for the LSAT -- and I just did it. It didn't even taste good. So it's back to raspberry seltzer for me, and the self-flagellation will have to wait.

So on to the socks...let's end this post on a happy note and with some pics, shall we?

I'm going round and round on the foot of the second watermelon sock, and since stockinette is not exactly rocket science or that photographically exciting, let's wait for the finished pair. Maybe this weekend?

But in more challenging news, I'm happy to report a successful cast-on and 3 full, un-screwed up pattern repeats of Nancy Bush's Child's First Sock in Shell Pattern. I am using the Lorna's Laces Shephered Sock in Brick, and it looks quite a lot like the socks in the book. (Please ignore the months-old pedicure...)

The Cap'n has already cast his vote of approval.

In baby news, Slim comes over to my belly and pulls my shirt up so he can hug it. I ask if he says hi to the baby, and he waves.

Let's hope that attitude lasts after Baby Dos gets here.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

To Happier Endings...

I can't get the story of the Kim family in Oregon out of my mind. I'm really upset by this. James Kim sounds like he was a strong guy, and both parents really put themselves on the line to save their kids.

I guess in some ways, I could see it happening to our family. The Cap'n and I have not been shy about setting out on adventures of our own. The Kims were only on a simple road trip, when one mistake took them off the path. It could happen to us. We even visited friends in Eugene, OR, earlier this year and made a trip to the Oregon coast.

Did I tell you about the time the Cap'n and I got lost in the Everglades? We joke and laugh about it now, but we got lost on a canoe trip and ended up spending a night out sleeping in the bottom of the boat. From the vantage point of a canoe seat, all the mangroves lining the route look exactly the same and they are all about 8 feet high. You almost feel like you could stretch and see over them, to figure out where you're supposed to be going.

But you can't.

Both of us had just finished reading "In the Heart of the Sea" just before our Everglades trip. It's the true story of the whale ship sinking that inspired Herman Melville to write Moby-Dick. Wonderful book. The descriptions of the stranded men had both of us thinking that one day our boat would float out of the swamp with nothing but bleached bones at the bottom of the canoe.

The first day went well. We put in on a marked trail, every twist and turn noted with a length of PVC pipe anchored in the mud and numbered. It was like connect the dots. Some of the openings between the mangrove trees were just barely wide enough for the canoe and tall enough for us. We joked about snakes dropping down from the vines into the boat, or onto us. The scenery was beautiful; the mosquitoes weren't that bad; and we were getting cocky.

We arrived at the chickee (a platform serviced by an outhouse where you set up camp -- there's no other option in the water-covered Everglades) in plenty of time to set up our tent, make a nice dinner and enjoy the company of Al the Alligator who was swimming around looking for handouts. That first night it was a double chickee, and two old canoeists were camped out on the next platform over. We should have had an inkling of suspicion -- when we told them our bold plan for the trip, they were surprised and said they wouldn't have the nerve to do it, despite their recent canoe outing in Minnesota's Boundary Waters.

Reporters -- we only recognize foreshadowing when it's written down for us.

So our chickee companions headed back to the visitors' center at Flamingo the next morning and we set out for the next chickee. This time with only our compass and map to guide us. The rest of the route was through larger bays and waterways, and none of it was marked.

Another hint we missed: We got a little disoriented not long after leaving the first chickee and backtracked so we could re-consult the map and compass. We ran into "Mr. Stinky" -- our nickname for the ranger and the actual christened name of his boat -- as he was cleaning the outhouse, and he gave us encouraging words for finding the next chickee, "Head into the wind."

We debate to this day whether he meant that literally or figuratively. I thought he was giving us general directions. (Let's save critiques of my general directional sense for another day, 'mkay?) The Cap'n argues that its only common sense from a man piloting a boatload of poo.

The second chickee was the same distance from the first chickee as we had crossed the first day. The first leg had only taken us a couple of hours, and we were getting warmed up, too. No problem, right? We paddled out a second time from the chickee happy as larks. As we went, we made sure to do as the ranger back at the visitors' center advised us before we set out: We looked behind us to note our surroundings, and we described the mangrove formations to each other as little landmarks. "That one looks like a man bending down." "That one looks like a dog jumping." Ha, ha.

Perhaps the Cap'n became a little concerned before I did, but it was nearing on mid-afternoon (we had set out from the first chickee around 8:30 in the morning) before I started getting an inkling that something was wrong. We were seeing the same blind bays. One had a white cloth tied to a tree branch at the entrance of it, as if someone else had been in our same predicament. Our landmark mangroves didn't look the same from the opposite direction. We tried going in the direction of some motorboats (airplanes?) we heard. We tried going back toward the first chickee again. We ate lunch in the canoe. We started seeing the sun set.

Around 5, the Cap'n said, "We're going to have to find a place to tie up for the night and try to make it in the morning." I think that's the only point at which there were tears. I don't swim well, I frankly don't like the water all that much, and I really don't care to lose any appendages to alligators. I did not want to hear about a night spent in an 18-foot canoe.

We found ourselves (again) in a large bay that we had already explored to find an exit -- no such luck. We tied off to a small island in the middle and the current pushed the canoe the rope's length away from the trees (snakes), underbrush (raccoons -- damn things swim), and greenery (mosquitoes). The sun started to set as the Cap'n made ramen noodles over the campstove in the middle of the canoe.

Our "romantic" dinner was aborted until about an hour of sunset, however, as the barrage of mosquitoes was too powerful even with the 100 percent DEET Everglades sauce we were marinating in. It kept them off for about 20 minutes, and then we retreated under a tarp as the little buggers beat against it, looking for any way to reach flesh.

After dark, we were able to finish dinner and contemplate life truly without illumination. Actually, I believe the halo on the eastern horizon was the lights of Miami, which only made where we were a little more scary. So close to civilization -- were those motorboats we kept hearing? -- and yet so far away. The moving pinpoints of jet airplane lights in the sky were always overhead. I could imagine being on one just then.

We stashed the backpacks and coolers at either end of the canoe and, lifejackets firmly on, managed to wrap ourselves around each other (head to toe, toe to head) and around the thwarts in the center of the canoe. The METAL canoe. The very HARD METAL canoe. We could only sleep for about an hour before our hips and shoulders would cry out for a shift. Then we would gingerly -- very gingerly! -- trade places in the floating, rocking canoe in the dead of night in a swamp full of alligators.

My dreams became half-waking hallucinations. Once I thought that I had set up and noticed a boat ramp on the other side of the bay that we had just missed before. My parents were there with the van that we had taken my childhood camping trips in, and we drove out of the swamp to a party where the mayor of the town I covered was dressed as an Elvis impersonator. It seemed very real at the time.

The fog rolled in as it come morning, and so did the clouds. It was starting to look like rain for the next day of our "adventure." And the Cap'n has this charming habit...when things aren't looking so good, he likes to say, "Well, if we weren't here, we wouldn't be seeing this (insert natural phenomenon, i.e. sunset, stars, sunrise, clouds rolling in, etc.) right now." Ha. Don't you just want to smack him?

An aside to note: If you desire tips on how to handle it when "nature calls" while you're stuck in the middle of a swamp in a canoe, please email me, and I'll be happy to share my experiences.

So we set out that drizzly morning with a new mission and a new plan. I silently decided that there was no freakin' way I was spending another night in rocking canoe surrounded by alligators. The Cap'n decreed that we were going to take a compass heading for the second chickee, based on the sunrise, and we would not deviate from that path. We would navigate through the mangrove trees, marking each turn along the way with a knot from the rope that tied us up the night before.

It must have been around 7am when we put our paddles back in the water, and as the sun burned off the clouds, fortune started smiling on us. We entered larger and larger bays -- none of the cramped coves of the afternoon before. We paddled through one final switchback of mangroves before we entered the largest bay since we had left the first chickee the day before. An island was ahead of us, and as I looked at the map, I told the Cap'n that it looked like there was an island in the bay where the second chickee was located.

Then...chickee ho!!

There it was at last, the closest thing to solid ground we had set foot on in two days. We made straight for it and arrived 26 hours after we had set out originally. Of course, it turns out it was only about an hour paddle from the first chickee.

I immediately passed out after declaring that no persuasion by the Cap'n could get me back into the canoe to fish for dinner. Obviously, I would never sleep well on a waterbed, but give me flat planks, and you wouldn't wake me for days. The Cap'n did go fishing (and almost got lost again), and we celebrated in style that night, with an honest-to-God tent to keep out the buggies, a full meal and plenty of room to stretch out in our sleeping bags.

The rest of the trip (a night on the third chickee and then a full day's paddle all the way back to the trailhead) was aborted since we spent the night in the canoe, so we set out the next day for dry land. We soon figured out where we had missed our turn the first time around, and passed the first chickee in about an hour. Then we entered the marked mangrove trail, and pulled out in time to load up the canoe and gear, get cleaned up back at the visitors center, and enjoy dinner and a sunset at the restaurant there.

Quite a difference from two nights' before. We laugh at pictures of me with one eye nearly swollen shut from a mosquito bite, hunched over in the canoe tearfully consulting the map. There's a celebratory photo of the Cap'n at the second chickee in the all-together, finally taking a bath.

We joke now about how tour companies should hire us to do trips at the same time they're taking groups out. We could get a cut everytime they passed us -- stuck or lost -- by pointing at us and telling their clients, "See, that's why you hire a guide!" We'd be stars if someone still made educational movies about What Not to Do in the Wilderness.

But it's only a joke if you survive.

The Cap'n and I talked last night about putting together a little survival kit for the car, and we weren't joking around this time. Being a parent has given me a new appreciation for preparation, for being responsible for other, smaller human beings who need protection.

I'm grateful for our happy ending (so far). But I will be thinking about Kati Kim and her daughters every time we head out for a trip. I hope they can find peace and a happy ending somewhere in front of them.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Juicy News

Dude. There is absolutely no holiday knitting to be found on this blog. Nada. Zip. Zero. Not now, not later.

Why, you may ask? No good reason, I suppose. Love the fam, made them scarves, belts, socks. I have no idea whether they're even being used. I guess I came to the realization this year that I don't want to force handknits on anyone, and that they may just appreciate something else.

But hi! More knits for me!

Lookie! Watermelon! And exclamation points!

This is birthday yarn from my newly knitting sister, purchased at her LYS from a local hand dyer. She said there was a sample knitted up in the shop and it looked like a watermelon, so I knew I needed to make this a very simple sock.

Perfect timing, what with the LSAT last Saturday. I cast on Friday with the plan of making a toe-up sock on my tried and true formula. Round and round. Sweet, perfect stockinette. Mindless knitting just at the right time. And two days later, we have this...

Isn't the picot cuff at the top girly looking? Smooches...I love it. Lolly pointed the way to this wonderful tutorial by Kristi on how to make a picot cuff on toe-up socks. I went with #4, putting the stitches on scrap yarn and then weaving the live stitches in with the corresponding stitch below.

But that's actually new technique #2 for this sock. See the heel? Dig's my first short-row heel. I went with Wendy's generic recipe, with some help from Lucia. It wasn't making sense at first, but then the heel just started popping out.

I was really proud of one side, even though my only hole (since darned up) appeared there, but the other side doesn't look as smooth. I think it was the purl side, and it was right where the color change happened between green and white. Little white dashes appeared on the turning line. Oh well. I still love how it turned out.

Actually, I think the short-row heel was faster for me to execute than either the toe-up heel flaps I've done or the two forethought heels. I'm just not sure how it will wear or how I will like it. I've been wanting to try something new with socks, so this gives me a little confidence boost to just pick this up.

A much needed confidence boost after Saturday's test. Oy vey. After some boo-hooing and driving around for a while, I feel a little better, but not much. I just don't feel I did as well as I could have -- I got flustered, almost panicked at one point, and the test administrator threatened to count me absent after I spent 4.5 hours struggling. Oh well. It's over now.

Let's talk about yarn, shall we? It's the only thing keeping me together right now, considering my cold came roaring back the day of the test too. Since I was up in Baltimore for the test, I decided to track down a new yarn store to check out the day before the test to help me relax.

I can highly recommend A Good Yarn if you're in Baltimore city limits anytime soon. They are right on the edge of Little Italy and the Inner Harbor attractions, which is a fun area to visit anyway. It's a very small shop, and they specialize in yarns created by "local" artisans. They've expanded the definition of local across the country, which makes for a whole roomful of unique yarns.

I resisted the hand dyes, but got a great deal on some worsted wool straight from the sheep. It's made by Bemedji Woolen Mills, which has been in the same family for something like 150 years. It's not treated, so the wool only comes in natural colors. It's a great deal of yardage for the price. They had a sample knitted up in a felted mitten with a ribbed cuff, and I just have to make a pair for Oren. I also thought they would make him a nice pair of boot socks, maybe similar to ones in Nancy Bush's Folk Socks.

Speaking of my idol, I did swatch(!?!) and cast on for the Child's First Sock in Shell Pattern in Knitting Vintage Socks. I'm still only on the cuff, and I think it may take a little while to get the pattern down. But I think the Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in brick will look a lot like the one in the book.

And now for the part the family is waiting for...Slim photos.

This morning while house-hunting Slim decided it was his turn to drive, of course with Daddy's coffee cup in hand. He's really such a Daddy's boy. He walked up to the apartment door yesterday afternoon, hit it and said, "Da!"

He's really such a sweet kid. I had such a proud moment the other day when both he and the Cap'n were at the park wearing their handknit hats. I DID THAT! Whoo-hoo!

The Cap'n was Mr. Domestic this weekend while I was busy testing and whipped up this little beauty on Saturday. Any guesses? The Le Creuset teapot sitting next to it is a clue, as is the fact that it was inspired by the Cap'n's favorite cookbook. Sock yarn for you, if you know. Or a knitted pair of socks, if you don't knit yourself.

P.S. The apple doesn't fall far from the trees...fell asleep reading.