Knitting by Judy @ 9:26 PM
tags: , ,
Victoria Socks

Here are the Victoria Socks, posing amongst my fuchsia.

The flowers are there to distract you from noticing that very little has been accomplished on them. What’s that you say, gentle reader? You noticed? yeah…

Well… I did stop to complete the Secret Project. It’s all finished and will be delivered to the intended recipient soon, after which I can display it for the world to see. I’m quite taken with it, actually.

The Secret Project was completed on Sunday. Since then I’ve been completely slammed at work. In fact, I haven’t been able to even get a decent picture of the Secret Project because I’m not home often when it’s light. The whole work thing is putting a serious dent in my knitting time. I keep reminding myself that it does pay for my yarn habit.

The Vic Socks are are actually a lot greener than this picture shows. My camera tends to make picture overly blue (I believe this is so that snapshots have those vivid blue skies that people adore). On cloudy days when I forget to tell the camera that it’s really cloudy, then some objects become extra blue, perhaps to go with the depressing drizzle. That’s what happened to the socks. But trust me, the yarn is a lovely, lovely green. Really.

Thank you to everyone for the B-Day wishes. I really try hard to ignore birthdays. I think I’m too old to have them any more. Maybe I should have scheduled un-birthdays, and P can bring her amazing cheese cake. Yeah… that’s the ticket.

Shelly — Dancing at Jeeps… 😆 Seriously, though, what a small world it is! Who’da thunk it! I bet we’ve driven many of the same back roads. I hope you’re feeling better soon!

Everyone, visit Shelly. She has the cutest new little bunnies! Tell her to get better while your over there.

Food |Knitting by Judy @ 9:33 AM
most amazing little goodies

But really… I have to share this with you!

Look at those little clams! The shells are white chocolate, and the clam is this sort of dark chocolate mousse stuff, and look – it even has a little pearl! Aren’t those just cool. And the little chocolate presents with the gold ribbons. And the little chocolate roses.

P made these — made them with her own hands!

My knitbuds at Tangle had a little party on Tursday night in celebration of my birthday. I was shocked and awed, because believe me I wasn’t expecting anything. And in my wildest dreams I never would have expected…

the best cheesecake I’ve ever had

… the best cheesecake I’ve had in my entire life, also provided by the amazing P.

I wasn’t able to snap a picture before 1/2 of it mysteriously disappeared. But this is better anyway, because I can show you how cool the swirly center was. And you can see that it has an Oreo crust.

Yeah… the whole evening was pretty much death by large quantities of chocolate.

Fortunately L brought some baked brie with bread to provide a little counterpoint and soak soak up some of the sweet.

It was a happy death.

and there were balloons, too!

My first clue that something was afoot were these balloons tied to the back of a chair in the knit circle. That and the usual suspects all saying you get to sit here because it’s your birthday.

Oh… I had so much fun! And I can’t begin to thank everyone there enough. It was just cool.

When I left Tangle, I hurried to meet #1 Son for dinner. He wanted to take me out for my birthday a day early, because he left for Seattle with his band on Friday night for a couple of days.

And I had to eat.

I tell you, gentle reader… greater love hath no mom than she will pretend to eat a tostada (it was the smallest thing I could order) after polishing off some of that cheesecake. But it was great to get together with #1 Son. Our schedules seldom jive anymore for longer than 5 or 10 minutes. That’s what happens, I guess, when your kids grow up.

maybe there was some knitting

Oh… and just maybe the evening included a little bit of knitting.

I can’t show you more than this because, well, it’s a surprise. (LT, avert your eyes!) But aren’t the colors just glorious in the sun!

Lisa writes that she’s been eying the Seasilk. Lisa… get out now while you still can. If any of this falls into your hands, you will be instantly addicted for life.

I’ve knit with silk before, but this stuff is just something else again.

Shelly — OK… I need to know more about why you were geologizing at Swan Valley in the Pleistocene. I mean… c’mon, girl! You can’t leave a comment like that and then expect me to let it lie there!

Happy weekend, everyone!

Food by Judy @ 11:38 PM
Heath Bar ice cream - as close as it gets

When I was a little girl, way back only shortly after the dinosaurs, my favorite ice cream flavor was Butter Brickle.

We didn’t have ice cream very often. It was a treat that was almost always reserved for family picnics and gatherings during the short Idaho summer. The grown-ups in charge of ice cream purchasing almost always stuck with the big three – vanilla, strawberry and chocolate – because almost everyone liked one of those. Sometimes, just for variety, they’d get Neapolitan. Yeah, yeah… my relatives really think outside the box.

I don’t remember many ice cream flavors back then. Sometimes on Sunday we’d go for a drive to a little town called Swan Valley. It’s along the South Fork of the Snake, on the way to Jackson Hole. There wasn’t much in Swan Valley (still isn’t) but a highway T-intersection, a bar, a gas station. And the Swan Valley Commissary, home of the square scoop. Nowadays the Commissary offers 30 flavors of ice cream displayed for your pleasure. Back then, the proprietor would ask my brother and I what flavor we wanted. We have vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, he would say. Even then I was a chocoholic and bro always wanted strawberry. The proprietor would return from the freezer with a big tub of ice cream. I guess we’re out of everything but vanilla. He’d use the coolest little scoop to serve our ice cream. It made little ice cream blocks instead of balls. I’ve tried for years to get one of those scoops. If you’re ever in the area, check it out.

But I digress… Sometimes, like on my birthday, I really got to pick the flavor I wanted. And I picked Butter Brickle. (Mama usually bought a 1/2 gallon of Neapolitan also, so everyone can have what they like.)

I was blessed by having a birthday late in the summer right before school started, when the weather was almost always perfect and everyone was ready for an end-of-summer bash. The blessing was tempered by getting to always share my birthday party with my Great Aunt Florence. In my later years I came to appreciate Aunt Florence very much. But when you’re 6 or 8 or 10, you just don’t want to share your party with a cheek-pinching sister of your grandmother.

So Mama let me pick the ice cream.

Butter Brickle became harder and harder to find, and by the time I was in high school there just wasn’t any. Although I’ve tried a lot of wonderful ice cream flavors, I missed my childhood favorite. Figuring that the internet is a large place, and somewhere there might be some Butter Brickle stashed away, I googled to see what I could find.

I found out that Butter Brickle was the trade name of an English toffee made by the Fenn Brothers Ice Cream and Candy Company. That company was liquidated in 1970 (thus the dearth of Butter Brickle). The secret recipe and the trademark were sold to the Heath company, which already manufactured an English toffee bar (i.e. the Heath bar) that was essentially identical to Butter Brickle. The Heath Company was sold to a Finnish company in the 1990’s, and then to Hershey in 1998.

Hershey, I learned, makes a Butter Brickle ice cream — but only in 3 gallon drums that won’t fit into my freezer.

But today at the grocery store I spotted… drum roll please

Heath Bar Ice Cream

I don’t remember whether Butter Brickle had a toffee swirl in it. But when I tasted that first bite of Heath Bar Ice Cream, I was transported back to those lazy summer picnics — mustard on my fingers from the hot dogs; trying to balance Mama’s amazing and dense potato salad on a plate made from (it seemed) tissue paper; tossing balls and jumping rope; Aunt Florence letting me blow out the candles; and getting to pick the ice cream.

I’m a big girl now. I drizzled a little Kahlua over it.

Knitting by Judy @ 2:57 PM
tags: , ,

yeah… who says that, I want to know!

I have no pictures to share today.

I have no pictures because the socks have progressed only a little tiny bit, although they remain my carry-around project.

The socks have progressed but little because I am totally, completely, absolutely captivated by the Seasilk. It’s wonderful. It knits like a dream, sliding across the needles like nothing. It’s soft as, well, silk, and will drape beautifully… and yet it has body. It even smells like good silk. And the colors in my one-of-a-kind, unnamed colorway just glow. I think I could knit anything with this yarn and it would be beautiful. What I’ve chosen to knit with it… well… it’s glorious.

But I can’t share because it’s a surprise for someone who sometimes reads here. So you’ll have to take my word for it. At least for now.

But this yarn! And they say that Kidsilk Haze is like crack. HAH! It’s got nothing on Seasilk. Already I’m planning on how I can get more of it. And what I’ll do with it when I do. It will involve lace, I’m thinking. I would like to try knitting something lace in the Seasilk Ivory colorway. I think that would be stunning.

I have to keep reminding myself that I do have two projects that have deadlines that I haven’t started yet. And I already have two lace projects on the needles. And I have two sock projects going. And I have some other stuff that I should be working on. And maybe I should actually finish a few of these projects first.

But, oh… that yarn.

Knitting by Judy @ 11:18 AM

I’ve been working (or not working, as the case may be) on the Pacific Northwest Shawl for quite awhile. Ok… a long, long while. I decided that I was feeling a little lace Jones, and the PNW Shawl would be a good project to take to Victoria. I was planning, as you recall, that my little Victoria jaunt would include lots of sitting on the balcony basking in the sunshine while soaking up the view and knitting time. That’s not exactly what happened, but that was the plan. The STR County Clare went in my purse as a pick-up project between bouts of serious balcony-sitting.

So, as I packed I grabbed the bag that holds the PNW Shawl, and reached for the pattern where I always keep it under the project bag.

It wasn’t there.

Racking my brain for clues to the whereabouts of my pattern, I seemed to remember that I put both it and a never-knit but interesting sock pattern in a safe place where they wouldn’t get lost before I turned my short attention span back to them. Yep. That’s where the pattern was all right! I confidently strode to my safe place.

It wasn’t there.

OK. I do have more than one safe place. I have two normal safe places. I confidently strode to the other safe place.

It wasn’t there.

I went back to the first safe place and looked again. The pattern had not magically appeared. I went back to the second safe place and looked again. The pattern had not magically appeared.

I scratched my head a couple of times. Those were my only safe places.

I went back to the first safe place and tore it to pieces looking. If the pattern had been there, it could not have escaped notice. It wasn’t there. Lather, rinse, repeat at safe place #2.

You get the idea. I went back and forth several times, and I couldn’t find that @#%& pattern.

In the end, I discarded the idea of getting to work on lovely lace, and packed Clapotis #2, which I never touched because most of my knitting time was outside the room with only the socks to keep me company.

When I came home, not believing that the pattern would simply be gone, I looked in both safe places again. It wasn’t there.

If you think I’m exaggerating this story, you don’t know me very well. I even toyed with the idea of asking #1 Son if he had borrowed my lace pattern (he already knows that his mom is a little strange, so no harm would be done). But in the end, I decided that I might never hear the end of that.

Last night at Tangle knitting night, D mentioned that she was interested in trying some lace, which I heartily recommended. I told her about my fruitless search for my pattern, and said I might have to buy the thing again just so I could finish the project. We had a good laugh about it. Ha ha.

At home, I thought to myself self, you have got to find that pattern. It has to be somewhere in the house.

Knowing that it was fruitless, I went over to safe place #1 and stood there staring at it. Out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of one of my stash bins. The stash bins are opaque plastic. I could see that there was something paperish looking in this one. I whipped the cover off.

Yep. It was the PNW Shawl pattern. It was in more or less plain sight the whole time. Sheesh. 🙄

I put it in the normal safe place. Let’s see how long I can remember that, because… well I do have several competing projects and some of them actually have deadlines, like birthdays and Christmas.

Victoria socks

The picture is my progress on the Victoria socks. I’ve turned the heels and started up the ankles. I’ve done about 1/2 of one pattern repeat. I’m rather pleased with the heels. They are plain stockinette with a garter boarder. The toes don’t look nearly as funky as the one in the top sock appears to be. Really. You can also see in this picture the tiny big of dark green and blue-ish pooling over the gussets. See it? It’s not that noticable in person either. I’m very happy with how this yarn is knitting up in this stitch pattern.

One thing I hadn’t thought of though: as the K2tog/yo pattern spirals around the sock, there will come a point where the K2tog must be worked with one stitch on one needle, and the other stitch on the other needle. That’s pretty annoying when doing two socks at once because you can’t just move the stitch over – the other sock gets in the way. Fortunately it only happens once every dozen rows or so.

Speaking of lace, I have 425 yds of Seasilk in a wonderful, one-of-a-kind colorway that is raspberry, olive, bronze, blue and beautiful. I want to do something lacy with it, but I haven’t hit on exactly what yet. And it’s not a lot of yarn, but it’s not like I can get more of it. It truly is a one-of-a-kind. (you can see it as the bottom skein in the stash shot from the vacation entry)

Have any of you knit the Swallowtail Shawl in the new Interweave knits? The yarn it calls for comes in slightly larger skeins and I think is finer than the Seasilk. I’m wondering if I will have enough yarn to complete this project.

I’m open to suggestions for patterns with this yarn. I don’t want something that will detract from the gorgeous colors. And many stitch patterns would get lost in it. What do you think? Let me know!

Stephanie in Vancouver relates:

Oh dear, I think I am in danger of becoming a sock addict. It just seems like magic. I twist a stitch here, knit a couple of stitches together there and now I have a little cup to hold my heel. I gently pick up the heel to send it home with the rest of the foot and next thing I know I have a warm place for my toes. It’s magic. I am enchanted.

Okay, so it’s just one little baby sock and the toe looks like someone cut it out with pinking shears, but it is MY sock and I love it!

heh heh… I told you that you would be assimilated! 😉 I bet your sock is very cute! And you should love it.

Thanks to every one else who commented, too!

Knitting by Judy @ 7:33 AM

So…. I guess y’all can guess what movie I’m planning on seeing this weekend. 😆

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