Monday, December 31, 2007


PHEW!!! Part 1 has been completed. It was hard waiting to until Christmas to open my swap packages. It sure was fun opening them all on Christmas but writing about them all at once was difficult and time consuming so that is why I decided to do it in two parts.

Knitting Goodness

Now I will tell you all about the wonderful WINTER WONDERLAND COFFEE Swap package I received from Maria in Kyoto Japan. She sure was right when she wrote she was half way around the world. Maria as I write this you have already celebrated NYE and I hope you had a wonderful one. Your package was certainly fun to open. Maria sent me a mother load of goodies. Here is what the package looked like when I opened the lid. All the packages were numbered and she wrote in a card about each package. Package number 1 which wasn't the first package I opened as it was on the bottom was a lovely box containing a mug from Kyoto and some Starbucks coffee. Wherever one is in the world there probably is a Starbucks coffee shop. I go once a month for sure and have a Starbucks coffee and try to go more when I can. Of course, I have the specialities but at home the plain coffee is fine. Here is a view of the other side of the Kyoto mug. I hope you can make it out enough to see how lovely it really is. Maria wrote me she is trying to collect these Starbucks mugs from the different cities in Japan. She added the Kyoto is the nicest. This wasn't the only coffee I received.

Package 2 was a wrapped bag of a local brand of coffee. I haven't tied it yet but I will be trying it within the next two weeks as soon as I finish the beans I ground from another swap. Package 3 contained some treats; Japanese Poky Sticks and something called YATSUHASHI which is green tea flavored chocolate a kin to crunch bars. The Yatsuhashi is embedded in the chocolate and is a speciality in Japan. I feel so privileged to get to try goodies from another part of the world. Package 4 was a cat package with a a cat notepad, a Hello Kitty cloth and a plastic box with both my name and Solara's name written in Japanese. Only I cannot find the plastic box. I thought something dropped when I opened this package but I moved all the furniture, chair, coffee table, and even the couch. I did a good sweeping also but I can't find it. Maybe it will show up when I am not looking for it. So I am trying to be nonchalant about it in hopes it appears when i am not looking for it or thinking about it.The beautiful cat pouch has a Darma doll. This cat is to represent good luck. The pouch also has with two zippers. Here is a close up of the pouch. It is just to pretty to use and get dirty. Packages 5 & 6 had to do with sheep. Maria called these two packages Baa Baa Black Sheep have you any wool? Wrapped in one package was the cutest and softest sheep fleece blankie and a Japanese sheep tape measure. This tape measure is different than the ones we have here. The other package was Japanese yarn. There were three skeins of a purple yarn which in some light looked brown, strange eh?? Maria translated the label for me. It says in Japanese that it is 100%wool, hand wash, 40g skeins, and 81 meters /skein, She added the Japanese do not list the weight of the yarn but I agree with Maria that it appears to be a DK weight yarn. The last package number 7 was the first I opened as it was on the top of the box and when I first opened it I didn't realise they were numbered. In it was what I took to be a Christmas ornament and I hung it on my little
Charlie Brown tree. It is a plaque with a New Years decoration with a Darma for good luck.The Japanese characters on mine read "good Luck". It is still on my tree for all to see. Maria says you often see plaques like mine at Shinto shrines where people often write wishes. This package also contained some very lovely chopped sticks and a chop stick holder. Now not knowing what it actually was and it had such a nice indent in it which when I rubbed it I thought of a worry stone but not in stone. Silly me!!

Now was this not a lovely package and from so far away. I even managed to save some of the wrapping paper that wasn't too torn after opening everything up.

Thank-you Maria for being a great partner.

I also opened my HARVEST SOCK Swap package from Jane. In this exchange we knit one sock and send it to our partner along with the yarn and pattern to knit it's matching mate. This is one great way to avoid the SSS. Jane read that I am not fond of browns, olive greens, or orange typical fall colors and she wanted to keep with the theme of the swap so she chose the colors of a Mac Apple. She designed the sock herself and it is called Picking Apples. There are two different patterns in the sock a cable pattern on two of the four needles and a lace pattern on the other two needles. She knit it in 100% Jaggerspun which I gather means it is not super wash. Important information for the care of the socks. She also included a row counter and four cat stitch markers and the needles she knit my sock with that she made herself.

Here are close up photos of the sock. I hope you are able to see the sock from different sides from these photos.

Jane also sent me a hand dyed skein of alpaca sock yarn. Isn't it gorgeous? It is oh so soft too. That wasn't all Jane sent. This box was packed filled with goodies. Searching in the box I found a pink cable knit bag she made me. Here is a close up of the pattern on the bag. What lovely knitting you do.
Further digging in the box revealed more goodies. A two year cat datebook, a couple of Alpine apple cider, a bookmark and a Susan Bates' needle size, row and stitch guide. AND AND AND an organizer.
WOW what lovely goodies Jane sent me. Don't you agree. This swap was fun. This was the swap where I sent my partner the Yukon Leaves socks. It is an easy pattern and if you liked knitting the Monkey Socks you would like this pattern. Make sure if and when you get it you get the revised pattern as the old one had a error in it which was corrected.
Thank-you Jane. I am sure we will be in touch as I work on the second sock.

Now for my Knitnplay bag swap. This is a yahoo group I belong to. It was originally called the Knitexchange except for what ever reason it has been reborn as the Knitnplay group. The first exchange of the group was a bag with KyleAnn being my partner. KyleAnn knit me a lovely bag in two colors of purple with two pockets on the outside. This bag will hold a larger than a sock project. KyleAnn also sent me a two year datebook with a deer on the cover and photos of various animals inside. Other goodies included the book The Joy of Knitting, a photo mouse pad, a large M&M calendar and two skeins of 51% cotton and 49% acrylic light blue yarn called Wildflower in a DK weight by Plymouth. I know I will be getting use from all these goodies in this swap. I can't wait to start to read my new book but I have to put it in its spot behind the others until it is its turn. Anyone interested in joining this yahoo group let me know. As of right now there are only four members in the group.On Christmas Eve I received my DISHCLOTH HOLIDAY swap from Connie in the dishcloth group at yahoo that I belong to. My puffy contained a lovely snowflake dishcloth in white cotton, a snowman ornament which is on my Charlie Brown tree and a Christmas magnetic note pad. I hope you can see the snowflake on the cloth. I have two other photos but I can't see the picture that well on my monitor. I got another package today. It was from Michele in the Love2knitdishcloths group I belong to also over at Yahoo. The puffy was packed with goodies. There are Disney pens, a sticky notepad, four Good Earth teas in Sweet and Spicy a flavor that I have never tasted and a Christmas Pez dispenser. Those holiday peanut M&M's sure are good. Here is a close up of the cloth I received.
Here is a close up of the Handicrafter blue cotton yarn I received.
AND here is a close up of the ribbon yarn Allegro I received.
So are all my swaps in? No I am still waiting for one more my whoduknit holiday swap package. Maybe it will be here on Wednesday Jan 2. That is the mail service for you. This last package was sent air mail on Dec 12. I received packages sent after that date first.

Now you can see why I had a lovely Christmas. I have so far received a couple of gifts from friends and should be opening a couple more when we are able to get together.

Did I buy myself anything? I did I purchased the Page A Day Calendar at half price after Christmas and also the new Anna magazine.

I did lean something new to use in my blogger. I am sure a lot of you know it already but I didn't and I had to do a search to find it. I learned how to strike out or cross out something I have already written I want to change. YEAH!!

During this Christmas season I went to the movies. New movies are quite expensive and I don't go to often. I was supposed to go and check out the Christmas light last Friday (Dec 21) but it turned out we went on Saturday Dec 22. After my friends said they thought they would like to go to the late show at Famous Players (the espensive movie theaters) and asked if I wanted to go. I said sure and we went to see Johnny Depp in Sweeny Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. It is up for four golden globes and Johnny Depp sings in this movie. I should add it is NOT a fairy tale (happily ever after). It is a fantasy and quite bloody BUT I did enjoy it and I adore Johnny Depp. It is a perfect role for him. I am just trying to figure out how they did this on stage as it was a broadway show first. HMMMMM!!!!!

This past Saturday evening I went to a movie night with the same gals as one as a large HD wide TV. We wanted to rent or I should say I wanted to rent You Kill Me with Sir Ben Kingsley but it wasn't available. Ah why did I want to see that? Well I was an extra in that movie last Dec. I wanted to see if I made the movie or the cutting room floor. I did a search on the computer and saw a preview not what is being shown on the TV and I thought I could see a bit of me. It never played here. It went to the wrong city by mistake and when it finally showed up at the movie theater there were not enough people going to see it so they sent it on it's way. So I do hope to see it. I heard it was quite funny. Anyway, we rented three good movies none of which I had seen. We rented The Painted Veil, Water and The Pursuit of Happiness. I enjoyed them all. All three had great cinemontography and great acting. I am glad we chose those but I really would have liked to see You Kill Me.

I hope everyone has a great NYE and tomorrow I will be back blogging about those pesky resolutions.

For Christmas I fed my Solara one of those expensive small cans with turkey. She turned her nose up at it and wouldn't touch it. Tonight I gave her beef and gravy. She had some of the gravy but didn't touch the beef. Fincky kitty she is.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Christmas this year I opened all my swaps that have been sitting and waiting for me to dig into. AND it was oh so much fun. You are being warned this is a long blog post and has lots and lots of photos. I am so thrilled with all my pressies I hope it comes through on my blog.

Knitting Goodness OH MY!!!

I will start with my Monkey Swap package from Caryn. She sent me a bag of Hershey's kisses, a lovely lunch box with monkeys on it which will make a great small project carrier (such as for socks), monkey magnetic bookmarks, the Thelonious Cookie A sock pattern and some lovely yarn to knit socks with.

The socks have no label indicating what type of yarn it is, whether it is super wash or not, with or without nylon, yardage or the name of the yarn. What do you think it is? If anyone knows please tell me. It is lovely yarn BUT I would like to know what it is. After posting on the Monkey Swap blog I opened my swap package and showing this photo of the yarn I received I have read that it could be Cherry Hill Tree or Koigu. It has even been suggest it is the colorway Cabin Fever in CHT. Are you in agreement?

Only there were NO MONKEY SOCKS included in the package. She did mention in an email she would send them when she finished them as soon as she could but since she is not answering my emails I don’t know if she is still working on them or not. I hope things have settled down for her from the last time she emailed me. I checked her blog and she still hasn't put an entry in since Sept. I am thankful I received something when I know others have had partners who totally flaked on them.

I had a lot of fun making the socks for my pal and purchasing goodies for my pal as a lot of the fun is in the giving as much as the receiving. Originally I was looking forward to the next Monkey swap. Now I am not so sure after reading that so many people have been left high and dry. I guess I am just leery but I really would like to join the next swap if there is one.

As of this morning I have a secret pal who is now knitting me a pair of my very own monkey socks. YES!!!

I opened my HAND DYED YARN SWAP 2 package from Tammy. What a lovely package it was. Here is a photo of all the goodies I received. I received coffee which is locally roasted in her city of Lethbridge and is a favorite of hers, a glow in the dark Starbucks Travel Halloween mug that that I will save for next year which I can't wait to use, four small packets of Smarties, two stitch markers and a nice card.
As you can see Tami sent me NOT one BUT two skeins of yarn she dyed for me. One is red and white called Vampire. AND the second one is called Penny's Colorway and it is pinks and blues. Loverly just loverly!!! Perfect colors for me. Actually both skeins of yarn were dyed perfect colors for me.
AND that is not all I received. I also got a couple of stitch markers that you may not be able to see clearly in the top photo so here is a closer view. I certainly hope there will be another dyed yarn swap as it was so much fun. I only wish my dyeing skills were as good as some you other gals in the swap. I guess with time they will get better, maybe. Thank-you Tammy for the wonderful swap package and for being so patient with me hanging on to it until Christmas day to open. BUT it sure helped make Christmas for me.

Next I opened my package from Allena in the KNITTERS COFFEE SWAP 3. How lucky can a coffee knitter get? AND Allena was so patient while I waited for Christmas to open my package. Thank-you so much for Allena for being so patience. Here it is when I opened the box lid. And you can also see some little notes on items. All the items had sticky notes on them.
One of the first items you can see is the Trekking XXL yarn which her note said, " I hope there's enough blue in this sock to appeal to you. Enjoy". Well she needn't worry as it is just lovely and there is plenty of blue in it for moi! Oh, excuse me for a moment while I go and make a cup of java to drink as I continue to write up my blog.

Again I must write I don't know what you are seeing color wise on your computer as the colors on my computer are wonky and I just can't get the computer to show the colors correctly. I know what it looks like in my camera but sometimes even the camera and the computer colors don't jive.

You can also see the following yarn on the top of the box. It was hand dyed by Allena for me and the colors are wonderful. The colors I see when I look at it are aquas, greens and rusts. There are two skeins of it which is 100% Peruvian Wool and the color/dye lot is called Jelly Bean/2. Each skein is 220 yds and 100 grams to be knit on a size 7 - 8 US needle with a gauge of 5 stitches /inch. It is hand wash and dry flat. The sticky note says, "Hand-dyed just for you! Enjoy." She suggest I add some vinegar to the first washing for safety.

AND AND AND there is more yarn. I also received two skeins of Jane Ellison's Marisol Misty which is 100% baby llama. It is the deep blue tweed color despite the photo looking like a light blue (which I see in my camera). It is so so so soft!! I have been eyeing it since I took the Jane Ellison Workshop at Ram Wools this past fall. Her sticky note says. "This is the softest yarn I could find. It makes me want to sleep on a load of this yarn! So soft". Me too. Of course, this being a coffee swap I also received coffee. HMMM HMMM The coffee she sent me was from a local roaster in her area and it is called Morning Buzz. It is beans which I can grind as needed. Her sticky note says, "I always need the extra kick in the morning so this coffee hits the spot. Roasted in the coffee shop right across from my LYS! Can't get any better except if they were in the same store".I also received a very tall large mug which will be my new coffee mug now for morning coffee. I will let company use my previous favorite coffee mug. The mug came with a tin of coffee mints (red and white stripped candies) and a small packet of coffee). The sticky note on this package said, "This fun gift set I picked up at another JAVA House across town. Gotta love the extra tall coffee cup." I just love it!!!To go with the coffee I received treats. YUMMY Treats. Allena sent me almond butter crunch bars which are now gone, milk chocolate covered cappuccino beans which have also been eaten, flavored Splenda which I have not only never seen but never heard of, and fudge covered graham cookies. There was sticky note attached to the treats of butter crunch and chocolate covered cappuccino beans which said, "These are from a local chocolate shoppe! YUM." AND I agree only they are all gone. BUT that is not all I received in my package. I found in the box Gloves in a Bottle shielding lotion. It says it is like an invisible pair of gloves and skin care that works. AND it does.

AND she didn't forget my Solara who also received treats. She is one spoiled kitty. This sticky indicates that these treats are from her furchild to mine. Now even our furchildren can get in the act of gift giving.AGAIN, thank-you Allena. I hope I didn't forget anything.

Will I join another Knitters Coffee Swap? You bet. I had so much fun shopping for my pal and receiving from my pal I will definitely join again if there is one.

AND now for my CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD Swap from Chris.

Chris knit me the most beautiful scarf in what other color than, of course, pink!!! Not only did she knit me a lovely scarf but she sent an extra skein of the yarn so I now can knit a hat with it to match. The yarn comes from Argentina and was chosen by Chris's youngest daughter as she liked the finished product on display in the LYS. Your daughter has wonderful taste. I wore it the last two times I went out and my knitting buddy Janice has already asked for the pattern. Are you able to share it? If so I would love to have it.
And here is a close up of the scarf showing the ruffle. I also received this lovely yarn as it reminded Chris of the sunshine and she thought I could use some up here where I live. It is just lovely and has some glittery yarn mixed in which makes it even nicer. Eye candy that is what it is. I have a thing for glitz! Don't you think it is just lovely? I do and I am not that fond of yellow but this is not your typical yellow and with the glittery thread. Nice very nice!!!! Yes it is eye candy.
I do have a question though. Do you have any information on this yarn as there wasn't a label attached?

I also received teas. I got a box of Ashbys Twelve Teas of Christmas with five of each of the twelve varieties. AND I got candies. AND also in the box was a "P" sticky note pad, Christmas note cards and a magnetic Christmas note pad. The container you see on the box of tea is a container of Ellie's Unscented Knitter's Cream. I have already been using it and it is nice. BUT that is not all I found in my swap box from Chris. I found the some very interesting yarn and oh so soft called Butterfly by SUSS
and a pattern to use with the yarn to make a FRU FRU bag has I call it which will be for me. There is only one sad thing to say about the swap. I also received a lovely Christmas ornament but it was broken. It was a tin glass snowman. I am so sorry to have to tell you this Chris.
Still I think I received a very lovely package as nice as one can receive filled with treats, sweets and all kinds of goodies. I am so glad I heard about this swap from Vigdis in a group we are in together. I hope there will be another one next Christmas or maybe a seasonal one or another holiday swap.
Thank-you Chris for helping to make a wonderful Christmas for me and thank your daughter for choosing such a lovely scarf. I would love to send you an email thank-you but I do need your email addy to do so and I can't find it anywhere. I am sure I had your secret email addy somewhere but now I can't even find that.

So that ends part one. My coffee sure tasted good. I put some eggnog in it. YUMMY!

While I have been blogging my Solara has been sleeping on the bathroom mat which is partly over the side of the tub and partly in the tub. BUT that doesn't mean you can't see a few photos of her in her sweater.
AND here is Solara in her sweater sitting with her auntie Janice.
Other knitting news...

... is I finally finished my Mixed Jelly Bean socks and here are a couple of photos for you.
I have been trying to work a jogless heel on these socks. The first sock doesn't look as good as the second sock. I am sorry the second photo is a bit blurry but I could seem to take it without it being blurry.
I guess practice makes perfect and if I do a few more I would hope I would get even better. On the first one I tried it a few different ways so that is one reason it isn't as nice as the second where I finally decided on the way I liked best.

The inside of the sock is another story. I found I was unable to carry the unused yarn up the sock as it would show on the outside. If there is a way to do it can someone please let me know. I know it is only being carried seven rows but it is not tied down for those seven rows. I did decide to try to tie down the carried up yarn when I was sewing in the ends but then it was a bit lumpy and the sewing was on the inside of the sole of the foot and I was afraid it would annoy me. The socks fit great.

The beads do make these socks a bit heavier than your usual socks but...I don't care as I really like them.

I have started my second sock from the Harvest Sock swap completing the one inch K1 P1 cuff.I will blog about my Harvest Sock swap in part 2 of this blog. Anyway, I used the needles that my pal sent which she used but I am a much looser knitter so I got less rows of K1P1 ribbing than she did to the inch so I am going to change to a pair of 2.5mm needles. Hers measured on the guide 2.75mm and she made hers. This should work out or I will just go back and use the beedles she used that she sent me.