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New Endeavor

I’ll admit I’ve neglected my blog for a long time.  I’ve been knitting — and I promise I’ll post pictures of finished objects soon.  I’ve been swamped at work more often than not.  I have been trying to get on a good exercise regimen and I’ve been losing a few pounds even while still indulging my cravings for foods that are so bad but taste so good.  I want to get back to blogging because I really enjoy seeing everyone else’s projects.

In the meantime, I started a new secondary blog that I might be giving more attention to, at least for the next several months, wherein I have undertaken to read each of 50 books recommended by Good Housekeeping for every woman to read before she reaches the age of 40, within the next 50 weeks before my 40th birthday.  Here is the link in case you are interested:

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If you do check it out, I hope you enjoy!

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Up a Sock Without a Needle

Greetings from South Louisiana, where it is so humid that I cannot currently see out of the windows in my house, with all the condensation.  Whoever invented the air conditioner ought to be canonized.

Still not much to blog about, although there should be soon with football starting.  Just the usual things.  Knitting.  Reading.  Eating things I shouldn’t.  Further chaos and overtime at the office.

I recently finished a Square Rainbow baby blanket in record time for a co-worker, in LSU team colors.  With the five stripes, it works out well with three stripes of the main color and two stripes of the accent color, on a white background to keep it more light and babyish.  Except to increase at the end of every other row, change colors every 12 rows, and seam it together at the end, it is a mindless project.  And a slam dunk gift for parents who are sports fans.  Unfortunately, as diligent as I was about completing the blanket in record time, I was less than diligent about taking a picture.

I also finished a Terpsichore Street scarf/shawlette for myself using a skein of Theodora’s Pearls.  I had never done anything with fishnet lace or a picot edge before, but they were somewhat of a bother, especially because I was trying to work with a needle two sizes bigger on the edge to keep it from being too tight.  As much as I wanted to do this pattern in Saints colors, the fleur de lis pattern might show up better in a solid color.  However it still feels nice and I was pretty happy with it as something to give myself a little flair on game day.  And I did finish it in time to wear for the first preseason game.

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When the starters were on the field at the beginning of the game, the Saints were looking good.  And the Bears have won their first two preseason games.  Hopefully this bodes well for the upcoming season to be better than last year.

After finishing the Terpsichore Street, I eagerly dug into the stash I accumulated from the Shop Hop and pulled out a skein of Lorna’s Laces in Mardi Gras colors to make a pair of basic top down crew socks for Valiant Husband.  After trying the Old Norwegian cast-on recommended by the author of the Getting Started Knitting Socks book, I decided that I preferred the tubular cast-on, and Valiant Husband agreed.  So I started the sock over.  Then I decided that Valiant Husband would likely prefer the weave to be more dense, so I should go down from a size two needle to a size one.  So I started the sock over again.  Then I realized that I may be short on yardage to complete the socks in Valiant Husband’s size, especially since he wanted me to use a double thickness on the heel and toe.  He agreed that doing a block of solid color on the heel and toe and a band at the top might give the socks some flair, and I felt it would adequately stretch my yardage.  Cue the visit to Helpful Shop Owner who sold me a ball of Sock Ease in royal purple.  Along with a ball of yellow Regia since I will have so much purple left that it seemed like an orphan until I paired it with the yellow so I can make a pair of LSU Tassukat socks for myself.  She also happened to have some Wildfoote in perfect Saints colors so I am going to have to make another pair of socks once Valiant Husband graphs out the fleur de lis to go on the heel.

Anyway, I was finally merrily knitting away on the socks.  I could hardly put them down all weekend.  It called for eight inches until you started the heel, so I got to eight inches last night.  I slipped in a lifeline so I can tear the heel back to that point as I fiddle with the fit.  He tried them on and compared them to his other, store-bought socks, and decided he was satisfied so far.  I assured Valiant Husband that once I have one sock that is perfect for him, I will keep notes so I can make him socks in any color he might ever want.  So I picked up with a double thickness of the Sock Ease and started the heel, a flat stockinette heel as he requested.  Then this happened.

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So now the socks are on hold until Valiant Husband can acquire superglue and try to fix my needle.  If he is not able to fix them I am very disappointed in these Knitter’s Pride Carbonz, since I have only made one pair of socks with them so far!  I also hope it is not a matter of the double thickness, either, because I want to do that for the extra durability he wants.  I am not sure I would be blogging if I was still on a roll with my knitting, haha.

Time to get to work.  I seriously hope that Boss Man didn’t leave me 19 tapes like he did last Monday, and that this week is more low key than the last!

Deep South Shop Hop, Stop 5: The Quarter Stitch, New Orleans, LA, July 11, 2015

Valiant Husband and I had planned this as the last stop, after our excursion to Diamondhead.  I had originally hoped to get off of work early the day before, and we were going to go to the French Quarter and then to Diamondhead and stop for dinner somewhere to wait out rush hour before driving back to New Orleans.  Unfortunately that didn’t end up working out.  Fortunately, I still had one more day to get the last stamps on my passport.  We went to Diamondhead first and then passed through downtown New Orleans and the French Quarter on our way home.  To avoid parking in a paid lot just to run into the yarn shop for a few minutes, Valiant Husband pulled into an illegal parking spot while I took care of business at The Quarter Stitch.  (Hence the selfie).

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Their lovely yarns are very much a splurge.  But I justified it since I had spent less than ten dollars on all of the pattern books at the last store.  And because it was the only thing I liked well enough to buy it.  As usual, they wrapped it up in a pretty package!

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This Blue Heron Yarns Rayon Metallic will make a lovely shawl, I think, and I have some yardage to play with since sock weight usually comes about 400-450 yards and this is over 500.  So I could probably go up a needle size and make something with a little more of an open weave and give myself just a tad more coverage over the shoulders.  I was looking for something in a blush pink, perhaps a bit lighter, go to with different neutral color dresses, but this really caught my eye with the subtle variation in the color and the shiny bit of gold.  My eye was actually drawn to a purple color at first, but when I looked further I decided on the pink since that’s what I had been wanting.  Since the color variation is subtle, I think whatever lace pattern I do will still show up nicely.

As I left the shop to dash to the car where Valiant Husband was waiting, there was a brass band procession coming down the street.  Only in New Orleans!  (I wish I could have gotten a better picture, but it was boiling hot, Valiant Husband was still parked illegally, and there was a police officer standing in the street so I didn’t want to make too much of a nuisance of myself!)

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I didn’t even get a picture of the last stamp on my passport, because they asked if they were my last stop, and when I said they were, they put the card right into the folder where they were saving them.

Just this week I got the confirmation from an e-mail from one of the shops, that other ladies had won the grand prizes, although I had already figured as much since no one had called me.  I am quite happy with the two skeins I won at my first stop!  And I am very much looking forward to enjoying everything I purchased.  Why is it that I can find time to BUY yarn, so much more quickly than I can find time to USE it?

I had better go get knitting…big time…

P.S.  It turns out that Softball Mom’s daughter and her team won big at regionals, so they will be going to the World Series, which is at a town on the Atlantic coast of Florida.  Cue the beach trip for them!

Deep South Shop Hop, Stop 4: The French Knot, Diamondhead, MS July 11, 2015

Sorry it has taken me so long for this update on the yarn crawl.  Boss Man and Boss Lady haven’t let up.  I have also been trying to be a Good Megan and catch up on some things around the house.  (And get Valiant Husband on board, when he easily defaults to spending the weekend napping in the recliner).  And I wanted to take time for a thorough post with all of the pictures and hyperlinks.

Anyway…my fourth stop on the Shop Hop was The French Knot in Diamondhead, Mississippi, which is about an hour outside New Orleans.

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The store has moved into a new location since the only other time I stopped by to check it out.  The new location is larger, with two rooms of regular price yarn and another room of sale yarn.  Lovely variety of weights, colors, and textures.  Unfortunately, after all of the other yarn I purchased on the yarn crawl, I didn’t see anything that I absolutely had to have at the moment.  Even on sale.  However, I did get a great deal on these pattern books, which will hopefully give me lots of ideas for all of the yarn I have accumulated in my stash.

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And of course I received the stamp on my passport!

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It was almost time for lunch, and one of the ladies at the shop recommended a sports bar called “The Red Zone” that was just down the street.  (No web site available to link to).  They had a Hawaiian burger seasoned with teriyaki, with pineapple and mushrooms on it.  I would have never thought of putting those three things together on a burger, but I like teriyaki, pineapple, and mushrooms, so I decided to try it.  Sooo glad I did…

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Deep South Shop Hop, Stop Three: The Yarn Nook, Lafayette, LA, July 3, 2015

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Since I was off of work today for the long weekend for the Fourth of July, and yarn shops will not be open tomorrow on the holiday, Valiant Husband and I made the longest of the excursions today, to The Yarn Nook in Lafayette, Louisiana, just over two hours West of New Orleans.  I have only visited Lafayette once for a wedding, and we were only there for the wedding and to crash at a budget motel.  However, after my experience today I am hoping for an excuse to go back!

The Yarn Nook is located in a small shopping center among other boutiques and has many lovely yarns.  I purchased some Rowan Fine Art and Berocco Folio, which I am looking forward to using, possibly for a shawl and elbow sleeve sweater respectively.  Not quite among items I was specifically looking for, but too tempting to pass up.  I also got the stamp on my passport and a set of post it notes.

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After yarn shopping, Valiant Husband took me to lunch at Agave restaurant, where he had been with a group of guys when one of them was visiting for Christmas.  It was fabulous, enchiladas filled with shrimp and crawfish tails and the best white cheese sauce I ever had.  I even got a second frozen margarita to go (this is legal in Louisiana).  And it was flavored with pineapple.  Why did I never before think of flavoring a margarita with pineapple?  Here’s hoping that we will be able to make a trip to Houston soon since Lafayette will be a convenient place to break up the drive and visit both The Yarn Nook and Agave again!

Deep South Shop Hop, Stop Two: Knits by Nana in Baton Rouge, LA, June 27, 2015

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My second stop on the Shop Hop was Knits by Nana in Baton Rouge, which is about an hour Northwest of New Orleans.  Valiant Husband and I made this excursion in conjunction with Softball Mom friend’s daughter playing in a softball tournament just outside of Baton Rouge.  The day did not start well, as my low tire pressure light came on as we were crossing the lake the previous evening.  We diligently stopped at the nearest service station to refill the air, but the machine was out of service.  At the next nearest service station, another driver was parked in front of the air machine, apparently preparing for a cross country road trip based upon the time she spent getting situated before she pulled away.  By the time we fought the line at Starbucks to get coffee and hit the road, we ended up getting there when the softball game was over halfway over.  The team is well coached and much more disciplined than the other teams, and won by a large margin, advancing to the championship game later in the day.  So Valiant Husband and I agreed to stay for the championship game, and in the interim we had lunch and took care of the errand to Knits by Nana.

I have only been to Knits by Nana once before, and in the interim they moved around the corner to a new shopping center (cue the GPS fail).  They still have a good selection of yarns, but they overwhelmed me a bit showing me different yarns and projects I could make, which I was not necessarily interested in.  I got the stamp on my passport, a free tape measure, and a skein of Zen Yarngarden Serenity Silk in the “Country Living” color.

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Unfortunately, there ended up being a lightning delay, and after waiting for over two hours we were not able to stay any longer for the championship game because we would get home too late, so we hit the road.  The game finally started about an hour after we left, and all ended well that the girls had another big win so they will advance to regionals in a couple of weeks!