Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Sockret Pal Catered Banquet

My Sockret Pal was Beth at Crafty Canines/Stuck on Socks — and oh-boy-howdy — can she cook up a surprise package!

Beth's package was in the form of a multi-course banquet. Here's the menu:

As any good caterer begins a special banquet, Beth started out with an Appetizer Course:

Yup. Frog legs. Of course, these frog legs are permanently attached to teensy little glass frogs -- and they live their lives as stitch markers! (Destined to become favorites, I can tell you!) (And check out the little green silk storage bag.)

Then there was the Soup Course:

"Crab & Shrimp chowder" in the form of Tofutsies sock yarn! (And I just l-o-v-e, love, love the color!)

Now for the Salad Course:

It's a frog spinner for my patio. Look out, squirrels! (One of my clever friends pointed out that a salad spinner often comes in handy!) Isn't it cute??

And now (taa-daa) — for the Main Course!!

It's the Sockret Pal trifecta win: perfect color, perfect pattern, and PERFECT FIT!!! Aren't they just beautiful?? If I had seen this yarn, I would have grabbed it in a heartbeat. The yarn is Fleece Artist, and the colorway is Jester. They are just beautiful socks, the workmanship is fabulous, and they feel great on my foot. (Did I mention the PERFECT fit? ) I am just thrilled with them! Wonderful job, Beth!! (She even printed off a personalized label for the socks!)

But wait — there's more!!!

The Dessert Course:

It's a selection of unique favorites from the Cincinnati area: a chili mix (which I will make up at the very next hint of a drop in temperature!) and some extra-special candy Easter eggs that, per Beth, are only available for a very short time each year. I love stuff like this! Local favorites are the last bastion against the chain-store-ization of the world! They are hard to find, too — because local folks tend to guard their secrets. Thanks for sharing these with me, Beth. :)

And the banquet doesn't stop there, either. Like a good hostess, Beth wrapped up a little packet of Leftovers for me.

Because, as she says, you just never know when you might need more. Isn't that thoughtful? And look how well those leftovers match my current nail polish: Hmmmm.... I'll have to think about what I can do with this (surprisingly hefty) little ball of yarn.

And then, because, — well, because she likes to end with a flourish, I guess — Beth tucked in a packet of Junk Food:

Pretty cool "junk food," huh? This is Colinette Jitterbug in the Castagna colorway. It's a bit camera-shy, but put it near a bit of mauve or green, and the those colors just pop out. What a great way to end a great banquet!

Thanks, Beth, for everything. You have been the best Pal a knitter could hope for. Your packages have been inventive, fun, and very thoughtful.

And the very best thing? I have a new email pen pal who is a kick to chat with. Isn't that the whole purpose of these Internet swaps — to meet people with similar tastes who you would probably never get to meet in your real life? Thanks Dani and Rachel for this opportunity. It's been a lot of fun! :)

Monday, March 12, 2007

A Touch of Blarney

I found a wee person visiting my house the other day, and managed to stare him in the eye just long enough to convince him to hold my March sock whilst I photographed it.

Now, many people will tell you that a real leprechaun cannot be photographed, but I'm here to tell you that's just not true. But it is not without cost. And in this instance, my little friend used his magic to drain the green from my Koigu sock in the photo, leaving only Blarney Stone gray behind with a touch of moss. Yep, this sock is actually quite green in real life. In fact, it is a very close match to the mossy agates I used for the sock charm! I purchased this Koigu on a trip to Bodega Bay, on a day when the fog and rain lightly obscured the green trees and hills: a perfect match for this MOSSY GREEN yarn -- with just a touch of gray.

'Tis an disappointment everlasting that you can't see the real color except when you see the socks in real life. ButI guess that's the price you pay for trying to fool with the Wee Folk.

Ah, well. Next time I catch a leprechaun, I'll just go for his gold.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Lorna's February Challemge: the Brea Bag

Last month I blogged about Lorna Miser's monthly challenges that she sets for our local knitting guild.

Her February Challenge -- the results of which were shown at our March 1 meeting -- was the Brea Bag. Here's mine -- the Bus to Reno Special!

Although the design is hard to see in this photo, it shows up well in real life! I knit it from Lion Brand Suede on size 8 needles, and it really does have a great texture. It is lined, and I inserted strips of magnets between the lining and the bag to combat the gap-osis that is the bane of this pattern's design. It also has a large gold button on each side with a tasseled loop closure.

I was getting a little short on time, and I still needed a strap, so into the deepest depths of my closet I went. And there I found a glistening little remnant of the 80's -- a gold leather-and-chain belt! Aha! It makes a great shoulder strap! However, it does remind some people of the purses observed on the "gambler special" busses to Reno, hence the name.

Here are all the Brea Bags and their creators who were at the meeting last night. (There are still several in progress, and they will make their showing next month -- or whenever!) :)

The variety was awesome -- big ones, small ones, all kinds of yarn, felted -- you name it: every one as unique as it's maker. This program is quite a hit with our guild members!

Our Challenge for March: fingerless gloves!