Wednesday, August 29, 2007

100th Post

As a middle school teacher, I am often baffled about the excitement that goes on in elementary schools about the 100th day of school. They have parties and I've seen a plethora of stuff with the "100 days of school" logo on it. It's something that I've just not understood in the past. I think I might now have an inkling. This is my 100th post of 2007 (my 125th overall). I think that's really kinda cool. Saturday also marks one year since I began blogging and internet came to Chez LaLa. I'm thinking I'll have a contest. Look for more details on that Saturday (I have not one but 2 meetings to go to tomorrow; The mentoring one and as a school representative at the Chamber of Commerce meeting where my superintendent is speaking. I'll be too busy to blog. By Saturday, I should be able to think of something).

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Best Kind Of Prize...

Is a Surprise. In this case it's EZ's Baby Surprise. I've been wanting to try out this pattern forever. I'm giving myself until September 15th to knit whatever the heck I want. Yes, I know that Christmas is fast approaching and I will probably regret this decision soon. But I figure knitting the Baby Surprise is working towards stocking up for all those baby showers I end up going to with an IOU. This might save me in the future as will all the one skein baby hats that I knit last week. I'm also trying to have some project monotony monogamy. I hear if you only work on one project at a time, that you get that project done a lot faster. That's why I'm only knitting on the Baby Surprise Jacket until I finish it. So far, it's going pretty well. I'm done with all of the decreasing and have moved on to the increasing (which I am almost done with). I took these pictures right when I had finished with the decreasing and before the Steelers game.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

More Sockapalooza Goodness

I wore my socks to school on Friday and my students loved them. It had been a long week for all of us, and they were just the ray of sunshine that we needed. I think that these photos do them a bit more justice. Also pictured is some of the yummy candy that I also got (somehow the fudge bar and the rhubarb candies didn't make it until photograph time). There was also some Lipsqueak lip balm in there, that is also yummy. Sue really went all out to spoil me. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Spoiled Rotten

I got my Sockapalooza Socks today in the mail and the package rocked. I'm adding a level to the LaLa awesome meter and saying that this was a Pirate Rockstar Package. The socks fit great and I love the colors. I'll have to take better pictures tomorrow because I just got home from work (Yes, it is 10 pm here) and it's too dark to get a really good pictures. My two favorite things would have to be the pirate sheep (He's going to work with me tomorrow) and the rubarb and custard candy (the chocolate was a bit melted for a trial, it was 105 here today) I love rubarb and it's not something that grows in the South. When I go north, I always try to get Rubarb and Strawberry pie. I also got a ton of other goodies that I promise I will photo op. tomorrow. Sue totally spoiled me rotten (did I mention the pirate sheep?)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Thank You

I wanted to thank everyone for their sweet comments both on the blog and in person. I think that's the most comments I've ever gotten on one blog entry and I appreciate each and ever one.
On the knitting front, I've been knitting a ton of baby hats as a quick 1 skein project to use up some of the stash. I've used up some yarn that's been in there for quite a while (4 years) and some that I got from Kathy a few months ago. The total number of baby hats knit this week would be 4. I've also knit the bag from Simple Knitted Gifts (it's the one on the front cover) and plan on making quite a few more for all the swaps I'm involved in (I think it would be cool to get some stuff in a hand-knitted bag, it might just be me though). I have a hat for Julie on the needles right now and should finish that up tonight. I also got some Cascade Fixation today to make some Broad-ripples out of. One of my sock pals prefers cotton yarn and this might be a great pair of socks for her.
Unfortunately, I will be missing the Thursday Night Knit In for the next three weeks. I have a meeting at Central Office on Mentoring for the next 2 weeks and then I have my only game duty for the year. I really can't complain about the duty, it's Volleyball which is one of the best to have. There's only 2 games and it's indoor. Another plus of volleyball duty is that I get to knit which fascinates most of my students and some of the parents. Carol might also be there because her daughter is on the team. A good time will be all by all ever though I'll miss my regular knit group.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Teacher of the Month

I got teacher of the month at my school! It totally makes up for all the extra hours I've been putting in.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Mississippi Knitters

I've created a group on Ravelry for Mississippi knitters. You should all go join so that I'm not all alone (It's kind of pitiful that I'm the only member in my group). Now I have that song from Spamalot stuck in my head. Anyway, go join my awesome group!

The Great Debate

I grew up in the North. It was there that I first learned to knit and almost all of my projects were out of wool. Then I moved to the foothills of North Carolina. We got some snow there, but it was a good deal warmer than the North. As my skills as a knitter grew, so did my willingness to try new fibers. Now I'm living in Mississippi. If there ever was a state whose official plant would be cotton, this would be it. But I still love wool. Wool forgives many mistakes. It is elastic, something that I require when I marathon knit. And wool reminds me of the days when I would sit on my mom's lap at guild meeting and watch the adults work their magic. And although I may only be able to wear them in December and January, there is nothing that reminds me of home more than a fire, a cup of tea, and a pair of wool socks. Elizabeth Zimmerman said, "For people allergic to wool, one's heart can only bleed." While cotton may be practical in the 110 degree temps outside, I still wore a pair of wool socks to work today with my Mary Janes (They were Yarn Love's Tencil blend, however).

Friday, August 17, 2007

Why Swaps Rock

One of my new favorite things to do is knitting swaps. I've met many rock star people over the course of the swaps. One such person is Audrey. She was the first person I ever got to send socks to. I was worried. She made me feel better by loving the socks I sent her. Yesterday, I got a surprise in the mail. Audrey sent me some little presents as a thank you. I'm planning on taking pictures of the goodies tomorrow (I'm so tired that stairs are beyond me at this moment. Try getting 1000 middle schoolers to get the right textbooks for the classes that they're actually taking, you'd be tired, too). Audrey's blog is She's good people. You should read her blog. Thanks Audrey!
Another really cool person is my current swap partner for the Hogwarts Swap 2. I went to Victoria's blog yesterday to see that she had posted that I should be this...

That cracked me up. One of my favorite adjectives to use is "rock star." It's a great word that can be used either as a good thing or a bad thing. You fall down the stairs...that's rock star (insert sarcasm here). If you're a 7th grader that managed to get all five of your text books without messing up while you remain're just a rock star plain and simple. Thanks Victoria! You're rock star in a very good way.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Monkey Swap

There's still time to sign up at

Monkey Swap Questions:
Do you consider yourself a beginning sock knitter, an intermediate, or have you been doing this so long you could probably knit a pair in your sleep?
I think that I am an intermediate sock knitter. There's still so much that I can learn.

The measurements:
Shoe size: !0 US
Foot circumference:
A little over 10 inches long (if you want to be precise. I'll say 10.25) and 9 inches around

Yarn Preferences:
What colors do you love? I love purples, blues, greens, and reds. One cool thing about the monkey pattern is the it looks good in variegated.

Do you prefer solids or variegated?
It really depends on the pattern. For the more elaborate Cookie patterns, I think a solid is best. But for Monkey and some of the free patterns, I like variegated.

Do you prefer wool, cotton or acrylic yarn?
I like wool if I'm knitting it or a cotton blend if I'm not (Cotton is awesome in the South, but it makes my hands hurt it too much to want to knit it myself).

What are your favorite brands of yarn?
I love Yarn Pirate, Socks that Rock, Woolmeise, White Oak Studios, Shelridge Farm Soft Touch Ultra, and Dream in Color

Are there any new brands you would like to try?
I would love to try Fiesta Boomerang or Merlin the Cat.

Cookie A. Patterns:
Which of her patterns have you already knit? I've already knit Monkeys, but I have Sock with No Name, Titania's Revenge, Thelonious, Mona, and Flicker

Only the Monkey Which pattern(s) would you like to knit and don’t already own? I would like twisted flower or Gothic Spire

Other pertinent information:
Would you be willing to have an international Monkey Pal or do you prefer one in the US? I'm fine with anyone, anywhere.

Do you have any allergies? Nope

Will your knitting be exposed to smoke or animals? I have animals but am smoke free

Are you on Ravelry yet? If you don’t mind having new friends, what is your Ravelry name? I am, it's LaLa

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Stash

6 skeins of sock yarn left the stash as part of a thank you to my advanced sock class students (That green sock below is what they are working on). I really wanted to push them a bit, so the pattern has a twisted German Cast-on, twisted rib at the top and for the heel flap, and a lace pattern. It is also worked from the top down on 2 circs. Kathy said that she would love to see the size of the stash. I said that would involve cleaning up the stash room and my bedroom for company and the chances of that would be slim. I will flash you some of my sock yarn stash, however. Here is what I would like my stash to look like. I just got this rubbermaid clear plastic tote and it fits perfectly inside the wire cube that is being used to store the other sock yarn. As of right now, I have 6 cubes worth of sock yarn. A new rule was instituted a few weeks ago (post PGH) that the number of skeins of yarn can not increase. This means that I must knit or give away a skein of yarn for another skein of yarn to enter. I knit the Lickety Split baby sweater at knit night 2 weeks ago decreasing my stash by 3 skeins. I also gave away those 6 skeins of yarn. That brought my total skeins of yarn decreased to 9. I happened to discover that WEBS is having a sale on some Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy yarn. 10 skeins of it are on their way to my house. It's very pretty you should check it out at Anyway, that means I need a 1 skein project to finish over the course of the next few days. Baby hat, anyone?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Things that crack me up

You Are Surrealism

Dreamy and idealistic, you've created a world that is all your own.

It's very likely that you've either dabbled in drugs or are naturally trippy.

You are always trying to push beyond the boundaries of your culture and society.

You believe that art, love, and freedom can change the world.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Because I can be stupid (and Becky didn't proof this pattern)

Tommy, Eloise, and Kathy,
On the fern lace pattern you are treating each needle as if it exists in its own separate world. That's what causes the bar to form along the sides of the socks. Here's what needle one should look like: R2: On needle one over the 31 stitches: K3, yo, k2, sl1, k1, psso, k2tog, k2, yo, k1, yo, k2, sl1, k1, psso, k2to, k2, yo, k1, yo, k2, sl1, k1, psso, k2tog, k2, yo, k2. Then you repeat the same for needle 2.
I'm sorry that we didn't get that far in class (Who knew about cursed socks? Oh wait, there were those Harry Potter Socks). I'll have a special treat for each of you later in the week to make up for my stupidity. That's what you get for being my guinea pig class. Call or email me if you have any more problems.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Secret Pal 11 Questions

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I'm one of those people that prefer natural fibers. I'm not a huge mohair or cotton fan.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I have several Lantern Moon cases that I store my straights in. My circulars are in one of those huge accordion folders (each size has it's own slot). My DPNs are in a smaller accordion folder. I have a lot of needles, so this helps to keep me organized

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I've been a hard core knitter for a little of five years now. I first learned from my mom when I was 8. She's a lefty and learned how to knit by starting on socks, so that is what she started me with. I never made it to the heel. I picked knitting back up when I got my wisdom teeth taken out during my college years. I've been going strong ever since. I would classify myself as an intermediate. I knit a lot of socks and have knit sweaters.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Yup. Email me and i'll tell you how to get to it.

5. What's your favorite scent?
I like lilac, lavender, honeysuckle, and apple

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
I have a huge sweet tooth. I like everything but dark and white chocolate. I love to try new candies from different places

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I'm just a plain old knitter.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I love musicals, old school rock (The Eagles are my favorite), alternative like Barenaked Ladies, and country music.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
I'm a cool color person (although I love red...must be the Aries in me). I dislike orange and yellow in clothing. I'm not a huge brown fan, either.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I'm single with a cat and a dog

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
I wear all of the above except ponchos. I'm more of a shawl person.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Socks, mittens, hats, scarves, bags, and shawls. You can look at my Flickr to see everything that I've knit recently

13. What are you knitting right now?
I have 6 socks on needles right now. I also have a mystery shawl and My So Called Scarf

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
I love to receive homemade gifts. I'm envious of people who can make those really cute crochet toys

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I'm a circ and dpn kind of girl for anything but scarves. I prefer wood needles with good joins (like lantern moon) or Addis in metal

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
I try to rip them out after a year...I have a few things that are ready to rip out now

18. What is your favorite holiday?
Christmas...I love snow

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Pirate stuff, yarn, knitting patterns, books, PGH Steelers stuff

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
You can look at my amazon list for knitting books. I have subscriptions to Interweave and Vogue I'm dying to get my hands on more Woolmeise sock yarn and some darn pretty needles.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
Entreloc and modular knitting are next up on my list of stuff to learn

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
My feet are 9 inches around and a little over 10 inches long

23. When is your birthday?

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?

Sockapalooza Socks and Done and Sent

My socks are done and sent. I loved this yarn. Even after knitting a pair of socks that were 9 inches long, I had 50 grams left over. These were not short socks, either. They had the standard 6 inch long cuff. Here's all the specs.
Yarn: Smooshy by Dream in Color in the Nightwatch Color (sooooo pretty)
Pattern: Sleepwalker Socks distributed by Dream in Color (I got it from Pickupsticks)
Needles: Size 2 Chi Goo purchased from That Yarn Shop
Mods: I went straight to the foot pattern after turning the heel (because I can't read dirrections). I also made the heel flap 3 inches long because my pal said that's what she likes (I am a total blog stalker) One thing that I noticed on this sock is that I need to work on making my SSK look more like K2tog. My SSKs are a bit looser. Hopefully, my pal is not a perfectionist.

I sent various things besides the socks in her package. The contents included a deck of MS playing cards, a sock journal from The Loopy Ewe, a min sock blocker (with enough left over yarn for her to make a mini sock, and a small thing of soak wash (Yes I did wash the socks before I sent them, they spent the day baking drying in my car). I hope she likes it!

Monday, August 06, 2007


Look at what Kathy found. I almost wet my pants I was laughing so hard. After getting less than an hour's worth of sleep last night, this is just what I needed (All the mentoring stuff went smoothly, I don't know why I freak out so much about crap like that). I'm almost done with the Sockapalooza socks and will mail them out tomorrow (Need you socks to dry fast after a washing?...leave them in your car while at work during the day. It was only in the 100s down here today). I'm hoping to get some knitting done during some of the meetings that have filled my schedule for the next week.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


School officially starts back this Monday. This time of year is always crazy for me. I even went in and worked around 20 hours last week. If there seems to be a lack of blogging it's not because I don't love you. It's because I'm trying my darndest to write a sock pattern, finish my sockapalooza socks, read the last Harry Potter (I know one of my kids will spoil it for me if I don't get it done before Monday),test knit another sock, and try not to loose my mind. I am even going to miss my Thursday night knit in to an open house to meet kids and parents. Hopefully, we'll be done by 8:30 so I can swing by and get a cupcake. No more time for typing...stuff to do.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Yarn bug

The new project bug has hit me hard. All I want to do is play with new yarn. Forget about all those exciting yarns I already have in my stash...I want new. I try to get through this by winding the new yarn into cakes. That way I get to play a little bit with the yarn, but then I can go work on one of the 9 socks already on needles. sigh... I'm such a sock yarn slut.