Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sunday is for Socks

Thanks to lots of football listening (The Steelers are never on t.v. down here), I've almost finished the second of Nikki's socks. The picture above is from a few days ago, but it shows off the true colors of the yarn, better than I picture I could take tonight would. The yarn is Fiesta Ballet, a 50% merino, 50% alpaca blend, that is very nice to knit with. It also seems to knit up very fast. I'll put up all the stats when I show the picture of the second sock. I also wanted to say thank you again to everyone for their comments, thoughts, and prayers. I appreciate it more than I can say.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Yarny Goodness from Bloomin Yarns

A week ago I went to one of my favorite yarn shops to vacation at. Bloomin Yarns, in McMurray PA, has great yarn selection, esp. sock yarn. We're talking Yarn Pirate, Shibu Knits, Claudia's Handpainted, Cherry Tree Hill, Bamboo Wool and Cotton, among a ton of others. It also carries unique non-sock yarns like hemp alongside Dale and Cascade. Overall, a very cool store. The best part is the people inside. The owner, Michelle is as nice as nice can be. She even remembered us from the one time we visited over the summer and asked if we were back for the wedding. That is a rockstar shop owner! (she also accused me of being a secret of the stole enabler, which is true and you can still sign up until tomorrow). Overall a great store. If you're in the PGH area, I would def. check it out. As you can see by the yarn that came home with me, I managed to have a great time :)
Edited to add: If you didn't already know this, I am a horrible speller. It's all fixed now. Sorry if the misspellings made you want to kick someone (probably me) in the head and light them on fire. I will use spell check, I promise. And Eloise, I did not buy all of the yarns Michelle sells, although I wish I had.

Friday, September 28, 2007

You're Adventures of Huckleberry Finn!

by Mark Twain

With an affinity for floating down the river, you see things in black
and white. The world is strange and new to you and the more you learn about it, the less
it makes sense. You probably speak with an accent and others have a hard time
understanding you and an even harder time taking you seriously. Nevertheless, your
adventurous spirit is admirable. You really like straw hats.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Nikki's back in the hospital again. I will get around to blogging about Blomin' Yarn because it is a truly awesome store. But not today. I'm too busy distracting myself so that I don't go spend the night at the hospital. Hence the quiz above. I really like the part about the straw hat and me speaking with an accent.
I'm planning on going to Kathy's early tomorrow morning to figure out the class sched. for October (I'm thinking about switching the lace bag to a lace scarf class. Any thoughts?). I'm sure that their will be a beginning sock class and a candy corn hat class somewhere in there. Any other ideas?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Socks For the Infirm

Thank you all for your kind comments. I took off work yesterday and spent the day in the hospital with Nikki. While I was there, I knit on her socks. The first one is done and I have started the second, I am knitting them out of Fiesta Ballet in the Wild Oak colorway. I love the colors and the 50% Superfine Alpaca and 50% Tencel content. I am hoping to finish these by Saturday. I am almost finished with my project for Sheri, I didn't want to take projects for people other than Nikki into the sick room just in case (BTW, that was pointless because she hasn't been contagious since Monday). Hopefully, I can finish those up, also. Tomorrow, I plan on blogging about a really cool yarn shop in PGH and showing you all the goodies I got from there (It's really that good). I'll try to show you pictures of Nikki's socks on Saturday and get permission to show the secret project. Have a great Friday!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


This picture is of my sister and my friend Nikki at PGH over the summer. Nikki is the type of friend that you always want to be around. She is outgoing and always has a joke and a smile. She is always in motion. She is the perfect protagonist to my antagonist self. She understands my sarcasm like no one else. She has become part of our family.
Nikki and I met when we both taught Middle School English two years ago. She has since moved on to teaching Drama and 8th grade English elsewhere and I moved to the library. We still remain close friends and often go out to get sushi or dinner. Yesterday evening, I got a phone call from Nikki telling me that she was in the hospital with Bacterial Meningitis. She was admitted on Saturday and didn't want to bother me because of the wedding. I went and saw her tonight. I think that this was the first time that I've seen her still.
What do I do in times of stress? I knit. And knit. And think of Nikki. The socks I'm knitting are going to be a gift for her, but they are a kind of therapy for me. These are socks crafted of tears, happy memories, thankfulness, and hope.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Love and Marriage

Saturday, at aproximatly 3:45 pm, I gained a sister-in-law. I couldn't be happier for my brother and his wife (the little girl is the flower girl and Emily's Goddaughter). I already know that Emily has the makings of the perfect sister-in-law. She makes my brother happy and she bought Becky and I yarn as presents for being involved in the wedding. What more could I ask for? Congratulations Matt and Emily! I wish you a life filled with happiness and love.

Friday, September 21, 2007


As of tomorrow, I will have a brand new sister. I'm really excited about this and translated that into knitting. Emily's birthday was on Sunday and this is what she got:

It's Fetching ( a shortened version) and Calorimetry. Both patterns are available from Knitty and together require 1 skein of the fabulous Malabrigo yarn. I love that yarn and both the patterns (so much so that another skein might have slipped into my pile of yarn purchases from Bloomin Yarns today.) I'm off to the rehearsal. Don't look for another post until after the wedding!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wide Open Spaces

I did end up bringing my laptop with me to Pittsburgh. I'm test knitting something for Sheri at The Loopy Ewe and wanted to be able to email my finished pictures to her and notes. It's a great pattern and I want to wait until I get permission from her to post any pictures. I got over half of it done on the plane ride and am hoping to get the other half completed tomorrow (i've cast on and am working on the ribbing). I'm using my bag that I got from the White Oak Studio Thelma and Louise Kit to store all my knitting in and it is working out great. On another note, Emily loved her present and I'll post pictures tomorrow. Time for bed, I have to be up early tomorrow to pick up Becky and Trick at the airport (and go yarn shopping).

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Hide and Seek

Dear IPod Nano,
I understand that your selling point was that you were so small you could fit anywhere. You've also proven to me that you're very good at the hiding part of this game. However, I would like to take you to PGH with me so I can listen to the rest of the Yarn Harlot book on tape I downloaded from Audible. Please......
The Management.
(How did I misplace a bright Red IPod????????)

10 Min Later: I found him. He was making out with my Lucy Neatby DVD. He's been hanging around the middle schoolers too much recently.

Wedding = Pretty Nails, Knitting = Bye Bye Pretty Nails

I got a French Manicure so my nails would look nice for my brother's wedding. Of course, I've already messed them up. Knitting + Wet Nails = Bad They really don't look too bad unless your staring at them up close. I really hope people have better things to be doing than staring at my nails. ANYWAY.... I'm going out of town tomorrow and won't be back until Sunday. I've made the decision not to take the laptop with me, but I'll take plenty of pictures to post when I get back. Maybe, I'll even have some Monkey socks done for you to see.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Close up of Wollmeise

This is what Wollmeise in the Suzanne color way looks like up close and personal. It's soooooo pretty. I can't wait until I get to knit some socks out of this for me. In other knitting news, I have finished the first part of Emily's present and am moving on the part 2. I think she reads the blog, so I'm going to wait until after I give her presents to her to post the pictures. Happy Knitting all!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Vibrant Colors

Here are 2 of the finished objects created at Chez LaLa this past week. The first is a hat created out of Noro Silk Garden color 2010. I love the colors that Noro creates in their yarns, I just wish they'd pick out all the junk like little twigs. This is a simple hat and I cast it on during a MASH marathon last night and finished it before 4 today (keep in mind that I slept for 11 hours in there, too). Cast on 98 stitches on size 7 needles and go to town. The second picture is of some baby socks I made out of Wollmeise in the Suzanne color-way. I love the colors of this yarn! The best part is that I still have around 500 yards to make of pair of socks for me. That's just rockstar.
Next up on the needles is a present for my future sister-in-law. Today's her birthday!!!!!!! I figure I can give her a birthday gift before the wedding (only 6 days away!).

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Cooper Young Festival

Wheezy, Mom, and I all went to the Cooper Young Festival today. A fun time was had by all. I got an Edgar Allen Poe bobble head and a Jane Austin action figure for my desk at school. I also wound up with some yarn from Stash. It was good to see Melissa and all the girls I used to trek to Memphis to knit with. I'm really going to have to go up there at least once a month to see everybody.
Since Wheezy was driving, I used the 45 minute commute to knit. I have finished the first of my Hogwarts socks (I'd show you but they're a surprise). It only took a week and I knit a pair of baby socks and a clutch bag (a red version of the Forest Path bag) also.
Speaking of the Forest Path Bag, I know that the chart and directions for the stitch pattern are small. I'm going to find a way to fix that. It's an image, so I'm having some problems trying to enlarge it and keep it on a single page. In the mean time, you can do this. Take it to a copier or scanner and enlarge the chart to where you can see it. You can also download the pattern and zoom it on the text. Those are the only solutions I have for right now. I'll work on fixing it...I promise.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Knit Visuallizer 1.2

I just got some software to help with the charting of patterns. It was pricey, but I got the Forest Path Bag all charted out in no time! It was def. worth the price and I'm thinking of it as an investment since I've been writing quite a few patterns recently. Now it's time to go knit!


I got the free pattern link to go up! Yeah!!! I'll play around some tonight and see if I can get some of the other patterns I've written up.
BTW: I am a wool hog, I got 4 skeins of Woolmeise in the Loopy Ewe update. They're very pretty. That's all the non-vacation yarn I'm allowing myself to buy until the end of October. The only exception is yarn for classes that I'm teaching.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


The weather here was perfect today. 85 was the high. I love it. I got to wear a sweater and some corduroy pants (purple pants, black sweater). I love the fall and winter. They are by far my favorite seasons. This type of weather really makes me miss living up north but I'm going up for my brother's wedding next week. I'll try not to buy too much yarn while I'm there...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Free Patterns

Blogger has been being a bad monkey and has not been letting me add a link to my free pattern page. It is here: All that's up right now is the Cable Bag pattern that's pictured above. I'm new to this whole free patterns thing. I've heard horror stories of peoples work being ripped off. I'm giving you the pattern, all I'm asking for in return is for you not to rip off the work as your own. Please direct people to my site and do not republish the pattern on yours.
The Managment of Chez LaLa

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Only the Shadow Knows

I ended up ordering Shadow in the Lost Lake Heather and Vinyard Heather. You can see pictures of it at While I was there, I also got some Alpaca Cloud in the Midnight Heather. Now I have enough yarn to complete three stoles. I even have matching beads for all of them, very rockstar. While I was at Knitpicks, I ordered a set of their new wooden circulars. I'm not planning on using them for lace (I have some Addi Lace Turbos for that), instead I ordered 2 pairs in the "true" size 2. I wanted another option for knitting socks. Speaking of socks, I made some great progress on my Hogwarts socks and am hoping to finish them up this week. Also this week, I'm teaching two classes. Tuesday night, I have the second session of the beginner sock class and on Saturday, I have a beginner lace class. In the lace class, we're doing a simple lace bag. My shop model of it will be finished up tomorrow, so I'll show you some pics then.

BTW: There's still time to sign up for the Secret of the Stole. I really think it's going to be awesome. You just need to join the yahoo group. It's at OR If you want more details you should check out Both are very cool sites. There's also a Ravelry support group for all those who ravel. Kathy and Beck, you should totally join. (Enable, enable, enable)


This is the cleaned up version of what I was going to post (there may be children in the room):
I went to swatch for Secret of the Stole a few days ago. Discovered that somehow I have 10 different kinds of lace-weight and none of them will work. Most are short in the yardage department. For some reason I have tons of 800 yard skeins. Some of the remaining are variegated, that's another no. And the last 2 colors are both a light green that would require me to drive to Memphis to buy beads, that's another negative. The designer used Knitpicks Shadow for her original stole, so that's what I'm going to do. I'll get a couple of colors to meet the $45 min for free shipping and that way I won't run across this again (for another 2 months at least).
Somehow, I also signed up for Sock Wars, but I'm thinking about dropping it. It's too close to Christmas knitting for my sanity. The signup deadline is October 1st, so I'm going to give myself until The Wedding to finish up some stuff, and then reevaluate the decision. If I can finish the Hogwarts socks and Monkey sock swaps before then, it'll be a go.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Candy Sweet Hat

I finished my Candy Corn Hat. I'm going to get the stuff to knit another one tomorrow. I like the idea of this, I just need to perfect how I want to do it. The one above has a bit too much yellow and not enough orange. I also want to make them a bit taller. I might send this one off as a surprise to someone. A cool new skill I learned with this hat was the jog-less jog. I don't knit stripes very often, but you can bet I'll be using this in the future. I got the info on how to do it off a Knitty article.
Knitting plans for this weekend include knitting a lace bag sample for a class I'll be teaching in a week or so. I also want to cast on my socks from my last STR kit. I've been undecided about the pattern, but I think that it has grown on me. I really like some of the completed projects that I've seen.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Stash Diving

It's no secret to anyone that I have a rather large stash. It's not nearly the size of my mom's, but it takes up quite a bit of space on it's own. The past two weeks, I've been attempting to use up as much yarn in the stash as new yarn comes in. Overall, it's been an interesting experience. Mostly because it's caused me to look at me actual stash. My stash reflects the different focuses of emphasis on knitting that I've had since I began. There is of course the crappy Lion Brand stage. I never got much into the fun fur, but I do still have the kind of yarn that is mostly found at Michael's craft stores. Keep in mind, this was before Lion Brand made natural fiber yarn. It is mostly acrylic and I'm trying to keep what I might use for baby stuff and give the rest away to new knitters.
The second stage occurred when I was living in North Carolina. It is filled with nice yarn like Blue Sky, Rowan, and Noro. This is still when I had no concept of how much yarn it took to knit something, so you'll find a lot of single skeins. That's also what I could afford as a first year teacher. It has a lot of sale yarn in it, like some linen that I got on sale in Swickley.
The third phase is when I decided I would like to knit sweaters and was ( and still am) into natural fibers. There's tons of stuff that I got on various vacations, including several trips to Maryland Sheep and Wool. Looking at these yarns is like looking at a scrapbook of every knitting store and fiber festival I've been to. These are the yarns that have been toted in a suitcase across miles before joining the stash and are unique to the area that I bought them in.
The last stage would be the sock knitting stage. Like the stage before, there's a lot of yarn "scrapbooks" but there's also clubs I've joined and yarns with a purpose, like for a knit-along. There's also a ton of indie dyers found on various websites including Etsy and The Loopy Ewe. This is the stash that I am most reluctant to knit or part with. It contains Sweet Georgia and other dyers that I fear will never resume production.

So how am I decreasing the stash? One ball at a time and with little projects like baby hats and Fetching from Knitty.
I barely got through the body of the mitts when I ran out of yarn, so I finished the thumbs off in black. I am planning on having Kathy help me single crochet around the top and bottom in black to give them some continuity and make them a little bit longer. I already found some Noro Silk Garden Lite for my second pair. I'm also thinking of creating a non-cabled pair with some fair-isle on them.

A Book Review: Knitting Classic Style

Few knitting books arrive at my house that surpass my every expectation in a good way. This one did. I expect the best from Veronik Avery. She was one of the first designers for interweave that I knew I would love almost every pattern that she put out. I also love the history of fashion. This book combines great designs (that would actually fit me with few mods!) with some great history to make a fabulous book.

What I totally love:
*Every design is photographed so nicely, they are their own form of art. What else would you expect from Melanie Fallick's publishing team?
*Every design has some tie to history. You get to learn something without it being a lecture in the history of fashion.

*There are Women's, Men's, and Children's fashions all in one book. And not just a token few men's designs but a good 6 designs (not bad for a book that has 32 total designs).

*It's not all about the sweaters. There's a purse, several pairs of socks, a gorgeous cabled scarf, beaded cuffs, hats, and gloves. There's even a tie pattern.

*It uses a multitude of different kinds of yarns, put out by different people. I hate books that all one yarn company, especially Rowan. While the yarns in this book are not cheap, at least she mixes it up a bit so that I don't feel as if she has a corporate sponsor standing behind her. I think that it's admirable, that while she works for JCA, not all the yarns are JCA distributed yarns.

*I could learn a new skill (or at least refresh one) with every design. It's not just cables or lace. It has colorwork, lace, cables, beading, and great stitch patterns all in one book. I think my favorite is the argyle socks and vest for the man cub in your life. But it's hard to chose a favorite.

*And last but not least. It has sizes that fit REAL people. With some books, an XL is a 40 inch bust. Avery's patterns often go up to a 52 inch bust. Awesome for all us big girls.

Alright, I'm off to cast on look at some more of these patterns. Have a happy Labor (free) day!!!!!!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Tomatoe Salad and Contest Winners

Eloise and Kathy are the winners of my little contest. I'll get with you guys soon to see what you want. The title of the poem is "Sick" and it was written by my favorite poet Shel Silverstein.

In knitting news, I knit up some socks for my mom's birthday (September 9th). Here's the specs.

Pattern: My own basic sock pattern. I was afraid that I would run out of yarn, so they only have 3 inch cuffs. They're supposed to be bed socks, anyway.

Yarn: UrbanGypZ Handpainted Twisted Sock Yarn in the Tomatoe Salad (That's how it's spelled on the label) colorway. Bought from the Loopy Ewe 100% Merino Wool (not superwash). 280 yards

Needles: Size 3 Lantern Moon Sock Stix in the Ebony.

Notes: Socks worked up really fast. This is not going to be a yarn that I'm going to purchase again. It's not bad, but it loses the really cool twist pattern when it's knit up. It's one of those yarns that looks really neat in the skein but not as a fabric. I just can't see myself shelling out $25.00 for a non-superwash wool with that kind of yardage. I'm also concerned with how it will wear without any nylon content. Only time will tell.

Future Knitting plans: I'm going to work on the Baby Surprise more today. Hopefully, I'll get that done. I'm debating about getting Cat's new book, New Pathways for Sock Knitters. I want to look at it in person before shelling out the money for it. I've heard a lot of good things about it. Maybe I'll ask for it for Xmas. It seems to be the time of year when a ton of new knitting books come out. I already have a ton, so I might hold off purchasing some new ones for a while.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Under the Weather

I can not go to school today,"
Said little Peggy Ann McKay,
"I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash, and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I'm going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I've counted sixteen chicken pox
And there's one more--that's seventeen,
And don't you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut, my eyes are blue--
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I'm sure that my left leg is broke--
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button's caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained,
My 'pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb,
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is--what?
What's that? What's that you say?
You say today is---Saturday?
G'bye, I'm going out to play!"

I'm feeling a bit under the weather. But in celebration of my one year blogversery, I'm going to run a contest. The first person to email me the correct title and author of the poem above will win a fabulous prize (It will prob. be some form of sock yarn, but I'll let you pick out the colors. If you don't knit socks, it will be either the book K2tog or Knitting for Peace. Who knows? Maybe I'll pick out a bunch of people. My email is llinnema at gmail dot com Like always you need to use common sense and replace the at with a @ etc.