Yesterday I noticed that the lilacs in our backyard were starting to come out. I love lilacs. I’m not a big “purple” person, nor do I like candles/perfumes/soaps scented like flowery things, but I do love lilacs themselves. My grandparents planted lilac bushes all along their driveway when they first moved into their home years and years ago. (Here’s a post that I did about their house. It is in a very desirable town and was eventually torn down and the lot turned into a McMansion. Sad to see that happening on their street. But a couple of my lilac bushes were transplanted from their house, which is fun!) I knew that the forecast for today was for freezing temperatures and snow, so I went out and cut some of the lilacs and put them in a vase of water. The nice thing about cutting lilac branches off each year to enjoy, is that the bushes just get fuller and fuller with each subsequent season. It did indeed snow big fat flakes today and I’m sure the rest of the lilacs are goners. I’m glad to have gotten one vase full, anyway. (Click on the photo to enlarge it, and make sure your “scent button” is turned way up on your computer. Wait – you don’t have one of those “scent buttons”?? Bummer….)
It’s time for a new Quarterly Challenge! If you’re on Ravelry, I shared the new challenge on the Loopy Groupie board on Saturday. The challenge for you this quarter is to knit your own version of “Masterpiece” socks. Pick a pattern that challenges YOU. (Note – the degree of “challenge” will be different for everyone, since we’re all in different stages of technical skills our knitting. It should push you to do something harder than you have done before in your sock knitting.) The other qualifier is that you must use solid or semi-solid yarn from The Loopy Ewe. I want these wonderful patterns/stitches to really POP, since you’re going to go to all that work! (Check out this blog post for a comparison of doing a pattern in a multi-colorway, versus doing it in a solid or semi-solid. While I love the first two socks, I have to say that a fancy pattern shows up better when there aren’t other colors competing with the design. It’s even more apparent in person – and when you click on the photo for a closeup.)
Here are some yarns that you might want to check out:
Araucania Semi-Solids, Cherry Tree Hill in Fingering Semi-Solids, DK Solids, Regular Solids, and Sockittome Solids, Dream in Color Smooshy and Starry, Dye Dreams Comfy or Dream, Indigo Moon. Louet, S.R. Kertzer, and The YoYo String and Fluff Sport and Fingering.
Of course there are several companies who do both multi-colorways as well as solids/semi-solids. Look for the solids/semi-solids in:
Claudia Hand Painted, Colinette Jitterbug, Crystal Palace Panda Cotton, Lorna’s Laces, ShibuiKnits, and The Sanguine Gryphon.
And I know that many (many, many, many) of you already have a great solid/semi-solid in your stash that you bought from us and haven’t used yet. So do some stash-diving first and see if you can find something to use up!
Patterns? We have patterns! We have a large Cookie A order coming in about a week, but many of you have already ordered Sock Innovation from Cookie. (If you haven’t, you need to. The information she shares is just as good as the patterns. And don’t forget that Wendy’s book, Socks From the Toe Up, comes out on the 14th – mine is already on pre-order at Amazon!) You’ll also find some challenging patterns in any of the lines we have, as well as free online patterns all over the place. Pick your own “masterpiece”! (Hopefully, a 12-18 months from now when we do another “masterpiece” challenge, your skills will have progressed and it will take on a new meaning, once again.)
Note: We’ll vote on First Quarter Challenge/KAL winners later this week. Get your photos uploaded to the Photo Gallery and watch the blog for more details soon.
Tonight is opening night for the Cardinals here in St. Louis. We’ve been having lovely 60-70 degree weather on and off for a few weeks and today, it snows. Crazy weather. In other crazy news, here are the two ducks who have decided that our backyard is the place for breakfast. They come most every morning. Since the pond in our neighborhood is 4 blocks away, I can only assume that we have the best tasting birdseed between here and there. Or else we have the friendliest birds, who are ok with sharing their food. The cats just see it as two more “toys” to watch from the window.