Saturday, April 28, 2007

Let the games begin!

Today is the kind of day when your interests collide. I'll have to put together a bullet point list in order to cover all my bases.

- Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap: A trivia question for 5 House Points.

"There is nothing worse than death, Dumbledore!" "You are quite wrong. Indeed, your failure to understand that there are things much worse than death has always been your greatest weakness." Who are the two people in this conversations?

Albus Dumbledore and Lord Voldemort speaking in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix", chapter 36. Points, anyone?

- Triathlon Training: I bought a wetsuit! Not so bad as I imagined but it is so nice here that I can't wait to swim outside. I know, it's like 58 degrees water temperature but people swim the English Channel without wetsuits when it's 60 degrees. No photos will ever be published of me in my wetsuit.

- Bike Riding: I am taking a clinic today to learn how to change a flat bike tire. It's amazing how nervous you feel when you are learning a new skill. I keep saying to myself, "You are a college graduate, you can knit sweaters, you can swim a lake, this will be no problem!" but it doesn't really make me feel better.

-Baby Sweaters: Finished! I thought I had to sew on the buttons but since I knit it a la Elizabeth Zimmerman (buttonholes on both sides of the sweater!), I can just mail it on to my friend. No baby yet so I am actually ahead!

-Sock Knitting: Last night when I was actually at the movies (a "so bad it's good" Vikings vs. Native Americans saga called "Pathfinder"), I started the foot portion of my sock. I had my pattern book open with a little "Owl Lite" clipped to my shirt and since there were about 4 other people at the film, it wasn't distracting at all. Until I dropped a stitch. That was distracting. No pictures yet but it's early yet! I can't wait to get through and start working on my Evelyn Clark socks. Must. Resist. Temptation. Finish. Socks.

-Saturday Seven: No real rhyme or reason but I have filled up my giveaway box. I keep a box in my laundry room where I put donations. That has been a real help. Usually, when I'm folding laundry, I realize that something is outgrown or not being used and I just put the clean item aside right there and then. (This week: two cookie tins, a weight lifting belt (not mine!), a curtain, a bag of women's clothing from the Dear Daughters, a bag of Youngest Child's outgrown clothes and a copy of "The Friday Night Knitting Club." This last book goes to a knitting friend but everything else goes to charity. Bye Bye!

Monday, April 23, 2007

In for a penny, in for a pound - or joining the Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap


Sort me!

Yes, I can never resist the "witty and clever" label. Sucks me in, everytime!

So, now I have to come up with:

1. A handmade (by me!) kit bag in your pals House colors- this can either be knitted or sewn, but you must MAKE the bag!

2. Sock yarn in your pals house colors

3. A pair of new knitting needles

4. A stitch marker in your pals house colors - handmade or purchased

5. A sock pattern

If you haven't already guessed, I am pretty sure that my sock pattern will be by Evelyn Clark. I'll have to wait on the sock yarn colors for a while. I'll have to think over a few of those other items for a week or so . . .

In the meantime, my green socks have recovered from the frogging incident and are past the heel (whee!) and the baby sweater is ready to photograph! Let's go knitting!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Mr. Muggins pays a visit

According to a little on-line research, to mug is to drink, and, in literature, Mr. Muggins is a drinker. I am both a coffee and a tea drinker. Unfortunately, this nicely insulated travel mug fits none of the cup holders in either of our cars. So, when the tea or coffee inevitably spills on me, it is always still very hot. Off to the rummage sale with you, Mr. Muggins.

My other Saturday Seven have already left Chez Daisy. I gave the gate and the carseat to a friend with a toddler.

The books, all fiber related, I donated to the Textile Center of Minnesota's Garage Sale last week.

I have been mostly working on my green socks this week - sadly, there was a significant amount of frogging involved.

That little blue marker showed where I made a significant pattern error. I was almost up to turning the heel so I am more than a little blue. What a Muggins!

Today, however, I was at the Knitting Guild of Minnesota's Yarnover. This day of classes was just great - I took a lace edging class where I learned some new skills and a great design class from Meg Swanson. Both classes gave me a ton of new ideas for working out of my stash. I've been having some concerns about the "Take a deep breath" sweater that I've been working on from the Webs site. I think I am going to incorporate some of Elizabeth Zimmerman's ideas to change the neckline. We'll see how it works out . . .

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Come on over to my house - and meet the Winners!

Which Hogwarts house will you be sorted into?

Just recently, I discovered that I would be a Ravenclaw if I were at Hogwarts. Unfortunately, I am not participating in the Hogwarts Sock Swap (it looks like fun but I didn't get there in time to sign up) but if I were - I would so be a Ravenclaw. I've always liked them - they seemed a little more sophisticated and not so into sports. Supposedly, Ravenclaw values intelligence, knowledge and wit. Many are good looking (ah, if only!) and Cho Chang is a Ravenclaw. She always seemed so sensible.

I even like their colors - blue and bronze. Maybe I'll have to come up with a Harry Potter house scarf or some house socks to fill up my time until the next book comes out. Eagle stitch markers, anyone?

As for winners - the Grand Winner of the First Lazy Daisy Peep Diorama Contest!

The Knitting Coxswain from Ariel and Celeste.

Now, Celeste tells me she is actually a coxswain for the Minnesota Boat Club but I don't really know if her scarves get caught in the oars. Note the downtown Saint Paul skyscape in the background! Congratulations girls! I will send out your skein of beautiful Lisa Souza "Violet's Pink Ribbon" sock yarn. I don't know how you will share this but it would be perfect for a simple pair of socks. Perhaps you can rotate wearing them?

The Second Place winner is:

Gymnastic Peep or "Look at me! Look at me!"

Note the clever use of crochet hooks as the uneven bars! This entrant, the Fair Melissa, sent three variations of the Wit-Knit Observer at various sports. I'll send out her second prize - the "Knit your own Mrs. Beeton Wrist Warmers" kit. She'll be able to make her own pair of lovely, ruffly wrist warmers as designed by Brend Dayne. The kit includes a skein of Artful Yarns' "Heavenly" in the Trumpets/1477 colorway, a skein of Rowan's Kidsilk Haze in the Liqueur/595 colorway and a tube of matching size 6 Czech seed beads.

The Third Place winner is from Sonia:

The Little LYS (Local Yarn Store) on the Prarie - Or, "What would Laura knit?"

This one grew on me. It seemed a little plain at first but then I looked at what all the peeps were doing and it made me laugh. There is even a little spinning wheel! Sonia will be receiving a skein of "Malabrigo Chunky" in the burgandy colorway. Perfect for a pair of Voodoo Wrist Warmers from Knitty!

There were two more entries that deserved Honorable Mentions as a tie:

Luke with his "Shauna and her knitted thong" and Mary with her "Mrs. Lavender in the Conservatory" - I am working on getting their pictures posted here but . . . even technology sometimes fails ;)

Both of these dioramas are very witty - the games that people play with their knitting! I'll give them the choice of yarn or chocolate as consolation prizes.

You can see all the entries at the Lazy Daisy Peep Diorama Contest where all the entries, including multiple views of the same subjects are posted.

All the entries were great - some very funny indeed - and many had actual small scale knitting going on. One thing I learned? Toothpicks do not make good knitting needles!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Peeps Extensions give me nightmares.*

"Then to cheer himself up, he took out from its case on the dresser a strange little set of knitting needles which looked as though they were made of straw and began to knit. And the noise he created made Lucy want to cry and laugh and dance and go to sleep all at the same time."
- "The Lion, the Witch and the the Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis.

Okay, okay - Mr. Tumnas didn't knit, he played a flute for Lucy but he had to know how to knit because he had a cool little scarf. Plagerism aside, I am extending the deadline for Peeps dioramas until tomorrow morning. Like many other people, I put off until tomorrow what was supposed to be done today.

Although, after my kids and I made dioramas last night (I'm not in the running for anything but my Knitting Daughters each made a Peeps creation on their own and entered the contest), we turned the Peeps into S'mores on the grill. After a snowy week here in Minnesota, warm spring evenings after a sunny day are every reason to celebrate!! I'll begin posting the entries on the Peeps Flicker page and I'll name the winner on Wednesday.

Hooray for Spring!!

*I did have nightmares about Peeps last night. Something about not knowing how to post the pictures. Silly but enough to make me wake up worried!!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

One cool promdress, seven weekly givaways and an amazing amount of yarn!

Try humming that to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas."

This twisted jingle is just one example of what a busy, busy week of knitting and spring break will do to a mom. Some people get to relax on their break - I was about to cut it short in order to get my normal life back.

I'll start with the yarn. On Friday, I volunteered to sort and price yarn for the Textile Center of Minnesota's annual Garage Sale. I never saw so much yarn in my life. We had tables of unfinished objects (complete with needles and patterns), bags of wool for spinning, boxes of weaver's warp (? - could have been weft, I don't know), and a couple of tables FULL of boxes of prebagged yarn. Usually, bout $2-$7 worth in each gallon ziplock - sometimes more if the yarn was still in its bag form from the yarn shop. You know, ten balls of Blankety Blank's finest wool in their shop bag. Plus the baskets and boxes of skeins of yarn underneath the table. I've seen less wool in a yarn store.

The crazy thing is, I stopped in today at the sale, paid my $1 admission fee and there was almost no yarn left. I found only one UFO bag and it was an acrylic baby sweater. In the end, I bought one lone $3 bag of various green half-skeins, no labels or anything, to make mini Christmas stocking ornaments. Where did all that wool go?? There was a line halfway around the block for the bag sale, which was about to start, and they were eager to get to the rest of those tables of fabric, knickknacks, patterns and unidentified fiber tools. Hmm - scary.

Knitting-wise, I was trying to finish up the baby sweater I'm making because I needed it for today's baby shower. If I had only one more knitting day in this week - I could have done it. As it is, I am binding off the hem and finishing up the arms. Photos to appear later this week.

The one cool promdress is courtesy of one of my daughter's friends, Ariel P.

Miss P. entered a prom dress design contest for the Mall of America on the spur of the moment after spending a lot of time looking for a suitable dress for her own spring formal. Her school is fairly strict about modest dresses - nothing Amish but nothing strapless, either - and she was having a hard time finding something she liked that wasn't sparkly or pink or orange. "Those must be the hot colors this year, " Ariel said, "but they weren't for me."

When she saw the contest written up in the newspaper, she decided to give it some thought. Now, Ariel mentioned this is where her math homework came in handy. It turns out she had several designs already doodled - she meant designed - in the margins of her math notebook. After a little studying for calculus, she found the perfect drawing in her notes.

She spent a few hours working out the details and sketched it out over her lunchhours. Despite all that hard work, she decided to enter her drawing at the last minute. According to Ariel, it was really a matter of thought. "I really knew what I would want in a dress and even what the colors were," she said.

Now, however, out of the field of over 200 designs, she is one of six finalists and one of two students in the contest. The winner gets her dress made by Mary L. Couture at Bloomingdale's for Prom 2008.

Since she became one of the finalists, Ariel's already busy days (she's a good student, organized a Latin Club, rows for the Saint Paul Juniors Rowing Team and is learning the bagpipe) includes her first really big sewing project. She has to produce a size 6 model of the dress for display at the Mall of America. As of right now, she says, she's doomed to spend more of her time ironing than sewing.

Front and back views of Ariel's dress.

Can she pull it off? Well, it's really a matter of public opion. A la "American Idol," Ariel's chance at fame involves readers stepping up and voting for her dress at :

The Mall of America Prom Dress Design Contest.

You can vote more than once but only once a day. And you check on how her dress is doing in the contest.

As for her own Spring Formal, Ariel is planning on wearing another dress, made with her mom and using pattern she bought at JoAnn Fabrics. A simple purple -pink fabric. And no glitter!

(Those giveaways? The Saturday Seven? It's amazing what you can find when you work your way down to the bottom of the ironing pile. Out the door -

two tablecloths, one old polo shirt, three skirts and a pair of jeans.)

And a partridge in a pear tree.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wendy, forgive me for I have sinned . . .

New Yarn. I broke down and bought New Yarn. Please forgive me, Wendy of Knit-from-your-stash. I just couldn't resist.

This is what happens when you listen to those happy podcasters over at Ready, Set, Knit!. You end up getting sucked into the Anniversary Sale products at Webs. That's right, not only did I sin, I did it with America's Yarn Store.

I have had a copy of "The Best of Lopi" pattern book for, like, forever, and I pull it out to read about every two weeks. With Lopi yarn on sale at Webs, what can I say? It was late, I was tired, he was so good looking. And, now, about one week later, I get a little reminder of my late night fling at Webs. Enough yarn for two sweaters at barely $70.

Enough reminiscing.

You know what I have been researching today? Wetsuits. Triathlon wetsuits for swimming in the freakishly cold lakes of Minnesota 2007. It's so cold here the ice is coming BACK IN on Lake Minnetonka. It is also snowing. Has been all day. Gaack.
I am swimming in the Manitou Sprint Triathlon on June 10 and if I am going to get any open water time in, it means a wetsuit.

Why can't I knit one?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Look, the knitters are coming!

It must finally be spring - the knitters are swarming.

So, after we poured into the hall and filled every seat, we sang "O, Canada" in both French and English. This sweet music lured the elusive Stephanie Pearl McPhee from her hiding place behind the curtain and the party began. She was funny, thoughtful and very, very tired. By the time we got to the signing table, she just looked beat. Although, in this picture, she is definately looking the better of the pair!

I am holding her sock and she's got my sock. The colors are almost the same but SPM's sock had much better knitting mojo. Everyone wanted to hold it and see it. I did wonder, however, if my sock would magically become longer. One quick look, however, told me the sad news. Not a millimeter longer. The Yarn Harlot did say, however, that she regretted having to sign her "freakishly long" full name on every book. It appeared she was considering, "Cheers! xoxo, Steph" as her new sign-off.

My sock was put aside more often than not this week, when I remembered I had a baby shower to go to next week. That means "Baby Sweater Overdrive" - back to Lillie's Little Sweater in Nature Spun's Bamboo. I think I am going to put in the buttonholes on both sides this time - that way the new baby's Mom can sew on the buttons to match boy/girl customs. You know, "girls are right" for girl's sweaters.

I am also putting off listening to the "Ready, Set, Knit" podcast until I can get my neckline for their Take a Deep Breath sweater cast on and ready to knit. I think I can get that part done this afternoon. I am finally going to use up that Rowan Yorshire Aran Tweed in the Cheer colorway for this sweater as something for one of my daughters.

Today's Saturday Seven was just a simple offshoot of Spring. Growth! Youngest Child grew over the last year and, other than the fact that he apparently has a navy blue shorts statch. he contributed seven items of spring clothing - four pairs of shorts, one sports bag, one pair of boots and one pair of tennis shoes.

Look, the blue shorts are leaving! Happy Spring!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Calling all peeps!

Just a reminder that the Flicker group for the Lazy Daisy Peep Diorama Contest is now up. Members can comment on photos but I will do the photo posting. All photo entries have to come here first.

Check it out at:

Remember, as Criosa says, the contest runs past Easter, so you can get your peeps on sale!

Now, lets get down to the serious business of stalking the Yarn Harlot in the wilds of Minnesota!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Peepapalooza, Peepolocity, Peepilicious - whatever. Announcing the First Lazy Daisy Peep Diorama Contest!

Call it what you will but we are having our first ever contest here at Chez Daisy.

The First Ever Lazy Daisy Peep Diorama Contest. (I know it's a mouthful - just use the acronym "FELDPDC."

This whole mess started out with our family's traditional frantic, late Sunday night spent creating entries for the St. Paul Pioneer Press' Marshmallow Peeps Diorama Contest. Alas, we left it too late this year and all the relevant mailboxes over at the newspaper were full. Even late night appeals to Contest Arbitrator Richard Chin bounced back.

The teenagers shrugged it off and went back to watching "Gray's Anatomy" reruns.

The adults, however, came up with . . .

Our Own Peep Contest!

Realizing that some Peeps remain uneaten out in the Blogsphere, here are the rules for the First Ever Lazy Daisy Peep Diorama Contest Rules: (with a wink and a nudge to the Pioneer Press)

-Submissions will be accepted from April 4, 2007 until midnight, Sunday, April 15, 2007.

-They should feature Peeps, the squishy, sticky, sugary figurines that are oh so addictive. There should be knitting involved.

Betsy Ross Peep knitting a flag? Great. Guido "2Skeins" Stein as a Peep? Excellent. George W. Bush? Not so good. Unless he is knitting.

-Submit a photograph via email to Humbledaisy1 at hotmail dot com. Don't forget to include your email address. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, April 17, 2007. I will create a Flicker site where you will be able to view the contest entries but the final decision will be made by . . . ME! More on this site later.


Some yarny goodness -

First prize: a skein of beautiful Lisa Souza "Violet's Pink Ribbon" sock yarn. Lovely yarn that benefits a good cause, Miss Violet's Book Rock Fund. Perhaps a pair of "Retro Rib" socks by Evelyn Clark?

Second prize: a "Knit your own Mrs. Beeton Wrist Warmers" kit. Yes, make your own pair of lovely, ruffly wrist warmers as designed by Brend Dayne. I'll include a skein of Artful Yarns' "Heavenly" in the Trumpets/1477 colorway, a skein of Rowan's Kidsilk Haze in the Liqueur/595 colorway and a tube of matching size 6 Czech seed beads. You'll have to go to to get your own copy of the pattern, however.

Third prize: a skein of "Malabrigo Chunky" in the burgandy colorway. Perfect for a pair of Voodoo Wrist Warmers from Knitty!

Oh, and our family's entries? Disqualified. No knitting was involved.

"Battle of Thermopylae" as seen in the film "300"

"Dr. House makes a diagnosis"

And, don't forget,

"I love skateboarding" Peep

It's a Pearl Countdown!

There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.
-Francis Bacon

You know, if you are going to be standing on a bench somewhere, you might as well be standing with Stephanie Pearl McPhee.

The Yarn Harlot is coming to Saint Paul on Wednesday and we are going to be there come hell or high water. Or Snow. Yet again, the snow gods are coming to visit Saint Paul, or so the oracles say, but it won't matter. Stephanie is Canadian and, I am sure, will dress appropriately. I am preparing myself by setting aside extra yarn and needles to donate to the Yarnery's community knitting and crochet efforts.. Contemplating knitting a hat. Setting aside a dollar or two for Tricoteuses Sans Frontières or Knitters Without Borders. Charging the digital camera. Practicing deep breathing excercises . . .

Many thanks to Mary of Snit n' Knit for the use of her photo of SPM. She's one of the lucky NYC knitters who got to go to the "Sock In in the Park."

One last thought - have you been buying your Easter Peeps yet? You know, those gooey marshmallow bunnies and chicks that flock to stores this time of year? We are going to have our first contest here at Chez Daisy - and there will be yarn awarded to the winners.

Just picture this:

only with knitting needles. Stay tuned!