Friday, March 31, 2006

Cat Coup d'etat


C'mere.....First off, my Mom told me you all miss me when she posts and doesn't include a pic of me so she's letting me have the spotlight. Imagine that silly Augie dude stealing MY thunder?? It was a pretty cool story tho and Mom is glad you all liked it.

Now Mom told me to be gentle here but she's got NOTHIN'! She's knit 3 pairs of socks in the last week cause she's got a new free pattern she wants to share and she needed to test it! BTW, I don't get this whole sock thing....I don't wear em and I do ok, in fact I love showing off my adorable pink feet, see?

but I digress....

Anyway, she can't share the pattern until May when she gives the socks to a special friend who's having a birthday but because of all this sock stuff, she hasn't touched her Diamond Fantasy Shawl or even a single medallion of her Carnival Afghan!

I know now that the sock marathon is over, she'll get back to work on her shawl and have something to show you guys soon. Until then, the blog is mine, muahahahahaha......

Now to get back to what I do best....looking amazingly handsome!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, March 27, 2006

F is for Friendship

I learned to knit when I was 8 years old. Around the same time I met Augie. He played "Keep Away" with my bookbag on the school bus home as 8 year old boys are want to do.

I cried my eyes out that day until my Mom explained to me that sometimes boys do rotten things like that because they actually have a crush on the girl they torture most. Thus was the tenuous beginning to our friendship.

Augie became a part of my daily life. He became my best friend, we saw each other every day. We dug forts in the empty lot next to my house, we climbed the snow mountain the snow plow made at the end of my dead end street and we ran thru the sprinkler on his lawn in the heat of summer.

As we grew older, Augie used to come over after school to do homework together and when we finished we would watch TV. Often I would knit while we watched the Cosby Show and Family Ties.

Augie was always fascinated by my knitting, he would sit and watch me for hours and hours. Always one to multi-task, he was astounded that I could watch TV, have a conversation, listen to the radio and knit a sweater all at the same time!

And over the years Augie became my boyfriend as well as my best friend. We learned about life and love together and shared so many "firsts".... learning to drive, entering high school and first kisses.

For Augie's sixteenth birthday I wanted to knit him something special. I used the allowance money I had saved and had my mother take me to a "real" yarn shop as opposed to the Woolworth's or Times Square Store and the inexpensive, mostly acrylic yarns carried there.

I picked out the most delicious cream colored wool, soft and plump just waiting to be turned into something beautiful. I searched and searched and finally found the perfect pattern....a complex Aran with the most beautiful cabled patterns I had ever seen!

I worked on the sweater in secret, whenever Augie wasn't around. As the beautiful patterns developed I knew this would be something Augie would love and treasure forever!

His birthday finally arrived and I presented him with the sweater....and he was awestruck! He loved what he saw and despite it being June, he put the sweater on and only took it off because of impending heat stroke!

Augie loved that sweater almost reverently. He wore it often but only for occasions where there was no possibility of any "damage" occurring to his precious garment.....pity the waiter who spilled or the buddy who back-slapped with dirty hands! Until......

Somehow his beloved sweater got into the wrong wash pile!! Before she realized, his Mom had put Augie's sweater thru a hot wash!! What was the perfect Aran for a very buf 18 year old Augie now would be a good fit for GI Joe! Augie was devastated, so devastated the he didn't tell me for almost a year!!

By that time we were both in college and spending less time together as we both were growing in different directions. So much so that when graduation time grew near I decided to move out of state and that Augie and I would be better as "just friends" than anything more. He would always hold a special place in my heart but I needed to move on and spread my wings.

Cut to South Florida, circa 1995.....I was working a a Director of Infusion Services for the VNA of Miami. Our company was working closely with an infusion company whose owners name was Augie! Not my Augie, but a VERY unusual name outside of New York or New Jersey! So unusual that my Florida native, African-American secretary Stachia, would chuckle every time Augie called and finally asked me about the origin of such an odd name, hehe.... So I told her about my Augie...

Stachia, being engaged and about to be married, was full of the romance of young love. Hearing my story, she encouraged me to contact my Augie! We had completely lost touch, I had no idea if he was married or single or even living in New York anymore! With Stachia's urging I found an Augie with the same very unusual last name living fairly close to where we grew up but could this be my Augie?? I nervously dialed the number I got from information.....I got an answering machine with a mechcanical voice....I left one of *those* messages, "hi, I don't know if you know me but......" I left my work number and went home for the day.

The next morning when the answering service called in my messages, they told me they had been INUNDATED with calls from "some man named Augie"! In fact he had already called 4 times that morning and it wasn't even 8 am!! I very nervously dialed the number and this time, I spoke, for the first time in about 15 years, to MY AUGIE!

We caught up on our lives and renewed our friendship by phone. Over the impending years we've seen each other a few times but we speak on the phone at least once a week mostly because I have no desire to move back to a place where it snows and his business keeps him in New York, for now. He still knows me like no one else ever will, and I him.

My hiatus from knitting had been almost as long as my separation from Augie. When I returned to knitting in late 2002, my renewed interest in my childhood/young adult hobby sparked many memories in both of us, including Augie wistfully longing for the gorgeous (and shrunken) Aran of our youth!

For Augie's birthday in 2004 I decided it would be wonderful to re-visit the sweater he so loved when he was 16! I wanted something equally as classic as the original Aran but with a modern update for today. I chose "It's On The Tab" that was featured in Knitter's Magazine Winter 2003.

More than 20 years later, I present Augie's Aran, Take 2*:

The pattern suggested using Dale Freestyle but I subbed Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool in Natural and Deep Blue Sea.

I loved the modern twist of using 2 colors and the interesting design of the placket.

Every stitch of this sweater was pure joy....the yarn, the design and the sentimental value made it a perfect knit. I was sorry to actually finish it!

I mailed it to Augie. It was a complete surprise that actually made him cry when he opened it. When he called me that night all he could repeat was Deb, oh my god, Deb.....It was a perfect fit and we were both so happy!

In the subsequent years, I've knit Augie 3 pairs of socks as well. He was the recipient of these:

So does this tale of friendship spanning over 30 years have a happy ending? Well, yes and no.....

You see Augie remembers the fate of his last sweater low those many years ago so he's afraid to "ruin" this one and the other handknits I've made him! No matter how many times I've explained that even if the WORST happens and he ruins or wears out his handknits, it's ALL good 'cause I like to knit and that way I'll get to knit MORE for him! I've explained this til my lips practically fall off yet the sweater remains in his closet like a precious memorial, wrapped in tissue paper and placed in a plastic sweater bag, lovingly taken out and admired now and again but never worn. Sure, when he received it he took it to show all his friends - he even took it to a local yarn shop to show it off! But he's never worn it for more than a few minutes.

His handknit socks suffer the same lonely fate. He's often threatened to devise a frame to showcase the socks so he can look but never touch because he "can't bear to desecrate their beauty!"

Until two weeks ago!! It was quite cold in New York that weekend, he complained how cold his feet were on the cold wood floor....of course I again admonished him for not wearing his handknit socks, figuring I'd start small :)

And he finally agreed!! He wore the entrelac camo socks to dinner with friends that night....I know this because he called me from the restaurant and had his friends tell me how much they liked the socks because he took them off and showed everyone! (BTW, Augie has a little um, OCD and showers at least twice a day so showing off socks at the dinner table isn't quite as creepy as it sounds, hehe) He even wore another pair the next day too!!

Yes, F is for friendship! My friend of more than 30 years finally wore his handknit socks! It's not the sweater but it's a start......and I'm hopeful :)

*please forgive the horrible photography, taking these pics back in 2004 was the first time I ever used my digital camera!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Finished Leaves and Hunting for Scavengers

A quick thanks for all the comments! It was really nice to see so many lurkers reveal themselves!

As I said, I was really addressing my personal chagrin with my inability to leave comments thanks to my ISP but I'm glad it got so many to say hi! And please never, never think any comment is too insignificant or "unoriginal"....even a "me too" is appreciated and welcome!

I've finished knitting the wonderful Embossed Leaves socks, see?


Pattern: Embossed Leaves by Mona Schmidt for Interweave Knits Magazine Winter 2005

Size #1 (2.5 mm) 40" Addi Turbo circ and Magic Loop method

Koigu PPPM, 2 skeins (with lots left over!) color #616

Mods: As I stated previously, the 1 x 1 rib cast-on suggested in the magazine is NOT the tubular cast-on the designer used. After trying out both I ended up using my standard German Twisted cast-on because I felt it looked best with the twisted ribbing and was more stretchy than the 1 x 1 rib cast-on.

I also added a YO short row heel (without mini flap this time) and rather than the SSK suggested by the pattern to form the leaves, I used a K2tog thru the back look because I find it much "smoother" than the SSK and more closely resembles the K2tog.

Lastly, I grafted the last toe stitches closed rather than the "purse-string" closure the pattern suggests because I felt it would be much more comfortable for wearing.

I loved knitting these beautiful socks....great pattern, quick knit and stunning outcome. I will absoulutely knit these again!

Now the ladies over at JenLa have thrown down the gauntlet of a blog scavenger hunt and far be it from me to shy away from a challenge! So here goes.....

1. A blog which you think people have not discovered. Everything here is pure beauty....her cooking, her home, her knitting, her life.

2. A blog whose author lives close to you physically. Just get as close as you can, it’s all relative. Catherine, who's a bit north of me but she feels like a next door neighbor.

3. An unusual or weird animal picture. Angora
on the half shell

4. An entry that made you laugh and got you strange looks from family or co-workers. The infamous
"Ass Tree" post

5. An idea you wish you’d thought of. Some hate em, many love em but almost everybody has tried em or wants to!
Addi Turbos

6. Something you’d like to knit.

7. A picture of something you consider beautiful.
Kris' view

8. A blog whose author you’d like to one day meet in person. Ack!! there as so many so I'll give you my top 3:
Margene Liz and of course La

9. A blog of someone you have already met in person. My patient and wonderful Knit Group organizer,

To sign off, here's the P-Man hanging out in his "garden" (my tablecloth!)

He says, "Even tho it was already 88 degrees here today, Happy Spring to all!"

Friday, March 17, 2006

When all else fails, Meme!

Whenever I visit a friend's house for the first time, I try to bring a little something that says "thanks for having me over, friend" to show my appreciation.
In the blog world, the comments we leave are our gifts that say thanks for entertaining me and allowing me to share a bit of your world!

Now I won't get off on much of a rant about how sad it makes me that I get 300 visitors some days and *only* six comments
because I can only speak for myself. I REALLY try to leave a comment on every blog I visit over the course of a week however AOL has other ideas! Haloscan, Typepad, even Blogger wont let me comment on some blogs so this is my way of saying a general "thanks for having me, I love reading your blog and would comment if I could!" to all the truly wonderful bloggers out there who enrich my life in so many ways!

Now would it KILL ya to comment? :)

On to the knitting content.....the pickin's are pretty slim as far as interesting pics go cause......

My Diamond Fantasy Shawl looks the same. I'm
on pattern repeat 8 of 10 but the rows are loooong now so progress is about as exciting as watching paint dry.

My Carnival Afghan medallions look the same. I have 18 medallions now but I've decided I need 100 because I want to cover my queen size bed!! I'm gonna be making those medallions for quite a while, good thing I'm loving the crochet! But again, once you've seen a medallion, you've seen em all.

I have made pic worthy progress on the Embossed Leaves socks, see?

I actually think this may be my favorite sock EVER!! The pattern is well written and easy to memorize, goes really fast, looks super sharp and this koigu is just so delicious! The color is so hard to's got rust, apricot, gold, olive green and it makes me happy just to look at it! I've actually already turned the heel of the second sock so I'll have a finished pair very soon altho I do plan to make these beautiful socks again!

I've also completed some blue squares to Comfort Jef because Christine is such a good sister and she's hard at work making a beautiful blue afghan for her brother Jef. Pumpkin sends his seal of approval and lots of kitty comfort Jef!

Not much in the way of knitting so I'll share this meme I stole from Kim

A-Age: 39 (and holding, hehe)
B-Bed size: Queen
C-Chore you hate: IRONING!!
D-Dessert you love: Key Lime Pie. anything by either Ben or Jerry, hehe
E-Essential start your day item: Diet Coke!!!
F-Favorite actor(s): Anthony Hopkins, Denzel Washington, Russel Crowe, Nicolas Cage
G-Gold or Silver: gold
H-Height: 5'3 (on a good day)
I-Instruments you play: kazoo :)
J-Job title: Oncology Clinical Specialist
K-Keeping track of your day: a MILLION lists!
L-Living arrangements: Just me and the P-Man
M-Mom's name: Rosalyn
N-Not liking right now: Condo's Property Management company (Miami Management SUCKS!) More importantly, the
situation in South Dakota
O-Overnight hospital stay other than birth: tonsillectomy, cholecystectomy
P-Place you were born: Hialeah, Florida
Q-Quote you like: " I drank WHAT??? - Socrates
R-Right or left handed: right
S-Siblings: 1 younger brother WHO HAS A BIRTHDAY TODAY! Happy Birthday Bro!
T-Time you woke up today: 6:39 am
U-Unique habit: If I see a coin on the ground I will only pick it up if it's heads up (tails is bad luck!)
V-Vegetable you hate: Squash
W-Worst habit: can I tell ya later? wait!! it's procrastination!!!
X-X-rays you've had: torso/internal organs, hand, foot...25 external beam treatments and a 3 day implant as well
Y-Yummy food you can make: Pasta Puttanesca
Z-Zodiac sign: Virgo

Consider yourself tagged if you feel a meme coming on too!

Have a fabulous weekend and to the *Irish* among us (or those that wish they were) Happy St. Patrick's Day!! May the road rise up to meet you and your stash be full of Koigu!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Back to the "C" word, finished socks and more socks

Thanks for all the compliments on my tutorial and my beautiful darning egg! I really love it and it makes doing Special K MUCH easier!

A lot of you asked where I got it and I'm sorry to say I honestly don't know! I found the artisan who carved it in a Net search about 3-4 years ago. After some moves, hurricanes and computer crashes, sadly I have NO IDEA who this talented artist was!

I've googled my fingers to the bone, hehe, but I cannot find anything on the Net like this beautiful object!

My only suggestion is to look at local craft fairs or fiber festivals if you want a new one like mine (and fear using a lightbulb is an accident waiting to happen!)

You can also find vintage darning eggs in local flea markets, antique shows/shops and there are LOTS on EBay and the prices are reasonable. I even purchased one for a friend as a Christmas present from Elann, right Ada?

Darning eggs aren't mandatory for sock knitting but they sure do make things easier so I hope you all find a darning egg of your own!

Speaking of socks, here are my Lacy Scallops that I will be sending to my Sockapaloooza pal in a few months. I hope she likes them!!


Pattern: Lacy Scallops designed by
Sock Bug

Mods: I used 72 stitches as the pattern called for and got the required 8 sts/inch but my sock pal indicated that her feet are on the fluffy side so I eliminated the calf shaping the pattern suggests. I also worked more pattern repeats for the leg as my pal likes a taller sock. I subbed *my patented* yo short row with mini-flap/gusset heel.

I used
Twinkletoes yarn in an unnamed pinky-orange colorway and size #1 US (2.25 mm) Aero DPNs. I've had the yarn in stash for about a year and to be honest it was NOT as soft as I hoped altho it got much better after washing and a final rinse with some Redken conditioner :) Even tho the yarn wasn't great the colorway was glorious!! I actually contacted the artist, Mary Anne, and turned her on to Knitpicks Dye Your Own which is yummy soft because I felt her awesome talents deserved better yarn (and it's actually a few cents cheaper than the Henry's Attic yarn she had been using!) So the good news is if you want to sample some of the nicest dyeing expertise I've ever encountered paired with lovely yarn, head on over to Lotusblossom! Her superwash sock yarn is nice too!

Now for the crochet portion of today's broadcast! The additional Shine yarn for my Carnival Afghan arrived yesterday and I've already crocheted 4 more medallions for a total of ten! Here's the color scheme......

Isn't it pretty? I'm a green lover but I wanted some punch so I think the "apricot" and "sand" really work well with the greens without being dull or garish!

I love crocheting these medallions! They are so quick and cute and the Shine is so delicious!

Have no fear, I won't be going over to the "crochet side" and abandoning knitting but this sure is fun and different. Plus I'm gonna end up with the machine washable, soft, lustrous, cuddly afghan I've been seeking for a long time!

Just to reinforce that I'm still FluffyKNITTERDeb, I've cast on some new socks....The Embossed Leaves socks from the Winter 2005 issue of IK. See?

Pretty, autumnal Koigu and leaves, more of my favorite things!!

If anyone is making these or plans to, the instructions for the 1x1 rib cast-on the magazine suggests IS NOT the tubular cast-on shown in the pic in the mag!! I did the cast on 3 times as written and altho it's a nice cast on, it is NOT the stretchy cast-on the designer used for her pair! It makes a very solid, not so stretchy cast on so if you choose to use the instructions as written in the mag, I recommend going up a needle size (or 2!) for the cast on!

I also contacted the designer, Mona Schmidt, to discuss the disparity between the pic and the instruction and she sent me a link to her tutorial for the ACTUAL cast on she used!! If you want the links to the correct cast on, you can contact
Mona directly. I'm not posting the links myself because as the designer she wants to know who is knitting the socks and any difficulties you're having and the pattern is of course copywritten so I don't feel comfortable posting even part of it!

Having said ALL that, I went ahead and used my standard German Twisted Cast-On cause I liked how it looked with the twisted rib of the sock cuff best of all :)

Whew, long post today....almost no room for the blog mascot yet I know his fans need their P-Man fixes :)

Here's my guy checking out his new digs from atop Mt. Computer Desk! He loves that he can hop on all the furniture and table tops now since all the "knick knacks" are put away because of the ongoing post-Wilma restorations!

This makes him feel like the Master of the Universe I think....oh wait, he is!! :)

Thanks for letting us into your universe, happy knitting!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

E is for Egg, Darning Egg that is!

Being an avid sock knitter I'm always on the look out for new patterns, new yarns and new gadgets that make my sock knitting easier and even more enjoyable.

Meet one of my favorites, my Darning Egg!

Isn't he handsome? He's carved from Bloodwood!

I've introduced my Darning Egg on the blog before but in honor of the letter E I thought I would revisit just how wonderful this Egg is!

I'm almost finished knitting the Lacy Scallops that I'm knitting for my Sockapaloooza pal so I was ready to graft the final toe stitches together using the Kitchener stitch, or Special K as La calls it.

Note the incredibly cool sock CHIBI in it's natural habitat :)

As I work the grafting, I concentrate on the the steps....knit front off, purl front on...purl back off, knit back on.....

But I don't worry about the tension of my stitches, I just concentrate on the execution....knit front off, purl front on....purl back off, knit back on.....

Just keep stitching, just keep stitching.....

Off the needles yet all loose and uneven until.....

I slip the sock toe over my Darning Egg and presto! nice even, easily visible stitches......

I use my needle to tighten the stitches one by one, working the slack across the row.......

And VOILA! a perfectly grafted sock toe every time!

I LOVE my Egg but if you don't tell our sponsor, the letter E, I'll tell you a little secret.....If you aren't lucky enough to have an Egg of your own, try a lightbulb :)
Even the dreaded Kitchener stitch is easy with the right tools!!

ETA: If you'd like to obtain a beautiful darning egg like mine, you can get one HERE

Now Pumpkin has a secret too....he wants to show off our new CARPET!! Yes, post hurricane recovery continues here at Chez FKD

He's a bit tentative at first.....

But in minutes my P-Man's right at home and as cute as ever! (even tho this carpet photographs blue it's actually a really pretty dark green)

Now we need all the walls painted and some new vertical blinds for the sliding glass door (instead of the glamorous SHEET that is hanging there now) and Chez FKD will be better than ever.....just in time for hurricane season!!! D'OH!!!

I'll be back to show off the finished and blocked
Lacy Scallops as soon as they are dry and I'll show off my color scheme for the crocheted Carnival Afghan because the Knitpicks order is due to arrive tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A tale of wayward socks

I've had the free pattern for "Rob's Twined Rib" socks posted on my sidebar since last JUNE when I knit the socks!

Rob is a friend who lives in England (and keeps me supplied with yummy Pear Drops!!) who's birthday is in December. I like to get an early start on my Christmas/birthday knitting so last June I developed the pattern, knit up the socks, had a friend test knit the pattern (thanks Ada!) and put them away to be mailed later in the year.

I was a tad late but I finally mailed them across the pond. After sitting in my "finished gift" drawer for six months, they were finally on their way....only to get lost in the mail!!

I mailed NINE other packages that day, both domestic and overseas, and ALL arrived safely except for the socks whose picture (and free pattern) have become a part of my blog.I was beyond sad!

Well, the good news is the socks finally arrived a week ago!!! Seems customs in the UK was holding on to the package because it seemed "suspicious"!! Yep, now I'm a sock smuggler, hehe....

Anyway, after much ado, I give you Rob's Twined Rib sock on Rob's actual feet!!

Rob loves them and as you can see, they're a perfect fit so I guess it was "almost" worth the wait!

So if you're looking for a manly pattern for the manly feet in your life, help yourself to the free pattern....It's Rob tested and Rob approved, finally!! :)

I'm working on both the Diamond Fantasy Shawl (just started rep 7 of 10) and my Sockapaloooza socks (finished sock #1 and about 3 inches into the cuff of sock #2) and still awaiting more Shine for my Carnival Afghan so I'll update those in my next post.

Hope all our gold medalists are winding down from their Olympic Knitting frenzy, congrats to all who flexed their knitting muscles! Now have a nice big glass of your knitting water of choice and relax!

Pumpkin says have a wonderful week!