Saturday, December 8, 2007

etsy Friday on Saturday -- Easy Christmas Shopping

Better late than never, right? 

Note:  If you are related to me or are expecting a Christmas gift from me, and haven't told me that you read this blog, you might want to not read this post. You might find out what you're getting for Christmas. (Thought it would serve you right for reading this blog and not telling me!)

I did a great deal of my Christmas shopping on line at esty, so I thought I'd share my purchases with you.

First, from Becky Sharp Designs, I purchased two books for my aunt and uncle: the Green Clouds Blank Book and Brown Floral Blank Book.  No pictures, because I had them shipped directly to my parents house and Becky was kind enough not to include the invoice. ;)

Next, from The Wheel & I, I purchased the Green Burst Dish for friends of the family.  I also picked up these two items.  I'm not sure who's getting the Green Carved Bowl:


A couple we're close to is getting the Blue Moon Bowl:  (my pictures don't do the colors justice):

Everything was packed nicely, with no worries of breakage. 

And finally from Roller Coasters, I purchased these coasters, International Passport Coasters, for cousins who love to travel.  I also purchased these:  I might just keep them since they look so good in my house.


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Christmas Shopping

Or should I say knitting?

Note: If you are related to me or are expecting a Christmas gift from me, and haven't told me that you read this blog, you might want to not read this post. You might find out what you're getting for Christmas. (Thought it would serve you right for reading this blog and not telling me!)

I've been buys knitting and blocking various gifts for the family.

My nieces are getting these mittens: (Brooks Farm Solana, Basic Mitten Pattern from one of the "Handy" books)


My brother asked for a hat, he's the only one if the family who asked for something real (as opposed to knitted lampshades or other jokes. So he's getting my version of the Zissou hat (Ravelry).


It knit with Brooks Farms Mas-Acero. This stuff is very similar to Cascade 220, but softer due to the touch of silk. There's 8 oz in a skein, so when The Husband asked for the same hat, I just kept right on going. His hat is still on the needles.

My brother's girlfriend loved the colors of the Brooks Farm Four Play that I was knitting up. So, she's getting my version of the Scrunchable Scarf (Ravelry) (Please blend the colors in the two pictures together -- my camera is clearly having color issues.

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And last but not least my sister is getting the Jute Rope Scarf (Ravelry). Its knit with Catalina Bulky Baby Alpaca. Its sooooo soft. I was sad when I finished knitting it.


All I've got to do is snip the threads and sew on charms and tags and then pack 'em up with the rest of the gifts and ship 'em out. Woo hoo!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Stash and Snow

Last night was filled with somewhat surprises -- somewhat because they were expected but fun all the same.

First, I got a delivery from Little Knits.  They had an awesome sale on SWTC Twize (Ravelry).  Its 100% bamboo in a worsted weight.  I got a bag (10 skeins) in "Twack" -- also know as black and white:

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I also got 2 bags of it in "Twey" which probably should be "gray" but I don't think so.  Look at the color on Little KnitsAnd on the actual SWTC site.  And here are my pictures -- first with a flash:


Then with the flash but closer:


And then without the flash:

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Don't they look different?  Or am I going crazy?  (Its okay to tell me I'm crazy lots of people do.)

I also got some more Sea Silk, in Sterling, but I'm not so sure that it is really silvery... it more of a goldish-gray.  I can't seem to find a picture of this colorway on line, so you'll have to settle for my pictures:

With a flash:


Color corrected: (sorta with PhotoShop Elements)


Without the flash-- in this one it looks the most silvery -- go figure.


And now for the snow party --  we knew that it was going to snow, but we didn't think there would be any accumulation.  But there was and the puppies had fun -- here they are coming in from a romp...



Tyler the Snow Beast

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The Goofy Girls


Tyler says, "Is dinner ready yet????"


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sticking with What I'm Good At

I am not a very creative person. It is rare that I have a truly new and innovative idea in my hobbies or my work. What I am however, is a good editor and great tester. I can see something and figure out how to make it better. As I'm getting more into knitting, I'm finding more confidence in making minor changes to patterns -- like the small change I made to My Rose Garden Stole (Ravelry).

I've been absolutely fascinated with the design process and Anne at Knitspot has been blogging about her design process on her newest creation. How she goes through the swatching process and how she changes the shape and design as she goes. Isn't it incredible! Here's the final product.

I hope that one day I'm confident enough to design my own lace project one day. Instead, I'm going to concentrate on what I know I'm good at -- testing. I was lucky enough to be asked to test knit a pattern for Helen of Troy.

I read her blog, Golden Apples, because she occasionally has some really interesting tutorials and ALWAYS has a good read. She had a cool looking hat & scarf set on her blog recently and once she was on Ravelry, I knew I had to track down the pattern. So, I searched until I found her and her pattern -- (I just realized how stalkerish that sounded!!) I "favorited" the pattern and then Helen contacted me.

So what does a test knitter do --

  1. I searched for the yarn used for the original - Patons SWS Stripes and Patons SWS Solids.

  2. I read through the pattern several times to make sure that I understood everything.

  3. Anything I didn't understand, I sent to Helen and updated the pattern.

  4. I finally find the yarn I needed.

  5. I cast on for the scarf and discover that I really don't like SWS. Its like a super thick annoying mohair.

  6. I start knitting the scarf but something didn't look quite right. I decide to sleep on it.

  7. I order dpns for knitting the hat

  8. I tried knitting the scarf again -- but this time with cotton that I can tink and frog more easily.

  9. I admit defeat and contact Helen complete with pictures.

  10. Get an updated pattern.

  11. Cast on for the scarf again and start knitting -- now it looks right.

  12. I wait for the dpns to arrive.

  13. Continue knitting the scarf.

  14. Continue knitting the scarf

  15. I finish the scarf, takes pictures and send them to Helen..

  16. I wait for the dpns to arrive

  17. DPNs finally arrive.

  18. I cast-on for the hat.

  19. Discover that my dpn's are too short and I'm loosing stitches in the main section of the hat.

  20. Begin a quest for longer dpn's.

  21. Sent husband to local yarn shops during his lunch break -- no dpn's.

  22. Stop at Michael's on our way home from work. Get dpn's --only 1 inch longer, but it'll have to do.

  23. Continue knitting hat.

  24. Rally weekend with Bruce - knit hat at trial.

  25. Figure out that the hat would be perfect for The Husband's grandmother for Christmas.

Here's the Wavy Slip-Stitch Scarf:


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Here's the hat:


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From this, I ended up with:

  • a great hat & scarf to use as a gift

  • an awesome pattern -- that I'll probably knit again but with different yarn

  • a new appreciate for designers and test knitters

What I learned about test knitting:

  1. Keep good communication with your designer -- better to ask questions than waste time trying to figure it out yourself.

  2. Don't agree to test knit if you've already got too much on the needles.

  3. Make sure you have the materials to do the test knit.

Helen - Thank you for the awesome pattern and your extraordinary patience as I took so long to knit the hat & scarf!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Exciting News - I Hope

Disclaimer: I realized reading comments from Kathy and Becka, that I may have raised expectations a little too high. I haven't been tired because of the news -- that was due to the time change (savings time) and flying to the east coast. I don't know why but any sort of time change completely throws me for a loop. Add in the change in temperature - in the last 10 days the temperature has fluctuated between 60 degrees (in NJ) and 18 degrees -- also completely throwing my body out of wack. Also, I have a new boss who has me doing a bunch of stuff that I'm not familiar with, so my brain has also been tired. There is no correlation (at least that I'm aware of) between being tired and my exciting news. Which may only be exciting to me and The Husband.

Did you ever wonder how I came up with the name of my blog? Pantheon Acres doesn't really have a lot to do with knitting, does it? I figured I wouldn't always have knitting to blog about and the main focus of my life is my dogs. So the name applies more to my "dog" life than my "knitting" life.

It is actually the name of our kennel -- as in dog kennel. It took several months of discussion and research to come up with our kennel name. There were several times that we thought we were being clever and creative only to find the name was already being used. (It is considered bad etiquette to use the name of a kennel that already exists -- whether they are still breeding or not.) One day, we stumbled across pantheon.

According to the The Free Dictionary pantheon is defined as:

1. Pantheon A circular temple in Rome, completed in 27 b.c. and dedicated to all the gods.
2. A temple dedicated to all gods.
3. All the gods of a people considered as a group: Jupiter is head of the Roman pantheon.
4. A public building commemorating and dedicated to the heroes and heroines of a nation
5. A group of persons most highly regarded for contributions to a field or endeavor: the pantheon of modern physics.

Side Note: I really didn't realize that there was such a monument as The Pantheon, I spend several weeks convinced people were confusing it with The Parthenon. Sometimes, I am not the brightest bulb.

Looking at #5 -- The Husband and I changed it a little and felt that it really fit what we wanted for our kennel:

A group of dogs most highly regarded for contributions to their breed.

Mission statement and kennel name all in one. (Acres is for the farm we eventually want to own.) We want to be responsible breeders. That means breeding "quality" dogs to "quality" dogs. That means making sure our dogs are healthy with good genes to pass along to their offspring -- which requires health testing. We also want to make sure we've got "good" dogs -- which requires showing in conformation*, taking the dogs to training classes, and getting certifications (like CGC and TDI and Delta Dog). All of which costs money.

(Stick with me -- almost to the news...)

Breeding dogs is not something that most would consider a business. You aren't going to get rich from it and it might take a few years, but you could show a small profit. This was all the CPA needed to hear during our meeting with him a few weeks ago. We originally went to see what we could do to reduce our taxes (we have no children and aren't very charitable, so we needed other deductions). Strangely enough, the possibility of making a small profit is enough to turn our kennel from a hobby into a business.


We're setting up our kennel as a corporation: Pantheon Acres, Inc.

Which means doing business-like stuff -- such as business cards, web site, phone, and other stuff I can't remember other stuff. I know that I should probably concentrate on the boring stuff -- business accounts and receipt tracking et al, but I can't get over the idea of having business cards and a web site. Squee! I just realized that means we need a logo! There is also work involved as I figure out what exactly it will take to get a web site setup, a special phone number and the other boring important business stuff. (Hey -- with my own web site and domain, I could get some blogging software that actually lets me respond to comments!)

See -- isn't it cool? I own a business (okay -- The Husband owns it too).

* I run into a lot of people who see conformation dog shows as "beauty contests", but in reality conformation shows were meant to be a chance for people to evaluate breeding stock.