Sunday, August 30, 2009

Change isn't always a bad thing... right?

I figured it being my two year blogaversary and all that this place was due for a change. I really liked the way my blog looked before but I was getting a bit tired of it. So I had been pondering this change for a while.

You may recognize the banner pic from this post. Yup! I dyed it my self! Very exciting and one of my very favorite colors in the whole wide world is a soft baby pink. So this was my inspiration (I guess you could call it) for my blog update.

Anyhow I hope you enjoy the new look! If you don't then... sorry (not really but we can pretend)!

P.S. I'm also thinking of changing the name to Knitting Duck... get it? Like "sitting duck"? get it? But I'll keep the web address the same just change the title at the top. What do you think?

Seriously need feedback on this one! thanks!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Happy Blogaversary to ME!!!!!!

The 24th of August was my blogaversary! Bring on the party horns!!!!

That's two whole years of blogging about my experiences in the United Arab Emirates. If you read back in the beginning (please don't) you'll notice that I have gotten a bit more comfortable with my writing and have also gotten better at expressing my self. I found it difficult in the beginning to figure out 1. what to talk about and 2. how to say it

I am proud of my self for staying somewhat consistant and actually keeping this thing going.... I was a little worried in the beginning that I would just get tired of trying to keep up with this thing and I would just let it go. But nope! I write a lot. A whole lot! In fact I have realized that I personally gain a lot by keeping this thing going such as:

1. It's like a diary of my experiences while living in the middle east. I only wished I had started it from the beginning and not waiting for an entire year after I arrived.

2. I have made some AMAZING friends through this blog. It's because of this little online diary that I met Charmaine from Abu Dhabi-doo and Sydney from It's always something... and through them I got together with the U-knitted Amrias! My knitting groups has given me even more great friends!

3. I can communicate with my family and friends back home. They keep up on what I'm doing here and, well, what I'm knitting.

4. I find the process therapeutic. Sometimes I write about mundane things like Hot Pink Range Rovers and sometimes I write about things that are really getting on my nerves like banks and I also write about my musings on life.

5. It's a great way to oragnize all the FO's I have gotten done!

6. This thing has some great pics of Oman, Beirut, Dubai and Abu Dhabi! Loads of fun memories.

So thank you blog readers for paying attention to my little ol' blog and following along on the endeavor that is living in the desert and my knitting journey as well... because I really enjoy writing for you!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Maiden Dye-age

FYI: This post is going to be picture heavy but it's totally worth it!

I have been itching to dye some of my own knitting yarn for a while. So when my friend decided to buy some Dylon Dye to dye a dress from a champaign color to a rich dark purple and it came out AMAZINGLY. Seeing the results motivated me to dye some yarn. I went to the store and found the perfect shade of baby pink dye.

Then I picked my yarn....
I got this Plymouth Yarn - Dye For Me sock yarn from my LYS back home, The Knitting Bee

I had some left over Fingering yarn from The Fibre Company that is made from alpaca, bamboo and merino

Finally I had some of this Plymouth Encore Worsted in an ivory color laying around. It's 75% Acrylic and 25% wool. I didn't know what to expect with this but figured it was worth a shot to see what happened when I dunked it in!

Then it was time to set up
I got my little dyeing area ready, washed the yarn and got the pink dye ready for use

Then I started dyeing... I wanted the sock yarn to knit up mostly white with little bits of pink so I stuck just the ends in the pink dye while the yarn was still wet. The fingering I wanted mostly pink with a little white so again I hung it over the edge with most of it in the dye.

For the worsted I just stuck the whole thing in because I figured whatever happens happens... since it was mostly acrylic I didn't know how well the yarn would take the dye.

I let the yarn sit in the dye for 15-20 minutes then it was time for the rinse off.... look at how close the color on the package matches the color on the yarn. So impressed!

After a few rinses it was time for the agonizingly slow process of letting the yarn dry. Uggh I wanted to play with it already!!!

But it was totally worth the wait

The Plymouth Dye For Me

The Fibre Company Fingering

The Plymouth Encore


Overall I love love love the results... in fact that I'm so happy with the results I ordered some more naked yarn to dye soon.... next time multiple colors!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

FO: First socks!

I finished my very first pair of socks. I started them while I was in the States because I got the pattern book Sock From the Toe Up by Wendy D. Johnson aka Wendy Knits and then I got this lovely Dream In Color Smooshy and I just couldn't wait any more!

Don't you just love that color?
this pic is the closest to actual color

Socks From the Toe Up is a lovely book and it's fantastic for a first time sock knitter. Wendy walks through all the different ways to cast on, all the different heel types and all the ways to cast off. It was so helpful! And by her showing step by step all the different methods you can in turn customize any of her patterns (or any toe up pattern for that matter) to your liking.

So here are the much awaited details:
Pattern: Van Dyke Socks from Socks From the Toe Up by Wendy D. Johnson
Size: 8
Needles: #2 Addis in a magic loop (Love the magic loop!)
Yarn: DIC Smooshy in Pansy Golightly from The Knitting Bee in Portland Oregon
Mods: I didn't make any modifications to the pattern. I used Judy's Magic Cast-on and this video helped immensely in figuring that out. I also used the sewn bind-off. Ohh and I'm not sure how I managed this but I only used half the skein of Smooshy so I can make a whole other pair of socks! woot woot!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

UAE Dust Storm

One of the things that we expect living in the UAE is that it will be hot in the summer, after all it is the desert. I have talked about the insane heat we get many times on this blog like here and here but something I don't talk about often is another phenomenon we (people living in the desert) have also grown to expect. The Dust Storm (dum dum duuuuummmm)

Some people call them sand storms and others call them dust storms. I like to use this terms almost as if they are classifications of severity of, well, particles flying in the air that will land on everything.

Days after I moved to Dubai we got this insane sand storm that took over everything. It didn't last long but the winds were strong and there was sand everywhere. It was piled up on windshields and ledges like it had just snowed (Portland style not North Dakota style). My new friends and I were chatting while eating lunch at a food court and all the sudden there was no visibility outside. I looked at my friend Nadia and said something along the lines of "Whoa. What is going on?" And she proceeded to calmly tell me that we get these kind of storms a few times a year. "Excuse me? What kind of storm?" as all my new friend chuckled she replied "Sand storms, Lindsay." suppressing her own laugh

We got tired of waiting out the storm so we ran back to our rooms.... I was surprised at how much the sand hurt as it whipped into our faces and also how it managed to get into my eyes even though I was wearing sun glasses. I was dusting sand out of all kinds of places for days. That was a Sand Storm (at least in my book)

The dust storms are more dirty and just annoying. Blocking out our never ending sunshine to give us a brown glowy horizon instead. The dust storms don't hurt and visibility for driving and stuff is still good enough that it doesn't slow you down day to day. They stick around for a day or two and then they are on their way to go create a haze over somewhere else for a while.

After three years in the UAE I have grown accustom to these storms. They come then they go. It's that simple. We endure heavy, dirty air for a couple days then the skies clear up and we dust our selves off (literally) and enjoy the beauty of Dubai again.

So it was no shock that a day or so after Husband and I landed from our trip to the States that a dust storm rolled in. It hasn't been a particularly bad storm really it's just that it won't leave! We have been home for over three weeks now and we still have this dust storm hanging over our heads (again literally). I have been complaining to family and friends back home who have no sympathy for me as they are battling their own heat wave. Which I guess is fair because I was giving no sympathy in return. Seriously we're at 114 degrees and that is cool for this time of year because said dust storm is blocking ALL THE SUN!

I finally ran across this photo (isn't it cool?) of the dust storm we are stuck in the middle (well actually lower middle to right hand corner-ish)... oh yeah it has covered us AND an entire sea! The upside is it looks like we aren't getting the worst of it

Photo courtesy of NASA

Anyways I thought you would enjoy a little glimpse into life in the desert. Plus maybe it will cheer you up about your own excessive heat. Except when y'all have some crazy snow/ice storm this winter and we have perfect 80 degree weather this dust storm will be a distant memory

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A gift from my Grandma

While I was home in Portland I decided to go through a trunk of stuff my Grandmother had left my dad when she passed away some 20 years ago (yeesh I can't believe it's been that long). I did this because when I got into knitting my dad had found a skein of yarn that my grandmother had and gave it to me. It's 500 yards of Royal Society Ever Sheen in a gorgeous cream color (I also think it must be a lace weight but I'm not positive). So in my mind I thought it would be perfect to make some heirloom lace shawl that could passed down from generation to generation. I wanted to make sure I had all of it as I thought it would be fantastic to make something like the Pi Shawl. But 500 yds isn't enough for something that big. So on 4th of July evening, before the fireworks, I went on a hunt through the trunk.

Can I just say how nice it was to be home for a holiday. Especially a holiday that is purely American. Having a barbeque with my family then watching the fireworks together was so much fun. It's great to not be the only one in a room celebrating a holiday.

Ok back on topic.

So we opened the trunk and found that my Grandmother really liked table cloths with matching napkins. There were seriously like 15 sets in there. Some of them even hand embroidered. There were some dresses and an old cub scouts uniform, a wallet and a kimono (very interesting) and some fabric just waiting to be made into a quilt. But no yarn.

Then my step-mom said "There's a smaller trunk that matches this one we should check that as well" So my dad found it and brought it over. Again no yarn but here is what I did find inside...

Knitting magazines!! From the 1950's! and two old crochet hooks.

In the pile are two magazines with baby patterns (they are adorable), one with sock patterns (even hunting socks!), one with women's clothes and one with men's sweaters. All the magazines are from Handknits by Beehive.

I was so excited! This was as good as finding yarn if not better! Old pattern books that my grandmother worked from and now I have them. I never knew that she was knitter before then. I knew she liked to crochet but the knitting was a surprise. Also I was quite young when she passed away and I just seems really special that we had this one thing in common and that some how, after all this time, she was able to give me something that I will always value and cherish.

My family on my dad's side has always been known for their ability to keep things long past their need. We're a family of stashers (In fact I'll remind my husband of that next time I buy more yarn)! But this is one time I will be forever grateful that we keep everything. Even if at one point it seemed to have no value it sure does have a lot of value to someone today.