Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What's That About "You can't teach an old dog..."?

Last night I was so annoyed! My internet connection croaked right in the middle of a conversation with a friend. Grrrrr. Internet service, for me, is normally really reliable. It's also as vital as, let's say, air.

I did turn that annoyance into something good. Sitting in my favorite corner of the couch was the start of Mayhem's slippers. Well, slipper, to be accurate. Just one so far. I had gotten as far as the point where I would turn the heel and then set it aside. Yeah, I know. Chickenshit. "I don't know nuthin' 'bout turnin' no heels!"

Guess what? Now I do! Not only did I turn the heel, I also picked up the stitches for the gusset, knitted across to the other side and picked up the stitches on that side.

Do you remember that I chose Fuzzyfeet for a specific reason? I mean besides the fact that Mayhem wanted slippers made by Mom? It was to force (encourage? entice? lead?) me to learn to knit socks. I love seeing everyone else's hand-knit socks. I really, really love the colors of sock yarn posted all over the internet and even in my LYS. Yum! Sock knitting just seems so doggone daunting to me.

Today, not so much.

Outside we have this to look at, and it's our first **Snow Day**!

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Three Inches

That's how much snow we have here! Finally. Normally that's not something to get excited about. However, this is the first real, measurable snowfall in our area since last January! Yes, a full year ago. In Ohio. (But there's no global warming problem... don't get me started!!!) Add to that, the temperature was a whopping seven degrees Farenheit when the kiddos and I headed to school this morning. The little bit of snow isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Predicted temps for the upcoming weekend are for highs around 15.

Mayhem celebrated by playing outside on four separate occasions yesterday. Here is her face on her first trip outside. In case you're wondering, I had to play too. No pics of me, though. Sorry.

Personally, I celebrated by casting on for Calorimetry. Hats and I don't get along. I have short, curly, unruly hair. The only time I wear a hat is when I need to go out without doing my hair, and then I wear a baseball cap. With the super cold temps this week, I think I may need something for my ears.

Who knows when we'll have snow to play in again??? It might be longer than next January.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

K-Chan is Complete

This was a fun little bag to make and it forced me (encouraged me?) to learn a couple of new techniques, which I mentioned in a previous post.

First photo - The i-cord straps, braided before felting. I didn't leave them that way during washing. That's the button I chose for this little bag. What a cute lime green daisy!

Close up shot of the yarn and button together.

And last, but certainly not least, K-Chan after felting. Notice how big that button looks now?

My name for this bag should be Malabrigo Chan, since I didn't use Noro Kureyon. The Malabrigo felted quickly, and shrunk a great deal. More than I thought it would. If I make this bag again with Malabrigo I would probably double the yarn. The bag is just big enough to hold a bitty cell phone, keys, a couple of dollars and maybe a lipstick. Maybe.

The decision has not yet been made as to where this bag will call home. It is, however, my third FO for January!

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Desktop Meme (pronounced "meem")

Kat wants to know what we all are using as images for our desktops. I found out about it from my friend Liz.

This is what greets me on my desktop every day. It's an enormous basket from The Longaberger Homestead, in Central Ohio. I took the photo myself when my best friend and I were there in July. We go every summer together. Every one of these baskets is hand made. I appreciated the craftsmanship and hard work that went into each basket long before I even started knitting. I have even made my very own Longaberger basket, guided by a skilled Longaberger weaver one on one.

I have to tell you that I have some pretty big Longaberger baskets, but none this big. I haven't counted lately, but I bet I am approaching 100. They are wonderful for hiding yarn - make that storing yarn - inside!

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Latest Reaction to My Knitting

Earlier this week I mailed Halfdome out to a friend of mine who lives in California. He and I have known each other since junior high. It arrived yesterday, apparently, for in my email inbox was a message with "Thank-you, Thank-you, Thank-you!" in the subject line. The text of the email contained the words, "I love it!" and "I'll wear the lid this weekend," and "thanks, Buddy." I guess that means he likes the hat. California has been uncharacteristically cold, even in Los Angeles, and my old friend shaves his head. (I can call him "old" because he is 6 weeks older than I am!) With working in law enforcement, I guess it gives the bad guys one less place to grab.

I am one step closer to my 2007 Knitting Goal of learning to knit socks. I have purchased some sock yarn! Yes, I know it would be difficult, if not impossible to knit socks without sock yarn. I figured if I really was serious about making socks, I had better get some sock yarn into my house. What did I buy? you ask. I bought Apple Pie Yarn in the Wild Thing colorway. Like it? I also couldn't resist MacIntosh since red is my favorite color. The sock yarn and I will be getting acquainted soon. You can see all of the colors of Apple Pie at Apple Laine.

Progress on the Kuryeon Chan bag was quick. It's off the needles, except for the i-cord straps. Two of the three straps are finished and hopefully, courtesy of Grey's Anatomy, it will be entirely finished tonight and ready to be felted. What a quick knit! Pictures soon, of course.

One more thing I have to tell you, just because it amused me and my Buddy B. My fortune cookie had these words enclosed:

Be mischievous and you will never be lonely.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Knitting ADHD and New Tricks

If you look at my list of Coming Attractions down on the left side of this page, you might notice that I have 4 (yes, FOUR) works in progress (WIP's). EEEK!

I can explain. Really. It's not Knitting ADHD.

First, there's the sweater. The big project. The settle into the couch during a movie and I'm not getting up project.

Next, there's Irish Hiking Scarf #2. I love this project. It's taking a while to complete because it goes back and forth to school with me every day and I work on it in my office when I have students who are with me for more than just a few minutes. Like yesterday. I have a student dealing with depression/anxiety and he was just returning to school. He spent most of his day with me. He went to 3 out of 8 classes. A big part of the day he spent hiding in my office. Not a big deal - he thought I would I would send him home. By the last 3 class periods of the day he was tired of me. But I did knit. The scarf is about 1/3 the length I want it to be.

Then there's the Fuzzyfeet slippers for Mayhem. A bit challenging since I'm figuring out how to do socks along with this project. I have to concentrate on this, but they will be felted afterward so minor boo-boos won't show. I hope.

How do I explain yesterday? I started Kureyon Chan with the Lime Blue Malabrigo I had in my stash. I hadn't planned to start this, but my friend Sharon wanted to make this little purse too. In order to do this, I had to figure a couple of things out that I hadn't previously done. Picking up stitches was one. The pattern calls for knitting a rectangular bottom in garter stitch, and then picking up stitches all the way around. You knit on in the round from there. Sharon couldn't picture it, so I started before she did, after figuring it out myself.

I showed her this afternoon when we met for coffee.

Knitting Help.com is a great place to get help, complete with videos that show techniques in both Continental and English styles of knitting. Chris, the talented lady who created the pattern, was a great help when I had questions. I also had to figure out i-cord for the purse straps. Once again, knittinghelp.com has a very clear video to watch.

Happily I can report that I am over 1/3 of the way finished with K-Chan already.

I can also report that after venturing into my LYS, Vintage Yarns, today with Sharon, I came out having spent $0!! I won't tell you how I much I spent there on Saturday, but it involved a set of Denise Interchangable Needles.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Late night thinking problem

Last night, I was up late, unable to sleep. That happens to me quite a bit these days. I had even taken something to help me sleep, but it took longer to work than usual. A fire was roaring in the woodstove. Something mindless was on the television, and I was wrapped in a fuzzy throw (not hand-knit) in my favorite corner of the couch. Knitting was out of the question, because my brain was getting fuzzy from the sleeping meds.

Just before finally dropping off, I had the most wonderful thought. Want to know what it was?

If we could choose who we love, life would be much, much simpler...but a whole lot less magical.

Surprisingly, I could recall the thought today. Just thought I would share.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

What about me?

Why don't I knit for myself?

Technically I do, since the knitting I do is therapy/meditation for me. It's my downtime. The items, I knit, however, are not for me. It's not that I don't want knitted items. I do. On the needles I have this perfectly gorgeous green wool begging to be made into a sweater for me. I want the sweater. I really, really want the sweater. I made myself finish Christmas gifts before starting the sweater so that I would have time to devote to the sweater. It's begun... And stalled on the back section.

What am I working on instead? A hat for my good pal in California who is frrrrreeezing! I made two chemo caps for his sister in law a while back. During this recent cold spell, I asked how his head with no hair was faring out in L.A. "BRRRRRRRR!" was the reply. Laughing at the thought of him wearing Fun Fur like his sister in law, I showed him knitty.com's Halfdome. "I would wear that!" he exclaimed. And so I began. I expect to finish it tonight while watching Grey's Anatomy.

Will I go back to the yummy green raglan sweater, or lay it aside to make a gift for someone else yet again? It's finally cold enough to wear a wool sweater, especially in my drafty office at school. (My building was built in 1934.) The long range forecast, for the next two weeks, shows no day over thirty degrees, and nights down into the teens. Perfect wool sweater weather - for knitting and wearing.

But I'm back to the original question. Why don't I knit for myself? Seriously?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Someone to Watch

Having seen this bright, eloquent man deliver his speech at the last Democratic National Convention (via TV) and having read The Audacity of Hope, I can tell you, Barack Obama is someone to watch!

About Barack Obama

Monday, January 15, 2007

I do still knit...

Believe it or not, I really do still knit. (I spent a major part of the weekend sleeping off the respiratory crud that was trying to catch me and I'm happy to report that I seem to have beaten it.) To prove I knit, I have a couple of progress photos for you from my raglan sweater. Not much, but the back so far.

Next, a shot with the pattern to refresh your memory on what this sweater is supposed to resemble upon completion... Yarn and pattern from Sheep Shop Yarn.

This is a truer indicator of the shade of green. BUT, can you see where I changed balls of yarn? I'm trying to decide if I should frog back and switch back and forth between the two balls, or just leave it the way it is. I have 5 hanks of this lighter green, for the front and back, and it is all from the same dyelot. There is an obvious difference when photographed, though, isn't there?

What do you think I should I do?

AND, because I raved about finally buying one, and how quickly it worked, here is a photo of my new yarn swift in action. Remember, it only took 2 minutes to wind that hank of Malabrigo into a tight, tidy ball.

I spent part of today looking online for felted slipper and/or clog patterns. Mayhem has decided that she wants me to make her some slippers to replace the wool Lands' End clogs she has outgrown. I found this Crochet Slipper pattern. I also found Fuzzyfeet which Mayhem loved as soon as she set eyes on them. That pattern will help me learn socks, too.

I didn't get much else done today except for disinfecting the house since Absent-Minded Professor has a nasty case of pink eye. Ick!

Let me know your thoughts on the sweater, OK?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

I have snow in my house!

Quiet is not a word that describes me. This "winter" I've been particularly vocal about our lack of winter and especially our lack of snow in Ohio. My friend Spaz, all the way in Littleton, CO, took it upon herself to shut me up. If you live anywhere except under a rock, you know that Spaz has had the joy of one snowstorm after another recently.

This is what the mail carried delivered to my front porch today: A box from Littleton, CO. Refrigerate Upon Arrival. As soon as I saw who it came from I started laughing.

A white, styrofoam cooler, tightly sealed. Hmmmm.

Inside the cooler, mucho, mucho newspaper.

Under all that paper, kitchen trash bags, with many ice packs visible. By this time, Mayhem and the Absent-Minded Professor were going absolutely bonkers. The two dogs weren't helping much, either!

At long last, Mayhem hugged the zip-loc bag of snow! "It's still cold! A little slushy, though. We better freeze it."

Once again, I am reminded how truly blessed I am when it comes to friends. Something simple and silly is thoughtful and meaningful.

Hey, Spaz, want your ice packs back?? Love you! xoxoxo

Friday, January 12, 2007

2 Minutes

Remember the picture of the yarn swift I posted? The one that I just purchased on eBay? It arrived yesterday, and it's great! It was packaged up safely and even came in its own little fabric drawstring bag for storage. I just happened to be at home sick yesterday when the mail carrier delivered the box, so I put the swift together in less than two minutes, without tools. Really. It took me longer to open the Priority Mail box and then get the bubble wrap open! (I had to save the bubble wrap for Mayhem and Absent-Minded Professor, you know.)

Then came the real fun. I had a second hank of the Lime Blue Malabrigo sitting out waiting to be wound. Watching the clock while turning the the handle on the ballwinder, with the swift spinning smoothly round and round, I had a tidy ball of yarn in almost no time. In fact, it took just 2 minutes. Seriously. 2 minutes. No knots. No tangles. Wheeeeee! What else could I wind?

Last night, while wrapped up on the couch watching Grey's Anatomy, I worked on the raglan sweater. I promise to post a photo of the miles of green stockinette soon. It's cold enough now to feel like it's worth working on!

Mostly yesterday I just slept... about 16 hours, I think. Today I'm back at work, but could have used another day at home. Unlike teachers, though, there aren't substitutes for school counselors. I just get further behind. Buddy B joked that when I called in sick I should have requested him as my sub. Anyway, Monday is a holiday and a day off, so I decided to tough it out today. Good thing I came in. I've been swamped with kids... and I can pass the germs back to them.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


I bought a ballwinder for myself a little while back. It really decreased the amount of time it took for me to get yarn from hanks into balls. I still had trouble with tangled up yarn, though. After much thought and consideration, I decided I needed a yarn swift as well.

The big question was, what type?? I knew I didn't want a metal/plastic combo. I also didn't want to spend a great deal of money. Whatever I purchased had to be something which could be folded up and put away in a small amount of space. My house is only 1675 sq. ft. After looking around and doing some research, I found this on eBay.

I found this nifty gadget in an eBay store called Knitting Notions. I'll let you know how it works out, since I paid for it last night, and it has already shipped out today!

Not much progress has been made on the sweater. I haven't been able to get into knitting a wool sweater when we haven't had winter. Today was finally cold, with wind chills in the 20's, so I plan to knit tonight.

I've been skipping knitting to go to bed early the past few nights. Kids and teachers have been dropping like flies at school from the flu and other illnesses. I'm trying to make sure I stay healthy. Today alone we sent 12 kids home before lunch (some with the barfies, other with fever/chills) and more after lunch. At last count, 17 or 18 had gone home! That was in addition to the 52 that were already absent.

Something that made me giggle today... Crazy Aunt Purl was showing off pictures of her kitty in the Kitty Pi (knitted cat bed). All at once I wondered (insanity has truly hit) about how much yarn it might take to make a Bruno-sized Pi. Labrador Pi. Yep. I'm certifiable now for sure if I'm even contemplating a knitted, felted, dog bed big enough for a freakin' 120 pound Labrador Retriever.

But just how much yarn do you think? Gotta try out that swift, ya know.

Monday, January 08, 2007

A Gift for the Birthday Princess

This is my best friend. My best friend since 3rd grade. She turned 40 this past weekend and was the Birthday Princess. K2 refused to be Queen... some crap about queens being old. We have seen each other through good times, bad times, hilarious times, our weddings, bad hair, the births of our children, and some of the most painful times in our lives. We've covered for each other, bailed each other out of scrapes and through it all, been brutally honest with each other.

Since she has done me the honor of being my best friend for the past 32 years, and was thoughtful enough to turn 40 before me (and with such grace!), I thought it only fitting that K2 receive the first finished object of 2007 as her birthday gift.

Happy Birthday, beautiful friend! Hope you're feeling better today! I love you!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Roll Call

Last night I was thinking about what I accomplished in terms of knitting (and also crochet) last year. I wasn't keeping an accurate log, but decided I should try to list everything I finished just to see just how much I really did get done. So, here goes...

2006 Finished Objects

*1 Basket Weave afghan - knitted (very large)
*6 Clutch You'll Never Give Up felted purses
*4 knitted hats for my kids
*1 crocheted scarf for Mayhem
*1 Felted Tote from One Skein book
* 3 bibs from Mason Dixon book
*1 Baby Kimono from Mason Dixon book
*1 Irish Hiking Scarf (first cables!)
*4 Chemo caps
*3 Granny square baby afghans (crochet)
*6 knit cotton dishcloths
*1 wool hat for a friend
*1 baby hat
*1 set of wrist warmers/fingerless mitts
*1 garter stitch scarf for my sister

Total: 35 completed projects

And those are the ones that I can recall. Nothing too big or ambitious, except for the afghan. I didn't tackle anything really challenging until starting to learn cables late in the year, in order to make the Irish Hiking Scarf. But now that I look at it, I really did get quite a bit done, and it's time to challenge myself with some bigger projects.

I can clearly see from that list that I go for small, simple and almost-instant gratification projects. That probably won't change, because I can whip those items up quickly and gift them. (Only three items on that entire list were kept for myself!) However, the above list serves to remind me that I am more than competent with the basics and ready to branch out.

Somebody kick me out of my comfort zone, already, would ya? OK, you all jumped way too fast! Before you really do that, let me tell you that I already have some Lorna's Laces Lion & Lamb here ready to go, just waiting to be transformed into Clapotis. When I finish my raglan sweater I plan to start on that.

You'll hear the distress calls, I'm sure.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

First Words

I've been contemplating what my first blog words of 2007 should be. Something simple? Something profound? Something exclusively knitterly? Silly words from the kids?

Even right now, as I am multi-tasking (supervising Mayhem doing homework, blogging, and cooking potatoes to have along with the crock pot contents for dinner), I am not sure of the final content of this entry. Yes, the New Year is fresh, full of promise and potential. Yes, people everywhere are making resolutions of all shapes and sizes; some measurable, some lofty and totally unattainable.

Me? Not so much. I'm not big on resolutions. Get through the year. Dream more. Worry less.

I am more and more proud to be considered a Knitter. If you haven't clicked on the "Knitters Without Borders" button over on the sidebar, take a minute to do that. Go check out the total amount of money that knitters have donated to Doctors Without Borders. Did you do it yet? I'm part of that total. The Yarn Harlot challenged her readers on December 15 to double the $120,000 that was already there. Within 72 hours, the challenge was met. She's swamped with emails, still adding up the donations! Yay team! Don't mess with us. We're on a BIG team, and we play with pointy sticks.

Also, check out the new button on the sidebar. I have joined the Knit Ohio blog ring. Thanks, Jeanne, for the warm welcome!

My first FO (Finished Object) of 2007 will be yet another felted clutch... this one heading to Cleveland for my best friend's 40th birthday. It's the least I can do. After all, she has to turn 40 before I do!

Any big predictions for 2007? I'm predicting an Ohio snowstorm for February, that I will come into a significant sum of money and that Mayhem will tell my mother about the piercing I have managed to keep quiet!