Monday, April 30, 2007

Knitting onward... and butterflies

From the comments in my last post, I have a great deal of company in the frog pond. How about we inflate the rafts and beach balls, knitter friends? I'll whip up a couple of pitchers of drinks and we'll have a pool party while we fix these projects! Thanks, Liz, Tiennie, and Kate for sharing some sympathy.

I'm making progress on Section 2 of Clapotis and am loving the colors! I think it will be gorgeous when I start dropping stitches (yes, I said dropping stitches). Try wrapping your head around a pattern where you knit like crazy for miles and then drop stitches for rows and rows and rows... It's already soft and drapey, my Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb. A luxury item.

Tomorrow evening Sarah and I are going to hear Annie Modesitt speak! The Knitting Heretic herself. Only 40 people were able to get seats, and she'll sign books afterward. I'm looking forward to this, not just to hear Annie speaking on "if you end up with a fabric you like, you did it right" but also for an evening out! (Mom, did you hear that? Another person touting more than one right way to knit! Imagine that.) I believe Dana is coming in for this one as well and it will be fun to see her again.

Lastly, here's what the kiddos and I did yesterday. The Butterfly House is a large greenhouse full of plants and waterfalls. Butterflies flit freely through the space landing wherever they please, including on the people!

Hold very, very still...

Delighted Absent-Minded Professor

This butterfly would make a great yarn color combo...

"Mom, check out this GIANT moth over my shoulder! Good thing you left your knitting in the car!"

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Jumping into the pond...

the frog pond.

Growing up I was taught that if something was worth doing, it was worth doing right. "If you don't have time do something right, when will you find time to do it again?" we kids would be reminded. This mainly was in reference to schoolwork and chores we had to do around the house, but it was a lesson that stuck.

I could rename this lesson "Don't knit a sock gussett and instep with a migraine."

At Mayhem's program the other night, I had my sock along, and while waiting for the second graders to perform, I knitted. I turned the heel and picked up my stitches on both sides of the heel flap and started knitting the gussett. Knit in public. Represent. Nearing the finish of the gussett and getting close to starting the foot. Fine and dandy, right?


I didn't pay attention to the garter rib pattern from the top of the sock that should have continued along the instep. Instead, I proceeded with regular k2 p2 ribbing. I didn't chronicle the sock debacle with photos.

Said error was discovered yesterday (Friday). I looked at the sock. I pondered the sock. Keep it as is? Call it a design element? Let's face it, I am not a fast sock knitter. The thought of frogging back to the beginning of the gussett wasn't appealing. "Rip it. Rip it," that nagging voice in my head kept saying. I set the sock aside and decided to put off a decision.

This morning, while knitting with Sarah, the decision was made to frog. If you check her blog, you'll see I'm not alone in the frog pond. Poor Sarah had to start over completely. (Funny, we're both knitting with Cider Moon right now...)

But hey, at least I have good company in the pond!

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thank You

My head is returning to normal today. OK, I'll rephrase that, since I know some of you are laughing at the thought of anything about me being normal. My head is returning to as normal as possible. The migraine pain is gone and I spent today rehydrating and recovering from the medication hangover. I did go to work today. There was so much to catch up on!

The sympathy and good thoughts you all sent yesterday were greatly appreciated. I'm looking forward to a quiet night tonight, a new episode of Grey's Anatomy, and knitting. I have barely touched my knitting in two days, but did work on my sock last night at Mayhem's program.

Mayhem's Spring Program was adorable. The music teacher at my kids' elementary school puts together the most amazing, original programs! It was rather loud and way too warm in the school gym, though. Here she is with some classmates...

And closer up. Pink t-shirt in the middle.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I hate migraines!

My life is busy. Two kids. Two dogs. A full time job. Friends that I like to spend time with. Meaningful hobbies - like knitting. I move at a pretty good pace much of the time, when all of a sudden, WHAM! I'm sidelined by a migraine.

Take today for instance. I woke at 4:00AM with the excruciating pain over my right eye and stumbled to find my migraine medicine. Less than 15 minutes later it was coming back up. I was too late. I knew then I wasn't going to work today. It is not a good day to be sick, either. See?
7:45AM Staff Meeting
9:15AM Meeting on a student that might need testing for special education services
Lunch - whenever I fit it in - go to post office
3:00PM - Pick up Absent Minded Professor (Mayhem has Brownie Troop Meeting)
3:30PM - run home to south end of town to let dogs out
5:00PM - Pick up Mayhem and feed both kids something
6:30PM - be back at school for Mayhem's Spring Program (save their dad a seat)
8:30PM - we might be back at home

This is what the reality of today has been:
4:00AM - Wake up sick and take migraine meds
4:15 AM - Get sicker (I'll spare you the details)
4:30 AM - Call off work, get an ice pack for my head
6:00AM - Let kids' dad know I need him to take kids to school
6:30AM - Turn off phones and hide in dark room from morning noises
7:55AM - Assure Mayhem I will be at Spring Program, promise Absent Minded Professor I will pick him up from school... No Matter What. Allow Labs in bed with me so they stay quiet.
9:27AM - Fling cell phone across room when even "vibrate" mode hurts head
11:21AM - Crawl out of bed to shower, make coffee and get dressed.
Noon - Take another migraine pill, blog, get ready to go to the post office.

It could be worse, and has been worse. Now I take daily meds to prevent migraines which has greatly reduced the frequency of these attacks, thank goodness. The timing, however, really stinks. Sometimes these attacks can last for days, affecting my mental health in ugly ways. Anyone who also suffers from migraines knows exactly what I mean. Anyone who doesn't get migraines, should count their lucky stars. The pain can be incomprehensible. I'd rather do labor and childbirth.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Yarn P0rn

Plain and simple. Yarn p0rn today. It was an absolutely perfect day to take photos outside.

I have Cider Moon's Glacier yarn in two different colorways for your viewing pleasure. Nope. Make that three. My sock in progress begged to be included in the photo shoot! You know how pushy socks can be. I tried to hide the sock in the daffodils, but that pushy sock kept forcing its way to the front by the time I grabbed the camera.

Presenting Jackie O (partial proceeds of each sale go to the Komen Foundation)...

And the brilliant Go-Go...

The two together... my crabapple tree is ready to bloom.

Last but not least, the pushy sock in progress, in Banana Cabana.

That's it for today. I spent the day outside, knitting, reading, playing, got the car washed. Hope it was beautiful in your neighborhood.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Icing On The Cake

Wow! A gorgeous day... a morning with a friend knitting, having coffee and yarn shopping... driving in the sunshine singing American Pie at the top of our lungs... What could be better? I was thinking it was pretty much darn near perfect.

Arriving home to a BIG package from my Knitters Treat Exchange Secret Pal changed all of that. Now my pal isn't a secret, either! My Pal sent me a box that was loaded with goodies and I took pictures as I opened them so you can see all the treats below.

This package really was the icing on the cake, making a good day into a great day.

Caron Simply Soft and a magazine to read.

Elsebeth Lavold and Lion Chenille

Goodies for pampering me!

Mmmmm... chocolate. Isn't this mug pretty?

I have coveted this book for so long... Thank you!


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Catching Up

Is it Friday yet??

Tuesday night I met Sarah and Johari at Yarn Haven for S 'n' B. The time flew! We had a great time looking at everyone's projects, fondling yarn, laughing and helping each other. Sarah is going to help me with Clapotis because no matter what, my first section of this darn thing just isn't turning out with the correct number of stitches. She, on the other hand, is making amazing progress with hers. I was a bit green with envy. Instead of working on my Clapotis that night, I cast on for another pair of socks with my Banana Cabana yarn from Cider Moon. It's such a happy, cheery color! While at Yarn Haven, I also had the pleasure of meeting Susan, another local blogger. There are pictures of Yarn Haven on her blog.

Yarn Haven is adorable! It's set up in a little house just off the main street in Perrysburg. When I walked in, I was transported back to my Tante Annemarie's house, because the floor plan inside is nearly identical to her house which I sold last year. It felt like coming home, and made me think of my dear Tante who taught me to crochet when I was little. Everyone was welcoming and friendly. So many knitters came on Tuesday that the owners were hopping up to get out more chairs! It was definitely a full house.

Wednesday was a day full of meetings for me. I met on students. I met about how the junior high counselors will be divided next year (no decision made yet!). Then I came back to school for a meeting to vote on our new teacher's contract. As a building rep, I had to make sure that I got ballots to the people in my building. I did knit on my sock during the meeting. Represent!

Fellow blogger, The Secret Knitter, is asking about the appeal of sock knitting. We've emailed back and forth about sock knitting being a sort of cult. What do you think? What do you love or hate about sock knitting? Leave him a comment if you knit socks letting him (yes, HIM) know what the appeal is with socks. Are sock knitters forming their own sort of cult?

Speaking of socks, did you get in on The Loopy Ewe's sneak up shop update yesterday? There's a button in my sidebar if you want to get there quickly!

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

New Gadget and a To-Do List

Do you have gadgets that help you with your knitting and yarn management?

I have a ball winder. I even have a swift to hold those big hanks of yarn while winding them into balls. What I didn't have was a way to accurately measure when dividing those hanks into two (or more) equal balls of yarn. I've tried eye-balling. Being new to sock knitting, I just didn't want to take a chance on not having equal amounts of yarn for each sock. Know what I did? I treated myself to a new gadget over the weekend. It's a Salter food scale that weighs in grams and ounces, and is perfect for weighing yarn! Look at that. Half a Banana Cabana.

And All My Gadgets. No, it's not a soap opera. That would be funny though. Will the ball winder run away with the scale? Is the swift cheating on the ball winder? Tune in next time to find out who says, "I can't believe you let Red Rover get all wound up!"

Buddy B wanted to know what I was dealing besides sock yarn. Shhhhh! B. You're a bad influence.

This week I have a long list of things I want to accomplish:

  1. Mail a yarny gift to my friend Hilde in Norway. I bought some Cider Moon for her!

  2. Finish putting together the package for my Knitters Treat Exchange Pal.

  3. Mail a baby gift to a friend that I've had finished for a while.

  4. Send off my hat to The Loopy Ewe for the Quarterly Challenge.

  5. Reserve and pay for seats at LYS Vintage Yarns to hear Annie Modesitt speak on May 1.(DONE!)

Looking at the list, I realize that the USPS is going to love me here shortly. Gotta run. I'm heading to a SnB at Yarn Haven, which is still website-less. Checking out a new store and meeting up with girls!

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

FO's and New Projects

Warning: Knitting content ahead!

First of all, I have a couple of little, quick, FO's to show you. The first is a cute, little knitted bunny that I made for Mayhem for Easter.

See the Longaberger baskets?
It's a quick knit, any slightly fuzzy yarn will do the trick. Best of all, you knit a rectangle and then stitch it together almost like origami. After that you knit a couple of ears. Here's the pattern if you want to make some yourself: Knitted Bunny. (Kelli? You reading this??)

Friday night, when I couldn't sleep, I completed a small hat. This is made from superwash sock yarn and will be headed to The Loopy Ewe's Quarterly Challenge, and then to an orphanage in China. As you can see, the hat is lovingly modeled by my old friend Humphrey. Humphrey came to me from Germany as a gift from my oldest sister when I was 4 yrs. old. The pattern for the hat came out of Last Minute Knitted Gifts.
Having finished my Just Ribbing socks, and taken them for a test run by wearing them all day at school on Friday, I can officially say they are real socks! I love them. They received many compliments. Even our home ec (excuse me, Family and Consumer Science) teacher proclaimed them fabulous. Today I am casting on another pair of socks using Banana Cabana yarn from Cider Moon. This link shows you colorways. Banana Cabana isn't there because it sells out! There's a photo on my blog in another post if you read.

Last but not least, some of you may still be wondering which big project I decided to cast on next. Clapotis? Log Cabin? Well, here it is. In Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb (wool and silk), color Tuscany:

The beginning of my Clapotis. The color isn't accurate at all. It's more red than pink, a wine color, with blue and sage green and tan.

This week I'm checking out a new yarn store in the area called "Yarn Haven" with a fellow blogger Sarah Lou. Watch for the scoop on that after mid-week.

If you're lurking, de-lurk and leave a comment!

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Friday, April 13, 2007

On the line

My favorite doggy sheets

OK, OK. I know, it's not knitting content, like I promised. The temps outside made it over fifty degrees today and I had to take advantage of the breezy weather and blue skies. Who knows how long it will last? Besides, have you ever slept on sheets hung outside to dry in the sun? Not much compares, and it's one of my very favorite things on earth. Perhaps more than four or five hours of sleep is in store for me tonight.

My Cardinal friend supervised the laundry. He's a regular visitor to my backyard. Normally I hear him before I see him. Isn't he gorgeous?

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Seeing Double

Look! There's two of them! My first "big people" socks.

The details:
Yarn: Apple Pie (merino wool, silk, mohair and nylon) by Apple Laine.
Color: Wild Thing
Pattern: Just Ribbing
Needles: Size 2 (US) dpns

Having read the suggestions in the comments, and having thought about them, I cast on for my next project yesterday afternoon between meetings. I had one meeting immediately after school, then a break, and another meeting back at school at 6:30. There was no point in driving home in between. I settled in to knit for 35 minutes before having the mandatory parent meeting with parents of the students going on the Washington, D.C. trip in June. (Have I mentioned that Buddy B and I are taking 95 seventh graders to our nation's capital as soon as school is out? Now you know I'm certifiable!)

What's that? Oh! You want to know what I chose to make next! Details, details.

I'll tell you in my next post, when I have some real progress to show you.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Beautiful Birthday Booga Bag

How's that for some alliteration?

My Just Ribbing (aka Wild Thing) Socks will be finished today sometime, and I'll have another FO to add to my sidebar. I'm trying to decide what to start next. Another pair of socks will be started, of course. I've been bitten by the sock bug. My dad has requested a pair, and I'll lovingly oblige. Yesterday my brother and I made a deal where he gets handknit socks in exchange for my receiving a set quantity of his home-brewed beer... The words "Way better than purses," came out of his mouth, referring to the One Skein clutches I made all my sisters at Christmas. But I digress.

Back to what to knit next. My two big choices are to cast on for my Log Cabin afghan or to start Clapotis. I already have the yarn for each. If I start Clapotis, I can knit it along with Sarah Lou, who is just a short way into the project. I know I signed on to knit Sahara as part of a KAL, but making a sweater right now, even a short-sleeved one, just isn't calling to me. It's going to wait.

So what do you think? Log Cabin or Clapotis? It doesn't mean I'll listen to you, but I'm interested to hear what you think, and why.

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Happy (Brrrrrrr) Easter

This afternoon I was looking at my calendar and looking outside. Checking again. And checking the thermometer on my back porch. It was a balmy 29 degrees. My calendar says it's April 7. This afternoon, most of the day in fact, this was the scene outside my windows:

Inside, the kids and I were busy creating these:

I also have a FO to report! The Booga Bag is finished. I'll only show you the "before" felting photo for now. This is going to my sister for her birthday next week. In case she's reading, the completed item won't be shown yet. Rest assured, it is completely felted and put together, straps and all. And it's beautiful!

I hope the Easter Bunny has some ear muffs and mittens for tomorrow.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

A Bright Spot

As I promised yesterday, a shot of the recent wooly acquisitions. Starting at the top and going clockwise: Lisa Souza's hardtwist in Limenviolet; Cider Moon's Glacier yarn in Banana Cabana, Siberia and Giddy (The Giddy will go to Mayhem!); Reynolds Soft Sea Wool is the light blue; and last is Yarn Pirate's sock yarn in Sonoma which I ordered from The Loopy Ewe during the last shop update.

Alas*, there is snow in Siberia.

There's snow in Ohio too. Somebody please make it get warm!

*The word "alas" used for Buddy B.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Seventy Nine and Snowy

There's an old saying here in Ohio that goes something like this, "If you don't like the weather here, stick around a few minutes. It's bound to change soon."

No kidding.

Yesterday it was seventy nine degrees here. Sunny. Absolutely gorgeous most of the day. I sat outside at lunch for a few minutes to enjoy it. Today, it's in the 30's and snowing! We dragged the winter coats back out again. How utterly disheartening.

Today, at least, I didn't have to look at the snow showers. I was stuck inside a room without windows, at a workshop I didn't want to attend. I took the sock. I knitted. Funny thing is, I think I actually paid better attention to what was going on because of the knitting. The knitting kept me from dwelling on how much I really did not want to be there, and how much work I had waiting back in my office at school. As much as my seventh graders make me crazy this time of year, there are many of them that need extra support now, in this last grading period. I poured that frustration into the sock. The heel flap was knit. I moved on to the heel decreases. By lunchtime I was ready to pick up the stitches and start the gussett. As soon as I finished the boxed lunch provided, I did exactly that.

After school I hauled in firewood so that I could fire up the woodstove yet again. It's nice to have a way to heat the house other than using my furnace, but after having windows open the past few days, I was sad to have to do this again. It's depressing.

Thank goodness my order from WEBS arrived to brighten the day! And my order from Cider Moon! (Pictures tomorrow, I promise.)

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

No Fooling!

Today I am going to meet The Yarn Harlot! I may even meet up with some fellow bloggers while in Ann Arbor. I have my book and sock in progress all set to go.

It's also Mayhem's 8th birthday. Yes, she's an April Fool. The joke's been on me ever since that day eight years ago!

I'll update you all later with pictures and details.

Back now with the scoop! First, Stephanie's flight was unable to land in Detroit. She was sent to Chicago where she had to find a different, later flight to Detroit. We were told that she would be two hours late. Thank goodness downtown Ann Arbor is loaded with things to see and do, including a decent yarn shop, Busy Hands, just two blocks from the library. Busy Hands was giving a 15% discount to all shoppers!

Fellow bloggers, Knitter Bunny (Kelli), Red Dog Knits (Kristi), OCD Knitting (Dana) and a group of others walked over to go shopping. I bought some light blue Reynolds Sea Wool to make (what else?) socks. After reading Kristi's blog and trading emails, it was fun to meet her, and surprising to find I was seated right behind her! Here she is with her Otis yarn.

Of course, while we waited, we all had knitting and it was fun to talk and see what everyone was working on. There were more socks than one could count. Others worked on shawls and sweaters. I even spied one older gentleman two rows in front of me knitting what appeared to be a sweater! (See, Buddy B? Men DO knit!)

Finally Stephanie arrived, breathless, running for the podium. Standing there in her beautiful Bohus sweater, the first word out of her mouth was, "Crap!" She then described the ordeal she had trying to get to Ann Arbor. I don't think the word "arse" ever came out of her mouth, though. Not even once!

The Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl McPhee, with me. She has my sock and I have hers. Steph even recognized me. "You're Karen in Toledo!"

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