Thursday, April 30, 2009

Escape from Reality

Sometimes it's good to run away from everything. That's what I did last weekend. The Insanknitty Retreat was the perfect escape from the reality that is my life - medical tests, kids crazy schedules, refinancing, etc.

An overnight knit-fest with 40+ knitters, many of whom are dear friends, was just what the doctor ordered. We holed up at Widewater Retreat Center from 9:00AM Saturday until 5:00PM Sunday. I ate too much, had a fabulous massage, knitted as much as I wanted, sat in the sun...
There were eight people assigned to my room, including me, not that we did much sleeping! That full room was by choice, because we knew we would be up late being silly. I think we went to bed around 2:10AM, and finally fell asleep around 3:00AM. Much knitting and spinning was accomplished, though. Even more laughter was accomplished, and at times we laughed until we cried. Picture a big slumber party with your closest friends, away from home. Add in knitting and silliness... like Jello wrestling.

And musical entertainment.
I had time to spin... here I am pre-drafting some fiber.

We had some basic spinning lessons with drop spindles.

My friends in attendance weren't just local friends. Becca and Kristy and Beth came in from Chicago. Cary drove up from Tennessee. I love your faces!
Who could be stressed with beauty like this to see all weekend?

The retreat was well-organized and loosely structured enough to be relaxing. I missed my kids, but the time away with my knitter friends to re-charge my batteries was so worth it! Bill deserves a special thank you for the camp chair with attached foot-rest. It was so comfy all weekend for knitting, sitting outside and relaxing... my pregnant friend Heather also appreciated it! Thanks so much for another considerate gift, Luv.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Just Keep Swimming

Without boring you with all the details, I've finished the round of medical tests related to my migraines. The MRI showed I do indeed have a brain in my head. The brain even fills the entire space! I was allowed to see some of the scans after asking the technician, and they were pretty awesome. While the tests are done, I don't have answers yet. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

My Dad just celebrated his 75th birthday and I knew I would be seeing the youngest of my great-nieces and great-nephews at his party. A.J. is not quite 18 mos. old and I wanted to give him something special. I decided to whip up an Oliphaunt. Here's my version:

This is knit with Brown Sheep Bulky on size 8 1/2 U.S. needles. I started it Saturday evening and finished it in the car Sunday on the way to Dad's party. Bill and the kids loved watching it take shape. By the way, Bill was driving.

My children were lovely for Dad's party, and Absent-Minded Professor agreed to wear something other than his usual black or grey t-shirt. My Mom was so pleased to see how nice he looked. I was stunned to see how grown he suddenly looks!

This weekend, my LYS is having a knitting retreat. 40 of us, maybe a few more, are heading off-site, overnight, to knit and be silly together. The weather is supposed to be gorgeous, and we will be together from 9 AM Saturday until 5 PM Sunday. I am taking 3-4 WIP's that I want to finish and also my spinning wheel.

If it's cold where you are, or you need a little hit of spring, this is for you. I took this photo on the way out of my hometown Sunday, after my Dad's party. The kids and I stopped to show Bill one of our favorite places, Kingwood Center.
Pink daffodils. I think I have to look for some of these to plant in the fall.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Photo Ops

Easter weekend photos for you...
Mayhem with the knitted Wiener Dog, which has been named Pinky. Pinky goes everywhere with Mayhem. She loves, loves, loves it! Details? Encore Worsted, size 7 needles and the book Knitted Toys by Zoe Mellor.

Absent-Minded Professor during the Easter Egg Hunt at Uncle Rudi's farm. Hey, there are eggs in the tree!

Beloved Bill, who became fast friends with Louie during the Egg Hunt festivities.
My darling parents, out for a walk together. Aren't they cute? Dad will be 75 this week, and the entire family is gathering to celebrate.
Random musings... I have a knitting retreat coming up April 25-26 that I am greatly looking forward to! I am in the process of refinancing my house for a great rate, but so is half the country, it seems, so it is slow going. I would appreciate some good thoughts this week. I have an MRI and MRA (angiogram) later this week. The MRA is to check for aneurysms and weak blood vessels - related to my migraines. It's that time of year when Bill and I get into full gear for the Washington DC trip, too. This year my Absent-Minded Professor is in 7th grade and he's going on the trip. Mayhem is playing softball again, so we're also busy running her to practice three days a week. Busy, busy, busy...

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Spooning With The Dog

My two very large Labs have become accustomed to sleeping with me in my king sized bed, and since I still stay on "my side" of the bed it isn't a problem. Last night, plagued by insomnia, and struggling to get comfortable, I finally fell asleep well after 2:00 AM and woke around 4:30, warm, and snuggly; wondering who in the world I was spooning with at my house. I must have been dreaming and hadn't gotten fully awake yet. Yeah, that was it. I was dreaming I was spooning... Only when I opened my eyes, I found that I had snuggled up to Bruno, my huge yellow Lab, who just turned eight years old this week. Happy Birthday, Old Pal. (Coco turned eight, too... or at least we think she did. She came from the pound and we made her birthday the same day as Bruno's.)

Note to self: Get a life. Soon.

Mayhem turned 10 this past week, and I celebrated by giving her a wiener dog. She's been begging for ages for a dog of her own. Wasn't she surprised to see that her crafty momma knitted it for her! I used the Dotty Dog pattern from Knitted Toys by Zoe Mellor. The dog is pink and purple, and ever since I presented it to her, she hasn't stopped toting it around. It's been dubbed "Pinkie" and I've already had to knit an i-cord collar for the new pet. Here's a cell phone photo of Pinkie in progress... the stripes are the belly. Can you see the hole for stuffing?

As soon as the home computer is deloused (Absent-Minded Professor downloaded a virus... darn junior high kid!) I will show you the complete doggy, and happy kid.

Sock Club at Yarn Cravin' is in full swing and we have some new challenges. I'm working on socks on two circular needles (a big change for me - I'm totally a dpn girl) and trying the Chevy pattern from Knitting Socks With Handpainted Yarn by Carol Sulcoski. This book is fabulous, and full of gorgeous patterns of all skill levels. Plus it explains how to avoid flashing and pooling that comes with using handpainted yarns. This photo shows my sock after just completing the set up rows.

The other day I posted that I had ordered The Knit Kit. Readers, it has arrived, and it is cool. "MacGyverish" is the best word I can think of to describe it. Really, everything you need is right there, in one little egg-shaped flat packet. It looks a bit like a birth-control packet, but performs beautifully! The thread cutter slices through yarn easily, allowing one to not even open the back to unfold the scissors. That prevents the spillage of the stitch markers. The tape measure works smoothly. The stitch counter works effortlessly, and with just enough pressure, plus also includes a lock for when you toss the whole kit back into your bag. I love that there's a little crochet hook included for picking up dropped stitches, although I probably would have tried to make it a bit finer for sock yarns. It's less than 1/2" thick, so this fits easily in any bag, even your purse. This is a great gift for other knitters, a treat for yourself is worth the $20, in my opinion.

Thank you, those of you that posted good thoughts about my health. The neuro appointment was long, but thorough. I have started a new med to prevent migraines. It has some strange side-effects, but I'm hanging in there. An EEG has already been done and I have more tests coming up. I will try to not bore you with details, but I'll keep you posted.

Is it Spring where you are? It's snowing here.

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Miss Me?

I know I have been M.I.A., and I apologize. There's been so much going on, but not that you would want to be bored with, I bet. (Some health issues for me, that I am sorting out with a neurologist and rheumatologist this month)

There's still knitting and fun with friends when I'm not totally incapacitated by pain or migraines.
Another dishcloth for at Bill's place.

Dinner and Knitting with Friends of P from Chicago... and a couple of brave men. ;-)

Green Cake and beer for St. Patrick's Day. (I saved you a bite!)

Want to see something cool I just bought? Knit Kit I ordered this from The Loopy Ewe, since I had a store credit - you know, being a frequent shopper will get you those! Once it arrives, a review on the performance will surely be in order.

BIG NEWS ALERT: My knitting friend Jeanne has just launched her own yarn line!! You can find her online shop and colorways here at Yarndeavors. I have bought some of this delicious, gorgeous yarn and let me tell you, this is one purchase you will NOT regret!!!

I will blog more, I promise. Rest assured, I am still alive. Just keeping my head above water.

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