Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Out with the old....

I can't believe it's the end of 2003. Time has gone by so fast and the past year has been full of both triumphs and failures - all of which held a good lesson or two.

I'm not much for resolutions, but this past week has been a time of reflection and need for change. So with that, I've set some new goals for 2004:

**No new patterns of ANY type - sewing, crochet or cross stitch
**Very minimal craft/needlework purchases - this is a use up my stash year.
**Minimal amount of seed purchases - I need to use the older ones up.
**More canning and freezing and more make-a-mixes. I'm tired of the substandard items I've been purchasing and paying high prices for.
**Better gardening techniques. I gotta get off my duff and weed more!!
**More prayer and Bible study time. I see things fall apart when I don't take the time to Walk with the Lord.
**Back to Family game night - we lost this in the hustle and bustle somewhere.
**Work harder with the children. When I slack off with them, they slack off.
**Less computer time. Yes, the online world has entranced me more than it should. I've dumped a lot of my lists - and there are still more I can do without.
**Tidy up the house. We are in such a small house that anything out of place makes it messy. Time to start sorting and throwing all the clutter.
**With no buying patterns and minimal amounts of needlework plus cutting back on the grocery bill, we should have more $ to put away in savings. I'm hoping at least $50 a month to go there.
**Learn a new craft and try something I've always wanted to do - I'm going to try quilting and make a rag rug. That should put a dent on the sewing stash I have in the attic.
**and finally - lose 30 pounds. I think that is a realistic goal. I could use more off, but 30 is a good start.

Hmmm - that should just about get me back on track :-)

Tonight we are having a nice turkey breast, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and corn. The kids have been drooling all afternoon as they smell the turkey cooking. Tomorrow is the traditional pork and sauerkraut with mashed potatoes. We add hotdogs and bacon to the pot right after the rue is added. It is the tradition of my family - handed from my grandparents and from theirs, with the saying that a person who eats pork and sauerkraut on New Years day, will not go broke during that year. So far, it's worked for us. LOL

With the hopes of new beginnings, I have been watching my favorite heirloom seed site for an updated catalog. Today Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds had their 2004 catalog online. I was looking for a couple of things, and found them. It was hard keeping the purchase to a minimum - so many wonderful and unusual seeds!! I did well tho :-) Jere has a cool bean called the 1500 Year Old Cave Bean. That bean seed was found in a sealed clay pot in New Mexico, and was carbon dated to find it was about 1500 years old. It was planted and found to still be viable! I had heard about this story a while ago, and was thrilled to find seeds of this bean!

So many of the seeds that our grandparents planted in their gardens cannot be found any longer. Heirloom seeds are a passion of mine, because they are just a small piece of history and heritage I can hand to my children. We grow and save what we can. We are always trying new seeds and it's a fun hobby for my son. He's met some wonderful people along the way, one being Brook Elliot who writes for such magazines like Mother Earth News and Heirloom Gardener. Brook and my DS write back and forth, and he treats DS like he's a person instead of a preteen. He takes my DS's hobby seriously and helps him with finding seeds. DS has a growing collection, including some seeds that have been traced back to those that Thomas Jefferson had. He swapped in a seed exchange, and these seeds have come from the family that had originally swapped with Jefferson. Tons of history - tons of cool facts - and lots of great veggies to boot! Coolest thing was finding out what a great gardener Jefferson was. Amazing! And they never taught us that in school. Such a pity!

This new year will be bringing lots of good changes to our family and again pointing us back to our roots. I need to simplify things here and I hope that the changes will make our quality of life better. I miss the farm life - and will just do the best here with what we have.

May you have a wonderful start to the new year.
and in the language of my roots:

German: Prosit Neujahr
Polish: Szczesliwego Nowego Roku
and American: Happy New Year!!!

Monday, December 22, 2003

Not much to report today. I finished a preemie blanket, and made a preemie hat to match. I found it in a bag almost done, so instead of moving the bag again, I just finished it.

I'm on DD's hood now. Since doing socks, my picking up stitches is neater and more evenly spaced, but I always like a neater appearance than I get. It seems I can always find fault with my spacing.

I spent the night getting packages out and packed in the van, and making sure I've cataloged what each box has in it. The van is much fuller than the picture I posted a few days ago!! I hope this makes everyone's Christmas enjoyable.

I heard about the earthquake today on the news. My heart goes out to everyone that has been touched by that quake. It has hit at such a bad time with the holidays. But then again, when is a good time?

I still have baking to get done and wrapping as well. I hate wrapping and always put it off to the last minute - then DH feels badly and he helps out. Who says procrastination doesn't pay? :-)

Sunday, December 21, 2003

We took the kids up to my brother's today to let them go help pick out his Christmas tree. They always have such a blast doing anything with my brother because he's just so "cool". Amazing - I never thought of him being "cool" while growing up! LOL Nayhow, they will be staying there for the next few days and we'll all celebrate Christmas there.

While they were out hunting for the perfect tree, I ended up staying at the farm with my Dad and DH. We had a nice visit, and while we were talking, I ended up making 7 preemie hats. I don't every go anywhere without my yarn and needles anymore. Any time I can, I try to get a few stitches in. :-)

I finished the sleeves on the LB Hooded Sweater. Now I need to just do the hood and sew everything together, and I'll be finished. I'm sure this will be done in time, and I know she's going to be happy. She was so disappointed when she found her last Hooded Sweater I made here was getting too small.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

We finally got to pick up the kids' projects that they made at the Corning Glass Works today. They came out beautiful! I had to clean out a shelf in my display case so that I had a place to show them off.

The trip to the Glass Works is well worth the time and money. The kids had a great time and didn't want to leave!

I finished the afghan and am very pleased with the results. I wish I had kept track of where each square came from, as I think it would have made this a bit more interesting. I had a hard time trying to get the whole thing in my picture. I didn't realize it was as big as it ended up being, until I laid it out.

I'm almost done with the sleeves for DD's sweater and was amazed at the color difference between the two sleeves. Both are from the same dye lot, but I wouldn't believe it. Too late now - must continue and finish. Hopefully one won't notice because of the amount of distance between the 2 sleeves when they are on the sweater.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

I have finished putting my brother's afghan together, and am now weaving in the ends... and ends.... and ends... and ends.... OMG! There must be close to a thousand or at least it sure seems that way. I hate ends, and every block I traded for came with them hanging all over, or if they were woven in, quite a few of them came apart. So, I'm doing most of them over, if they look the least bit loose.

I had to make a trip up in the attic to see if I could find any more black yarn for the border of the blanket. Oh goodness! I found something very important out - NEVER store your acrylic yarn in a dark place next to other acrylics. They multiply like nobody's business!!! Those shameless skeins! And here I was planning on trying it use it all up in afghans, charity items and misc things next year- but after viewing what those naughty things did, it's going to be near impossible to wipe them out in just a year. SIGH....

I was at my brother's the other day, and we had a really nice time just hanging out and enjoying country life. That spoiled brat of a brother of mine gets to see a sunset every evening. Ah, what a lucky guy he is! We have mountains all around us, so we never see it rise or set. Just have a look at what he sees all the time:

Of couse, my picture doesn't do that sunset justice. It was just breathtaking.

Well, enough gabbing for tonight. I've got to get back to the blanket and start weaving in those ends in again.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

FINALLY!! A post that is going through! I kept getting internal server errors every time I've tried posting since my last entry. I know my blog isn't the most exciting, but it must be worse than I thought when even the Blogger software rejects it! LOL

The pending holidays have kept us busy!! Packages come in every day from AC4C for the St. Anthony's Center. Here's a pic of the second load that went down this morning:

It amazes me how generous people are. All those packages have beautiful handmade items and/or purchased items to go for the Christmas Eve dinner and party that the Center puts on.

Well, our hunters didn't bring any venison home this year. Saturday was the last day for deer, so we'll have to wait until next year now.

I'm about 1/3 of the way on the sleeves of the LB Hooded Sweater for DD. I'm working them both at the same time. Seems slower going, but I like having them done together. No second sleeve syndrome that way :-) I'm also working on a large afghan/blanket for my brother. For the last couple of years, I've been swapping 6" squares to make a friendship afghan. I am now putting that together and have some of the verticle seams to stitch up yet, then the border and ends to weave in , and it's done. I put a black border on each square before stitching them together and it really makes the colors stand out. What a bright and cheerful blanket it has turned out to be!

This next week is going to be busy finishing all the projects I've got on the needles. It's amazing how fast time is going!!! I really love it, tho.

I was going through all my patterns and yarn plus other craft stuff and I made a comment to my DH that I really need to go on a pattern diet. That man just about laughed himself silly. "So you don't think I can go a year without buying a pattern?" and his response was "ABSOLUTELY NOT!" - sounds like a challenge to me.... So I'm on a pattern diet. Not a cent is going to be spent on a pattern of any type over the next year. I'll show that boy :-)

Sunday, December 07, 2003

I received my first request to send out an angel for Angels for Hope today. I'll have it done tomorrow and in the mail by Tuesday. I've also got a package of preemie hats that needs packed and sent. Hopefully, I'll have that out on Tuesday also.

DS and DH are still at my brothers. We'll be picking them up tomorrow. DD doesn't want to, though. She says she's been having so much fun with just "us" here. We've been watching movies, eating popcorn, playing games, and all that great one-on-one stuff we normally don't get to do. I think I'm having as much fun as she is :-)

I unknitted the seam on the LB Hooded Sweater and knitted it correctly this time. I'm knitting the sleeves now - both at the same time. They always seem to go so much faster when I do them together, than when I do one at a time. Nothing else much to report. I spent most of the time today "playing" with DD, since it's our last day alone without the guys. I don't know who is more disappointed that this is coming to an end - her or me!

Saturday, December 06, 2003

So, where are my entries again? Ahhhh - long story, but to make it short, we tried a new ISP to save $. Well, you know the saying, "you get what you pay for"? Ahhh - that's what we got. :-( I tried posting a few times on here and the page would come up unavailable, I'd reload and everything would be gone! I did that a couple of times and then realized that it was our new ISP and not Blogger. We had problems with email, the newsgroups, bringing up pages - oh what fun. But everything is back to normal now. We are going with our old ISP.

I finished DS's Weekend Sweater all except for the grafting of the underarms. I was lucky and he didn't realize what I was working on the other night. He thinks that what I had was black, white and gray. HAHAHAHA!!! DD's Hooded Sweater now needs a bit of . I have the front and back done, and did the 3 needle bind-off - came out nicely, except it was done on the wrong side. See what happens when you watch those sappy Christmas love stories and knit at the same time?!! I decided it was enough and went to bed.

A couple of FO's to report - 2 more preemie hats and a hat for DD. I got the Gotcha Covered free project sheet from Red Heart and made an adorable hat for DD using Red Heart's Baby Clouds . It wasn't the easiest to use, but it came out so cute! DD loves it and says it's really warm.

DH doesn't like his scarf - like that's news. I told him he doesn't want a scarf - that it won't meet his needs, but he insisted, and now he's not happy. Oh men! They can't be told a thing, can they? Back to the drawing board again. I did inform him that I won't be getting it done this year. I've messed around with his pickiness too much as it is, and I need to get the Christmas stuff done now.

No pics for a bit - my brother has borrowed the camera for a while. He got a new pc that was supposed to be HP camera ready, and believe it or not, it's missing the driver needed for his camera. AND to get the driver, they are charging for it! So much for camera ready!!!! In the meantime of trying to decide what to do, he's using ours. I had no idea I used it so much until it wasn't here.

I'm trying to decide how to log my projects that I've finished. I hate having to go back through the archives to find out information - plus some of the things don't have all the notes I wish I had put down now. I'll have to just sit down and try a few things to see how they work, instead of just thinking about it.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

A good mail day today!!! I received my auction winnings (2 of the 3) and am very well pleased! The Knit Kit was the same thing I bought my mother years ago. It was in perfect condition - absolutely new and still sealed!!! That was like seeing an old friend come in the mail :-) I've been enjoying going through it and can't wait to get into the meat of the book. There's a lot on designing in it. Wonderful!!!

The other auction I won was a lot of 40 patterns. Only a couple listed in the description, so it was fun going through the "grab bag" assortment. I was far from disappointed. Beautiful patterns!!! I had well over $100 worth for the huge bid of $1.99. There was the right place at the right time scenario.

I did 2 more preemie hats today, and I got about 2-1/2 inches more done on the Weekend Sweater. I'm so close to getting it done. I got the second decrease around the yoke done tonight. I was knitting happily away watching TV when DS came out of his room to get a drink. BUSTED! I'm sure he saw it, but I'm so hoping that it went flying out of sight fast enough. If not, oh well - he'll know one of the things he's getting for Christmas. It gets harder every year to make things to surprise the kids. The get wiser as they get older! (well at least in the snooping aspect) LOL

Monday, December 01, 2003

No venison for my freezer - yet. With the price of beef going up, I'd welcome a deer or two.

I'm going on a yarn diet - actually I think a stash diet. I've got enough in my stash to keep my busy for a while. I need to start whittling that down some. I look at it all and feel guilty. I certainly don't want to put myself in the same trap as I did with my cross stitch obsession. I was a professional cross stitcher for the last 15 years, doing models for designers and shops, and my excuse for buying it all was I needed to be familiar with the newest stuff. HA! (liar, liar, pants on fire!!) Now I'm slowly destashing, as there is no way I'll ever be able to make everything in 5 lifetimes! I'm finding that it's difficult to get rid of my stash, though. It's like I have a personal attatchment to them, but too much stuff makes it difficult to keep a clean house. I really need to downsize. And not just a little.....

The boxes are coming in for the St. Anthony's Center. I've got a bunch in the middle of the living room ready to get taken down. The members of AC4C are doing a wonderful job at sending things! The kids are having a great time helping catalog everything that is coming in, and they are anxious to go to the Center to take the things in. I hope that they will continue to help those that need it after they grow up and leave home. We are talking about getting more involved at the center - doing some volunteer work, but am not sure if the kids are too young, though. Besides, it will have to wait until we get our other vehicle fixed and back on the road. DH had an argument with a deer a bit ago, and disabled our van. I really haven't missed the second vehicle, but there are times it's nice to have.

I can't believe that Christmas is almost here. I'm finishing up on my list. Most of the things are handmade for family. We still need to bake and wrap things for those bachelors on our list. They love getting cookies, candy and other things they don't take the time to make for themselves. I have one cousin that lives totally on take-out. And a SIL that can't cook or at least won't.

I'm working on preemie hats right now - found the cutest pattern for one that gives many options on how to crochet it. They work up so quickly and are just adorable. I did 3 preemie hats up today. I also made an angel and 3 butterflies for Angels for Hope and it appears that they all have homes already.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Wow!! I can't believe it's been almost a week since I've written. We've been quite busy with the holidays. We ended up attending 2 dinners - at my brothers on Thanksgiving, and then the inlaws on Saturday. I've finally learned NOT to go back for seconds, no matter how good the food is.

I've been spending a little time online looking at different charities, and found lots of fantastic causes. Many are for preemies, but these were just a bit different, and should be given recognition:

Online Angels will send a Loveghan to someone who has suffered a tragedy, loss of loved one, severe illness, or someone who just need to be uplifted.

Angels for Hope sends an adorable angel, butterfly or smiley face to "those who are severely injured and/or chronically ill, as well as their caregivers, or just someone that needs hope - as a tangible reminder that you are not alone, that others care, and that we remember you in our thoughts and prayers".

Hugs and Hope is a "club" that sends cards, gifts, and love to children and families of children that are very ill.

I've done more on the Weekend Sweater this past week, and only have 2 more decreases to go on the yoke, then all that's left is the collar and grafting the underarms. I'm anxious to get it done!

DH needed a scarf for hunting tomorrow, so we went to Walmart looking for Lion Brand Chenille Sensations, but didn't find it, just the Thick 'N Quick. He doesn't like how thick that came out when I did DS and DD their scarves with it, so I had to look for something else just as soft. I found Red Heart Plush in a very pretty French Blue. It isn't as soft as chenille, but did well in a pinch. I started and finished the scarf today and did it crochet, even though I prefer clothing knitted. I really didn't have much choice with the time frame in which it was needed. I'm hoping for a good report on the scarf when he comes home tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

I've been on a roll making preemie hats. I added 5 more to the collection. I'm up to 12 hats and 3 blankets now. I'll be sending these to Olivia's Angels .

I've slacked off on my charity crafting this past year. I'm going to make a contract with myself to do more next year. I think with the items for CIC and the monthly projects for AC4C, I should be able to keep more on track.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Not much new today. It's been dreary, very windy, and then rainy and cold, and the kids seem to reflect the weather's mood.

I needed some instant gratification tonight, so I did up a couple of preemie hats from an old Carewear pattern. I used to get their newsletter before getting on the web - years ago, and have been doing preemie items on and off since then. I see I need to download the most recent newsletter. They always have great patterns in them.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

I took a short break to renew and take time to knit. I didn't get near as much knitting done as I'd like to have done, but I did get a much needed rest. The kids went to my brothers house and stayed overnight, DH was out hunting with DS and I had the day to myself yesterday. I think I could use a few more days of that!!

I finished the scarf I was crocheting. I honestly don't care for the crochet "feel". The scarf is not as soft as a knit one, but maybe after I wash it, it will feel better. Here's a pic of it's detail:

It was quick and easy, but just not the nice knitted feel that I love so much.

I also finished the second sock of the second pair I've done for CIC. It came out nicely, and I'm pleased with my matching the colorway on it. DH was amazed that they really look almost exactly alike. I'm pleased :-)

I've casted on another sock for CIC. This one is also in Regia 6 Crazy Colors. I love the colors on this one. I've only got the cuff done so far, but it will go quickly.

DH's sock got a few rows done on the cuff. I've changed my mind from 2" to 3" on it. Once I get off the cuff, it should go faster. I'm trying to decide what heel I like better. The CIC socks help there, because I'm trying different styles of heels on them to see what I like.

I downloaded the new issue of Stranded (see sidebar) and the Isis Waiting Socks are BEAUTIFUL!!! Can't wait to get a chance to do them. I'm also anxious to get the new Heels & Toes Gazette (also see sidebar) as Dawn posted a sneak preview and it looks wonderful!!!! They are both fantastic newsletters!! I don't know which one I enjoy more, as they are both so full of information. I love Stranded because it focuses on different countries, yarns, histories, and techniques. Heel & Toes Gazette focuses on different socks, yarn weights, techniques, and has reviews on yarns and other items. Both are full of valuable information and I all the issues from the beginning with both. I love seeing how they have evolved and gotten better (if that's possible).

DS wore his new hunter's orange hat yesterday. I forgot to ask him if it was itchy or not. He's really picky about that stuff and won't wear an itchy piece of clothing. Hope it was OK.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Today I have dusted off the crochet hooks to try the 1 Hour Baby Sweater to see if I'd like to use it for charity. It's finished, and I have to admit, it took me longer than an hour to do. It looks nice and looks like the picture, but I hate doing all the seams. Yes, I know, it's just the hard cold fact of making clothing :-)

On the yarn label, there was a cute scarf pattern, so I'm trying that out to see how it turns out. I love making things from free patterns. Do you think it's the tightwad in me surfacing?

Both items are made from acrylic yarn, as they will be going to charities here in the US. I'm finding that charities here don't want to deal with wool and other natural fibers. Such a shame, as they are sacrificing warmth with that attitude. No complaints on this end though, as I have an outlet for all the acrylic I've inherited and collected over the years.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

I didn't tell the story of DS's hat and how it came about. DH wanted a gaitor - so I made one to his specifications - it fit nicely and with the spiral rib that I put in the middle, would stay up well. He hated the Bartlettyarn it was made out of. Complained about it being itchy and said he wouldn't wear it. Even after I assured him the wool would get softer with washing. I could have but I didn't. It went from this:

to this:

It was a little large on DS, so I fulled it a little and will try it on him tomorrow. It should be dry by then.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

My first pair of CIC socks are finished and I'm on to the next. This pair is being done it Regia 6 Crazy Colors #5261.

I'm using Fiber Gypsy's Custom Fits Socks - Cuff to Toe to figure out how to do the small sizes. What a great book!! In the back it has a chart so that you can use those measurements in case you can't personally measure someone. It helped me out tremendously!

I just finished DS's hat using the hunter orange Bartlettyarn. It's washed and rolled in a towel right now, ready to be blocked as soon as I'm done here. Sadly, he won't be able to wear it hunting because it's not fluorescent orange and our laws state it must be. Ah well - he'll just have to wear it around during the winter. I should have made a pumpkin hat out of it instead. He'd have looked so cute in that!

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Boy - was eBay a baaaad place for me to hang out at today!!! I found some great bargains and actually won some of them :-) I've been looking for the Mon Tricot Knitting Dictionary for a while now, and every time I've seen it, it's been a bit more than I wanted to pay. Waiting has paid off! Another exciting win was the Knit Kit. I had purchased one like this years ago for my mother, and I wanted to get one for me, but haven't been able to find it. That is, until today!! I also won 3 books from the same seller: Designer Knitting by Nina Shuttlewood & Janet Biggs, Exclusively Yours by Frances Kennett, and Gift Knits by Chris Rankin. I have no idea what these books are like, but at $1 each, I figured I must be able to find at least one thing I can make out of each of them. And last but not least, I won a lot of 40+ patterns that included a couple of patterns from Michele Wyman. I don't know what all is coming, but my price for the whole lot, including shipping and the MO was less than the cost of one of her patterns!

I got confirmation back from Suzanne from the former Wanderings, and I got all the Polar Lopi I ordered from her. I'll be using some of that for the What's In My Pocket Vests we are doing as a KAL for CIC.

I enjoy making things for charities, but there are so many out there, one can wear thin. I've got 3 boxes of hats, mittens and toys,etc. for out local shelter. I'm the contact person for there, and I get donations from time to time for it. I just received a box of hats from a woman's church group. What a wonderful job they did!!! I'm hoping to get this all to the center soon.

I now have 3 pairs of socks going. DH's is going to take a while. The Kroy 3-ply I'm using is THIN and seems to take forever to see any progress. I worked on that tonight. Tomorrow, I'm planning on working on the Weekend Sweater since football is on. I won't have to worry about DH talking to me while I'm counting :-) Then back to the Lion Brand hooded sweater. I've gotten spoiled with knitting in the round, and now I don't want to work on it, as it's flat knitting. I just need to get over the hump and back to it, and I'll be ok. It won't take very long to get it all done, but I really hate sewing up seams. One of these days I'm going to take a class on finishing.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

DH made it home safely from Pittsburgh last night. It's a miracle, too, because the silly man rode on a tire that was coming apart. I sat in amazement as he told the story of how the belt broke, then how he lost a piece of the tire, and then decided that he'd try to get home on it, and just change to the emergency tire if he needed to. Good Heavens! It makes me shudder just thinking about it.

No knitting last night as we spent the time catching up after a week of quiet, blissful evenings knitting. LOL Today, I was going to get back to work on my normal projects, but decided that I needed to do something for CIC - a cute little sock from Countrywool that can be found in their charity section. It didn't take very long to get the first one done, just a couple of hours. I'm ready to do the heel on my second sock, but I'm going to wait until tomorrow. Short rows aren't my strong point yet, and it's getting late now.

I used Bartlettyarn's 2-ply in Spice Heather and
I'm working it at 5 sts to the inch. It's turning out to be a very dense and heavy sock. Certainly one that should keep a pair of little feet warm.

I visited the <strong>CIC website and read about their trip to the different orphanages, and was mortified at some of the things I read. Certainly a motivator for me to get moving on knitting a pair of socks or 2.

The kids are both down with colds, so we decided to stay home this weekend. DS and DH didn't go hunting, and we didn't get any wood, either. Just a quiet, relaxing day here. On that note, I'm going to climb into a nice warm waterbed (that tells my age, eh?) and read a chapter or 2 of Harry Potter.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Windy, cold and snowing, but we're still here and still warm :-) My heart goes out to everyone that lost power - too dang cold and breezy to be without heat!

It was a great mail day today!! My package from Bartlettyarns arrived. I'll have to find a good pattern for making a hat for DS now. The orange is really hunter orange, but I doubt if I'll have time to get it done by Saturday morning. I do have a long night tonight, and maybe even time tomorrow before hubby comes home.

Also in the mailbox was a package of yarn to put away for my CIC knitting next year. I would like to start now, but between working with our local charity (I'm the contact person) and all the Christmas knitting I need to finish yet, it appears I won't have much time for anything for CIC. I so look forward to making "little" items again. Funny how one misses it when the kids get bigger!

I did give DD her poncho - as she's been slighted some with all the guys are getting for their hunting expeditions. She was thrilled and has come up with all kinds of other things I should make for her. I found a cute crocheted hat pattern that was quick and easy, and seems to go pretty well with the style of the poncho.

I the poncho looks a little strange with her red shirt showing underneath. It must be a big hit with her, though, because she hasn't taken either off since early this afternoon when I gave them to her.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

The weather report sounds unsettling for the rest of tonight into tomorrow evening. High winds, heavy rain, thunderstorms, and then snow tomorrow. With this kind of forecast, we may be out of power tomorrow. I don't mind outages, except when temps drop below freezing - gets darn cold in here. No sense worrying about it until it happens. Will draw water tonight to make sure we have some in case it does.

Exciting things happened in my world of knitting today!!! I made a swatch from the Bartlettyarns, and wasn't keen on how it felt against the skin. Still a bit itchy and harsh - so off it went to be felted. A trip through hot in the washer didn't do a thing to it, so I did the rest by hand. I now have a sturdy piece of felt - just gorgeous!!! It was soo cool having it all happen in my hands - a knit rectangle just turned into a felted piece - like magic. I think I'm in love!!! Now, to just have time to do a felted bag.

I finished knitting the Poncho and it turned out nicely. I still need to weave in ends and make the tie and pompoms. That can wait until tomorrow night. I'm debating whether to give it to DD now or at Christmas. I'll have to check the stash of gifts and see... It was such a quick item to make, that I wouldn't mind doing another one for her. I've also considered a hat to match, since I have quite a bit of yarn left over.

I also put a little time in DH's socks. A few more rows were done to the ribbing. A HUGE contrast going from 3 strands of KW to fine sock yarn. Oh, but isn't that what I love most about knitting? The diversity of it all - nothing gets boring.

Well, enough writing for tonight - past my bedtime, and coming up on the pumpkin hour....

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

YIPEE!!! The EZ 3-Cornered Shawl is finished!

I have it on our sofa, and it measures over six feet long, so that will give you an idea of how big the shawl is. I haven't blocked it yet - it's just fresh off the needles. It's been damp and windy day today, and the house is chilly. I tried the shawl on just to see how it would feel - and I'm in love!!! I'm going to hate taking it off to wash and block.

The Unspun Icelandic is going to be a staple in my yarn stash. I'm quite impressed with it, to say the least.

Tonight, I'm planning on curling up in front of the TV to watch 24 and Judging Amy and work on some Christmas knitting. I still have DD's and DS's sweaters, plus DD's poncho to do, so I'll choose whatever moves me to knit tonight. Hmmm, and DH thought that I'd miss him while he's away taking a class.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Another 12 degree morning. Sure was hard climbing out of bed and starting the day. The house seemed so cold and quiet. I turned the heat up and climbed back between the covers with HP and read another chapter before the kids started to surface.

My package from Schoolhouse Press came today! OHHH! I love getting shipments from Meg!! The video for the Dubbelmossa is wonderful and now I wish I hadn't spent my money elsewhere, and saved it for these videos instead. They are an absolute must have!!! I also am thrilled with the Spun-Outs that I picked up this time. DS wants me to do the Balaclava Helmet that's in #8 and he loves the scarf "hat" on the video. I have to stop showing these guys stuff, because I'll never get any knitting done for myself! LOL

I started to swatch the yarns from Bartlettyarns and I'm ending up with a sore finger from it. It's rough but I've heard it washes up nicely. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I won't have much problem working with it, because I have 9 skeins to use up. Two of them are the fluorescent orange color I need for the guys' hunting caps.

I'm making a decent sized swatch to wash for clothing, and will do another to see how it felts. I'm dying to make a felted bag for myself. My handles on my purse are giving way and I don't like the ones I'm finding at the store. So this time I'm making my own. Not sure if I want it out of the Bartlettyarn or Plymouth Galway.

I'm going to take this evening to watch Meg's video again and now that I have the rest of the Unspun Icelandic that I needed, I might just come close to finishing the 3-Cornered Shawl! DH and I were discussing that if it turns out well and large enough, we may consider giving one to his mom for Christmas. That won't bother me in the least, as I love working with both the yarn and love how it's turning out.

Off to finish dinner and then for a quiet night of knitting....

Sunday, November 09, 2003

We had 12 degrees at 7:30 this morning! All my plants that were trying to hang on, lost their battle and have decided it's time to rest. It sure has put me in the mood to want to knit more warm things. DD complains about her nose being cold, so I'm thinking about making her a nosewarmer.

No knitting on the Weekend Sweater tonight. DS was up later than normal reading the end to the latest Harry Potter book. (Finally it's all mine now!!!) So, not to be caught working on it, I decided to start the poncho that DD's been begging for. The project is so Q&E that I ended up twice!! Good thing I didn't work on that sweater tonight - can't imagine how I could have screwed that one up. Even with all the , I still completed about 10". I'm going to make it the long length, and if I like it, may do another in the cropped length.

I've been in the attic tonight and found more acrylic yarn there than I thought. Ohhhh! I think they are breeding up there. Wish my wool would do that :-) Since I do charity crochet and knitting, I am going to set goals to use it as much as possible next year. I enjoy doing the charity knitting as I get to use patterns and experiment with things I normally wouldn't. I get to make baby things and all those cute toddler items that I don't have a need for any more. With donations here in the States, they normally request synthetic yarns -vs- projects like CIC. With my stash almost totally acrylic, I'll continue mostly knitting for here, however, I do love the projects CIC does, so will have to knit a couple pairs of socks to send. As I do more with wool, and my stash changes over to the natural fibers, I'll be able to do more for them.

Well, I'm towing my sorry butt to bed and reading Harry Potter for a while until I can't keep my eyes open. That should be all of about 5 minutes :-)

Saturday, November 08, 2003

What a sight the lunar eclipse was! Too bad temps were so cold. Already 19 degrees here and I'm sure I'll go lower before morning. Brrr.... The kids braved the weather much better than we did. The total eclipse was amazing and here's a pic with it almost totally covered:

It's not as clear as we'd like to have had it, but I don't think it's too bad considering DH was holding the digital camera when he took it. Where's a tripod when you need one?!

I knitted quite a bit last night, and ended up going too long and was too tired to enter in progress. I got the Weekend Sweater to the point of attatching the sleeves and a couple of rounds around the yoke.

To me it looks way too small, but I've measured it and measured it, and it's on the money. I'm guessing that yoke really will make a difference.

I've finished my first wheel of Unspun Icelandic. That stuff is amazing to work with!!! Now I'm at a stall on the 3-Cornered Shawl until my package from Schoolhouse Press arrives. This is my progress before the wheel was finished - it's an amazingly simple but pretty shawl!

I'm not sure if I did the lace inserts correctly, though. EZ is wonderful with her directions, giving the knitter so much freedom, but now I need more direction, not exactly sure what I should be doing, and there isn't any. I've posted a question to the KAL that did this shawl, but there has been no response so far. They're off on a charity KAL, and I assume that since it's off-topic it's not to be addressed. Sigh.... That's ok though, as I'm learning this way :-)

Thursday, November 06, 2003

What a dark and dreary day!! No rain, but it was so cloudy that everyone drove by with their lights on. Honestly, it looked about like it was heading towards dusk all day long. The air has a real chill and the weather report says that tonight will be the coldest in 7 months. Winter is coming.....

Guess I won't be done any too soon on the 3-Cornered Shawl!! I'm a little unsure about the directions. EZ leaves so much room for interpretation and change, that I'm always a bit apprehensive that I'm doing something wrong. Much different than being the blind follower!! It was easier then... LOL

I really do like working on the shawl, and I've decided to just add a couple of strips of lace instead of adding it through the whole shawl. The lace is around the bottom edge for some decoration, and then I'll just do the rest as solid for warmth. Guess this shawl will be finished none too soon.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I get my package from Schoolhouse Press. I'm dying to get my fat little fingers on that video. I'm planning on a week of working on the Dubbelmossa. Can't wait!!!!

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

The beautiful weather was just too good to last. It's been pouring here all day, and has chilled down to the 50's with colder temps forecasted for tonight.

In the spirit of the colder weather, I decided to pull out my 3-Cornered Shawl (an Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern) and a wheel of cream Un-spun Icelandic wool. I've been dying to try this pattern and yarn out, so I swatched and was amazed at how strong the wool is when it appears so delicate. This is a first for me using it, and also a first for doing the Cable Cast-on as well. What fun!!!!

Our group had a KAL for this shawl before I joined, so I'm trying out back projects using their tutorials. The group used Shetland Jumper Weight, but I wanted a nice warm shawl just like the one EZ did. I'm a cold person, and I need all the warmth I can get.

There was a wonderful discussion on the Knitlist recently about Schoolhouse Press videos, and that's all I needed to make a decision on purchasing them. I've been putting it off, not sure if they were worth the price or not. Well... after that discussion, there were no longer any doubts!!! I had order the Swedish Dubbelmossa kit a bit ago, then ended up having to wait for my needles to start. Well, I've been putting it off because I wanted to do the jogless technique that Meg has "unvented", but wasn't really clear on it. I decided today to buy the video that goes along with the kit. It covers a few things I've never seen before, so it will be a real treat to watch them being done.

I also ordered another wheel of Unspun, and the following Spun-Outs #8 Five Woolly Hats, #9 A Horde of Hats, and #13 Ponchos. I'm looking forward to getting this shipment and casting on my Dubbelmossa next week.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

I can't believe we had another beautiful day. Some areas here have hit record high, but not broken them. With the wind picking up tonight, I'm sure we'll be seeing rain by morning.

I didn't do any knitting during the day today. Too many other things required attention. I did pull out the scarf I'm making for my daughter though, and finished that tonight.

I used one strand Patons Cha Cha and size 15 needles casting on 22 stitches. Was done in garter stitch until I ran out of yarn. I originally started this on 14 stitches, but was just a bit too narrow for my taste, so I ripped it out and increased the stitch count. It's a much nicer width now.

I think DD's going to like it - the colors certainly reflect her personality, and it's so soft. She's a nut for soft fuzzy things :-)

Monday, November 03, 2003

What a gorgeous day today! The sun was shining and temps reached 70! The kids enjoyed probably the last nice day of the year. They're calling for 40's by the end of the week. I think winter will soon be here to stay.

As promised (but a bit late), here's a pic of the Ladder of Life Socks:

A great package from Dawn Brocco came today. I so enjoy getting new yarns! I ordered a few skeins of Bartlettyarn in spice heather and white, Reynolds Candide in crimson and Brown Sheep Handpaint Originals in Cream Puff. I also purchased her Sweatshirt Jacket for Women pattern. I can't wait to have time to make it for myself. I think it will make a nice jacket for spring and fall. I've also considered making her other Sweatshirt Jacket which is a hooded version and is a heavier/warmer jacket. She has so many lovely patterns though, so it will be hard to choose what to do first. I have a feeling I'll be buying a lot from her in the future.

I did ask the Knitlist about the curling on my shawl, and the response has been that the crochet edging will take care of the curling. That's a relief!

I ended up ripping out Curt's sock - it just wasn't coming out the way I wanted, so I'm starting from the beginning again. I went down a needle size and won't continue the 2x2 ribbing all the way to the heel. Right now I don't have any plans for it, so will decide on what to do after I finish the ribbing - the whatever the mood strikes me to do then.

I'm a bit bummed that the group that I was doing the Weekend Sweater with seems to have moved on to a different direction, and I don't have anyone to finish a sweater with. I only know of one lady that has finished hers, and she was the leader of the group - so she was working ahead of us. I don't need anyone to do it with, but it was fun while it lasted.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

It appears we will be going to my brother's every Sunday for a while now. It's that time of the year when we cut wood and get ready for winter. Actually, this year we are a bit late, but the weather seems to be holding well.

I take it that we aren't the only ones late this year. The farmer that we get our pig from every year won't have them done until at least January. Usually we have it before Thanksgiving. It will work in nice if the guys get a deer, but will cause us to have to buy some meat at the market, if they don't.

Even though we were at the farm today, I still got some knitting in. I really wanted to work on the Weekend Sweater, but I'm at that point where I need to really concentrate as I'm adding the sleeves and then doing the short row shaping. If you haven't already guessed, I finished the second sleeve last night.

Anyhow, I settled for taking the Easy Knit Shawl instead. It's a simple enough pattern but I don't like how the point curls up. I don't know if the crocheted edging will fix that or not. Since I started at the point, I don't know how I'll be able to rectify it. Think I'll post to the Knitlist to see if others have had this problem.

Friday, October 31, 2003

We had a lovely evening out tonight! We had a family vote last night and decided on a "real" sit-down restaurant instead of Pizza Hut or a buffet. The kids usually want to eat at the pig-out type of buffets and to me, the food tastes all the same - just seems to become more unimpressive every time we go to one. This time we had service from beginning to end and the food was fantastic! The kids were very surprised that they left very full and content with good food. :-)

Had a good mail day today. Received the OOP books I ordered a bit ago. I've been looking for interesting books on making sweaters and found two that I had hoped would enhance my knitting library.

Knitting Sweaters the Easy Way was purchased with no real idea what it would be like. I couldn't find any information about it, but I did know that Farm Journal has fantastic cookbooks, so I took a chance. I am pleased with what came. Being written in the 80's, the sweaters are a bit dated, but nothing with the huge batwing or shoulder pad look. Many could easily be used now. I'm looking forward to trying some, and Becky is in love with a couple that she says she HAS to have for her wardrobe.

Classy Knitting is an impressive book. It starts out with the basics such as how to knit, but as you progress into the book, it's full of invaluable information. It is a basic step-by-step guide to making and designing sweaters. I am very anxious to read this one.

I did get a little knitting done on Becky's EZ Fit Tube Sock. She doesn't want me to change the pattern at all, so I guess I won't try to improve the pattern - at her request.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

The sky was amazing tonight! I have never seen the Northern Lights like they were as darkness set in. We had a beautiful display of reds, gold, orange and white. Just stunning!!

I just put the finishing stitches in the Ladder of Life Socks. Hubby is anxious to try them out on Saturday morning. I hope they're dry in time. I'll probably put them outdoors to hang tomorrow if the weather is nice. That will speed them up. I'll post pics of the socks tomorrow.

We always take the kids out for dinner on Halloween instead of doing the "Trick or Treating" scene. They enjoy picking out a place to eat, and then we usually go shopping somewhere after dinner. I'm looking forward to not cooking dinner and having a night out, but I'll miss my knitting time. We usually are out late, and tired when we come home.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

I've spent quite a bit of time going over the all the issues of Heels & Toes Gazette and there is just so much information in them, that it's just going to take time to digest it all! I want to try to knit all the socks in them, and I'm hoping to make that my goal for the next year or two. All the patterns are lovely, the instructions appear to be very well written and detailed. I'm so very pleased with this wonderful gift that Curt got for me. I'm lucky that he tolerates and supports my knitting habit (just wish he understood the obsession more!!)

I finished the first of the Ladder of Life Socks except for the Kitchener stitching of the toe. I decided that I needed a much quieter atmosphere to do it in, so I'm going to wait until the morning to work on that. What a lovely sock! My daughter now wants a pair for her wardrobe now. I keep adding more and more socks to the 2-do list these days!!! It's amazing to me that my handiwork is in such high demand. Certainly didn't happen when I was crocheting. No one cared for the texture of the sweaters/clothing and how many afghans can one use?

I needed some mindless knitting in front of the tv tonight, so I picked up the tube sock to work on for a while. The long awaited 24 had its season premier on tonight. I'm adicted to that program and just love Kiefer Sutherland! There was just no way I could count and concentrate with him on the tube.

Monday, October 27, 2003

It was such a cold and rainy day today. A great day to read a book, bake a cake or knit. After doing the kids' lessons, I took the day to organize some things - especially my knitting patterns.

The mail certainly brightened up the day. My shipment from came as well as my order from Dawn Brocco. What fun it was going through those packages!!!

I found Elann had Jaggerspun 100% wool in fingering weight in a beautiful plum heather. I bought a cone of that, plus Heartstring's Triangles within Triangles Shawl pattern to go with it. My Swallow needles were also in the package as well as some reinforcement thread and a couple leaflets.

Dawn's package was such a surprise! I wasn't expecting that yet, especially since I ordered it just a couple of days ago. I am enjoying reading the Heels & Toes Gazette and can't wait to try both the patterns and all the techniques. They are going to keep me busy for a long time!

Since the needles I needed for Curt's socks came today, I started his heavy socks. I decided on the Ladder of Life pattern from Interweave Knits with Plymouth Galway in a baby blue. I have just a couple more pattern repeats and then I'll be ready to start the heel. It's amazing how fast these socks go next to the fingering weight socks. I'm enjoying finally being able to do all weights of yarns for socks for everyone. One of these days, I'm hoping I'll finally get to make some for me. :-)

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Can you believe it's the last week in October already?! I don't know where the time has gone. Seems like it's really flying these days. It blows me away to be able to look at my oldest eye to eye. I have just a couple of inches on him, and I bet within the next year he'll be taller than I am.

We had a nice day at my brother's farm. It's that time of year when all the leaves are down and everything is brown, but it smells so good. While the guys were out cutting wood, I went off walking through the fields and skimmed the woods, enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the country.

I got a little knitting done. I'm part way on the second sleeve for the Weekend Sweater, and I've started on the second sock of the EZ Fit Tube Socks. I've thought about totally changing the toe on this one and giving it a traditional toe. I have a little time to figure out what to do. I started the sock from the second skein of the Colorways, and I'm not going to be matching the colors on this one. They'll be fraternal socks - so a good excuse to change the toe.

I checked my elann shipment and it should be here in the next couple of days. I can't wait! I love getting things in the mail, especially when it concerns knitting. :-)

I need to get back to the Lion Brand hooded sweatshirt, but I ended up dropping one of the needles and it rolled under the bookcase - right up to the kickplate from behind, so right now it appears the only solution is to move the bookcase - and to do that, I'll have to unload it. UGH!! There must be an easier solution.... I know, buy more needles! :-)

Saturday, October 25, 2003

The guys went hunting again this morning, giving us another day for just "us girls" to do our own thing. I made a big pot of beans and ham so that there were leftovers for today. We don't have to do anything, except enjoy today! We watched a couple of movies and the Mr. Ed marathon while we knitted. Becky is doing a great job on her shawl. I'm very pleased and surprised that she's been so diligently working on it.

I heard from Jay today. He says they didn't get anything, and than included no cold feet. YAH!!! The socks worked and kept his feet nice and warm. He also said that they were cushy enough to prevent his heel from hurting like it did last week. Sounds like I'll be doing a few more pairs of worsted weight socks.

I finished the first of the E-Z Fit Tube Socks, and I'll be honest. I was disappointed with the outcome. I had reservations, but thought I'd try anyhow. The sock patterning came out lovely and the are quite pretty. The toe left much to be desired. It's just a few rows of decreases making a star-like pattern and reminded me of a decrease for a hat. This causes a lot of puckering around the toes - especially the bottom under the toes. I wanted to rip out the toe and do a normal toe, but Becky said she liked the roominess of this new toe. I also don't think the sock will wear as well without a heel. Maybe I'm being biased, but I think the traditional sock is better. We'll see how these wear with shoes....

I really love the colors of the Colorspun. I think it would make a really pretty sock, and unfortunately the picture doesn't do it justice. The subtle changes in color can't be seen well. I'd love to get some more, but then again, there's so many lovely types of yarns out there that I have to try. Oh such hard decisions!

Friday, October 24, 2003

I thought I'd have time to work on the Weekend Sweater, however, I couldn't get rid of my son long enough today to get anything done on it. I think kids have radar and know when you are trying to get rid of them.

I did get a chance to work on the Easy Shawl. I'm not sure about it yet, though. It seems to want to curl on the edges. Maybe as it gets larger plus the crocheted edging will solve that problem.

I found the E-Z Knit, E-Z Fit Tube Socks pattern and decided to try them. I'm already about half way on the first one. It's going so quickly! I'm using Plymouth Encore Colorspun DK in a pink/purple/white colorway. I purchased the yarn when I first started knitting socks. It was on sale, and I had no idea what it would look like done up. It so much fun using those unknowns. Makes the sock more exciting to work on. I just discovered tonight that there was purple in the color scheme. All I saw were the pink and white colors - the purple is tucked inside the ball. I can't wait to finish and see both how they look and more importantly, how they fit.

Hubby and I were talking today, and he decided to let me purchase my own Christmas present this year. He said that he'd rather that I get something that I really want and can use instead of him getting me something that else. So he's getting me the complete set of Dawn Brocco's Heels & Toes Gazette. That is a fantastic present that will be used a lot! I love making socks :-)

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Snow... yup, we saw our first flakes last night and today. They flew by just to let us know that they haven't forgotten us, and to remind us that they will be returning to stay soon.

I put the finishing stitches in the other Iowa Cruise sock. It is now washed and drying. My son is so happy with them. I'm not though. I checked my gauge, as it just didn't seem right - well, 2 rulers gave me 2 different gauges!!! So, it's either 5 or 5.5 stitches to the inch. Half a stitch means almost an inch difference there. So which one do I believe? Who would have guessed!!! Doggone it!

I placed an order with for some 5.0mm dpns. I will probably have to drop down at least a size to do the next pair.

I ended up contacting Plymouth Yarn Co. to tell them about the yarn. My second skein was worse than my first. They told me to take it back to the shop. That would be ok, but Wanderings is not out of business. So I wrote them another email, telling them the situation, and they said they'd look into the yarn lot and see if there was a problem. If they find anything, they'll let me know.

Tomorrow I get to sit down and work on the Weekend Sweater, now that my set of dpns are freed up. I have another sleeve to do before I can put them on the body and work on the yoke/sleeves. I'm anxious to get it done, since this is my first sweater that I've had the freedom to choose what I wanted to do. Yah, I'm from the old school that said you had to follow the directions, since the person that wrote them were much more knowledgeable than I. HA!!! How sad, isn't it?! All that time wasted when I really could have been having fun. Wonder what my mother would have thought, if she were here and could see what we could really do with those patterns.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

I have been using a stitch marker that I received from Limited Editions by Renee. It is a beautiful, well made marker that is well balanced and very nice to use. Here it is in use on size 9 bamboo needles.

I wish the picture would have come out clearer, but it appears my auto focus wanted to focus on something other than the marker. I chose green and clear beads called Green Disc II. I'm going to add some more of these to my wish list! Another cool thing - Renee will have kits available to make earrings out of them.

I finally too a picture of my shawl. It didn't want to cooperate at all for the photo. Between the shawl and circular needle, all I did was fight with it to get it look like this. Hope it's not a sign of how bad it's going to turn out! LOL

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

The forecast is calling for snow this week, and then a warm-up over the weekend back in the 60's. It seems unbelievable, especially with today being in the 70's.

I finished the first of the Iowa Cruise Socks tonight and started on its mate.

While working on it, it seemed sooo big and told my son that it probably wouldn't fit him, but his father. HA! It fits like a glove. I still look at it with amazement, because it seems huge. DS loves the way it feels and hubby keeps making the comment that he hopes he gets some socks soon. HAHAHA!! This is the guy that didn't want itchy wool socks.

I finally took a picture of the Spiral Rib Mittens with my son modeling them.

The books I ordered by the Fiber Gypsy came today. They are exactly what I was looking for! I now have the formulas for socks - cuff to toe, and mittens both cuff to fingertips, and fingertips to cuff. I like knowing exactly how these things are made, so I can adapt or change a pattern - or better yet, do it on my own. Man - this attitude is so much different compared to just a year ago. It feels liberating, and I'm gaining the confidence to do my own things. It's exhilarating!

Monday, October 20, 2003

Great mail day today! My Frugal Knitting Haus order came, and I'm so very pleased with all the free patterns and with the Simply Socks book.

I love how the patterns can be used for more than just socks. There are a number of sweaters that are shown using the sock charts and they are just breathtaking. I haven't been able to look at it as much as I'd like, but I do know this will be one book that will be used a lot.

I'm almost down to the heel on my son's heavy wool socks. I didn't do much knitting today. Was busy doing applesauce instead. The socks are on my #9 needles, so I can't work on the weekend sweater until they come off. Maybe I'll do the cuff between socks, so I can transfer to my 16" circular needles. I'm so anxious to get that sweater done. I love how it's coming along, and it's been a real treat to work on.

The needles came for my daughter's poncho she wanted. I'll be starting that after the sweater is done. That should go very quickly as it's worked with 3 strands held together on size 15 and 17 needles.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

I finished the Spiral Mittens yesterday. The are the strangest looking things when they are off the hand - but pretty cool looking on. I still don't care for how they feel, though, but my son is thrilled with them, so I guess that's all that matters.

My daughter begged to start working on the shawls, so we took most of the day to work on them, while the men were out hunting. My daughter is doing a great job, and is so excited with watching her shawl grow. She's only 10, so I'm hoping that I can help her continue that excitement. She started a scarf last year, and it didn't get very far before it was abandoned. She says this one is more of a challenge with the YO increase and she really likes seeing the shape change. She's also excited about the thought of being able to wear it soon. Cool!

After a long day of hunting and being out in the elements, the guys decided they needed warmer socks - so I'm to do a couple of pairs of heavy wool socks ASAP. I dug out the Galway and decided on the Iowa Cruise Socks pattern from Cottage Creations. I'm about 4" into the first sock, but would have been a lot further if the yarn hadn't been broken in places. One of the 3 plies would be broken in different places on the ball. I had to start a few times and then when it appeared that there wasn't going to be any more, I finally got he ribbing started and on its way, when another broken ply showed up. This time I decided to splice and continue. It's been quite frustrating. I'll have to give Plymouth a call or email tomorrow to let them know about the problem. I can't take it back to the shop, as they are no longer around. They officially closed their doors.

I'm considering doing the top with the Galway and the foot with Icelandic Unspun from Schoolhouse Press. That should keep the feet toasty. I'm not sure how the Unspun would hold up - probably not very well since it doesn't have a twist. Maybe the Unspun with the worsted? Will have to think about that - and then drop needle size if I do decide to do it? Would need to continue gauge... I have a couple of days to decide on this. I'll probably stay boring and go with just the Galway.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Frugal Knitting Haus is having a sale that lasts until Sunday. They are giving 20% off any order over $35 before shipping. You know I had to go have a peek and see if there was anything I needed. Simply Socks was on clearance, and with the percentage off, it became a better bargain that just begged to be put in my shopping cart. With a few needles and accessories, I made the $35 with no problem. I ordered last night, and according to today's email, it's already on it's way! They are fantastic about quick shipping. I also combined both orders, and got a bunch of free patterns coming, too. Can't wait to see them.

We took our son to the orthodontist to get his bite plate put in. Poor kid talks with a terrible lisp now, and eating is difficult. It'll be a couple of days, but he'll soon be used to it. After the ortho appt. I took a trip to the yarn shop. You know, it's sad. That place just doesn't have much, and there's hardly any items knitted up as samples. Heck, just a couple of swatches would be nice. They do have a knit-in yet, but the guild dissolved years ago. I was told there wasn't enough interest in it. Sigh....

I fell in love with the Pacific Northwest Shawl from Fibertrends and decided to get that with Jaggerspun wool/silk yarn in emerald.

It's a beautiful shawl with seagulls, evergreen trees, sand dollars, water, fish and shells. However, when I arrived home, and opened my bag, I found that the store clerk had put the Peace Shawl inside instead.

I was debating between the two, and we were going over both patterns together. She must have taken that pattern up, and I took the Pacific NW up, and the wrong one got bagged by accident. I couldn't call the shop, as it was closed at 5, so I thought I'd wait until tomorrow morning. About 9pm I got a call from the shop and she asked me if I had the wrong pattern. That was nice of her to track me down. She offered to send me the correct pattern, but I decided to keep the Peace Shawl instead. I'll be getting the Pacific NW later with another yarn purchase in the near future.

I'm almost done with my son's mittens. I'm on the last few pattern rows before shaping the fingers. I should be finished with it tomorrow. My daughter wants me to teach her how to knit something useful, so we picked out some acrylic at Walmart to make her a shawl. She loves wearing those things, and I'm hoping she'll like making it. We will be using the shawl tutorial from for her first attempt. I think the YO increases will be easier for her instead of the knit in front/back increases. I'll be knitting along with her with a similar pattern and the same yarn (she wanted mother/daughter shawls), but I wanted something that wasn't so long in the back. Found an interesting freebie that ties in front, so I thought I'd try that.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Yesterday was the monthly orthodontist appt. for both of the kids. Our daughter received the great news that they will be removing her braces on her next appointment. She's so excited and said the first thing she is going to eat is popcorn. Our son has about another 1-1/2 years to go. He loves popcorn, but the hardest thing he has to forego is caramel. Poor boy. He has to go back tomorrow to get his bite plate put in. Then he'll talk funny for a few days.

The new KnitNet came out yesterday. I was disappointed to see there was only one sock pattern in this issue, but there were a number of other great patterns that caught my eye, so I'll cope. :-) I did like the video lesson on the "afterthought" heel. I've read EZ's description on how to do it, but this really turned the lightbulb on for me. Now that I see it, I know I should have understood the description - it's as plain as day. What a cool idea - but then again, everything EZ came up with was way cool.

I've been visiting blogs and going over the patterns on Knitty, and am amazed at how different the group of knitters are now next to when I was growing up. It's a totally different ballgame - the designers and knitters are so young next to those I remember as a teen. Oh, I do envy this generation of knitters. To be able to go to college and sit and knit with friends because knitting is "in". Heck - that's what everyone's grandmother did when I was young. Man, I'm an old fart!

I still haven't found a knitting buddy here. Everyone crochets, but no one seems to knit. I'll have to join the guild and travel to find someone. There's a shop about 40 miles from here that has a knit-in (or at least used to), so I'll just have to look them up sometime. Being down to one vehicle makes it difficult to do these things. Hubby is a programmer that is on call a lot, so he has to have accessibility to the car on those days. As it is right now, they are the same days as the shop's knit-in.

I'm hoping to make a trip to the shop tomorrow. I want to pick up some new needles and finger the yarns. I'm hoping we'll make it from the ortho appt. before the shop closes for the day.

While wondering through Walmart yesterday, I saw a number of knitted and crocheted items. It appears they are "in" this year. But the prices - man! I can't make them for those prices! $3 for a scarf, $4 for hat/mittens set... I don't know why, but I felt somewhat discouraged. I said to my husband - why should I make this stuff when I can buy it for dirt?! He shook his head and made my day... he said, "Because yours is made to be here for years unlike that cheap sh*t that falls apart in a matter of days. Besides nothing there is made of wool, so tell me how much it really is worth!" Ahhhhh - he really does get it when I spend $12 for a pair of socks!

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

I knitted so late last night that I was too tired to post. I finished the first sleeve of the Weekend Sweater. What a nice relaxing project it has been so far! I decided on a blouse type of sleeve with all the increases just above the cuff, so it would be easier to pull over other clothing. When I get the second sleeve finished, I'll post a pic of all the pieces together. All that will be left for next week is the yoke shaping and then weaving the underarms.

I ordered a subscription to Bonnie Franz's Stranded newsletter and I love it! Each issue focuses on a specific place such as Egypt, and all the patterns carry the same theme. Not only is it full of fantastic patterns, but it also contains reviews, hints & tips and is just packed full of information. When I subscribed, Bonnie even let me start my subscription with the first issue. I'm so glad she did!!! I know I'll be renewing next year.

Monday, October 13, 2003

That sock! I think it hates me. I've dropped more stitches on that, than I think I've done in my whole lifetime of knitting. I saw a mistake on the heel while I was trying to pick up three stitches, and decided to just rip back to the heel flap. Gonna try it again....

Great news! My needles and books came from Schoolhouse Press today - and what a surprise, because I expected it by mail and not UPS. I have been enjoying Country Knits 2 and Country Knits for Kids by Stephen & Carol Huber. I'm getting some ideas for my next sweater.

The first of the Spiral Rib Mittens is done. My son loves it, but I don't care for the feel. I do like the long cuff, but the pattern makes my hand feel like it's being squeezed together - even though it's not tight on it. I'll finish the pair since DS like them, but these won't be on my list to make again. Sad - because I enjoyed doing the spiral rib. I also crocheted a pair of mittens for my daughter to match her "Wizard Scarf" I made from a Coats & Clark freebie.

I'm going to try to cast on the sleeve for the Weekend Sweater. I'm anxious to get going on that again.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

I think this weekend has been one of the most beautiful weekends of the year. The colors of our trees are almost at their peak, and the temps have been in the low 70's. I don't think I could come up with a more gorgeous combination. I love fall.

Since the weather has been changing, it's time to knit up a few pairs of mittens. I decided to try the Spiral Rib Mittens on p84 of Homespun Handknit using the Plymouth Galway that I came a bit ago. DS picked the apple green color (DD calls it booger green). The kids like their mitten cuffs longer so I did 30 rows of ribbing instead of the 18 that the directions call for. I like the pattern - very easy and the effect that it produces really pleases my son. He says they "cool".

I hit a snag on DH's socks. I am working on the gusset right now, and tried them on him last night. The ribbing bunches at the back where the ribbing meets the heel flap. I'm going to continue with the gusset and see if it's just because it's not pulling equally from all sides, but it's possible that I'm going to end up ripping back and trying something else out. I'm at 2 possibilities so far:

  • 1. The ankle is too lose and I need to taper it some
  • 2. The ribbing just won't work with my choice of heel flap

    DH said to leave it alone and he'll deal - said he feels bad that I will have to rip out all that work. This is my learning sock. I'm going to learn how the construction works and what I need to do to fix the problems, so if I need to rip, no biggie. As long as he's ok with being patient

    I'm at the stopping point on DS's sweater. I have to wait for the needles to come in now. The sweater is going much faster than I thought it would and it's real pleasure to work on.

  • Friday, October 10, 2003

    I have a pre-teen in the house. Actually, I have 2 of them and am thankful for both. This week has been a challenge with my son though. He's been very unfocused doing things and yesterday, I had a hard time with it. For days he has been working on doing the dishes - an hour to an hour and a half and he still doesn't get them finished. I haven't been catching things up for him, but leaving them so he sees what he's not accomplishing. This makes his sister happy, as the more he goofs off, the more days she has off doing them :-) Well, last night, after an hour and a half, and only part of them done, I lost my temper and yelled at him and grounded him. I felt badly about it afterwards, and went and talked to him, telling him I was sorry for losing my temper, but something has to be done. He said he understood, said he was sorry and would try harder, then went to bed.

    This morning when I got up, DH asked me when I did the rest of the dishes. I didn't have a clue what he meant. I went into the kitchen and found everything washed!! Later this morning I found out that DS set his alarm clock for 3am and got up and finished everything!!! Not only that, but he's been doing all his chores around the house without being told! I have been in a state of shock all morning! Now there's a boy to be proud of. We decided that since he sacrificed sleep to buckle down - we removed his grounding.

    Sorry to have gotten off the knitting track - but I had to praise our son....

    Now, on to the knitting topic. I didn't work on DS's sweater last night, but decided to do DD's instead. I needed a change of color. I only have 2" to go on the front before I do the front shaping.

    Today I turned DH's sock. Here's what I did for the heel:
    K22, PM, K2, K2tog, K1, turn
    SL1, P5, P2tog, P1, turn
    SL1, K6, K2tog, K1, turn
    SL1, P7, P2tog, P1, turn
    SL1, K8, K2tog, K1, turn
    Continue until all sts are worked (24 sts remain)

    Now I'm ready to pick up sts for the instep....

    I've seen so many neat stitch markers out lately. You can get beaded, plain, round, hooked, etc. Yah - so were am I going with this? I ended up breaking my chain beyond repair on my ankle bracelet and thought how neat it would be to turn into a stitch marker. I took the little bit of chain left and looped it around and put it in the jump ring. I got a neat marker, but I'm not sure how the chain will be on my needles. Probably not good, but I don't have a jump ring large enough yet. I'll have to make a trip to Walmart and get some. Here's what it looks like now:

    Coming up with any ideas for yours yet? :-)

    Thursday, October 09, 2003

    Yesterday was a good day to knit. The sun was out and we are in the middle of Indian Summer, which means that the kids went outside after lessons and enjoyed the weather. That gave me some time to work on DS's sweater. I have only 3 more inches to go, before I get to the underarms and will have to stop until my needles arrive. I will probably finish it tonight then I can go back to DD's sweater. I should have both of them finished in a couple of weeks.

    I started the heel on DH's sock this morning. I'm doing a partridge eye/French heel so that he will have a nice cushion for his heel. I tried the sock on him yesterday to see how it was for length - and he made the comment that he couldn't believe it - that he really couldn't feel the sock. Said he didn't know if that was good or bad. Oh no! I think I'll have another convert by the time these are finished.

    If anyone wants the specs so far on the socks, here's what I did:
    DH's ankle is 11-3/4", and I had a gauge of 8sts/in, so I cast on 88 sts and worked in K2P2 ribbing for 7". Then I divided the stitches for the heel (44 sts) and have been working on the partridge eye (SL 1, K1, (repeat across) - turn. Then on the next row I SL1 and then purl the rest of the way across - turn. Repeat these 2 rows for 44 rows or until the flap is square.

    That's where I am now - still on the flap and hopefully will be turning the heel tomorrow.

    I was ambitious last night and decided to make an apple/oatmeal porriage in the crockpot for this morning's breakfast. I knew I was getting low on oatmeal, so I had purchased a box of it a few days ago. At 12:35 this morning, I opened the new oatmeal to put in the porriage, and I saw that some of the oats had green fuzzy stuff on them. I thought I was seeing things - as only some here and there had it. Maybe it was the lighting... so I turned on the overhead also - and ugh! It was green mold!!! I looked and looked and found that it was all through the package, and the plastic top (seal) had it on, too. YUCK! Who would have ever expected that?! Thank heavens I was paying attention, but now what?! All the ingredients except the oatmeal was in the crockpot, and I only had half of what I needed from the old box. I looked and looked and finally saw the granola box. Gee - that has oatmeal in it.... didn't have much to lose, so I subbed with that. This morning we had a really good porriage! Yipee!!! It worked. :-)

    Wednesday, October 08, 2003

    I had to call and place another order to Schoolhouse Press to get the 16" circulars I need. They also have Country Knits 2 and Country Knits for Kids by Stephen & Carol Huber on clearance with quite a few other good books. I couldn't pass the Country Knits up, so they will be on there way here, too. I bet by now you can't tell which online stores are my favorites, can you?

    With all the new knitting items coming into the house, I've decided to liquidate my cross stitch leaflets. I have so many, and I'll never in this lifetime use them all. It's about time to prioritize things and decide what is most useful.

    Tuesday, October 07, 2003

    We have 4 grocery bags of apples to take care of. I've been putting off buying an apple peeler, and now I wish I had one! This manual thing is for the birds! LOL DH brought some cider home so we should be making apple butter in the next couple of days, along with some apple sauce and apple pie filling.

    I really have been enjoying the process of the Weekend Sweater. This is my first sweater in-the-round, and it reminds me of doing a huge sock. I'm at the half way point on the body. Only 8 more inches to go before the sleeve holes.

    Monday, October 06, 2003

    What a wonderful field trip today! I don't know who enjoyed it more, the kids or the adults! The kids participated in the Young Eagles Pilot Program. They had a tour of a few WWII planes then they got to fly in a small private plane. Our children flew in a Cessna 172. DS was co-pilot and was actually able to try flying the aircraft on his own for a couple of minutes. He was soooo excited! The flight lasted for about 20 minutes. Now the kids want to go back again today! LOL Here they are getting out of the plane after their ride:

    They said they flew all around Wellsboro and saw the PA Grand Canyon from the air. We then took them to the PA Grand Canyon to enjoy it from the "ground". It's a beautiful spot - so quiet and so high up!! There's a wonderful lookout and trails one can take. If you ever venture to PA - this is a must to visit!

    Then we took the kids to NY for dinner and to visit Barnes & Nobles. They love that bookstore!!! We picked up a few books for homeschool and I found Socks Socks Socks from the Knitter's Magazine Contest. It is just amazing!! The book has 70 patterns and I've chosen many of them to make in the near future. It's one of those books I know I'll be using again and again.

    I didn't do much for knitting, just a couple more rows on the Weekend Sweater.

    Sunday, October 05, 2003

    I started the Weekend Sweater today (a day earlier than the Knit-along) because we'll be getting home late tomorrow. The kids have a field trip with our homeschool group.

    DS has a chest measurement of 34-1/2" and I needed some ease to the garment so I added to make 38". From there I used my gauge and percentages and came out with a cast of 154, but I wanted a K2P2 ribbing, so I decided add 2 since the ribbing is so stretchy and will be worn over other clothing. I worked the ribbing for 2-1/2" and then needed to increase 15 to get up to the number I needed for the body. I really am enjoying using EZ's percentages. It makes this sweater mine - but still guides me through the process. Way cool!

    DS picked out a yarn that my DD and I both don't care for, but DH likes it. Must be a guy thing. It's a camouflage variegated in dk. green, black, brown and tan. Anyhow, here's the progress for today:

    Saturday, October 04, 2003

    What a great mail day! My Plymouth Galway is already here! I'm pleased with the yarn selections that were sent. At least 2 of each color, so I have enough to do small projects. The needles that came are Plymouth Bamboo. I've never had a bamboo needle before, so what a treat to hold them for the first time. ahhh - how smooth and satiny feeling. Now, all I need is a project that calls for size 9 dpns.

    I broke down tonight and purchased a subscription to KnitNet. I've been stopping by and looking at the samplers ever since they went to a pay site. Well, I figured for $12, I still can't get that good of a bargain if I sub to a regular magazine. I like all the views of the projects and that's something that doesn't seem to come in a hardcopy mag. But then again, maybe I'm just reading the wrong ones - or at least did :-) The only one I'm getting now is Wool Gathering, and I don't really consider that a magazine, but more of a teaching booklet.

    I didn't touch my needles today. It seems like I did a lot of nothing today - nothing accomplished, but no time to knit. Ever have one of those days? No, we didn't get to go to the Heritage Days. It poured down rain all day today, and it was so cold, that we decided not to make the trip down. Most of the displays are held outside, and it was just to raw out to tough it out. Now we have to wait another year. Sigh....

    Friday, October 03, 2003

    I joined Dishcloth Exchange last month, and received my first exchange today. It's a lovely cloth from Shannon in OR called Clean & Shine from the LA leaflet Color-Splash Dishcloths. Along with the dishcloth, Shannon sent an adorable magnetic note pad that has baby tigers on it, a Lisa Frank pencil/eraser and a postcard of the Columbia River Gorge.

    Pretty, isn't it?

    I've been pulling my hair out the last couple of days because I couldn't access any of the search engines and it seems like everything I wanted needed a search engine. I should have known I picked up a virus somewhere. A sweet little Trojan called QHost If you visited this blog within the last few days and have found that you cannot access the search engines, you probably have picked it up here. Seems that Fortune City had a malicious banner ad. My sincere apologies if that happened. It amazes me that people develop these silly things for what? Think someone should teach them how to knit and redirect all that talent :-)

    I decided to go all out today and make a nice dinner including dessert. We had roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, corn, harvard beets, and cranberry sauce with apple crisp for dessert. The kids kept commenting it was just like Thanksgiving. Hmmmm - sounds like I don't make many good meals, does it? LOL

    Tomorrow we are supposed to go to the Fort Freeland Heritage Days. It will be a nice field trip to add to our homeschool portfolio. The extra plus is, there is usually spinning and weaving, plus other needle arts on display. I love going there and seeing all the lovely crafters. It's amazing that over 200 years has gone by, and yet we still do many of the same things. It's so thrilling to know we keep our heritage alive!

    I am still working on the ribbing on DH's sock. He keeps wanting it longer, but he also seems very pleased with it. I've only done 5-1/4" but I really do like how much it stretches. The color is pretty as well, but since it's darker, I need good light to work on it.

    Well - It's getting that time that the bed seductively calls...

    Thursday, October 02, 2003

    The garden passed away quietly tonight. We are at 28 degrees F. right now, and I expect it to go lower before morning. We spent the day gathering the last of the veggies. It always saddens me to see another growing season end, but at the same time, it's a welcomed break. Fall is officially here now, and soon our trees will display the most breathtaking display - their final adieu before they slumber and refresh themselves. Winter is my time to relax and renew as well. It's my time to spend time doing the things I love most, as I finally have time.

    I worked a little on DH's socks, a few rows on DD's skinny scarf, and tonight I put a little over an hour in on DD's sweater. The front is at about the half-way point now. I've wondered if I could do the sweater on circular needles, but with the Lion Brand Homespun I'm a little concerned it won't hold it's shape well without the side seams. I guess I could always put in a false seam, but I still would have to figure out where the sleeves would go and where I would end before I started working the front and back separately.

    Sad news - Another yarn shop is going out of business. I called and ordered their Plymouth Galway package - they had 15 balls for $29 plus shipping, and also got a set of size 9 "wooden" dps. I'm anxious to see what will be coming. Then I placed an order at for Fiber Gypsie's books: Custom Fit Socks 1 and the two Custom Fit Mittens books. I need a good mitten book - and book one covers from cuff to fingertip, while book two covers fingertip to wrist. I wished I would have ordered them earlier now as it looks like I should have had some mittens finished already!

    Wednesday, October 01, 2003

    I spent quite a while today going through other blogs, and I'm almost embarrassed to update this one. My life is far from exciting and if it wasn't for being an online record for myself, I'd abandon it in a heartbeat. No, this blog is a totally selfish online published commitment for me to improve my knitting skills - what little I do have. I learned to knit years ago, but didn't continue it because my mother would knit all kinds of nice sweaters for me. This allowed me to explore other needle arts and I could still have gorgeous sweaters. She died 8 years ago, and I came to the realization that there would be no more beautiful sweaters unless I knitted them myself - ahh but knitting was so boring! I did a few baby items for my children, and then a sweater here and there, but nothing much until a couple of years ago. I would get frustrated with published patterns - because even though I'd match a gauge, the sweater wouldn't always fit right. Sigh... So I wouldn't waste my time doing adult items that didn't fit and I had no idea how to adjust.

    This year I found Elizabeth Zimmermann and my outlook on knitting has changed. So has my attitude towards fibers. I'm now considering dusting off my mother's spinning wheel and having a go at it. That will be a bit down the road yet, as I need to get supplies. My brother's sheep won't be sheared until spring, so I have to either buy my wool or just wait and read how to do things and get ready.

    I'm so drawn to learning the technical side of knitting now. Clothing construction has become interesting - learning how the percentages work and how one actually figures out how to construct things. There is finally a reasonable explanation of how things are figured out. Now if only I could find a rule of thumb for socks. I've been searching for a percentage system for them like EZ's, but still haven't found what I'm looking for.

    I got a little knitting in today - a bit more on DH's sock and a few inches on my DD's sweater front. DH's sock appears that it will be taking a bit more time than the others that I've done. The Kroy is finer, and the K2P2 ribbing is slower than straight St St. I'll work on the sock during General Hospital, and my Christmas presents at night after the kids go to bed. DD's sweater shouldn't take too long to do. I'm hoping the color combination will look ok - I'm not sure though at this point. Don't really have too much of a choice at this point tho. LOL

    I need to order a few circular needles so that I have the right size for the Dobbelmossa and the weekend sweater. I don't have any 16" circulars and they aren't to be found in the department stores here. Maybe I can sneak to the LYS over the weekend and see if they have any. Seems like whenever I go down there to get what I need, they don't have it. Maybe my needs aren't "normal" :-)