Friday, September 30, 2005

Two Socks Down, Two to Go

This week had me down on my back in bed, so I took advantage of it by knitting. I'll say that it was a godsend - keeping me sane. I hate staying in bed, so it kept the boredom from creeping in. I finished the first of DH's socks and he loves it! He is still blown away by the fact that wool really doesn't itch. I remember when I made his first pair, he flat out refused to put them on next to bare skin. LOL!! This sock went on with no hesitation and he kept commenting on how much he liked it and how good it felt. This is a good thing, but at the same time, not great, because it makes me that much further from knitting my own socks!

I did enjoy doing the different color heel and toe plus DH thought they were "Cool". Another first has been recorded for me! (actually 2 firsts - DH really seemed to like them! LOL) He's not so sure about the heel I used - I did a "boot" type heel - the sl 1, k1 on right side, sl 1 p across on the wrong side. It made a very cushy heel that I think will wear much better in his hunting boots.

While down, I also worked on a pair of CIC socks. I finished the first one, and have cast on the second one. I took them along with me yesterday when I took the kids to their classes, and my friend, Dawn stopped by to chat while we were waiting for the kids, and she was really amazed and impressed with the socks. I'm hoping to recruit her to become a sock knitter. I warned her once she gets bitten by the bug, there's no turning back!

I'm using the Fiber Gypsy's "Custom Fit Socks" pattern and Regia wool. I love the colorway - it's so bright and cheerful. I hope the little tots that wear these will like them as much as I do. DD came into the room when I started them and asked who they were for - sound very disappointed when she found out she wasn't getting them. She loves the colors as well. I guess I'll have to order some for her someday. :-)

An update on my Sampler Scarf - it's just so much fun to work on, but certainly not looking very impressive. If you view it - you must promise not to laugh - do you swear? :-) Yah, I'm sure you'll be able to pick out a mistake or 10, but it's a learning piece, and I'm also learning how to pick up different types of stitches when I rip or even tinking back, there's been a few challenges. Who knew that it would be so difficult to undo some things?! I am really loving the learning process, though. I think it will look ok when it has been washed and blocked. (well, ok enough for me to wear, anyhow - I hope!)

I've started my 4th pattern and I can see a change in my knitting. I'm sure that the choice of yarn may have been a bit of a hinderance (hey - gotta blame something here!) but it's what I had on hand at the time. All in all, I'm pleased - because I see myself getting better as I go..

Maybe, one day, I'll be good enough to make a lace shawl!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Another Iowa Cruise Sock

DH's sock is on the needles, and I'm almost ready to start the heel flap.

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Surprisingly, DH loves the stripes and appears to be interested in what it will look like with the heel and toe done in the turquoise as well. Could it be that he is beginning to appreciate hand knitted socks afterall? This it the man that said he would NOT wear wool and after the last pair I made, he asked for more. Now, just to convert him to a lighter weight sock. I wonder if it could happen. :-)

The kids have already put "orders" in for more socks - thick, thin, inbetween.... it doesn't matter. They love them all! After DH's pair is finished, I'll work on an Opal sock and my Einstein Coat as well. Right now, I'm focusing on the heavy socks for hunting season. They go next month, so they are needed soonly.

I stopped at JoAnn's Fabric and picked up another skein of Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool. Whatever is left from DH's socks will be dyed and put away for my next pair of worsted weight socks. I'm looking forward to fooling around with the Kool-aid method, however, if it turns out well, one of the children may want yet another pair made with that yarn. LOL

Sunday, September 25, 2005

New LYS!!!

I have been going through withdrawls since the LYS closed. It wasn't like it was a great store - as it was dark and dingy and it seemed like everything I wanted wasn't there, but in the sister store - which ment that it would be ordered in and would be there sometime - but not when I wanted it. And sock yarn? HA! The shelf had just a couple of brands, and even less in different colors, and she wasn't getting any in. So, it really was no surprise when the store disappeared.

Well, Saturday, I got an idea and did a search on our nearest large town and found a listing for another store!!! Could it really be possible? I did more searching and found that the store had outgrown it's location and opened a new shop! I became so hopeful that I took down the new address and made sure we stopped before going to DH's father's for their cookout.

OMG! I was in heaven!!!! The store was not only easy to access, but it was bright and cheerful and was owned by a very nice woman and her help was just as nice!! Not only nice, but HELPFUL!! And inventory..... I was swooning! There was all types of yarn from high end to something that would fit my budget. I spent 45 minutes just fingering and petting the yarns as well as talking about knitting - and not just any knitting, but SOCK knitting! I was sure someone would come through that door and shake me just to wake me up from such a sweet dream. It has been so long since I was in a real yarn shop - one with great customer service and someone that knows my love for socks. Oh yes, it gets better - the one woman is a fellow Socknitter! Can it really get any better than this? :-) Yes, it does! There's even a Sock Knit-In on Tuesday nights! Hopefully I'll be able to make a couple - just such a trip with gas prices - but if I have something else to do on a Tuesday, I'm certainly going!!!!!

The only downside to the visit to the LYS was my budget. I did treat myself to a skein of Opal Magic 1036.


Friday, September 23, 2005

It's Hard Turning Down A Stitching Job

My LNS contacted me this morning asking if I would like to do a stitching job. She said a lady came in and brought a Thomas Kinkade embellishment kit of Lamplight Bridge that she wants stitched by the middle of next month. I am one that is known to do emergency stitching on tight deadlines, so they contacted me to see if I could do it. Oh man - the embellishment kits are said to be murder as the charts don't match the printed design. I really could use the extra cash though, but is it really worth it? We are doing a tight homeschool schedule, plus a day a week away while the kids take classes elsewhere. I could give a high quote and see if the lady still wants it stitched. That seems quite unfair though. I'm going to have a look at it tomorrow. It's already started (which means that I may have more problems there - fixing mistakes and all). It is so difficult to turn down a job - as the extra money is always nice and can certainly be used. At the same time, I'm really enjoying just knitting (with a little crochet project every now and then) and I don't know if I really want to put the enjoyment away for something I'm not going to relish doing.

Now about that enjoyment...

I finished DD's Iowa Cruise Socks this morning. I really enjoy doing socks and this makes the 10th pair I've finished. Certainly not enough to claim I know how to knit them yet, but enough to make my understanding of the construction better :-)

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Right after pulling these off the needle, I went back to the dwindling 4ply stash and looked for something appropriate for DH. I found some nice Bartlett Yarn, but it didn't knit to gauge. I needed 5-1/2 sts. to the inch and got 4. Tighter just didn't make the fabric I wanted for the socks. So DH is now getting a pair made out of Lion Brand Fisherman's wool (a cream color) and some Plymouth Galway in turquoise. I'm going to do 2 turquoise stripes in the ribbing as well as contrasting heel and toe. Yes, this will be my first time with color changes on the socks. Every sock I've knitted so far has been either a solid or self striping.

Another quick finish was a hat design by Dot Matthews called Ugly But Warm Hat or otherwise know as the UBW Hat. I used Red Heart in both black and camouflage. DS and his camouflage - I swear he'd have a whole wardrobe of it - oh and anything with Star Wars on it - so the perfect clothing item would be made of Star Wars camouflage :-)

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And here's DS in his "mug" shot. Yes - his sense of humor.......

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Something New For The Kitchen

Yesterday was one of those days that made me start thinking. The seasons are getting ready to change, and I needed a little change myself. So, I spent quite a long time reading blogs and newsletters and found just what I needed! I craved a bit of brain food, so I decided to learn a new crochet stitch and make some new things for the kitchen.

The HeartStrings Newsletter led me to Needlecraft University where I looked at all the new classes that were listed. The Polish Star class intrigued me, but I really didn't want to take a class to learn just a stitch. Instead, I searched the web to see what I could find on the Polish Star stitch and came up with a free pattern for Polish Star Potholders from Within a couple of hours, I had learned a new stitch and made a useful potholder. (Isn't the net a wonderful place?!!) I do like the stitch, but have decided for certain, that at this time I wouldn't want to make anything large out of it. (at least not yet anyhow....)

I did find what I would call an error - or at least something I decided to change. First, when you insert the loops, the directions have you skip the first and last one on the bottom row. Then when they do get inserted , I found I ended up with a pretty large hole and my dc's split apart. Then next time I do this pattern, I will twist the loop before inserting through another. I also did the the following on the row securing the end loops:

Ch1, *sc in next sc, sc in next sc along with the loop, then sc in the next 5 sc, sc in next sc along with the loop * across, ending with a sc in the last stitch.

I hope that's easy to understand - writing what I did isn't as easy as it looks :-)

Then I decided that I had one new thing for the kitchen, I certainly had to have a couple of dishcloths, so the search was on again. I remembered that I saw a couple of free patterns for dishcloths on The Crochet Dude's blog, so I scurried back there to have another look. Wonderful! Just what I wanted. First I made the Sunshine Dishcloth using an orange, yellow, off white varigated out of my stash - it screamed "sunny and warm" to me. I found it to be both an easy and quick project to do and a joy to work on.
While I was looking at all the lovely freebies there, I saw another dishcloth pattern called Pentagon Dishcloth. Another must do - and again, another quick and easy cloth that finished up nicely.

Drew's directions are well written and easy to understand. I was very pleased with the quality and each row had a stitch count at the end. Imagine going to all that work on just a freebie! I've been looking at the patterns he has for sale, and I have added some to my wishlist. As soon as I'm off my pattern diet, I'm buying a few! Sadly, right now I'm down to necessary yarn purchases, and that's it.

I'm very pleased with my new additions to the kitchen. They certainly seem to brighten things up a bit. (And who says one can't get satisfaction from a quickie?!)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

It's Official! We've Been Adopted!!

Our vet bill runs as much or more than our Dr. bill, so when this adorable little kitten showed up on our doorstep, I said, "Nope - Ain't gonna happen! We have 3 cats, that's enough!!!" End of story - or it should have been. :-)

We did all we could to find the owners - the kids did the trip all over town and looked, and we found the owner. So, I caught the little bugger once, and was repaid by 4 nice deep teethmarks in my finger. I worked as a vet assistant for years, so I do know how to handle these guys - but when your back-up team disappears all of a sudden, you get in a position that can be unpredictable. That should have been my first hint they didn't want this little guy go. Well, the kitten got freedom and I got a nice sore finger that had to be used modelstitching - deadlines are deadlines with a sore finger or not.

After a while, we got the guy tamed down, and he was sick - terribly sick with a skinned up back and all nasty looking. The kids took him to the owner, who then claimed that he wasn't hers (probably because of his health), so back they came with him. Now what was I supposed to do with a sick baby? Yup - we nursed him all back to health, and our "unwanted" guest became ours - like it or not. :-) DH said under no circumstances would we keep him. We get him well and off he goes to the shelter. HA! HA! HA! DH puts on such a tough exterior, but he's such a softie underneath. I watched him play with the little guy and I watched that little guy charm the pants off DH. He wasn't named right away, since he was so sick, I there was the discussion he might not make it. Especially if it was FIP. That runs in the cat population here - and with him a stray, who knows what he was exposed to. Antibiotics, good food, and love got him back on his feet, and he's a totally different animal now. It appears he just wasn't old enough to be away from mom yet.

He has run of the house, plus the yard and he has a great time wherever he is. And play?! He never wears out. He stalks us, and attacks us, and never stops. The other day I was out shaking out the pink duster, and this thing comes flying through the air out of nowhere and attacks the duster. We finally gave him a name - Frisky. Should be more like ADHD as he never is still! :-) So tell me, how did we live this long without such a bundle of love? And energy? He never stops - so you can just imagine how difficult it is to photograph him. Thank heavens for digital cameras!!

This past week was terribly busy. We had 2 full days to homeschool, and the rest was running. Thursday, the kids had a 2 hour literature class, so I took my knitting along to get a good quite 2 hours worth of work done. Didn't happen. A good friend of mine had 2 of her children in the Chemistry class, so all we did was sit and gab, and walk and gab and just played catch-up for those 2 hours. Then we ate our lunch, visited my Dad at the home he's at, and on to swimming lessons. Surely I could get a good hour of knitting done there. Nope! That place was like a sauna. UGH - we were dripping with sweat (oops - nice ladies don't sweat do they!) by the time we left. Was no way I could keep a nice tension with wet hands.

Friday was an ortho appt. and library run. No knitting at either of these places either. But, one good thing about the library was I got a LOT of knitting books to read. One that I'm really enjoying is "Knit Lit: Sweaters and Their Stories... and Other Writing About Knitting" compiled by Linda Roghaar and Molly Wolf. What a fantastic book! I must search the web and see if Kim Brody Salazar has posted her chain mail items she made for her daughter. I would love to see them. If you haven't seen this book, it's a must read! I also picked up "At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much" by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (Yarn Harlot) and am loving it as well. Another one to add to the library here.

Saturday, we took a long trip out of state to go get a propane heater that looks like a woodstove. It has a glass door with ceramic logs. I know propane is expensive, but it will work nicely as a back-up when we lose electricity - plus the price was right... free!!! It works well, but needs a bit of cosmetic work. Outside of that, there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. I took the Granny Square Rainbow Blanket and worked on it on the way. Man, one round is taking forever to crochet now. It's is over 4 feet square, and I'm on the blue. I still need to add the indigo, violet and black for the edging. I was going to do a row of black dc, then a row of sc of each color then finishe off with the black, bt I'm not sure now. Will wing it, and decide when I get there.

Last week I finished the first of DD's socks. It's just a bit loose, but since it should go over another sock, it should be fine. I love the pattern, but I don't like how it just specifies as women's small, med. large, etc. However, if I hadn't been so lazy, I could have figured out what the sock size would have been with the gauge.

I've started the second sock, and if all works out well, I should be done with it in a few days. Then it will be on to DH's socks. His are a whole lot larger with a long leg and wide foot. I've considered making a different color heel and toe for his - as I've wanted to try doing it for a while. The kids didn't want any like that, and DH doesn't care. He says they'll be in his boots, so I can do what I like - no one will see. No one will see? Geeze - makes you really want to make something nice for him, eh? LOL

I also finished the What's In My Pocket Vest for CIC. I'm pleased with the way it turned out - and I've done my first pocket. That's something I've always avoided, as I've never been totally sure how to attatch the pocket. I'm still not all the way satisfied, but it doesn't look bad. The picture is wild though - that red really had a field day with the camera. It really isn't that bright, but more of a country red and it is the same weight as the other yarn, although it looks puffy in the pic.

I had a bunch of those electronic games that came with McD's Happy Meals to send with the vest - and I've read on the CIC website they don't want those kinds of things. My BIL loves Happy Meals, so he saved all the games for me - and now I don't have a home for them. Sigh.... Wonder if they would take them for the children that were victims of the hurricane. They are far from a necessity, so it seems kind of silly to think of sending them. However, it would be something that would keep the kids a little busy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Tuesday- It's show and tell time...

Here it is, Tuesday already. Time just seems to keep going by so fast, and I'm not getting nearly as much done as I'd like. The house insists that it needs attention, as does the laundry, the kids, the schoolwork.... and the list just seems to go on and on. I thank the good Lord for my hobbies, as they keep me sane. They are the only things I do that don't get undone unless I rip them out. DH thinks I'm nuts when I tell him that, but he does appreciate how much will calm me when I've had a bad day :-)

When I get time, I read the lists I'm on and visit some of my favorite blogs, and just am stunned by how much people get done! My projects take a lot longer, and I don't get many big ones done. I have them in my rotation though, but they seem to take forever - sometimes even longer.

With that being said, I'm working on a vest for CIC with some wool that someone sent me. I didn't get gauge, so I ran a strand of fingering yarn with it, and it's coming out surprisingly nice. I'm not one that can put colors together and make something look good, so I'm very pleased with the progress on this one!! I took the pic a few nights ago, so I've had some progress since then. I now have the front done, and will soon be finishing up the back. I'm using the What's in My Pocket Vest pattern that Countrywool designed specifically for CIC. The CIC Knit group is doing a challenge for vests and sweaters and are trying to reach a goal. As far as I know the goal is at 300. I think that this goal will be reached and surpassed. The group members are so generous. Their needles just keep clicking out socks and whatever else is needed for the orphans in Russia.

DD's sock is coming along nicely - and much more quickly than DS's! I'm almost down to the toe shaping and am just too tired tonight to keep knitting, or I'd probably be able to make it to the grafting. I love the color of the yarn - the pic makes it a bit too purple, but you can't see the flecks of red, blue, green and yellow that are in it. The whitish dots that look like fuzz on the socks are a couple of the yellow flecks.

DD requested that I not make the sock as tall as what the directions called for. We decided to make them about an inch above where her hunting boots come on her leg. I told her she will probably want them even taller - especially out in the cold early mornings of December, but she wouldn't hear of it. She doesn't like her socks that high. We'll see if she changes her mind after this season.

I picked up a skein of Lion Brand's Fisherman's wool at JoAnn's yesterday. I used my 40% off coupon and it made it a very reasonable purchase! I should have enough for a pair of socks and then some!!! I promised myself that whatever is left will get dyed with Kool Aid.

I'm again on a stash diet. I just dumped a nice tidy sum of money in DS's microscope and lab equipment that he needs for this year. I knew it was coming, but was a bit more than I planned on. Plus DD needed some things for her science labs. Then the swimming lessons that are usually in the spring are being held this fall instead - so that was another surprise. It's enough to force me to only buy wool that is necessary for socks when the supply runs down, or when it's at a ridiculously low price, that I'd need my head examined not to buy it. I can't complain - it's not a huge sacrifice on my part, and the kids are always such a joy to watch when they are learning something new. But at the same time, it's so hard to go by all the neat yarns on the store shelf and not take just one home to play with it. Oh the sacrifices we make for the kids! LOL

I finally got my glasses back on Friday. It's only taken 7 weeks for them to get so I could wear them. Every time I'd wash the new ones off, the lenses would fracture! The store finally sent the frames to the lens manufacture and had them put them in. The lenses aren't getting cracks now, but they are 2 different colors. One has a green tint and the other a purple. So I went back yet again and asked why they were different - was there a problem with my vision that I didn't know about? Nope - it's just that the lenses must have been done out of 2 different lots. And I'd have to deal with it. They informed me that since it was just asthetic, they wouldn't send them back. So, I've paid almost $300 for glasses that took 7 weeks to get right, and now they don't crack, but I look like a dork - but only when one looks at me in certain ways (as the lady at the counter told me). At this point I'm just tired of messing around with them and will just look like a dork. Let me tell you though - I think I can now understand how someone can get to that point to make them go "postal" :-)

So on that note - a good night from the dork with the 2 color lenses. LOL

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Never Forget....

For all those that lost their lives 4 years ago today, and all those that lost someone near and dear to them...

A moment of silence

Friday, September 09, 2005

Iowa Cruise Socks are finished

And DS just loves them!!! He says they fit perfectly and is very pleased with how they turned out. Such music to a mother's ears :-) Let me tell you though, that boy has big feet so it takes some time to whip up socks for him. He's almost 6' tall with size 12 feet. The ribbing ended up being 8" and the total height of the sock measured about 13" from bottom of heel to top of ribbing.

Now it's on to a pair for DD. She's insisting I do the same type for her, but in a purple heather color. We'll be making them out of Plymouth Galway Colornep. I'm looking foward to these going much faster, since she's only 5'2".

The Sampler scarf is coming along nicely, now that I figured out what I was doing wrong on the lace pattern. I'm almost ready to move on to the next pattern. I want to do another repeat of the pattern I'm working on first.

My supply of worsted-weight wool for winter socks is getting low. I'm going to have to restock soon. I'm eyeballing the LB Fisherman's wool, as I've never tried it. Plus, I hear it's great to use for Kool-aid dying. I've never tried it with wool, but I've done some aida with it, and it came out nicely.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

2 FO's and 2 WIP's

For "hump day" I have 2 small XS FO's to post pics of. First is Lizzie Kate's "September Flip-It" from her first series. I stitched it on an unknown color of 28ct. evenweave using all the recommended threads. I've decided to leave the charm off, as it's just a bit too busy for my taste. I only have 2 more to do of this series.

Next is another Lizzie Kate design called "Land That I Love" that was done on 28ct. Sandcastle Jobelan. I used the recommended threads and used a dark country green star button instead of the sterling silver charm. Sorry, but that charm is just too much $$ for a design add-on. I really thought the sheep turned out sooooo cute - all fuzzy with the Rainbow Gallery Wisper.

Sock report: I'm on to the last inch of the second foot of the Iowa Cruise Socks I'm doing for DS. Not very much to go now. Maybe I'll finish them tonight if I'm not toooo tired :-)

I've finally taken a pic of my start on the Einstein Coat. I don't have a lot done, but I won't be progressing until I have DS, DD, and DH's socks done. They are getting first priority - as hunting season is just about upon us! I like the White Buffalo - it's such a nice yarn to work with. Sure wish that it hadn't been discontinued! I like how thick the fabric is, and I'm hoping for a nice warm coat.

And for my last pic, I've started Jackie E-S's Lace Sampler Scarf using Paton's Kroy in a very light pink, that I purchased from Smiley's Yarns a while back. I'm on the 3rd pattern and after ripping it, I've finally gotten it right. I still haven't learned how to pick up YO's correctly, but should be really good at it after this Sampler lesson!!! The scarf is going to be a really pretty piece when it's finished (even with my mistakes! LOL) I wanted to start a smaller practice lace project before I start my first lace shawl. I certainly didn't want to jump in with both feet and get discouraged. I'm between one of the two that were in the fall issue of Vogue Knitting, Jackie E-S's Triangles within Triangles or Fiber Trends Pacific Northwest Shawl. I have the materials for the last two, so I'm leaning towards one of them.

I've been debating on a knitting magazine for a while now. I've been trying out different magazines - using my 40% off coupon from JoAnn's to purchase them every once in a while. Nothing has been "moving" me enough to subscribe. That is, until I got the Premier issue of INKnitter's. I really was impressed with the first issue - so impressed that I decided to purchase the back issue package that was offered online. I want to subscribe as well, but after spending a huge amount of money on the kids' microscope, biology kit, disection kit, general science kit, and other odds and ends, I figured the CC smoked enough this month. Maybe next month.... Until then, I'll have a lot of good reading.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Death & Greed

Today we saw our family friend (M.) and DS's best friend's father buried. It still is a shock and such a tragedy. I just still can't believe it has happened.

Thurs. evening my brother just arrived home from work when he received a call from M.'s neighbor that M. was having difficulty breathing. My brother rushed right over and took him to the Dr.'s office. The Dr. said M. had pneumonia and wanted to admit him to the hospital. My brother stayed and M's family arrived not long after. Just a few short hours later, M. died. The Dr. found that M. had lung cancer as well as a few other complications. Looking back, I now wonder if M. knew he had it - things just seem to fall into place now with what had gone on in the last few months.

M. was a very well known and liked farmer that raised his son alone along with his aunt. The boy's mother has not had any contact with him in 5 years. Well, the son has inherited a beautiful farm and wants to run it and keep it going just like when his father was alive. He's about old enough, and with the right help and guidance, he's going to suceed very well!!

Not 5 minutes after M. died, there became a family discussion of liquidation of the farm - who's going to get the child and what should happen to everything. The boy's mother appears after 5 years and now there's an issue of guardianship - everyone wants him because he's worth $$ and is sitting on a goldmine. I sat back in horror as we have seen how greedy that family is! The only one that doesn't care about the money is the aunt that helped raise M's son, and one of the named guardians - who according to the lawyer (also a member of the family) was never named guardian. M told this guardian not long before he died that he had named him guardian if anything were to happen. He knew that this person would never take advantage of the child or his money, because the named guardian loved the child like one of his own.

Oh what an evil web that has been spun - and all over money. My heart breaks watching this going on in front of the boy. Yes, he's almost a man - 16 - but there's no reason why anyone should be doing this.

Lesson of the day - NEVER take legal matters to a lawyer that is related to you. NEVER!!!!