Monday, December 31, 2007

Me And My Shadow

Friday was a terrific day! To start with it was my day off, (sorta) what could be better! Then the gods were smiling on me and gave me a nice little snow storm to play in :)

I was able to get caught up on a number of things around the house, listen to a book for a while and play in the snow some with Bingo. He loves it as much as I do.

This is just me playing with my new little red camera!! Bingo likes to play sno plow as I call it, and he borrows his face into the snow and tosses it. He cracks me up but unfortuately I could not quite capture it on camera. You would never guess he is almost 10.

I even got to visit with my brother and his family for a belated Christmas. I got him a foot massager with heat for his poor diabetic feet and he got me a pedicure spa for mine. It is scary how we sometimes think alike.

I finished making the tassels for my shadow hat. I love this pattern, it has such a huge range of possibilities. I cant wait to make another one! The tassels are two Icords with fringies on the ends. I have plenty of other yarn to try it out again. It gave me a chance to try shadow knitting, which completely intimidates me, as well as trying a new stitch. I love that little braided thing it has going. Like I said before, those Canadians really have it going on!

Still stash busting I located four balls of a cotton yarn that I picked up a couple years ago at Stitches Midwest, and thought I would give Amys Everlasting Bagstopper a try. It is very like the bag I made a few years ago for my yoga mat. All y/o and knits.

Of course, since the yarn I bought was a bigger gauge, the bag came out wider, no biggie, but I only had 4 balls of it, Classic Elite, it turned out short and squatty. Just as I was about to sew the webbed handles on it, I changed my mind and decided to frog the whole thing and start over, decreasing the width of the bottom to make it taller. Maybe I will do that next weekend.

I also had this Shell Beaded Scarf kit laying around from Stitches. I was soooo afraid to try it because of the beads, but it was a must on on my list. The shadow hat inspired me to pull it out of hiding. What a dream to knit. Super easy pattern. The hardest part was picking up all the beads off the floor after I twice spilled a whole strand. The entire pattern is knit. The beading was so much simpler than I thought. I finished this bad boy in one day, Ok so I did nothing else but knit, but still. It was so much fun, I could not put it down, til I realized that I did not read the entire directions. The scarf measures 32 inches... who the hell wants a cool scarf like this to be 32 inches. Frogging again, and started over with only four repeats instead of 5. I want a much longer scarf. Teach me to read the whole page won't it....probably not, that would be me plunging in head long and suffering the consequences.

I don't mind really, I had so much fun making it the first time, and I am having fun the second time around too. I will definitely make another one of these!
Wishing everyone a Happy and Safe New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

It's all about the Red

This year the Christmas Season seemed to sneak up on me. I struggled alot with my health this year and, curse those physical weakness', it made me realize I could not single handedly move the earth.

I did manage to finally get the stockings hung on the mantle.

And with Sarah and Ethan's help, I got the tree up and decorated, but not much else, I did manage to get the house looking somewhat festive, in one room at least, right before Christmas. and house presentable enough for the company coming over on Christmas Eve. As per usual, I worked both days! Christmas was a big buck day since I had to work 12 hours (oh darn) and rake in all that holiday pay (oh darn). The day after was a killer tho, another 12 hour shift. I was ever so tired when I finally met my pillow.
I did get to see a few family members on Christmas Eve when I came home from work. I was wished a HAPPY FELIZ NAVI KWANZAA as they were going out the door. (gotta cover all the basis, right?)

Santa really surprised me this year. We opened presents before I had to rush off to keep the North Shore safe. It was all about the red this year. He surprised me with the new Ipod Nano, (RED) and a new digital camera, the Olympus FE-280 (also red).

Even the jammas I got were red plaid! LOL

Expecting a slow day at work, and with my few holiday projects completed, my fingers were at a loss, so I rummaged around in the stash bag and Surprise to me...I found a kit I purchased at Stitches MidWest this year for this cute little hat that I had all but forgotten about. The T-4-2 hat. If anyone has this one laying around, get too is a must.
Those Canadians really have it going on when it comes to knitting. I find their patterns and colorways most intriguing. I think all Canadians must come from the womb already knowing knitting 101.

I started this on Christmas Eve, after everyone left. I did not have a clue what I was doing, just blindly following the pattern without trying to comprehend it ( I should try that more often). I have never done shadow knitting before nor have I done this braided stitch either. Two firsts for me. I finished the band on Christmas night. I was surprised at how quickly this pulled together.

Almost done, While I sat listening to my new Santa toy last night, I finished the crown. I have only the tassel left to do and it will be Happy New Hat To Me!

You can see here the braided portion (red arrow) I did a little ad-libbing of course with the pattern and added two more braided sections, my Virgo mind needed to tie all the colors together
The shadow part, ( white arrow) well that was hard to photograph. I must have taken a dozen pictures and this was the best I could come up with. Can you see the diagonal stripes at this angle? What a great pattern, I think I am going to make another one. It actually gives you a choice of fair isle band or the shadow band.

Quite fun, and the best part is that it was all about me!

I hope everone else and a Wonderful Christmas too!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Bag

Now that the recipient has her gift, I can post the pictures of the completed bag. This was a fun project, I find most felting projects fun, I guess because they knit up so fast, and take shape fast. Then the end piece is so much different than what you started out with, even in color.

Here is what it looks like per the pattern. Now, having made one, this is how I would change it. To start with, I have to have inside pocket, so I would have to add one on inside as well. The bag is roomy enough on the inside to accommodate an extra pocket. The felting instructions called for the bag and pocket to be felted first then sewn on. What a pain in the patutey! I have to use a tapestry needle with a point to get it through both fabrics, thing 2 to change, sew pocket first, then felt. I think given the size it came out, it would have been fine to do it this way.

Here is a shot of the inside and snap closures.

The striped part is actually a pocket.

There was an error in the pattern when it came to the trim, no biggie, I just had to add 10 more inches to the icord for the trim. I like my bags to hang off my shoulder so I would have made the straps much longer for my self and perhaps even thicker.

When I put the snaps on I went to the fabric store to get the kit since I did not have a tool to put them on with. Well I never dreamed it would be so damn difficult to get them on right. I think I ruined 3 snaps in my attempt to put them on.

Plus I smashed my finger and broke a nail. There must be an easier way to do them than having a stupid little "anvil" and hitting it with the hammer. Obviously JoAnne Fabrics did not have the easier answer.

To felt the bag in the front loader I did something a little different this time. My previous felts took for-ever to become felted. I zip everything up inside a pillow case cover to protect my machine (yes I know, that is a given) then I zipped myself over to Walgreen's and bought a pair of those spikey blue dryer balls for softening. Threw the bag, balls and a heavy towel for balance in the machine, used the Express Wash setting on hot/cold and went to work. I had to run it a second cycle, but it was mostly finished the first time around. I dry flat on my shoe rack in the dyer and that is that. Could not have been easier this time. If I had not been so pressed for time I would have turned the machine off mid-cycle the second time round.

All in all, I am pretty pleased with how it turned out, as was the recipient.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Just In The Nick of Time

Nephew Socks Complete!! Phew!! I was starting to think that I wouldn't make it! Right down to the wire I was.
Now, you may look at this picture and say...hmmmm are those two different colors? It is hard to tell in this picture but, ah, yah... weeellll.... It would seem that once they were knitted up., these two skeins of yarn (same dye lot I might add) have two distinct flavors. The second sock came out much darker. There is more of a color variation in the first one ( on the left).

You can see it a little better in this picture. Now, while I was not entirely happy over that, since they are a Christmas gift, they are for my nephew who happens to be somewhat bohemian (like his Auntie ) so I am sure he will not mind, if he even notices.

The bohemian streak in me doesn't care either, but the Virgo in me is disappointed. This is the first time I have had a Lorna's Laces be so different in the same dye lot. I am thinking it was just my luck grab the one out of the four that didn't quite match.
No chance of being able to whip out another pair before Monday.

Yesterday I spent a maniacal day wrapping gifts. What was I thinking... leaving them all for the end. And as per usual, once I had them wrapped, I realized just how overboard I went...again! I do this every year, and every year I say I will cut back. Raine is so spoiled by her Mimi!
My whole dining room was full to the brim. I kinda looked like a war zone.
Finally by mid afternoon I was finished, gifts sorted out according to their respective homes, bagged up and rready to go. Then the man of the house comes home with a $100 in doggie treats that need to be wrapped for the family pets. Bingo, gives treats and stuffies to his little cuz-er doggies and cats every year. I was so exhausted by the time it was all said and done all I wanted to do was take a hot bath and go to bed.
At the last minute today I decide, because of my schedule this week and lack of time, I packed up my truck with all the gifts, minus the ones for my home of course and take them to work with me. I had to laugh on my way in, because with all those packages piled up in the back seat, All I could think of was that my little red truck looked more like Santa's Sleigh!

Luckily my daughter took pity on me and she and the fam drove to my work to pick up all the gifts. Usually I make a midnight trip to her house and haul them up 3 flights of stairs. She did make mention of the fact there were so many packages ear marked for her house, and that she only had a two bedroom apartment...whatever.

I am now officially done! Signed sealed and delivered! Since I work on both Christmas and Eve, I won't get to join in the festivities but, I feel quite relaxed right now with only something to make for myself.

Now to finish that poor little stocking I started oh-so long ago.

I notice that Blogger-ville has been pretty quiet lately, and small wonder why, since I am sure we have all been on the same self impossed deadline with our knitting.
My Christmas wish to you all..... May all your projects turn out right, and may they all be complete by Christmas Eve night!

P.s. My thanks to all of you who posted on my little poll.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Holy Crap only 12 days left!

Can you believe it? Only 12 days left until Santa comes!!! Well this Santa doesn't even have her tree up yet. I cannot believe how far behind I am in my usual self imposed Christmas schedule. I think maybe I will blame it on blogging...and give the Work Monster a break since, well...every year at this time is busy at work. Along with that mad dash around the stores to finish shopping, I still have to decorate the house, wrap all the gifts, and send out those cards!

I only got a little bit knit on my nephew's surprise sock (I know I am safe posting this since he doesn't read my blog) I'm going to have to knit fast to get these done in time. I was hoping to have time to make a pair for my brother too but that just isn't going to happen.
Surprise to me!
I funny thing happened on the way to the forum... I was checking my email the other night after work and there was an email from Cindy (?). When I opened it she said I had won a gift certificate for this post,(My Homeless Project) on 25 Things for Charity! Apparently I won the November contest she was having on that blog. Woo Hoo! I did not even realze there was a contest. Merry Christmas to me. $15 to spend at Amazon!!
Thank you Cindy for the wonderful gift! I will have to look and see what knitting book I have on my wish list at Amazon now.
Now back to my knitting...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Times a flyin'

Time flies when your having fun! It also gets away from you when the Work Monster has a strong hold! The Work Monster has had it's grip on me for some time now. What with all the prep for our re-accreditation and in addition to my other additional assignments, one of our own taking a powder on us a couple of weeks ago, all that has created an extra strain on everyone involved.

The assessors are now in the building, which means even more work and stress. To top things off, the closer we get to Christmas, the more demanding my job becomes, what with the area's lawless looking for their own peculiar type of Christmas cheer. Then Five minutes from walking out the door last night ( and I was soo ready, believe you me) I get an armed robbery call with two down. Of course that ensued a flurry of activity that was so adrenalin pumping that I had no idea how I was going to get to sleep when I finally got home just before 3 am.

Needless to say- I did not get to catch up on my show and knit last night. :( And with Christmas so close.
I did get my Knit Picks order (Yay) and now that I am finished with the bamboo socks, I have a set of size 1's that I don't have to be in fear of breaking! I also got this very pretty sock yarn in Grass to make those cute little anklets out of. And the I have cast on my nephew's surprise socks. Not that I got very far with them yet, I started them on the 1's and knit for about an inch when I decided nah, then ripped them out again and re-cast on the 2's.

Yesterday I made some real headway on the Blue Sky Bag!
The thing about felting is that it knits up real fast, when you sit down to do it. This was a fun one too. Easy and classic looking. I added the I-cord trim and handles the other night after work. The pattern had a misprint for the trim and was off about 10 inches, but there is really no guessing what is involved in this pattern so it was an easy adjustment to correct.

Since the Work Monster woke me up at the crack of dawn (so to speak) yesterday morning, I put that time to good use and worked up the pocket for the bag.

And this is the Pre-felt stage. I only have to weave in the ends and throw it into the washer. The pocket and bag are felted prior to sewing it on. My nice Sears repairman and I had a lengthy conversation about how I could control the felting process in my front loader. It should make it go faster this time.

I am so close to wrapping this one up I can practically taste it!

I just have to mention the wonderful gift that one of our residents dropped off at the station the other night. A gentleman and his son came in with several Croft and Barrel bags full of brand new toys and clothing for the needy. I am not just talking bout a few small bags, it was those large purchase bags. They each carried about 4 bags in full of items, then told me there were clothes also in the bags. They both made several trips from the car and brought in two boxes of toys as well.
When I removed the bags from the lobby, I could not believe the booty! Each bag was full of an assortment of toys, hats, gloves, and a variety of shirts and sweatshirts and several bottles of shampoo, all of it was BRAND NEW!! I separated the items, as the clothes will go to the homeless shelter along with the shampoo. ( We actually have two separate charities we are collecting for.) I can tell you, it brought tears to my slightly jaded eyes. I truly believe the human touch can make a difference in a homeless person's life.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A little Poll fo you.

I was on Knitters Review Forum the other day, and there was a discussion about how comments should be answered. The answers seemed to be pretty varied. What is the proper protocol for answering comments. Do people want their comments emailed to them? answered back on a comment? Or maybe they just don't care. Do people really go back and look at the comments to see if they have been answered. I know that you can subscribe to a comment, but there just seems like there should be a better way of going about it.

I am not very consistent in how I answer but I always try to answer some one who is kind enough to comment. (I love getting comments by the way so feel free).

So I thought I would place a poll on the side bar get the general opinion of how you would like to see comments answered back.

Feel free to leave a comment explaining your poll answer.

Happy polling!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A little this and a little that

The work monster had it's evil grip on me over the weekend, the Friday thru Monday part of the weekend that is, so no quality time was spent with anything but my laptop. Fun project with a short deadline, but still work none the less.
Tuesday was my day off which started with a conference call / webinar (more work stuff) but once that was over the fun started.

I was surprised my by an early morning visit from my daughter with my pseudo daughter in tow. WOO HOO! Lori has flown out from Washington to spend her 21st birthday with family and friends!!! I'm thinking along the lines of a night out at the Sugar Shack for her birthday ;) She looks TERRIFIC! It was so good to see her happy, when she first went out there she was very unhappy, but now that she and her new husband are in their own place, everything seems to be falling into place. Well at least until Kasey gets deployed in April.

As you can see Bingo is a happy boy too. We went for our weekly vet visit and they decreed he could have his bandages off! YAY!!!! And look...he still has hair on his head! He still has stitches in his ears but he doesn't have to go back for three whole weeks. Now I can clean the inside of my truck and de- paw print and de- fur it and remove the puppy nose prints from the windshield. Hmmm Maybe I should ask Santa for some seat covers.

A little winter weather advisory happened on Tuesday too. Mild blizzard conditions started while we were at the vet's. I am on of those freakish people that love this kind of weather. The more snow the more I like it. (it is the sub zero weather I hate)

So after the vet visit I drove over to the local P.A.D.S (homeless) site in the next town over (yes- in the severe weather) and dropped off my meager donation of 12 hats and 6 scarves, along with the new baby clothes someone had dropped off at the PD. Then I drove over to the Library to donate a crap load of books I had been hoarding. Out of the three bags full, one of them was all crafty books.

Here is Lori with the girls' shopping booty, wearing the hat and scarf that I made for her.

I love coming home from work and finding packages waiting on the table for me.
My mail lady brought me this nice package of yarn- Isn't she wonderful!! 4 skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepard Sock yarn in Charcoal, for that last minute gift I decided was a must. (still waiting for my Knit Pick's order- it is probably in my mailbox but I did not want to dodge the traffic and cross the road to find out).

So Wednesday after a hard day of panic Christmas shopping I dragged out my two favorite toys and set to work winding yarn so that it is ready as soon as I finish Bamboo socky #2.
Which I plan on doing tonite after work.

I love solids that are not quite solid don't you?

Here is where I am at with the Bamboo socks. Socky #2 is almost done. I am down to the toe. As you can see I was not able to match the stripes. The two skeins are vastly different in that regard. I attempted to match them but the dark blue sections were much longer on the second skein and that was so not going to happen. No big deal in that, since I am a little off beat, so therefore should be my socks!.

The first skein had a knot in it. I was none too happy about that but I decided not to mention it in my last post. But one I got to the second skein... well, the second skein had not one but two knots in it. That is my biggest pet peeve when it comes to yarn. Nothing pisses me off more than to find a knot in the yarn while I am knitting. I had to stop, untie it and then continue with the new end. Just what I wanted...more ends to weave in! Then it happened again on the heel gusset! Grrrrr!
You would think that for the amount of money I paid for this fancy smanchy yarn that it would be all in one piece and not three!!!
Don't get me wrong. I still like the yarn but it just erk's me no end when I find it has been knotted.

Dawn asked How many stitches I cast on for these socks. 56 , it is the same amount I used with the size 2's. I was a little bit nervous about it since these were done on needles one size down. and considered that I might need more stitches or they would be too small, but they turned out fine. Socky #1 looks a wee bit bigger than socky # 2 but that is because I had to take it off my foot for the picture...hehe.

I still haven't worked on the bag, ok- I guess I have been a wee bit busy lately- but until I get the bag and the surprise socks finished I will not be able to relax. Plus- now I will have to force myself to go Mall shopping next day off to finish X-mas shopping since I could not find everything I was looking for this week. Not really looking forward to it - I don't like the holiday crowds, so I usually try to avoid it whenever possible. There were so many people out in the stores on Wednesday I am beginning to wonder if anyone has a normal 9-5 job anymore.

My Blog is Possesed!

Do you ever have one of those days where it takes you three times as long to finish a post because of some wonky stuff going on in Blogger-ville? Today is one of those days. I write, I spell check, I preview and then, BAM. All of a sudden Blogger has decided to add some weird-ass html code and shrinky dink everything I just wrote. Then in trying to fix it, I loose two of my pictures. WTF!!!
Not the first time this kind of thing has happened. Does anyone else have that problem? Or is it just me. Sometimes it seems like Blogger is playing a practical joke on me.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Bamboo on Bamboo

Here is the scoop on the bamboo sock. (Notice I did not say socks-plural)
The yarn is from my crazy buying spree at Stitches Midwest. My goal this year was to buy only exotic yarns, which I did in abundance!
This particular yarn is from Southwest Trading Company (which, actually they all were), 100% Bamboo, 250 yards of color #154, what ever that means. Not an exciting blend of colors but still very pretty. Makes a very even striped pattern.
Softness? In the skein it feels like silk, very, very nice to the touch.
I notices that this yarn does not have the spring that traditional yarns have, and my cast on edge don't not have the give that am accustomed to, but it still fit comfortably.
The manufacturer suggest a gauge of 5 st to 1 inch on size 6.
I wanted a tighter weave in my socks so I knit it on size 1 bamboo needles (because I am still waiting for my Knit Picks order). I live in fear of breaking the needles and I kept stabbing myself with the points, not really a pleasant experience. I got about 8 st = 1 inch on them.
Bamboo on bamboo did knit very nicely and make a nice fabric, but when I split the yarn it was not very forgiving, I guess because it is chained and not twisted. And unfortunately it was all to easy to split with these needles.
Progress was slower going than normal, I am not sure if it because of the size of the needles or the type, or if it was the yarn.
The fabric seemed a little stiff and I was nervous about it but when I put it on my foot it felt very comfortable.
Sorry, no exciting lacy pattern or cables. All my socks have to be ribbed (for now) as I have evil diabetic feet now, and every thing else irritates the hell out of my feet and ankles. Fairly sucks too because I was the queen of the strange and unusual foot coverings! For now my basic foot wear consists of smooth hand knit socks ( no hardship there) and a pair of Crocks (which are heaven sent comfort) or combat boots, depending on if I am working or not ;). I am holding out the hope of being back in the footwear game some day and this is just a temporary situation!

You can see that I am down to the toe and that pesky grafting business. You would think that for as many pairs I have knit, that I would have this part down pat. But, as usual, I have my book on hand.
I think my feet are going to like these sockys. I will let you know how they are to wear in my boots when I get them done. I have a goodly amount left over from the first skein so I am thinking maybe when I am done I can squeeze a pair of booties out of them too. We'll have to see. Bamboo is supposed to be very cool in the summer and warm in the winter, time will tell.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Good Grief Charlie Brown!

Well could I feel any more stupid than I do right now... Sock's for Pete's sake... I can do them in my sleep... well I thought, and well, apparently not. I was happily ripping out my stocking when I noticed, oh horrors of horrors...I forgot to turn the heel... and did I not notice that it looked kinda funny?? Worse, I took a damn picture of it and put it on the Internet, so that nice person in Istanbul that read my blog could see what an idiot I am.

All I can say is Good Grief Charlie Brown! I wonder where my head is sometimes!

Well, I always say that a little public humiliation is also good for the I don't get enough of that on my job...LOL

Anyway my little stocking is ripped back to the do over part, and sadly, I did not get to work on it. I had planned on running to Hobby Lobby on Monday to look for a green, but I spent the day fighting with Sears to get my washer fixed instead. Fun times!

I think maybe I have Adult ADD! I just flit from project to project, willy nilly. Instead of going to the store in the evening and finishing up one project, I decided to work on the mystery bag...ok the cat is out. It is a bag. Can you tell? I am up to the little snappy parts and then the pocket. The pattern is called Blue Sky Bag from Pursenality Plus. I planned on it to be a Christmas present but if I don't stop spreading my self out I will never be done in time.
Flit again...

I decided I needed to make two pairs of socks for a last minute, overdo Christmas gifts, so I ordered4 skeins of Lorna's Laces charcoal from my favorite Ebay store.
Of course I don't wait for the yarn to get here, but dig around in that ridiculously over stuffed sock yarn bag an pull out a ball of Bamboo yarn from Southwest Trading Co. that I bought at Stitches Midwest this summer.
I have to say, bamboo is absolutely amazing! It feels so incredibly silky on the needles, I can't wait to have it on my foot.Sorry, just another pair of plain ole' boring socks. No exciting pattern for me. I knit for comfort now, since I need to be careful of what I put on my feet. My days of toe socks and cutesy patterns seem to be over.

Here is where I am at with the hats. I currently have 11 finished and 5 scarves. As soon as Sears decides to show up and repair my washer (which better be in the morning) I will get them all washed and packed up to go to the P.A.D.S. shelter. I plan on delivering them along with some donated baby clothes on my next day off, which is Tuesday.
I wanted to have more of them made by now, but I will have to pause on the hat making till I get my other Christmas gifts finished. The little bit of shopping I have done made me realize I am running out of time.
Time to Flit again.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Easy Peasy Charity Hat Pattern

Just your basic hat pattern. This is what works for me. I'll try to be as accurate as possible. writing complete patterns is not my forte, I am usually a chicken scratch type of person with my notes.

Supplies : Size 8 DPN's
#4 worsted weight yarn ( this hat was done in Red Heart Super Saver - to give you an idea of the gauge. I think it tends to weigh in between a worsted and a bulky weight yarn)
Gauge : 5 stitches = 1 inch

Size- Average Adult (child, toddler)
Cast on 80 stitches in your favorite cast on method, (20 stitches on each needle) join to knit in the round without twisting. (72, 64)

Cuff: knit 2 purl 2 for 2 1/2 to 3 inches depending on the size cuff you want.

Cont' in stockinette (knit every round) for 4 1/2 inches (3 1/2, 3)

Decrease rounds: (Note- Decreases are done at the beginning and end of each needle so make sure you still have even amounts on each.)

Knit 1, ssk (slip slip knit) knit to last three stitches on needle, knit 2tog (knit 2 together) knit 1. Repeat on each needle for 1 round.

Next round knit every stitch.

Repeat these two rounds until you have 6 stitches on each needle.
Next round K2tog entire round. Cut yarn and with a tapestry needle draw tail through each stitch, draw closed and weave in ends.

Please note, Red Heart is a very inexpensive yarn, I find the gauge to be a little larger than with a higher quality yarn.

And there you have it, Easy Peasy Hat! Easily adaptable and embellish at will!

Oops! Got a little carried away!

My Christmas stocking was swimming right along, I am past the heel gusset and onto the foot portion when I realized that I have to, eeerrrk! Slam on the brakes. I am just shy of enough yarn to finish the foot. It was looking ever so purty too!

Do over! I will have to rip back to the leg and make it a little shorter. This is what I get for not planning things out and just sitting there blithely knitting away at 2 am. I have only 1 skein of this red yarn and chances of being able to match the dye lots are slim to none since I bought the yarn over a year ago (or it could have been two). The variance in colors would be just enough for the non-knitter to notice, (tried that trick once before) and of course Spanky would definitely notice!

Hmmm ...maybe if I do the heel and toe in .... No big deal, frogging is good for the soul, and certainly keeps our egos in check, it is a quickie project and I should be able to finish it in a couple of evenings of good TV. That is the nice thing about working with bulky yarns, they knit up fast.

I know, I know, the suspense is killing me too, I can't wait to hang it from the mantel. But I have the next two days off, sorta, so I should be able to finish.

Dawn said: "Do your pom poms ever come a bit loose on top after washing? I've tried fastening as tight as I could and they still wobble about loosely after washing! "

Ok- here is my pom pom trick- I usually do not have a problem with them coming loose. When I make the pom, I leave two long tails from where I tie it off. Then I thread each tail separately through the top of the hat through different stitches. Then, on the inside I take both tails and tie a knot (like your tying your shoes) and pull it as tight as I can, double check the tightness on the public side, the give it one more tug before I secure the knot, (double knotted). I weave the tails into the hat in opposite directions and Viola! I am pretty sure my momma taught me to do it that way.

And or my Bad.... I was on Knit Picks today (damn those emails), and I shopped.

Well it was justified!! I needed a pair of size 1 double points and I can't seem to find those around here. Then there was that cute Girl's Best Friend Anklet pattern calling out to me. Now I know I only do socks in 2x2 rib's for a reason, but I really think that anklet will be tight enough to stay up without feeling like it is cutting into my leg. And if not, well then Sarah gets another pair of socks. I had to get that pretty color they did showed the socks in, and well, black, I need black for work. So see??? Justified Shopping! And besides, sock yarn doesn't really count, right?

About Vickie's Podcast, well I have all of them downloading to my Itunes but sadly, I am not only behind on reading my fav blogs, but I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet. I am hoping to have a chance to walk in the forest preserve with my ipod while I am off so I can get caught up. I am sure I will love it as much as I love Knitty Gritty.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I'm Linked to Vickie!!!

I mentioned that I got behind on reading my fav blogs - right? What with all the recent busy-ness and all that.
Well, unbeknownst to me, I got myself a link on VICKIE HOWELL'S BLOG!!!!

Sorry- it just gave me a little thrill to find my humble little blog named on my favorit-est TV personna's blog. And, How cool is this, it was her Halloween post that I got listed in, my favorit-est holiday to boot! (I did mention I was behind on my reading)

Ok was just for adding her podcast banner to my blog... along with a million other people... and I wasn't in the first wave... but it was still cool!

Just thought I'd mention it, is all. What else do I have to do while I'm here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Little Emily was pleased as punch with her new hat and wore it home from Aunties house last night. A variation of the ones that I have been making for the H.H. project. I just made it kid size and added the poofy on the top.

I am suffering from major hat burn out here! So I changed things up a bit and cast on a Christmas Stocking. This is one of those things I have been meaning to do for awhile and even bought yarn for it but just never seemed to get around to it. Something or someone else always manages to distract me away from projects for myself. I've cast on for the basic sock pattern with Lion Brand Jiffy (red of course) and some mystery silver eyelash yarn that I had laying around from a scarf. (see??? still working from my stash) Knit about 10 rows of garter stitch then dropped the silver, and am knitting away.

I do have another hat on the needles of course, I plan on working on it today as long as things stay at an even keel at work. What? Work you say?? Yes...I am working today. I have about 30 people at my house today eating turkey and who knows what else, but yes, I am here because- well someone has to do this job and 911 doesn't close.
Actually Thanksgiving Day is not such a bad day to work. It stinks to not get to be with your family on the holidays, but is it not our busiest day of the year (never ever say the "Q" word).

'Tis a day to loosen our ties, watch football, eat turkey dinner that the Chief has catered for us, and maybe throw in a movie. while we eat pumpkin pie. And for me?? that includes knitting of course! Then there are all those goodies that the locals bring in for us (because they A- feel sorry that we have to be here and B- because they appreciate us!)
So see?? Not really such a bad work day after all ;)

We had our first snowfall last night with a small amount of accumulation, just enough for the ground to be covered this morning. A sure sign winter is here and I better get knitting more of those hats.

Wishing you all a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Two-Count 'Em Two

I received two invites this month. The first was to Ravelry! I had seen every one talking about it and wondered what all the fuss was about, so I was kinda late in taking the plunge. I felt like I was 9 -bazillion on the list, but it finally came! And Holy Cow, is that place time consuming. I guess once you get your stuff set up it won't be as much of a project in it's self. And pretty cool it is too!
It has forced me to pay more attention to what I am doing with what yarns and what patterns and needles, as well as forcing me to upload more pictures to flickr. All for the better - right?
I do tend to lose myself among everyone else's projects, but it is fun to see what other people are up to. I haven't gotten into the people part of it yet, but have joined a few groups. I have seen some people that have joined hundreds of groups...when do you knit then? I am going to keep my socializing down to a minimum I think. I have add a few projects to my want list thank to Ravelry!

I have found tho, that blogging and Ravelry and forums are time away from knitting, and reading my favorite blogs. I feel like I have gotten behind in both lately. Plus with all the family stuff and extra hours at work lately, I haven't had time for anything else. I don't see how so many people have time to knit such beautiful garments and still have time to spend chatting to other people about what they knit. I guess I am not as good a multi-tasker as I thought!

My second invite came from 25 things for Charity ! I wish I had run across this blog much sooner, I think it would have prompted me to start knitting for charity much earlier in the year. I guess with all the people in need in the world, there can never be enough done. My post can be found here (warning- I was standing on my soap box when I wrote it).

I am up to 9 hats for homeless now and 1 more made for my niece Emily (she's 6).

I use the same basic hat pattern for all of them. I will post it for anyone interested, just as soon as I have time to translate my scattered thoughts onto paper. It is Easy Peasy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Stash Busting Charity Hat Pattern

One of the things I have always been horrible at was keeping track of my patterns. Some times, most times, I would just throw some yarn on the needles or hook and see what comes from it.

Last year when I started getting orders from Berni's nail customers for winter accessories, I decided it was time I put pen to paper and kept track of how I made them! This came in pretty darn handy since I was getting repeat orders for "mittens and hats that were like the ones you made for so-and-so"

So now I have myself a nice little fabric bound spiral journal that I keep for just such occasions, and surprisingly enough, I have kept it up. Usually some scribbled notes on note book paper or a post it note was how I kept track, then months (translate into years) later, I was trying to decipher these hieroglyphics. and not always so successful at it.

Since I am basically lazy when it comes to knitting, and altho I do like a challenge occasionally, I don't want to struggle too much when I knit, so my patterns are usually done out of necessity and very easy.

For being a Virgo, I can be surprisingly disorganized.

EASY ROLLED BRIM HAT PATTERN (or the emergency Mom, I need a hat quick pattern)

Lion Brand Baby Clouds

Easy Rolled Brim Hat Pattern

One set of 5 US size 9 double point needles
1 ball bulky weight yarn ( I used Lion Brand Homespun and Baby Clouds)
Tapestry needle or crochet hook

gauge = 4-5st to an inch

Using your favorite cast on method, cast on 58 stitches (14 on each needle).

Knit in stockinette stitch for 6 inches. (will fit the average adult)
Begin Decreases

Row 1- K2tog at the beginning of each needle
Row 2- Knit 1 round

Continue decreasing in this manner until there are 10 stitches remaining, cut yarn and draw through each loop with a tapestry needle, draw loops closed and weave in ends.
The amount of roll you get in your brim will depend upon how many inches you knit prior to decreasing.
If you find it is too many stitches to handle on your DPN's you can use a 12 inch circular until you get to the decrease rounds, then switch to DPN's.

I like using them because there is no counting involved and I can make a mental note of which round I am one once I get to the decreases.

Doesn't get any easier than that does it?- good TV knitting! It also makes a great take along project since you never really have to worry about losing your place.

This hat can usually be made in an evening and you should be able to get at least three hats from a skein of yarn. Makes a great way to use up left over yarn that you don't know what to do with and it makes a nice warm fabric.

Lion Brand Homespun
Hope you enjoy the pattern and Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Back Home Again!

Oh My- what a long trip!! We left on Thursday afternoon for Tennesse, it actually took me longer to get my act together than it took my daughter, she was ready on time, I was not. We did not leave until noon - thirtyish and of course had the usual nasty traffic in Chicago, then the nasty rush hour traffic in Indianapolis. We made it to the motel at 11:30 pm our time. Not too bad considering all the fuel and potty stops we took. Raine was an angel the whole trip! She is an amazing traveler...must be that truck driver blood we all share..ha ha.

Even though the reason for the trip was sad, it was amazing to see my cousins again, and Raine really needs to get to know them all. The funeral was hard to take, and very heartbreaking, but it is the natural order of things and we are strong survivors in this family.

Raine was surprisingly comfortable around all of my cousins. Usually she is a little bit stand-offish and shy, but she was completely at ease there. Even stayed at Mary and Everett's house while Sarah and I went up to the top of the mountain.

Here is Raine and Everett

(this is the serious picture... she just wanted to take a goofy one)

Me -Lost in the Mountains... No clue where I was or how I got there, but I found this street sign while I was trying to locate the cemetery my father is buried at...he must have directed me here... because I have a photo of him standing with this very sign...LOL

My Aunt Lelo's Farm - Many of my favorite memories are of here.

Looks like Some of Raine's will be too!

The trip home was brutal, we got discombobulated in Morristown and I wanted to drive back through Cumberland Gap, since Raine and Sarah had never been that way in the daylight, but the damn GPS kept trying to take me to hwy 40! What the Heck! So by the time I figured out how to go back the way I wanted, it was starting to get dark. So Sarah and Raine still have not seen the trip through the mountains during the daylight.
Second star to the right and straight on til morning! 5 am Sunday morning that is, I was so tired when I got home that I could not even see straight and went right to bed. Neither one of us wanted to sleep in a bed other than our own, so we kept on driving. Needless to say, I did not do any knitting on the whole trip, although I did have good intentions and I brought it with me.

Dawn and Jane I thank you for your condolences. They are very much appreciated.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Poor Bingo :(

The strangest thing happened to our poor puppy dog this past weekend. His right ear filled up with fluid. I am not talking his inner ear, or an ear infection like you might think. It is the floppy part of his ear. It was about a 1/2 inch thick!! At first we thought maybe he caught a bee and was having a reaction. (For some reason the crazy dog thinks is fun to get stung) So Mark gave him some Benedril. No go, nothing happened,. Monday I took him to the vet and after several hours of waiting, I notice that his left ear flap started to fill up too. The vet said it was ear hemotoma... in other words, his ear flaps were filling up with blood! I am freaking out now. How can this happen to him. He says, from shaking his head, it is like boxers ears, bruised...BOXERS EARS??? No, my dog does not shake his head a lot. The only thing different was his trip to a new groomer. Now, after talking to the cops at work, I am highly suspicious. Did she get frustrated with his barking?? He likes to talk sometimes. If that is what happened I will be highly pissed! Better that I never find out! The poor baby had to have surgery and now he has to keep stitches in for SIX WEEKS! Plus wear this funny bandage! And to top it off the the vet found a tumor on his mouth (which they removed). Not a good day for me or Bingo!

He looks so sad here, but at least he is home, and happy to report, feeling better, but not to happy about having his head bandaged like that.

I am still plugging away on the Homeless Hats. I now have seven, progress a bit slow due to all the activity. I loaned my camera to my sister in law, so I only have a camera phone picture to share. My basket-o-scarves is slowly becoming a basket-o-hats! I am hoping to have enough soon to make a small difference at the shelter.

Of course the charity work does not end there: Tis the Season for Toys for Tots! This is our annual toy drive and winter coat drive. The officer that I usually assist with this is out of work for several weeks on family leave as he and his wife just had a beauteous baby boy! I am a little overwhelmed right now, but I am sure it will fall into place. I had some assistance tonite with the delivery of signs and what nots. Everything happens so fast this time of year, and calls get busier in general. More crime, sad to say, and, well, just more everything!

I leave in the morning to take a trip to Tennessee to pay my last respects to my Aunt Agnes who passed away on Monday morning. It will be good to see my cousins again, but not under these circumstances. She was another one with the crafty gene. Her favorite craft was crochet, I think she always had something on the hook...runs strong in my family! I think it will be a comfort to her family to have such heirlooms from her and I know she will be missed.

I won't be able to knit much on the trip since I am the primary driver, and haven't figured out yet how to safely knit and drive. My daughter will be going with me but she has never driven in the mountains before so I expect I will be doing most of the driving.

It is going to be a long weekend!
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