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!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Halloween Week Fun

Halloween Week has been pretty busy for me! I take these days off because they are maniacal for me, that and this is my favorite holiday!

Most of Tuesday and Wednesday were spent prepping for Halloween. Tuesday I visited with my daughter and her fiance, the we had to go to Circuit City to buy her birthday/Christmas prezzie...a new laptop! This will be Sarah's first new computer, she has had my old cast off for about 7 years, time to bury it I say! I got a good deal, and since I still owed her a birthday present, I just combined them, and yes gave it to her early.

And I can't forget my niece Gina, who is pretty in her own pink. She just bought her first computer ever- and came over to Auntie for help turning it on...hahaha
Now she is all set with her own stuff on her own computer with her own Itunes. I am going to miss those late nights with her putting music on her IPod.

I was also busy prepping for Berni's web site...a first for her too! I got a text from her on Saturday that said "will you help me?" DUH! Of Course. Not that I really know what I am doing...LOL. But I gave it my best shot.

Wednesday I played Paparazzi at Nails Under the Sun (N.U.T.S. for short), snapping pictures as soon as I pulled into the drive.

(On the Pink Front- Berni and Nikki have extended the pink hair gig. Last night she told me they had over $8000 raised so far!)

Then, Bingo (gratuitous pet photo) had to be run to the groomer and came back with his own Halloween decor (which his father promptly took off of him as soon as he got home from work).

He is such a good boy, look how nicely he sits in the truck. Cracks me up when the seat belt alarm dings while he sits there.

Raine and Sarah get two trick or treat days. They went on Sunday over by Papa Pete's house. and on Halloween, over at Auntie Donna's. Donna's neighborhood is awesome! Everyone is in the spirit, with the elaborate decorations, and the best treats! We all get such a kick out of trick or treating on the island too, only 3 houses there but it is worth the walk! Raine was a little freaked about the bridge again this year, thanks to Aunt Tammy shaking it ( her annual Halloween Trick). I was the Grim Reaper by the way - sorry no picture- we actually forgot to use the camera.

Greg's, first time pumpkin carving... can you imagine? 28 years old and never carved a pumpkin? He obviously has been deprived as a child.

Now for how I spent my entire day yesterday....

I did not mean to spend the whole day working on this but I got so involved, that the next thing I knew, it was 3 pm, then, 7 then, woo hoo, we went LIVE last night around 8!

Bernis came over to look ( she does not have a computer), and told me she was ready to cry..."I'm a dot com" she said. She really was ready to cry too. I maintain the web site at work, but this is the very first time I have ever build one from the get go...thank goodness for templates, but even with that help it was not as easy as I thought it would be. I think it turned out pretty nice, still some work to do on it, but ready for the public.

Even with all that going on I did manage to finish another hat.

Yippy- today I get to catch up my housework, double yuk!!

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