Monday, December 29, 2008
Grand Prize Winner: Monique B
Second prize: SJ
Third prize: Elaine
Please send me your addresses (firstname.lastname@example.org) so I can send out your prizes!
In the meantime I've been busy trying to get Nana's sweater done and am confident I'll have it finished in the next day or so. The only modification I made was to the sleeves...she only wanted them a certain length (fine by me...less knitting!).
Here's a shot from last Tuesday (1 week in)...
Now I didn't knit on Christmas day or Friday afternoon/evening (story below) or most of Saturday morning which is why the second week wasn't as productive. Here's where the sweater stands at the moment (almost 2 weeks in)...
Christmas was busy for us. We opened presents with the kids at 8:00am. Went to my in-laws around 10:30. Opened more presents and played with new toys (including Papa's new computer - so nice). Drove to my parents at 12:00. Opened more presents, played with more toys, ate lots of hors d'oeuvres. My in-laws came over to my parents around 3:15. We ate around 4:00. After dessert we rolled ourselves into the car and drove home with sleeping children. What a long day.
The awesome gifts I received from my hubby (and kids) included: knitting software, k-yarns gift cards, the sweater design book I wanted, interchangeable needle set, "nite-lite" needles, and a new "gems" short needle set. Unfortunately, I already have my interchangeable needle set from knitpicks, I didn't think I would really use the nite-lite needles, and I didn't need the gems short needles. The thought, however, was tremendous. My parents gave me a stitch pattern book - love it! My sister, who lives in Kansas, sent me a k-yarns gift card as well - which I was very touched by! It was just such a swell Christmas for me - I am truly blessed!
Friday morning we left the house around 11:00am to return the above mentioned (yet well thought out) items to Michaels and to stop at Home Depot to look at insulation for our attic. Our house was built in the late 1920s. When we moved in back in June 2005 we had to redo the roof, ripping three layers off, the bottom of which was probably original. Our house has its original plaster walls and ceilings with the exception of the kitchen, half bath, full bath and finished part of the basement. There were no ceiling lights in any of the bedrooms until we installed them and upgraded more of the electricity. Last summer we undertook residing the house and insulating the outer walls - which are still plaster and lathe with cedar shakes underneath (it was best to leave it all on). The windows had been replaced sometime in the past 15 - 20 years so that will be the last big project on our "cosmetic" list in the next 5 years. However, in order to help save on heating costs, we needed to insulate the attic once and for all. Apparently, when we went to Home Depot on Friday - that was the day and that was the time! So much for a relaxing day of recovery and knitting! We bought 35 bails of eco-friendly, blow in, insulation and rented a truck to get it all home along with the blower machine. At 3:00pm we were back home with the rental truck returned to Home Depot and my husband betting me he could finish the whole job in 4 hours. I said "you'll be completely done in 4 hours, or you'll be done for the day in 4 hours?" Yeah, I'm a smartass kind of wife. Luckily, my mother-in-law stopped by (thankfully unexpected) and rolled up her sleeves to help out. I sat inside watching Casey for the first hour as Matthew and Nana worked out the kinks of the machine operating and Ken yelled ON/OFF from the attic. Did I mention he had to rip up old planks every 4 - 5 feet to blow in the insulation? Yeah, it was all sorts of fun. I finally gave Matthew the option of watching Casey or standing out in the cold as the sun went down. He gladly chose to babysit his sister. Nana and I finally got a rhythm down for how to "mulch" the insulation into the blower so that it didn't jam. We also learned the sounds of the machine when Ken was nearing the end of a beam section. At 7:00pm I went inside and ordered the kids a pizza. At 7:15 it started to sleet. At 7:30 Ken wanted to call it a day and Nana and I told him to keep going. At 8:30 we were finished. The driveway was a mess from all the dust. Our face masks were gross, Ken had inhaled almost 100 years of dust and eco-fiber, and my right hand was sore from "raking" the insulation. Not to mention my toes were frozen - although I was SO happy to be wearing a pair of socks I had made so they were cozy if nothing else. Here's a photo of the beginning of the process...
Tomorrow morning we leave for New Years in Vermont as has been our custom for a number of years (in fact, it's about my 7th - out of 9 - NYE in VT excluding the year Ken and I went to Boston and the year Casey was born). The old tradition included going into Burlington to the Brewpub. The new tradition includes dinner out, beers at "home", and sledding in the backyard. The evening also includes knitting, toddlers and lots of snow.
I wish you all the happiest of new years and want to take a moment (yes, another one) to thank you for your "friendship" and laughter over the past few months! Cheers to another great knitting year ahead!!! Big hugs all around until next time!
Monday, December 22, 2008
We're also down to the wire on Christmas. All of my knitted gifts have been finished except for Nana's Therapi - which is about 35 - 40% complete. I definitely won't finish in time for Thursday (unless I suddenly become some sort of crazy 24/7 knitting machine) but I'll be able to finish over the next week or so and that's close enough for me. But then the "What next?" question comes into play - and I've got several yarns and patterns...I just need to decide which one I heart the most (and remind myself that 2009 will truly be the "Year of the Stash" - but, Jill, if you're reading this, don't hold me to it, ok?)
This weekend was a bit crazy as every weekend before Christmas turns out to be. I tried to knit, honest I did. But with Ken out plowing the entire neighborhood (or so it seemed) most of Friday night and Sunday, I barely had time for anything outside of watching Casey...and boy does she need to be watching, my goodness!
We celebrated my mom's birthday on Saturday afternoon - which turned into a belated birthday for Casey with my parents since they were in S.C. on the actual day. Let me tell you, 3 year olds do not understand birthday's as one date in time. If you say birthday...it becomes THEIR birthday. So even though we celebrated my mom's birthday too...it was Casey's birthday ALL...WEEKEND...LONG. Try explaining that!
Also difficult to explain was why there were presents under the tree from Santa and why she couldn't open them yet. They're not from Santa...they're from my sister and I put them under the tree so they were out of my dining room/wrapping headquarters and didn't get confused with everything else going on. I didn't explain that they were from Aunt Jenny because she, again, doesn't understand. She also doesn't understand that, in the grand scheme of things, 3 more days is NOT far away - to her 3-year old brain it's an eternity. Another "as yet to comprehend" idea is that not all "child" presents are for her. I've had to hide Abby's and Charlie's and Alexa's presents from her completely - knowing she would try to play with them otherwise. Seasoned parents, please tell me it gets easier by age 4!!!
NEWS FLASH: The best way to start the week...as I was writing this post I got an email from my sister saying she was on her way to the airport to pick up my bro-in-law who has gotten a 2 week R&R from his tour in Iraq!!! I can't imagine not seeing my husband for almost 5 months...but this means Chuck is halfway through his stay...and what a wonderful holiday blessing for our family to have him home! Hooray!
Anywho...I'm sure I won't have time to blog again before Christmas...so this will be your last chance to get bonus points (so I can start coordinating entry numbers, etc). Points awarded for each answer...
1. funniest blog comment I've made during the contest (that is, if you think I've made any funny comments)
2. your favorite color
3. your favorite city in the world (visited and/or on your wish list)
4. your favorite yarn to use for yourself
5. your favorite garmet that you've knit for yourself
Happy holidays to all! And thanks for sharing my journey to 100...it's been so much fun!
Friday, December 19, 2008
I'm getting the goodies ready for the contest prize...only 2 more posts...can you believe it? I'm wondering what gauge yarn people use most...sock, worsted, bulky? Bonus points if you tell me your favorite. Perhaps I'll give you a teaser photo of some prizes next time...hmmm.
So Tuesday night I started Stefanie Japel's new pattern, Therapi, as a last minute Christmas gift. Nana, the recipient, does not like wool. She believes that all wool is scratchy. She believes ALL blends of wool with silk, nylon, cashmere, etc., are scratchy. Nana does not know what she's missing. Nana gets acrylic instead (mainly because she didn't like the yellow cotton's that were offered to her). So I'm knitting Therapi in Lion Brand's "Pound of Love" in a light yellow. It's ok so far. It's a standard top down Stefanie design, it's a free Knitty pattern, and it's easy to knit from memory - which is why I love it. The only problem, so far, is that I tried to follow the chart and it's not exactly right - parts of it are right, and you can follow the main gist of things, but it's not 100% and that frustrates me. And while I love me some Knitty, the "printer friendly" version did not print the charts in their entirity...so you're left reading the opposite "front/back" chart for increases, etc. They listed it as Tangy (isn't that their version of a step-up from Easy?) but I would list it as more of a challenge because you need to wrap your head around it a little more (unless they rewrite the charts and then it will be Tangy).
Here are 3 progress shots...
After a few hours...
After 1 full day...
After 2 full days...
Here's a quickie of the Santa pillow I mentioned in the last post - since I'm not happy with the way the stitches pulled when I stuffed it, I'm not sure if I will gift it or just use it as a lesson...
Lastly, here are photos of the scarf and hat set that I gifted...I'm still in love with the hat...so maybe I'll whip up another one for myself :o)
Lastly, it's FINALLY snowing here in the Big Apple...yippie?? It seriously looks like a snow globe outside - the snow is swirling all around - glad to be inside for the time being. The town schools are closed at home - waiting to see about daycare - I think hubby is "working from home" (lucky duck).
And, just because you guys are all so awesome - more points (2 in one post!!!)...for letting me know one of your happiest holiday memories (everyone remembers childhood best...so an extra point will be awarded for ADULT memories!).
Stay warm and knit!
Monday, December 15, 2008
Thursday morning - Princess' annual check-up = 3'3" (90th percentile), 30 lbs (60th percentile) and Pink Eye - whoo hoo for mom and dad!
Thursday evening - Husband complains of back-ache/spasm (there have been a number of people laid off at his company - can we say "s-t-r-e-s-s"?).
Friday - Stayed home with Pinky and Husband went to work - it was my turn to stay home with a sick child anyway. Husband claimed that he would come home by mid-day - ha ha ha ha ha. Stuck at home with no car and Pinky watching Sponge Bob and various other cartoons. Husband did not get home until after 5:00pm and declared that he battled a stomach virus all day and couldn't leave work because "I had a project that no one else could handle". Um, yeah.
Friday thru Sunday - Husband insists on being a martyr. He lays on the living room couch huddled under blankets complaining about how bad he feels. Husband does not realize that 3 year old Pinky is a better patient than him. I run errands and keep her out of his hair as best as is possible. He sleeps in son's room. Pinky, somehow, ends up with me. I just keep trying not to touch my eyes...at...all.
On Saturday afternoon I catch a break - they are both napping at the same time! I run to Michael's, Barnes & Noble and Kohl's. I get home and drag out all the holiday gifts...dividing them into recipient piles - noting the ones that need to be mailed...and soon.
Sunday is more of the same from Saturday - except I finally look at my mom's pile of presents. My mom whose birthday is December 21st. My mom who needs 2x everyone else (in theory - give or take). And all I have is an Totes umbrella and a scarf I knit. That's all! I do this EVERY year - I could kick myself! I also realize that I accidentally purchased - weeks ago - the wrong size frames for two gifts. So I scramble to find the receipts to return the original frames, grab some coupons for Ann Taylor Loft and head out to replace and purchase presents for my mom. Surprisingly, everything went well. The frames were slightly more expensive - didn't break the bank though. And I used my coupons to the max - so my mom gets something nice - and I spent a bit less. All is well that ends well.
But today is Monday - and today I'm "that guy" (though no one bothered to copy me on the memo!!!).
I had to be at work for an 8:00am meeting. No biggie. One earlier train than usual. Get up, blindly go through my routine, stop at the bagel shop for coffee, walk to the train station. But the cup, in hand, does not feel right. Did the new guy give me a full cup? Is it my imagination? Whatever. I take a couple sips before the train arrives and its all good.
But the train arrives. And I get on. And as I'm turning to sit down, the cup, that felt weird, slips from my hand and smacks the floor...coffee explodes every-EVERY-where. And I've got nothin. No napkins. No tissues. Nada. The train starts to move and I think..."hey, I'll put the mouth of the cup on the floor and get some of the java river back into the cup". But, duh, the cup is Styrofoam and is about 1/4" think - it's acts like a wall instead of a basin. Darn it! We pull into the next station and I panic. I pick up my stuff from the seat and say "I'm so sorry, I accidentally spilled my coffee and am going to see if I can find something to help clean it up". Two men grumble at me. Honestly, I did give it a half-hearted try. I looked for a bathroom - but they only have air dryers...no paper towels. Urgh. I slunk away into another car and sat downstairs. I took my red coat off and hid it between my knees in case the Coffee Police came looking for "the girl with the red coat". What a start to the morning.
Then the caterers were late for the breakfast set-up and we never got hard copies of a presentation and it just spiraled from there.
By the way - the moon was full on December 12th - so I'm placing the blame on it!
Knitting highlights for the weekend:
1. Finished the "Climbing Vines" bulky scarf and made a matching hat - gifted to recipient today
2. Started (from stash) a raglan sweater from Casey - it's turning out super cute (photos to come)
3. Made a replica Santa pillow from a crochet pattern my mom used to use. It's FAR from perfect, but it looks ok for a first try (photos to come). Will probably make a second one using two strands each
** Bonus points for sharing a story from when you unknowingly received the "That Guy" Award **
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
I consulted Ken...of course no help except to say "it doesn't look right". So...I sat down at the dining room table and took out my trusty seam ripper and carefully disected and extracted the right saddle from the front/back seams down to the point where they all got separated in the first place (and saving the top stitches where I picked up for the neck).
Open Saddle Surgery...(kids, don't try this at home!)...
I reknit the saddle, carefully measuring it to the pattern specifications (again). I sewed it back in - working some voodoo magic in the process. End result - it looks better by far. Maybe I'm not used to it's structure because the "shoulders" stick out past the arms. I'm torn about it and will await your feedback/thoughts. Obviously this is what you encounter with one photo of a pattern and don't know the "behind the scenes" of the photoshoot styling.
After the challenge of the cape...I got back to my sweater design and finished it last night! I admit, I almost cried when I put it on and was modeling it for hubby. While it's by no means perfect, it was a great learning experience and I can't wait to work on the next one!
Close up of the neck - right side out...
Close up of the neck - wrong side showing (doesn't it look just as nice!)...
I had a whole bunch of nonsense to blog about too...instead, here's one more photo (cause this posting clearly doesn't have too many already) of the princess on her birthday!
Monday, December 08, 2008
Little Miss Sunshine had a great birthday and received some fabulous gifts including a dollhouse, a "broomstick" Unicorn, a shopping cart, a doodle board, and a Princess dress-up set.
The guys had an awesome weekend because they got to ride the surf machine at Great Escape Lodge - and their body aches match their enthusiasm (and remind them that they're not as young as they once were).
I had a heavenly weekend because Liz brought me my order from K-Yarns which had the Geode yarn and pattern book included! There simply is not enough time to knit in a lifetime! On Saturday night, when everyone went off to the arcade, I stole some "me time" - I watched the pop-up version of High School Musical 2 (I'm a closet HSM junkie) and finished the chunky blue scarf. I'll sew in the ends and block it this evening and should be able to gift it on Wednesday.
Spoke to my mom yesterday and it seems like the service for my grandmother went fine on Saturday. They have wrapped up all of the paperwork and misc "to-do's" and should be home sometime mid-week.
Now the rest of December starts rolling itself out...holiday parties, TONS of friends birthday's (one of which turns 40 this week - no names of course), knitting presents, finishing shopping, sending out cards, baking, wrapping, keeping head from spinning...
We're expecting to make the annual trek up to Burlington for New Year's Eve - need to figure out dog logistics and then let the rest fall into place. I can't wait really - it's one of those annual things that just makes sense to me - I can't imagine being anywhere else to ring in the new year (yarn from Kaleidoscope on the needles of course!).
My resolution for next year (as it probably should have been this year) is to knit from my stash as much as possible - which should, in theory, be easy seeing as though I've tried to only make project-specific purchases and have sold off some of the less appealing/functional yarn in my stash.
** Bonus points for your knitting/yarn resolutions **
** First reply to this post receives a bonus point for the 300th entry - hooray!
Friday, December 05, 2008
Contest bonus points awarded for answers to:
What holiday gift would cause you to wag your tail this year?
I would lick my owners face if I received:
- The Knitter's Guide to Sweater Design
- Massage gift certificate
** Apologies for the dog-references - but we're "dog people" **
Some of you already know my news - and I am SO SO SO grateful for "friends" like you. Your support has been incredible and your words of advice have helped me more than you'll ever know! For those unaware, my paternal grandmother passed away on Monday. She was 92 (I finally did the math). She had been battling Alzheimer's for the past 5 - 7 years but her body never gave up on her. She led a long and wonderful life: she and my grandfather traveled all over the US in a Winnebago, she collected Hummel's (at it's peak it was the largest collection I've ever seen), and she was very involved in the Presbyterian ministry. My father is an only child and my grandmother was his last living immediate family (besides my mom, sister and I, of course). Please keep my father, and my family, in your thoughts. We have made a donation to my grandmother's favorite charity, Thornwell's Home for Children. They assist children and teens that have been abused and/or orphaned. Please consider them if you are looking for a worthwhile charity this holiday season.
As with any family-involved event there comes some drama. As a precaution, I won't go into any specifics, but from conversations with many of you all I can say is this: we're not alone, everyone has "crazy" in their bloodline, and we can't choose our relatives.
And seeing as my brain is completely fried (seriously, I misplaced a gift card I bought last night - I have NO idea where it is and that is SO uncharacteristic of me!!!) I'm looking forward to: making Casey's birthday cake and knitting tonight; decorating our Christmas tree tomorrow morning; meeting our friends at the Great Escape Lodge tomorrow afternoon; slipping and sliding at the waterpark tomorrow night; and celebrating Casey's 3rd birthday ALL weekend! My brain needs some recovery time - knitting and cocktails required! :o)
Enjoy your weekend!
Monday, December 01, 2008
My S.W.3. buddy - DORA!!! (her blog is linked on the side panel)
I find, as I grow older, that it's harder to make "new" friends - especially women friends. But Dora and I were thrown into the craziness of sock making and instantly bonded! As time progressed, and bad S.W.3. socks were wielded, we eventually made "friendship" socks for one another (I think I mentioned them a few months back). Dora is just such a great and funny lady - AND she likes NASCAR too! So I am thankful for Dora!!!
Now, what some of you have been waiting for - design previews! I've been working on this sweater on and off for the past few weeks - but really got into it last week, right before Thanksgiving. Trouble was, I only had 5 skeins of the yarn in my possession (4 more are on their way to me and should arrive today!). The body used 4 balls, the first arm used 1. The flared turtleneck will probably use 1 - 1.5 because it will be all stitch pattern repeats. Here's a preview...PLEASE (*pretty please with sugar on top*) tell me what you think of it so far...and be honest!!!
Here's a closeup of the stitch pattern...
I'm not 100% about what I will call it - although the drafts have always included something about Stefanie Japel, whose class I designed it in. I've also made a worsted weight scarf and have started a bulky weight scarf using the same stitch pattern...
Both of them will have to be blocked - obviously - but don't they look fabulous?!?! And such an easy pattern repeat too!
Lastly, here are some photos from the Thanksgiving feast at Casey's daycare (which was so much fun!!!) and of Ken's first dyeing "board"...
Sunday, November 30, 2008
As part of my contest, I will award points for anyone who names one person they are thankful for this year and why.
I'm going to name a few that top my list with a brief story about each one...
1. "Papa Bear" (obviously not his real name) - because he has always been supportive of me personally and professionally (and treats my family as part of his own)
2. Jill - because she gave an unknown knitter a chance to knit outside her comfort zone (and I found that I liked it)
3. Alyssa - because it's so much fun to have a fellow knitter so close at hand Monday through Friday (and I constantly realize how much we have in common despite the difference in our ages)
4. Erin - because she is just as sarcastic as me...which makes her a perfect match for me at work
Obviously, I am thankful for my family (especially my daughter Casey who continues to grow up quickly even when I tell her not to!)
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
So what's been happening lately with me? Honestly, I feel kind of scatter brained - and unorganized - which is totally NOT like me! I've got lists for presents and groceries and knitting and work. Then there are sub-lists: daily things, weekly things, monthly things. How and when did it get so confusing and hard to keep track of?
Here's a list of knitting I need to work on this week/weekend:
- Tweed Cape
- Japel's Wings Sweater (and ordering more yarn...darn it!!!)
- Ye Ol' Wives Tale (scarf for my mom)
- Tangled Yoke Sweater (at the part to begin sleeves - but want to use 2 circs instead of dpns - need second set of US5 tips to arrive - or do I already have them? again, confusion!)
Christmas shopping that needs to be done:
- Secret Santa
Other things to decide/do:
- Buy more Claritin-D (asap)
- Continue getting package together for winner of contest
- Cake design/theme for Casey’s birthday party
- Get cards for upcoming events: birthdays/babies/anniversaries
- Whether to go to Vermont on Friday (and if not, when?)
- What to do for New Yarn’s Eve (if anything)
- Do I stay on the Soccer Board for a few more years…or take a couple years off and rejoin?
- Realign bill paying with new payroll dates (from bi-weekly to bi-monthly – URGH!)
Things to resist:
- Eating too much at upcoming holiday/birthday parties
- Drinking too much at the company party (which shouldn't be too difficult since I'm fairly disciplined these days)
- Buying yarn that I’m not going to use right away
- “Gifts” for myself while buying for others
Things I want to do in 2009:
- Make a list of my favorite books and movies
- Write up the pattern for my sweater design (because I know it won’t get done this year)
- Paint the stairwell, living room and dining room of our house
- Be better at sharing photos in a more timely fashion
- Keep on top of my allergies and NOT get bronchitis (for once in my life!)
If your life needs help like mine, here are a few holiday shopping links (in no particular order):
Kaleidoscope Yarns - for everything else yarny/knitty/needly
Stefanie's new book - for wonderful new patterns!
(The Other) Karen's shop - jewelry, etc.
Alyssa's shop - Beautiful hand dyed yarns
Well, there’s more on my brain – like why can’t they paint pedestrian “lanes” in the subway – but I think I’ve bored you enough for one day :o)
Besides – the more I blog, the closer we get to a winner!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
On Monday my alarm clock went off at 5:21am. As per my routine, I hit the snooze alarm. At 5:29 I apparently hit the snooze again - instead of getting out of bed. At 5:37 the alarm sounded once again and I was out of bed like a lightning bolt! Believe it or not, I showered, dressed, dried my hair and was downstairs putting my coat on to leave for the train station 2 minutes earlier than usual. I couldn't believe it.
I told myself - well, that's a bad thing to know.
On Tuesday my alarm clock went off at 5:21am. I hit the snooze. I got up at 5:29.
This morning the alarm went off, I hit snooze, it went off again, and I accidentally hit snooze.
Finding out I could sleep until 5:37 is a REALLY BAD thing to know!
Good things to know (in no particular order):
- When the mortgage and car payments are due
- The birthday's of your friends and family
- When you get paid (and how much money you have in the bank)
- How much time you have to knit each day :o)
- How much time it takes to walk from home to the bagel shop to the train station each morning
- Inevitably, Knit Picks Interchangeable Harmony tips WILL come out of their sockets...in the middle of a row...causing you to drop stitches...(keep some Krazy Glue on hand - the gel tube fits nicely in your notions bag)
Bad things to know (again, no particular order):
- The last possible moment you have get out of bed in the morning
- How much you've lost in the market/401K/investments this year
- How much yarn is actually in your stash - yikes!
There are, of course (!!!) millions of other good and bad things to know. If you post one of your "things" I'll give you 2 extra bonus chances in the contest (maybe I should add that to the list of "good" things to know).
p.s. bonus points are also being awarded for the following: first person to sign up (I'm keeping it a secret); person with the most referrals; "Friend"ing me on Ravelry; anyone who signs up as a blog "follower"...I'm sure I'll think up a couple more ways over the next few weeks...stay tuned!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I have to admit, I only anticipated 20 entries or so...but it looks like I'll have SO many more - whoo hoo! Everyone loves a contest!
Well Friday night and yesterday were quite rainy here in the state of N.J. and seeing as I wasn't feeling any more motivated, I sat on the couch and knit most of the time - I love rainy weekends! I was able to get the cabled cape off the needles and am blocking it - next up will be putting in the collar and button band (I think there's a button band - I have to go and re-read the pattern now). Since I started blocking it last night it's still quite damp and I'll work on my designing or the green sweater today - or both! I'll try and post some photos later this week...everything is turning out so wonderfully!
Thanks again for all your support - I can't wait to see where we end up for the 100th!
Friday, November 14, 2008
TGIF! Long week that went fast? Kinda. I'm looking forward to an evening at home, knitting the cable cape (I'm close to finishing the second set of initial cables at the 13" mark at which point I divide and decrease - whoo hoo!), eating some sushi, watching a movie and just plain ol' relaxing. We may venture out to catch a matinee of the new James Bond movie tomorrow - but no plans are good plans in my book!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The second step is to stand up, state your name and what your addiction is.
Here goes nothing...
Hi, my name is Karen and I'm addicted to Pouncing!
Pouncing, my friends, is an option on Etsy.com whereby you skip through recently purchased stores and see what's selling. It makes the searching somewhat easier for me...and it's SO much fun!!!
And seeing as it's so much fun...and I'm in a fun mood...I'm going to have a contest to celebrate my upcoming 100th blog post (it's getting closer every day).
Here's how to enter...
Simply send an email to choochooknits at hotmail dot com - or post your message in the comments section of this post. Include your name and email address (so I know how to contact you) as well as one "secret" thing you're addicted to (blogging, pouncing, plurking, buying yarn, etc). I will assign a number to each entry and randomly select a winner for my 100th post! NOTE: If you refer a friend (or put a link to this contest on your blog/website) be sure to let me know...I'll give you an extra 1pt/chance for the 1st, 2pts/chance for the second and so on (i.e. if you enter, blog and refer 3 friends thats 1+1+2+3+4 = 11 chances; crazy system, but i'm sticking to it!).
What you'll win...yarn and knitting goodies (I haven't quite worked out all the details but I promise it will be super duper!!!). However, I know some of you are non-knitters (please tell me why?) so I will have a back-up plan for you - and it will also be super duper!
The 100th post will be here before you know it...so sign up today - and tell your friends!
Now...back to pouncing...
Monday, November 10, 2008
Before I launch into knitting updates I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for their emails about my grandmother. My mom called yesterday and let us know that her condition was slightly better than they anticipated during their visit last week. However, everything that could go wrong...did. Their outbound flight was delayed, the hospital "misplaced" my grandmother's belongings between the hospital and her "home" - which mysteriously showed up hours later without explanation...and their flight home was delayed (and those are just the larger "errors"). The downside is that Hospice will be in with my grandmother on a daily basis - which is good for my parents because they can get more up-to-date reports on her daily condition. We're all preparing for the days/weeks ahead the best we can. Perhaps she will recover to some extent. We'll keep praying for her comfort as best we can.
As for our friend who passed away unexpectedly last week, there is a Celebration of Life for him this afternoon - unfortunately I am unable to attend. Last week seems so long ago at this point - we've all just been managing the best we can. I actually did some "normal" things yesterday - laundry, grocery shopping and, believe it or not, I started my holiday shopping! It was good to relax with Ken and Casey - we kind of let the other "things" sit on the back burner for a couple hours.
As for knitting - I was able to knit while we were out running the above mentioned errands and am well into the second cable on the cape. It will be nice to start some of the decreases and see how it will come together. Each row takes quite some time - since it's a gazillion stitches knit in the round and I had to go down 2 needle sizes to make the same gauge as the previous knitter. It's kept me concentrating on something else so I guess that's helped in some small way.
The tangled yoke cardigan is also moving along now that I'm in the st st section and only have to do increases ever 8 rows - it's more mindless, and easier to do on the train (and lighter/softer on my hands than the cape).
Well, that's it for now - hope this week's adventures are a little less "heavy" than last week - talk to you again soon!
Friday, November 07, 2008
Rhinebeck - October 19, 2008
Of course you have to hang out with a cute sheep...
...and eat chocolate ice cream in your chariot (aka Radio Flyer wagon)
And then there was the chaotic last week of October when my dining room was taken over by Soccer league photos and Fundraiser knitting...
Finally, after all that...it was time to go to the workshop with Stefanie Japel.
Here's our group of fantastic ladies!
Here's a shot of Stefanie and me (please note that I DO know how terrible I look...but after fighting a migraine all morning, I was happy to just be up and about)...
And here's the stairwell of the artist studios in the converted torpedo factory...
This is the sweater I've started designing - I'm still trying to work out the overall pattern before I proceed any further (I'm thinking plain on the top, maybe a loose turtle/cowlneck, bell sleeves with a cable pattern 3/4 of the way down across entire body/sleeves)...
Ta ta for now (as Tigger would say)...until next time, keep your needles knitting and enjoy the weekend!
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Can I tell you - I've NEVER really done that before? I have hardly ever knit WITHOUT a purpose or a pattern. Sure, I've knit scarves or hats using a stitch pattern from a book. I've "winged" it.
But last night I was figuring things out! I was PLANNING for MY pattern! It was kind of cool!
Thanks Stefanie...for the motivation and thrill of designing!
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Oct 31 - Took Casey to the town Halloween parade and she had a great time (esp the part when she got candy). Matthew took her trick-or-treating around to the neighbors while Ken and I stayed home to greet the kids that stopped by. Matthew started the day as a Ninja (see picture below) and ended it as a hockey player...long story...but it's hard being a kid sometimes!
Nov 1 - Got up at 4:30am and left the house at 5:00am for my drive down to Alexandria, VA for the sweater design workshop with Stefanie Japel (I'll add in hyperlinks later). Had a BEAUTIFUL drive down and enjoyed the road trip by myself (although I'll admit my hands were itching to knit as I'm used to doing with Ken behind the wheel). I got a chance to catch up on my ipod music - and loved listening to it at a normal volume (my desk speakers at the office aren't quite the same). Arrived at the hotel to meet Alyssa and Jess at 8:30 - and we headed over to The Morrison House around 9:00 (and were almost the last ones there). Stefanie was SUCH a joy to work with and learn from - she is just one of the nicest people EVER! When it was time for our lunch break a whole bunch of us headed over to the LYS - what a gorgeous day in Old Town!!! We were really spoiled with the class and weather and wonderful knitters. I have to admit, while some may consider it dorky to sit around and knit with a group of ladies - it was like being in HEAVEN - no explaining terms or wondering if people are looking at you funny. When the class finished for the day, Alyssa, Jess and I wandered around a bit, popping into some antique stores and walking down to the waterfront. If I wasn't so exhausted from getting up so early I would have totally been more energized to do more (sorry Jess). The torpedo factory that is converted into artist studios was a diamond in the rough (think: a mall where the shops are actual studios of artists who work on premises and sell their work). I kept thinking of art school and how much my friends and I would have died for something like this back in the day. Dwight was also in my thoughts - I'll have to touch base with him soon! A, J and I went to Mai Thai for dinner, and I am happy to say I have now tried Thai food and it was delicious! Jessica was all gung-ho to do some touristy things afterward but my body said it wouldn't make it much longer. We walked back the hotel (after lugging our 20 pounds of yarn and books around for a good portion of the day) and collapsed in the room. We stayed up for a while - working on our patterns, doing LOTS AND LOTS of math, tweaking details of our design and laughing at each others stories.
Nov 2 - woke up with a splitting headache which turned into a migraine (similar to what I had the day we went to Rhinebeck). I tried everything to dissolve the pain - ended up drinking lots of water, taking some advil and sleeping an extra hour. It was bad. A & J went off to the class ahead of me and I slowly took a shower and got ready. What a morning! The Sunday portion of class was less "teaching" and more helping/asking/frogging (for me at least). We exchanged contact information with the wonderful ladies we met and headed out. Well, almost headed out. We stopped at a wonderfully quaint antique shop that had so many little treasures. To add to the ambiance they had some music playing - it wasn't Ella Fitzgerald, but similar (so you get the gist). We eventually hit the road and started our treks home. Once again, the drive was relaxing. I got home in time for dinner and received dozens of hugs from Casey (and some kisses from Ken). Whenever I leave Ken alone at the house too long it is inevitable that things get moved/rearranged. This weekend was no exception. He arranged a small table in the corner of our dining room for me to keep my knitting supplies (winder/swift/etc). It was so sweet!
Nov 3 - Got a call from Ken mid-morning that a good friend of ours had a heart attack and died earlier that day. Bette and Wayne had just retired in March, sold their house in NJ and moved to the Outer Banks. Wayne got up and didn't feel "right". By the time Bette figured out what was happening, it was too late. Wayne will be missed. He was such a great guy. Since my parents were heading down to S.C. to see my grandmother on Tuesday afternoon, we went to my parents house on Monday night to celebrate my dad's birthday (Tuesday). My grandmother has Alzheimer's and is in her 90s. About 10 days ago she fell and broke her hip. The care center where she lives took her to the hospital and they replaced the hip joint (ball). The doctor's and nurses have told my parents that she is not doing well...and my family is preparing for the worst. Please keep us, especially my dad, in your prayers.
Nov 4 - election day - enough said. Upside, I started working on the cape from where Knitter K started. It looks like our gauge is pretty close so I'm happy I don't have to rework it - or adjust the needle size. It's definitely a "home" project - although I considered bringing it on the train now that I know how "simple" the cable patterns are to follow. Stay tuned for photos...
Nov 5 - day after election day - again, nothing to add. I ordered additional Dark Horse "Fantasy" yarn to complete my Stefanie inspired sweater (the LYS only had 2 balls in the color I chose).
Maybe the week is looking up?
Friday, October 31, 2008
But this morning I got to Penn Station and was walking to the subway when all of a sudden, echoing through the underground tunnels, I heard a dog barking incessantly! Of course I knew it was a Police dog - most likely a German Shepard. But usually they are just laying about - or standing "at the ready". NOT barking. Barking signals alarm. People stop and look. You stop in your tracks and wonder if you should panic, run, proceed?
The dog stopped barking. I proceeded.
I walked up the stairs to the E-train and what did I see. Not one. Not two. But four or five armed cops standing with their guns (of the rifle/machine gun variety) held up across their bodies - not aiming at anything, just holding them across, resting on their shoulders in a "ready" position. Usually, whenever I see the the "big guns", they are strapped around their bodies, hanging on their backs.
Needless to say...this all freaked me out. It sucks to even have to deal with something like that. I mean, my sister is in the Army and has had to hold those large rifles, and she sees them every day when she goes on base. But I'm not in the Army. So seeing those "normal" things for her, really causes me stress...and I'm a knitter...I don't like stress! :o)
Well...now for my second, more cheerful, post for the day...it's HALLOWEEN...HOORAY!!!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Fortunately, I haven't had to make costumes for Casey yet - and Matthew will probably outgrow dressing up for a few years - Tweens can be SO difficult!
So I'll be home early for the town parade and enjoy the evening with trick or treaters and friends stopping by! Can't wait.
Then Saturday morning - bright and early - I'm off to Virginia to meet up with Alyssa and Jessica for the Sweater Workshop - I'm pretty excited about that too! Ken helped me ball a bunch of yarn and I started PACKING...YARN...WEIRD!!! Thanks to Jill who sent some goodies along to share good cheer at the workshop as well!
Halloween costumes will be posted tomorrow - so cute...I'm making you check back for them!
Let the count down begin...1 hour and 40 minutes...
Unfortunaltey, I don't have crew neck t's/sweaters/shells for underneath.
And maybe I'm being a little odd by thinking that I shouldn't wear a v-neck under a crew neck cardigan but I just can't pull myself to do it.
So I need more crew necks.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Last night I decided to make her friend a chemo-cap - it's the least I could do. Today I bribed the girls at work to let me take a couple 10 minute breaks during the day so I could finish the ribbing.
When I went to drop it off the cap, my co-worker was so taken aback by the gesture. However, when I asked about her friend she said she was in the hospital and she might not see her again. I was SO sad I can not even tell you. The woman's name is Betsey...please say a prayer for her.
My Uncle Fred died of lung cancer 3 years ago when I was pregnant with Casey. It's just a horrible disease and it breaks my heart to remember how young he was (only 63 or so).
Cancer makes me very angry. Cancer makes me very sad.
Life is short. When you can, take time to tell anyone you care about (friends, family, otherwise) how much they mean to you. Sometimes the simplest gesture of kindness makes all the difference in the world.
Appreciate someone you know today!
I've been SO insanely crazy lately - especially this week - with STUFF.
Over the past month I've...
- Been hit with my second allergy-related illness (a sinus infection). Finally on the mend
- Been to Martha's Vineyard for a get-away - but which didn't allow much time for me to "get away" so to speak (don't get me wrong - it was one of our best trips there in years!)
- Been inundated with Soccer team photos that need to be INDIVIDUALLY packaged and labeled for each Division team (approx 150 kids) and each Clinic child (approx 75 kids). Yes, you heard correctly - INDIVIDUALLY PACKAGED! Because coaches can't be bothered remembering which players actually got a photo at their party - and which children were missing. I have to put each photo in a zip-lock bag (to protect from sticky party fingers), attach a name tag, then group each one in another plastic bag for distribution. It's all very time consumming - probably about 8 hours for the whole process (maybe more - I don't bother clocking myself anymore).
- Finished S.J.'s sweater - which seemed to go on forever because I've...
- Been working on the fundraiser Clapotis (finished completely) and Sweater (90% complete as of last night)
- Been to Rhinebeck - which was awesome, but again, took time...hey, you've gotta just let the laundry pile up sometimes and LIVE a little, right?
- Been trying to get the kids ready for Halloween. Casey was the easy one (again) because I said "You're being a doggy, it will be so much fun!" and she said "Ok Mommy. Ruff, ruff". Matthew...not so easy. The first struggle was getting him to get his mom to take him costume shopping. Once that happened the costume came home, the sword was put away for safe keeping (I REALLY dislike any "toys" that are weapons!!!) and that was that. Until last Sunday when I wanted to take pictures of the kids in their costumes. Not only was Matthew's costume filty (from wearing it at his mom's house) but the white outfit was COMPLETELY see-through! So Monday night we trekked out to Party City to see what might be left at the store to either HELP fix the current costume...or to get him another, more suitable one. Two hours later we arrived home empty handed and started rummaging through all of our closets, drawers, etc. We found his pair of karate pants from the trial sessions he went to over the summer. Those fit underneath the Ninja pants satisfactorally. I found a plain white sweater that fits under the hooded Ninja top. Whew. Then I found my black "rope" belt from my Professor Macgonnagle (sp?) costume from 2004. I'll cut that up to make some fancy strappy wrists wraps (that were shown in the original picture of his costume but that his mother never bothered to make sure were in the package before bringing it home). Well, our ninja may turn out alright after all. Except...
- Been dealing with Matthew lying to us about a friends YouTube account...only to find out last night that there's a video on the kids page that Matthew is in! AND they made the video a week ago when Ken let Matt go over to rollerblade. AND Matt has mentioned this kids "funny" YouTube videos NON-STOP for the past week and NEVER mentioned that he was in a video. But apparently his mom knew about it. URGH! There are SO many things wrong with this situation that I can't even continue - URGH URGH URGH. Kids today! For this exact reason, Matthew does NOT use (well, hardly ever uses) our home computer.
So, as you can see, I'll be happy to get through this weekend and into November where I hardly have a single thing that I HAVE TO do - ahhhhh - deep breaths!
I hope to post some Halloween photos on Friday (if I make it to Friday - ha ha ha).
I've had so many other blogging ideas lately - I just haven't found the time to post. I'll just keep an rolling list for "someday".
Friday, October 24, 2008
My 11 year old step-son has taught me that it's better to go on a date with your Mom to see High School Musical 3 on a Friday night, instead of attending a teen-dance and make a fool of yourself.
Kids are great!
Casey and Ken with the fish he caught on Martha's
Matthew trying to manage Papa's fish (which weighs more than Casey!)
Thursday, October 23, 2008
For some, this will be their first toe-up socks (if one of those patterns is selected) so if you're new to toe-ups, come along for the ride!
There are two tags for the patters: TU is a Toe-Up pattern; CD is a Cuff Down.
Monday, October 20, 2008
However, I have to tell you about the time we took on Saturday to try and help our local police catch a stray dog. We were on a drive back from someplace (I can't even remember what we were doing) and we were coming into town and saw a policeman standing in the raod with a skitish looking dog running back and forth across the street. We pulled up beside him and asked if he wanted some "treats" (they were actually oyster crackers we found in the glove-box, but who's keeping score). He gladly took some and the dog gladly ate them if he threw them to her out of arms reach. We wished him luck and continued another 50 yards down the road. We pulled over and stopped. He needed "back-up".
Ken took the bag of crackers and I stayed in the car with Casey. After a few minutes, Ken was sitting on the curb tossing snacks to the dog and a few more after that he had her eating out of his hand. The officer was able to bring his animal "leash" out of the patrolcar and together he and ken tried to lure this poor girl to safety.
After 10 - 15 minutes they were *thisclose* to having her...but she was quick and took off up the road a little ways. I remembered we had a bag of beef jerky in the car and brought it out for them...and it worked for a little while longer until they *almost* had her again. This time she ran into the nearby woods and we could barely see her.
The poor thing looked like such a nice dog, and seemed like she might have been on the run for a few days (or longer...I can't even bare the thought!). She didn't have a collar on - I hope it's because she managed to get it off and not because she had irresponsible owners. I'm going to call the police to see if they ever got her...maybe Ken and I will discuss (finally) taking on a second dog if she ends up unclaimed at a shelter. Well, I guess we would have to run that by Peanut beforehand too.
We did our best...hopefully her family is out there looking for her right now and there will be a happy ending to our story.
So Ken, Casey and I went to Rhinebeck yesterday...and it was AWESOME!
We knew if we were going to go, it would be on Sunday. But then Sunday morning came and it was CHILLY WILLY at home and didn't look on getting much warmer. So we waited and putzed around the house and had coffee and waffles. And then I asked Casey if she wanted to go see some sheep - and then it's all we heard about. "Daddy, come see sheep with me?" "Mommy, we're going to a farm!" Well, how could we resist that sweet innocent child's charm (we couldn't!). So we quickly got dressed, grabbed warm jackets and hats...even brought Peanut along for the ride...and hopped in the car to Rhinebeck.
The drive was spectacular...the changing colors of the trees and driving over the Kingston/Rhinecliff Bridge was breathtaking. And it only took about 1.5 hours to get there!
The fairgrounds were packed! Families, Knitters, Vendors, sheep, sheep and more sheep! I was sucked in and immediately overwhelmed! And it was fabulous!
Even Ken and Casey were amazed...granted, it wasn't exactly the farm she expected...but it was a great mix of something for everyone: sheep one row, yarn for mom the next! And I think I controlled myself pretty well - I purchased (with a project in mind!) 2 skeins of Blue Moon Luscious Single Silk (wait until I can post pictures...it's VERY luscious indeed!) and 1 skein of Socks that Rock Lightweight in Puck's Mischief (the colorway is SO fitting for the name). I also bought a glass stickpin from Moving Mud - it's a burgundy color with a heart on top and about 6" long. I've been wanting a stickpin for a while and I was happy to buy it from a local vendor.
It was also nice to see and FEEL different yarns from around the country to get an idea of what's out there. There were so many beautiful patterns...I just took mental notes (it was cheaper that way).
Well, Rhinebeck is definitely on OUR list again for next year...and we'll be getting a much earlier start on the day now that we know what to expect. Whoo hoo...can't wait!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
And I have the strength to knit more than a couple rows at a time again - even better! I started the back piece of the Anise for the MPHSA fundraiser on Monday night (while holed up in my bed with Matthew watching "Who Bob What Pants" - yeah, the things you agree to when you're sick!!!) and finished it this morning on the train. Unfortunately I forgot to bring my US13s on the train with me to start the fronts.
Here's a shot of the back - I am totally digging the color!
I suppose, if I'm feeling so inclined to concentrate on the way home, I could knit more of Sondra's sweater - but my brain has to be in the right place for following line by line (and figuring out where I left off). It's really a quick sweater to knit - I don't know why I'm procrastinating so much. Ah...I better light a fire under my butt and get it done once and for all - does anyone have a match?
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
We had a wonderful time on MV with Ken's parents - the boys (and sometimes Nana) went fishing two days and each day meant heading down to Edgartown that night for weigh-in. Papa caught a 34.5 lb Stiped Bass on Friday and boy was it a nice looking fish. When he pulled it out of the cooler everyone in the hut ooohed and ahhhed the fish. It was like being related to a celebrity! Matthew caught two bonito on Saturday and the larger one got him second place in the Junior's category. Not bad for his first derby.
Between fishing trips we were able to get to most of our favorite island places: Humpheries (for Turkey Gobblers, of course); The Black Dog, Cronig's, Edgartown Pizza, O.B., etc. By the time I had time to do some shopping it was Sunday morning and most places (yarn shop and toy store) were closed. Oh well.
Here's a photo of my Cathode, which I finished on the ferry ride back to the mainland on Sunday afternoon (I actually need to sew the clasp in, or figure out what to do with the neck line)...
And here are some pictures of Casey with her head out the sunroof when we were waiting for the ferry to dock...
The worst part of the trip was dealing with my allergies while we were on the island. Whenever we go there the pollens/trees aggravate me to no end...you would think I would learn my lesson by now. So yesterday morning I got up and went straight to the doctor - and...ta da...I have a sinus infection! I'm on amoxicillian, Allegra-D, Mucinex DM and Tylenol (for the headache). I felt like my head was going to fall off yesterday. Today is a little better. I dragged myself to the office to deal with what's important - and I'll head home when I can't do any more. Allergies are the pits!