Friday, December 28, 2007

Winter Wonderland

Boy howdy did it snow! One of the most beautiful snows I've ever seen.

This is the view looking north out the front door. That's the mail truck in the distance.

This is the view looking south out the front door. (I was standing on the porch taking these.)

The back yard. There is a highway behind all those bushes.

My clothesline. I've got clothes hanging up in the house on racks. I don't think they would dry outside these days.

I finished the Ocean socks so I now have three pairs of toasty warm socks and won't have to wash socks every night. I've got my thinner socks but I save those for church or dressy occasions.

Zach and I went out at dusk to shovel the sidewalk and driveway. We always get our neighbor's (to the north) house, too, because she's a shut-in but the snow was so heavy that my back was aching by the time we met halfway. The neighbor to the south of us came home while we were shoveling and got his snowblower out and did the driveway where the snowplow had left a huge wall of snow. I take back what I said about snowblowers.

I'm thinking of moving all my stash downstairs if I can find a place for it. The upstairs reeks of cigarette smoke. But maybe it's too late and the damage is done. I'll just have to wash everything and let it air out when spring comes.

I'm working on the pink sweater tonight. I found some more black Woolease so I'll have enough for the hood as well.

I'm also working on my sister's sabbatical socks. Stitch by stitch. Row by row.

Off to get some quality knitting while watching SG-1, season 7. And I haven't even mined Atlantis yet. Come June when the cable deal runs out, I'm canceling cable permanently. I won't be tempted again.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Warning! Snark attack.

I'm almost done with the Ocean socks. I might have finished last night (or at 6 a.m. this morning when I was up still knitting for reasons I will discuss later) but I held up the second sock next to the first one and discovered I had an extra pattern repeat on it so I had to frog back, pick up stitches and turn the heel again.

I hope to finish tonight. I really need the extra socks. I can't find the pair I knitted last summer. I'm sure they will show up by spring. Or maybe August, more likely.

These are snug, which I like. My other Woolease socks are huge on me. They grow with each wearing.

This is what I got in the in-law gift exchange. My sil's boyfriend had my name and bought me some Lion Brand Organic cotton in pecan (one skein) and a pair of size 17 wooden knitting needles with my initials burned into the top. I've been searching my stash of books and patterns and all the available online patterns to see what I can make with one skein and I think I've settled on a cloche of some kind. I thought about a baby hat and booties but I wouldn't want baby things that had to be hand-washed so I won't do that to anyone else. Especially since the only person I know right now who is pregnant is a doctor and I'm sure she doesn't have time to do any of that.

I can't get over how soft this cotton is. I don't know if I can work with Peaches & Cream ever again.

Well, of course I can. I'm versatile.

I guess my sil liked my gift. I knitted a pair of socks, a cloche and the Creeping Fern scarf. Or whatever the heck I named it. And I knitted a wee sock out of Christmas yarn (and it came out beautifully striped) as an ornament. Apparently her mother had knitted her one years ago and she lost it so she was glad to get another one.

I've got one sleeve to go on Zach's Janda. And the hood. I didn't mind the pink in Red Heart but the black was a nightmare. Not only was it so coarse to the touch but it was a different gauge. I had two skeins of Woolease left over so I used that for the sleeves. The gauge was near-identical and the feel of it is similar. Why is one color soft and another like cardboard?

I think I am done with Red Heart aside from what I have left in my stash. And that is a considerable amount.

So I'm not sleeping these days. Tom came home from hunting with some life-changing news and I haven't slept a full night since. Plus, I've gained nearly 20 of my hard-fought pounds back. I really hate it when I don't get to be part of decision-making but that's the way it's been for 21 years.

Christmas was a bummer but that's not a surprise either.

My dad is doing much better. I've talked to him twice this week and he really sounds good. That is the best Christmas gift.

I got season 3 of Hamish Macbeth from the library last week. I hadn't seen the two part series ender. Wow. I would have cried but Tom came in during the climax scene and started talking to me while standing in front of the tv. After he left and I rewound it, it just wasn't the same.

I'll shut up now.

Off to knit some more. I've rediscovered the joy of knitting these past few weeks. Now if I could rediscover the joy of UFOs.


Saturday, December 22, 2007


All my shopping and Christmas knitting is done. I really didn't do that much but I had it to do quickly.

My father is much better. Thanks to all who expressed concern. I'm sorry I didn't get back with you. I've been pretty depressed lately. I talked to him Wednesday although it was a short call because he had to do a breathing treatment. I do know that this was a wake-up call. This is a time God has given us to prepare. I think it will be sooner rather than later and that makes me sad. But it also tells me not to take any moment for granted.

Zach finishes his semester with great scores. Straight A's. I'm so proud. I'm also so glad to be out of the car for days on end. I spent a lot of time at school the past couple of weeks because of his study groups. Next semester will be as bad with more travel time since he has two classes in Fond du Lac. Hopefully by his senior year he will be driving.

Yes, he's been behind the wheel of the car a few times. I have to let it be his idea, of course, but he's been doing better with more confidence in himself.

Went to Hobby Lobby today and picked up some more 16" circs in size 3 and 5. I'm trying to round out my collection. I also picked up some acrylic on sale. Some brand I've never heard of but it felt soft and I liked the color. I got enough for a sweater. I want to make an Aran next.

But now I'm making Zach a hoodie. He wanted pink and black and all I could afford was Red Heart Supersaver. It's not too bad. I had to fidget with the needles to get the gauge I wanted and it's soft enough. It will wear well. I'm using this pattern. The body is pink, the hood will be black and the sleeves black with pink stripes.

I've got two pairs of socks on the needles. This pair in Woolease, a light sage green heathery color. And a generic pair in fingering weight sock yarn.

It's raining now. The fog was terrible the past few days and amazing how many people are out there driving in it without their lights on. I know they can see, but we can't see them. It's supposed to start snowing later and we have to drive to Franklin tomorrow afternoon for Tom's family's Christmas party. I still have to wrap my gifts and he still has to start on his. (We have to make the gifts ourselves.)

I'm convinced he has a procrastination gene.

Off to work on pink sweaters.

I hope I'm back for good now.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Don't make me say it

It's a little hard to concentrate today. My sister called last night and my father isn't doing very well. He's had emphysema for years and time is taking its toll on him. He's sleeping a lot more, is weak when he tries to stand and gets exhausted moving from the couch to his bed...a distance of less than 12 feet.

I've been thinking of our tempestuous relationship over the years. I never seemed to be able to please him. He would often make fun of me or ridicule me, all for the sake of a laugh. But I never doubted that he loved me. See, I know what his childhood was like. The fact that he was able to love us as much as he did is amazing in light of how neglected he was. How did he learn love when he was shown so little of it growing up?

I know my mother had a lot to do with that. She could grow love in the bleakest heart. And she grew it in our hearts, my sisters and me.

For the first time, she's okay with my sister coming down to help her with Daddy. Always before, she and Daddy would take care of each other and didn't want our help at all. I remember when Mom had heart-valve replacement, he kicked us out (lovingly) because he wanted to take care of his wife. And according to Mom, he did an excellent job.

That she is willing to accept help tells me how scared she is.

I can't get down there for a couple of weeks because of Zach's school. I'm still debating whether to go down just yet. I come from hearty stock, let me tell you, and I'm not convinced the end is in sight yet. He's bounced back from some pretty serious stuff before. Emphysema, double bypass, meningitis, cancer.

But he's on my mind a lot today, especially in light of a decision I've been mulling over for the past several weeks. It certainly makes the decision a bit easier, I think. I can't discuss it publicly but those of you I know pretty well, I can tell you privately.

Oddly, thinking of him only brings to mind the good times. And they were many. He loved to go for drives on Sundays. He loved to take us on vacations. I remember the one vacation he tried to take with Mom without us kids and they ended up coming home days early because they both missed us so much. And we were disappointed because cousin Linda was babysitting and we were going to stay up late and watch Godzilla. Cousin Linda is one of the funniest people I know and watching a Japanese horror flick with her was better than Mystery Science Theater 2000.

I know he is proud of me. I hear it from other people. I also know how hard it is for him to admit it to me. It's okay. He doesn't have to. These things don't matter anymore.

None of that matters. What matters is he's been a good father and a good husband and a good grandpa. If a little cranky at times.

I'm glad I've been able to come to a place of peace in our relationship while there is still time to enjoy it. We've had some pretty good conversations the past few years, without any rancor. And I suspect we will have a lot more.

At least, I hope we will. I'm not ready to say goodbye yet. Don't make me say it, Daddy.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Creeping Fern Scarf

Stitch pattern most likely from Barbara Walker's Treasury. I've seen it out there in many incarnations.

Materials: Any worsted weight yarn or lighter, depending on what you desire. I used Caron Simply Soft Tweed in Sage. I used two skeins of it with a bit left over in the second skein, but you can make it as long as you want. If I had more time I probably would have made it longer.

Dimensions: 58 inches by 7 inches. If you use wool, it will probably block wider but I used acrylic so I didn't bother blocking.

Needles: I used size 8 circulars because they are easier on my shoulders. You could use straight needles as well. Again, needles size will depend on what you're looking for in the finished product.

Gauge: Not important. You can adjust this pattern to make as many repetitions as you want so the kind of yarn and size of needles is entirely up to you.

This is my first pattern so I hope it's okay. Feel free to use it and abuse it. Make a ton of money off of it if you can. Since the main part is the pattern stitch, I hardly feel like I can lay claim to the pattern exclusively. Anyone could come up with this. And probably has.

And now...onto the pattern.

Cast on 33 stitches.**

Knit 6 rows garter stitch.

Row 1 of pattern: Knit 3, p1, k1, p1,*k2tog, k2, yo, k1, yo, k2, sl 1, k1, psso, p1, k1, p1. Repeat from * one time to last three stitches, k3.

Row 2 (and all even rows): K3, purl to last 3 stitches, k3.

Row 3: K3, p1, k1, p1, *k2tog, k1, yo, k3, yo, k2, sl 1, k1, psso, p1, k1, p1. Repeat from * one time to last three stitches, k3.

Row 4: K3, purl to last 3 stitches, k3.

Row 5: K3, p1, k1, p1, *k2tog, k1, yo, k5, yo, sl 1, k1, psso, p1, k1, p1. Repeat from * one time to last 3 stitches

Row 6: K3, purl to last 3 stitches, k3.

Repeat these six rows until you achieve the length you want.

Knit 6 rows garter stitch. Bind off loosely, weave in ends.

**If you want to make it wider, simply add 12 stitches per pattern repeat. I added 3 stitches (p1,k1, p1) to the first pattern repeat for symmetry. The pattern itself is a 12 stitch pattern.

ETA: I already found a mistake. I put the row repeat too soon. It should start with the k2tog on each odd numbered row.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

We's back

Ha! It was the cable company's outage. And I suspect that's what it's been all along. You should have seen Zach speed dialing trying to get to a tech rep last night in between internet shutdowns. He finally got through and they told him in their not so upfront way that, yes, they were experiencing internet outages.

And then we had another one that lasted the rest of the night.

After an unsuccessful boot-up of the modem this morning, we rebooted the modem and we've been online all day.

Didn't make it to church this morning because there was a wall of snow at the end of the driveway three-feet high. We finally all got out there with our respective snow shovels and got the driveway, our sidewalk and the elderly neighbor's sidewalk. I seriously wonder about people and their snowblowers. Doing it with a shovel was hard work but we were better off for it. Okay, I'll give Warren his because he's in his 70s but the studly young man across the street? This is the guy that uses a riding mower on a yard that is only marginally bigger than ours. less than a quarter acre. And rakes his leaves with said mower.

Same with the young couple across the street from them.

Our next-door neighbor and his wife were out with their shovels while all three of us were out and it was a very nice time.

Oh, well.

I finished the scarf. I'm going to call it Creeping Fern because it looks like the leaves are creeping up the length of it. I'll try to write it out tomorrow. I just used the Fern stitch pattern that I got from who knows where and added a bit to it to make it seem a bit more symmetrical.

I've started on the hat but don't have size 3 circular needles in 16 inch so I'm using size 4 but knitting a bit tighter than I normally do. I'll switch to size 3 dpns when I start decreasing though. Meg has a lot of hair so she probably needs a bit more room. Since it's a cloche, the size won't be as critical around the face.

Then I'll make some fingerless mitts if I have the time. I feel so...strange...knitting monogamously like this. I look at my other projects and whimper but I'm on a schedule and need to be done by Dec 23. Not fair, I tell you. They need to draw names sooner than November.

I was talking with my mother today and realized I have to get Rylee's and Shae's gifts out this week if I want to make sure they get there on time. I still need buttons for Rylee's cardigan and need to weave in the ends on Shae's blanket. I don't know what I was thinking.

Tons of stuff going on behind the scenes here driving my stress level through the roof. I'm not sleeping but I am eating way too much. Nothing of a catastrophic nature but changes are being made that I will be able to talk about eventually. But it's not knitting-related.

At least not entirely.

I'm feeling very one-dimensional with my blog of late, feeling like there is more to me than knitting. I know this is a knitting blog and I still love knitting very much but I feel like I'm more than just a knitter.

There was a discussion on Ravelry about where it wasn't appropriate to knit and it surprised me the number of people who thought there wasn't any place that was inappropriate. Someone knitted while she drove with her knees. Scary, huh? I sure hope she's not in the same state I'm in.

But I got to thinking about it and while I do think that sitting in a meeting knitting could be appropriate, knitting in church isn't. Or knitting while at a performance. Or knitting at a wedding or funeral.

I knitting so important that we can't be away from it for a minute? I can see using it as a stress-buster while stuck in traffic, but grabbing the knitting at every stop light? Or needing to knit so much that you risk yours and others' lives because you can't be away from it that long? Knitting in long lines? Why not? You're not hurting anyone. It's down time anyway. But knitting at a performance that people have worked hard to perfect (or in the case of your children, that they have worked hard to just get the production on) is offensive to me. Why bother going if you're not going to give it your whole attention. And what message does that send to the performers and crew?

And isn't church about God and not about how many inches you can knit on that sock?

Maybe I'm just being obnoxious about it all but it seems like some people are making knitting the end-all, be-all of everything.

So...I've made some decisions about my blog. While it will be about knitting, I'm also going to talk more about things that interest me, that complete me as a person. I also want to talk about more than my mundane day.

You know..."got up, washed dishes, cooked meals, knitted, watched television, went to bed."

I want to be more than one dimension.

So...I may or may not get a bit controversial from time to time. I may talk about religion (although never politics...not that ever) or things dear to my heart.

I may lose readers and for that I would be very sorry. But I would be sorrier to be less than who I am.

I most likely won't be able to blog every day though. Zach's schedule is quite a time-devourer and I will be looking for a part-time job very soon so the time crunch will be on. But I hope to make the blogs more real and more interesting.

And maybe even more interactive.

I so appreciate all of you out there. You've made me feel special, like I had some value to my life. I hope I don't let you down.

But for to knit the Rivendell cloche (see below.)


Saturday, December 1, 2007

Same thing, different day

Still having internet problems. I replaced the cable with one for high speed/hdtv capability and am still having problems. It may be the storm we're having but I doubt it. If it doesn't clear up by Monday, I'll call and have them back to fix it.

Unfortunately, when we lose the internet, we lose our phone as well.

More on this saga later.