Thursday, April 26, 2007

I'm living the dream.....

...or nightmare might be a better word for it.....

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

I know we've talked about that dream in which you register for a class at the beginning of a semester, and then forget all about it until the end of the semester, at which time you go into a fit of panic....because you have no knowledge of what your professor looks like, you have not taken any of his mid term tests, you have done no assigned homework, you are not even sure what the book for the class looks like......and you are trying to figure out how you are ever going to do well on the final exam...

I am living this dream! My ultimate hope, aside from being able to save hundreds of dollars and lots of time by not having to re-take this class which I first took 25 years ago, is that by actually *living* this dream, I might stop *having* this dream.

In any case, studying is going fairly well, and I am *almost on schedule* to be *ready* (if anybody can ever be sure of that....) by next Tuesday, the day I'm taking the test. Knitting has suffered. Sleep has suffered. Not watching tv this week has helped immensely..... Although, total bummer that The Office is **not** a repeat this week, so I'm breaking down and taping it to view next week.

On Tuesday night after my test, I'm using a gift card to a restaurant and taking my family out for dinner -- a celebration if the test goes well; something to make me feel better if it doesn't.

In my next post, I'll return to my regularly scheduled knitting. I have been knitting a little bit, but it all still looks **a lot** like it did in prior photos..... In the meantime, I'm enjoying reading some other blogs and appreciating the efforts of lots of other knitters.....

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)
P.S. I think your ladybug hat is cute!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tuesday is Sewing Day - Fourth Edition

Greetings and Dear Cynthia,

Thank you for all of your comments regarding smiling more, turning off the tv, and the color for my scarf having the triangles! I appreciate each and every one of them! I really think that smiling more is helping me, though I'm not sure exactly why. I think maybe because it helps me to begin any interactions from a "more positive place"... Does that make sense?

Anyway, day three of no tv in the house, though I admit I watch it during my workouts at the gym. Somehow it doesn't seem like "cheating" if I'm running three miles at the same time... I do miss it in the evenings, after I'm done studying and ready to knit for a little while, so I'm reading the second Harry Potter book instead. (Finally getting around to finding out what all of the Harry Potter Mania is about....)

ANYWAY, on my fourth "sewing day", I totally got side-tracked. TOTALLY! Here is what our window blind looked like after one of the little strings inside of it broke:
It is a Hunter Douglas something or other, and they have a great policy in that if something breaks, they send you the parts for free....and when I say "parts", I mean "parts"...including a 19 page instruction booklet detailing how to make the repair.

And so, an hour and forty five minutes later, voila': I removed the valence and am going to recycle its fabric to make it into a valence which (hopefully) looks better than the one currently in place. Sorry for the crummy lighting, but I was just so excited to be able to actually **open** the blind!!

In knitting news, I finished the hood:Gotta run! The school bus waits for no one.....

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Stuff that's done....


I have some FO's to post. I've decided that I love blocking, because it means I have something off the needles!

First of all, I finished the ladybug, blocked it and turned it over to my co-worker who commissioned it.

It looks like the picture on the pattern, which is the point. I'm not really a fan of this hat - it strikes me more as "goofy" than "cute" but to each their own.

I also did a block from the
Lizard Ridge afghan on Knitty.

I am collecting yarn to make this afghan, although I probably won't get to start until later this summer. When I took the Toddler Sweater into my LYS, we agreed that I would be "paid in yarn" (yay!!) and so part of my payment was in Noro Kureyon. I mentioned why I was collecting it, and Sandy said that she had heard about that afghan and is interested in making one herself. In the end, I agreed to knit a block for a sample, so that's done now.

I'm back to working on the Dale of Norway baby sweater and the blanket for my niece. I made some good progress this weekend - and sorry, I'm not up for turning off my tv for a week! It's baseball season! And I paid for the MLB "Extra Innings" package so that I can see more games. Doesn't seem to make sense to take a week off from it!

Last week, I availed myself of a "10-Minute Massage" at work. They have a massage therapist that comes in weekly. I had heard that if you have a specific problem area, she can work on that, so I took my aching wrists and hands in. She really did help and I was really excited about that. I think I'll do a couple more sessions over the next few weeks. When I explained that my pain comes from knitting, she said that she knew just what to do - that her daughter and several of her friends knit, so she's worked on arms for that before. She also mentioned that she had just been in Milwaukee and had gone to a couple of yarn stores and got sock yarn for her daughter!! We tried to figure out if we'd been to the same stores there, but couldn't piece that together. She may have been to the one we went to that had all the great tags - remember? All of the yarn had a store label that gave the information and a swatch?


Keep knitting!! (Even without the tv....)

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter!)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

National Turn Off Your TV Week

Greetings and Dear Cynthia,

There is nothing like the impending doom of a big exam weighing heavily down over me to spur me on to start new knitting projects. Not sure why that is, especially since right now, these are supposed to be my priorites:
  1. Caring for my family and keeping things at home running relatively smoothly, insuring that each person has clean clothes to wear, that the kitchen is functional, etc.
  2. Studying for my chemistry exam (first semester chemistry, which I took 25 years ago, but am re-taking a final exam on May 1st so that I may be permitted to register for the second semester course in fall)...and then, hopefully, nobody will have to put up with me droning on about it any more!
  3. Knitting.
  4. Cleaning the house (which is almost always my last priority -- not the best approach for a person who has allergies to the by-products of dust).
So naturally, I started not just one, but two new knitting projects.

First, a multidirectional scarf:
At my moms' group, we decided to spend one session each month working on charity projects, so I decided since I had red yarn in my stash, I'd knit a scarf for the "red scarf project" nine or ten months before it is due. (Yes, I can't believe that I am starting so early, but then again, it isn't done yet, and we all are a witness to my KADD (knitting attention deficit disorder).) Question: How do you think it would look if I made one of the "triangles" grey instead of red? I was thinking about making the next triangle grey, and all the rest of them red...but it might look "funny"...

Second, with yarn leftover from my shawl, I'm making a Branching Out Scarf. This scarf and my nephew's hoodie sweater are both "deadline knitting" projects, but the scarf is due first, so I thought I'd better at least get it started so that I could get a handle on how long it is going to take me to knit it.

My four year old loves to do projects, and the checkered placemats in the photos are our most recent creations.

And speaking of my four year old..... There was a choir visiting here from Oak Park, IL, last night, and we went to their concert. During one of the choir's breaks, there was a guest organist who played a piece. My four year old was sitting on my lap, and we were in the very front of the church for the concert, because that's where my kids wanted to sit. And so, when my four year old, whose father has a masters degree in organ and church music, put his hands over both of his ears just after the organist began playing, it was all I could do to keep from bursting out laughing. Judging by the sounds coming from behind me, I was not the only one having difficulty remaining composed. Anyway, it was just really fun to get the boys all dressed up and go out on the town for an evening. Of course, it didn't seem like such a great idea when the chocolate ice cream we treated ourselves to after the concert was dribbling all over their "church clothes"...though sometimes it seems best to just enjoy the moment... And, it was a beautiful night to be out and about.

Well, not sure what I'll do tonight, but since it is the first day of "National Turn Off Your TV Week", it will probably be something like studying, knitting, or reading. I think this is going to be more difficult for me than it will be for my kids, because I really enjoy relaxing with my knitting in front of the tv once all of the hullaballoo for the day is over..... (Actually, I see that it doesn't officially begin until tomorrow, but the preliminary information we got from our school had today's date on it, so we're going to stick with today as our start date. Bummer, because I was looking forward to watching the final episode of The Apprentice...) Anybody care to join me in this "turn off your tv" challenge?

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Random items

Greetings and Dear Cynthia,

Well, I didn't get very much sewing done yesterday, Tuesday, "sewing day". I did get a tiered skirt started, and it is all cut out now and partially sewn together, but to get a truer picture of the final product in all of its gathered glory, we'll have to wait until after sewing day next week. I'm not sure I like the fabrics I chose, but then again, I think I was analyzing it too much yesterday. Next time, I'm going to just pull random fabrics out of the stash and see what I end up with.....well, maybe that's a little bit too willy-nilly for me, so maybe not.....

I continue to work on the hood for my nephew's sweater. The hood is probably about 2/3 of its finished length, but I don't mind too much that it is so mindless.

I've been thinking a little bit about the shootings at Virginia Tech. While I was working out this morning at the gym, I watched the profile of the young gentleman who was shot in the dorm, Ryan Clark. He had a grade point average of 4.0, and was majoring in English, Psychology, and Biology of some sort (though some of the reports about this varied -- regardless, he was a remarkable student). He also spent two weeks each summer for the past eight years working with mentally challenged kids. Even with all of these accomplishments, what really struck me were the great things everybody who knew him were saying about him, and especially that he had a great big smile. I decided that I would try to improve my own world as a result of the publicity this man received under such excruciating circumstances.....and so, I'm going to try to smile more. It probably sounds ridiculous, but if it helps me to be more patient with my kids and friends, or if there is the potential for me to help a store clerk feel her day is a little bit better because somebody smiled at her, then that's what I'll think about when the reports about Virginia Tech continue in the coming days.... I'll let you know if I have any earth-shaking results.....but I don't think I have anything to lose by trying to smile more.....

Anyway, it's a bit gloomy outside today, and colder than it was yesterday, and I think my mood is reflecting that. Fortunately, I think a little bit of knitting now and perhaps a good night sleep tonight will make a difference. I hope this finds you well and, of course, knitting!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tuesday is Sewing Day -- Third edition

Greetings and Dear Cynthia,

I really want to thank you for the tip about first removing the cellophane wrapper **prior** to knitting a bar of soap into a soap sweater. To be completely honest, there is a very **strong** possibility that I would miss that little nuance, and for a soap sweater to function properly, I imagine that step is crucial. So again, **great** tip! Hmmm.... Hypothetically speaking, if I **should** happen to forget to remove the wrapper, is there a way to fix the problem which doesn't involve a scissors?

It was fun to hear about the stashes that some of you have, though Allison -- I'm not going to mention to my dh that I've found somebody having a smaller stash than mine :-)

Barb - It was reassuring to hear that other tooth fairies might be as similarly challenged as the one who works in the region of my house!

My knitting has taken a back seat to studying for a chemistry test. I'm aiming to be ready for the test by May 1st and have sent a note to the instructor about taking it then, though am waiting to hear back from him. However, I have the hood on my childHood (revised to make it a pullover) well underway, and with the hood shaping behind me, it's just striped stockinette for about 13 inches or a great project to carry around. Here's the front, in which I intentionally overlapped the center part, sort of similar to how it would overlap if it was a cardigan with the front buttoned -- though it overlaps for only about half the width of the garter stitch edging:Here's the back, showing some of the increases for the shaping:I haven't calculated the exact knitted area of the hood yet, but I'm going to (because I know that Jennifer might be interested in such a fact -- if you can believe it, I think Jennifer is more obsessed with knitting math than I am) -- I think this hood might actually be more stockinette than one of the once I figure out how I'm going to make the sleeves, I'll let you know...

Jennifer, by the way, holds the closest relative to my own stash. She and I have a few of the same projects in our queues, and she has just completed her Sapporo -- take a look at her color scheme (scroll down the page), and the installation of her white zipper looks imaculate! Now if only I could get motivated to finish mine..... Maybe after my chemistry test.....

For sewing today, now that the spring weather is revealing itself again (can you believe that last week Wednesday my six year old had a snow day?), I'm feeling all springy and am thinking about a cute tiered skirt. With my sewing, it's all about stash this year (similar to my other major hobby), so I thought I'd make some fun new skirts. I'll show you what I end up with in my next post.....

Have a great day!
Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Soap Sweater Tip

Earlier this week, I used some scrap of "Lambs Pride" in a bright pink color and a bar of glycerin soap from Bath & Body Works to make a soap sweater for my great-niece Grace, who is 3. I had promised to knit her a surprise - and she was really excited. We explained to her that it she could use it in the bathtub, and it would get all sudsy, but it wouldn't be slippery and fall out of her hands.

She thanked me numerous times, and I even got hugs!!

Last night, when I was knitting another, I did my usual routine of knitting for a while, then "trying it on" the bar of soap, knitting for a while.....and when I got to the point that I was going to pop the soap in and close up the top, I realized what I had done.

I forgot to take the plastic wrap off of Grace's soap before I closed it up.

Keep knitting!!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Hmm, not much to show for it.....

Howdy all! It seems like I've been doing TONS of knitting lately.....but when I look around, there's nothing new to take a picture of!

I do have all the parts of the ladybug hat done and ready for assembly. I almost picked it up last night and started sewing spots on, but I decided, just for kicks, to READ THE DIRECTIONS FIRST. (Just for you Lauren!!) Turns out I need to do a column of duplicate stitch first, and I wasn't in the mood for that, so it was back to the project du jour.

Bridal Shower. I have 1.5 washcloths and 2 soap sweaters. I had delusions of a couple of felted baskets and a bath mat. HA! I started a felted box 2 days ago at lunch, and I have it 30% done. At which point my arms, wrists and hands all screamed in unison "OUCH! STOP THIS!!" I know I can't knit cotton, but come on, this is wool!! Evidently REALLY chunky wool with big needles is out too. And it answers the question of "Yes, the bathmat is out of cotton, but it will probably be ok, right??" No. Frankly, the last bit if the washcloth is gonna be it for me and cotton for a while. (Who's looking for a good deal on 3 cones of tan kitchen cotton?? And a copy of the Mason Dixon Book? The three projects I really wanted to do aren't working out....)

Here's the begining of the felted box - I love the colors and how it's turning out! I thought I'd put in an "accent stripe."

Once I had knitted it in, I decided that I liked the two skinny stripes on the "wrong side" better than the single stripe. Further reading of the instructions (Yes Lauren, I read the directions!) tells me that when assembled, the "wrong side" is actually on the outside, so that worked out just grand! I do hope to finish this project, a few rows at a time, and I'm hoping that it will be firm enough that I don't have to felt it, because I love the look and feel of it as is.

Work has gotten crazy-busy this week, so I'm pretty wiped and brain-dead when I get home. Someone started this "faux beach" area outside my cubicle, and we've all been finding little ways to accent the theme.

Wishful thinking.........

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Tuesday is Sewing Day - 2nd edition

Greetings and Dear Cynthia,

I woke up to a crisis situation this morning. My six year old was very excited about losing a tooth yesterday. He put it in an envelope, sealed the envelope, placed it under his pillow, went to bed, then at 6:00am this morning he woke up dh and me to show us the envelope, still sealed and having the tooth in it. Hmmm... Dh suggested to our son that he try putting it under his pillow again tonight. They all went down to breakfast, and my son seemed okay with it. Five minutes later, with the boys downstairs eating breakfast, dh came upstairs with a dollar, carefully opened the envelope, put the dollar inside the envelope with the tooth, and re-sealed it. Apparently my son had been discussing with dh about how perhaps there was money inside the envelope, and that he should have maybe checked that out, so after breakfast, my son opened the envelope and voila', the money my dh had placed in the envelope five minutes earlier was found and all was well....though, it got my son thinking..... Why didn't the tooth fairy take this particular tooth? Does this mean that he is supposed to take this particular tooth to school for show and tell? And how did the money get into the sealed envelope? Is the tooth fairy magical? He decided that the tooth fairy is **not** magical - that she had taken a new envelope out of my supply drawer, placed the tooth and dollar into it, and then sealed it. I didn't ask him how the tooth fairy might have gotten into the house in the first place, or known where I keep the new envelopes.....I suggested that there are some things in life which are just simply puzzles, and left it at that.....

Anyway, Tuesday is sewing day, so I finished up the second valence for my work room: When I turned 40 years old, my sister in law gave me a witch's ball. (I tried not to read too much into that.) I have had it hanging from the empty valence rod for the past three years or so, and I like that the light shines through it, so I wanted to leave it there. Hence, I made the valence "divided" to accomodate the witch's ball. Other sewing activites today are to do some pinning on the quilt I showed you yesterday.

Oh, and here is the bulk of my yarn stash: I do have some project leftovers which fill a basket and a dresser drawer in addition to this (full disclosure :-) but the stuff shown here in the bags and plastic bins is what I have for new projects -- I think it is about three sweaters worth, plus about six pairs of socks, a pair of mittens, some Christmas decorations, some leftover yarn to make some lace scarves, a baby blanket or two, and a bin which just has leftover Heilo in it to make some hats and mittens. After reading blogs which describe entire rooms devoted to stash yarns, I'm convinced that my stash is somewhat modest, and I **definitely** tell dh that every time I make a new yarn purchase..... There you have it! I've "flashed my stash".

Well, I didn't get my grocery shopping done yesterday (Monday is "Grocery shopping day"), and I'm stalling on it again today, though I think I'll make due by going to a place called Brennan's to pick up some nice fresh veggies. That, along with some frozen chicken breasts we have in the freezer, and I think I can put off going to the grocery store for another day!

Knitting content in my next post, I promise! I'm about to start the hood on my Godson's sweater, and I have word that my Sapporo accessroy kit (zipper and cinch cord) will probably arrive at my house on Thursday, so time to bite the bullet and start sewing/cutting to assemble the sleeves to the body.

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Monday, April 09, 2007

Preparing for "sewing day"

Greetings and Dear Cynthia,

I am so glad that your dad is doing better, and I hope for his continued improvement. Your toddler sweater is ADORABLE!! Is it an original Designated Knitter pattern? Tres cute! Good luck in the vehicle department.

As you know, dh is the music director at a church, and Easter is sort of a big church holiday (for Christians, anyway), so dh hired a brass quartet to play for a 10:00am Easter service to really make things extra festive. The boys and I had gone to a 7:30am Easter service and then went home. After being home for a while, the lead trumpeter in the quartet dh hired, whom I'll call "Matt", phoned me at home and said, "Uh, this is Matt." I looked at the clock, it was 9:55am, and all I could think was "this is not good". Well, it turns out Matt's vehicle, which was carrying all four quartet members, broke an axle or tie rod about two blocks from the church, so Matt told me to let dh know that they were going to leave the car there and run to the church with their horns. I phoned dh on his cell phone to let him know, and he was standing in the quiet at the front of the church with all of his vestments on, so several in the congregation got a chuckle when his obnoxious ring tone went off...though he was relieved to know that his brass players were on the way and would just be five minutes late. Anyway, as I said, good luck in the vehicle department. Can't live with them, can't live without them...

We had a nice celebration here. This is (what's left of) a huge hollow chocolate Easter egg: It contained another hollow Easter egg inside of it. The kids really got a kick out of it. And, it is yummy ambrosia chocolate, a little bitter, dark, and did I say yummy?! Dark chocolate is supposed to be good for you, right?

Not much knitting to report, though I am getting ready for tomorrow, Tuesday, my "sewing day". We have a ping pong table in our basement, and it had been stacked full of stuff which needed to be put away. So, in preparation for all of our Easter guests and crummy weather, I spent two hours Saturday night clearing off the ping pong table so that we could use it yesterday. So, TODAY, it makes a perfect place for me to lay out a quilt which I need to finish. This was a Christmas present for DH in 2004, which I gave to him uncompleted, and I haven't put a stitch into it since. It is a tee shirt quilt, made from a bunch of tee shirts which he was going to give to Good Will. I've only quilted three of the squares, so I have a bunch of quilting left to do on this...but now that Tuesday is "sewing day", I have hope.

Well, time to get back to my chores for today. My six year old told me this morning that he is out of underwear.....

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Blessings to you!

Greetings and Dear Laura:

I know what you mean about having lots to do to get ready. Yet here I am, blogging and keeping an eye on a baseball game! Actually, it isn't too bad - today is the first chance we've had to take a deep breath.

My dad was in the hospital in Indy for a couple of days this week, having some tests done. They did a heart cath, and we were glad to find out that there is no new blockage. He does need more medication, and so it takes some getting used to. Sometimes he doesn't feel well, other times he's his usual self.

They came back here Thursday night and Friday he felt well enough to go car shopping - he decided that I needed a new one, since mine had problems on the way to MI last weekend. He picked a really nice one, but in the end we decided to keep the one I have for now and see if we can get the problem fixed. It has too many miles to have much trade-in value. I love it, so I'm happy to keep it longer!

Here is a bit of what I've been doing lately......I finished this toddler sweater for the yarn store.
It turned out just the way I pictured it, so now if it just actually fits a toddler, I'll call it a success! I also finished this facecloth and a couple of "Soap Sweaters."
Of course, I got bored with my own pattern, so I jazzed it up and added some cables on the second one!
And I've gotten the ladybug hat almost off the needles. 7 rows of corrugated ribbing, then some spots and antennae and I'm done with that.

We had a wonderful service this morning, and my god-daughter and her husband and baby came over afterward for a visit, since they won't be here later. Dinner here isn't until 6, and I have most of my prep work done. We'll start setting tables and such at about 4, so I still have an hour to cheer my Cardinals on!

I wish you a wonderful Easter celebration! He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!

Keep knitting

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Happy Easter!

Greetings and Dear Cynthia,

I have so much to do today in order to prepare for our family's Easter Celebration tomorrow, because it is going to be at our house. So, to cope with the stress of it all, I decided to procrastinate. So far today, I have sewn part of another valence, knit part of a sweater, and soon I'll help my six year old with his science project. Maybe my guests tomorrow won't be expecting a clean house and a nice meal? It's clear that I have to kick it into high gear SOON!...maybe right after I'm done with this post...
On the childHood sweater, I ended up ripping back to the top of the pocket. On the side edges of the pocket, I used garter stitch, which was causing the pocket to tug on the bottom part where it is attached to the sweater. Wait, I'll back up a little bit... I knit 40 rows for the pocket and put the top of it on a stitch holder. Then, I went back and knit the rest of the sweater **behind** it, exactly 40 rows once again. Then, I knit the top of the pocket stitches together with the next row, so I was expecting the whole thing to lay perfectly flat...since both the pocket and the sweater behind it were exactly 40 rows....except, because of the garter stitch along the pocket sides, there was this tugging/puckering....and so, I ripped the sweater back so that even though the pocket is 40 rows tall, the sweater behind it is only 37 rows. It helped a LOT! I think blocking it will help even more to make things lie flat. I've got the back of it completed, and am now working on the rest of the front...

Thanks for all of the helpful hints regarding my poor flowers. My daffodils keep perking up again. I'm not so sure about the fate of my bleeding hearts...though, Easter is a time to be thinking about **NEW LIFE**, so I remain hopeful!!

I put my shelves up without a hitch, and in my scheme to **once and for all** clean up my work room, I think having these shelves is key. I'm not finished de-cluttering yet, but already it is much improved, easier for me to find/see things, and I just have less of a chaotic feeling as I work in the room.

Well, time to move on to tackling the things I must do today, mostly cleaning and some laundry... For motivation, I'll just think about how relaxed I'll feel tomorrow knowing that all of the hard work is done! ...or, maybe I'll procrastinate some more.....

Have a Blessed Easter! He is Risen! He is Risen, INDEED!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)
P.S. I **LOVE** your Lace Baby Socks pattern!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Free pattern for Lace Baby Socks

Baby Eyelet Socks
A pattern by Designated Knitter
Skill level: Intermediate beginner
Materials:US 0 (2 MM) DPNs, set of 5
Leftover fingering weight sock yarn
K = knit
P = purl
K2tog = Knit 2 together
P2tog = Purl 2 together
SK - Slip, Slip, Knit (be sure you slip these knit-wise)
YO = yarn overSts = StitchesRpt = RepeatSl = Slip

  • Cast on 36 sts and divide onto 4 needles (9, 9, 9, 9)
  • Join, being careful not to twist
  • Garter ribbing for 5 rounds (Knit one row, purl one row...)

    Begin pattern:
  • Round 1. *K1, P1, SSK, YO, K1, YO, K2tog, P1, K1* 4 times
  • Round 2. Knit.
  • Round 3. Knit.
  • Round 4. Knit

  • Repeat these 4 rounds 4 times.
    Divide for heel:

    Working on 18 stitches.....
    • 1. Slip 1, Knit 1 across.
    • 2. Slip 1, purl across.
    • 3. Slip 1, Knit 1 across.
    • 4. Slip 1, purl across.
    • 5. Slip 1, Knit 1 across
    • 6. Slip 1, purl across.
    • 7. Slip 1, Knit 1 across
    • 8. Slip 1, purl across.
    • 9. Slip 1, Knit 1 across
    • 10. Slip 1, purl across.
    • 11. Slip 1, Knit 1 across..
    • 12. Slip 1, purl across. 
    Start rounding heel:
    • 1. K11, k2tog, k1, turn.
    • 2. P6, p2tog, p1, turn.
    • 3. K7, k2tog, k1, turn.
    • 4. P8, p2tog, p1, turn.
    • 5. K9, k2tog, k1, turn.
    • 6. P10, p2tog, p1, turn.

    Begin gusset:

  • Knit 6 sts. With empty needle (now called needle 1) k next 6 sts. and pick up and k 8 sts. on side of heel.
  • With empty needle (now called needle 2) work in eyelet pattern *K1, P1, SSK, YO, K1, YO, K2tog, P1, K1* next 9 stitches.
  • With empty needle (now called needle 3) work in eyelet pattern *K1, P1, SSK, YO, K1, YO, K2tog, P1, K1* next 9 stitches.
  • With empty needle (now called needle 4) pick up and k 8 sts. on other side of heel, then k 6 sts. from first needle. Sts. are now divided as follows: 14, 9, 9, 14.

    (You will continue to knit the stitches on needle 2&3 in the eyelet pattern. After a pattern row, you will knit 3 rows plain.)
    Knit one round, then begin decreases:
  • 1. 1st needle: K to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. 2nd & 3rd needle: Pattern. 4th needle: K1, ssk, k to end.
  • 2. Knit.
    Repeat these two rounds five times. Sts. should now be divided as follows: 9, 9, 9, 9.Knit 20 more rounds, continuing to work the instep in the eyelet pattern.

  • Start toe decreases:

  • Round 1: 1st needle: K to last 3 sts., k2tog, k1. 2nd needle: K1, ssk, k to end. 3rd needle: K to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. 4th needle: K1, ssk, k to end.
  • Round 2: Knit.

    Repeat these two rows 5 times. Stitches should now be divided as follows: 5, 5, 5, 5.
  • K 5 sts. from needle 1 onto needle 4 (10, 10). Graft toe closed.

  • (This pattern is the property of DesignatedKnitter and may not be reproduced except for one copy for individual use. If you otherwise print or distribute this pattern without DesignatedKnitter's written permission, you are stealing.)

    Wednesday, April 04, 2007

    Tuesday is Sewing Day

    Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

    I REFUSE to take this as a sign:Yes, it is so cold and windy today (and SNOWING! -- only flurries, but HEY!) that my daffodils, my "flowers of hope", are severely drooping. The foliage from my bleeding hearts is looking similarly droopy. Does anybody know if they are going to make it through this and still be able to flower?

    You are making great progress with all of your projects! Your goal-setting reminded me of a quote I once heard. "Reach for the stars; you won't always reach them, but you can chart your course by them." I commend you for your lofty goals, and also for your progress!

    Speaking of goals, and to answer a couple of questions, I'm working toward applying to the Physical Therapy "DPT" program at UW-Madison. I worked as an electrical engineer, and then as an engineering manager, for GE for over 13 years. When my first son was born, I quit my job. There was a time when I "loved" my job. Toward the end, I was weary of it, and it was never my "passion". After I had kids, I started thinking about what I want to do once they are in school. I want to work only part time, and I want to have more meaning in my job than primarily focussing on how much money I am making for the company's shareholders, which was strongly emphasized at my job. And, many people have said that I could find these things in a health care profession. And so, on the very day I turned 40 years old, almost three years ago, I registered for a zoology class at the local tech school, after being out of school for 17 years. Now, trying to schedule my last couple of prerequisite classes has proven to be a challenge, as I still consider myself primarily responsible for my kids during the day. I've done several evening classes, and a couple online. I keep telling myself that if it is meant to be, then things will fall into place. What has been most surprising to me is that nobody thinks I'm off my rocker. At first, I wondered to myself if I was crazy. But, the feedback I've been getting from almost everybody I discuss this with is to go for, we'll see how it plays out. I really feel like my life is at a good place right now, and I have passion for raising my kids that I never had for my job, so going back to school would be "icing on the cake". you're probably sorry you asked.....

    I decided that I have to set a day aside for some sewing, and so now, Tuesday is sewing day. I've had some projects piling up, so yesterday I mended some clothes and then thought to myself, "Hey, why not make a valence?" One of my friends told me about a trick to make windows look bigger. The next two photos show windows which are the same size:By hanging a valence "high" over the window, not only does it let in more light through the window (which my dh is very insistent about), but I think it really makes the window look more prominent, bigger.

    Unfortunately, on the small-looking window, I am hindered by the dropped ceiling, so I am unable to mount a valence very high above that window, so I decided to try something else:It covers up the roller shade underneath it when it is all rolled up, and adds a finishing touch to the window without blocking any light. I'm still not sure that it is big enough -- it should maybe hand down just a little bit more -- but I'm going to live with it for a little while and make a decision on it later.

    OK, so I'm trying to get my work area organized, so today's project is installing some shelving. Wish me luck!

    Warm regards,
    Laura (YarnThrower)

    Tuesday, April 03, 2007

    April Goals


    Yes, it's that time again. Time for the March report and the April goals! What seems to be the best part of my monthly goals is that I have been remaining more focused. I don't necessarily meet every goal, but I do make progress - and more importantly, I don't do as much "random casting on of a new project right in the middle of 7 others." I'm not saying I don't do that AT ALL, just that I seem to do less of it!

    The wacky March goals (which required a poll!) were:

    1. Ruffled cotton hat (commission project.) Completed 3/7/07

    2. Prizes for Baby Shower - I knitted a hat, two pairs of socks, and a neckroll shaped pillow. Completed 3/15/07, shower was 3/17/07.

    3. Toddler sweater for a store sample for my LYS. Here's a before picture, and teaser picture of the current state - the sweater is off the needles. I'll block the pieces tonight, sew it up and knit the neck line. I ended up designing the pattern as I went, and I think that I'll be able to put that together pretty well - I updated my Word document all along the way. (I made the sweater a size 2T, so I also need to find a child who WEARS a size 2T to try it on and get pictures!)

    4. Gifts for Bridal Shower, due 4/15/07. This is the Mason Dixon fever that I was infected with early last month. There as been some recovery from the fever. I did knit a chenille washcloth, although the Mason-Dixon pattern kicked my butt. Any other shower knitting will be part of April goals.

    Which brings us to - APRIL GOALS!

    1. I have another commission project, a Lady Bug hat for a baby.
    I think this is due by the 21st, but I'm going to try to get it done this weekend so that is out of the way.

    2. Bridal Shower - I want to cast on the bath mat and see how it goes. If it seems reasonable, I'll do it. I'd also like to do a couple of the Soap Sweaters, and I'll look at the directions for felted boxes. If I can get that much done, I'll pick up a couple of towels and bundle it together and call it good. This is not actually my gift for the shower - it is a Pampered Chef shower. As the bride's Aunt, I was asked to bring something "household" that could be used as a centerpiece, so I'll frill it up and make it look pretty.

    3. Then it's back to the Lady Bug Sweater (Dale of Norway) and the Graduation blanket for my niece. Both projects have languished in March, but I'm ready to get back on those horses!

    I do not currently have plans to cast on anything else in April, so we'll see how it goes! Baseball season has started, however, so that means I should be getting a lot more knitting done!! Go Cardinals!!

    Laura - I love that sweater you're working on! Great colors and stripes. You still amaze me with how much you get done!!

    Keep knitting!

    Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter!)

    Sunday, April 01, 2007

    New Project!

    Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

    Well, I've been waiting for a sunny day to take some pictures outside, but I'm going to have to wait some more. The gloomy, rainy weather continues. Last night, we had tornado warnings, so right when the kids were supposed to be going to bed, we were all taking cover in the basement. Today, less ominous, but perfect weather to be indoors knitting.

    With my Sapporo blocking right now (and with the zipper/shock cord kit on order), I started a new project yesterday. I'm going to continue the tradition of giving my Godson a handknit sweater every year for a birthday gift. I started this tradition two years ago, when I had the idea for it exactly one week prior to his birthday I knit Elizabeth Zimmerman's Tomten Jacket for him in that one week, which was very stressful and somewhat painful with the raw skin on my fingers, etc., and not something I'd recommend. Last year, I got started with about two months to spare, and made him his "Big A" sweater. This year, I'm giving myself a full three months... Here's what I have so far:This is my own variation of the "childHood" sweater. My modifications are the addition of the kangaroo pocket (followed directions for the hoodie pattern in The Purl Stitch book, which I just happened to check out of the library last week), sleeves which will be knit in the round from the shoulders down (after the first two inches, as these are "modified drop" shoulders), and pullover instead of cardigan. I'm using Patons Classic Merino which I had in my stash, so my gauge is a bit tighter, and I'm making a larger size than those given in the pattern. I guess, I'm really not following the pattern much at all....but I thought the stripy-ness was really cute on the sleeves and hood on the Knitty pattern, and I liked the garter stitch trim, too.

    Now it's back to studying chemistry. I took first semester chemistry 25 years ago, and in order to apply to a graduate school program, I must take a second semester of chemistry. In order to get clearance from the professor to take the class, I have to take a first semester final exam to show that I know enough to take the next class. Well, it's coming back to me, but I'm basically starting from scratch as I re-learn all of the material, so it's taking some time for me to do this...and I've been having some issues with motivation, though it still beats housework!

    Warm regards,
    Laura (YarnThrower)