Tuesday, February 26, 2008

All about the good news!

Greetings and Dear Laura:

Congratulations on being accepted into the PT program! You've worked hard for that and I'm glad it's coming together for you! Sounds like you're getting a good start on being ready for the changes.

I've also had some good news (but haven't gotten it posted in a timely manner - sorry!) Late in January, I was offered a full-time regular job with the company that I've been "temping" at for 2 1/2 years. It's basically the same job I've done for the last year or so, but now that I'm "real," I get benefits. Yay for vacation, paid holidays, health insurance and retirement savings!!

I've really enjoyed seeing your finished projects. I had to laugh at how hard it was to stop knitting dishcloths! Aren't quick projects fun?! They look great tho! I also love the robes - they certainly look cozy!

I could relate to the quickness of your sewing projects. I myself did some sewing last weekend. I had a stack of baby flannel on my dining room table, along side my sewing machine, since.....well...probably since New Years. I needed to hem (4) 45" squares into receiving blankets for my newest Godson. However, ANYTHING was grounds to put it off. The problem is that I really don't like to sew. I like to give these receiving blankets - they're larger and thicker than the usual store-bought blankets. The moms I know just love them. They aren't hard, so I'm glad I finally buckled down and got them done. Amber was quite happy to have them.
Logan's Blankets

I did another quick project over the weekend. I wanted to make a soft warm pretty hat for a cousin who is having chemotherapy. I picked up two balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino in a pretty dark Chocolate color. I used the Fetching Inspired Hat pattern that I've made in baby size, and it went really nicely. I cast on the same 100 stitches that I've used in lighter weight yarn for a baby, and it came out a great size. And I started it Saturday evening and cast it off Sunday evening. (I did spend most of the afternoon on it - it was a great Sunday!)
Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Fetching Hat for Lita

And then, in celebration, I did a bit of home improvement myself. The lamp that I had beside my knitting chair belonged to my grandfather and sat on his desk as long I as can remember. Besides the look, I liked the shape because I could hang my circular needles on it and have them quite handy. Several months ago, I took it upstairs for my mom to use on her desk, since she was having a hard time seeing. I decided that I wanted to replace it with a "true-color" lamp. I found them on half price on the day after I got my first new paycheck, raise included (!) so now I have a lovely lamp that still holds my needles.

Ott Lite

Ok, that's the news! Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter!)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Please help me -- I can't stop!

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

One of the items on my "Mission Possible" list was "one" cotton dishrag. So, I made the "one" dishrag using the Ball Band Dishrag Pattern...(except I cast on only 33 stitches) and had a **lot** of yarn leftover, so no real dent in my cotton yarn stash. I decided to keep going, incorporating all of my cotton yarn leftovers from the past few years, and sometimes starting with 33 stitches, sometimes 39 (depending on how far I thought the particular leftover yarn would take me). I couldn't stop knitting dishrags. Today is a new day, however, and I'm going to call this Mission Possible item "done" (three items done, nine to go), and move on.

Years ago, I made DH a fleece bathrobe for his Christmas gift. I've grown accustomed to his very calm approach to opening my gifts -- he sort of nods and smiles and says "thank you", and uses the gift and seems to like it, but he is not "exuberant"...EXCEPT the day I gave him the bathrobe, he told me that he never had received anything like it, and it was warm and cuddly, and he obviously **loved it**. (Very much a surprise for me, and not bad for about four hours of effort on my part...) Anyway, DH and our boys were discussing the merits of bathrobes a couple of weeks ago, and both boys decided they wanted one, and DH said, "Maybe if you ask Mommy, she'll make one for you." So, I decided I'd sew them robes for Valentines' Day, and then I got the flu, so it didn't work out. However, this past week, I bought some fleece and went to work. The pattern worked out great -- each robe took me only about three hours to cut out and sew. The boys love them so much that they wear them in the house over their **clothes**. (We had visitors this past weekend, and I felt compelled to tell them that my kids were wearing clothes under the bathrobes -- didn't want our visitors to think that we just sit around in our jammies all day, everyday!) They've never gone this ape over any sweaters I've knit them... Perhaps fleece is the way to go instead of yarn -- several advantages including much less time to create the finished item, and they really LOVE the finished item.

Anyway, my Attention Deficit has returned, and I'm trying to get several things done at once. Returning my attention to the bathroom cabinet, I removed all of the cabinet door hinges and put them in numbered little cups so that I can put everything back together with all of the parts in all of the same places. (I don't know how much it will matter, but I didn't want to take any chances.) Here are the doors, also numbered. Recall that the **lovely** handles were mounted in the very center of the doors. I know there are wood fillers available, though I had spackling compound on hand and used that to fill the holes from where the old hardware was mounted. I also put primer on the doors and cabinet last week. This week, I hope to drill the holes for the new hardware, paint the whole thing, and reassemble. It shouldn't take long -- I just have to find a couple of hours.

Finally, I want to say, "Thank you," for the suggestions regarding the buttonhole band on my Tangled Yoke Cardigan. I bought some grossgrain ribbon, and I'm going to try to sew some buttonholes on it with my sewing machine (which generally does a nice job with buttonholes), just to determine if it is feasible without too much frustration. If it is, I'll go ahead and knit the buttonhole band with the holes in it. If it isn't, I'll knit the buttonhole band without the buttonholes, sew the ribbon to the wrong side of the front bands, and then take the sweater to a tailor to have professional buttonholes sewn in. Your ideas were awesome!!!!

Time for me to get some other things done around here this morning while both of my kids are at school. After spending hours this past weekend chipping away at the ice on our walkways (gotta love living on a corner lot!) which is up to three inches thick in some places, we're expecting up to eight inches of snow today! I think I mentioned, it's beautiful and tiring all at the same time...

Oh, I almost forgot -- I found out last Monday that I've been accepted into the Physical Therapy program at UW-Madison. They start a new class of 40 every June. Now that I know I'll be going back to school this summer, I find myself preparing for it the same way I prepared for the birth of my kids -- stocking up on things (clean underwear for everybody so I don't have to do laundry so much), taking care of things around the house (putting better organizing systems in place so that there is a "place for everything" and others can be more helpful keeping things tidy around here), getting projects out of the way (painting the eyesore of a cabinet in our main bathroom, putting up a valence in our little "office", taking clothes/toys we've outgrown to Good Will), etc.

Have a great Monday!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Another Math Question.....

Greetings and Dear Laura:

Hello! I keep starting a post, and then I get interrupted and I haven't saved, and I don't get back to it - SO. I'm going to start posting, and if I don't get EVERYTHING in, I'm putting it up anyway! It may end up being a bunch of small posts, but it's better than nothing!

First of all - THANK YOU for the great math that you did on my Ribbons Baby Blanket! It was really fun to see how you figured that. Since you did such a great job, I have another question for you to figure. Here is the information:

1. The due date of the baby is March 10.
2. They live in Texas.
3. My sil (the grandmother) is leaving on March 6th to stay with them.
4. I need to be at 100 stitches per side by March 1.

So my question is:

If the blanket is off the needles and blocked on February 12, is this a sign of the endtimes?


I really enjoyed this blanket - it went pretty quickly. I used Dale of Norway Baby Ull and size 5 needles. (This was a stunning departure from my usual modus operandi. That was the yarn and needle size called for in the pattern! BONUS - the yarn I used is all leftover from previous projects!!) I didn't knit completely as written however. The pattern called for the color "ribbons" to alternate between stockinette and reverse stockinette. After I had gotten through several color changes, I decided that I didn't like the look, so I ripped out and did the blanket all in stockinette stitch.

I did see a finished blanket knit according to pattern, and I did like the final blocked version better than I thought I would, but I still like the stockinette better. I also have to confess that I didn't actually carry the pattern with me - it was easily memorized. Knit a round. Next round, (knit to the corner, increase) 4 times. Repeat. Change color every 8 rounds. The most difficult part was remembering if I should increase when I got to a corner, or if I was on an even row!

So, it's finished, and I'm back to work on my yellow baby blanket. And working on my "Mission Possible" list - what a fun idea!

Ok, gotta run, more later!

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

You're not going to believe this, but...

Greetings and Dear Cynthia,

.....we're getting more snow! We started the morning with freezing rain, lots of standing water on the icy roads, and now it's snowing, with expected accumulations of 8 inches or so... They are telling everybody to stay home, the malls are closed (so you know it *must* be bad), and I'm just hoping that things clear up enough by tomorrow so that my kids will have school.

So what's a gal to do?

Chicken soup, the cure for whatever ails you...Also, knitting...Two finished objects (sorry, didn't mean to catch you off guard like that)... Both of these are on my "mission possible" list, so two down, ten to go...
Okay, now I could use some suggestions... I knit the button band onto the front of my Tangled Yoke Cardigan, and dare I say, it is a bit wimpy. (It's very difficult to see in this photo, too, though I promise if the snow ever subsides for five minutes, I'll take a run outside and take advantage of the better lighting conditions. The cabled yoke really does show up nicely in real life, but I can't get my camera to capture it properly with our indoor lighting.) The neckband is a double layer of ribbing, the front bands are single layers. I was thinking I'd sew a pretty contrasting grossgrain ribbon to the back of the button band. However, I can't really do that on the buttonhole band to give it more body. Any thoughts? Would it be okay to have the grossgrain ribbon on the button band only, and leave it off of the buttonhole band? Are there better ways to beef up the front bands a little bit?

Tuesday is election day here in Wisconsin, we we've been having some big shot visitors. Obama was here this past week, and spoke in the Kohl Center, which is the auditorium on campus (UW-Madison) in which the Badgers play basketball and hockey. Bill Clinton was also here this week, though he spoke at the Stock Pavilion (dirt floor and you can imagine what else is in that building that gives it a certain, ahem, "scent"). Poor Bill. You can imagine that there were some people who made certain comments about BS and proper venues for BS, etc. Anyway, I also had a phone message from John McCain, and another one from former Governor Tommy Thompson who called on behalf of his "good friend, John McCain"..... Very exciting, no?

So, I'd better run. I'm expecting a call from Hillary and Obama yet....

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Friday, February 15, 2008

YarnThrower's Mission Possible

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

I've decided to participate in "Mission Possible 2008" :

The saying goes that yarn and fiber does not have an expiration date. This is about change. Fiber that has been sitting in your stash…

-Find it!
-Remember when you bought it!
-Remember what did you want to do with!

Look for:
12 things – could be 12 balls of sock yarn for 12 pairs of socks
12 balls of yarn that you refuse to throw out or that are left over from another project
12 balls of roving
12 WIPs
12 UFOs…

The clock is ticking. Everything – meaning the 12 things you picked - needs to be gone by December 31, 2008. It is up to you to achieve your goal and finish 12 possible missions.

You can…

…Fullfill its original destiny!
…Do something completely different!
…Donate it!
…Throw it out!
…Set it on fire! But then we want to see the video on YouTube!

The goal is to get these 12 items out of your stash by the end of 2008!

And here are a few rules:

1. You commit to the 12 tasks and put your list either on the Ravelry group or on your blog.
2. You finish all of your tasks by December 31, 2008.
3. If you don’t accomplish your goal, you will have to donate the selected items.
And so, I submit my list of 12 things. (Note that some of these things will take very little time, and yet, some of these projects have been sitting unfinished for months (years?)....so I decided they should be included in my list.)

1.) I went through my knitting bag and found a pair of socks, finished, except for the weaving in of the ends -- Goal to weave in the ends...
2.) Finish pair of "leftovers" ankle socks. One sock done, one to go...
3.) Finish acrylic baby blanket -- In the home stretch...

4.) Finish SuperNova -- Just sew the pieces together and add neckline treatment...
5.) Make dishrag from cotton in stash -- my "take along" project right now...

6.) Finish Tangled Yoke Cardigan -- crummy photos in my last post, better photos soon...

7.) Finish Mad Money Bag -- Just another few inches of I-cord remain to knit, and then attach to bag...
8.) Hanami Stole -- Haven't purchased pattern yet, though have had yarn and beads since last summer. Possibly finish for Mothers' Day?
9.) Colorwork Christmas Stocking -- My own pattern, just must finish up toe. I'd like to add this to our list of free patterns in the sidebar...

10.) Felted Mini-Bag out of a hank of Cascade 220 I have in stash
11.) Pair of socks...
12.) Felted oven mitt out of stash leftovers (possibly finish for Mothers Day)...

For the past two years, my five year old has watched as I've finished up DH's gift sweater dangerously close to our Christmas Eve gift exchange. I had to laugh when, a couple of weeks ago, he suggested to me that I "start knitting Daddy's sweater right now"...so that it is finished in plenty of time. (This is the same child I struggle with almost daily trying to get him out the door on time in the morning...) Because I don't have yarn for such a project in my stash, that will have to be in addition to what is listed above....

Okay, so now I'd better get back to my knitting...

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Influenza A

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

Thank you all SO MUCH for your warmth / kind words regarding my grandma! I've always been drawn to the very nicest people there are, and your kindness further supports that fact. The funeral was nice -- intimate, not scary (except for the very first moment when I walked in, but my sister knows I can be a little emotional and was ready with a box of kleenex for me), peaceful.

When we got home from the funeral (which was in Milwaukee), I took my temp and discovered I had a fever of about 102F. High fever still on Monday, so I went to the doctor. He did a nasal swab and a CBC (complete blood count), and determined that I had "Influenza A". IRONY: I didn't get a flu shot for about ten years, but THIS YEAR I got one because they are offered to all volunteers at the hospital, and THIS YEAR I actually contracted the flu. (Shot only 70% effective, though can lessen severity if you do catch the flu.) Nothing like a little Influenza A to put a person out of commission for a week. I think this is the sickest I've been since I've had children. I cook about 99% of our dinners, do about 95% of the dishes, and 100% of our laundry. Even I was surprised by how quickly things deteriorate when I'm not "doing my job".....though to dh's credit, he really took on a lot of the load and helped out a ton! I'm feeling SOOOO much better now!

Okay, so let talk about better things, like KNITTING -- what this blog is supposed to be about, right?! I LOVE my Tangled Yoke Cardigan. I still have the neckline to finish and the front bands to make, but I couldn't resist trying it on just to see how I'm going to like the fit. (Please don't mind the snow in the worst bathroom mirror shots ever -- We've had so much snow here lately, breaking the all time record for snowiest winter this past week, that I don't even notice white flecks on anything anymore.....)
So far I've made only one major change to the pattern as written. Of all the sweaters I've made which have waist shaping, they all seem to flare out over my hips, so I've been thinking that I should maybe only be knitting the top half of the hourglass as I do the shaping. On this sweater, I made the lower ribbing straight (no waist shaping decreases as called for in the pattern, so I started out with fewer stitches than my size called for), then increased just above the waistline as written in the pattern. I think it will be just fine that way, and no flaring.

I also decided that I am going to participate in "mission possible" to get my wip's cleared out. I have my itemized list almost formulated and will share that in my next post.

I do LOVE winter! I can't help but wonder, however, when can I stop shoveling? More snow expected on Sunday...

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Thursday, February 07, 2008

I love you Grandma!

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

First, a big thank you to all of you for your kind "get well" wishes for my seven year old! I am happy to report that he was doing much better on Tuesday afternoon...

...just in time for my dh to arrive home from work with a fever...so he stayed home yesterday (Wednesday), giving us a "full house", because both kids were home, too, due to the huge amount of snow we got. From everybody's comments on my last post, I think that these illnesses make us "normal", as it seems like everybody is struggling with one bug or another, and multiple bugs in many cases... AAUGH! Did I mention the snow? It's worth saying twice. I think we got about 13 inches and set a record or something....

As of this morning, the snow had been moved to more convenient places, the schools are in session, and our family seems to be *well*, so hopefully we're back in business...

Just a quick, non-knitting post today. This past Tuesday evening, my grandma went to sleep peacefully. She was 96 years old. She was born in Milwaukee. She married my grandpa in 1937 at the age of 25, which, in those days, was a little bit "old" to be getting married, though as she told the story, it was clearly her choice to wait. (She was extremely independent!) She was quite a dancer, and loved going out dancing, which I think is how she met my grandpa. Here she is, dancing at my wedding in 1996:She smiled and laughed easily, and was a little bit on the "goofy" side, which is one of my favorite traits in people. Here she is at my brother's wedding, "posing" for this photo after we put a bunch of empty drink glasses in front of her:I thought that if I ever had a daughter, I would want to name her Lillian, after my grandma.

She was industrious, hard working, and wanted all of her grandchildren to be happy. She hosted Christmas and Easter family gatherings for years, rising early in the morning on those days to prepare the meals and other treats. I have many happy memories from childhood of family days spent at Grandma and Grandpa's house with my cousins.

She was also very fashionable, a fine seamstress, and she dabbled in knitting. In her prime, she and her sister in law sewed the window treatments for the governor's mansion in Madison. Our love for making things is an interest we shared. Whenever I showed her something I made, she always told me that it was "beautiful". I made some "Grandma's Favorite" dish rags and gave them to her once, and she thought they were so lovely and wanted to learn to make them, too. So, when she came to visit me and stayed in my apartment during my single days in Fort Wayne, we spent the evening knitting and I taught her how to make the dish rags.

She had Alzheimer's for the past five (or more) years, and hasn't known who I am for at least the past three years. Her death has been expected for some time, though when I learned this week that she was gone, I still had to process the "finality" of it all. Mostly, I feel so fortunate to have had a grandma just like her. As her posterity celebrates her life tomorrow at the funeral and luncheon, I know we'll have lots and lots of laughter as we talk about our happy times with Grandma!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Winter winter winter winter winter winter winter.....

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,When I was a kid, we had winters like the one we're having this year all the time. Of course, that's probably not true, because whenever I've toured around my childhood neighborhood, it is quite clear that my childhood perspective was a little bit, er, flawed..... However, this winter is exactly how I remember my childhood winters -- a covering of snow from November/December until March, and lots of cold. Our snowfall for the year is way above the norm, and we just keep getting more! In fact, on Saturday, when the weathermen were predicting no appreciable accumulation, we got a few inches. Very pretty looking out the window from my knitting perch in our living room...

In any case, my seven year old has been running a fever since Friday night, so during the weekend, I basically didn't leave the building (except for a trip to the gym early on Saturday morning). He likes having me nearby, to keep him "company", so this has allowed me a lot of knitting time. I'm currently working on the yoke of my Tangled Yoke Cardigan.
Today, he is still home with a fever. However, I'm going to try to start on another house project. Here is the "lovely" vanity in our main bathroom. It has toothpaste accents on it right now, some pealing paint, and an *interesting* set of hardware which I would describe more as a "variation on a theme" rather than "matching". Today is the day I'm going to disassemble the doors from the cabinet and begin cleaning, plugging holes from prior hardware, priming, painting, and installing hardware from this decade which is the *same* on all four doors...

Finally, in the "just how old am I?" category, I was at Borders a few days ago, looking for a Dan Fogelberg CD, and the young man helping me out first asked me to say the name again, then asked for a spelling of the name, then wanted to know if the first name was, indeed, Dan, then confirmed that I was looking for music, because he was expecting to find a book... As Charlie Brown so eloquently puts things, "AAUGH!"

Okay, so time to check on my little sick child, and then hopefully get to work here...

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)