Thursday, June 26, 2008

50th Anniversary Party!

Greetings and Dear Laura:

Hey, way to go with school - it sounds like you've got a good transistion going! I am interested in a prototype of that laundry carrier - maybe ask if it could have an "automatic folding option??"

I had hopes that things would slow down a bit once June got going, but that hasn't happened! Early June was focused on preparations for my parent's 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration. As usual, I way underestimated the amount of time everything would take. In my defense, the fact that we were having a large (110 people!) party wasn't decided until less than a month before the event! My brothers and their families and I worked together, which helped immensely!

In addition to serving on the "Food, Drink and Decoration Committee" I was responsible for a computer slide show of scanned pictures from the last 50 years, and the 50th Anniversary Quilt. 25 years ago, when I was dabbling in quilts, my sils and I appliqued and embroidered a 25th Anniversary Quilt. The squares incorporated the names of the whole family, which included the first 3 grandchildren. WHAT WERE WE THINKING?? The next 8 grandchildren have worn us out with "why isn't my name on the quilt?" "Because you weren't born yet." "But I'm born NOW....." So, another quilt was required, and in the meantime.....I stopped liking to sew! Really. Just don't like it. (sigh)

My sil and I shopped for the fabric, and while I was on my trip to WI, she cut the squares. We had decided that this would be a "picture quilt," being sure that EVERYONE in the family is pictured at least once. (I tried to get my sil Lee to provide an ultrasound shot of the new baby, but she isn't due for that until July!)

So, when I got home "all" I had to do was scan the pictures, crop them, print them on transfer paper, iron them onto fabric, sew the pictures onto the squares, and sew the squares together! 'snap!'

Turn this....


into this.....


Let's just say there was quite a bit of panic in the process. There was the fight with the software about "mirror images" that I called you about a week before the party. Which means that I was only on the "print them" step 6 days before the deadline. I still kept thinking it was doable tho! I think on Tuesday I decided that I was in serious trouble, so I took a vacation day on Wednesday to finish the quilt in the morning and do the food & supply shopping in the afternoon. (Pause for your laughter.) At around 10 in the morning, when I realized that the best I could hope for was to have the pictures sewn on to the squares by noon, I had a serious panic attack and called the owner of the yarn shop in Avilla where I go to knit-in. There are several quilters in the group and I needed HELP. Sally came to my rescue - during Thursday night knit-in, a couple of quilters set up their machines and we sewed the squares together! Knitters to the rescue!

That left me free on Wed afternoon to go shopping with Chris - this is what it looked like after the first 3 stops!
In the end, that all became a great party! We had good weather, lots of people, good food and everyone survived their own personal panic-attacks!


Also I'd like to note that Lauren was the winner of the "what knitting did I take on my trip" contest. (Sorry, Marie!) She really nailed it, including my thought process for which sock project to take! Here she is with her new sock yarn!
So, that's a start on my catching up......

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Actual knitting, PT School Week Two

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

I'm getting into the groove of school. I had a written exam this past week (which went fine) and I am amazed at how much material is being covered in such a short time. This coming week will be my "moment of truth," as I have my first skill assessment and an anatomy test that covers a very huge amount of material.

In the past two weeks, I've knit exactly two rows on Ibenholt. It got me to the point of having completed two pattern repeats. Here's a photo using the flash, and almost true to the actual color:Here is a photo taken *without* the flash, so the cables seem to pop a little bit better:This is the back of the sweater, and the moss stitch sections on the left and right sides of the photo are in the underarm area...

In other news, I found this picture laying on the kitchen table, so I asked my five year old what it is:He said it's a robot that carries laundry. AWESOME!

Well, tonight I have a ton of memorizing to do, so I'm going to break up the evening into 15 minute chunks. *The first 15 minutes I'll go through all of my flash cards once; the second 15 minutes I'll clean part of the house*; repeat between *'s. If I can keep that up for two hours, things will be in pretty good shape overall.

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

Saturday, June 14, 2008

PT School, Week One

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

Day One of PT School went something like this:

5:50am: Catch the bus, which is really, really an early time, because commuter routes haven't started yet, so I had to get on the bus which goes all over my little city before it heads down to campus.

6:30am: Arrive at MSC (Medical Science Center) with my hair really frizzy due to the really, really high level of humidity.

7:00am: Mandatory orientation meeting, in which I meet the other 38 students who make up the "PT Class of 2011." Approximately 1/4 of the students were in my Physiology of Exercise class last summer.

7:45am: Anatomy lecture. I sit down, and a minute or two later, the lady sitting in the row in front of me turns around and asks me if I know who she is. It took me a second to figure it out, because it's been a while since I've seen her, but she is one of the people who was in my graduating class in high school. She and I used to hang around together. Talk about your extremely small worlds. We seem like strangers now, and I suppose in most respects, we are. She is studying OT (Occupational Therapy).

8:50am - 12:00pm: Anatomy lab

12:30pm: Individual PHOTO, which the school will post on the web and on the wall in the PT department, which aptly captures my humidity-induced frizzy hair, and in which both of my bra straps are showing.
Day Two of PT school:

7:12am: Catch the bus, a commuter route which goes almost directly to campus, dropping me off about one block from my building. Since the time of the course was moved to an earlier time by five minutes (which doesn't seem like much but makes all the difference in the world), I literally (and when I say "literally," I mean **literally**) RUN from the bus stop to the building, arriving in my seat exactly at 7:45am. As soon as my butt hits the seat, the professor starts talking.
Day Three of PT school:

I start to get into the routine a little bit, and I find myself really engaged in the material I'm learning, and so thankful for this opportunity. I'm carrying nine credits (anatomy alone is six credits, and the highest credit class I've ever had), and a couple of my instructors are phenomenal and quite funny.
Number of stitches knit this past week: Zero.

Goals for this weekend: Knit two rows on Ibenholt, and gobs of studying.

Number of workouts this past week: Only two. However, I'll have more time in the mornings this coming week to get back into the swing of things.

Right now, my five year old and I are off to walk to the post office (my dad's Fathers' Day card will be arriving a day late), the library book sale, and some garage sales. It's a beautiful day!

I hope this finds you well!
Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Greetings and Dear Laura:

I thought of you all day yesterday, going to your first day of classes. I hope that all went well (you know, you were able to find your classroom and all that...) and that you're enjoying your new adventure! And I hope you enjoyed your high-school reunion. It sounds like a fun thing to do - having all the classes. I always wished I could attend reunions from the classes before and after mine - my friends were in various classes.

THANK YOU so much for hosting me on my long-holiday weekend! I can't believe it's been two weeks already - it doesn't seem like I've taken a deep breath since I left Madison! I did have a bit of a "travel problem" later that day. There were 3 trains that I could take to Chicago that would let me catch the last train to South Bend. The schedule worked best for me to take the last train - the 3:49. The only ride I could get to the train station got me there at 2:55, so I had almost an hours wait - plenty of knitting time. Except I "remembered" the schedule wrong - the train left at 2:49, just five minutes before I got there! I had no choice but to take an extra day off and travel the next morning. Just to top off the day, I needed to take a city bus back to my friend's house. I got on and told the driver I'd never taken a city bus there - how much was the fare. She replied, "Normally it's $1, but do you have a senior citizen card?" As much as I'm looking forward to discounts, it wasn't the best time for that offer..... ;)

I have a couple of finished objects from the trip. I had already finished these socks when I saw you - I got my God-daughter to model them for me.
Her little sister was so impressed that she requested a pair for her birthday out of the leftover yarn. (I still have a couple of weeks for those...) I did also get an order for a pair in pink and purple for the sock model! (Isn't it amazing that this second grader is wearing my socks and they fit so well??)

The baby sister, my youngest God-daughter, got this Blankie Buddie. This one is actually a bunny like in the original pattern that I've been modifiying. It's a fun pattern, and I'll make more using the yarn I picked up at The Sow's Ear.

While I was visiting my friends, I got to see one of my older projects - my major baby sweater.
Originally knitted for the oldest (who is now modeling my socks!) this sweater has been worn by 5 children now and shows no worse for the wear! The color-work looks amazingly complicated, but for this pattern Dale of Norway did not give me three colors in the same row, so it worked pretty smoothly, as I recall. Finishing gave me fits, so I asked for help, but the knitting was just plain fun!

Well, I have two weeks to catch up on - this is just a start. Every day, I would think - "today I will find a couple of minutes for just a short post" but really - there never were even those few minutes! Finally, things have calmed down, so I can think of such things as "knitting" and "posting!"

Keep knitting! (and studying!!)

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Life changes

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

I've had elevated cholesterol levels for the past couple of years. This year, I finally decided to make a very conscious effort to reduce my *saturated* fat intake to 20g or less per day. This meant giving up ice cream, and watching nutrition labels very carefully. (Though I started exercising regularly three to four times per week almost two years ago, this alone was not enough to lower my cholesterol.)

I just received the results of my most recent blood tests. My total cholesterol decreased from 244 to 176 (target less than 200), and LDL ("lousy" cholesterol) was down from 151 to 92.6 (target less than 100).

So, the "good news" is that giving up ice cream has made a very POSITIVE IMPACT.

The "bad news" is that GIVING UP ICE CREAM has made a very positive impact.

Overall, I have to say that this has taken me two years of experimenting, so I'm happy to now be at a point in which my new habits have resulted in better "numbers."

Tomorrow I'm driving over to my former high school for a 50th anniversary band/choir reunion. Since it spans such a large range of graduating classes, there are only a handful of people I'll remember from my days of walking those halls, but my band and choir directors will both be back, and I'm very happy I'll have a chance to talk with them for a bit. (It's been, ahem, 25 years since I last saw them.) My brother and his kids will also be there, and both of his daughters had birthdays recently, so it was time to get these little bags finished:It took me until this morning to actually (finally) sew on the buttons. Each has a Target gift card inside.

After this weekend, my life changes drastically. I've been a stay at home mom for the past eight years, and it has been everything like, and nothing like, I imagined it would be. Beginning on Monday, however, my identity will be completely different. I've been quietly grieving the past few days as this chapter of my life closes, though I know it has to in order to make room for the growth and exciting challenges waiting for me, and for my kids as they will both be in school full time next fall. Still, I've always been one who gets very attached and comfortable with how things are, even if it's for a week, a month, a semester, or years, and it's difficult for me to leave people and/or routines behind. Okay, I suppose that is enough blathering on about sentimental things.

I finished cleaning out the garage (a more difficult task than I originally anticipated once I discovered a messy oil spill that leaked to multiple shelves, etc), and did several other things I wanted to finish up before school starts. I had some crazy notion that I would get "everything" done and then I'd truly be "ready," though as I should have realized from my life experiences, "ready" is a work in progress, and often things require a "leap of faith" more than they require "readiness." ...Oops -- I jumped off the philosophical deep end again.

I'll ponder all of this during the weekend, but once things really get rolling on Monday, I'm confident I'll be just thrilled to be a student again. I've really missed school this past semester, and am chomping at the bit to start grad school.

I promise less blathering in my next post. Have a great weekend!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)