Saturday, April 28, 2007

Stash North and Stash South - the more the merrier

Nap time for the boys - notice the special cat protection that covers all my furniture. Whenever I find out someone is coming over I have to rush around uncovering all the furniture. It's the only way I can keep the brown couch from being white. The boys just haven't learned how to help me with cleaning by picking up their hair after themselves.

After a long week of business travels I got to enjoy the day doing nothing. Well, my version of nothing. I sat around and watched TV, made some cookies, pet the cats, and knit. There's someone at work who is expecting so I spent today working on the baby surprise jacket for her.

After spending 2 days in very wet Des Moines, Iowa trying to travel around flooded rivers instead of through them, I got home Thursday evening and fell asleep about 1/2 hour later. That made the third day without knitting or working on any crafts. Yesterday finally gave me a little time to knit. I spent last night playing "missed it by that much". I decided to make a pair of felted clogs for my cousin out of some left over yarn. I ran out with about 25 stitches to cast off and the bottom to seam together. Off to the store to get another skein of wool. Now I have most of another skein I have to get rid of. It will never end!

I know, talking about having 1 skein of yarn to get rid of is silly in the real world of stashes but let me explain. I have stash north and stash south. I started to move into my folks house at Christmas but I'm taking it slow. I'm moving and packing their things (my folks moved to nursing home and assisted living places). We always planned on me buying their house when they moved but it happened quicker then we thought when Dad needed Memory Care "right now". I didn't plan on my having to move them and make all the decisions about what to keep what to give away of their 50+ years of stuff. And deal with their finances, Mom's grocery shopping, being the memory for both of them, and all the other time takers that come with elder care. In the meantime, I'm going through all my stuff - pack-move- give- throw. This includes the stash. The quilting stash, the knitting stash, the stained glass stash. Taking time to get all this done means I've started a new stash at the new house while the old stash is mostly at the old house. You confused? So am I. I always end up wanting something that's at the other place. I hope to merge the two sometime next month. THAT will be a frightened sight.

But for now I live with Stash North and Stash South and trying to keep Stash South fairly small until the happy day they get to become one. Maybe we'll have a yarn wedding to celebrate.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Business Trip with NO KNITTING!

I left the house at 6:00 am this morning to drive 4 hours to Des Moines, Iowa for business. Somehow I forgot to pack any knitting projects. Fortunately, the Yarn Harlot's latest book "Cast Offs" is in my purse. That will get me through the night. I can't believe I brought my camera and accessories but forgot knitting. What a dork!
The hotel I'm staying at has a unique thing - they have Wednesday night Fireside Chats. Tonight is someone talking about the Boundary Waters area in Minnesota (been there - done that - have the scars to prove it) but--- and this is a big BUT- I will be here the next few weeks on Wednesday and the Fireside Chat May 9 is the Central Iowa Knitters. SWEET! I'll have someone to share my evening with instead of staring at the walls of my room or watching something on TV that I really don't want to see. If anyone in the Des Moines area sees this before May 9th - stop by the Wildwood Lodge in Clive and say HI from 6-7 pm.
This hotel (Wildwood Lodge) is really nice. Northwoods theme throughout. I was greeted by a masseuse when I checked in. The room has many nice features:
Nice desk to work at - the TV moves to see from bed or desk. (note the north woods look)

Comfortable chair and reading lamp. Perfect for getting comfortable with knitting (if I brought any) or a good book (Cast Offs)

It a bit hard to see in this picture but the coffee mugs and glasses are real. Plus if the creek rises to second floor - I have paddles to use to "git up the crik".

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Socks & Hide and Seek

I finally got around to downloading the pictures in my camera so I can post them. Here's a few of my projects finished this year.

I started these socks about a year ago, maybe more. They're Opal Rodeo color 21 (no longer available). I got the first sock done and sort of lost them. Recently I got a tote bag out getting ready for a business trip and the socks decided they won the hide and seek game so came out to play. One sock done - one barely started. I have a habit of assuming I'll finish the item right away so I don't have need for taking notes. Then a year later I get back to the item and have absolutely no idea what I did to get that far. Anyway- I lucked out, took notes so I got to finish the second sock. I like them even though I usual wear black or blue socks (boring).

Next pair of socks were much quicker- about a week. I used Sockotta. I don't believe how much yarn was on the skein (100 grams) I usual make short socks- these are shorter than average socks and knit toe up. I have big feet and thick ankles. I've gotten used to shorter socks because longer ones end up around my ankles looking bunchy. Anyway - I ended up with so much extra yarn I got another project out of the skein.

The extra project was a baby bonnet. I started similar to making a toe-up sock and used the same idea as a pi-shawl. Cast on figure 8 style- 8 loops on each of 2 needles. knit 1 row using 3 needles. Next row double the stitches. knit even- row 4 double stitches. Knit even-row 8 double the stitches. Once it was bit enough I just knit till I came close to running out of yarn and did about an inch of rib. It was going to be a chemo hat but - not long enough. To be a baby bonnet meant tightening up the rib. I did a chain stitch that I thread in and out of the top of the rib and ties it in a bow. I lucked out and had a bit of yarn left so I made a little flower to add by the bow. My model is a special one. My Mom painted her several years ago. Mom doesn't do crafts so for her to go to a class and make something this cute is very special.

Bert wants to play another round of Find the Kitty -

Monday, April 23, 2007


I have respect for many people. That respect grows whenever I try to do something new and actually see how much work they do.

Writing Patterns
The first time I wrote a knitting pattern I discovered the HUGE amount of work that goes into writing something all (or at least most) people can understand and use. Back in the late 70's I wrote patterns for the Yarn Shed. I worked there part time for a friend of our family. She gave me the opportunity to try writing, teaching, and spreading my wings. Back in the 90's I got serious. I quit my job as a dietitian and started my own business. Jill's All Sew Knit. We had knitting and sewing stuff. Mostly machine knitting because hand knitting was in a decline at the time. At that time I started designing and writing patterns. This let me go around the country teaching at seminars, writing for a few of the magazines and basically enjoying my craft. That's where the respect grew. People that write for a living work really, really hard. My way of writing patterns was to turn on the tape recorder and talk my way through everything I did then use that babbling to write the pattern. Then you have to figure out all sizes, what words to use that will work the best, pictures, graphs. The list of things to do just keeps growing.

What all of us can do to show our respect for these people taking the time to write patterns and books for us is simple. Buy the pattern - don't copy it from a friend. So many of us in the 90's had to give up our businesses because we couldn't pay the bills. Let's not lose the creative people because of copiers!

Knitting Blogs
Here's my latest heightened level of respect. I go to about 6 blogs every day to "get my fix" and visit with some new friends. These friends don't know me but I know them. I know about Lucy and her latest antics from Wendy Knits (Wendy - Chief is still looking for a girlfriend!). I know how The Yarn Harlot is surviving her latest book tour. I know what's going on the Annie as she tries to settle into her new home just down the road from me. There's others I like to check in with that I'll add to a list some day.

These ladies deal with a busy life and still have time to blog almost every day - complete with pictures. The respect I have for them can't be expressed other than to say THANK YOU!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Getting back to normal

I survived the family visit this past weekend. My Bro and sis-in-law came from California and spent 5 days learning what it is like to deal with parents with severe memory problems. Now they understand a little better which helps me cope. Somehow having someone else know what you're going through makes it a little easier. Mom called my cell phone today because she "lost her husband" and didn't know where I was. After explaining he was next door to where she lives at the Memory Care place and I was at work and the rest of the family went home 2 days ago she decided everything was okay. (and she's the one with the "good" memory!)

Enough of that. I did get some knitting done this weekend. Not what I hoped to but I got a sweater sewed together. It needs final touch up blocking and then I'll post a picture. I also finished my Opal Rodeo socks. My brother can't understand WHO would wear something like THAT! So, I wore them to the family gathering Tuesday night and my cousins thought they looked great.

I also managed to finish Sam the Ram just before everyone came so he could be shown off. Sam is from
Three Kittens shop. There's new owners but I believe they still have the pattern.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Alzheimer's and Easter - what a combination

My Dad has had diabetes for a long time and handled it well. With age he started forgetting to eat or take his insulin and last summer during a heat wave things went down hill fast. He's now living in a Memory Care facility with all the symptoms of Alzheimer's. It's tough, but we cope and talk about the same topic over and over when I visit. The hard part is Mom. Her memory isn't much better, but so far she can live in an assisted living apartment and care for herself. She doesn't understand what's wrong with Dad and doesn't see herself as having a bad memory. Make that- a really bad memory.

I've been arranging things for Easter. My brother and sis-in-law are going to be here from California. It may be the last family holiday together and we want it to be special. We'll pull out the old family vacation pictures and see what the folks can remember. But - between getting the house ready (I've recently moved so things are a mess), reminding Mom about the same things 2-4 times a day (No, they're coming this Friday. No, I'm buying the food you don't have to worry. Yes, I'll be picking them up.), shopping for food, and keeping up with work- I'm starting to wish I could share in Dad's "live in the moment cause nothing else is exists" way of looking at life.

So how do I cope with it all? Hug the cats, knit, read other people's blogs (poor Yarn Harlot and her Ann Arbor trip trauma!), and now write my own blog.

Until I have time to write more and link up to a few spots where people will actually find this - you can play "Find the Kitty". Chief and Bert are both in the picture....

Monday, April 2, 2007

What in the world am I doing?!?!

Back about a million years ago I had a shop. It was my passion. I sold knitting supplies for hand and machine knitting. I also sold sewing supplies - machines, quilting supplies, etc. We had fun. I also managed to travel the country teaching and wrote for a few magazines. People actually liked my patterns and bought them. So why did I quit. Simple. I didn't make enough to survive. No health insurance, no dinners out, no going to the movies, no money. I've been back in the "real world" for almost 10 years but I miss the creative life. It's time to return.

Now this isn't to say I haven't been sewing and knitting - I have. It's just that I haven't stretched the creative side of my brain too much lately. I buy patterns someone else wrote and the most creative thing has been to decide what yarn and what color. I'm in the middle several projects right now. I've knitting some socks - Opal Rodeo; a cable sweater from an old Knitter's magazine; I just finished knitting a gorgeous sweater out of Cascade 22o which needs putting together; and I made one clog that needs a partner and felting. I'll get some picture up of these projects shortly. I'll let someone find this blog first!

The Boys

I have 2 boys that take up a great deal of my time. They are not your typical boys - they have 4 legs each. Chief (named after Grandpa who was a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy) is a 5 year old Ragdoll cat. He is a sweet boy that loves everyone. My other boy is a 2 year old British Shorthair cat. Bert (named after my Dad - George Albert - Bert for short) is a bundle of energy. He doesn't walk anywhere- he bounds, he leaps, he makes mad dashes to everywhere.

Chief & Bert at the computer