Sunday, September 30, 2007

Great New Swap - ya think?

Parents Day Out
Yesterday was my monthly "take both folks out to lunch" day. I wish I could take them both out together more but, quite frankly, none of us can handle more often. Dad gets tired from the "bigness" of the world and having to cope; Mom goes right into the "oh, I didn't know we can't drive" and poor me mode; and I - well, I get tired of having to come up with new answers for the same conversation. The only good thing is Mom doesn't think about not being able to drive until we actually get in my SUV and go somewhere. When we're at Dad's place or when Mom and I are at her apartment the conversation doesn't come up.

Yesterday I drove them around a bit to look at the leaves changing. I asked Dad if he knew what season it was - nope. I gave him a couple clues - leaving falling, weather getting colder.. still no clue. Is it winter? Is it Spring? - Yeah, I thing it's spring. It's tough to see basic things start to go out of his brain. But ask him what 2x9 is and he's right there with the answer. 24/2 - right there. I'd love to know how the brain works or fails to work.

They say dementia is the inability to learn new things. I can see that. Mom is also at the can't learn new things stage. But - so far she can still manage the basics of her apartment. Well, for now. We'll see how long that lasts.

On the cheerier topics -

Cats & Yarn
I have to say a quick Thank You again to my Secret Pal on behalf of the boys. The multiple presents she sent them are very loved. The Fish on a rope has been dragged around the house multiple times a day since I opened it. Bert hauls it into the jungle gym, into bed at night, into the bathroom, you name it - that fish has been there. You're probably thinking - I only sent one present for the cats- what's she talking about. Oh no - you sent 3 presents. The tissue paper has been properly chewing, mauled and destroyed by Chief. There have even been a few naps taken on the paper. Then there was the other present - the box. It's had a busy life this week. Chief (the 18 lb. cat) sits in the box. Sort of. It's too small to really sit in it so he gets about 10% of his body in it and pretends to sit. The box is also a drop spot for Bert and the fish. You know - the fish he hauls all over the house. The box seems to have become it's home in Bert's eyes. So - other than the 4 AM visits in the bed of Bert and the Fish, we all thank you for the fun they've gotten from the presents.

Cats & Yarn - Chief sits on my lap while I knit and usually ignores the yarn, other than to hold the strand in place for me. Hate to have the yarn escape! But there's something about the Tofutsie - he loves it. Can't keep his paws off it and will occasionally chew it. Is it the powdered shrimp? He hasn't been going after the finished sock only the sock/yarn in progress. Anyone else have this happen?

New Swaps
There are so many swaps going around I thought I’d suggest a few new ones.
The Dirty Laundry Swap – Send all the dirty laundry you don’t have time to do because you’re knitting to your secret pal and let them do it for you. Problem is – your pal is probably too busy knitting to do your laundry too.
The UFO Swap – You send a project you never got around to finishing to your pal and you get one from another person. At least you never have to look at your own and feel guilty about not finishing it.
The Yarn from the 70s Swap – send some of your stash from the 70s to another person. With any luck your partner will forget to send you yarn and you’ll have space in the stash for some new goodies. This swap would also work with the 80s and 90s. Although, yarn from the 90s really isn’t THAT old yet!
The Knitting Round Robin – send off a UFO for the next person on the list to knit a bit for you. Then it comes on to the next person and so on until you finally get your FO back and finished. Problem – if you send it off to other people with UFOs it may just become their next UFO and you’ll never see it again.
The NO fuss Recipe Swap - send recipes to the others in the group that take “no prep” giving you more time to knit. Hey – wait – this one may actually work!!!

You have any good swap ideas?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ravelry is moving fast!

I've been avoiding discussing the whole Ravelry thing because I was SO far down the list and figured I get on about 2008 but the past week or so things are really moving along

Found you!
You signed up on August 8, 2007
You are #24134 on the list.
5471 people are ahead of you in line.
12597 people are behind you in line.
50% of the list has been invited so far

I checked a couple days ago and it was way over 6000 ahead of me. It looks like 400-500 people are getting on each day - WOW.

Notice if you add the people before me, on the lost and after me there's about 42000 people. double WOW!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Writing - good and bad

Pictures - I got nothin'

I have spent the past 2 weeks going to different sites our company has people at and writing down all the stuff they do at the site - good and bad - and giving them scores to be certified or not. Does the staff answer the phone in 3 rings? Are they friendly? Is the Site Procedure Guide complete, to to date? Does the mail cart work properly? It's been rather boring and I got to the point where I was confusing one site for another. But 2 more days of this and I should be done. We have to have all the sites certified by the end of the month. When that's done - I hope to have time to get out to several of them and help rewrite procedure guides that are wussy.

I tend to write procedures that someone who never saw the site could use to complete necessary tasks. That's the way I used to write my machine knitting patterns. I'd turn on the tape recorder and say everything I did. Then, I'd take that recording and turn it into a pattern. It's amazing how many things we do automatically without even realizing it. In a pattern you make write M1 stitch but - what type of make one did you use? The different types will affect the look of the finished product and some times the wrong way will make the garment turn out wrong.

Total change of topic. There's a story on the news tonight about an 8 month old boy in our area. It's a story of child abuse. He had to have part of his skull removed because of baby sitter abuse and a swollen brain. The pictures of him now - he is missing half his skull so half his head is caved in. It's a frightening story, it's frightening pictures.

Bert's been coming in here asking for attention. He knows how to say "mama" in a very whiny voice and it's pretty bizarre. Some day I may manage to have recorder close by so I can get it on tape. Of course, no one else have ever heard this because he is my mythical kitty that no one has ever seen in person. Many of my friends doubt he really exists. Any noise in the driveway will make him disappear faster than chocolate at a knit-in!

Monday, September 24, 2007

How do they do that?

Sock knit group tonight had a vital question - how do they do that? I was finishing up my Tufutsie sock and we got to talking about the new natural fibers. The typical silly questions - if someone is allergic to shellfish would they be allergic to Tufutsie because it has 2.5% shells. That got us to -how do they get the 2.5% in the yarn. Is it a powder that is put in liquid and the yarn is soaked in it? Do they make a fiber out of it somehow? That of course led to the discussion about soy - how do you make soy fiber? Bamboo we could figure out but soy? Do they make a tufu type mush and then create fibers from that? Or are the leaves long enough to create a fiber?
Anyone have any answers?

Tonight's new yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy. They has a color dyed special for Amazing Threads - Cobalt Diablo. Very subtle purply blue blend. The pattern is one of Dream in Colors patterns - look a bit like leaves. When I start knitting I'll get some pictures up.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

There Be Presents!

How can you tell when your cotton blocking is finally dry?

On the more exciting side of life - I got a package from my Secret Pal. Or should I say - WE got a package. Yep. I got help opening it and exploring what was inside.

There was a lovely card (good grief - who says "lovely" now-a-days!) I think I have my Secret Pal fooled! She/he (handwriting look like - she) thinks I'm a brave person and admires how I'm taking care of my folks. Fooled you! I spent this week totally ignoring my parents. Mom called Wed all upset because she had gone off somewhere with some people from church (couldn't rememeber who it was) and got back somewhat late (5pm). She thought I would be mad because she had been out. Why would I be upset. She doesn't live here, she doesn't have any responsibility except to herself. What in her life got her so screwed up that she doesn't think she can go out and have a little fun without feeling guilty!?! Poor lady. But- I talked to her for a few minutes and that was it for this week. I needed to concentrate on work and I knew the people where Dad lives would take good care of him and if anything really happened with Mom someone from her place would call. So - bad daughter - but I'm okay with that. We'll all go out for lunch tomorrow and they won't remember I didn't see them this week. Bad memory can really work for you sometimes!

But - back to my package. Let's see what I got.

Chief - out of the way! No. The packing paper isn't the present - there's more!
Okay Chief - you can have the little toy.

Yup, the boys got a present. I can't imagine how my Secret Pal knew I have cats. I try to keep it quiet and just never talk about them :-)

With the boys busy with the new fishy, I checked out MY loot.

I got some lip balm she says is her mission to introduce to everyone. It's lightly minty-menthol. It's not a heavy strong smell and I think I'll like it.

Then some hand lotion her friend swears by. I like lavender and that's what's in it. Good choice.

Also a notebook. I just filled my current one- good timing. I like to keep one in my purse to write down books people suggest and other things my growing old brain doesn't want to remember anymore.

Finally. Yarn. OOOH! She sent me hand-dyed yarn from Loopy Ewe. It's All Things Heather Raspberry color. Very subtle color changes and very pretty. Another good choice.

My Secret Pal has now taken care of my spirit (the flower a few weeks ago- and 1/2 of them are still looking fine); my body (lip balm and hand lotion); and my artistic self (the gorgeous yarn). THANKS!
Meanwhile - back in the living room Bert is still busy with the new fishy. Just after the picture the fishy ended up in the kitty tunnel like many of their toys.

P.S. I just remembered. Best Buy had memory stick on sale this week. They were giving a donation to the Alzheimer Assoc. for each stick sold. How sad is it that I forgot something for a memory organization!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Blob attacks

What do you get if Chief decides to grab your yarn right when you grab your camera?

You get a big kitty blob that looks like a fuzzy hamster.
Let's try that again - Chief was such a Momma's helper last night. He sacrificed his free time to lay in my lap and prevent the Tufutsie from escape. What a guy!

The Tufutsie in question is a sock. We got the yarn last month at Amazing Threads sock of the month group but I decided I wasn't keen on the pattern. It has 4 small cables with a lot of plain spaces in between. I thought it would look even fatter on my foot than normal so I decided to play around and do a toe up (my favorite). The picture is terrible for color. This colorway is coral and lime green in the light striping and purple and med sky blue in the dark striping. (told you the picture was way off - I just couldn't get it any better) The pattern is one round of knit and one round of k2,p2. Every 10th and 14th round I did a mock cable- knit the 2 knits together and before taking them off the left needle knit the first stitch again. Hard to see in the picture - I'll go for a cleaner picture when the sock is done.

In the meantime - while Chief was on top of me saving the yarn from escaping - Bert was showing why I'm glad I have a TV on a base that keeps it several inches off the table. Man, HD TV shows up great in pictures!

It's pretty common to have both cats sleeping up here. The DVD, etc. is just under the TV and it keeps the area nice and warm which makes it a fave spot for the boys.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bert's in love

So - what is Bert so excited about? What strange thing has he discovered that he can't keep his nose and tongue out of?

Yup - it's sugar-free chocolate mousse. Maybe he thinks its chocolate mouse!

Monday, September 17, 2007

How Long does it Take Cotton to Dry!

Saturday afternoon I soaked the cotton vest, squeezed out as much water as I could and laid it out to dry and be blocked. It's Monday night - the vest is still damp! I've never had something (including all the other cotton items I've made) take this long to dry. The air must be very humid. So you get a picture on the blocking mats.

It's from Knitters magazine from this spring. I can't find the issue so I can't give you the exact number but, if you're like me, you have the Knitter's magazines hanging out in your house somewhere so you can look it up if you can't wait until I find my issue. I used Bernat's Cotton Twist yarn. It comes in big skeins and is fairly cheap. I used less than 2 skeins so it cost around $15. I wanted something to throw on and look a bit dressier than just a turtle neck. I changed it a couple ways. I increased the width a bit by adding rows to the side panels and I added length. I don't like short stuff. I added about 2 inches of length to it. Now all I need to do is hunt up some buttons. I'm thinking a light colored wood.

I've got a couple other things to show you. The first is a tunic I made on the knitting machine. I took the design from an afghan, designed a tunic and played around a bit to get the design work on the tunic. I've worn this thing a million times. It's got some metallic thread running through the rose color. It's made from a thin cotton yarn and feels like pajamas when I wear it. I usually wear it with close fitting knit black pants and black boots. For a big person I look good in this.

Next a vest I sewed several years ago. You may be thinking, big deal, a vest. Well, take a look at the front. The blue design wasn't on the material when I bought it. I bought a long length of black material and a big spool of variegated blue sulky thread. I drew the basic vest outlines on the material, then I spent hours and hours sewing rows of two different designs - the leaves and the row of stripes. This was a fun vest to wear when I'd teach at a sewing show because people couldn't believe someone would spend all that time.
Well, at least this post is a little less depressing than yesterday's post. But to clarify just a tad on yesterday's post. Every once in a while out senator will contact the family to say they're still working toward getting the hostages home so the family isn't totally ignored but most days it feels like they're ignored and that's tough for them.
Finally, I got a candy bar this weekend that I can't believe! It's from the Cost Plus World Market. I like dark chocolate. This bar is ridiculously dark. If you like dark chocolate give this a try. It's Colombian - "Dark Chocolate Santander" 70% cacao. YUM!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

10 months is a long time

I was reminded of something today that made my heart sad. Those of you that have the Pattern book "Itty Bitty Hats" go get your book and find the picture of the cute little boy and girl on the slide wearing hats with little boys and girls on them. Aren't they cute! They are the niece and nephew of my friend I talk about occasionally. My "no longer with us" best friend from childhood. These we cuties have not seen their uncle Paul for a very long time because he's missing.

Last November, 4 contractors in Iraq were kidnapped. One of them was Paul Reuben, a former cop from the Minneapolis area. For a month we heard news reported about it and then nothing. The families were told be be quiet and wait. They did. They waited and waited and waited. They heard nothing. Every once in a while they will get throw a bone - "we're still working on it". Nothing more. It's been 10 months of mostly nothing. It's been 10 months of 4 families waiting on a government that will only say - "we're still working on it".

Those 2 cute kids don't understand where Uncle Paul is. How can they? The adults don't really understand where he is.

Take a moment to say a prayer for the families and friends of these kidnapped men. Pray they are still alive and being treated well. Prayer that the government is really working to get them released.

If you feel the need to do something more - write your senator and any other government official you can think of. Thanks

Tomorrow I'll get back to knitting content.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Secret Pal and Stash Secrets

Quick knitting update. I finished the cotton mitered vest today. It's sitting quite soggy on the blocking mats. When it's dry tomorrow I'll get some pictures for you. I'll also post detailed at that time.

Secret Pal
Now let's talk Secret Pal 11. I've been hanging out at the Secret Pal Participant list and looking at many of the blogs. I was always one of the kids at the end of the line - the back row of the picture - the one without a date because I was taller than the other kids and normal sized (i.e. not a little skinny wimpy girl). I got a complex. So I tend to start looking at things from the back side. I take pity on the back of the line people. I started looking at the blog list with the "Z". I can say with much certainty I know some things about my Secret Pal.

You will be amazed at my deductive reasoning. Sherlock Holmes has nothing on me. My Secret Pal is from the United States. There - aren't you impressed. Beyond that- no clue.

What I can tell you is the flowers I got from my Secret Pal Labor Day weekend are still looking beautiful. One of the flowers wasn't a long term as the other and about half of it are gone but the others - just as fresh as they were almost 2 weeks ago. Amazing!


I have a few things to say about the comments I got about the stash, GIVE ME A BREAK! ;-) Deb do you really think because the boxes are in different parts of the house I don't know what's in each and every one. Ask me where the Sugar and Cream in light brown from 1986 is and I can tell you. This version of organized is what happens when you live along with 2 cats and a massive craft obsession.

Confession time - the real reason things are all over the house is because the basement isn't safe for yarn at the moment. It "leaks" when it rains outside. Until I find the cause I don't want to put anything of a fiber nature down there. I will not have my precious stash subject to potential mildew! Once is fixed I will have a well lit studio with great storage potential. The stash (both yarn and fabric); the knitting machines; the 4 heddle loom; the sewing machine; serger; cutting table, etc. will all have a new home. Until then, stash south lives in every room on the main level.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Let's tour the yarn stash

The vest is coming along but it's all smooched on the knitting needle so not a good subject for a picture. But since I haven't had knitting pictures lately - let's take a tour of the house and see what we find.

Before we start I have to let you know since moving to my new computer I don't have my graphics program. It doesn't work with Windows Vista and I need to get a new version. So - some of these pictures need a little help and I couldn't give it to them.

First the guest room - Here's some boxes filled with "antique" yarn. I brought these boxes over from the other house and they have the old acrylic, cotton, and wool yarn. I have yarn in these boxes that is well over 30 years old. Some day it WILL be used. On top of the boxes (sorry about the blurry picture) is a few t-shirts that are going to my cousins kids and an afghan that I was playing with. It's leftover acrylic knit up as a log cabin quilt pattern. I knit this in the round sort of. I used a long circular needle and knit each side before moving to the next side. I never bound off the completed round because I didn't want the bulk of the bind off and I didn't want to have to pick up stitches all the time. Not my favorite thing. Well on to the next room.

The dining room. Oh look - a box of yarn from the other house is hiding here. This is yarn that was for sale in the shop. It leftover dye lots and I'm going to have to be creative to use some of this. But I will or - it may end up in my will......

Next - the den. This room is a little frightening. It was my parents bedroom when I grew up. When I bought the house and moved back here I just couldn't have their bedroom be mine. A little bit too bizarre. I'm very comfortable with my old bedroom and their bedroom makes a great den. Plus I didn't want my memory confused parents to come over to the house and not understand that they don't live here anymore. (but that's another story) I live in the den much if the time. The computer and HD TV are in here. The cat chair is in here. My comfy chair is in here. The kitty toys are usually in here. But most importantly - the Jill toys are in here.

In the back corner - a basket with some knitting next to the bookcase. It's got a prayer shawl in progress but forgotten a month ago, a grey reversible cable. I decided I needed to figure out the reversible cable thing without buying a pattern. I figured it out, knit about 2 feet and put it aside. Under these are some afghan squares and a partly finished teddy bear.

Moving on - over to the small bookcase. In front is a box of finished but need to block items, you'll see these things some day. I promise. Behind that is some cones of baby colors from the other house. I brought them down to work on the baby boom at work knitting. The bookcase has some of my knitting magazines and patterns. If you look carefully on the middle shelf let side you can see one of my grandmother's patterns from the 1950s.

On top of the little bookcase is - yup - you guessed it - more yarn stuff. This basket has a finished EZ Baby sweater, a started sock, a green cable sweater back, my mystery shawl (clues 1-4), and a couple of items hiding in the basket. Over on the left you can kind of see the kitty cottage that Bert hangs out in a lot.

Behind the kitty cottage is the closet. Let's look in there. Surprise! more yarn stuff. These shelves are actually the good stuff. The sock yarn, my KnitPicks "to dye" yarn, some silk bamboo and other fun stuff. Some Cascade 220. This is the stash I head to first when deciding to start something new. Then I head to Amazing Threads and buy something new. Don't we all do that!
That blue and rose colored thing on the bottom is a knitting case I made about 15-20 years ago. It's the size of the three ring notebook and has lots of pockets, handles and zippers going all the way around closing it up, nice and safe. It holds all my straight needles, my grandma's needles, and many accessories. The double points and circular meendles live in a different container (a metal box from Target last year- Christmas candy!)

No pictures is the knitting hanging out around my chair - the vest, the turquoise shawl, a couple knitting test pieces. Out in the living room is a basket filled with little hats I've made to donate for this winter and a silk sweater I've been designing and got stuck on what I want to do. It's cool yarn so it sits out there in case someone drops by and I can say - "see my pretty yarn".

Sadly, all this yarn around the house is about 25-30% of my stash. The rest is still at the other house. I'm not ready to let you see that yet! Maybe someday....

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Old Jilly Chat had 2 cats


And her two cats they liked to lick


With a lick lick here
And a lick lick there

Here a lick, there a lick,
Everywhere a lick, lick.
Old Jilly Chat had 2 cats

Another busy day at the Chat house.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Read a good book lately?

It's been a red-puffy eye day. Three weeks ago I took a couple books out of the library figuring if I didn't finish both in 3 weeks I'd renew. Ha Ha - fooled me. The book I hadn't started was due today and when I went on line Friday to renew - there's a waiting list and I couldn't renew it. Of course, the book I had been reading has no list and it could be renewed. Normally I'd say "Big Deal, I'll take it out another time." But this book has a long waiting list, which it didn't have 3 weeks ago and I don't want to wait forever to read it. So, I spent last night and today reading, a lot.

What book would get me to do this marathon reading? The Friday Night Knitting Club. The regular book had many people on the waiting list but I thought I was clever I reserved the large print because no one was on it's waiting list. The book is a typical gal's book in that you will end up with red puffy eyes while reading it. The basic story is about a lady, Georgia Walker,(white) who lives with a black guy for a while, gets pregnant and he leaves. She creates a life for herself and her little girl by starting a custom knitting business and eventually a yarn shop. She has a mentor/friend who helps out. Most of the story takes place when Dakota, the daughter is 12/13 years old. The Dad reappears wanting to get to know Dakota, many customers have life events happen, Georgia herself has life events happen. They all support each other through the Friday Night Knitting Club. The book is a comfortable read. Not a Pulitzer prize winner but that's not what I was looking for. It's good character based life story type reading.

So, other than read till I couldn't see any more I have done a bit of knitting the past few days. My cotton vest is to the armbands and front bands stage. There will be a picture soon.

My "I don't feel like thinking about what I'm knitting" shawl is a bit longer. I like to have a project going that is a no brainer. Something easy, big enough needles so it changes the muscles you use a bit. My hands get tired if I knit small gauge items too long. Something size 8-11 needle without complicated patterning is a nice change. This shawl hasn't made an appearance on the blog yet. It's some yarn my SIL gave me for my birthday about 15+ years ago. She got 10 skeins in Europe for me. It's turquoise Pingouin "Poudreuse" 80% acrylic,10% wool, 10% mohair.

So far Chief and Bert are being their typical selves - eat,sleep,sleep,eat. Tough life.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Story with a Happy Ending

Tonight – a story. It has a great ending.

Once upon a time (a LONG time ago) I dated. The boys I picked to fall in love with never seemed to know how to buy flowers. None of them ever bought me flowers. Zero – zilch – nada. I was sad. I was convinced I was unworthy. Hey, I was young and romantic. Weren’t we all at one point.

Time passed. I grew up. I quit believing I flowers, except the ones in the garden. A bit over 15 years ago I started my shop. Sold sewing machines – knitting machines and all the goodies to go with them. On the first day I got flowers! My friends got together and sent me a beautiful bouquet with a lucky penny attached to it. I love my friends! But that bouquet was a lonely one. For the next 15+ years I never got another bouquet. (I can’t blame it on the guys I date ‘cause I haven’t been on a date since about 1852! Anyway –

Today the doorbell rang. Well, I can’t call it a doorbell. My Dad decided about 10 years ago he couldn’t hear the door bell downstairs so he attached the bell to the duct work down there. The house doesn’t ring it BUZZES. A VERY LOUD BUZZ. It’s awful. When I bought the house and moved in I tried to hunt down the buzz. Dad’s memory is gone so he doesn’t remember anything about this. Someday, I’ll get the house sounding pretty when people come over, someday. But –back to today.

The door BUZZED and I went to answer it. It was FLOWERS! A beautiful bouquet of flowers for me. Just for me. How exciting! And who sent me these pretty happy flowers? Why – my Secret Pal! Someone I don’t know, someone who doesn’t know me except by my posts, read about my crummy work week and decided to make my day. You did. Thank you is such a small thing to say but I mean it more than you know. The best I can do is be sure to pamper my secret pal person and pass on the kindness.

Knitters are such great people. We should rule the world!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Special Labor Day Edition

Well, as promised there are some pictures today. Let’s start with the knitting.

The Knitting
Back many months ago I knit a shawl.

It got put into the “Block it someday” box and was forgotten. I finally got it out and decided it was time to block. A while ago I got some foam blocks really cheap but decided they weren’t the best for blocking because the little numbers in the middle of the blocks pops out at the wrong time. But, I used them anyway and they worked fine. The shawl is made out of Plymouth Encore – 80/20 acrylic/wool. I bought a skein to check it out because giving some to a friend to teach her how to knit. It’s soft and easy to knit with. I like it for the people who don’t think they can wear wool. So, I ended up buying more to make a shawl for a Christmas present/ I don’t know who will get it yet but I think it will be a nice watching TV type shawl. According to my notes it was started in 5-19-07 and finished 6-7-07. DO I have to change the finished date to today ‘cause I finally blocked it?!? The pattern is from Elann’s website – Victorian Lace Shawl.

The next is the socks from Amazing Threads. The pattern was written by Thora Lee Johnson of the shop. It is a mock cable but the heel and toe are a bit different from the usual. The heel flap is the Eye of Partridge stitch and the heel is a Dutch heel. Finally the toe is a round decreased toe. The yarn is Rio de la Plata and I like it very much. At least to knit with. We’ll see how I like wearing it once the weather allows for warmer socks!

The Dutch heel is a square heel. You knit to the middle 1/3 stitches and keep knitting these back and forth while picking up the other stitches one at a time to work them into the heel. I haven't made one of these to wear before so I don't don't how I'll like it on my foot.

The heel flap - Eye of Partridge stitch is similar to the knit 1-slip 1 heel except it's made like a seed stitch pattern verse a rib pattern. It it firm and does not have the stretch a regular heel have. I'm thinking it will be a longer lasting heel. we'll see.....

The State Fair
I got my pictures of the State Fair Crop Art out of the camera. People take all sorts of seeds and glue them to a board to create pictures. Some are pretty basic, some are totally amazing. Here’s a couple examples.
Somebody doesn’t like the Vice President!

Here’s that KFC Guy!

And a close up of the picture so you can see the seeds better.

The Bathroom

Well, enough said on this topic. In other words I didn’t do much of anything on it this weekend. I got busy with going through Dad’s old paperwork down stairs and never quite made it to the bathroom. I did get a coat of primer and all the filled in. Next is to sand down the extra nail hole “gunk” and get a coat of the real paint on the walls. In the meantime I just heard from Dad’s sister. She and my Uncle may be coming up here middle September and I’ll end up housing them. Guess the bathroom moved to the top of the “Get done now” list!

Chatty Cathy
I don’t believe it! I just saw a Geico commercial with Chatty Cathy. I still have mine and she still talked just fine! If you keep something long enough I guess it becomes popular again.

The Boys
Just try to get good pictures of the cats – I dare you!

Bert, smile pretty! – me (don’t tell Bert but his droopy Belle’s Palsy eye is showing)
Catch me if you can – Bert
What’s this? A new toy to play with? –Bert

Hey! Somebody say a new toy? – Chief

Bert, what’s going on? This isn’t a toy. It’s Mom’s new blocking squares. – Chief

Well, I like them. I’m going to sleep here for a while - Bert

Saturday, September 1, 2007


Okay - can I cry now? I just saw a comment from my Secret Pal saying something was coming my way. How special is that!!!

I've been reading my secret pal receiver's blog and getting ideas about what to give but I kind of forgot I'm going to get spoiled too. I can get used to this!

State Fair
I went to the State Fair Friday. I had requested the day off to use my last vacation day before the end of Sept. and decided I needed a ME day. It sure was different walking around looking at stuff instead of working long, hard, hot hours. I spent many years working the machine knitting booth and a booth for the sewing store company I used to manage a store for.

Back in the day I knew all the food booths that did not have fried food and the cheapest pop in our area. I was pleasantly surprised to see more healthy food (if you want it). Being a one day visit I enjoyed my honey sunflower seed ice cream YUM!

Unfortunately I wore a pair of shoes that were not broken in yet so I had a short visit. The Creative Activities building was filled with wonders to behold. Because I can't seem to stay with just one craft (I suffer from STASOC - Short Term Attention Span of Crafts) I like to see everything people have created. At one point or another I've been involved in: knitting, crocheting, weaving, sewing clothes, quilting, cross stitch, wood turning, stained glass, painting, - the list goes on. SO - this is definitely my favorite building at the fair.

One other spot I hit was the crop art area. I've got pictures and will get them up before the weekend is over with a bit more about this craft.

I've managed to do some knitting so far. The Sock of Month group at Amazing Threads met last Monday night. I didn't have the last pair finished but started the new one anyway. The new sock is in tufutsie which I hadn't tried yet. I've decided I'm not going to do the pattern we got because it's for a medium and I don't think it would size up real well. It has 4 small cables around it with stretches of plain knitting between. We'll see when I actually start knitting after I rip out what I did Mon night.

I am down to the toe of the 2nd sock from last month. With any luck, I'll finished this weekend and get some pictures up.

I finally got around to blocking the shawl I made about 2 months ago. It's drying as we speak so, yes folks, I may get some pictures of this up too.

Looks like I'm going to be very busy with the camera tomorrow!

Family Tree
I found the old copies of both family trees when I was cleaning out the folks stuff. I had most of it in Family Tree Maker on the computer but that computer died several and along with it a ton of my work. At least I lucked out and found the paper copies. I've been spending an hour or so each night this week typing away.

My Dad's father has always been a mystery. We know he was born in Brooklyn and had a brother. We also know his parents died when he was young and came from Switzerland. There was a difference of opinion about their names and when they came. With Grandpa gone and having no idea about his brother I always let that part of the family slide. This week I think I lucked out. When I out FTM on my new computer I got to playing around with the web sites and I think I found Great grandma & pa on a ship manifest from Switzerland. It lists them - her name we knew and it lists her husband as a watchmaker (we knew that) and his name was one of the two names I've heard used. I need to do some hunting but I may have them tracked down!

I've got Tea
I like tea. I'm a tea snob. I prefer loose tea that I can properly brew. I collect ways to brew tea. However, I also know my limitations. It's hard to brew a good cup of tea at work so, I make do with substitutes. I also drink a lot of iced tea in the summer. My waist is goodly plenty without the addition of more sugar and I can't do Nutrasweet (more on this later). I can handle Splenda just fine so I search for things with Splenda in them so I can keep my sweet tooth happy and keep my waist from growing.

Anyway, I discovered Arizona Green Tea with Splenda and love it. But buying it by the gallon would be very pricey and heavy because I drink alot. Target started carrying the powered version of the tea and I thought I was in heaven. It comes in a little tin with 4-5 2. qt packets. Easy to carry around, easy to make. Life was good. Then it happened! Target quite selling my beloved tins. I cried. (not really but it makes a good story). I suffered through Arizona tea withdrawal until last month. I went to the Arizona Tea web site and found the tins are still available. You can buy them 4 tins at a time. But - because the shipping was alot for 4 tins, I bought 8 tins and the shipping decreased per tin. It arrived and I am a happy camper. I have enough iced tea for a long, long time. Now my only problem, what am I going to do with all these cute little tins that I'm too cheap to throw away!!!

I have to start out by saying this is my opinion. I am not a doctor or anyone who should be taken seriously unless you feel like it.

I can't have Nutrasweet in my body. It's bad for me. I break out to the point of facial sores, I get headaches/migraines, I forget words. It's just a bad thing for me.

Someone may say it in my head but I have pretty good documentation of what happened to me. I kept records, my experience as a dietitian taught me how to investigate food chemistry things. But - like I said, this is about me, I'm not claiming this to be a universal truth for everyone. Studies I've read talk about how terrible aspartame is for people with MS. These studies are old now and I don't know what's been done recently. I just know I have to stay away.

So, for me it's real sugar, no sugar or Splenda. So far Splenda has been fine.

Well, let's see if I manage to get some pictures up before the weekend is out and if I manage to get some bathroom work done (nothing's happened so far....)