Saturday, December 27, 2008

Stinky Breath no more

I read blogs from people who lead busy lives and knit lots of goodies and marvel at how often and how well they post. The time it takes to get pictures,load them into the computer, edit, write a post, add the pictures - WOW! I applaud the bloggers who do it so often on a consistent basis.

That's not me. I try to post at least a couple times a week and have something to say in that post worth your time. I know its not always successful but I try....

Not much going on today. I started knitting a new sweater and I'm not sure if I like it so I don't want to risk a picture until I decide if its a keeper. I do this often. There have been many projects I start and kill before you actually get to see them.

The boys are getting a bit too used to me being home. I had Wed thru next Monday (29th) off. Bert comes in the den every so often to cry at me and let me know I need to give him and butt stritch. And Chief - I went downstairs to shower and ended up in the messy part of the basement sitting on a chair going through more parent stuff to sort and Chief decided he needed a hug. We sat down there in the colder part of the basement for 15 minutes snuggling and petting and he even cleaned my face for me.

While we were snuggling I noticed a wonderful thing. The kitty treats I bought last week are doing their job. Chief has stinky breath. That cat loves to snuggle but, man, his breath can knock me over. I found new treats at Target - Whiskas Temptations. He can be picky about his treats but both cats have fallen in love with these. The package says they are complete oral care. Tarter control, Healthy gums, Fresh breath. They work. Chief has lovely breath and I am very happy! I've been giving each kitty about 3 a day. If you suffer from kitty breath give them a try.

So, does the fact that I'm talking about kitty breath give you a clue as to how little I have to say today? Let's see what I come up with next time. I promise it won't be about my bad breath!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Leftover Sock yarn & a Mitered bind off

I've got leftover sock yarn. Most of us do. Some people ignore it. Some people make multi-yarn socks. Some people - the more crazy among us - decide to knit a sock yarn afghan.

Yup. you got it. I went over the deep end. I'm starting to make mitered sock yarn squares. They're 3" square. They take less than an hour to make. I figure I'll have enough to make an afghan before its time for me to move into a nursing home, if I'm lucky.

The squares are very basic.
CO 40 sts placing a stitch marker between 20 & 21. They're knit in garter stitch.
Odd rows. knit to 2 sts before the SM, k2tog, sl sm, sl 1, k1, psso, knit to end.
Even rows. Knit across.
Continue until 4 sts are left. BO.

Now here's where I figured out something different. I hate the way a regular BO looks on the end of mitered squares. After playing around a litle bit I came up with a Bind off that I really like. I'm sure there are others that use this but I haven't seen this before.

Mitered Bind Off.

Work the last row (wrong side) knit across.
K2tog, k2tog, pass first st over. break yarn and pull thru last stitch.

This gives a nice tight finish that looks very similar to the beginning and doesn't have that odd looking stitch that likes to hang out on the edge of regular sind off.

I'm going to try doing a k2tog on the last couple stiches of a regular bind off and see if it helps the look there also.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Boys and Me

Whether you are inspecting your last piece of knitting - -
Or watching for Santa - - -

Chief, Bert and I wish you a peaceful & blessed Holiday!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Quick Hat and Scarf pattern for you

As Christmas approaches many knitters are in panic mode. Their plans are bigger then their time. I have been enjoying this month because the knitting is done and I've been doing - just cause I feel like it knitting. What a great feeling! No deadlines to worry about. (are you jealous?)

One of the things I finished up already is a pair of gloves of a friend. I'll be giving them tomorrow night and he doesn't read the blog so I'm safe posting a pic. I have wrapped them already before I realized I didn't have a finished pictures so - here's an in-progress picture. - with the traditional assistance of one of the boys.

These gloves are from the Cigar Gloves pattern on Knitty but I made full fingers. The yarn is Swish from Knit Picks. I enjoyed the feel of the yarn and hope they hold up well. The pattern was a bit odd in shaping. As you can see from the partial glove on top it breaks off for the thumb as usual but also put the pinky fingers on hold while a bit more length was added to the body of the glove.

Quick and Easy Brioche Stitch Hat

Just in case you're still in need of a quick present. Here's a Brioche Hat we used to make 20+ years ago at the shop I used to work at. It's made from bulky yarn on big needles. The hat was a few hours of TV watching and knitting and the scarf is in process. This set will end up being for a new friend and will easily be done before Christmas. The yarn is a 20+ year old yarn from Bernat called Venetian it took less than 1 skein of 50gm - yardage not listed on ball band. I'll write up the hat and scarf more formally when I've finished the scarf but right now I don't know how much yarn it will take.

Here's the basic pattern - done in brioche stitch which is a slip stitch rib.
Brioche Hat and Scarf
Needles - size 11-15 (depending on bulk of yarn) I used 11
Bulky weight yarn (1 skein for hat, 1-2 for scarf- I'll let you know later)
CO 36 sts very loosely.
Row 1 (set up row): *K1, bring yarn forward as if to purl, slip next st as if to purl. Bring yarn to back over right needle creating a diagonal loop. Repeat from *, ending last st with yarn forward, slip last st as if to purl.
Row 2: K1, * yarn forward between needles, sl next st as if to purl, bring yarn back over right needle as in row 1, k2tog (st and sloppy loop). Repeat from *, ending with yarn forward, sl 1 as if to purl.
Work row 2 until piece is 7-11" (desired length). My hat was 10".
Decrease row: K1, P2tog across row.
Next 3 rows continue in K1, P1 rib as set in previous row.
Next row: Sl 1 st, K1 st, pass slipped st over K st (SSK). repeat across row.
Next row: P
Next row: K
Next row: P
Next row: K2tog across row
End off and pull remaining sts end. Sew side seam.
CO 20 sts very loosely.
Knit row 1 of hat
Follow pattern of hat (row 2) to desired length.
Bind off loosely.
Cat and Projects Update
Sometimes I wonder why I have cat hair all over everything and then I step back and look and what goes on at the house.
Chief with the Christmas letters

Anytime I start up a new project I get way too much help. Chief comes first. Checks things out and then settles in. Shortly after Bert appears and repeats the process. If the printer is involved Bert investigates that much more closely.

Bert gets in the act

Well - with all this help I still don't have Mom's Christmas cards quite finished. It's been tough writing a letter to her Christmas list to let anyone that was missed before know that Mom is no longer with us. But tough or not some things just need to be done with as much grace as possible.
Time to get back to knitting the scarf.....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Knit one Give two

No knitting pictures but a knitting Christmas story - okay?

Back in one of my last knitting frenzies (I cycle through crafts every 3-5 years) I made presents for all the family. My cousins, aunts and uncles are all part of the Christmas day gathering and we used to swap gifts with everyone. I was poverty stricken as I had my own business and every penny went to the shop and not me. McDonald's was a big treat back then. Anyway- I made presents. I would use yarn from the shop but, as any shop owner can tell you, you still have to pay for that yarn. It's not magically free.

All of us know hand knit gifts are not cheap. There's the yarn, the pattern, the knitting needles, the time it takes to make the gift. All in all I actually spent more on the handmade gifts than if I just went out and bought something. Silly me, but I like giving of myself....

One year my one aunt got a throw pillow -cabled in ecru, I had to buy a pillow form besides all the above items. As she opened it she commented on how nice it was and a bit later in the evening mentioned how nice it was that I could make presents. Her kids weren't crafty and didn't have the time because they were teachers and didn't make much money so had problems getting presents- hinting that it was cheaper to make presents. Okay - at this point I took a deep breath and kind of nodded my head. BUT -

inside I was ranting and raving. Her poor poverty stricken teacher kids made more than I did. Worked less than I did (getting holidays and summers off) and paid less for their presents than I did without including my time! But I didn't say that out loud. I smiled. I made a mental note that I would buy presents (for her) from now on instead of making them and spend what her kids did. I have to add I like my aunt and I like my cousins and never held this incident against them. I just have a long memory and choose to make handcrafted gifts for people that realize the cost and time involved. People who see that handcrafted gifts are not just a way to give something cheaper.

Another aunt used to paint china. She was an artist with a plate and paint. I have several of her pieces and treasure them. She got it. Her plates were not cheap. The supplies, the kiln, the time and talent. WOW! When I gave her a handcrafted gift I knew she understood it wasn't to save money but to give extra of myself to her.

In the past several years the family quit swapping gifts. I said something to my friends about not having family to give gifts to anymore and they offered to accept anything I wanted to make. This year they'll get their wish. Last January I taught several of them how to knit (or at least tried!) Now that they have tried knitting on their own, the knowledge is there. They know it's a skill and talent and doesn't magically happen in a minute or two. They know how long it takes to make a small square much less how long it takes to make socks or gloves. They know the cost of yarn and that some yarns are better than others. Even if they never knit again my friends now know what I'm actually giving them with a knitted gift. I'm giving them my time and talent and my best wishes for them. Yup. they're ready for the knitted goodies they're getting this year and I'm excited to give them hats and gloves and socks and........

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Santa visits the family

This season must be bringing out the little kid in me. First I hunt up Andy's Gang and now I'm about to bore you with family Santa Claus stories. Next post will have some knitting (maybe)

Back when I was a kid Santa would come and visit every Christmas night before he headed back to the North Pole. Our entire family would get together for Christmas day - all the aunts, uncles, cousins and after the dishes were washed we kids would run from window to window watching for Santa. About 4pm we would hear a loud cow bell clanking outside and, yep, the front door would get a loud pounding knock as Santa let us know he had arrived.

We would all have to perform for him before he'd give out any presents. That is all of us except my youngest cousin. She was scared to death of Santa. Well, you can't blame her. See, Santa had a strange cloth-like face and that cow bell was really really loud. As time when on, Santa's face seemed to get a better look, less cloth-like - less scary and youngest cousin grew up enough to not be frightened.

When we got older Santa quit coming to visit for a while. Then my eldest cousin had a child and he started making return visits. One year when the girls (cousin's 2 kids) were starting to understand the "way of Santa". We knew it would be his last visit. As usual he came around the house, ringing the loud cow bell and sporting a fresh beard and no frightening cloth face. As he came in the house the little boy - Richard - from next door came running over to the house shouting with such excitement cause he saw Santa and there was nothing anyone could do except welcome Richard in and let him have his time with the jolly old guy. His thrill of the moment was so infectious that we all thoroughly enjoyed Santa's last visit to our family.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Plunk your magic twanger, Froggie

At times at work when I get silly I'll tell someone to plunk their magic twanger. I usually get stared at and discussions about my mental status follow. I finally found proof I'm not crazy (at least about this). Those of you that are part of the pre-Sesame Street generation may remember this. If not - enjoy seeing what kid's TV was like before Kermit.

Bags, Socks and MItts

As I've mentioned before Chief likes plastic. He lives for me throwing a bag on the floor to play with and chew on. Well, now he's started something new. He doesn't just play with them - he is now picking them up, carrying them places to sit on and protect. I'm not sure if this is "just because" or because I cleaned up all the extra bags when I was getting ready for Thanksgiving. Whatever the reason, he is being very careful to keep me away from the current bag which includes carrying it to the bathroom in the middle of the night to sit on.
"What!? It's my bag and you can't have it! - Chief

In knitting news, I finished the Eagle's Flight socks last week and finally got a pic of them. It's really hard to get a picture without showing massively white legs and scaring everyone. As I mentioned last post - I increased the stitches on the last row of the leg (I knit toe-up) so that the edge would not be too tight. This sock fits perfect.

For my birthday Christine gave me a kit to make Cat Bordhi's Flying Carpet Socks. They're made with Mountain Color Bearfoot- Mountain Tango colorway and Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport Yarn- Tahoe colorway. They're made using techniques from the New Pathway for Sock Knitters book and are lots of fun. I have the first sock done but the pictures just don;'t show the cuff properly. Head to the link and you'll see a much better pic!

In other knitting news, I've been pining over the loss of one of my patterns. Back many, many years ago I got Elizabeth Zimmermann's Woolgathering with several mittens in it, including the mitten below. A garter stitch beauty that hugs the wrist, has a mitered thumb and just plain fits and feels great. I made tons of these including the one below that never quite got finished. Fast forward 20 years and I decide to make some more which was prompted by finding this guy when I moved and sorted out boxes of "stuff".

I found the pattern which included 3 mittens but the page with this mitten - missing! I looked, I cried, I emailed Schoolhouse press and got no answer. I put a message up on the EZ group in Ravelry- everyone was interested but no one had the pattern. I've counted stitches on this one and come up with what I think will be close but - there's some special fitting to the mitten and I can't quite see how I did things.
If anyone has this pattern I'd love to hear. I believe it's Woolgathering #6 - Mittful of Mittens. The other 2 patterns include the Norwegian mitten. It's one of the WG that were 8.5x14 paper folded in half.
In the meantime - Chief has decided his plastic bag is safe and decided to join me at the recliner.
Bert? - he's running around jumping on things right now. Oh to be young and energetic!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I was Tagged

I was tagged by Guinifer of Halfway down the Stairs with the Six Things Meme.

These are the rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random, arbitrary things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Here we go -
1. I was a dietitian for 10 years but decided to change careers after being a department head with 10 years of experience and 7 years of college and finding out a beginning LPN was making more than me.

2. I have no kids but love to watch Disney channel and other "kid/teen" shows.

3. I try pretty much any craft that comes my way - stained glass, woodwork, quilting, pretty much anything having to do with fiber - weaving, knitting, crochet, cross stitch, sewing, etc.

4. I was a youth delegate to the United Nations in high school.

5. I once towed a pontoon boat filled with people across a lake by swimming with a rope wrapped around my shoulders (dead motor - no paddles).

6. I really bad at measuring things before I buy them so we had to take the side windows out of my living room so the sofa would fit in when I bought it.

Now the people I tag.


Well - that's as creative as I can get cause I have to save up my energy to be ready to head back to the rat race tomorrow. Darn.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Welcome the Cardinal Bag - almost....

Back this summer when Mom passed away I decided I needed to design a bag that would be her. Something I could see and say - Mom would like that. So, naturally it had to be a bag with red on it. But more then just red it had to have a cardinal. I designed it, wrote it up, had it test knitted, and waited for the sun to come out. It would occasionally come out but always when I was at work or somewhere else. Today the sun has tried to come out and I gave it a try to get good pictures.

I had help.

A little too much help.

The pictures did not come out as well as I had hoped. Maybe tomorrow we'll have better sun. In the meantime, here's the bag in Summer cardinal and Winter cardinal. Both are felted and a very easy knit.

Summer is light blue with green button leaves on the branches and was knit in a way to create a 3-D effect with the cardinal while Winter is dark green with a lighter branch with snow on it and the cardinal was knit to stay flat with the bag. The summer one is felted tight and the winter one felted loosely. This way everyone can see what amount of felting they want before they throw their own bag in the washer.

The pattern will be up on Ravelry for sale by the end of the weekend - if the sun cooperates!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I need this kind of help

I had to put this YouTube up and share with everyone. Part of my job is dealing with big huge copier/printers. The kind that are about the size of an RV. I set up digital files to create documents, booklets, books, etc. Well, part of my job is doing this. There are times the monster copier/printer just won't do what I need it to do. I have a 1,000 page book to print with 45 tabs, some 2 side, some 1 sided printing, some inserts in different color paper, and more. We need to print 500 of these books in about 30 seconds (that's what it feels like) and I can't get the set up to work. The tabs won't line up proper. I re-program everything about a million times and well - I get a bit upset with the file and the printer.

That's where this YouTube comes in. I'd be so happy if I had this technician to assist me!

Okay - back to getting ready for company tomorrow........

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's all about the numbers

This week has been all about numbers.

How many days till Thanksgiving (i.e. - how many days to get the house cleaned)
How long till I get out of work each day - so get working on the house cleaning.
How many pounds should the turkey be to feed everyone and have some leftovers.
How many pages can I get read during lunchtime to get the book I'm reading done before it's due back at the library.
How much yarn will the current project take.

One set of numbers I miss because I haven't been machine knitting for the past couple years is the numbering system for yarn. I really wish hand knitting would embrace this system. There's a couple systems - cotton vs. "worsted" type yarn. I'll explain the basics behind the "regular" yarn system. See if you don't agree that this would be great to have with hand knit yarns. All yarn is given a 2 digit number, a fraction. The most common I'd use was 3/15 weight yarn. Other frequently seen numbers were 2/15, 2/24, 2/8.

The way this system works is - the first number is the number of plys. The second number is the weight number of 1 ply. The bigger the number the thinner the ply and the more the yardage. I won't go into exactly what the numbers mean but the way most machine knitters used these numbers was to figure yarn size.

The number you get when you divide the numbers of ply and the yarn size tell you the "size" of the yarn. The closer to zero the fatter the yarn and the less the yardage.

For example: a 3/15 yarn is 3 plys of a 15 weight yarn. It's "number" is 5.
A 2/15 is 2 plys of the 15 weight yarn and its number is 7.5
So the 3/15 yarn would be bigger and have less yardage than the 2/15 yarn because its number (5) is closer to zero than the 7.5.

Not only does this give you the yarn size but it lets you substitute yarns with confidence.
Say your pattern calls for a 3/15 yarn but you have one that you absolutely love but it's a 2/24 yarn.
OK - the 3/15 yarn is a 5. The 2/24 yarn is a 12- too thin. If you take 2 strands of the 2/24 yarn you now have 4 plys and when you do the math you get 6. That's pretty close to 5 so if you double up your really pretty 2/24 yarn you can very probably make your pattern and get gauge.

Wouldn't it be nice to have our hand knit yarns have a system that gives us the most accurate sizing as possible. Right now a DK may really be an aran weight because the person who decided it's weight decided it looked thicker or thinner. I don't know how many times I seen a yarn that's marked dk weight but was really sport weight once I figured out gauge.

That's enough about numbers for now. The last number I'll mention is 1. Have a number 1 great day Thanksgiving with whoever you get to spend it with.

Thank you for taking time to read my blog the past few years. Thank you for your comments and friendship you've provided through the comments. Thank you for helping me get through the family problems this past year. Finally - Chief & Bert want to thank all of you for putting up with the billions of pictures I force upon you of them.

The boys first meal together - 4 years ago.

Bert joined the family 11-14-04

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cat in the Box

When I got home tonight I didn't get my usual happy little kitties at the door to say "Hi Mom". Chief was camped out on the sofa staring at the dark-dark night. I called. He didn't even bother to turn around to look. I took off my coat. No movement. I went over to the front door to retrieve the package that had been left. Not even a whisker moved. I brought the package in the den and grabbed the camera. Still nothing. That cat was camped out for good.
You may notice the kitty afghan FULL of cat hair. I made that several years ago to protect the top of the sofa. I learned early there's no way to keep cats off such a wonderful spot so you might as well protect it. The kitty afghan is about 18" wide and the length of the sofa. It's folded in half in the pic. Guess I was planning on grabbing it to clean and didn't quite make it. Maybe this weekend.

Meanwhile - Bert was camped out in front of the kitty tunnel and looked like he was ready for a quick get away if I tried anything.

So - what was in the package and what would actually make a Chief move? The Chief answer is - he found an empty box too tempting to stay on the sofa and had to check out the box. See the side of the box - it says "Knit P" in that purple script that can only mean I got something from Knit Picks.

I finally decided to give myself a birthday present and ordered the Options set. I have a couple needles and a couple cable sizes and decided I definitely wanted the whole deal. I also got some Swish to make a pair of gloves for a Christmas present.

While the camera was out and while I was thinking about Knit Picks - here's a picture of my latest Quick Beret. It's KnitPicks Suri - a bulky alpaca mix. The hat knits up super fast and this one looks best purl side out. Another present off the list.....

Still while the camera was out - Bert noticed the camera strap and decided it's time to play.

Guess I'll go find supper and play with the little boy.
Have a great weekend. I'll be cleaning the house for Thanksgiving company.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Play with the KNIT Mouse

I've been knitting the past few weeks

I finally decided the sun and my camera will not be seeing each other for a long time during the week (Minnesota doesn't see the sun when you're not working during much of Nov., Dec, Jan.) So - here's some pics of the last few projects I've finished. Pics taken inside with a flash and colors are a bit off.

The Quick Suri Scarf - I had a couple skeins of Knit Picks Suri Hand dyed hanging around the house since last year so I decided to knit a simple scarf. It started out being garter st but I decided to add a lace section for a little interest.

The garter st section is 10 rows then the lace section is 3 repeats of a 2 row pattern - row 1: k2tog, yo. row 2: purl. Very simple. Very quick.

My Ravelry knitting group (NW Twin Cities Burbs) decided to do some charity knitting in November. We decided on preemie hats to donate to the local hospital. My hats so far are below. The pink/purple ones are all one skein of a dk weight yarn I picked up on sale for $2.25. Not bad! Five babies will have warm heads for $.45 each.

I bought some Talinay a few months ago thinking I would make a hat and mittens. When I came across Crazy Aunt Purls Quick Beret pattern I knew I found the hat. The color is fairly close in the picture but the blue/green is a bit more teal than the pic. This is a bulky yarn so I knit it on a size 13 and the hat was done in less than one night. I've already started the next hat in Knit Picks Suri. I see Christmas presents getting done rather quick this year with these hats!

About a month ago my fingers needed to knit something quick and I ended up making one of Mason/Dixon's baby bibs. I have no current need for it but the way babies pop out at work I'll probably need it before I hunt up a button.

Finally - Dad gets Elizabeth Zimmermann's Woodman's socks every year to warm his cold diabetic feet. This years socks are Woolease because they need to be machine washable at the memory facility. Last year's pair head up well and were in green. The white band at the top is so I can write his name on the inside while he still looks stylish.

Bert & Chief play Mousie-Mousie
When I came home from work tonight I could tell the boys were playing their favorite game. The fish on a string was in the middle of the living room, their knit mice were all over, the broom was knocked down. It looked like they had a great time. Then I went to the hall. The hall where I just finished pulling up the carpet to reveal the hardwood floor. The beautiful "new" hall. They were playing in there too but they upped the ante. There in the middle of the hall was a little body. A dead mouse. Ick! Well, at least they didn't try to eat it. At least they caught it and I don't have a mouse running around the house. I should be proud of my hunter kitties but - ick!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thanks Dad and Grandpa and....

My family is filled with veterans. Mom’s side of the family is ALL Navy. Grandpa was the oldest non-. Commissioned officer when he retired. He lied about his age to get into the Navy early. He was in San Francisco right after the big earthquake in 1906. The Navy was stationed just off the coast and called in to control the crowds until the Coast Guard and “regulars” could take over. He was down in Panama while the canal was being dug. He was over in China before the doors were closed to the west. During WWII he fell down the stairway in the ship and broke his back. Because they were in radio silence he couldn’t get help. Grandpa stayed in a hammock for a long time and the swaying of the hammock ended up setting his back and he never had problems that he talked about.

While Grandpa was busy being a Chief Petty Officer, his son (my uncle) was also serving in the Navy. Meanwhile – Dad was on board the USS Sands with my Uncle. Mom was about 22-23 years old at the time and Grandpa was worried that she was going to be an old maid. His answer was to bring home Navy guys. Dad was one of them and well – that story is for another day. Dad’s brother-in-law was also on the ship with them all.

Yup it’s a Navy family. But not to be out done, Mom’s sister married an Army guy. His son became an Army guy. My cousin married a Navy guy. I could go on.

This day is to remember all these family members and all the others who have serviced to keep our country safe. We take serving the country seriously in our family and those of us that did not serve but benefited from these Navy guys and Army guys are so grateful and proud to call these veteran’s our own.

Thanks Grandpa, Uncle B, Uncle B2, Dad, Uncle W, cousin P, cousin-in-law R. You’ve all made our lives so much better.

Friday, November 7, 2008

It's my party and I'll knit if I want to

Yesterday was my birthday. I started out at work with crazy workload. We've got a huge project going on so I have people working on it 2 shifts for 5 days. Won't bother to explain the project cause - quite frankly it's boring but - I just glad a schedule could be worked out with enough associates so I don't have to be there. Hopefully I won't get any phone calls cause things went wrong!

The best part of yesterday was all the well wishes. I got many emails at work from people I've worked with in Minnesota and Iowa wishing my happy birthday. I also had people stopping by all day - a cake appeared midday and flowers were on my desk. All these really make crazy workload things easier to survive.

On Ravelry the group I hang out with the most is the She-Knits gang. I had so many posts. Then I headed out to my monthly knitting group started on Ravelry. I got a beautiful handmade card - sock yarn - cupcakes that were HUGE and delicious. Great way to spend a birthday.

Last night we spend the evening working on preemie hats to donate to a local hospital. Some of the ladies got hooked on making them and we'll be working on them through the next month and I'll gather them all to bring to the hospital next month. They're so small and so cute! If anyone is interested in making some and sending them to me, I'll add them to ours when I bring them to the hospital. I'm not making a contest or anything but all donations are welcome so for the sake of the preemie babies. Email me ( and I'll give you the address to send them to.

Hats finished at group last night

Have a great weekend and I'll try to get the camera out and get a few pics of all the knitting I've done lately.

OH- before I hit Publish Post I have to say how amazing it is that our senate race is so close. The votes between Norm Coleman and Al Franken are barely 200. That's 200 votes between them with over 2.8 million votes. Can you say recount?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I need some Mental Floss

I have a secret shame that I haven;t admitted to anyone until now. I have no kids but love to watch kid shows. I know who Hannah Montana is. I know all about Phineous and Ferb. I just don't dare talk about this too much to friends. They'd think I was a bit touched in the head.

What does all this have to do with you and my blog? Well - there's an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch (yeah- I know- stupid show- I watch it too) In this episode, one of her aunts uses some mental floss. You just run it through the ears and your brain gets cleaned out so you can think better. I could use some of that mental floss these days. I have so many things running through my brain I end up getting very little done.

We have multiple projects going on at work that require coming up with many ways to doing them because other people don't get their part done on time and you have to totally change the game plan in a seconds notice. So I have all these possible scenarios running through my head all day clogging things up.

At home I have so much that needs to get done I end up ignoring it all and watch stupid kids shows and knit instead. This isn't helping me make progress on some things I absolutely have to do. I need to get the basement cleared out enough to make it company usable by Thanksgiving when the extended family comes - the guys need a place to watch the games and sleep after the meal! I need to get some of the furniture in the garage moved downstairs - same reason. I have what feels like miles of paper (receipts, records, etc) to go through to be sure I have parent stuff taken care of properly. I have knit items that need to be finished - buttons sewn on, etc. and photographed for here and ravelry. I have many more things you don't want to read about. So what do I do - like I said- watch dumb TV and ignore everything else.

Today's game plan is to pretend I only have one of the huge list of things to do and get it done. Then I'll pretend I have one other thing to do and so on. I may not have the real mental floss but I can create my own version by getting my focus on one small goal at a time. Wish me luck - but first I think I'll watch some kiddie TV and knit!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Knit Sponges

The past week at work was unbelievable. I don't want to repeat it again so to forget about the week I spend part of today knitting cotton sponges. A while back I found a crocheted sponge patterns and decided it would be easy to make a knit version. They work great. I made one at the beginning of the summer to test out and it has been through the washing machine many times. Still look great.

If you'd like to give it a try and use a few less paper towels - here's my simple little pattern.

Knit Sponge - 2 finishing versions

Worsted weight cotton such as Sugar N Cream.
size 8 needles (or whatever is around and close after all this doesn't have to be a specific size)
tapestry needle
crochet hook size F or G

Cast on 20 sts.
Work 24 ridges of garter st (48 rows).

Finish version 1
Bind off.
Fold in half along a garter ridge.
Work single crochet around all 4 sides.

Finish version 2
Fold in half around a garter ridge.
Work 3 needle bind off across cast on and last row.
Turn and pick up and work 3 needle bind off on the garter st edges.
Turn and work bind off on the folded edge.
Turn and repeat garter st edge bind off. End.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Kitty Boxing & my Gloves

I've been trying to get fellow knitters to try gloves. The first reaction is always that they're too hard. In reality, they're as easy as socks without having to knit the heel. Just pretend you're knitting 5 toes instead of 1.

Here's the Knotty gloves in process. As you can see the thumb is knit up just like a mitten. When you get to the fingers put the 2 sides (front and back) on holders or extra yarn. Pick up the stitches for the first finger-cast on a couple stitches for between the first and middle finger and just knit in the round until you have your finger length. Knit a couple rounds of decreases and you're done.

Next finger- pick up the stitches from one of the holders for this finger, cast on a couple for between this finger and the ring finger, pick up from the other holder, pick up the stitched between the first finger and this finger. Knit around ,etc.

See- it's easy. Give gloves a try they're a great way to use all that sock yarn.
While I've been knitting gloves (and a few other things) the boys have been busy playing. Bert has this magical way of knowing the second I clear out a bookcase shelf and he loves it.

Bert, come play. - Chief
I'm comfy. Leave me alone - Bert

Time - to - play! - Chief

Okay, now I'm down and ready. Back off big guy! - Bert

Just cause you're twice my size doesn't mean I can't take you! Bring it on. - Bert

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Please remove this phone number

I've discovered something amazing this week. I started getting the phone calls again - you know the ones. "Hi, this is Suzie and I'm calling on behalf of the ABC foundation." Those "let me call you at your supper hour so I'm really a pain in the behind" calls. I'm on the no call list but so many companies have found what they believe are acceptable reasons to bother me.

I used to tell them to go away - get mad at them say I wasn't interested in anything via telemarketing (they'd argue they weren't a telemarketer), I would get really ticked at them, nothing worked without getting rude. I hate to get rude.

This week I started a new way of dealing with these people and it works! Soon as I know it's one of "those calls" I simply say "Please remove this phone number from your list". No explanation. No arguing. No I'm not interested. Just that simple statement. It's worked 3 out of 3 times. They phone calls have been pleasant and short. Let's hope this keeps working!

Bert Saves the Day

A couple days ago my radio alarm did not go off. I was up late the night before and would have been late for work except - Little Bert to the rescue! He figured out I wasn't getting up at the right time and while Chief slept at the foot of the bed Bert leaped into action. He started out simple. He pet my face. I brushed his paw aside so he upped the ante. He started licking me and purring very loud. This little boy was not going to leave me alone. I figured it was his usual bugging me in the middle of the night trick but I glanced over at the clock and saw it was 1/2 hour later then I get up. We ALL leaped out of the bed and got ready quickly. Bert made sure I got to the bathroom and got ready. Chief made sure I made it over to their food and fed them. I made sure I had proper clothes on. We all did our job and I made it to work with 5 minutes to spare!

There was a special treat for Bert that night! What a guy!!

I'm here for ya Mom! - Bert

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ya gotta love fall and it's food!

Today is Mom's birthday. It's the first of her birthday's that I haven't been able to celebrate with her. So - I went over to spend some time with Dad. He didn't know what day it was but what was important was we spent time together.

Mom's birthday always signals my need to get busy with Christmas/winter knitting. This past week I started working on gloves and some other items that will end up as presents. There's a free pattern out there for a fun pair of gloves that uses sock yarn. Knotty. Do a search on Ravelry or - if you're not a member of Ravelry, join and then do a search!

Anyway - they take 1 skein of Socks that Rock , I'm using a couple skeins of KnitPicks Memory(no longer available). The gloves are long and have a bit of cable knot work at the wrist.

They're wonderful and easy to knit.

The cuff is nice and long and will keep things warm during the cold Minnesota winters.

The next time I make these gloves, and there WILL be a next time, I will use a yarn colorway that is closer to a single color. Something like a kettle dye that has some depth to the color but not such a variation as this yarn. The cabling just doesn't show up as much as I'd like.

Mom's birthday also means time to make comfort food. I love fall and the foods that come with it. I love apples, squash, soups and stews, fresh made warm bread and all the goodies we think of with fall. Every Halloween when I was a kid we would have breaded pork steaks, baked potatoes, squash, fresh bread, and dessert would end up being the candy we got from trick or treating. Yup - Mom's birthday-fall-Halloween - ya gotta love the food this time of year.

My cardinal bag pattern is almost ready. I'm hoping within the next week to have it available for sale. This is a felted bag pattern I created in memory of Mom. She loved red and cardinals. We used to play a game of trying to count all the cardinal stuff around the house. (but I babble) The bag has been test knit. I received some excellent feed back and I'll be refining the pattern this week.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

You gotta know where to hold them

I have to start this post with a disclaimer. All the pictures you are about to see are of old things. Things that that been used for over 10-20 years and they show their wear. That said.....

I have seen people on other blogs and in ravelry talk about how to store your knitting supplies. Some people buy bags and cases, some people use a drawer or rubbermaid type item, some people make their own. I fall into the category of all 3.

Below are some of my handmade ones.

This first one is actually used for my hotel supplies. You know - the stuff that you need when you travel, shampoo, etc. But last time I pulled it out I got to thinking the basic idea would work well for a knitting supply case.

It's easy to make. I used material I had dyed and created the base shape but you could make this out of a cloth place mat.

Get 4-8 good zip lock storage bags. Very simply you over lap them across the center of the base.

One open to the left - next to the right - then left - etc. Stitch using a large stitch length about 1 inch either side of the center. Trim off the bottoms of the bags leaving about 1/2" "seam allowance. Sew on a couple ribbons for a closure and there you have it - a knitting supply case.

The next storage case was a pattern in an old woman's magazine. Back in the 70s Woman's Day, Family Circle and all those mags would have large craft sections with knitting, sewing, and other wonderful crafts to make. I miss that... Back to the case. This one was in one of those sections one time and I decided to give it a try. I found a patterned denim, zippers, some clear tablecloth material and went it it.
This case is about the size of a notebook. It has lots of pockets and slots for needles.
With it completely filled with supplies it's very heavy and I actually use it now a days for the supplies I don't use too often.
It has Grandma's old needles, my old crochet hooks, stitch holders, all sorts of goodies and I suddenly find my self in need of and - with this bag I know where to hunt it up.

During this time period I also had really bad taste in felt items. I made a crochet hook case out of yellow and orange. Oddly enough - It's so old the colors are back in style again. Guess I should have kept some of the old clothes and my cousin's kids would be right in style!

Not shown in these pictures are the other things that I store needles in - an old metal box that some candy came in from Target one Christmas, the coffee mug on the shelf, you know the spots you're knitting supplies end up
Of course, when it's all said and done, where do the needles and supplies always end up? On the table next to my chair. When in doubt, that's the first place I should look for something!

I tried formatting the post for picture to work into the text and - well - I'm not so happy with it. I'll go back to pictures on their own lines next time around. Have a great weekend!