Tuesday, December 29, 2009

This little Piggy is going to the Hospital

I'd like to know how the average person gets ready for long term recovery. As a knitter my first thought went to "long time to knit stuff". What am I talking about?

Well - Monday is the first week of the new year and it is also the day of my (finally) foot surgery. About 6-7 years ago I had heel spurs removed from my left foot. The Dr did not remove all the calcium build up so that foot still has a bit of a bump in the back but I can walk and that was the main thing. Fast forward to today and my right foot followed and grew a boatload of icky heel spurs. Over the years I also developed a few other problems. Seems I have a bunionette. Doesn't that sound cute? It's not. When you have a bunion its on your big toe. When the little toe decides to grow the wrong way and have its bone stick out, its called a bunionette like its not going to hurt as much. WRONG! That puppy hurts a lot. I've spent many-many years not being able to wear normal shoes.

So- I have heel spurs and a bunionette but my foot likes to overachieve and I also ended up with a hammertoe on my 2nd toe. Are you impressed with my ability to have a deformed foot? Monday things change. I won't go into the details of the surgery but the Dr & I decided to go for broke and get everything taken care of at once. The surgery he is doing on the heel will get rid of all the extra calcium but it means I'll be off my foot for a month. One month of not being able to go to work or do much of anything but sit and knit (and take really good pain killers). Followed by another month of an aircast and not getting around a lot other than to work and home.

So- I've been getting ready for my convalescence. Stocking the freezer with easy to prep meals, getting Netflix set up on the TV instead of instant watch on the laptop, getting a knee walker (a very cool devise!), but most importantly - getting knitting projects into bags with the pattern-needles and everything needed. I may not being blogging the first week of January because I've told myself I won't post until I can make sense talking. You don't want to see what strange and bizarre things come out of my brain when I don't edit myself a bit. Trust me!

If I don't get back here until after the 1st. Have a safe and happy New Year's Eve.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Better than a Wonder Bra

Christmas has come and gone so its safe to post the little baby hoodie I made for cousin's daughter's daughter. (Life can be confusing to post about when multiple generations get together!)

Anyway - This cute little hoodie is made from Mexican Wave yarn by Elle. I used 3 skeins to make the small size of the Divi Hoodie.
Baby's Mom and her Grandma (a fellow knitter) were impressed with the sweater and loved the yarn.
Speaking of the Grandma - she made baby the absolutely cutest dress for Christmas. It was red with a white collar and the yoke was ribbed. The hem was so cute. Many little prairie points. The only problem of the day was that I forgot where I put my camera for safe keeping so I didn't get any pictures of it. Maybe cousin will see this post and send me a digital pic (hint-hint).

Being a knitter cousin knows I enjoy a wee bit of yarn. She brought me a fun present.

It's a Yarn Wonder Ball. It came wrapped and obviously "handmade". The little note on the side explains what this is -

"Different yarns of many colours and lengths are manually tied together to create a surprise yarn ball of wool blends, textures, small amounts of cotton, and surprises. Popular in the 1800's, the wonder ball was given as a gift at Christmas. As the person knit, and used up lines of yarn, small gifts inside the ball would surface. The knitter could not fast forward to see what the next trinket, surprise or yarn would be. The ball of yarn embodied the spirit of giving, as the gift continued to reveal presents, and the knitter produced a lasting gift or either a scarf or wrap."

Here's a better look at the side so you can see some of the different yarns. When I took it out of the wrapping to get a picture I could feel some things inside. I can't wait to get knitting on it and see what is hiding inside. I hope I can manage to hold off knitting it until after my surgery Jan 4th and I can have this as a special recovery present.
If you're interested in this fun little present the paper with patterns inside the wrapping says it came from Threads and More. Their website is: www.threadsandmore.com.au

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Not a creature was stirring

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house

Not a creature was stirring

Not even Chief or Bert.

The three of us wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

There's other people here!

There's a few things - well more than a few things - that really bother me about the public habits of some people. They seem to forget other people are within listening distance or within, well, smelling distance of them and seem to think the world is theirs and theirs alone. They live in a little bubble that they can see other people but other people can't see or hear or smell them.

Take lunch this week. I go out for lunch every day for a couple reasons. It's my chance to escape work for an hour and read a good book. I go to good fast food places and have a routine. Each week I hit Panera's for soup and sandwich. They have great food. I also love Panchero's - fresh wonderful burritos. LeeAnn Chin's - good Chinese. Noodles for Mac & Cheese. Dino's for falafel sandwich, and a few other places. I don't feel guilty about spending extra for lunch because supper is often some ice tea and crackers or something else equally cheap/small.

So - back to lunch. I went to Panera's and got my meal, found a table and sat down. Halfway through my sandwich a lady with a phone glued to her ear sat next to me just in time to say (quite loudly) "Was the stuff that came out of his nose green and slimy?" GIVE ME A BREAK!!! I do not need to hear about someone's nose discharge during lunch. There are several other topics I'd prefer not to listen to during lunch or in public but really - body discharge? What made this lady think anyone in the restaurant would want to listen to this while eating?

Since I'm complaining about people's public habits - we have a few people at work that way over use perfume/cologne. Men and women. You know they are coming before you see them and know where they have been long after they leave. I have very good smell and it is connected to my brain. Strong odors = headache. My "favorite" perfume habit is the bathroom trick someone at work uses. After she has used the bathroom for "those" needs and created a bit of an odor, she feels the need to spray a ton of perfume in an attempt to cover up "that" smell. Let me tell you - perfume and "that" smell do not make a good combination. The perfume does not cover anything up and only makes the entire bathroom smell 10 times worse.

I better quit complaining now or I would come up with a list so long you'd think I was the crankiest person on the planet. So - what's the one thing people do in public that drives you crazy?

Knitting or cats next post - I promise!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Slow boat from China

I ordered something on the internet on Dec 7th. It's still not here. I went on line to check on the progress of the package and was stunned at the timing of getting it to me. Fed Ex Smartpost doesn't seem to be too smart to me.

It left California Dec 7.
Took 4 days to get to Wisconsin (Dec 12)- half way across the country. Where it hung out for a day - must have been taking a little sight seeing tour of the Milwaukee area.
The trip to the Minneapolis area must have been a tough one - it took 2 days (Dec 13-15) to make a 5 hour trip.
Once in Minneapolis my package was so excited to see our part of the country it decided to take advantage of some down time because the web site shows it is expected to be delivered Dec 18!

So to recap it takes 4 days to go approximately 2250 miles and 6 days to go 350 miles.
Something is wrong here!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Any Horizontal Surface

Sunday I put up the ironing board to block some past projects - a couple were on last post. As usual I didn't quite get around to putting it away. The rule in our house is: if there is a horizontal surface it will be covered with my junk or a cat or both. I couldn't believe that all of Sunday the board remained clear.
Monday same thing. The board remained clear.
Tuesday things started to happen. Every time Chief would walk past the board he'd put both front paws up on the board and check it out. He'd then walk away.
Tuesday night he finally found out it was a horizontal surface.

Mom, why didn't you tell me this was a place to sit? - Chief
Yea, fine. Whatever. - Bert

You know I could get used to this. Long - padded. Good to stretch out on. Good kitty rest. - Chief

Well, here it is Wednesday. This new kitty rest is JUST right! Thanks Mom. - Chief

I hate to tell him I'm taking it down tonight. Poor Chief.
FYI - Bert still hasn't figured out its a place to stretch out. Cute but slow.......

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Proof of Life

Well, it may not be proof of life but it is proof of knitting. I finally got around to blocking a few of my finished items but the sun did not cooperate today so the pictures are flash and house lighting instead of nature light.

When I downloaded the pictures I realized I still had some pics from work in the camera so I thought you might like to see one of the old printers my team uses to create black & white booklets, brochures, etc.

The left side where the guy is standing is the paper trays along with 3 more trays just to the right of the "bump". This printer can hold 9 different types of paper. Different size, color, weight, tabs, etc. So if you have a book that has a cover, tabs, color paper inserts, etc. - this guy will print is all at once and spit it out complete.
The bump is the printer.
To the right of the extra paper trays is stapler. It staples and loads the finished copies in the window area.
Next, is a stacker. When you do all those tabs, chapters, colored inserts, etc. and its done - it ends up in the stacker waiting to be taken out.
Finally, the last big unit is the booklet maker. It takes finished copies staples the whole thing together, folds it and then trims off the extra edge you get when you fold it.

So - There you have it. An older but still very functional printer. Next time you get a booklet that was printed with a colored cover and the rest black & white it may have been printed on a machine like this one.


A while back I finished a shawl out of Mini Mochi. It's simple and lets the yarn do its own thing. The lace edge is Cascade Hertiage Sock because I felt the lace pattern would have been lost with Mini Mochi.
The full size picture is closer to the actual colors. The pattern is Eliina shawl. More info is on my Ravelry site.

I also finally blocked the Alita afghan. This was made from a lace doily pattern with Woolease yarn. My hope was to make an afghan that was a bit special for my couch when company goes because I like to keep the house cool. It needs to be kept away from the couch until then so it remains fairly cat hair free.

And - yes - I block with the iron. Lots of steam, a bit of heat and a light hand. So far I have yet to kill the yarn and things come out looking great.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Neno Award

I was tagged this weekend for the Neno Award by Toni.
The Neno’s Award Rules and Regulations:
1. As a dedication for those who love blogging and love to encourage friendships through blogging.
2. To seek the reasons why we all love blogging.
3. Put the award in one post as soon as you receive it.
4. Don’t forget to mention the person who gives you the award.
5. Answer the award’s question by writing the reason why you love blogging.
6. Tag and distribute the award to as many people as you like.
7. Don’t forget to notify the award receivers and put their links in your post.
Toni and I have similar things going on as far as cats who like to sew with you and sleep with you and be with you every second of the day. Then of course there's the knitting. After some comments we ended up sharing bits of our local area - I sent her Wild Rice from Minnesota and she sent me some wonderful Huckleberry products from Idaho. Our friendship pretty much explains why I enjoy blogging - I've met some pretty amazing people on the net. Some I've met in person others I may never meet other than through the blogs but we share friendships of sorts that I term as net-friends.

My one problem with blogging is I can't answer people directly through blogger because it hides email as unknown. Many people have commented on my blog that I'd love to reach out to and be more friendly but blogger just won't let me. But for now - I'll enjoy the friendship I get anyway I can get them!

I'm not going to tag anyone for this but I'd love to here from those that read the blog and suffer through the endless Chief and Bert pictures. Maybe one of these days I'll even get the afghan and 2 shawls blocked so I can post pictures! Then of course there's the patterns I've been writing up, I really should finish them. Some day........

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Serious Kntting Time Ahead

I've been limping around for the past year or so waiting until my heel got crummy enough to do something about it. 6-7 years ago I had 3 spurs removed from my left heel and the past couple years my right heel has been heading the same way. Today the doctor confirmed it. Time for surgery. Not only do I have major heel spurs going on I also have what is the equivalent of a bunion on my small toe side and a hammer toe starting on my second toe. The decision is to do everything at once so there's one recovery time. So just after the first of the year I'll be getting 3-4 weeks of sitting around with nothing to do but knit and then about 3 weeks after that with an air cast. Able to go to work but after work - come home and sit around and knit. It's gonna be tough but I'll try to survive all the extra knitting time this winter!

Oh - I made the doctor promise I'd be good to go by April so I can enjoy Yarnover and all my net friends that will be coming here. I must be good by then!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Best Sleeping Positions

Every once in a while you look at your world and decide some changes need to be made. You have an old car that costs more to fix than its worth. You have piles of things on the table so it can't be used. You're in a loveless marriage and need to get out. My world is not so dramatic.

My big thing I need to change is my wardrobe. I think its time to make a new night gown. This one is over 15 years old and looks everyday of it. Mom is probably rolling over in her grave seeing me wearing something this raggy!

I may not have made a new nightgown lately but I have made progress on some knitting. I found a Lace Edge Hat pattern I liked and made it out of Malabrigo. It's yummy and wonderful. After I made the hat I decided to come up with some gauntlets that would match. First one is done and of course I didn't take any notes on my increases and such so I've been going a little slower making the second one. Turns out I have enough Malabrigo to make a small scarf also. Once I get the scarf finished I'll write these up and share them with you all. I'll also hunt up the hat pattern source so you can make a complete set.
While I've been knitting the Boys have been doing what they do best - sleep.
Bert likes to sleep on top of the TV cabinet. Here's his favorite pose. I know its because the the heat that comes from the cable box in the cabinet but its still pretty funny.
Even when he hears something he manages to check it out without losing "The Pose".

Once he's sure everything is safe and there's no real live person coming into our cave he relaxes and settles down to some serious sleeping again.

Don't ya just love the hind foot action!
Meanwhile, Chief sleeps where Chief sleeps best - on the recliner between my legs.

The black thing on the bottom of the picture is my laptop. I can handle Chief on the right arm of the chair, Bert on the left arm, the lap top of (of course) my lap and knitting in front of the computer. What else do you need!

Life is good around here if you ignore my nightgown!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Scary Halloween

I really hate the phone calls that begin - "Hello, this is ..... I'm your Dad's nurse". They always end with me going to his facility because of a problem or going to the emergency room because it was a bigger problem. Saturday was a bigger problem. Around noon I got a call that Dad had a seizure for about a minute but was ok now and they wanted me to know. By 12:30 I was heading to the ER because his doctor thought it best to be checked out and get a CT scan to see what caused it.

He's never had a seizure before that we know of and in the end everything turned out ok but, ER trips are not fun and you just never know. I'm unfortunately getting a bit too good at this routine. I grab a book, my knitting (something mindless), and a can of pop on the way out the door because ER trips are always 4 hours or more. This one was only 3 1/2 hours so I guess I was lucky.

CT scan showed no change from one about 1 1/2 years ago and the ER doctor is similar thinking to me - don't add a ton of meds on older people unless it's needed. So- our orders are for the nurses at Dad's place to watch him and the visiting doctor will check him out again Wednesday on regular visit day. If seizures happened again, then we'll talk drugs.

The knitting I worked on? I was smart- I brought some blue Malabrigo with me so I'd have something soft and cuddly to work on. I worked on a hat from a pattern I found on line - Lace-Edged Women's Hat. Unfortunately I saved it on my computer and don't know the website. I'm guessing it's on Ravelry if anyone wants to do a search. There's a one inch lace edge instead of a rib and the rest plain knit. I decided a pair of mittens or fingerless gloves would look great with it so I started a pair using the lace edge and the rest will be plain knnit to match the hat. I haven't gotten too far on the gloves yet but I'll post pictures when there's something to see. In the meantime, let's hope today is less scary than yesterday!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Let sleeping kitties lie

Two days off with rain and dark skies meant I didn't go work at the other house cause there's no electricity up there and it's hard to see what you're doing in the dark. So, I hung out with the boys and did some knitting and working at this house. I managed to fill a large garbage can sized recycle bin and half a garbage can. Maybe some year I'll get through all Mom & Dad's stuff. but - I won't hold my breath!

I see you down there big kitty! - Bert
ZZZZ zzzz- Chief

Mom, I don't think this thing is big enough to be a scarf or shawl yet. Guess you have to keep knitting and letting me sleep in your lap. - Chief

Yup, Chief has been very good at keeping me company while I knit billions and billions little sock yarn squares to make a scarf or shawl or ??? we'll see what this thing grows up to be one of these days.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I give that meal one sniff.

I got a call this afternoon from my cousin. He had heard about a concert tonight on NPR and thought I might be interested. Yup. A couple hours later I got to Coz's house and we headed over to a church by his house for a Celtic Harp and Wind concert. It was 2 ladies - one played Celtic harp and the other played multiple wind instruments (1/2 dozen different bagpipes, whistles and other flute like instruments). The wind player also sang. It turned out to be part of a concert series that this church puts on during the year - one a month. Unfortunately the crowd was somewhat small - about 100 people. But everyone seemed to enjoy the concert very much.

While we were waiting for it to start I was telling Coz about the gathering next April of some of my Net friends here in Minneapolis. I told him I call them Net friends because it's easier then trying to explain these are friends I've never met- they're all knitters- etc. Coz decided they should be called "Knit Nets". He thought this was a great idea then decided the place we met is the Knit Net and the people are Knit Netties. I should also mention this is the same cousin who couldn't decide if Knitting is a hobby or a cult. Whatever if is he supports my obsession and has even gone so far to hunt up a book about knitting culture for me after seeing a review in the paper - "I knew you'd like it." - What a guy!

After the concert we headed to a vegetarian Indian restaurant for more conversation. Food was okay but I like "our" Indian restaurant better. When I got home Chief gave me his official review of my supper.

You see, Chief has this bizarre habit of having to smell my breath after I eat. His review of my meals consists on how many times he has to smell my mouth, the more sniffs the better the meal. Tonight's Vegetable Korma got 1 sniff. I think he was excited because he could smell the korma but, at my restaurant I get Chicken Korma, tonight no chicken smell. It may be a bizarre habit of Chief's but at least he's never tried to get his nose in my mouth!

For the record - chicken korma at my favorite restaurant gets 3-4 sniffs easily. Chief has good taste.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Reversible Cable Scarf Pattern

A few years ago I saw a scarf in a yarn shop that was reversible cable. I took a quick glance and continued shopping. The theory of that scarf stuck with me and when I was home I decided to come up with a design. I grabbed some Woolease, cause it was hanging around the house and, well, if the scarf didn’t work out I didn’t lose much money in the process. One thing I decided in the process was I should have used a larger needle to make the scarf softer. Every once in a while I pull it out and add a few more rows on it. I’ve never finished the scarf but decided to post the pattern, as is, and let you play with it and decide if I’m crazy or it’s a good design.

The pattern isn’t my normal "completely written out" pattern. You will need to fill in a few blanks on your own. Read through – make a few decisions and make your own version of this scarf. I think you’ll like it if you try it. I made mine in grey planning on giving it to a guy as a present when finished – maybe someday….

Which Way is Up Cable Scarf
Jill Chatelain

Yarn: worsted weight. I used 2 skeins Woolease so far. I think that will be enough to make one long enough
Needles: size 7. Next time I would use a size 9 to make a softer (less stiff) fabric.

Basic design- moss stitch border at ends, garter stitch border with 1 added knit st at edges, background to set off cables in moss stitch, 2 cables worked with k1-p1 base.

Cast on 36 sts. Work moss st 10 rows.
Row 1: k4; p1; moss st 3; cable (k1-p1)x4; moss st 4; cable (k1-p1)x4; moss st 3; k1; p1; k3
Repeat row 1 every row except – every 10th row work a cable row.
Cable Row (10th row): k4; p1; moss st 3; work cable (place next 4 st on holder in front, k1-p1-k1-p1 next sts, work sts on holder k1-p1-k1-p1); moss st 4; work cable; moss st 3; k1; p1; k3

Repeat the 10 rows to desired length ending with 10 rows of moss st. Bind off.

Update 3/8/10: I've had a few questions about the pattern main row. So I'll try to answer them here. Row 1 is correct. There are 3 garter sts at each end and next to those are a k/p (1 rib)combination to divide the border from the body. The cables are 8 stitches - k-p 4 times. Between the cables are moss stitches - 3 sts on the outsides and 4 sts in between. So a very carefully written out row 1 is:
Update 11/21/10: There was a recent comment about moss stitch. For those who do not know what the moss stitch is - it is a very basic and easy stitch to create a reversible texture. It is also called seed stitch.
row 1 - k1-p1 across
row 2 - do the opposite stitch as the row below so instead of a k1-p1 rib you get little "seed" stitches.
Looking at a moss (seed) stitch panel would would see:
k p k p k p
p k p k p k
k p k p k p
p k p k p k
Hope this helps!
And to the thousands of people who have been stopping by to check out this pattern - Welcome!
The scarf was eventually finished and I posted it on Ravelry as Which Way is Up Cable Scarf.

Update 2/16/2013: This page has had just short of 63,000 hits. I find that totally amazing beyond belief! I've ignored this post other than to come here occasionally to see how many people have looked at it but now - I see the pattern just isn't going away. You really like it so, I will be working on writing this up as a more traditional pattern in the coming days and post a note at the top of this post when it is available. The new pattern will continue to be free.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

This is just TOO soon

I don't like the view from the front window this morning - enuf said.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Life in the Big Lane

If you’re a bigger person you’ll understand what I’m about to talk about. If you’re normal size or smaller this may be a totally foreign concept to you but maybe it will be an education.

Those of us that are bigger have a major handicap when it comes to handcrafts. We like to knit, sew, crochet – whatever the chosen craft but it becomes a more time consuming, more costly hobby. Take the example of making a sweater. Let’s just pretend that the sweater is made just like an afghan – one big square. Makes my example and the math about to happen a lot easier.

So – you’re a normal size and you need to make the sweater/afghan square 36” around and 24” long. Your gauge is 5 sts/in & 7rows/in. Your project is going to be 180 sts wide and 168 rows long. That makes a grand total of 30,240 stitches to make this project. WOW! That’s a lot of stitches.

But you’re a bigger person. You need your project to be 48” around and 24” long. Same gauge. This project will be 240 sts wide and 168 rows long. Grand total? 40,320 sts. That’s 25% more stitches. 25% more time. 25% more yarn. 25% more cost. One other problem with this project you want to make. Chances are real good the pattern doesn’t come up to your size so you can either forget about it or try to convert it to your size. Converting isn’t as easy as enlarging everything. If you did that the neck would be huge and armholes bag down way too far. Not everything on the body grows at the same percentage when someone goes from a size 8 to a size 18.

I know the “easy” answer is to lose weight and then the cost, time, pattern select all becomes better. But that’s not going to happen in the next few minutes and we big folk have to deal with life as it is. So here’s the deal. If I were a yarn shop or pattern maker I would look at the charts. (The charts say over 50% of women are size 14 or over.) I would think about making profit. If I as a yarn company had patterns available that were fashionable and flattering to the bigger folk of the world I would sell more patterns because there are a lot of bigger people. I would sell more yarn because it takes more to make sweaters for these people. The bigger folk would do happy dances about my company; my employees would have more work to do because we’re selling more yarn and patterns. I may be crazy but this sounds like a win-win situation to me.

Well, that would happen in my world. In this world I knit a lot of non-fitting things like shawls and hats and mittens because I don’t always have the ambition to create a sweater for myself. Maybe I’ll get the calculator out and design something for myself.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Planning a Knitting Party

This weekend was very exciting. A few weeks ago a conversation got going about some of us in the She-Knits Podcast group on Ravelry getting together live and in person. I casually mentioned the Minnesota Knitter's Guild Yarnover which take place in April. We're in the middle of the country - the list of teachers is GREAT - we have a ton of Yarn Shops for a yarn crawl the same weekend. I pretty much was bragging up Minnesota. Then something happened.

Some of the gang said they were going to come. Sometime during this weekend it became a very real thing and the party is on! I'm having some of them staying at my house. We're talking other things to do before and after the Yarnover. It's totally taken on a life of its own. YEA!

Now - here's the problem. I have 6 months to get the house into the shape that I think it should be for people to stay who will probably never see the house again and this will be their only opinions of my homemaking skills. I know - they'll all say, don't worry, it'll be fine. But - I was raised by an obsessive hostess/must do for everyone else kind of person. It's been drummed in my head to be the perfect hostess. This is the reason why I rarely have people over to the house - I live with my mess and a lot of cat fur hanging around the house (see last post).

Time to make a list. Paint the bathroom. Set up the loom. Clear the crap from around the studio. I can do this and still maintain my life and sanity because - unlike my Mother - when I fail to get everything I think should be done complete -I'll still have everyone here, I'll enjoy myself, and I'll make some self deprecating jokes about what a terrible housekeeper I am and that will be that.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Here is hair, there is hair, everywhere is Bert Hair

Last summer we added a new member to the family when my cousin's daughter got married. It was a long awaited event because all of us really like the groom. They are the perfect couple. Well - they aren't the perfect couple anymore. Life happens but in this case - life happens in a wonderful way. The perfect couple is now a perfect family.

Layla joined the family this summer and we all got together Labor Day to meet and greet at her Aunt's house. She is 7 weeks in this picture. Our family always seems to do things in a big way. Layla is currently at the 98% in height and weight for her age. I'm guessing she'll graduate college on a basketball scholarship when she's 7 or 8 years old at this rate!
But she is beautiful, sweet and will be raised very well by her fantastic parents. Best of all her grandma is a knitter so between the two of us (mostly her grandma!) she will be covered in cozy knits while growing up!

Speaking of "covered in" I have a problem in my house that I try to ignore. Bert is not a big cat. He is only 9 lb. He is a short hair cat. But- he is a British Shorthair which means a very thick coat. Apparently that breed also means the thick coat regrows itself daily. I get tons more hair off Bert with short hair and only 9 lb then I do off Chief (a Ragdoll) with long hair and a big 18 lb. Go figure!

This morning I combed Bert's back. Straight back from his neck to his tail. Didn't comb the sides. Didn't comb the belly. Nothin' but back. Every stoke of the comb brought up more fur - lots more fur.

Here's a shot of the fur taken off Bert's back this morning. I'm sure I could have gotten more if I kept going.

It's no wonder I have a coating of fur on everything I own. I actually went shopping for pants the other day and ended up with cat fur on the pair I tried on in the dressing room where they had never even seen Bert. It's sad but I do love my little boy and a bit of fur isn't going to stop me from stritching his back whenever possible. But this doesn't answer why he is always laying around with his belly and feet in the air. He must be so hot with all that fur!

Being a knitting blog I should throw in some knitting. Here's a red cabled vest I've been working on. It's done but I haven't had the time to write up the instructions or block it. The picture is kind of bad on purpose - I don't want to give away all the details until the pattern is ready. It will be for larger sizes because there just aren't enough things that go over 48". If I can't find what I want - I'll make it and hopefully find time to write things up and share my designs with fellow biggies.
Today - off to hunt up yarn to finish a shawl I've been working on. Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Knitting thru time

About 1 month after I was adopted my cousin was born. We grew up very close to each other. Being only a few months apart in age and going to the same school and church we saw each other all the time. We ended up in the same group at school, saw each other at the family cabin over the summer, and saw each other at church. It’s just a good thing we really like each other!

Over the years we haven’t always seen eye to eye on things but we respect each other’s choices. A few months ago he totally surprised me by giving me a book. He had seen a review of a book written by a local person in the Sunday paper and knew I’d be interested in it. So, he went out, bought it and gave it to me. “Knitting the Threads of Time” by Nora Murphy.

This isn’t a book about knitting as much as it is a book about our fiber history. Nora spent a winter knitting her first sweater for her youngest son and took that project to reflect on the beginning of textile creation and how it has changed through history. She works for a multi-cultural group writing grant requests and in the process has been introduced to many friends of many cultural backgrounds. One chapter may talk about the beginnings of weaving in the Americas while another talks about the embroidery of the Hmong. It’s an interesting look at our shared history and gave me good reading other many lunch breaks.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Yarn events in my future

Around the country we have billions and billions of yarn gathering opportunities. Come fall everyone starts talking about Rhinebeck. recently was Stitches Midwest. Before that Sock Summit. Of course, there are also smaller gatherings - local knit groups, classes at your LYS and so much more.

Having all these choices really can be traumatic. I wanted to go to Stitches Midwest but decided I couldn't get enough time off to make the trip to Chicago worth it. Now I've got some friends from Ravelry trying to convince me to go to Rhinebeck. I really want to go, but finances in these current times are tight. Rhinebeck is a huge gathering and would be great to go. I know I'd have fun. I really want to meet up with my net-friends. Will the airfare fates be kind to me? Looks like I have some serious airfare hunting and thinking to do this weekend.

Another yarn gathering coming up this spring is the Minnesota Knitter's Guild's annual Yarnover. Every April this group of volunteer's gets teachers from around the country for a one day event. It's held at a local high school and includes a vendor area. The keynote speaker this year (April 2010) will be Cat Bordhi. Other instructors include: Beth Brown Reinsel, Carol Rhoades, Cookie A, Edie Eckman, Franklin Habit, Gayle Roehm, Ginger Luters, Jared Flood, (aka Brooklyn Tweed), Judy Pascale, Lily Chin, Lucy Neatby, Margaret Fisher, Romi Hill, Susanna Hansson, Meg Swanson and Amy Detjen. (list is from the Ravelry Yarnover 2010 group). Pretty impressive for a local gathering! If you join MKG for 2010 during the month of December you get first pick at classes. This is one event I will not miss and I'm hoping some of my net-friends will be able to come and enjoy it with me.

Friday, September 11, 2009

State Fair - final post

This will be the final State Fair post. Today we'll take a look at some of the other crafts. First up - beading. The "crown" was incredible.

There are many cabinets of sewing. This native garment caught my eye because of the beauty and the uniqueness.
One area that catches my eye is the Machine Knitting. For several years these people were my peeps and many my customers. It's fun to see what they are up to and who won what.

More machine knitting....

Machine knitting - this little guy was so cute.

On to crochet - some of the crochet is just plain cute

and some is very small, beautiful stitches. This was a huge piece but I wanted to get a closeup of the work.

We'll end with the cabinet of afghans. Every year there are a ton of crocheted afghans. They're all wonderful and show a lot of crafting time.

Hope the past several posts have given you a feel for our State Fair's Creative Activity building. I'm always impressed with the level of crafting that happens in our state (I know other state's have great crafters too but - I'm a Minnesotan and have to brag up my own state!)
After looking at all these items I only have one thing to say - I'm off to knit!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I don't think so!

Someone declared this a day without cats on the internet. We have something to say about that!

Who do these people think they are? I will not look upon them! - Bert

They are mean people who do not know how wonderful we are. Cats rule! - Chief

Cat free day on the internet? I don't think so!
Back to our regular post tomorrow......

Monday, September 7, 2009

State Fair - part 3

Time to look at a few more crafts that are entered into the State Fair. I ended up taking a ton of pictures and decided rather than picking a few, I'd draw out the posts for several days because I really do believe we have a great state fair for crafts & arts and its fun to show off what all the great crafters in our state do.

Polymer cray - here's a major award winner. The owls are really cute. I just wish the pic showed a bit more detail.
Basket weaving - just a few samples.

Weaving & a few more baskets. We have a very active Weaver's Guild that meets in the same building as the Knitters Guild - The Textile Center.
Tatting is not a lost art. The little bonnet and doily under it were beautiful.

Hand spun yarn.
Wood work. The middle of the building has a "home" display where they like to set the larger crafts as if they were in an actual home. I would be very happy if my furniture looked like this!

More wood work. The clock (yes, its a clock) is absolutely amazing. I'm guessing its probably 4-5 feet tall at least. The clock is in the center set back a ways.
Hardanger. Back in the 80s. I used to do hardanger and after seeing some of the samples I have a feeling I'll be pulling out my supplies and making something this year.

Another part of the Creative Activities building is education. There's an area where fiber crafts share the display/teaching area. Each day a different group (or 2) is there to share with the public.
The day I was there was the Weaver's Guild. One section had a couple ladies set up with spinning wheels.

Around the corner in the next section was a lady set up with a 4 heddle loom working on what I think was place mats.
This got me missing my loom and yup! I think I'll have to get the loom set up this year and do a bit of weaving. I've got a 4 heddle loom and all the accessories that go with it. Somewhere around the house are fair ribbons from back in the day when I wove and entered a few things.

The 3rd area was the American Sewing Guild.
Continuing in my "I used to do that" mode - I haven't opened up my sewing machine for a year and have a few quilts close to done. Sounds like I need to start a list of fiber goals for the next year between now and the next State Fair.

Tomorrow I'll post a few more craft pics but thought I'd leave today's post with a few fun places. Right outside the entrance to the Creative Activities building is - SPAMVILLE. Yup - if you can't make it to the Spam museum in southern Minnesota you can visit a smaller version of it right at the fair.

After leaving the building I headed over to the Horticulture building for my annual honey sunflower seed ice cream fix. Just around the corner from the ice cream is my favorite place at the fair. A nice quiet area where you can get away from the crowds for a moment to enjoy this special treat in peace and quiet.

If you take a look over the bushes you can see the hustle and bustle of the fair is going on just a few feet away but - this spot had shade and peace. Just what you need to survive the millions of people that visit the fair.

Tomorrow - crochet, beading and machine knitting.