Monday, August 31, 2009

What if I.......

Thursday night last week I was driving home just like every night. I frequently think about the "what if I..." part of life. Thursday was the what if I left work 2 minutes later or earlier. I didn't. I wish I had.

I drive straight up Hwy 100 the whole distance from Bloomington to the north end of "the Cities". Same route every day, no problem. I also stay back the proper distance, or at least the best I can considering everyone and their brother cuts in front of me when I leave the proper distance.

So - there we were driving in the left lane about 60 MPH in a 55 zone and suddenly a few cars ahead of me stopped FAST! The car in front of me stopped fast. I lucked out because I had the proper distance and reacted fast (no talking on the phone while driving for me!) I also stopped fast and missed the car in front of me by about 1/2 foot (if that). The car behind me, not so good. He hit me but luckily was far enough behind so it was more of a tap. I didn't even feel it in my crappy neck that feels every jerk and bump.

The car behind him and the next car didn't survive so well. They really hit hard. I continued to luck out because the car in front of me had started moving forward already and I moved up a bit when I was bumped so I only got the first light bump. When I got out of the car I saw I only had a couple barely viewable scratches that I won't even bother to take in or report. Unless something shows up in the next couple days.

I'm just glad I keep the distance! The 3rd & 4th cars have smashed in fronts and I'm guessing the backs of car 2&3 don't look too good.

But I still can't help thinking - what if I left work a few minutes earlier or later. I wouldn't have been in that lane at that time and would have driven home without anything happening.

Same thought about 20+ years ago. I was in a major car accident that ended up causing the crappy shoulder/neck that feels every bump and jerk. I drove home from work that day taking a route I never take through downtown Minneapolis. When my light turned green I started forward and was broadsided by a guy running the red light on the driver side of my little Horizon (if you don't remember those cars they were mini cars of the early 80s). My car was totaled. I was nearly totaled and have had to deal with the results of that decision to go that route ever since. What if I had taken my normal route home. No accident. No pain. I'd probably still be swimming and playing racquetball.

You just never know where all the little decisions in life will take you.

On a different topic -
My sister in law is a Fire Captain for LA County. As you watch all the coverage of the fires in north LA county - prayer for the firefighters and the people in harms way. They all need your good thoughts!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cute kitties and knitting

Seems we have a full house around here.
When they aren't hanging out in the Kitty Cottage, Bert is busy trying to look cute.
He's good at it - isn't he!
There's been some UFO knitting around here. I finished some booties but I won't be posting them until they are gifted. But I've also pulled out the Mystery Shawl 3 from long ago and decided to get this puppy finished.

Knitting and computer with pattern on it.

While I knit Chief hangs out on the arm of my chair and keeps me company

Mom, why is the knitting on the computer and not in your hands? And why is there a big beige blob where you were sitting? - Chief

I must confess the big beige blob is because I was sitting at a sloppy angle with sloppy clothes on and I just didn't feel like sharing a big turquoise blob with everyone! Edited for your protect!
Knit on.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Knit and Crocheted Sponges

48 hours ago I posted a pattern on Ravelry for Knit and Crocheted Sponges. They are very basic - very quick - very easy. I almost didn't post the pattern because there really is nothing to them. You make a rectangle (or 2) fold/sew to make it double thickness and call it a day.

Since I posted the pattern over 100 people have downloaded it. I guess people really do want simple ideas.

I've been using mine for over a year and throwing them in the wash weekly. They hold up well and save a lot of paper towels.

One thing I discovered this weekend taking the pictures was how terrible the deck looks. I really need to get it painted before fall. But - back to the sponges. You may notice the rust yarn. It's from the last ball of 20 year old Sugar N' Cream that I made the Rust Goes Green market bag from.
The blue ones are from a while ago. There's no pattern for the cloth, I just started knitting and let a pattern appear as it felt like it.

This time around when finishing the sponges I did a simple whip stitch around pieces instead of the chain stitch (crochet) and 3 needle bind off (knit) I did around the entire sponge the first time around.

The sponge hiding behind the orange/pink one was made with multiple yarns. The front is rust and orange/pink while the back is rust and blue/white. Hey - it's just a sponge. It doesn't have to match!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Buttonhole, buttonhole - who's got the buttonhole?

I live about 1 mile from a small airport. Every once in a while strange things show up in the skies by my house. Out driving today I had to stop and take a quick picture of what was flying around. Hard to tell from this pic but -

It's the Good Year blimp. Not even one of the "other" blimps. This is the real deal. The PGA golf tournament at Hazeltine has brought a lot of excitement to the southwestern suburbs but I didn't expect it to make it all the way to the north end of town. Guess out little airport worked out better for the blimp.
I do know we have had the Good Year Blimp hang out here before and earlier in the week was another blimp but I can't remember the name on it. The airport is locked up unless you have a pass so I couldn't get any closer than this picture.
Knitting Pictures - finally
I know I've been saying for a long time I'd be posting pictures soon and well - I'm finally getting around to catching up some on the pics.
I finally finished the Opal Circus socks I started in February and only worked on them between other projects. They finally got close enough to done that I decided to just do it.
They are plain garter rib socks. The yarn is a bit rough but we'll see if it softens up after a few washings.
I also finished the Diagonal Lace Socks. These are a Wendy Johnson pattern made from Opal Cotton 2008 yarn. I made a fairly plain pair to go with my boring work clothes.

There's been a bit more knitting and I'll show you some of it next post. But in the meantime - I played around with buttonholes.
Buttonhole mania
I've never been real pleased with how my buttonholes turn out. Since I had a few days off I decided to play around with techniques and see if I could come up with one that would make me happy - I did.

Here's the 7 buttonholes I tried out.

We'll start with the first one and I'll tell you what I discovered along the way.

Picture above -
Buttonhole #1 (bottom): This was the most basic. It's a YO, K2tog. Your basic little hole. This would work for a small button.
Buttonhole #2 (2nd from bottom): Another simple one. Will work for a slightly larger button.
Row 1- SSK, YOx2, K2tog
Row 2 - on the YO work purl front and back
Buttonhole #3 (3rd from bottom): worked fine but the top look very different from the bottom of the buttonhole.
Row 1- BO 3
Row 2- M 3 fairly tight. When knitting them on the next row be careful not to let the yarn from the M 3 get loose between the stitches. If you need to see how the M3 is done take a look at the video at Knitting Help - look for the Backward loop cast on.
Buttonhole #4 (4th from bottom): the top of the hole looks unfinished. The right hand side is pretty loose. I didn't like this buttonhole.
Row 1- BO 3
Row 2- Cast on 3 using knit cast on. Knitting Help does not show a video of this but if you watch the video on the Cable cast on it's similar. The difference is, instead of putting the needle between thru 2 stitches to pull thru the yarn you put your needle in the first stitch as if you were going to knit, pull the yarn thru the loop and put the new loop on the same needle. Repeat with the new loop (needle thru loop, etc).
Time to head to the next picture......

The first button hole is #4 from the last picture.
Buttonhole #5 (2nd from bottom): YUCK! The right side really ended up loosey goosey with an extra loop just hanging there looking ugly. With that loose loop its hard to see but the rest of the button hole looks nice. The top and the bottom look similar but, oh my, that right side........
Row 1- BO 3
Row 2- Cast on 3 using the Cable Cast on method.
Buttonhole #6 (3rd from bottom): Looks ok but very putsy and ending up a bit more open than the other ones. Again the right side had that loose stitch problem but not as bad.
Row 1- BO 3
Row 2- Cast on 3 using crochet cast on. Using a crochet hook, make 3 chain stitches catching the knitting needle with the back loop of the chain.
Row 3- Knit the 3 crochet cast on stitches
Buttonhole #7 (top): Yup - a winner. The top looks like the bottom (mostly). The hole didn't grow and the right side loosey stitch loop has been taken care of. Best of all it's easy to do.
Row 1- BO 3
Row 2- Cast on 3 using the Cable Cast on, On the next stitch pick up the stitch plus the loop of the stitch on the row below.
Row 3- Knit across picking up the loose loop on the right hand side with the stitch before the buttonhole.
Since playing around with all these buttonholes I have found out there's some videos on line with a few other technique ideas but I like the fact that I figured this one out on my own. It makes me feel empowered in my knitting!

Friday, August 14, 2009


It's my 5th birthday today so Mom said I could do the blog. She says she'll post another one later but this one - is mine!
Here I am practising my "what a cute kitty I am" look. It gets Mom every time. All I have to do is hear her say my name and I come running to jump up on the rocking chair at say "HI" to her. Sometimes I get treats but most of the time just a quick cuddle . I like cuddles.

Mom left a tote bag on the floor and its the best ever! I can roll on it and guess what -

It has these things that hang off it that are perfect for grabbing and playing with AND it matches my fishy.

Look - here's my fishy on the tote. Don't they look perfect together? I love my fishy.
Well, I have to get back to my busy schedule. I think Mom is going to get me a special treat for my birthday. Birthdays are fun!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


First off - sorry about the bad picture. While I was driving this week I noticed the car was about to roll over to 50,000. I grabbed my cell phone and managed a picture while driving in rush hour (do not attempt this at home!) . However - in the process, as I took the pic a car decided the 1/2 car space in front of me was his and I had to hit the brakes. Result - bad pic.

50K miles later I still love my "car". It's a Saturn Vue (SUV) and I was very worried during the GM trauma this past year when they talked about Saturn going away. Luckily it was sold and will still be around for us. People who own Saturns tend to be loyal. Just ask my cousin (on his 2nd), my Aunt & Uncle, my Dad (well- you can ask but he wouldn't remember), or other friends who have Saturns. We love them. I loved my L200 and when I got a good deal to trade up - I jumped on it. Here's to 50K more years.

Today I went for a ride over to the area St Paul . There's a spice store (Penzey's) over by the Yarnery and I decided a road trip would be fun. Penzey's is about 4-5 blocks east of the Yarnery so I headed over there first. Easy parking (15 minutes) because it is a bit away from the main Victoria/Grand shopping area. I didn't plan on being in too long so 15 minutes worked well.

I ran in, browsed for spices, grabbed a catalog as they have great on line store, and left a few minutes later with some needed spices. I don't know if I'd ever make a special trip there again but, I'm on staycation and it was an adventure.

Somehow on the way back I ended up on Summit Ave. (one block off Grand) and found a few homes for sale that I thought might be big enough to hold my stash and other junk (precious bits of life memories).

What do you think? Would you be able to find enough room here for the stash? Just think - top floor could be all crafts. One room for the stash, a room for a knitting retreat, one for sewing, one for the knitting machines..... I'm sure with today's economy the price would be nice and low and easy to finance. Maybe you like a stone house instead.

This one is for sale also. That front jut out area on the right - looks like a great place to have a knitting group meet. Just saying....

These pictures were also taken with my cell phone while driving. I discovered its much easier to take pictures while driving if you are going under 30 MPH and nobody is trying to cut you off!

You may have noticed- no mention of what I got at The Yarnery. Well.... after driving down Summit I turned right toward the freeway and after I was partway home I realized I didn't go back to Grand and stop at the shop. Guess I'll have to make another trip sometime this week.

Knitting Pictures

There are no knitting pictures.
I started making the Bella Mitten and decided I didn't like the look I was getting. RIPPED.
I started knitting knitting the Fake Fair Isle Hat - didn't like the 2 colors I picked out - RIPPED.
I started a sock-Bloomin' Socks . The yarn is OK for the pattern but there's so little knit that I didn't bother to take a picture.

So, of course, when there's no knitting pictures - throw in a cute kitty picture.
For some reason Bert has decided this week that he loves to sleep on the humidifier. It can't be comfortable, can it?
The only thing he likes better is in the winter when the humidifier is running and he tries to attack the source of the mist.

It's my special place and I WILL protect it! - Bert
Oh - FYI - work managed to go 6 hours without calling me with a problem. This was after I told them I would not be available cause I was going up north where the cell phones dont' work. Small lie but I really want to ignore work for a week! The reason for calling - they couldn't find the password to the voice message on the phone. That would be the post-it note that was left attached to the side of the phone right where I showed them it would be. Oh - nevermind.....

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cardinal Bag Pattern

This is the story of how NOT to design and write up a pattern - at least not if you want to get the pattern out for anyone to buy.
Last summer when Mom passed away I decided to design a cardinal bag in her honor. She loved red. She loved cardinals. I designed a bag with her favorite colors and included a double pocket on the inside because I'm always losing my phone and iPod.

Once I got the bag felted I stuck a cake pan in a plastic bag inside the bag to help shape it while it dried.

So far so good. I planned on putting a handle on it that I found at a local fabric shop but didn't have time before Stitches Midwest. The first day at Stitches I found a wonderful handle shop. Homestead Heirlooms has the perfect handle. It was red leather 45" with a D ring clasp. That night I sewed on the handle and the bag saw some action when I met up with the She-Knits group that night for pizza and a chat.

Also knowing the bag needed a little more detail because Mom was all about little pins and bracelets and accessories, I found Ivy leaf buttons at JoAnn. They were from Blumenthal Lansing Co. and worked out perfect.

While getting all these things ready I sent out the pattern to be tested and the tester decided to make it in winter colors. Her bag was such an inspiration I needed to make a winter version to photograph for the pattern. That's when I ran into problems.

I made the winter version and decided to felt it looser to give knitters an option and they could see what the different felting would look like. I decided it needed a bit more felting but took pictures (with a bit too much help from Chief) anyway. Then the whole process came to a halt.

The pattern was written, done, complete. ready for sale except for felting the winter bag a bit more and getting pictures. There is where it has sat for forever.

Today I got a request for the pattern and I decided to get it out there without the best pictures of the winter version.
The pattern is written well and tested. I'm not aware of any mistakes but time will tell. It's now up for sale on Ravelry and can be purchased as a PDF download for $4.00

I hope you enjoy the pattern and, please, let me know if there are any problems reading or understanding the directions.

If you are interested in purchasing - click on the BUY NOW button and you can purchase it through Pay Pal.