Wednesday, January 31, 2007
I've taken yet another break from UFO knitting to knit an emergency project. You see, our beloved cat, Rocky, is dying. (He is the black and white cat in the photo)
He's approaching his 20th birthday and failing rapidly due to progressive kidney disease. He is to the point where he is barely able to walk from his favorite sleeping spot to the food and water dishes we moved a mere 4 feet from his nook. He has lost nearly half his body weight and, with the bitter cold arctic weather that's finally hit Minnesota, I decided he needed this kitty bed to make him comfortable in his last days.
So I was on a mission yesterday. I downloaded the pattern at 3 pm, cast on at 3:15 and cast off at 11:45 pm. I spent a little time transferring daughters to and from dance and taking care of various family members as needed but the bulk of my time was spent knocking out this sweet little project. It is in the washer as we speak and I will break the cardinal rule of fabric fulling and toss it in the dryer to speed the drying process. He will have a finished cat bed today to warm his faithful, loving bones.
It is a sad time for my family, especially my husband and myself because we picked up Rocky on our somewhat belated honeymoon. We estimate he was born around the time we were married and he's been with us nearly our whole married life. He was our first baby and our forever baby. Now he's going ahead to help the Lord prepare a place for us. Just another reminder that this world is NOT our home and that we will have much to look forward to when we finally get to Heaven. Having Rocky greet me at the door, purring and jumping into my arms will be the perfect way to say, "Welcome HOME!"
Monday, January 29, 2007
Sunday, January 28, 2007
I just can't seem to get this blogging thing down. Others seem to be able to blog on a regular basis. Even if it is a short, pithy post, it appears with a regularity that boggles my mind. But I'm finding blogging regularity something somewhat out of reach at the moment. I'm left with a whole week's worth of stuff I'd like to post about on the weekend, all of which would have worked so much better as individual posts throughout the week. But so be it, my week gets away from me and here I am on Sunday morning with time and too many thoughts whirling away to remain off-line any longer.
First of all, I am temporarily stuck on sleeve island with Samus. I've finished the increases and have only a few inches left before starting the cap shaping, so rescue is in sight. I love working two sleeves at the same time because I know that they are exactly the same size and when I'm finished, I'm FINISHED! I'll need to go shopping for a matching zipper soon. If the cardigan fits well, I'm going all the way with the finishing and using grosgrain ribbon to finish the inside.
I did cast on for a new gift project but it is a stealth project. Shhhh! No details until June except this one little partial picture.
Hockeyboy Socks and Shifting Sands are on hold temporarily, only because I have two hands, instead of four or more. I continue to do washcloths here and there, because they fit in my purse, whereas Samus and Stealth do not. Oh, for more time and hands.
On the personal front, I returned to boxing class this week. I loved it but regret it. Not because my back couldn't take it but the rest of me couldn't! I am sore all over. OH MY! I am so far out of shape, I'm embarrassed. I slipped into a beginning boxing class. My coach looked at me and said, "Ummm, this is a beginning boxing class. Just boxing." I said, "That's okay. I'm easing back in, since I'm recovering from the back injury. I need to take it slow, so I thought this class would be a good one to start with." Ha! He made me demonstrate proper form for the class. Being in front of the class made me try hard to do things right. Yowza, am I paying for it now! But my back withstood it and it is good to be back. The soreness will pass and I'll be back in fighting form soon (I hope).
I also took DD#3 to her Vision Therapy evaluation this week. It was an interesting experience. She walked out of this appointment far less traumatized than from the one with the opthamologist but it was still challenging for her. We still need to go back for the consultation appointment, so I don't have a great deal of information but the one piece of good news they gave me was that tests indicated that she is experiencing double vision, which was a good thing. It means that her weak eye is not shutting down completely. When the eye shuts down completely, it is much more difficult to get it back. Double vision means that the eye and brain is still trying to get things coordinated and working and there is reason to hope that she can still regain binocular vision, with proper treatment.
Dance season is starting to heat up, with DD#1 increasing her dance schedule. She landed the role of one of the step-sisters in Cinderella, so she has two extra rehersals a week this month. She also had a performance on Saturday morning at the Mall of America to kick off the Fraser Roll and Stroll. Since our dance studio has an Adaptive Dance Program for special needs students, the studio participated in this particular event for the past few years. My daughter has been a student helper who works directly with a special needs student for the past two years. What is most thrilling about this is the girl has progressed to the point that next year she probably will no longer need a helper. I love the fact that this studio has this program and that my daughter has had the opportunity to use her gift for dance to do more than just perform or gratify her own ego (or mine). I sincerely hope that the opportunity presents itself for DD#1 to get another chance to work with someone else next year, when her special friend moves on to a class without a helper.
On the homeschool front, my "Men Knit, Too" class for our homeschool academy was cancelled for lack of interest. I have mixed feelings. I'm thrilled because I'm feeling a little overwhelmed with the vision isses with DD#3 and the extra rehersals for DD#1 and the classes DS#1 and DD#1 take once a week. I've fallen terribly behind on so many things around the house with my back issues and my two youngest daughters are behind on some of their schoolwork because of everything being so crazy around here. The idea of having no lessons to plan and write is so relieving, I could dance. But I am also bummed because I had some great articles planned for the class.
When I teach at our academy, we only have 6 hours of actual teaching time each semester. So we spend the bulk of the time actually knitting. But I do write short articles for the students to take home and read on their own. Since we homeschoolers tend to want to make every educational experience count, the articles cover subjects like history, geography, Bible, and even chemistry and physics. Trust me, I can incorporate just about any subject into an article on knitting. I had already done some research on articles that would appeal to young men and I was excited to actually put them together. I had plans for articles on mechanical engineering based on such subjects as spun yarn vs. cables that hold up suspension bridges, medical equipment that uses knitted structures and other uses for the understanding of the basic knitted fabric structure. I had an article planned on intellectual property law that was based on the history of guilds (including knitting guilds). I had an article planned on the industrial revolution and the invention of machines like the knitting machine. And so much more.
Teaching knitting is like falling off a truck. I can do that in my sleep. But the exciting part is getting to research and write the articles. But I can't justify the time spent unless it is for an actual class. So I am a little disappointed that the class didn't happen this time around. But maybe next year. And perhaps, this summer, I just take the time to write the articles anyway, just in case.
Whew! I wonder how many faithful friends actually stuck it out and read this far? See what I mean about randomness. I just have to get better about more frequent and shorter posts. But I feel better having posted. It was like a giant dustball under the bed. You know it's there. You know you have to deal with it. You just keep postponing it. And it gets bigger and bigger. Now I've made a clean sweep of it. We'll see how good I am at keeping that dustball of random thoughts from accumulating again.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
However, he's had a pretty good morning so far, with breakfast served in bed and a pan of brownies cooling as I type, to be served with ice cream later this evening. A loving back rub and some pampering later today and I'm sure he'll forget all about the teasing. I don't know why he should worry. He has a full head of hair and is only getting better with age, IMHO.
Well, I've been tagged by Sheepish Annie. So here goes:
Find the nearest book
Open to page 123
Type lines 6-8 of said book
Tag three others
"The reindeer were about the size of Shetland ponies and their hair was so white that even the snow hardly looked white compared with them; their branching horns were gilded and shone like something on fire when the sunrise caught them. Their harness was of scarlet leather and covered with bells. On the sledge, driving the reindeer, sat a fat dwarf who would have been about three feet high if he had been standing. He was dressed in polar bear's fur and on his head he wore a red hood with a long gold tassel hanging down from its point; his huge beard covered his knees and served him instead of a rug."
I'm a huge fan of these books (this is a compilation volume) and re-read them every few years. I also own them on Cd's and have introduced them to my children. Can you guess what children's book this is? I'm going to have to tag Tenniel, livnletlrn, and Guinifer.
On the knitting end of things, I picked up Samus this morning and made good progress on the cabled cuffs while watching Royal Wedding with Fred Astaire (sigh - I love Fred!). I'm hoping to finish the cuffs today and pick up for the sleeves. Since we have no plans today, other than some birthday boy pampering, I think it should be possible to make this goal. I'd love to finish this sweater soon, since it would be nice to finish this before it's too warm again to wear it. This winter has been so kooky, it could be swimsuit weather within a month. Everyone down south seems to be stealing all our snow, so who knows? Surfing, anyone?
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Not much knitting news - I'm finally - FINALLY - past the black hole knitting and into some fun stuff on HockeyBoy Socks. Samus hasn't been touched recently, nor has Shifting Sands, although I did finish one washcloth of three, which will be a thank you gift for a friend.
I feel like such a bad blogger, having so little progress to show but the black-hole-socks-of-gigantic-proportions seemed to take forever before getting to anything even remotely worth taking a picture of.
If DS#1 hadn't pulled out the puppy-dog eyes, I don't think I would have even attempted making socks for him. But he was feeling unloved, since I'd made socks for each of the girls but not him. In his mind, love must be measured by the number of hand-knitted items owned by the children of a knitter. I have a great deal of apprehension about these poor socks since he seems to have sandpaper feet that are too big for his body but seem to be still growing. Who knows how long these socks will survive but I have made HockeyBoy promise me two things: 1) he will wear these only at home (not to hockey), and 2) only in slippers. Abuse of these socks will result in the following consequences: Confiscation of said socks and re-gifting to my DH, who happens to have the same size feet as HockeyBoy right now. Whether my DH would wear such vibrant socks is not the point. The threat is enough, I hope, to keep DS#1 on the straight and narrow.
Then again, perhaps a written contract . . .
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
This toddler/child mitten was adapted from a set purchased in
Gauge: 4 stitches per inch/6 rows per inch.
Supplies: 130 yards/120 meters bulky weight yarn, size 9 (5.5 mm) needles (or size needed to obtain gauge), size 9 (5.5 mm) double point needles, yarn needle, smooth waste yarn.
P = purl
K = knit
SSK = slip, slip, knit 2 stitches together
K2tog = knit 2 stitches together
Sl 1 = slip one stitch
PSSO = Pass slip stitch over
The cuff is knit flat, and then the upper mitten is joined into a circle and knitted in the round. The cuff is later seamed, using the tail from the cast on edge.
Cast on 25 stitches with the long tail cast-on method.
Purl one row. Start Fisherman’s Rib pattern stitch.
Fisherman’s Rib stitch (repeat of 2 stitches plus 1)
Row 1: *P1, k next stitch through stitch in row below; repeat from * ending with p1.
Row 2: p2, *k in next stitch through stitch in row below, p1; repeat from *, ending with p1.
Knit 10 rows of Fisherman’s Rib, ending after row 1.
Re-distribute stitches on 4 double point needles (6, 6, 6, 7) and join into a circle and place marker and start knitting in the round.
Knit 7 rounds in stockinette.
Instructions for right mitten thumb opening
Knit 18 stitches, knit next 5 stitches onto waste yarn, transfer 5 stitches back onto left needle and then knit with regular yarn and finish round.
Instructions for left mitten thumb opening
Knit 1, then knit next 5 stitches onto waste yarn, transfer 5 stitches back onto the left needle, and then knit with regular yarn, completing the rest of the round as usual.
For both mittens
Continue knitting stockinette for 14 rounds.
Start decrease rounds as follows:
Decrease round 1: K3, SSK, K2, K2tog, K6, SSK,
Decrease round 2: K2, SSK, K2, K2tog, K4, SSK,
Decrease round 3: K1, SSK, K2, K2tog, K2, SSK, K2, K2tog,
Decrease round 4: SSK, K2, K2tog, SSK,
Decrease round 5: SSK, K2tog, SSK, K2tog, K1.
Decrease round 6: Sl 1, K2tog, PSSO, SSK, K2tog.
Decrease round 7: K2tog, SSK.
Bind off by passing K2tog stitch over SSK stitch.
Break yarn, leaving 12” yarn tail and thread a yarn needle. Pull the end through the remaining loop and pull tight. Bring yarn to the inside of the mitten and weave tail into the mitten tip to fasten off the end securely.
Using two dpns, pick up the live stitches for the thumb (9 stitches) while taking out the waste yarn. Attach yarn, place marker, and knit around, picking up one stitch in one vertical area between the rows of live stitches and two in the other vertical area and re-distributing the stitches on three needles (12 stitches).
Knit 8 rounds even.
Decrease round 1: K1, K2tog, K1, SSK, K1, K2tog, K1, SSK (8 stitches remain).
Knit one round even.
Decrease round 2: SSK, K2tog, SSK, K2tog (4 stitches remain).
Decrease round 3: SSK, K2tog.
Bind off by passing K2tog stitch over SSK stitch.
Break yarn, leaving long tail and thread a yarn needle. Pull yarn through remaining loop, then to the inside and weave into the tip of the thumb, fastening tail securely.
Seam the cuff. Weave in remaining ends (base of thumb) and trim.
Braid a 12 inch braid of yarn and weave in and out of the top edge of the cuff, beginning and ending on the back of the wrist.
Size can be increased by lengthening the pattern by adding rows before and after the thumb and to the thumb itself. Adding width can also be accomplished by adding stitches (by two) to the Fisherman’s Rib at the beginning of the pattern and adjusting the stitches between decreases at the tip accordingly.
(Disclaimer – No guarantees are offered as to its accuracy or the absence of errors. Please contact me with any corrections.)
This pattern is copyrighted by Lorraine. Contact me at ldmmnusaatyahoodotcom with questions.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Here is the mitten I've been doing the non-UFO design work on. It is a charming little thing and I'm currently test knitting the pattern yet again in the proper type of bulky yarn. More pictures of the actual samples later.
Well, the boys took second in the hockey tournament. It came down to a battle of the goalies. The regulation ended in a 1 to 1 tie. It went through two overtimes and a full shoot out before the other team managed to squeak one by our goalie. Our substitute goalie was solid the whole game and even had this shot. It just popped up off his glove and bounced back into the net. He read it all the way in and just got a bad bounce. Our team played a gritty game and managed to out shoot the other team 30 to 14. Their goalie was just that good. Kudos to both teams because it was a blast to watch.
For now, I have an aching back and a very hoarse throat but it was worth it because it was a great way to end the tournament. We'll get 'em next time!
Sunday, January 14, 2007
My boy got a beautiful assist on the first goal of the game. What made it all the sweeter for this mom is that he passed it to the least experienced player on the team, a most unselfish move on his part and it paid off. Our substitute goalie (third since our regular goalie broke his arm) this game sped in from another game on the other side of the cities and managed to play a spectacular game. The boys were fighting hard against fatigue and pulled it off the win with panache. Kudos to the whole team!
Then I got to have a little non-UFO knitting fun. A dance friend asked me to recreate a simple little mitten pattern from an existing mitten. The originial pair was purchased in Iceland and one was recently lost. Since it has such special meaning, the mom wants to make a new pair for her daughter. A little research and a little sample knitting and I've whipped up a quick pattern for an adorable little Icelandic mitten. If I can figure out how to create a link to the pattern, I'll add it to my sidebar. And if we get some daylight, I'll post a picture of the little mitten that inspired the whole day's adventure.
All in all, I'd say it was a very good day! Championship game tomorrow. I suspect tomorrow will be a great day, too!
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Today was one of those nutso, cuckoo days that make you smack your head and go, "What was I thinking?!?" Between a local hockey tournament and dance, I managed to spend about 6 hours sitting in lousy bleachers and missing the last period of each of two hockey games, both of which ended in ties, just to get DD#1 to dance activities. Now if you think it's easy to walk out of a close hockey game at the beginning of the third period, no matter how much you love your daughter and dance, you have another think coming. Yikes, it about broke my heart!
Then the day culminated with DD#1's performance tonight at a High School dance show. The dance studio where all my daughters take dance was invited to bring several classes to the performance to showcase different groups our studio promotes. It was a fun show to watch but all those hours sitting on bleachers and going in and out of cold has my back a hollerin' at me now.
So, by way of comfort, I made myself a stack of waffles as a bedtime snack. Now, this is where you get to find out something weird about me. This is how I like my waffles. This only works with cheap, frozen toaster waffles. Good, home-made waffles wouldn't taste good this way. After toasting until warmed through, but not crispy, you spread with natural peanut butter (no sugar added). Then you squirt a good dollop of canned whipped cream on top and drizzle with real maple syrup. If I'm feeling really down, a sprinkle of finely grated pecans can be added. Add a sweet dessert wine and comfort has truly begun.
Of course, I will grab HockeyBoys Socks and try a little comfort knitting as well. These are the largest socks I've ever knit (DS#1 has hit his growth spurt and has BIG feet) and, being all black thus far, seem to be taking forever. But I have started the heel gusset, so we're getting close to the fun stuff. Of course, after a glass of wine, I don't dare attempt Samus but there is always tomorrow. And thank heaven, there is no dance and only one potential tournament game on the morrow. Whew - how do you spell relief?
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Monday, January 08, 2007
Friday, January 05, 2007
This saga started several months ago when I took her in for her kindergarten check-up. As part of the exam, they did an eye exam. All was going well, since she is a healthy, normal kid, until they had her look at the eye chart. When she covered her right eye, she could read the whole thing. When she covered her left eye, she couldn't read any of it. With both eyes, she had 20/20 vision. Since it was so weird, they suggested an eye exam. No problem.
At the local Target Optical store, the optometrist ran her through all the tests but there was obviously a big problem. By the end of the exam, the optometrist said that we'd better take her to a pediatric opthamologist, since there was more going on than mere glasses could correct. She gave me a name and a number to call. No problem.
Except it took 2 months to get an appointment. In the meantime, I stopped doing reading lessons with DD#3, since she was struggling to see the letters and I didn't want to cause her to be frustrated with school. Math was going well (they make the numbers so much bigger and clearer in math books) so we continued with that and other learning activities.
Well, the appointment was on Wednesday and after an exhausting 2 hour exam, the recommendation was that we patch the good eye for two hours a day while doing some close work (coloring, crafts, etc) and come back in 3 months for a re-check. No problem.
BIG PROBLEM. We patched yesterday for the first time. She cried about putting on the patch. She tried to do the coloring activity we chose to work on while patched. Then she started reacting to the adhesive on the patch. She's allergic to it. We reapplied the patch with a buffer and switched activities frequently, making paper dolls and drawing, taking hot chocolate breaks when needed. She was frustrated with the inability to see out of her bad eye, the uncomfortable patch and the itching caused from the allergic reaction.
We went shopping yesterday after the patch came off to buy some new craft supplies. We've done some research on ways to make the patch more bearable. And we're looking into Vision Therapy as an alternative to patching. And I'm praying that the first day was the worst and today will be a better day.
Other news . . . my DS's team lost their goalie to a snowboarding injury - he broke both arms. The league is desperately searching for a replacement because our team is already short numbers, so we can't pull from the team to fill the net without shorting our lines. We had a replacement goalie at practice from the U-14 team last night or they may need to pull up a goalie from the PeeWee level. We have several tournaments coming up very soon so the season could get real interesting.
On the knitting front, I finished the washcloths for my Bible Study friends and presented them on Wednesday morning. Samus hasn't progressed much but I've been a little busy with little girl's problems, so I'm okay with that. Sometimes you just have to focus on the loved ones and let the knitting slide. It's been a crazy week but I'm hoping for a quieter weekend
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
In the meantime, I've been plugging away at Samus, towards meeting my UFO resolution. I have hope to finish the bodice today, since I only have about 10 inches of the left front left to complete. Then onto the sleeves. The other two UFO's that I hope to finish are the Fall Dancing Widdershins and the Shifting Sands Scarf, both of which will be fairly quick finishes. Of course, I have numerous other UFO's but the momentum of finishing a few things often spills over. Then, watch out.
I went through my mending basket yesterday, just to clear out any old mending projects. Nothing like starting the year without any mending projects. Of course, in the midst of this morning's laundry duties, I found two more items that needed mending. Ironic, isn't it. It just goes to show that a woman's work is never done. One of my main frustrations with being a SAHM is that the majority of my labor never remains finished. Doing the dishes lasts only until the next meal is prepared. Clean laundry stays that way until it's worn five minutes. The newly swept floor lasts until the cat tracks through with cat litter on its paws or someone gets a snack of peanut butter on crackers. And don't even get me started on Murphy's Law concerning a freshly mopped floor!
One lesson my family has learned recently - the hard way - is how much effort really goes into maintaining the house. While I've been laid up with a back injury, the house has gone from bad to worse. At first, the kids were eager to help. It was a novelty to have new resposibilities. But the excitement soon waned and it became a drag to have to do the dishes again . . . and again . . . and again. And the clutter that ordinarily gets picked up by me as the day progresses began to pile up. It amazed my husband how much junk piled up while I was down and out. And the laundry that piled up with a defunct washer is downright scary.
Now that I'm a little better, I'm trying to dig myself out of the hole we're in. Although the family made a valiant effort to try and keep up, it just goes to show, even a family of 5 inexperienced workers isn't enough to replace one good woman. I guess it should feel good to be needed but then again . . . (sigh)