Monday, December 31, 2007

Friday, December 28, 2007

Cutting Room Friday

I can't really call this post Sewing Room Friday, since I brought all the fabric and supplies for my costume and DD#2's new dress up to my dining room today. But it is sewing progress of a sort and worthy of posting.

Bubba is a little carbon copy of myself (in personality, not looks). She loves to make stuff and has a very creative point of view. Give her a snippet of fabric and some glue and she'll fashion a butterfly or doll costume out of it. When we were out hunting for red velvet for a Santa costume I needed to recreate, she found this netting with embroidered flowers and bought a yard of it with her own money. She's been anxiously awaiting the chance to have me help her cut it out and learn to sew it into a dress.

Since I had to get moving on my costume for Beauty and the Beast, it only made sense for me to cut out both my costume and her dress at the same time. Cutting out patterns is my least favorite part of sewing, so I do as much as I can while I'm in the mood.

I'm not quite done cutting out my costume pieces. Due to my rather full-figured, short (or stumpy) figure, I will need to do some re-drafting of the vest pattern for the costume. I cut out a trial vest from scrap fabric to monkey with before working with the real stuff.

I also have the muslin for the petticoat and vest lining in the wash. Of all the fabrics purchased, it is the most likely to shrink significantly if I need to clean my costume during the production. And I probably will. From all accounts, the choreography will be pretty strenuous and since we have 10 performances and 2 dress rehearsals, I suspect that the costume may get a bit gamey. Although grime may be in character, a foul stench may be carrying the whole role-playing thing a bit too far.

I have no issues with being anachronistic in that sense - nor will my fellow actors, I'm sure.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Socks, socks and more socks

In evaluating my goals and aspirations for 2008, I decided what I really want to do is knit socks - lots and lots of socks. So here is my first official resolution for 2008 - knit socks, socks and more socks.

In one sense, it is a "resolution" because it will help bring down my sock yarn stash, which really has gotten a little out of hand. And with all the yummy sock yarns that are out there that I still haven't played with, stash reduction will give me more chances to experiment with new kinds of yarn.

In another sense, this is a resolution that focuses on taking care of me. Having four kids and a hubby in need of serious and significant support and encouragement, it is far too easy for me to fall into a "poor me" attitude. By focusing on some fun knitting, I'll be ministering to my own wishes for awhile. And end up with some delightful new socks, too.

So, towards that end, I took some time today to wind up six pairs of sock yarn cakes. I started with the Dream in Color Smooshy yarn I picked up at Knit Wits a few weeks ago (the burgandy, brown and greenish cakes). Then I wound up two skeins of black Lang Jawoll I had in my stash. Last but not least were one skein of Trekking XXL (the grey/white cakes) and Fortissima Socka (the brown multi cakes). I have enough yarn caked up to make six pairs of socks.

Of course, Harley had to check out the whirling dervish (aka swift) and decided to hang out with the new yarn cakes.

Now, if I could get him to stop attacking my circular needles while I'm knitting . . .

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Knitting Final Tally

Well, all my deadlines were met but not without significant effort on my part - and some "heavenly" intervention.

We departed for family gatherings in Iowa on Sunday. Unbeknown to us, there was some "weather issues" going on. We checked the forecast in the morning but it did not prepare us for what we encountered when we finally embarked on the annual southern migration.

As soon as we got on US Highway 35W, traffic slowed to a crawl. And for good reason. There was a sheet of ice on the highway. Add high winds and some light snow beginning to fall, causing near white-out conditions, and you had the worst winter driving conditions imaginable. As we inched our way south, we counted the spin-outs and ditch-divers. In the 3 hours it took us to reach the southern border of Minnesota, we counted 22 vehicles in distress.

Of course, this wouldn't be my blog if there weren't a silver lining to report. Although the normally 4.5 hour trip took us over 6 hours, it gave me more time to finish the last of the Christmas washcloths and scrubbies. When we finally pulled into my parents' home, everything was finished and wrapped up for gift giving.

The total tally for hand-knit gifts this year is:

  • 20 washcloths
  • 16 scrubbies
  • One pair of leg warmers for Dancing Diva
  • Cigar gloves for Hockeyman
  • Sleeveless hoodie vest with matching doll hoodie for Bubba
  • Sleeveless hoodie vest with matching doll hoodie for Peeps
  • Socks for Dancing Diva's BFF

The large stealth project originally planned for my mom was frogged and postponed until her birthday. The "no dye lot" yarn I purchased for the project should have had dye lots because the shades differed enough that it was working up looking like it had dirty stripes in it. It wasn't until I was 4 skeins into the body of it that I noticed the dingy looking color changes. I need to replace the yarn I selected with ONE SHADE of yarn before I pick it up again.

With the end of the holiday season approaching, I'm sincerely looking forward to some selfish knitting. There are two sweaters in my UFO pile just begging for some attention and I've bought some more yarn for yet another sweater for myself that is just calling out for me to go ahead and cast on. Then there is the 3 skeins of Dream in Color Sock yarn that I recently bought clamoring for petting and dreaming and sock pattern hunting. Then there is the ballet shrug that Dancing Diva has asked for that's been flitting around in my head.

My New Year's Resolution every year has been to finish 3 UFO's before starting something new. I think this year will be different. Perhaps I should switch it around to casting on 3 new projects before finishing any UFO's. What do you think?

(Harley: "Man, you gotta look out for Daddy. You try and take a nap and he turns you into a mouse pad. What a twisted sense of humor that man has!")

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

It has been a very merry Christmas in our household and we pray that all our friends have been as blessed this year.

I hope to begin regular posting soon.

(Koda: "I'm so glad Mommy and Daddy are home. But do you think they noticed the mess we made while they were gone? I told you we shouldn't have a party!" Harley: "What mess?")

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hockey Embarrassment???

Well, the boys won the tournament they competed in this weekend. But it was an incredibly uncomfortable experience for everyone concerned.

This was a small "B" level 4-team round-robin tournament. That means there were 4 teams and each team played the other teams. Since this was a points tournament, there were no brackets or "championship game" involved. Once all four teams had completed their games, points were tallied and the team with the most points won.

In our first game, we were outrageously dominant. The final score was 18-0, with over 70 shots on goal when it ended. After the first period, the boys laid back and the coaches required at least 5 passes before shooting on net and the other team still couldn't seem to muster any defense. It was hard as a parent to watch one team so easily out-play another team. I stopped cheering after the first 5 minutes of the game because we were already up by 4 and it was clear that it was going to be a massive blow-out.

We had hopes that the second game would be more challenging, since that team had dominated their first opponent, with a 7-1 win and more than 50 shots on goal. Unfortunately, it was not hard to out-play this team either. We won, 7-1. This team had a better and faster defensive line and the goalie was not easily shaken but we still out-shot the other team 5 to 1. We took a double minor penalty and the other team was able to score in the 5 on 3 but that was the only offense they could muster. A later 5 on 3 penalty kill was successful and the coaches instituted yet another 5-pass requirement and the boys laid back to keep this game a bit easier on the opponent.

I didn't attend the final game, since a little cold I was fighting managed to make its usual migration to my chest. However, it was another tough game to win, with a 15-0 final score and a 6-1 shots-on-goal ratio. Another two periods of the 5-pass rule and half-speed skating couldn't keep this game's score any lower.

I snapped a few photos of the first game and managed to capture this one of Hockeyman sliding into the net. From his posture, it looks like he's just hanging out with the goalie. In a true sportsmanlike fashion, one of the opposing players checked to see if HM was okay and gave him a friendly pat on the back after this collision.

IMHO, that was the highlight of the weekend! You gotta love a player who is big enough to care about another player, even when their team is being beat up on the scoreboard. Kudos to him! And a big cheer for all three teams we played. There was little rancor or ugliness to speak of and they managed to hold their heads high to the end.

Well done, men, well done!

Friday, December 14, 2007

1,000 words-worth?

Eureka! Friends at last.

We have a hockey tournament this weekend, so I'll have to try and catch up on everyone's blogs next week. Have a great weekend - I know I will!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Quick Christmas Update

It's a busy day in the neighborhood, so this will be a very brief post.

The gift knitting frenzy is upon me, even though I vowed not to get caught up in the madness this year. Fortunately, I have re-evaluated my priorities and cut back my expectations. As a result, the twitch in my eye has settled down and I am looking far less scary and frenetic.

First, one more FO. The hooded vest for Peeps is complete. I am still planning to make the matching doll's vest but since I already know it will be a very quick knit, I have taken a short break to work on gifts for Hockeyman and Dancing Diva.

Recently, Hockeyman requested some fingerless gloves for use during Airsoft Club. I remembered the Knucks pattern from Knitty, so I went online to get the pattern. Then I found Cigar. It seemed even better for winter shooting practice. It has been a quick knit. I cast on yesterday morning and finished the first one early this morning. I'm already past the brown section of the second glove, so I'm sure this will be off the needles sometime tomorrow. I'm using the leftover yarn from his balaclava, so he'll have a nicely coordinated Airsoft set.

Dancing Diva has requested some leg warmers for dance. They are close to done but I need to move them up to a larger needle for the last section and the needles are being used for Cigar. I promise a photo and description in my next post.

Finally, in the kitten world, Harley and Koda are slowly getting better at being together. When they play, Koda still vocalizes quite a bit but we're certain that it's just a habit and it will be the way she plays for now. The only issue that is plaguing us is that Harley wants to play all night and Koda's vocal performance awakens and alarms various members of the family throughout the night, leaving everyone (but the cats) bleary-eyed and weary during the day.

If only we could play all night and sleep all day - then all would be well in Casa de la Gatos.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Spiralling out of control!

Hockey and dance schedules are both heating up at the same time, on top of all the crazy holiday stuff that's going on. Therefore, I may be posting a bit less than usual. However, here is another gift FO for your viewing enjoyment.

These are an adaptation of the Red Dwarf pattern from Turtlegirl. I needed to change the gauge up a bit to suit the Lorna's Lace sock yarn but I'm very pleased with how they turned out.

These socks are destined to be worn by Dancing Diva's BFF, also a dancer whose feet are always in need of some pampering.

BTW, a "hi-de-ho, neighbor", goes out to Guinfer! It was so nice meeting you last night at Puck's hockey game. Hope we can meet up again soon.

Well, off to a dance performance with Dancing Diva. Ta-ta and fa la la la la!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Blast all this holiday knitting . . .

The new issue of Knitty is up and I'm fighting a major case of impending startitis.

Somebody help me!

(DH sent this cartoon to me today! Guffaw!)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

FO for Christmas

As promised, here is a quick snapshot of some gifts for Bubba (DD#2). She loves purple and this heathered worsted weight acrylic from TLC is the perfect shade of lavender to suit her purple passion but still look great with jeans. I found the pattern at e-Patterns. It is a book you can download directly from their site. I have to admit that there were several glaring errors in their pattern and were it not such a simple sweater shape and I hadn't been such an experienced knitter, I would have found this pattern very frustrating. However, several of the designs were charming and I've been trying to encourage the girls to play with their American Girl dolls a little more before they outgrow playing with dolls completely. The doll patterns alone made the price of the book well worth it to me, even if I do have to do some editing and pattern revamping.

Peeps' sweater is well advanced and should be finished before the end of the week. The doll sweater only took about 4 hours of knitting, so that should fly off the needles in the near future as well. If only all my Christmas gift knitting could go so quickly.

Dancing Diva managed to snap this photo during Bubba's "recess" yesterday. Her favorite bear was obliging enough to model it for us, although I think he objected a bit to squeezing his big head through the neckline.

In hockey news, the boys lost their last two district games 2-3. It's been a disappointing hockey week but my philosophy is better to lose early in the season than late. They are battling hard but the bounces seem to be going against them at the moment.

On the cat battlefront, we've had a couple of snuggle sessions between the cats but only after we've thoroughly worn Harley out before letting him in with Koda. She continues to object strenuously to Harley's rather rough overtures to play but she's getting a little less vocal as time goes on. What is humorous, though, is she will get incredibly playful herself, after watching the Wild Thing play for awhile. Not playful with him but with his toys. It's suddenly like having two kittens in the house.

"See, Mommy, I can be cute, too!"