Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to All

I'm spending the next two days with my kids and wonderful Hubby. You can bet this new sweater will be seeing a lot of wear this holiday season.


Oh, by the way, those swirly designs on my t-shirt aren't really there. They were the early snowflakes of the lovely Christmas Snowstorm we're enjoying. Eight inches so far, with at least that much more on the way. So happy we're NOT traveling this year.

Off to build snowmen with the kids . . . Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Another Drive By Posting


I'm on my way out the door in 15 minutes to start the now normal craziness of our daily existence - namely, running kids to and fro, whilst knitting frantically in the spare minutes of waiting for them at one location or another.

So, rather than wait until I have #11 all finished, with tails woven in, buttons sewn on and blocked into lofty loveliness, it seemed prudent to share it with you now. I plan on doing all the weaving and button attaching on the road today. However, since it will be dark long before I get home again and my night time photography skills leave a lot to be desired, I figured you all would enjoy the unfinished version.


The yarn is Aslan Trends Del Cerro, purchased from Coldwater Collaborative on sale last spring. The buttons are also from Coldwater. The pattern is my own cardigan version of Amused by Jordana Paige. It was a super easy rewrite, in that I just didn't join the cables and kept knitting downward to make it a cardigan. I also lost the deep ribbed waistband and cuffs because that design feature just doesn't work on my rather buxom torso. I split the cuff so I'd have an excuse to add yet more lovely buttons to the sweater.


I love how the cables just pop in this yarn. However, it was not an easy yarn to use. It was a fairly loosely plied, 10-ply yarn. So it was super easy to split the yarn while manipulating the reversible cable stitches. I almost (ALMOST) abandoned cabling without a cable needle on this project because of the splittiness of the yarn.

I am debating the placement of the buttons on the collar. I am thinking that the collar might be wearable as a turtleneck, as well as in an open collar style.

Sweater Number 12 is in the knitting bag and nearing completion as well. I am working on the sleeves at the moment. After that, I have the hood to knit and then the cable band that will run up the front, over the hood and down the other side left. More fun cables to look forward to!

I do love cables but I'm in the mood for a change.

Fair Isle, anyone?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Wednesday Night Bullet Points

Not to be a thief or anything, but after several weeks of insanity (schedule-wise) and a total absence from the blog sphere, Sheepish Annie's weekly wacky random-osity seems to be the best way to catch up on all the bloggable tidbits that have been bouncing around this nutty noggin of mine. So here goes . . .

  • Hockey tryouts are over and Hockeyman made JV-A. He's also been guaranteed some playing time on the Varsity squad by the head coach. Hooray!
  • Speech Team tryouts are over and Dancing Diva did not make the team. Boohoo!
  • I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for my family this year for the first time in a decade. It was delicious, if I don't say so myself.
  • Did I mention that I put a halt to all traveling over the holiday season this year?
  • I DID! I decided that we have 2 Christmas left with Hockeyman before he's off to college and I wanted these holidays to be spent in my own home . . . making my own memories.
  • Does that sound too selfish?
  • I don't care if it does.
  • It's cold outside. Really cold. Bitter cold. It was bad enough that everything was cancelled today for "Stormaggeddon" but this epic drop in temperature after the mildest November in decades is just pouring salt on the wound. Really!
  • I'm still knitting away on sweater 11 and 12.
  • Sweater/wrap 13 is in time out while I decide whether it is worth all the effort of knitting a complicated cable pattern in dark green tweedy yarn where it hardly shows.
  • I'm all in love with some new projects that are clamoring for my attention. I've spent hours researching Fair Isle mittens and hat patterns on Ravelry.
  • My car needed emergency servicing this week.
  • Have I mentioned that the dealership is across the street from my LYS?
  • When the serviceman asked if I was okay waiting for a couple hours for my car to be repaired, do you think he suspected my intention to yarn shop from the gleeful twinkle in my eye and sudden flushing of my cheeks?
  • I shopped for a couple hours.
  • Yeah, I bought yarn for hats and mittens for myself and Dancing Diva. And a couple books. And buttons for Sweater #11. And a couple more buttons just because they were pretty.
  • Hence, the sudden urge to spend hours researching Fair Isle mittens and hats.
  • Our garage door broke last night. It was scary.
  • The big axel that has the massive spring on it and the pulleys with the wires that lift the door just snapped.
  • For an hour, we couldn't get it open or closed. It just hung, drunkenly crooked, defying all efforts to make it move up or down.
  • We finally got it closed but our cars were trapped in the garage, with no way to get out.
  • Hubby stayed home from work today to call a repairman to fix it.
  • And because his car was trapped by the stupid broken door.
  • It's now fixed, thank goodness.



Well, that's about all for now. Everyone is gone from home tonight and I'm going to spend the next hour and a half of solitude doing what I do best - knitting. And watching whatever I want on T.V.

Let's hear it for total remote domination! Woot!


Friday, November 20, 2009

What's a woman to do?

I've been running crazy lately.

You ask, "So, what's new with that?" in that oh, so sarcastic tone.

Well, there has to be a good reason why I've reacted in such an uncalled for manner to the discovery that I've actually finished 10 sweaters in the past 9 months.

You think, "I would nave never been so blind to my own knitting output. I would have KNOWN I was knitting 10 sweaters this year."

Because, you know, it would be entirely reasonable to be kind of enthused about finishing the last two sweaters, one which is 80% done and the other is nearly 30% done, before December 31. An even dozen, one per month, that's kind of impressive, you know.

You mutter, "Here it comes. I know what's coming now."

The stress of Hockeyman's tryout for the High School Varsity/Junior Varsity really shouldn't have affected me, seeing as we've been going through this process every year for the past 10 years . . . well, not for high school but for team placements for our local youth hockey association.

You grind your teeth, "Quit stalling, lady. Just spit it out!"

The fact that Dancing Diva tried out for Speech Team at High School also shouldn't have been such a big deal, although I was on the speech team in high school and college myself and was only the teensy-weensyest bit thrilled with the thought of DD following in my elocutionary footsteps.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah . . . AAAANNNNDDDD?"

Well . . . Actually it WAS my birthday this week . . .

"WELL?"



So, I started a new project.




"Uh-huh! Like we didn't see that one coming."



It's the Every Way Wrap from Interweave Knits Fall 2009. The good news is that I'm using stash yarn for it. After all, shopping for new yarn would have been really silly. What excuse do I have to go out and spend money on new yarn when I have so much stash built up already.

Really, how stressed out do you think I am?


"Whoa, DIDN'T see THAT one coming!"

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Drive by posting


It's been a couple of very busy days here at Sweater Knitting Central. I've spent most of the past 2 days in the car and have several trips in store tonight. So just a quick update on the newest stash acquisitions.

I've decided to give stranded colorwork another shot. I did the tam for Peeps back in January as part of the Hat Trick KAL for Ravelry's Puck This group. It was not a pleasant experience, due to a number of critical mistakes on my part, which were previously enumerated here.

This time, I plan on following the directions perfectly. No arrogance about working it out my own way to avoid buying the right needles or avoiding dpns. I will read every tip and hint and be diligent to implement everything that is written and suggested. I'll expect all of you to hold me accountable for this. Really. Please do!

On a side note, if you haven't heard about the Upper Midwest Alpaca Fall/Holiday Fiber Fair at the Hopkins High School on Saturday, November 7 from 9 - 5 pm, you can check out the info here. I plan to get there at 9 and to browse to my hearts content. After all, I deserve a little break from chauffeuring. It's been a very busy week.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Number 12 - really?

I am totally lovin' this whole design-as-you-go (DAYG) sweater making thing. I was exceedingly pleased with Bubbles Chickenpox Sweater, which was loosely modeled after the Design 26 I rewrote as a top-down pattern. Now I'm incorporating about 4 different pattern ideas into a new DAYG project.

It is Peeps turn to get a hand knit sweater from Mom. After a little consultation time with a generally indecisive Peeps, I came away with an order for a "hoodie." Now, after the great Halloween Horror of a Black Ballet Wrap for Dancing Diva, I was not about to start another bland, stockinette project, even in lovely green leftover yarn from this project. So I was on the hunt for something new, something exciting, something WONDERFUL.

A search at Ravelry turned up this lovely pattern (Ravelry link). Although it was a raglan, it was worked from the bottom up. I did some mulling and some calculations and some general imaginary knitting (my way of figuring out potential problems with my ideas) and discovered that by working from the bottom up, you could incorporate the cables without interruption as you knit. However, I decided to be stubborn about my new obsession with top-down knitting and came up with my own game plan.

I've decided to work top down, without the cable bands. I plan on knitting the cable band separately and adding it later. I've also added a faux cable on each raglan "seam", ala Mason-Dixon's Daily Sweater (Ravelry link). I also used a provisional cast on method, like that used in the Orange Blobbette sweater, so that I can pick up and knit the hood up from the neckline later.

Oh, and just to complicate things further, I picked up a new book yesterday at my favorite LYS (along with enough yarn for at least 2 more sweaters and several magazines - a total breakdown of my self-control occurred, which is fodder for a totally different blog post. Stay tuned.) which utilizes beautiful picot hems. So I'm hoping to figure out how to properly work a perfect picot hem from this book to finish Arwen for Peeps' hem.

To my utter amazement, I discovered this week that the Orange Blobbette and Arwen for Peeps are the #11 and #12 sweaters I've made in 2009. I had no idea that my latest obessession had resulted in 10 completed sweaters, with two more that could probably be finished before the end of the year. Honestly, who'd a thunk it? I was so wrapped up in the frenzy that I totally didn't have a clue how many sweaters I'd made until I looked at my Ravelry page of projects and physically counted them.

Oh, and with the new yarn I bought yesterday, I have stash for at least 4 more sweaters marinating. Really, when will the madness end?

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Ding, Dong, the Beast is Done!


Yes, there is rampant rejoicing and delirious dancing in the streets tonight. The Black Beast has been conquered!

No more black stockinette. No more black i-cord. No more black anything!

It is done, has been tried on and approved by Dancing Diva, and it's washed and blocking as we speak.

Granted, such a momentous occasion deserves a much better photograph but it is dusk here in Minnesota, not to mention a bit cloudy and grey. All the fiddling with settings and adjusting brightness could not make my amateur photographic skills any less apparent.

But I don't care! It is done and I'm ready to move on to some bright, colorful knitting. Stay tuned for for bright green and pumpkin orange cable-ishousness in the very near future.

Woot! (Now back to the regularly scheduled rejoicing and jigging!)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Wild Weekend


No, hockey-loving friends, I'm not talking about the Minnesota Wild. I have absolutely no comment about them at this point. Not because I'm displeased with them but because the crazy schedule around here has kept me from enjoying most of the hockey games on television. As for the Gophers . . . I did manage to see several of their games. The less said, the better. Oy!

No, I'm referring to the insane schedule that continues to keep me running around evenings and weekends and interferes with all fiber pursuits.

This weekend, a swim meet in the far northern suburbs of Minnesota, at which Bubba (or perhaps we should re-christen her "Bubbles") did very well, bettering her times in every race but her backstroke. Whilst she is fast on the straight away, her turns are not good. So we'll be focusing hard on backstroke turns to get her times back where they belong. I also worked as a stroke and turn judge at the meet both days, which was a lot of fun. Unbeknownst to all you blogging friends, I have finished the certification process and am now a actual judge for swimming. Woot! It's sure a lot more fun to be on the pool deck than sitting in the stands at these meets. And since the pool environment is extremely warm, getting splashed occasionally is an added bonus. Really cools you down when a 8 year old's belly flop gets you soaked from head to toe. Refreshing!

On top of the swim meet, Hockeyman was in a band contest conducted by Club 3 Degrees, a local Christian organization that fosters young talent through these judged contests. The photo is one of the band's official advertising and promotional materials. The first round was this past Saturday and Difference of Forever was one of 6 bands that competed at Destiny Christian Center. They received a grade of "B" for their performance. Considering Hockeyman is the oldest member of the band (at 16), and they were by far the youngest group there, I'd say they did a fabulous job.

Now they need to incorporate the constructive comments into their performance and prepare for round 2 of the competition, which is sometime in January. Anyway, the concert was interesting but the music was cranked. Way. Too. Loud! I brought and wore earplugs for the majority of the time that I was there, so at least I left with my hearing intact.

In knitting news, I did manage to finish the body of Dancing Diva's Ballet Wrap and am working on the sleeves. It is still not photo worthy because it is still just black stockinette. Albeit, it can no longer be called a blob but my photo skills are still too lame to attempt a decent photo of the progress. Hence, the photo of the band instead of fiber photos.

In the few moments of break on the weekend, I managed to get about 4 rows done on the Orange Blobbette. So, she's still a Blobbette, not a Blob. Maybe next weekend . . .

One can only hope to find more knitting time because - GASP - Christmas is a mere 2 months away.

GAAAACK!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Harley & the Orange Blobbette


Well, a little winding, a little swatching, a little casting on and we have a new Blobbette. Meet the beginning of my cardigan version of Amused.

The Blobbette is not the handsome cat in the background. That's Harley and he qualifies as more like a BLOB than a Blobbette, being a somewhat rotund kitty who doesn't like the "D" word any more than I do. The Orange mess in front of him is the actual Blobbette.

I had to coin that word because I'm not far enough along to call this sweater a blob. However, I am intrigued by this completely seamless, top-down construction technique. The pattern itself is a little confusing but if you follow it word-for-word, it generally works out. I ended up heading over to Ravelry and the Jordana Paige Group (Ravelry Link) for a little clarification. Needless to say, I am so glad I'm a member of Ravelry. It has been an invaluable resource.

The yarn is some discounted AslanTrends Del Cerro from Coldwater Collaborative. They have bargain bins in the back room and it is always my first stop when visiting. It's not often you can find a sweater's worth of the same yarn, so snagging it when you see it is key to stash building. The color is a cross between pumpkin orange and copper and I suspect the cable band will really stand out in this 100% merino wool.

As for motivation to keep working on Dancing Diva's Ballet Wrap, I've decided that it will be my travel/weekday project and Amused will be my evening/weekend project. So I'm plugging away merrily on Amused for the rest of today, before DDBW makes it's reappearance tomorrow morning.

It goes without saying that I've earned a little recreational knitting. Hubby returned from a trip to India last night. It was his first extended business trip in years and the kids were all a little . . . shall we say "grumpy" . . . this week. Single parenting, even for one week, is grueling. My hat is off to ful-time single parents. I don't know how they do it!

Well, I'm back to growing Blobbette into a self-respecting Blob. Ta-ta for now.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I Just Can't Take It Anymore

Whilst I've made a valiant effort to be a monogamous knitter until the Great Black Ballet Blob is finished, I just can't do it. There is no way to blog about a crumpled black mess that wouldn't show up in a photograph unless Jared Flood magically appeared and offered to take the picture for me. It's just stockinette, with a little garter stitch border, so there are no new techniques or tricks to learn. Even the use of Zombie training films has not kept the flame alive. Black is just not doing it for me.

So, I've been searching for the perfect next project. I've been dreaming of the perfect belted cardigan with some cabling. Being a plus-size person, all over cables would be a bit . . . should we say bulky . . . for my buxom torso. However, I could visualize the cables as the borders for the front and perhaps around the cuffs and collar. And since I have a several caches of sweater worthy yarn in my stash that have been floating in my imagination for weeks, all it took was finding the right pattern.

And today, I finally ran across a pattern I think I can use as a jumping off point for a cardigan. Amused was written as a v-neck but since it is a top down pattern, I see no reason why the cable can't be continued all the way down both sides of the front and this top becoming a cardigan. I can even envision a matching belt made from the reversible cable pattern. Of course, I need to wind the yarn into cakes and start swatching before I can cast on. But at least I have a plan.

In the meantime, I think I'll have to come up with some sort of bribery scheme reward system to keep trying to finish Dancing Diva's Ballet Wrap.

Hmmmm, any thoughts?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Progress of a non-fiber sort

Work has been happening around here, in spite of the lack of blog postings of late. Alas, they're mostly home improvement projects, instead of fiber arts. The stucco guys finished up yesterday on the final coat of stucco. I am pleased with the look, even without the shutters that will be installed later this week. Some electrical hook ups and shutters installed and the outside projects will be completed. Just in time, too, since we have had two (count them, TWO) snowfalls so far this past week. It's not cold enough for snow to stick around more than a day or so, so the still green lawn is somewhat deceiving. Trust me, winter is just around the corner.

I am still knitting but it is boring black blobbish stockinette on Dancing Diva's new ballet wrap. No photos because, well, it's just a bigger black blob. I have about 6 inches left on the body then I'll be heading out for Sleeve Island, to spend even more time stranded on boring black blobby knitting.

I have found one distraction to wile away the endless rows of black stockinette. After reading a few posts from a favorite blogging friend, I've learned about my complete unpreparedness for the upcoming zombie apocalypse. So I logged onto fancast.com and have watching some training films. I've now seen Night of the Living Dead & The Last Man on Earth. I'm not sure the second movie qualifies as a zombie preparedness training film, because the antagonists are more like vampires than zombies but I'm sure that some of the same survival techniques work in both sets of emergency circumstances. The problem is, there seems to be a complete lack of governmental leadership about zombie apocalypse preparedness. There doesn't seem to be a color code system in place to indicate the level of danger these monsters pose and forget about finding a comprehensive list of training films on any of the government websites. If I were the conspiracy theorist kind of person, I'd think there was some kind of coordinated anti-information attack going on here.

So, if any of you are well-versed in the whole zombie preparedness field, shoot me a list of suitable training films for perusal. After all, I've got an awful lot of black stockinette to slog through and I might as well multi-task.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Chicken Pox, Flu, Colds and other rotten viruses

With all due respect to the powers-that-be, we've just about reached the end of our patience around here with the whole virus thing.

Granted, we all survived. Bubba recuperated from her chicken pox with no additional complications, the rest of the kids were tested and are as immune as the vaccine can make a person, and Hubby is on anti-viral medicines and shows no sign of succumbing to the Varicella virus (yet).

Alas, though, poor Mom ended up coming down with a nasty flu. Not the deadly H1N1 kind but just bad enough to cause her to sleep for 14 hours a day, waking long enough to dose with high-potency flu remedies, then moan and groan until she fell back to sleep. Not the best case scenario early on, when Mom was the only one we were sure couldn't transmit chicken pox to Hubby, quarantined in his man cave and who needed regular deliveries of food, beverages and clean clothing so he could emerge periodically to dash through the house to his car to go to work.

With a couple of kids complaining of cold symptoms (no fevers, just sore throats and stuffy noses), no housework was accomplished during this past week. Needless to say, things are in chaos around here.

One little, bitty glimmer of silver lining to this massive storm cloud of icky sickness is the completion of another sweater. I think this is number 9 this year.

Meet the Chickenpox Sweater. When Bubba was at her most miserable, I cast on this cheerful little number with only a rough idea of what I wanted to do.

This is my own top-down design, just fiddled and fidged as I went, so there is no pattern, nor is there likely to be one. Since Bubba is outside playing today (catching up on fresh air and friendships after being quarantined for 10 days), she hasn't seen it or tried it on since I finished it. I'm debating between using a tie at the neckline, or buying a fabulous button and making a frog closure for the neckline. So, there are still a little finishing work to do but nothing I can do until I get input from Bubba.

Well, I usually close with something pithy or clever at the end but I'm feeling a little tired and shaky still. Guess I'll just have to go back to bed again. After all, I still have Dancing Diva's Black Hole Ballet Sweater to finish. Gah!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chicken Pox First Aid For Moms

After a rather grueling few days of nursing an itchy but very sweet chicken pox patient, waiting on a worried spouse who has moved into an "apartment" in the basement to avoid further contagion and dealing with disgruntled siblings who are just a bit jealous of all the special treatment Bubba is receiving, it was time for Mom to take a time out and get some first aid for herself.

Hence, a quick trip to the local nail salon for a pedicure and a set of acrylic nails (both firsts for me). You'll have to forgive the funky color of my skin. I truly do not have lavender feet. Because the scratch coat is going on the exterior of our house today, all the windows and door are covered with plastic, so the light coming in is somewhat filtered. Either that, or Hockeyman messed with the settings on the camera again and I'll have to exert some maternal pressure to get him to fix it. Anyway, the nail polish is lavender but my feet aren't.

As for the teaser for the Chicken Pox Project, when I snapped the photo of the yarn in my fading fall garden, I didn't have a design in mind. A conversation with Bubba and a few sketches later and we have a sweater design. I am making the pattern up as I go, working from the top down. I cast on a collar about as long as I thought she'd need, knit a few inches of ribbing, then divided it into sections for fronts, sleeves and a back. Some raglan increases and slip stitch front gives the sweater the beginning of the special shaping I'm developing as this sweater grows. How it will end up . . . well, that depends on my ability to make this one up as I go. I've done enough top down sweaters now that I think I can do this on the fly, ala Elizabeth Zimmerman.

Or pride may goeth before a fall. If I fail and need to do some frogging, I'm sure another pedicure will go a long distance toward soothing my bruised ego. Stay tuned for a potential "Frogging First Aid For Moms" edition.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Chicken Pox Emergency

Just when we were slipping into the regular school routine, life throws us a curve ball . . . Bubba (aka 10 year old DD#2) was diagnosed with chicken pox yesterday. Needless to say, I was flabbergasted.

You see, I had my kids immunized against chicken pox. Hubby never had it as a child (he had the test 11 years ago and he had no immunity) and since he is a world traveler for his job, we knew that he was at risk. So the whole family has been dutifully injected with weakened strains of the Varicella Virus. However, I missed the fact that this is a 2 shot immunization and Bubba hadn't had her second shot.

Compound that mistake with the fact that Hubby is also on immunosuppressive drug therapy for
Crohn's disease . . . and scheduled to go to India in a few weeks, right around the time he would fall ill if he contracts chicken pox . . . and cannot have the varicella vaccine anymore because of the Crohn's issues . . . and we cannot find his immunication records from 11 years ago to verify that he had both shots . . . well, you can see our panicky state of mind around here.

So what is a fiber artist to do?

Start a new project for the poor, scabby 10 year old who is quarantined to one room in the house for the next week or so. Besides sterilize the entire house, that is.

(The fact that I am casting on a new project before finishing Dancing Diva's new sweater has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that I'm deadly bored knitting plain black stockinette. I'm just being a good mommy and catering to the needs of my poor, itchy, twitchy, widdle Bubbakins. Really!)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Another Blog Blob Sighting

In the spirit of the proliferation of blob sightings on a popular blog, I present my own shapeless blob of knitting for your viewing pleasure:

While I'll admit that you can see the rudimentary shapes of sleeves to come, the very blackness of the yarn, combined with the somewhat too short needle, should qualify this project as a blob. At least for the time being.

The endless rows of black stockinette are taking their toll on this intrepid knitter. I can't help but fantasize about soft pink yarn, tweedy purple yarn, or even the bargain pumpkin orange yarn that are all marinating in my stash at the moment. But Dancing Diva is living up to her reputation of holding Mom's nose to the grindstone and making me a monogamous knitter. At least for as long as I am working on a project for her ROYAL HIGHNESS.

(sigh)

Well, at least I can enjoy the temporary distraction of ongoing home improvements that are continuing at a rapid pace here at Chez Construction Central.

See my pretty new front door? Isn't it lovely?

(Edited to add: We're getting a new stucco front for our house, too. They have been pounding away all day, putting up the mesh screen stuff. I'm slowly being driven mad by the noise!)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another one bites the dust . . .


Yes, folks, we have another sweater FO! I'm just on a sweater knittin' rampage around here. (Though nothing like Guinifer - her sweater production is AMAZING.)

I finished the neckband and sleeves two days ago. After a long and fruitless search through my button stash, I determined I had to make yet another trip to Coldwater Collaborative for the "right" buttons to finish this lovely sweater. (Darn, right?)

As usual, Carrie came through for me with the right buttons in stock. And, because I'm on a bit of a yarn diet around here (this is the only context in which the "D" word is used in this house because I'm always hungry for new yarn and calling it a "diet" isn't going to make it any worse than it already is), I put the blinders on and managed to walk out with the buttons and only the buttons. I swear, that has to be a record for me because I am constantly going in for "just one thing" and walking out with a sweater's worth of yarn.

And, you guessed it, I've cast on for yet another sweater. This time, it's for Dancing Diva. She wanted a black ballet wrap sweater for dance. I found this wonderful top-down pattern (#263) at Coldwater Collaborative. I'm well on my way down the yoke and already dreaming about the next sweater in the queue.

After all, knitting plain black stockinette leaves lots of time for dreaming . . . another Daily sweater in pink? Or maybe a tweedy sweater coat in purple? Hmmm . . .

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Unfinished Business

First of all, apologies to all who have asked questions in the past few weeks. The fact that we've been more frantically busy than usual, coupled with ongoing modem issues that keeps the internet out of reach for half of every day, made it super hard to get online to update the blog.

However, I'm back on a more regular schedule and, although the modem is still giving us fits, ready to catch up.

Guinifer asked when Hockeyman starts hockey this year. Hard to answer because he's a year-around player. He played in a spring league, had hockey camps all summer long and is now on a fall league. The official high school season will start late October. We are assuming he'll be on the JV team again, because there are 10 veteran defensemen trying out for the Varsity squad and he is in the bottom half of that group, in size and skill level. However, he should see plenty of playing time on JV because he'll be one of the top players at that level. It all depends on try-outs, though. So stay tuned in for updates in October.

Livnletlrn asked about Hockeyman's new camera . . . He purchased a Canon 50D, with extra lenses and a tripod. Based on the price ($1500 +), I'd say it must be a pretty good camera. However, I'm a complete novice when it comes to photography, so who am I to say. He's very happy with it and I can't wait to see what he does with it this year.

Rani asked how I do everything I do around here . . . Well, I fail miserably at some things. I'm a lousy cook and rely on pre-packaged and frozen entrees for most meals. I'm a horrible housekeeper and my kids have to pick up a lot of the slack on chores and cleaning. But now that Dancing Diva is an official Freshman at the local high school and Hockeyman takes classes 2 days a week through a tutoring facility, my homeschooling duties have lightened up considerably. I'm actually enjoying working with the two "little girls" (as they're lovingly referred to in our clan) on their school work. I'm even finding more time to whip up a few meals from scratch. Not too many, though, since I don't want to poison my family or make them think that I've been abducted by aliens and replaced with an evil clone.

Finally, here is the photographic evidence of actual knitting progress . . . This is a sweater in Plymouth Yarn's Kudo (55% cotton, 40% rayon & 5% silk) from the Noro Designer Mini Knits book by Jenny Watson. I'm working on Design 26 (you have to scroll down the page to see the actual design). Coldwater had this sweater on display a month ago, with the alternate yarn suggestion. Since I had a $50 gift certificate burning a hole in my wallet, I decided to treat myself to this lovely yarn and sweater pattern. However, I rewrote the pattern to a top-down version and am thrilled with the sweater so far. I'm nearly done with the body and will only have ribbing to add to the sleeves and the collar and I'll have another finished sweater.

I've been on a sweater knitting frenzy this year. Some of my friends are wondering if we're going to have a particularly hard winter this year. You know, like when the beavers make thicker lodges and wooly caterpillar have heavy coats. Who knows . . . maybe I am reacting to "climate change" in some weird way.

Oh, and by the way, I fixed the cable crosses on Cable Down Sweater. I'm just too compulsive that way.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Ahhh, pics at last . . .


My hubby was able to get the camera working again, so I can finally post pictures of all the work we've been doing around here, which has been the convenient excuse for lack of blogging time.

First of all, here is my kitchen remodel, in progress. So far, we've gotten new granite countertops, a new decorative light fixture (which replaced a very industrial looking florescent fixture) and new stools for the counter.

We still need to refinish the cabinets but I'm waiting to do that until we have ripped out an old desk on the opposite wall and replaced it with a full wall of cabinets. If there is a slight difference in the wood tones, we can refinish everything at once and get it all to blend. That is, if everything goes according to plan . . .

Here are also the long awaited pics of Cable Down Raglan. I haven't washed and blocked it yet because I'm pondering the necessity of fixing the mixed up cable crossings on the front. All of them should cross right over left but I somehow got it all screwed up. I know how to fix cables without unraveling everything but how much do I care about the error? Either way, I need to decide before I wash and block because the 100% wool will probably felt a bit when I wash it, making it harder to pull out the couple stitches that need fixing.

In the meantime, I've moved on to yet another sweater and am more than half done with it. More on that later . . .

So, what's your opinion? Leave well enough alone or fix the cables?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Busy, busy, busy

Just a quick update . . . We've been really busy getting some home improvement projects done around here. I have beautiful new granite counter tops now but no ability to photograph them because hubby dropped the digital camera and broke the lens.

I have frantically been finishing up the twin cardigans and wove in the last tail in the past hour . . . no photos because of above mentioned tragic circumstances.

I've resurrected Cable Down Sweater but can't show the progress because, well, you know.

However, Hockeyman placed an order for a very expensive, digital camera of his own this week. Here's hoping it arrives soon so that he can provide me with some artistic shots of all the lovely progress that's been going on around here.

Otherwise, you'll just have to take my word for it that I really am doing worthwhile things with my time off of blogging.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Surgery success

After a whirlwind finish for Little Shop of Horrors, including strike and a post-strike pool party (where I never intended to swim but ended up being tossed in the pool anyway), we spent the rest of the week recuperating and resting up for Dancing Diva's big surgical adventure.

It was a long day at the hospital's same day surgery center but, in the end, everything went well. The doctor told us that there was no ligament damage but that the bone fragment he removed was one of the largest he's ever seen. No wonder poor DD was in so much pain. A little shaving off of a thickened area to facilitate the passage of the ligament through a channel was the extent of the soft tissue repair.

Alas, even though the surgery was pretty straightforward, DD has 4 weeks ahead of crutches, 4 weeks of the boot, then 4 weeks of physical therapy before she can return to dancing.

Maybe this time I can get her to take up knitting . . .

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Not convinced yet . . .

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gah!


The madness continues around here. We're at the theater nightly now, finishing up the props and sets for Little Shop of Horrors. We're running around town during the daytime, finding elusive items like period appropriate phones, cheap cigars and fake guts. We're finishing up annual dental exams, doctors appointments, hockey tournaments and dance camps.

Alas, Dancing Diva now needs surgery to correct her ankle issues. She is scheduled for surgery in 2 weeks. So, of course, we have pre-op stuff to take care of as well.

In those little snippets of time in waiting rooms, riding to tournaments and waiting for various and sundry kids, I have managed to finish one of two baby gifts for Bubba's swim coach, who just happened to become the proud father of twins last week.

I'm frantically trying to squeeze a few more minutes into each day to finish the second cardigan so that we can present them to the coach at the Summer Season Final Banquet.

In the meantime, poor Cable Down Raglan is languishing in the corner. I'm really hoping it doesn't start whining and writing letters of complaint before I can get back to it. While I'm still very much in love with it, babies will always come first.

Especially adorable twin boys.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Belated Anniversary

Sheesh, I know I've been in the Insane-Summer-Schedule-Frenzy but I can't believe I missed my blogiversary this year. I've now been officially blogging for 3 years and 5 days.

Not that it's a huge milestone but it might have been fun to throw a little whoop-di-doo of some sort.

But the ISSF has been relentless and I'm a little kerfaffled right now. Perhaps I'll come up with a little give-away next month - a kind of 3 years and 1 month-iversary deal.

For now, I'm still running rampant in the hamster wheel of life. I promised an update on Dancing Diva, so here goes. Her official diagnosis is posterior ankle impingement syndrome. In layman's terms, she is one of the lucky 7% of the population that has an extra little bone in her ankle. In the normal scheme of things, this little bone doesn't cause any issues - except in dancers, gymnasts and swimmers. Those sports tend to use an exaggerated toe-point position that causes a ligament that passes through the back of the ankle to get caught on and snap around this extra bone. That's where DD's little saga started.

The good news is that she is improving, albeit somewhat slowly. Her latest treatment involves a topical patch containing cortical steroids on the affected ankle. This is supposed to reduce inflammation and irritation. It seems to be working but we're moving forward cautiously. If it flares up again, surgery will be the next logical step. Fortunately, the surgery will just remove the extra bone, clean up any scar tissue and not require any special reconstruction. Recovery should be fairly rapid and will hopefully eliminate the source of the problem. She is working hard to follow her Physical Therapist's exercise regime and follow all the proper steps in her recovery. Ideally, we'd like to avoid surgery but are also content if the specialists determine surgery will be her best hope of continuing to dance.

Because she has decided to continue dancing. She has cut back significantly the number of classes she will be taking this year. So for now, she retains her title of Dancing Diva.

In other non-knitting news, DD and I are Co-Prop Mistresses for the upcoming Chaska Valley Family Theater production of Little Shop of Horrors. We've been working hard to come up with all the little doo-dads and thing-a-ma-jigs that this dark musical comedy requires. It's been a great deal of fun to do this with DD and I'm looking forward to seeing the show. The actors chosen are fabulous and it's going to be hilarious. If you're in the Twin Cities area, consider coming to see the show. Fair warning, though, it is rated PG-13. It's not really for the little ones (though Bubba and Peeps are both begging and wheedling to come see it.)

Well, I kept one promise but have broken the other. I didn't manage to get any photos taken today of the Cable Down Sweater but I am making progress on it. And a couple other little knitting projects.

I swear I am making progress! No kidding, I really am. You just wait - I'll show you - when I get a picture, that is.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Excuses

Well, life has been as hectic as it usually is in the fall. I truly thought blogging in the summer would be much easier to do. Alas, it was all a fragile dream that has crashed into a million pieces.

In knitting news, I continue to plug away at the Cable Down Raglan. I have about 6 inches left on the first sleeve. I did get a chance to try it on and it's going to be one of those roomy sweaters you wear over something else at the ski lodge while you hold your breath as your 8 year old bombs a black diamond hill. In other words, the perfect Minnesota Winter Sweater.

I also found myself at Coldwater Collaborative twice during the Crazy Days sale. I was as out of control as usual and picked up enough pink Rowan Calmer to make a long sleeve version of the Daily Sweater from Mason Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines. I also found myself meeting a friend there without my ubiquitous knitting bag in tow and ended up getting another pair of 40" size 1 Addi Turbos and 2 skeins of sock yarn. Since I'd forgotten my bag, I just had to have a project to work on while my friend and I chatted over coffee and scones, following our shopping trip.

I have some non-knitting type news as well. For the past month or so, I've been working on getting certification as a stroke and turn judge for swimming. Since I've been a Hockey Mom for 10 years and done all the Hockey Mom duties over the past few years; and I've been a Dance Mom for as many years, doing all the Dance Mom duties required, I decided being a Swim Mom required the some extra effort as well. Gotta be fair to all the kiddo's, doncha know. Anyway, I spent the entire weekend at a swim meet, shadowing officials and learning the ropes of officiating at swimming events. I need one more shadow session at the A level to gain my certification, which will probably have to wait until fall, since the long course season is nearly over. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to shadow at finals or state events, which is all that are left of this season. But now I'll be able to add Stroke & Turn Judge to my Mommy resume.

There is tons more going on but I've got to take Dancing Diva to her physical therapy session right now. Which is going very well, which leads to even more news on the family front. But you'll just have to stay tuned for an update later.

And pictures. I promise I'll get some pictures up here - soon.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Home Again - Alleluia

Well, Summer Vacation '09 was not an unmitigated success. It wasn't the vacation from h*ll but it wasn't at all what I planned on or expected.

First of all, it rained for 3 days straight. It seemed as though the minute we left the great state of Minnesota, the heavens poured down. The closer we got to our destination, the harder it rained. The only blessing was that the rain slowed to a light misting when we arrived at the campground - just long enough for us to erect the tent and toss sleeping bags and suitcases into it. Alas, the skies began to fall as soon as we were in the tent and continued bombarding us all night.

I am incredibly thankful that my hubby and son had spent extra time waterproofing the tent last summer. We were nice and dry all night inside the tent, if a little cold. You see, the temperatures dropped in the night - right to the bottom extreme of the temperature rating on all our sleeping bags. In the morning, I found two little girls huddled in the bottom of their sleeping bags. It took several minutes of digging to find them down in the depths of their flannel cocoons. And Hockeyman, being the rough and not-so-ready type, decided he was too tough to bring his sleeping bag and only brought a lightweight blanket along. The only bright side to that brilliant decision is he was up at dawn, starting a fire in the ongoing drizzle and fog of the morning. It took him quite some time to get a decent blaze but at least he was motivated to keep trying, while the rest of us snuggled down in our sleeping bags, praying for some sun and heat. Hockeyman thoroughly regretted his choice to ignore his very wise mom's repeated instructions to bring his sleeping bag. (Teenagers think they know it all - teeheehee - this time Mom was the smart one.)

Because we were only able to set up the sleeping tent, I was unable to cook breakfast in the morning. The screened cooking tent stayed in it's bag because the ground was far too wet and muddy to risk trying to set it up. So, off to town for breakfast. After breakfast, we scouted around the local area for indoor activities.

After a day of eating out, bowling, playing board games in the campground game room, we retreated to our tent for yet another wet and even colder night. This led to another issue that made the trip a little less pleasant than it could have been.

Since Hockeyman didn't listen to his brilliant female parent, we had to improvise the sleeping arrangements a bit. So, Mom & Dad's sleeping bags were zipped together into one big sleeping bag and we invited Peeps to join us. That would allow Hockeyman to have Peeps sleeping bag and hopefully sleep a little more comfortably.

Now, you'd think that inviting the youngest member of the clan to join Mom & Dad in a double sleeping bag wouldn't be that much of an inconvenience. However, Peeps, who is just 48" tall and only weighs 40 or so pounds, is the biggest sleeper on the planet. She grew up with a few insecurity issues as a toddler and would often sneak into Mom & Dad's bed for comfort in the middle of the night. That was when we discovered her remarkable super power. She had this astounding ability to splay out all her limbs, turn sideways and take up 3/4's of a queen-size bed. No matter how many times you would shift her into an appropriate sleeping position, she'd rearrange herself into the most space-consuming positions imaginable and push one or both of us off the bed.

As a result of this amazing display of super-human sleeping size, my hubby has banned Peeps from sleeping between us and now I act as a buffer between Peeps and Hubby. So I spent my remaining nights sleeping in the middle of the double sleeping bag (which kept unzipping everytime someone turned over and exposing my body to the cold, night air), being kicked and slapped by the biggest little sleeper in the world (who also is know to giggle hysterically in her sleep - cute but definitely a sleep-banishing sound) and slipping between the two air mattresses under the sleeping bags (putting a portion of my bum in contact with the cold ground for a good portion of every night).

Alas, it stayed cold, cloudy and damp the rest of our vacation. We did get enough dry times to squeeze in horseback riding, go kart driving, a train trip to an historic logging camp and museum, a petting zoo, miniature golf and some fishing. However, I only cooked 2 meals the whole week, leaving an entire cooler of food in the car to be brought back home and unpacked.

We had a great time laughing and playing board games together, as well as enjoying a fabulous read-aloud book every night. So, while the rain kept this trip from being what we expected, it did bring a lot of togetherness and family memories. (And a few bruises on Mom, courtesy of the worlds biggest little sleeper and a horse named Tex).

And that's what family vacations are really all about . . . right? (Ah, memories - not bruises)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Vacation, at last

Well, after a spur of the moment decision on Monday and frantic preparations for the rest of the week, the whole family is off on vacation. We'll be camping in Northern Wisconsin for five days.

I'd hoped to show everyone a picture of the Cable Down Sweater with the main body done and the sleeves underway . . . Alas, I just ran out of time. However, I do only have about 6 rounds left. CDS is staying home, only because it is getting too large to squeeze into an already grossly over-stuffed van. But the obsession continues and I'm sure I'll be finishing it up as quickly as possible when I get back.

What is camping without knitting, though. I am bringing along a scarf project for Dancing Diva. Oh, and yes, we registered for dance in the fall, although her ankle issues are far from resolved yet. She just can't live without some dance in her life. She'll be in far fewer classes in the fall (only 4) but she'll be dancing. So she can return to her former moniker without fear of confusion or consternation. Anyway . . . the scarf is a simple lace pattern in a bright Toefutsie sock yarn.

I'm also bringing a pair of socks I started months ago. I kind of burned out on socks for awhile but I'm hoping this little pair of Peppermint Pink Socks will bring back the sock knitting mojo.

Both projects are still in their beginning stages, so the projects fit compactly in my little backpack and won't take up too much room.

Well, off to finish packing the cooler and waking the clan to head off to the wilds of Wisconsin. Have a great week, ya'll.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Finally . . .

After struggling with uploading photos for a week, I finally checked in with hubby. Alas, he updated some security features and it was preventing the uploads.

All better, now!

Anyway, I'm a little further along than the photo reveals and still having a great time. In fact, I'm enjoying the cables so much, I picked up some new yarn to revisit the Dickinson Pullover.

More later . . .

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Slow but sure

It's been somewhat of a grueling week for me. Since my boss took her first true vacation in over a year, I've been working lots of LONG hours at the ice cream shop. Fortunately, she hired an additional worker that can do what I do, so I haven't had to cover the entire week by myself. But it's been long enough for my poor feet and right hand. After a winter off of scooping ice cream, I've had to rebuild the muscles in my scooping arm in a hurry. And standing on my feet for 9 or more hours at a time . . . Uggh!

However, in the little dribs and drabs of spare time, I've been plugging away at the Cable Down Raglan. While I can't say I LOVE knitting this sweater as much as the long lost and loudly lamented Dickinson Pullover, it has been a fun knit. I'm finally on the waist cables and looking forward to working on the sleeves.

I'd love to show you a picture of my progress. I had every intention of showing you a picture of my progress. Alas, the server is giving Blogger conniption fits and interrupting the connection incessantly at the moment. So you'll just have to look at the magazine picture in the previous posts and just superimpose the beautiful green yarn in place of the aqua and use your imagination.

In the meantime, I need to get ready for the last day of Boss Lady's vacation.

Feet, don't fail me now!

Monday, June 15, 2009

There and Back Again

The girls and I took a weekend off to go to visit family in Iowa. (Hubby stayed home to supervise Hockeyman, who had to work all weekend. No wild teen parties in HM's future.) It was the one year anniversary of The Flood in Cedar Rapids and my Mom and Sister were having open houses to thank all the workers and volunteers that helped them rebuild their homes.

It was wonderful to see their "new" homes in all there fresh and shining glory.

However, while Mom's away, the cats will play. This little snapshot was sent to my phone while I was in Iowa.



I fought the yarn and the yarn won.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Free at last!

The Garage Sale of Doom is now officially over. We ended a few hours early today because it has been very wet & cold since we opened this morning. While rain may be bad for garage sales (only a few customers today), it is definitely a good thing for the dry, thirsty lawn and garden.

The good news is we did sell a lot of large items that were cluttering up our garage and home. We have a few things left to donate to some worthy cause but it feels good to have cleared out so many things.

The other good news is that we made a healthy profit over the course of the weekend. We will have a nice vacation later this summer - IF certain orthopedically-challenged members of the family make significant recoveries from recent injuries.

The best news is that the Cable Down Sweater is now out of time-out and progressing along nicely. I think the timing of starting this particular sweater was fortuitous because I had finished a couple of top-down sweaters before this one. If I hadn't gotten experience in the top-down genre, I might have missed the problems with the pattern and been very unhappy with the final product.

All in all, it's been a good day.

Now I just need to thaw out in a good, hot bath to be perfectly content. Brrrrr!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Garage Sale of Doom

Well, day one of the Garage Sale of Doom is now over.

For those of you who don't know this about me, I HATE GARAGE SALES.

I know, it's nearly blasphemy in this neck of the woods. Garage Sale-ing is THE national past time in this area.

However, I HATE them.

I've spent the past month blocking out the fact that the entire family has conspired against me to put this sale together. For months, they've been culling the excess possessions from their closets and cubbie holes and talking about how much money they were going to make. They avidly sacrificed any and all little treasures with the great ambition of getting enough money to take a really fun vacations this summer (or get a trampoline, which is Peeps dearest ambition in life at the moment). Piles of used goods filled the porch as teenagers argued over how much to mark things for and who had the better handwriting.

I turned a blind eye, pretended to be deaf and stubbornly refused to discuss anything remotely resembling a garage sale.

With uncanny accuracy, I predicted the final outcome of all this excitement and planning. I knew that all this enthusiasm was just a temporary condition. When the real sale started, kids would evaporate in every direction, hubby would head to work and I'd be stuck doing the one thing in the world that I hate the most - manning a garage sale.

I have to admit, Bubba toughed out the whole day with me. Peeps lost her ambition after lunch, The Girl Formerly Known as Dancing Diva pooped out at 11:30 (her ankle hurts - boo hoo) and Hockeyman decided shopping at garage sales was far more fun than selling stuff and abandoned me for several hours while he cruised the area looking for a drum set.

Ergo, I am sunburned, exhausted, have a headache and know why I have such a supernatural hatred of garage sales.

Cuz' Mom gets stuck with all the work.

Blech!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

One of those patterns . . .


I am having some real issues with Cable Down Raglan. First, when I started it the first time, the raglan increases called for in the pattern were not symmetrical. With all the increase options available, I found it unacceptable that the raglan seams looked so lopsided.

So I frogged it and started over, using my own increases at the raglans, which make me much happier.

However, as I progressed, I had some niggling doubts about the way the neckline was looking. Specifically the transition from the rolled reverse stockinette collar to the cable pattern. Following the original magazine's directions, there is no definition between the rolled color and the reverse stockinette background of the cables.

When you look at the picture in the magazine, there is a definite demarcation between the collar and the body of the sweater.

So I decided to check the Errata section of the Interweave Knits website. Lo and behold, the raglan increases were incorrect in the original pattern and that is why mine were not symmetrical. Had I had the foresight to check for corrections before I even began the sweater, I wouldn't have needed to frog it the first time.

However, there was no correction for the collar transition.

Utterly frustrated, I decided to read the rest of the pattern.

I found that they added two rounds of knitting stitches between the body pattern and the lower trim edging. This instruction is not included on the neckline instructions but obviously were used in the sample they photographed.

Had I followed two of the cardinal rules of knitting (read the entire pattern and check for Errata before beginning), I would have saved myself a lot of time and frustration.

Uggh!

While I have decided to leave the neckline alone for now, and finish the rest of the body, I will cut the neckline off and re-knit it back on the way I think it should be - eventually.

However, since my knitting mojo has decided to take a (hopefully) short vacation, I plan to spend some time working on this project for now.

Cable Down Raglan project is going to sit in the corner and think about its failure to play nice and be pleasant.

Bad Sweater!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

When it rains . . .


It pours. And pours. And pours.

Good news first, cuz I am in desperate need of some positive vibes around here.

The Wicked Green Eyelet Vest is done, done, done. Third FO in 30 days. Woot! The sweaters/vests are just flying off the needles.

This vest used just over 2 skeins of the Premier Yarns Serenity Sports yarn, I think. The back took just over 1 skein and I made both fronts at the same time, so was using 2 more skeins at the same time. Both are a little more than half gone. The great news is that I have 3 more full skeins, plus the partial skeins to make another project. There is a ton of yardage in one of these balls of yarn. I'm already on the hunt for another summer tank top to make with the rest of the yarn.

The top picture is not color accurate. However, the close up picture is far closer to the real color of the yarn. I absolutely love this color and have received numerous compliments when I wear it. So I can't wait to go out in this cute little number. Double Woot!

The Bad News - Hubby injured his calf last night and is now hobbling around on BabyBird/DancingDiva's crutches. We fear he either ruptured a tendon or severely strained his calf muscle. He felt a pop and thought he'd been kicked in the calf when it happened. So, we'll be back at the orthopedic doctor's office this week getting his injury evaluated.

In the meantime, Hubby and BB/DD will be holding regular arm wrestling sessions over whose turn it is to use the crutches.

Oy!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Mixed Blessings


Well, it's been one of those days where you're not quite sure how much to rejoice.

Baby Bird (aka Dancing Diva) had two appointments today - one with the orthopedist for the knee injury; and one with her podiatrist for her on-going ankle issues.

Good news - the knee structure is fine. No tears or damage to the ligaments or meniscus. There are obvious bone bruises on both her femur and fibula, where they knocked together when the knee hyper-extended. Guess it is one of those times when her ultra flexible Gumby-esque joints saved her from a far more devastating injury. She's only needs to do a few exercises at home to maintain her flexibility and strength and wean herself off the crutches as the pain allows. Woot!

Bad news - the ankle injury is far more troubling. While there are no obvious tears or structural damage, there is significant swelling within the joint. The podiatrist has recommended that she stay on the crutches for a couple of weeks, until her knee pain has subsided enough to allow her to wear "The Boot". Then she'll be in The Boot for a few weeks. If there is improvement, she'll start physical therapy in a month or so. If there is not a significant change, surgery is the next option.

Good news - only 10% of these types of ankle issues end up requiring surgery.

Bad news - this 14 year old girl, who is used to action, is already chomping at the bit to be back out there in the world, running around and doing the crazy things teen-age girls do, like going to carnivals, semi-formal dances and graduation parties. Keeping this popular girl down for 4 more weeks is going to be a CHALLENGE.

Hence, I bought her the entire Twilight Series of books by Stephanie Meyer and two season of the Gilmore Girls on DVD. When she runs through those, I'm going to make her finish the Harry Potter series. Anything to keep her off her feet for a few weeks.

Who knows, maybe she'll be desperate enough to pick up knitting or crochet again. Or . . . Mom will be desperate enough to MAKE her pick them up again. Mwahahahaha!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Not So Stellar Holiday Weekend

It has NOT been a good weekend.

First, The-Girl-Formerly-Known-As-Dancing-Diva left town for a dance trip with her performance groups to Branson, Missouri. It's not easy being a mom when her Baby Bird starts venturing so far from the nest.

Second, I started a new sweater with the Dreaming in Color Classy yarn that jumped in my basket during my last trip to Coldwater Collaborative. I made at least 8 inches of progress on this project when I decided that I didn't like the increases the pattern called for and since I know it would bug me forever, I frogged it and started over with modifications that would please me far more. Then, I proceeded to leave the project and the pattern at work so I couldn't work on it anymore this weekend. Doh!

Third, I had my first 9 hour day at the ice cream shop this weekend. I am out of shape from a winter off of scooping ice cream and standing on my feet for 9 hours straight. I am SORE!

Fourth, while on her trip, Baby Bird fell and damaged the ACL in her right knee. Now she not only has an ankle issue that needs to be addressed, but she'll be having another MRI this week and a treatment program put together for her knee. The poor girl had to suffer through 2 full days of her trip on crutches, with a knee brace and only over-the-counter pain meds and ice to see her through. While definitely not pleasant for her, Mom found the fact that her little one was suffering so far from home nearly unbearable. Baby Bird may never leave Momma Bird's sight again!

On the plus side, the weather was gorgeous and I did get to spend extra time planting my summer garden, refreshing the mulch in my flower beds and knitting on the Wicked Eyelet Vest while traveling to a family gathering in Southern Minnesota yesterday. Baby Bird made it home safely last night and after a few hours of coddling and commiserating, we're all set to get her put back together as soon as possible.

Oh, and Baby Bird made the startling announcement that she was reconsidering her decision to drop dance completely (pre-knee-injury, of course). Now we need to get the Doctor's opinion before we go so far as to re-christen her Dancing Diva for blogging purposes.

Can you spell r-o-l-l-e-r-c-o-a-s-t-e-r?

(In answer to a question regarding Wicked Eyelet Vest - I never use a cable needle if I can avoid it. I am a liberated cable knitter.)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Ta-da!

Finally finished.

Modifications - couldn't make the crocheted neckline pattern lay down smoothly so decided to add the seed stitch ribbing to the neckline. I really prefer it, since it keeps it simple and cohesive.

Love, love, love this pattern.

Well, off to a romantic dinner with the hubby. Since all three girls are off on various sleep overs and Hockeyman has his BFF staying at our house tonight, we're free to go out and enjoy a night on the town. Of course, I'm wearing Pioneer to paint the town red!

Woo hoo!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Almost a FO


Well, in spite of some dedicated effort the past two days, I'm still falling short of having a finished garment to show today. Although I'm loving the Wicked Eyelet Vest (it's a super fun knit), I decided to set it aside and try and finish the seafoam green Pioneer. I finished knitting the main body and used the now favorite tubular bind off to finish the bottom edge. I've picked up one of the sleeves and started knitting. I'm 48 sleeve rounds from finishing both sleeves, then I just need to add the crochet trim around the neckline and I'm done.

However, the weather has put out a siren call to putz in the garden today. After two days of record high temperatures and a few rumbles of thunder in the wee sma' hours of the morning, today's weather is delightfully cool and moist. Just perfect for setting out tomato and pepper plants, as well as filling some decorative pots with colorful annuals.

So Pioneer is once again on the back burner, while I heed nature's insistent beckoning into the great outdoors.

Maybe tomorrow Pioneer will be finished . . .
(Photograph courtesy of Hockeyman)

Or maybe not.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

End of an Era

Well, we survived the dance marathon recital weekend. Barely.

First, Dancing Diva has been battling an ankle issue for a few months. We've been to see a podiatrist recently and she has posterior ankle impingement syndrome with evidence of an old avulsion fracture on the back of her heel. We had DD in for an MRI on Friday and are awaiting the results before determining a course of treatment.

Second, DD has had an allergy to latex that has been escalating lately, and she had a serious reaction at the finale of the jazz show on Saturday night, when there was a balloon drop. She was checked out by an EMT who happened to be in the audience and she is okay but it really zapped her energy level for the final shows on Sunday. She was a trooper and battled through the pain from her ankle and the fatigue on Sunday and finished the recital weekend.

However, because she will be attending the local high school in the fall, the significance of the ankle issues and the escalation of her allergies to a component in many dance outfits and tights, Dancing Diva has decided to stop dancing completely.

Naturally, I am very sad because it has been a pleasure to watch her grow in grace and beauty as a dancer but am fully in support of her decision. She knows what she wants to study in college (architecture, with an emphasis on historical restorations and hotel design) and she is very interested in doing more theater and learning to play drums. So she will no longer be Dancing Diva in the blog. I haven't come up with a new moniker for her yet but will wait and see what develops as she pursues some new interests.

In the meantime, to battle the post-recital-let-down-and-sad-she's-not-dancing depression that has been plaguing me this week, I am actively working on my latest obsession love affair favorite project.

Unfortunately, the color in the photo is not accurate. Hockeyman has been messing with the settings on the camera again and I'm clueless on how to remedy it.

To admit I love this pattern would be an understatement! However, I have modified it slightly, carrying the right twist cable past the lower ribbing, the full way up the bottom half of the vest. I felt the added elasticity of the extra cable would really pull the bodice in on the thinnest part of my torso and be more flattering in the long run.

This photo really doesn't do the pattern justice either, because the cables and lace patterns really pop in this Debra Norville Collection Premier Yarn Serenity Sport Weight. Hopefully, after I torture ask Hockeyman to restore the settings on the camera, I'll be able to take a far better photo.

If not, he'll have to start doing the photography for this blog - pro bono, of course. I refuse to pay a camera saboteur.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Can't blog right now . . .


Been super busy this week with end of year stuff. But I've been spinning up a storm in my spare minutes.

I've finished spinning up 8 ounces of Louet Northern Lights in the Ocean Wave color way. I'm having so much fun.

In non-fiber news, we have a new licensed driver in the house as of 12:00 noon today. Guess I'll have to start lifting weights in case we start arm wrestling for control of the keys around here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Where to begin . . .

I know I've been MIA for awhile. What can I say? First there was the Shepherd's Harvest Prep week, when I could do nothing but make lists, plan and pack because my excitement level made concentrating on anything else impossible.

Then there was THE WEEKEND. Yes, those are red letters because it was a red letter weekend.

Then there was the Post Shepherd's Harvest let down.

To say I had a wonderful weekend would be an understatement. It was fabulous. To start with, although the weather was a little chilly, the predicted rain never showed up. It was a true blessing because I had to carry around my spinning wheel and accessories and the last thing I wanted was to shlepp everything through mud puddles, like I had to last year.

Because I've been to the festival in very cold weather, I was prepared with warm enough layers, hats and gloves and such. I even remembered a cushion for the chair, so my rump stayed warm this year. Good planning and preparation are the first step in preparing for a red letter weekend.

In addition to the better than expected weather, the classes were wonderful. Patsy Zawistoski taught the Luxury Fiber class on Saturday. Of all the teachers I've ever had, her teaching style was the most perfect for my learning style. When she explained things, lights went on, bells rung and all the pieces fell into place. I learned not only how to handle the more tricky luxury fibers like mohair, llama, alpaca, angora, etc., but learned how to properly card and comb fibers for specific effects. I ended up purchasing a DVD from her on how to spin specialty yarns. I am so impressed with it, I hope to buy all of her DVD's and booklets to make a complete library. All I can say is if I ever get the chance, I'll take more classes from her in a heartbeat!

On Sunday, Carol Wagner taught us how to make novelty yarns. In spite of some technical difficulties with her wheel, she managed to do a great job teaching us how to make slubby singles, knot yarn, marled yarn, and beaded yarn. I walked away with some new techniques in my basket of tricks. So much fun.

I managed to buy plenty of new toys and fiber, too. First, I picked up a mini niddy-noddy and a new flicker first thing Saturday morning from Mielke's Fiber Arts. I visit their booth every year because they have such useful tools and supplies. I can count on them having exactly what I need every year. I knew I would need a much smaller niddy-noddy for the classes and Andrea came through for me.

Saturday afternoon, I picked up some silk hankies, two bags of merino/silk blend slivers and two balls of navy blue wool top from The Fiber Studio. I had a lovely chat withPam Angier about joining them for their open spinning sessions. I'm so excited about finding a spinning group to join that I'm hoping their classes will fit with my schedule. It's not a great photo of the fibers but it's kind of a gloomy day here in Minnesota.

Sunday, I found some mini double row combs so I can keep experimenting with preparing fibers for the novelty yarns. I'm sorry I can't remember who the vendor was because they used generic sales slips and didn't include a card in the bag. I suspect it was Earthsong Fibers but wouldn't bet one of my children on it. There were so many fabulous vendors and I circled all four buildings so many times, things began to mush together in my brain.

My last purchases of the weekend were two baskets and some sock yarn from Tall Tale Yarn Shop. The small basket hangs nicely from the spinning wheel, to hold tools and accessories. The larger basket is the perfect size to carry my larger accessories to and from classes and such.

To make the weekend even more perfect, I had a very nice stay at Holiday Inn Express in Stillwater. I reserved a king room with a whirlpool tub for the night and it was the perfect choice. After sitting in a cold fairground building for six hours, taking a warm bath was heavenly.

When I got home on Sunday evening, there were cards and flowers waiting for me. Talk about the perfect ending to a red-letter weekend.

Now, there are only 360 days until Shepherd's Harvest 2010!