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.


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


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!