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.


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 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!