My Virtual Sanity

Have you ever felt the need to share your thoughts with virtual strangers just so you can pretend that you have adult conversations during the day? Well, that's what I'm about to do. Be prepaired for my life as a stay at home, obsessive knitter, and my attempts to stay connected with the rest of the world.

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Location: Denver, Colorado, United States

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Life, a big dirt lot, cute baby smiles, and everything

Good afternoon world. Today is my first Tuesday by myself with the kids since Brendan joined us. DH works late shift on Tuesdays. This is usually the hardest day of the week for me, because I know from the moment that DH walks out the door until the kids go to bed they are all mine. No one is coming home to rescue me. I don't have a car to go anywhere. Such is life. Being the soft hearted mommy that I am, and in hopes that they will all sleep at once, I allowed the 2 older kids to watch Buzz Lightyear instead of sending them to bed right after lunch. If they all sleep at once, then mommy might get a nap too! What a wonderful thought.

I was really worried about Shaya being jealous of the baby. She would scream if I had Alex sit in my lap instead of her, but she doesn't seem to mind the baby. In fact, her number 1 complaint seems to be that she can't hold the baby while I feed him. I have to watch them carefully so that she doesn't try to pick him up. She thinks he is the best baby doll she has ever seen. DH affectionately calls him a "Burp me Brendan" doll.

Have I mentioned that I'll be spending the rest of the day in a 900 square foot apartment with 3 kids and no yard? Have I mentioned before how this irritates me? Well, the wait for a yard, and a larger home is almost over! DH and I have been very patiently waiting on the infuriating rules of my grandmother's county to quit making her jump through hoops, and allow her to give us her very generous gift of land. My grandmother owns 20 some acres of horse property here, and for over a year now has been wrangling with her county to allow her to subdivide off 2 1/2 acres to give to DH and I. It is the front corner of her property, and we would be her closest neighbors. Well, it is official. As of last Wednesday, DH and I are the proud new owners of a big piece of dirt! Isn't that exciting? We have a meeting with our builder on Friday to put down a deposit and start the process of building our very own home. Our condo has served us well, and was wonderful when we first got married. Our only child then was a cat that DH gave to me as a wedding present. Now we have 3 kids and no place for them to run. It's time to move on. The thought of a yard for the kids, a swing set, grass, and another bedroom are wonderful. I am also excited about the though of linoleum in the dining room instead of carpet like we have now. Trying to scrub food that the toddler has dropped out of carpet isn't very much fun. Maybe some time down the road I'll even convince DH that we need some sheep. Of course I'll have to learn how to spin before that happens :D

It never seems to amaze me, however, that as soon as we have money to spare, something comes along to suck it up. Instead of looking at this as someone is out to get me, I like to look at it as God is watching over me. He makes the car run those few extra months until DH gets a bonus before it breaks down. This time, our washing machine broke down. Amazingly enough, DH gets his spring bonus this Friday. I went to wash the slip cover from our couch which was looking grimey the other day for my 1 load of laundry, and pulled out the knob and nothing happened. I should stop assuming that DH knows anything about household repair at this point because when he got home and I told him that the washer wasn't working, he replied "I guess we'll have to take a trip to the laundry mat this week" I hate the laundry mat! I have really loved only doing 1 load of laundry every day for the past month that I have been following fly lady. I haven't really known what to do with myself in the mornings since that part of my morning routine is gone. That being said, I know DH has logic behind his reluctance to call a repair person. We will be getting a brand new house in a few months. If the new house comes with a new washer and dryer, then we shouldn't waste the money fixing this one. This means that we would have to do laundry at the laundry mat for the next few months YUCK! So, I called our builder this morning and asked them if the house appliance package included a washer and dryer. It doesn't. So, we will either need to repair this one, or buy a new one for the new house anyway. Of course that means that I, not my DH, will be calling the repair person, but that's ok. I'm the one who cares whether we have a washer in the house.

The funny thing is, that I wasn't thinking about the laundry mat when I first found out the washer was broken. My first thought was "Hmm, I guess I won't be doing any felting any time soon." Do you think the people at the laundry mat would be upset if I threw some felting into their washers?

Oh, look! In the time it took me to make this post, all 3 kids are asleep. Nap time for mommy!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

What kind of yarn are you?

Ok, so I saw this on someone's blog. They were Acrylic. I think I like my results better :D

What kind of yarn are you?

You are Merino Wool.You are very easygoing and sweet. People like to keep you close because you are so softhearted. You love to be comfortable and warm from your head to your toes.
Take this quiz!

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Monday, March 20, 2006

It's Cold out there!

This is the view of my neighborhood from outside my front window. Look there's snow! My DH went to take my DS to school today, and took the trash out at the same time. I was surprised to see them come back in so quickly. Apparently "It's COLD out there". So, Alex took a snow day today from preschool, and we all just kind of sat in the house. No, I haven't even ventured outside, so I have no idea how cold it really is. I watched an adult movie (no not that kind!). The kind that doesn't have a cartoon character in it. It's been a while since I actually got to watch one of my movies on my I also got a few repeats knitted on my beautiful silk wrap.

Now, I'm sitting here in my jeans (yes, jeans a week after having a baby!) over sized sweatshirt and my conwy socks, and am about to make us all some wonderful "It's cold out there" dinner. Grilled cheese and tomato soup. DS has completely ignored my request NOT to turn on a cartoon movie, and I am sitting here typing instead of doing anything about it. I must have really meant that No, huh? Oh well, I lack the motivation to do anything, and it will keep them quiet while I make dinner.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Strike a Pose!

One Digital Camera
Unlimited Pictures
The Perfect Shot

To view the complete Photoshow of last night's photo session, click here:

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Remember all that wonderful yarn I got at the Salvation Army? Remember how it was all in the form of sweaters? Well, I have officially started a project using some of that yarn. My first project is Michaela by Beroco. I am using that beautiful off white silk/rayon yarn. It took about 48 hours to dry before I could wind it all up, and when I did wind it, I estimated that I only have about 470 yrds! Yikes! The pattern calls for closer to 1200 yrds. Well, I will not be deterred!

Instead of 7 pattern repeats, I'm using only 4. My gauge is also bigger. I know it will probably still be shorter than the pattern, but I'm ok with that.

I have made a few mistakes, but they're not really noticeable. I have been working on it for a week now and have almost used half my yarn. I thought I'd knit more while I was in the hospital, but I really lacked motivation. Holding the baby was more important than

Sunday, March 12, 2006

New arrival!

Brendan Elijah Prickett
9lbs 13 oz
22 inches
Born: 3-10-06 @ 10:10am

The newest member of the Prickett family has officially arrived! I was induced on my due date Thursday 3/9. Brendan was born on Friday morning. He is my 3rd child, and apparently despite the fact that I'm built rather small, they just keep getting bigger. Just imagine what he would have been if I hadn't been induced!

Warning, if you don't want to hear all the details of the birth, stop here! I am not shy after 3 kids.

I'm a firm believer in Epi Dural's. I figure if I don't have to suffer the pain, then I'm not going to choose to. For some reason the medicine didn't affect a small 2 inch section on my right side this time around, and it needed to be readjusted after about 30 minutes to get me completely pain free. When I was pain free, I dozed happily and waited for things to happen. The nurses checked on me and started panicking. "There's a head! We need a doctor!" My doctor was at his office taking care of other patients, and apparently thought it would take me more than an hour from when he broke my water for things to happen. I guess he was wrong. He arrived in time to weigh the baby and check him over. That's the wonderful thing about Family Practice. Just 1 doctor for everyone :D The nurse technically delivered the baby, but I don't think there was really any "delivering" involved. He literally delivered himself. Despite the nurses frantically telling me not to push and me (being completely pain free) trying not to laugh at the situation, Brendan decided he was finally ready to enter the world. They told me to push once, and I just leaned forward and there he was. I don't think that pushing was even necessary. I'm sorry if that was a little graphic for you all, but I find it incredibly funny. I suppose you had to be there.

We are all finally home this evening and he is quietly snoozing away in his bassinet. Let's all hope I get SOME sleep tonight :D

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Finished! Grandma's Gloves

Pattern: "Cozy Cabled Gloves" from Knitting in the Round
Yarn: Sport weight red, green, and gold twisted washable wool Ebay yarn (Same yarn used for Conwy socks). Knit with 2 strands together to make worsted weight
Needles: Sizes 8 and 6 dpn
Date started: 3-4-06
Date finished: 3-7-06

My grandma is an amazing woman. She is a pediatric nurse and has work night shift in people's homes for more years than I've been alive taking poor sick kids on ventilators. They are completely helpless, poor things. She is also my "horse" grandma. She owns a horse boarding facility which was a dream of hers, and really spoils the horses far too much. She also has electrical problems in her barn, so not all of the stalls have water heaters in the winter. This means that when she feeds the horses in the morning, there is a layer of ice covering the water on very cold days. She complained to me that she inevitably as she's chopping and then scooping this ice out it gets her gloves wet and her hands get very cold. I thought "Aha! I know what would be good for that! Wool!" Wool has amazing properties. It can be almost sopping wet and still retain it's warmth. Elizabeth Zimmerman in her book "Knitting Without Tears" talks about her husband hunting all day in soggy socks after rescuing a dog from a half frozen pond with no ill effects. I immediately offered to make my grandma some wool gloves.

I really like this pattern. It is very simple and goes amazingly fast. I finished the first glove in half a day! It uses size 8 dpn and worsted weight yarn, with a whopping 34 stitch cast on! After just knitting socks on size 1 needles and 64 stitches, these felt like nothing to whip out. I also really like how this yarn works up when doubled. The colors are more rich with larger stitches, and the cables show up fantastically! This is the third pair of gloves I've made using this pattern. The 2 previous pairs were Christmas presents, and were what sparked the massive knitting campaign. They were my VERY first project involving dpn, and you now know how I adore dpn. If you can knit a round tube, and pick up stitches along the side of things, you too can make gloves, they are deceptively simple.

Monday, March 06, 2006

FO Alert ~ STR Socks

Pattern: No pattern (See below for "Basic" sock formula)
Yarn: STR (Socks that Rock) by Blue Moon Fiber Arts
Needles: Size 1 dpn

I finished these about lunch time on Saturday, and have waited until today to wear them. I wanted to show them off while I was out and about today. They are a bit looser than my Conwy socks. I think that my feet and ankles need a 52 stitch cast on, rather than a 64. Yes, I have been blessed with skinny They still feel wonderful on my feet. I seriously thought about frogging them and switching to 52 stitches after I had done the heal of the first one, but I figured they were ok, which they are. The yarn was a dream to knit with, and I love the colors. Someday I will buy some more STR, but for now, these are the most expensive pair of socks I have ever worn (about $20)! But what do you expect from 100% superwash Merino wool?! I've also heard these wear like iron, so I expect to get 7 good years of wear out of these babies.

Basic Sock Formula:
  1. Cast on your desired EVEN number of stitches and divide between 3 dpn. Standard numbers seem to be 72, 64, or 52. (I used 64 stitches for these socks, but in the future will use 52, as they're a bit baggy)
  2. K2 P2 around
  3. Continue in K2 P2 ribbing until Cuff reaches desired length (Mine are 8 inches long)
Heel Flap:
  1. Knit across half of the stitches and slip the remaining half to a stitch holder
  2. Heel flap Row 1: Slip 1 Pearl across remaining stitches, Turn
  3. Heel flap Row 2: Slip 1, Knit 1 across, Turn
  4. Repeat Heel flap rows 1 and 2 16 more times (this creates 17 chain stitches)
Turn Heel:
  1. Slip 1 and pearl across half the stitches Plus 2 (For 52 stitch sock this is 15, for 64 this is 18, etc)
  2. P2tog, P1, turn
  3. Count the number of stitches remaining that were not worked last row. Slip first stitch, Knit across that number minus 3 (8 for 52 stitch sock, 11 stitches for 64 stitch sock, etc), K2tog, K1, Turn.
  4. Slip 1, Pearl across to next to last stitch worked previous round. P2tog, Pearl 1, Turn
  5. Slip 1, Knit across to next to last stitch worked previous round. K2tog, Knit 1, Turn
  6. Continue in this manner until no stitches remain on left hand needle before turning.
  7. Work across one more row if necessary to end with WS facing for next row
  8. Knit across half stitches
  9. Start new needle and work remaining stitches
  10. On same needle pick up 17 stitches along the side of the heel flap
  11. Return stitches from stitch holder and knit across
  12. On new needle pickup 17 stitches along heel flap and work remaining half of heel stitches.
  1. Knit to within 3 stitches of end of needle, K2tog, Knit 1
  2. Knit across instep stitches
  3. Knit 1, SSK continue knitting to end of needle
  4. Knit around the entire round
  5. Continue in this manner decreasing 1 stitch on each side of the instep every other row until the number of stitches on the 2 side needles equals half of the instep stitches (13 stitches for 52 stitch sock, 16 stitches for 62 stitch sock, etc)
  6. Work even in stockingette for desired length of sock minus 2 inches (My foot is size 8 or 8 1/2 and I work for 7 to 7 1/2 inches)
Toe decrease:
  1. Knit to within 3 stitches of end of needle, K2tog, Knit 1
  2. Knit 1 instep stitch, SSK, knit to within 3 of end of needle, K2tog, Knit 1
  3. Knit 1, SSK, Knit to end of needle
  4. Work second row even
  5. Continue in this manner, decreasing 4 stitches every other round until you have divided the total number of stitches on the needles by half.
  6. End with yarn tail at one end or other of the instep stitches. Cut yarn 4x the length of remaining stitches.
  7. Slip both heel sides onto one needle and use the kirtchner stitch to graft the toe together
  8. weave in ends.

Friday, March 03, 2006

STR, Recycled yarn, and smiling faces

I thought it was about time to tell you a little about what I've been up to here..... aside from making tutorials.

I have been working away on my STR (Socks that Rock) socks. This was my gift skein in Lagoon. I must say that I adore the yarn, and adore the color way. It has a very tight twist, but unlike with crochet cotton (which it kind of looks like with that tight twist) it makes very soft, fat, bouncy stitches. It doesn't split and is really a dream to knit with. Too bad it is so expensive, or I'd be knitting everything with this yarn. I'm absolutely serious.

I have also decided to try my hand at recycling yarn. For those of you that don't know what this is, it is essentially frogging sweaters to scavenge the yarn and then using that yarn to make something else. I've read quite a bit about it, and how it can allow yarn snobs to live on a strict budget. I went to the DAV the other day and bought 9 sweaters at $.98 each. I consider that a very good yarn Even if I mess some of these sweaters up, I still got my money worth. Most of my yarn is still in sweater form, but I'm not going to let that stop me! To recycle the yarn, you undo the seams of the sweater and unravel it. You then soak it in hot soapy water to release all the kinks. I used baby shampoo because it's very mild and has a pleasant scent :D You then hang it up to dry. The white yarn has been drying now for over 24 hours, and I'm getting a little impatient with it.

So far I have ripped apart 2 of the sweaters. One was a women's shell 60% silk, 40% rayon. It is beautiful yarn. Liquid drape and gorgeous sheen. I've found, though, that with the 2 sweaters I've unraveled that they like to knit several strands of lace weight yarn together. This sweater has 3 strands, making it about sport weight I think, maybe light worsted. It is hard to get a picture that truly shows the beauty of the yarn. I can't wait until it fully drys and I can wind it into balls. It tells me that it wants to become this:
I know that I don't have the full 1200 yards, or am pretty sure. I haven't actually measured my yarn yet. I think I might have closer to 700. I think it'll still be beautiful as a smaller wrap though :D

The blue recycled yarn is 100% cotton. The sweater was brand new. It still had inspector stickers on the inside, and when I washed it, it bled a little bit into the water. At first I thought that I wanted to make a nice baby blanket from it, but I'm having second thoughts and thinking maybe of a Picovoli for me. The original sweater was knit at about 6 stitches to the inch, which isn't too far off from the required 22 per 4 inches of the pattern.

The sweaters that have yet to be frogged include:
  1. Grey cowl neck women's sweater 31% Nylon, 29% Rayon, 23% Angora, 8% Lambs Wool
  2. Powder pink women's cardigan 78% Silk, 13% Angora, 9% Nylon
  3. Blue, black, and white twisted yarn women's cowl neck sweater 70% Lambswool, 20% Angora, 10% Cashmere
  4. Navy blue men's sweater 40% Wool, 15% Nylon, 10% Cashmere
  5. Blue heathered women's cardigan 100% Lambswool (This one is about lace weight and will become a shawl or scarf)
  6. Red/whine men's heathered sweater 100% Shetland Wool
  7. Creamy tan slightly heathered men's sweater 100% Merino wool!
Now for the smiling faces:
We're going to the zoo this afternoon, but the kids don't know it yet. Just imagine the smiles when we tell them! I wonder if all that walking will send me into labor..... we can only hope :D

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Kirtchner Stitch - A tutorial

Yes, I know, there are MANY places on the internet that describe how to do the kirtchner stitch. I have found, though, that many many people still give up and think that they can't do it even after reading these tutorials. I think it might help to explain the theory, and maybe my description will be just enough different that it will finally "click" in your head and you go "AHAA!!" We all learn and understand things differently, and just because you never got it with a previous explanation, doesn't mean that you can't do it. You just haven't found the one explanation that really makes sense to you yet.

The Kirtchner Stitch:
This is a way of "grafting" or literally fusing 2 pieces of knitted fabric together. There is no seam. Your sewing literally makes a new line of knitting to join the 2 pieces and it is now 1 solid piece of fabric. It is most often used in socks and shoulder seams. There are a few rules of when you can do this though:
  1. The stitches on the needles must be live. You can not graft a bound off edge. You can, however bind it off temporarily then unbind it and put it back on a needle for grafting.
  2. There must be the same number of stitches on both needles. IE: both pieces of fabric must have the same number of live stitches left on the needle in order to graft them together.
  3. Grafting is usually with the tops of 2 pieces of fabric, but can also be done with a top and a bottom IF the bottom was created using a provisional cast on. Remove the provisional cast on, pick up the live stitches and you are ready to graft.
As if to pearl-
This means that you insert your needle through the front leg of the loop from right to left just like you would with your knitting needle if you were pearling.
As if to Knit-
This means that you insert your needle through the front leg of the loop from left to right just like you would with your knitting needle if you were knitting. I am a combined knitter, which means I usually knit through the back loop of the stitch rather than the front. This term confused me for a long time. All stitches made using the kirtchner method are though the front loop of the stitch.
Drop off-

Once you have passed your needle through the stitch allow it to drop off of the knit
ing needle. This signifies that you have completed that stitch just like you drop the stitch off the needle each time you complete a knit or pearl stitch while knitting the fabric.
Leave on-
Do not drop the stitch off of your knitting needle once you have passed your nee
dle through. Each stitch needs the needle to pass through twice. On the first pass we leave it on, on the second we allow it to drop off.

Things to remember:
  1. The needle must pass through each loop twice in order to mimic the path that the yarn would take if you were actually knitting this line.
  2. The first pass is done in the oposite direction as the type of stitch you are grafting. (IE: as if to pearl on a knit stitch, or as if to knit on a pearl stitch) This stitch is left ON the needle.
  3. The second pass through the loop is done in the same direction as the type of stitch you are grafting. (IE: as if to knit on a knit stitch, or as if to pearl on a pearl stitch). This stitch is DROPPED OFF the needle.
  4. Chant "Same on, Opposite off"
  5. When reading your stitches always look at the side of the fabric facing you. For the back needle this will mean that you are looking at the wrong side of the fabric!
The Kirtchner in Stockingette:
We will start out simple and look at grafting 2 pieces of plain stockingette fabric together. Grab yourself a pair of size 8 needles, and some worsted weight yarn to practice. It is much easier to see the stitches with this weight of yarn than to try for the first time on your tiny little sock needles.
My sample has some k2p2 ribbing half way across. Ignore that. We'll be using that for the more advanced kirtchner class later on.

Thread a yarn needle with a contrasting color of yarn. This yarn should be about 4 times the length of the fabric you are grafting.

Place your 2 pieces like so, with the right side of the front needle facing you, and the wrong side of the back needle. Notice that since we are looking at the wrong side of the back needle, all of those stitches are pearl stitches. We will treat them from now on as pearl stitches, even though we know they are knit on the right side.

Step 1:
Insert your needle through the first loop on the front needle as if to pearl (This is from right to left, and in the opposite direction of the knit stitch). Leave the stitch ON the knitting needle.

Step 2:
Now insert your needle through the first stitch on the back needle as if to knit (This is from left to right, and in the opposite direction of the pearl stitch). Leave the stitch ON the knitting needle.

You have now made 1 pass through the first loops on both the front and back needles.

Step 3:
Pass the needle through the first loop on the front needle as if to knit. You have now passed your needle through this stitch twice, allow it to drop off the knitting needle.

Step 4:
Now, let's make our first pass through the next loop on the front needle. Pass the needle as if to pearl through this stitch. Leave it on the needle.

Step 5:
Pass the needle through the first stitch on the back needle as if to pearl. This is your second pass through this loop. Allow it to drop off your needle.

Step 6:
Now let's make our first pass through the next stitch on the back needle. Pass the needle through this loop as if to knit. Leave it on the needle.

Continue repeating steps 3 through 6 until you have dropped all your stitches off the knitting needles.

If it helps, chant to yourself as you do this:
"Knit off, pearl on, Pearl off, knit on" This is the pattern that you are following.

When your graft is completed it should look like this:
Notice how the line of "V" knit stitches continues uninterrupted right past my new blue graft line? It takes practice getting your stiches to be the same gauge as your knitted fabric. After all, you don't have the benefit of a knitting needle to keep them even. If they are too tight, take your darning needle and loosen them up one at a time, if they are too loose, tighten them up a bit. Like all finishing, this takes time and practice. Don't worry if you mess up a bit. Pull it out and try again. This is why we're using large easy to see knitting.