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

Monday, July 31, 2006

Random Monday

I'm afraid that I don't have any pictures today. In fact, I don't have much of a topic today either. I realized that since I started up my yarn business that my knitting time, and my blogging time have been drastically limited. It is going well, though, and I'm highly encouraged. I have enough of my mother in me that I get going on tangents and can see the massive potential of what it could be and get all excited. I am tempted to spend more and more money in order to expand my business, to improve my vision. Luckily, though, I have enough of my grandpa in me to learn to be practical. I have about $30 in sweater inventory ready to be recycled and am trying to remind myself when I get the urge to go out and look for more that I have a big bag of them already. They are all lace weight, though, and I don't have any more cashmere or cotton, so I am going to have to go to the Salvation Army on $.98 Wednesday and check out what they've got.

My mother is very creative and has grand ideas for the future. She works very hard for short periods of time then gets frustrated with the enormity of what she has created. I fight with this part of myself all the time when it comes to things. I tend to want to go over board. I get obsessed. I dream and plot and plan. I spend a lot of money. Unfortunately, I do not have a whole lot of money. My major splurges recently have been 2 fold. I spent $40 on a brand new Mama Bear yarn swift for my business. I have wanted to buy a swift for quite some time, but have ignored the urge because they are seriously expensive. This is a business expense and has honestly cut down my production time drastically. I am so glad that I bought it. My other major splurge has been on about $50 for beads and beading supplies. Yes, I have found a new obsession. I have justified this by saying that I am expanding my business and that stitch markers and beaded row counters really be a good addition to luxury yarn. I'm now afraid that I let the side of me that is so much like my mom take over my better sense. Did I do too much?! Am I charging the right price?! Please go check out my beaded auctions and tell me I'm not crazy.

No, I have not knit on my mystery stole in over a week. In fact, I haven't knit much of anything. I have been trying to keep my head above water. Yesterday, I used my precious knitting time to design a new project that I have high hopes of submitting to Knitty Magazine. No, I can't tell you what it is, but I think it's coming along well and will be a great gift/ stash buster project. Yes, it's small. I like small projects, especially ones where I learn and get to practice new techniques. This has several in it that I hadn't used before.

The biggest news of the century... well, at least in my little world, is that we finally closed on our construction loan! We have been working towards our new house now for a year and a half and it should FINALLY be done in less than 4 months. At first we had hoped to have it completed before Brendan joined us, then before he outgrew his bassinet, now I'm just praying that we'll be moved by Christmas. This brings on a whole new set of stresses on me with keeping track of things, and the construction and all of that, but it is a happy stress. I feel so blessed that we will have a brand new house and a very large yard (the yard portion of our lot is about 1/2 acre). I never thought that with the lifestyle that DH and I picked we could afford a brand new house. As you know, we live on 1 income. My new found yarn money is going to paying off credit card debt that has accumulated over the years. We are not frivolous with our money, but we haven't had anything extra for things like major car repairs. Every time something like that comes up, it tends to be put on the credit card and collects interest. DH works for a retail store and makes very good money for what he does, but this really only puts us at about 35k a year for a family of 5. I have fretted about just how we will be able to pay for our new mortgage (It's going up almost $400!) and it seems that the Lord really is watching out for us. All of this frustrating delay has led to our move coinciding with some wonderful coincidence. DH's store is opening a new location in February MUCH closer to our new home. The new store will not only save us a lot of money on gas, but will also open up new management positions that will lead to a raise. DH's bonus this fall will not be needed as desperately for household things like I had thought and can be used to buy a vespa scooter for DH to go back and forth to work. This will also save us gas money, and with the new store opening up so soon, he won't need to go so far for as long. I am really very thankful for all of this and feel just so blessed.

I feel blessed that I can be home with my wonderful children, even though the 4 yr old is starting to whine and talk back about EVERYTHING. I am thankful that I can pursue the passions that my mother's genes passed on to me for all things creative. I love that there are always new things to learn and do. I think I have typed long enough now and I'm going to drag DH off of World of Warcraft with a well placed kiss on the neck and go to bed.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

For the history buff

My youngest brother is turning 18 this weekend. He is the baby of my family of 5 kids and for some reason I always think of him as being older than he really is. His intense interest in history and philosophy and other adult type pursuits might have something to do with it. He is particularly interested in ancient history, Romans, medieval Europe, Ancient China and Japan, etc. Each year DH and I seem to find a new book to give him that he promptly burrys himself in. This year being his 18th birthday, I did a little better. I didn't just buy him a book about history, I bought him a little piece of history.Behold 10 2000 yr old Roman coins! (no, the dime is not an ancient roman coin, it's for scale. Sorry to my Canadian friends who don't know how big a dime is. It is our smallest coin). The coins came from this Ebay shop. The coins came to me as the archaeologists found them. They have not been cleaned, or sorted through. It is hard to see in the picture, but there is one paper thin coin that I believe is silver. I'm really not sure about the tiny coin. I kina would like it to be gold because it's so much smaller than the others, but it's probably brass just like the rest. I can see very distinctly on several of them the stamped faces. Others have too much dirt and stuff to tell.

I feel it is safe to share this with all of you, because my brother doesn't read my blog. Knitting is boring to I, myself, am fascinated with history too, and it is all I can do to keep myself from cleaning these off to see exactly what we've got. I will restrain myself, however.

Monday, July 24, 2006

What to do while knitting

Well, here I am again blogging instead of knitting, or making money by ripping apart a sweater (I've got to make back some of that $40 I spent on beads!). I have a baby who want to sit in my lap and have me talk to him, and now a little girl who is crying for no apparent reason. She just woke up from her nap. I guess that's as good a reason as any. So, I'm sitting here trying to figure out what I could do with a wiggly baby in my lap. I have checked my ebay auctions like 10 times in the last 30 minutes. No they haven't changed. No, I didn't really expect them to. I've read all of the blogs on my favorites list, let's see what else is on my favorites list...

Which brings me to Librivox. Librivox is a wonderful website that I visited a couple of months ago when I was desperately seeking a way to read and to knit at the same time. It was during the knitting Olympics when I was knitting my GIGANTIC man sized Rogue sweater and rows and rows of stockingette are not all that entertaining guys. Someone on my knittingparent's group suggested that I listen to a book on tape or CD. That sounded like a great idea, but I don't have any books on tape at the moment and my local library doesn't really have a very large selection. Yes, I could go to the Denver Public Library. They have a fantastic selection, but I'm lazy and taking 2 kids (and at the time my gigantic pregnant belly) to the big library sounded like a heck of a lot of work. They do, in fact have an online audio section, where you can download an audio book that expires in a few weeks, which is REALLY COOL, but again, I would have to go to the physical library in order to get a library card to download said books. Do you see how lazy I am? There are lots of websites online that sell audio books that you can download. That's great, but not only am I lazy, but I'm cheap too. Well, I don't know if I'm cheap, or if I'm just poor. Being a stay at home mom of 3 kids and living on 1 salary might have something to do with both of the above. The internet is a big wide wonderful place, and I must say, you can get just about everything out there somewhere for free. I haven't found yarn for free yet, but I did find instructions for recycling sweaters, and that's pretty darn close! After some googling and searching, I found Librivox. Librivox provides free audio books that are in the public domain. Now this means that they are older books, but in reality there are lot of them out there that I have never read, and that aren't what your English teacher made you read in High School (I read A LOT of literature in High School). I listened to Pride and Prejudice while making DH's sweater and listened to part of Journey to the Center of the Earth, but lost interest before they went I LOVED Pride and Prejudice. DH said it made him want to fall asleep. I found it absolutely enchanting. Ahh, kinda makes me think of You've Got

In looking at it today, their catalog of books is about tripled since the knitting Olympics! I've got lots of wonderful books to listen to now! I just signed up for their podcast and now am debating what to listen to next. Please go visit them and listen, or volunteer to read, or whatever. Hmm, I think I'll add a permanent link on my sidebar.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

I am procrastinating

I have a serious issue of knitterly and all otherly ADD at the moment. I can't seem to focus on one thing for more than 10 minutes at a time. I read a part of a chapter in my very good novel today, but just couldn't hold on to it. I have SO many more things that I want to do. I knitted 1 row of my mystery stole when the incredible urge to blog came over me. As we all know, one MUST give in to urges, I just wish that my brain wasn't so full of ideas that I can't seem to focus on any one of them. It's like those nights where you close your eyes to go to sleep and can't because one idea after another just floods through your brain.

"Hmm, I wonder if these 2 motifes would work well together. I really need to swatch them tomarrow"
"I really want this to go along the bottom here, but I'm not sure how best to attach it..." This is followed by trying to NOT think about it so that you can go to sleep, and really seriously analyzing it in your brain how each stitch would work. "Should I pick up the stitches, do a k2tog on the last stitch with one on the other piece..."

In addition to my random images of being a knitting designer success (yes, I have delusions of this. I even dream of submitting designs to Knitty or Magknits). I have decided that I should make stitch markers for my ebay business as well as recycling yarn. After all, if you are buying cashmere, you REALLY need to have some genuine fresh water pearl stitch markers to adorn it. And, wouldn't it REALLY be cool if I could also sell a nice lace stole or scarf pattern to go with the yarn and stitch markers?! My brain is fried *sigh*

I also took time in the last 2 days, away from the stole, and all designing idea, and beads, etc, to fight with Microsoft Excel. I have a spread sheet that I keep all my business data in. It has a description of each lot of yarn, how much I payed for the sweater, how much it sold for, how much I payed in fees, etc. all lined up across each line. I have a total at the bottom of each column, and a total at the end of each line that tells me my total profit per sweater. I usually rely on my dear DH for all computer related help, but this time he was no help. I know how to enter formulas so that it will add up box A, B and C on the same line, etc, but I get REALLY tired of entering a new equation at the end of each line and then going back and adding in the new line to each set of equations at the bottom of each column. It is tedious and REALLY annoying. I told DH this. I asked him how to get the stupid program to do it for me. There MUST be a way. He says that he didn't think there was. *sigh* Thus began my 3 hour search through the land of help manuals, the internet, and techno-geek speak. WHY can't these people speak in real English? Why can't I just enter the question "How do I add up a whole column" in the help menu and have it give me the answer I'm looking for?! It's not that hard! It's much easier than asking the stupid program to add up all lines that begin with A and happened in January. I guess the writers of such manuals figure that the user should know how to do something as simple as this.

So, I look for the starter or beginner guides. Nope, I KNOW how to enter a value in the box. I KNOW how to change the format of the cells. YES! I know how to save my work. I must be a genius. NOW TELL ME HOW TO ADD A STUPID COLUMN! Well, I found it. It took me a while. But I now know how to add a column. Would you like to know?Ok, here is our menu. See that cool little symbol there? That's the Autosum button. It let's you add things.
Select the box you want to have your total in, then click that button. Now Highlight the entire column (or line) that you would like it to add. See the little dotted box? That's me highlighting. There you go, nice and simple. I added a column. You'd think it would have been easier to find!

Next problem. My equations at the end of each line:
My equation tells the stupid program to add certain boxes together and subtract others to get my total profit for that line. Thus far I've been entering this same equation manually for each line, changing the line numbers in the equation (ex. E2, then to E3, etc). I ran across a tutorial today on how to use excel for a grade book. "Well, that at least has lots of numbers. That sounds KINDA similar, let's look at that." In passing the tutorial mentioned how to put your same equation into other boxes. "Hmm, is that what I want? Is that going to change the line numbers to the appropriate ones? Well, let's try it." IT WORKED! Here's how:You click on the box you would like to copy the equation from. Then click on the lower right hand corner of the box. This makes your cursor change from a fat white cross to a thin black cross. Now drag your cursor down your column, highlighting all the boxes you want to have that same equation. Voila! They now have that same equation with the appropriate line number in it and you didn't even have to enter it in for every single line. Technology is wonderful. Techno-geek-speak is not. I wonder if those "for dummies" books is any easier to read.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Children's museum

My knitting is progressing slowly. In truth, I haven't worked on the mystery stole since Monday and only got half of my experiment with the lace pattern from my horrible 1970's book done. I seem to be having knitting ADD. Every time I start on something, I get distracted by something else. I have visions of a really pretty triangular shaped head scarf... Maybe a shawl in my head that I'm dying to try to get down on paper, but I also want to work on my stole since the next installment is coming out tomorrow, and I haven't even finished the second clue on the first side. I also need to make sure that I recycle a sweater today *sigh* I don't seem to have enough hands, or enough time. Of couse instead of doing any of this, here I am sitting here blogging. This really isn't my fault, though, since I have a very sweet baby in my lap who just wants to be held.

Yesterday, instead of knitting, my Grandma took the kids and I to the Children's museum. It was really a lot of fun! They have a little kids play area with all kinds of interactive imaginative play things, like a house with food and dishes, a boat to fish from, etc. There were also costumes to put at just about every station. The fire engine had hats and coats to wear, the train room had train hats, the store had cute little shopping carts and shop keeper's aprons to wear. There was even a larger climb and play area where you could wear small animal or bug costumes and crawl around in their tunnels and burrows. Brendan sat in the front carrier and was generally an absolutely wonderful baby. When we all got home, everyone slept. It was blissful. I even got my allotted sweater a day recycled and it's now up on Ebay (grey cashmere). So, now, without further ado, here are the pictures!
Here we are putting on the fire man costumes

They have a full sized REAL fire truck in the main lobby. Check out all the cool buttons there are to push, as fire man Alex drives us to the rescue!

Shaya opted not to wear a coat.

They had a real fire hose attached to a fire hydrant next to the truck. Alex carried the hose all over the place, mostly "washing" the

Shaya gets shy around large numbers of people, but she is pretty darn cute.

Alex caught some gigantic stuffed fish off of this little bridge. Who'd have thought that the fishing would have been so good indoors.

Meanwhile, Shaya cooked us up a yummy dinner in the little cottage.

While I fed Brendan, the 2 bigger kids and Grandma played in the bigger kid climb and play area. I came back and Alex looked like this. He told me it was a wolf. He was pretty proud.

Alex ran around like crazy, so the next logical place to play was the basketball court. The balls and hoops are just right for little kids and Alex amazingly make 8 out of every 10 baskets he shot. Check out his hand position, he's a total natural!

Shaya needed a little help.

Finally, we finished off the day with a little ribbon dancing. Alex passed on the dancing and headed to the toy train room with Grandma. All in all, I think everyone got some good exercise and had a lot of fun. I wonder how much a family pass here would be. I'd like to go back.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

When you know more than the knitting book author

I have this old stitchery book that my MIL gave me when she left my FIL and moved to Idaho. It has stitch patterns and instructions for knit, crochet, macrame, embroidery, and sewing all in one giant book. It has illustrations of the patterns rather than actual pictures, but that doesn't bother me so much. This is the same book that I was desperately looking for a correction to the drooping elm leaf pattern a few months ago. You'd think that I'd

Well, I didn't. I don't own another stitch pattern book, and I was thinking of making a lace head scarf. Maybe to submit as a pattern to one of the online knitting magazines, or just to put on my blog. I found a pattern I like for my first try and I have to wade through the obnoxious instructions. Here's an example:

"For the third row, knit2. Repeat the following procedure. * Knit 1. Then knit two together and put yarn over twice. Knit 1. Follow with yarn over, and knit 2 together through back of loop twice. Knit 1. * End with knit 2."

Ok, let's examine this a bit shall we? First, why on earth can't she just use abbreviations?

! I can then glance at a line and tell what I need to do rather than read have to read the entire thing to figure out what's going on. Second, her punctuation confuses me. Does "Knit two together and put yarn over twice" mean K2tog, yo, yo? or (K2tog, yo) twice? I had to actually count the number of stitches you're using to figure it out. It is the second one. Grr.

All of this is probably just the author's style. Frustrating, but decypherable. What gets me is that I've been knitting pretty consistently for a little over 6 months now learning about lace, and cables, etc, and I really think that I just might know more about knitting than the author does. That's just sad. I noticed that half of her decreases in the pattern (both on the right side and the wrong side) are simply k2tog through back loop. This will twist the stitches. Do I want the stitches twisted? Does she know that if I twist half the decreases and not the other half that they won't match? Has she never heard of SSK, or SKP? Now that I've spent an hour rewriting the pattern, I'm going to attempt it both ways. Once with twisted stitches, once without. We shall see who is the better lace knitter, me (who has only knit like 2 lace projects) or the author.

Head Banging

Have you ever felt the need to bang your head repeatedly against the wall? Little kids do this sometimes to calm them selves down when they're upset, or overwhelmed. I'm not sure what this is supposed to accomplish. Does pain help relieve frustration?

I feel like banging my head on the wall.

I never used to have these urges. Then I met a guy on FFXI. He used to say things like "Bangs head repeatedly on the keyboard" Ever since, I've had the urge to bang my head on something when I'm particularly frustrated.

I want to bang my head on something.

My sweet, innocent 4 month old baby woke up WIDE AWAKE every hour last night from 10pm to 6am. Ok, well, he missed 3am, but that was after I had spent a half an hour holding the binky in his mouth. If you can do math, that means I was up a glorious grand total of 7 times in 8 hours. Yea..... I don't know what his deal is. I think he's teething, or something. He obviously isn't starving... Although, a couple of days ago he kept draining me dry and I was wondering if my milk was giving out. He seems to be getting plenty now, just WON'T STAY ASLEEP! I can't really do anything to him either. You can't yell at, spank, or otherwise punish a 4 month old for waking up. He doesn't know any better. He is now laying on the floor on his stomach all unassuming and looking so cute. It's just not fair. *sigh* *Bangs head on keyboard*

On other news, both of the older kids spent a good half hour running around in their underwear and admiring them this morning. I bought Shaya her first set of underwear yesterday at Target. They are Tinkerbell. Alex of course had to get some too. He got Spiderman. Alex has never owned normal little boy underwear, let alone some with pictures. He has a whole drawer full of the thick training underwear that I bought him when he was potty training. He's small, and may fit the darn things even a year from now, so I see no point in buying him all new underwear just because he's older. Except I thought he could get some underwear too. Just because it's special.

Yes, Shaya is wearing underwear. This is a first. We are attempting potty training. Oh goodie. DH refuses to let me have her run around naked. He REALLY doesn't want her to pee on the carpet, so she has underwear. I'm terrible about remembering to ask her if she needs to go, so I set my nice little timer. I set my timer for I'm a little obsessed I think. I don't want to clean up an accident, so we're going to try the every 30 minute thing. Why did I decide to start this on a day when I'm half awake?! I must be a glutton for punishment. *sigh* excuse me, I'm going to go bang my head in the shower now. Maybe that'll help.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Mystery Stole Progress

Well, there it is! Clue # 1 is now complete! Isn't it pretty?! Ya, ya, I know there are a few minor mistakes in it, but I'm not all that worried about it. My clovers look beautiful, the fabric is so soft and beautiful, and I think it's just stunning. While knitting this, however, I can't help but think that this reminds me of Filet crochet type of lace, only in reverse. We are pretty much using the yarn overs to outline a design on a background of stockingette, rather than to actually create a lacy stitch. I've never worked lace like this. I like it! I think I might even be able to chart something in this type of lace! I keep having visions that some day I will design something beautiful and that everyone will want it. Most of my ideas are small and on the line of head scarves and mug cozies at the moment I'm not ready for a sweater.

Stitch 'N Pitch

I don't know whether you've heard or not, but Major League Baseball is hosting something called "Stitch and Pitch" all across the country. This is a special day where they encourage all of us strange ladies with our needles, and hooks and embroidery, etc to all come out in the daylight and in public and share our craft and the love of baseball. I do not plan to attend, but I thought it was pretty cool. I have to admit that I have only been to 1 baseball game in my life that did not involve little boys out in the outfield stomping on ants. When I was younger, much younger, my Grandpa took me to a Zephyr's game. What? Never heard of them? Well, that's because they were a AAA team and this was back before Colorado had a professional team. Yes, there was a time before we had the Rockies. I have lived in Denver my entire life and have never been to a Rockies game. There, I said it. I will also say that, in genera, I find base ball games kind of boring. There's a lot of just standing around out there. I think if I were going to actually pick a sport to watch it would probably be soccer.

We are not big sports watchers here at my house. I have been blessed with a DH who is not a sports fan. He actually forbid me to watch the Super Bowl in the living room one He much prefers to play a game than to watch it. The general laziness that also pervades our household extends to playing sports too, however. He has not felt the need to play said games enough to actually actively go out and seek people to play with. He did play baseball for quite a while when he was younger, though. In fact, his dad actually built a back stop in his back yard. This was in response to requests from his mom so that the house windows wouldn't be broken. DH's sister also had a full sized beach volley ball pit in the back yard too, but I digress.

Since DH has actual baseball experience, I thought he would be much more qualified to help the kids bat at their cool little tikes batting machine yesterday than I was. Well, I really would just prefer to sit on the blanket, rip apart a sweater, and take care of the baby. It was mostly just an excuse to not to have to keep getting up and to get DH to play with the kids.

Alex got this nice batting machine at Christmas time I think from my Grandma. This was under the assumption that we DEFINITELY would have had a house and a yard by now. So, since we DEFINITELY do NOT have a new house and a yard yet (can you feel my frustration?) the baseball machine has been sitting in it's box completely unopened on the top bunk of Alex's bed. The kids found it and pulled down and begged and pleaded could we PLEASE play baseball? I found the last four size D batteries in the house and screwed in all the little screws and we went out to have our own little "Stitch 'N Pitch" out on the lawn of our complex. I think we all had far more fun for a heck of a lot less money than if we had gone to the real thing.

PS: on the knitting front, I am on the last 10 rows of the second half of my mystery stole. Expect a picture some time today!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

It takes effort to be a good mom

It takes actual effort to be a good mom I think. Most of the time I'm too lazy to be the kind of mom that I think I should be. I don't take my kids outside nearly enough, and I would prefer to sit in my chair and knit than actively play games with them. After I recorded this realization the other day, I decided that I should do something about it. I grabbed my wonderful timer and went outside. Amazingly it wasn't nearly as hot as I thought it would be. It was overcast but warm. I was overjoyed to see that after we had all been outside for a little while, another little boy came outside to play with Alex. Mommy is nice, but nothing will ever take the place of a kid near his own age in my little boy's heart.

So, Alex and Shaya played with the other kids on the big lawn while I sat on a blanket and knitted. Brendan tried to help me and showed his approval for the yarn choice for his baby blanket. But eventually when the fiber could no longer hold his interest, he took the opportunity to take a nap.
Now back to our regularly scheduled program... The Mystery Stole :D


I teach a lesson at church on the second Sunday of the month. This year, our lessons come from the Teachings of Wilford Woodruff. He is a very interesting man and took his responsibilities very seriously. I have been sitting here this morning reading the chapter that I am to teach my lesson from and pondering what I am going to say. The chapter is on Journals and the importance of keeping a record of our lives. I have never been good about keeping a journal. When I was young I always thought of it as a Diary. You know, you put your secret love crushes and squabbles with your sister in a Diary. All your private personal thoughts that you would never share with anyone. I think that as a 12 year old, I even created crushes just so that I would have something to write about. I have since come to realize that there are many different forms of journals. Journals can be those private musings. They can be an elaborate scrap book, or they can simply be a detailing of the days events. One friend of mine said that her grandmother's journal was mostly a recording of the weather. She had been a farmer and the weather was very important to them and keeping track of it's cycles. As I was reading all of this, I realized that I have in fact been keeping a journal for the past several months. This is my journal.

You can call it a blog, a virtual scrapbook, whatever, but that's pretty much what it is. It's my public journal. I have written my feelings about my family, my knitting, and what is going on in my life. It is amazing what you can learn about people simply by reading what they choose to write about. One of my stumbling blocks to a hand written journal have been that I felt that I had to record earth shattering emotional baggage in it. After all, if you are in therapy or something, don't you write down all your feelings in your journal? I don't have a lot of earth shattering emotions, and if I sit down to write all that I feel I think that I would be a weeping mess all of the time. So, I have been more drawn to the scrapbook type of journal. It involves pictures, little mementos, your thoughts, etc. Of course the problem with this is that it requires glue and such. This is why I like my blog.

I like my blog. I like that I can include pictures, or just type and jabber. I am a much faster typer than I am when I hand write something. My hand writing is clear and legible, but much slower for some reason. I like that I am actually writing for an audience, or can pretend that I am. I am more free to discuss things that I may not actually say if it wasn't written down, but I probably won't talk about things that I shouldn't be dwelling on. If it is so personal that I won't write it here, then I don't think that I want to record it anyway. My kids and my kid's kids don't need to read that

So, thank you to my virtual blogging community for inspiring me to blog, and to keep my virtual scrapbook/journal. Thank you for letting me share my life and my obsessive knitting. After all, if a farmer records the weather because it is important to her, maybe my grandchildren will read this some day and see how important knitting was to me in this part of my life.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Mystery Stole 2

Well, I'm all ready for the first clue for the Mystery Stole 2!
As you can see I have all my tools laid out and am anxiously awaiting our first clue. This is my first project using actual lace yarn. I'm rather excited, but I have to say... Holy Heck that's some super fine yarn. This is recycled yarn, and being that I've never actually worked with lace weight yarn before, I don't know if it's lace weight or cobweb, but I have to say that if this is lace, I don't even want to see what cobweb is. I will be attempting to knit each clue twice (one on each end of the stole) each week so that at the end of 6 weeks I'll have a completed stole. Because of this, I have opted to do my provisional cast on using a second circular needle instead of waste yarn or a crochet cast on. I never thought I'd say this, but I definitely preferred swatching with my Susan Bates needle because it's a little sharper. The Audi's are definitely "stumpo's" as Grumperina would call them.

The pattern called for about 1200 yrds of lace weight yarn. I have a probably close to 1400 (I'm not counting my little swatch ball in the 1300 number. I'm hoping I won't have to use it). This yarn came from a very soft and very nice ladies short sleeved sweater. It is 85% Silk and 15% Cashmere. I do have some 100% cashmere in my bag, but It is either coral, blue, or tan, and none of those really appealed to me. If they appeal to you, check my eBay auctions and you just might get them :D This yarn is sooo soft and silky and definitely a much nicer yarn than I think I could afford from the LYS. This project will cost me a whole $1.50 I think. Go me. The color is a pearly silver with just the most wonderful hint of lavender. I know that the group suggested darker colors, but, like I said my choices were limited and I really like this yarn. I almost picked some truly stunning heathered teal lambswool, but in the end, it just wasn't as soft, and who doesn't want to say her new lace stole is silk and cashmere?!

I still have to wind half of my yarn into a ball. It's sitting next to me in a skein after being given a bath yesterday. It just takes so darn long to wind up 600 yrds of I swatched originally on size 3 needles, but definitely thought it was too loose. I think that the size 2's will be just perfect. Wish me luck! If it is even remotely like last year's stole, this is going to be absolutely breathtaking!

Summer Boredom

4 yr old boredom is a constant battle here in our little house, and with the way that all the banks are dragging their feet about our new house project, it will be well into fall before we have a yard to allow them to run off steam. Alex is obsessed with video games. He comes by this tendency naturally of course, being that I was not too long ago addicted to FFXI and his daddy comes home every day to camp in front of his computer and World of Warcraft. If we would let him, Alex would play video games of various sorts all day long, and we have A LOT of video games. We have an old super Nintendo, a gamecube, a recently acquired play station 2, 2 desk top computers, and a lap top that is DH's own personal toy. We are techno geeks here. I have a brother that builds computers from spare parts as well as several other male family members who actively participate in the computer and gaming world. I remember one Thanksgiving where 2 of my brothers spent most of the meal arguing over which of the new game console systems would do better in the marketplace. They argued the capabilities of both systems and what the general gamer would want. It got very heated and I eventually had to step in and say that was enough.

Anyway, I know that Alex comes by his video game talent and addiction honestly, it just concerns me that my 4 yr old is constantly talking about, begging to play, or generally whining about video games. As we speak he is sitting in my room on my bed playing a new PS2 game DH brought home for him. He doesn't completely know what to do, but that doesn't stop him in the least. We have had to restrict game use. He can only play video games for 1 hr during the day. We got this idea from my SIL who also has a video game obsessed son. He is 15, but like Alex, if he plays for too long in a row he gets mean and is no longer able to interact with the real world. He's too wrapped up in the game. So, finding things for the kids to do during the day when I don't feel like camping out on the apartment complex's front lawn (where kids are likely to run out into the street if I take my eyes off them to fix a messed up knitting stitch) becomes a major problem of my day. I'm afraid that I'm probably just lazy. I SHOULD really get up and actively play with them. I SHOULD pull out some books to read to them every day. I SHOULD really try to talk and interact with them far more that doesn't involve yelling "STOP THAT!" Instead, I opt to sit here in my chair and watch them, or passively hold them. Alex is not into lap sitting and holding. That seems to be Shaya's department.

Well, yeterday, I found a new game to break up the boredom of sitting inside on a hot summer day. It's called "wind the ball" My kids are also obsessed with my ball winder. They have been since the day I pulled it out of the box. I have to be careful if I leave yarn unattended on it, or it will end up a snarled mess because one of them walked up and started winding the opposite direction. Both my dining room table and my coffee table have a beveled edge and thus are completely useless for attaching said ball winder. It needs a flat square edge to clamp on to. I, therefore, had it on my desk for quite a while. This meant that I had to wind the darn thing with my left hand (I'm right handed) and that every time I wound wool, wool dust flew up into the air everywhere and into the computers. DH was not pleased. So, I found a piece of wood to attach the ball winder too. It is a shelf to our entertainment center that we are not currently using.

Yesterday, I recycled a pink cotton sweater. It was a V-neck and half the V-neck was in a pile on the floor at my feet. Alex decided to claim it. Apparently this pretty pink scrap yarn was just what he always wanted. So, I tied all the bigger scraps together in a long string and let him and the ball winder have at it. He'd wind it into a ball, pull it off, and do it again. This was great fun until of course mommy went to take a nap and it got tangled up. DH was not about to untangle it for him and so the game ended. After I woke up, Alex then decided that his yarn had been wound enough and that it needed to be washed... Luckily I got a hold of it before he dunked it ball and all in a sink in the bathroom. I REALLY didn't want to untangle it again. Isn't it great how kids will play with the simple things.... once you yank the video games away? Apparently my 18 month old niece's favorite thing is ice. She'll play with ice for hours

On another note, Monday was my mom's birthday. She was presented with these:
These cute little Knit Picks simple stripe socks came from a single skein! I don't like any of the colors currently up, but I have to say, you do get your money's worth! These are knit toe up and used every last scrap of yarn. The best news is that my mom LOVES them. She wants me to make her at least 2 more pairs. She says that they are comfy, breathe really well, aren't too hot, and fit well but aren't too tight. They are knit over 60 stitches on size 1 needles. That's one of the things I love about hand knit socks, they can be loose around your foot (as in not cutting off circulation) but won't slouch or slide around because of the construction. I REALLY like how heal flap socks fit. The ankles on these are loose even on my mom and may bag just a bit, but they'll never slip down inside her shoes because of that great heal flap. :D

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Double Knitting 2 Different Designs

Someone on the Knitlist asked if it was possible to double knit an item, but to knit a different picture on each side. I have thought about this before. I have a pattern for a beautiful fair isle blanket that was knit in 2 pieces then seamed all the way around. I always thought the seams were ugly and it would just be easier to double knit it rather than to have to pull out the darn needle. So, this question inspired me to grab some of my standby acrylic and some bamboo needles to make some swatches.... er experiments. Doesn't "Experiment" sound better than swatch?

My original hypothesis (look at me sounding all scientific) was that when you have a block of the same color on both sides of the fabric that it would not separate into the 2 sides, but would make ribbing instead. After all, that's essentially what doublekniting is; ribbing with 2 different colors. I'm afraid that I jumped the gun and responded to the person on the knitlist stating that this was my hypothesis without actually testing it to see if it was a scientific knitting fact. After sending that response, I pulled out my needles to test it. I decided that the best way to test that was to knit one side of the fabric in a solid color while working the other side with a picture in the middle. This would create a block in the center of the second side that was the same color as the first side. This is what happened:As you can see, it is indeed possible to double knit one side in a solid color and the other side with a picture. It is important, however to pay attention to the color that you are carrying along. You need to make sure that when you're ready to use it again that you tug on it and pull up all the slack. If you let it stay slack, it will appear like purl bumps through the fabric on the solid color side. I can see great possibilities with this technique! Can't you just picture a beautiful double knit baby blanket with a solid color on one side and the child's name and birth information on the other?

Well, that actually amazed me. Double knitting really is like magic. My hypothesis was proven false. Well, if you can knit one side solid and a picture on the other side then I'm pretty sure you can in fact knit 2 different pictures. Given that my previous hypothesis was proven false, however, I'm not taking any chances. I needed to test this out too:
I attempted to knit a diamond on one side and a heart on the other, but I have to tell you, watching 2 different charts at the same time at 10pm about exploded my brain. As you can see, it is absolutely possible to double knit 2 different pictures. I have to warn you, though, this requires FAR more concentration than any other form of knitting I have yet attempted! You need to follow one chart from right to left and the other from left to right at the same time. Double knitting is fairly flexible about letting you hide your mistakes inside the little pocket that it creates, but I would definitely suggest working in a tight gauge and starting out with a VERY simple pattern.
I think this blanket might have to wait a bit. Can you imagine how many stitches you'd have on your needles if you double knit this?! I suppose at least you wouldn't get "second side" syndrome or have those seams up the sides...