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

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Sometimes I have these delusions...

Sometimes I have these delusions that I can actually become a designer and get paid for my designs. I joined the Crafter's Choice book club for the sole purpose of buying these books. They're not Barbara Walker, but I adore them! They are just bursting with ideas. I like the second 2 better than the first, only because I'm drawn to cables and texture. I thought the 3rd book would have lots of Fair Isle and Insartia charts, which it does, but then I saw this:
All I can say is WOW! That's so cool! It totally breathes new life into the cable book. It brings on a whole new set of possibilities.

I also love this:My picture is kind of crappy, but it's slipped stitches and bobbles in a darker color to create a lattice with roses. I have great visions of this on a beautiful cardigan for a little girl.

I actually have 2 original design patterns in the works at the moment. We'll see if anyone out there is as interested in them as I am.

Flash your knitting bag

I am attempting to make some knitting bags to put in my store. These are made from intentionally felted wool sweaters with nice designs on them. I have been asking the Knittingparent's group what they like in a knitting bag so that I can try to make a really nice bag. It seems that the biggest things are that it is big enough to hold knitting, but not too cumbersome, and that it will stay closed.

Here is my first attempt.

I used the fabric from a pair of pretty colored polyester pants for the lining, and the belt from an ultrasuede trench coat for the strap. It is really floppy and I'm hoping that if I get a purse frame to close the top it will have a lot more body.

It is very sad to say that most of the time, I use a gallon sized zip lock bag and just throw it in the diaper bag, or my "Going outside basket"

Monday, October 16, 2006


It is that time of year. When the weather starts to turn cold, the leaves crunch under your feet, and you pull out the winter duds. It's time to replace last years ratty old acrylic mittens with new good wool ones.

Last winter, I made my vary first pairs of mittens. This was before I joined the knitting community, and before I had learned much about knitting other than how to much other than knit and purl. I did my first cables last winter, and used dpn for the first time. That was before I had discovered wool, and still believed that wool was always scratchy. Wow, how time has flown. I didn't know that I was a combination knitter back then. I didn't know that there were different ways of forming a knit stitch. I couldn't figure out why all my stitches looked twisted in the round.

Here are Shaya's new mittens next to her mittens from last year. Last years mittens were Red Heart acrylic in a tight twisted stitch pattern. The fabric was stiff and not very giving. This years mitten's are made from my very own homespun wool! There are no twisted stitches and they are soft and stretchy. No more problems with the cuff being too small and having to fight to get them on, or to get them to stay on. This year's mittens are warm, lovely wool, which even though it isn't merino is still softer than the Red Heart. Go figure. I even ripped these out a couple of times when I figured out that my handspun was really bulky rather than worsted and I was getting 4 stitches to the inch. That means that these cute purple mittens are knit on only 18 stitches. That makes these a VERY quick knit.

Shaya proudly wore the first mitten (and only the first mitten) around the house until the second one could join it.

Brendan attempted to help with the knitting by eating the yarn. This was fine until I reached the first wet spot in the wool. Note to self: Wet wool does not slide well over plastic needles. I was using my new Salvation Army flexible size 6 dpn needles.

It took me 2 days to make Shaya's mittens, it only took me 1 to make Alex's, even with ripping them out 3 times. They are knit in Paton's Classic Merino Wool. I love this yarn. It is very soft and bouncy. I started out casting on what I thought was 24 stitches ( it was really 18 because apparently 3 x 6 does not = 24....) which was way too small for a 5 yr old. I then cast on 30 stitches, because hey, that's only 6 more stitches right? Well, that was entirely too big. I then tried some number between what I thought was 24 and 30 when I realized that 3x6 is NOT 24 and ACTUALLY cast on 24 stitches.

Mittens for children are a double edged sword. They are incredibly satisfying because they can be completed so quickly, but they are also a major let down because they are done so quickly. I am sitting here with my yarn and needles contemplating a hat pattern because I absolutely NEED a take along knitting project, and the mittens are already done! The computer seems to refuse to print out the Rogue pattern again, so that option is out. Maybe I'll wind up my white handspun and start the baby sweater for my sister's baby (due in December).

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Warm Fuzzies

Doesn't this just warm your heart?!
DH shivered when he saw this. He says it gives him the heeby jeebies. It gives me all sorts of warm fuzzies (no, this is not a picture of me). I honestly think men miss out on a lot because they will never experience this.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I'm a finisher

The Dish Cloth Baby Blanket Part II
This one's for Brendan
Pattern: Lion Brand's Diagonal Baby Blanket
Yarn: Lion Brand Homespun in Colonial
Needles: Size 10.5 Audi Turbo circular

I managed to finish not 1, but 2 WIP's! I adore this baby blanket. As you may remember, I made one for my friend's baby shower. I almost kept it because I loved it so much, but DH forcefully pointed out that it was in fact for Sebastian and that I DID in fact have a few more skeins of this yarn to make Brendan his own blanket. I've been working on this almost exclusively in the car as we drive back and forth places, so it's taken a bit, but is wonderful mindless knitting. I wove in the all the ends just in time to tuck Brendan into bed with it last night. Yea!Of course FO's for my kids require full scale photo shoots. Plus I haven't shown nearly enough cute baby pics lately, so here they are!
And then we were done. As you can see, Brendan is quite proficient at crawling at this point. In fact, he's proficient at pulling up and standing as well. He really thinks he should be able to cruise along furniture, but he usually only manages a few steps. Yikes! Kid slow down. I'm not ready for you to be walking!

I also finished the Ugly socks for my mom. Pattern: Generic toe up pattern using the heal from Sensational Knitted Socks. As you may remember, I used heel stitch on both the bottom of the heal and the back. Let's hope it feels ok to walk on, and wears well!
Yarn: Simple Stripes from Knitpicks in Sunset.

Tell me if the picture on their website doesn't lie on the color... Here's their picture:

Now that I have managed to finish both of my take along projects, I needed a new one. Since the weather dipped down into the 30's the last few days, I think it's time for new mittens for the kids! First up purple mittens for Shaya in my own handspun! I hope they turn out all right.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

I don't even really like Shettland wool.....

What kind of yarn are you?

You are Shetland Wool. You are a traditional sort who can sometimes be a little on the harsh side. Though you look delicate you are tough as nails and prone to intricacies. Despite your acerbic ways you are widely respected and even revered.
Take this quiz!

By the way..... DH is:

You are Mohair.You are a warm and fuzzy type who works well with others, doing your share without being too weighty. You can be stubborn and absolutely refuse to change your position once it is set, but that's okay since you are good at covering up your mistakes.
Take this quiz!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Interior Pictures

As promised I have interior pictures of my house. I have only really included pictures of the kitchen and the bathrooms, because the bedrooms and the living room and family room really aren't all that exciting at the moment.

As you remember, this is my floor plan.

This is what you see when you walk in the front door. Please ignore the plastic strips hanging from the ceiling. Obviously the house is not completely put together along the seam line yet.

This is the kitchen. We picked laminate counter tops that I thought looked like granite. I really liked it, but I was afraid that it might be too dark. My fears were in vain, because I love it. The counter tops have matching ceramic tiles along the edges.

Turn just slightly in the kitchen doorway and you can see our family room. I think this will be an awesome place to be our play room. I can keep an eye on the kids and not have to have any toys in the front room.

There is this really pretty hutch built into the corner of the room that I really like. I've always wanted a china hutch. Now I suppose I should get some china.

This is the kitchen from the family room. There is a little bar top on the island as well as in the family room. I like this feature. This means that I can actually restrict all drinks and food to the kitchen and have plenty of room for munchkins to sit when they come to visit.

This is the kids bathroom just off of the family room. It is situated between their 2 bedrooms. It's going to be so nice to have 2 bathrooms!

This is the view of the living room from the kitchen. I love the curtains that came with the house. I'm amazed that it came with window treatments. I will probably be leaving the red ones here in my current house.

This is our master bath. It also has a stand up shower around the corner. Now I really can hide myself away in the bathroom for an hour and not be disturbed. Since we only have 1 bathroom right now, I can put the child lock on when I take a bath, but I have to leave the door unlocked just in case there's an emergency need to use the toilet. Ahh the things I won't have to deal with in a month!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Crane Operators are Amazing

The construction crew cam eout and set our house on it's foundation today! It was truely fascinating. The crane operator was superb. It's amazing the amount of control they have over something so heavy swinging on a couple of cables.

There was a gap between the 2 pieces and one of the workers simply winched them together. It was really cool.

Interior pictures to come later

Thursday, October 05, 2006

On Marriage and Family

This is not called My Virtual Sanity for nothing. Sometimes I need a place to share and vent and stand on my soap box. The last week or so has been a scary and crazy time in the US. We have had 3 incidents of guns in schools and I have increasingly had the desire to grab my babies, curl up in a ball and shut the entire world out. I have finally reached a breaking point it appears. If you are easily offended, please stop here. Blogging has it's limits in that you, the reader, can not hear my tone of voice. I am not full of righteous indignation here. I am so saddened by the state of events that I am almost in tears. I feel so sorry for my parent's generation, my generation and my kids generation who are given faulty information that has led to our horrible state of society.

The yarn harlot Stephanie finally married her husband Joe this past weekend. Please hop on over to her wonderful blog and congratulate her. I have been reading her blog for quite a while and had no clue that they weren't married. She refers to Joe as her husband, they have teenage children, it all seemed normal. I knew she was a bit of a hippie, making her own granola and such, but I didn't know that she had previously actively avoided marriage. (I love Stephanie, please don't think I'm dogging her here).

What is so wrong with official marriage?

Stephanie included a link to the Alternatives to Marriage project. I read the title and my heart sank. There is an organization and a project out there that is dedicated to promoting alternatives to marriage? What's so evil and wrong with marriage that we need to promote alternatives? Marriage and the traditional family has been the foundation of societies since the dawn of time. What makes us think that the needs of human beings have changed in the last 40 years that we no longer need traditional marriage, or that it is not the preferable option?

I am not one of those people who immediately sees a line of text and goes into a rage. I did read the website. I find that it is presented in a very caring, accepting, and politically correct way. I appreciate that it encourages cohabiting couples to use birth control. It agrees with me that children benefit from being in a stable and loving home. It is a very nice website. I'm afraid that no matter how much I WANT to be politically correct, I simply can't agree with the premise that marriage should not be the preferred family dynamic.

I do not believe that websites like this, or the obviously caring individuals who wrote it are destroying marriage. We as a society are doing a pretty good job of that already. Marriage as it should be is not repressive to women. It is not a contract where a woman sells herself into slavery to a husband. It is a partnership. It is built on love, respect, and commitment. So many people now seem to think that marriage is simply a socially acceptable means to sleep with each other. It is an excuse for an elaborate and expensive party. It's just what you do. On the one hand we seem to have so many people who never want to make that commitment to each other. Why should they? They can sleep with as many partners as they want, be free to think about themselves all the time and generally have the world revolve around them. On the other hand, we have the people who give marriage a bad name. They're essentially the same people. They will get married as a form of socially acceptable shacking up. When things get tough, or their selfish needs are not being met at every moment, they simply get divorced. It doesn't matter how many children they dragged through this whole experience.

The world has changed. It is now completely socially acceptable to live together and not be married. It is a legitimate choice of a family dynamic. Why is it that we then need to adjust to how the world is changing instead of trying to shift the world back into it's previous alignment? If the earth moved several degrees in it's orbit it would be catastrophic. In the same light, I don't think our option should be to adjust our mental thinking to now accept things as they are. I think we should be trying to fix it.

Many people would say that my arguments for children have no bearing since marriage is not about child rearing any more. I am apparently an oddity anyway. Only 10% of the population in the US live in households of 5 or more people. Yep, that means if you are actually married and haven't ended up as one of the terribly sad single parent families, you have only 3 children. Apparently in our day in age, marriage and children are inconvenient. The limit your freedom and ability to express yourself. I admit that there are times when I see people jet setting across the world, or doing things on a whim that I wish I could do that too. Finances with 3 children do not generally promote jet setting. At least not when one of us is a Stay at home mom and the other is actually around instead of at the office or away on business most of the time. The fact is, however, that children every day are being born into unstable homes where people are just "trying each other out".

Why is it so necessary to try each other out? If you love each other and are BOTH dedicated to showing that love, compromising, and being dedicated to each other, what matter do all the little idiosyncrasies of living together matter? The act of getting married creates a real commitment to each other. It is truly unfortunate that some people never take that step because they are afraid that it will ruin their relationship. It is also unfortunate that people take that commitment lightly and dilute what marriage really is.

I wish that more people would take their relationships seriously. I wish that they could see that in giving a part of yourself away and giving up some of your selfishness for the sake of the one you love that you can achieve much greater happiness. Stephanie and Joe obviously already had that. They were committed to each other. They will continue to be so. I just don't understand what the big deal with the official title is. We should not be trying to rewrite laws and change society in order to allow for people who simply don't like the term "marriage". We should be trying to show society why marriage has been so important for so many centuries of human history. We should be encouraging people to strive for all the good things that it brings, not accept the cheap imitation that "shacking up" brings. The feminist revolution LIED to you! Marriage is not what oppresses you! Taking your husband's name does not make you his property. You are not a slave! This new world that it created makes you a slave, a slave to your wants and to the inevitable consequences that it brings.

Alternatives to marriage are not destroying our society. Many people who participate in this are obviously very loving, committed people. It's underlying principles, however, are a symptom to me of all the lies that we have been fed since infancy. It is all interrelated, the disintegration of our society I believe is ultimately linked to the failure of our families; marriages, children being raised by strangers, personal gratification over the over all good. I've ranted enough, but it just makes me sick. Maybe some day I'll rant about why I'm a stay at home mom.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


I have a house! My modular home was delivered on 2 great big trailers to our site last night at like 8pm, so today I had to go check it out while Alex was in school. It's beautiful!

This is what our foundation hole looks like now. It will remain looking like this until Friday when the 2 pieces of the house will be set on it permanently.

Here is the front of the house again. Look how pretty the windows and the door are!

Here is the back of the house. Even the back door has a pretty window.

All the windows have mini blinds and curtains already. I'm so excited for this to be set and for us to be able to walk through the rooms for the first time!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

All the rage

I assume you all have heard about Patons SWS because it seems to be all the rage. It is proported as a wonderful felting yarn and a new, cheaper alternative to Noro. I had to go to Michaels today to buy some beads for a custom row counter order and low and behold it was $1 off. This still means that it was $5 a ball, but heck, it was on sale right?! I bought 1 of each color because I REALLY wanted to try it out in some mitered squares like this blanket from Mason Dixon:
I ADORE this blanket! I love how it is random, and yet it all fits so beautifully together. I'm not really into the whole changing colors and weaving in a bazillion ends, though. I'm opting for self striping yarn instead. Thus the Paton's SWS. Here's my first miter swatch:
This is Natural earth. I had read someone say that this yarn didn't have a pattern repeat, but it certainly seems to to me. It goes from rust to olive, to tan, to mauve, to black, and then back again in reverse. I LOVE how it striped up in this mitered square pattern. My vote is still out on the yarn it's self, though.

The yarn is a very loosely spun single ply yarn. It is incredibly soft and slightly fuzzy. It is also shiny. It is slippery to work with, even on the 4mm bamboo needles I used and it does like to split, so you kind of have to keep tension on it and then keep an eye on it. It does create a very nice fabric, though, with nice fat stitches. It also has a nice feeling weight to it.

I would also like to do a swatch in the Lizard ridge pattern just to see if this would work. Wouldn't that be awesome?!

Ugly Sock #1

Ugly Sock #1 is complete.

I have already knit 3 pairs of socks out of this self striping yarn, and since I hate the colors, I figured I needed to try something a little different. At first I tried a wavy, or chevron pattern, but then I had this fear that I'd run out of yarn. I only have 1 ball of yarn for 2 socks and there's no way I'm buying more. So, what's a girl to do?

I recently bought Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. I really love this book. It has a lot of different ribbed patterns to chose from and 3 or 4 different heels. It also breaks down the instructions for 4 dpn, 5dpn and 2 circs. No magic loop, which is my method of choice for toe up socks. I think she's biased. No matter, magic loop is a lot like 2 circs. One of the heels is a toe up heal flap, but it looks different from the one I had been using from the knitting friend. The heel I had been using has you work gusset increases, turn the heel, then work across the heel flap stitches, while knitting one of the gusset stitches together with the flap at each edge. This make a heel that looked EXACTLY as if it was worked cuff down. It requires a little bit of mental mathematical gymnastics, though.

The heel described in my new book, has you work the heel exactly the same as you would if you were doing it cuff down. You work a heel flap, turn the heel, then pick up stitches along the flap and do gusset decreases until you're back down to your correct number of stitches. This creates a little triangle on the heel and has the gusset stitches running vertically instead of horizontally. Get it? No? Ok, here's a comparison:

Notice how it stripes differently? That's because the ugly sock has a heel flap UNDER your heel.

The book says that this is good if you need to add reinforcing to the heel because you are only working that section instead of knitting in the round. "Oooo! I though. Good point!" I have noticed that my mom tends to wear big holes in this part of the sock, so I figured maybe this would be good for her. It suggests using smaller needles for added strength. I though "Hmm, well if heel stitch adds strength to the back of the heal, why not to the bottom?" So, I worked both the back of the heal and the bottom in heal stitch. I'm not sure how this will wear, or if it'll annoy my mom. It's an experiment, we'll find out. Let's just hope that it doesn't turn out bad and I have to knit the ugly socks twice!