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

Friday, January 26, 2007

Picot Edged Fingerless Mitts a Free Pattern

Basic Picot Edged Fingerless Mitts
Yarn: Aprox 120 yrds of sport weight yarn.
Sample is knit with about 1/2 skein of Cherry Tree Hill Super Sport; 4oz, 250 yrds, Quarry Hill color way.
Needles: Size 3 please use your preferred circular knitting solution; ie: dpn or circular.

Gauge: 20 stitches and 8 rows to 4 inches

Make 2 identical mitts. They work equally well for either hand.

Using the backward loop method, Cast on 32 stitches.
Knit 5 rounds.
*Yo, K2tog* around.
Knit 5 rounds.
Fold the cast on edge up towards the inside of the tube. Pick up 1 stitch from the cast on edge and place on left hand needle. K2tog. Repeat this around until entire hem is knit up.
Picot edge created.

Knit until cuff measures 3 1/2 inches from the tip of picot edging.
Round 1: K2, PM, M1, K2, M1, PM, Knit to end of round.
Round 2: Knit 1 round.
Round 3: K2, Slip marker, M1, Knit to next marker, M1, Slip marker, Knit to end of round.
Round 4: Knit 1 round.
Repeat rounds 3 and 4 until there are 6 stitches between markers.
Knit 2, remove marker, K1, Bind off 14 stitches, K1, remove marker, Knit to the end of round.
Knit 1 round.
Knit 2, K2tog, Knit to end of round.
Continue knitting even until mitt measures 7 inches from picot edging, or 1 1/2 inches since binding off thumb stitches.
Knit 5 rounds.
*Yo, K2tog* around
Knit 5 rounds.
Break yarn, leaving a tail that is at least 10 inches long. Do not bind off.
Turn mitt inside out. Fold edge down and using a tapestry needle sew down top picot edging.

I finished these mitts last night and have worn them a lot today. I really like them, but am debating if maybe I shouldn't have bound off the thumb stitches, but instead left them live so that I could knit a longer thumb. I like how they look, but my thumb gets just a tad cold.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007


Nope, the cashmere gloves still aren't done. In fact, I haven't even worked on them since last Monday. They just don't seem to motivate me.

A few weeks ago I was having a really bad day. That was the day that our water turned to mud and I needed a serious pick me up. I needed some color and happy yarn, so I pulled some Cherry Tree Hill sport yarn out of the stash and cast on. It is sock yarn so I cast on some socks. I realized as I was winding it, though, that it wasn't fingering weight and I decided after letting the socks "marinate" for a week or so that I didn't really want heavy weight socks. I wanted a pair of fingerless mitts like everyone in blog world seems to have. So, last night when I was particularly irritated at DH I ripped out the socks and cast on for the mitts.

At first I thought that I'd do a cool little pattern, after all, the socks had been in garter rib, but after a few inches of work, I realized that this yarn was far too wild for anything other than just plain old stockingette... *sigh* I didn't come to this conclusion before I had cast on and ripped out the mitts a few times with different patterns. Finally I settled on a picot edge (because I wasn't feeling quite in the mood for ribbing) and plain old plain old. I could have really used them today. My hands are freezing, but they should be done soon. Sport weight knits much faster than fingering.

On other starting news, I have managed to start up the yarn production for my recycled yarn shop. This has been on hold as long as my water has been pure crap, but it seems to be under control now, so I have begun production again. Just check out this fabulous periwinkle Cashmere!
On a completely un-fiber related note, but on a totally motherly pride one, This little one:
Has decided that he can now walk. He's been debating it for about a week, but has now screwed up the courage to let go of objects and walk around the living room. I say give him another week and he will have pretty much given up the whole crawling thing. In some ways it's wonderful, in others it truly means that he's no longer a little baby *sigh*

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The most depressing day of the year

Yesterday, we had to put our dear sweet fur baby to sleep. Our cat Socks got sick and decided to stop eating around Christmas time and never really ate again. She would drink a little water, but mostly just got skinnier and weaker, and more miserable. We took her to the Vet just after New years and paid $300 for the vet to say that her blood work was good, and that she looked fine other than her weight and a pretty bad urinary tract infection. This wouldn't explain why she had stopped eating, and that we could spend A LOT more money to do x-rays or ultrasounds and such to see if she had cancer or something. She was only about 10 yrs old. That's not really all that old for a cat. It about broke my heart that we couldn't afford the tests, or the subsequent treatments. We decided to go ahead and treat the infection and to give her some steroids that would help increase her appetite. It didn't seem to help at all. She still didn't eat. The other day I noticed that not only would she not come out from under the bed (where she had been hiding for the last month) but now one of her eyes was dilated, while the other was not. This is not a good sign. DH and I decided that we needed to have her put to sleep. We just couldn't bear to watch her suffer any longer.

It's funny how something as small as a cat can tear at your heart so much, and how life continues to go on even when they are gone. I have yet to empty out her food dish and her litter box, but I need to do that today since it's trash day. I guess what is really odd is that I teared up and cried when we took her in, and cried when I thought about it before hand, I'm really ok with it all right now. I think that it's good that I believe in an afterlife for all things, including animals. It also makes me feel better to know that she is no longer suffering. It was a really good opportunity to discuss death and what happened to our cat with our children. It sure means a lot more when the thing dying isn't some abstract critter or person on TV, but is a real life loved one.

All of this is incredibly ironic since yesterday Monday the 22nd according to Wiki was named "Blue Monday" the most depressing day of the year" by Dr. Cliff Arnall. This was based on the time since Christmas, the lack of following through with New Years resolutions, the inability to pay bills, etc. None of which included the loss of a dear family pet, but I think it's incredibly appropriate.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Some FO's

The Cashmere gloves still aren't done, but I seem to be starting projects right and left. Amazingly enough, I have managed to actually finish a few of them!
First we have Steve and Sally.
Pattern: Hello Dollies a free pattern from Canadian Living
Yarn: Red Heart Luster Sheen from the stash
Needles: Size 3 dpn.

The pattern has you knitting the dollies flat, then sewing them up. I knit Sally this way and realized that size 3 dpn is really too large for me to be knitting this flat. I also despise toy patterns with lots of little pieces that then need to be sewn up. It feels like you spend as much time sewing up the doll as knitting it in the first place. So, I used the same directions, but knit Steve completely in the round and stuffed as I went. All I had to do was stitch up is crotch a bit. If you notice, he's a bit smaller than Sally. This is because my gauge is always much smaller when I knit in the round. I think this comes from me being a combined knitter and my loose purling. I think it took me about 3 hours of total knitting time to knit each of the dollies.

I found this pattern because my favorite knitting group The Knitting Parents group is doing a small knit along for these dollies and/or a ball band dish cloth. It just so happens that this week was Shaya's 3rd birthday, and she absolutely adored these little dolls for a day. Then she got all her other presents and they seem to have fallen by the way side. It's ok, though, because I will never forget her sitting not so patiently next to me as I sewed on Sally's hair, hat, and face. As soon as she was done, she didn't leave Shaya's hands for a full 24 hours. Now that's satisfaction :D

Next we have my new neck warmer!
Pattern: What pattern?! It's just a 2x2 ribbed tube knit over 62 stitches, and is about 5 or 6" long.
Yarn: My very own handspun, beaded novelty yarn. It generally fluctuated between sport and worsted weight.
Needles: Size 4 36" circular from my Options set (I love these needles, and really like Magic loop).

I knit almost everything in magic loop now. Isn't that funny? Once upon a time, before I had really tried it, I used to think that people knit using magic loop because they were somehow inferior to people who used dpn. That they weren't coordinated enough to use dpn, or that they were just too scared, so they made up a way not to have to use them. To tell you the truth, though, I really like magic loop. I think I might be quicker at it than with dpn. I'm not as afraid that my needles will slip out, and generally feel less awkward with it. Not that I can't whip around on dpn, but I think I just like the huge flexibility of magic loop.

The only spinning fiber that I have at the moment is a lot of really fabulous creamy natural white superwash merino. This is the same merino I used to spin the yarn for my nephew's baby sweater (Which I just realized I don't have a picture posted of, so I'll talk about it at the bottom). So, anyway, I ADORED this yarn so much that I bought a full pound more of it. It is so incredibly soft and bouncy and wonderful. Since this is all the fiber I have, I have been spinning a lot of it. I have about 150 yrds of sport/worsted 2ply and also made 2 skeins of novelty yarn with it. It is a boucle that is 1 ply of that wonderful wool and 1 ply of sparkly metallic gold thread that I threaded randomly with colored glass beads. I had no idea really how it would knit up, but I actually really like the random funkyness of the beads. I still have a skein of it that is quite a bit more lumpy, and is only 57 yrds. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with that, but I love my new neck warmer. It doesn't flop around like a scarf and definitely keeps the chill out while looking oh, so stylish :D

Here's the baby sweater I made for my sister's baby in December.
Pattern: Heartbrakingly Cute baby sweater from Mason Dixon Knitting (and simple top down hat)
Yarn: My own handspun superwash Merino. Mostly bulky to worsted weight
Needles: Size 8 Knitpicks Options
Buttons are from my stash of knitting supplies

The sweater is larger than I had planned. It is more of a 9 month old size than a newborn, but I suppose that's what you get with bulky yarn. It is snuggly soft and bouncy and I love it so much. I was a bit disappointed, though, because my sister barely looked at it when I gave it to her. Somehow I get the feeling that she doesn't really want/appreciate hand knit items. I think that she was probably just a bit overwhelmed with the whole new baby thing, and hope that when Evan is big enough to fit into it, that it will keep him nice and toasty. I guess that handspun/handknit items whether they are ever worn or not are simply an expression of deepest love and I know that I have knit all that love into it, and can only hope that the feeling transfers to that sweet little baby boy :D

Now I think that I need to search through my files and see if I managed to forget any other FO's. If you can't tell, my blog is a bit

Thursday, January 11, 2007

First FO of 2007 and a free pattern for you.

Do you all remember this beautiful sweater?

I decided to felt the whole sweater and make it into a purse, but had never quite gotten around to it. It has sat in my stash for about 3 months now and I pulled it out yesterday for my first official FO of 2007.

I present to you "Braided" my felted, cabled needle case:

This is based on Kable, a free pattern by Berroco, with a few notable modifications.

I didn't actually bother to knit and felt the main body of the case. Instead I felted a whole wool sweater and cut off the back of it for this piece. This resulted in a really stunning striped fabric, without all the tediousness of all those colors.

My piece was quite a bit shorter than the suggested size, but actually accommodates 15 sets of needles instead of the 9 that are shown in the original.

In order to accomplish this, I abandoned their single twisted cable pattern in favor of my braided pattern. This allows for more crossovers in a shorter distance. I thought that the original had the needles a little too far apart anyway, so I like mine better.

Want to make one like it? Here's how!

1 Beautiful 100% wool Thrift Store sweater
Worsted weight yarn in a coordinating shade (I used Paton's Classic 100% Merino Wool)
Size 6 needles
A crochet hook (any size)
Sewing needle and coordinating sewing thread
2 Pretty Buttons

Special abbreviations:
C6F (Cable 6 forward): Place 6 stitches on a cable needle and hold to the front. Knit the next 6 stitches. Knit the 6 stitches from the cable needle. A 12 stitch forward twist is created.
C6B (Cable 6 Back): Place 6 stitches on a cable needle and hold to the back. Knit the next 6 stitches. Knit the 6 stitches from the cable needle. A 12 stitch backward twist is created.

Throw the sweater in the washing machine and intentionally felt it until it is your desired thickness and fuzziness. Make sure that it does not felt down smaller than about 16" or 17" width wise so that it will accommodate your needles. Cut the back off of said sweater, and trim into a perfect rectangle.

Cable strips (make 2):
Cast on 22 stitches
Prep rows 1 & 3: Knit
Prep row 2 & 4: K2, P18, K2
Prep row 5: K2, C6F, K8

Row 1 (and all odd rows): K2, P18, K2
Row 2 & 4: Knit
Row 6: K8, C6B, K2
Row 8 & 10: Knit
Row 12: K2, C6F, K8
Repeat rows 1-12 until braid measures about an inch shorter than your rectangle. (Sample braid has 17 crosses or 8 pattern repeats, yours may have more or less).
Weave in ends

Lay strips on your rectangle so that they are evenly spaced from the edges. Sew them down onto the background fabric.

With your crochet hook, attach a chain to the end of your cable strip and make a chain that is large enough to fit around your button. Repeat for the other strip and weave in all ends.

Roll your case up to get the correct placement for your buttons and sew them on (It's probably a good idea to fill this baby up before you do this, so that it's at it's largest size.)

You're done! Fill that baby up with circular needles, straight needles, or whatever, by sticking your sticks through the gap created each time you cabled. Take your needles anywhere and show off that pretty case for the world to see!


Photo a day

I had read on someone's blog about an idea. I don't know if I could ever live up to it, but it's still a cool idea. You are to take a photograph a day that represents your day. You would then have 365 pictures at the end of the year to look back at and really see who you are and what your life is like. I don't know if I could commit to taking a picture a day, or trying in any kind of a philosophical way to finding the perfect picture to represent that particular day. I figured that if I followed this plan, I would have a lot of pictures of my kids. After all, they are my life, or lack there of. I stare at their little faces all day long. Also, as a mother, I think that my children may just be the most beautiful beings on the planet... at least in pictures. You can't hear the whining or fighting through the picture, and rarely are they caught on film in the act.

Today, however, the choice for a picture was easy. I present to you my toilet
You may ask, "Why on earth would she take a picture of that disgusting toilet?!" and no, that is not what you think it is. That is dirt..... lots of nasty black dirt that came up from our well. You may remember that I mentioned yesterday that our water filter system was being installed today. Well it was, and after having the water running in the house and after him fiddling with the pipes, for some reason, the water came out looking like sludge. All is not well. Water is not supposed to look like this. Toilets are supposed to be clear, or blue, not nasty black brown. The water hasn't looked this bad since they first hooked up our pluming just after the well was dug. It is supposed to snow again tomorrow, however, the water guy is coming out again. Hopefully I will never again have to look at this sight again.

But since a toilet is hardly a happy sight, and since I am incapable of taking out the camera to take pictures of anything without also taking pictures of the little angels, here are some cuter pictures.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Life with Brendan is unfair..... Flattering, but unfair. It is not fair that even though I have been with the kids ALL day and I could really use a break, and the baby has been fed, and changed, and wrapped warmly in his blanket, that apparently Daddy is not good enough. It is really flattering and heartwarming to see that little face peer up at me with tear filled eyes and uplifted arms. It is incredibly not fair that he will follow me to the baby gate and cry for me down the hall and not accept his father's consolation. The really sad thing, though, is that it is so incredibly hilarious.

Yes, the demands of motherhood are exhausting, but at least I know I'm loved.

On other news, the camera has popped out again. I had some really nice shots of Brendan's tongue today, and those cute 4 little teeth of his, but alas I think the memory card has decided to die. Or, maybe it is related to me forgetting about it while it was downloading pictures to the computer today. It was left on far too long.

Alex has started back to school this week, and the whole world is rejoicing. What?! You haven't heard the heavenly choirs sing on your side of the world? Well, they're singing here! It's amazing how those few hours in the afternoon of school can refresh him and I at the same time. He was looking decidedly bored before he went back, and now he's a much better behaved boy, and Mommy again has kid free knitting time!

The best news of all, is that the water filter people FINALLY came today to install our water system. The Reverse Osmosis system was installed for the drinking water, and the rest of the house will be hooked up tomorrow after the installer gets the correct pipes and connecters, etc. This is wonderful news, as we are expecting yet ANOTHER snow storm on Friday. This means that it has snowed every Friday since the week before Christmas. This is totally weird for Colorado. The snow actually stays on the ground for more than a day! The really funny thing is that I prefer the snow out there, because as soon as it melts it creates a giant mud pit capable of sucking your boots clean off. We do not have any grass yet in the front yard, and it appears that our soil is not inclined to nice rich loaminess, it is either seeping oozing mud, or it is blowing, billowing dust. That, however, is a problem for another day.

Here's wishing you all clean water, a baby who needs you, oh ya, and a nifty new knitting needle case (should be done tomorrow :D )

Monday, January 08, 2007

Entrelac and other Tom Foolery

I've been on a bit of a knitting break of late. Nothing has seriously inspired me since the Roberta gloves, but I have to say that anything plain after fair isle is just seriously boring. The lack of knitting inspiration came at a bad time, combining with general restlessness and a bit of depression. My kitty is still not eating, although, she has now decided that she can come out and visit the rest of the house instead of hiding under the bed all the time.

Last night, however, I found a bit of inspiration. I pulled out my old afghan books and started flipping through. I found an Entrelac blanket in 2 different books and though "Hmm, well I've never tried that. I should learn" Out came my Size 8 Bamboo circular and the Paton's SWS in Natural Navy. What I got was this:
Entrelac is seriously addictive! It was like pulling teeth to get me to put the darn thing and make dinner last night! I like the SWS in this pattern, but I think I needed another triangle at the top because the colors tend to pool on one side. I think this would be a beautiful blanket, but DH and I looked last night and at $6.50 a skein, a full sized blanket would cost like $130! I bet I could buy skeins 1 or 2 at a time and dye lots wouldn't matter all that much.

On a completely unrelated note, and in celebration of the camera being fixed; some Tom Foolery.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Sorry, no pictures

Well, there has been progress around here, and there have been pictures. Videos even! But alas, my camera is misbehaving so none of the above will be displayed today on my blog. DH thinks that there is something wrong with the memory card and promised to take it to work with him to stick it in one of the computers there to fix it. I think that the really cute video of Brendan eating bananas double fisted clogged it up and now I am pretty much cameraless. I can take pictures, but I'm afraid to because I don't know if I will ever see them again when said memory card is fixed.

Oh wait, the camera has an internal card... I wonder if it's working well enough for me to take pictures on that?

Anyway, so life is generally fabulous around here, with a few small exceptions. I'll get to those later. We had a massive slumber party at my house the past few days that included our closest friends, their 3 children, and their dog and cat. We all rung in the new year as best as 2 couples with 3 children each are capable of. This means that we put our kids to bed at 9pm instead of 8pm, our friends let their kids essentially crash where they may, and the adults stayed up far too late and drank sparkling cranberry grape juice. There were dice involved.... lots of dice. We are gamers, and our friends probably hang out with us so much because they are gamers too. Generally gamers are not so tolerant of all the little interruptions that are involved in taking care of children while trying to play with one's adult friends. Since we both have kids the same ages (it's freakish that our 2 oldest children were born within weeks of theirs) we all understand and have no issues when it is necessary to feed the baby, etc.

We tried out a new game system called Exalted. It is interesting, but so conducive to "geeking out". It is based on the premise that there are gods out there that bless certain people with superhuman powers. A normal human martial artist can do cool things like Jackie Chan, a cinematic martial artist can do things like you see in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. An exalted is just insane. He can do just about anything he wants. "Hmm, this guy is really starting to bug me... " "Ok, I pick him up and throw him into the wall" In reality, he would hit the wall and fall down. In movies, his head goes through the wall. An exalted does this, the guy goes through the wall, and MAYBE stops when he hits the brick wall across the street. So much fun to think of cool things to do.

I think the system was created by someone who just liked dice, though. Who else would create a system that requires you to roll 10 dice at once for a single action?!

So, we had all these people in our house, and it was fabulous. I enjoyed it so much. They brought their dog and cat with them, because otherwise they would have had to leave early in the morning in order to get home and let the dog out to go to the bathroom (they don't have a yard). I wanted them to stay most of New years day, so I said it was fine. In reality, their animals were wonderful house guests, however, we have a cat of our own. She ended up locked in our master suite with her cat box and food dish the entire time. This isn't really a problem, though, because she lives in there most of the time anyway. The problem was, though, that she spent the entire time under our bed. I don't think she ate or drank the entire time. I am wondering if she has been eating at all for the last week. She is SO skinny. I'm really worried about her. We're going to take her to the vet this afternoon, but If the bill is too much, we simply can't afford it. It makes me sad just thinking about it. Socks is my first child so to speak. Grant and I picked her out while we were on our honeymoon from the animal shelter. She is small for a cat, affectionate, sooo soft, and really wonderful. I feel horrible that I hadn't noticed that she wasn't eating. When I noticed that her food was still full after a few days, I figured that DH had filled it back up. Now looking back, she probably wasn't eating and I didn't notice! I'm such a horrible pet owner and I feel wretched.

Everyone send good thoughts my way that she is ok and that the vet will be able to help her. It appears that my blogging time is up. Brendan is crying at my knee and I'm incapable of typing and holding him at the same time.