Thursday, June 26, 2014

It's A Little Bit Scary

So..... I'm trying to decide whether to retire or not.  My employer has been very generous in granting me a leave of absence to clear my brain and make the decision.

After 16 years of being a nurse as a second career, I'm getting tired.  Although I absolutely love my work, it seems that it's time for the young chicks to move up. I have so many interests that I would like to pursue-- and I would seriously like to get a handle on this whole housekeeping thing.

As I get older, it's apparent to me that I need to take advantage of the time I have, while I still enjoy good health.

I look forward to continuing my knitting endeavors.  It's given me focus, comfort, and an outlet for creativity. I started making jewelry-- first beading, and now metalworking, which I love-- cutting, hammering, soldering, finishing--- and I'd like to work on getting good at designing.

Meanwhile, I hope to travel and share more experiences with The Husband.

Monday might be my last day at my job.... we'll see.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 16th

We Remember

We Remember

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Actual Knitting Content- Believe It-- or Not

The Bunting and Hat
The Daughter's bestie had a babe, so of course, I needed to knit something.  Since his mom and dad are Hokies, it needed to be something of the Hokie persuasion.  I've always been a fan of buntings, so figured that would be a plan.  I used superwash Shepherd's Wool,  knit it in the round, and took my first crack at steeking (eeeekkkk!!!) and it turned out pretty well.  I inserted a zipper, and a bottom drawstring, and there it was. (The top zipper edge wasn't completely finished in the pic above)

Isn't he unspeakably cute?
And it almost screamed out for a coordinating earflap hat....

The 2/3 Shawl

We had some sadness in the extended family. What do knitters do?  We knit.  So I knit a shawl for the primary person.  At the same time, I was struck down by what I think was a strain of the flu that wasn't covered by my annual flu vaccine. Being out of work for 2 weeks, with a round-trip to Blacksburg in the mix, I was able to make great progress on this: (Yes, I know it's sideways.  I've rotated and saved it a bunch of times, and no joy--- but you get the drift). The pattern is the 2/3 Shawl by Wendy Johnson, knit in Schaefer Heather in the Willa Cather colorway.  I quit at the end of 2 skeins, not completely finishing the pattern, but since I used size 8 needles, it is plenty big.  I ran out of enough yarn to bind off, so ended up doing a sewn bind-off, which took forever, since it was the entire outer edge of the shawl, but it looks nice, and I had 18" of yarn left.  I love the colors, which remind me of crocuses blooming in the spring.

Color me productive. 

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Happy New Year

Pretty tatted star from a friend
I met on the Panama Canal cruise
Well, I got my "winter fix." Living where we do, winter is frequently pretty wimpy, with feeble attemps at snow, which completely paralyze the greater DC metropolitan area.  I spent most of this week in the City of Big Shoulders- Chicago--where people know how to drive, the public works people know how to clear snow, and everyone shovels, scrapes, and acts like this is normal. It was great.
We had a wonderful time with the family, and it is always amazing to see how the 26 cousins pick up where they left off.
The snow caused some travel problems, as The Daughter and I had a flight canceled last night, but it meant another night at my Dad's, and a chance to see the Oklahoma-Alabama game. Since we had to leave for the airport at 3 a.m., we hit the sack at halftime, and saw the score this morning.
The flight was fine,  but had to wait over an hour for the gate-checked luggage. If (Small plane, full flight.) What the what? Then the scraping and snow removal from the car. 2 hours after arriving at National,  we finally got on the road.

In other news, the DNA Helix scarf turned out quite well.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

What a wonderful Christmas we had. For the first time in a number of years I was off work on the actual day. As a nurse, working holidays and weekends is part of the deal. Since the extended family gathers in the Midwest for New Year's, and since my wonderful Husband and Offspring are flexible about what day we designate as Christmas, I usually end up with the tiny ones on Dec 25. This year, however, it just worked out for me to be off. And I was more organized than usual, so the shopping was all done (mostly online--and almost everything arrived), the tree was up, packages wrapped, and I was amazed. In years past, I "lost" the stocking gifts, and struggled with the last bits of clutter, adding to more unnecessary stress. This year I wrapped the stocking stuffers in a package under the tree (and remembered to mark it so I could find it) and wrapped the last bit of can't figure out what to do with it" in a box marked "Do not open-ever". Of course, I'll deal with it-- probably after the tree  comes down.

Among the presents were a beer-making kit for The Son, a picnic/tailgate wine and cheese thing for The Husband, and finally, the DNA helix scarf for The Daughter. It was done, but not "finished"-- in a package without ends weavednin, and un-blocked. That was today's project.
Ends weaved in
Into its bath (note to self: Madelinetosh Vintage bleeds. A lot!

Then blocking. I love my "blocking board" which I picked up at an after-Christmas sale for $4 a few years ago.

Right side-a Sponge Bob tic-tac-toe game. Flip side-a blocking board for a fraction of what the knitting pro shops and websites charge.

So- done for now. Can't wait to see it when it's all dry.

Now to work on completing the bunting.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Various stuff

Had a great weekend in Blacksburg-- the weather was misty-- sort of like Ireland, but the Hokies had a win against Pitt, the bratwurst was yummy, and we had a great time with our friends.
To top off  the day was an evening of great football, with a heart-attack special, 4-overtime Penn State vs Michigan game (no overwhelming loyalties to either team-- just great football) and a cliffhanger for Ole Miss vs Texas A&M.

Almost done with The Daughter's DNA scarf.  I have a few more projects that I really need to get charging forward on... not the least of which is the bunting.  Gotta do it! Soon!

Thought I'd share these Helpful Technology Tips I saw online this morning.  Who knew?

Our hospital has the Magnet Survey visit this week.  Such excitement!  Then a couple of more shifts, before Sunday, when our family will see Da Bears vs the Redskins. I don't think I've ever been to a pro game, and I grew up in Chicago.  It'll be great to be with The Offspring at such a fun event.

Well, That's That for now.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Getting Ready to Cast On Again

Before we get started-- I've noted some strange links that popped up in orange after I posted this.  I did not insert these, and I suspect that Blogger has arranged with some entities to get some bucks for picking up on words.  They appear to be innocent-- but annoying.  My links are blue.

Nope-- not finished with the Aranami shawl. It goes on, and on, and on-- my own fault, really, because I wanted it to be larger, and the geometric increase is impressive in terms of time and yarn.  Did I mention that I just ordered MORE yarn so that I can finish it?  Luckily, it's KnitPicks Pallette, which is affordable, and has about a thousand colors which remain consistent through several orders.  The disadvantage is that it has about a thousand colors, so if you can't remember which of the dark browns you need, you end up like me, with enough extra balls in the wrong colors to make several more projects. (In fairness, KnitPicks WILL take them back, but hey--- I can always use more yarn, right?)  I am halfway through the top row, which comprises short-row scallops that flatten out the pointy parts you see on the left half of the picture.  Then to cast off about 300 stitches, followed by a marathon of weaving in hundreds of ends before blocking.  I might have it done before the end of the year.

Nope-- not finished with the DNA scarf either.  I'm making great progress, but it's a surprise Christmas gift for The Daughter (who wouldn't be caught dead looking at my blog), and I need to be working on something else when she's around.  I figure I'm about halfway done-- a few inches past the start of the second skein of yarn. I was able to spend a few hours at Mosaic in Blacksburg last Friday with Gina and her crew.  I purchased the first of the MadelineTosh Vintage for this project at Mosaic and I love to spend time there. Delightful

So, since I have 2 active projects, I clearly need to cast on for a third.  Typical me. The baby's bunting is going to be part of a joint present for The Daughter's Friends' baby from The Daughter and me, so I need to appear to be working on it.

This one is going to require some prep work.  I really need to check gauge, although there is some wiggle room in baby projects-- and this one is expected to be rather large (Mom and Dad are both rather tall).  I also want to make sure I can steek before I start this, because I want to put a full-length zipper in, and steeking seems to be the best way to have clean lines and a minimum of bulk.  So I will swatch, and then steek the swatch, and hope I survive the drama.

Don't want to lose this link to Jogless stripes in circular knitting. It is going to be very important when I start the Bunting.

So a couple of days of trying to get myself together before a work trip to Orlando next week.  Should be fun-- and a guaranteed several hours of knitting time on the plane-- what to take... what to take....

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Great Progress

The Nerd Project
The DNA scarf for The Daughter is chugging right along, and is about 2 feet long.  It's not nearly as stressful this time for several reasons-- not the least of which are paying attention to what I'm doing. The color is a rich, bright maroon (MadelineTosh Vintage Tart) that is a bit washed-out in the pic below.

--> I decided to use larger needles this time. I think I was using 5's before, but everything was so scrunched, that it was just a hassle. So this time around I'm using 8's which makes perfect sense, since it's worsted. The original pattern is done in fingering, but dear heavens-- I'm doing another big project in fingering right now, and as I've mentioned before, life is short.  And I have a few more projects to finish before the end of the decade. (Gauge???  I didn't even think about it-- nor will I.  It's a scarf, for heaven's sake, although a swatch of the cable might have lead me to larger needles for comfort sake.)

-->  I modified the pattern, using  a 5-stitch seed border, and a 2-stitch reverse stockinette separating a single twisted stitch on either side of the cable pattern.

--> Stitch markers!!!!  What on earth made me think I could keep track of what was where without using them?  I've never been opposed to them, but holy cow! What was I thinking?

-> Cable needle.  Many knitters I admire don't use them, and apparently I thought I was that good.  I have cable needles, but can't find them right now, so have been using the needle part of a very expensive ebony circular that separated from its join. It makes me feel good to put it to use-- and I like the feel of the ebony.  I haven't dropped stitches, and it's easier for me to keep track of what I'm doing.

--> I photocopied and cut out the chart and chart legend, mounted and laminated them. I was using a Post-It note to keep track, which worked well until yesterday, when the sticky failed, but I found a really good solution.  In the stationery section at Five Below, I found a very lightweight magnetic board for $4.  Now I have another magnetic board that I purchased at a needlework store many moons ago (originally I used it for counted cross-stitch).  The pattern was too large for the board, so it didn't work.  This is great, and there's room for extra notes (and I can write directly on the board, as well.) I keep track of my rows with a magnet from my refrigerator, which reminds me of happy vacations in Missouri with my family. (RIP, Ryan's Resort-- we had a great time there for several FolkFests.)

--> LOOK AT THE CHART!!! I can't go on my merry way, because I'm not that smart. This is not a simple 4-row cable (but it's not difficult or complicated, either).  It's not rocket science (or even Biochemistry), but the pattern traverses many rows.  When I look at the chart, and keep track of what row I'm on, the pattern looks like it's supposed to-- duh!!!! People with ADD need structure.

So, I'm mostly done with the first skein of Madelintosh Vintage (Tart), and will wind another ball tonight (and I have a spare).  Meanwhile, I have two more skeins in the Sequoia colorway-- a tad duller and less blue.  Hmmm.... wonder what I'll do with that????

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Back in the saddle--- Again

It's been nearly a year. And the bottom line was that I lost my knitting mojo.

I did one project-- a takeoff on "Age of Brass and Steam" scarf that included beads and a picot bindoff.  After finishing it, I wasn't happy with the size-- just too small to be useful for me.  So I plan to pick up stitches under the picots and keep adding on to it.

Then, The Husband and I took a much-needed vacation, and wonderful it was indeed. We had 17 glorious days aboard Norwegian Jewel, leaving New York, transiting the Panama Canal, and arriving in Los Angeles, with a night in Los Angeles followed by a 3-day cross-country train trip back to the DC area. Knitting opportunities galore!

The cruise was such fun, and what contributed in no small part was the knitting group that met on at-sea days in Malting's Bar. We were a diverse group. Knitters and crocheters from across the country and Canada. As happens with fiber addicts, we followed each other's progress, got ideas, and shared our stories. On the zip-line excursion in Costa Rica, we discovered that three of us were in the group.

My onboard project was the Aranami shawl designed by my friend Olga. I started it many moons ago, and then when packing for the trip, there it was!!! I made the dubious decision to make it a few sections larger. Warning! It geometrically increases the time and yarn commitment. I ran out of one color during the cruise, but since it is done in sections, I could carry on with the darker color.

It's done in KnitPicks Pallette- a fingering weight that comes in a bazillion colors.  This is a problem only because I needed to get the same colors I was using.  There are about 15 shades of medium brown, and as many in dark brown.  In order to finish the shawl, I ended up purchasing enough skeins in different colors to do a couple more small projects (mittens?) in many shades of brown.

I'm in the final phase, doing the top tier, short-row scallops. Then to handle the loose ends and block. I hope to have it finished next week.

Will I make another? Probably. But rather than knitting with fingering on 3's, I'll probably use a worsted on 7's. Life's too short...

Also on the needles...

Yes, I'm a Nerd, and I raise them.

The Daughter is a biochemist, and I'm knitting a scarf for her that has the DNA helices made in cables.  I started IT quite awhile ago, and then misplaced it.  When I relocated it, I remembered that I'd made an error or two, and ripped down those rows, so I could fix them.  I tried.  But darn it, it looked awful.  Despite having about a foot done already, I decided to frog the whole thing and start over.  Good decision.  While on the road to Hokie football games, I hope to get it done within a few weeks, and give it to her for Christmas.  I'm knitting it with Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage, and already made a hat with helices.  Realizing that I don't have enough to make the scarf a respectable length, I ordered what I thought was the right color from Loopy Ewe, and then discovered it was a different colorway-- close but no cigar.  So I found the right stuff online at Imaginknit in San Francisco-- and it should arrive tomorrow!!!

Hopefully, there will be pictues soon.

Life is good

Friday, September 14, 2012

Yep-- I'm Still Here

So, I knew it's been a long time since I've posted, but I didn't realize it's been since MAY!!!

A lot has happened--- The trip to Europe, the Derecho, family reunion, a niece's wedding, new windows throughout the house, a new hobby in jewelry making, more knitting, a huge tree removed from the back yard (breaks my heart, but it had to go!), and I've embraced Pinterest.

And a lot is happening-- Football season at Tech, (the REAL Tech-- the Virginia Tech one), more knitting projects, trying to get the house painted and together after the aforementioned window replacements.

This is all not to mention work-- busy, interesting, and always the best job in the world.

So here's some of what's gone on:

Sagrida Familia, Barcelona

With my ol' buddy, Mary Tyler Moore in Minneapolis en route the family reunion at Birch Bay  

Beyond description-- and you cannot imagine what the inside of the house looks like, after having to move everything away from the windows.  It's still a disaster, but there is hope in sight, And we're supposedly going to save a bundle on heating and air conditioning.
Gives you an idea of how big this sucker was--the pic was taken from the second floor of the house 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Back From Europe

The Daughter and I returned from nearly 2 weeks in Europe. What an incredible experience.

Day 1 into Day 2. We flew from BWI to Rome via Heathrow in time for breakfast in London.
On to Rome, arriving late afternoon. We had planned to take the Leonardo Express to Termini and then connect by Metro which would have cost about 16 each, but found a van that took us directly to our hotel for 20 apiece. So worth it! We based ourselves in Rome for 5 nights, staying at Hotel Prati, about 3 blocks from the Vatican. We discovered how close when we went for a gelato walk after dinner, turned around, and saw this:

Our location was superb-- close to the Vatican, lots of great little restaurants, and a reasonable walk to the Ottaviano Metro-- giving us access to most of Rome.

We were pretty tuckered out, so hit the sack and got ourselves turned around.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Bags are Packed...

...I'm ready to go.

Heading to Rome tonight with The Daughter.

Update when I return.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


The end of an era. I was at the 5th Space Shuttle launch, and then at a couple of others several years later.

It was exciting-- and sad-- to see her make her final journey.

We're told this is not the end. I hope that is true.

Monday, April 16, 2012

We Remember

... the 32 students and faculty of Virginia Tech who were killed 5 years ago today.

We thank the Security, Police and Campus authorities, faculty and administration who cared for our children and the medical professionals who helped them to heal.

We ask God's blessing on all who were touched- from near and from afar.

On this beautiful day, we look toward the future.