Monday, December 15, 2008

Still Kickin'

Life's been chock full of fun, craziness and busy busy work schedule. When I'm not working, I've pretty much been on the road.

Go Hokies
After beating UVA on Thanksgiving Saturday and clinching the ACC Coastal division, the Hokies headed to Tampa for the ACC Championship game in Tampa. It was a quick turnaround, but the men in Maroon and Orange played a great game against Boston College to win the ACC Championship.

It was a beautiful day, marred only by the Tampa cops roughing up some of our students after the game. Apparently they wanted everyone to clear the stadium. It would have been nice to make an announcement to that effect, because everyone was still celebrating. The students would have been glad to leave, but didn't want to be separated from their friends-- it's a big stadium, and you might never find them again. It was so unnecessary, and makes me wonder if I want to attend another event in Tampa. Maybe the cops were FSU fans.

So our New Years' will be spent in Ft Lauderdale/Miami for the Orange Bowl. It should be great fun. We'll watch The Daughter's final performance with the Marching Virginians, and hopefully (finally) a Bowl win for The Hokies.

A Weekend Together
The Husband and I did a little travelling on our own this last weekend. He had a meeting in Charlottesville (home to another state university). On the way down we decided to check out Williamsburg reservations, and were able to get reservations for The Christmas Feast at Shields' Tavern. So off to Williamsburg we went for Saturday night. They had Illumination of the Taverns, complete with fife and drums. Williamsburg is always lovely, but even more so at Christmas. It was a nice weekend.

Knitting-wise, I make progress on the Feb Lady sweater, but I'll have to rip out a big chunk because I reversed my increases after having put it down for awhile. Sigh.

I finished the Christmas Stocking for The Daughter's Friend's Relative. After 3 go-arounds, several rip-outs of the duplicate stitch designs etc, it got its bath last night and looks pretty darn decent. I did an I-cord for the hanger, and all that's left is to sew that on and pop it in the mail.

I'd lament not having more knitting accomplishments, but with night shifts and travelling and general life busy-ness, it's taken a back burner.

And now to try to get the home ready for Christmas, and off to my Chicagoland family this weekend to bake cookies.

I wonder how many miles I've logged in the past 6 weeks?

(no pictures-- the computer that holds the picture files has a busted power source-- should be back up in a couple of days.)

Friday, November 14, 2008


They were THAT close.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Been A Little Tied Up Lately

So no good blogging going on. I'll have to get back with the program.

Work has been emotionally draining. I love my job, and I love caring for my patients and their families. Sometimes they are experiencing very serious challenges, and I can't even imagine their stress and pain.

So I do what I can

I'm privileged to be in the company of awesome professionals who work as a team to provide the absolutely best care for body, mind and spirit.

I know I made the right decision to be a nurse.


I completed the 3rd go-around on a Christmas stocking for a family member of The Daughter's friend. They gave me one of the stockings-- made for The Daughter's friend when she was a baby. They also gave me a pattern to follow.

The original appeared to be made in Red Heart. So I purchased Red Heart. Fun. I couldn't match the green color, which may have faded over the years.

I dutifully checked gauge against the pattern-- perfect on size 8's. (I was so very proud of myself-- actually checking gauge...) It was knit flat and then connected at the heel/instep. As I was almost done with the foot, it occurred to me to compare it to the original. It was huge. And the stitches were clearly larger. So I frogged the whole thing, and swatched again, matching the stitch size using 5's. (I was so very proud of myself for finding a needle that matched the stitch size...) I decided to knit in the round on 2 circs rather than knitting the leg flat. When I completely finished the stocking according to the pattern, it was still huge compared to the original.(!)

Now I realize that the reasonable and thoughtful knitter would have checked the size against the original at an earlier point in this evolution, but I was trying to minimize the amount of stuff I was schlepping. And who'd a thunk it didn't match the pattern???

Not me.

Original on the left, MONSTER SOCK in the middle, Acceptable 3rd try on the right

So finally, I did what I should have done in the first place. Forget about the pattern, count the stitches around the original stocking, and go from there.

And as I was packing everything up for a road trip, my eye fell on the Trader Joe's wine carrier. Six sections. Works great. I think I'll use it when I do FairIsle.

I'm basically done, except for blocking and duplicate stitching the pattern. Probably a task for the next road trip.

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to getting back to the February Lady Sweater-- Beautiful yarn-- orange Water Lily. My fingers have been itching to make some progress. And there are a couple of other baby sweaters for co-workers on the needles as well as the obligatory socks.

So much to knit-- so little time.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


BC 28. VT 23.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bad Blogger-- Bad Blogger-- That Would Be Me

However, it doesn't mean that nothing's been going on in my life.

First things first:

What a game. I must say that I had "cautious-- very cautious" optimism as I positioned myself on the couch last night to watch the Hokie action. It started out well, and with a couple of breath-holding moments (such as Nebraska's punt return for a touchdown-- GASP) it was great. Both teams played well, and it was college football at its best. Next week is in Blacksburg-- can't wait.

Work has gone from "Let's figure out who has enough vacation time left to stay home today" to crazy busy. In addition, there are loads of extra little projects that just really pile up. One at a time-- One at a time.

Knitting-wise, it's pretty much been the handtowels. I'm nearly done with #3, and may call a halt to them for awhile after this one, although they are terrific traveling projects. I have a couple of things in mind with some terrific yarn that is sitting in baskets. Need a plan-- and enough time to get it all together. And need to carve out more time than I have watching football.

The leaves are starting to turn, it's getting cooler, It's Fall!!! My kind of time.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Plan for next week:
Don't pass the ball to the other team.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Where to Start? Where to Start?

What an unbelievable summer...

In mid-June our Hospital had a visit from the Magnet appraisers. Only 2% of hospitals in the US have achieved Magnet Status which is a big honkin' award earned by the Nurses for the hospital. I was privileged to be an escort for the lead appraiser, and it was a terrific opportunity and experience. (We found out on Thursday that we were officially redesignated. It's really huge.)

Two days later I left for Girl Scout Camp where I spent the next 5 weeks in a cabin in the mountainous woods of western Virginia. I lived in the health center. It was a lot of work, but a fantastic experience. I learned so much, and really enjoyed it.

My days began a bit before 7 am, administered meds before and after breakfast, and after lunch and dinner, and before bedtime. It's hard to describe what filled the days, because every day was different.

There was the day that 7 girls arrived simultaneously with multiple bee stings. There were numerous scrapes and bumps. There were quite a few "roving" stomachaches that were usually associated with homesickness. There were headaches and cramps, multiple mosquito bites, pulled muscles, rashes, splinters, throwing up (for some reason people always felt it necessary to state whether it was inside or outside the "biffies" (latrines)), and so forth.

I was rather proud of the fact that only 2 campers went to see the doctor during the 5 weeks I was there. (The staff record wasn't as good--I think we averaged 1-2 per week.)

The day usually lasted until 11 pm. There was a lot of paperwork-- not only documenting the daily occurrances, but preparing for the next week's campers.

I met a lot of fantastic people. My boss at camp was amazing, and it was really good to work with the staff who came from around the world.
Would I do it again? In a minute!!!!

I left camp 2 weeks before the season ended to join The Husband and The Offspring as well as The Parents, The Siblings and their Collective Offspring for a week on a lake in Minnesota. It was very strange going from my cabin in the mountains in the woods with Girl Scout rules to flying first class.The Annual Family Get-Together (aka FolkFest)
That's my parents, my brothers and sisters and our collective kids. There are a few missing from the picture, but they were present in our hearts. We have been able to get together for a week every summer for many years. What a blessed time. We are so very fortunate. The kids are all growing up, and I laughed so hard at their wit and antics. I don't get to see my nieces and nephews very often, and I am overwhelmed by their personalities, talents, and caring for each other. We always have a wonderful time together. I just love spending time with my brothers and sisters (and that includes the spouses.) I have learned so much from each of them, and as the years go by, I just love them all more and more.

While in the Northwoods of Minnesota, one needs some field trips. A large group of us went to Fargo, North Dakota. Seemed like a good idea. We and had lunch at a brewery that served samples of 6 different beers for $4:

saw the Roger Maris Museum (that's Roger and Mickey Mantle with President Truman):

and a reconstructed Viking ship and Viking Church:

My Parents, The Husband and I went to the headwaters of the Mississippi River--Lake Itasca-- and we walked across the Mississippi. (That's the south end of The Husband.) We took a side trip to Bemidji-- home of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. The Parents were there nearly 60 years ago-- on their honeymoon.
And that evening we returned to a sight that we shared every evening-- and never tired of:

Has been a bit strange for a number of reasons:
*45 minute commute in the car vice 3 steps from my room to the treatment room.
*Non-stop political commercials vice no tv, radio or newspapers for 5 weeks.
*Having to decide what to wear vice putting on either khaki or olive scrub pants and a t-shirt.
*Air conditioning vice being warm or being chilly, compliments of Mother Nature.
*Blow-drying my hair vice being perfectly happy with frizz.
*Extra work tasks vice just gettin' through the day.

The good things about being back are that I get to be with The Husband (who, by the way, redid our living room-- painted walls, ceiling, and installed new crown molding), and I have a bit more free time-- as in time to knit. I only knit for about 45 minutes-TOTAL- during my summer.

Since I've been home and watching the Olympics, I've been working on linen hand towels. The Summer Camp Sweater is almost done (Lord-- when will I ever get anything done in time for its intended purpose?) I had a GREAT time on Friday because Knit Happens had their huge summer sale. I picked up a bunch of beautiful orange WaterColor merino wool that will become a sweater (February Lady Sweater, maybe?) , a boatload of grey linen that will become a short-sleeved top-- probably a bit of lace involved. I got yarn for some endpaper mitts. It was terrific to see Holly, Kelly and Steph. I saw them last just before leaving for camp, but missed them a bunch.

So as my life returns to whatever seems to be normal for me, and we approach the Fall, I have one overriding thought:


Monday, June 02, 2008

Been Workin', Been Studyin', Been Knittin'--And Some Big News

All of the above.

While our census has been low, I'm working on a couple of projects that keep me next to crazy.

This weekend I completed a Certificate Program in Event Planning at Virginia Tech. It was a 60-hour class over 4 Fridays/Saturdays in April and May. It was a lot of work, a lot of traveling, and a lot of fun. I met some amazing people, and got a really good view of what is involved in putting together meetings, conferences and other special events. And I got to spend some time with The Daughter- the most special of events to me.

Knitting-wise, my camera is angry with me, so no pics, but one linen hand towel is finished and another is about halfway there. My other active project is a top-down raglan roll-neck sweater in Arucania Nature Cotton in sage green (two very similar but different colors that look variegated as I'm alternating rows). Nice, mindless knitting. I'm calling it "My Summer Camp Sweater."

Yes, NurseLaura is going to Girl Scout Camp for about 5 weeks this summer. What excitement! I'll be living at camp in the mountains, and I'm really looking forward to it.

The ever-supportive Husband is being ever-supportive.

A really positive aspect is that I don't have to do the commute-- just walk up a hill.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

So I Missed MSWF

..But I got to go camping with about 150 Girl Scouts this weekend as the camp nurse. All went well, except for some coughing and stuffy noses thanks to massive amounts of pollen and dust in the air. The cause, of course, was beautiful weather for which we were immensely grateful.

I finished the first hand towel, and started a second. Hurrah!

The Tilted Duster is now done except for blocking and sewing on of arms.

So that means I can start another big project!!! And I still have gobs of yarn from last year's MSW and the big Knit Happens sale and a bunch of stuff I picked up last fall at Mosaic.

Speaking of KH, I was able to hit Late Night, and it was lovely evening. There are lots of socks, sweaters, tops, baby gifts and all sorts of other things being knit, I got to see lots of my knitting buds, and it was a truly relaxing time.

Sorry-- no pics today. My internet is REALLY slow, and my life is passing more quickly than the photo downloads allow.

Stuff happens.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Surprise! Remember Me?

It's been busy, busy, busy at Casa SAkNITY.

Since it's not been busy, busy in my unit at work, I've been detailed to work on some projects for The Hospital, and it's kept me busy, busy.

There wasn't even much kNITting to blog about, as I went for quite awhile without even picking up needles to any great extent.

That problem has been remedied, and I've even hit 2 Late Nights. (Skipped tonight because The Husband and I went out for dinner-- that's another story-- coming up later in this blog.)

April 16th came and went with some tears, some prayers, some time with friends and some time for meditation. I met a friend for lunch in Old Town, and when I returned to my car, there was a packet of sunflower seeds with a VT sticker, an orange ribbon, and a request to plant the seeds in rememberance. I was touched. I found out that some people were handing them out in town, and I guess they saw the VT stickers on my car. What a thoughtful gesture on such a difficult day.

So-- kNITting progress--

Tilted duster-- sleeves are done-- Hurrah, Hurrah! Next step is picking up and knitting the collar. Shouldn't be too bad. I should make some headway on that tomorrow.

(Oh yes-- Tomorrow! I'm heading down to Blacksburg for the second of 4 2-day sessions to become a certified Event Planner! Y'know-- conferences, fund raisers, weddings, bar mitvahs-- they actually have classes for that. It's most interesting and lots of fun.)

The Linen project for a special person-- first one's almost done. About 2 inches left.

Dinner Tonight

The Husband said "Let's go out for dinner." Hey-- I'm a fan. Since he was driving and paying, I didn't bring my purse-- one less thing for me to forget.

Let me make it perfectly clear that I LOVE Famous Dave's. Great pork barbecue, yummy ribs, and Wilbur beans that are just superb.

But let me ask you a question-- seriously-- and don't even try to be nice--do these two really appear to be under 21?

OK-- I don't think so either. But they have their rules, so be it. No ID, No Beer. Sigh.

After quite a long time, we were able to order. Easy order-- onion strings and a combo for 2. 1/2 hour later-- onion strings arrive. Another 1/2 hour later- combo for 2 arrives. 45 minutes later-- done eating by 20 minutes or so, and hoping for the check. And hoping. And maybe a box or two to take home our rather large amount of leftovers. Waiter kept walking past us, averting eyes, being busy, busy. Finally, a check. Some boxes. A discussion with the manager. 2 hours have elapsed since we arrived. Without beer.

Good thing the food's so good.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

What Can Be Better?

The Daughter is home for a couple of days. I just love spending time with my beautiful, talented, clever, funny offspring. (The Son fits all of those, too- but substitute "swarthy" for "beautiful.") (I love spending time with him, too- but he's not on break til next week.)

We both have work to do, so amidst a couple of appointments (Lasik followup and a lock-trimming), we're going to hunker down in the family room with a bunch of DVD's, a pot of coffee, a case of Diet Coke, and our laptops. Amazing how much work I've done during my "week off." I don't mind, as long as I can be with The Daughter during the couple of days she's home.

I had a lunch meeting at a colleague's house yesterday (try the Panera turkey panini with spinach and artichoke---YUM!!!). We're working on a project and she has two beautiful 9-month old twin girls. Much easier to do things on her turf. It was a very productive meeting, and we're well on our way with the project.

I've also been working on some Powerpoint presentations, and I'm having a ball. I figured out how to put in music and use a lot of the effects to the max. There are a lot of important things to teach and communicate at the hospital right now, and it makes me feel good to put it into a form that people enjoy experiencing. This is very time consuming, but it's like play to me-- many hours put to good use.

I used to feel a bit guilty about the "play factor" associated with doing these projects, until My Sister#4 turned me on to Brat Factor. It's done by Pam & Peggy- the Sidetracked Sisters who spawned FlyLady. (Hey, Erin-- you seeing a theme here?) I keep hoping it'll kick in-- baby steps.

Anyway-- Brat Factor is based on the premise that we all have an "inner brat". (I named mine Edith Anne- remember Laugh In?).
The motto is:
"If it isn't fun, it won't get done"

(Now I have to buckle down and get one of my lectures finalized. JUST DO IT!- And MAKE IT FUN!!!)

On the knitting front: I've made pretty good progress on the first hand towel while watching college basketball on the tube. (Jane-- that's telly, not subway to you). March Madness should be a very productive time. Once I just paid attention to the knitting and not reading the pattern all the time, it decided to work with me.

I'm looking forward to "before" and "after" pictures with it, because there appear to be a lot of holes where knit meets purl, and small irregularities because the linen fiber is a bit irregular and pretty stiff. It's going to bloom and relax, I know... It's a nice travelling project in lieu of socks and mittens. Not too big, not too heavy, and makes more visible immediate gratification progress on 5's than socks on 0's.

And sometime soon I need to overcome my fear of sleeve caps and finish the darn Tilted Duster so I can WEAR it!!! (I guess I need to focus on how much fun it will be to have it finished.)

Sometime soon.

Random pic of the day:

Double rainbow somewhere in Ohio near Cleveland.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

It Was a Beautiful Day

Although it was quite windy and a bit chilly.

But despite the wind and the chill and the crowds (A very early St. Pat's Day Parade in Alexandria-- pretty soon it'll be held in January) our hearts were warm and it was one of the best recent days ever.

I met up with some Irregulars at Knit Happens. I haven't been able to make it to Late Night for several weeks, and I really missed everyone. It was like coming home after a long time away.

We caught some yumminess at Chipotle and on return to The Shop I set to the business of the most unbelievable in-person yarn sale I've experienced. Stef, Michelle and Kelly had incredible deals... 25--50--75--80--90--90 % off some of these terrific yarns!!!! I picked up a bunch of FibraNatura Flax (50%), some Nature Cotton (90%), a boatload of King Tut (90%), some Noro Kochoron (70%)-- Un-be-bleepin'-lievable!!!

I started on some linen hand towels, using the flax, as a special gift for a special person, using a pattern from Mason-Dixon Knitting. I'm using the Addi Lace needles-- a good match with the linen whch is a bit "splitty."

I ended up doing a bit of frogging. First I cast on the wrong number of stitches. Then my conversations interfered with basic counting... the beat goes on. I can say that the linen reacts pretty well to frogging and tinking, and softens up nicely. I am so looking forward to getting one finished so I can wash it and experience the drapiness promised by the Mason Dixons, Ann and Kay.

FidgetAnn met us after her class, and after a bit more sittin' and knittin', we (Ann, Dani, Elspeth and I) headed off in search of Margaritas and perhaps a bite to eat.
South Austin Grill was packed, so I suggested Hard Times Cafe, which has the best chili in the hemisphere if not the world. (I'd venture to say the world, since it doesn't seem likely to me that any other nation could "do" chili as well as the good ol' USA.) The chili (try the Frito pie) and Margaritas were out of this world. (I like all the chilis- but my favorite is Texas- as dry as possible.)

Then off to the Metro to head in separate directions, and home.

I continued to bungle the towel, and realized the reason I was messing up on this extremely easy pattern was that I was tuckered out, so frogged the whole thing and started over today.

Good decision, and I'm on my way.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Drive-By Randomness Blog

  • -Virginia Tech-Maryland box scoreVirginia Tech 69, Maryland 65 It was a heck of a game last night-- and LATE!!! Tipoff was at 9 PM!
  • -Working on the second mitten.
  • -Will probably do some shoulderage on the Tilted Duster sleeves during tomorrow's anticipated sleet and ice.
  • -If it's not too bad, might drop by the shop.
  • -I love being able to be off when we're overstaffed-- but my vacation time is in danger of getting dribbled away.
  • That is all.

Random Picture du Jour

Wiameia Canyon, Hawaii. Can it be a year since I was there?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

That's The Way...

Uh Huh, Uh Huh


Uh Huh, Uh Huh

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Knitting? Not So Much

We got slammed with car troubles again-- hopefully resolved by now.

The Son's transmission croaked, so $3600 and a new transmission later, we are back to a full complement of vehicles.

It's been a bit of a pain this week, with trips to Winchester to play musical cars, dropping The Husband off at work and picking him up, or vice versa, and dealing with what was, while not a catastrophe, hugely inconvenient. To top it off, I worked 4 nights over the weekend which is a story in itself.

I was particularly distressed that the 2 trips to Winchester coincided with Sister #3's visits to the area for work. When she's traveled before, we've made opportunities to meet for drinks or breakfast. This time it could not be. And she lives halfway across the continent! I can only hope that she'll be back so we can get together.

All this transiting, and associated schleppage also prevented Late Night for me this week. I'd been looking forward to it, but it was not meant to be.

So, I look forward to the return of some normalcy.

I really need to make progress on that second mitten!!!

Random Picture du Jour

Statue of John Wayne at the Orange County airport.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

All Right!

I hit Late Night on Wednesday. It had been awhile since I'd seen some of my friends. As always, conversation was lively (hint-- Andrew Morton's new book)and the work of these talented women was beautiful, as always. Stef gave a rundown of the TNNA excitement, and a wonderful verbal preview of the incredible new yarns and products we'll be seeing in The Shop.

I finished the first of my new mittens. It's a take on a peekaboo mitten, but with more overlap in the back. It's knit in Lorna's Laces 100% Alpaca in camel. Not sure where I got the yarn-- I think it was an eBay purchase, and it's the same yarn I used for my Mom's Branching Out shawl in teal. I have a couple of skeins in a bright-ish pink.

Now I need to do the other mitten.

So What's With The ADD?

And why do I have to work so hard to keep from casting on a new project before I finish what's in progress?

I really need to/want to finish the Tilted Duster, but I'm nervous about the shoulders. I simply need to get out the tape measure, focus, and just jump in and do it.

Part of it is the stash situation, I think. I have some wonderful yarns screaming to me to be knit. There's a beautiful grey and white handspun wool/angora I got at MSW. There's a sweater's worth of Jaeger Aran in teal from Knit Happens. There's one of those huge skeins of Mountain Colors from Hunt Country. I have lots of incredible sock yarns from lots of places.

I imagine there are worse problems to have.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Headin' South

For the weekend, that is.

The Daughter is going back to school, and I'm driving down with her. The Husband will join us this evening, because we have tickets for the Hokies/Terps basketball game tomorrow.

The Daughter and I went grocery shopping yesterday, and I'm pretty pleased with our purchases. We've both decided to get serious (again, for me-- the constant battle)about eating healthy. So as we were checking out, I looked at what we'd purchased, and it was nearly all lean meats, chicken, fish, lots of veggies, soup, fruit--- all the stuff we should be eating.

We loaded up The Husband's car with the canned goods and some of the hearty veg. The proteins are in the freezer getting ready for the transit. We'll stop for dairy on the way out of town.

Quite an accomplishment.

Random Pic of the Day:

One of the resident parrots at The Salty Dog in Hilton Head.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

My Daemon

Spontaneous, sociable, inquisitive, outgoing- yep, that pretty much does it. Not sure about the modest part though...

Monday, January 07, 2008

Taking a Break

Both Offspring are home from school, and I had the foresight to put in for vacation time. In our field, you really have to plan ahead for time off-- at least 2 months in advance.

Because of my less-than-stellar organizational skills, I frequently found myself forgetting to put in requests for time off except for vacation trips. This put me in constant danger of losing vacation time. So I've started taking time when I'm not going anywhere. It's a good thing. Gives me some time in the house, and this week, some time with The Kids.

I started knitting a pair of mittens with some Lorna's Laces Alpaca that I got somewhere. Can't remember where. I'm using the Magic Loop technique, since I can't find my shorter needles to use 2 circs. There seems to be a lot of this going on. I'm going to try using a short row toe technique to make a finger opening.

Worst thing that could happen is that it doesn't work, and I'll have to frog it.

Random Pic of the Day:
These are some of the gingerbread cookies that the Older Cousins decorated during the annual Cookie Bake at Sister#2's house in December. Aren't they pretty? (They tasted mighty fine, too.)

Saturday, January 05, 2008

OK--Happy New Year Already

I've been trying to get around to blogging (other than acknowledging the Orange Bowl sadness) but just couldn't get it together.

I need to jump-start 2008.

How about some resolutions? I've grown weary of the usual ones that fall by the wayside-- not that I won't try...

This year, with a knitting focus (not necessarily in order):

-Empty the needles. Finish the unfinished.

-Either knit up the orphan socks, or frog the first one.

-Complete the uncompleted, and put together all the pieces of things that are otherwise done.

-Be creative in using stash.

-Admit defeat. If something's not singing to me while I'm working on it, call it a day. Figure out the problem (wrong yarn? wrong project for the yarn?), and start over.

-Organize stash, needles and toys. Get rid of yarn I don't love.

That should do it.

Happy Stuff-- FO's

Mom's Rosebud Shawl

From This..
(Note about this colorway of Lion & Lamb-- The red bled. A lot. I did 4 complete washes and rinses before it stopped bleeding. I've never used this yarn before, so I can't speak to the other colorways.)

...To This: I gave myself some Blocking Wires for Christmas. They're from KnitPicks. They are a tad more pricey than they need to be, imho, but I love the heck out of them. For a blocking board, my old standby is a corrugated cardboard pattern board that I picked up years ago for about $7.00 at a fabric store. It has lines on it-- most handy, I must say-- and it works great for me. It warps a bit during blocking, but after it's folded up and stored in its handy plastic wrapper behind the piano, it works great the next time. The shawl was too long to fit on the board, and I just happened to have a long cardboard box from a shelf I just put together last week. If you look toward the fireplace, you can see where the box takes over. Handy, huh?

To This:
Now, I tried doing one of those glamour shots that Elspeth is so famous for, and it just ended up looking utterly ridiculous, so the recliner in the family room is sitting in for what would otherwise be me.

Project: Rosebud Shawl (free pattern from Briar Rose Fibers)
For: My Mom
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Lion & Lamb; Tuscany colorway; won in contest- 3 skeins
Needles: Denise 10-1/2 (from Knit Happens)
Started: November 2007
Finished: December 2007
Blocked: (see resolutions above) January 2008

Impressions-- I love knitting with the yarn-- it feels good, it has wonderful drape, and the color changes keep things interesting. The pattern is a dream. If I were to do it again, though, I'd probably make it wider by adding one or two more rosebud lines. There are 3 in the pattern as written. The tradeoff is that there wasn't enough yarn to make it this long if it were wider. I wouldn't have chosen this colorway if I were purchasing the yarn, but I like the way it turned out. I didn't notice until I took the picture, that it looks like it's trying to be plaid. Interesting.

Dad's Grey Scarf

You can see it being blocked above, next to Mom's Rosebud Shawl. How appropriate, since they've been by each others' sides for nearly 60 years. (Go Mom & Dad!!!)

I was really happy when Dad said he'd like for me to knit him a scarf. After a bit of discussion, we determined that the color couldn't be flashy (dark green would be too flashy), and he didn't want tan. As I was considering how to knit it, it occurred to me that the cables I had in mind might fall into the "too flashy" category, but I needed something that wouldn't bore me to tears while knitting .

I fondled miles of yarn at KnitHappens, zeroing in on the Rowan Cocoon-- a Merino/Mohair combo, in an acceptable shade of light charcoal grey (Rowan calls it Slate). I designed a pattern, loosely based on a mock-cable I saw in a stitch book.

Project: Dad's Grey Manly Man Scarf- my own pattern
For: My Dad
Yarn: Rowan Cocoon from KnitHappens; Slate; 2 skeins
Needles: Susan Bates circular size 9 (donated by Bates to the Hokie Healing Project and used by me to knit Hokie Squares. Thank you, Bates/Coats & Clark)
Started & Finished: December 2007
Blocked: with Mom's Rosebud Shawl January 2008
Impressions: I really liked knitting with Cocoon. It occasionally splits, but not so much that it's annoying. I was a bit worried that it would be stiff and scratchy-- it felt soft in the skein, but firmed up a bit during knitting. After washing in Eucalan, it's very nice and soft. If I were to do it again, I'd probably go up a size on the needles to improve drape, especially if I were doing something similar for a woman. I was a bit worried that it might look a little lacy.

And Finally:
Random picture of the day:This is lunch at a restaurant in Hilton Head that was used as Bubba's shrimping place in Forrest Gump. That oyster clump there had 8 oysters in it!!!

Friday, January 04, 2008