Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Almost Disaster

While watching Legend of the Seeker last night on Hulu I was working on the Christmas Tree Skirt. Now, as you all have read many times, this skirt is giving me fits. For one reason or another it gets ripped out and restarted, and I have slowly lost my faith in ever finishing the dumb thing. Well last night I was happily knitting away when this happened:

"What am I looking at? All I see is knitting." You might be thinking. My dear reader, what you are seeing... Is a broken circular needle! The stupid cable popped right out of the needle and traveled half way through my project in about 2 seconds. Those ruffled stitches at the top? Those are LOOSE STITCHES! I sat last night so shocked that all I could get out of my mouth was "Uuuuuuhhhhnnn" and "Aaaaaaiiiiii", as well as some tearless sobbing and a few moments of shallow breathing. Poor Ben just sat there and looked at me with what I will pretend was understanding and fear for my project. (Which is a lie - he was sort of laughing at me.) I just about gave up on the Tree Skirt, thinking that this project was just doomed no matter what.

Luckily though, this yarn is cheap craft yarn which means it sticks together like Velcro on a kitten. And I have an extra set of size 8 circs. So I very very carefully inserted the new needle into the free stitches while taking the existing needle out. I then threw it on the desk and blew raspberries at it. Crisis averted!

And then I found that I miss-crossed a cable section 3 rows back.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Knitting

I am very happy to say that I am almost done with Christmas knitting! I am working on my last project right now and will hopefully be done by the end of the weekend/beginning of next week. To prove that I have been working and that this is still a blog worth reading, here are a few close up glimpses:


My hope is that I will finish this last present and then can frantically work on the Christmas tree skirt. But if I don't get it done, that's ok.

This year so far we are illness free with three beautiful healthy babies and lots of family around. And that's the part of Christmas that I love.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Avoiding Injury While Knitting For Christmas

If you're anything like me, you might tend to get a wee bit frantic when you're on a deadline. I have just under three weeks til Christmas and I'm very far behind. (I do have back up plans so it's not that big of a deal, but still).

My current project is on very tiny needles. Size US 2/2.75 mm to be exact. That's small. It's about the size of a fat toothpick. It is the only project I have been working on for 2 weeks now. And last night I noticed that my fingers were starting to hurt really bad. So in light of that, here a few tips to avoid seriously hurting yourself while you knit for the holidays - or any time!

- Take frequent breaks. I usually knit while we're watching shows on Hulu so I try to put my knitting down and take a break for a few minutes about half way through the show if I can. Also if you have been sitting for a long period of time, get up and walk around. You'll feel better.

- Switch between projects with different size yarn and needles frequently. This is one I need to do myself. By having a change of size every once in a while you will be less likely to cramp up because your fingers won't be stuck the same positions for so long.

- Sit comfortably. Many people think that any problems will involve just your hands, but you can also find problems in your back and legs as well. Try to sit comfortably, with good support.

- Try a different method. I'm finding that, for me, small needles and the English method are not going well together. I have been trying out the Lever, or Cottage style knitting and my hands are much happier that way. Or try continental. Switch it up. You don't always have to use the same style of knitting. Practice tension on swatches. Plus knowing different techniques will only make you a better knitter.

- If you are starting to feel pain: STOP. Don't keep going. You could risk seriously injuring yourself. Put down the knitting and leave it alone for a day. If you come back tomorrow and are still hurting, leave it for longer and give your limbs time to heal. No Christmas present is worth the possibility of never being able to knit again because you were just too stubborn. Avoid taking pain medication - you'll still be doing damage, you just won't feel it.

With these tips in mind, I'm going to work on some other projects for awhile. With big fat needles. My plan for one project a week didn't work. But that's ok. I think my hands will be happier this way.

Merry Knitting!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Alrighty Here It Is:

Well, I started the blog I had the idea for: Little Bit of Life. You can find it here - Not much there right now, but I'll be filling it in the next few days (hopefully). I'm still going to be doing my crafty thing here, so no worries.

I would give you a knitting update... but I have none. Just a wee bit further on week one's project and I'm almost at the end of week two. I always seem to have the best plans and they always seem to not work. Oh well. I have back up plans so it's all good! :D

Monday, November 30, 2009

Just A Teensy Bit Behind...

I was going to show you a close up pic of what I'm working on, but my camera died and I'm out of AA batteries. Use your imagination! It's very tiny knitting (tiny as in 9 stitches an inch, not tiny object).

Well my plan for one project a week is already failing. I am 2 days past my week 1 and I still have half of this present left. Although to be honest I was making AWESOME time, and then I realized that what I had was NOT going to work at all, so I had to rip back the first half and start over. And then the 2 days of stuffing my face meant lots of being lazy, rather than lots of knitting. Hehe. It was good though.

I think I'll still be ok. The other projects won't take a week each (one might, but the others won't) so I can squeeze out extra time there. And I did allow myself that extra week before Christmas for catch up and finishing so we should be good!

In preparation for the New Year and coming resolutions I have decided that I will not acquire a single gram of yarn in 2010 with money from our bank account. This way it leaves it open to gift cards or gifts of yarn for those that like to get me those things for birthday and such. This is for a couple of reasons: One, I have a TON of yarn that I need to use up. I know this because I rearranged the yarn today and the whole time I was going "Holy crap there is a lot of yarn here." I probably have over a year's worth. And two, well. Because things are getting a wee bit tight and the money I would spend on yarn could be going to much better things.

On that note, I am thinking about starting a second blog dedicated to being frugal, filled with tips and tricks, recipes, grocery deals for around the area, etc. But I can't think of a good name for it to save my life. Any got an idea? Or better yet... is it even worth it? Would you care to read it or should I save my finger-breath?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

FO: Grandpa's Blanket

I did actually finish Grandpa's blanket, with 2 days to spare! It was getting a little iffy there because I was so, soooo tired of seaming. But I made it and delivered it to him at the family meet-up. He seemed to like it, but it's hard to tell because he's getting older and starting to lose it. Which makes me sad. It's hard to watch my grandparents go down hill so quickly.

Pattern: Garter Stitch Blanket by Elizabeth Zimmerman

Yarn: Lion Brand Homespun (100% acrylic) in "Pearls" and "Fawn" (I think, threw away the wrappers prematurely.)

Needles: US 10.5/ 6.5mm straight

Variations: The only variation that I did was using two different colors. Although I'm not sure it can be considered a variation because it was suggested in the book. I also did a 30 st pattern rather than 24. But again, it was suggested in the book to just change the number of stitches to obtain a different size blanket. EZ makes things so easy and I love how shes leaves the details up to you.

All in all it wasn't a bad project. I loved working the corners with short rows. But as you've all heard before, I HATE seaming. And there's a lot in this one. So I probably won't be making another unless I really want to, or I figure out how to join as I go. In the end though, I was happy with it and I'm glad I was able to give Grandpa something to keep him warm.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Something To Look At

Secret Christmas knitting makes for crappy blog posts. So to distract you from that...

Tada! Ben put them up Tuesday. Yes today is just barely Thanksgiving. But we're so excited to have Christmas in our very own house this year. He even put the tree up last night! Haha.

I just realized that I totally forgot to post about Grandpa's blanket. I have pictures and will try to get an FO post up in the next few days if I don't die from over eating.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Really Good Plan

Today is November 18th, which means there are just over 5 weeks until Christmas. No, I am not done with my Christmas knitting yet. (I have, however, started shopping for those I'm not knitting for. Go me!)

In an effort to make my life run a little smoother in the next 5 weeks (read: because I'm anal), I have come up with a schedule which goes as follows:

Devote one whole week to one project only. It just so happens that I have 4 projects left, to complete in 5 weeks. So, if the kids behave and the house doesn't decide to spew it's contents all over the place, then this plan should work. I have 2.5 days to finish the blanket for Grandpa (no... not done. About half way sewn up.) Then from Sunday to Saturday will be my time period for gifts. Which will leave the 4 days before Christmas open for finishing up, adding embellishments, wrapping, etc.

With that schedule it looks like the Christmas Tree Skirt won't get done this year either... Oh man I think that's 3 years ongoing now... But! If I finish a project early then maybe I can squeeze it in. There are two projects that I think I can crank out in a few days if I really push.

Now if I'm realistic then I'll remember that I still have to do housework during this time sooooo.... Wish me luck!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Succesful Fiber Friday

Good news! Today I cast off Grandpa's blanket. Now I just have a TON of sewing up to do. Will try to get pictures up by the end of the weekend.

Once I'm done with this I can get back to Christmas presents!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

To Do List

Well, boys and girls, it's November 11th and I decided it was time to see how I was doing on Christmas knitting. This might not make sense because I obviously can't name what I'm doing, but just go with it.

CP1 - Done!
CP2 - Done! (with the exception of trim)
CP2 - Half way
CP3 - Not started
CP4 - Not started
CP5 - Cast on
CTS (tree skirt) - About... oh I'd say 1/8th done.

Well... not as good as I thought I was doing! Oh well I still have time. Since the house is pretty much clean and I can keep it that way with a general tidying up this means more time for knitting! Being a neat freak is so convenient sometimes. I'm going to be kicking it into overdrive for the next month or so in order to get things done. Shouldn't be too bad.

Work on Grandpa's blanket is almost done. I have one section left which means I have 7/8ths done. I am hoping I will get a lot done at Mom's this afternoon. I'm pretty excited. Today I will be teaching my sister in law (and probably Mom) how to knit. My plan to take over the world with knitters is coming along quite nicely. Soon everyone will have low blood pressure, nicely knitted things, and a massive yarn stash. MUAHAHAHA.

Then tonight we're off to Mum's for dinner and I get my book she ordered me as a thank you for letting Josh hang out here on Thursdays. Nancy Wiseman's Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques. Getting knitting books is almost as good as getting new yarn!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

FO: Project Pink

I finished the hat for the niece of Rachel's boyfriend. I made it (I hope) a little large so it will last her a little while. She's just two months, and it just about fit duder -don't tell him - and all my kids have big heads. So it should be just fine.

Pattern: Basic Ribbed Beanie

Yarn: Ella Rae Baby Cotton in "Peony" and "White" - I have no idea how much of each. Not much pink and a smidge of white.

Needles: US 4/3.5 mm straight

I crocheted the flower from a pattern I found on the Lion Brand website, adding a button for the middle.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fiber Friday!

Well boys and girls, after that excited post about doing half the blanket in a week.... I stopped working on the blanket. I switched my attention to a baby hat and got TOTALLY off course. So today shall be blanket day. (No the hat isn't done either, but it doesn't have a deadline.)

I guess I've been kind of busy this week without realizing it. Cleaning, baking, going to mom's, Josh coming over, wrangling children - hog ties and all (kidding) - didn't get a lot of knitting done. But today is my day!

Ok, little man is trying to pull wires out of my computer. Gotta go!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Part 2 of Grandpa's blanket has commenced and is going along nicely (can garter stitch go badly?). Might possibly finish this piece today if I'm allowed to sit. Have some other things to do though, which I'll get to in a bit. I've also cast on a little hat for the baby mentioned earlier. Sounds like she's going to be ok. The fracture is minor and should heal in a few months, and the bleeding is mostly on the outside. They kept her over night for monitoring and hopefully she is going home today. Mum and I thought she needed a hat because she had a boo-boo. It's pink!

I have been reading up on groceries on a budget and have totally started getting into coupons and sales. They're out there, why not use them? I went to Beverly's last night to get some stuff (yeah, it's not groceries, but go with me here) and I was able to use all three coupons from the circular and saved $12.07. It was awesome! I got some fabric to make my own nursing pads which should save me a ton since they're $10-$30 a box depending on the quantity. Now I will just be able to wash and reuse.

I have 4 Christmas presents left and just under 2 months to finish them. I think I'll be good. I have the stuff for all but one, which I will probably order today. I'm and SO FREAKING excited about Christmas I can't wait. I told Ben last night that I couldn't wait to put up Christmas lights on the house and he said he had been thinking about at least putting the hooks up now so it will be all ready. Having a house has made the idea of Christmas super exciting. I can't wait to put our tree up!

Today (hopefully) I'm going to inventory the freezer and see what we have that needs to be eaten, then plan a menu off of that. I still have a week and a half worth of menu (I plan for one month at a time) so it will start after that. But I do know we have things like muffins and cookies that could be eaten now. I also have pumpkins that I need to use... Oh! Someone stole one of the little pumpkins from Mom on Halloween and smashed it on the sidewalk in front of the grumpy guy's house up the street. It made me sad. And then it made me think "Well, maybe he shouldn't be so horribly rude then." But I still have the big one and other little one left to do things with. Maybe I'll can them.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Time left until Grandpa's Birthday: 19 Days
Amount of Blanket done: Half

Dude, totally going to make it. It took me a week to finish half the blanket, which leaves me 3 weeks to finish the other half. I should be good. This is a picture of how the brown pieces will lay out. Confused yet? It's a teaser. You'll see the rest when it's done!

More Important Things: Prayer Request

My sister's boyfriend has a 2 mo. old niece. Last night around 7pm she was sitting in a baby chair on the counter that vibrated off and fell to the floor. What they originally thought was a goose bump turned out to be a skull fracture and internal bleeding. She was rushed to Valley Children's last night, but I sent a text to the boyfriend this morning and he said they're still waiting for the neurosurgeon. Last night my sister said she was still crying, so there is the good sign that she is responsive.

Please pray for this little one. And pray for the parents. I know from experience how incredibly scary and how lost you feel when a baby is in a situation like this. The best we can do is ask that God keeps them in His hands.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


And just in time too.

I sewed my last seam around 5:30 last night. Which gave just enough to get ready to head out for the Grandma's houses. Yar pirates!

Despite the look on Duder's face, they kept their costumes on almost the whole time. They did want to take off their hats at Grandma A's, but put them back on when we were leaving. And Duder didn't fuss at all about his hat.  It was a very successful costume night.

Next year though, I'm thinking we'll just throw stuff together with what we have.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Another Reason Why Sewing is Stupid

That is my finger. Do you see it? Take a closer look. Those two little red dots?

Those are entry and exit points. The one on the top right is where the DAMN NEEDLE went INTO my finger. The one on the bottom left is where the DAMN NEEDLE went OUT of my finger.

I was attempting to move the thread under the presser foot and out the back of the machine when my foot slipped. My finger was under the needle at the time. Let's just say my kids learned a few new words. As soon as I knew what happened I moved my foot, only to realize that my finger was stuck. So I had to manually move the DAMN NEEDLE up and slowly pull my finger off of it.

I didn't actually know it had gone all the way through (happened rather fast and the blinding pain was blurring my sense of reality) - just thought it had stuck me - until I turned my finger and the exit wound was there, oozing as much blood as the top.

Yeah. Totally done for the night. I'm getting a glass of wine after the kids go to bed.

Why I Am Most Likely Not Going To Finish Halloween Costumes

I have kids. That's why. "But, isn't that who you're making the costumes for?" you might be thinking. Yes it is. Unfortunately, they've become accustomed to things like eating. Which takes up time. Add in the fact that I can't really sew while the wild ones are awake because they get into everything when I'm not looking, and that duder really has to be held right now apparently... Not getting any sewing done!

There is still a very small chance that I might make it, but since I like to be with Ben when he gets home and not off doing whatever, that means I have 2.5 hours left and 1.5 costumes to complete in that time. Haha. Plus Ben has been recording some of his songs at night and I don't think the sound of the sewing machine would make for very good backing tracks. And tomorrow I have to go get candy and maybe do farmer's market. Maybe I'll just tie fabric around their heads, give them swords, and call it good.

Next year - totally putting costumes together from stuff we already have. No more of this sewing crap.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Warm and Cozy

This is how Ben and I watched the news this morning. As much of a pain in the butt as it was, and how irritating the run around was to finally get it installed, I really like our insert. We'll have to see how well it works when the house is really cold, but it seems like it will work very nicely. It is supposed to be cold this week, so hopefully we'll get a lot of use.

In Blanket news, I am 1/8th of the way done!

I am doing a pattern from Elizabeth Zimmerman and I have to tell you that woman is a genius. A goddess among knitters. If she were still alive, I would eat up any opportunity to meet her. I highly recommend "The Opinionated Knitter" for anyone, even if you're not a knitter. It's filled with not only her patterns (reprinted from their original newsletters), but many stories from her journals and her daughter Meg. It's a great book.

I'm doing this blanket on US 10 1/2/ 6.5mm needles. My gauge is about 3.5 stitches an inch so it is FLYING. The only thing I have to do today is make bread, so hopefully I will get lots of knitting time done. Might even get another section completed.

The boys are knocking on their door and the little man is talking rather loudly from our bedroom. Guess it's time to go!

Monday, October 26, 2009

FO: Pumpkin!

This is the pumpkin I gave to Mom. I love it and think it's adorable, and if we had a mantle at the moment then I would make a whole family and put them on it. But we don't. However, our fireplace is now in (finally) so we will hopefully be getting one soon. 

Pattern: Viney Punkin by Meg

Needles: US 6/4mm 20" circulars and same size dpns

Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver (100% Acrylic) in "Pumpkin" - small amount
Caron One Pound (100% Acrylic) in "Leaf Green" - smaller amount

I will (eventually) make a PDF pattern for this, for anyone who wants it. Stay tuned for the FO post on the squid...

Mission: Holy Crap I Hope It's Possible

My paternal grandfather's 80th birthday is this November and we will be traveling to LA county to visit with the family for the occasion. I decided I wanted to make Grandpa a blanket. So yesterday I got the yarn (Lion Brand Homespun - makes AWESOME blankets) and I cast on. I have 4 weeks. Wish me luck.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fiber Friday

Happy Friday, friends! It is a wonderfully chilly day so far. It's supposed to warm up a bit into the 80's but that's not bad.

I've decided to name Fridays "Fiber Fridays". That way it works for knitting, spinning, sewing, whatever might go along with fiber. For today, it will mostly be sewing. I have Halloween costumes to work on. I got them cut out yesterday and started in on one last night. If you don't hear from me in a few days, please email or call or comment with something along the lines of "Have you finished those costumes?! You have (x) days left! Hurry it up!!"

I'm also creating something that Ben had an idea for last night. It makes me laugh. I will share when it is finished, but you're welcome to guess until then!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Whole Ton of Pictures

I hope you're ready for this, I have a ton of stuff today. I'm sure you're thinking "Well, good! It's about time slacker..." So let's begin!

Firstly, more bragging!

Those of you that know the Drama of the Insert know that we supposedly had to get tile up before they could put it in. So Friday night we went and picked out something we liked. Monday night my crazy talented husband put it all up and it looks GORGEOUS. This picture does not do it justice. It's incredible and I'm so proud of him.

Secondly, I finished this:

Isn't it cute? I made this for Mom (Mom = Ben's mom, Mum = my mom - just for future reference. I am so blessed to have a mother in law that I can call my mom.) and gave it to her yesterday. I'm so happy she liked it. She is always posting pictures of pumpkins on her blog and I wanted to make her one. I will be posting a separate post on how I came up with it later.

Thirdly, I received this yesterday:


I asked Mom to make me a tea towel apron and she did! I love it. I've been using my cooking aprons but they were just too big to wear all day. I'm using it to carry my cell phone, my little scissors and Chibi (tapestry needled with a bent tip) and the small bit of yarn and needles I'm using right now for making leaves. It's perfect for carrying it all. She sent me the link for the pattern and I might just make a few in different colors for whatever mood I'm in! Haha!

Finally, I've been working on that scarf I was talking about earlier:

I'll go over the exact details later when it's completely finished. Those leaves I'm making will be going on it for some extra embellishment.

It's Thursday and that means my brother is coming over today. I am hoping to start cutting out fabric for the boys' Halloween costumes today while he is here. Since it's a week away. My fabric is washed and dried so now I just have to lay it out, cut it up and get to sewing. Shouldn't take me long once I finally buckle down and do it. Only problem is... I would rather knit!

Monday, October 19, 2009

New Year's Resolutions: Revisited

Before I used Blogger I used Live Journal. And over on said journal I posted a New Year's Resolution post at the beginning of the year. Seeing as how there are only two and a half months left of this year I figured I would revisit them and see how I did, and see if I can do any unfinished ones before the year is up.

"1. Clean out stash closet and organize."
- Done! I had done this one originally at our apartment, but it looks even better here!

"2. Knit more from stash! Don't buy anything for a project that I could use stash yarn for. This will be difficult as I seem to be drawn to yarn shops like a moth to a flame. Also, try to plan projects around stash yarn, rather than have to find yarn for a project. "
- Mmm... Ok I haven't done too great on this one. I've been trying, but there was the time Knit Picks had the sale on lace, and I wanted to make dishcloths so I needed cotton, and Mom was getting stuff so I wanted to get some too so we could get the free shipping, and....

3. "Spin more! Use up the fiber I have and practice more with my wheel. Get more fiber if the budget allows."
- Spin more I have. Since the beginning of the year I've spun two whole hanks of yarn and started in on the bamboo. That's not a ton for 10 months. But that's not bad considering I've been busy with kids and house. Haven't gotten more fiber as I can't justify it while I still have some (funny that doesn't seem the apply to yarn...).

4. Have Das Bebe! I can totally keep this resolution.
- Check! Beautiful and happy baby boy.

5. Try to be a better house keeper. Not that I'm bad now, but to do things in a more timely manner and procrastinate less. (Read: Don't clean up 30 minutes before Ben gets home.)
- I say I've done a damn good job at this. I get my chores done in the morning, keep to schedule (laundry on Monday, etc.) and keep a very clean house so that if anyone comes over all I have to do is tidy up the toys on the floor.

6. Try to cut our grocery budget even more. Right now we shop about once every two months for the big stuff, which has drastically reduced our food bill, but we know we can do even better.
- I think we've done really good at this too. I've been careful about how we buy things like meat and I stretch them as far as I can by filling in with cheaper things like rice, beans and pasta. I've also made sure that I supply us with just about all our bread.

7. Take time to chill out, not stress, and that ignoring things is ok if it means spending time with the people I love.
- Well, if you read my post about Fridays then you'll know that the last few weeks have had me clean-stressed. But I've calmed down since then and have remembered that no one else will really notice that spot of dust on the floor and if it's clean and presentable for Ben and company then it's OK. I've relaxed quite a bit over the last year, especially since duder was born. I'll say this is a successful resolution.

8. This is a joint deal rather than a personal resolution: Buy a house. We're close!
- YES! We moved into our wonderful home in April and we love it! It's so nice to have so much room and the freedom to do whatever we want to our space. Ben has been very busy fixing up the yard, building gates, redoing the fireplace, and various other things to make it perfect for us. We still need to find decorations we like, but it's getting there. What a great feeling.

Well then. With the exception of the not buying yarn *cough* I've done pretty good! We'll have to see what my resolutions will be for 2010.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Productive Weekend

Good Morning! It is wonderfully overcast today and we have a forecast for a small amount of rain. (Sorry M-i-L, saw the news this morning and it said only 1/10th is scheduled for today/tomorrow and that's it. Hoping they're wrong.) I got quite a bit of knitting and knitting things done this weekend.

Like I said in my last post, I completed CP2 aside from some extra finishing. Very excited about this one, think the recipient will get a lot of use out of it. Actually thinking about keeping it for myself...

Second, after working a bit on the Christmas Tree Skirt, I decided I didn't like the way the cables were going in the same direction on each side. So I did some reworking, charted out my new idea, inserted a life line at the point before the cable section and ripped the whole thing back to there. I have finished a repeat and like it much better!

The cables are now mirrored, instead of going the same direction. Much better orientation if you ask me. I've also changed some of the knits to purls for better distinction between sections. Realized I really don't like the yarn at all (cheap Red Heart acrylic) but keep telling myself that it is for under a tree once a year. Not a big deal what it's made out of. Plus I need to use it up.

I am also working on a scarf design that is about half way done. Am hoping to get the pattern done this week - not sure if I want to offer it for free, or sell it. I will have to see how much work it takes me.

Finally, Ben parents came over Saturday to bring his younger brother for guitar lessons and Mom brought me this:

Isn't it beautiful? I love it! She also brought me some little candy corns she made out of wood. I'm so excited to be decorating for fall. I asked Ben yesterday if it was too early to put the Christmas tree up. He laughed and said it wasn't even Halloween yet. I am just so excited to be having Christmas in our own house and being able to decorate however we want. So awesome!

Well, today is Monday which means cleaning day. It's not bad, just tidying up, laundry and vacuuming. Hopefully I will get done shortly and get to knit some. Have a great day!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Story of the Microwave

Aaahhh. My day of knitting went excelently yesterday. I finished CP2, with the exception of a little bit of finishing work. But the bulk of it is done and I am very happy about that. I spent all day just knitting and today I feel blissfully happy and relaxed. I even got extra time since one of our friends came over to play guitar with Ben last night.So I sat with them while they played. I like this Knitting Friday idea. It took away some of the frustration I've had about not getting things finished. Since I can't show you any pictures of the presents because the recipient reads the blog, I shall give a picture of something totally different, along with a story!

A few months before we moved to our current home, our .. um... darling two year old children figured out how to open the microwave and pulled out the glass plate, shattering it on the floor. At the time, they were really short so don't ask me how they were able to reach it. So we have been living without a plate in our microwave for quite some time. It worked just fine for awhile, we just had to set anything we wanted to heat on the plate turner (for lack of a more appropriate name). You know what I mean, the three legged thing that has a shaft reaching into the underbelly of the microwave that has gears and it turns your glass plate.

For months we searched for a new plate - I even looked online at the manufacturer's website - with no luck. So we just kept making it work. Well, about 3 weeks ago I noticed that the turner wasn't, well, turning anymore. Since this is a vital part of the whole microwave process, our food started to become.... "crispy" in some spots. It would get hotter and more concentrated on certain parts of the plates of food. For the last few days I had been having to stop the cooking halfway through and manually turn the plate 180 degrees just to insure the food would be edible. Needless to say, I was getting a little irritated.

Last night Ben wanted to make popcorn. So he placed the bag in the slowly dieing microwave and stood there waiting for it to pop. It got about half way through the cook time when the bottom of the bag exploded and angry, burned popcorn came rushing out of the hole. From the kitchen he yells to me "Hey, you wanna go get a new microwave?" "YES PLEASE!" So off to Best Buy we went, picked out a nice shiny Micro-Hood and now we have this:

My favorite part is it is the partner microwave for the oven, so it matches. I love it. We haven't cooked anything in it yet, but it's beautiful. I love that it is up away from the imps so they can't break it. I love how now we can get a hutch where the old microwave was. And I especially love my manly man husband for putting it up without any problem. Seriously nice having a strong capable man around to do stuff like that.

Today he is going to be working on posts for the gate of the family friend and I ... will be knitting of course! Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Day O' Knitting!

Happy, happy Friday! It's been such a long week and I'm really glad the weekend is here.

Today is my day of knitting and "doing whatever I feel like". I have gotten part one of Christmas Present 2 done, and am hoping to finish the second and final part today. I also would like to work on the Christmas tree skirt a little bit. I might get some sewing done too, as I really need to get my butt going on the boys' Halloween costumes.

Ben has a project this weekend - a gate/fence for a family friend. Which means I might get more knitting done this weekend because I like to sit out in the garage with him and knit while he works and the kids are asleep.

I made a sourdough starter yesterday and now the house smells deliciously of bread. Hopefully in a few days we will have a loaf  or two to eat.

Now, on to my knitting!

Monday, October 5, 2009

A New Plan

Happy cold day! I love how the weather goes from crazy hot to deliciously cold just about over night. I'm so happy it's October.

If you're looking for some kind of knitting update... well... I got four rows done of the current Christmas present? Kinda sad, I know. The thing is I've been so busy. For one, the kids have been sick for about a week now. It started with just runny noses and grumpies. Now it's full blown glassy eyes, staring at random objects, and snuggling with blankets. So I've spent a lot of time holding sick boys. Duder was so stuffed up last night that he started gagging. He's ok, but it kept waking him up. Funny thing is though, he's still in a great mood. He got up at 3 and when I lay him in bed to use the nose sucker thing Ben woke up and looked at him, to which he responded by beaming up at Ben. It was really cute.

In addition to that I've been crazy about house cleaning. I keep a pretty clean house. With the exception of the inevitable toys scattered on the floor throughout the day, everything is in pretty good condition. Clean house is my sanity. My normal schedule was laundry and general house tidying on Mondays, and then small bits of every day things the rest of the week (like dishes, etc.). But for whatever reason for the past few weeks I have kept thinking that the house is not clean enough. Even when I've done everything I still go back and re-tidy rooms, find small things to put away. I wind up spending all day cleaning, and I realized I'm driving myself crazy because I feel like I get no break (and the house is clean beforehand!).

So I have a new plan. This comes from talking to my mother in law who said she has picked Fridays for sewing. That's all she worries about that day and I think it's a fantastic idea. So, part one - I will reclaim naptime as my free time. For awhile I would do whatever I wanted once the boys went down because the house is quiet and I don't have to chase them. Then I started cleaning during that time. No more! I shall have my relaxation time to do as I please. Part two - Fridays will be for knitting. Since I get most everything done on Monday then the rest of the week can be spent doing other tidy things if needed, but Friday... Friday will be my day of worrying about nothing but yarny goodness. I shall knit as much as I want. If I get to knit during the rest of the week, great! But Fridays will be set aside especially for that.

I'm hoping this way I will not only a) get Christmas presents under control, but b) find some of my sanity and fun again, and c) have more progress to show you guys. Because even I am seriously disappointed in the lack of interest on this blog!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

No, I'm Not High - Why Do You Ask?

Good morning lovely readers! It is the first day of October and it is deliciously chilly and it just plain smells good outside. Ben told me this morning that the weather people are saying if the weather keeps going like this, then we will have November like conditions next week. I could go for that!

I am in a ridiculously good mood today. Why, you ask? Because I got up and made my husband breakfast this morning. A routine that I had sadly fallen out of. Now, some of you might be saying "Well, that's nice dear" or "Why on earth would you do that?" or even "What does this have to do with anything??". For me it has to do with everything because it makes me feel wonderful! But I digress. Let's get to the pictures!

Heh, you didn't actually think I had something DONE, did you? Silly reader. This is a very close up, non-disclosure shot of a Christmas present that is in progress. It's ribbing. That is all you shall know for now, but this is using the twisted knit stitches I mentioned the other day. See how clean it looks? I love it.

I think this shall become a Christmas present also.

Just not sure what, or who for. But is has been calling out to me from the stash for awhile now.

I feel like today is a day for hats. I want to make lots of hats. Hats for the babies, hats for my nephew and niece, a hat for the neighbor who is having a baby in February, hats for me, hats for Ben. I don't know why. Maybe because they are small and quick and instant gratification for knitting. Or maybe because it is getting colder and there's nothing like a nice warm hat over your head and ears. I think I shall knit a few hats if I have time today.

I also had a kick arse idea for a shawl while I was laying in bed last night. I'm hoping that will come to fruition sometime soon. But I need to remember to focus on the Christmas presents before I start anything else really big. Plus I will need to get some beads for it. Intrigued yet?

Today my brother is coming over to hang out while mom is at work. I think it will be fun. He's really good with the kids. I'm being summoned by my smallest one now.

Have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It Could Have Been Worse

Yesterday duderman didn't want to be put down hardly at all. So later in the afternoon, when I had finally given up on getting chores done, I sat down with my knitting and him in my lap.

I am working on a Christmas present - using DPNs - that had about 2 inches done. Duder is working on getting his arms where he wants and grabbing stuff. See where this is going?

While I was knitting away, listening to podcasts and watching the same Veggie Tales DVD for the 934857th time with the boys (we only have 3), my very smart son was working on controlling his little hand closer and closer to my needles. A moment later I felt resistance and looked down to watch him ever so quietly pull one needle right out of my knitting.

Now, this could have been worse. For one, the yarn I'm using is very nice grippy yarn and it stayed right where it was. Just one dropped stitch, and it only dropped a row and was savable. For two, I was planning on ripping it out and starting over anyways (the size was off). But no matter what your plans are, if you are a knitter and you lose a needle for whatever reason you would probably feel the same way I did...

For one tiny moment my heart stopped. I panicked. Sheer terror coursed through my veins.  That darling child almost wound up on the floor (I know this sounds horrible, but some of you will understand.) Then I realized the stitches weren't dropping and remembered I had thought about starting over, and that if I wanted to save it I could because the stitches were still in tact.

But holy crap that was scary.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Random Monday!

Good morning everyone! I don't have one solid thing, but lots of little things - so today we will be random.

-Today I have one happy baby, one grumpy baby, and one slightly in between. The twins are sick and grumpy so today will be spent babying them.

- I woke up to duderman chattering at me from his bed. It was really cute.

- Ben ripped out the stone on our fireplace last night to get it ready for the insert. It already looks so much better.

- I am still working on Christmas presents, this is why I am sadly lacking in pictures.

- October is in 3 days. This I am horribly excited about.

- It is supposed to be 70s by the end of the week. This I am also horribly excited about.

- I have decided I love twisted rib and might just use it for the rest of my life, instead of regular ribbing. It is done by working all the knit stitches through the back loop. Purl the purl stitches as usual.

- That's all! Happy Monday!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dyeing And New Toys

Remember this? Well I finally got around to playing with colors and here's what I came up with:

I've named it Day Lily. It's a little less pink and lot more orange in person, so if you were to hold it in your hands it would look a lot closer. I will have to try to take a better picture later. I think it turned out great and I really love it. I did a whole skein of Knit Picks Bare laceweight (880 yards) so it should make a nice shawl or something.
And now, my new toy! Mom and I have been getting a lot of lace weight lately, which means they come in skeins. Which also means my brother usually got roped into holding his hands out while one of us balled it up. A chore he complained about frequently. But, we went halves on a yarn swift and now:

Woohoo! It makes balling up so much easier. And faster. And I love it. It also makes re-skeining a ton easier too - I used it for my Day Lily yarn.

In Knitting Knews (ha. I crack myself up.) - Not a whole ton going on. I'm working on a shawl during Stargate using the Blackberry Cream I dyed. I also started another Christmas present... That's about it I guess. I've been crazy busy this past week so haven't gotten much done. Maybe next time I post I'll have progress for you. ;)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Perfect Knitting Weather

I woke up this morning and saw this. It is a beautiful cool, cloudy, rainy day. It is the weather I love to knit in. I've opened up all the windows in the house just so the house smells like rain. I'm going to take advantage of it while I have it. I'm going to go start laundry and clean the dishes in the sink - Then I am going to sit down with a cup of hot chocolate and knit for the rest of the day.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Blackberry Cream

Moose Man slept for quite awhile on Friday and I've been wanting to do some dyeing for the past few weeks, so while all the boys were napping I took the chance while I had it. This is what I came up with. I call it Blackberry Cream because it is a deep purple and white.
I used leftovers of my Springtime Swirl shawl (about 524 yards) in Knit Pick's Bare Merino laceweight. I used a mixture of two different Kool-Aid flavors to get the purple I wanted.
I turned out really great. I got the tie-dyed effect by plopping a whole wound up skein into the pot, rather than pulling it apart. So the dye didn't sink into the middle of the skein. I can't wait to knit it up and see how it turns out. I will have to find a smallish shawl/wrap pattern. Or maybe make my own.

I also got some spinning done on Friday. I've started the Black Diamond Bamboo. I only had a chance to get a tiny bit done, but so far is seems to be acting like the grey Merino I did awhile ago. The biggest difference I've seen though is it's a lot lighter. It will fly away really easily if any fibers get separated.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Weekend, Indeed

There have been a ton of projects going on this weekend at Chateau Du Naked Sheep. Ben took the words "Labor Day weekend" literally and happily worked all three days. So now that it's all done and I have pictures I get to brag about my incredibly talented and amazing husband. This is going to be picture heavy.

One of the things he got done Sunday was a shelving unit in the boy's room. We've been talking about doing it for awhile. Both for storage and for keeping them from pulling the clothes out of their dresser, or banging on the wall at 6 in the morning and waking people up.

The shelving is on the right, then he placed a normal closet shelf at the top on the left and will put a hanging bar once he gets a support bracket that fits. Their dresser is under that. Then he put latches on the tops of the doors so the boys can't get in. Now the boys just have one box of toys to get into in the morning, so it has been a very clean room! It opened up a lot of space in the rest of the house's cabinets as well, which makes me happy.

The biggest project of the weekend, though, was a new gate for the side of the house. Ben is a great welder and he really has an eye for design. So where most women might say "Oh, my husband installed a gate" I can say "Dude. My husband MADE a gate." Here is a picture of the side railing that holds the hinges.

This is the gate being prepped for painting.

When it was all done, we went from this torn up, ill-fitting, crappy gate:

To this! A beautiful, perfect fitting, quietly closing, easily opening, crazy-sexy gate. I love being able to say "Yeah, he built it." Next he is planning a new fancy one for the front gate, and a matching solid piece of fence for the other side to replace the crap fence that is falling down. I can't wait!

In addition to all that he also built himself a cart for his welder which turned out awesomely. And, we now have a garage door opener! That he installed without instructions because there weren't any in the box. I'm so happy about the door opener. Now I don't have to play the "Open the garage. Pull out the car. Turn off the car. Close the garage. Go around and leave through front door." shuffle anytime I want to go anywhere.

I was slightly productive this weekend too. I worked on Rachel's sweater, started and finished another Christmas present, and just about finished a beanie for Ben but I ran out of yarn. I will have to go get more. Maybe tonight after Ben gets home.

Hope everyone else had a great weekend!

Friday, September 4, 2009

FO: Ty's Bag

Pattern: Stuff Bag by Meg, personalized for Ty

Yarn: Lion Brand Lion Cotton (100% Cotton) in "Natural" and "Evergreen" - About 1/3 ball of white, and a small bit of green.

Needles: US 7/4.5mm straight

I worked this bag flat, with one purl row separating the front and back. Then I folded it in half at said purl row. The "T" is created using duplicate stitch. I would have worked it as intarsia, but I didn't like how it was looking. So duplicate stitch it was!

I seamed the sides by picking up along the edge and then used a three needle bind off once I folded the halves together. I wanted to seam it using the i-cord I used for the handle, but I couldn't figure out how to incorporate it without just sewing it on.

All in all it turned out pretty good. I was going to make one for Jack, but I will need to revise the pattern a little bit before I do. Maybe practice multi-strand in order to get a J without duplicate stitch. However, I had a conversation with Ben that might prevent me making another one. It went something like this:

Me: See? *Shows bag* For Ty Ty to wear and put things in.
Ben: .... You made him a purse?
Me: No, it goes around his neck.
Ben: You made him a purse.
Me: It's a bag.
Ben: You made him a purse.
Me: No! It's a bag.
Ben: When people come over and see him wearing that they're going to wonder why my kid is wearing a purse.
Me:... Fine. *Chucks bag in a corner*

So, I might have to rethink this whole thing...

And now, a sneak peak at Christmas!

I'm obviously not going to give you any details. But I finished one present and had post at least something.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Why Knitting is Better Than Sewing

Ok, before I make people mad I'll just say maybe it's not better. I just tend to like it a WHOLE lot more.

1. It takes less brain power. Once your hands get into the rhythm, you really don't have to think about it unless you're doing serious lace or color work.

2. You don't have to look at it. Again, once you get going it's so easy to watch other things than your hands. Especially if you're doing garter stitch.

3. You can start right away. No washing your fabric first. No cutting out patterns with annoying tissue paper that gets blown away when you turn on the fan.

4. It's easier to rip out. Let's not get into how many times I had to rip out my sewing - stitch by tiny, stupid little stitch - in the last few days. All you have to do with knitting is take out the needles and pull.

5. It's cheaper. Ok, that's a flat out lie. But let's just pretend so I can feel better.

The boys and I are going to be pirates for Halloween this year. I've made my own costume before and I used to be a pretty decent seamstress. Not great, but decent. However, I have apparently lost any and all ability to correctly follow directions or sew in a straight line. I blame nursing.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Seeing Red

I think I need to find a project that is worked using a different color. My two most current projects are both red. And even the GKA shawl that's on the back burner is red.

I have begun working again on the red alpaca beast that is my sister's sweater.

I have just finished the waist shaping and have 1 1/2" until I work the armholes. I haven't worked on the CTS much lately, but I did get to the first cable cross.

This is the first section spread out. Finishing this is going to get harder as it goes. Since I'm working the pieces all together it is knitting up like a shawl. The rows get longer and longer the farther I get. I have 4 months. I hope that will be long enough...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tutorial: Dividing for Armholes

I had a question from my sis-in-law on how to divide for armholes when working a sweater in the round. Here I will show, using pictures, on how to do it. The swatch I'm using is flat, but the idea is the same.

Work across the front to last 2 stitches from side. Here I have used markers to indicate where the "sides" are.

Bind off 3 stitches. (This will eat up 2 stitches before the marker, and 2 stitches after the marker.)

Work across back to last 2 stitches from side. Bind off 3 stitches.

Here you can see where the two armholes have begun. You will now have to work the front and back separately, and flat (back and forth).

Working on the "front" of your sweater, turn piece around (to the wrong side, or "inside"). Purl for stockinette stitch or knit for garter across to the armhole edge. Here I am 2 stitches before the armhole. Turn piece to right side.

Decrease at sides of armholes by working SSK (left leaning decrease) at the beginning of row, and K2Tog (right leaning decrease) at the end of row. By doing this, you will be shaping both armholes at once on the front piece. In this picture you can see the armhole with shaping on the left side. The stitches on the right side of the hole are the "back" of my sweater.

Usually, you will decrease a few times, then work straight (no decreases) to the shoulder. When the front is completed, attach yarn to back and work in the same way.

3 bind off stitches is just what I used for this tutorial - use the number your pattern calls for.