Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Round up

Ever have those days where you just aren't listening to the powers that be?

Today, after lunch at work, I wasn't hungry, but had the munchies for something a little sweet so I headed to the lunch room with a handy dandy dollar coin. After multiple attempts, the vending machine refused to take it. (Hint #1) So, I went back to my desk and picked out the exact change needed to purchase the peanut butter M&M's that were taunting me. Upon plugging the change into the machine, I promptly proceeded to purchase Skittles. (Hint #2) This time I figured that I should just not eat any more junk food today and will have the apple I brought a bit later.

The last couple of weeks have been terribly busy. I finished up the last of the custom orders just before Christmas and sent it out. It feels good to have that off of my shoulders. I have been knitting like crazy and sewed two skirts for Christmas for two of my nieces who are sisters. They were a huge hit! I used this tutorial which was extremely easy to follow. The only change that I made was to do rolled seams because I don't have a serger. (I also found this great link for a bunch of cute girls clothes!)

I also got buttons and sewed up the seams on the BSJ (Ravel it). The orange is bright, but not quite so retina searing in real life. I am thrilled with how it turned out. The buttons aren't quite perfect, but will certainly do until I can find great ones. I do like them, they don't detract from the jacket itself.

The count is down to just 6 weeks for this little one to arrive. At Christmas, my uncle was the unofficial photograper and he snapped this gem of me and my sister who is due 9 weeks after me. (sorry it is so small - it is the only size I have...) Our bumps are near matches!

Friday, December 05, 2008


Wow - it has been such a long time since I posted. There are lots of good reasons for it, but mostly, I just haven't had the energy.

The craft show is finally over. Actually it was the weekend before Thanksgiving and I am just now recovered. All in all, I did well. I made slightly more than last year, but had hoped for much better than I actually did. Given the economy, I'm not complaining. I took a couple of custom orders as well during the show and have finished up about half of them. I just need to get boxes from the post office and off they will go.

DH is finally into interview season. He has spent all of November and will spend the remainder of December preparing for board exams (blech) and interviewing for residency positions. Some have gone well, some not so much. I will be glad when it is all over. Living until March 19th has become the only main a big goal. That is the day that we find out where we will be living for the next 4 years.

DS is doing well and his prognosis continues to be good. I don't know that we will see any further improvement in his status, but where he is at will not hinder him tremendously, so I can't complain.

Baby Girl is active and, well, a night owl. We are down to 10 weeks and counting. Now that the craft show is over, I can finally get down to doing what I have been itching to do for months. Knit for this little one.

The last few nights have been spent swatching. And swatching. And swatching. I loathe swatching. I must have tried 4 different yarns from my stash before I finally found one that matched the gauge I wanted for the BSJ (Ravel it). Knowing that I am probably the last knitter on Ravely to try it, it has has been preying on my mind for quite a while. Normally garter stitch is not my favorite stitch, but when paired with a hand-painted yarn, I think the results are stunning.

This is Claudia's Handpaint in Fingering - Passion Fruit Colorway.


There has been a slight bit of pooling, but it is better than I expected because the stitch count changes on just about every row. I will try to post a picture shortly, but I am stealth blogging at work

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hey you over there

Yes we are all still alive over here. No one has died, but we have had a close call and well, my husband, the med student, is either going to drive me to a slow, painful death or I will kill him myself.


As is normal around here, all of the knitting of late has been for sale. The ultimate in boring. No fun pictures to post, no good stories to tell. Just lots and lots of hats.

I have been sewing like crazy lately too, trying to crank out as many purses as possible in the next few weeks. I had to spend more than $100.00 this weekend because I was out of my favorite handles. I do have a new bag to post and I lovelovelove it. I almost hope it doesn't sell because I want it for myself!

Life has been particularly haried this last month. The pregnancy is progressing as it ought, no complications. I have my diabetes test this week which I'm not too worried about. Other than a lingering cold and some insomnia, I am doing okay. Tired, but okay.

DH is plugging along at school and October has had great hours during his radiology rotation. Today he started the interview marathon for residencies. This one is just a couple of hours away, so he will be back home by bedtime. Before long though, he will be making treks out to various parts of the mid-Atlantic and northeastern regions of the US. Yippeee! Thankfully, most of the programs are paying for the hotel stays, but we still have to come up with all of the airfare.

DS was horribly sick last month and ended up spending a week in the hospital, some of which was in the ICU. He is getting better, but there is a good chance he will never be 100% again. Or rather, his new 100% will be about 95% of his old self. On one hand, we are extremely thankful that he is doing so well and that we have access to an academic children's hospital locally. On the other, I am plagued by doubts and fears about his future. Most kids do recover fully, but it can take 3-6 months for all of the symptoms to resolve. The waiting is more stressful than I would have thought possible.

Monday, September 01, 2008

At Long Last

The other day, I took a day off of work to do some things that required that I sit around and wait and wait and wait. I managed to underestimate the amount of time that I would be spending do absolutely nothing and quickly ran out of things to keep Caleb and myself entertained. He was able to watch Star Wars Episode IV from start to finish and could have watched another, but the battery died in the portable DVD player.

I didn't pack nearly enough knitting, but did grab my Monkeys, figuring it would be the perfect opportunity to finish them off. And it was. I still love the pattern and will definately knit it again.

Yarn: Sundara's sock yarn. A gift from Shan at Half Soled Boots.
Pattern: Monkey by Cookie A.
Mods: I added a stitch to each side of the repeat to accomodate my wide ankles.

These socks didn't really take that long to make, but they suffered from a long hiatus. Until about a week or two ago, I had no energy to do anything. And my house shows it.

Lately, most of my knitting has been focused on stuff for sale which has been somewhat tedious, but fun. I am working steadily, but as always, I wonder if I will have enough inventory to fill my part of the booth. If I can keep up the pace, I should be okay.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

We interrupt this hiatus...


I didn't really intent to take such a long break from blogging. I was completely burned out on everything after the spring craft show I did and then life just piled it on. Eric was working insane hours until the end of June and I just didn't have any mojo left. Not for knitting, not for sewing, not for blogging.

At the end of May and the first part of June, there was a bunch of mandatory overtime at work and some sort of bug that Eric swears was walking pneumonia. Let's not forget the seemingly never ending rounds of house guests and weekend obligations. I need a nap just thinking about all of it.

Either that, or it is the typical exhaustion of the first trimester.

That's right, we are expecting baby#2 in February. The end result is that my typical evening lately has been along the lines of come home, eat dinner, take a nap on the couch, tuck in Caleb and then fall asleep for good on the couch until Eric drags me off to bed. Overall I am feeling pretty good, just tired and since the first trimester is nearly over, it should only get better.

I have been knitting, to get ready for the fall show. It's really true that the only way to regain the desire to do something is to just do it. Now if I can keep the momentum going...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


What a month.

Eric's work schedule has been beyond crazy, thankfully, we have just one more night of call before we have a few months of easier rotations. I, for one, am beyond ready. I did marry the guy because I like having him around, not just for his future earnings potential.

Little knitting and even less sewing has been accomplished recently. I had to stop taking my medication for Restless Leg Syndrome and I honestly had no idea that I slept so poorly before I started the medication. I am exhausted all day and can barely make it to 9 pm. On Saturday, while waiting for Eric to get home from call, I sat down on the couch about 8:40 to watch the end of Iron Chef America. I didn't even make it to the judging. The next thing I know, Eric was shaking me awake at nearly 11pm.

It really doesn't leave much time for getting anything done. Which explains why the house is in shambles.

Work is both hectic and slow. Hectic because the company is changing business systems and everyone is in a tizzy because of it. Slow because sales volume is scary low. So slow that I would be in danger of being laid off if it wasn't for the changes. I am still a little nervous about it all.

But, for once we managed to have a beautiful weekend and I spent most of it outside. Saturday, I took Caleb and a neighbor boy to the park. The boys were having a snack when the neighbor leaned over and whispered something to Caleb.

Caleb looked at me and asked if his friend could come over to our house after the park. I said to Caleb that it was fine and he looked at his friend and said that he could come over.

The friend gave Caleb a positively whithering look and said in a voice dripping with derision "I'm not blind over here!" It was all I could do to not fall off the park bench from laughing.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Monkey on my back

So, here, Chez Wool, we are running a little behind schedule. Just a bit. Honestly.

Monday night, Caleb and I finally had a moment to sit down and perform that perennial rite of spring, dyeing Easter eggs. Nothing like being a month behind the times to put oneself back in the running for America's Crappiest Mother of the Year Award.

All was well and good. We dyed eggs in single colors, we dyed eggs in multiple colors, we used the stupid clear crayon provided (quickly realizing that one of our own colored crayons would be a bit better for identifying our artistry what we were attempting). It was lovely.

Until Caleb attempted to use the crayon on the very last hard-boiled egg and it slipped out of his hand and crashed to the floor. Tears erupted and a grand mal tantrum ensued.

Cool, calm reasoning along the lines of "I know you are upset that the egg fell on the floor, but we can't dye it now because the shell is broken" only made him more morose. It was as if he was unable to wring any pleasure from the evening because of this blip.

This pattern of pouting and sulking until he is coddled and cajoled into a better mood is grating and I am at a loss as how to rectify it. I understand that at 5 he doesn't have great control of his emotions and the tempest in a teapot analogy is apt. But, the lack of proportion in his responses is stupefying. I'm unable to tell if a given situation is truly bad or if he is manipulating me to get the cuddles that he wants. I have no problem with kisses and hugs, but he throws his body around like a marionette with the jitters and it just plain pisses me off. I am at a loss for how to help him express appropriately the negative emotions he is feeling without all of the unwarranted melodrama.

Luckily, I do retain some mastery over wool. I can manipulate string and tiny sticks and end up with something approximating the desired result. The first of the monkey socks are done and while I am not 100% thrilled with the modifications I made, they are passable. I did end up decreasing the extra stitches out for the foot so it wouldn't be too loose.


1. I added 1 extra stitch on either side of the pattern for a total of 18 stitches per repeat. This resulted in an extra 2 rows per repeat. Because of this, I did 5 repeats instead of 6 which works out to about the same number of rows.

2. The heel flap was done over 36 stitches and 36 rows to accommodate my cankles. The stitch count was reduced to 32 after all of the gusset decrease were done.

3. I did the eye of partridge stitch on the heel flap. Love the look of this stitch pattern in hand painted yarn, it looks like I did some sort of fancy stranded fair-isle technique. Pure genius! It is a bit fiddly, but it looks fantastic.

4. The extra stitches on the foot were reduced on the first pattern repeat after picking up the gusset stitches. The 3rd row of the pattern doesn't call for decreases and this is where I snuck them in. While I'm not thrilled with how it looks, you can't see the difference from 10 feet away, so I am assuring my inner critic that it will be fine.

Overall I love the sock and have already started the second one. Actually, I'm thinking that I may have to knit another pair with the picot edging that is so popular, if for no other reason that a) I haven't tried that technique yet and b) I am still not tired of the pattern.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Another one bites the dust

I love my Monkeys. Love them with this yarn. Lovethemlovethemlovethem. Unfortunately, they don't love me. I can't fit them over my heel. Damn cankles.

So, I frogged.


I tried a different yarn, but I didn't feel the love.

Going up a needle size isn't an option because the fabric will be too loose.

I tried a different pattern, but it did nothing for me in this yarn.

The Sweet Georgia Yarn wants to be Monkeys. It needs to be Monkeys. I've added a stitch on either side of the pattern repeat so that each repeat is 18 stitches instead of 16. We'll see how it goes. I just finished recharting the pattern. and am off.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Monkey see Monkey do

What a week.

Caleb has been sick. Over the weekend he had a playdate with a friend he doesn't see very often. While he had a great time, the end result was yet another round of the flu.

Tuesday he said he wasn't feeling well, but he went to school without any more complaints than we normally get. On Wednesday, he came home from school with a fever. Thankfully, Eric had discharged his only patient the day before and was able to wheedle a day off on Thursday.

Today, he seemed to be feeling better so we shoved him off to daycare and school because I had a three hour training session that was required this morning. A quick call to daycare at lunch proved that this was the right decision, he not coughing so much and isn't listless.

As promised, here are a few pictures of the Hedgerow Socks. They too are following the seasons, but apparently those in the southern hemisphere as they have just now entered hibernation.

I'm about 3/4 of the way through the leg on the first sock and I'm not feelin' the love. The pattern is painfully easy, but entirely too fiddley. And its too snug for my cankles.

As I see it there are a few ways to resolve the dilemma:

1. I could just keep going and be much more generous than my selfish little heart desires and gift these lovely socks to someone who's anatomy is more slender and graceful than mine.

2. I could add a repeat to the pattern. It would be only 6 extra stitches which would probably be enough to accommodate my large bone structure. But, this would mean that I would have to divide for the heel flap unevenly and for some reason this seems irksome.

3. It could be that it is that this yarn is destined to be a different sock and that Hedgerow is entirely the wrong look for it. (I've been thinking this as I've been knitting it.) It wants to be lace or cables or something fancier.

Because I am chronically undecided, I've done the only sensible thing and cast on for a pair of Monkeys using the Sweet Georgia yarn* that I won from Shan.

The cuff of the first is done and I've finished the first pattern repeat. I can see how this pattern is wildly addictive. Deceptively simple and easy to memorize with lots of rows that are easy to read. Cookie A is brilliant. Obviously.

This is my first experience using a Sweet Georgia yarn. The Merlot colorway is delightful. In the skein and while knitting, the plies tend to separate easily, making it a bit splitty. But, the hand once knit is exquisite. It is smooth and luscious.

*By the way, Felicia has decided that the siren's call of the dyepot was too strong to resist and she has reopened her online shop today. Don't bother looking for sock yarn. It's already gone.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Rain, rain go away

Please don't come again another day. It seems that the weather hasn't gotten much better now that the temperatures are a bit warmer. On Thursday we got 2 inches of rain. I shudder to think of how much snow that would have been.

Yesterday, I nearly gagged walking into work because of the smell of worms all over the parking lot. It was a hugely powerful smell. I won't describe it. Normally, it doesn't bother me at all. I wonder if it is just because it is the umpteenth day in a row without sun that I want to crawl into a cave and never come out. Or run away to Burmuda. Hmmm, or Brazil, or anywhere that has sunshine.

Today they are forecasting a rain/snow mix. Yipee.

I have actually done a wee bit of knitting for myself this week. I've been working on the Hedgerow Socks (ravelry link - sorry) in Regia Silk 4 ply in Red. It is really a tomato red and I love the color. The stitch pattern is deceptively simple, just a 4x2 ribbing where the center 2 stitches of the knit section are replaced with seed stitch. So, a 2 row repeat. But DAMN is it hard to remember that I need do the oppositite of what I see in that section. It is not TV knitting by any means, not if I want to actually look at the TV. My camera is MIA, so if I locate it, I will come back and drop in a picture.

Knitting a top down sock still makes me nervous, what if I don't have enough yarn, I sure as Hades don't want to have to rip back, nor do I want to pick up another ball of yarn. I have lots of sock yarn and don't need another partial ball laying around staring at me. I don't have anything that would coordinate that nicely either for heels and toes.

I've also been sewing. The sucess, however modest, at the show last weekend energized me to keep moving forward. I've finshed off four bags that went over really well at the show as well as the only custom order that I took. I'm just waiting for the check to arrive and it will go out in the mail.

Again, if I can find the camera, I will post pictures.

Monday, April 07, 2008


So, the spring show is over and it went so well. I had some pretty modest goals heading into the show and blew them away in the first day. The second day was painfully slow, but I am still really happy with what I accomplished. I am pretty sure that I will be able to put myself in the black now. It is such a relief knowing that I should be able to pay back the money owed to our personal accounts and that the business can stand on it's own moving forward.

Needless to say, no pleasure knitting has gotten done recently. I'm still working on the same projects I have been; ribby cardi and the Hedgerow socks are still both on the needles with pathetically little progress made.

But, I have decided to take 2 weeks and do some research for E's residency applications and then I am off to the races to get ready for the fall shows. I am hoping to do two of them, both near my hometown. There I will be able to focus more on doing knitted items. I've consistantly sold out of felted hats and am hoping to have tons available for the fall.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Final Countdown

All is well here Chez Wool. I have been sewing like crazy to get ready for the craft fair next weekend. In the last couple of weeks, I have cranked out an average of 5 bags a week. I realize it doesn't sound like too much given that there are 24 hours in a day, but given the following constraints, I think I'm doing pretty damn well.
  • I do have full-time employment which guarantees me a paycheck, provided I show up (they are sticklers about this point). Not to mention health insurance. (-8.5 hrs: 15.5 hrs)
  • Said employment requires a commute of nearly an hour each way once I factor in dropping off the kiddo at daycare. (-2 hrs: 13.5 hrs)
  • Sleep. This one is important as I tend to get a bit, um, grouchy if I don't get my beauty sleep. (-7 hrs: 6.5 hrs)
  • After such a restful (*snort*) night's sleep, I must go through my patented beauty ritual in the morning and get the aforementioned kiddo out of bed, into presentable clothes and out the door. (-1.25 hrs: 5.25 hrs)
  • Dinner. For some reason certain people in the house do not think fending for themselves is an appropriate strategy for a 5 year old. Where is Darwin when you need him. (-.75 hr: 4.5 hrs)
  • Housekeeping. You in the back. Shut. Up. Even using this term loosely, I need to scrape the top layer of crud off the horizontal surfaces of our home at least occasionally. And do some laundry. I draw the line at reusing certain articles of clothing. (-.5 hr: 4 hrs)
  • Childcare. Caleb seems to think that he needs to have parental attention every so often. Greedy child. (-2 hrs: 2 hrs)

That leave a whopping 2 hours to check email and do everything that I deem necessary to my sanity. Oh, and sew.

Let's not mention that for some reason every craft store in the area has stopped carrying magnetic snaps in the last 2 weeks. So, yesterday after going to 3 separate stores and calling others, I was searching frantically online trying to find someplace that would be able to ship them to me via 2 day service and still be reasonably priced. Luckily, I found a place, but I feel sick thinking about how much it is costing to have it shipped. Blech!

But, honestly, things are going well. Eric got back his grade for his last rotation and he got an A. He is done with one of the rotations from hell. Only 3 more months before he gets a couple of "easier" rotations.

We were even able to squeeze in an honest-to-goodness, real-live, no kids allowed, date on Saturday. You know, where the restaurant has glass glasses and candles. There are no play structures or cartoon characters involved. Just dinner, a movie and a drink afterward. A very nice time was had by all.

Set up for the show is on Friday. After it ends on Sunday, I am planning on taking a couple of weeks to start researching some of the locations we are looking at for residency. I am both excited and nervous about this next step. It is an awfully big decision to make and we get so little say in where we finally end up. I just hope that we end up someplace family friendly.

See you all next week and hopefully I will be able to do some knitting of my own!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A very good day

I am so excited today. I met up with a local woman who makes handmade soaps and took 26 bars on consigment to sell with my washcloths. I am pretty excited, they smell great and are reasonably priced. I think I will make up a couple of quick drawstring sacks that can accomodate both and sell the sets for $10 bucks. To me it seems like a great end of school year gift for teachers.

And, today I love the mailman (or at least the service he provides) because this arrived at my door bringing yarny p0rn to my home. Thank you Carrie! She custom dyed this lovelyness and I don't think she could have gotten the colors any more perfectly. There is enough variation to provide interest, but not so much that it will obscure a pattern. Now, I just need to find the right pattern!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

FO: Shetland Shawl

Just popping in for a very quick update. Any knitting lately has been of the dish cloth variety and I can't imagine that even die-hard knitters are really that interested in yet another pink variegated Grandma's Dishcloth. Even I am bored with them. But they sell, so what's a girl to do? I am also looking for a local person who makes soaps to pair up with the cloths at the craft fair in April. I've found a couple through Etsy and am looking to seeing/smelling the options!

Shetland Triangle is off the needles!

I lovelovelove this pattern and can easily see myself making it again in a variety of weights.

The color is somewhere between the values in the photos. I'm quite happy with how it all came out.

Pattern: Shetland Triangle by Evelyn Clark from Wrap Style by Interweave Press.

Yarn: Rowan Magpie in the Mexico colorway. Sadly, this lovely yarn has been discontinued. It is the same yarn that I used to make Twist.

Needles: KnitPicks Options Size 9

Started: February 2008

Finished: February 2008

I know it is the fir cone pattern, but when I looke at it all I see are candleflames which marry up beautifully with the rich burnt orange color of the wool. It is cozy and airy, lacy but substantial all at the same time.

Now, I just need to know how to wear it without looking like I'm 80 years old!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Winner and hiatus

Honestly, I do have one more contest winner to announce. For all 3 of my readers who have been around a while will remember (or not , it was a while ago) I offered up a prize to the 500th commentor. The 2 year anniversary contest pushed the comment counts sky high, at least for me. The luck lady is Wendy. Send me your address and a small prize will be winging its way to you. kmhanson74 at yahoo dot com

I will be taking a short break from blogging to focus on a few things that I need to acomplish in the next 5 weeks. I have a booth at a craft fair the first weekend in April and I need to prepare for it. Since most of the goodies are sewn, I won't bore you with the details. After the show I will do a large shop update with all of the product left from the shows.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Party Madness

What is it about the weekend that it seems to fly by faster than a five year old hopped up on sugar? Conversely, Monday lasts 10 lifetimes. Ironically, this is the same length of time as spending one's Saturday with 2 different groups of 20 5 year olds.

Caleb was lucky enough to be invited to two different birthday parties on Saturday. Both were about 35 minutes from home and were just far enough apart to make returning home in between a real pain in the ass.

The first party was at a bounce house place, complete with loud music. I managed to escape the chaos long enough to run to Target.

After a snack and cupcakes, we were off to Wal-mart. A quick detour was made to clean up the barf that was the not unexpected result of the first party.

Great fun. Overexcited children and junk food do not mix.

I had brought along our portable DVD player and after picking up a few things at the store, we settled into Starbucks with our cocoa (him) and mocha (me - he needed no caffine!), starwars (him) and the Shetland Triangle with a side of an audiobook (me). He was reasonably quiet and I was profoundly grateful.

The second party was at a gymnastics studio and was a lot of fun for the kids.

For some reason, while the Shetland Triangle is a very easily memorized pattern, I keep forgetting to do the final knit row. This creates a few problems with the stitch count when I start the first row again. I can't count the number of times that I have ripped back because of the enormity of my own stupidity. Not suprisingly, I've made no actual progress even though a great deal of knitting has occurred.

It would also appear that startitis has struck full force and I finally cast on for the Hedgerow Socks using Regia Silk in a bright orangey red color.

Pictures to come shortly.

Friday, February 08, 2008


Somehow recently, I have run into a slew of blog contests. I'm guessing that cabin fever has hit all of us hard. The latest is over at Bark Knits. She wants to know how you met your sweetie. The deadline is Valentine's Day. Tell her I sent you...

So, we finally recovered from the 15+ inches of snow that we got on Wednesday. It was nice to have a snow day, but honestly, I am sick of the snow and all of the general ickiness that goes along with late winter. Cabin fever has hit Chez Wool pretty hard and we are all grumping at each other pretty fiercely. I honestly cannot wait until spring and I can get Caleb outside to burn off some of the energy he has.

It doesn't help that our upstairs neighbor is completely incapable of living in an apartment situation. She is driving us crazy and is whining to the landlord.

We've been in this apartment for 3-1/2 years and never had any issues with the previous tenants upstairs. This summer they bought a house and a new lady moved in. Apparently, she is a complete white trash princess and has never had to fend for herself before. When she was looking at the apartment, she had the audacity to ask the landlord if she could take one of our spots in the garage. (We pay significantly more rent and as a result, we get 2 garage spaces and the finished portion of the basement.) Needless to say he didn't even approach us about that.

When she and her daughters first moved in, they consistently forgot to either lock or close completely the back door to the house, meaning that anyone could walk into the basement and into my apartment. Not cool with me at all. We spoke with her about it a couple of times and eventually ended up taping a note to the door reminding them that it needed to be latched and the knob needed to be locked. (We actually prefer that the deadbolt not be fastened because Caleb doesn't remember how to unlock it - it freaks me out a bit thinking about what would happen if there was an emergency of some kind and he needed to get out.)

She got really pissy about the note on the door.

There have been other encounters, but the biggest issue is that she and the older daughter park oddly and it doesn't allow for the snow to be removed easily. Since shoveling is our responsibility, we've told the landlord that if their cars aren't in the way that we will be more than happy (not really, but it is part of the lease) to clear that portion of the driveway.

But, and it is a big but, if they don't move them, we will NOT be shoveling around them because of the liability if we damage their cars. He agreed that this seemed fair and all was tolerable.

With all of the snow that we got this week, Eric was more than generous and used the snow blower to go around all of their cars because they hadn't moved them out so that we could clear the area. Apparently, yesterday Princess contacted the landlord complaining that we didn't do a sufficient job shoveling her area. Never mind the fact that she backed her car up and brushed it off onto the area that was already cleared. Never mind that when Eric got home last night she was blocking access to the garage.

I hate to get into a pissing match with her, but that is where we are at and Eric is nothing if not self-righteous. It should get interesting.

On the knitting front, I finished the last body repeat of the Shetland Triangle, not to be confused with the Bermuda Triangle, although, the more I think about it, there are striking similarities.
*They are both triangles - this one is rather obvious.
*They are both larger than one might think - lace post-blocking anyone?
*They both appear innocuous, but both warp the time-space continuum. How else to explain how I sit down to knit a row or two at 8 pm and look up and Leno is doing his monologue?

Because of the warping, I was able to finish up the body of the shawl and started the border chart. I probably could have squeezed in another body repeat with the amount of yarn that I have, but I wanted to make sure that I wouldn't run out. No new pictures yet because honestly, it looks just like before, only slightly larger.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

And the Winner Is...

I haven't worked much more on the shawl, so you won't be getting a picture of that. Or really if you want one, just scroll down a bit. Sorry, I'm more than a bit lazy...

Sorry for not posting results yesterday. You know. Life. Got busy. Crummy lighting for picture taking, blahblahblah. However, SE Wisconsin is getting a tremendous snowfall today. So much so that at 4pm yesterday, they closed the factory for today. Whoo Hoo, it isn't often that you get a snow day as a grown up (unlike someone else I could mention).

So, without further delay, Elaine - send me your address (kmhanson74atyahoodotcom) and I will get your prize off to you. It is 2 skeins of Shelridge Farm sock yarn in a colorway that makes me think of spring with the color of new leaves budding on trees and the pretty pink of blossoms. I hope you like it!

I want to know where she works because I got several repeat commentors saying that they forgot to mention that Elaine, from their office, told them to enter the contest. Um - knitting friends at work - sign me up. Heck, we will be moving in a year and a half, and I get to influence that choice (at least a little)... I would so love to work someplace where people don't think I'm weird for knitting.

More prizes to come, so stop back again to see if you won anything.

I finished the first prototype and well there were a few bugs that I needed to work out. I will be trying a second one today. Once I get the final version made, I will put up a few pictures. I am hoping that someone might be interested in it.

Monday, February 04, 2008

95% Perspiration

I've been knitting a fair bit lately (at least for me) but I really need to shift my focus back to bagatelle.

I have some "what was I thinking" fabric in my stash that I'm planning on using to create some really simple totes to sell for under $10.00. Nothing fancy - I really just need to use up the fabric and not lose money at it. My thought is to market them as reusable grocery bags, something sturdy that can be machine washed and reused. Some may get a small zippered pocket depending on what I have that matches, but most probably won't in an effort to keep the price low.

A couple of new ideas are floating around my head and I am looking forward to creating a few prototypes. (Probably with the "what was I thinking" fabric.) At least one of them is knitting related and I would hope that I can sell them at one of the local yarn shops. It would be nice to have some steady income coming in.

I'm hoping to get the kinks worked out the the new design and then post them up on the shop site. I plan on doing an update as soon as I get a few more items finished.

The change to sewing will probably do me some good as the tendonitis in my wrist has been acting up lately. I think the weight of the shawl is the main culprit. Not that I will stop knitting it.

The contest winner will be posted soon!

Sunday, February 03, 2008


Before I forget, if you haven't entered the contest, go for it. I picked up some more goodies over the weekend. Hopefully some of the lovely ladies who stopped over for a chance to win will keep reading.

Although on second thought, that may be a bit more pressure than I am ready for. The limelight is so not my style.

I've tried so hard to work diligently on Ribby Cardi, but the endless 2x2 ribbing of the sleeves is booooooriiiiiiiing. Actually, that is an understatement. It is beginning to suck the will to live (or at least knit) from me.

Don't let the picture deceive you. I still have eleventy billion
rows to go before the decreases start. Many of them are increase rows. Bah.

So I decided to change that.

I was inspired by this post from Brooklyn Tweed to use up some of the Rowan Magpie in the Mexico that I have lingering in my stash. (Yea for stashbusting!) The pattern is "Shetland Triangle" by Evelyn Clark from Interweave Press's Wrap Style.

I have approximately 4 and a bit balls left, and I thought it would make a nice warm wrap. It isn't the softest yarn, but I love the colorway. Each time I look at a blocked version of the shawl the pattern reminds me a of candle flames and the rich warm orange color of this yarn just begged to be made into this pattern.

Is it wrong that I lovelovelove the funky bubble look that this shawl has right now?

The main pattern repeat is very simple and it is almost mindless knitting. I have no real reason to make this other than the itch to make something beautiful and quick.

In one night, I managed to get through 4 repeats of the body chart. Still, with only 207 stitches as the point at which you change to the edging chart, this is a quick knit. The original dimensions of the pattern say that it is only 24" long. Even without adding any additional repeats, this version will be significantly larger.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Someone else's contests

Okay ladies, since it seems that you come out in droves for free yarn, here are a few more contests for you...

LaVerna needs thoughts of spring. Tell her I sent you.

The Spirit Trail is giving away cashmere - (this one pains me to tell you about).

Put your math caps on for this one at the Purl Zen.

Contest Part Deux

This has been so fun. I can’t believe the number of entrants to the contest. It just goes to show that we are a bunch of loose women when free yarn is at stake. I am so glad that all of you came by and took a look at my blog. Make yourselves at home and stay a while. Feel free to subscribe. I promise that I won't take up huge amounts of your time with daily posts. Honestly, most of the time, I'm lucky to post weekly, sometimes it is bi-weekly. See? No huge time commitment here.

While you’re at it, let all your friends know about the contest. Let’s see if we can’t get the comment count up to 100. (I was going to say 50, but then a whack of comments came in at the same time… Apparently a bunch of us take our lunches at noon Central time.)

Don’t forget that the more people who tell me that you sent ‘em, the more entries you get. I have grandiose visions of this being like the next supervirus to hit the knitting community, sort of like llama, llama duck. (I'd do the whole link thing, but it's blocked here at work.)

With this many comments, I may have to draw more than one winner… Who knows what the criteria for that may be…? The most referrals? Additional random drawing? Best plea for yarn? I may just swoon from the power. hehehe

I will be cutting off entrants at Midnight Central time on Monday the 4th.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


At least so far. I am hoping that the fates let the number keep on risin'.

Good thing the first: Caleb received a subscription to National Geographic for Christmas and I was frustrated because it just is too "adult" for him. Over the weekend, I emailed their customer service department asking to have the remaining subscription converted to the kids version. Without any questions, today I received an email indicating that starting in April, he will get National Geographic Kids. What great service!

Good thing the second: I received an email from my Brazilian host brother. (I did an exchange program to Brazil my Junior year of high-school.) The entire family changes email addresses more often than most people change their socks, so it is always a bit of a surprise to hear from them. Turns out one of the sisters is in the states and wants to get in contact! Hopefully she is in the upper Mid-West.

Good thing the third: I won this contest over at Shan's. She is giving away some scrumptious yarn. Honestly, I can't believe she is willing to part with it! I'm thrilled with the opportunity to play with a little bit of Sweet Georgia goodness.

Again - don't forget to enter the contest. If you've posted a link on your blog - let me know in the comments.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Living in a major metropolitan area, I am quite lucky to have my choice of yarn shops to frequent. There is the one that is cramped and dimly lit. Oddly enough, this one is my favorite. I just plain ole like the staff. There is another that just changed locations. I will have to be going there more as they carry Dream in Color. A third caters to weavers and you can purchase yarn on huge cones. The forth store (that I have been to) has elicited very mixed reviews from customers. I've not had the greatest of experiences there, but after a very favorable interaction with one of their employees on Ravelry I decided to give it another whirl.

I took my son with me and we purused the aisles and I fondled new yarns and said hello to some old favorites. But the main reason for going was to pick up some kind of wool wash. They happened to have the best price in town so I went with it. I really like the scent of the Kookaburra. The tea tree oil is divine.

The highlight of the drive up there is this.

I'm not sure how clear it is, but the name of the place is The New Pitts Mortuary. Honestly? The images it evokes make me shudder and giggle at the same time. How hard to you think their marketing firm has to work?

Dont forget to enter for a chance at a prize for my 2 year blogiversary.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Upcoming Anniversary

Business first. My 2 year blogiversary is coming up on February 4th. To celebrate, I would like to give away a few goodies. (No, I CAN'T tell you, it would ruin the surprise! Yes, it will include yarn. Heck - since it is cold out, you might even get chocolate, or some other yummies).

There are 3 ways to enter.
  1. Leave a comment on the blog.
  2. Mentioning the contest on your blog will get you another entry.
  3. Every time someone else mentions that they found out about the contest from you, you get another entry.
All entries need to be in by Monday February 4th.

The fronts are done on Ribby Cardi. I'm not thrilled with how the decreases came out in the last few rows. Either I am stupid or the directions aren't entirely clear...

You there in the back, stop snickering.

I realize that since I am not the first person to knit this lovely pattern, that the issue most likely resides between my ears and not with the designer.

Really, I must put down the Merlot before I knit, it would make life so much easier. The final few rows may get ripped back and redone. You know, so I can live up to my claim of being persnickety.

I've started the sleeves and thought a few stripes might liven things up a bit. I'm not entirely sure yet. To keep the spontaneity going, I will finish off the last row or 2 of the collar in the grey - for balance.

Yes. I am calling it balance, not schizophrenia.

Last week, Caleb and I spent the night at the Dells with my family for a fun-filled 24 hours of swimming at the Kalahari Resort. We had 13 people (including 6 kids) in a 3 bedroom suite with a full kitchen and living area. All the cookware and dishes are included. Caleb had a blast riding all of the slides. He even tried out surfing!

Look Ma, no hands!

We started for home at bedtime and while he wanted to watch a movie on the portable DVD player (it is a 2 hour drive), I was Cruella DeVille and told him that he needed to sleep. He made one protest at the 15 minute mark and that was the last I heard from him!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Fronts 2.0

Finally. I reached the armhole shaping on the fronts. Again. I managed to slog through the tedium and have come out victorious. (Knock on wood – I wouldn’t want to incur the wrath of the knitting gods and get smacked down. Again.)

I’m really looking forward to getting to the sleeves. If nothing else, the change in color will be good.

But to be completely honest, this project will contain a whole bunch of firsts for me. I’ve never knit a sweater with a zipper before, so sewing one in will be, um, interesting. I’ve also never seamed a sweater before. I know, I know. I've knit at least 6 sweaters or vests. It’s crazy that I’ve always managed to get around it by working the piece in the round. But this time, I decided to bite the bullet and actually knit the dang thing as it was written.

I also finished the garterlac dishcloth and I love it. I think it will be great for using up some of the odds and ends that I have left over from various balls of cotton.

I think I'm hooked!

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Price is Right

It was such a busy weekend. I always feel behind and I hate it. I was grouchy and so was Eric. Fun times.

Winter increased the laundry exponentially which just compounds the behindedness. (I want someone to explain how I can go from 1 load of darks in the summer to 4+ a week in the winter. I realize that jeans and sweaters/sweatshirts take up more room, but this is ridiculous!)

At Christmas, my SIL gave me a recipe for making laundry detergent. I’ve waited to post it here because I wanted to see how well it worked for myself.

The very first load of laundry I did was towels that had been used to sop up spilt coffee. They were filthy. I figured it would be a good test load, if it could get the towels clean then there wasn’t much it couldn’t do, especially as the towels had sat for a couple of days before I got a chance to wash them. And if it didn’t work well, then, it was just a bunch of towels.

They came out from the wash without a spot of coffee on them. Pale blue towels, no less. The only other concern I had was fading and while I’ve only washed each article of clothing a couple of times, I haven’t noticed any so far.

Honestly, I am a convert; at this point, I can’t image buying detergent again.

Here is the recipe:

1/2 cup washing soda (not baking) (Arm and Hammer) (~$2.99/box)

1/2 cup borax (~$1.99/box)

1/2 bar of Fels Naptha soap grated ($1.09/bar)

Heat 1 gal. of water on stove. Grate the soap into a 5 gallon bucket. Add the boiling water and stir until melted. Add the washing soda and borax stirring until dissolved. Let cool for 1 hour then add 2 gallons hot water to bucket*. Pour into old milk gallon jugs with a funnel.

Use 1/3-1/2 cup per load
Makes 3 gallons

So, the first batch cost right around 6 bucks and made 3 gallons. (I was able to nab 3 empty laundry detergent bottles from our upstairs neighbor and filled those. The cap is a ½ measure. Milk cartons would work as well.) The next batch will be free because I already have the other half of the Fels Naptha. After that, each batch will only cost 55 cents because I already have the washing soda and the borax.

The only down side that I have notice so far is that when the detergent sits for more than a few minutes, there is a gloppy something that rises to the surface. A quick shake of the bottle takes care of it, so it falls under minor inconvenience rather than deal-breaker.

I have been doing some knitting on the Ribbi Cardy and am about halfway to the armhole shaping on the fronts. I’m still doing both of them at the same time which makes for slow going. I will most likely do the sleeves the same way. I really don’t want to cast on for something else until I get something off the needles. Even though it is the same project, I need to have the feeling of accomplishment when I bind off something.

*I have to admit that I was impatient and didn’t wait an hour for the mixture to cool and added lukewarm water to cool it off enough to bottle it.

Friday, January 04, 2008


Okay - I think it is a fair assumption to say that I am not a serious blogger. I think about blogging much more frequently than I actually sit down and compose a post. Daily, I compose a bit of something in my head, but then 8 pm rolls around and either the thought has flitted away or I am stuck scrubbing some baked on gunk off the stove.

I have been knitting, but the Ribbi Cardy is in time out because of ripping back both of the fronts. It depresses me to look at it. Honestly? I'm sick of the beautiful cranberry color. Which gives me a thought... Maybe I should cast on for the sleeves so I can get sick of the grey. Hmm, this might just work.

While stumbling through Ravelry the other day I found this pattern for a garerlac dishcloth. Entralac has NEVER appealed to me. All that turning and knitting back. Besides, what do you do with it? Wearing a garment composed of teeny tiny squares would look odd on me. I like a lot of shaping in my sweaters and entrelac doesn't seem to have the flexibility to modify things on a whim.

Yes, this means that I am apt to just dive in and make changes, the consequences be damned.

Yes, this typically means a lot of frogging and profanity.

But, it also results in some stuff that fits me pretty darn well and a lot of, ahem, learning experiences. Let's not mention the alpaca and merino blend that sags atrociously.

Anyway, back to my point. I found this pattern and decided that a garter stitch washcloth was the perfect project to try out this new technique. It is much more fun that I thought it would be. I like the modularity of it. I can knit a small square and set it down having a feeling of accomplishment. I can easily see how people get hooked on it.

Now that I have done a few repeats of the pattern, it is somewhat intuitive. At least the squares. Not so much the triangles.

I've done a lot of thinking about Resolutions for 2008. I could be like some and try to knit a pair of socks a month, or more than one sweater. But, keeping up with my business and maintaining some semblance of sanity will not allow such lofty goals. So, I decided that what I will do instead is try a few techniques. I am always looking for a challenge and I think that this will keep me on my toes, without compromising my mental health. I've added a list of my goals to the sidebar. Here's hoping that I can do it.