Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'm still here, sometimes

For the goal of blogging at least once a week, I sure have slacked off. I haven't even managed once a month for a good six months. Oh- who am I kidding? It's been 10 months. Friends, truly I am sorry. I do have a bunch of good excuses. Though I am sure that no one really wants to hear them. So I am just putting this out there so as it comes as no surprise, Dude is on the short list for another move. I am praying that we don't have to move, but am preparing myself just in case.

On that note, we are staying here for the holiday. Felt it would be bad if we did move for Dude to never have celebrated a Christmas in a house he has been paying the mortgage on for 2 years. HA! In reality, we are just so thrilled to have him home safe and sound in one piece that we are treasuring the time together. The travel schedule is still pretty hectic but when he is home, he is completely focused on home.

With so much that has been going on, the knitting, dyeing, and designing has not been the center focus. I really have been knitting, but larger projects that take more time. Since the last post I have finished four sweaters:
The February Lady Sweater here in Madelinetosh Yarn Tosh (original worsted weight but really a DK weight) in Tart. I LOVE this color and the sweater but Meredith gets to wear it. It won't go around the 'girls'.

The Seed Stitch V-Neck Topdown Seamless Cardigan in Classic Elite Yarns Classic One Fifty in Green. (Real original color name, huh?) This only took 3 years to complete (maybe it was four) but I became frustrated with it and really it was probably everything else that was going on in my life that I unfortunately took out on the sweater. One day, rooting through the stash I came upon it in a ziplock bag un-finished. I was encouraged to frog it but I had already gone past the shoulders. (That's the hard long boring part) I decided to finish it before working on anything else. Needless to say it was greatly received by the recipient as well and worn frequently. (Or so I am told.) I wasn't able to keep a single sweater. I think that was the most frustrating. But the recipients are quite happy.

Hey Teach! in Mission Falls 1824 Cotton in Sand. Again one of these sweaters that I just HAD to have and was really a very easy knit. I swear I really am doing the gauge swatches and even going so far as to block the swatch. Yet, it just didn't fit right. So another lovely friend was able to take it off my hands. I have now become the laughing stock at my knit circle. They are ALL encouraging me to knit more sweaters "practice makes perfect" is what I am hearing. In reality, they just want to each have a hand knit sweater. Even becoming so bold as to suggest what yarn I should use (in their favorite color) and suggest what pattern I should knit (so the style looks good on them) so they too can become the proud owner of my next screw up. What great friends I have!

So yes, you can count correctly. I have only posted three of the four. I will leave the fourth sweater for another post to keep you in suspense. (Or you can read that statement for the truth that isn't said- I haven't uploaded the picture yet. said very sheepishly.)

Knotty or Knice Socks knit out of Three Irish Girls Cary BFL Mulled Wine. (Though I read and re-read the color name to be Whine. Which I thought was hysterical and knew I had to do this pattern with this colorway.) Only 1 pair of socks were accomplished this year. A pair that was begun last year but due to the flood was put on hold. When I began reconstruction of the house, I took it as an opportunity to finish another project that had been put on hold. I am glad that they were completed in the spring as I have enjoyed wearing them all year.

I did finish another pair of German socks. I forgot that I did them until coming across this picture of the Confederates of Fort Pulaski in Savannah, Georgia holding them for me. We did do a bit of traveling when Dude came back. I went with him to Florida while he chaired a conference on what he did while deployed. Since it was our anniversary we stopped off in Savannah on the way home for the weekend. Never stay at this bed and breakfast. It was HORRIBLE!!!

This little guy is called 'Sackboy'. For the gamers in your life, they know him from the Playstation game titled 'Little Big Planet.' He really is a knitted character in the game and of course, my gamer says to me "I bet you can't knit something like this." WHAT? Who does he think he is? Me? Not able to knit something like this? Seriously? Oh- yeah! What this! And I proceeded to knock it out. Though I didn't tell him or show him until it was done. He went away for a ROTC event and when he came back I surprised him with it. OH- I could have shot myself when I saw the smile come over his face. I played right into his hands! But as mother of a teenage boy- I got an authentic smile from my son. And a hug with a sincere 'thank you.' What is that credit card commercial say? "Some things are just priceless." Yes, this was one of those things.

A couple of shawl/scarves are missing from this post. Looking through the pictures there are a couple of photos that haven't been uploaded yet. I guess that just gives you something to look forward to next month as well. Hopefully, there will be some new finished projects to be added to it. (I did say 'Hopefully.')

Here are the three sheep that I knit up. One for each of us girls. I also made another one for my favorite artist, but forgot to get a photo of it before gifting it to her.

I asked her to paint me a picture and she did. I LOVE it. It's title is "Home at Last". I now own 7 of her originals. Not the largest private collection. (That belongs to my friend who has now 12. But I do get to visit them.)

And so I leave you with a photo of our latest adventure. We took the opportunity to visit a friend who is stationed at Lajes Air Force Base in Portugal. The entire family flew Space A this past July and stayed two weeks with Tess. We had the BEST time ever. Two weeks of just relaxing and playing and exploring and swimming and hiking and knitting and cooking and visiting. Everyone was quite sad to leave when we did. Each child came away asking if we could move there. I think that means they had a good time.

If I don't post before then, I bid adieu with Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Just an update

This is the first morning in WAY TOO LONG that I have had absolutely nothing to do. No where to go. No one to shuttle. And what am I doing? Updating the blog. I do hope you enjoy this photo as much as I do.

I have my knitting mojo back. I am sure it helped being the recipient of an additional 5 inches of snow. Yes, I know it is not as bad as the rest of the nation. But may I remind you, this portion of the state is NOT equipped for such occurrences. My local county has ONE snow truck to the entire county. And more often than not, it gets loaned out to the surrounding counties as well.

With such wonderful, hunker down type weather, I cranked out two scarves, one pair of fingerless mitts, and one pair of felted clogs. (unfelted for the photo. Felting is a very personal step. You really do need the feet there for great sizing. So, I am gifting them unfelted and will assist when they are ready.) Once you see them, or once they see them, they will know immediately who they are for. Hee hee hee.

I tried to locate the two scarves, but I have a feeling that they may be found wrapped around two little heads that are on their way to school. They two little heads were quite ecstatic to be the privileged to wear such a beautiful and wonderful creation. They also pinky promised not to loose or tear them. I will try to obtain pictures within the next couple of days of such little heads happy in wearing them to post at a later date.

And as an update that I spoke of earlier, and mostly because I realized that I had not shared these yet, the finished Belletrix socks. This was the only pair of socks that were completed for me during the deployment.
Luckily, they were finished (by the skin of my teeth) in time to wear for Halloween. The only problem with finishing them was that I wanted to wear them. This past Halloween gave us 85 degree weather. It was the FIRST time in my ENTIRE life, I wore flip flops, a tank top, and shorts out trick or treating. The kids had to stop at a neighbor's house and ask for water it was SO hot. I still get a chuckle out of that. (It sure beats having to wear a sweatsuit under your costume and a heavy winter coat over your costume so that by the time you actually went out to collect candy, you couldn't see the costume.)

Enough updating for the moment. Off to knit some on a sock. I am gearing up for the Olympics to begin on Friday. I have challenged myself, as the Olympic athletes do, to start and complete an adult sweater within the timeframe the Olympics will be broadcast on television.

Who's going to join me? What can you challenge yourself to do?

Happy Knitting.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Psst! It's a secret...Don't tell...ANYONE!

Since my children don't read this, I can post this here. But I am keeping it a surprise for them since so much of the last 8 months has been flying by the seat of our trousers. WH (Wonderful Husband), or Dude, for those that know him, will be arriving stateside on Friday.

That means he is officially 1 week out. Once he hits stateside, it will take another day for him to actually get home, but it is just one more day.

It is that actual day that brings so much consternation. The day is already JAM PACKED!! (Here's to praying that he would have been home on Thursday to help with the 'jam packed day', but oh well!) Beginning at 8 am with one activity for one child, a second activity involving child number 1 and 3 that will last most of the day with games, cakes, pizza and a ton of kids running and screaming everywhere, and the child #2 activity should be ending around 4 pm. All that said, I am not running them anywhere. Luckily, a wonderful family friend is going to play bus driver, shuttling them to and fro and overseeing the events. Where will I be? I am telling the kids I have to work. And then I will promptly drive myself to the airport to wait for WH to arrive.

But just so I stay on topic of this being a knitting blog, here are some pictures that I promised you a couple of days ago.

This is a picture of the "Just Enough Ruffles Scarf". Can I say 'incredibly easy and fast'? I LOVED doing this. Just mindless knitting for the most part. What I liked even more? The one page pattern. I hate having to keep track of more than one page to do a scarf. Everything can be just folded up to tuck in the project bag. Looking at it just to make sure I know where I am headed in the next row.
(The model is super cute as well. But don't tell her I said that.)

The next is one I saw at a LYS and FELL IN LOVE with it. They didn't have the book in stock, so I kinda went from memory until I could get home and purchase the book from my LYS. It is suppose to be one of four to create a shawl. Well, I am not that creepy to wear a 'Sheep Shawl' regardless of how much I like sheep. So instead, I have a scarf. I also have plans to create a couple of other animals from this concept to give as gifties when I head off to a vacation in April. Since I don't know if they will be peeking, in May all will be revealed.

This next one is the Chenille Scarf that was knit for Mum. Since loosing her hair, she wanted a hat that she saw in a magazine, but too cheap to spend the $20 on a hat, she calls me to have me make her one. Why don't people realize that if you include the cost of the yarn, labor, and supplies that go in to obtaining said yarn, time to locate said yarn, and time invested in using said yarn, $20 is NOTHING to compare? I made her the hat. I sent her that hat. She didn't like the hat. So when I went to visit at Christmas, I frogged the hat and knit up a skull hat. She then proceeds to ask where the matching scarf is.

Right here.
And now there is NO MORE YARN!! I can't knit you anything else.

And just because it is SO RARE in these parts, I will leave you to a sight to be hold.
This was taken at 8 am today and it has still not let up. Can you say 'Pajama Day'?


Back to bed to climb under the covers, watch cartoons with the kids, maybe play some Wii, and knit to my hearts content. What a perfect day!

Happy Knitting.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Yoo Hoo?? Where are You?

Good Day all my knitterly friends,

It has indeed been TOO long since I have last spoken up. SO much has occurred that I am unsure where to begin. With that in mind, it is always best to begin at the beginning. Let's see, we start with A, B, C,

Oh wait- wrong beginning. Last post was in May. June hits. And with it a proliferate of chaos. An ended friendship. The ending of the school year. A new house. A new season. A new chapter in my life. I know that I intended this to be a knitting oriented blog, but life has just seemed to have become more vocal in its attempt to take away from my knitting time. This post, due to the lack of them before, will inherently be a bit long winded, but I beg of you, please stay.

The ended friendship was completely from out of left field and really, only now, am I able to look at it and not feel the inner stab of hurt, disappointment, confusion, and regret. It was not about me. And I am better off knowing that now. I am sure that I did something but I cannot change what I don't know. I am who I am. I do not try to be someone that I am not. I have to live in my skin and I like myself. When I don't, get out of my way, I will change me. Otherwise, like me for who I am or don't. Your loss.

The end of the school year. That was a mess. We had already moved to a new school district, but I choose the hassle of letting the two continue at the previous and did the daily struggle of delivering and retrieving each day. Little did I realize how much of a inconvenience that would be with the traffic that is so unpredictable in this area. I am sure thankful now for a school bus that picks up and if nothing else can bring them home each day.

A new house. WOW! What can I even say about it? There has been so many struggles and adjustments with it. Its wonderful bone structure is there. Its facade just waiting for some loving tender touches. It will be a good home for us. I just hope that it can be patient for me to come to know it before making any rash decisions. But more on this in a moment.

A new season. Summer always becomes so full of wonderful ideas, but the daily grind gets the better of us and we are then in competition with Fall to see who can get here/done quicker. Fall gently swept its way in and left us blinking in where the time went but also, ticking the calender till Spring. Winter has been here and kicked us in the backside with such loud gusto that I don't think I can enjoy him as much as I use to. Again, just to keep the suspense a bit, more on this in a moment.

A new chapter in my life. This is probably going to be the most detailed aspect. I should really have been telling this story along. But when one is in the 'box' it becomes difficult to see the light with all the twist and turns and bends and ups and downs to really appreciate where you have been and what is more in store.

Not to mention, I finally feel safe enough to tell. My wonderful husband is a solider. First and foremost in the profession of arms. Many will disagree with that. That is fine. He fights for your right to have an opinion and the freedom to express it. With that calling, he chose to deploy to Iraq. He left us in June. We have two weeks till he returns. Since he has been gone, ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE! You might think that I am prone to exaggerating, but seriously, it did. And as my new favorite quote: we learned to 'EMBRACE THE SUCK!' We did just that.

Just a quick run down of what occurred.
In June: knowing that he was going to be deploying, he leaves for three separate TDYs. (For you readers who are not military acronym literate TDY stands for Temporary Duty Assignment. Yes, theoretically, it should be TDA but that already stands for something else or the Army already claimed it.) We have not moved completely in this house, and he is home for less that one full week before leaving for 9 months. Can you feel the chaos just brewing? And No real time for knitting. I did manage one pair of socks. Just one.

In July: He's gone. I am flying solo in parenting, still working part time in a LYS (local yarn store) that is really now 50 minutes from the new house. Finishing up one more semester in the ever long extend plan of my undergraduate degree. Trying to juggle everything when not only does the friendship end, all but one of my support group moves. The nanny that I hired blows off the job of watching my children leaving them stranded at the day camp while I am an hour away at the peak of rush hour traffic. To make matters worse, the youngest falls at said daycamp and breaks her nose. Not across the bridge where we could easily tape it and be okay, but perpendicular to the bridge instigating an absence of ALL activity. Dr's. orders: Sit, watch tv, play video games, read. That's it. It's JULY and we live at the BEACH!! ARGH!!! And No time for knitting. NONE!

In August: I have had to forgo the Sock Summit due to lack of childcare. My mother calls to inform me that she diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Not just a small lump, though any at all is caused for concern, but a rather aggressive form that they are saying in the month since she found the lump is a Stage 3. I start to panic as I have had a lump since April but have ignored due to lack of time to deal with it. I cannot go another month without knitting. So, I start a new a pair of socks and whip up the Boobie Socks. For mom. Beads and all.

In September: Luckily, the kids are now back at school. I can possibly get them into a routine with needing to have some semblance of structure. My mother has begun Chemo and promptly lost her hair. She tells me to knit her a hat and I do. A bucket hat. As per her request. I mail it to her. It doesn't fit. She looks like the Fat Albert character. My dad falls off the ladder, breaking his foot, the car window, and the ladder. I still can't go out there as there are three children who only have one parent. To make matters worse, I am giving this next one to October. One hat knitted. That's it.

In October: really it was the 30th of September, but since we were in the ER until well after mid-night, it counts. Middle child falls at the roller skating rink and breaks her wrist. In three places. Snaps the ball right off the end of the bone. OUCH! As soon as I saw it, I knew it was broken. What's worse? She heard it snap. "Oh, that was what that loud noise was!" Ouch! I cringe just thinking about it. But after the initial cry, she didn't cry again until the doctor told her no more riding lessons until the cast came off. One pair of socks knitted, but it took the whole month to do. Just not right.

In November: just when I thought the first child was what I needed to worry about and some broken legs, the wonderful weather of the East coast initiates us in what it means to live on water. The Nor'easter hit us. Hit us HARD!! At my back door, where the garage is, I had water up to my hip. I am 5'5". I am by no means short. I am by no means tall. I am right in the middle. But to have water running up that high, it's scary. I have never seen fear so prominent on my children's faces until I had to look up and see it on them. We now know what the term 'tidal flooding' really means. The hard way. It is now the end of January and we have still have not recovered. The house is a disaster. We had damage in four rooms. We lost everything in two of the rooms. And have now come to realize the sellers point blank lied to us and on the disclosure statement. There is SO much work to be done that they never did. Basic maintenance just neglected. NO knitting. The pair of socks that I wanted to knit, the cuff of ONE sock was started. Nothing else. Depressing.

In December: well, that should speak for itself. But instead of having a holiday that lent itself to really focusing on the true meaning, was spent dealing with insurance, contractors, insurance, inspectors, adjusters, contractors, and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of trips to the city dump. With all said and done, with inside and outside damage totaled up 26 trips to the city landfill with my generous neighbor loaning me her small pick up truck. We had it PILED every trip. We did leave for a week to fly to visit my folks. Mom was inbetween Chemo, surgery, and radiation. With her count levels higher than they had been, we felt it safe with no one having any colds to visit. But, all that said, one would think the month would have been the turn around. HA HA HA! Fooled you. On the flight home, US AIRWAYS told us we would have to 'gate check' our carry on luggage. The plane overheads wouldn't allow for the bags to fit. So we did. They didn't pay attention to see that we were not getting off at the destination, but just having a layover. They sent our bags to the baggage claim and my entire needle roll of Addi Turbo Lace needles were stolen out of it. I am POSITIVE some idiot thought he was getting lucky and finding a jewelry roll and swiped it. But instead found 30 pairs of circular knitting needles. Instead, I am out close to $1000 dollars. I AM ILL!! So I called the airline to speak about this. Their response, "You have three hours from the time of disembarking to make any baggage claims against them." ARGH!!!

In January: I am all set to have the contractors finally begin putting my house back together. Only to find that the wood, studs, and one wall will not dry out. Why? I ask. Because the brick, that is the front of the house, is below grade. It is not below grade quality brick. It needs to be cinder block, not brick. Brick is catepillarious. Meaning when it is wet, it forms catepillaries, like those found in our bodies, to direct water through it. Once started they always let water through. They need to be sealed. That means to dig out the front yard to seal the brick, then build another drainage system to direct all water from the house. BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH. I had completely glazed over by this point. And to make it worse, water will just come back in at the next Nor'easter because your berms not high enough. And you can't just build the berm back up because your seawall can't support it. And you can't build your seawall back up unless you get rid of these trees. And you can't get rid of these trees because you have to have the Chesapeake Board's approval. CB doesn't like trees on the water removed.

I have knit three scarfs in the last week. Pictures will follow soon, I promise. I have picked back up a cardigan that has been hibernating since 2008. I have three socks on the three needles that were not in my needle roll. And I have another sweater that has been swatched for and is just waiting for the Olympic Torch to be lit.

I WILL find my knitting mojo again. Soon, I hope.

Happy Knitting.