Friday, April 4, 2014

Spring Fever

It's officially spring here in the Adirondack Mountains..... the snow is almost completely gone from my yard (revealing just how much cleanup there is left to do!), the stray cats are nosing around and curling up on my front porch, reports of bear sightings are starting to hit the media and the deer are out frolicking on the golf course (I kid you not, said golf course is on the way to my doctor's office and I stopped to watch six of the beauties cross the road in front of me, if you look, they're back by the trees)


The one thing I haven't been able to do much of, is knit. I am hoping that my upcoming surgery for my carpal tunnel will fix it so that I can knit more.... the sucky part of carpal tunnel is that it has significantly slowed down the amount of time I can sit and knit before my hands give out. I did, however, finish one baby hat (and have a second halfway done to use up the skein of yarn)... I had tried to switch to sewing, but my sewing machine (a Brother CE5000PRW) decided to have a tantrum and locked up on me.... (if anyone knows how to fix an E6 error, when there isn't any thread in the machine from either the top or bobbin area and the side knob won't turn, please hit me back!)

There was also the usual celebrations in March.... my birthday, and that of my spouse.... he admits to having to grow older, but he refuses to grow up.... so what could I do but get him a cake with his favorite super hero?
50 Candles surrounding Captain America.... and yes, there are exactly 50.... and what he didn't know was that our sons were in on the little "trick" by sticking four of the relight candles in there (they're in with the white) and were spaced out just enough that as soon as he thought he had one blown out, another would start back up on the other side of it.

Signing off tonight (my kids are pestering me that the beef stew is finished...) with a little warm and fuzzy... a doctor from my home state of Maine knits hats for the babies he delivers... I can't see my former OB doing this... but the article (and his blog) are cute and full of sweet pictures of babies...



Friday, March 21, 2014

Not Enough Time in the world......

I don't think that I have reached the SABLE level of stash (I am not posting pics of my stash because my spousal unit does periodically read this blog..... and no, he doesn't say much, just as I don't say much when he goes out to spend money on his hobby.... our agreement is that whatever one spends, the other gets to spend the same dollar amount)..... but I have that crappy affliction known as carpal tunnel syndrome (which is "not bad enough" for surgery, but it does impair my knitting/crocheting/sewing ability and we won't talk about writing) and not enough time to work on anything without my hands giving out on me.....

That said.... I have SOME yarn..... yarn which I don't have enough of that color or it's the wrong color or thickness, or made out of the wrong fiber (or not fiber at all.... some left over from the very limited budget stage) or after working with it a little (nope, not that dreaded s word.... swatching.... I don't do swatches, ever) decide that I would rather try to bathe a wild mountain lion than subject my hands to the material or I'd rather knit with all black yarn, in the car, at night.... with only the lights from the dash for light (naturally the spouse is driving.... I'm even contemplating letting my 15 year old get his permit in a few months to increase my knitting time.... he gets his practice hours in, and once I am comfortable with his driving ability I can pull out my knitting.... all my kids know that my level of comfort with their driving ability is directly related to the project I work on while sitting in the passenger seat while they drive) than work with this color way....

All of this leads to the issue of I either need to move into a larger house as the stash (between yarn and fabric) have taken over my closet and a couple of other spaces (the basement is off limits for any sort of storage as it's not dry) or I have to de-stash.... I'm not giving up on the moving into a larger house as I am one of those "crazy coupon ladies" and need to have a room for the stockpile (such as it is... it's rather difficult to stockpile when one has two teenage boys in the house that will eat anything... and I do mean ANYTHING.... LOL!)....

So if you 1. have any coupons that you don't want and want to mail/drop them off to me, drop me a line if you're local.... and 2.... if you attend knit night this upcoming Thursday that I go to in my town.... there's a REALLY good chance that there will be some yarn up for grabs....

As for projects, I am still plugging away at the socks and baby hat... and have pulled a baby sweater out of hibernation (pics tomorrow when the lighting is better)...  I am trying to get a head start on my holiday knitting and am starting to hit the procrastination point now that spring is officially in the air.... time to go buy a new flag pole and hang out my Joe Cool flag.....

Monday, March 17, 2014

Book Review Time! (with a side of knitting)

Firstly, remember that I am a huge fan of the Yarn Harlot (as I assume many of you are, given I get quite a bit of traffic from her site) and I am in no way, shape, or form associated with any sort of profession that you could enter with a degree in English. I also am not a fan of change, but understand that it's necessary and try to go with the flow (just don't take away my knitting.... snarky ugliness can occur when someone tries to take my knitting away... and no, I don't fly anywhere so people on the airplanes are safe LOL!)

The first change came in the format for her blog courtesy of some Bruins
, Patriots, or Red Sox games> who chose to flood the comments section of her blog.... The new format's not much different from the old, although I have to admit that going with the light grey background instead of white makes it much easier on the eyes.
The second change (and perhaps the biggest if you're unfamiliar with her blog) came in the form of her latest
book, "The Amazing Thing About the way it Goes: Stories of Tidiness, Self-Esteem, and Other Things I Gave Up On." Which I purchased through the Amazon Kindle (mainly because I was too impatient to wait until the next time I made the hour trip to the nearest book store that would have it, the local book store doesn't stock hers, or any other knitting related books and it was a birthday gift to myself) and she was right, it is different from the usual books she writes. I don't think she should have been nervous (as she stated on her blog) about it coming out, I think it was a good different.

Her prior books (the two she did the audio books for, "At Knits End: Meditations For Women Who Knit Too Much" and "Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off: The Yarn Harlot's Guide To the Land of Knitting" are regularly played on long car trips, even my spousal unit and teenage sons laugh to parts and then stuff their ears blaring whatever is on their mp3 players when they get tired of it... Hey, She Who Drives! I do hope that she does more audio books though...) remind me of going to a knitting group for the first time where most are on their best behavior at first, but after a while the inside jokes and gentle teasing starts up. This one seemed more intimate and was more of a "sitting down with a good friend, cup of tea, and our comfort knitting" type of book. There isn't really anything to compare it to, those of us who've been following her blog knows that there are ups and downs and that there have been a few really big downs this past year and can probably relate to things (such as the way her Joe has his piles of stuff like my dh does and it just doesn't occur to either of them to deal with it as they do things like empty their pockets.... or the parenting bit, only in my case it's raising boys instead of girls as I am stuck living in a testosterone zone!).

The only disappointment I really had with the book was in regards to the book tour, she has yet to come to my area and naturally the one time she was only a few hours away, we has that nasty winter storm to deal with. Oh well, there's always a next time, not to mention Rhinebeck come fall!

On the knitting project front, I have already started my gifts for next Yule starting with socks for my rapidly growing teenage sons (size 12 and 13 feet already!). Although the brown, blue, and grey (chosen colors of my almost 14 year old, the yarn is Paton's Kroy Sock yarn called "Sing n' the Blues" and the pattern is the Yarn Harlot's basic sock recipe out of Knitting Rules! )  the next pair (grey, red, and black for my almost 16 year old. I know that socks "don't take long" but I found that if I work on them early on, then come November I'm not stressing over the gifts for some of the more difficult people (like my part of the gift for spousal unit's mother). By the time the holidays come and my stress levels go up (and my tolerance for people goes way down, greedy gulls at the stores primarily or the drama kings and queens going on and on about "all they have yet to do" complete with overly dramatic sighs and eye rolling that one would expect out of a teenager the night before a project or school paper is due)  that if I do them early and have them wrapped by Thanksgiving (which is when we host the family for dinner, after which the kids and grandkids put up the tree) then my stress level is way down and I can actually enjoy the season.
However, the color choices of the teenagers makes me want to grind my teeth with the current Winter that Never Ends, I am also working on some brightly colored baby hats using the Lion Brand Jamie (New) dk yarn number 205: Caribbean Stripes to combat the never ending blue, brown, and grey of the Adirondack Mountains. I'll end up filling a box with these and then figuring out what to do with them, there's always some NICU (even though these fit the size of a plum through medium/large grapefruit with room to spare) in need of baby hats.... and if I get bored with my current projects, there's always the bin of UFO's to work on while dreaming of past warm summers in my home state of Maine walking on the beach or "upta camp" swimming and unwinding as the day slowly slips by....







Monday, February 17, 2014

Yep! I'm back

     I know it's been a while since I've updated this blog and I apologize to anyone who follows it. Life happens and some things (unfortunately) slip by the wayside... There is literally NO breathing time between the end of soccer season (GO DRAGONS! LOL!) and the start of preparation for Thanksgiving (which I host here, this year we had a good turnout, I think my next house needs a much bigger dining room!) So for a quick update...

I think I was drinking some pretty good stuff this past holiday season... I somehow thought I could not only knit four hats in three days, but design one of them.. on top of baking cookies, making candy, etc...... After Thanksgiving, my granddaughters (D is 10 and J is 5) spend the weekend and we put our tree up... well, the kids did... my son (C) in the maroon shirt has always been Mr. Yuletide. It's his favorite time of year, always has been and each year we get him a new Santa hat that he starts wearing on Thanksgiving. I figure he has to have something to look forward to, especially since he's a NY Giants fan....
 I had it all planned out, the baking would be all set up and go smoothly (which it did, I added an old family recipe that my great aunt used to make for the most ultimate in evilness cookies. They're actually called khruchiki and the recipes are as varied as the Polish grandmas!) and I would have plenty of time to knit gifts.... Well, you experienced knitters out there know that we make plans and the knitting fates laugh.





It started with a stomach virus and I lost two weeks...during which I tried to figure out what to knit for my granddaughters, seeing as my sons (the moochers) managed to get their knit hats early (using such phrases as "Mom, the school is REALLY cold and my hat from last year is too small" or the "Mom, do you have my hoodie? The wind hitting us on the bench between the times we go in (for soccer) is cold and my ears are really cold." How could I resist?
But I also put the stipulation on that they had to let me take pictures... J gave me his "derp" face while C gave me a really nice picture before one of his games....











That left my nephews and my granddaughters... I was trying to figure out what to knit for them, especially since I didn't want the hand-knit item to go shoved in the back of a closet or drawer, never to see the light of day again...Then their mother posted this pic to Facebook and it hit me... hats! So I figured I'd go and start making them, doing the ones for my nephews first so that I could check how bad the jogging or gap was using two different methods for adding stripes when I knit in the round...
But, after knitting two hats already (the patterns are out of the "Charmed Knits" pattern book, I just made a couple of adjustment as my boys seem to have inherited the "BIG HEAD" syndrome from their father's side)

I was a little burnt out and figured I'd have a go at the Yarn Harlot's "Cutest Booties" (The yarn is the Premiere Yarns serenity Garden sock yarn, I think the color is called "Pink Sugar") since I could learn and get really good at purling in the round and hey, booties are small right?..... but that set off a "small item" binge and I also pounded out a couple of stretchy ribbed newborn hats to take care of some of my leftover sport weight and baby yarn....





Then crunch time hit, I gave up sleep. I am a champion when it comes to coping with sleep deprivation, I had a colicky infant who was up screaming all night long and would just finally start to doze off in his snuggli pack or swing just as his two year old brother was getting up and a husband who at work early mornings (he was news director and talk show host for a local radio statio) and then gone a few nights a week to cover meetings. NOTHING can phase me? Right?   My minions were taking care of the cleaning, my brother in law hosts Christmas dinner every year so I didn't have to worry about any of that. I had my dvd's and blu rays lined up, Mountain Dew (the foul stuff that it is now) ready to roll for the caffeine and I sat down to knit...
3 days to go? That's plenty of time... it's not like I was off my rocker and trying to crochet a ripple blanket in a week without any sleep at all... that was crazy, these were only four hats. So I whipped off the ones for my nephews and managed to get them both done (in all honesty, one was already about halfway done) the first day... no sweat... I started thinking I could get a little fancier with the ones for my granddaughters and took the time to work out a chart for one who is a Batman fan.... I got to the first stripe and realized how much I hated the yarn.. it was fuzzy, splitting, and getting all over the place.... so I threw it in a bag and tossed it into my closet figuring I'll have plenty of time to work on it for next Christmas...

I needed two hats in two days... the socks for my mother in law had been completed (and wrapped) months ago and I'd been wrapping as I went on the other gifts (I use the Organized Christmas planner to an extent, this year I had been writing things in a notebook as I purchased them as to who each item was for) not a big deal... worsted weight yarn on size 6 through 8 needles? I can manage that... I went stash diving and pulled out some Red Heart Super Saver (my go-to for kids that don't live in my house, it's toddler boy proof as we found out when my youngest two were babies and toddlers) in their favorite colors and quickly got one hat done and was halfway done with the second. I decided I was pretty far ahead... the ones for my nephews were wrapped and had been delivered, I still had more than twenty four hours before I was going to see my granddaughters so I finally caved and went to sleep for a few of those hours and woke up with stiff hands....  
I was still under the impression that I still had a good twenty four hours before I'd be seeing the girls and even at my slower pace I would still have plenty of time to get them finished and wrapped. So naturally I was ready to throw something when my dh informed me that we'd be going up THAT DAY (Christmas Eve) to see them.... and could I "hurry up" and get finished so that we could wrap them and go? Yeah, I was NOT a happy camper and was thinking some choice words but I just gave him the patented "glare over the top of the glasses" that he hates and knit on.... I managed to get them done and the girls loved them...
I was happy that I didn't have any wrapping to do... just ribbon and bows to put on the gifts... that was finished, the candy cane thief and entourage were mad that we DARED to put presents under the tree that were not for them which also meant they couldn't sleep there... and this Mama was able to get to bed before the sun was starting to make its appearance.... Shortly after gifts were opened my spousal unit was talking to his mother who asked if I had checked my e-mail yet... Keep in mind she doesn't have a computer and her computer usage is pretty much limited to her asking other people to look things up for her because she doesn't think she could learn how to do it herself... So I pulled out my cell and scanned my e-mail quick and saw this from my nephews:




They'd sent me a thank you e-mail with a picture they had their dad take with one of their iPads because they'd be at their mom's that afternoon and I wouldn't get to see them. Things like this is why I knit for them.














As for the other hat and the hand knits for my sons.... The design is all set up and planned out, but given it may have a copyright issue (due to the design) I am not going to be selling it, but once I do get it knit and tweaked I will probably offer it as a free Ravelry download. My sons know that they get what I make for them when they get it and the only way to get it any quicker is if they do extra chores and I work on their items while they work on the chores... it's a win-win! So C got his new socks (he'd worn a hole in the others) and J got some new fingerless mitts to match his hat (picture still pending)