Friday, August 31, 2007

3-day Weekend

Although this is typically a 3-day weekend off for most of the US, I have to work extra this weekend. I always work Sunday's as that is my part-time job. But Rachel needed Saturday off and since she worked my Sunday on Memorial Day weekend, I thought it only fair to work for her Saturday this weekend. At least I get Monday off. Going to a cook-out at my Mom's.

The upside to working both days, is that I should get lots of time to knit. Although with the combination of it being the first Notre Dame game of the year with all the tailgating that will be going on and a Holiday weekend, there is the potential for a lot of people showing up for Xrays. We'll see.

On the Knitting front, I ripped out the turned heel on my RPM socks and have finished the heel flap and the gusset. It fits much better with the heel flap. I also picked up the stitches on the Evening Star Shrug for the left sleeve and have knitted 22 rows. Only 58 more to go.

Hope Everyone has a great weekend!!

PS: I "borrowed" my dad's digital camera. I will be trying it out this weekend and should have some more pictures to post next week.

Monday, August 27, 2007


There is a new LYS (Local Yarn Store) that is supposed to be opening up in Niles, MI soon. The information for it is:

Red Purl
207 north 2nd st
Niles, MI

The latest update on the new knit shop opening in Niles, is that I happened to drive by Friday evening on my way to the bank and saw that their sign/awning is up. I also noticed the door was opened and there were people inside. So of course I stopped to see what was going on. No, sorry to dissapoint, they aren't open yet. The owner and several friends were in working on the shop. I talked the the owner, Amy, and she said she estimates the shop will be open by mid-September. I think I heard she had originally said end of August, but she said the shelves she order have been delayed. She gave me some cards to pass out and said to start checking the web-site, because the designer has started working on that. I just checked, and it doesn't work yet, but here it if you want to periodically check on it:

Girls Day Out

Well Saturday's "Girls Day Out" with McKelle went very well. Although the day started out rough because of the downpour of rain, we were determined to have a good time anyway. And we did. We had some errands that we wanted to get accomplished, which we did, before we went to lunch at the Texas Roadhouse. I had never been there before. I really like the food; the Rattlesnake Bites were yummy and so was the steak. It is similar to a Logan's Roadhouse, but without all the peanut shells on the floor. They give you an extra empty bucket for your shells. That's not to say that there weren't a few shells on the floor, but overall, the floor was much cleaner than at Logan's. After lunch we went to see the latest Jason Bourne movie; The Bourne Ultimatum. It was very very good. I had been fighting a migraine for most of the morning. I took some medicine, but it only REALLY works if I lay down and sleep a bit, but it was enough to take the edge off. But there were a couple spots during the movie where the action/camera moved so fast that I got a little dizzy and had to look away. I had this awful fear that I would throw up in the theater. I know TMI, but this is my blog, so you get it all. :o)

After the movie, we went to JCPenney where we got manicures. I love manicures and pedicures; especially pedicures. I would get them more often if I could afford it. My Mom absolutely loves pedicures and is always excited when we go for one. McKelle has never had a pedicure (ticklish feet) and has only ever had 2 manicures, both of which I got her for birthdays. This weekend was kind of funny, because she bought my lunch for my birthday and I bought her manicure for her birthday (which I missed). It was just funny, how that worked out.

When we got back to her house, I got to visit with her kids; Brenna (5) and Landon (2). I had to laugh because Brenna was acting all goofy and loud and when McKelle asked her why she was acting that way, she said "Because Sandy's here". She's so funny sometimes. She starts the big "K" this year. Brenna sent me home with 4 drawings, 1 of which I brought to work to hang on my bulletin board. Landon is mostly quiet, but once he warms up to you he gets better. And if you think you might want to talk cars, he's all yours.
This is a picture of Elmo eating cotton candy. He is standing in the shade of a banana tree. On the other side of the tree is Elmo's goldfish Dorothy swimming in her bowl. She was supposed to have some popcorn to eat, but Brenna forgot, so she'll just have to make do with plain old fish food. :o)

PS: If you like to read, and you enjoyed the Jason Bourne movies, you should check out some of the books by the creator of the Bourne series. His name is Robert Ludlum and I have enjoyed all of his that I have read. My favorites are: The Hades Factor, The Sigma Protocol, and The Prometheus Deception.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Saga of the Asymmetrical Shrug - Breakthrough!!

In early May, I started a shrug pattern from the magazine Simply Knitting out of the UK. It was in issue #26 and is called Evening Star by Jennifer Hilton. I loved the look of it and decided to have it finished by the time I went to my family reunion in May. I picked out some aqua extra soft acrylic out of my stash and set down to cast on.
The pattern had a design element that I had never run into before, but I thought how hard could it be. The pattern was done in stockinette stitch and on the knit row you did a YO2. No big deal. But on the purl row, you had to purl into the back loop of the 2nd YO. Try as I might, I could not figure this one out. After much tinking, I did a Google search and found step-by-step instructions with photos on the blog of Lucia, The Knitting Fiend. So once I had that down, the knitting went fairly fast. The Evening Star is knitted starting at the right cuff, then you cast on extra stitches for the back and right front. Once you are done with the right front, you cast off and only work the back stitches. I did fine through all of this. The first problem I ran into was when I got to the Left Arm placement. Most shrugs and/or sweaters are a mirror image, so that what you do to one side you repeat on the other; and this patterns' schematic is drawn that way. However, because this shrug is asymmetrical, it doesn’t quite work that way. The armhole placement is knitted with waste yarn and later picked up and knitted in the round. Once I had the girls from the Frog Pond talk me through it, it went OK. Then I ran into another problem that I finally figured out was an error with the pattern. On shaping the left side, the pattern switched from Knit row, Purl row to Knit row, Purl row, Purl row, Knit row, Repeat. At first, I thought I was just reading it wrong; you know like operator error. These 4 rows were the decrease rows and I was really confused by the Purl decrease row. I tried fixing it on my own, but it didn’t work and I had to tink back. Then I went to Simply Knitting’s website and found a comment posted in April regarding possible errors to the Evening Star pattern. SK was sending the pattern back to the designer to be reviewed. So I packed away the shrug and added my name to their comments in the hopes of getting an email notice when the corrections came out. Well, I have been checking periodically over the last months and SK had still not made any changes/additions to their notice.

You know when you don’t finish something it kind of throws you off your stride. Well, since I didn’t get to finish the shrug and didn’t know if I would ever get an answer to how to finish it, I just wasn’t interested in starting any new big projects or at least finishing any new projects. The few shawls and bags that I have started since, have ended up being set aside partially finished in favor of something else. So instead of 1 UFO, I now have 5. The only thing I have actually finished was a pair of Tidal Wave Socks by Deby Lake. I also started Knitty’s RPM socks, but that shrug has been haunting me. Now that we have been having some cooler days (occasionally) here in Michiana, I wanted to finish my shrug. So I took it with me on Wednesday when I met some of the Frog Pond girls at Indulgence CafĂ© (YUM!). I talked it over with Elizabeth and we thought of a plan of attack. The first thing I did though was add a lifeline just incase; frogging is much easier than tinking. Well, after working my way slowly through the purl decrease row and switching rows 3 and 4 of the 4 decrease rows, I finally figured it out! I worked on it last night and am almost finished with the left front.

Now I may have run into another problem. The shrug is supposed to be a little snug, but I don’t like snug things as they tend to emphasize area’s that I would rather not emphasize, if ya know what I mean. So I made a size up, and now think it will be too big. And since I knit it in Acrylic (because that is what I had on hand) I know it won’t shrink. So I think I will place the remaining left side stitches on a holder, seam up the right side and add the left sleeve. Then, after trying it on, I can decide whether I want to keep the left-side shorter and therefore have it snug in a bit or finish it off like the pattern says.

Here is a couple pictures of my progress. In the first you can sort of see how the shrug will end up being asymmetrical. The pink stitches it the up right is where the left sleeve will be added and the other pink stitches lower down is my lifeline. The second picture show the how the decreasing looks on the left front side.

Well, that is all for now. I probably won't get much time before I go to work on Sunday to work on the left sleeve. Tomorrow I am going for a "Girls Goof Off" day with my friend McKelle. She has 2 children (5 & 2) and needs an adult conversation with someone other than my husband day. She wants to shop for some fabric and then we are planning on seeing the new Bourne Ultimatum movie. So see ya later.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

MI Fiber Fest Stash

So here is all the lovely stuff I bought at the Michigan Fiber Festival this last weekend.

And here are my RPM Socks that I am working on. I decided not to rip out the short row heel until I got a picture of them. But I will be doing that soon.

Monday, August 20, 2007

So I've done it!

So I have finally gone and done it. I have joined the Blogger mania. I had been thinking of creating a blog for a while. The only thing that had been holding be back was (1) not sure if I would stick with it and (2) I had yet to find a catchy title for my blog. I just didn't know what I wanted to be referred to by. I have been reading some by other people. Some of the members of my knitting/spinning group have one and they are interesting to read.

So here goes, my first post. I apologize ahead of time if I am a bit long winded, but I thought I would cover what has happened this last weekend and today.

On Saturday, August 18, I went to the Michigan Fiber Arts Festival in Allegan, Michigan. It was my very first experience to a fiber festival. I am not longer a fiber fest virgin. :o) I caravaned with 6 other women from Frog Pond Fiber Arts group and 1 member from my quilt guild. They included: Elizabeth S., Liz M., Mary, Vicki, Tina, Elizabeth’s Mother-in-law (sorry didn’t catch her name), Jessica and myself of course. It took us about 1 hr 50 min to drive there from South Bend/Mishawaka/Granger. I navigated, since the most direct route was to go the back way between Decatur and Lawton, and I grew up in that area. I added little site seeing comments as we drove. Not sure if the ladies cared, where my best friend grew up or if my dad had sled down 5-field hill when he was young on a snow shovel, but I found it amusing. It was fun to look at everything in a new way and to remember things tucked away in the back of my mind.

My first impression was that there weren’t as many vendors as I thought there would be. The reason for this is there was only a scattering of tented vendors in the yard. However there were PLENTY more jammed into 2 barns on the south side and another barn on the west side by the animal pens. Although Jessica, Vicki and Elizabeth, who had been there before, claim that there weren’t as many as last year, hey to me there were a lot of booths. At first it was yarn overload. Then I went through several phases:

Phase 1: Can’t decide what to buy
Phase 2: “I don’t want to buy the first thing I find”
Phase 3: “Oh my god! That’s beautiful. But wow at that price I just can’t afford it”
Phase 4: Hey were did my list go that I made for things to look at. Let’s concentrate on those items first then see what’s left over. List: Roving, Sock yarn, short sock needles 5” or 6”
Phase 5: Too tired to look anymore!

PS, I should have bought that first thing I saw in Phase 2, because when I went to look at it again, it was ALL gone. BooHoo! It was some dark purple/mauve variegated wool at half off that would have been perfect for remaking the Celtic Vest pattern from Fleece Artist. I knitted that, washed it and accidentally felted it. But since one side felted more than the other, I can’t wear it. Been thinking of trying to fully felt it, but that is another story.

I ended up buying 3 skeins of lace weight wool in 3 different purples that blend well together; thinking of a shawl, where you can blend from one color to another, 2 bags of Wool top roving (purple green and autumn colors), 1 purple/green silk hankie with instructions on what to do with it, a sample pack of Soy silk roving and a sample pack of bamboo roving to spin (need a 1 oz or lighter drop spindle), and a skein of Blue Moon Sock yarn in Grandma’s Flower Garden colorway with a set of size 1 6” bamboo needles. I plan to bring everything in and use the company digital camera to take some pictures of my haul.

I ran into several people that I knew there too: Kathy J., Robin, Nancy F and her DH, Liz L. and daughter, Susan and the wife my co-worker's Kathi B.


I started another pair of socks a week or so ago. I haven’t been working on them much. My biggest day to knit is when I am at work on Sunday in between patients. I am knitting the RPM socks from I am using a wool yarn I got as a door prize at one of our Frog Pond Frolic days this spring at Liz M’s house. I believe Michelle brought it. It goes from periwinkle blue to a yellow green; Love it!. Sorry don’t know what kind it is. If it came with a tag, I have long since lost it. So, yesterday I turned the heel on sock #1. I decided to do the short row heel, because (1) I had never done one of those before and (2) since I am new at sock knitting, I thought I would try a different technique along with a different pattern each time. Well I don’t like it; the heel that is. It is too tight across the width, not stretchy and not long (deep?) enough. I have planned to frog it back and do a heel flap. Will probably work on that tonight.

Well that’s all for today. Of course, I think that is way more than enough to keep anyone busy for a while.