Thursday, November 29, 2007

Knittng Progress

Just wanted to show everyone my progress on the Cascading Leaves Shawl by Vicki from Simple Knits. I just finished my 6th repeat last night. There are 11 repeats (counting the set-up at the beginning) in all. I've gotten to the point where after doing the first repeat of each row, I have it memorized. I do have to glance back at the chart when I get to the beginning, middle and end sections of each row though. The biggest problem I have been having is that I tend to forget YO's or occasionally add them where they don't belong when I get distracted. But I have gotten really good at recognizing where I made the mistake and fixing it by dropping back a stitch, adding the YO and then re-purling the 2 stitches. Was worried about doing this the first couple times because I was afraid I would royally mess it up. But since I keep forgetting YO's, I have gotten quite good at it. The first time Vicki showed by how to fix an extra YO by just dropping it and the correspond Purl to it, I was terrified to do it. I was sure that it would result in a huge hole. But she showed me that by tugging on the other stitches adjacent to it, I could 'absorb' the extra yarn and the hole magically disapears.

This has been a really nice pattern to knit. I really like the fact that there is no edging to add on. Once you block it, it forms it's own edge. The biggest reason I set my first mystery shawl aside was the edgings. It was just too complicated and I could never seem to get it memorized. I have decided to block it 'as is' and just end up with a neck or shoulder shawl, depending on how much it "grows" after the blocking process.

I know Vicki has been busily working on her next lace project, which is going to be a stole. She showed me a peek of it last week at our meeting. Looks interesting. I have not made a stole yet. I tried the Print of the Wave Stole by Eunny Jang, but the yarn I was using was too thin, and I messed up soo bad that I frogged it and set it aside. I decided that maybe that stole was a little too advanced for my first lace project.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Post Holiday Review

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving Day. My family got together at my Aunt Margaret's house for some really yummy food. I was in charge of bringing the Pop. Yup, can you believe how easy I got off. Didn't have to prepare any dishes. Although I did bring along some cauliflower, broccoli and celery to add to the veggie tray. This was done purely out of self preservation though. Because if I have those to munch on, I figured I would be motivated to leave the cheesy dips and crackers alone. I did try the 2 dips my mom brought along (cheddar and olive) but since neither of them were my favorite Baked Chipped Beef Dip, I was able to stop. Now if it had been the Chipped Beef Dip, oh man would I have had a hard time resisting that!

We were all very happy and proud of how much Aunt Margaret was able to eat. I know that is not something you normally hear someone say around the holidays. But Aunt Margaret has spent the last year recuperating from throat cancer. She is cancer-free (Thank God), however since she has had a feeding tube in for over a year, her esophagus had shrunk. She has had several throat stretching procedures over the last month or 2 and was able to eat a little bit of several different items. This is the first year that we had totally whipped mashed potatoes, because she couldn't handle the lumps. But she was nice enough to save some out for me before they were too whipped. I wouldn't have cared as long as she was able to enjoy them.

I stayed late and played several games with my cousins, Emily, Becky and Erica. We started out with a dice game called Left, Right, Center. It's fun, but it would have been a lot funner if we had been playing for nickels. But since none of us had any change, we just played for chips. The dorky part of it was that we only had enough chips for 2 rounds then we had to re-divvy up the chips. After that got a bit boring, we decided to play UNO. I had forgotten how much fun that game is. It was such a hoot. And I won.!! By 1 point, but I still won. :o) Did I forget to mention that my cousins are all between the ages of 10 and 14?

It started to snow just before the game got over. I was amazed at how bad the visibility was. It took me about 15-20 minutes more to drive home. And when I got up the next morning to go shopping with my Mom, I was amazed to see that we had gotten 6 inches of snow overnight. 6 Inches! For a first snowfall of the year, that is quite a lot. And what is even funnier, is that my Mom, who lives 30 minutes northeast of me only got a dusting and the same goes for South Bend, which is 30 minutes southeast of me. I meant to take pictures, because it was so beautiful with the sunlight sparkling and the trees all heavy with snow. But of course I didn't.

B100 Fit Club Update: Color me amazed! I actually lost weight over the thanksgiving holiday weekend. I lost 3 lbs for a new total of 16 lbs lost. Last week I calculated my inches lost and it was 12 3/8 inches. I can really tell the difference in my clothes too. On Saturday, I tried on the XL Diva T-Shirt that Deb (the team captain) gave me and it fit great. Of course I haven't washed it yet, but it wasn't tight at all. And yesterday I wore an older scrub shirt to work that I had stopped wearing because it was too small. It was loose!! Yeah Me!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

4 Weeks on the Program

B100 Fit Club Update: I have now been on "The Cardio-Free Diet" by Jim Karas for 4 weeks. Today was my official weigh in day. I can hardly believe the results. I have lost a total of 13 lbs and 12 3/8 inches. I am so excited about this diet. The best thing is that it doesn't feel like a diet. I eat just as much if as before, if not a little more when you count I get 3 meals and 3 snacks a day. And I have been making healthier choices in regards to my food; More veggies, leaner meats, no fried foods, etc. And exercising with either weights or the resistance bands 3 times a week. I'm loving this! I especially love not getting on the treadmill or elliptical machine or stairmaster.

Speaking of food, has anyone tried those new Steamer Bags by Glad or Ziploc? I tried the Glad ones this weekend when I was at work. They work fabulously! I used 2 bags and made Cajun Salmon in one and Lemon Pepper Asparagus in the other. And my meal only took about 10 minutes to make, including prep time. I actually cooked 2 pieces of salmon and enough asparagus that I have leftovers for lunch today. I would really recommend giving those suckers a try.

On the Knitting front: Since I worked both Saturday and Sunday this weekend, I did a little updating on my Ravelry page. I put in all of my knitting needles and crochet hooks. I put in a bunch more yarn (mostly sock and lace), I just have to add pictures of those which I haven't gotten around to taking yet. Also, I started the Cascading Leaves Shawl by Vicki Mikulak. I am working a double strand of Knit Picks Shadow lace yarn in Grape Jelly. I have 2 repeats finished. When she said that it was a fast knit, she wasn't exaggerating. It is going along really well. I also got some more knitted on my Raspberry Truffle Felted Bag. The pattern is Tote Around by Janet Scanlon from I have one of the I-cord bind-off rounds done and only have the handle and 1 or 2 more I-cord bind-off rounds to go. Thinking I'd like to get that done this weekend. Maybe, depending on how much I knit on the shawl and the socks and the scarves I have do to for Christmas presents and the UFO scarves I found that I started 2 years ago and forgot about.....

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Happy Birthday Frog Pond

Tonight, the Frog Pond Fiber Arts group will be celebrating its first birthday. We are getting together for cake and ice cream. I have already planned ahead for my diet. I brought some fresh fruit and will have it over a small scoop of the ice cream. Personally, I am hoping they bring chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, because that will be easier for me to resist. I'm just not crazy about chocolate cakes or cupcakes; chocolate candy bars yes! cake not so much.

B100 Fit Club Update: Last week on Thursday I announced that I had lost an additional 3 lbs which brought my total to 13. I gained 3 lbs back over the weekend from hell. But I am glad to report I have now lost those 3 lbs again. Technically, I should be able to count that as 6 lbs lost I think; since I lost it twice. This weeks team losses are:

Dazzling Divas (8 members) = 15 lbs for a total of 55 lbs lost over 3 weeks
Chunky Monkeys (11 members) = Total loss of 136 lbs over 3 weeks

I'm trying to find out if B100 will be posting all the group totals to their web-site for viewing. If so, I will put up the link.

Monday, November 12, 2007

It was a HELL of a weekend.

So sorry to have to report the death of my cousin Katina Samples in a car accident on Thursday, November 8th.

I got the call from my Mom on Thursday just before lunch. My mom told me she would be driving down to be with Corrina (her sister and the mother of Tina). Its a 3 hour drive and I didn't want her driving by herself when she was so upset, so I got out of work early, went home to pack and after a 3 hour drive, we arrived in Woodland, IL. The family was very torn up to begin with as it appeared that she was thrown from the car as it rolled and that her boyfriend had left her lying on the side of the road. His coat and wallet were found in the car. It was later determined that they had a fight and she left the bar alone. She was upset, crying and had been drinking. The police believe she was speeding on a dirt road and lost control of the car. She slid off the road and was thrown from the vehicle as it rolled over 4 1/2 times. The worst part of this is knowing that she left the bar between midnight and 1 am, but the accident site wasn't discovered until between 5 and 6 am. So she laid there on the side of the road all night long. The coroner assured us that she did not feel any pain, but we can't be sure if she died instantly. We just thank God that she did not have her sons, Hunter-9 and Levi-7 with her and that no one else was injured as a result.

My heart and my prayers go out to the rest of the family today as they have the funeral. Unfortunately, I had to be back to work today, so my Mom and I couldn't be there with them. Although to be perfectly honest and heartfelt after going through her house this weekend trying to get together photos for the funeral, both my Mom and I decided we would rather remember her as she was in the photos and in our memories than to have our last memory be of her lying in her casket.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Bella Vita Night

I had a real good time at Bella Vita last night. It is fun hanging out with the knitting gals. Since I missed last week to go to the Chavez Family Weaving thing at ND, I didn't realize how much I would miss it.

B100 Fit Club Update: (Forgot to put this up on Monday) Last weeks weight loss was 2 lbs, which brought me down to a total of 10 and my team the Dazzling Divas is down 40 lbs. My update for today, is that I jumped on the scale this morning and I am down another 3 lbs. That makes a total of 13 lbs. Yeah!! Now all I have to say is "God give me strength to get through the weekend". My brother and I are taking our parents out for their 40th anniversary on Saturday night. Restaurant food is my downfall. The portion sizes are just too big. One of my coworkers gave me this great tip yesterday (She has lost over 30 lbs on Weight Watchers). When you order your dinner, ask for a take-out container to be brought with your dinner. Before you even start eating set a portion aside. If it isn't on your plate, your less likely to keep eating until its all gone and there's nothing left to take home.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Quick Trip to Indy

We had a bit of a problem yesterday at work. Our OH salesman's demo system was not working, so he wanted another one overnighted to the customer. Normally we wouldn't have a problem with that, but since the customer was in Canada, I knew the unit would more than likely get caught up in Customs and not reach the customer in time for the salesman's meeting. So I took a quick (ha ha) to Indianapolis yesterday to hand off the new demo system and bring back the non-working one. From here, it is a 2.5 hour drive. We met up in Carmel and Dave bought me dinner for my trouble. I had grilled salmon and steamed veggies. It was very good. Then I had to drive 2.5 hours back. It wasn't so bad. I had a book on CD that I was listening too. However, it would have been much better if I had had time to stop at Stitches and Scones yarn shop in Westfield, but they closed at 5pm. I had to meet Dave between 4:30 and 5. So I didn't make it back by there until 5:30. Darn it!!

I had a real good weekend. It was very busy. On Saturday, I got together with a bunch of other friends at Nancy's house and she showed us how to card wool. Boy is that hard work. Well, I guess not hard, since I only did a couple, but if I had had to do the whole basketfull that she had, I think that would have been a lot of work. Nancy had washed 3 fleeces in September. She also showed a couple of the ladies how to use a drop spindle and also how to use her spinning wheel. Robin has decided that spinning is not for her. She rather just knit. I finished plying the last of my Targhee wool that I got from the Chocolate Princess. I have about 150 yards of yarn. I still have to set the twist. I hope to be able to make a anorexic scarf out of it.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Weaving Demo at the Notre Dame.

On Tuesday, October 30, 2007, I attended a weaving demonstration. Here is the info:

Federico Chavez, Eric Chavez Santiago and Elsa Sanchez Dias, Zapotec weavers from Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico will offer a free loom-weaving and wool-dyeing demonstration and exhibition of available textiles created by the artists.
The Chavez Family Weavers handcraft carpets using methods developed by their ancestors. They use natural products from the land around them to weave traditional Zapotec patterns with wool from locally-raised animals and all-natural dyes — mesquite, cempazuchil (marigold), aƱil (indigo), and cochineal(insect), the source for brilliant shades of red. Zapotec designs have great cultural, social, and historical significance for the people living in the Valley of Oaxaca. The Chavez family, weaves ancient designs such as Diamonds, copies of the carvings found at the nearby Mitla ruins, the Undulating Eye, the Tree of Life and many more.

This program is sponsored by the University of Notre Dame Institute of Latino Studies and the Snite Museum of Art.

I got there just before 5:30. I was actually there early enough to get a seat. They had more people attend than they were expecting I think, because there were twice as many people as seats. It was very interesting the Eric Chavez, the son, gave a slide show presentation with history on the state, town, customs/celebrations of Oaxaca, Mexico (pronounced Wha-hock-a). Then he explained spinning, dying and weaving and his personal journey into natural dies. The name of his village, Teotitlan del Valle, literally translates to Village of Weavers. Just about everyone in his village is either a weaver or does something to contribute to the process. He explained that there were too many villagers (past and present) that were showing up with some kind of cancer. It was finally linked the fumes from the huge vats of synthetic dyes that are necessary for the villages livelyhood. So he went around trying to find out more about natural dyes, even though it is not as economical. Most villagers knew nothing and when he went to one of the ones who did, they refused to teach him, because it was like a specialty for their family and passed down generation to generation. So he decided to experiment on his own. So he showed slides of the different plants and or insects used to create the different color groups. He even offered a thank you to the family who wouldn't help him, because by going out on his own, he was able to come of with over 90 different variation on red alone. This other family was only producing their "traditional" colors. He has carefully been documenting all his different recipes for the different colors. He said his village was now having the problem that the current new generation of teenagers are not wanting to learn the weaving process. He himself, almost got out of it several years ago, before he started experimenting with the dyes and got introduced to going to various colleges to lecture and/or teach workshops on his techniques. He has a 14 year old brother who was balking at learning to weave. Eric explained that when his father taught him, the first design he was expected to do a traditional rug, which was extremely intricate and very hard. So he understood what his brother was going through. He decided to teach his brother himself. And started him out with more simpler, non-traditional designs. His brother has really started to enjoy what he does. In fact on Eric's last trip to the US, his brother sent 2 rugs along to sell. When they sold, he wanted Eric to buy him a red IPod. Eric says it funny to see his brother at his loom, weaving while listening to his IPod. Eric hopes to someday start up a school for weaving, where he can teach others the weaving process. The Chavez family had brought along some of their rugs and blankets to sell. Although they were beautiful and I would have loved to have one, the least expensive one I saw was $160 for a small throw rug. And they went up from there. Still out of my price range. Several of my quilting and weaving friends attended too. It was a very interesting program. I did take photos, but as usual, I haven't downloaded them yet. Will do that soon.