Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Shoveling Snow

The sun may have been shining yesterday when I posted about going home last night and shoveling snow, but it sure as hell wasn't shining when I got home. And my God did it get a lot colder when the sun disappeared. Most of the snow that I had to move was the light fluffy stuff, however the crap deposited at the end of the driveway from the snow plows was all a frozen mess. Luckily they had fully plowed the streets, so I parked along the curb when I got home. I had the snow shovel in the car with me, so I got out and immediately started shoveling. Then I had to slog through the snow to the shed, dig it out and get my regular metal shovel. It was definitely hard work and I didn't get it 100% done, but I got it cleared enough to get the car in the drive. I had to stop, because my fingers had gone numb and they were really starting to hurt badly. I don't know how long it takes for frostbite to set in, but didn't want to risk it.

When I got inside, I made myself a hot cup of tea in one of my favorite "no spill" Starbucks Mugs. I don't think I drank all of it, but I mainly wanted to hold it to warm up my fingers. I sat on the sofa under 2 fleece blankets holding that mug until I felt warm again. Of course as soon as that happened, I promptly fell asleep! I'm trying not to take naps when I get home, because then I can't sleep when it's time for bed.

There was absolutely nothing to watch on TV last night. I take that back, I watched House, then there was nothing. So I popped in a DVD to watch. I borrowed "Pride and Prejudice" from a my friend Carly starring Colin Firth from A&E (1995). I had never seen any version of this movie nor read any of Jane Austins books. When I was in High School, I had to read "Tale of Two Cities", "Oliver Twist", multiple Shakespeare plays, and "Wuthering Heights". I'm sure there were others, but I can't think of the titles just now. Anyway, I wasn't sure I would like it. I watched the first 2.5 hour DVD last week and finished the second 2.5 hour DVD last night. The first 2 hours of the 5 was pretty boring, but I really liked the rest of it. The mother, Mrs. Bennet, was a major Twit though. I just wanted to tell her to shut the hell up when she went into her hysterics. And I wanted to just slap the youngest sister Lydia when she kept harping on how she was the youngest and had married first and therefore was better than all her older sisters who couldn't seem to catch a husband.

Well, if I don't get back to tell you, I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas. I'm going to be spending the day with my parents.

Monday, December 22, 2008

To Ski or Not to Ski?

That was the question yesterday and the answer was "Hell NO!"

On Saturday I went to my friend McKelle's house. She was having a Christmas Party and needed a little help finishing up the cooking. Since the party didn't start until 6pm and it was kind of nice out, I brought along my cross-country ski's thinking if I had time, I would take a trip around the fields behind her house. Well, we didn't have enough time, because she was expecting 45+ people and so needed to make some extra goodies. And boy were there lots of goodies. One of my favorites was the Brown Sugar Candy that she made from Eric's Grandmothers recipe. YUM! And the BBQ Meatballs.

Since we were so busy on Saturday, I told myself that I would wait and ski on Sunday. Then I woke up on Sunday and looked outside. Yeesh! The wind was blowing so hard and it was soo cold I decided it wouldn't be an enjoyable thing. So the skis are still in the car.

My Mom called while I was at McKelles and wanted to know if anyone wanted any bananas for making banana bread. She came home from visiting our friend Luci in Kalamazoo with 40 LBS of bananas. Yes, I said FOURTY! On Sunday she made 8 (yes EIGHT) batches of banana bread and then gave the rest of the bananas to a couple neighbors.

The weather was just as bad this morning too. I looked out the window to see if the roads had been plowed. It looked like they had been. Wrong! I got stuck trying to get out of the drive way; half in the street half in the drive way. If I could have gotten the car back into the drive way I would have called to say I was staying home, but I couldn't get back in either. Finally, after alternating digging, putting kitty litter behind the wheels and going forward a bit then back, I had to admit defeat and go ask help from Elijah, my neighbor. He brought over a dirt digging shovel, since my snow shovel wasn't getting through the icy stuff under the wheels. One little dig and a shove and I was free. The drive to work down 933 was a piece of cake after that. Of course I have to go home tonight and finish shoveling out the drive way. But the snow has stopped (for now) and I think the sun is shining too.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Much needed Haircut

Am heading out early today to get a much needed hair cut. I got it cut real short a couple of months ago. Now there are uncontrollable pieces that want to stick out every which way.

Haven't been very wordy lately, because I was having a really bad headache. It started on Dec 7th and I just couldn't shake it. I tried every frigging headache drug imaginable; ibuprofen, Tylenol, alieve, fiorcet (migraine med), Excedrin and sinus head meds). Nothing worked. Finally broke down and went to the Dr. on Tuesday. He ended up doing a Chiropractic adjustment on my and OMG if feels so good to be headache free. I didn't realize until it was gone how if was affecting my thinking and my mood.

Gotta run!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ah Hah!!!

If you'll remember, last week I was bummed, because I had 2 knitting projects going and was having a problem with both of them. The 'Ah Hah' is in regards to my Cul-de-Sac Vest. I was having a stitch count problem, where things were not adding up and it was throwing me into a tizzy. To recap just a bit:

"After joining the 2 bottom flaps and finishing charts C&D, it said I should have 142 stitches. Then beg. increasing 2 stitches every 6th row, 6 times for under the armpits. After doing that increase, according to the pattern I should have 138 stitches. Which is obviously doesn't add up, so I chose to ignore that part and just knit on."

I emailed a couple Ravelry members who have knitted the Cul-de-Sac Vest. The thought that kept popping into my head was: "why am I having such a hard time figuring this out when at least 60 other Ravlery members have made or are making this vest and they don't seem to be having the same problem." I could not figure out what I was missing.

"Spinsterrowe" (a.k.a. Lisa) emailed me back on Dec 4th, and although I read her email, there was obviously an electrical short somewhere between my brain and the lightbulb that hovers over everyone's head. (You know you have one too right?). She sent me another email today, checking up on my progress, and I replied back, that no I hadn't really figured it out but that I had just decided to frog back the armhole decreases and re-do them. I told her I had even tried to count the stitches in a row below the armhole decreases to determine exactly where my mistake was, but hadn't had any sucess with that either (because I counted 138 and new that must be wrong). I admitted that I had also switched the L/R cable charts and so had ended up with an "S" on either armhole in one spot instead of the cable. So for aesthetic reasons, I was just going to frog back and my stitch count would just have to be what it was. After sending this response back to her, I decided re-read her earlier email to see if I could maybe glean some more info from it, which I thought highly doubtful. To my immense surprise, I read the following sentence:

"when you join the back pieces, there are 16 extra stitches for the cables that have been decreased out of the picture before you get to the underarm. 142-16 (cable stitches) =126, 126+12 (increases) =138."

OMG!!! I can only imagine what this woman was thinking of my intelligence level when she read my "no, still haven't figured it out" email, and here she had answered my question in her email on the 4th. I admit I'm blond, but I don't usually act it!

Everytime I re-read the pattern I was interpreting it to say "After joining the 2 bottom flaps and finishing charts C&D you should have 148 stitches" when in actuality I was joining the 2 bottom flaps in the middle of the charts and then decreasing as I finished charts C&D.

Again, OMG how dumb am I. No wonder none of the other 60+ knitters were having problems with this pattern as there wasn't a problem in the first place.

I must now admit that I have actually messed up my armhole decreases, because I have 1 decrease row left to do and I should then have 88 stitches but will have 96. So I know I missed a couple of decreases along the way and still need to frog to fix that. But I at least know that what it is that I was missing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I Have Pictures!!!

I'll start with the oldest first.

I took some photos of the new sewing room after things have been sorta moved in. Now remember I said 'sorta'. There is still some sorting and re-arranging that will need to be done. There is trim that still needs to be put up, yada yada yada.

Here is where I sit and sew.

Here is the fabric STASH. Jeez, didn't know I had that much fabric. If you look closely at the bottom right, you can just barely see an orange tote hiding behind the closet door. That too is full of fabric that needs to be sorted into the rest.

And here is the majority of my yarn stash. I have a couple of bins upstairs with acrylic yarn in them. I have some shelves to build in the closet to the left of the fabric rack above. I wish I had bought another of these pink rolly bins, because they are already getting kind of full. The oak table above the bins will be my cutting table, however I didn't want you guys to see the top of it as I've been using it to sort stuff and it looks a mess.

I finished and blocked my Cascading Leaves Shawl by Vicki M. It turned out so nicely. The color is called Grape Jelly and I used 2 skeins of Knit Picks Lace yarn held together.

I joined a Thrummed Mitten KAL on Ravelry. There are several of us doing them in my South Bend Knitwork Group. Our start date was Dec. 1. I picked out a blue Pattons Classic Merino wool, but couldn't decide if I wanted to use redish roving or white roving. A coworker suggested I alternate them. So I did and here is what #1 looked like.

I wasn't real happy with the mitten. Mainly, because I've never done anything thrummed before and discovered that I made my beginning thrums too fat. I thinned them down on each consecutive row, but then thought how hard it would be to match mitten #2 to #1. And to be honest, I wasn't thrilled with the red, white and blue effect of the alternating rovings. Great colors, but they just weren't doing anything for me. So I ripped #1 back to the row just before I added the roving and started over. I ditched the red roving and thinned out my white ones. Here is what it looks like now, I like this version much better. And I think I'll actually be able to move my hand when the mittens are done. :o)

PS From what I've seen, the thrums are supposed to form those cute little V's, but my first attempt was too fat to form them. They just looked like big polka-dots.

I started making a pair of fingerless mitts for one of my friends for Christmas. #1 is all done and I am just starting the thumb shaping for #2

I tried out a new pattern this weekend for a sock knitting bag by Lazy Girl Designs. (Technically, I think it is meant to be a purse, but let's be real it's too small for a purse. At least for me!) It's cute, but cotton just doesn't drape well. I want to re-design the bottom, so it not so curvy. Of course, you cannot tell that by the picture you are about to see as it is sitting down, but trust me.

I told you I had pictures, but did you really believe me? I think not. Wait, I'm not done yet either. I have one more.

TADA!!! I put up my Christmas Tree for the first time in about 4 years. I know it looks a bit pitiful, but I discovered that I don't have (or at least can't find after much digging) any ornament hooks for my ornaments. I'll pick some up this week and hang some stuff this weekend. Also, I was pleasantly surprised this morning to see that the tree was still standing. As many times as I had to chase Java and Jasmine away last night while I tried stringing those red beads around, I thought for sure that it would have been lying on it's side in pieces this morning.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mini Retreat Happiness

Well today is another day and I'm in a better mood. TGIF!

I decided to let my 2 knitting projects cogitate for a bit and started something new last night. It is a pair of the fingerless mitts. (A Little Twist Wristwarmers) They are a Christmas present for my friend Clara who has been hinting about wanting a pair. They are knitting up really fast. I started while watching CSI last night, worked on them at lunch today and have the first one almost 1/2 done. They are a blue denim color. Want to make a pair for myself too.

Tonight, I have to head home and do a little straightening to the house. My friend Kathy is coming over tomorrow and we are going to have a mini-Quilt Retreat at my house in my NEW sewing room. Yeah!! I am planning on setting up the crockpot. We will have Cranberry Pork Roast, mashed potatoes, and corn. I might even make a Peach Dump Cake for dessert. I've been wanting to make one, just didn't want to end up eating the whole thing by myself. I even have vanilla ice cream if we want it ale mode.

I have a few little projects that I would like to sew up for Christmas presents and I would like to get my Mexican Tiles Top finished. All the blocks are done, I just have to assemble it. It is twin sized, so it shouldn't take too long.

Well, you all have a nice weekend. I plan to.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I'm Bummed!

For several reasons.

First: Now that I have the Cascading Leaves Shawl done (pictures forthcoming), I decided to cast on for my Celtic Vest. I made one of these last year and accidentally felted it. I bought some really cool yarn on our Chicago Yarn Crawl at Lorna's Laces. It started out really nice, but then the yarn started pooling. The Celtic Vest Pattern is designed to be knit using 2 balls at one time tp avoid pooling. Like I said, it started out looking really nice, I even made sure to start my balls of yarn in different parts of the color repeats. Maybe they were still too close. Anyway, when I noticed the pooling, I thought maybe I had done something wrong because partway through I had decided to try a little continental knitting. Will get into that more later. So I ripped back to before the pooling and re-knitted the area. Started pooling again at the same spot. I have set it aside until I figure out if I want to use different yarn, or rip it and restart with the yarns repeats even further apart. Still thinking on that. Any ideas??

Secondly: I picked back up my Cul-de-Sac Vest last night by Elsebeth Lavold. I was having problems with the decreasing for the armholes, and set it aside until I had the heart to trying figuring it out. I got the pattern from a 2003 Knitter’s magazine and am now wondering if there is errata out there somewhere or if the pattern has been reprinted in another magazine/book at some other point. I found what I think is an error when working on the back. After joining the 2 bottom flaps and finishing charts C&D, it said I should have 142 stitches. Then beg. increasing 2 stitches every 6th row, 6 times for under the armpits. After doing that increase, according to the pattern I should have 138 stitches. Which is obviously doesn't add up, so I chose to ignore that part and just knit on. However, I am now on the arm hole decreases and my numbers don’t match the next set either, so now I’m not sure if i have done something wrong or if the pattern is again wrong. Not sure if I should rip back to the before the armholes or just plug ahead and again ignore the numbers. I did determine that the armhole decrease numbers are based on the 138 stitches. When I do the math based on the 142 stitches, I figured I should have 154 stitches after the increases and 104 after the armhole decreases. I have one more set of decreases to make and my stitch count now is 98. So something definitely wrong. I have contacted 2 people on Ravelry who have finished the vest to ask for their opinions/help and I tried contacting Elsebeth Lavold to find out about the errata. But I'm pretty sure regardless of what they say, I still have to rip back.

Third: On the way home last night from knit I stopped at Taco Bell for a snack, because I had skipped dinner. I went through the drive thru and was getting my money out to pay, because I was next in line to pay, when the pick-up in front of me backed up and hit the front of my car. Luckily the only damage done was to my bumper. Her Reece trailer hitch holder broke a hole in the center of the plastic bumper. Since we weren't in the street, the police won't do a report, so I had to contact her insurance company directly. I'm not mad that she did it, just mad that I just had that stupid thing fixed from when I rearended someone a month or 2 ago. GRRRRR.