Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve

Two months? I've not been here for two whole months? Sorry, and thanks for checking in....

After tying up a few of those things that have to be done by the end of the year (paying property taxes, renewing license plates for the pickup, mailing Christmas cards), I am back at the house, steeling myself to grade the final exams I gave a couple of weeks ago, and then enter the grades in the computer.

But you're here for knitting, I think. I finally finished the Conwy socks from Knitting on the Road. I'd been working on them, off & on, for over a year. I'm not sure what the problem was. But I like them, and have worn them several times.

Christmas knitting consisted of 3 pair of felted clogs, one of which was wrapped in it's pre-felted state. "Um, I know I have big feet, but...." I didn't even take pics of all of them. Here's the pair for my daughter's sorority sister:
I was able to visit Yarn Barn in Lawrence, KS over Thanksgiving weekend. I found some gorgeous wool/silk yarn and a pattern for Cabled Artist's gloves, and my daughter, who was with me (in a yarn store!?!) asked me to make them for her. I made a few modifications to the original pattern -- added 2x2 ribbing at the start & finish, and knitted a little bit of a thumb, instead of leaving just a hole there.

I'm currently working on my 1st pair of men's felted clogs, for the child on my right in this picture:

He's 15 years old, nearly as tall as his father (he stood on his toes in just about all of the family pics taken recently, to make himself look taller, because he's 15...), and wears size 12 shoes. Also in the works is a pair of socks for his big feet. First sock is done, and I'm about halfway through the second.

I'll try to get back here tomorrow...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I did it, and I'm not sorry

I took a deep breath and had my little frogging party last night. The best part was that all of my felted joins held, and I have one big ball of black yarn, instead of several smaller ones. I went down 2 needle sizes (from 10.5 down to 9) and cast on again. The only problem I foresee now is that I'm likely to be a little compulsive about knitting this until it gets back to the length it was before frogging.

No school today, as there is a boil water order in our little town today. There was a leak in a water main, and they were working on it yesterday, leaving the town without water for several hours. We got out of school an hour early because there was no water at school (hand sanitizer in the bathrooms, because they can't wash their hands; toilets can't be flushed, etc.). The water is back on, but the system needs to be flushed so the water is safe to drink & wash hands.

So it will be an errand day. My car needs an oil change. There are various specialty light bulbs in the house that need replacing (my Ott Lite bulb, a circular fluorescent in the kitchen). I need patty paper and a hanging file frame for school.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I think I'm going to have to frog

I'm still here, and believe it or not, doing some knitting. Unfortunately, I've been in denial regarding my gauge on this project for awhile, and have finally concluded that I'm going to have to rip. Rats.
This is the body of the Ski Jacket, from Veronik Avery's book Knitting Classic Style: 35 Modern Designs Inspired by Fashion's Archives. Nice, n'est-ce pas? Only problem is, it's supposed to be 14 sts to 4" and I'm getting about 13 or 13.5 sts to 4". So the whole thing is going to be at least 3" bigger around than I want it to be. Gauge swatch? Um, no, but I did the sleeves first and they were right on for gauge. They are knit circularly, however, and the body is knit flat. Who knew my gauge would be off by that much changing from circular to flat knitting?
This is what the yarn used to be in a former life:
I don't remember where I found this sweater pattern. I do know it was early-to-mid-80s, and the yarn was from a going-out-of-business yarn store. The color pattern is slip-stitch. I don't like the pink. I'm not even including it in the reincarnated sweater, though I am using the grey and light grey. The pockets added bulk around my middle. I gave this sweater to my mother, who gave it back to me in September ("it's itchy, and I just don't wear it"). Black isn't really a good color on her, anyway.
I'm still trying to convince myself that I should frog. The yarn is Lopi, which is single-ply, and has a tendency to pull apart. Fortunately, felted joins work really well, so all of the little balls of yarn from the original frogging session have become one long strand as I knit.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Coming up for air

I have an odd sense of freedom right now. You and I both know I'm probably deluding myself. There is surely something I should be doing.

I'm going to a new teacher workshop tomorrow, so I had to have stuff prepared for a substitute. As long as I was doing that, I got my plans done for Wednesday, too. Mondays are when assignments are due in my college class, and today's has been turned in. I have a whole week before the next one is due (uh oh, this is how we get down to those late Sunday evenings, and working through planning period & lunch on Mondays).

So... knitting. I started a mitten out of sock yarn and decided that sock yarn isn't the right material for mittens -- too thin. So I started Eunny Jang's Anemoi mittens with the same sock yarn plus a cone of undyed Henry's Attic Kona fingering weight (scroll down). This is a stranded pattern, so they'll be thicker. I'm just about halfway done with the corrugated ribbing on the cuff, and I'm really liking it. I like knitting it; I like the way it looks. I'm getting much better at tensioning the yarn in my right hand (I usually knit Continental, so for 2-color knitting, I have one color in each hand, and was having some difficulty with tension in my right hand).

You'd think I'd have more to say after a month. I'm going to go knit now.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


I have survived the first 2 weeks of school. This has brought such a huge change to my daily (used to be "lack of") schedule. Up & out of the house by 7:30 a.m., I teach 6 classes and have one planning period. 4th hour seems to be a good hour for planning, as it gives me a break right in the middle. I am teaching 4 different classes, all of them fairly small, fortunately, but it's been a long time since I had most of this stuff. I need to get a bit further ahead of the kids than I am right now. I feel like we've gotten bogged down a bit by a lack of basic concepts in some of the classes. I don't want to move ahead if they don't get it, but we're still in chapter one in all four classes. I try to get a little more planning done before I leave school (except that's hard to do when you're falling asleep!), then bring 3 of the 4 textbooks home (I have 2 copies of the 4th, so I can leave one at home and one at school). Go through the mail, spend some time on the computer, bare minimum housework, cook dinner, more lesson planning. Oh, and I'm taking an online course for my alternative certification. Not enough hours in the day.

I did finish the Inside Out socks, and have picked up another pair that I started last year, frogged & restarted on a different size needle. They are the Conwy socks from Knitting on the Road: Sock Patterns for the Traveling Knitter, in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, in the Jeans color, which is what she used in the book. I think I can snitch a little time out of my day to do 8-10 rounds on a sock, don't you?

I had a really nice surprise about a week ago. A yarn order I'd just about given up on ever seeing finally arrived. All the way from Germany, in a shoebox, in just under 8 weeks:
There's no indication as to why it took so long, but I think the seller was as relieved as I was when it finally arrived. The darker blue at the bottom is already starting to become a sock. Somebody thought it looked like a good place to take a nap.

Note the stack of textbooks in the background. Those are the 3 I bring home every day.

Oh, and my son is currently sporting stitches & pins in his right hand. It was about 5 days from when he broke it (lost his balance & fell) to when we saw the doctor, another 8 days before he saw the orthopedic doctor (on the 2nd day of school), and surgery was scheduled the next day. He's already missed 3 days of school; next appointment is Thursday this week. Nearest doctor is a 50 mile round trip; the surgery was further away -- just over 200 miles round trip. My husband has been good to take him to all these appointments, so I wouldn't need to get a substitute on my 2nd (or 3rd, or 8th, or 12th) day of school.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Who are you?

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Honourable Lady Julie the Sanguine of Divine Intervention
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

I dunno -- it seems to fit. Well, kids, I'm about to be a teacher. We had new teacher orientation on Friday, and today & tomorrow are "Professional Development Days" for teachers & staff. The kids will come to school on Wednesday. People keep asking me if I'm ready. Do I look ready? Oh, I mean "Don't I look ready?" Whatever. Wednesday is a half day. Oh, and I'm a sophomore class sponsor. One of four, actually, but 2 are gym teachers/coaches, and claim they will not be available most of the time, and the other is a special ed teacher whom I haven't met. Good times. There's a sophomore class meeting on Wednesday morning. I don't even know what I'm supposed to do. I could ask my son, the sophomore. Or his sister, who, as I recall, was quite frustrated with her class sponsors as a sophomore. She's now a sophomore/junior in college.

In case anyone was concerned, I did get an A in Geometry. And I did do a little yarn shopping as a reward. We went to St. Louis for the Stitch N Pitch game last Monday (Cards won!), and I managed to talk my husband into a yarn store stop on Tuesday before we headed home. At Knitorious, I got 2 hanks of Twilight (blue) Alpaca with a Twist Fino, and some plum-colored Trekking XXL, which will make a pair of socks to match an outfit my mother wears quite a bit. I was looking for a shawl pattern I'd seen in an ad in the recent issue of Vogue Knitting. It's the Flight of the Honeybees shawl by Alpaca with a Twist. I had to email the store the next day and have them put aside a 3rd hank for me. They've also ordered the pattern -- I guess it's so new that they didn't have it.

In other knitting, I have finished a pair of Big Black Socks for SocksForSoldiers, and I've also finished the 1st of the Inside Out socks in STR Monsoon (sock club kit from February). It feels like time to work on finishing things and get down to having just one or two projects going at a time, instead of too many to count.

In the photo above, it's right side out (as knitted), and below it's, well, inside out. I love the stripes (no pooling!).

Friday, August 03, 2007

Done, done, done!

All done with my Geometry course! The final exam has been completed and posted. I'm so relieved, I considered a little yarn-shopping reward. Then I realized we usually reward academic performance, not just survival. I have an A in the course so far, but that's without 2 of the 4 tests graded, the big software project, the paper we wrote over a month ago, and a dozen or so homework assignments. Wonder when the course grades are supposed to be posted.

I have enrolled in a Fall semester course -- one of those I need for Alternative Certification. It's called Teaching Reading in Secondary School. I will be teaching math, but it looks like everyone has to take this.

I went by the school to pick up the teacher's editions of the textbooks I'll be using -- 4 big heavy books. And yes, I will be teaching Geometry, but I expect there's a world of difference between high school geometry and the brain wrenching course I just finished. I just don't remember yelling at my geometry homework in high school (of course, that was in 9th grade, which was ... um, 30 years ago, and memories can fade).

So, my poor little Inside Out sock got frogged back to before the heel. I originally took out 8 rows, then decided to err on the side of caution and reknitted 3 rows before re-doing the heel and the 25 rows of the leg I'd already done. It's better, maybe still a little loose, but that gives it a little room in case it shrinks in the wash, right?

The new clue is out for MS3. If I'd had time to work on it this past week, I would have stopped at row 286 instead of doing 287, inserting a lifeline, and completing the clue, which ends at row 335. But I'm still on row 230. The 5th clue takes us off in a bit of a new direction, which has nonplussed and disconcerted a number of people. I think some people expressed disappointment with the "wing" before they had any idea what it was going to look like. It's not really anything weird, just a diagonally knitted triangle attached to the end with short rows. The stole will not be symmetrical, but it won't look kooky either.

We have acquired a Wii -- our college daughter bought it today, her last day of work. She's headed back to school next Friday & wanted something to play with, I guess. I think she's justifying it as a birthday present for her dad (whose b'day is over 2 weeks away), but they've got it set up and they're playing with it now.

Looking forward to a relaxing, no geometry weekend!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


As it turns out, what looked like light at the end of the tunnel was really the headlight of an oncoming train, in the form of a ginormous final exam, posted today, due Friday by midnight. The good news is that the test originally due tonight is now due Thursday. Uh, what?

I'm going to go have lunch with the women from my Sunday School class, and then I'm going to come home and be a geometry head student. I got through the heel of my Inside Out sock, then did the 1st 25 rows of the leg. It's looking good, but I think the foot is a little long. I think I'm going to leave it that way, though. Or not. I just tried it on again, and it looks like I can pinch 8 -10 extra rows at the tip of the toe. Rats rats rats. Can't even operate a ruler.

Monday, July 30, 2007

I think there's a light at the end of the tunnel

My inner geek spent some 4 hours today playing with Geometry software (Geometer's Sketchpad), finishing the big project that is due Thursday by midnight. One big sigh of relief. There's still a test due tomorrow by midnight, and a smaller homework assignment due Wednesday night. I have done quite a bit of the test. Sometimes I need to take a long thinking break after I start writing a proof. [e.g. Can I do this? Or am I leaping to conclusions, skipping steps?] At least the professor is answering emails. I forgot to ask questions when I got stuck on the last test.

Knitting? A little -- another of the mumblety-teen works-in-progress, the Inside Out socks in STR mediumweight Monsoon, the February sock club kit.

It looks like another 13-14 rounds until I start the heel.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I would rather...

I would rather knit than do geometry. No surprise there. I did 10 rows of MS3 today, then worked on my way-too-long-on-the-needles Big Black Socks for Socks for Soldiers. I have never made a sock that took more than one 50g skein of fingering weight yarn before. Right now, they look like Big Black pedicure socks.

The legs could be an inch or so shorter -- at the time I was knitting them, there was some discussion about the legs needing to be 14" before the heel flap. And they look so skinny because they're 2x2 rib all the way down. The safety pins mark every 10th row.

I was a bit surprised to discover that I'd rather do housework than geometry. I spent the afternoon puttering around, picking up the stacks of old newspapers & catalogs, clearing off part of the coffee table. I should have been doing geometry. There's only one more week -- a test due Tuesday and a big project due Thursday. I can do this. I have to do this. Blah.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Busy, busy

It seems like it's been all geometry, all the time, around here, but really it hasn't. I am just 20 rows into clue 4 of MS3 right now, but I hope to pick it up and do 10 rows a day between now & when the next clue comes out on August 3rd. That's also the last day of my geometry class (hooray!).

Our crazy kitten reminds me of those little alien creatures on Buzz Lightyear. I just picture them saying "Ahhhh" as a group. The kitten runs for the refrigerator every time we open the door, and if she gets there before we close it, she has that same "Ahhhh" look on her face -- what is this wondrous place, brightly lit, with all these interesting smells? She also has to supervise every litter box cleaning, every document printed from the computer, every dish washed. She's a busy girl... who steals lettuce, and eats it.

Another trip to St. Louis & back home today, this time with the 15-year old as a passenger & my husband doing the driving. We took our son to spend about a week & a half with his uncle & cousin. I think they'll be working most of the time, believe it or not. The boys are about 7 months apart in age & get along really well. Anyway, I finished the knitting part of the project I mentioned working on last trip. It's the Doctor's Bag from Knit 2 Together, by Tracey Ullman & Mel Clark. I got the book from recently, for $5.50! It's still 80% off (go now! that's less than some individual patterns cost!). I used some lovely handspun bulky yarn from, in a color that was labeled Black Forest when I received it, but something else when I ordered it. It's black/charcoal/grey, but the grey parts look purplish in sunlight. Really pretty. The stitch pattern is a herringbone, the fabric is thick & soft. Anyway, now there will be sewing together, finding handles & lining fabric, etc. So it could be awhile before it's really done.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Clue 3 done!

I did 30 rows of Clue 3 on Thursday, and the other 20 yesterday morning, so I'm caught up, not that there's a schedule. Clue 4 was released yesterday morning, 135 rows long; we won't get another clue for 2 more weeks. This one has added to the mystery -- a major change in the pattern on the last row, and we've been told to put in a lifeline at row 287, even if we don't use lifelines. Nothing seems to be special about that row -- there are 48 rows above it that don't seem different from the rows below that one.

I haven't started clue 4 yet, but I think I'm going to go do 10 rows or so. We have all this extra time so people can read Harry Potter (I still haven't read the previous 2 books in the series). My children will get first dibs, assuming we can pick up a copy of the book tomorrow, so it'll be awhile before I get to it, anyway.

We made a 6 hour round trip to St. Louis to pick up our daughter yesterday. The China-Back Complex Fire (more than one fire) was contained, so they were shipping people to other fires, and apparently no one had a spot for a trainee. So she came home. She's had a taste of what it's like to be out on fire detail, and I don't think she wants to go as a radio operator again -- too much like office work! I'm glad she's home.

I was able to get some knitting done on the way to the airport. Not MS3 -- that's not traveling knitting. I was working on a project I haven't previously mentioned on the blog. The surprise in all of this is that my chauffeur was a 15-year-old with a learner's permit. How much knitting would you have accomplished? He did really well -- we covered everything from winding country roads and twisty 2-lane highways to 8 lanes of interstate with speed limits up to 70 mph.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Clue 2 finished

Mystery Stole 3, that is.

I'm taking a day off from Geometry. Next homework is not due until Tuesday. So I did the last 20 rows of Clue 2, then the first 10 of Clue 3. Once I'm done here, I may just kick my son out of my chair and do 10 more rows. Clue 4 is going to be posted tomorrow.

I got paperwork in the mail from the school district today. W-4 forms (federal and state), retirement system enrollment, etc. So much to do, so little time! School starts August 15th! I know that's nearly a week earlier than last year, and the year before.

Our little helper kitty is just 3 1/2 months old or so. I was taking pictures of her and after that first flash, she sat down and posed nicely: the kitchen sink. I don't know what she was doing in there; I just take the pictures.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Silver Anniversary

Today is our 25th wedding anniversary! Where have the years gone? It really doesn't seem like it's been that long. Wish I could find a picture from July 16, 1982. It would be pretty funny.

Our daughter is working at the local Forest Service office, as she has the past 2 summers. Last week, she finally got certified as non-operations personnel for wildland fire supression. That means she can go out on fire detail (2 weeks), but will be a radio operator at the base, rather than digging fire line. She was called today, to go out somewhere on the California/Oregon border. She's going as a trainee, with another woman from the local office. She's pretty excited. They drove to St. Louis this evening, flying out early in the morning.

I'm sure you'll be relieved to know that after several hours of work and some quantity of chocolate consumed, I finished my geometry test and have uploaded it.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Geometry or crochet?

How about both? Seriously, my geometry assignment a couple of days ago linked to this web page: Crocheting the Hyperbolic Plane. Go have a look. Scroll down to see crochet instructions. Keep scrolling to find pictures of actual, um, whatever they are. Maybe I could get extra credit if I make one ;-)

Actually, my grade right now is an A, so no worries... yet. He's a bit behind on grading the homework, so we got an extension on the due date for test #2. Originally due last night at midnight, it's now due Tuesday at midnight. Guess who hasn't started it yet. Instead, I did 20 rows on the Mystery Stole.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Geometry homework

"Can I help?"

Only 3 more weeks. So far, so good.

I've even managed to do some knitting. This is clue 1 of Mystery Stole 3. Clue 2 was posted last Friday, and I've done about 6 rows of it (out of 50). Next clue will be posted tomorrow. It's not a race, it's not a race. Besides, I have a geometry test due at midnight tomorrow, so I need to get that done first. My little helper (in the photo above) is stepping on my keyboard, making it a bit difficult to type anything that makes sense. We'll blame her for any typos....

Thursday, June 28, 2007


It seemed like the experiment on the Mermaid Socks was working; I decided to stick with the pattern on 36 sts and do stockinette on the other 42. I did 16 rounds like that, then a short-row heel, and took another look at it. Hmm, the fishtail pattern stopped spiralling. Put it aside. Went to run some errands. Mulling it over, I realized that I could solve the problem by shifting where I start the patterning. It needs to start with the k2tog, so that the left-slanting ribs will blend into the stockinette, and end with the increase to offset the k2tog.

See? It has lost the slant:

So I have ripped back, and started the experiment again. I am 4 rows into it, and it looks like I may have it right this time. Oh, and I switched from a size 1 to a size 0 needle.

Thank you for the nice comments on these silly socks.

To answer Kristin (because I can't find a better way to do this), yes, I ordered 2 of the same color of the Kauni, in 2 different weight skeins. I haven't figured that part out -- whether each seller gets a random assortment of skein sizes, or whether I could have gotten 2 250g skeins instead of a 250 and a 240.

And now, since I have a paper to write (for Geometry!) that is due tomorrow at midnight, and family coming to visit tomorrow, I have to hide my knitting & do something that other people would define as productive. ;-)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Blast from the Past

I started these socks last summer -- they are the Mermaid Socks from Lucy Neatby's Cool Socks Warm Feet. Blithely ignoring her instructions to swatch, I cast on the multiple of six that is closest to my "usual" sock cast-on. So I went round and round on 66 stitches, did the heel, and started the foot. Tried it on -- way too tight. Ripped it out, did the gauge swatch and some calculations, and started again on 78 stitches. So far, so good. I think I've done about 40 rows today (safety pins mark every 10th row).

Now I'm wondering about doing some modifications -- in the pattern, the spiral rib thing goes all the way around the sock, including the foot. I think I'm going to experiment and see what happens if I do stockinette on 36 sts and the rib on the other 42 (it's a 6-stitch repeat).
The yarn is Regia Cotton Surf Color, color 5412, in case you were wondering.

Oh, and no yarn in the mailbox today.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Um, there's more....

And in today's mail, we have 490g of Kauni, to make this gorgeous sweater. There's a knitalong for it, too. This yarn came all the way from Germany in 8 days.

The June sock kit from Susan's Spinning Bunny, containing a beautiful merino/tencel blend in a color called "roses for you".

4 oz. each White and Ebony Zephyr from These are my options for MysteryStole3, along with bead options. The first clue for the stole will be posted this Friday, June 29th!

The Kauni has been wound into large cakes (six inch ruler included for scale). I used a regular-size ball-winder, but had to gently pull the metal guide away from the ball toward the end.

In yesterday's comments, Cindy asked, "Now, is this stash in addition to other stash, or is this your almost total stash? Or is it your only stash?" I actually have a shamefully large amount of yarn. Most of it was acquired with specific projects in mind, but I bought faster than I could knit, and it seems I have not managed to stop. I think I will have to knit 24 hours a day from now till I'm 99 to use it all. And there are two more orders on their way, but I think that's all... I'm pretty sure....

Monday, June 25, 2007


The consequences of a major yarn buying binge have started to arrive in the mailbox. Today's mail contained my 6th order from The Loopy Ewe. I'm now officially a "Loopy Groupie". In addition to the yarn I'd ordered, I received a tote bag, a bonus ball of sock yarn, and some "Loopy Kisses". And since I'd already earned a $25 store credit with my first 5 orders, I applied it to this order, as well.

The picture above shows the whole order in a lovely clear plastic tote. Below, the bonus skein, ONline supersocke 100 Summer-Color, color 791, and the Loopy Kisses (peppermint candy).

The yarn I ordered, from left to right:
The Knittery, Chocolate Royale
Fiesta Boomerang [5 oz, 320 yds., Extra Fine Superwash Merino], Safari and White Zinfandel
Fleece Artist Sea Wool [115 gr (~4 oz.), 354 yds (325 m)], Cosmic Dawn and Aegean

The Fiesta is quite a bit thicker than fingering weight sock yarn. The gauge on the label is 18 sts = 4" on size 8 needles. Obviously, I'm not going to use size 8 needles for socks, so I'll have to swatch (ack!) In yards per oz., it's a smidge heavier than STR mediumweight, which calls for 8 sts per inch on size 2 needles, so that at least gives me a jumping-off point.

And from ebay seller Yarnbow, 2 skeins of Noro Silk Garden in color 270, to combine with 2 skeins of color 245 already in my stash, to make this gorgeous striped scarf.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Stitch N Pitch

Baseball, anyone? I had heard of Stitch n Pitch, but didn't know much about it. Then I got an email from a not-so-local yarn shop, saying they had tickets for a game in St. Louis. So I started thinking, checking the date & time, asking the family if they'd be interested. We live about 150 miles south of St. Louis, but that would be "our" MLB team. My daughter called me from work today to ask if I'd gotten the tickets yet. I told her I would. She called later and I still hadn't gotten the tickets, but I made the call after I got off the phone with her. The tickets are discounted over the regular price tickets, and everyone gets a goody bag (even the non-knitting family members! more for me!). There are Stitch N Pitch nights all over the country. The schedule is on the website. It will also tell you where you can get tickets. See you August 6th in St. Louis!
This seemed like a good family activity to finish summer vacation. We all go back to school the following week. Seems like it gets earlier every year.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Geometry? !@#%!

I am taking a geometry course online, the last 3 hours of math I need to complete the math requirements for certification (I'm going to be a high school math teacher this fall). It started yesterday, with an endless reading assignment that made me want to poke my eyes out with a dpn. There was a homework assignment, too, due tonight at midnight. I got it turned in 7 hours before deadline. Take that! New lessons will be posted every TWThF until hell freezes over August 3rd. Pray for me, people.

Last week was Vacation Bible School. As I have done for the past 6 years, I taught the 5th graders. This year, I don't know why, but I just lost it a couple of times -- not a good example of Christlikeness. Fifth graders don't listen, especially when you have 20 or so in a room, in a rather informal atmosphere, with terrible acoustics (cinderblock walls and tile floors). I'm afraid they just didn't learn as much as they could/should have. But the funny thing is, they kept coming back. I have realized that I make an entirely new set of mistakes every year. I hope someday to have learned enough from my mistakes that VBS will run more smoothly!

Oh, knitting... that's probably why you're here.... I did start socks with the Colinette JitterBug, but once I finished the toe increases, I found myself flipping through Sensational Knitted Socks, and More Sensational Knitted Socks to find a pattern to use. Finally settled on Beaded Rib, and they're looking quite nice:

Other socks on the needles are the Inside Out socks, in STR mediumweight, Monsoon. These were the Feb. 2007 package from the Rockin' Sock Club. There was also an April shipment, and I'm hearing rumors that the June shipment may be on its way. I'm a little behind.

And the Big Black Socks for SocksForSoldiers. I thought I was finished with the legs at 12", and then I read a post that indicated that the legs need to be 14" (they'll shrink some in the wash, and they also lose some length when stretched widthwise). These legs are now 5 rounds from being 14" (or 140 rounds) long. I think I'll go work on them. Or do the next geometry assignment.

I almost forgot: if you love lace, you might want to sign up for Mystery Stole 3. It starts June 29th, so you'll still have time to gather supplies. One caveat -- lots and lots of posts, so you might want to set your delivery to digest right off the bat.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Happy Birthday, Principessa

Today is our college girl's 19th birthday.

She got her grades a few days ago -- 3.5 GPA! Especially impressive with her list of extracurricular activities. Great job, princess! We're proud of you.

We've just returned from a family reunion in honor of my grandmother's 90th birthday. We had a total of 31 people at a lake resort in southwest Missouri for 5 days -- 3 of her 4 children, with spouses, 6 of her 7 grandchildren & spouses, and 11 or 12 great-grandchildren. (Tricky little devils -- they're hard to count.) They came from Oregon, California, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Illinois, and Missouri.

Vacation knitting was a making-it-up-as-I-go, hoping-I-have-enough-yarn tank top.

I bought the yarn last year from ebay seller Over the Rainbow Yarns; it is Handpainted Rainbow Cotton yarn; the color is called Skygarden.

Vacation yarn purchase -- just one skein of Colinette JitterBug, in Bright Charcoal. Not that the yarn store (Simply Fibers in Springfield, MO) didn't have anything else I wanted... I'd have gladly taken some of everything! Just trying to exercise a little restraint, here. Besides, I'll be going back -- my daughter goes to school in Springfield.

I think this is going to be a plain vanilla toe-up sock (pair of socks, of course!)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Snowflakes in May

These are the Snowflake eyelet socks, from Susan's Spinning Bunny. They were the January shipment for her Sock Hop sock club. I'm just a little behind ;-)

The yarn is a lovely soft angora/merino blend. The eye-of-partridge heel works well with this design.

I was fingerprinted yesterday, for my background check for the school district. I was surprised and relieved to find there was no ink involved -- instead, they use a scanner, like a small copy machine, and just place your fingers on the glass. They can even do the one where they roll each finger tip from one side to the other. Ain't technology amazing. The last time I was fingerprinted was for my bank teller job, 16 years ago, and it was done the old-fashioned, messy way.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Got a little catching up to do

Why is it so hard to keep this up to date? Maybe I need to have a certain time each day that I do a blog post.

Absorba has been done since about 2 weeks ago. I immediately put it to use, and the family seems to like it. It's very thick and soft underfoot. I've even washed & dried it -- I think it took 3 dryer cycles to get it dry! (I dry everything on low heat, so maybe it wouldn't have taken as long on higher heat.)

The pattern is in Mason-Dixon Knitting. I really didn't have the problems I thought I might with hand pain. Once I got it onto the KnitPicks needles, I took off & finished it rather quickly. It weighs about 2 1/4 pounds, according to my kitchen scale. I suppose you could make 4 of these out of 9 1-pound cones of Peaches & Creme double worsted weight, which you can order directly from Elmore-Pisgah.

My Stonington Shawl is to the point where I need to start the edging, which is knitted on sideways.

This has been a very relaxing knit -- garter stitch, easy patterning in the center, no patterning on the borders.

My big news (boy, is this going to cut into my knitting time...) is that the local school district has hired me to teach high school math next year. I have just received notice that I have enough college math hours to accept the position; I need to take 8 more hours of math courses, plus the education courses required for alternative certification. I'm hoping I can get quite a bit of it done online. After 15 years as a stay-at-home mom (I worked for a little over a year as a bank teller before my 2nd child was born), this is going to be a big change for me. I'm excited -- I know a lot of the kids & teachers & administrators, so at least I won't be a stranger. I have really enjoyed Jean's "What I learned in school" posts on her blog (Needles, Notes and News) as she has been doing her student teaching the past 2 weeks. Since I'm going to be jumping in the deep end without my little water wings this fall....

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Lots of needle options

My KnitPicks Options needle set arrived today! As soon as I got it organized, I put together the size 15 needles with a cable to make a 32" circular, and picked up the poor, neglected Absorba. It has been on hiatus since the connector broke on the Denise needle I was using. I was able to add another section to the bath mat. I think one section a day is going to be a good pace -- the exaggerated hand motions required to knit with 3 strands of double-worsted yarn make it hard to work more than one section without resting.

As I mentioned earlier, I ordered pretty much the whole kit & caboodle in the KnitPicks Options. In addition to the set, I ordered the 3 larger sizes of needle tips (13, 15, 17) and the 3 longer cables (40", 47", 60"), and one package each of the plastic pockets that go in the binder.
I discovered that the needles fit nicely in the triple pocket sleeves, one pair of tips per section. The 12 different needle sizes used exactly 4 pages. I used a permanent marker to write the size in US and mm on each section of the sleeve. I also put the needle size ID tag for each size in with the needle tips of that size (they're a separate item, but seemed like a good idea). I then put each size of cable into a single pocket sleeve, marked with the length. Ran out of single pockets, so I put the smallest cables into a double pocket sleeve. I'm not sure what I'll use the other 3 double pocket pages for (the one that came with the set, plus the 2 extras I ordered). I might see about storing the smaller sized circulars (0 - 3, available separately) into those sleeves.

I like the needles -- this is such an awesome way to have every size & length of circular needle you could possibly need (except the sock sizes, because they're too little to screw onto the connectors). They do make a clicking noise. I very rarely click when I knit, and the rhythm of stitches on Absorba is so slow, it's not all that noticeable.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

It continues

The insanity, that is.
I spent some time yesterday looking for whatever helpful hints I could find about making Absorba (the bath mat) on the Mason Dixon KAL blog. One comment contained a warning that the knitter had broken the connector on her Denise needle while picking up stitches to start a new section. I happen to be using Denise needles, as well, so when I was picking up stitches this morning, I thought, "I can't figure out how she applied so much pressure that she broke the connector," and blithely continued what I was doing. Then I pushed the needle along through the picked up stitches in order to place the next stitch on it, and *SNAP* the connector broke. I know Denise has replacement parts, so I went to their website. Then I started thinking about getting extra cords and needles, and thought I might rather have the KnitPicks set. So I, uh, just went for the whole thing -- the Options set plus the 3 larger needle sizes, plus the 3 longer cable lengths, plus some extra pockets for the needle case. If I ever think I need to purchase another needle after this, someone may need to find me a padded cell. And I still need to replace the Denise cable I broke ($2.50, with free shipping).

I worked on my black socks today while listening to a podcast for almost an hour. Knowing I can usually do 20 rows on a sock in an hour, I was surprised at my lack of progress. I didn't count, but it didn't look like more than 10 rows. I didn't think I'd gotten that distracted looking up other things on the computer during the podcast. All of a sudden, it occurred to me... (scroll down & look at yesterday's picture & see if you can guess)
... I did 10 rows each on 2 socks! 10 x 2 = 20! Whatta genius.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

(Temporary) Insanity

At least I hope it's temporary. I have way too many projects going. I want to be project monogamous, but still I persist in starting new ones.

Last night, I started Absorba from Mason-Dixon Knitting. I ordered the 3 cones of Peaches & Creme double worsted weight direct from Elmore-Pisgah online. Colors are eggshell, ecru, and earthtone ombre. Using size 15 Denise needles. Large needles and bulky yarn requires exaggerated hand movements, which make knitting seem very slow. I have done the center square and the first 2 1/2 of the 10 logs. This will be a lovely thick bath mat.
This is, um, the felted moebius swirl bag from Knitty Gritty, before felting. I've been married to this man for almost 25 years. Sometimes it's best just to go with the flow.
Here's the bag after felting, considerably smaller. The yarn is Araucania Atacama 100% alpaca from I used less than one 50g/100m skein. I like the moebius twist in the handle. I'm thinking a larger bag would be nice. This little one was just a few hours worth of knitting, started & finished yesterday.
Snowflake eyelet socks using a yummy angora/merino blend. Pattern and yarn from Susan's Spinning Bunny. This was the January sock kit from her sock club, and I just started it a few days ago.
My 2nd pair of Big Black Socks for Socks for Soldiers, this time in KnitPicks Essential, on US1 needles. My 1st pair used a heavier yarn & fewer stitches, so the socks were quite thick.
The Stonington Shawl from Shawls and Scarves: The Best of Knitter's Magazine. I started this before I went to Italy, but it wouldn't have been very good traveling knitting because of the cone. The nifty cone twirly thing came from Bo Peep's Wool shop, which does not appear to be selling yarn or anything other than patterns now.
I'm expecting to produce incremental progress on all of these, so it may be awhile before we see anything finished.