Saturday, December 26, 2009

Snowed In

Not really snowed in, but we checked highway conditions between here and home and decided to stay another day. For the 1st half of our trip, the map shows that the roads are partially covered. And the snow continues to fall, here. So we may be here longer than Plan B dictates. The boys are out trying to start the vehicle right now. Not sure what's wrong. We went to the movies last night (Sherlock Holmes) along with many other "idjits" out on the snowy roads. It was a good (well, I was going to say 10 degrees colder, then looked at the thermometer) 6 or 7 degrees colder last night, and it started just fine. They have decided they're tired of sitting around and need to go to Home Depot. Oh, I just heard it start. Love that diesel engine. ;-) Ugh, the youngest mechanic just came in and said they're going to buy new batteries while they're out. It takes 2, and not the least expensive ones.

Stream-of-consciousness blogging ... what do you think?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

We are on stop #2 of our whirlwind tour of the families. We had a wild family gathering at my parents' house yesterday. My sister and her husband and 3 children, my brother and his wife and 2 children, my husband and I and our 2 children, my parents and my aunt (mom's sister). Gift exchange was rather wild -- like a swarm of locusts. Dad came through a few times with a trash bag so we wouldn't be buried under the wrapping paper flying everywhere.

We left this morning and are now at my mother-in-law's house. It's a bit quieter here -- my children are the only ones here right now. Their cousins are at their mother's house until later, or tomorrow. Their father, my husband's brother, is here. He keeps things hopping.

It has been snowing here for awhile, and the temp is down to 17 F. White Christmas! (And the movie "White Christmas" is showing on AMC right now.)

I made a pair of socks for my 9-year old niece. But I started a little late. Finished sock #1 on Tuesday, but it looked fat, and the toe was too pointy. Soldiered on and started sock #2 Tuesday evening, finishing after dinner Wednesday, before dessert and the above-mentioned wild gift exchange. But I had decided to make some changes so sock #2 wouldn't look as fat as sock #1. I had done an eye-of-partridge heel flap, and since it draws up more than the slip-stitch heel, I did more rows to make the flap the right length. The problem is that the gusset is then that many stitches wider (5 on each side, in my case), making the sock circumference that much bigger. I corrected this on sock #2 by doing the same number of rows I would have done with a regular heel stitch, so I had the right number of gusset stitches, and a much better looking sock. But it didn't match the first sock, so I had to rip out the first sock, back to the heel flap. By some miracle, I did get the sock finished by just after 11 pm last night and was able to leave it there for my niece to pick up (my brother's family lives near my parents). The one sock that was finished in time did seem to fit perfectly, however, which is an enormous relief. I made the sock based on the specifications in The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns for an 8-year-old child to Women's Small (that's one size) instead of my usual (getting foot measurements and knitting to those) and it worked!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Twelve Days of Christmas

Just because I am seeing so many 12 Days of Christmas promotions, contests, etc. I thought I'd point out to anyone who might care that the 12 days of Christmas start on Christmas day, not on December 1st, or December 12th, or 13th.

Carry on.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Miscellaneous, with tomatoes

Maybe I can forgive my less-knowledgeable younger self. The squares for the Manos afghan have different row gauges, anywhere from 22 to 28 rows to 4". And yes, that first square with the most rows is the one with the 28 rows to 4". That makes me feel a little better. But the biggest row gauge is the staghorn cable square, not the light blue beaded rib square. I still haven't figured out what to do with the knot in the back of that staghorn cable square. The ends aren't long enough to undo the knot and weave them. I could pick out the row joining that square to the 4th one, and rip, do a felted join, then reknit and graft the squares back together.

I planted tomatoes today, finally (with much labor performed by my son and husband).

They're in Earth Boxes, which I have used for several years. They seem to work really well. This year I have cherry tomatoes, Better Boy, Celebrity, and Beefsteak tomatoes. I never can remember from year to year which varieties I've tried & which grew well, or which I preferred the flavor of. The large plant in the back box is either catnip or mint which survived the winter and started growing without any human intervention. The marker next to the stalk says catnip, but it smells minty.

The kids are in the kitchen (after 10 pm) baking a cake so their father will have something to eat for breakfast. Yes, really. What good children ;-). I don't suppose they'll wash those dishes, though

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Manos mess

I'm already sorry I dragged this Manos throw out yesterday to try to finish it.

I started looking at the different sizes of squares, and then started counting rows. Out of seven completed squares, 2 have matching row counts. That would be the top one on the left, and the bottom one on the right. Believe it or not, the short squatty square on the bottom left has more rows than any of the others. And the huge light blue square above it has the fewest rows - 12 less than the square below it! I have clearly grown in my knitting and thinking abilities since I started this project a bazillion years ago (seriously, at least 10). How did I think I was going to attach a square with 33 garter ridges to one with 37 garter ridges? Didn't think, that's what. And then, in the middle of my inspection/ridge counting, I found a knot in the middle of the back of the herringbone patterned square (left, second from the top). Why would I have done that? I could have spliced it with a felted join, and just continued knitting like the problem never existed.

I'm trying to decide what to do. I could probably fudge the seams. And the 5 squares that I still have to knit can be knit to match the row counts of the squares beside them. But that knot....

Friday, June 05, 2009


In some sort of order, my finished objects include:
  • my testing for certification to teach high school math
  • the Lacy Chunky Throw, and

  • my second year of teaching.
It got a little crazy there toward the end, but I persevered.

Also finished: my husband's tour in Iraq. He is HOME!

If I were a more introspective person, I would summarize the past year, or even the 4 months or so since I blogged last. But I don't think I'll do that right now. I just wanted to let you know I'm still here, and even doing a little knitting.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Well, that can't be good

We heard a loud crashing noise on Saturday, and looked out to see this:

There's a tractor, baler, and mower under there somewhere. I called the after-hours claims department for the insurance. One of their local offices just got their electricity back yesterday, and I'm sure there are people with much more pressing concerns. We have a roof over our heads, lost power for only two hours Tuesday evening. Today is snow day #6 from this storm. We'll be in school till the 4th of July at this rate. Not really -- at some point the state "forgives" the missed days. There were several days after the storm with temperatures in the 40s and 50s, but there is still a lot of snow/ice on the ground. Nighttime temperatures are in the 20s or below, and today, despite beautiful sunshine, the air temp is 25 degrees F.

Another oops:
Right there in the middle of the picture, I somehow created another stitch. Nothing to do but rip. Fortunately, my felted joins held, and I wound up (!) with a big ball of yarn. It didn't seem to take as long to re-knit as it had taken to knit to that point in the first place. I'm not sure what the wonkiness is in the picture below (left side), but I think it will work itself out in blocking. This is Wenlan Chia's Lacy Chunky Throw (in Classic Elite's Web Letter issue 63). I am using Classic Elite Waterspun Weekend, a now-discontinued yarn I originally bought to make a sweater from Vogue Knitting several years ago. I can't find the issue with the pattern right now. The sweater wasn't flattering, so I have been looking for a project for this yarn ever since I ripped the sweater out. My throw is 84 stitches wide instead of 76, which will make it about 60" wide. I have lots of yarn. I'm just going to knit till I run out of yarn.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Days like this...

...make me appreciate my handknit wool socks!

This mess started Monday evening as a "wintry mix". It continued all day Tuesday, as I began to wonder how there could be that much water in the sky. Sometime late Tuesday, it turned into snow, and we woke up Wednesday to about 2 1/2" of snow on top of at least 4 or 5 inches of icy stuff.

Those wool socks came in handy this afternoon (this is snow day #3 so far this week) when we thought we'd venture out from behind the hill -- our road going out is uphill for about 1/4 mile, then back down about the same distance. The 16 y/o had gotten out earlier in the big pickup, using 4WD, and gone in to town to retrieve the mail. He had a physical therapy appointment this afternoon, and I had to go with him as he is a minor. Then we were going to do a little grocery shopping. But the truck got stuck on the way out, so we walked back to the house. I got a little bit of snow in my shoes, but thanks to the wool socks, I didn't feel the cold or wet. Used the tractor to get the truck unstuck, and now we are once again just hanging out at home. He has optimistically rescheduled his physical therapy for tomorrow afternoon.

The physical therapy is post-surgical -- he had arthroscopic knee surgery two weeks ago. The doctor wasn't sure what he would find when he got in there -- they were thinking possible meniscal tear, or other possibilities that would require 6 weeks of no weight on that leg. Fortunately, what they found was excess tissue, called a plica, which has been removed. He is already walking on that leg. He got a cane, partly because the crutches were rubbing his upper arms raw, and partly because he wants to be Dr. House.

Knitting is sporadic. I am up to my ears in school stuff, to include prom planning and fundraising. My Ravelry pages are probably the easiest place to keep up with my projects. It's taken me 3 snow days just to get caught up enough with life to do a blog post.

I hope everyone out there is staying safe & warm. Feel especially grateful if you weren't in the path of this winter storm. I'm having some doubts that we'll even be able to go back to school Monday, but we shall see.