Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Yet another (no-longer) photoless blog post (sigh)

Sometimes I really wonder why you guys even read this thing, lol.  I never remember to take photos of finished objects, and then it takes far too long to actually add them to blog posts because I never remember about it until the kids are in bed and my husband is on X-box live... you know where this is going.

Recently I finished two samples for the shop; the J. Knits Softee Alpaca Handwarmers, and the Trekking Handart socks in Devon by Cookie A (my all-time favorite sock designer).  I'll be taking pics of the sock on the leg at work and I'll get them updated stat!  That goes for the hand-warmers.

 Update: here's the promised photos of the hand-warmers.

Here are the socks! 

I did finish the dish cloths.  Here's a few:
 These are three of the eight that I made.  They were a ton of fun, and they worked up fast.  Next time, I'll use cotton with less shine, but over all I'm pleased.
Now, I'm knitting a pair of stockings from The Opinionated Knitter, by Elizabeth Zimmerman.  I really love them and I hope to get them back soon.  I'll be making another pair with some machine washable worsted weight yarn...maybe some Cascade 220 superwash in white and the pink I bought a while ago, or maybe that pink will be another pair of knee-highs and I'll get another skein of their hand-painted yarn for fun (like I need any more yarn, lol).  Stay tuned for more photos.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Yet another new sample, lol

I don't know how I get myself into these situations, but I have a third sample to knit.  Third as in I have two other current sample projects on the needles and now I'll be adding a third.  This one is another sock in Trekking Hand Art color 511, Trinidad.  Think dark green into turquoise blue into grape.  Oh...I just realized that you don't know anything about sample 2, which happens to be a custom designed hand warmer in J. Knits alpaca.  I'm working this one around my idea for the Bones season 1 sweater, and I started it yesterday.  I didn't get very far on it, but I have my sketch and I'll be writing up a Word document to help me remember exactly what I'm doing.  My only concern is that I totally know what I'm doing but I may not be able to write out directions in a way that others will be able to follow me.  We'll have to see.

So, back to the sock.  I'm thinking that I'll search my books for a pattern that won't bore me to tears as I knit this sock, but won't be completely lost in the color variations of hand-painted yarn.  It's always a challenge for me to combine yarn and pattern in a way that shows both in their best light...and comes from a book that we have in the shop.  The good news is that I have a brand new book to add to my arsenal of potential patterns, and I'm eager to look them over.

I have yet another project on deck, this one has some priority over my others.  I'll be knitting eight dishcloths for Heather's mom as part of her birthday present.  I picked up the yarn today...eight beautiful shades of Berrocco Touche, which I have all wound up and took a picture of (waiting for a chance to upload it...Xbox live...)  I'm thinking I can knit one a night and have them done in plenty of time.  This set come from Kris Knits, and I'm knitting the Beach Cloth collection.  I chose colors as close to the original version as possible, but I did sub a beautiful teal blue for the sea green fish cloth.  We didn't have a green that color, and to be honest, fish swim in water and when I think of water I think of blue.  I'm actually looking forward to knitting these.  Usually I hate dishcloths, but these things are so darn cute that I want to try them out.  I also love her Creepy Cloths and Holiday Cloths.  I might just end up with a whole set of different dish cloths for every darned occasion at this rate, lol.

In school news, I have to say that I'm really getting a lot out of the classes I'm taking this term.  I'm completely fascinated by my abnormal psych class, and I've already learned a few things that have come in handy from my 'development of school aged' children class.  As a matter of fact, between that class and tips from my friend Heather, I actually pulled together a fun lesson for the Sunbeams this week.  I held their attention the full 40 minutes, and their eyes didn't glaze over one time, lol.  We talked about how we're "Thankful for birds and bugs", which I wasn't sure I would be able to sell (the bugs at least).  I found a picture in the Gospel Art Kit for the miracle of the Sea Gulls (which I'd never heard of before), I had Dante get a book from his room with photos of different birds and bugs for me, and I photo copied color pages in the library from one of Alex's books with butterflies, ladybugs, and ducks for them to color after.  I brought some stickers I inherited that say "good job" in a million different ways to put on their pages after they colored them (stickers work like cash for Alex).

We talked about the Gulls, and the lesson suggested a guessing game where I give the children hints and they guess what I am.  They guessed so fast that I decided to have them tell me what the other features of each creature were.  Then I quizzed them to see if I could trip them up, lol.  They all decided that you could tell a bird apart from other animals because they have beaks, wings, feathers, and can fly.  When we talked about butterflies, I asked if they were birds because they have wings like birds.  They all said no, because they don't have feathers or beaks.  Smart kids!  Then they all told me about different birds they knew, and we made the bird calls for each.  Really fun!  They really enjoyed that part, and the Gull story where we pretended to be tall like growing wheat, and to be big clouds of buzzing insects coming to eat the wheat (especially Alex).  It just worked, and I never realized how simple I needed to get, and how much fun I could have with them.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring Attention Deficit

I find it difficult once the weather starts to warm up to stick to any one thing for very long.  My creativity just seems to shoot through the roof, and I get all these great ideas that I want to start immediately (some of which I do) but I never have time to see any of them all the way through without losing the drive or the idea for others.  I have the shop sample that needs to be finished, and I started another pair of socks for Alex (complete with two false starts) that I should finish while I still remember what I'm doing with them.  I have school work to do, and new socks from a book I just bought that are begging to be knit, and new sock yarn that I picked up that I want to work with, and new sock yarn that I want to order for some socks for my mom (and a pair of thigh-highs in the new book!), and there's just too much!  On a side note, my husband just approved the purchase of said yarn for the thigh-highs, lol. 

So what does a girl, with too much to do and not enough time to get it done in, do on a rainy Friday?  I watched episodes of Bones season 1 & 2.  Brennan is wearing this beautiful sweater in the very last episode of season 1, in her apartment while she talks to Booth about her parents.  I just loved it, and I decided that I want one.  I took the advise of another designer, and decided to sketch it out.  I can tell from the show that it's a shawl-collared cardigan with buttons and ribbing along the bottom, the button band, and the top of the shoulders.  It looks like the neck decreases are exaggerated, starting about half way down the front pieces and continuing all the way up to the shoulders so that the front pieces are very narrow, almost like a vest.  There are also sections of 2x2 ribbing along the sides where the obliques are, and on the bottom of the sleeves (sleeves are set-in).  The rest is all stockinette stitch.  I drew out the front (without collar & with collar), the back, and the front and back of the sleeves.  I need to find a good yarn and do some swatching, and then I need to read my reference books regarding sweater construction.  I think I know what I want to do and I've knit enough sweaters by now to have a pretty basic idea how to put one together.  What I need is some ideas regarding decrease placement (I'm going for an over-sized cardigan with some waist shaping...comfort doesn't mean boxy).  The sweater in the episode was a long coat, reaching mid-thigh, with pockets.  I'm thinking longer but not that long, maybe 3-4 inches past the top of my pants, and I'm nixing the pockets.  I have a store-bought sweater that fits me well, and I plan to measure that (and add a few inches of ease) to get an idea of my dimensions.  I also have to consider yarn and gauge.  I'm thinking an aran or chunky weight yarn, like maybe Cascade Eco + or Queensland Rustic Aran.  I'll have to do some different swatches and see how I feel about the look of the fabric.  I don't want anything to take away from the ribbing, as that's what really makes this sweater.  Then, if I can manage to stay with this project long enough to get it written, I'll have to see what I can do about getting some help to write it up for different size options.

Yesterday I took Dante to his appointment at East Bay and we saw a clinician.  She is going to refer us to a psychiatrist to have him reevaluated just to see if there have been any changes since his initial diagnosis.  There aren't any openings with any psychiatrists right away, so we'll return after next week and see her until someone comes open.  She validated my concerns over the way that Dante behaves on his meds, and wants to see him when he's off to get an idea of the difference.  He's on vacation after next week and won't be on his meds, so we're going back then.  I'm feeling good about this.  They're going to contact the school as well to get their paperwork and someone with fresh eyes will be able to see what they have (or haven't) done for him.  This will be good!

I also got a call today from the sleep clinic!!  Yes!  They got my referral and paperwork, and Alex is scheduled for May 24th to come in.  The first visit will be about an hour and a half, and we'll go from there.  I really hope they can tell us what's going on here, because I really need to get this little boy straightened out.  May is going to be a busy month, as that's when Dante will be going in for reevaluation. 

Back to knitting, or more correctly crocheting, I watched the videos from Interweave Crochet teaching how to do Tunisian Crochet today.  If you've never heard of it, check it out (click Next on the top of the video to advance through them).  It's like the coolest little hybrid of knitting and crocheting.  The technique is done with a long, straight crochet hook but the stitches look like knitting.  There's a pattern in the Winter 2009 Interweave Crochet magazine that uses the technique so they added these videos to explain how it's done.  I love to learn new things, but I mostly watched it so that I would understand what customers are talking about when they come in asking for it (which happened a few times this Winter, and I had nothing).  I think I'd like to try it out as a sample for the shop, and if it works out like I think it will, maybe I can offer a workshop on it.  It's easier than it looks.  I think I'm going to go play right now and see what I can come up with, lol.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

"Babies" the movie

Some of you may know this, but if you don't...now you do.  I'm an agent with Buzz Agent and I sometimes get to try new things before they hit the market, or as they're just being introduced, and share these things with my friends.  The only catch to this fabulous deal is that I report back to Buzz exactly what the opinions of my friends were related to the project.  If they loved it, I tell them.  If they hated it, I tell them (along with why).  That's it! 

So recently I was given a chance to look at some promotional materials for a new movie Babies, and I took a quick look at it until I could get back to it.  The basic idea of the film is a documentary following four children from different cultural background from birth through two years old.  These are some of the cutest darned babies I've seen in a while, and that was about as far as I got.  Today I looked at some of the photos and just fell back in love with these kids (if you can see the photo, this is Bayar from Mongolia). 

I'm pretty interested in watching this film just from a child development standpoint.  I've been studying that the last two terms, and off and on in my various psychology classes, and I'm looking forward to seeing what aspects of childhood are universal and what are diverse.  Sometimes as parents we worry about our children not having the latest, newest, biggest and bestest "thing" available, but at least two of these families are from very rural backgrounds and their children are just as happy, maybe more because they have love and the simple things in life.  I think that the drive for the shiny new toys leaves us feeling empty inside, which is one of the things that church talks to us about on a regular basis.  The things that are important are family, and friendships, not brand new iPods and expensive sneakers.  Those things don't truly make us happy.  So anyway...the film...from what I can glean from the trailers and promotional materials I've had access to, that's what this film is about...love, family, happiness.  Check it out if you have a chance.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The "between-project" project

You know, I never seem to think about posting until my husband is playing "Crack-4" (AKA Call of Duty- Modern Warfare II) on Xbox live, and uploading photos would cause his game to lag, and that causes him to yell...so I don't usually get around to uploading photos.  However, I managed to sneak in two pictures of my beautiful new alpaca fiber, courtesy of a lovely woman from Ravelry, while he was upstairs.  There are four ounces total, the top photo being white with a little "tort", and the bottom being white with "blue".  I have no idea what this fiber is going to eventually be.  I really don't care.  I just know that I have four ounces of the softest stuff I've ever touched in. my. life!  It's so soft that when you put your hand in the bag, you don't even register that you're touching anything.  Unbelievable.

Now, to the "between-project" project in question.  Alex just loves Dante.  He likes to dress like Dante and do things that Dante does (which will hopefully translate into missions for both of them, but that's for another day), so when we were getting dressed for church last week, Alex kept pointing out how he had a tie "just like you, Dante" and "church-shoes just like you, Dante".  Well, it did not escape his notice that he doesn't have church-socks just like Dante, so yesterday I cast on a pair for him.  It's an improvised design based on the calculations in my ever faithful "Handy Book of Patterns" by Ann Budd.  I'm using the size 4-8 years (based on earlier foot measurements that Alex insisted I take, after I took Dante's) and my gauge is 8sts per inch so I just cast on a quick 52 stitches, worked 2x2 ribbing for about 6 rows, and then fell into a pattern of knitting two rows, and K2 P2 for two rows.  The yarn is from Knit Picks, and I picked it up in a "neutral sock sampler" kit a few years ago.  The colors were just too butch for me and I've not really used them, but the pattern I whipped up works well with the striping in the yarn and Alex likes them.  He made me put the first one on, and then told me that he "needs an other one for right here (his left foot)".  It should be all set by tomorrow afternoon, and then it's back to the latest shop sample.  I've finished the back piece knit with Canela yarn by Ester Britton.  It's coming along nicely, but I'm really itching to knit socks right now.  It's spring, and socks/shawls are my usual go-to projects this time of year.  Never mind the fact that I have 10 ounces of various types of fiber that need to be spun, and five sweaters on deck.  Oh, and school, and work, and family.

Speaking of school, I just got an email today from school that I've made the President's list for last term's grades.  I guess that's different from the Dean's list, but I'm not sure what qualified me for one over the other.  I just keep trying (and so far succeeding) to earn A's, and they keep mailing me certificates of achievement for my GPA, lol.  I don't really know what it all means, other than I stand a good chance of being able to get into Grad school.  Thankfully, this term is like a mini-vacation compared to last term because I've picked up an extra day at work and I'm going to cover our new open-knit hours on Friday mornings from 10am-12pm, starting April 16th.  I'm also going to be busy with Dante soon.  I've made an appointment for him at the East Bay counseling center to help us manage his ADHD.  We've decided that he will only be medicated for school (so no weekends or vacations), and I'm trying to avoid the need for him to take the booster pill in the afternoons.  He struggles with his homework because the meds are gone by then.  Taking the pill later in the morning is not an option as it takes too long to hit his system and that would cause problems in his classes (where he's just doing the best he can right now as it is).  I'm taking some suggestions and having him eat a large snack when he comes home, and having him finish his homework downstairs where I can observe him.  We're back to checking his agenda to be sure he truly doesn't have homework, and that he's completed what he has, and I've started signing it.  We wrote up a homework contract that listed some things he needs to do, and what we will do if those steps don't work or he doesn't follow them.  We've both signed that and it's hanging on the fridge.  We'll just have to see how it goes, but I'm really hopeful about counseling.  He really needs to learn some skills to manage his attention, and I'd like for him to be able to feel like he has some power over the situation.  I'll update when I have news.