Monday, August 30, 2010 which I follow a photo heavy post with no photos

I'm all about balance :)

So tonight I had my first seminars of the new term, and I'm feeling pretty good about these classes.  They are higher level courses so the seminars aren't graded which means that if I miss one, I don't have to make them up.  That's great if I fall a little bit behind, although I do try to make it a habit to attend the seminars because it's easier to stay caught up that way and I can ask questions before a major assignment is due.  I'm taking a humanities class, which is turning out to be pretty interesting even though I thought it was going to be some dull art-history type class (no offense to any art-history majors...or teachers).  Just in the first two chapters (which were grueling to get through by the way) I found that I'd read many of the works that they mentioned and had viewed several of the films so I picked up on a few of the references.  That felt pretty good.  I'm more well-read than I thought, lol.  Sometimes it pays to have the occasional nerdy habit :)  And my screening & assessment class is just fascinating!  I love anything psych related, and so far this is right up my alley.  I think this might end up being my fun class this term!  But either way, they're both better than my last two, and any time I've completed a math class, the following classes always seem lighter in terms of the work load.

Aaron's working the golf tournament up near the Comcast center again this year.  He's gone for 12-14 hours at a time when he does this.  This year he's working nights so Linda is taking Alex tomorrow and Wiena is taking him on Wednesday so that Aaron can get some sleep while I'm at work.  He'll have to miss the family reunion this year, which isn't that unusual in and of itself but this year he's gotten over much of his problems with his father and was actually going to he can't and everyone was looking forward to his being there.  I'll take the boys myself.  So anyway, with his schedule, I won't be making any of my knitting groups again this week.  Craft night is out again.  I'm not sure how I'll work out Young Men's but I'm sure it'll fall into place (it usually does).

Another draw back of Aaron's cousin-in-law had her baby this morning at about 5am, and I can't go see her in the hospital because I can't bring Alex in there.  My MIL will bring her my warm wishes but I really wanted to go in and visit her at the hospital.  I'll just have to hustle to finish the monkey blanket (which I steeked today!) and bring it to the house.  The blanked it considerably smaller than I thought it would be, which is probably due in part to my stranding (gauge always gets smaller), but I checked my gauge pretty carefully for this least I think I did.  Anyway, they can use it in the car to cover the car seat or something.  And she's only about 6lbs & change so she may actually get to use this for a little bit.  My boys were horses.  They were born the size of an average 3 month old, so nothing small ever lasted more than a few weeks, lol.  So, I'll be trying to fit in the final stages of this blanket, while working on the swirl shawl and doing home work.  The only productive thing I managed to do in the last 24 hours was to steek the blanket-halves, and to organize my pattern folders by putting loose patterns in page protectors and organizing the binders.  Let's see if I can get some decent photos of the final stages of the blanket, and put them up by the next post.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

What I did on my summer vacation (photo heavy)

Sea Lion at the Mystic Aquarium
Me & Alex in front of the "King & Heir" statue
Beluga Whale
watching the whales
or not...
Sting Rays
Rescued sea lions from California

Posing after the show

Thursday, August 26, 2010

First day of the term; bored to death

So, it's the first day of the term and my humanities class is a real bore so far.  This book reads like a travel agent brochure on various forms on art, and how they will greatly enrich my life.  Not that I'm not into different art forms, but the way the text is written is bugging the crap out of me.  I sure hope that things improve after this introduction chapter, otherwise it's going to be a long 10 weeks.

I completed the second wedge of the Lace Edge Swirl Shawl (newly added to the Ravelry pattern database, thank you very much), and my numbers were off.  I was able to fudge it a bit on the pick-up row for the third wedge, but it bugged me so much that I had dreams about trying to get the numbers to work out all night long.  That and trying to knit a pair of lime green gloves (or maybe they were blue...) for some man I don't know.  Alex woke up last night the second I tried to turn the fan off, and then got up out of bed and ran around the room for a minute, at about 1:30am, so I didn't sleep well at all.  I spend the entire night in a state semi-consciousness to keep an ear open for him.  That being said, I was pretty tired when I got up today.  Work was slower today than yesterday, and I spend 7 hours putting bar-code labels on 410 skeins of Cascade 220.  Seriously.  I'm not exaggerating.  It was crazy.  I had to label them all, then put four aside for the shelves, and bag the rest for storage in the back room.  Both of my hands tingle and hurt a little bit now from all the label peeling, and bag stuffing, and heavy lifting.  On the good side, I'm scoring some gorgeous Cascade Heritage in a ruby red color for whole sale because we never ordered the bag in the first place, and I need that color to replace my Baudelaire socks.  It's a crying shame what happened to those socks.  First the heels blew out, and then carpet beetle larvae got to them and ate huge holes in the sole of one, and with all the repairs they just aren't wearable in shoes anymore but I can't toss them until I knit a replacement pair in the same color.  They were my absolute favorite socks of all time.  So I'll be knitting a new pair soon.

Speaking of knitting, I also got the Sheep 3 sample from the shop and I picked up two extra skeins of the same yarn to lengthen the sleeves with, and a button to put on it.  I'll be closing the hole up a bit as it's too large for the button, but it looked so good on the coat.  I've loved this thing for years and it's awesome to be able to bring it home.  The body fits great but I have these giant arms so I need to add a few inches.  I might even knit them extra long so that I can turn up the sleeve and cover the spot where I picked up my stitches.  That sounds good.  I think I'm doing it.

Lastly, today is Aaron's birthday.  He's 36.  Don't tell him I told you, lol.  I'm off to finally cut into his cake :)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Strange things

Learning by osmosis
This was a really strange Sunday.  It poured rain most of the day (naturally...because my hair is straight).  Alex had a really tough start to the day, and I had to take him out of sacrament meeting but he was just fine in class and sharing time.  Usually it's the other way around.  We had a baptism for one of my kids in primary so we stayed just long enough for him to actually be baptized, and then had to run to get Alex some lunch.  I finally took WD-40 to church with me and sprayed everything that is metal and moves.  The high-pitched squeak was just too much to take anymore and I did something about it.  Heather returned today and did sharing time, and brought some really great trinkets home from Utah for the kids for their birthdays.  And before I could leave, the Bishop caught me on the way out and let me know that they are releasing the primary presidency.

I don't really know how I feel about being released.  I sort of feel like I'm floating out there in the breeze with no purpose, as I've been the 1st counselor for two years.  I had a feeling that my time was almost up because Kristen paid me that really nice compliment that I seemed to have found my 'sea-legs' so to speak in the primary.  That's usually when they pull you.  Heavenly Father seems to put us (or at least me) in a job that I feel totally unqualified for and know nothing about, and then once I finally understand what I'm doing and how to do it, He figures that I've learned what ever I was there to learn and it's time for me to do something else.  It's happened every time, and I guess this wasn't any different.  So when I was released, I wasn't too surprised.  Now I'm about 3 hours removed from that moment and I'm just not sure how I feel about it. 

For a long time, I've gone down stairs and worked with the kids.  Some days were better than others.  As I've been in school, I've been putting to use the things that I've learned, and I've watched the improvement in many of their attitudes.  I've watched as some have moved away, been baptized, gone up to Young Men's and passed sacrament, fallen inactive, and as some have come from the nursery to join us in primary.  I've consolled some.  I've had chats with a few parents.  I held one in my arms in the hallway as they had a tantrum all afternoon.  I've leaned heavily on others who could always be counted on to participate in a pinch.  I've given lessons that caused their eyes to glaze over with boredom, and I've given lessons where even the most jaded of the oldest children got involved.  I've bribed them with food, and given them The Look (you know the look...that one that tells them that their time on this Earth is short if they don't pull it together).  I've seen one of my own children leave primary and another one join.  It feels like they need me, and like it will fall apart if I leave and yet I know that they have already called a new President who will call new counselors, and these ladies are exactly what this group of kids needs right now.  My time is past and I'm on to the next thing, or maybe not. 

Maybe it's time for me to just attend classes and meetings for a little while.  I've been teaching someone something for the last 3 years straight.  It'll be nice not to be nagged by the thought that I have to prepare a sharing time lesson in a few days, all while being in the middle of school work and trying to get that done.  It'll be nice not to have to worry about finding a substitute for a class because one of the teachers will be out, and then ultimately just teaching the class myself because no subs could be found.  I won't feel guilty anymore about all of the things our little primary aren't doing because we don't have the bodies to fill every position we have available.  There are some definite pluses, but its still a little bitter-sweet. 

Bitter-sweet.  That reminds me that I was supposed to bake cookies yesterday.  Instead I spent the entire afternoon mending my knitting.  I've had a basket sitting in the corner for months now with my Ivy league Vest and multiple pairs of socks which all needed my attention.  Yesterday I fixed the split seam on my vest, and then sewed down the steeks so that I won't have any other issues.  I also darned about 5 pairs of socks.  I wear out my heels, and every pair of socks I own was in need of some form of heel reinforcement, or flat out replacement.  If I was smarter, I'd knit afterthought heels all the time so I could just pull them out and knit them again.  Some of these socks are going to need to be tossed just as soon as I can get another pair knit to replace them.  It's not like I don't have enough yarn to do it.  I just don't have a lot of time.  I should just knit a pair a month like the Yarn Harlot does, and that could help quite a bit.  It might even save on the wear if I had enough to alternate them more often that I currently do.  And I have at least three partial pairs in some state of completion right now so I'm off to a head start.  One pair has been on the needles for two years now, so I should really just suck it up and finish them already. 

Well, my butter is officially at room temp and my boys need to eat, so I'm off to the kitchen.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The end of the mini-project

first wedge in progress
This week marks the end of the mini-project.  There are some major changes taking place in the shop (think furniture moving) and we've got some of our fall yarns in.  We're trying to be proactive this season and knit the samples before the yarns come out so that we can put them out with the yarns and give people an idea of how some of them work up.  This is the Noro lace weight I mentioned before.  It's one full color repeat, and about 2/3 of the first wedge of the shawl.  This one is simple enough for a beginner, but has enough interest to keep a veteran lace knitter interested.  The lace edge is a very simple 10 row repeat that can be easily memorized.  I actually lost some progress on it because after working on it for two evenings, I realized that my needle size was too small (even though I was still getting over the 29sts per 4 inches that was listed as the gauge).  I decided that since this will eventually belong to me, and what with my being 6' and all..., that I should rip it back and knit it on the 5mm needle suggested by the pattern.  It's looking much better and I think it'll actually be long enough for me. 

My break from school is almost over (way too soon).  I got my books in the mail and started looking at the first chapter.  One class is on testing and assessment, and the other is on arts and humanities.  I'm feeling better about them than my classes last term, as the subjects are quite a bit more interesting.  We'll see how I feel about them in a few weeks. 

Now, off to knit on the shawl some more, and let Alex watch some Wallace & Grommit on Netflix instant watch.

a closer look at the lace edge swirl shawl

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Today's mini-project: Noro bottle cover

His & Her's bottle covers, lol.
Today I decided that it was finally time to knit that second Noro bottle cover so that my husband can take hot or cold drinks with him and not have to hide the bottle because of the bright, girly, rainbow colors of the skein that I used for mine (Alex picked it, so you can bet it's pretty).  He liked that his drink stayed hot, but hated feeling like he had to sit in the back of the class to keep people from seeing it.  I promised him one, and today as I made him a pot of coffee, I remembered my promise and grabbed my random ball of Noro Kureyon out of the stash to knit him one of his own.  I even found him a bottle just like mine so that he wouldn't have to take mine all the time.  So, after working on it for a few hours of the day, I cast it off...put it on his bottle...and presented him with it.  He gave me a big smile, and a kiss on the forehead, so it's safe to say that he's a happy man.  Now his drinks that he takes to the gym will stay cold while he works out.  I'll post photos as soon as I can (he's playing Crack 4 on Xbox live so I can't upload photos right now). 

swirly bottoms
The pattern is my own, and it's pretty basic.  If there is any interest in it, I'll type it up and get it uploaded to Ravelry, and provide a copy by email for those who aren't on Ravelry.  It's one skein of Noro Kureyon (it only takes about half), and 4mm double-points or circulars (depending on your preferred method of knitting in the round), and a crochet hook for the tie. 

My buddy from work is back from vacation, and I was able to tell her that I'd mostly finished the garter stitch purse that she left me with when she went away.  I'm not a fan of knitting garter stitch (although I love the look of bores me to death), and I don't like knitted handbags, so this project wasn't one that I was excited about, but it turned out to be the perfect project to knit while watching True Blood.  So after a few episodes, I looked down and it was almost finished!  I feel much better about handing it back to her to take over.  I'm on to another project now; The Lace Edge Swirl Shawl by Naomi (my buddy from work) knit in the brand new yarn from Noro: Kiremeki.  It's a rayon, nylon, wool, and cashmere blend lace-weight yarn with long, long color runs.  When I was receiving this yarn last week, I almost started to drool, so I jumped on the chance to knit this sample even though it's mostly worked in garter stitch (see above comment, lol).  I feel confident that the lace edge, and the pretty yarn will keep me engaged in the project.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Alex's Monster-Mitts

Happy little boy and his hand-warmers :)
Today's mini-project: Composit Mitts for Alex.  The mornings and evenings have been getting pretty crisp, and Alex gets cold fingers.  I went looking for his hand-warmers from last year only to discover that I'd lost one.  That called for a new pair.  I tried a few different styles with some gray Queensland Rustic Tweed that i had left over from Jana's gloves, but the tonal-tweed deal just interfered with the patterns and it wasn't working out.  So, after searching my stash a little bit, I found a stray ball of green Cashmerino DK (I think...might be aran weight), and cast on.  I went to my favorite fall-back pattern: Natalya by Jody Pirrello (Ravelry link).  I love this pattern.  It's one of only two patterns I've ever knit more than time.  I've actually knit some altered version of this pattern five different times!  That's some kind of record in my house.  I followed the pattern using the cast-on numbers for the mittens in the 4-6 year old size from Ann Budd's Handy Book of Patterns.  The fold-over seed stitch flap and thumbs are inspired by Arachnid by Karen Fournier.  I loved her fold-over ribbed cuffs and thought that would be great for mornings when it's nippy but not cold enough for full on mittens yet.  These knit up in a flash, and they were received with the biggest smile I've seen in a while, lol.  His exact words were "are they finished!  Can I wear them?!  Who's more satisfying to knit for than him?lol.  And he hasn't taken them off yet.  As a matter of fact, he has plans in the works for a matching hat.

Apple green Cashmerino DK
Today we go back to the sleep clinic for our second follow up since the over-night sleep study.  I'm hoping that they'll have some suggestions for us but the last time I was there they mentioned that we're running out of options.  The woman who comes to see us from The Providence Center called (actually her supervisor called) to check on Alex today.  I'd had to cancel his appointment on Friday because his eye swelled up like a balloon about 20 minutes after he went to bed the night before.  It was red, swollen, and he was a mess.  He was having a nasty allergy attack and I dosed him with Benedryl several times through out the night and the following day, and took him to the pediatrician.  He's got hay-fever.  They prescribed some children's claratin for him and he's been doing much better since.  He slept all night last night and had a pretty good day at church the day before.  They suggested asking for a referral to an allergist, and to see if they would consider putting down in their report that he should be tried in a school setting for a few weeks to see if the routine of it could help reset his little body to a normal routine and tire him out enough to sleep through the night.  If they recommend it, the people at The Providence Center could try again with the insurance company to see if they would cover the cost of the day program for a few weeks.  I think it's worth a shot so we'll see what happens.

Ladies and gentleman, your future hand-model
Now, off to see what I can do for a mini-project for today.  Eventually, I'll actually have to crochet this afghan for my husband, lol.  Oh! and before I forget, my final grades are in and I passed Statistics and Research Methods with A's in both!  Somehow, I got a perfect 100% in research methods :)  Not bad for a class that I didn't like and felt unqualified for, lol.  My GPA survived statistics and research methods...I think I might be in the clear now.

And one last thing... the answer to the question about the quotes under the photos on my last post.  Kelly got it right.   The movie is The Ghost and Mr. Chicken with Don Knotts, a favorite in my house particularly with Alex.  What can I say?  The kid has good taste.  Kelly, if I don't get to see you on Thursday night, I'll have your stitch markers on Sunday.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dial M for, that is

Do murder and calm go together?!
Yesterday, the first of the Super Sock Scarefest patterns hit.  It was a bonus pattern; a mini-sock designed around the movie Dial M for Murder.  The sock has little telephones and the letter 'M' on the heel flap.  It's totally cute and tiny, and now that I've finished it i have no idea how to stop the mayhem (or what to do with a mini-sock, lol).  Here you can see that the sock was caught in the act, on the scene of a murder (doesn't The Boy do a great job of playing dead?, lol).

It's knit with Lang Jawoll in red, some Knit Picks Risata in black, and some Knit Picks Bare in white.  The pattern calls for 2.0mm needles (I used a 40" circular in the magic loop).  This pattern literally uses up scraps of yarn.  I hardly made a dent in my balls of yarn, and oddly enough I had every color called for in my stash.  I guess that's what comes from being a total sock addict for several years.
Murder and calm...  Calm and murder... Murder?!

I did most of my knitting on this while I was in the shop yesterday covering the early part of the day for my buddy who's apartment complex decided that they needed to do an inspection anywhere between 9am-noon, and then never showed up during that time, lol.  Just like the cable company.  Alex was fantastic (no sitter so he was with me) and he played with my DS all day.  He seemed to really like the cover as well.  This is one of the reasons that I love this boy... he loves my knitting, loves yarn, likes to play with it, and he'll wear what I knit for him.  He sometimes even makes requests.  maybe I'll be able to pass on my love of knitting to one of my kids after all :)

Calver, what are you doing here?  Your dead!
Well I'm off to get ready to leave.  I'm finally getting up to the temple today.  It's been almost 18 months since I had my recommend renewed and I just never got up  there.  There's no good excuse, I just always had to work or I had sitter issues, or husband issues.  But today I'm canceling everything and going with the ladies from the Relief Society.  Looking forward to getting inside, taking a deep breath, and forgetting the outside world for a few hours.

Oh, and by the way, the quotes under the photos?...  Guess what movie they're from and there's a set of stitch markers made by yours truly in it for ya.

Friday, August 13, 2010

mini projects to hold off the craving

I'm crocheting an afghan for my husband for his birthday, per his request.  Anyone who knows me knows I'm a knitter, but you may not know that I crochet too.  As a matter of fact, I crocheted before I ever knit, but I just took to knitting like a duck to water so I never went back to my other crafts.  So, now that I'm making a 45"x60" giant single-crochet afghan for my husband, I'm feeling all itchy from the knitting withdrawal.  So I've been working on mini projects to hold it off.  Tuesday I knit a swatch in the round in a sample color of Tofutsies yarn just so that we could see what it would look like knit up, and then I stapled it to the color card (yes, it really is that bad).  Yesterday I found a pattern for the cutest little Nintendo DS cover and I decided to knit one for my poor, neglected DS to help keep the dust away. 
seamless DS cover with duplicate stitch mushroom motif
I used Queensland Rustic Wool in color #18 (rose) on 4.5mm needles and Berroco Pure Merino in white to do the duplicate stitch mushroom.  This is by far cuter than any of the little DS covers I've seen in the stores.  The ribbing is worked on 3.5mm needles.  This worked up fast and I'm feeling the need to make a few more so that I can add the other motifs to those covers.  And I think this could also work well for iPod or iPhone covers.

Super Sock Scarefest has kicked off with a bonus mini-sock pattern themed after Dial M for Murder.  This is gonna be a fun season!  I'm looking forward to my sock being released and I hope that it's received well.  I got my yarn from Plays at Life Fiber Arts, and I'll be knitting the pair along with the group as the sock that I originally knit is pretty skinny thanks to my tighter stranding issues.  This 2-week break from classes is going to be loaded with as many projects and I can stuff into it.  I don't know how much knitting I'll be able to get done when the new classes start.  Thankfully, I've rounded the corner on school and I'm close to the home stretch as I only have 3 gen-ed classes left and then it's all core classes, all the time!  I have just over a year left to go and I'll graduate with a Bachelors in Psychology!!  Sa-weet.  Oh, and to confirm, I passed Statistics with an A (but I still can't make change without the help of a calculator, lol).

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

done, and done

I'm tired, and it's late, but I needed to post that my final project for my Research Methods class is turned in, and my final exam for Statistics is done.  I got an 85.8% on that exam and I figure that with my 94%, I'm still looking good for an 'A' by the skin of my teeth and my streak remains unbroken.  Now I'm off to crochet my husband an afghan for his birthday, and try to knit one of the 10 sweaters-worth of yarn into an actual sweater, and see if I can stop bringing it in faster than I can crank it out.  The odds aren't good.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The all Alex show

It's all Alex, all the time!  So for a quick update as I'm in the midst of finals, we're giving the iron supplement three times a day.  The room darkening shades arrived and seem to be helping.  I've moved bedtime back by 30 minutes and he seems to be sleeping in a little bit longer (about an hour).  Last night there was no talking in his sleep that I heard.  The eye is healing, but I can tell there'll be a little scar.  Nothing big.  The sale is still going on at the shop and even though I swore off buying any more yarn because (I kid you not...) I don't have anywhere to put it, but the Hacho is on sale for half off now if you buy a bag (or what ever is left of a color) and I get my discount on top of that so I bought enough to knit him a sweater in the brown I used years ago for his house socks, and two skeins in the yellow so I can knit him a new hat to match his mittens and coat this year.  I use Hacho for him.  I like it.  It's on steep discount.  It just made sense.  I'll knit sweaters for a 4-year old because he's pretty small, but he'll wear it, unlike my other boys.  Dante is strictly a sock/glove/hat kid, and Aaron's an afghan man.  That's about it.  What ever.  More time to knit for me.

This concludes the Alex show.  Back to your regularly scheduled programing.