Sunday, July 31, 2011


So I know I was jazzed about starting P.T. and I knew I would probably hurt before things started to feel better...but honestly, can anyone explain why I hurt so much when I'm only stretching!  I haven't even started any exercises.  My back is so out of whack that I have to do the modified versions of the stretches that she showed me, because my hip and ankle joints hurt.  Right now as I sit here typing this, my knee is throbbing.  This is gonna be fun.

Also, I have an appointment tomorrow at the DHS office so that'll be fun :|  And after that, I get to see if I can get Alex in to see the doctor for a suspicious looking rash on is arms, face, back, and ears.  Meanwhile, I also have to find time to work on my paper that's due on Tuesday night.  But don't think that means that I'm not going to Denise's to watch True Blood tonight, lol.  Or posting every day for a week during my busiest school-related week so far.  Cause that makes sense, right??  If it makes any difference...I didn't knit anything yesterday...

In knitting news, my rockstar test-knitter Daisy found three small errors in the numbers for my outer mitten between yesterday and today (and I just sent the pattern yesterday!), and she's managed to finish the first mitten.  She's a knitting force of nature!  Thankfully, she chooses to use her powers for good instead of evil.  So, this means that I just might get this pattern out faster than I expected, all depending on how quickly I can get the other mitten finished.  Or on whether or not I can resist casting on for this or this.  I tried to ignore them, but I keep finding myself checking out the finished projects and clicking on the pattern to see what it is.  It's going viral!  I usually try to avoid these types of patterns because I don't want to be a sheep in the herd...but I'm a total sheep!  They're just so genius, and I'm just so powerless to resist.  Maybe I'll be saved by my huge school workload, my family obligations, and my unreasonably large Ravelry que.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Why am I so constantly tired?!

Hercules, the neighbor's cat in my garden
I feel like this guy!  I'm so tired all the time.  I know this is starting to sound like a broken record, but I just can't figure out why I'm so tired all the time.  It's probably a combo of not eating all that well in the summer (cause it's too hot to cook...or eat), and staying up late with school work and knitting, and then getting up early with Alex (who isn't sleeping well again).  I just need a serious nap.  And this supposed break from school, where I'm only taking one class instead of two...that's crap.  This class is as much work as two classes, and my only solace is that I don't have another one to try to fit in to my day.

Complaining aside, I did manage to get my pattern typed up this morning and out to the testers.  Now I just have to find the time to knit the mate, and then it's off to Cascade (assuming there are not huge errors in the pattern).  I'm looking forward to working with them again.  My only regret is that I don't get to keep the samples...which means that if I knit something I particularly love...I have to knit it twice.  I sort of have a 'thing' about that.  There's just too much to knit and not enough time to do it in, so I almost never knit anything twice.  It's got to be a really special pattern for me to knit it multiple times (like the Baudelaire socks by Cookie A, or the Natalya hand warmers by Savannah Chik).  And to be honest, even after going through my Ravelry que and weeding out three solid pages, I still wouldn't be able to knit everything in there if I started today and did nothing but knit from now to the day I died.  So my blanket that I love so much...well, the likelihood of my ever having one of my own isn't good because I just can't spend that kind of time reknitting something that I've already done.  Besides, I have at least three other blanket ideas in my head right now and those need to get out!  Plus I have  few sweater ideas and I think I might be ready to take that leap finally, after all, I did just design something with some lace in it and that was pretty intimidating at first.  I'm honestly feeling like I can do this, and there's a lot of help out there to make it happen. 

So, that being said, I'm going to quit fooling around and get back to my homework.  I still have to read 40 more pages, write a 3-4 page paper on schedules of reinforcement, and post to two discussion board questions plus respond to at least four of my classmates...all by Tuesday at 11:59pm EST.  Oh, and in case you were wondering, I've knit the Baudelaire socks twice (and will have to knit them at least once more to replace a pair I wore out), and the Natalya hand warmers in some version or other at least five times.

Friday, July 29, 2011

sneak peak: heritage silk lace mittens

What you see here, is a sneak peak at my latest design for Cascade Yarns.  I was almost done when we had the Yarn Tasting, so the customers had a chance to check it out and feel it, but I finished it last night and you've just got to see the finished mitten to believe it!  I sent photos to my contact at Cascade, and to the test knitters (so they'll have some sort of idea what it's supposed to look like when they knit it), but other than this little glimpse are going to stay off the web until it's all done. 

I did find one little flaw in the concept that require an adjustment of some numbers in the inner mitten, before the pattern is released, but that's sort of what this process is about right?  I can definitely say this: it's super cool to have something I saw in my mind make it's way out and off the end of my needles.  Oh, and I also understand how much it sucks for the designer to have this super cool project to talk about, only they can't talk about it or show photos of it, but they still have a blog and a group and a facebook page to update.  What the heck does one talk about when one has to hide their best current project?!  And I also understand how boring that is for a reader, because I read lots and lots of blogs and everytime I come across a designer's blog where they're in the same situation, I always feel like they're holding back the goods.  So I understand how you probably feel and I promise to try to find something worth talking about while this is going on.

Meanwhile, I started physical therapy for my knee yesterday.  I don't have an injury or anything.  I just have femurs that point inward so if my feet are pointing straight ahead, my knees are pointing toward each other.  That causes soreness over time.  Combine that with the scoliosis, which raises my right leg higher off the ground that my left leg (so when I work out my left leg carries more of the weight), and that means that my already sore knees are being aggravated by super tight muscles in the legs (and the muscles are tighter on the left side).  I have a handful of stretches to do daily (for right now) and I have to see her twice a week for the next three weeks at least.  Then we'll add some strengthening exercises to help keep the knee strong, and to help keep my back aligned longer so I can limit some of the daily pain I've had to endure.  I'm just too young to be this sore all the time, so I'm really excited to do something about it.

Now then.  I just talked about something other than the mystery-project :)  Time for me to get ready for class, and then to go do some homework.  I have a paper due this week, so I won't be able to get the pattern fully written until next week.  I also have to knit the other mitten, but after that's done and the testers report back, the pattern will go straight off to Cascade and should be available shortly after.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bella Yarn's Yarn Tasting and Silent Auction event! (photo heavy)

 Yesterday was our first ever Yarn Tasting and Sample Silent Auction event!  It was a ton of work, and a huge success thanks to all of the generous sponsors (Dill buttons, Berroco, Mountain Colors, Brown Sheep, just to name a few) and the fantastic people from Cascade Yarns.
 We had our favorite reps in from Cascade, Warren and Marina, and we had balls of Cascade Yarns all over the store!  I didn't actually get to pick any up and knit because I was busy helping customers, but I got to mingle with everyone and help them find what they were looking for.

 I also got to show off my latest design for Cascade in Heritage Silk...the lace mitten!  It was really well received so I'm feeling encouraged to hurry and finish it so the pattern will be available.

 I got to hand out some of my new cards to people I knew (and a few I just met, lol) so that they can check in and get word of new pattern releases. 

 I also got to show off the Quilt and Cable blanket, and help ladies pick out the perfect color combination for Naomi's Inside Out Blanket (also a free Cascade download).  You should have seen the back room after we were done for the night!

We had over 80 people come in and knit with us, and we sold over half of the samples so we have a nice donation for the new Warren animal shelter.
 There were three cheese trays with dried fruit and bread from the Cheese Plate in Warren.  I didn't know they were even there, which was probably for the best because I'm allergic to milk...and I love cheese...and they had a huge assortment.  I stayed away as much as possible, but I had to try the caramel cheese!  I brought home a good amount for the boys as a peace offering for being out for 13 hours :)

 I got to meet a local actress from the Trenity Rep.  I got her name but after 11 straight hours at work, I'm lucky to remember my own.  It'll have to be enough to say that she was a really lovely lady and I had a great time chatting with her.  I love how knitting brings all sorts of people from different professional backgrounds together!

 I also got to see my buddies from the knit-a-holics group last night.  It was really good to see Tracy and Lisa, and I'm sure there were others who stopped in but I was running back and forth so much that I missed some people coming and going.
 We also had all five members of the Bella staff in one place at one time!  That has never happened before, and to mark the occasion, we asked Amy to snap a photo of us at the end of the night.

 Ann did a beautiful job of getting all the current samples down, the samples for auction out on display, and tagged for auction.  She has a real talent for making things look pretty!

 I spent my day sweeping,  making room in the storage room, restocking the Cascade 128 superwash, and stuffing yarn descriptions into the doggie-bags.

 We had samples donated by some of our yarn distributors, and one of our reps, Andra Asars donated samples that she knit herself!

 This purple sweater is one of Andra's pieces!

 These baby samples went like hot cakes!

 The pink scarf was donated by one of our talented customers.  It's Rayon Metalic yarn with Sugar Rush as the warp (I believe...don't quote me), and it was one of her first projects!  Unbelievable.  And it didn't last long :)

bid sheets
 These were the cute plates that the yarn was displayed on, with the type of yarn listed on the plate.  I ended up tossing my mitten into the pile as a sample of the Heritage Silk yarn (it's the orange ball).

shop mascot :)
There was one lonely door prize that somehow didn't go home with a I got to bring it home!  Yay!  It's five skeins of Brown Sheep's Lambs Pride in a pretty blue-lilac variegated colorway.  I'm thinking about a simple pullover.

This is how we looked at the end of the day, lol.  I didn't get out of there until quarter to 10 last night.  It was a crazy long day, but it was fun and I can't wait to do it again :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A beginning and an end

Yesterday I went with Denise to visit The Sisters of the Wool in Westport MA.  It was funny because we had discussed plans to go up there on Tuesday, and decided that we'd go Friday...and then the ladies popped in on Wednesday night to check us out and introduce themselves!  We met Pat and her friends (and I apologize profusely, but I'm lousy with names), and gave them a quick little tour of Bella Yarns (as much as we could, considering that I was in the middle of class).  We told them that we had planned to come in on Friday, so they gave us a few business cards with their address, and we parted ways after a nice conversation.  (Too bad I didn't have my cards yet).

Friday came, and we hopped into the air conditioned car to shoot down to the shop.  I'd never been to Westport before, and it was quicker that I expected.  The shop is in a quaint little shopping plaza with wood panneling on all of the buildings.  It's rustic and adorable.  When we went inside we were shocked at how much larger it was than it looked from outside.  Right inside the door, they have a warm and inviting seating area for hanging out and knitting for a while (complete with a wall-mounted flat-screen television!), and then further in they have a table and chairs set up on a platform for classes.  They had a huge selection of needles from Addi, Clover, and Knit Picks (including the interchangables).  They had yarn as far as the eye can see, and I found a set of hanging sock blockers from Bryson in a large for 15 bucks!!  That's a steal compared to the ones that I have now, which are too small and don't let enough air into the sock.  Pat was there and she took us on a tour of her shop, which is truly lovely.  I plan to go back when I actually have some money to spend, and get something special for myself.  And if all that wasn't enough, she gives out a free knit-fix tool to everyone who joins the email list (and was kind enough to open a brand new box so we would have more colors to choose from).  They were all really, really lovely people and she had really, really lovely yarn.

Later in the day, I took Dante to see the last Harry Potter movie in 3D with Jason and Kelly.  It was really well done, and I think it was a fitting end to the story.  I know my husband is glad that it's all finally over, lol.  I'm looking forward to it coming out on DVD so that I can do a marathon with the entire series, but I have a while to wait for that.

Meanwhile, the mitten is finally cooperating and I think I can get the pattern written by next week.  I should have it out to my testers soon and then hopefully I'll have the mate knit by then and then it's off to Cascade.  I can sure use another paycheck, lol.  After that, I'm going to concentrate on knitting a blanket for my husband...since I promised him one last year for his birthday...and his birthday is in about 4 weeks...and he still doesn't have one.  Only problem is that the original yarn I chose isn't what he wants so now I have to figure out what to do with multiple balls of Comfort Chunky, and where I'm going to find the money for 4 balls of Eco +.  Thankfully, I have a discount and it's not expensive.

Friday, July 22, 2011

My, how busy I've been

When last we spoke, (or I wrote and you read), I told you all about our wonderful playdate.  Yesterday, we took Alex to the Crescent Park Carousel to ride as many times as we could for $10.  Turns out that yesterday was kids that was more times that I originally thought.  He was so cute, walking right up to the ticket booth and plunking down his little $4 that Aaron gave him a few days before (when we walked over and discovered that they're closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.  That was a bad day, that ended in our handing over the cash for Alex to hold, and us taking him to Honey Dew to help sooth the sting of not getting to ride the carousel.  So anyway, we rode lots of times and then Aaron got the gold ring so he got a free ride.  Then Alex wanted me to ride with him, and on the very next ride I got the gold ring!  Two gold rings, back-to-back, for the same kid.  That was an awesome trip for Alex.

When it was time to leave, we were really hot and he wanted an ice-cream.  Thank goodness the girl wasn't in the stand, and I was able to convince him to let us pick up some at the market when we went in to get a tomato and some shredded cheese for tacos (which he requested for dinner).  He agreed, on the condition that he could eat some right away instead of having to wait till after dinner.  Even though he didn't eat lunch, I agreed because it was just so hot!  He picked out mint chocolate chip, and had a scoop just as soon as I could get some in the bowl.  I'm pleased to say that he ate his dinner!  Two tacos.  And I even got him to agree to eat a tiny amount of lettuce in exchange for not having to eat any tomatoes.  On the next taco, he asked for my sauteed mushrooms.  The kid will eat mushrooms...but not lettuce.

Later that night, I headed to work and he went off to bed without me.  I hear he did well.  I went in to teach the ladies of the Thursday night group, and took some time to work on my lace mitten for this pattern.  I think I finally have it all together now and I'm really pleased with how it looks.  I hope to get the pattern together soon, and send the other half off to the test knitters within a week or so. 

Oh, and my brand new business cards were in the mail box today :)  I feel so official!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

One last playdate

 Tuesday, Alex's friend came over to play for the last time before moving away to Florida.  It was really good to have them get together one more time, and it was good for Alex and I to be able to spend the day with our special friend before we had to say goodbye.  'J' came over at about 1pm and hung out until about 5:30pm when it was clear that both boys were getting pretty tired and were ready to wind down for bed.  I was grateful for my child development courses, that helped me to plan a fun and mostly uneventful day for these two little guys (ages 4 & 5).

To start, we went to 4-Town Farms to pick berries.  I checked online first to see what was in season, and they were supposed to have blueberries.  However, when we got there they said that they weren't picking berries that day.  So I looked at my two little guys...then looked back at this woman...and then I said "what can we pick?"  Flowers.  Okay, flowers it is.  As you can see, the boys adapted.

 We walked up and down the rows, looking carefully at the available flowers and letting each of the boys pick out exactly which flower they wanted.  Then I cut the flower, and they tossed them into the bucket.  There were some very pretty ones.  Some were bug magnets, and some of these bugs were pretty scary looking, so we avoided those.  As hot as it was, I am happy to say that the flowers made it safely back home and didn't wilt...even with our making a stop for ice-cream on the way home.

 We stopped at the Dairy Bee in Riverside for some soft serve ice-cream for the boys, and a cone and a shake for dad and I.  They have a soft serve there that comes with a flavor striped along the edges, in fun colors.  I tried to keep it simple by asking them what color they wanted.  "Red".  Easy enough.  So I asked the girl for "what ever the red is", and she asked me in return "watermelon, cherry, or raspberry?".  Sigh.  So much for keeping it simple.  So Alex went for watermelon and 'J' went for cherry. 

 They both stayed pretty clean, and managed to avoid dropping their cones on the ground, so it was a pretty successful outing.  Overall, it was a wonderful day.  We went back home, watched some Spongebob and The Andy Griffith Show on Netflix, and "J" sat right against my left arm on the couch for a while (something that Alex usually does).  Alex didn't even get jealous!  They played upstairs, and didn't make a huge amount of noise.  No one cried.  No one got hurt.  No one whined (much).  Everyone shared, played nicely with their friend, kept their hands to themselves, and generally had a great time.  It was the best "last day to play" we've ever had.

I'm admittedly

a little sad that these two won't get to grow up together, as "J" is the first friend Alex ever had.  I love him and his family, and they've been really good to us and understanding of my boys and their needs.  They've loved my two boys (even when it was hard to do) and they've always welcomed my boys into their home.  Josh has been a huge influence for good to my teenage son, and Kristen has been a friend, a visiting-teaching companion, a relief-society president, and a primary co-worker to/with me for the last handful of years.  I've really enjoyed getting to know them and making friends with them, and I'll really miss them.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The thermometer says it's 83 degrees F, but the humidity has to be over 90%.  It's too hot to knit.  It's too hot to walk.  It's too hot to type, or do homework, or cook, or eat, or sleep, or watch t.v.  This is ridiculous.  Lets just say that today, I finally gave up and turned on the A.C.

Yesterday, I actually did some knitting and I managed to fix the issue with the cuff and the thumb placement but I need to adjust the numbers on the mitten body again because the lace needs to be able to stretch.  I'm also trying to figure out if I want to knit a plain stockinette palm and just keep the lace to the back of the hand, or if I want to have the lace all the way around.  I know that I'd love to have the lace all over, but I'm worried that the lace might snag, so for the sake of practicality...I think the palm will need to be plain.  Thank goodness I've secured a few test-knitters, because I've had to change the numbers so many times on this pattern that I know I'll need 'em to help me sort out the issues before this goes off to Cascade.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I guess I *can* wear shawls

Forgive the craptastic photo
Anyone remember this?  It's the lace-edge swirl shawl that I knit in the Noro Kirameki Singles for the shop almost a year ago.  It's finally come home to live with me, and although I was happy to have it back, I was unsure of whether or not I could pull it off.  I know I've said this before, but I'm not really a lace shawl kind of girl (although I love to knit them).  So today it was pretty warm and I decided to bring this with me to church instead of my Noro sweater.  The air conditioner was kicking pretty good when we got there and I was glad to have it.  I tossed it over my shoulders and it took the chill right off without being too warm.  And you know what?...I felt pretty in it.  Turns out that this circular shape works well for me and it looks good on.  Guess I can wear a shawl after all.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Vlad photos

 I finally have photographic evidence that I completed Vlad, as part of the True Blood season 4 knit-along.  I know what you're thinking and you're right.  With a blog named Knit-along little'd think that I would participate in more knit-alongs, lol.  I try but stuff always gets in the way.
full blocking shot

blocking close-up

I don't usually feel like I can pull off a lace shawl, but I'm really going to give it a try because I just love the details on this one, and it matches my hat (which matches my scarf, which matches... etc, etc).  I'm a junkie for this particular colorway.

Total bandana-style (I'm from the West, after all)
Pattern: Vlad
Needles: US 5 (3.75 mm) circulars, 40"
Yarn: Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Ruby River (from my stash!!)
Cast on June 27th, bound off July 7th.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

If you've never heard of Ravelry...

I can't imagine how its even possible in this day and age, but I run into people every day at work who have never heard of Ravelry.  I can't understand how they have never come across it yet, when they've been knitting for a million years, and honesty it's really hard to explain exactly what Ravelry is without taking 20 minutes to give them a quick tutorial on the site and it's features.  Then today, I ran across anarticle while trolling Facebook, and I thought "that's perfect!".  So, here is the link.  If you don't know about Ravelry (and I just don't know how you couldn't by now...), here ya go.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom & Dante

Totally random, non-knitting or content-related photo
Today is my mom's birthday.  Oh, and my son's birthday.  And my good friend from high school's birthday.  And my first friend in Rhode Island's birthday.  Did I leave anyone out?

We're going to go out to Best Buy today and pick up the iPod 4g, 8GB that Dante saved up for all year.  Every time there was a gift-giving occasion, we just told people that he was saving up for a big-ticket item and to please just give cash.  They were perfectly fine with not having to stress over "what to get a 14-year old boy", and after only seven months of saving, he finally has enough for his iPod touch.  When he asked for one last Christmas, I had to put my foot down because I just couldn't justify spending over $250 for an iPod for a 13-year old (at the time) when I don't even have one of those.  After all, he'd only lose it or break it.  But he really wanted one and I didn't want to totally shoot him down at Christmas, so I told him that if he could save the money himself, he could have one.  So he did.  I didn't think he would, but he did.  So this morning I went online and ordered it for him, with in-store pickup, and I tossed in a screen protector and a decent set of headphones while I was at it.  He is a happy kid, and I know that he'll take good care of it because he had to work so hard for it.  And if he doesn't...well I won't care because I didn't have to pay for it.

In knitting news, I'm making fantastic progress on Vlad.  I started the final body repeat yesterday at my in-laws.  We had a great time there and I got a lot of knitting done at my MIL's kitchen table.  She was blown away by my shawlette, so I can see that I'll need to knit her one this year.  I'm thinking it'll probably be Ishbel.  Maybe I'll make her the matching beret.  Anyway, I'm expecting delivery of the yarn from Cascade today so I'll be starting on my next project for them soon.  Unfortunately, my other potential projects keep hitting snags.  I had a few ideas for the yarns that they sent me to play with, but then I found a similar project on Ravelry so I had to scrap that idea and go back to the drawing board.  It all goes back to my rant about how there's nothing new because it's all been done before.  But I'll just keep working on it and hopefully I'll be able to put my own spin on something, and make fresh and new.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Owls...not so much

Well, to say that my owls sweater was a colossal failure would not be out of the question.  And it's nobody's fault but my own.  I over-estimated how much the Eco Wool could stretch, and I under-estimated how much of a difference that 1/4 stitch per inch would make in a 38 inch garment.  I'm here today to tell you that it makes a HUGE difference.  I can't even get my arms in the sleeves.  It's like being strangled by wool.  There's just no saving this sweater.  So unless you're a 6' woman with a 32" bust, this sweater needs to be ripped back and started over. 

See, I really want one of these sweaters for my own.  I'm a lemming.  Everyone else has one, so I need one too.  It's one of those projects that as a knitter, you should knit.  You of those?  Like the potato chip scarf (which I've never personally knit), or the stripped silk garden scarf from Jarred Flood (again, not one that I've knit), or the Central Park Hoodie (which I totally knit).  So I've tossed the sweater into the basket-of-shame, to be ripped at a later date.  The plan is to use a larger needle, and to knit this at one size larger than my usual so it'll be sure to fit.  And this time I'm starting with the sleeves, so I can check the fit before I put all that time into the body.  But at least I found the buttons for the eyes and set them aside.

In other "rookie-mistake" news, I just had to take my Vlad off the needles and start over because the yarn just wasn't a good match for the pattern.  It's so bright!  I couldn't see the lace pattern at all, and while I was knitting with it, I kept telling myself "I don't know if I'll even be able to wear this..." and "I don't think I can pull off this color..." and yet I still kept going.  Finally today I faced facts, and pulled it out.  I've opted to go for the mountain colors bearfoot in Ruby River instead, and I'm much happier.  Photos as soon and I can find the darn camera charger.