Thursday, August 30, 2007


WOW! Susan has nominated me! My students occasionally tell me that I rock (usually when I refrain from giving them homework), but I don't think I have ever had another adult say it. Susan also gave me some encouraging words which I also greatly appreciate.

Now it is my turn to nominate someone. I choose Marete (Knititch). She lives in Denmark and knits glorious, complicated looking Nordic sweaters (among other things). She is also a teacher and has begun a new job this year. Rock on, Marete!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Easy Come, Easy Go

Last Tuesday I received insurance benefits from my mother's death last year. I had planned to use some of it to pay off a home equity loan that she and I had taken out in the 1990's. Then I was looking forward to having a little cushion of money, just enough to keep the wolf from the door. Right.

I payed the remainder owing on the loan on Wednesday. On Friday, my poor old car began to make a strange knocking sound. The diagnosis: an almost thrown rod. In short, the knocking was a death rattle. Now, the car has been a good one. I bought it new in December of 1995. It has taken me many places with no major repairs. It owes me nothing.

My daughter and I walked from the car repair place about a mile to a local car dealership where we spent my small cushion of money on a down payment on a nice used car. After all was said and done, even though my cushion dwindled to $32.82 (yeah, we really cut it close!), I was grateful that it happened this week instead of last week -- we would have been stuck with no transportation. I think my mom is still looking out for me! By the way, she would have loved this car. It is a lovely dark blue Chrysler Sebring with all the bells and whistles, including a sun roof. And it has a working air conditioner!

Knitting News

I have finished the front of the christening gown (Oh, we now have a name; the new baby will be Charlotte, so Amelia talks about Baby Charlotte, instead of Baby Whosie). I am very pleased with the way this pattern is turning out. It is very pretty without being too frou-frou. I am still waiting to get a cable so I can show you pictures. Maybe I can do that later today.

I have started a short shawl for a dear friend who has been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing chemo. I wanted something truly soft and warm and comforting like a hug from a friend. I found some perfect yarn at Jo-Ann's. It is their Sensations brand Bellezza Collection Dolcetto, a wool/nylon/cotton blend, that is wonderfully soft and lofty. I am using a very simple pattern in garter stitch. I hope to have the shawl finished before she has to go for her next chemo session. Isn't it a comfort that we can put our hopes and prayers for a friend into a tangible item?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Playing Catch-up

I have been neglecting my blog lately. This is the week that I had to come to terms with my attitude about returning to work in this state, instead of in Colorado, where I want to be. The nature of teaching requires that the teacher be one who has a positive attitude and can instill that attitude in his/her students. Therefore it was time for an attitude adjustment on my part.

I now have two classrooms to decorate and prepare for the opening days of school. The music room is no problem - it has no bulletin boards. I hate bulletin boards! They just sit there with their blank faces staring accusingly at you until you finally cover them with something. There are FOUR bulletin boards in the room that will be my homeroom.

I went to school yesterday to work for a little while, having first stopped at a teacher supply store. I purchased some bulletin board border and a few posters and a wonderful fabric pocket chart for attendance. I had not been there long when one of the other teacher's children came in to ask if they could help me. I was delighted to let these great kids work on the bulletin boards. They finished three of them, and the boards look wonderful! So, thanks Livie, Adam, and Katie!


I certainly hope that the old adage "Third time's charm," is true. I was working on the socks with the Jitterbug yarn using a toe-up lace pattern. It was coming out well. I had worked about three inches of the lace pattern on the instep. Then I decided that it would really bother me to wear a sock with this much patterning on the instep. I am not fond of pattern on the foot part of socks as the pattern part can be uncomfortable to wear. So, defeated once more, I ripped the whole thing out again! Now we are going for a plain foot with maybe some lace on the leg. Maybe. I make no promises! Too bad I haven't taken any pictures, so that you could see all my many sock boo-boos. I will be posting more pictures when we get a new USB cable for the camera.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Out of the Pond, Back on the Needles

After completely frogging the sock in the lovely Jitterbug yarn, I decided to try a toe-up lace sock. Hopefully this plan will allow me to actually make two socks without running out of yarn. If only the Colinette folks would make that skein just a little bit larger! Still love the yarn though; it is soft, yet it has frogged beautifully.

In other news, I am expecting my camera (and my daughter) home tomorrow. Maybe over the weekend I can put up some photos to show the progress on the sock and the christening dress.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Frog Pond (sigh)

Not too far into my modified Jaywalker sock I realized that there was absolutely no way I was going to have the amount of yarn necessary. Funds being a little tight right now, I will be sensible and refrain from making another yarn purchase. Besides, the Jitterbug yarn will work up beautifully no matter what pattern I use. (Did you sense that I am trying to convince myself?) I am sure the difficulty I am experiencing is some sort of cosmic knitterly retribution for my ADD approach to WIP's.

That being said, I will now work some more on the christening gown.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

A Fickle, Faithless Knitter

I loved my little cable sock pattern. I loved the feel of the Fortissima yarn. I loved the color -- a rich dark green. Things were good between us. But my eye was captured by the lovely jewel-like rainbow hues of my Jitterbug purchase. My fingers had to stroke the enticing softness of this magical yarn. Usually I can be content to put a new yarn acquisition next to the computer so that I can see it and pet it occasionally, but not this time.

It started innocently enough. I was anxious to see how this scrumptious colorway would look as it was knit up. I only intended to knit a swatch. Just an experiment in color. That was my first mistake. The bright colors called to me. They told me they would be perfect as Jaywalker socks. I agreed; I found Grumperina's pattern. I got gauge on US 1's (I knit VERY tightly, it is a rare thing for me to get gauge with the recommended needle size). I gave in to the temptation to knit this sock because I have been waiting a long time for the right yarn to come along. I know the rest of the knitting world has used this pattern many times, but it was the first time I had tried it.

I knit until my fingers were sore (it didn't take that long since I was using little sharp pointed metal needles). I loved the way the pattern looked, but hated the way the resulting fabric felt. It was stiff and no longer enjoyably soft. What to do? Was this a sign that I should put this siren song calling itself sock yarn back on the computer desk and go back to my neglected cabled socks? Possibly, but I ignored the sign. I was a woman driven with the desire to make the perfect sock. I quickly ripped and frogged, and I started over.

I needed larger needles, but that would mean an adjustment in the number of stitches. I switched to US 2's for the cuff and cast on only 60 stitches. I also switched back to bamboo; I really don't enjoy using metal needles. This worked nicely, but I was afraid that the pattern for the leg would be much too tight on size 2's so I started the pattern with US 3's. I wanted it to be stretchy enough to go on over my foot and ankle. Instead of knitting 7 stitches between the increases and double decreases (as per the original pattern), I only used 5. It seems to be working, and I absolutely love it! I will probably switch back to size 2 needles for the heel and sole. I love this yarn!

I will try to have pictures by the end of the week when my camera comes home from Colorado.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Summertime, and the living is HOT!

I am not a fan of hot weather. I have not melted yet, but I came pretty close yesterday. Susan invited me to Threadbear Fiberarts in Lansing to meet her and some of her knitting friends. Lansing is about 45 minutes from me, and I have easily made the trip before. But not in a car with no air-conditioning! Yep, the car's AC died a couple of weeks ago.

I set out on my adventure, and arrived a mere hour and a half later, very red-faced and dripping with sweat. I was red-faced, not only because it was nearly 100 degrees F. in the car, but also because I got lost. Susan had very kindly offered to give me directions, but I have access to the Internet -- I know how to use Mapquest and Google Maps -- I am an independent modern woman! So, I got lost, and it serves me right because I know that Susan's directions would have included landmarks.

Once I was surrounded by a very welcoming group of knitters and tons and tons of fabulous yarn, I forgot the heat and had a great time. I met several knitters whose blogs I read (a big hello to Sharon, Kristi, Sarah ), Karen and two lovely ladies who I was told were blog free (isn't that a nicer sounding term than blogless?) I also met Rob and Matt, the store owners. I can see why their shop is so successful: it is huge, it has the aforementioned tons of yarn and other goodies, and there are many nice little seating areas set aside for conversation and needlecraft, and the owners are completely charming, as is their staff. If you are ever in the Lansing area, this is a must-see for fiberholics.

Did I buy anything? You know I did. I limited myself to sock yarn, some yummy Colinette Jitterbug in the Mardi Gras colorway. Oh, and some ChiaoGoo bamboo DP needles. And thanks to Sharon who just had to let me see Abby's Angel sweater (so adorable, you could just die), I had to buy the pattern. I came home and immediately found some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport yarn (River colorway) that I had been saving for some unknown special something, and , 0h joy!, there was enough to make the sweater. It will be too small for Amelia, so I will make it for Baby Whosie (Amelia's name for her sister who will be born in November). That's OK, the big sister calls herself YaYa, even though she can now say Amelia.

My daughter Shelly is visiting her sister in Colorado and has the digital camera with her, so I can't show you any pictures of my purchases. But I need to stay in practice, so here is a gratuitous YaYa picture that was taken at the Estes Park Wool Market in June.

Amelia's mother knit the little green top with Cotton-Ease. Here is a view of the front (and some Australian shepherds).

By the way, mostly garter stitch Cotton-ease will stretch -- a lot!