Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Shawl Progress and Skull Making

    This morning I didn't really feel like knitting, so I went into the patterns for skulls that I found on the internet. I picked one out, a neat one designed by Sandi Marshall. I got out my hook, and started crocheting.

    On the first attempt, I got as far as round three, with no problems. When I started doing round four, the grinning teeth part was being placed next to the first eye, not under the nose. So I frogged it, back to the beginning of row four, and attempted it again. Going slower, and reading more carefully this time.

   Nope, the teeth were still lining up with the first eye. I frogged it again, read the pattern again, and decided just to wing it myself. Here is what it looks like:

    I may have another go at it, I'm not entirely happy with the teeth area. And, ad you can see, I changed my mind about the color, I think black would look better than light gray on the dark gray shawl body.

    When I was babysitting for Miss Malia today, I got quite a bit of work done on the shawl while she napped. I think I did about 6 rows! Then I stopped to take some photos. Here is a photo of how it looks now:

    And here it is with the skull in place:

    The shawl is getting small enough that I could put it on a shorter length needle, but I can't find one. They must all have WIPs on them. Working on a 60" needle is getting  
crazy! It's getting tangled up in itself!  Oh, well, I shall just have to persevere.

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Knitters Work is Never Done

    Today, as Miss Malia slept,  I worked on my shawl. I did about three rows before she woke up, the first time. I got two more rows done before she woke up for good.  I got to knit one more row while she was avidly watching her favorite show.

    There really isn't much else to talk about today. I also got to knit with Kim while Cherub was in karate class. Perhaps I shall get to work on it some more this evening.

    I cooked chicken breasts for dinner, seasoned with Hubs' favorite, Montreal Steak. I use it on everything, from steaks to pork, to chicken. I haven't tried it on fish yet, I am the only one in the house who would eat fish, so I don't even cook it.

    Now we are watching a time travel karate movie, a kid goes back in time to save the Monkey King. The movie was my choice, there isn't much on tonight. I'm hoping Hubs will want to watch the new DVD that came today, the newest in the Underworld series.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Arachno Shawl Update PHOTOS!

   I finally broke down and took the promised photos. I think they came out pretty good, let me know what you think!

   At first I wasn't sure about the dark gray, I didn't think there was enough differentiation between the colors. But as it progresses, I'm thinking it'll be okay. I am even toying with the idea of crocheting a light gray skull and sewing it near the bottom of the body, after it's all done. We will just have to wait and see how I feel about it when I'm actually done.

    I still have the stitch marker on the center stitch, after a couple more rows, I will take it out.

    I thought this shot really shows off how the cobweb looks after the stitches are dropped. When I laid it out on the carpet, I realized that yeah, it's going to be plenty big enough.

    As I unraveled the stitches, I was very glad that I used a size 10 needle to cast on. I don't know how to do the long tail cast on, and don't want to learn. It seems way too complicated. So I thought that maybe using a bigger needle to cast on would make the edge be able to stretch enough. It looks like I was correct. It's nice to be right once in a while. I should mention that I worked the rest of the shawl on a size 8 needle. If you have been reading me for a while, you know that I only use circular needles.

    P.S. If "differentiation" is spelled wrong, I apologise, it seems my spell check isn't working. I wrote a sentence with every word spelled wrong, and it didn't flag one word. Both of my parents were teachers, and spelling is kind of an obsession for me.  My dad taught High School Math, and my mom was a Pre-School teacher.

Arachno Shawl Update

Saturday Night:

    Here it is, Saturday night. I finally got through the cobweb border, I did eight pattern repeats. I am now almost finished with the transition ribbing rows, just one row left. In between the rows, I'm unraveling the dropped stitches. This one is going a lot faster than the wool one. Maybe because I am using acrylic this time, Simply Soft.

    I really wanted a shawl I could just throw in the washer and dryer, and not have to worry about blocking it. I am probably the worlds worst blocker, I haven't blocked anything since my brown Lena sweater over a year ago. I simply don't have any good space in which to lay out my wooly goodness. Although I am mentally preparing myself to try the empty bedroom, someday to be my craft room. There's no air conditioning in there, and lots of floor space. I have those blocking foam pad things, and tons of old blankets.

    I think I'm giving up for tonight, I'm getting sleepy.


    Before I went to bed, I decided to finish the transition ribbing rows, and do the first row of the second color. I also unraveled about 1/3 of the dropped stitches.

    After I got up this morning and got a cuppa coffee in me, I unraveled some more, and at this time, I have done a few more rows of the shawl body. I plan on taking some photos later on today, if the sun ever comes out. I got woken up at 6 a.m. We shall just have to wait and see.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Knitting Update / What I Had For Dinner

    Ok. So the freaking cobweb border is coming along. I knitted through the storm, I knitted through a wicked dizzy spell, but only managed one single row. Last night, I knitted through Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I am currently into the 7th pattern repeat. I feel at this point like it will never end.

    The good news is that I had a rare flash of brilliance last night. I was putting together one of my favorite giant salads. I was bemoaning the fact that I had no left over meat to add to it, and I still haven't managed to remember to buy more frozen peas. I did add the last of that great Taboule salad into the mix. Then I remembered the huge bag of cooked shrimp in the freezer. I opened it, took out half a dozen or so, and thawed them in the microwave.

   Then I cut them into three pieces each, and voila! I had my meat for my giant salad. Then I remembered the pineapple spears I bought the other day, and made my good salad even better! This time I used Ken's Sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing on it.

    I was so hungry, I didn't even take a photo of this one. I just ate it all up.

Friday, July 27, 2012

As I knitted through The Storm...

    Well, the worst is over, Storm wise. It seems that we here in Hyde Park dodged a bullet. I am sure that other parts of town had some severe lightning and wind, but my little part of town didn't even have a blip in our electric or cable service. It didn't even get that windy!

    My Hubs called from work, in Fishkill, about 25 miles or so to the south, and they got hit with the storm pretty badly. It was very windy, but not too many trees came down. They were very, very lucky. He told me that he'd never ever seen so many lightning bolts in the sky.

    And here I sat, in my living room, knitting away like a fiend. I'm finding it takes an ungodly amount of time to knit just one row! So I only got to do maybe three rows! But progress is progress. I haven't even bothered to take any photos, as there's really nothing to see yet! However, as soon as I reach the part where I get to unravel stitches, I will take more photos. I promise.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Waiting for "The Big Storm"

    Well, here we are, waiting for the Big Storm. All day I've been waiting. Early this morning, I woke up to thunder, and thought "Here it comes!" But no. After a little while it stopped thundering, and raining. As the morning went on, the sun even came out!

    All day, I've been watching the Weather Channel. And all day, they've been saying that it's coming. Before I left to sit with Miss Malia, I went down and brought in all the pool toys, and my Queen chair. Also all the towels came in, and whatever else I could carry that might get blown away by "The Big Storm".

    While I was with Miss Malia, I was still checking the weather on a regular basis. After a while, they added a tornado warning to the whole mess. And the sun was still shining. As I sit here and write this, it is finally starting to look like it might just do something.

   To me, the most disturbing thing is our new-neighbors-from-NYC. They put up a big tent type awning thing over the fourth, when they had a party. It is still up. I wanted Hubs to call them and ask them to take it down, and tell them that if it ends up in our pool and damages the liner, they will be buying us a new one.

    These are the very same neighbors who, when the hurricane hit our area last year, never even put their umbrella down on their umbrella table, much less take it inside. Here Hubs and I were, closely watching a tree on the corner of our lot, fearing it could come down (it didn't). We all got very lucky with the hurricane, it didn't hit us too badly. But it could have.

    It seems to me that preparing for the worst just make sense. Wouldn't you feel guilty if something you owned got blown somewhere and caused someone to get hurt, or Goddess forbid, killed? I know I would. That is why I run out there, even in the rain, to bring inside any projectile type stuff. It's not like I have to worry about my hair getting wet or anything...

    Hubs has gone to work, and I get to spend the evening here all by myself. I think it's time to go look for some candles... you know, just in case.


In Which I Get To Knit Again!

    In the last few days, you may have noticed that I haven't blogged about my knitting project. Several days ago, I was really, really tired, and tried to work on my Arachno Shawl, hoping it would keep me awake. On my way back across the row, I came upon a mistake I had made in the previous row. I tried to fix it, but wasn't able to. I think it was because I was so very tired.

    I did manage to make my way across the rest of the row. Then I put it down. I figured when and if I saw my friend Kim, and if I felt she was receptive, I would ask her to see if she could figure out what I had done.

    Well, last night at karate I was able to show it to her. It took me a while to find the error, but I eventually did. She told me to work across the row until I got to it, and she would see what she could do. I was so excited! She fixed it for me! Somehow I had managed, in my delirium, to knit two stitches together. Somehow.

    I usually don't ask Kim to fix my mistakes. I try very hard to fix them myself. And so far, I have been pretty successful! It's nice to know that when I am beyond my depth, Kim is there to help me out.

    So now I can knit again! I am so happy! I have finished four repeats of the cobweb pattern. Only four more to go! If I have enough yarn, I may go for a fifth repeat. We shall just have to see.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Great Green Eyed Monster

    Every once in a while, I get a little jealous. You see, I've been blogging now for just over a year. My good knitting friend finally started blogging a few months ago. It took a long time to convince her that she was funny enough, and had enough to say.


    Anyway, she doesn't blog every day, just when she feels like it, or has something to say. I love her blog, it's funny. However, I see that she has lots of followers, more every time I read her blog. I, on the other hand, an now up to seven followers. This depresses me. I know that lots of people are reading my blog, but I get jealous anyway.

    I know that she has tons of followers on twitter, and that's where most of her blog followers come from. She tweets a lot. I am on twitter, but don't tweet that much. I find that twitter is too restrictive, I usually have too much to say for their lousy 144 characters.

    So, to make myself feel better, I go and check a former friends blog. She hasn't posed anything for nearly six months, and still has only one follower. Her husband. Somehow, this makes me feel lots better. I know it's silly and petty, but it still makes me feel better. It gives me a much needed ego boost.

    I would like to say thanks to all who do read my blog. It tickles me to know that people in places like Russia, and Ireland, and even Brazil read what I have to say. Thanks to everyone! I hope I don't disappoint any of you!

   Tattoo countdown: It is now 13 days until I get my new tattoo!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Go Big or Go Home

    I wonder why I was surprised about having to abandon plans A, B and C... I have never liked working on a small scale. Before I started knitting again, my hook of choice was the N size, which is pretty big. Big enough that when you crochet with it, you usually use two strands of worsted weight yarn.

    I like the instant gratification that comes with crocheting with a bigger hook. You can make so much progress in so little time! It's perfect for satisfying that creative urge.

   When I started knitting, I was willing to work with small needles. But it turns out that sock or lace weight yarn is just too darn tiny for me to see the stitches. Especially in black, and in my house. We keep my house kind of dark, since my Hubs works the night shift, and sleeps during the day. Minimum light works best for this.

    A few years ago, I crocheted a shawl, it turned out to be most awesome, and it was HUGE. Of course, I used a bigger hook than recommended. Now, I am fairly tall, at 5' 8". When this shawl was done, and I wore it to Rhinebeck last year, the point actually dragged on the ground.

    I recently gave that shawl away, and made a new one, which turned out smaller. I love it just as much. I haven't yet had an opportunity to wear it out, but I am looking forward to it.  Stay tuned to watch me make a fool out of myself over and over again. It seems that it's inevitable. But I hope it's at least fun!

Monday, July 23, 2012

And the winner is... Plan D!

   Well, none of the plans, A thru C, worked out. So I went with plan D. To knit the Arachno Shawl by Jennifer Dassau, in acrylic worsted weight. I did do the largest stitch count one, 301 cast on stitches. You know me, I like 'em big.

    In my stash dive, I found  several skeins of Caron's Simply Soft, in light gray. I also found one in black, and one white. The other day, I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased four skeins in dark gray. So my plan is to do the cobweb border in the black, then switch to the dark gray. If I want to, I can go to the light gray and even to white. But I'm thinking I'll be sticking with the black and dark gray.

    The fact that it's acrylic makes it machine washable, and no blocking. I am possibly the worlds most reluctant blocker. I haven't blocked anything since my Lena Sweater, over a year ago. The wool sweaters I made before that, my friend Kim blocked for me.  I simply don't have the patience.

    The best thing about using the worsted weight is that the stitches are nice and big, therefore visible! I don't need a microscope to see them! So far, I have completed just over two pattern repeats. It's coming along, and I am pleased. And there's nothing better than a pleased knitter!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Change of Plans Due to Epic Fail

    Well, I tried. I really did. I cast on all those 301 stitches, really loosely so it wouldn't be too tight when it was done. I was about halfway through the second row when I realized I was beyond my skill level. So right in the middle of the row,  > gasp < , I put it down.

    You see, it's kind of dark in my house. I figure if only I could knit outside, where it's nice and bright, I might be able to do this project as planned. The dark makes it very hard to see the black yarn stitches, and the fact that the stitches are so small doesn't help matters.

    After thinking about it the rest of the evening, and then again this morning, I have decided on an alternate plan. First, I will wind up the (possibly) Tip it Ewe Lush, and try that for the cob web border. It might be easier to see, and the black can still be used for the body, as it's all stockinette with decreases.
    If that doesn't pan out, I do have a plan C. I will forget about the black all together, and use some beautiful natural that I have somewhere, in one of my stashes. I am pretty sure I have more than 1000 yards of it, so it will do.

    A wiser knitter than myself pointed out to me that it was brave to try and use black for this project, it turns out I wasn't brave, but foolish. I remember when I bought it, I was planning on making black socks. I doubt that will ever get done either. I will probably crochet something with it, if this plan B doesn't work out.

   The stitches are still sitting there, glaring at me on the needles. I can't bring myself to frog them yet.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

In Which I Go Stash Diving!

    Yup. Today I went stash diving. I was looking for something specific, a pair of crocheted pot holders that I had made for my MIL and that we got back when she passed away. I wanted to show them to Kim, my knitting buddy. I couldn't find them. I've looked all over this house and still can't find the stupid things.

    However, while stash diving, I did make a very interesting find! I pulled out a skein of  > gasp <  black Malabrigo sock yarn! Then a second. Then a third! And OMG there was a fourth! I was in sock yarn heaven! Much to my surprise, I also pulled out a skein of AtKnitsEndYarns sock yarn too! I'm not sure which colorway it is, but as it's dark red and black/brown, I think it might be Tip It Ewe Lush. It's probably a skein she rejected as not "perfect", I am the luckiest minion on the planet, to know a dyer who gives you her "failures"!!

    This discovery got me thinking, I could make another Arachno Shawl, by Jennifer Dassau!! A black one! I think I could also work in the Ewe Lush, between the cobweb edging, at the beginning of the main body.

    So I got out my swift and ball winder, and started winding. I did two of the Malabrigos for now. If I can get the edging going without any mistakes, I will wind up the Tip It Ewe Lush. So there I was, casting on 301 stitches of sock yarn on a size 7 circular needle. I put stitch markers every fifty stitches, because hanging around with someone who can't count seems to have rubbed off.

    As you can see in the above photo, one of the little buggers gave me a harn time while I was winding him. That's why the left one is so small, and why I'm using it first.

   I have completed the first row of the cobweb edging. It's a bit difficult working with the black sock yarn, as it's hard to see the stitches because they're so small. This may take a while.

    I love going diving in my stash, I never know what goodies I will find! Somewhere in there are the two big hanks of Lace weight, one natural one back, that I bought at Rhinebeck last fall. And who knows what other goodies I've bought and forgotten about!! It really is like Festivus in July! So watch this space for photos of my progress, if I dont' have to frog and start over....

Friday, July 20, 2012

Let's Have Some Coffee!

    I was thinking about this the other day: everyone says that when I make the coffee, it tastes better. Even when I prepare their cup for them. This makes me laugh, but it's true! When daughter Sara comes to visit, she asks me to prepare her cup for her, she says it just tastes better when I do it.

    I have no idea why this is! Is it the level of sugar in the three teaspoons that go in the cup? (We use really big cups in my house) Is it the precise amount of half and half I put in? I was taught by my dad when we were up in Clinton staying at Hamilton College for his sabbatical one summer. He told me to pour the milk(then) in just until you see it come back up at you in the cup. It's kind of hard to explain. But I have done it that way ever since.

    On the rare occasion that I don't set the coffee maker up before going to bed, I can tell that Hubs was up before me, because the coffee doesn't taste as good as when I make it. Could it be how much coffee I use? That would be three, barely heaping, (two tablespoon) scoops per pot. Before I make the coffee, or set up the coffee maker, I always rinse the basket in really, really hot tap water. I also rinse out the carafe as well. I don't think that Hubs takes this step.

    For me, it's like a ritual. Turn on the hot water, walk to the fridge, dumping the old grounds in the garbage on the way, take out the coffee. By the time I get back, the water is hot. Rinse out the basket thoroughly, put it back in the maker. Rinse out the carafe thoroughly, put it back. Turn off the hot water, and turn on the cold. Put the paper filter in the basket, put in the three slightly heaping scoops of coffee. By now the water is really cold. Cold water is essential for good coffee. Fill up the water reservoir. Gently, push the maker back against the wall. (The water can splosh out) Either turn it on, or go to bed and turn it on when you get up.

    By now, you all know that we drink chocolate coffee. It doesn't seem to matter which brand, whether it's the Godiva Chocolate Truffle, or the chocolate truffle coffee I get at Adam's Fairacre Farms. Sometimes I even can find some at Marshalls!Since it's flavored, you don't need as much coffee per pot, that's why I only use 3 scoops. Well, one reason anyway. I don't like strong coffee! It just tastes bitter to me.

    Oh yeah, I almost forgot! There's even a ritual for preparing the individual cups. I always put the sugar in first. Then pour the coffee in, and stir. Remove the spoon. You don't want the spoon contaminated by the half and half. Take the cups, and walk to the fridge, put them down. Take out the half and half and pour in the correct amount. The coffee is still moving in the cup, so it mixes in just fine. Tah dah! you're done. Now go and enjoy the best chocolate coffee in the world!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Arachno Shawl is Done!!

Last night:

  Tah-dah!! The Arachno Shawl is finally done. I just bound it off a little while ago. It was a fun knit, I have to say. Now I just have to block it, and hope it can stretch out to a decent size. You see, it seems it's a bit on the small side. I personally prefer large shawls, hence my favorite motto, Go Big or Go Home!

I will post pics of shawl post blocking.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

This Weeks Knitting Report

    The Arachno Shawl I've been working on is really progressing nicely! It was difficult unraveling the dropped stitches of the border, because of the yarn. Once I got past that, the transition ribbing was only four rows, then it was on to the main body of the shawl! Here is a photo of my progress so far! I took it just a few minutes ago:

    Here is a closer shot of the center area.

    As for the Elizabeth Zimmermann Baby Surprise Jacket, it has been put on hold for the time being. The Universe decided, I guess, that it wasn't to be created at this time, at least by me. My buddy Kim and I couldn't co-ordinate our schedules to get a decent chunk of playdate time. I totally understand, and know that the Universe is wiser than I shall ever be. There must be a really good reason for it.

    I must say that I'm pleased to have gotten this post done so early in the day! I'm sitting here drinking my coffee, and watching (listening) to The Graham Norton Show on BBCAmerica. I know that there are some days that my post doesn't get written until much later into the evening.

    So now I can enjoy the day, with no pressure to write a post! I hope you all enjoy your day too!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Shawl Progress!

    The shawl I've been working on, Arachno Shawl, is coming along nicely! The border is done, and so is the transition section. I started working on the main body of the shawl last night. It has taken me such a long time to unravel the dropped stitches in the border! Almost as long to unravel them as to knit them in the first place!

Here is a photo of the border, before I started unraveling:

    And here is a close up shot of the shawl, with the border unraveled:

    I think I had trouble because the yarn I'm using is Malabrigo, and it's notoriously sticky. The colorway is 616 Plena. I thought it would look pretty for this shawl, it looks like I was right! I will be able to wear this shawl with my everyday jeans.

    It took nearly a full skein for the border alone. But I have four, so I will not run out. While searching through my stash, I found some really pretty yarns that I forgot I had! I love when that happens, it's like Festivus in July!

    I tried to take better photos of the shawl, but after I take a couple of shots, I start shaking, and all I get is blurry photos. Hopefully the ones I have are good enough for you to get the idea!

    Today, I've been sitting by the pool, with Hubs, knitting in the 90+ degree heat. The water temp is about 80, so it's nice and cool. I'm sure that if anyone driving by were to see me, I'd get the puzzled look!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Keeping Cool in the Heat

    Today is another scorcher, high to reach 93ish. Tomorrow will be worse, they say, high to be 94 to 99 degrees. It makes me really glad we have a pool.

    This year, we have been really slow getting the pool up and running. It's usually ready by July 4th, but with getting the Fishkill house ready to be lived in, the pool got neglected this year. Finally, today, it is swimable. And as usual, I was the first one in.

    Poor Hubs has been battling with the algae, this year it's been really horrible. Right up until yesterday, the pool was green. This morning, when I looked out the kitchen window, I saw right away that the pool was no longer green. So, we went down, tested it, adjusted the chemicals, and a little while later, we were in!

    I even got our floats and noodles out, and Hubs blew up our mattress float, and my lemon slice float. I had an orange slice too, but last year it went missing.

    This is what poor pool looked like, not even at it's worst:

    Now, it's a little green again, Hubs had to scrub some algae off the left wall. But we added more shock to the water,and chlorine tabs in the skimmer basket, so it should all be out very soon.

    It was so hot down there today, as soon as we came back in, we had ourselves a Klondike bar. Yummy yummy. Now we can relax in the air conditioning, and wait until the sun is off the pool. That's my favorite time to swim. Usually by 4:30 or 5 p.m. the pool is mostly in the shade.  AAAHHHH. This is how to keep cool in the heat!

    P.S. You should've seen  me knitting a wool shawl, in my bathing suit, by the pool!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Plans Changed, What We Did Instead!

   I hate when it happens, but Hubs changed his mind about going to cousin Gary's house for the pig roast. I realized about noon that he was inventing things to do, so as not to attend, so I let him off the hook.

    The good news is that we ended up going to Kingston, to Sam's Club, and bought some cool stuff. All of it was absolutely essential, believe me. Except that they didn't have any Kindle Fires. But that would've been essential too. Essential for my happiness!

    First we went to Pop's Tattoo Emporium and showed my idea for my tattoo to Cookie, my favorite tattoo artist, and friend and bandmate of my favorite son-in-law.
My appointment is on Tuesday, August 7th at 5 p.m. I have already asked Hubs if he will take some photos, since it's not exactly feasible for me to take them, of me getting my own tattoo.

    So look for that post! I'm very excited about it. I've decided to get this:

   I am just not sure what colors to fill it with! Here is what it looks like with some color, I'm thinking purple and red...

    What a difference some color makes, huh! I would want the circle red, and the rest in purple. I think. I don't have to decide until after the outline is done, Cookie says. So there's no rush.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Happy Blog-iversary to me!

    YAY! Today is the one year anniversary of my 1st blog post. I can't believe it's been a year already! I didn't quite reach my goal of a post for every day, as I missed a few, but on some days I posted twice, so that helps too.

    My newest knitting project is coming along, although slowly, as I am not having as much time to devote to knitting as I would like. But today, I hope to have some serious knitting time.

    Hubs and I are going to a pig roast at his cousin's house later this afternoon. That should be fun! Of course, I will take my knitting along. Can't go anywhere without my knitting.

    Hopefully I will remember to take my camera, so I can get a few photos. The funny thing is that his cousin really isn't his blood cousin, they are cousins by marriage. Hubs' mom and Gary's mom were married to brothers. So they are step sons of brothers. Doesn't that make them double step cousins, or something?

    That's like the relationship of my daughter to my late father-in-law.... He was her step father's step father. So that made him her double step grandfather. This is indeed a weird world we live in.

   Well, no matter how convoluted your family relationships are, go out and enjoy them, and enjoy the day! Happy Blog-iversary to me!!

Friday, July 13, 2012

An Almost Perfect Day

    Today will be one of those. I got to sleep late, and now I'm having my favorite chocolate coffee. I really don't want to go anywhere, or do anything. Just sit here, drink my coffee, and knit.

    Oh yeah, and keep an eye on the pool filter. And finish the laundry I started last night. And there are some dishes that could use a washing. I guess it never really ends, does it? But if I'm lucky, maybe I can get a few good knitting hours in.

    I am currently working on the Arachno Shawl by Jennifer Dassau. (Available on Ravelry) My bestest knitting buddy, Kim, had started it, and I thought it was really cool, so I bought the pattern too, and started it a few days ago. I know, I am making the Wingspan shawl, but I am taking a break from that. I'm using that for my purse project right now. You know, the one you keep in your purse for when you travel? In my case, it's for if I get stuck somewhere, or the Jeep breaks down or something. I always either have my nook, or a knitting or crochet project with me at all times.

    I have the next few days off from babysitting Miss Malia, so that's nice. Even though she is a sweetheart, it's nice to take a break. I go back Wednesday.

   I am supposed to visit with friends today. But I just don't want to leave the house. I went to Bonny's last night and we sat by the fire pit and talked. It's fun when we do that. But I can't do it too often. Being that my lungs are bad, I can't take the smoke too often. In the Winter, she uses her fireplace, and I can't visit then, either. The smoke makes it really hard to breathe.

    So, for as long as I can, I am going to enjoy this almost perfect day! I hope yours is perfect as well!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Dad and Racism

    Last night, I stayed up and watched The Help on one of the movie channels. It was a really good movie. It got me thinking about racism. I was outraged that such behavior ever happened, is still happening. Then today as I was knitting, I remembered a story my dad had told us.

    You see, my dad was in the Air Force, in the 1950's. He spent time in the South. I'm not sure which state he was in. My dad was Italian, and a dark skinned one at that. Because of this, he found himself billeted with the African-American troops. He had to eat at the "colored only" facilities, and drink out of the "colored only" water fountains. He found himself discriminated against because of the color of his skin.

    This left a deep impression on him, and after his kids were born, he took pains to make sure that we never treated anyone the way that he and his fellow Airmen were treated. He made sure we were old enough to understand, and told us the story. He made it a positive story, that he made new friends, and learned to love country music. But he made sure we knew it was wrong.

   I was lucky enough to inherit his skin. I have a nice, olive tone to my skin. I tan very easily. In fact, my Hubs tells people that I can tan just by walking under a lamp. I have to say that as far as I know, I have never been discriminated against. Truly, it would never occur to me.

   I wanted to post a photo of my dad here, but I just looked through all my pics, and I don't have a good one of him. I must rectify that situation. I guess I will have to go visit my mom and take photos of the photos of him that she has.

   Anyway, this whole thing has made me really think hard, and thank my dad, not only for the service to his country, but for teaching me to treat all people the same.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Blanket's Done! Next Project Planned!


    Yee Haw! The blanket for baby Tortarella is all done! I will wash it in the morning. I always launder everything I make, whether it's for sale or gifting. I need to be satisfied in my own mind that it launders up well. Besides the fact that it's always so much softer after it's washed and dried.

    And here is a close up of the details.

    I absolutely feel it is totally unethical to sell, or give to someone, a handcrafted item that has not been laundered! What if it melts in the dryer? Are you going to give them their money back? That's why I insist on laundering everything I make, before sale or gifting. It's even on the postcard they get with it, complete laundering instructions, and the fact that it has been washed already for softness.

    I have said before, this is my Hubs' favorite baby blanket pattern. I have made it for many of his friends who have babies. It's made with two strands of yarn held together, starting with the white. Then one white and one light blue, then two light blues, then one light blue and one variegated, etc. It sort of blends from one color to the next.

    The original was made with seven colors, it looked like a rainbow. Very pretty. Anyway, with this one, Hubs was worried that it wasn't big enough. So after it was done, I brought it to him, and he asked me to add the white border. So I did. Now it's all done, and it seems just in time! He got a phone call last night that the soon-to-be mom is at the hospital. We hope everything is alright, and we also hope that the new baby will be healthy and well. We hope her visit is for him to be born!!

    And it's on to the next project! I saw my friend Kim's current shawl project,a nd LOVED IT!! So I came home and went to Ravelry and ordered me a copy of the pattern. I even have the yarn picked out, from my stash! Kim had given me five skeins of a really pretty Malabrigo worsted weight that has been waiting for the right project. I think this shawl might be it!


    Hubs got a text message today, Baby Tortarella was born last night about 11:30!! And he is indeed a little boy! The new grandpa was so shook up, he couldn't remember the little guy's name! It's either Max or Matt. I'm hoping for Max! That name sounds cool. Now I we just have to get his new blankie to him!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

If Vampires aren't real...../ Blanket Update

    Then why do we have these in a jar by our front door?

    It's like, if a vampire comes to the door, and we want to, we can just stake him right there. I know that they belong to my son, and I know there must be a connection to karate somehow, but it amuses me to fantasize about it. Believe it or not, more than one person has seen them and commented. I am thinking I might carry one in my purse, and call him Mr. Pointy. Yes, that was a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reference.

    The baby blanket is sort of finished! I did the last row today, and ended it. Then I brought it home to show Hubs, since he was concerned it might not be big enough. It turns out he would like it a little bigger, so I have started a solid white border. I will post photos when it's finally, really done.

Monday, July 9, 2012

One project stalled, a new one started

    The stalled project is pictured below, I have gotten to 5 ridges on the Elizabeth Zimmermann baby surprise jacket. This is where it gets unclear in the directions. I'm still waiting for a playdate for help.

    For good news, I got to start a new project today! A friend of my Hubs is having his very first grandbaby, by the end of this month. Hubs has asked me to make his favorite crocheted baby blanket for the new parents.

   There is one little problem. The original version is made with 7 colors of a really pretty baby yarn. Unfortunately I haven't seen about 4 of the needed colors in many months. Since they "know" this baby will be a boy, I went out and bought some of the same pretty yarn, but only three colors, white, blue and a blue variegated. I'll make the blanket, but with wider stripes since there's only three colors of yarn.

    The pattern calls for the yarn colors to be used two strands together, starting with 2 of white, then white and the second color, then 2 of the second color, then one 2nd and one 3rd, then 2 of the 3rd, etc. Here's how it looks so far:

   As you can see, I am on the solid blue stripe. I'm doing four rows of each, except for
the white. I used more than four of that color. I think it will be very pretty, I just hope it's big enough!

    And for the best news, I didn't have to go to Hobby Lobby for the yarn! I found what I needed at Michaels. The original colors were - white, yellow, peach, pink, lavender, blue and green. I would have needed to go to Hobby Lobby because that's the only store I've ever found that had this yarn in the peach color. Every other time I've made this blanket, I had to get the peach yarn from ebay.

   Let's just say that I am pleased at how the blanket is turning out. I think I forgot to mention that the yarn is Bernat Baby Coordinates. Its really pretty, it had a shiny thin ribbon running through it. You can see it in the photo if you look closely.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

I Collect Some Stuff.

    I collect things. It's not gotten to an extreme, yet, but I collect some pretty odd and unusual things. For starters, I collect gavels. Yup, the kind the judge uses. I don't have many, since I got them all on ebay, and I quit ebay after getting my identity stolen, TWICE. After the second time, that's when I quit. Anyway, I have a lucite gavel, an ebony gavel, and a ceramic one too. There is one that is hand painted with flowers and things that was owned by a female judge. Most of the rest are just plain wood.

    I also collect sand. I have sand from around the world, even Russia. Well, technically it's dirt, but it's from a river bank. I have sand from Ireland, Grenada, and other places that I can't recall right this minute. Here are a few photos of some of my sand.

    Right now they are all on a shelf in the den. After my craft room is finished, they will have a nice shelf, all to themselves, where everyone can see them.

    I also have a liking for gargoyles. I can only afford small ones, but someday I hope to have a big one, out by our pool. I even have one that rides with me in my Jeep.

    Then there are the hedgehogs. I like them too. I have mostly stuffed ones. Here is a photo of some of them.

    I also, as you can see, collect books. I have five bookshelves, all overflowing with books. I also have a rocking chair that no one can sit in because it's piled with books. These bookshelves will be moved into the new craft room. That way, Hubs gets his den back.

    And of course, I collect yarn. It's so bad that I have two stashes, one here at my house, and one at my friend Bonny's house. It is under control, I swear. But to go with the yarn I also have many, many crochet hooks, and knitting needles! And tiny scissors, and yarn needles, and tiny tape measures, and stitch markers, etc. etc. etc.....

   And patterns too!! I have two huge three ring binders filled with crochet patterns, and one smaller one with knitting patterns. The crochet notebooks are all divided into catagories and everything.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Craft Report and Chipmunks!

    Yesterday, I sat for Miss Malia for 9 hours. We had a good time, but by the end I was exhausted. I did get the blanket for my Hot Puerto Rican Fantasy Boyfriend's son done, though. It's in the wash right now. I will deliver it on Monday. Hubs has asked me to make a blanket for a baby to be born by the end of this month. I may have to go buy yarn for this one, he wants his favorite blanket, the pastel rainbowy 12 pointed star. I foresee a trip to Hobby Lobby soon, if I don't have the yarn in my stash.

    Now on to the chipmunks. I love chipmunks. Apparently, my daughter does too! She is able to sit out on her front porch with peanuts and lure them in to her. All the following photos of adorable chipmunks were taken by her, Sara Gilroy, on her front porch and steps.

    If I could, I would love to have a chipmunk or two as pets. I have a few on my property, but they aren't friendly yet. I buy peanuts for them, and Hubs eats them. He thanked me for buying them, and when I looked at him with a blank face, he said, "You bought these for the chipmunks, didn't you!" I couldn't deny it.

    Someday, I hope to have my chipmunks near enough for me to photograph. She has squirrels too! Sara has the most adorable front porch, and yard. If I was a chipmunk, I would want to live there!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Random True/Funny Stories

    Sitting here this morning, drinking my coffee, I was, as usual, wondering what I could possibly blog about today. Then something made me remember a few true things that have happened. I think they give a little clue to my personality.

    Our family was attending a karate tournament in Pennsylvania, along with many other karate families from our Do-Jang. It was Saturday night, and all the kids had gathered in our room, as the hotel pool had closed. Well, Hubs and I were tired, and wanted to go to sleep. We couldn't figure out how to get these kids to leave!

    Suddenly, I had a brilliant idea. I opened the drawer of the nightstand, and of course, there was a Bible inside. I pulled it out, and announced to the kids that since it was after midnight, it was now Sunday, and time for a Bible reading. As I flipped through the book, the kids all fell over themselves in a rush to leave our room. Mission accomplished. Besides, I have a feeling that should I have read aloud from that particular book, I would have been struck by lightning....

    Another year, another tournament in Pennsylvania. This time we were on our way home, complete with trophies and our son's friend who accompanied us. As we were driving down the never ending highway, I spied a flash in the sky, and promptly cried out, "Look, a Pterodactyl!" The look on the face of that young man was priceless. Of course, it was an airplane, but I am a bit twisted (thanks, mom and dad), and am always seeing either Pterodactyls or dragons in the sky.

    As you might guess, my beloved Hubs has quite the sense of humor, to put up with me for so many years. It is extremely important to me that life never be boring. I love spontenaety. As my favorite quote from facebook states, "I try to never make plans, because then the word "premeditated" gets thrown around in court!"

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Aiming for Perfection

    Whenever we create something, whether it's knit, crochet, paint, sew, whatever, we strive to make it perfect. However, there is a Native American saying that only the Great Spirit makes perfection. So they believe that there are imperfections, however small, in everything made by human hands.

    When I crochet anything, there are always mistakes. When making the current blanket, and I have made many, the error is usually the stitch count on at least one row. There are supposed to be 151 stitches. Every time the kind of stitch changes, that is when I count. Usually it's the beginning of the single crochet sections.

    These little imperfections never show. However, there are others that I make. In the current blanket, in one of the V stitch panels, I made a mistake on one of the V stitches. It only has one side. So the row would look like this:


   If you don't get it, don't worry. It's kind of hard to explain. Let's just say that there is a mistake, and I know it's there. While I was thinking about what to say in this post, I was going to take a photo of the mistake, so you all could see it. But you know what? I looked over every V stitch panel, TWICE, and couldn't find it. But I know it's there, and so does the Great Spirit.

    And as my good friend, Kim says, "If you can't spot the mistake while riding past it on a galloping horse, then it doesn't matter." And she's right!

   One last note on the blanket: in the photo above, it's shown the way it's used. However, it's made from side to side. And every time I make one, by the time it's finished, I swear I will never make another one! But it's the pattern I have made the most over the last 20 or so years.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Parade, Then and Now.

     Back when my daughter was in high school, she was in the marching band. So of course, she got to be in the parades. I remember driving down Rte 9, and the ungodly hour of 7:30 or 8:00, and even at that hour, people had chairs out already, marking their territory of where they were going to sit.

   It is still like that now! I no longer have to drop anyone off at the drive-in for the parade line up, but my two friends who do have remarked to me that this is still the case. And Jan even said, "Only in Hyde Park could people put their chairs out without fear of them being taken!" I agree, Jan!

   My poor daughter in the marching band had to wear this god-awful heavy wool uniform, even in July, and those stupid looking tall wool hats too. She would arrive home after the parade, practically fainting from heat stroke. She was furious that shortly after she graduated, the powers that be changed the marching band uniform to black pants and a white T shirt! I remember that she wanted nothing better than to burn that awful heavy uniform!

    This years parade was pretty good. I took a few photos, we were sitting on the east side of Rte 9, here are our views looking south, then north.

     Of course, the parade hadn't started yet. Even after it starts, we are near the end of it, so it takes forever for it to get this far!

    This nice family were also at the Memorial Day parade, when they were the hit of the street! They brought a duck, on a leash, with them. Everyone wanted to go say Hi to the duck!

     And of course, they can't have a parade without old military vehicles. Here is an old Jeep.

    And here is my fantasy boyfriend. I do like a man with a shed over his tools.  I don't want me no skinny men with bones sticking out. They hurt.

      And lastly, the highlight of the parade for me, a purple tractor! Gotta have a purple tractor, it sure is different!

                                   HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY, EVERYBODY!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Random Observations

   I just have a few things that have been on my mind lately, I thought I'd share them and see if anyone else agrees with me!

   I watched HP and the Deathly Hallows again this past weekend, and something struck me. You know the scene where they all go to Uncle Vernon's house to get Harry out of there? And how they use Pollyjuice potion on 5 or 6 people so they look like Harry and the bad guys won't know which is the real Harry?

   My thought is this: Wouldn't it have been better to have Harry be the one disguised, but as someone who didn't go to the house?(So there wouldn't be two of them...) Then when they all leave, the bad guys would think Harry is still there. Just a thought.

   I watch a lot of TV. I've been noticing that lately, the people who make movies seem to be out of new ideas. It seems that all the new movies coming out are remakes of older movies. I think what they should do is go waaay back in time, and remake some really good old movies, like the Charlie Chan or Thin Man series. Can you even imagine what wonderful things they could do to those stories, with all the new technology we have today? Just a thought.
    Tomorrow is the Independence Day Parade in our little town. This year, I hope to remember my camera. I forgot it for the last one, on Memorial Day. I hope to get some good photos to post. We three karate moms will be sitting together, in the same place as the last parade. It was very hot that day, just like it's supposed to be tomorrow, and we were very cool under those trees!

    We will be cheering for our kids when they pass, and knitting (Jan),crocheting(me), and possibly spinning(Kim) as we watch the parade and wait for our children to march by. Jess knows where we will be sitting, so he will probably have them perform in front of us. They do that when they see parents or relatives.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Updates, Photos and More!

    Good news! The blanket for the young son of my hot fantasy boyfriend is almost half done!

    And, the paint colors for my craft room have been tentatively selected! It's a darker purple for the bottom, and a lighter one for the top and ceiling.

    As teenagers love to do, my beloved youngest put lots of stickers on his bedroom door. Now that it's to be my craft room, I have been peeling them off, with some success. Most of them came off, but there are a few that need extra help. Here is the door, I put the sheep on there...

    And lastly, since son and girlfriend are no longer here, my cat has become extremely needy! He wakes me up in the middle of the night to be loved. He's almost always trying to get my attention. So Julie, if you are reading this, you need to come visit Ozzy, he really really misses you!

    In this photo, he looks pissed because he doesn't like having his picture taken, but trust me, he's sad and lonely. But you can't pick him up, or put him on your lap. It's gotta be on his terms or he will run away from you. He's not just really cranky, he's getting old.