Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Late birthday present

My Mother-in-Law (hi, Vickey!) sent me a very generous gift card for my birthday, so I decided to use it to buy books! Books, of almost any kind, are a great weakness of mine. They hold so much knowledge and so many new ideas! The librarians at my local branch of the public library know me (and sometimes hate me, I'm sure). Right now I have 23 books checked out and 17 waiting for me that I've requested from other branches. The Tulsa City-County Library system is absolutely incredible!! I can go online and search the catalog, then request a book and when it's available they'll bring it to the library location I specify! It's a truly fabulous thing. [O.K., not all of the 23 books are mine, 10 are my kids' books.]

Back to the gift card, I've just used it to purchase four books I've been wanting for a long time:

The Sweater Workshop is a really good book--I didn't really like it until I started reading it, then I had to make the sweater sampler (also known as The Thing) and I learned so much! I highly recommend this book for any novice knitter, and even intermediate knitters. I'd consider myself an intermediate- to intermediate/advanced-level knitter, and I still want this book for a reference. My library system doesn't have it, so I've gotten it through inter-library loan, but this is a book I want in my personal library.

Subversive Cross Stitch is probably the only cross-stitching I'll do for a long time. Yes, some of the designs are quite rude, but I just love the irony of having those cutesy/fancy/girly borders, then something rude paired with it. I'll probably never make some of the ones with profanity (having two little kids in the house and all) but I can see making some of the slightly rude ones. It's gonna be fun!

I've heard good things about Mary Thomas' books, and this one looks like it'll be a good one. I've never actually had my hands on a copy so I'm looking forward to it. I love collecting stitch patterns!

Victorian Lace Today has many of the lace knitting lists all excited, and I can't wait to get it in my hot little hands.

Of course I should be working on the projects I've got started already, but I can't be monogamous to any one project--I have to have a few different ones going of varying skill levels. Right now I've got a super-secret project that's mindless knitting but I've designed myself into a corner, so that's going to be a challenge; the Hanging Garden Stole is currently stalled since I messed up purling back and haven't had a chance to site down uninterrupted and figure out where the problem occurred; the Rose of England shawl is stalled because of Christmas knitting, but I'm itching to get back to it; and I just cast on for yet another hat. However, I did pull a hat off the needles and re-wound the yarn since I just wasn't liking it. Not sure what I'll do with the yarn--it's Red Heart variegated and really scratchy. I washed another hat using the same yarn and it softened up a little, but not enough to be used as a chemo cap. I might end up giving the rest of the skein away since I've got more yarn that's more suitable for chemo caps.

Of course, instead of blogging or playing on the computer I should be either cleaning, doing housework, or knitting, but oh well--it'll all still be there in a little while. :-)

I'm sitting here listening to the rather miserable weather outside. It got really dark at around 3:00 this afternoon, like almost-night-time dark, and the wind has been blowing for a while. This morning when I took Gillian to school it was in the low 70s, and over the course of the day I've watched the temperature drop and it's now 33 degrees outside! It's been raining and is supposed to snow late tonight, so we'll have a wonderful coating of ice covered by snow. Woo hoo! Not.

I'm halfway hoping they cancel school tomorrow, but DS has a doctor's appointment on the other side of town and we won't be missing that! It won't be fun getting there or back home, but we'll just have to be careful. I think it's going to be a good day to stay inside and do housework knit.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Working hard, but no pics

I'm working on Christmas gifts, so I'm not going to post pictures of those until after the holidays.
I've got quite a bit going but I feel like I'm fairly close to finishing most of the projects, and on time even!

I still haven't figured out what to make for neighbor gifts this year although I'm leaning toward something like a cheese ball and cracker assortment (Rori, will you teach me?). Mmmmmm. Many of my neighbors are older and some are diabetic, so I don't want to make cookies and sweets. I probably will make some anyway, but I like salty things, too.

I did another chemo cap and this one will go to Caps with a Conscience. Once I get the ends woven in, that is! Here's a picture of my hat:

I adapted the design from a design I saw on a sweater in a J.C. Penny's advertisement, although I double you'd recognize it if you saw the original. Yes, the yarn is a strong coral color. It's not quite deer-hunter orange, but it's bright. This was the yarn from Leisure Arts and Bernat that they sent if you emailed them. I'm not sure if they're still doing it or not, but click here for the link. The yarn is very soft, called Bernat Satin. I'm not sure about the colors, but it seems to be very similar to Caron Simply Soft (which is the white yarn in my hat, since I didn't have enough yarn left to do the entire hat). I used part of the skein to make a Diagonal Rib Hat but it came out too small, so I sent it to a different chemo hat campaign.

This hat is Rori's that she crocheted:

Both hats went out today in the mail, just barely--I managed to catch the postman after he'd come to our mailbox and was going down the other side of the street. One more thing checked off my list of things to do! Now I can add two more, right? ;-)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Magic Loop, diagonal rib, and MORE bathroom stuff

This is a quick post about using the Magic Loop method, an alternative to double-point needles or the two-circular method.

Begin as you usually would, casting on the necessary number of stitches. In this case, I cast on 20.

Next, move the stitches down onto the cable and pull out a loop of cable at approximately the half-way point. I cast on 20 stitches then pulled out the loop between the 10th and 11th stitches.

Next, slide the stitches up so that both needles have loops on them. Note that the working yarn is coming from the right needle.

Now pull the right needle up so that the stitches are on the cable. You're now in working position. Bring the yarn up and begin knitting, using the stitches on the left needle tip.

Here I've worked four stitches, and you can see the loops (I like to think of them as ears, for some strange reason) on either side of the work.

At this point I've finished working the stitches on the left needle, and now I need to bring the needles back into working position.

I'll bring the right needle tip up and out of the stitches so that they're on the cable...

Then bring the tip of the right needle back up into working position. You can see the loop forming on the right side.

On a not-really-related subject, I've been having fun with my Diagonal Rib Hat (see sidebar for pattern). As the pattern progresses, the stitch marker—and the beginning of the round—move one stitch to the left every other round. So although the actual knitting doesn't change its position on the needles, the marker moves around. I took a picture, because for some reason this amuses me. [I know, I know, no comments from the peanut gallery, please. Those of you who know me will realize I am very easily amused.]

The needle is at the original start of the round, so you can see how the stitch marker has moved with each pattern repeat. For those of you with a fair bit of knitting experience, you're probably going "huh? WHY is this a big deal?" but I thought it might throw some beginners and was worth mentioning.

And here are two pictures of the magic loop in action on my latest Diagonal Rib hat:

After finishing the stitches on the left needle (above), and starting the next half of the round (below).

Hopefully someone will find this helpful!

We're nearing the end of the bathroom project. Today we hung towel bars, which was quite exciting! ROFL

Here's a picture of the medicine cabinet installed. It was totally bizarre to walk in there and not have a mirror. I kept thinking my eyes were wonky.

Please ignore the little bits of burgundy around the vanity. Those are going to go away. Very soon. That's the old paint color. If you can imagine, the LIGHT FIXTURE HAD BEEN PAINTED BURGUNDY when we moved in!!! The previous owners really should not have been allowed near paint. I took down the light and got some really nifty "hammered metal" spray paint. Poof! Burgundy light fixture gone! That stuff is way awesome. We also used it on some old hinges in the other bathroom and so far they've held up pretty well.

So now all we have to do is get new baseboard, paint it, install it, do some touch-up painting, fix two broken tiles on the floor, and install some crown molding. And then those of you who are tired of reading about my bathroom remodel won't have to be in agony any more. ;-)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Christmas Stockings Finished!

It's only taken me a year.

All three stockings are finished! The one on the far left, with "Katy" on it, is the one my Mom made in 1975. The others are the ones I've made in the last year. I couldn't find the same green locally, so we went with the darker green. I'm pretty happy with them! I didn't have a pattern (heck, it's been 30 years since my Mom made mine!!) and each stocking is different, but I like them that way. My sister's and mine are different, too. :-)

Rori finished her second Market Bag, this one done in the round. We'll get a picture of the felted bag soon, but here it is pre-felting:

And here's one with my boy for scale:

We're making more progress on the bathroom. We put up the medicine cabinet on Tuesday night, and today I'm hanging the towel bars now that I finally managed to get some wall anchors. Pictures later. :-)

Sunday, November 12, 2006


We have had a major event in this house this evening: THE MASTER BATHROOM IS USABLE!!

Today we painted (although we have a few touch-ups to do), and about a half-an-hour ago Greg put the toilet in!!! This is truly cause for celebration in our house.

I don't usually let Ryan run around in just his diaper, but he'd gotten some paint on the back of his shirt so I stripped it off him and tried to get it out as quickly as possible. I'm not sure when the pants came off, but I'm going to throw them in the tub in a few minutes anyway.

The children are fascinated with the toilet seat. We got one of the ones that has a slow-closing, self-closing lid. Hopefully the obsession will wear off quickly. At least I know that it's clean at this point.

The previous toilet (which wasn't the original) had a 12" rough-in, which meant the tank was resting in the wall. Not against the wall, but pushed into it. When we pulled it out the wall behind it, which hadn't been painted, was mildewed. Ick!!! This is an older house and it's plumbed for a 10" rough-in, which was the standard 30 years ago. When we went to Home Depot to look at toilets we discovered this one, which is a Niagara. The tank doesn't sweat at all because the water stays in this upper chamber until it's flushed. It's pretty cool!!

The paint color didn't turn out quite as I'd planned, but it's all right the way it is. I can always repaint with the technique I'd planned originally, but the colors I chose when I bought the paint didn't have enough contrast for that.

It is one fabulous bathroom!!!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Painting with the Kids, Mud, and Knitting

Greg has been working on the bathroom, and we're finally nearing the end of this project. Today he got the texture done on the walls and ceiling, which means that tomorrow I should be able to PAINT!! He also picked up a toilet, so we may actually have a working bathroom by the end of the weekend!! Mere words cannot describe my excitement. I've really missed my bathroom, much more than I thought I would. Having only one toilet among four people (not that Ryan is using the toilet yet) is NOT fun. I can't imagine what it would've been like for my mom growing up, with eight people sharing ONE bathroom (six kids and two adults).

Here's what he looked like before lunch, after he was finished spraying and texturing:

While Greg was working in the bathroom, the kids wanted to paint so we dragged out the tole painting supplies. I've been accumulating wooden shapes and the kids have used almost all of them. Some of them I've had for a long time, so it's great to see them painted up. This was Ryan's first real painting session--he's daubed paint on things before, but he's never really stuck with it long enough to coat an entire piece of wood with paint. He did great mixing colors and putting the paint on the wood. He held the brush like his sister, and they both did a fabulous job!

For the knitting segment of this post, here's a hat I finished. It's from Red Heart yarn and while I'm not really fond of the scratchy feel before washing, I love the strip effect. It washed up nicely, and is softer, but it's still no where near as soft as Caron Simply Soft. I think this one might get donated to a homeless shelter instead of Caps with a Conscience, since I think it's a little too scratchy for a bare scalp.

Gillian is my model, as usual. It's a bit big on her but then she's five and the hat is for an adult.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hat Pattern Up

I've formatted the pattern for the Diagonal Rib Hat and posted it on my site.
Just as a refresher, here's a picture:

DD looked at this picture of herself and said "I look like a MOVIE STAR!" LOL! It's a little big on her, of couse, since she's five and the hat is for an adult.

Here's the link to the page with my free stuff:

And if you want to go directly to the pattern, it's here:

I'll also put a link in the side bar.

This hat is the one shown in a previous post in the variegated yarn, as well as in the orange yarn (although the yarn was really a DK weight instead of worsted, so it's much smaller).

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I really am an airhead lately

I was just looking over my previous posts and realizing that I hadn't included some of the recent happenings. (Pictures toward the bottom.) Refill your coffee mug before you read this 'cause it's a really long post.

I did end up getting all of the ribbons on my fair items, which is great! At the October K.N.I.T. Guild meeting I was recognized as the Best of Show winner for knitting, which is cool. The president cracks me up--she's queen of backhanded compliments. She congratulated me and then went on to say something along the lines of "but it's not hard to enter, and you can win with just about anything." ROFL!! Some of the people there told me later that they were rather taken aback, but I think it's funny. I don't think she means it in a mean way, she's just not really thinking about what she's saying.

My birthday was one week ago and it was by far the worst I've ever had. Except for my wonderful husband taking me out to dinner--that part was wonderful! The truck died again, with the same exact thing as the week before. Turns out, $650 later (plus the $160 the previous trip that didn't' solve the problem), that a chip in the steering column was dying and wouldn't recognize any key, so it would shut off the gas. Until this time around it was only doing it intermittently so it didn't strand me. So not only was the truck dead, but Gillian was very late to school since we had to walk and were already running late. That was probably the fastest I've ever walked that .65 mile and I was "glowing" by the time we got to the principal's office. I will never own another American car. That brings us to $2,000+ this month on repairs for that truck. And it's a 1999. Enough about car trouble!!

I did get some wonderful birthday wishes from my sister and many internet friends, and my parents sent me some money (which I'll be spending on YARN of course) as well as serenading me with the traditional trombone rendition of "Happy Birthday" which I love. My aunt Melanie sent a wonderful hand-made card which I always enjoy. I also got a phone call from my friend Heather, which was really nice. Rori emailed me a big happy birthday wish, and Tracy, with whom I spoke at least twice that day, totally forgot but called me the next day, embarrassed. (*snicker* Hi, Tracy! LOL!) I hope I didn't forget to mention anyone.

On the knitting front, I got four hats finished to send for Caps for a Cure although I haven't gotten them sent out yet. Gillian was graciously consented to having her picture taken as long as I didn't interrupt her game. She had 10 minutes until bedtime and she wanted to squeeze the most out of every second before bedtime while playing computer games.

This first hat is for a young child. My children both have big heads so it's small on her. The yarn is Bernat's Satin yarn in the color "Sunset." I got the yarn, a pair of needles, and a DVD on knitting from Leisure Arts through this link, and it was supposed to be made into a hat for the "Caps with a Conscience" campaign. Since the hat came out too small for an adult I'm going to send it with my Caps for a Cure hats and make a truly adult-sized hat for the "Caps with a Conscience" campaign.

The white hat is from Caron Simply Soft yarn and the pattern is here. It's big on Gillian, but then she's five. It's actually a touch small on me but most hats are.

This hat is Odessa from Grumperina and it was a fun knit even without the beads. The yarn is also Simply Soft. I'm having a terrible time finding nice machine-washable yarn that's not too expensive and available locally so a lot of my charity knitting is from this yarn.

And my final finished hat is made from Caron's Simply Soft Shadows. I really like this yarn! It's a bit heavier than the standard Simply Soft, more like a true worsted than the almost DK-weight of the regular yarn. It was a REALLY bad picture of me, taken by holding out the camera, so I cut out everything but the hat.

And now for the main distraction in my/our life/lives, the shower remodel!

Greg and I actually used this shower this evening and it was wonderful. The rest of the bathroom looks like hell, but the shower looks great!

It looks wonky in the picture but that's because I couldn't get a good camera angle in that little room. It took Greg a while to get the back panel in since the framing isn't square anymore (the house is 30+ years old) and then we had to struggle a little with installing the control and handle, but we got it! We're debating on whether or not to put in a shower door and/or to replace the tile on the floor and the toilet. The toilet keeps leaking from one of the bolts. This project could keep growing, though, and I'm so ready to have it done.

Here's a closer-up of the fixtures we chose:

Tomorrow evening after Greg gets home from work he'll finish putting up the drywall. I still need to scrape down the high spots on the burgundy wall so that we can texture all the walls the same. Here's the challenge I'm facing with that part, where we took down a cabinet. Still not sure what we're going to do about that... We need storage but what was there was pretty bad.

The color balance is off but the large white-and-tan area is where the cabinet was, and the splotchy area below it is where I've scraped off some of the very irregular texture. Lots more to go....

And if you've made it all the way to the end of this extremely long post, congratulations!!