Monday, September 27, 2004

Secret Pal

My secret pal is awesome.

Really and truly - completely awesome.

This is what she sent me -

Its a Daria bag kit - Noro Daria, a way cool yarn that I _almost_ bought when yarn shopping with Nathania, matching fabric for a lining, the pattern (not pictured), and a bunch of Rosemary to make it all smell lovely. (My shampoo and conditioner are Rosemary and Mint scented... I love the odor). Its wonderful and perfect. Thank you VERY MUCH Secret Pal.

(and I'm very happy that my secret pal likes her gifts. Reading her post made my day!)

weekend knitting

Over the weekend, we went and visited my mother-in-law. The kids had a great time, and I got a lot of knitting done in the 2.5 hour (each way) drive. (I had a good time too. My mom-in-law is wonderful.) Mom-law taught the Big One to crochet. The Big One promptly made a scarf for her doll (see previous entry). She's hoping she can crochet on the bus - they won't let her knit because the needles are pointy. (I wondered if they didn't let the kids use pencils because they were pointy, but that's beside the point.) (sorry)

But, I got much knitting done on my poncho. I'm 14 rows from done. I'm still a bit hesitant on the color... opinions?

I don't know. I'm thinking the blue might be too bright, and the red might have too much pink in it. Granted, at 14 rows from the end, I'm going to finish it. No matter what. (But I may regret not doing it out of Koigu's of Many Purples.)

Random Stuff

This morning we met with the Big One's teacher. Our district has a program where after a month or so of school, they hold parent-teacher conferences. These are not geared at the teacher laying out how the student is doing, but rather are an opportunity for the parents to share their insights on their child. I think these are amazing. Usually after the first few weeks of school the teacher has started getting a feel for the kid, and the parent has met the teacher a couple times and heard stories from their student. And, this year I think the Big One got a great teacher. She's enthusiastic and seems rather together. The Big One has had good luck, though - only 1 bad teacher in the last 5 years... her 2nd grade teacher was... ummm... not what we would have wanted in a teacher for our daughter. Her other teachers have ranged from very good to excellent. (1 out of 5 ain't bad)

Well... back to watching Monday Night Football and working away on my poncho. (Football in HD rocks)

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Quick update - couple more things

A couple more things since my earlier post.

I forgot to thank the 2 people who reassured me that cable cast on is the same whether you knit English or Continental. I appreciate that so much - I had a feeling they were the same, but I'm not very sure of myself when knitting English, so trying was not easy. And, I didn't want to steer my mom wrong.

And... I got a secret pal gift today! Its SO cool - a purse kit. Its kinda dark around here right now, but I'll get pictures (hopefully tomorrow) But it's gorgeous!

39 Ducks

No knitting content today - I've had my boss and my boss's boss in town for the last couple days, and we've had a bunch of meetings. On top of that, we've had 2 group dinners. Then, there was a LONG LONG meeting last night about an after-school church program for Sabrina... While I love the amount of detail (they even told us the same things 3 times... arent' they nice), I do rather object to a 2 hour meeting. Even if they fed us afterwards.

One of the good things is that I _may_ be directing the group's choir. The program is for 3-5th grades, one day a week, with a gym/craft time, a worship arts time, a bible study time and a dinner and table games time. During the worship arts time, they split into 4 groups: bell choir, vocal choir, interpretive reading/theater time and a behind-the-scenes time. If the choir thing doesn't work out - one of my choir friends directed it last year, and she may want to do it again - I will work with the theater group. I'm so excited!! So is Sabrina. She didn't participate last year, because the program starts at 4... which means I would leave work at 3, pick her up, twiddle for a half hour, then take her there. Then return to work, or go home, or whatever. I have a problem doing that once a week. However, this year a friend of hers is joining, and her mom is willing to get Sabrina from school and get her there. I can leave work for the day at 4:50 one day a week, and be there for the choir time at 5:15. That, I can do. (Work hours are flexible... but not that flexible)

But, with all that, I've barely knit for days. And, tonight is choir... so little knitting tonight as well. (I was so tired last night... we started watching the Star Wars DVD's and I fell asleep right after the Death Star blew up Alderaan... and woke up to Luke bursting into Leia's cell.)


Aren't these guys cute?

They are my new ducks from Nathania. I'm just head-over-heels about the Jester ducky...the picture doesn't show it very well... but the wing on the painted-eye side also has a star painted on it. ... The chef is pretty darn cute as well. They have taken pride of place in the great duck collection in my office. 37. Oops - there's a couple new ones at home also. 39.

Monday, September 20, 2004

I'm pretty tired tonight, so a short entry.

I knit over the weekend, but there are discernible changes in the poncho or in the Kersti ribby raglan. I'm just up to the raglan decreases, but haven't started them yet, And, I've finished with the 2nd color in the poncho. 15 more rows, and I add in the fourth color. I'm unsure if I'm liking it... I'll get pictures soon and solicit some opinions.

Today, though, I'd like to talk a bit about another knitting relative. One who just started knitting. My mom! She had been talking for months about learning how. A couple weeks back, we sat down for a first knitting lesson. Now, I knit continental. I've never quite figured out English style. As my mom was getting the hang of knitting, she set the knitting down for a minute, picked it up and started throwing with her other hand. Perfectly. It turns out that she had learned as a child from her mother (the same grandmother who tried to teach me as a child). She had gotten amazingly frustrated because her mom would only let her knit dishcloths - which she felt were ugly and useless. So she stopped. For 40 years.

She would have picked up knitting again much more smoothly if I hadn't tried to teach her continental style - since the yarn is wrapped opposite in the two styles, she was getting confused. But, all she had to do was ignore what I had tried to tell her and she was fine. Now, she's working on a scarf out of Jocelyn's Fiber Farm's Silk 'n Ewe yarn in the Ocean colorway. Its been marinating in my stash for quite a while. I love it, but since my mom fell in love with it, and I can always order more... she gets it. The scarf is a pretty simple pattern - 5 ridges garter stitch, then keep the end 5 stitches on each side garter, with the middle in stocking stitch. Then, last 10 rows in garter stitch. The yarn is so pretty she doesn't need to do more. And, its a good first project.

Does anyone reading this knit English? Have you done the knitted on cast on (or the cable cast on)? The one where you start with a slip stitch, knit one stitch into that stitch and put the new stitch back on the left needle - repeat? Does it work as well English style as it does continental? I taught my mom long tail cast on not knowing if the other cast on would work (I taught Sabrina the knit-on cast on... its so simple, and is a cleaner cast on than the e-wrap cast on)

The only real problem she was having (after straightening out the wrap confusion) was when she'd switch between knit and purl she would sometimes add a stitch. That only took paying a bit of attention on my and my daughter's part. My mom wasn't moving the yarn to the opposite side of the fabric before starting the stitch, so she'd add a yarnover. Easy to fix. She's having fun!

In other news, I got a great present from Nathania today - new duckies!!! Thanks Nathania! They're going to my collection tomorrow. (right after their photo shoot)

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Not muchDaughter number one
Awesomely creative kid
I'm so proud of her

Haven't done much knitting to show off. Progress on Kersti. Progress on Charlotte. But, no pics. I haven't made progress on my Blaze swatch. So, instead of talking about my knitting, I'm going to talk about my daughter instead.

(Other than my daughter's distressing tendancy toward teenagerdom. At 10. (sigh).)

But, back to knitting. She made this:

She was home sick on Monday and made the doll. Monday night she stuffed it. Tuesday morning she was adding hair. Tuesday afternoon she started a second one for a friend, which was finished today. She made the dress herself. Now she's knitting a shirt for her doll. And, a third doll. And, she wants to use Fun Fur to make a Cat costume for the doll for Halloween. She knits about as often as I do. And, she's gotten a bunch of the other kids at daycare knitting as well.

The coolest thing, though, is the note she got from one of the other daycare parents yesterday. Evidently, Sabrina inspired this mom to pick up Crochet. Not only that, but this mom finished a baby blanket for the daycare teacher who just had a baby (the same one Sabrina made the baby booties for a few weeks back). As a thank you she gave Sabrina a crochet hook and a pattern booklet - and the nicest note citing Sabrina as her inspiration. Isn't that just AWESOME? I'm willing to put up with a bit of smart alec child to have that.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Haiku-a-longWhat a concept. A Haiku a day for a week.


Stitches breeze along
Knit one, make one, slip slip knit
Makes Charlotte poncho


As you can tell, the Charlotte poncho is moving along. A weekend with football does that - time to sit and knit. And, the Vikings won! Whoo-Hoo!

Blaze -

I forgot to set a start date for the Blaze knitalong - I'm thinking Oct. 15th would be a good time. That gives me a month to get my 2 other projects done...Poor Kersti, she's feeling abandoned.

(ahhhh... This would be the time to mention that the top of this post was written on Tuesday, and the bottom here on Wednesday. Because I succeeded in ignoring my computer for a long stretch of time last night and knit instead.)

Promised pictures!

Finished the baby blanket, and gave it to the baby at the Trivia Planning meeting. Baby liked it, Mom liked it, Dad liked it. (much was made out of the sheer beauty of it.

*background - for the last couple years, I've been playing on a trivia team that participates in a couple large Trivia contests - first and foremost, the Stevens Point World Largest Triva Contest. We often do a second contest, for the last couple years that's been a trivia contest out of St. Cloud. (here's last year's page). I play with a team called Freshly Squeezed. Playing Trivia involves less actual Trivia knowledge, and more research ability. While I have a good grasp of trivia (ask me about my appearance on Jepoardy! sometime), I am much more valued as someone who can knock random answers out of Google. We sleep little for a weekend, and we have a great time. For the first couple years I played as part of the remote team - we chat over IRC, and the contest is webcast. Its a ton of fun. Especially the wackiness we get into after being up for 15 hours...

So. As you might imagine, doing well in a contest called "world's largest" might take some prep time. Boy do we do prep time. The team takes notes on movies, TV shows, commercials, etc. We buy books. We write software. Last weekend was our fall kickoff meeting - a bunch of us got together to figure out a plan. Planning is crucial. The Trivia answers (higher points, esp) often come out of notes we've taken - things we can't find on the internet.

While I have more to babble about, I'm going to sign off now so I have more to say tomorrow... what a concept!

Monday, September 13, 2004

Blaze KnitalongOK. I'm hosting a Blaze knitalong... Here's the button!

Here's the site. I'm using this to test the waters for moving my blog to Typepad... I've heard many good things about it, but want to test it out for myself :-)

Even though I've got a few other things to finish - namely my Charlotte Poncho and my Kersti sweater... I've started swatching. I had picked up a goodly amount of Peruvian Collection Baby Cashmere in a pretty Cadet Blue from Elann. Doubled, it matches the gauge pretty well, so far. And, is nice and soft.

I did get the baby blanket finished and gifted this weekend. However, the pictures are on the other computer, so I'm not posting them right now. Tomorrow. Really.

Friday, September 10, 2004

New KNITTY!!Wow!
I love it! The new Knitty is great! I'm going to be pondering Jenna's article on making sleeves fit for a while. Partially because I can tell at a quick scan that its a great article - and partially because its pages of wonderful material...

Anyone for a Blaze knitalong? I love it!! Here I was, almost jumping on a Klaralund bandwagon. And, still planning on joining the Lara-along in October. But, this pattern just calls to me. (The orange doesn't, but the neckline... yum)

In other news, I've finished the knitting of the baby blanket. I wove in ends this morning, will be blocking it tonight, taking pictures in the morning and gifiting it tomorrow afternoon. But I finished it on time!!!

And, I have progress updates on my other 2 projects:

Kersti front is about 8 inches high


Charlotte poncho is coming along...

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

I had a wonderful, wonderful weekend.

Friday night my mom came up - my little sister is starting her senior year at college (changed that from "last year at college", 'cause even higher education might be in store...), and my mom brought her and her stuff up. On Saturday, my parents went to the Fair, and my husband and I took the kids to Sesame Street Live. Again, yes. Its fun! And free! (and done, now) The little one got to see her best friend - the 2 yr old daugher of one of my bestest ever friends.

Then, life got REALLY good.

My parents took the kids to their house for the weekend.

Troy and I went to a nice dinner (mmmm... Filet Oscar) (double-mmmm.... crab and artichoke dip). And to the Sarah McLauchlin concert. Butterfly Boucher opened. I tried to buy one of her CD's at intermission, but they had sold out. I rather liked her music, and will pick up her CD one of these days. And, Sarah was magnificent. The only annoying part of the concert was the 2 people sitting in front of me. The women (girls) were in their early 20's, and came in rather tipsy. And then proceeded to talk. Loudly. Non-stop. The woman sitting next to them had a couple words to say, at which point they were quieter. (not that they stopped talking, but just started talking more quietly into each others ear.) I had the distinct desire to bonk their heads together. Which was only exacerbated by the blond... she started calling people on her cell phone. I mean really.

Sunday I slept in. Such a beautiful feeling - sleeping in without feeling guilty about it. We went to the Twins game (they lost badly), where I knit some on this:

I'm seeing the parents and baby this is for on Saturday. Looks likely to be finished by then, huh? Hee! This is made with 2 strands of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted held together - one in Rainbow (possilby now called Lorikeet) and one in the Pond Blue solid. I'm knitting it on some largish needles (oh... say 6.5mm). Then, I've modified the Stitch n Bitch Big Bad Blanket to make a 3x3 grid, and deal with the extreme upping of gauge. (Not having the blanket handy, I think I cast on 100 sts. 30 for each square, and another 5 for each side of moss stitch) Its warm, soft ,squishy and washable. What more can you ask for?

After baseball, we went and played Pub Triva at a St. Paul bar. We won - due to our superior knowledge of South American countries. (chortle... more like our kick-ass guessing ability and trend spotting acuity).

(So, if you haven't guessed yet - we packed in a LOT to our no-kids-weekend...)

Late Sunday, covered in glory, we went to a movie. Hero is a wonderful movie. Just beautiful. Its much of a muchness with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but in my opinion, has a better, clearer story.

I've been slipping in more knitting here and there, but will save that for another post!

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Still don't have pics of knitting... you'll have to believe me that progress has been made :-) I have had a fun couple days, even if I'm catching cold again.

On Tuesday we went to the MN State Fair. I enjoy going to the Fair - only on a weekday. I'm not so fond of crowds that I'll brave a weekend at the fair. We took the Big One as a time for her to spend some quality time with her parents. The Little One went to daycare. While the Little One would have loved the animals and wanted to go on rides, I would not have enjoyed the fair if we had brought her with. So we didn't.

I took one picture, and FINALLY figured out how to get pictures off my phone - which makes me more likely to use it. I loved this sign:

This was in the Poultry barn. We have a definite pattern to our fair-going. We start the day by buying Mini Donuts, then heading over to the All-You-Can-Drink Milk stand (new building this year, and they added Chocolate milk. Yum!)(granted, the prices went up to $1 a glass. When I was the Big One's age, it was a quarter. It was $.75 last year...). Then, since we're right there, we hit the animal barn. The Big One wants to be a vet when she grows up, so we spend some time there. Its important to see the Biggest Hog, the best Beef Cow, and all the sheep. (It was sheep judging day, so they all had their coats on). Then, we went to the Miracle of Birth building, and saw a 15 minute old piglet. We waited a while to see if Mama Pig was done giving birth (after 14), but no eyewitnesses to birth in our group that day.

The Big One got a bit lightheaded in the Birth building (crowds and lack of food), so we fed her and headed to find food for ourselves. (Neither Troy nor I ate healthily at all.) We had a malt for lunch, and watched some of the Butter Scultping. (For those who may not realize, one of the attractions at the fair is the set of busts sculpted out of butter of the Dairy Princesses and Princess Kay of the Milky Way. A new set is made each year out of HUGE slabs of butter... and each Dairy Princess gets to take her sculpture home after the fair. That's a lot of butter!)

We watched the parade, then hit the Pet building, where they show Spaying and Neutering surgeries (again, with a budding Vet in the family, this is an important thing to hit). Then, the Tech building. This is more for amusement, since the "high tech" at the fair is usually more on the "not" side. We then continued down the road to the Fine Art exhibit (always interesting), then the Education building. We got stuck at the Mensa booth - PUZZLES! Had to figure out the puzzles. I ran into problems when my algebra deficiencies showed up. I don't have Math issues - majored in it, in fact. However, I have been known to have issues with simple addition. (2+3=6, 6+5+4=14, that kind of thing). This can make getting the answer to math puzzles a bit tricky...

Stopped by the MN Machine Knitters booth, and was somewhat interested, but the woman working the machine was just not easy to talk to. I watched for a minute or two, but didn't feel any "ask me questions" vibes. She gave a cursory explanation of what she was doing, but no further. There was a fascinated 10 year old watching - she could have explained a bit to her! Even when telling the Big One that my machine at home is about as simple as it can get (USM) she didn't blink. And, I was kind of interested in what I can upgrade my machine to... oh well.

Then looked through the Knitting submitted for judging. Some year I'll do this... After that, we got Choc. chip cookies and left.

Wednesday was the first day of school for the Big One. She started 5th grade this year - last year of elementary school. I'm not sure how I ended up with a 10 year old already...She really enjoyed it, though. Her teacher seems nice (we met her Monday night), and she has friends in class. All are good things. Wednesday night Church Choir started back up. Its nice to be doing choral again - I love singing in the choir. We even had 4 or 5 new members last night - the room is getting full...and there were another 10 or so people who didn't make it last night. The sad news was one of the sopranos passed on on Tuesday. She had been in the hospital since June. A subset of the choir is singing for her funeral tomorrow, I'm taking the morning from work to do so. We weren't close, but I knew her. She'll be missed.

On a less depressing note, this weekend is my husband's and my 11th wedding anniversary. We are sending the kids to their grandparents house for the weekend! Whoo Hoo!. On Saturday we're going to see Sarah McLachlan. On Sunday, we're going to see a Twins game. Monday we'll go get the kids. Grin!

Soon I'll post pictures of what I'm working on. Really. Truly.