Monday, January 13, 2014

Challenge Accepted

In my last post I ended with my challenge for the new year - 14 Finished Projects in 2014.  Well I have been asked what projects am I planning on finishing.  Like most knitters, I have several (read I stopped counting at 15) UFO's or WIP's.  Some of them have been on needles for years!!

Usually I take stock of my resting projects at the beginning of my summer break.  Well since my summer break seems to be diminishing fast this winter (no more snow days PLEASE!!!), I decided to organize and prioritize my projects now.  I quickly realized that I needed to revisit some of my long lost knitty friends.

So here is my list of projects that have priority in 2014:

1.  Philotes (my January Loopy Ewe Challenge project)
2.  Nymphalidea
3.  Origami
4.  Spectra
5.  Red, White and Blue Quilt
6.  Quilting Retreat Quilt (March 2014)
7.  Central Park Vest
8.  Sassy Stripes Quilt
9.  Tennessee Orange Lady Jane shawlette
10.  Summer Flies shawl
11.  Plain Vanilla Socks
12.  Tulip Socks

Now I know what you are thinking - This girl can't count.  She said 14 in 2014 and she has only listed 12. I am keeping two slots open for quilts that I want to work on later in the year. I would also like to point out that this list in not set in stone.  I reserve the right to start a new project that might bump a project or two from the list.

So over the rainy weekend, I worked on two projects.  First I completed the Red, White and Blue quilt top.  Now when I say completed, I do not mean the quilt is completely finished.  I completed the top of the quilt.  I still have a long way to go before I can move that over to the 14 Finished in 2014 list.  But it is one step closer.

Second I knit a few rows on the Philotes.  This project involves lace knitting, cable knitting and bead work. Each row includes something that requires my attention.  I am altering the pattern just a little bit.  Instead of making this a triangle shaped shawlette, I have decided to make it more scarf shaped.  I will post my modifications in my Ravelry write-up after I complete this project.



Because this project has a strict deadline, it requires it to be bumped to the top of the list.  It is my January Challenge project from the Loopy Ewe.  My knitting friend, Sarah, and I accepted this challenge.  I sure hope she is further along than I am.


As of this past Saturday, I am officially registered for my second quilting class at Wilson's Quilt Shop.  I will be doing a quilt called Sassy Stripes.  I went Saturday morning to pick out my colors.  This is what I came home with me.


As for the other projects on my list, I will post pictures as I get to them.  Hopefully this public announcement will keep me on track.  If not then, I am sure there are plenty of friends that will begin asking me about how many finished projects I have completed so far.  And yes thank you to my friend for pointing out that this requires me to finish  approximately 1.25 projects a month, that January is half over, AND that February is a short month.  Just the type of "encouragement" I needed!!  lol

I am closing tonight with something that makes me smile.  Every time you order from The Loopy Ewe, they send your package with this great sticker attached.


And I must say they are correct!! It most definitely is a Box of Fun.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Year...New Challenges

Happy New Year!  Even though I haven't been busy blogging for the past few months.  I have been quite busy.  I have not one but two QUILTS under my belt.  (Pics below).  Yes I said quilts.  I have always admired handmade quilts.  I dated a guy in college who's mother was an avid quilter and I remember thinking then "Wow this is something I could really love!"  Then I quickly walked away knowing that at the time I didn't have the time nor the money to get addicted to quilting.

Fast forward more years than I would like to admit...Susan at yarnability opens SewInclined.  She sets up an entire room of sewing machines for customer use, has classes for both sewing and quilting, and stocks many beautiful fabrics.  I held out for as long as I could (ok maybe I could have held out longer, but really the blue and green fabrics were screaming my name).

I started slowing.  Making some place mats for my dining room table. Yes I used the blue and green fabrics - which caused me to have to totally rethink my decorating scheme for my house.

I fell in love!  I couldn't stop thinking about quilting and patterns and color combos.  I was hooked.

So I signed up for the Jelly Roll race at the shop and picked out my Jelly Roll.  Wow who knew that sewing 1600 inches of fabric could be soooo fun!  I wish I had stopped to take pictures of everyone sewing that night.  Good thing there is a new Jelly Roll Race coming up here soon.

I then decided to visit Wilson's Quilt Shop in Hagerstown.  Oh my was I in trouble.  I came home with another Jelly Roll and a registration for my first quilting class - ABC's of quilting.

My quilting enabler friend, Audrey, went back with me and we picked out the fabrics for this class.  Good thing we had guidance for the wonderful ladies at Wilson's.  If not, I think we would still be trying to decide.


After four classes, I had a completely finished quilt!  My color choices caused quite the commotion during class.  I guess I went a little too modern for the owner.  Oh well, I absolutely love it.


So much that I have signed up for my next class - Sassy Strips, started a Red, White and Blue quilt, and am going to a quilting retreat in March.  Oh and I bought this guy.


His name if Philip Pfaff.  He is an embroidery/sewing machine.  He does everything I need him to do and them some.

So if you are thinking, wait I thought this was a knitting blog, you are correct.  And from this point forward it will also include my adventures in quilting as well.

I would also like to challenge my crafty friends for 2014.  I am setting a personal goal of 14 completed projects for 2014.  These 14 projects will include both quilting and knitting and projects that I have started at any point in time.  So who is with me?  If 14 projects seems overwhelming, I challenge you to set your own personal crafty goal and list it below in the comments.  And please feel free to ask me anytime how my projects are going (or gently remind me how much time is left in 2014)!!

Friday, July 12, 2013

You Get What You Pay For!

Welcome Back!!  I know it has been several months since my last post.  I was busy doing the job that pays my bills - teaching.  So now that I am off for summer vacation, I have been spending my time knitting and completing projects that I started over the year.

One such project is the Central Park Hoodie.  I started this project back in February when Susan at yarnability decided to make it part of the Winter Sweater Knit-Along.  This had been a pattern I have had my eye on since 2006 when it made its Knitty debut.

I had to decide what yarn to use.  This is always a difficult decision and truly brings my commitment issues to the forefront.  I mean really - this isn't a $20 scarf I will be knitting.  This is a sweater for crying out loud.  It will have to fit ME!!!  I will spend HOURS upon HOURS knitting this piece.  It will become my best friend for several months. (Sorry Bestie!!)

So as everyone was choosing their yarns, I was gently pushed swayed by my knitting peers (Bonnie, Kathryn, Susan) to use a Mountain Meadow 100% wool yarn called Laramie.  Now I start the process of doing the math involved - number of yards in each skein, number of skeins needed for the sweater to fit me, and, of course, the cost involved.

Now yarn is like everything else - you get what you pay for.  Ultimiately I decided to use the more expense Laramie.  And boy am I glad I did.


As you can see, my Central Park Hoodie came out beautifully.  I made a couple modifications.  I created a pocket for the zipper to sit in, decided to use said zipper, added pockets in the front and decided to continue the cable work up the back of the hood.
This is my second completed sweater.  And I am happy to report that it fits.  I am really looking forward to wearing it EVERY SINGLE DAY this winter!!  OK maybe not every day but I will be wearing it frequently. I already have plans to use the pattern to create at least one Central Park Vest.
I found this Central Park Effect sign in the back hallway at yarnability. 
And yes I will be getting what I pay for with the vest as well.  Looking forward to using Pediboo Worsted Weight yarn for my vest. Now back to knitting on my Camp Loopy project - Clapotis.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Selfish Knitter

Yes I know it has been months since I have posted.  I've been a tad busy with this little thing called teaching!!

Anytime I meet new people and they find out I'm a knitter, their first response is "oh will you knit me a ...."  To which I reply, "I don't knit for other people." I usually justify this with my excuse of limited knitting time, which is only partially true.

What I'm really saying is that I'm selfish with my knitting goods.  I am afraid the recipient will totally destroy the item or not appreciate the time and care involved when owning a hand knit item.

So imagine my surprise when I willingly asked someone if they would like a hand knit hat!!!

I even sent several pictures of color & yarn combinations for approval.

So I will be casting on a Jarod Flood Turn A Square hat using Frog Tree Pediboo yarn. Pictures will be forthcoming.

I just hope the recipient understands what a rare event this is. Would a signed & notarized terms of agreement be too much to ask for before handing over said hat????


Friday, September 14, 2012

Where Has All the Compassion Gone?

My friends know that I am usually a sarcastic wench.  I believe that we take life and ourselves too seriously at times.  My friends also know that I am usually the quiet one - until I get comfortable around you.  I would hope many would say that I am someone who would do anything for anybody.  Anyone who knows me for more than 5 minutes knows that my family and closest friends mean the world to me.  Nothing is more important.

What my closest friends and family know about me is that I am a very senstive person, who puts her trust in people way to freely and gets easily hurt by people's words and actions.  This is not a side I show to just anyone.  Although one look at my face and you would know how I was feeling.

For those of you that are thinking "wait usually these post are full of sarcasm and funny tales" keep reading.  I'm sure there will be some sarcasm thrown in here somewhere!!

As we are all aware, my son has gluten intolerance.  We also know he is 14 years old.  As soon as I say this around moms who have made it through teenage boys, I usually get the "ahhhh" with a nod of understanding.

My son somehow missed the bus last Thursday morning.  I'm not sure how this happened.  I set the timer on the stove before I left for work.  He was awake and had eaten breakfast before I walked out the door.  I am chalking it up to being a 14 year old boy. 

I am impressed with his recovery skills.  He called my brother and asked him if he could take him to school (Big THANK YOU!!) before he called me to tell me he had missed the bus.  He had used the backup plan we had put in place for such an event.

What he forgot to do was grab his lunch!!!  No problem you say, he can buy lunch at school.  Yeah I wish it was that easy.  You see what my 14 year old son is supposed to do if he wants to eat lunch at school is sometime before his third period class he must stop by the cafeteria and let the head cook know he needs a gluten free lunch.  Sounds reasonable!

Until he is having a the morning from hell.  I mean he already missed the bus, had to listen to a lecture from Uncle R the entire way to school, and realize that everyone in our family will hear about his mistake.  (That's just how my family is.)  So I am not at all surprised that my son didn't notice he had even forgotten his lunch until - yep you guessed it - lunchtime.

I am just sitting down to my 30 minute lunch when I get the text message - "Mom I forgot my lunch".  At this point I realize my son is having one of those days.  You know the kind where you should have just stayed in bed and pulled the covers over your head. 

So I reply back "Check with the assistant principal to see if your gluten free food has arrived at school".  (I was told it would take 3 weeks for the school to get gluten free food).  His reply - "OK".

From this point things start happening in a very nasty blur.  Apparently the gluten free food had not yet arrived.  He was offered the following choices: rice, pinto beans or salad bar.  I have told the school staff from the beginning that salads cannot be our backup plan.  The boy will not eat a salad.  Rice & pinto beans - that doesn't sound appealing to me AT ALL. EVER.  And especially not from a school cafeteria.

So when speaking to the nurse and assistant principal, they kept saying that my son refused to eat.  He choose not to eat.  He refused any of the plethora of options.  Yes I kid you not.  The assistant principal actually said he had a PLETHORA of options.  Last time I looked 3 is not a plethora!!!

After a 45 minute conversation with the nurse & assistant principal, I realize that their main goal was to make sure I was well aware that my 14 year son had not followed the proper protcol for ordering his lunch and that this was all his fault.  They were not interested in solving the issue that my son was going to be at the school until 6pm eating nothing but an apple.

I offered up solution after solution.  All of which were met with an excuse as to why that was not possible.  I mean I know you serve 1800 kids.  I know each of the 3 lunch shifts is only 30 minutes.  I know that my son needed to take some responsibility here.

Yes I am aware that in 4 short years he will need to enter "the real world" and be prepared to function given his food limitations.  I am more than aware that he is 14 and needs to take responsibility for his choices.

I also know that my son was having an extremely rough day and needed someone (other than me) to show him a little compassion and empathy.  I know that it is not fun being a 14 year old boy who can't have gluten.  I know that being different in any way in high school can easily make one a target for ridicule and bullying.

What I don't understand is how the people to which I am entrusting my son have absolutely no empathy or compassion!!!

What I also am aware of is that there are days when we all have a crappy day.  There are times when we all just want someone to show us a little compassion.  There are times when we can't be perfect.  I mean as adults we have options if we forget our lunch.  We can get in our car and drive ourselves to a store and get something to eat.  The last time I looked my son's high school is a closed campus.  Oh wait he isn't even 16.  He doesn't even have the ability to hop in a car and run to the store to grab a gluten free option.

What my son needed that day was for just one adult to show him a little understanding.  He needed someone to say "I realize how difficult this gluten thing is for you.  How can I help you make it better?"

Instead he learned that adults he is supposed to count on to support him don't really care about how hard it is to be gluten free.  He learned that if he makes even one mistake, it will be held over him. 

As I have sat back and reflected upon the events of that day, I realized why this all made me so very angry and upset.  I was in tears several times.  Crying is not something I like to do - especially not on the phone with school administration.

I realized that I felt like my son and my parenting skills were being called into question.  I felt like I had two women judging me and my son.  I felt helpless when my son needed an adult to care about him.  I was a concerned mom who needed some compassion and empathy.  Not to mention the things that were said to me by the school administration were things I would never say to my best friend much less a parent of one of my students.

So my question is where has all the compassion gone?  Why do we not care about each other?  Why do we not want to help each other have a better day?  Compassion and empathy are two traits that we as a society are losing.  We seem to have lost the art of caring for one another. 

I know that my son will need to learn to fend for himself.  I also know that sometimes we all have to count on those around us to help get us through life.  We were not meant to be islands.  Sometimes we all need a kind, caring person to help us navigate through life.

And just in case you were wondering, I solved the problem and created a workable backup plan just in case he forgets his lunch again.  After explaining the backup option to my son, he hugs me and says "Mom, you are the best problem solver". 

I just hope he is paying attention and picking up some of these skills!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Handbaskets, Paved Roads & Other Debacles

Happy Labor Day morning!  I am finally feeling like I can take a few minutes to post.  The first two weeks of school are under my belt and I plan on going back tomorrow.  Always a good thing!! 

Warning - Non-knitting story about to unravel!!

So I woke up early Saturday morning and thought I will get everything done today and then I can relax the rest of the weekend.  Great plan in theory!

After a very productive morning cleaning house and washing laundry, I settled down to tackle my To-Do List from school.  I went through the weeks worth of emails, happily deleting & checking things off my list.  Then I decided to get a daily schedule of all the comings & goings of my students.  The number of pull-outs occurring on a daily basis in my classroom is enough to make your head spin.

I reached in my school bag for my external hard drive, which houses EVERYTHING in my world.  It isn't there.  I check my purse.  Nope not there either.  Yep you guessed it - I left it at school.  No problem.  I have a badge that opens the doors.  All I need is a code to turn off the alarm.  No hyperventilation happening. Yet!

I obtain a code from another teacher at my school.  Grab a box of books for my classroom library.  Off I go to retrieve my hard drive. 

Here is where things start to take a BIG downward turn!!

I let myself in the front door of the building with my badge.  Head to the alarm keypad.  Enter in the code.  Alarm goes off!!!  I try the code again to no avail.  That's OK.  I know the password for the security call I am about to receive. 

I enter into the main office to wait for the call.  Phone rings.  I answer & give the password.  All is right with the world.  Except the alarm doesn't go off.  I head back out to try my code again.  Phone rings again.  I answer & speak to a second alarm company employee.  Give her the password.  Ask how I turn alarm off.  She suggests I try my alarm code again while on the phone with her.  I say "OK hold on a sec".  I set the phone down and head out the office door.

As I hear the click of the lock re-engaging, I turn and scream NOOOOOO.  There on the office counter is my purse, car keys, cellphone, & badge!!!!  This is where panic starts to take over.  I am stuck!  I can't get back into the office to get my stuff.  I can't get back into my house because my keys are in the office.  I have no phone numbers because my cellphone is next to my keys.

Enter in my saving grace.  The box of books I mentioned earlier was extremely heavy so I had asked for some help getting it into school.  My knight in shining armor was waiting out in front of school for me to turn the alarm off. 

I walk out to the car and ask if I can use his phone.  I use white pages.com to look up fellow teachers' phone number and start calling.  After my second attempt, I reach the teacher who teaches in the room next to me.  She said she would be right there with her badge.  Oh thank goodness!!!

She arrives with her adorable son in tow.  We call another teacher and get a different alarm code.  We enter the building, use the new code to turn off the alarm & head happily to my room.  I grab my hard drive.  We drop off the books. 

After all this excitement, I did not get any planning accomplished.  So here I sit surrounded by school stuff.  Good thing I can spend my entire day planning with Agent Jethro Gibbs & team!

In knitting news, I have been working on my Origami Sweater.  I have about 20 inches of the large panel finished.  The knit 1, purl 1 repeat is great mindless knitting.  Only 46 more inches left to go on this panel!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Lovely Lady

I  present to you my completed Lady Jane Wrap!  Yes I said completed.  I finished it up today while watching Channing Tatum in Step Up (not the best acting, just enjoyed watching Channing!).
 
Lady Jane Wrap
I started this wrap back in May.  I knit it with Frog Tree Pediboo yarn in a pale pink.  Now pink is not a color to which I gravitate.  However I love this shade of pink and absolutely adore the yarn.  Here are a couple more finished pics of Lady Jane.



A few months ago I received a frantic text message from my nephew, The Prince.  He was very upset because his mother (my sister) lost his hand knit hat.  He wanted to know how fast I could knit him a new one.  (Yes his texting skills rank in the advanced category for a one year old.) 

The yarn I used for his beloved hat was Plymouth Baby Boutique.  Great yarn for baby hats.  Well baby hats for GIRLS!!  Why must almost all baby yarns have some shade of pink or purple in them.  Do they not realize that some of us are knitting for BOYS!  I went on a hunt for some soft yarn to use for a hat fit for a Prince.

Now before you are all cursing my sister for losing the hat, you must know that she found it under his car seat.  I'm sure SHE shoved it there because there is no possible way that Prince would have done that to his hat! 

So after months and months of searching for yarn, I decided on cotton supreme batik from Universal Yarn Inc.  This yarn is 100% COTTON and extremely soft.  And there is not one hint of pink or purple.  I cast on 80 stitches.  Knit in a 2 x 2 rib for about an inch and a half.  Switched to stockinette for another 5 inches.  Evenly decreased until I was left with 8 stitched and bound off.  Here is Prince's new hat!

Prince K's new hat!

I started this project Thursday evening and finished it Saturday morning.  I love hats for this reason.  Instant gratification! 
 
Another view of Prince K's hat

I know some of you are impressed at all the finished projects I am churning out.  My only answer to this is I realize my days are numbered.  I am hoping to continue my knitting mojo this week and finish my Summer Flies shawl.  (pics will be forthcoming)

In Adventurous News, this weekend was the Green Grove Garden's Hot Air Balloon Festival.  The weather did not cooperate for the 6pm balloon launch Saturday evening - disappointment!!  They did inflate all the balloons around 8:00 for the Balloon Glow. 

Balloon Glow
Now the Adventurous Countdown begins for Kenny Chesney!  Only 6 more days until he has the chance to pick me out of the crowd to run off into the sun with him!  Kenny, if you're reading, I'll be the red head in the Tennessee tank top.