Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fessin' Up

I really didn't have the energy or the strength (ok, maybe the guts) to admit how many UFO's I have hidden at the bottom on a yarn basket on the needles.
But I've decided that it's time to be mature about this knitting thing. Ha ha ha.
I'm listing three UFO's today (unfinished objects for the muggles), and then tomorrow,...........wait for it....the Scarf of Constant know the one, that old red thing I've been knitting since this fall. It's almost done. But, I digress, and I don't want to spoil the next post. On to the confession.....Please step into the box next to the priest read on.

First item up - Sunfish socks - yes, there seems to be one done - that's the problem. Just one! It's a simple knit, in a light sport-weight yarn, and I've just got to cast on the other one, and actually KNIT it, and well, then it would be a FO.

Moving on.....this sock looks so funny! Why do my socks look so anorexic skinny? I know that I'm a tight knitter (obviously, this tightness doesn't apply to yarn purchasing...), but COME ON! I do get gauge (sometimes). And they usually fit the person's foot. Anyway, I've named this sock (notice I didn't say sock(s), because alas, there is AGAIN only one of these babies), the Hockey Stick Sock. Its single status puts it on the UFO pile. In my defense, the second sock is on the needles, but it's been there for almost two weeks. It gets knitted during bowling matches. PS - the bowling matches are pretty much over for the year, so I'll have to suck up find other time to finish these mean socks. I'm not loving the Shibui Knits, but again, I digress.

Lastly, for this post because I'm in denial, I've been knitting this sweet baby sweater. I'm almost done. I'm going to modify the pattern, and add a couple of extra rows in stockinette before starting the band of garter stitch at the bottom. I have enough yarn, and I think it would look better. BTW - this pattern is called the 5 Hour Baby Sweater. Yeah, right. I've knit on it for about 7 hours already, and the directions are a bit wonky. It took a little more time last night when I was trying to separate the stitches to knit for the sleeves. I also might have been distracted by "Criminal Minds," but I digress yet again.

My knitting has truly saved me this week, as have my family,friends, and fellow bloggers. Work is tough people. Starting a new job takes guts and fortitude. I'm losing both as the week wanes. I know it will get better, but I'm such a perfectionist that it's interfering with my stuff, and I'm way behind on the charting (the patient visits are good and interesting). The charting is hard and slow. Lots of rules and regs with the charting. And apparently, I can't work a mouse that is the size of a pencil eraser or use a stylus very well either. This slows me down even more. Sigh.
BONUS - tomorrow is TGIF, even if there is ice/snow predicted weatherwise.
Stay tuned for the Scarf of Constant Sorrow, and maybe some blog awards (if I can download the button on dial-up).

Monday, January 28, 2008

All In A Day's Work

Today was the official first day on the job (although I've worked for this hospital for over 2 years on a "as-needed" basis). It was a bit know...they had to set-up my company laptop (brand-spankin' new one), set up my company cell phone (which I still need to program), and also sent me to see two patients (one of which needed to be admitted to our service - this is an extensive process, with lots of time spent in the patient's home and time in the office doing the charting). I have one word that drives most of this extensive charting.....MEDICARE! I came home from work, made supper for tomorrow night, and helped DH with supper for tonight, and then promptly crawled in my bed for a long winter's nap....My DD's woke me up, and I made it downstairs again to photograph these things for you.

First up - who would think this odd-shaped piece would amount to anything at all? Maybe we should get a fish tank for it? HA HA - NOT! I threw it at my DH last night after it was finished, and asked him to assemble it. He couldn't put it together. Just like Humpty Dumpty!

But alas, Elizabeth Zimmerman was a knitting genius! Look at how this lovely little jacket comes together with a mere folding....All I have to do is sew the shoulder seams and pick out some buttons (still not sure of the sex of the baby, so will hold on the buttons for now), and WOW - Baby Surprise Jacket. I'm just surprised that it's finished!

BSJ - Started 1/20/08.
Finished - 1/27/08.
Lisa Souza Yarn in Joseph's Coat Colorway (sport-wt yarn)
Needles - Size US #4 Addi Turbo 40" length.

With all the help on Ravelry and the BSJ Knitting Guide (Cheat sheet - can someone help me here? How do you draw a line through words on your posts, yet still be able to read them?), it was an easy, enjoyable knit, although I must say, it does take faith to just keep knitting.

Last night, after the throwing of the completed BSJ, my DH mentioned that his co-worker is expecting a baby girl any day (I think I forgot this), and that he didn't have a gift. They usually pool their money together at his work place, but alas, this hasn't happened. So, I began knitting this sweater - it's from a pattern from my LYS called the "5-Hour Sweater." Now, I'm a slow it will take more like 10 hours, but it is fun so far, and the colors are just gorgeous! It's Naturally Nazareth Wool, worsted weight, and I'm knitting on US #8 needles. A nice change!

What's up your knitting sleeve this week?

Saturday, January 26, 2008


January 17th was the last day at my old job. I've had this past week to reflect, sleep, exercise, sleep, shop, sleep, knit, sleep. Did I mention that I had time to sleep? Oh, okay, I guess I did! Gone are the days of sitting at this desk, writing policies, reviewing menus, sending kids home with pinkeye or a fever, making sure they get their cavities filled, etc. Basically, you know, trying to initiate world peace from a preschool nursing perspective. But for awhile now, I've felt chained to this desk. When the opportunity arose, I took "the bull by the horns," so to speak. I wonder, was this the right thing to do?

Now, beginning on Monday, there will be days that look like this one, driving from home to home, in weather like this day, which happened to be the 17th of January, my last day at my old job. Don't get me wrong, I do love snow. It is a beautiful sight to behold. I don't particularly like driving in it very much. I CAN drive in it, I just don't prefer to drive in it. Ice is worse, much worse. We're not even talking about ice in this post. I wonder, is there anyone out there that enjoys driving in this weather all the time?

Yes, Monday the 28th, I will embark on my journey into the field of home health nursing....the place I've always wanted to be since I've been a nurse. I'm both excited and nervous about it. I wonder if I'm smart enough, I wonder if I'll be free enough for my family, I wonder about the "on-call" status, and being out late at night. I wonder if I'll be okay with spending a portion of the holidays away from my family some of the time? I wonder if I'll be able to do it, period.
I wonder too, if there will be pictures in my next post that aren't taken on a slightly crooked angle.....And of course, I wonder whether the next post will contain some knitting content and maybe some yarn photos?
What do you wonder?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I'm Pretty Sure I'm Knitting A Stingray

I'm pretty sure that Elizabeth Zimmerman (EZ) is a knitting genius. I'm also pretty sure that I'm not. With that being said, this is an incredibly fun knit, but only with the help of the Sweater Knitting Guide (cheat sheet), and Ravelry group. I love the yarn by Lisa Souza, which I acquired from Marisol. Marisol, you can be assured that it is being put to good use. My nephew/niece is due August 20th, so that will be in perfect time for a light-weight sweater. And if this thing turns out to be anything decent, I'll make lots more in different sizes and weights of yarn. I think Lisa Souza would be my choice yarn for knitting these little baby surprise jackets though. They really do resemble stingrays when you start knitting the increase rows.

On my week off work so far, I have not done much - some laundry, some knitting, some watching Colin Firth (aka, Mr. Darcy) strut across my TV screen. I've exercised with some of my high school friends' mothers (sigh), played some racquetball, and generally run around a lot. One day I managed to get a nap. This morning at 2:00am, I somehow acquired an obnoxious ringing noise in my right ear that is driving me nuts! Tomorrow holds a meeting at my daughter's school, and some shopping for a new comforter/quilt and sheets for us. We need a bedroom overhaul.

Lastly, I leave you with a picture of the package I received yesterday, one of the most beautifully dyed yarns yet from Georgia - January's Yarn Pirate Booty. Lovely stuff. Here's a picture of it!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Bowling Mom Who Wears REAL Chucks, and Receives Gifts of Potholders

Yes, it's official. I've spent the last two Saturday afternoons at the bowling alley, for 2 to 3 hours, watching frame after frame (and knitting of course) of freshman bowling their hearts out. I think it's great, and our Varsity teams are actually pretty good! My DD #1 (the bowler) has learning disabilities, along with many physical limitations. She has been cleared to bowl, and it has been so good for her! Team spirit, hangin' with her friends, spending my yarn money. Ha Ha! I do get some knitting time as well as watching the matches. I can't believe how many people are on the bowling team - something like 50 (our school is small). Last year our girls' varsity took the state championship. My DD#1 usually does not make the actual team, but she has spunk, and I admire her for trying this endeavor. Even if she doesn't make the team (which changes week-to-week, dependent upon her practice scores), she can still bowl 2 games while the match takes place.

Yesterday on the way to said bowling alley, we stopped by the mall where I bought these cool shoes (Yes, they are Chucks - the high top version)! You know, I promised to get some. And DD #1 got some cool black Nikes with pink on them. Very stylish. She's my tomboy, so I'm always shocked when any form of pink appears on her body.

DD #2 had a birthday this past week as well. She got a lot of cools gifts, including....a weaving loom. And low and behold, the potholders have come back to haunt me. I came home from the bowling alley yesterday, and was met with this potholder (it was still on the loom, and DH couldn't work the crochet hook to get it off). I took it off the loom today, and my DD #2 gave it to me. She chose the pattern and colors herself. I'm pretty impressed! I saw some potholders today that my Nana had saved from my weaving days, and DD #2 has a much better sense of color and patterning than I ever did. My "works of art" were more eclectic and no patterns were involved whatsoever. Hmmm.......

And because I have such a grownup outlook regarding my knitting....sigh, I cast on for the BSJ today! I also cast on a second sock yesterday at the bowling alley, and knitted a couple of inches on the leg. See, I'm trying to be responsible about finishing projects first, but this process is a bit trying for me. So here are the very first couple of rows of my very first BSJ. The yarn is Lisa Souza in Hardtwist Merino, in Joseph's Coat. And before rumors run rampant, I AM NOT PREGNANT! I'm knitting this project as a pleasure for me, and truth be told, my youngest brother is expecting his 4th child, so it may well be for that wee one. Ok, we've cleared all that up, so here's a peek! .

And this week, I'm off work. I'm in between jobs, and don't start the new one until next week. A whole week off! YIPEE! I hope to work extensively on the BSJ, and of course, that second sock (cough, cough).

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I get by.....with a little help from my friends

Where would I be without my family and friends this week? I'm talking about you readers too, who came, read, and posted such caring comments! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. From start to finish, Evelyn's services were beautiful, and filled with hope. My brother, Greg, sat with me every time I played the piano at the funeral, and he was just the biggest support (my DH came later, and sat with his friend who is not comfortable in church, but wanted to attend the services). Love ya Greg! And a special hug to my DH, for helping and respecting his friend's wishes to sit in the back of the santuary.

Last night I went to crafts (our local version of SNB, but not limited to knitting or crocheting). It was fun, and just what I needed. Jess brought me these books to read.....I know it's hard to imagine, but I've never read Sedaris....but I will begin!

Kay brought us some homemade granola - YUM! I love it! It was packaged very nicely (Kay is so talented, just peek at her blog), and she might be selling her homemade things on Etsy. I'll keep you posted. She does wonderful crazy quilting, among many, many other things.

Lastly, after I arrived home from transporting DD #1 to confirmation classes and crafts, tucked the DD #2 into her bed, I put my feet up (only for the photo), and thought to myself, "Next week when I'm off work....I buying REAL chucks!" :)

Friday, January 11, 2008

What A Week!

To say that this week has been hard would be an understatement. To say that this post will be short will also be an understatement, but it will be cathartic for me to type it. So bear with me. I will try not to whine too much, but I have to relate some events. Some wonderful, some peculiar, some strange, some heartbreaking, some downright silly events.
Monday - A rather calm day....some exercising (ok 45 minutes of it, jeez), rather normal. Looking forward to wrapping up things at my (current) old job.
Tuesday - Received my recent Amazon order containing "The Opinionated Knitter" and a DVD copy of A&E and the BBC's version of "Pride and Prejudice." Love that Mr Darcy!
"The Opinionated Knitter" - I'm astounded, and a bit intimidated. This is my first meeting with EZ, and I so want to knit the Baby Surprise Jacket (BSJ), but the pattern is so sparse, and I fear that I do not have the knitting talent to accomplish it. And then, you know, I was thinking about my stash, and what would be a good yarn to use for my first attempt with this know - gotta formulate THE PLAN. I even joined the BSJ group on Ravelry. But alas, I did not need to do any stash diving for the BSJ, as the perfect yarn came to me as a surprise from Marisol, and I now have the perfect yarn....from Marisol's blog contest - YEAH Marisol! Thank you so much! She sent me this delightful skein of Lisa Souza's Sport Weight sock yarn - 500 yards! In Joseph's Coat colorway. It is destined to be my BSJ yarn. so bright and cheerful.....

And she must secretly know about my obsession with chocolate, because I got some of that too! AND she also has the coolest cards that are just like her blog....very cool!
Check it out - pic is a little dark and blurry (did you expect anything else from me?). The card says, "In the rhythm of the needles, there is music for the soul." Cool, Marisol. Way cool. I love me my music.

I digress - Wednesday - taken out to lunch by my peers and co-workers (at current/old job, where I'm still employed until next Thursday) at a lovely restaurant to celebrate my new job, and to say "Good-bye." Then they promptly interviewed candidates for my current position, at 2:00pm (across the hallway from my office). Yeah....pretty awkward.
6:10 pm - Called my friend's room at the nursing home to find out that I might have been the first person to intrude on a family's private moment after they lost their loved one - silly, stupid me....I felt terrible. Evelyn has just died, and I'm telephoning her. I had no idea, and her DH and I are friends, we've talked about this moment, and all is well. I felt so terrible, but how could I know?

Thursday - Had a not so great staff conference with an employee (not mine, I might add, still at old job) for over 2 hours. It was followed by a conference call with my boss to report events of said staff meeting, who then called my assistant to tell her that she got my current/old job.....Don't get me wrong. She is the best candidate, and a great employee and person....but it's still awkward! And you know, I'm dealing with changing jobs, friend dying, etc. We then went to lunch to celebrate.....
Thursday evening - call from my Pastor. The family has given me the distinct honor of playing piano for my friend's funeral. I sob like a baby. How does one even begin this task? Every time I sit at the piano, I can't read the music for the tears. I only hope that my meager offering pays a loving tribute in celebration of her life....again, I don't feel worthy.

Friday - (working for my new job, but still have 4 days left at my old job next week)...getting ready to do my second home visit of the day, and take a potty break before leaving (never can tell what client's homes are like, and wouldn't use some of those bathrooms). Head to bathroom at office, and cell phone falls from nursing scrub pocket (hint - don't use the pocket that those manufacturers LABEL and BRAG as cell phone pockets) into toilet. Cell phone dead - won't turn on. DH not very happy with me.
DH retrieves another phone from his co-worker, we put my SIM card in, and switch the service to that phone, and problem diverted, but not without some distress from me - I use it a lot, especially at work....CRIPES! What happened to the New Year's aspiration? I need to relax.

Friday pm - come home from new job (I work there one day a week, so as not to confuse you more), and read e-mail from old job - they want to contract me to train my assistant, who now has my old job - CRIPES! Not relaxing at all. This would mean starting my new job full time, and contracting with them over and beyond my 40+ hours. Too stressful, yet, I don't know if I can refuse.

Friday later pm - still nursing strained back muscle from playing racquetball with 3 men (one was my DH) on Tuesday night. Muscle needs to be in shape, as co-ed volleyball league starts tomorrow night...

Friday, late pm - collapse in bed, exhausted, and in need of some sleep.
Thanks for hanging in there. It was good for me to get this out of my system. Next week, well, it begins with the funeral, but it ends with the end of my old job (at least I think), and a day off for my youngest DD's birthday. I can only rely on hope and grace to get me through it all. And of course, you, my loyal blog readers....the few, the proud, the people who most certainly will never read it again after this post! :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

For My Friend

For my friend Evelyn:
You left the world today. It seems a sadder place, knowing that you aren't under the same sky with us anymore. I find comfort in knowing that you are with The Creator. You are in no more pain, and that God does indeed hold our lives in His hands.
As Kathy Troccoli states so well for us in one of her songs....
"But there will be a time,
When I'll see your face,
And I'll hear your voice.
And there we will laugh again.
No more tears to cry,
'Cause we'll have forever.
But I'll say good-bye for now."

Evelyn, You are loved, and we will miss you! To Jeff, Miranda, and Jeremy: you are in our thoughts and prayers.

Monday, January 7, 2008

First Finished Object of 2008!

Stats: Boy Beanie
Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver in #971 - Camouflage
Hook - Size I
Started - 1/6/08
Finished - 1/6/08
Started second one 1/6/08.
Here's what happens when you hang out with a hooker (I was going to entitle the post just that..."Hangin' With A Hooker," but I didn't know what kind of comments or people would be directed here then....YIKES)!
This is straight from this book. It is entitled the boy beanie, and let me tell you why I love the hook. You can have a finished object in no time at all. Period. Brief history of my crafting life. I was a hooker before I was a knitter. Actually, to be brutally honest, I did weave those potholders (you know the ones, they fit on the red loom - didn't you have one too?), and did plastic canvas projects as a kid, but those were the good old days (NOT) poor parents - everything was done in cheesy canvas and green/gold/orange....sigh. Then somebody, way back when, gave me plastic knitting needles and I learned the garter stitch. No casting on, no binding off, no purl stitch, no more, nothing else. Just plain garter stitch. YEAH, I got bored with that. Knitting had its resurgence again when someone handed me a pair of metal US #9 needles (they were so long I could poke you from across the room while remaining still), and some cotton yarn, and taught me how to knit a simple dishcloth (with yarn overs at the beginning). For the next year, everyone had new dishcloths in every color imaginable. I owned stock in cotton yarn from Walmart.
Then I moved on to counted cross stitch. I actually like that craft still. But alas, I became a cross-stitch snob. No more Aida cloth for me - only linen, thank you very much! DMC floss - ok, when I have to, but I prefer the hand-dyed threads. Ahem.....
So, I'm pluggin' along, happily cross-stitching, and hooking away whenever a new baby came along - you know, Afghan and such (they're short projects for a baby), and I decide to walk into the LYS. MISTAKE! Barrage of color and textures, and oh, how I admired those knitted garments! Bought a few skeins of yarn and some size US #8 needles (my first wooden ones), and the love affair has not stopped. So, to those of you who fear that I may forsake my knitting....NEVER! :) May I occasionally do some other crafts - absolutely! But I have this feeling that I will always return to my knitting. It's really my first love (next to pot holders of course).

Sunday, January 6, 2008

This and That......

There is knitting being done, though the title of this post doesn't really indicate that....I finished the Shibui Knits sock (the first one) last night. I made my peace with it in the end. No, I haven't cast on the second one yet, but I am contemplating it, just to have them done. This is what I mean about being discerning about what I knit. I'm not loving the yarn, and that fact is making it harder to WANT to knit with it. I'll feature them when there are two socks finished. In its does feel nice on the foot.
So here's photos of some more Christmas presents....

A cool t-shirt that I'm wearing today from my Aunt. I think she got it at work? I'm not sure. It's a fundraiser to save the theatre in Franklin, TN. I love the brown color, and it's very soft. It's so strange that it's warm enough here in PA to just wear a t-shirt in January! My DH is cheering that it is warm, because the cost of heating oil is outrageous. We have an older home that requires oil for heat......YIKES! Good thing I was on the exercise bike at the gym last week when they (News anchor) announced that oil prices were over $100/barrel. Let's just say that the report "fueled" my pedaling!

My parents got us this cool JBL onstage for our iPods. It has really great sound, and came with a carrying case/remote. I like it. I played my iPod loud and proud yesterday while cleaning....
They also gave us a gift-certificate for a 6 month family membership at the local gym. YEAH!

And just to prove that Tea-towels have many uses....this one under the berry wreath and vase is from Crate and Barrel. I love the colors! They are a little dark in this picture, but could you expect anything else from me, alias wonderful photographer? :)

This afternoon, I'm spending quality time with my mother, and it involves an "I"-sized crochet hook.......hmmm.........a walk on the "dark" side. :) JK!

PS - I hate dial-up internet access. We STILL have it, because DSL is STILL not available here. I wonder how all of this will work with my new job, and the amount of computer documentation that is necessary for the job. UGH! I'm still waiting for my photos to upload (we are talking over 45 minutes now)! I had to upload them twice, since they were almost downloaded, and then, suddenly, blogger couldn't locate the dang server! UGH!
PS #2 - Dial-Up Rant finished. :)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happy Feet!

Not having a Christmas gift knitting list has really set me free! No deadlines, no pressure. Even though this first pair of socks is left over from the Christmas list, I don't feel the nagging of THE DEADLINE hanging over my head. Rather, I am actually knitting them more often. The yarn I'm using is Shibui Knits - my first time knitting with this particular yarn. To be brutally honest, I'm pretty ambivalent about the yarn. It's not anywhere near my favorite, and I've had a little trouble with it so far. It is nice and soft, and the knitted piece does have a nice feel. The color is great, and it's doing a nice little stripey dance.....BUT, it's still a bit of a disappointment for me.

In case you haven't noticed, I haven't reviewed the 2007 knits, and I haven't made any resolutions for the New Year. I like Nell's idea of setting goals, but I worry that setting them will only create more deadlines/pressure. This will not make 2008 great, or 2009 for that matter.
Because one of my aspirations (yes that's a nice word) is to try and be more relaxed.
OK - Here's the list of things I'm ASPIRING TO for 2008......
1. Learn to RELAX! Please note that this does not come easy for us type "A" personalities. Cough, Choke, Gag. Moving on......
2. Knit what I want and finish things before starting a new project. Don't let gift knitting weigh me down. Not that gift or even charity knitting is bad - I really support it, but there is always some body's birthday, and there is always a holiday looming (even if it's 11 months ahead). I want to be a little more discerning in my gift giving. Don't worry Adie, this does not mean you. And it does not mean that anyone that I've given hand knits to in the past has not been appreciative, but I seriously can't knit for everyone. See aspiration #1...this would not be relaxing.
3. Become more conscious of what I put into my body and how much I'm moving that body. Happy feet are feet that are either moving or propped while knitting.....Our local gym is having a wonderful thing - An anonymous donor has donated a lot of money to help people lose weight. All you have to do is weigh in before January 5th, and if you lose at least 8 lbs by April 1st, they will pay you $10/lb, up to 20 lbs. Move the herd on in and get going! MOOO......That's what I feel like! But it is raising a lot of money and awareness of a smaller gym facility, and is increasing the health of our community, so I'm for all of that. If only I could get some time on the treadmill now.....
Before you ask it or think it, I'm not going on any diets, but I am cutting a few things. I may need you to hold me accountable. Things like - NO SODA (or maybe once a week). Limit chocolate to once a day, not 4 times. Small piece of chocolate, not whole candy bars, or 2 Hershey Kisses, not 10. You know, just cut back, but still ALLOW myself some guilty pleasures in smaller portions, and not so frequently....
4. Move my body in exercise at least 3-4 times per week. Deliberate exercise. I'm not getting any younger, and I want to live to see my grandchildren (in 30 years). This is not as much to lose weight as it is to get healthy. I mean it. If I lose weight, then so be it. BONUS!
5. New job starting soon - make new kinder, more tolerant of people, situations, etc. Note to self - this means drivers on the road as well. Just "Feel the Love" at 25 miles per hour! :)
6. Get back to being more connected with God. Seriously, I have felt very disconnected from my spiritual life for awhile. I need to be more vigilant of this. I think this will help with all aspirations, #1-#5.

Gosh, this does sound like a resolution or a goal list, but I'm still calling it my plethora of aspirations (notice the deliberate non-use of the word "list" as well).

And while I'm doing all of this (maybe not the exercise bit, 'cause it could get really sweaty), I'm going to have happy feet, because I'm going to be wearing these cool things! I love the colors! They striping is so nice, and the stockinette stitch is so relaxing. They make me smile! :)