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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Ready to go

This is normally the time that I'd do a year-in-review but I've only managed to publish two patterns this year (Babadook and Blacula).  That being said, I did get a lot of knitting finished.  Part of that is because I was out of work for 6 months rehabbing my knee, and part was that I finally finished school this year.  I have a lot more time to knit and cook now. 

I have already made plans to knit several socks in 2016, and joined Yarn Yenta's Knit From Stash 2016 KAL.  I don't have the patterns in advance but I did pull out 12 skeins of yarn and put them into bags labeled with the month.  I once read a blog where the Yarn Harlot discussed putting 12 skeins of sock yarn and 12 random patterns into bags, and putting those bags into a cupboard, and grabbing one a month to knit.  I've always been intrigued by that idea, and so I'm getting as close to that as I can. 

In thumb news, I discovered that I can indeed knit, but more slowly than usual.  I'll take it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Good thing I'm a lefty

Ladies and Gents, I am a klutz.  For those of you who know me in real life, this isn't a major revelation but some of you have been fooled by my cleverly constructed ruse.  I decided that I needed to cook today even though I meal prepped enough food to last a few more days.  Once I start cooking, I get in the zone and this was no exception. 

Alex had been asking me to make the gingerbread house and today I finally got around to it.  I figured that since I was in there and all, I'd get the crock pot going with a split pea soup.  Simple enough.  Open a bag of dried peas and pour water on top.  Put in the smoked turkey wings for flavor.  Chop up some onion for the soup.  That's where things went wrong.  That knife was EXTREMELY sharp and I darn near cut the tip of my right thumb clean off.  Even went through part of the thumb nail.  What really sucked though, was that I had onion juice on the knife so it went into the cut (yikes!). 

This lead to a trip to the walk-in clinic for 6 stitches.  They were kind enough to give me a splint to protect it from the inevitable waking it's going to take the next few days (I've already hit it twice).  I'm happy to say that I had enough supplies in the first-aid kit to hold me till I could get there, and we don't have to worry about dinners for a few days thanks to the meal prepping I did earlier in the week.  I've also got the Sissionaries coming over to help me roll out and bake the gingerbread dough I made tonight, so that's a big help.  Then there's the fact that I'm left handed, and I'm still on winter break so I have a few days to heal before going back to work.  Things could certainly be worse.

Now, I'm off to see if I can still knit.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

It's been a long time since I've had the energy to post to the blog, but I've been doing well and the boys are too.  This year I found time to finally finish my Christmas stocking, and to knit one for Eddie too (per my husband's request).  They're arranged on the wall according to age.  As you can see, the boys stockings (the red and green ones) are pretty narrow and they have both expressed a desire for updated ones.  I guess I can do that, but I have a real fondness for these.  They're 9-years old, and I finished Dante's because I really wanted to knit one for Alex and I had to finish Big Brother's before I could make one for the new baby.  However, they're a real pain to stuff ever year, so maybe I'll just keep these in a special place and knit bigger ones that are easier to use.

I also finally finished my Smittens garland this year, but not in time to actually use it as intended.  Next Christmas it will replace the advent calendars that I've been buying every year.

This year, Alex announced that he didn't believe in Santa.  It was a little hard to take at first.  I've had a believer-in-Santa in my family for 18 years.  It made me a little sad at first, but I have to say that it also took a lot of the pressure off.  I didn't have to knit a zillion-dozen cookies this year.  I didn't have to remember to clean up the reindeer food, or take a bite from every single cookie so it looked like Santa was there.  This year, the pressure to be good (which always results in the opposite behavior) so that Santa will come was gone, and we could just focus on doing things for others, and remembering the Savior.  I was able to pace myself and take it slower this holiday season.  As a matter of fact, I still haven't baked a gingerbread house yet.  There's no hurry. 

We spent our Christmas Eve visiting with family and friends.  The day started with a long overdue visit to our friends Mandi and Graham so that Alex could play with the dogs.  Mandi used to watch Alex after school on Thursdays, and he just loves to spend time with her so we try to do that when ever we can, but it's just not often enough.  Yesterday we got to visit for a good long time until both Alex and the dogs were pretty well wiped out.  Then it was back home to pick up Dad and Dante, and head out to Grandma's and Grandpa's house.  As you can see from the photo, those Washington genes are very strong, lol.  We had a great visit, getting to see relatives that we only see on holidays, and watching spy movies with Grandpa.  After several hours, it was off to Nana and Jim's house to have dinner, watch Christmas episodes of Spongebob, and drop off their gifts.  Nana is Italian so she treated us to the traditional Night of the Seven Fishes.  We ate so much food that it felt like Thanksgiving all over again! 

Finally, around 9 pm we finally headed home to crack into a roll of Pillsbury sugar cookies so that we could have some fresh cookies for Santa ("just in case he is real").  A few more Christmas cartoons, and Alex finally headed off to bed.  That's when the real work began. 

Alex struggles with waiting, and has a hard time regulating strong emotions due to the sensory disorder.  This means that I've learned (the hard way as most parent do, lol), that we can't wrap gifts in advance and put them under the tree as the season goes along.  That's what my parents always did, but it's just too problematic at our house so I wrap them every Christmas Eve after the kids go to bed.  That means I'm usually up until 2am, which means that I'm exhausted every Christmas morning.  This year I put a time limit on Alex.  He had to wait until 8:30 am before waking us up, and if he woke us up before then I'd make him wait an additional 3-hours before opening gifts.  The was a good plan, except that we forgot to set his personal clock back at Daylight Savings, so he woke me up at 7:30.  I told him to wait until my alarm went off; he woke me up three more times asking if it had gone off yet, lol. 

Aaron and I exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, since we're awake.  He got my car fixed for me and ordered a set of healthy spice blends from FlavorGod.  They have very little sodium (he uses sea salt), have no fillers or GMO's, and are ground fresh to order.  They came with two free cookbooks as well, and I'm excited to give these a try.  Here's to more clean eating this year! 

The boys did quite well (per usual) thanks to their generous and loving grandparents, and this year is the first year that Alex was able to get through gift opening without having a meltdown because he didn't get something on his list.  He's come a long way this year in terms of social skills, being able to handle disappointment, and being able to focus on the positives instead of the negatives.  It was really nice. 

And now that the big day is done, it's time to settle in for my first ever Christmas vacation since 1996.  I'm looking forward to the break.

Some of the haul

Traditional Christmas Lego Boobie-trap

Alex's gift to me

Monday, September 7, 2015

Week one

It's been an interesting week, having started my new job.  The drive is longer than I expected because of the three exits which almost always create traffic.  However, the town of Canton is beautiful and I just love being in the elementary school.  These children are hilarious.  There's not much difference yet between the children with developmental disorders and their "typical" peers, and they all get along pretty well and are willing to play with each other.  However, I'm going to have to get used to the amount of tattling, and manipulation that goes on at this age.  The typical children will engage the children who are "on the spectrum" in a game of tag or get handsy with them, and then turn around and tattle when that child accidentally hurts them, neglecting to mention how they started it all and were happily playing with that child one second ago.  Knowing this, I spend a lot of time explaining to typical children that they need to tell the other children when they don't want to play anymore, or if something hurts so the other child can have an opportunity to adjust on their own.  Children at this age have absolutely no concept of cause and effect, so I'll be doing a lot of training on the playground.

In knitting, I finally wound my Rainboom sock yarn from Zomari Dyelabs and I'm loving it.  It looks like a rainbow/black sock in this photo but it's really more of a gun metal gray.  The distribution of the rainbow colors is really pleasing and I love the yarn base.  I'm looking forward to wearing this pair.  I'm also knitting steadily on my Dark and Stormy, as it's now my designated Rhinebeck sweater.  I haven't been to Rhinebeck in years and my friends and I are going this year so I need a new sweater.  Plus, this sweater will be perfect for me to wear at school. 

This new job has generated at least one unexpected expense.  I had to go buy a new wardrobe.  My last job required me to wear workout gear and I finally got myself all outfitted for it this summer, only to change jobs and wind up with no appropriate clothing for my new job.  Technically, jeans are allowed but it's pretty hot in my classroom so I needed something other than jeans and tees.  I ended up hitting Old Navy's Labor day sale and getting several pairs of cropped pants and a variety of light weight blouses and knit shirts that should do the trick.  I'm also adjusting to being able to wear a watch, and jewelry, and being able to have my hair down.  This is a while new world in which I'm allowed to dress like a girl.

Monday, August 31, 2015

The more things change, the more they stay the same?

Today was Dante's first day of college.  We got up early and drove him out with plenty of time to make it, only to discover that someone thought it would be a good idea to do road work and close one of two lanes down leading to the college, on the first day of the fall semester.  It took us about 20 minutes to get off the exit, so Dante was about a half hour late for his first class.  Between classes, Alex and I did some running around to get him ready for school tomorrow.  He has a new pair of shoes and found a pair with Velcro fasteners so he's happy. 

After picking Dante up, we chatted all about his first day and how happy he was with the experience.  He thinks he's going to like this much better than high school (I knew he would), and he's already enjoying the free time between his classes.  He told me in the car on the way home about how everyone at the tables in the cafeteria seemed to be sitting with people that they knew but since he wasn't good at making friends, he decided to sit on his own and get online on his laptop.  He met up with some friends later in the day.  Then, when we were home for a few hours he says to me, "So two girls came over to my table and sat down across from me but I didn't know them so I just kept my ear buds in and ignored them.  Do you think they were trying to talk to me?"  (Insert the sound of a face palm here.)  Yes my son.  Two girls came over to sit down at your table because at least one of them thought you were cute, but you completely ignored them so you missed out.  Sigh.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Starting a new chapter, as they say

As readers of this blog will know, I've spent the last six or seven years in college finishing up my bachelors and going for my masters degree in psychology.  After all that work, I got my diploma delivered to my by UPS in a flat cardboard envelope, sandwiched between two thin pieces of cardboard.  Not exactly as I imagined it, but at least it's finally here and I'm official.  I officially have a masters of science in psychology concentrating on applied behavior analysis (it even says so on the diploma).  That means that I can sign all my correspondence with M.S.-ABA after my name, lol.  That also means that this year, in Alex's 504 meeting, if anyone tried to give me any grief I can slide this baby across the table and say (ala Steven Speilberg in Austin Powers) "my little friend right here says" I know more than you do about how to treat this disorder.  My dream has finally come true!  lol

Another new chapter is that I recently was hired to work as an ABA Tutor in a school district in Massachusetts for a substantial raise over what I'm getting paid now, with less risk to my personal safety.  And as an added bonus, I'm working with a former co-worker from my days at the bank.  I've been assigned to an elementary school and my hours are almost exactly what I work now.  The schedule follows the school year so I can also have summers off if I so choose.  I've always wanted to work in a school and I've enjoyed my time in the classroom with my current boys, but I'm just getting too old to handle the level of physicality that goes on in there (as evidenced by my season-ending knee injury, lol).  I felt pretty guilty about leaving my room, but some of the other staff members have already moved on and I was about to be reassigned to a different room anyway, so I'm feeling better about it all now.  

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Teacup socks and beet pesto

The other day I finished the first of my Teacup socks.  My friend Heather texted a photo to me of a sock she knit with a nice ribbed pattern and I decided that I needed to knit that too (this is a regular occurrence, lol).  So I knit my first sock using Glenna C's A Nice Ribbed Sock pattern (it's free), and used my favorite afterthought heel because it works so nicely with self-striping yarns.  I also knit it toe-up so it went pretty fast because I was only ribbing on the one side for the majority of the time.  The photo here is more accurate than the last one, and you can see the subtle shift in light blues that looked like white in the last photo.

Meanwhile, I finished the first Timberline sleeve and started the second.  It's definitely going faster since I started using the Toolry cable needle.  Being on vacation this week didn't hurt either.  My only issue is trying to resist the desperate urge to cast on for this.  It's a Thea Coleman pattern and I love her work so much.  I haven't knit one, but I've bought several of the patterns, and the yarn to knit the sweaters with.  I'm honestly not sure why I haven't actually knit one up yet.  I need to rectify that situation this year.

In other news, I finally cracked out my veggie noodle maker and cooked up some "zoodles" out of zucchini.  I told Alex that they were just green noodles, and he ate them without giving me a hard time.  Then yesterday I gave in to the compulsion to buy a bunch of fresh beets, and I made beet pesto (found the recipe on Pinterest).  It's not bad, and the color is fantastic!  We had "pink pasta" made with the beet pesto over whole wheat penne, and Alex had seconds.  The other guys in the house know what's in it, and Alex just thought that I used juice from the beets to make the pasta pink, so I was able to get him to eat a new vegetable without giving me a hard time. 

I also decided to go through my folders on the computer today to clear out some of the old junk.  I ran into an issue earlier in the week where my computer couldn't convert a newer Word file because there wasn't enough memory left on the computer.  So I opened up all my folders and found a bunch of old stuff I didn't really need anymore.  I was also surprised to see how many patterns I had designed, which never saw the light of day because I stalled out somewhere along in the process.  Now that I'm done with school, I'm going to take another look at them and see if I can't get some of these out into the world. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Pop blanket is completed!

I took advantage of a cool(er) day this past week and put the Pop blanket together.  I'd been thinking about putting it in rainbow order but my friend Heather and her sister (via text message) voted for the random pattern, and at the end of the day, that's what drew me to this project in the first place, so I went for it.  I had no plans for it and I just can't bring myself to give a hand-wash wool blanket to a new mom, so I gave it to Eddie.  (I may have mentioned this before).  Anyway, Eddie is not impressed, lol. He won't go near it.  I think I have him too well trained to stay off my hand knits.  I keep covering him with it or laying it in the places where he likes to sleep, and he keeps stepping around it.  Although today, I did see him laying on the very edge of it so that's progress.  When it gets colder, I'll throw it into his cat bed.

In sock news, I finished my gummy bear socks and immediately cast on for the Tea Cup socks.  This photo is lousy so it doesn't show off the true colors of the yarn at all.  My fault for taking a photo of red socks on red pants, lol.  It's interesting because I was really looking forward to knitting this colorway but now that I'm into it, I actually like the other one better than this one.  Either way, I'll have socks.  This summer feels like the summer of socks, and I have more than my fair share of sock yarn, so I'm just going with the flow.  Maybe I'll make a dent in my stash by the time my latest yarn diet lets up.  Heather and I decided that we needed to reign it in again so the yarn diet is back on (with a small break allowed in October) until next April.  I really need to knit up the yarn I have in the apartment, and I have to admit that it feels good to do that.  Who knew it would feel so gratifying to actually turn the yarn into that thing I originally bought it for.

In other knitting news, I did pick Dante's Timberline sweater again and it's moving along more smoothly than before.  I did make two changes that seem to be helping.  First, I finished graduate school so my brain isn't fried.  Second, I changed to a cable needle from Toolry (which was created by Naomi Herzfeld, co-owner of Bella Yarns).  It has a unique shape that makes it easy to get the stitches on and off the needle, and as an added bonus, the needle is magnetic.  That means that I can stick it right to my chart keeper, or hang it from the magnetic pendant prototype she gave me.  That has greatly increased the speed with which I can work the many, many cables in this pattern.  I don't like to use cable needles, but this one has been a life saver and I'd definitely give it my stamp of approval.

And finally, in ridiculous news, I saw a new item on the supermarket shelves..."Pot Ready" pasta, which is actually pre-snapped pasta for those of you who break your pasta before putting it into the pot.  How busy/lazy have we become as New Englanders that we have to have our pasta broken for us!  Does that step really add that much extra time to the cooking experience?  And to top that off, we ran into Colonel Sanders at the market too.  Here's proof.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The summer of socks

I wish I could remember what this yarn was, but I bought it during the yarn crawl this year and I was really excited to knit it up.  I expected the yarn to stripe.  It looked like a self-striping yarn when it was wound up in the ball, but it was more of a free form, color shifting yarn.  I don't think I would have been happy with how the color played out along the sock if the color were any less dynamic than it is, and the yarn itself is very course to work with, but that just means that they'll last forever, lol.  This should make interesting Hexipuffs for my Beekeeper's Quilt.

Since finishing the last pair of socks, I started another with my Felici yarn from Knit Picks.  I bought two colorways and I decided to start with Gummy Bear.  The red stripe is actually an orangey-coral and the white is a very light blue, but the overall effect is the same.  I knit this from the toe up, using an after thought heel.  This strategy allowed me to knit my leg as long as I wanted, and the heel wouldn't interrupt the striping sequence.  It's the best heel treatment to use when working with self-striping yarns.
And in other news, I blocked the Pop Blanket squares.  It's been so humid here that it took four days to completely dry.  That being said, I still haven't blocked the Promise Me shawl because the Pop Blanket squares have been on my blocking mat for most of the week.  And in secret sock knitting news, I ran into a hiccup on my design and I have to pull back a good portion of the sock to change the calf shaping.  It just doesn't work as is.  Naturally, I'm avoiding fixing this by knitting the Gummy Bear socks. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

it's fudge time

just tilt your head to the right
Some days just require fudge.  And I'm allergic to milk so these are pretty tough days for me.  I usually have to weigh the need against anything I may have going on around that time to see if the disruption to my health will impact anything important.  I know this sounds really stupid, but sometimes cheese, and ice cream, and chocolate are warranted, and necessary.  Thankfully I've found many fabulous recipes on Pinterist for vegan deserts (not all of them were hits, but many of them where).  Tonight I decided to try making vegan fudge.  If the texture turns out fudge-like, then it's going to be amazing because the taste is perfect.  And it's three simple ingredients: cocoa, coconut oil, and maple syrup.  Can't go wrong.  I mean, even if it doesn't set up, I can always make my gluten free vegan brownies and use the mixture for iceing.

Now, I did finish the Promise Me shawl but I haven't gotten around to blocking it yet.  I never remember to do it until the afternoon and I know it won't be dry by the time I need to go to bed, and I don't want to pin it to the mat on my floor because I exercise there now, so it's just sitting in my old knitting bag looking sad.  I went with the smallest size because the pattern said it took 430 yds to knit the sample, and I had just about that much, but I had a decent amount of yarn left over.  I probably could have knit the next size up.  I took the opportunity to knit 2 hexipuffs from the Celestia yarn, and then I'll return the left overs to Erin. 

In other news, I finished my Pop blanket and managed to figure out the layout of dots.  Again, I haven't blocked it yet but I'll get to it.  I think Eddie is going to inherit this blanket.  It's too small to do anything with, and the yarns aren't washable so I can't gift it to a new mom (I'd never do that to a new mom, lol), and Eddie's old blanket wore out.  He definitely used it.  I think he's due :)

For those wondering about the interview, it went well enough to grant me a second interview.  I'm hounding everyone I know for letters of recommendation (which are required), and printing out transcripts from school, and trying to arrange a good time.  I've put this all into the Lords hands.  If it's right for me and my family, it will happen.  If it's not, something better for me will come along. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

It is official!

Today my grades were finally put up and I passed the revision of my paper, which means that I passed my comprehensive exam, which means that I've earned my master's degree in psychology!!  I get to put letters after my name.  What's the abbreviation for masters of science in psychology?  What ever that is, it goes after my name. 

This feels so unreal.  I never in a million years thought I could earn a master's degree.  It was that thing that some of my friends had; the ones with more discipline than I.  I took 16 years to earn my bachelor's degree after all.  And now I've accomplished this major milestone, which I was inspired to pursue through much prayer and some fasting.  I've already started to put it to use (serving as the Primary president for the last year), and it's already helped out at home, so it's already paying off.  Now I have an opportunity to interview for a job in a school district doing something similar to what I already so, but with children who aren't as far along on the Autism spectrum as those I work with now, (lowering the likelihood that I'll tear another ACL. lol), and offering higher pay and summers off.  It's what I've always wanted.

I celebrated this moment by getting my air conditioner fixed (it's been in the 90's with ridiculously high humidity), and by reading and knitting.  This little beauty above is one of the Zomari Dyelab yarns in the Tesla base, in the Celestia colorway.  I mentioned it in the last post, but I'm so excited with it that I had to mention it again.  I reached the lace section in only two day!  Unfortunately its not a good travel project anymore so I'm back to my old sock-in-progress, but I'm working happily on it at night.  And in case you weren't sure about the inspiration for the colorway, this is Celestia.  As you can see, Erin nailed it.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Zomari Dyelab trunk show

My friend Erin has taken to yarn dying like a fish to water, and I'm being a supportive friend by buying ALL the yarn.  Starting at the top of the basket is Rainbow Dash, followed by Rainboom (a custom color) and White Lightning.  The ball in the center is Celestia, and I'm going to knit it into this shawl for a shop sample.  The rest have unlimited possibilities, lol. 

I've had the pleasure of working with Erin (dyer extraordinaire at Zomari Dyelabs) on one of my secret patterns for the 2015 round of the Scarefest.  I can't wait to show that one off, but since I can't, and since I'm still knitting secret projects, I figured that the least I could do was to post pictures of yarn.  You can purchase Zomari Dyelabs yarns through Bella Yarns (in store and online). 

Meanwhile, I pulled out my old knitting bag, literally blew the dust off of it, and started working on the squares for my long neglected Pop blanket. It's supposed to be 20 squares but I have so much yarn left over that I think I'm going to make it bigger than that.  Plus, its a lot of fun to knit these little things. 
Now, its time to go cast on a sparkly, pastel, Pony-inspired shawl.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

That didn't go as planned

So as I mentioned, yesterday was supposed to be college orientation day but in actuality, it was college registration day.  This detail is important because it determines how long you have to wait to pick up your kid.  When I went in after an hour to ask them what time orientation was over, they told me "orientation lasts 4 hours".  So naturally I left and went to the mall so that I could send my Coach bag out for repairs, and buy a pencil sharpener for my new lip stick crayon.  I ended up buying a bunch of skin care things that I didn't go there for, one of which was a spray bronzer that I bought to use as a summer contouring spray.  The girl at Sephora told me (with a straight face) that I could use it as a tanning spray...  I looked at her for a minute, and just said "I don't need to tan".

Anywho, when I finally got back to pick Dante up after four hours, he informed me that he'd been sitting outside waiting for me for three hours.  We were told that he was having orientation but we got the wrong information.  And I took the whole day out of work for no good reason.  But on the bright side, I did get to spend the day hanging out with Alex and we got to have our first Pinkberry yogurt together.  He was particularly taken with the pebbled floor.  We also went to see Splash at Jordan's Furniture and enjoyed their Christmas in July show.  It was surprisingly fun. 

Today, I went to PT and did my recheck to see how far I've come along.  I'm gaining strength really fast.  I just need to build up my running and jumping, and then I'll be all set to go back into my classroom (hopefully next month).  I'm excited about it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Orientation day

In case anyone was wondering what light duty looks like, this is it, lol.  Lots and lots of cutting, gluing, and laminating.  I spend the majority of my day buzzing people into the building and making materials for the classrooms.  It could be worse.  I prefer to be busy.

Today is Dante's college orientation, and I'm not sure how I feel about it, except that I'm glad to be out of college before he got in.  That was pretty much my only concern.  There was no way I was going to share my computer time with my undergrad while trying to complete a master's degree, lol.  I'm home from work today to take him and keep Alex busy while we wait. 

This summer is the 3rd in a row that Dante has watched Alex while we were at work, only this time I learned from past mistakes and actually make plans for them to go and do things during the week so they can get out of the house and stay off each others' nerves.  So far, so good.  Tomorrow they take the bus down to the 2nd run theater and watch Home.  Alex is pretty excited about it.  And next Friday they have a play date with a friend from church to go to a playground with a water feature.  That should be a lot of fun for him and if it's easy enough to get to, they can go as often as they want. 

I'm starting to relax now that Dante has turned 18 and graduated, and basically nothing is different, lol.  I don't know why I was convinced that 18 would be some magic number where Dante would suddenly detach himself from the family and disappear forever.  Maybe that was what my mom was worried about when I turned 18.  I just remember that my senior year was particularly difficult for us and I couldn't understand why.  I think I get it now.

My knee has been aching more than it has in a while because I've been sitting behind a desk.  It's really hard to get comfortable, and PT was harder yesterday than its been in a while.  Hopefully I'll adjust to this new schedule quickly so I can get back to doing what I do.  I'd probably feel better if I were working with the kids, but I still can't run or get into holds yet so I'm not allowed.  Thankfully, I can get out and walk around the building every few hours to loosen the knee joint.  This photo is a view from the parking lot.  The humidity is unbelievable, but it feels good to be out there.

In knitting (the thing you actually came here to read about, lol), I've turned the heel on my latest design and I'm looking forward to starting the leg and getting into the calf increases.  This could go quickly.  And I'm also excited to be able to play along with the Scarefest this year, now that I don't have any more assignments to cut into my time.

Monday, July 13, 2015

more pattern knitting

I'm working on the final pattern for the Scarefest, and I really wish I could show it off but I can't just yet.  Needless to say, it's turning out really great and I'm excited about it.  Too bad I can't knit this while I'm at work, lol.

Today I spent a fantastic afternoon with my friend Denise, knitting and snacking.  It felt great to be able to go somewhere and not worry about having to rush back to homework.  And to make sure the guys didn't miss me too much, I picked up some ribs from Sams for dinner.  They were quite happy, and I was able to enjoy an evening of adult conversation. 

Tomorrow I'll try to get a decent photo and knit something that I can show you :)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The best part of summer

If you look really, really closely at that yellow blob, you'll see Alex riding the carousel.  This is a classic Looff carousel that's over a hundred years old and is still running.  It's magical and we've been coming here since Alex was just big enough to get on one of the horses.  I just love to sit on the bench and people watch.  The families are happy.  The look of pure joy on the children's faces is intoxicating.  I just love being there.

Yesterday, one of the teens working at the carousel taught Alex how to grab the rings, and gave him a free ride while he was practicing.  Then he introduced himself to me as we left, and gave Alex a high five.  That young man needs a raise!

Today, Dante gave a talk at church and did a pretty good job considering the fact that he forgot all about it until this morning, lol.  I asked him to try being more prepared and less "on the fly".  Sharing time was nice, and I filled in for one of the primary classes that still is in need of a regular teacher.  There was a small group and we had a really nice discussion.  I usually dread the summers at church because most of our membership is comprised of college students who disperse to the four corners of the Earth, so it's hard to find enough people to cover all the classes.  However, this year it just feels different.  I'm enjoying the smaller class sizes and the slower pace of it all.  Maybe that's because I don't have as much on my plate right now?

Speaking of which, I've been lurking on Ravelry pretty hard, queing all the things.  I wish I could knit faster.  I want to knit every sweater and shawl I see right now, and most of the socks.  I mean, I certainly have time, lol.  I'm still reading Whales on Stilts with Alex and it's so funny that I'm a little sad about approaching the end of the book.  We're going to have to look for more books by this author.  Now, off to knit socks.  I'm almost finished with the 2nd of three patterns for the Scarefest, and I need to ride this wave of productivity while it lasts.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

First Saturday off

I'm feeling a little afloat out here with no school work to do.  It's my first real summer vacation in six+ years, and I'm not sure what the heck to do with myself.  And it's finally hot here.  So what does a New England family do when it's too hot to really be outside, and there's no homework demanding my attention?  Read super-silly books while the husband plays Call of Duty, of course. 

Last night's book was Whales on Stilts!, and it' hilarious.  Alex kept making me read more and more chapters until I finally had to call it around 10 pm.  To be fair, the battery in the clock stopped around 8:45 pm so we weren't aware it was that late.  I think we're going to finish this book today. 

I've been reading a lot myself.  I just finished Pines, which is the first book in the series that the current show Wayward Pines is based on.  And it's such a good book that I couldn't put it down.  I'm reading another book by the same author now called Run.  I also have a copy of East of Eden to get through and I'm kind of excited about it.  The sample I read on my Kindle was very good.  As you can see, I'm just as scattered with my books as I am with my knitting.  Always 3-5 going, all the time.  I'm super pumped about it.

Another exciting thing about new found freedom is that I can finally organize my dining room, finish building my IKEA furniture, and cook dinner.  I might even be able to start baking bread again!  I had to give that up about 18-months ago when I went back to work full time.  Looking forward to my first loaf of sour dough. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Back in the saddle

Well, it's summer finally and the weather is too warm to wear my knitted pants (or much of anything else).  It's perfect however for sock knitting, and I've been busy knitting and designing patterns for the 2015 season of the Super Sock Scarefest.  I have three of them this year, and I've had the support of two extremely talented indi-dyers.  I can't share them just yet, but I'm really excited about them and looking forward to showing them off.

In other news, I'm back at work (still on light duty) after 4.5 months out.  Physical therapy is going really well and I'm able to do all sorts of stuff that I couldn't do before surgery, but I still can't do all the things that I need to do in order to fulfill my duties at work, so I'm sitting at a desk and doing busy work.  But it's still nice to be back around familiar faces and to be getting paid a full paycheck again.

I also just finished all of my course work for my master's degree (as of yesterday), and I'm just waiting on a final grade.  If all goes well, I'll have initials after my name, and a master's in applied behavior analysis.  I never thought I'd ever achieve something like this, and it's amazing to know that I completed something this big.  I could never have done it without the support of my family, and my faith to keep me going. 

And as if that's not enough, Dante graduated from high school, turned 18, received his Patriarchal blessing, and was ordained to the Melchizedek priesthood!  He starts college in the fall, and applied for his first job.  Oh, and Alex turned 9, and is finally out of a car seat.  Everyone is huge (except for me because I've lost 15lbs since starting the Fit Mormon group on Facebook).  Speaking of Facebook, I had enough of dealing with the crazy and next year is an election year, so to save my sanity, I took a break from FB.  I just don't have the mental energy to deal with everyone else's junk, and I'm pretty sure it's one of the reasons why my blogging became so sporadic (that and Grad school).  So you'll see less of me on FB, and more of me on the blog, plus there are designs that have been on the back burner and I'm itching to get back to it. 
He made it!

At the Lego store

Random desk knitting

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Cam's Amazing Technicolor Dream Pants

 Folks, I've had it in my head for a while to knit a pair of pants.  I know it seems crazy, but the pattern and the associated project pages looked super cute and I get cold.  Recently I decided to bite the bullet.  I had just finished knitting a fingering-weight pullover (yep.  fingering.) that took about two years to finish and figured I should cast on another epic project.  Besides, I had a crap-ton of scraps left over from the fifty-eleven projects I've knit with Cascade 220.  So, I cast on.

The pattern provides an option for a draw string and I had one left over from a pair of flannel pants my mother sewed for me 14 years ago, so I went with that option.  When I first started, I thought I'd use my copious amounts of Noro Kureyon but the color just looked muddy and I wanted something more stripey.  That's when I ripped out all the work I'd done and decided to start over with my Cascade scraps.  Most of the yarns are 220 in either superwash or hand wash, but there are the odd amounts of other worsted weight yarns in there too. 

I alternated the colors with stripes of black (left over from a sweater I knit for Aaron), and knit the pants in as close to rainbow order as I could get.  One of the pale pinks, and the last two greens didn't make it in because I ran out of leg, lol.  I knit the legs with a 34" inseam, and I still couldn't get all the colors in there, but I did manage to finish the cuffs with a little green. 

I'm surprised at how quickly I knit these!  Especially given that when I started over, I worked the butt shaping on the wrong side and had to rip back again.  But once I got past that, the rest went really really fast.  It was probably the drive to get to the next color and see how it would look next to the old one that kept me motivated. 

Overall, this pattern is really simple and takes into account the need for some extra room in the bum.  It's worked from the top-down so you can knit the legs as long as you want.  The legs have subtle shaping through the thigh, and then again at mid-calf which gives them a nice feminine feel, and makes them sit nicely over a pair of sneakers.  If I were to knit them again, the only thing I'd change is to work some extra rows before starting the legs (as the pattern suggested I could) to make the rise a little higher.  The only reason I didn't on this pair was that I'm short-waisted and I thought they would fit high enough as written (and they do) but I'd like them to be an inch higher. 

These pants were a lot of fun to knit and they're amazing to wear.  Warm, comfortable, long enough, and shaped like a girl; something I can't ever find in a pair of pants.  My only regret came when it was time to do the finishing and I had all of these tails to weave in, lol.  So much finishing!!  Other than that, I'd definitely consider making another pair.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Post-surgery update

So about a month has passed since my surgery and I'm doing pretty well considering.  I'm off crutches and I only have to wear the brace when I sleep.  I'm much more mobile and physical therapy is going pretty well.  What's not going well is sleep.  I'm alternating between nights where I sleep and nights were I don't.  Thank goodness for Friends on Netflix! 

School has started up again and I'm struggling with class; not because it's difficult, but because I have a very hard time sustaining the mental energy required to finish the readings in time.  I thought it would be less of a problem now that I'm off almost all of the heavy meds (and only taking the last one I have left at night), but I'm still struggling.  I can't spend too much time at the computer before I have to go put my leg up on the couch, and my back is killing me because I'm out of alignment but I can't go see the chiropractor just yet.  Thankfully I'm out of work for at least another week and then we'll see if I'm ready to go back in for light duty.

It's strange.  Things are going better than I expected, and yet it's still taking longer than I thought.  I can do stuff, but only for so long before I'm exhausted.  I still need to take a nap most days.  And surprisingly, I'm getting bored with my knitting.  There's lots of stuff I want to make, but I don't have the energy to follow the pattern so I'm filling this time with Hexipuffs and this pair of socks for my old physical therapist...because I miss him.  He never tried to kill me during therapy like this new one does. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Ladies and gentleman...we have more snow

Cause if there's one thing that we really needed around here, its more snow.  At least I didn't have to leave the warmth of my apartment today.  I stayed home and have thus far spent my snow day equally between doing my final project and fooling around.  I've logged lots of hours on Ravelry and have made all of my visiting teaching phone calls, and it's only 4 o'clock.  But never fear.  I'll get that final project finished by tomorrow night and then I'll be ready to scrub my apartment in preparation for surgery.  I'm ready to go.  I've put all the things in order (as best I could) for the Primary to run while I'm out, and I had a blessing.  Funny how the topic of delegating responsibilities and asking for help when I need it keep coming up in my blessings lately.  And here I thought I'd gotten better at doing that :)

In other news, I finally finished the gloves for my husband's friend and he's really happy with them.  At the end of the day, I'm happy with them too.  I just don't like knitting fingers so I hated them while I was making them.  Now I hardly know what to do with myself since the constant nagging at the back of my mind to finish these is gone.  Maybe I can focus on getting my cousin's mittens in the mail, or knitting Dante's long overdue sweater.  One never knows which way the wind will blow.

I have managed to get quite a lot of work done on Aaron's Slade.  I finished the first of the sleeves last night and started the second before heading off to bed.  I think I can get the other finished and the body blocked out before I have surgery.  If not, the finishing and the button band/collar will have to wait.  And we all know that it's not exactly like I don't have other sweaters in various states of completion to work on while I'm waiting to be able to block this current work-in-progress.  At last count, I had 5 sweaters in progress.  FIVE.  Maybe I can get one done.  Or maybe I'll be too foggy with all the painkillers to get much of anything done.  If I post a finished sweater to Ravelry with three sleeves, you'll all know why.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

And more snow

We survived the blizzard, and as you can see here, I finally finished my Calligraphy cardigan.  I have not gone so far as to actually block it, but it's all done.  I love how nicely the buttons contrast with the violet/gray of the yarn.  I picked them up at Webs at the same time as the yarn, which I don't usually do because you really need to see the finished garment before deciding on buttons, but I had a really good feeling about these.  I have two extra buttons and I'm thinking about putting them on the sleeves.

The storm wasn't as bad as I expected and we never lost power.  I can't begin to say how thankful I am for that.  I've spend a few days snowed into my apartment without any heat, and although we survived just fine, it isn't as fun as romantic movies make it seem, lol.  I did manage to get quite a bit of knitting done, besides this completed sweater.  I knit through the 2nd clue for Follow Your Arrow, and yesterday I banged out the 3rd clue in one day! 

Forgive me for the over-exposed photo but I was working with my iPhone camera in less than ideal lighting.  There are tiny horizontal arrows on the lower rows.  My shawl so far is worked as clue 1B, 2B, and 3A.  I added a second color into the 3rd clue, following the suggestions that Ysolda included in the pattern notes.  I think it would have worked best if I was knitting 3B (and I sort of thought that I was) but It made an interesting pattern on 3A.  It does break up the smocking a bit, but I'm just going to press forward with it.  I'll be wearing it bunched up around my neck like a scarf anyway, so it won't be that much of an issue.  For clue 3A, I went with aqua Cascade Heritage.  I saw a pair of mittens knit with aqua and cherry red, and I loved the color contrast.  I'm deciding if I want to continue with a stripe or if I want to shift over to aqua for the rest of the clues.  We shall see.
In other news, I have a date set for surgery and it's fast approaching.  I'll have my knee repaired on Feb 13th, so I'll be spending my Valentines day hopped up on pain killers and totally immobilized.  I've already put out the call for all concerned friends and family members to send chocolate.  One bright spot in all this is that I'll be on break from school so I won't have to worry about trying to put together a coherent thought.  Oh, and Friends was added to Netflix in January so I'll have plenty of shows to watch. 

On a slightly related note, I've gained quite a bit of weight since my injury.  That happens when you go from being really really active to sitting all day.  Aaron recently got started as an Herbalife representative so I took advantage of his discount in exchange for being a Guinna pig.  I've been having protein shakes for breakfast and lunch, and then eating better at dinner.  So far, I've felt great.  I haven't been hungry.  I've been making shakes with real food that I would normally eat but don't always have time to eat on work days.  I also picked up the suggested supplements and I'm enjoying feeling alert and satisfied when I eat.  So far I've lost about one pound a week, and considering that the only exercise I get is what I can do at physical therapy, that's not too shabby.  I think it's really important to get off as much extra weight as I can, not for appearances sake (I carry my weight really well and most people don't know I'm over weight), but for health reasons.  And it'll definitely be easier on my surgically repaired knee if I'm carrying less weight around.  So, I'll let you all know how it goes.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Remember those choose-your-own-adventure books?

Last week I decided on the spur of the moment, to join in the Follow Your Aarow KAL.  I don't know why.  I don't usually enjoy knit-a-long's, and I almost never finish, but everyone else was playing and I just felt like I should too.  I mean, I know I never finished the shawl from the Stephen West KAL I joined two years ago, but I really love Ysolda's patterns so I'm more likely to stick with this.  Choosing a color was surprisingly hard considering how much sock yarn I have but I finally decided to go with two skeins of Cascade Heritage in Cherry.  This is my favorite shade of red; I knit my Apogee Cardigan in the same color.  Anyway, clue 2 just came out today and I've printed it all out and I'm ready to go.

Now, if you haven't heard, there's a massive storm heading my way and we are expected to have winds up to 65 mph, and 30" of snow.  Power outages are expected.  I've lived through winter storms without power before and we are prepared.  We can cook.  We have milk and bread (it's a "thing" out here that I don't really understand but have to just do so I don't have to hear about it).  Aaron got my car off the street and into the parking lot.  Alex is home with me and Dante will be home well before the storm hits.  We have blankets and plenty of hats and sweaters to keep us warm.  The boys will go a little crazy at first but they'll adjust.  We have a camp lantern, and plenty of candles thanks to Aaron's candle making hobby.  If I loose power (which I probably will), I'll check in as soon as it's returned.  We will be safe, mostly warm, and fine :)

While we keep ourselves warm, I will have plenty of knitting to keep me busy.  I finished one glove from the pair and need to do the other.  I'm also finishing up my Calligraphy sweater and Aaron's Slade sweater.  I started the button bands on my sweater, and I'm finished with the back and left-front on Aaron's.  And then there are several pairs of socks in progress so really, there's plenty to do. 

I definitely won't be sledding with my boys.  My visit to the Ortho revealed that I will most definitely be having knee surgery as soon as worker's compensation approves it.  The recovery will take a few months but I expect to be back up and on my feet in only a few days.  I'm told I'll be as good as new by summer, which is perfect because I'll finally be finished with school by then and I'll be ready to go have some fun.  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Not even making a dent

So true to my word, I went right to work on a pair of gloves for Aaron's friend.  I didn't love them at first, but they're growing on me.  See, I had this dream that the guy would choose an actual 'color' and wouldn't go with "black and gray pattern".  I envisioned a beautiful tan and brown, or some other lovely English tweed combo but no.  Standard, boring, eye-bluring black and gray. 

Once I got over my objection to the color, I decided that I was going to do some stranding and I was going to knit a hounds-tooth pattern.  I scoured my library to find a book that had the pattern in it and finally found it after flipping through about 8 different books.  Initially, I didn't love how it was coming out but it got better as I went along.  I just got to the part where I separate for the fingers, and I've decided not to knit that in the hounds-tooth pattern.  Instead I'm going to knit with gray and use a slip-stitch pattern to add density and warmth.  It should be easier that way.

I'm also working on Aaron's new sweater and making decent progress.  The back is finished and I'm working on the left front.  This one travels better and is easier to knit when I'm steeped in a brain fog.  I'm looking forward to finishing it up.

In other news, I will finally go to see an orthopedic surgeon on Tuesday and I hope to have some idea of what we'll be doing about my knee when I leave there.  Today one of the children was wandering around Sacrament meeting, and we (as a branch) have taken to having the Primary leaders redirect those children back to sit with their families because it really increases reverence.  One of these children was wandering today, and after others tried to suggest to her that she needed to go sit back down with her family, I got up and escorted her over there.  She moved to pull her hand out of my hand, and that little movement caused my knee to erupt in pain, so I can definitely tell that I'm not ready to go back to work and I desperately want to go back to work.  What ever needs to be done to make that happen is what I'm going to do.  And worst-case scenario, if it requires surgery, it's a valid reason to sit and knit socks all day.  After all, I've got the yarn.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Ahem...I have 120 socks-worth of sock yarn.

See, what had happened was, my husband sent me a text at work asking if I'd knit his co-worker a pair of gloves because his old one's were falling apart.  I was like "sure", and then I asked all the important questions like what color he wanted, or what color he absolutely didn't want, and whether he wanted them light weight (fingering) or heavier (worsted).  My husband gave me very little to work with; I only know he wants them worked in sock yarn.  That meant that I had to pull out all the yarn and put the man-colors to the side.

Well, while I had all the yarn out, it seemed like a good idea to count it.  I was wrong.  People of the internet...I have enough yarn to knit roughly 120 pairs of socks. 

I have to say, I was really caught off guard.  I figured I could pull off about 60 pairs, but I never imagined that my sock yarn obsession had gone this far.  Thank goodness Heather and I put ourselves on a yarn diet!  Clearly, I need to start knitting these socks up so I can make room in my stash, and then I need to only buy yarn for socks that I'm going to knit right then and there.  (Secretly we all know that will never happen, but it's a goal).

Of course, none of this includes my giant basket of Pallett because it's not machine washable so I don't use it for socks.  Nor does it include my mini-skeins for my Beekeeper's Quilt, or the sock yarn I bought to knit into sweaters.  This is strictly single-skein purchases for socks.  Wow.  It's even worse than I imagined. 

That being said, I'm off to go knit a pair of gloves with a skein of sock yarn from the stash. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Knitting is back!

Its very very cold on the East Coast this week (it was 14 degrees F today), and I'm on light duty manning a desk in the afternoons.  That means that when I don't have any more tasks to do, I knit.  Yesterday I finished this lovely hat for a friend, and I'm very pleased with it.  It's a simple pattern that I improvised.  The gray is Malabrigo yarn worsted merino in Pearl Ten, and the brown is left-over Madeline Tosh worsted from Aaron's new Christmas stocking.  It turned out beautifully.  Here you can see Dante putting his full effort into modeling it for me.  And as you can see, anything Dante can do, Alex can do better, lol.

I have a pair of mittens on the needles that I'm looking forward to getting on my hands.  They're two layered, with a bison/wool blend on the outside and Ultra Alpaca on the inside (so they'll be soft on my hands).  So.  Warm.