Thursday, November 30, 2006

The brain seems to have stopped

I have been stalled on Mermaid #3 for several days, due to the lack of yarn. I was an ounce short of having enough. It is coming. But WHEN? I have both sleeves to the halfway point, and the first band of white on the body.

Today I realized that the center stripe on the sleeves is the color I DO have! I could have finished the sleeves by now!

To top off the ridiculous situation, I started on the sleeves this morning, got an inch and a half finished, to realize that I'd dropped a stitch on the second row of the stripe! Dropping down to that stitch and working it back up didn't succeed (it looked awful!) so I'm frogging back to that and starting it again. SHEESH! After I got down there, I found out that it was from the tail that I'd knit in! So it wasn't going to go anywhere! sigh THAT is how things have gone recently!

Happy Birthday a day late to my dear guy! Here is to a better year this year!

In the time away from Mermaid #3, I started another red scarf. Second permutation for it, as the first one just wasn't tripping my switches. This one knits up fairly quickly.

I'm finding that a good way to secure the ends is to use the Philospher's Wool method of weaving in 2 handed knitting. It carries the yarn along the back, and can be trimmed neatly. If you have a high speed connection, watch the streaming video here to learn how. I'm using Stitch 3 to weave in the ends.

Monday, November 27, 2006

On a brighter note

Here is the completed scarf. I used 4 skeins of America's Alpaca Classic Alpaca in lipstick red using almost every bit of the 440 yards in the 4 skeins (110 yards per skein.) Finished measurements: 80 inches by 6 3/4 inches. Knit on size 6 needles (I knit loosely.)

Simple Basketweave Scarf Pattern
Very simple pattern, cast on 35 stitches, and knit 10 rows garter stitch.
Block A
Row 1: (public side) knit across
Row 2: (private side) knit 5, purl 5, knit 5, purl 5, knit 5, purl 5, knit 5
Repeat 5 times (10 rows), change to Block B
Row 1: (public side) knit
Row 2: (private side) knit 10, purl 5, knit 5, purl 5, knit 10
Repeat 5 times (10 rows) and change back to Block A. Continue until almost out of yarn, knit 10 rows in garter stitch, and bind off loosely.

Oh Bother (or another thing I've learned)

I have learned NOT to put things in storage until I think through the coming months and recognize the things that I will need, as opposed to the things that haven't been used in the past few months.

That being said, it is time to confess that when I talked with Howard last night about where to put the creches, he stopped talking for a moment then raised an eyebrow. "That's going to be difficult," he said.

"Why?" I asked.

"The stables are all in the white trunk with the ceramic Christmas tree, aren't they?" he responded.

"Oh Blast!" I said. "You're right. The figures are in the tote in the garage, but the wooden stables..." My voice trailed off, there wasn't anything left to say.

So, this is going to be a VERY different looking Christmas at our house. Traditional decorations for our family are in storage. I don't know if I'll have the time and inclination to go digging. I don't think so. Sorry kids!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Oh... rats!

The neighbors are busy decorating their houses for Christmas. We realized the ceramic Christmas tree that has been part of our celebrations since 1985 is safely packed in a trunk which is at the back of the storage unit below and behind a huge pile of boxes. THAT won't be coming out for this Christmas. Then I started looking for a box that held the wreath and games. Guess where THAT box is too? sigh I can't tell you the exact location of the box in the storage unit, but I can tell you that it is safely stored there as well. Funny thing is, I don't remember repacking that box to go to storage. Oh well. I did save out 1 box and 1 tote that have Christmas things in them, but the larger things seem to have been put away neatly for later. Of course, one box is full of ornaments and this house doesn't have room for a tree. We are going to have a little tree on top of a table this year. That's all the room we have. This house wasn't designed for bookcases. LOL But the bookcases are a good place to put the crèche figures, so long as we don't put out the stables this year. We have several sets, my mother's when she was a girl, the one from Mexico my parents gave us shortly after we were married, a ceramic one with tiny figures I painted in Colorado, and others that I've been given over the years. Hm, since the tree is so small, perhaps we should put the two larger ones on the table too. The third could go on the desk. maybe

I started Mermaid Number 3 today. I hope it will be loved and worn! I'm doing the sleeves first, so hopefully I don't get hit so terribly by the second sleeve syndrome. Anything to fool myself, eh? I'm still thinking on the collar, as it flattens out instead of staying rolled over. Tacking it down in a few places? Ideas anyone?

Saturday, November 25, 2006


We're back after spending Thanksgiving with Nathan and Kim. (I know that it is supposed to be Kim and Nathan, but since he is our son, I find myself putting it the other way around. Pffftpppttt.) We had a great time, we brought up a turkey I could eat, and Nathan smoked it. It was so good! Yesterday he had to work, but Kim, Howard and I brought lunch to him, and ate with him. Yummmmm, Panera's! I wish Panera's was closer than a half hour away for us! As it is, we occasionally pick up a supply when in the area. Since I can't eat any of the bread in town without getting sick, it is a treat to get some I can eat.

Not sure what is going on, my tongue started to swell again. It has become a nuisance. If I don't get it figured out shortly, I'm going to have to cave in and go visit our friendly doctor. I know it is an allergic reaction, but to WHAT! Started Wednesday, and it keeps happening, although I have dropped more and more things from the diet. If I don't take medicine for it, I sound quite drunk. Luckily, it isn't enough to send me back to the Emergency Room.

Stopped into a yarn store in St. Cloud, and had a terrible time deciding what to buy. She had a lot of scarf/fancy yarns as well as Brown Sheep. I finally got a skein of red and one of grey for the Red Scarf Project and some magazines. Just couldn't make up my mind. Kim and Howard kindly waited patiently for me (Howard had a wonderful time checking out the buttons, he especially liked the sheep one that looked a bit like Shaun the Sheep from the Wallace and Grommit movie.) Two legs hanging down (they looked as if they would wiggle, but didn't.) He was making suggestions to Kim about which uses she could find for the various buttons. We didn't buy any, though I was tempted.

Between the drive up and Thursday, I finished the red scarf. I'll wash and block it, then post a picture. I had forgotten how LONG it takes to knit 72" of a scarf! By the end, I was quite fed up with it. Why I started a second is beyond me. Oh wait, I was out of knitting that was interesting to me at the moment up there. Lack of knitting will do that to me! I was desperate to knit on something other than what I'd brought, and a second scarf seemed to fit the bill. Of course, I'm floundering with what pattern to use. Right now I'm knitting it with a baby cable and stripes every so often. I'm not sure the stripes are a good idea, but I'm not sure there will be enough yarn. Maybe I should frog again and do it in a rib... And then again, it is time to start Kim's Mermaid. The great thing about knitting, we can find things to distract us, can't we!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

All done but the closure

This one is DONE! Well, I need to wait until the clasps get here to sew them on, but otherwise, I'm calling it done.

In the meantime, I've knit 2 fun things with linen yarn, and started a red scarf out of some yummy alpaca.

Yesterday was NOT a good day for my brain. I realized that I not only will be short of the lighter blue for Kim's sweater, I can't figure out if I have enough natural (cream) for her sweater either! You see, when I purchased the 2 cones of yarn, they were totaled into one lump sum of 23.2 ounces on the sales receipt. I didn't weigh to see how much each one weighed before I started knitting. As far as I know, Brown Sheep Naturespun doesn't come on any size other than 1 pound cones. I do know there was more of the natural than the winter blue. The problem also comes in that I can't get the totals to match what I started with, what I used, and what I have left (this is where it makes my head hurt!)

My scale here at home says the sweater weighs 1.3 pounds, which is about 20.8 ounces. I know I used at the most 4.5 ounces of the dark blue (that one is easy to figure out, 2 complete 1.75 ounce skeins, and a little bit of the next.) That leaves 16.3 ounces left for the light blue and cream. The kicker? I have 11.6 ounces of the coned yarn left. Do you see my problem here? It does not compute. According to that, I would have purchased about 28 ounces originally. I've no clue. Perhaps my scale isn't as accurate as I think? New batteries?

So, how much yarn do I actually NEED for the sweater? How the heck would I know!

Minor rant, our insurance, in its infinite wisdom, will not pay when we see a Physician's Assistant. They didn't TELL US about this, just started refusing to pay when it happens. Kind of silly, as it saves them money -- the hospital or doctor's office doesn't charge the same as for a doctor. But anyway, we got notice yesterday that they don't want to pay for those services at the first Emergency Room visit. sigh I've called the hospital, they will resubmit using the supervising doctor's name.

Our insurance doesn't like the dosage I need to keep reflux under control. I have to take a double dose. So, I had to go to a "normal" dose to see what happens. Ta-dah! Asthma attacks. My lungs don't LIKE inhaling stomach acid (for some strange reason!) I went back to my normal dose, but the lungs still aren't happy.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Almost finished!

I'd like to claim an almost finished item ... Serena's Mermaid is washing right now. All that I need to do tomorrow is to sew the sleeves in. I wish I could claim it as completely done, but almost is nice as well! Hopefully pictures tomorrow, although I will have to wait until Christmas to see it on her body. 25 knitting days start to finish -- even with the slow-down on the sleeves.

I think I'm going to spend a day or two knitting something that isn't a Mermaid, then I plan to dive back into the fray with Mermaid #3. Just something quick that will give me a quick sense of accomplishment without a major time commitment. Then on to Kim's Mermaid. Hers will be a size small instead of a medium, so I do need to figure out the changes.

Last night after posting the whine about losing Serena's Aran, I managed to find it. That was a great relief, as I'd decided that if I couldn't find it, I'd start over, rather than try to find it in all of the boxes in the storage unit. Not that I'm so far along that it would be a tragedy, but it might put me off knitting it even longer! Right now it seems to be heading the queue after Mermaid #3. Unless something else comes up in the meantime. I would also like to get 2 or 3 scarves knit for the Red Scarf Project. I bought several skeins of red alpaca on sale just for that purpose. Those can be mindless knitting when I need such a thing. Good airline knitting too, for the trip to Serena's in January? I would hope to have Mermaid #3 done by then. Who knows what I'll be knitting just under 2 months from now! Not me!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Various Thoughts

Howard and I spent most of the day packing up the partial boxes that were around the house and transporting them as well the furniture that has been living in the garage since we moved to a storage unit. The house feels almost as if it is breathing a sigh of relief. Or is that ME doing that? I have this horrid feeling that Serena's Graduation Replacement Aran Sweater in progress is there now. I don't remember seeing it while packing, but I certainly don't have a clue where it might be. I found the YARN for it. I am still thinking about taking my yarn and fiber stash over there, it is just a mile or so away, so it wouldn't be that big of a deal to go pick it up when I want it. The thought of it being out of the house so I can't just snag it and start working on a new project is what stops me.

Yesterday while trying to pack things to be shifted into storage, I found my calendar from 1993. How interesting to read from it, as I kept much better notes then. It was interesting to read. Serena's lupus diagnosis, an uncle's death, knitting, Girl Scouts, school for the kids, volunteering at the hospital for all of us, neighbors, friends ... all condensed in a few words per day. And yet, reading it brought it back. I won't be able to remember more recent years nearly as well, because I'm not writing the information down for later. My loss.

We drove down to Ames and picked up 3 turkeys that I can eat. I also picked up a bar of Equal Exchange chocolate, which doesn't have any soy in it. That was probably a dumb thing, as eating chocolate has been causing a migraine. I've just had a few pieces of the bar, but no migraine. So, is it the soy causing a migraine? I suspect my body could tell, but it isn't talking very loudly. I think I'll rarely indulge anyway. But, it is nice that when I'm having a chocolate craving (has been happening the last little bit) I can indulge.

I passed the halfway point on the second sleeve yesterday. We watched "Shark Attack" (blech) and "Cars" (cute) on DVD last night, and I knit through both. I forgot to bring it along on the trip to Ames, or it would be even further along. Something about a 45 minute ride (each way!) when you've forgotten your knitting. Rats! Much longer trip!

We saw a HUGE murder of crows in Ames. They were roosting in many trees as well as flying over the street. Probably more than several hundred. Neither one of us remember seeing such a crow gathering. Wonder if they were migrating?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Death of a House

We've known this day would come, but it was still hard watching it happen. Howard let me know around 8 AM that it was going to come down today. He brought me over to watch it. I left after an hour, and came back around 11:30 to watch some more.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Getting there!

Well, there is progress. I'm not done, but the "only" thing left on this one is another sleeve then sewing the two sleeves in. I'm happy with the way it looks, aren't you?

Now Kim's. I'm still trying to figure out for sure which colors go where, but I'm seriously considering the cream as in this one but also for the sleeves, then reversing the other two colors from how they are on this one.

Right now I'm suffering a touch of second sleeve syndrome. I've done a provisional cast on and the first row, but decided to wait until tomorrow to start in on it.

I still can't find the Eragon CDs. I've been listening to "Trickster's Choice" and "Trickster's Queen" by Tamora Pierce narrated by Trini Alvarado. I'm almost done, so I'll have to figure out something else to read with my ears tomorrow.

Howard and I came to the conclusion today that we are going to have to put some things into storage. There just isn't room in this house. There are 2 rooms that have boxes on the floor, and a third of the garage has furniture around the edges. I'm tired of living out of boxes. I'd rather put the things away safely, and not feel as if I'm tripping over boxes constantly. Not to mention, Serena, Kim and Nathan are coming for Christmas, and there isn't room to put down air mattresses for them to sleep!

P.S. You can see the new kitchen floor in this picture.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Oh Bother!

Last night I finished the body of the Mermaid except for the i-cord trim. I did a 3 needle bind-off on the collar at the end of the next to last row. It really looks good, and matched the stripes perfectly. I finished the last row, and then looked at it. sniffle I did it on the wrong side. See?

I think it turned out well. Two sleeves and the miles of i-cord left to go! Well, and the "small" matter of a tinking back that row and the bind-off then doing it over. Where is an "easy button" when you need one?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Just for fun

And I know of at least ONE person who will take this. LOL

You paid attention during 97% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


We have a fully functioning bathroom again! What a wonderful thing, and something you really don't think a lot about unless, as this time, occasion arises when you are suddenly deprived!

Some things conspired over the weekend to dampen my desire to knit. Yesterday the joy came back. I accomplished a lot on Serena's Mermaid. I should be finishing up the body by the end of the week. Then it is on to the sleeves!

I haven't decided whether to do Kim's Mermaid next, or do another project. The lure of a different project has started, but I also know me. I tend to do one project (each sweater, not the Mermaid set as this has become!) at a time within some parameters. If it is a project that I need to concentrate while knitting (an Aran or lace) I have a simple project (socks or such) going that I can knit when I'm in a situation that I must pay attention. I THINK Kim's will be next. My mind seems to be considering the 3 as one project. If I pick up another project, will I come up to hers?

I think one of the joys of knitting Mermaid is I can SEE MY PROGRESS! Do 2 rows and change colors. Another is the fact that while I have to think enough at the start of every other row (in the stripe pattern) to change colors, the rest is lovely garter stitch and I can read as I knit.

Knitting complicated patterns, the joy is increased by listening to an audio book. I still get books "read" and the progress goes on. Actually, I'm thinking about listening to "Eragon" but I can't find the blasted CDs! So, until then, I'll read a hardcopy.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Progress on Several Fronts

Well. It has been an interesting couple of days!

Here is the new subflooring! We were lucky, there were two spots where the floor was so weak it could have collapsed. This flooring is better than it was originally.

Howard has a seminar about 3 hours away today and tomorrow. I was going to go with him, and spend time with Nathan and Kim while he was learning. Al and the plumber were going to come today, so I stayed home. Al came. The plumber is coming on Monday instead. Seems the toilet was rusted badly, and there was a strong possibility of more leaks in our future. So, we are getting a new toilet in the bathroom. This photo is before Al came today and put back the woodwork and register grating. The odd looking things hanging by the tub are soap sacks, one for my shampoo bar, I've only found them here Basin, as I'm allergic to liquid shampoos and liquid soaps, and the other one is soap.

On the Mermaid front, this one is speeding along. I finished the other in just over a month, helped by 3 sessions in the car, two about 4 hours and the drive to Serena's. This is the result of 10 days of knitting. I started it October 25th, and did 2 rows that day. Of course, the car ride home from Serena's helped my progress. I find 1 striped section and a gusset to be an acceptable goal for a day.

This is something that has been in the back of my mind for a long time. I know you can't tell, but the other sides have the first coat. I ran out of paint! This is going to be a dollhouse scale (1 inch = 1 foot) fiber room. I have two looms, one spinning wheel, and other things to go in there. My plan is to have a stove and sink for fiber dyeing, skeins of many colors of yarn, perhaps a backstrap loom, baskets of fiber, perhaps a quilt? Any other thoughts? My plan is to have a loft above the main floor, I don't know what will be where yet. Al cut out a "roof" for me, as the kits were designed to be one floor only. He is also going to help me put it together, again because of the design. And he'll cut out the loft area. This may even be the project that gets electrified.