Back from Cali, knitting socks and staying off my feet…fun times!

Been awhile again since my last post.  I don’t know what it is, but I just can’t seem to find the time or the energy for the computer these days for some reason.  I can’t remember the last time I actually checked my email.  If anyone has sent me anything and I haven’t responded, sorry.  I’m more apt to see something you send me on Facebook or Twitter than I am in an email…LOL  Kind of sad, huh?!?!

So I went to California on June 9th and stayed for 3 weeks.  Seeing my mother is always so great for me; if you know me and my mother, though, you also know that it’s a hugely stressful time for both of us.  We are both very strong personalities and we tend to clash in a lot of ways.  There is so much love there, though, that the happy moments always far outweigh the stressful ones.  This trip was about going to see David Cook with my favorite family member in the world, Krista and taking Jake back to Sea World to actually touch the dolphins.  The rest was all up in the air.  Spending time with Krista is always one of my favorite things to do.  We have the sort of relationship where we don’t really have to be doing anything special, we just like to be together.  One of our favorite group activities is, believe it or not, just sitting around with coloring books and colored pencils and coloring.  We both have these stupidly expensive Disney Princess coloring books that have really high quality paper and we guard them jealously, not letting anyone (no, not even Jacob) color in them but us.  Kind of sick, really, but it’s really so much fun to just stop for an hour and do something so simple and so rooted in our childhoods.  Oddly enough,though, neither of us really color at all when we aren’t together.  Krista gave me another new hobby this trip, though.  The Lakers were playing in the NBA championships against the Orlando Magic and K is a HUGE Lakers fan.  So the first night we hung out together game 4 (I think) was on and she said she had to watch it.  Anyone that knows me well at all knows that I’m absolutely not a sports fan in any way, shape or form.  So we got out coloring books and I got out Mom’s laptop and settled in for what I thought would be a boring television event, but still time with K is so rare b/c of the distance, so any time at all is priceless to me.  About halfway through the game, though, I realized that I was watching the TV almost as much as I was reading posts on Ravelry.  By the last five minutes of the game I had put the laptop down and was watching the action raptly.  By the time the final game rolled around a few nights later, I was all about the game.  I cheered and I booed and I jumped up and down.  I was almost hoping the Lakers would lose so that there would be another game.  They didn’t lose, though, and the victory was amazing.  So now I’m a basketball fan. A Laker’s fan at that.  Looking very much forward to pre-season.  Of course, knowing me, it may not last.  We’ll see.  I was a “hockey fan” for awhile when the Wings won their first Stanley Cup in however many long, long years.  That lasted about half of the next season and then I got bored out of my skull with it all (I think I just committed a sacrilege as far as my mother – a RABID Wings fan – is concerned).

I finally got my own copy of New Pathways for Sock Knitters, so I can finish the second Spiraling Coriolis sock.  I’m about 2/3 of the way done with it, maybe a little less.  I got so excited about sock knitting that I joined the 52 Pair Plunge III @ Ravelry.  Of course I haven’t even finished pair #1 so I’m WAY behind…LOL  I think , though, that once I finish the WIPs that are outstanding gifts I owe to people (the Moderne Baby Blanket for Fran’s new granddaughter and the Anouk dress for Lisa’s new baby due any time now) I’ll throw myself a little more into sock knitting.  I’ve just ordered matching sets of fixed circs. from Knit Picks: one each of the Harmony and the Nickle plated in sizes 0-3 (which is actually 6 needles in each material b/c there are 2 different sizes of 1 and 2 b/c of the metric measurements) in the 24″ length.  I was going to just order the sizes in the Harmony wood in the 24″ and 32″ lengths so that I could differentiate easily when using 2 circs (which I really do like for socks) but I thought that the different materials for the tips would make the distinction even easier and I really have found that I like the nickle more than I thought I did.  I have the Options sets in both materials so if I need longer than 24″ needles I’ve got that covered as well.

I love shopping at Amazon, btw.  I just ordered and received the newest version of the Kindle; it was an early birthday gift from my mother.  LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!  I’ve already got five or six books and several blogs on it.  So nice to have choices in such a slim and light container.  I always want to take something to read with me, but can’t ever decide what so I end up schlepping three or four hard cover books with me on vacations or when I know I’ll be bored for awhile.  Great for choice, but heavy as all hell.  This is much nicer!!  I also ordered a whole slew of knitting books:

  • A Treasury of Knitting Patterns Volumes 1 & 2:  I’ve always wanted to have a great stitch dictionary collection and I like these the best so far.  I’m not big on designing things myself – I’m still too chicken to even play too much with changing elements in patterns that I’m following.  Just looking through these books, though, has inspired me a bit.  I found myself thinking ‘that would make a great cuff or edging on a sweater’ or ‘that would be a great cuff or leg pattern for a sock’.  It’s a step in the right direction.  I WILL get braver with my knitting before the end of year.  My goal is to design one thing, no matter how simple it is – maybe I’ll design the scarves I’m planning to make for TJ and Jake this year rather than following a pattern.
  • Elizabeth Zimmerman’s  Knitting Workshop, Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitting Almanac and Knitting Without Tears:  I’ve  heard so many great things about E.Z. and I thought this would be a great time to “get to know her”.  I thought I ordered The Opinionated Knitter as well, but I guess not.  It’s something for the future.
  • Lace Style:  You can never have too many lace knitting books
  • A Gathering of Lace:  See above….love the lace knitting!!
  • The Intentional Spinner, The Spinner’s Companion and Spin Control:  I’ve been spinning for a little more than a year and a half now and I still kind of feel like I’m working blind.  I can spin a decent yarn but I have very little control as to how it comes out.  I’m still not sure about the different kinds of drafting and how to do them.  I’m in love with spindle spinning, which I feel like I have a lot more control with, and I love my wheel, but I feel like I’m always playing catch up when I’m using the wheel.  I rarely, if ever, get the yarn that I expect to get from it.  I want to learn more and to get better.  I really need a spinning class to get me on the right track.  I need someone to teach me all these different “draws” and how they work and what I’m doing wrong…
  • Teach Yourself Visually Hand-dyeing:  I love hand dyeing and another book on it can only be good.
  • Sock Innovation:  I’m all about sock knitting these days and I’m a big fan of Cookie A.’s designs even though I’ve never knit one.  The chapters on design are really a big selling point for me.
  • Toe Up:  This is the WendyKnits book.  I didn’t actually order this one, I bought it at Barnes N Noble while I was in CA.  I found I really like the toe up method of knitting socks and there are really cute patterns in this book.  I’m looking forward to knitting some of these for the “Plunge”

I’ve had a lot of time to look through my book and play with the Kindle in the last few weeks.  Here’s a big TMI warning if you don’t want to know more than you ever dreamed about my cycles and periods….

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I’ve been undergoing the very beginning of fertility treatments since late March.  50 mg. of Clomid from days 3-7 of the cycle.  Only did one cycle and it didn’t work.  I got my period 50 days into the Clomid cycle and it started with spotting that lasted for almost 2 weeks, which was annoying but tolerable.  When I was out in CA the real period finally started and was heavy (which I expect) and irritating – it got bad the same day as the David Cook concert, of course – but it wasn’t unbearable.  Now that I’m three weeks into this period and I’m bleeding like a stuck pig half the time with HUGE clots and not bleeding at all the other half, I’m irritated.  It’s gotten to the point where I have to stay in bed or on the couch most of the time b/c any real activity or straining myself makes the bleeding horrible.  For example I got out of bed on the 4th to hang out at the bonfire in the yard b/c my mother-in-law and TJ’s Aunt Nancy were there.  Just sitting out there, walking around and playing with Jake a bit was the most I did and when I got back inside I ended up having to change my pajama bottoms twice in 30 minutes.  I’ve been feeling dizzy, foggy headed, crampy and just plain yucky since this started.  Saw the doctor today, had an ultra sound and am going to meet with a new fertility specialist tomorrow morning.  So nervous!!  I am terrified that I’m going to find out that I can’t have another baby and that would break my heart.  TJ and I are not necessarily in agreement about fertility treatments.  I’m all about doing whatever it takes to have another child and TJ isn’t sure if he’s on board for getting really into the infertility treatments.  He’s terrified by the though of higher level multiples and he’s afraid that my body won’t deal well with “forcing” pregnancy.  IVF is still a long way away, I hope, but he’s so against the thought and while it’s not my first choice for a way to have a baby, if it’s my only option, I’m totally on board with it.  This is going to be a long process, and it’s going to take a lot of talking and figuring out what is important to us and what our priorities when it comes to family are.  I’m scared!

96 Yards of Handspun lace/fingering weight

I just finally (I actually finished spinning and plying the yarn in December) skeined up and finished the singles that were left after spinning and plying my Girl Insane top.  The colors in the top were light to medium pinks, shades of grey to black, light to dark purples and white. (Don’t have a picture of the top, so here’s the link to the original listing in etsy: Girl Insane Top.  I split the colors into lights and darks, spun the singles fairly thin (I’m still terrible about figuring out things like what drafting method I used or how many twists per inch etc.) and then plied the two together.  It came out really pretty.  When I was through, I had just under 100 yards of singles left from the dark batch, so I skeined it and finished it tonight – it’s drying right now.  Pictures to follow once it’s dry and I get off my lazy ass and take the pics.

Any suggestions on what to do with just about 100 yards of light fingering to heavy lace singles?  I’m stumped, but this came out so pretty that I want to use it.  I thought about plying it with itself after it finishes drying, but then I’ll only have 50 or so yards and I know there’s not a lot I can do with that.  Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

The Coriolis socks are coming out beautifully.  I’m back on track after the frogging incident and I’m really enjoying these socks.  I’m going to buy the book (I’ve had it out of the library for two renewals now and I don’t want to keep it out of the hands of others who might want to read it) before I leave for CA (on Tuesday) and work on the last sock on the plane ride.  It seems like a good, portable project for the plane.  It’s either that or my Clapotis and that thing is pretty big and bulky for a plane ride at this point.

As for my two baby gift projects:  I’ve hit a wall with the Moderne Baby Blanket as the book is still packed up in a box somewhere in this house (I swear we’ll never be fully moved in) and I was able to find the pattern as a freebie through Ravelry, but it’s a scan of the book and doesn’t include the border, so until I find the book I’m kind of stuck.  I know I could just come up with my own border, but I’m just not feeling that creative with this one.  I draw a blank whenever I try to think of a good border pattern for this…again, suggestions are welcome and appreciated.  The Anouk pattern is coming along nicely.  The baby it’s for is due in July and I’ve got the first half done and am ready to start on the second.  The first went really quickly so I’m hoping the second will be as swift.  These are the only projects I plan to bring on the trip, along with some needlepoint that I’ve been working on for awhile on and off.  I figure if I don’t have many choices I can’t get caught up in “startitis” and might actually finish a few things on time…

Happy New Year

Howdy folks.  Just wanted to take a minute to wish y’all a happy and healthy new year.  Nothing at  all exciting going on at Casa Dwire tonight.  TJ and Jake have gone up north to spend a few days debauching with Unkie and Kay.  After having over a month of 24 hour Little Man care while TJ worked overtime, I’m thrilled to have a few days to unwind and just veg out.  Since I don’t really drink (why is that?  I used to enjoy it so much), New Year’s Eve hasn’t been that important of a “holiday” for me.  Right about now, TJ is putting Little Man to bed and then he’ll begin to imbibe until he falls down.  That’s not much fun to watch and I know he doesn’t have as much fun worrying if I’m having fun or bored etc.  Besides, having this time to unwind is going to be great for when he comes home (without L.M. who is staying with Unkie and Kay for a few days) and we have some much needed and missed time alone together.  We haven’t been alone since we celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary last December.

I’ve had a few offers from some friends to come by their places tonight, and I actually considered going, but TJ took the car and I didn’t want to inconvenience friends by asking them to come and pick me up and then get me back home.  I do enough of that.  That should be another one of my New Year’s resolutions:  drive myself around more.  I’m tired of feeling like a mooch all the time and having to ask Shannon to pick me up for knitting etc.  I’m going to drive myself to the next meeting I go to (unless it’s Guild b/c I have no clue how to get to Marshall or what to do once I’m there).  I really want to have more freedom and be able to do things that don’t include having to be picked up.

On the knitting front:  I finished the first of my Malabrigo Fetching mitts last night and I love the way it came out.  I did it on DPN’s b/c I was nervous about the 2 circs or the Magic Loop method.  The second one, though, I’m doing using 2 circs b/c I was annoyed with the dpns.  I’m going to go look up ways to cable without a needle b/c the cable needle irritated me, the regular dpn was even worse and the short dpn, while better, still bugged me.  It’s only a C4B, so it should be pretty easy to do.  I love working with the Malabrigo.  It’s just as great as I’ve been hearing it is.  Soft like butta and the colors are so pretty.  No real pooling and the slight effect of striping without actual striping.  I really want to get more of this and make a sweater for myself.

I really need to get busy swatching for the Secret of the Stole ii.  I have several different yarns that I want to try; different colorways as well.  I have some fingering weight silk/rayon in a variety of colors.  They aren’t solid, but I like the variegation and it’s fairly subtle.  I’ve also got some cashmere and some bamboo I’m considering.  I’m looking forward to swatching and playing with color and size of needle until I get a fabric that I like.  This is my first mystery a-long and I’m very eager for it to start.  I’ll be doing much of it once I’m in California visiting my mother, so I’ll have to have her get the cable modem for the month or so that I’m there.  Come to think of it, I’ll have to consider a new laptop – I’ve got a fairly cheap on in mind; I’ve realized that I really don’t need the bells and whistles to be happy with a laptop – since this one is falling apart and I don’t think it could take the journey, to be honest.  This one can become a desk top with the laptop portion as the “tower”.  I’m already using an external keyboard and want a mouse as well.  It’s totally falling apart.

I’ve gotten totally off topic here.  So I’ve got to swatch for SoTS ii and I also want to play with a market bag pattern.  I’ve been talking to TJ about it and then read a post on Holly‘s blog that spurred me to want to do something about it.  I’ve had the patterns printed for awhile, but have never really paid much attention to them.

I also just got a few new book:  Big Girl Knits, , Sensual Knits and Romantic Hand Knits.  All great books and some great patterns for tops, cardigans, and sweaters.  This is a big goal of mine, but I seem to continuously find reasons to put it off.  It’s either something else that needs knitting (market bags, shawls for gifts etc.) or I don’t have the right materials (even though if I dug hard enough I bet I could find them) etc.  I need someone to keep on me about making a garment.  I know I’ll feel such a sense of accomplishment once I do it, but I put it off.  There’s another resolution, one garment for myself this year, be it a tank top, cardigan, whatever.  I must knit something to wear for myself this year.  Another knitting goal I have is socks.  I have TONS of sock yarn, dpns, sets of circs, long circs for magic loop (even Addi’s in the long ones).  I really want to knit socks, badly.  So come on knitting pals:  bug me, nag me, tease me, do what it takes to help me keep my goals. 🙂

Finally, I want to thank everyone who is in my life for what you’ve added in the last year.  Everyone I know, especially my newer friends (read knitting friends) have added so much to life, more than I can say.  I’m thrilled and grateful  to know you gals and hope our friendships continue to grow in the new year.  To my “older” friends:  I’m sorry I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to spend with all of you.  You know that I love you now and always and promise to make more of an effort in 2008.  Happy New Year everyone!!!

New skills and a bag of “sticks”

I love the feeling of learning something new and actually “getting it”.  I’ve played with the idea of  2 circs for doing small circular pieces rather than using dpn’s in the past, and I’ve even managed, while reading directions step by step to actually eek out a small tube.  This time, though, something just clicked for me.  I used this site, both times actually, and I don’t know what was different now, maybe I just have a lot more experience now or something, but  it just made sense to me.  I knit a small (6 rounds or so) tube to make sure I had it down, bound off and voila! a tube.  There was a little bit of laddering at one of the seams (the beginning edge) but not too bad and the other seam was invisible.  I don’t hate dpn’s, I actually kind of like them, but not for socks.  I’m still so unsure about socks.

I was planning to take a sock knitting class at my LYS, so I haven’t been playing with socks at all.  I decided that I wanted to learn with no preconceived ideas so that I would learn correctly.  Plans change though.  I got a call from Threadbare, LYS in Lansing, that the classes with Annie Modesitt I wanted to take had spaces opened up.  Can we all say SQUEE?!?!?  So I’m dropping the sock class to take the combination knitting and color work classes with Annie.  She is so my knitting hero (one of them anyway); the only thing I can think of that would compare would be a class with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee or Vickie Howell.  I’m still hopeful about those possibilities one day as well.    The classes are next weekend and I just can’t wait to meet her.

Honestly, though, the 2 circ method won’t be doing me any good anytime soon.  I have have have to get the X-mas knitting done.  Patterns have been chosen (haven’t I said this before?) for sure; TJ sat down with me with the yarn choices I have and the pattern book and helped me pick and write down who was getting what with what yarn.  I still have to buy the yarn for one of the choices though; Threadbare here I come…LOL  I’m not going to name names re: who’s getting what, not that any of the recipients would look up the patterns, they’re not like that, but still… One of the giftees is getting the Trellis and Vine shawl/wide scarf in ?? (this is the one I’m not sure of the yarn yet) and the Falling Water scarf in Peruvian Baby Silk.   The other recipient is getting the Rambling Leaves Shawl, also in Baby Silk and the Branching Out scarf; I don’t have a yarn chosen for this yet either.   There are other gifts that I’ll be making but those are the big ones.  As soon as I’ve got that stuff done, though, I’m going to be all about the socks on circs and the Magic Loop method of knitting.

I’m so far behind on my email (talk about no segue way at all).  I’ve stayed away from anything and everything not completely related to knitting on line since the new Harry Potter book came out.  I’m not taking any chances at all on being spoiled with any aspect of this book.  I really hope nothing hugely important is there.  I’m around 300 pages in and I’m LOVING this book. I’m just so sad that I’m going to be done with the series after this.  SOB!!!  I want to read like 10 pages a day so that it will last longer but it’s much too good for that.  The 300 pages is 2 days of reading.  I have the feeling I’ve got about a day and half left.  😦

The bag of sticks is all about the dum-dum suckers.  Jacob is in love with them since he was given one at the bank.  He calls them sticks and he’s asking for them all the time.  The look of joy on his face when he gets one and discovers that it’s a flavor he hasn’t had before is worth the sugar rush he gets and the ensuing running about like a mad man.  It’s always so great to see joy spread slowly over that handsome little face.

Fifi Day 2

Okay, so it’s day 2 of Fifi for me and, of course, I haven’t started knitting yet. So much for getting TONS of knitting done while TJ and Jake are away. I did find out today, though, that TJ and Jake aren’t coming home until Friday morning now. WTF? I thought we were planning to go to Farmington Hills and take him to the Detroit Zoo. Guess not.

Just talked to TJ and we’re taking to Binder Park Zoo which is much closer to home. There are a few things about Binder that I think Jake will like; he’ll be able to pet and feed a giraffe which is one of his favorite animals ever since he’s become enthralled with the movies Madagascar and The Wild. There is also a great petting zoo there which I think he’ll get a real kick out of. Binder Park is a breeding zoo, so there are a lot of animals that you wouldn’t see in a “regular” zoo. The hard part will be getting him to leave. We took him to the zoo for the first time when we were in Kansas back in May and everything was great until it was time to leave. You would have thought we were beating the poor kid the way he screamed and kicked and carried on. Hopefully this time will be better. I’m going to try letting him know ahead of time how much longer we’ll be staying and giving him plenty of time to accept the fact that we’re going home and also lots of positive enforcement that we will be coming back, that we’re not going away forever. He still has a lot of trouble leaving places without ample warning. We’re working on that.

We have some behavioral issues with Jake, probably b/c of the time that he was shuffled back and forth with the nanny, his uncle, grandpa etc. while I was having too much trouble with my back to be a real mother. I still have my own issues with it, I guess. So I’m reading the book the No Cry Discipline Solution to try to get a handle on how to deal with the issues. Any suggestions re: discipline and children will be appreciated.

Back to Fifi. I’m still going to make my 25 rows from yesterday today. The extras I’m not sure about, but I’m going to try. My outside goal is 35 rows. Someone yell at me if I don’t make it…LOL

Little side note: I took the advice of my friends at The Sexy Knitters Club and bought (well, bid on) some Noro Hana Silk for the Red Carpet Convertible Project.  It only came in lots of 10 skeins (I have bids in for two different shades of pink) so I have the option of going longer than the corset top if I want to.  I don’t think I will, I really like the corset top, but I can if I want to.  🙂

Happy 4th Of July and Harry Potter

For those of us in America, happy 4th of July!!! To everyone in other countries, happy summer, or winter depending on where you are, day. I hope everyone celebrating Independence Day, hope you are enjoying your BBQ’s, family and friends and a lot of sunshine. I’m at home alone (the boys are still up north) having my own little celebration. Not typical by any means, I’m still in jammies curled up watching TV, playing on the internet and doing nothing of any real consequence at all. A day off from any and all responsibility. That’s not totally true, either, though. I did water the garden, turn on the pool filter to circulate the new chlorine, little things that have to be done every day. Of course I miss my boys, but this is nice, too. It would be much nicer if my tooth didn’t hurt; I need a root canal, but I’m terrified about finding a new dentist. I’m terrified of dentists as a whole, but once I get to know one, it’s fine. I really liked my dentist in Lake City, but I’m not about to drive 2 1/2 hours to see a dentist.

I’m catching up on some reading which I mentioned last post. Hell Hath No Curry is a great light read. It’s like all of her Magdelena Yoder stories, full of dry wit, a fun storyline and all the Penn Dutch and Mennonite and Amish culture you could want. If you’re a fan of “cozy” mysteries, you’ll love this book. I’m also reading “The End of Harry Potter?” by David Langford. It’s a great little catch up book that brings up some interesting points about mysteries that have yet to be revealed in the final Harry Potter book. I read “…The Half Blood Prince” in the first days after it came out, I can’t remember much about it or “…Order of the Phoenix”, so I thought this would be a good refresher. It’s reminding me of a lot of things I had forgotten from the other books. It’s an interesting read and I think that I’ll be paying a lot more attention after being reminded of certain mysteries to be explored. If you are a Harry Potter fan and looking for a little Potter fix before the book comes out in a few weeks as well as a quick refresher course, I highly recommend this book. It’s funny, while I was looking up the URLs for the books I discovered that there are dozens of books dedicated to theories about what will happen in book 7; there’s even a book completely devoted to the question of whether or not Snape actually killed Dumbledor for good or evil purposes, or if he even actually killed him at all. I’m really looking forward to reading the new book, how bout you?

New Books and Yarn

I got new books in the mail today, 3 of which are knitting books. I got One Skein Wonders, which I love b/c they divide the patterns up into yarn weights rather than just throwing everything together and not worrying about it, The Knitter’s Bible: Knitted Accessories, lots of mittens, hats and scarves and finally Family Knits by Debbie Bliss, whose patterns I just adore. This is the second book of hers I’ve gotten, the other one’s name escapes me, though. There are lots of great pillows, scarves (an incredible braided scarf that I really like), a pair of luxury socks etc. I’ll come up with the name of the book as soon as I send this. LOL I also got a couple of decorating for small spaces books to help give me some ideas for the smaller rooms in the house.

As excited as I am about the new books and the new patterns to try (I’ve been quite obsessed with the thought of knitting small things like fingerless gloves, socks etc. I’m putting all sock projects I’ve started or contemplated on hold until after I take the classes at my LYS this year. I had already started the gauge swatch for the Jaywalkers but I’m just going keep working on it and call it practice for using size 0 DPN’s (they’re so small). I also started working on some little sample swatches practicing some cabling (I’ve never done it before). I’m really excited about it; it’s a little bit of a pain in the ass to work with the cable needle, I don’t like the one I have, but I’m going to persevere and keep at it; I want to be able to work cable patterns. Lace will be the next challenge that I tackle.

So the yarn I got today: 12 skeins of Noro Kureyon, 4 skeins each of three different colorways. OMG, I’m in love with this yarn! I can’t wait to use it, am thinking about doing the fingerless mitts that is up on Wendy’s blog. I’ve been wanting to knit a pair and they will look great in Noro. I also got a “mystery box” of yarn from EBay and it was a great buy. Lots of yarn in it, mostly novelty, but I haven’t seen most of it ever before and I love it. I’m already trying to think of ways to use them with the single skeins that I have.

Gotta run now!!! Night y’all.