Monday, August 30, 2010


One of the fiber clubs I joined this summer was a Percy Jackson club.  The colorways were inspired by characters from the books, and ancient myths (of course).  I only did the first run, as I was stretched a bit thin between fiber clubs by the time the second Percy round came along. I can still pick up the colorways, though, which is good.  There's Some yummy colors there.

The girls and I have been (slowly) reading the books together, so I allowed them to select their colors and I promised to knit the yarn up for them.  They both selected the Athena colorway, there were some very tough choices, and then we spent a good deal of time selecting just the right project.

After discussing Athena for a while, and browsing patterns (they wanted hats), we hit upon a pattern for an owl cable.  Perfectly fitting for Athena, if not for the color patterns in the yarn.  Eh.  So I fussed and fussed with the pattern, which called for worsted when all I had was fingering.  At some point, my brain cells started functioning properly and I doubled the yarn. Doh!  (Why is easy stuff so hard?!)  The hats then languished as I fiddled around with shawls and such. 

The guilt finally caught up to me, though, and a desire to get something done, and I finally got to knitting on the hats.  They weren't as fast as the baby bonnet, but they just flew by!  Get it?  Flew? Owls?  Oh.  I just kill me sometimes!   Of course, no matter how much they wanted the same hat, they wanted them different. So, one owl hat has silver beaded eyes, and the other has lilac eyes.  The show best when actually worn, but here's the photos anyway.


The girls love their hats.  In fact, the eldest rarely takes hers off.  She even tried to go to bed with it on the other night.  I can live with that.  As long as they take them off to shower, I guess we're all okay.  It is rewarding to knit something so instantly, and thoroughly, loved.  I've got plenty of yarn left for some mitts, I think.  So I might be adding some fingerless mitts to the collection, though I'm undecided on continuing the owl motif.  I have a pattern with the owls, though, so it does seem likely.

I've also cast on another Two-Fisted Tank from Pints & Purls.  The first one was in an alpaca blend. It was so lovely and soft and squishy I was really loving it.  But about 1/3 of the way through the top, I tried it on.  Once I was done loving the squishy softness of it, I was sad.  It is a ribbed tank, with negative ease, and that just doesn't work with the alpaca (70%) of the yarn.  It didn't say "I'm snugly fitting the shape in me".  It said, rather, "I am a soft, squishy formless glob, and don't even get me started on the body wearing me right now."  Sadz.

So, I removed it from the needles, pet it for a while and set it aside.  I need to re-skein the yarn, which will likely become a lovely snuggly scarf/hat, but I generally wait until I have lots of winding/skeining things to do before getting all that equipment out.  I ordered some Knit Picks Shine Worsted in Hollyberry, and cast on a new version Saturday night.  This is looking much more the thing, so they were right when they selected a cotton yarn. lol  I should not have deviated so far from the intended directions.  No.  I'm sure it would have worked in something with more body/memory.  There was just too much alpaca in the other yarn. 

Gratuitous shot of my new sink modeling my yarn. :)

My problem with the project, really, is in the gauge.  I cannot get gauge in a fabric I would want to wear. Why do pattern writers insisted upon gauge swatches done in 2X2 rib?!  Really?  Do you stretch that before measureing? Just a little? Hmmmm?  

In order to get the gauge, I have to go up so far in needle size my fabric is too loose and see through (not the look I was going for).  So, I'm staying with the fabric density I like and going up in size of pattern.  Fingers crossed that it will all work out in the end.  I don't fancy ripping this out again, but I am determined to knit up this little tank because it is cute and easy.  You can tell it is easy, right?  Because of all the work I'm putting into it up front. lol  If it were way beyond my skill level, I'm sure it'd be going much better for me.  That's just the way it works.

The summer school work is all done but the final draft of the final paper.  We should have that done today!   It is done now! W00T!  There is a whole 9 days left to just play with no obligation to any kind of work!  For her, anyway.  I've got to get things organized and cleaned and tidied, etc. :p

The work on the last bathroom continues.  He thought he'd be done yesterday (Sunday).  I think I'll be happy if he is done by Friday.  We'll see where we end up on that.  He did get my deck ripped out, though.  Which feels really good!  There was lots of dry rot out there, so I was very relived to see it all in a pile in my yard.  (pictures eventually)

Ah!  I am looking forward to a Fall with new bathrooms and a new deck!  And I've been watching football!  And brewing beer!  Man!  Does it get any better?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Winding Down

So I've spent pretty much the entire summer not doing what I thought I'd be doing.  Anyone else do that, too?  I can honestly say, however, that I don't feel like a failure. lol  Stuff got done, just not most of the stuff I had planned.

The eldest and I have slogged along completing courses for summer school.  We're still doing it, but we will finish this week.  If she will write the papers necessary to complete the Composition portion of her work.  I am most grateful that the math course finished up with topics that were much easier for her to grasp, generally speaking, than those we started with.  I'm also grateful that it did take us this long to finish.  She'll have a week or two off, and then get back to math again.  She'd like a permanent break, but at least it won't be so long that she'll forget everything.  Turns out that I really needed to set a rigorous schedule and hold to it no matter what.  None of that, 'you can have today off if you do double the lessons tomorrow' business.  That just doesn't work for us.  Maybe I'll remember that next year. 


Okay, I'm better now.  In other news, the youngest will be joining us at home this year.  I am certain this is the right thing for her in terms of learning, I have no idea if it is a good idea for her socially/emotionally.  I'm hopeful that having them both on the same schedule will allow us more freedom to take day trips to the zoo, or whatever, to break up the sense of being stuck at home.  Also, they are going to take a Musical Theatre class for homeschoolers, so in addition to the Hip Hop class, they'll be getting out and doing stuff with other kids (plus the play days with their daycare friends). 

I plan to do more homebrewing, and perhaps that will help me cope with having both of them with me 24/7.  We'll see.

We refinanced our house this spring and got a home equity loan to make some necessary repairs to our home.  I've needed to get a little plumbing work done in one bathroom so that I could re-caulk the bathtub in the other bathroom. When asking around for plumber recommendations, I found out our daycare provider's son is a plumber (and general contractor).  He is hoping to start his own business, and is looking for opportunities to do some extra work to satisfy union requirements.  We are happy to help him with that goal. lol  So, for the money I originally earmarked for potential costs on bathroom repair, I'm getting both bathrooms updated.  I am so happy with the work he's doing I may end up moving into one of them when he's done. Seriously.  The difference is amazing and I am really, really happy.  Of course, I want to do the kitchen now, but that is NOT an option.  I can just dream. For now.

We have a deck out back that is officially unsafe, really.  I've been waiting on Himself to get it replaced (doing it himself with friends or hiring out) for 3 years.  Turns out, our contractor can do the deck, too.  So, that's next on the list and I'm taking care of it.  I'm done waiting on Himself. 

We also set aside $ to replace the carpet and paint the outside of the house.  I'm not sure the budget is going to stretch that far by the time we're done (it was all based on estimates/guestimates anyway), but I've decided to go with the carpet if I only get to get one done.  My reason?  Well, the house paint is really bugging Himself, but I know that if I don't get the carpet done this time, it won't happen.  The paint will happen next year, even if we have to wait, because it is really bothering him.  Selfish?  Yes.  But I'm applying what I've learned from the deck experience.  If it doesn't annoy him, it won't get fixed.  The carpet doesn't bother him enough to get him to replace it.  But seriously, white carpet with two kids (now 8 & 10)?  It is nothing like white anymore, and doesn't really even resemble any exotic animals I can think of off hand, either.

I'll get photos of the updates done eventually, but so far, the ones I've taken haven't looked very good.  I'm working on it.  It is hard to take good pictures in a tiny space (bathrooms).

In knitting, I finished up a bunch of small things, cast on far too many new things and did a reasonable amount of spinning for Tour de Fleece.  (Just a small sample of what I did.  I never got around to photos of the other yarn I got spun up.)  This yarn is from Dreams In Fiber for her The Dark Is Rising (by Susan Cooper) fiber club. This series was one of my favorites as a child, and I still enjoy them very much.  This set jof fiber was for the Over Sea, Under Stone book.  The shipments are alternating fiber/yarn, which is fun.  I'm not yet drowning in fiber.  Not that I'd complain, mind you.

Of course, after TdF, I bought more fiber.  I should really pause the next time I decide to join a fiber club.  You know, just long enough to consider what I'm actually doing.  Maybe just space them out more, or something.

Small knitted things include a baby hat, knit on a whim for a friend at church.  Very cute and FAST.  I really should reconsider knitting for babies, I suppose.  Here is the Perry the Platypus Inaction Figure (it doesn't do anything!) modeling the Marshmallow Bonnet.

A couple of Jayne Hats done, and an extra for a friend to give to her son for his upcoming b-day.  One traditional (orange/yellow), and one in dream inspired colors.  I love it when I dream about simple knitting.  It is the complicated stuff that gets me.  Now if only the rest of that dream would..., erm, nevermind.

The two shawls continue, slowly, but surely.  I'm still enjoying them, but the time I have available to concentrate on them is limited, so progress is slow.

Ah well, brief update, now back to school.