Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Now that the Olympic Knitting is completed, my volunteer coach can get back to her day job.

She's really good at it, practicing her craft 20-22 hours a day. Such dedication!

The light tends to get in her eyes.

And I can get back to the boring garter stitch stuff. Six mitered squares (12") knitted together into a 2' X 3' rectangle. It will be bordered as big as the remaining ABM Fluffy (ack & wool) will take it and I will gladly cross that stuff off my spreadsheet!

Yellow and white with accents of baby weight ack, strategically placed.

It's warm and soft.

It's mostly ACK! :ick:

Monday, February 27, 2006

Let's Hear It for the Letter Carrier

There they were, nestled in my mail box when I came home today.

My perfect little pewter buttons.

I take back every nasty thing I said about the US Postal Service.

Except, maybe, the evil thoughts I still think when I remember the 3 pairs of hand-knit baby socks that are lost somewhere between here and Philadelphia. For 5 years.

Once I disentangled the gold :ptui: plastic :ptui: ones that I had put on with safety pins for the photo shoot, I stitched my little beaties in place.


All together now: Awwwww

And while you have your "Awww" going good, check out this sweetie:

A boy and his bear. A perfect combo!

That's Isaiah, grandson of Ellen Harpin, founder of The Ships Project. I don't think the bear has a name yet.

Note: If you are a new or renewing Ship Support supporter, mailing starts for March on Wednesday and ends next Tuesday (March 1-7).

Ellen has moved. If you need her new address (not the Conch Shell one), email me and I'll see that you get it.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Victory Is Mine

Despite setbacks and a last-minute replacement coach stepping in, the little sweater is finished (proper pewter buttons will be sewn on as soon as the blasted letter carrier stops playing with them and delivers them before I have to commit mayhem.


And these will be mailed on Wednesday. Five hats=5 warm heads.

Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Victory

The buttons did not arrive. So Plan B swings into effect. I really did drive to Joann's to look at buttons! I really did consider several. Then reality set in. I really did remember that I have those exact same buttons on order and on their way to me. Got serious. Put the buttons back. Found a suitable sub in my stash. :whew:

I'll review yarn selections at my local (maybe) in a future entry. For right now, I come belatedly to the real reason for this post.


Gentle Readers (to parrot Miss Manners), did none of you notice that something was amiss in the sweet little hat? (I sure didn't.)

Think carefully. Why is this picture not like the other (to parrot Sesame Street)?

What's missing?

Tap, tap, tap. . .

The lice!

It was bugging me much of the night. (Yes, I dream about knitting occasionally, doesn't everyone?)

So this morning, I took scissors to the top (there's a definite downside to careful finishing and weaving--I can never find my "end") and removed a quarter-size circle at the top.

I frogged the whole thing back to the top of the "chart 5" patterning until all I had :sob: was about 3" of finished hat (headband, anyone?) with earflaps and i-cord ties attached.

Oh, and a big wad of caramel-colored yarn.

So I carefully picked up 100 stitches along the ripped edge and proceeded to re-knit the 6+ inches to the finish.

I am 4" from the finish line. Will I make it?

Stay tuned.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Orts 'r' Us

ort (ôrt) n.
1. A small scrap or leaving of food after a meal is completed. Often used in the plural.
2. A scrap; a bit.
[Middle English orte, food left by animals, probably from Middle Dutch : oor, out + eten, to eat.]
3. In knitting, the scraps of yarn left after a project is completed
4. To birds and small animals, the makings of a colorful nest.

Since Olympic Knitting is essentially complete, but my buttons are still MIA, (never fear, there' s a back-up plan) What's that? Do I hear the letter carrier's trucky thing? Wait here, I'll be right back. Nope. Sh*t! I have started the matching hat (Fair entry: 2-Piece Set, sweater and cap, child). Fact is, I am nearly finished, being at the decrease point. It still needs earflaps. It does not need some sort of fluffy adornment. Pompons are so not us.

And here is the reason there was no early morning knitting or blogging.

Breakfast concluded, it's time to pay attention to The Cat (note capitals).

"Coach" my left foot!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Knitting Olympics Day 13

Started off with work (don't they all?) where we are taking inventory of the physical, not mental, variety.

And a day in which I acquired a paper cut on my upper lip while getting the mail ready (and missedthe letter carrier). A fact I completely forgot until I was eating dinner (asparagus with lemon)--ouch!

The day on which our intrepid Olympic Knitter discovers that the Gold might be totally out of reach. Or not.

All the pieces are knitted. They are stitched together with care (a whole evening plus, stitching together a tiny little bit of a sweater).


And it looks pretty darned good, from the bands that were stretched, just so. And pinned into place, and finally stitched.

Yep, pretty darned good.

to the facings that cover the machine stitching and cutting (this is the inside of the armhole with the facing half-stitched down).

Yep, lookin' real good.

So what's the problem? Take a look:

They aren't here yet!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Miles of Ribbing

Day 12 (or 11, or whatever) of Olympic Knitting and I believe all the actual knitting is finished! Yay!

There is no collar on the little sweater, that's the neck ribbing and the part that looks like a collar is the facing that covers the cut part.

I am so closing in on the finish.

I just have to show off thisknew and knifty pattern. This is my basic 80 stitch hat for Ship Support, but after the obligatory 1.5-2" of ribbing I switched to k1, p3, and started traveling the k stitches, first to the right, and then to the left.

I think it will resemble the swirl at the top of a small Dairy Queen cone (chocolate) when I am finished.

And the car hat is progessing nicely. My ride in is uneventful and quick. My ride home takes me past 2 shopping centers (including the one Target is in), several banks, and a high school where 90% of the over 16s drive. (I have never seen such a large parking lot at a public school. )

It's actually the same route. Timing is everything! And the drive home takes fully twice as long as the drive there.

Tomorrow, we start full physical inventory. I love this time of year! But tomorrow is also my "alone night." I so look forward to Thursday!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Agony of Defeat? Not a Chance!

I've stopped checking the countdown clock over on the Harlot's blog. It's just too scary!

Last night and tonight, I knitted the front bands (one button, one buttonhole) and then I picked up the neckband stitches.

See the cute little clippy things? They are little tiny "pinches" for hair. I got 24 of them (in 12 different colors) for a buck at the Tree.

They work great for holding the front band to the front so that I can check length and such. I'm not sure how useful they'll be when the time comes to mattress stitch band to front, though.

These size 3s, however, are really doing a number on my hands!

Oh, and my little silver buttons were mailed today. Go on, admit you knew I'd buy buttons!

My coach? What coach? Fickle little queen--she's in the other room getting brushed.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Could Someone Get Me a Cold Cloth?

I finished the first round of knitting on my Olympic Knitting challenge (the knitting of the 3 tubes) late yesterday evening. Is this the long program?

Thank goodness for 3-day weekends! I had today to recuperate from the lateness and a whole day to mess around with the next step.

I am so grateful to Carol Anderson (Cottage Creations) for the incredibly detailed directions, and, let's face it, the written hand-holding that is part and parcel of all of her patterns.

The Norski sweater is no exception. FSM be thanked!

So, I turned my tubes inside out and steam blocked them.

Next step was to stitch the "steek" stitches with my 35 year old Brother sewing machine. Yes, it really is pink. That's the only color it came in! Bite me!

Four rows of stitching down the front. (I stitched from the wrong side because the columns of "purl" were easier to see on their knit side.)

Marked off the neck curve with a bit of contrasting yarn.

This was the part that was a surprise. No one warned me! Though I certainly should have been able to figure it out!

How else would you get a scoop in the front?

Next step, the hardest in the whole process, and curiously, the most calming. Get out the scissors, and CUT! Let's call this the compulsories, shall we?

I was shocked at how easily I took the scissors to my work of art! We're talking 9 days of knitting here!

And yet, there was no turning back, so what the hell!

And the stitching held my knitting in place :whew:

This should be where I wax poetic about the whole process, but there's still a long way to go! I'll do that after the finishing is finished.

Fuzzy picture of the part that was cut away. I may keep these little bits as a souvenir, since this little sweater (and the hat) are destined for donation after the fair.

All the colors are there. And all the angst.

Repeat the 4 rows of stitching on each sleeve steek and cut them open.

Three needle bind off on the shoulders completes these steps. I am ready for the next step.

We'll call that the short program. It begins tonight.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I'll Be Seeing You

That was the song I couldn't remember! Old WWII song.

And sometimes when I wonder why I am knitting hats for Ship Support a note like this one gets posted:

"I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for the wonderful and thoughtful gifts you recently sent to the USS Nassau. I sit here writing you with a hand knitted beanie hat in front of me thinking how warm it will be next fall to wear under my helmet while riding my motorcycle. You should feel proud of the work you have accomplished at raising the morale on board this vessel, I watched the crew go through the boxes of hats and footies everyone smiling and happy after a pretty hard week of work and I wondered if you had any idea about what you had done, you had brought a little happiness to an otherwise dismal place. Its not often that many of these kids get anything from the states and although this is my fifth deployment, I still get a little excited when the packages come from home. I just wanted to take a moment of time to thank you and hope you understand how much we in the armed forces appreciate what your doing for us, thank you very much."

or this one:

"Ma'ams, Thank you so much for the wonderful hats and footies. Sometimes it is hard to keep motivated when we are so far From home and our families. I work in the medical department, part of Fleet Surgical Team Two, on the Nassau and days can definitely get long. I received one of your hats and was completely thrilled. I wore it just about all day even in my uniform. I made me think of home So much that I just didn’t want to take it off. I was teared up for a while thinking about home and seeing my family again soon. Thank you for putting my mind with my home and family for a while. The colors are beautiful and I will wear it till it falls off my head. Thank you so much. I have enclosed a picture of the Fleet Surgical Team 2 and myself. God Bless you. Very Respectfully,"

and it all comes flooding back.

Clearly, these are young men and women whose mamas taught them good manners!

The Older Kid served in The Sandbox back in 2002. He's talking about going back. His dad and I sent mail frequently, for him personally and for him to share. It's rough being away from home. Mail is important.

If you know someone "over there," be sure to write. A postcard, a letter, clippings and cartoons from the local paper. Encourage their friends and relatives and former teachers to write, too. No matter how you feel about the war, they're just kids. And they are far from home.


Saturday, February 18, 2006

In Which I (surprise) Rant Just a Little

Fortunately, none of the perpetrators read this. Or maybe they should!

Here's the thing: If I send you a form in January and tell you to "count the number of people you serve in March," and report them to me by April 15, I really don't expect to receive your report form on February 12. Enthusiasm is fine, but follow the directions!

It would be funny if it happened just this once! And by only one reporter.

A lot happened in the way of knitting. I finished the first sleeve on the Olympic project.

Don't expect more progress photos until the second one is finished (before the end of the weekend, I hope, it's a 3-day).

In fact, the next photo is likely to be me, scissors in hand, cold cloth on forehead, in a dead faint, with steek accomplished. Watch for it.

I started another mindless car hat. This is one day's progress.

We live 30 minutes from the nearest anything. I drive 30 minutes (traffic willing) to work each day, nearly 30 minutes to get groceries, 30 minutes (usually more, traffic prevailing) for major shopping.

Is it any wonder I keep mindless projects in the car?Is it any further wonder that I finish several of them every month?

For the record, I have a driver most of the time.

It's not the end of the earth, but you can see it without binoculars.

I started another Giant Mitered Square. Hey, it's spring (almost) and I have lots of leftovers.

This one is 300 stitches cast onto my 60" size 10.5. I'm using some Bernat Pound O' Crap (sport weight) held together with Whatever's In the Odd Ball Basket. Decreasing 2 stitches at the middle every right-side row.

It'll be about 40" (give or take) square and (hopefully) will clean out that basket.

What's that smell?? (Scorched brain??) Looking at this thing and wondering if I shouldn't have started in the center. Wondering if I should frog?Have only a couple hours into it. Wondering, wondering.

It being a 3-day, I had big plans for cleaning and organizing. If fact, I bought these nifty magazine cases that I've wanted for a long time.

I'm hoping to get a file frawer of magazines cleared out so that there's actually room to browse in the file-cabinet-where-I-keep-patterns.

It sure would be nice!

These came from Staples (<$14 for 4). I got 8. It's a start.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Busy Day

I think this is the earliest I have been ready for bed (with the intention of closing my eyes) since I was about eight years old!

We were watching the Friday Movie (Broken Flowers--Bill Murray) and I was nodding off. I don't know if I was actually snoring, but the Other Half suggested that we might consider calling it a night! And so we are.

To recap the day:
5:00 a.m Arise. Feed cats. Dress. Eat.
6:30 a.m. Arrive at work, begin troubleshooting computer glitches
8:15 Meet with service learning student team to discuss marketing "Hunger doesn't take a holiday" food drive campaign, continue troubleshooting
9:30 Arrive at site of presentation
10:00 Sing first song (America the Beautiful)
10:15 Conclude singing 5th song: I'll Be Seeing You (in between, sing Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition, Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree, and another WWII ballad that I know but can't for the life of me remember. Senior citizen group, yeh, why?)
11:00 Conclude presentation that includes DVD "glitch. Sing last song: May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You. (They sure were a singing bunch!)
11:30 Meet with donor over lunch, following tour of warehouse
Rest of afternoon, continue troubleshooting printer "issue" and "delete problem," blowing off conference call scheduled for 2, where I was filling in for someone else, which was totally forgotten until this very minute
Grocery store
Put away groceries
Cook Dinner
Put DVD in player
nod off

Yep, it's time to let my pillow take over.

No pictures. They would be too unpleasant.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Odds and Ends and Bits and Pieces

Thursday night is My Alone Night (but please note, it is not My Lonely Night!) The Other Half is teaching and the Younger Kid is playing darts, and I am in my jammies, contemplating my pillow at 8 o'clock.

But first, some thoughts:

Stink bugs have invaded. In fact, they were first discovered 5 years ago about 15 miles (as the stink bug flies) from here. This winter, they have been unbearable with their nasty buzzing flight.

The garden guy (Mike McGrath) on NPR says they're harmless. Let them buzz around his head and lights and bounce off the inside of his windows! They aren't quite as bad at home as they are at work.

Putting stink bugs in an empty soda can is a worthless gesture. They crawl back out. Flushing them is not a waste of water!

Frozen grapes make a nice snack.

They are high in fiber, and natural fruit sugars and contribute to 5-a-day, and are a nifty way to use up those nasty ones that fall off the stem that no one wants to eat. Recipe: Take some grapes, preferably seedless. Wash them. Throw away any that are obviously moldy. Stick them in an old pie plate and put the pie plate in the freezer. Wait. Remove when frozen and eat.

Here's one of the dock doors at work. I still don't know why anyone wants a picture. But as long as I was taking them, I figured I'd take pictures of all of them and not crop them and send them all in one huge email file to the person who asked for them.

Dudes, when you've seen one, you've seen them all!

In Congress, they call that a filabuster. :snicker:

And, I guess it was a good thing that I had the camera along.

We had a delivery that had an amazing leak.

Twelve ounces of juice concentrate can do a lot of damage and make a lot of mess.


Some Olympic Knitting was accomplished tonight, but not nearly as much as I wanted. (I really expected to get the sleeve lice done. I'm about 2" short.)

Stranding on doublepoints is harder than on circs. I really have to make an effort to keep the tension loose enough to prevent puckering.

And some hat knitting happened, too.

Here's the thing. If a knitter confesses to knitting dangerously, say in a situation that could lead to bodily harm (we won't get into specifics right now, but they might involve exercise equipment, or moving motorcycles, for example), telling the knitter that it's dangerous and to stop it this instant and don't ever do it again is unlikely to end the particular dangerous behavior, but rather, drive it underground, if you get my drift.

And, after all, hats on circular needles are pretty mindless. It's not like a knitter can't concentrate on the other activity.

Call it multi-tasking.

And since I have been at this for a while (thank you, Blogger Photo Loader), and since there is dangerous activity (speaking) planned for tomorrow, this fearless knitter will head to bed. . .

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Back to Work

The pattern said "Take a break." So I finished a couple of hats.

On the left, almost the last of the Bernat Ragg in green with the last of the Cervinia Sorrento in jungle green. It's just a basic 80 stitcher (except, I think I cast on 84, but you know the pattern by now).

The red and gray is definitely 80 stitches, with a 6 stitch motif (3 gray, 3 red, repeat). Because 6 isn't an even "guzinta" (goes into), the pattern shifts and forms low diagonals rather than columns. Pretty cool, huh? The stranding makes it double thickness, too.

After our break, Coach Penny and I cast on the first sleeve.

We're about halfway to the patterning at the top (4.5 of 9 inches) with "lice" (yeh, just like it sounds, without the itch factor) every fourth round to keep it interesting.

There's a 5th pattern chart that had me really confused until I discovered that it's for the matching earflap cap. How sweet is that? Yep, there's gonna be a cap! Because one of the fair categories is 2-piece child's set, sweater and cap.

Yepper, there's gonna be a cap! (Besides the two that are currently OTN.)

And there's good news on the work front. The software is loaded, running, and the worker bees are buzzing. There's a week's worth of orders to catch up and they are making great headway!

And a strange occurance: a request from the USDA for a photo of our loading dock. Say, what? They've been delivering to us for nearly 3 years and now, they want to be sure we have a loading dock?? (We have 3 plus one that's van-height and one that's ramped.) Does Homeland Insecurity know??

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Break Time, Break Time

That's what the pattern says. And so I am (taking a break).

This evening, I finished the last 10 rows, then discovered that there's an off-the-chart row that involves putting the various sections onto little bits o' yarn and binding off some of the stitches.

I'm super full of myself over this. There's very little puckering and the pattern looks pretty darned good if I say so myself!

I'm thinkin' "fair entry."

And because this little masterpiece is definitely not in-the-car or on-the-stepper knitting, I've started a couple of semi-mindless projects for those activities. Meet next month's Ship Support hats.

I'm attempting "traveling stitches" in the brown heather, and using up the last of the black and charcoal heather to make 80 stitch beanies. They'll keep someone's ears warm. There's a third one on the needles in ragg and solid (three wide stripes).

Monday, February 13, 2006

Let's Start Here

Making some nice progress on the Olympic Steek Knit, even though I had to work today. I think I have about 10 more rows before I move on to the sleeves. So, nice progress.

The medium blue is as bright and cheerful as it looks in the photo. In fact, the colors in the photo are pretty true. (I turned off the flash and used my Ott Light for illumination.)

We had the techie geeks helping us reload our warehouse software that was experiencing "issues." They'll be at it again tomorrow. They, too, are making progress. And though it seems we have been "down" for weeks, it's actually been only 3 days.

So you can imagine how pleased I was to arrive home and find

this in the mail box! It's the Spring IK! And it appears to be a good one. (There would be more photos, but my memory was full.)

Kathy Zimmerman has a nice cabled jacket (sampled in the LB Cashmere). Norah Gaughan did an interesting pullover (I like the texture stitches), but I'm not so sure about the "neckline."

There are a couple of other worthwhile designs (Aran Rose, Trellis Scarf, Lace Socks, and a good article on Intarsia). It's worth the subscription to me.

(Now, I'll confess that I renewed with the replacement for FCEK.)

This one's a definite "maybe" if one of the yarns already in my stash (Silk City?) will work.

I'm not buying to make it, though!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

In Which We Update Numerous Issues

Issue 1: The Gambling Fever, She has broken. Lost. On all 14 tickets. Boxing would not have helped.

Issue 2: The Snow, She has ended. Total accumulation= about 6", wet, heavy.

And we are very glad of it! We hear that New York City got 4 times that amount!

The snowblower (see an earlier post re: dragging my sorry ass all over eastern PA looking for a new one--not my idea!) held up through another snowfall.

Issue 3: The Coach, She has coached. Nearly all day, in fact.

And I made nice progress, despite the "help."

My weekend plans (to not do one damned thing) played out perfectly. I knitted. I cleared up some of the mess in my "office." I rested and recreated, watched 2 movies, and two episodes of The Shield.

It was a perfect weekend!

Progress on the sweater was evident! Only 21 rounds to go until the body is complete.

Of course, the sooner the actual knitting is done, the sooner I have to get out the scissors.

I'd sooner poke myself with pointy sticks.

UPDATE: Taking the Money

and getting more tickets.

My $24 in Powerball tickets turned into $7 worth of "winners" overnight. I hit one number and the Powerball on one line ($4), and the Powerball alone on another ($3).

So I now have in my possession 14 - 50 cent tickets on tonight's Daily Number (played "straight") with a $250 payout. I suspect that this is my last round.

Update on Olympic Knitting at the end of the day (or early tomorrow).

Feelin' Lucky

There are no early morning pictures. All evidence had been disposed of.

Christmas and birthdays in Chez Sheepie often brings the giftage of Lottery Tickets! and played properly, days or even months of entertainment.

Please note that we do not play the lottery regularly, unless Christmas and birthdays counts as "regularly." (Definition of "lottery"=an extra tax imposed by the state upon the math impaired.)

We buy the dollar scratch-offs in packs of 10. They show up in birthday cards and Christmas stockings. This year, I got some in my stocking! Mostly, they were losers. But I found a winner leftover from a previous giftage (Christmas 2004, perhaps?) and combined it with the "free ticket" winner and the $1 winner, and the $ 2 winner, and got myself ten more tickets.

A saner (or more frugal) person person would have pocketed the 10 bucks, but since I'm neither these days, I immediately turned my $10 into 10 more tickets. Those ten yielded 9 losers and a $24 winner!

Did I take the money and run? Hell no!

Do you know what the Powerball pot is right now??

Twenty-four chances to retire early to somewhere warm. Right there.

The stuff of which dreams are made.

I just need to check my numbers against the ones in the paper. If I won, I will not be back. Would someone turn out the lights and call my boss?


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