Monday, February 28, 2011

Wake Up New Technology

Well. The charging port on that old phone *did* break. A repair was $300. A new phone was less than half of that. So here I am on an Android phone. Who knew that super advanced blackberry was obsolete? Certainly not me.

I am adjusting to this new technology. It is strange. I cannot figure out how to load picture from my phone either here or on ravelry. I also cannot tether this phone to my laptop unless I want to pay extra. So no pics for a while. :(

But - it's like a whole new internet! The browser applicaition on this thing pulls up the while, real internet pages/website(s). For many of the blogs I read this means I feel like I am seeing them for the first time. It's pretty cool. I can even get on ravelry From My Phone. Really. And yes, that wasted a lot of time the other night when I should have been knitting.

I am also learning this new touch screen thing. Also weird. But OK. It has auto correct. Some of the words it picks out to correct and replace are hilarious. On ravelry today I typed "longies" and it correctes it once to linties and once to loonies. Hahaha.

I also can pull up the comment pages on all of my favorite blogger blogs now! I am sure that has to do with Google owning the Android market. :) I love being able to comment and not lurk. So if you are all of a sudden hearing from me it's because of this phone.

Hopefully, I will be a able to make minor changes to the layout and blogroll without to many problems.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Knitting Retreat

Or, "What I did this weekend."

I visited my knitting buddy. If you remember she now lives 3 hours north of me. We have made a pact to visit each other every other month. In October, I drove to her place. In December, she drove here. And, being February, I drove to her place again. Of course, I should say that my husband drove me there since the whole family went and her whole family comes here too.

We had a fabulous visit. Our 4 year old daughters have known each other since they were born and miss each other terribly throughout our times apart, which is ya know always except for the 1 Saturday every other month. The kids (ok, her kid so far) write each other letters and send pictures in between and always ask when we are going to visit.

I brought an entire bin of yarn and knitting paraphernalia to her house. Yes, a big rubbermaid type storage bin. Yes, just for a one day visit. No, that's not weird.

I had Malabrigo scraps to share and divide up, yarn to wind, and projects to share.

Can I just say it is sooooo wonderful to have a knitting buddy. It's nice for when you are trying to match up yarns to patterns, see if a certain pattern even fits a yarn, or if the gauge seems appropriate or not. It helps when you have projects that are ho-hum or you don't know quite what you feel about them or just want some general input to improve, or knit on, or whatever.

A few things happened with some of my WIP over this weekend and also for future projects.

After joint counseling with my knitting buddy, my Effortless Cardigan has been put on time out. I was thinking the gauges was a little tight on US size 3 needles (3.25mm) and she agreed. I had brought an extra skein of the lovely yarn, so we wound it up. I am going to restart this project on size 4 needles (3.5) and see how I like it then. I am not frogging the size 3 since it is already to the armholes. I am just going to knit a new one and then compare and frog the one that isn't right.

The February Lady Sweater has been frogged. Really, it was too small. How do I know this? Well, she measured me and then to confirm I tried it on. I was knitting a chest size 41. My chest is, in fact, 50 (!) inches around. No wonder it was small. I do not own enough yarn to go up to that size (only 5 skeins, looks like it needs about 7 to do that size). I also don't love the yarn color. I do love the yarn, Malabrigo Worsted, but the color is kind of ho-hum. I now have 5 skeins of this yarn to do something with. I think I might put four of them up for sale on ravelry and keep one for scraps, etc. Unless anyone wants to trade something, especially anyone on a stash diet?

We wound yarn. We petted yarn. We loved the yarn. I brought my two shipments from the Speshul Snowflakes Yarn Club for her to see and touch. She thinks the DK is also quite lovely. nice taste.

We both are going to be working up scrappy Tomten Jackets in Malabrigo.

I have suddenly run out of things to discuss. Weird how that happens.

I just love, love, love seeing her and sharing this craft, and kids, and homeschooling stuff.

Oh! That's it.

Have any of you used Sonlight Curicculum? What did you think of it's style? Cost? Were you able to use it with multiple children? Did you buy the books or get them from the library?

I hope you are all having a great time knitting.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WIP Wednesday

And what of knitting? A lot, if I do say so myself. I am currently knitting a Tomten Jacket, by Elizabeth Zimmermann, from Knitting Without Tears and The Opinionated Knitter (apparently it is also in numerous other Schoolhouse Press publications). The jacket has slightly different directions in each book. The jacket is a 2T-ish sized, modular jacket as written. But, of course, if you know EZ, you know there is always the possibility to change the size either by gauge, needle size, or both.

I am knitting this for my Godson, Isaac, whose birthday is in April. I imagine I'll have it done before then, but I wanted to start early just to be sure.

I have tried some of EZ's garter-stitch baby patterns before, like the BSJ, and they have not been my favorite. However, I am Loving This Pattern. Maybe it's also that I love the yarn. It is Cascade 220 Superwash Paints, in color 9862 (varigated) and 9949 (semi-solid blue). The colors are very, very hard to photograph. The varigated is a neon-yellow/blue/teal/blue-violet and the blue is a warm, soft, lovely blue. The gauge seems to be a little different that Cascade 220 (non-superwash) so it is knitting up slightly looser than I had planned. A quick web search shows that the manufacturer recently changed the recommended gauge, so there you go. I am not ripping back now.

I think this first picture captures the blue perfectly.

My knitting buddy, who I visited this last weekend, has knit a couple of these little gems. We have decided a few important things about this little jacket. Comparing it to the BSJ, it seems that it is infinitely a better investment of time for the amount of wear one can get from it. The BSJ is not very proportional (although extremely an ingenious design) and fits about 6 months - 18 months (with very, very short sleeves at 18 months). The Tometen can fit at 6 months very long in the body with the sleeves heavily cuffed, but it's true size is about 1-3 years (and small 4 year olds like my daughter will still fit in it). I also personally think it is cuter.

I would like to knit a Baby Bog Jacket in the future.

The Tomten takes 3 skeins of worsted weight wool. I have two skeins of the blue and one of the varigated. Normally it takes 1 skein for the body, one for the hood, and one for the sleeves. I am incorporating stripes of the varigated throughout in order to use it up evenly.

I went and stole this picture from Webs to try and show off the beautifulness of this varigated yarn. Somehow, it just doesn't do it justice. I love this colorway and will be knitting something more out of it in the future.

The yellow is really YELLOW and the darker blue in the picture is really VIOLET.
Anywho, I am almost done knitting the body on this sweater and I can not wait to get it done. It is a true pleasure of knitting right now, just the right amount of stripes and short rows to keep my interest and just enough softness and loftiness in the yarn for me to love it.

(If I disappear for a while: the port on my phone is broken/breaking. I need to get it fixed. And it is my gateway to the internet on the laptop. FYI.)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A more official update....

I received this message from my Aunt, my cousins mother, today on FB:

Just an update that I didn't want to "share". M started to have cramps and bleeding on Friday night . She took the weekend off and did nothing but lay around. By Monday(possibly Sunday late) she had apparently miscarried. She went to the hospital Monday and they pretty much went in and took out what was remaining as well as the mass that was causing the problems. They sent it for a biopsy and she goes back on Friday for more bloodwork and follow-up. Her blood counts were ok but her enzyme levels were extremely high. She should be fine but we are still keeping our fingers crossed at this point. She was trying not to make any decisions until she could talk to D, but I guess God does work in mysterious ways. Thanks for the prayers. Love ya.

(D is Parker's Dad, he is in jail.)

My Aunt's official FB status today:

‎"70 degrees today and GOLFING! YEAH"

This pretty much made me want to THROW UP.

This is what I typed back:

So.....what did they do with the baby??? This is a person. He would have been about 14 inches long, with fingerprints and eyes. Did she get to see him? Or hold him? Or get pictures or foot prints? Or anything?

I find it extremely insensitive to say "they went in and took out what was remaining". They went in and helped her deliver her son. This is normal in this situation. Normally, a hospital also offers to take picutres and footprints when a baby dies this late along. My best friend's daughter died at 24 weeks and she has a memory box with her pictures in it.

I am very happy to hear that she did not decide to abort him. However, I do not think that God goes around telling people "You should take care of yourself and not others...." as you suggested maybe He as doing with this situation and Amanda.

You and my mom are very much alike. If a tragedy happened in my life I could totally expect my mom not to be there and not to interrupt her life to comfort me. Maybe you and Missy are not close. I just don't understand how you could have been golfing today.

I did NOT send this to her. I decided it just felt good to type it. And then I decided maybe I could get my anger and hurt and sadness for my cousin and her son out on here instead of to my Aunt (these were PRIVATE MESSAGES, btw, not FB wall posts).

Here is what I sent her:

I typed up something long and it felt good to get it out, but I am not going to send it to you.

Thanks for letting me know. I hope you had a great day golfing.

Do you have Amanda's address? I would like to send her something.

P.S. God NEVER asks us to sacrifice someone else for ourselves. Ever. He does ask us to *endure* sacrifice to make us stronger and bring us closer to HIM. But they are not the same thing.

I couldn't help but throw that last bit in there.

And now, I am done depressing you and exposing you to my bitterness over this situation. My best friend, C, gave me some great perspective information today. She has had to remind me of this often in our 12 year friendship: "H, your mother's side of the family is whacked. You are having a completely normal emotional response to this and they are not. Try not to be surprised." Thanks C. I love you.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Of two things I am certain

My cousin is not pregnant anymore and her son is dead.

Details are fuzzy at best. I spoke with my aunt (not her mom), who had talked to her mom (my other aunt) who passed on info.

I did try and call my cousin last night. I left her a voicemail as she did not answer her phone. I wonder if I was the only person who said, "It's ok to want your baby to live".

So - I talked to my aunt today. She had just gotten off the phone with my other aunt (cousin's mom). She said there was some bleeding and cramping last night (Sunday) and "they aborted her baby today". I asked if they killed the baby or did he die and they had to induce her to deliver. My aunt didn't know. She didn't ask. She said my other aunt just said she lost the baby. My cousin is already home.

I asked about this "life-threatening" tumor. Apparently they also took that out, biopsied, and sent it to the lab.

I asked where the baby is. My aunt says she didn't think to ask about that so she doesn't know.

I feel like it was really unfair of me to ask *her* all these questions. I should call and ask my cousin's mom. I want to call my cousin and offer her some kind of support.

I fear that he is in a medical waste bag, being taken our with the trash. My extended family is very big on "we just won't talk about it". I fear that my aunt (her mom) is saying things like, "it was meant to be" "don't worry about it" "it's just the way things are" "move on". No ome seems (granted, I've talked to one person) to realize A CHILD DIED. I know my cousin is going to feel grief and loss, probably very unexpected, from her don dying. I pray that it was because of God's will that he died and not because he was killed. That type of pain will haunt her forever.

I decided I am sending something to her. I don't know if it will be a card or letter or little knit hat or what (would a hat be too weird?). I just want to acknowledge her loss and his life.

I know Parker Thomas is in heaven now praying for us. Please also pray, Parker, for those who were unwilling to stand up for your life.

I am going to go knit something now because there is no way I will be sleeping. I have lots of knitterly things to share from my knitting buddy visit this weekend. Once the immediate fire from this horrible and tragic loss calms a bit I'll post again.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Abortion hits close to home

No knitting content today. But your prayers are needed.

My cousin, let's call her Missy, is pregnant. This was not planned. In fact, she never wanted to have children and was on the pill when she conceived. She is 22 yrs old and lives several states from me. We are not close, but have very, very similar upbringings.

She did not choose abortion or adoption when she found out she was pregnant, but decided to raise her child. At her 20 week ultrasound, she found out she has a son. I heard from my relatives that she had chosen a name, which we'll say is P.T.

She is now around 24 weeks pregnant.

Through visiting with her dr and not feeling well, she had another ultrasound which revealed cysts on her ovaries and fallopian tubes and a softball size tumor that was not their 4 weeks ago.

They doctors are very worried about this fast growing tumor. they say they can't biopsy it (I don't know the details of why) and that she has a 60% chance of miscarriage.

They recommend (I would boldface and underline that word if I could) she abort. Now. Like, right now.

This is the recommendation - kill your baby so we can see what the tumor is. She was told "You'll probably miscarry anyway." "It's not really an "abortion" because you're not doing it on purpose." "What if you carry to term and then can't have any more children?" "We are trying to save your uterus."

With modern medicine, this little boy could be delivered early and live.

I spoke with some dr friends of mine who recommend a second opinion, which I also recommended to my aunt, her mother. There is a good chance that a fast growing tumor in her uterus during pregnancy is a fibroid (which is benign).

P.T. Has gone from being a little boy to an "it". "It" is preventing them from biopsying the tumor. "It" is a "problem she'll have to figure out," according to my aunt, her mother. Her mother said to me, "Maybe this is God's way of telling her to take care of herself and not others." I am not joking or exaggerating. They are agnostic at best.

Please, please: Pray for this little boy's life. There is a very, very good chance he will be murdered this week. The support for life is not there in this part of my extended family.

If I lived closer (she is probably a good 15 hour drive away) I would be there in a heartbeat to help her advocate and be strong...but honestly I don't even know what she wants or where her heart is with this. I pray that if she chose life once she will do it again.

Any of you who are mothers know, KNOW, that if she let's them kill her baby she will *never forgive herself*. Ever. Even if it turns out to be cancer (which it probably isn't), "I survived cancer" will never trump "Oh, and to do it I killed my baby." A mother would do anything to save the life of her child. I worry that she may not feel that way right now, because possibly he doesn't seem real to her yet. She has no other children and she has never held on of her own children in her arms. But you and I know she will feel that as soon as she does hold him and see him - and if he is dead by her choice that will only make a bad situation worse.

So please, I beg and implore you, my friends, to storm the gates of Heaven, ask for the intercession of our Beloved Saints, the Blessed Mother, God the Holy Spirit, and all the Holy Innocent Souls for Missy and PT. He deserves to live. They both deserve life. Please pray that she will choose life.

Thank you. Abortion and it's evils have never felt more real to me in all my life.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Felted Toy Finished

Here is the toy pre-felting:

And after:

I had to put this through the wash 3 times!! If I had put something in there on accident (like the hat that went through the was in the load after this) it would have come out barbie sized. Instead, it just would NOT FELT. It's Cascade 220 and some Paton's. Wtf? After the first wash, it was not any smaller and I still had pretty good stitch definition. After wash 2, still had stitch definition. So, I put it in on a super HOT wash for the third time and got this smaller version. I have a front loading machine and I think that is part of the problem.

I also wanted nice, firm circles. It's kind of a squiggly thing. But, the baby likes it.
I think next time:
I will knit shorter loops.
I will do the HOT wash first.
I will only do 3 loops.
Because, of course, I'll be doing it again.

Felted Toy Beginnings

The "toy" is finished. Here is how it started.

I knit 4 i-cords, red, green, blue, yellow. There were about 14 inches long each (I measured just for you).

I sewed/wove one of them together in a circle first (the green one) and then looped the red one though and wove it together.
I wove each end of the i-cord to the other and then I tied a knot with the two ends. These should felt away in the wash (notice I keep going from present tense to past tense...yes, it was one of those nights last night).

I trimed the knot ends very, very close.

Pre-felting. I have all four loops together.

Cell phone for size comparison. All the ends trimmed. And then......into the wash. TBC.......

Monday, February 14, 2011

Just the "break" I needed

Those adult sweaters had me so not into my knitting. Bleh. I found the perfect thing to give me a break from those stressful projects (knitting is supposed to be fun!) knits.

This is my No-Purl Baby Sweater I made for my dear friend who had a 5 lb baby 2 weeks ago.

I used Knit Picks Stroll Sock Yarn in the "Twinkle Heather" colorway and some dark purple sock yarn scraps from my scrap bag for the trim.

I hate purling. I don't know why, I just do. So this little sweater is a garter stitch body with stockinette sleeves. I didn't know if it would work out or look right, but I saw it on her this weekend at Mass and it is ADORABLE. :D

I also made a matching hat. Very, very small. It is the size of my cell phone.

This is the Swirl Hat pattern, a free pattern. It is super cute and I love it. I will be making more of these.

And, I am currently working on a baby-teether toy, similar to this, for my own little one. I saw it on Ravelry. It is my inspiration, but I checked the pattern out and I don't like the complicated (what I consider complicated) construction. I am just going to knit up some i-cords, rather long like 12 inches. Then I will create loops and interloop them and felt them. I think it will be rather cute. If I find the resolve, or remember, I may stop at the lumber yarn and pick up a wooden ring to attach my felted rings to.
What are you knitting?

Friday, February 11, 2011

A little knitting humor....

A woman was knitting while driving (very, very dangerous! do not attempt!). In a short time she was speeding in excess of 95 mph and didn't notice. She also did not notice the policeman behind her with his lights and sirens on. Losing patience, he pulled up beside her and yelled, "Pull over! PULL OVER!!" She looked over at him and yelled back, "No! It's a cardigan!"


Wednesday, February 2, 2011!!

After a second try with the hats.......I have success!!

This is, essentially, the same pattern, but in Steeler's colors. My husband requested this hat. (And after I posted pics on Facebook, so did a friend of mine. More to come I suppose.)

This time I cast on 80, and I stayed at 80. I did 1x1 ribbing for about an inch-ish, maybe an inch and a half. Three plain rounds black. 2 white. 1 black. 6 yellow. 1 black. 2 white. Then more black. When I got to 5 inches I began decreases (k8, k2tog.....plain round....k7, k2tog....plain round....etc) until I got to 24 stitches. Then I k1, k2tog for one round, next round k2tog around (no plain round in between).

It fits my husband AND my 10 year old son just fine.
Success. Is. Mine.

Thank you to my 10 year old model. He will be 11 soon. So big. I found some pictures today of him at about 4. He was (and still is) soooooo sweet. Love you Wobbs.
And back on topic....
I frogged the GB Packers hat back to the ribbing and started again. I am almost done. This one is knit to 5 1/2 inches before I began decreases.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hats, How I Loathe Thee

I finished the Green Bay Packer Hat. It is very nice. However, I am pretty sure it is too big.

What's up with that?

Hats are simple enough to knit. It just seems I can never get the size right no matter what I do. Usually, I start by being afraid I will make it too small, so I cast on too many stitches. (Check.) Then I knit the ribbing and realize, yes, it is too big. So I rip and cast on again, this time with less stitches. (Check.) Then it's too small, or still too big. Or, it's just right, but I think it might be too small so I rip and cast on again. (Check.)

Oh, will it never end???

I do love the instant gratification of knitting hats. They are usually done pretty fast. I started this one yesterday. But I always find them to be self-doubting projects. Sigh.

Well......the hat is done, but IT is big. I cast-on 80 stitches and increased to 88 after the ribbing (should have skipped this). 80 was friggin' p-l-e-n-t-y. I always, always forget that you need a certain amount of negative ease to keep a hat on (a guy). I also am very sure that I should have started the decreases sooner and that the depth of the hat is a little long. Oh well. I did not weave in the final end (even left the stitch marker in that I type that I am wondering WHY(????) I did that.....) so that I can rip it back and make it "shorter". But now I think I am going to have to make it "narrower" as well.

I suppose I won't know until my brother comes to try it on.

Oh? Did you want to see it? Here it is:
And for size comparison, my hand. Realize that I have a little of the top tucked under.
Maybe it will be just perfect. My brother could have a really huge head and I just don't know it.