Saturday, December 30, 2006

Welcome to My 100th Post

Have you ever had anything sort of insignificant that you anticipated in such a way that it got built up to be a big deal when it really wasn't? That's where we are with this post. This is my 100th post and I've been thinking all week about what would be a worthwhile topic. Turns out, I just don't have anything that interesting to talk about. So instead of a monumental post, we're stuck with our average everyday grab bag of a post that we here at Ok! What Next?? have come to hold so dear.

International Scarf Exchange, Go Figure

On Christmas Eve eve, I found a bulky brown package in my mailbox. It was my International Scarf Exchange knit by Kathy. (Who is blogless, as far as I know.)
God Rest Ye Merry Puppy Dogs

We spent Christmas Eve at my husband's aunts' house. They have big dogs and Sally played hard but she was finally persuaded to take a little rest by the fire while we opened presents.
She likes having her picture taken but had just woken up here because someone was clapping. Like me, she is not keen on clapping in the house.

A Beloved New Yarn Companion
I mentioned in my last post that my parents gave me a beautiful wooden swift for Christmas. I love it. It runs so smoothly and quietly and is everything I dreamed of when I asked for a swift.
(That's one of my nieces leaning across my picture to get to the ball winder. I'm doubtful that this one will ever be a knitter but we can hope.)

I Bought a Book
Tuesday night my twin sister and I went to dinner and then to Borders. I shopped for such a long time - my goodness, the options!! - and I came t-h-i-s c-l-o-s-e to buying 3 books to just read. You know, fiction. That would have been nice but then I wandered over to the knitting section and ended up buying this book instead.
I've contemplated buying this book online several times but when I saw it in person and was able to flip through it, I couldn't resist. There is a baby sweater in here that I think will be perfect for my friend Melanie's baby that's due in May. Has any ever knit with hemp?
Also, I think maybe I've crossed the line into the zone of thinking too much about my knitting, because one of the reading books that I nearly bought, I ended up buying as a book on CD instead so I could "read" it and knit, too. There should be some sort of books on CD exchange program for knitters because books on CD, while lovely and a fine idea, could seriously cut into the yarn budget.

And I Knit Something From My New Book. Sort of.

By my own estimation, I am generally a good daughter but for the last couple of days, I have been a delinquent daughter. The Weekend Knitting book led me astray down a path called Not Knitting the Hedgehogs My Mother Has Requested. (In my defense, I didn't even buy the hedgehog yarn until Thursday...)
When flipping through the book at Borders the other night, I saw these tiny sweater egg cozies.

I remembered that Ann mentioned them in a recent post over at Mason-Dixon Knitting. Aren't they cute? I felt the need for some instant-gratification knitting and these little babies seemed to fit the bill. We don't eat many - well, any - soft boiled eggs at my house and, of course, no good pattern goes unaltered. I hate turtlenecks on actual human-sized sweaters and therefore saw no reason to knit little miniature turtlenecks. I thought these little sweaters would make nice Christmas tree ornaments so I cast on and then, all willy-nilly-like, doctored the collars on the fly. (Yes, I know, wild and crazy.)

The orange (actually "papaya") is Misti Alpaca Pima Cotton Silk and the red is a little 3/4 sleeve number in Cascade 220 in shade 8895 (my favorite). Here's a close up of the Papaya.

Not exactly earth shatteringly thrilling knitting but it satisified my need for a finished object or two and now I can plunge into my marathon hedgehog knitting. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Hedgehog on the Half Shell

(Please be patient with me. I recently upgraded to the new blogger and I'm still figuring out the spacing. At least I seem to be able to upload pictures with wild abandon now so that is a step up!)
I started this post sometime the first part of last week but wanted to share it with you anyway...
I've made some progress on the first hedgehog and I'm now confident that I'll get them both finished in time for Christmas.
Ok, so the picture isn't the greatest (those hedgehogs are fast) but at least you can see what I've been up to. Once you get going on these, they seem to go pretty fast.

Here are some more pictures of these boys, pre-felting and post-felting.
The only after shot I got of the black one was the group picture from yesterday.

A few notes: I used a much longer "fur" on the brown guy and he has a bit of a porcupine look to him. I think that might have something to do with the sparseness of the quills...I mean fur. I made a mistake with the yarn for the brown fella, too. I used a chunky weight tannish-grayish yarn for the belly and a sort of mocha brown worsted along with the fur for the back. It turned out to be a happy accident, as I was pleased with the results.
For the black hedgehog, I used chunky for both front and back. The black fur is shorter and very dense. He is MUCH fatter than the brown guy. They are so different and each has such personality. It was neat to see how unique they are considering they are made from the same pattern.
These pictures don't show it but I ended up needle felting the eyes and nose. It was my first attempt at needle felting and it really was as simple has everyone says it is and the finished product was exactly what I had hoped for. Thanks to Lois at Elegant Stitch for not only giving me a quick needle felting tutorial on Friday, but also for giving me a needle felting tool!
All of the animals were well received. Mama put in a request for some hedgehogs of her own so I will try to get busy on those in the next few weeks. I give all of these Fiber Trends patterns an enthusiastic endorsement. They are easy to read, interesting without being unnecessarily complicated and the results are everything they promise to be.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Mine was great, though too quick. My parents bought me a swift (HURRAY!!!) and a Knitter's Satchel from Jordana Paige. My sister got me the KnitPicks Options needles....I am exceptionally blessed to have a kind generous family, who may not understand my knitting but still support it. We had a great dinner and played games and just relaxed. It was a very Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 25, 2006

A Very Merry Christmas!

What a crazy, exciting, busy, wonderful
week it has been leading up to Christmas.

I hope you are all enjoying time with family and/or loved ones and that you are feeling loved and blessed this joyful season. When I count my Christmas blessings, please know that I count each of you among those blessings and I'm looking forward to the coming year with such anticipation.
I did get all of the felted animals completed - and it didn't include any knitting at all on Christmas Eve. (Though the hedgehogs did get seamed amidst the last of my Christmas Eve wrapping...) Now I'll just hope that the recipients love them as much as I do.

So from me and mine to you and yours,

Monday, December 18, 2006

Show and Tell

Just another quickie to show you the finished Sophie-ish bag for my niece.

As it appears in this picture, it is 16" from the top of the handles to the base. The body of the back is 7.5" tall and slightly more than 10" across at the widest point. I think it is just right for her.

Also, my niece and I went to San Francisco on Saturday night to visit my mother. (She had back surgery on Thursday at UCSF Medical Center. She is doing very well and coming home today.) My niece (the future owner of the above bag) took this picture of the buildings in the city all decorated for Christmas.Try squinting.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Return of Self-Portrait Sunday

Ahhh, how nice to have a little free time on a Sunday to get back to my Sunday feature. As you are well aware, I have plenty of knitting to do so I will get right down to the listing...

1. I am generally content with the status quo…to the point that I have occasionally been accused of being boring.
2. I can be very particular about things (like my food and my Christmas tree and how I want things done.) It might seem that this is a contradiction to #24 and maybe it is, but both are true.
3. It is usually better for me to just do things myself because if someone else does it for me, I will inevitably end up redoing it or reworking it the way I wanted it in the first place.
4. I can be terribly indecisive. (If I were someone else, I would not ever want to go shopping with me.)
5. I like to think of myself as a real go-with-the-flow, spontaneous girl but I am not. I don’t mind spontaneity when it is carefully planned out ahead of time.
6. I love to read but I read a lot less since I learned to knit.
7. I am a really great starter.
8. I am not nearly so good a finisher (though this is improving.)
9. It is very important to me that people like me.
10. I wish it wasn’t so important to me that people like me.
11. Sometimes I wonder if I’m maybe a little ADD or OCD or CRAZY. I am so easily distracted by, well, by pretty much everything. If anything shiny crosses my path, there’s no telling how long it will take me to get back to the task at hand. (Speaking of which, I got online to check on one little thing and here I am blogging when I should be knitting a hedgehog...well, two.)

Speaking of hedgehogs, I've finished one belly and as soon as I'm done here, I'm going to get back to work on him. Hopefully I will have a finished one to show you in the next couple of days. (Also, I will have post-felting pictures of the Kureyon Sorta-Sophie bag. It felted surprisingly small but I like it. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera in my niece's car this afternoon so the pictures will have to wait another day.)

By the way, I've finally got up with the comments over on the Grandmother Purl blog. I just don't have the right words to say how touched I am by everyone's kindness and encouragement and the talk of knitting something for me. Ya'll are so sweet. I wish I had something meaningful and profound to say but I don't, I simply wanted to say thank you. I've said it before and I'll say in 1000 times again, Knitters Rock.

Ok, that's it for now. I hope you are all well. I'll see you as soon as I've completed a hedgehog!

Friday, December 15, 2006

And What to My Wondering Eyes Did Appear

This is just a quick post to say "Hey! Look what I did!"

I stayed up until almost 1:00 this morning finishing it. I am pretty happy with the results. I have never felted Kureyon before but I have every faith that it will be just as lovely as all of the pictures I've seen.

Hedgehogs, here I come!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Fa La La La La

Hurray for Christmas songs. Thank you for sharing.

Dorothy, I have never heard of Nothing but a Child but I do like Steve Earle. I am going to have to find this song.

Lori, I am a sucker for O Little Town of Bethlehem. I hate it when whoever happens to be leading the music at church deems it necessary to skip verses, though. I like the whole long version.

Charity, I haven't heard What a Merry Christmas Tree either. Is it a Canadian song, maybe? Who sings it?

Cindi, Mary Did You Know is my second favorite Christmas song.

Kim, I can no longer listen to Sleigh Ride without breaking out in a cold sweat. After all my years in band, I have played that song so much it is permanently etched on my brain.

Erin, is Mr. Sandman a Christmas song?

Bonnie, White Christmas certainly makes my top ten list, though it does make me a little sentimental. I am guessing that the odds of a White Christmas in Altoona, PA are significantly higher than in Oakdale, CA. Promise you will post some pictures if you do intend have a white Christmas, ok?

Dr. B, Winter Wonderland gets stuck in my head. I do love this song though. So festive. And who wouldn't love a song that openly celebrates the fact that it is not Summer.

Tactless Wonder, I don't think I have ever heard Soundgarden's version of Ave Maria. I have only ever heard very traditional versions of this song. I'm thinking this one is another one I am going to have to try to find.

Stefaneer, I don't know many French Christmas carols but I am sure the one about "my dear son, my sweeting, lullay, lullay...blah blah" is beautiful. If you happen to discover or remember the title of this song, I would love to know it.

Blogging has really heightened my inner voyeur. I can't explain why it makes me so glad to have ya'll share your Christmas favorites with me but thanks!

As for me, my favorite Christmas song is and always has been Do You Hear What I Hear? I am very fond of the Bing Crosby version but there are several other very worthwhile renditions of this song running around. It is, coincidentally, also my twin sister's favorite Christmas song. I didn't realize that until last year.

I have made it to the second skein of Kureyon (color 95) and row 23 of the (slightly modified) Sophie bag for my niece's Christmas. I have got to go this weekend and get the yarn for the two hedgehogs. I am about 98% certain I will have Sophie done by Saturday. So then the hedgehogs are all that stand between me and successful completion of the must-have portion Christmas knitting. (Please do not remind me of that ridiculous Christmas knitting plan I posted about a month ago. I am trying to think happy thoughts over here.)

Who thinks I can get the hedgehog yarn bought, the hedgehogs knit, felted, dried, stuffed and sewn up by Christmas day? Hedge your bets. (ha!)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Baa Baa Black Sheep

Have you any prescription sedatives?

Thank you all so very much for your thoughts and prayers. My husband's surgery was a success and he is home and doing well. He is just resting (like he's supposed to) and trying to remember not to itch his incision. (He doesn't have stitches - they used glue instead. He is going to have a nifty little smiley face scar under his belly button.) Anyway, he is doing fine. Sleeping and taking his medicines, like a good little patient. His mother came to town on Friday to be here to take care of him so I am going back to work tomorrow.

While my husband was having his insides cinched up, I was finishing up this guy:
(Susie, the second pictures is gratuitous, I know, but I posted an extra one just for you!) I didn't think I could make a felted sheep that would be cuter than the gray one but it seems I have. This little black guy is adorable. His head sort of cocks a little to the side like he is about to ask a question. Very sweet. I have once again been blog-neglectful and forgotten to take any pre-felting pictures but oh well. If that is the worst thing that happens all week, I will be fine.

Last night was a peaceful night at my house. We watched Christmas with the Kranks and The Christmas Story. We looked admiringly at my Christmas tree. (Don't worry: it's the picture that is precariously tilting, not my Christmas tree.) We drank hot chocolate and/or apple cider and I worked on my ill-fated Christmas knitting list. It was lovely.

Tonight, however, I am at the mercies of my anesthesia-addled husband and his friends who are here to check on him. Which means that I am being subjected to a special addition DVD of Tommy Boy - with all of its special outtakes and bloopers. There is a whole separate disc of special features. A whole.separate.disc.

Two weeks til Christmas. I am in denial. A question for today: what is your favorite Christmas song? Seriously, I want to know. I'll tell you mine in my next post.

Friday, December 08, 2006

I've Got Sunshine

on a cloudy day.

There is a quote and at the moment I can't remember who said it but it says "God gave us memories so that we might have roses in December." I think maybe that is why he gave us California, too. Back around Halloween (which seems a million months ago) I thought the rose bushes along our front walk were done blooming for this year but I guess not. The red one has yet to be without flowers, including these two, that I photographed on Wednesday.
They won't win any beauty contests but they are mine and I am glad to have them. The purple rosebush is oddly silent, though she is shy even in summer so I guess I am not surprised.

What's a girl to do when she has a knitting blog and her world has been upside down for several weeks and the only knitting she has accomplished is about 12 not-so-photo-worthy rows of a sheep that she has been trying to finish for nearly a month? Show you pictures of the sky, of course. (Don't ya'll get bored with the scenery around here? I'm so thankful that you still stop by and visit even though I haven't been making any great strides in the knitting world - or any great strides period, for that matter.) Without further ado...

Sunset, last Tuesday on the way home from work.

Sunrise (progressively) on Monday morning.

Cloudy Sunrise on the way to work this morning.

I may not have snow (which is still sad to me) but at least we have pretty skies lately. As a general rule, winter in the Central Valley of Northern California means fog and lots of it. I'm sure that is coming but for now, I am glad I've had my camera with me while driving to and from work recently.

My husband is having surgery on Monday to repair three hernias and all I can think of is how nice it will be to have three (hopefully) uninterrupted hours in the waiting room where I can just sit and knit. I haven't told anyone this (well, maybe I told Lori...) but I was certain ya'll would understand. Really, I'm not being selfish, I'm just finding the silver lining. Really.

I wonder what the odds are that I will actually finish even a significant portion of my Christmas knitting in time for Christmas. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Picture This

I have achieved some degree of success with the uploading of pictures. It won't let me put these in the previous post but (obviously) I've been able to upload them here. So this is sort of an addendum to the previous post. Also, it will only let me upload pictures as left justified AND the llama picture shows up sideways even though it really is on its feet in the picture file on my computer. Oh well. Beggars can't be choosers, I guess.

Go with me now on a little pictorial tour of my most recent post.

Here we have Mt. Shasta against the bluest sky I have seen in recent memory. The way the wind is blowing the snow off the top of the mountain, it made me think that the mountain was wearing an elegant, flowy handknit shawl. I hadn't had much sleep the night before.

Next up are these two shots of the snowy road side on the drive home.

Followed by a knitted-as-yet-unfelted llama, standing on his head.

Then last but certainly not least, the finished grey sheep. Who I think is one of the best things I've ever knitted.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Editor's note: Please use your imagination on the pictures. I have been trying for two days to add pictures to this post with no luck. I will try again later.

At long last, winter has arrived in my little neck of the woods. I use the term “winter” loosely but I use it nonetheless. It has been down in the low 30’s at night and we’ve had to run the heat. I’ve even had icy car windows for 4 days in a row. I don’t have any wintery pictures to show you because if I did, I know I would get lots of comments like “winter-schminter” and “hell, that’s barely even fall” from my colder climate commenters. But it’s all I’ve got, ya’ll, so let me pretend.

Please forgive my long absence. The last three weeks have been simply overwhelming. I can’t think of another word that fits. We have made two trips to Oregon and back. This weekend, my mother-in-law came down to stay with us to attend a memorial service for my father-in-law in Fresno. (Most of my FIL’s extended family lives in that area and weren’t able to make it to Oregon for the service on the 18th.) So it made for a difficult week for both my husband and his mother. It is like rubbing salt in a wound, having to attend a second memorial. Luckily it is over now.

Our Thanksgiving was very nice. It was just me and my husband and his mother and our friend, Matt. It was very peaceful and my husband did some work on some of his father’s projects (i.e. his truck) which I think was good for him. We mostly just hung out and tried to help my mother-in-law gets some things done. All in all, it was fine, emotionally exhausting but fine. And really, under the circumstances, I was pretty happy with that. On the drive up for Thanksgiving, it was crystal clear but had snowed quite a bit the night before.

This is Mt. Shasta on Thanksgiving morning.

We were blessed during the return trip to have snow. I don’t think my husband (who did the driving) was quite as happy about the snow as I was.

It has been almost a week since I’ve even opened my laptop. This is borderline sacrilegious.

As I am sure you can imagine, I haven’t made much progress on my knitting list. I’ve finished the llama. Here is a pre-felting picture.

I’ve yet to take a post-felting picture but it is done. All stuffed and seamed. I’m basically happy with the results but if I make another one, I will use a fuzzier yarn. I used two strands, two colors held together (as per the knitting recipe) and I don’t love the look but it is ok.

And while I’m parading out the knitting pictures, it occurs to me that ya’ll haven’t seen this little fellow:

The grey lamb with black face. He is so cute. I am thrilled with the results. I am currently knitting his inverse cousin. I couldn’t be happy with the results. I was in the midst of photographing this lamb when we got word about my father-in-law’s heart attack. The lamb has sort of been lost in the shuffle.

I am still feeling relatively optimistic about the Christmas knitting. I’m probably delusional but that’s ok. As I have told you before, I am a proud member of the ignorance is bliss club.

Last Thursday, we became the proud owners of a beautiful Christmas tree. A noble fir. We wanted to give it plenty of time to “fall” and acclimate to its new environment so we didn’t decorate it until last night. It is very pretty and smells all happy and Christmas-y. I’ll take some pictures later this week. The house is very festive. That makes me happy. And it tempers my dread a little: Wednesday at 6:00 a.m. (oh yes, really) I have to have an MRI on my ankle to see why it isn’t getting better. Then I get to wait a week for results. It helps to have my Christmas tree. I can just sit and knit and think happy twinkle-lights-and-ornaments thoughts. Fa la la la la….

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thankful Yours

Well, it is almost time to get back on the road again. In all of the hustle and bustle to get home, work, and go back to Oregon, I haven’t really had much knitting time. I did make some knitting-related Christmas ornaments for my family. (I traditionally give everyone in my family Christmas ornaments on Thanksgiving and I was afraid I wasn’t going to get them done this year.) These are miniature versions of these from last year.
I had just started one of the alpacas before my father-in-law passed away. Last week did not lend itself to any knitting so I have only completed about 6 rows on that project. That is the only knitting news to speak of. I am fervently hoping that Friday will be a day to just relax and maybe work on the alpaca. And maybe just to rest. Surely I can get a few moments of rest.

Though the last couple of weeks have been sad and overwhelming and tiring, I have so much to be thankful for. Yesterday, we found out that one of the tires on my car was in really bad shape and had no business being on the road. I am thankful that we made it home safe and that we were able to get the problem remedied before we have to go again tonight.

I am thankful for my husband. (Here he is last week in Oregon with his dad's dogs, Duke and Zipper.)

I am thankful for my family – all of them. My parents who are good and kind and wonderful people who are not only always there for their children and supportive of all of us, but always reaching out to those who need anything – big or small. They are two of the most generous, kind-hearted people I know. My sister, Cindi is making from-scratch yeast rolls (her specialty) so I can take them with me for Thanksgiving. My brother Chad did us all a favor by marrying Lori, who is supportive and encouraging and just a generally nice person and makes me laugh all the time. (She was being silly and I got a picture! haha) That’s just to name a few….And beyond all that, I simply enjoy spending time with my family. I genuinely like them and enjoy their company. A novel concept, I know.

I am thankful for my husband’s aunts (his mother’s sisters) who are two of the kindest people I know. I believe with absolute certainty that my husband would not be the man he is today without the influence they have had in his life. I am also exceptionally thankful that they were able to be with us all last week. (This is their boxer, Zim. He is such a cutie.)I am thankful for a job I love and to be able to work for a company that treats employees with decency and respect.

I am thankful that I have this little home on the internet and even more thankful for all of my strangers-who-are-friends in the online knitting (and beyond) community.

I am thankful that our darling Sally girl is doing well and, as far as we can tell, has made nearly a complete recovery from her earlier back injury. She is going with us this weekend. Luckily, she is a good traveler.

There are at least 7000 other things I have to be thankful for but I don’t have time to list them all here. Thank you all again for your prayers and your kindness. I promise we will return our regularly scheduled knit blogging next week.

Ya’ll have a wonderful weekend and a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

p.s. I am thankful that people will overlook any typos herein, as I haven't spell checked or proofread this post. My husband just called and said it is snowing on our route to his mother's so we are going to hit the road.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Self Portrait Sunday #3

Gosh what a long week it has been. Thank you all so much for your kind words and for all of your prayers. The memorial service was yesterday and we left Oregon late this morning. I was awfully glad to get back to my own house. Now for three days of work and then we will make the trip back on Wednesday evening for Thanksgiving weekend. (I am tired just thinking about it!)

Now Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Feature

Self-Portrait Sunday

1. My oldest sister is 10 ½ years older.
2. My natural hair color is plain old brown. I’ve had highlights and I’ve dyed it but really, I just prefer it plain old brown.
3. I’m only 29 but I have grey hairs that seem to be cropping up with increased frequency. I don’t mind.
4. While volunteering at the homeless shelter, I got head lice when I was 18. I had never had head lice before or since. I have A LOT of hair. It was horrible.
5. I forgive but seldom forget. I am not necessarily proud of this.
6. I got married November 20, 2004.
7. My husband and I dated for 8 years before we got married.
8. I am unsure whether or not I ever want to have children.
9. I think a really good pedicure is one of the top 5 best things in the whole world.
10. I played the French horn all through high school and loved it but was never very good at it.
11. I am almost always a little surprised when I find out how other people see me. Sometimes good surprised, sometimes bad surprised.

Here's a picture I took on the way home today of Mt. Shasta in Northern California.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Thank You!

This is just a quick post to thank you all so very much for your comments and for your thoughts and prayers. It has been a very difficult week and I think we are all looking forward to the memorial service on Saturday and a return to some semblance of normalcy (whatever that is going to be like now).

I will be back among the land of the high speed internet on Sunday and will put together a real post then. For now, I just wanted ya'll to know how much it means to have so many friends I've never met who are praying for us and thinking of us during this trying time.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Self Portrait Sunday #2

I've nearly dropped the ball on my own newly-created weekly feature.

This weekend was mostly very lovely. Yesterday's Grandmother Purl sew-up went very well and it was great to meet two people I'd only previously known online.

This morning we got a call from my mother-in-law saying that my husband's father had had a heart attack during church earlier in the morning and they were taking him to the hospital. While we were waiting to hear the results of the cardiac catheterization, we got another call from my mother-in-law with the news that my father-in-law had just passed away. Needless to say, the weekend sort of fell apart after that.

That's why today's SPS is dedicated to my husband and his dad. So maybe it isn't so much Self-Portrait but luckily, this is my weekly feature and I agree that we can all change it up however we like. . .Including making a list that isn't particularly about me.

1. My husband and I dated for 8 years before we got married.
2. We were married November 20, 2004.
3. My mother-in-law fractured her collarbone less than a month before our wedding.
4. My husband shares his birthday with my oldest twin nieces.
5. My father-in-law is solely responsible for my husband's middle name.
6. My in-laws lived in Alaska when my husband was born, but my MIL was visiting her sisters in Walnut Creek, CA on the day he actually showed up. My father-in-law just barely made it to the hospital before the birth.
7. In his younger years, my father-in-law was an amatuer racecar driver.
8. Like me, my father-in-law was a twin.
9. Since we got married almost two years ago, every time I've called my in-law's house and my father-in-law has answered the phone, he would say, "Oh. It's my favorite daughter-in-law." Have I mentioned that my husband is an only child?
10. My in-laws home is in Southern Oregon, near the Rogue River. (Rogue River photo from Wikipedia)
I'll probably be pretty quiet this week. For those of you who are so inclined, we would appreciate your prayers.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

No Good List Goes Unedited

The knitting list is going to require some modifications. Of course.

I accidentally let my sister Carrie see a picture of Fiber Trends’ alpacas.
She loves them. She particularly likes that dark brown fellow there at the front left. She doesn’t know I was planning to knit her the lambs. So, since the gray lamb is now finished except for the face, the seaming and making the ears and tail, she will be getting a gray lamb and I’ll have to order the alpaca pattern. I just need to figure out which yarn combination will work best for those. She likes their furriness. Any suggestions?

Also, yesterday I got the pattern for the hedgehogs that I fell in love with when I was visiting Colleen’s and I am going to need to make two of these before Christmas. (Since I am making lambs for my nieces, I think the hedgehogs will be perfect for their brothers.)

That’s the trouble with making a list: once I see it all written down, it just makes me think of forty-leven other things that should be on there. Ahh well. That is better than realizing after the fact that I neglected something.

Saturday is the sew-up get together for the Grandmother Purl project. I am looking forward to meeting Marissa. I am eager to see the squares come together. I am also wondering how in the world I am going to be ready to go to San Rafael by 8:30 on Saturday morning with all the loose ends wrapped up - literally and figuratively. Maybe this wasn't the best Friday night to plan an outing with my sisters and my mother. . . umm, hindsight and all that.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Today’s Post is brought to you by the word “AND”

You Guys Make Me Happy

Thank you for all your sweet comments on my anniversary post. I hate pictures of me but after many attempts, I managed to take that one picture that I didn’t find offensive.

What I neglected to say in that post is how much I have come to love this blog. More accurately, how much I have come to love the online knitting (and more) community and the people I have “met” here. I know without a doubt that my knitting skills and ambition and passion have all been greatly enriched but even more, my life has been enriched and I value and appreciate the friends I have found here. Ya’ll are sweet and kind and funny and bring such joy and so many smiles to my life. Thank you for that and thank you for continuing to visit me here and share your thoughts and comments. And for sharing your lives with me through your blogs.

I am Officially Cautiously Optimistic

I went to the ankle doctor yesterday for my now-regular visit. Have I told ya’ll what a nice doctor I have? Nice as he is, though, I am looking forward to the day when I don’t have to see him anymore. Yesterday he said that he doesn’t see any substantial improvement (bummer) but I can’t do nothing forever (so true). He said that I can start putting a little weight on it for a few hours a day. While still using the crutches. And wearing the boot. This is good-ish news I think. I walked on it a little last night and it hurts some and feels pretty squirrelly but we will see. Like I said, cautiously optimistic…and working on refining my skills of perseverance. (Was that ok? The way I worked “perseverance” in there just so I could use the link to that picture?)

This is What I Was Put on The Earth To Do

I have decided to be honest with myself and actually make a list of my knitting plans/pipe dreams for the next two months or so. I have all of these ideas running around in my head and I need to clear some room up there so I am putting them down in writing instead.

Knitting-Related To Do Items:

1) Finish organizing the Grandmother Purl squares for Saturday’s Sew-Up (this includes deciding how many for each blanket and which squares go where.) Is there anyone else who would like to join me and Tami and Marissa in Pleasanton on Saturday for the Grandmother Purl finale?

2) Photograph squares that I haven’t already photographed.

3) Print pictures of photos of squares for the scrapbook

4) Work on the scrapbook for GMP (I have enlisted Lori’s help for this so I won’t have to do it all by myself.) And it is ok if this one doesn’t get done before Saturday but it does need to be done before Thanksgiving. (Speaking of Lori, Go take a look at Lori's Grandmother Purl square.)
Actual Knitting To Do Items:

1) Finish Mama’s Beach sweater. This sweater has been in progress for more than a year. It was started with every intention of being last year’s birthday present. Her birthday is October 27. I want to be able to give her this sweater for Christmas. (Yarn: Yes)

2) Mama’s Tahki Cotton Classic blanket/afghan/whatever you want to call it for Daddo’s ladder. Not imperative for Christmas. (Yarn: Yes. I think I have enough. I may need more though.)

3) Papaya Pima Cotton Silk Pillows in Cables in Relief Pattern (this was the pattern I used for Kim's ISE scarf) for Lori (not necessarily for Christmas but I want to get them done.) (Yarn: Yes)

4) Socks. I want to knit socks. I have sock yarn and needles. While socks are not at the top of the priority list, I may get a wild hair and knit the pink Cascade Fixation yarn into the pattern that Lori got me with it. If it happens, these would be for Whitney’s Christmas stocking. (Yarn: Yes)

5) In a perfect world, I would knit socks for my father for Christmas, too. As we are well aware, this is not a perfect world. Acknowledging my utter lack of sock knitting experience, it isn’t hard to predict how this one will go. (Yarn: Yes)

6) Sophie purse for my mother-in-law (Yarn: No)

7) One (1) lamb for an undisclosed purpose (Yarn: Yes) – needs to be complete before Dec. 1, preferably before Thanksgiving.

8) Niece #4's silk bookmark. It is almost done already. It is my current knitting-on-the-go project so it should be done in the next few days. (Yarn: Yes)

Lambs for Christmas stockings

9) Carrie: Grey with Black, Off-white with Black, Off-white with off-white (Yarn: Yes, Yes I think & Yes.) I am determined to make the first two without fail. The third one might get nixed.
10) One (1) black and brown lamb for Mama (Yarn: No)
11) One (1) lamb for Niece #4, Black with gray (Yarn: No)
12) One (1) lamb for Niece #3, off-white with black (Yarn: Yes) DONE

I included Niece #3's lamb just so I would have something to mark off the list. Sometimes I have to play these mental games with myself.

That's pretty much it. There is maybe one other gift that is going to need to be added to this list. We will see. If ya'll start taking bets on how much of this I will actually accomplish, please don't tell me. I prefer to maintain my Ignorance is Bliss status.

P.S. I have found a new place on the internet where I could spend endless hours looking around and laughing. (Maybe you already guessed that from the links above.) If you run out of knitting blogs to read or other things to while away your online hours, you should go visit Sam at Exploding Dog.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Happy Happy Happy Happy Blogiversary to Me

In honor of my one year blogging anniversary, I've decided to implement a new feature here at Ok! What Next?? called Self-Portrait Sunday. Every Sunday, I'll post 11 things about me along with a picture. If you feel so inclined, please feel free to join me. I've even created a button!

Without further adieu, the first installment of Self Portrait Sunday:

1. I was born in Asheville, North Carolina…
2. …On February 1, 1977…
3. …at 9:49 a.m. EST…
4. …10 minutes after my sister Katy…
5. …Which means I am Twin B.
6. We are numbers 4 and 5 of 5.
7. I am 5’2”
8. I have no delusions about my own coolness. I know that I am not cool (or happenin’ or cutting edge or hip.) I'm ok with this.
9. I am generally kind to people.
10. It takes a lot to make me angry…
11. …but once I am truly angry, it takes me a long time to get over it.

And here you go, a picture of me:

Friday, November 03, 2006

Weather Update

For those of you who live somewhere other than California, my news will have little or no signficance. For those of us here in the land of fruits and nuts, today has been a meaningful experience.

This morning on the way to work I took this picture. (From the car. While I was driving left-footed. Forgive its lack of crispness.)

Those, my friends, are clouds in the sky. Clouds that have actually lingered. It is raining here now. If I could, I would be out in it, doing some sort of celebratory dance. I know that there are those among you who would love 6-7 months of perpetual sunshine but let me tell you: it is not all it is cracked up to be. I for one start to get a bit stir crazy. I have missed the rain. Today is a beautiful day.

Now let's just hope this rain holds on through the weekend. (Doubtful, but a girl can dream.)

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Thank you all so very much for your kind remarks about the lamb. I am pretty pleased with the results. I intend to make it to Beverly's or Michael's this weekend to pick up some filling (I'm thinking Poly-Pellets for the feet and Poly-Fil for the bodies.) Hopefully I will have some finished pictures to show next week. We'll see. I've become a bit of a hermit in recent months and now with the time change and the fall weather, I seem to really be embracing my inner recluse so I will have to make myself go to the craft store. As much as I would like to, I highly doubt that I will be able to convince my husband to go to the craft store for me. (In his defense, he has had to go to the store in the past several months for things much less appealing for the male shopper than Poly-fil so I can let him off the hook on this one.)

You Call That Progress?

I had grand plans to make "serious progress" on the grey lamb yesterday evening but it didn't happen. After working late, I went over to my parents' for a little while and by the time I got home, it was after 8:30 and I guess I was feeling distracted because I kept losing my place in the pattern. After ripping out for the third time, I set the yarn aside, retrieved a bottle of wine, the corkscrew and a wine glass and set out to soothe my addled nerves. In my current crutch-bound state, it took 2 trips from the kitchen and a carefully aimed toss of the corkscrew in order to get my wine and related paraphernalia to the knitting area. Liquid fortification procured, I cast on again.

And was able to accomplish this much of the lamb's hind end before I had to go to bed. (that red waste yarn is the marker for the tail, which will be added later.) I continue to be amazed at the construction of these little sheep. At the point this picture was taken, I was only on row 11 and yet, with all the W&T action going on, things seem to progress a bit faster.


While knitting last night, I realized for the first time that I apparently manage my tension with my pinky finger. What prompted me to realize this?

Why, a wounded pinky finger, of course. That is my damaged (and yes, chubby) hand and pinky finger. Who knew that middle section of my baby finger got so involved in my knitting?

This stuff is thrilling isn't? Riveting read, I'm sure.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Drying Time

Ok! What Next?? Proudly presents:
Mr. Lamb: Post Felting

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Photographic Evidence

This is sort of a marathon post (even for me) so I will get down to business. Might I suggest you fix yourself some coffee or hot chocolate or a glass of wine and find a comfortable spot.

Here are the pictures of the goodness from Colleen. The fabulous Colleen!! Thank you again, honey, for your willingness to trade. I love this yarn and I can't wait to do something with the roving. Brown & cream rovings.
Fancy colored roving. The Star Gazing Farms wool (that she traded me for the Brown Sheep in Oatmeal) for the lambs.

and And AND!!! Here is the wool meeting its destiny.

This picture isn't as clear but here it is with my phone for scale. (It worked up much bigger in the worsted weight than I had expected it to.)

Here is the pre-felted, unstuffed lamb trying to stand. (He's a newborn. Cut him some slack.)

INSERT PICTURE OF FELTED SHEEP HERE (I think I've pushed the limits of bloggers tolerance for me an my pictures.)

Here he is after two hot water wash/warm water rinse cycles. The black felted markedly more than the off-white. The body still plainly shows the stitches while the black is quite tight and fabric-y. I don't really mind this look and I didn't want to risk the black drawing up anymore so I need not wash it any further. He is stuffed full of temporary stuffing and busily drying in the bathroom. I've already cast on for the grey and black lamb. Both the grey and the black are Lamb's Pride worsted so I am optimistic that that will felt more evenly.

This is two skeins of Cascade 220 for the secret project. (Which I am happy to report has undergone some test knitting by someone other than me and that someone was successfully able to knit my pattern. And she isn't me! That is good.)

This weekend I promised myself that I wouldn't start any more new projects until I finished at least one square for Grandmother Purl.

I still plan to make the California square but for now, here is the square I knit this weekend. I just made it up as I went along because I had the yarn and needles with me but I didn't have the California square pattern. This was the result. My own version of a kisses and hugs square.

If You Show Me Yours....

Thank you so much to all of you who responded to my questions and requests about stash. I guess I had my nose buried in a corner somewhere back in April, otherwise I surely would have noticed all the Flashing of Stash that was going on back then. I spend a couple of hours over the weekend look at all of the stashy goodness from April and from the pictures ya'll shared with me.

In the spirit of fairness, here is a picture of my stash for ya'll.

See? Relatively neglible just like I promised. That main containment unit there in the chair is the plastic zipper bag that my queen sized comforter came in. The brown bag on the top, on the left is all yarn for lambs and a couple of small holiday knitting projects. The two other bags contain the Cascade 220 pictured above plus all of the Tahki Cotton Classic for the Daddo blanket I am working on for my mother.

This is all of my yarn except for a few items:

1) 2 skeins of Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride that are destined to become Fuzzy Feet for my friend Allison. (Technically these do not count in my stash tally as she purchased the yarn and she ultimately wants to knit them for herself. Really, I am just the caretaker of this yarn.)
2) A skein of yellow Cascade Magnum that is on the top shelf in my closet, which I cannot get to in my current crippled state.
3) A skein of Sugar'n Cream and a skein of Calmer in the basket next to my knitting chair.
4) 6 skeins of some quite old pink baby yarn that was my Nana's and came to live with me after my Daddo passed away. It is destined to be something heirloomy but for now is in my little cedar chest on my bedside table.