Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Good-bye to 2 0 0 3 ! ! !

Is the last day of the year a good day to try to learn something totally new?? Well, it isn't a Friday* so I guess I'll find out. My Bryspun double-pointed needles from Clevenger Creations arrived yesterday, so, of course, I had to try them. I had picked up two balls of Bernat's Hot Sox to practice/learn to make socks... there was also a child's sock pattern on the label, so that was handy. One ball is supposed to make a pair. So, here's as far as I have gotten. I feel all thumbs, but so far so good. I stopped to post on this last day of 2003, before I head out for dinner at friends. Will take the (Alternating) Twin Rib scarf along with me . . . . gotta pick up some Powerball tickets too. I listed the following on a forum a couple days ago as my resolutions for 2004:
  • (1) to remember birthdays ON-TIME
  • (2) to use my creative skills to give tangible results to those around me
  • (3) to delve deeper into my personal spirituality in order to attain resolution, for myself at least, over several personal situations
  • (4) to be content -- always my primary goal
  • Four is enough, I think: "Four has long been a number of completion, stability and predictability, as well as the representation of all earthly things." LC *Momma never started anything on Friday she couldn't finish before she went to bed.

    Monday, December 29, 2003

    I Promised, But...

    I can't get a photograph to show what I actually did, and I'm not sure I will explain it well enough. I'm talking about the way I knitted Jenna's scarf. I had one ball each of Lion's Fun Fur in Hot Pink & Confetti. The pink was so dark and bright, I was afraid it would overwhelm the variegated, and I also though a back & forth (two rows) would stripe the scarf more than I wanted... so... I worked only one row in each color, slipping the stitches to the opposite end of the circular needles to pick up the next color. What this did (beside make for rather loose edge stitches) was to make three rows look like stockinette, then two rows of garter, and so on. Sort of neat looking, but a little tricky to keep up with. The close-up photo doesn't show what I did, and of course, unless you look closely, you can't see the stitching for the fur anyway. Just thought I'd share (some more of) my weird ways! LC

    Sunday, December 28, 2003

    Beadin' Braggin' Bloggers

    is a newly created (by me) webring for beaders. Once I discovered all the fiber artists who are sharing their talents on the web via their blogs, I knew it was something beaders could do equally as well. We'll see if there is interest. There's now a link to the webring home on this site, so pass the word to beaders you know, if you please. So, for some OBC (obligatory beading content), here are some quickie gifts I put together for my stepdaughters and niece. The idea is not mine; it came from a magazine (perhaps Woman's World, not sure). These sets of nine stretchy, seed bead bracelets are not endowed with magical powers, but one just might find magical things happening to one's health and weight if used properly. We are encouraged to eat nine portions of vegetables and fruit each day. So, every morning, place all nine of the bracelets on your left arm. As you eat a portion of fruit or vegetables, move one bracelet to your right arm. At the end of the day, are all the bracelets on your right arm? Then you got all your portions -- didn't do so good today?? Well, tomorrow is another day, Scarlett. LC

    One More Finished!

    Finally finished Jenna's giftslast night. I'm not happy at all with the hat, and I reworked it three times. I shall tell her if she doesn't think she will wear it, I will just recycle the yarn -- it certainly won't hurt my feelings! Makes me think of that one Barbie I had with the pink fuzzy hat. She was the Fashion Queen Barbie, where you could change the wigs. Well, maybe it is sort of fun-looking. See: it made me smile! LC

    Thursday, December 25, 2003

    For us??




    Nero is the black kitten, Sasha's in the middle, and Brickle rules them all.


    A late rising for all the two-legged family members, waffles for breakfast, opening of gifts, and a relaxing afternoon of knitting for me while the ham baked. We all had a happy day, hope you and yours did too. LC

    Tuesday, December 23, 2003

    Wasted Days

    I finally got through with telephone calls and email and other tidbits and got to my knitting mid-afternoon. I had about 5" done last night when my eyes started crossing (and NYPD Blue was over), so I went on to bed. Today I think I got about an inch farther, and realized I hadn't changed the pattern where I should have changed. R-I-P! Then, about two inches later, I realized that I still didn't have it right. I was doing k3,p3 on the wrong side. What a pain; I'm still taking out rows because I can't see where I messed up. I guess I shouldn't have tried to change the pattern every six rows. Should have done a plain 3- or 4-stitch rib. I wish I had made it 52, and kept the first two and last two stitches stockinette: I wanted it to curl just a bit at the edge. Then again, that might not have worked or looke nice anyway. So, I put it down, washed some dishes and made some coffee.... I could count it to worry about my best friend's husband. Lymphoma in his liver. Prayers of all kinds are coveted -- I wish someone would call and let me know what's going on. Last update I got was Monday at noon. It's a pretty blue Christmas around here even with my beautiful nine-foot, pre-lit tree white candy canes, plain gold and silver glass balls of several sizes, and ribbon streamers of white and gold, topped with a large white & gold bow. Only the top half is decorated, in deference to the family felines. I miss the old Christmas specials. LC

    Monday, December 22, 2003

    Busy Monday

    It began early enough: 5:30am. with a call from my best friend. The doctors were not hopeful at all about her DH's condition. There was no sleeping for me or my DH after that. We've lost two good men out of our lives this year already. Telephone calls later in the day were very encouraging. We keep on praying. Still the morning was productive and then we headed out to pay bills, have an early lunch (yes, Mexican), and go shopping. The stores were packed today. Fortunately, I didn't have an anxiety attack... I was very patient too... just bored with the waste of my time by people who are oblivious to anything except themselves. Perhaps the warm weather helped... it was over 70F. "That's what I like about the south!" I don't have any problem at all doing without snow this time of year. I wove ends on FOs this evening, and began a Wool-Ease scarf for my nephew-in-law. Inspried by this Twin Rib, I decided to shift the pattern every six rows for a slightly checkerboard effect. I made some calculations and settled on a 48 stitch width on size 9 needles for a 20 stitch by 24 row, 4"x4" gauge. Stumbled across this quiz on someone's blog: Glucose You are glucose. People feed off of you. You are sweet, caring, and a source of energy for everyone around you. You can inspire others with your creativity and depth, and you can keep people alive when in times of famine. People love you...or at least the way you taste. ( Which Biological Molecule Are You? brought to you by Quizilla



    Yup. That's what I'd have picked, glucose. Happy Solstice to All. LC

    Sunday, December 21, 2003

    FO's, WIP's & Birthdays

    I took a break this morning from the Fun Fur scarf I'm knitting for my son's girl friend (notice that is two words, not one), to cut out my 'harem' pants. I picked up some gold satin from the remant table at Hobby Lobby on Tuesday. Then I went back to the scarf; it should be finished tonight. I'm working it very strangely -- probably shouldn't even explain it, but I will when it is finished and I upload the photo. In the meantime, here's the pattern for the Tapered Scarf/Shawl I finished last evening for my eldest stepdaughter, Lisa, for Christmas. I used ONline's Linie 43 (4-50g balls -- though I had at least half of one ball left over) on size 15 needles. Loosely cast on 10 stitches. Knit 3 rows. Row 4: Slip the first stitch; *Increase, K2; repeat from * across row (13 stitches now on needle). Knit 3 rows. Row 8: Repeat Row 4 (17 stitches now on needle). Knit 5 rows. Row 14: Repeat Row 4 (23 stitches now on needle). Knit 15 rows. Row 30: Repeat Row 4, ending with an Increase (31 stitches now on the needle). Knit 20 rows. Row 51: Repeat Row 4 (41 stitches now on needle). Knit 20 rows. Row 72: Repeat Row 30 (54 stitches now on needle). Knit 40 rows. Row 113: Slip the first stitch; K1, K2tog; *K2, K2tog; repeat from * across row, ending with K2 (41 stitches now on needle). Knit 20 rows. Row 134: Slip the first stitch; *K2tog, K2; repeat from * across row (31 stitches now on the needle). Knit 20 rows. Row 155: Slip the first stitch; *K2tog, K2; repeat from * across row, ending with K2tog (23 stitches now on the needle). Knit 15 rows. Row 171: Repeat Row 155 (17 stitches now on the needle). Knit 5 rows. Row 177: Repeat Row 134 (13 stitches now on the needle). Knit 3 rows. Row 181: Repeat Row 134 (10 stitches now on the needle). Knit 3 rows. Cast off. Weave ends. Our newest kitty, Harley D'Nero, is two months old 'today.' When he was brought to us, having been abandoned and found crying in the bushes, his left eye was matted shut with mud, trash and infection. The vet estimated his age to be between three and four weeks at that time, so I selected October 21st as his birthday -- it is the birthday of my dearest friend from high school, Mary. He's giving the other family felines a run for it lately, and they have finally stopped (most of the) hissing at him. He dined on smoked turkey pickings and managed to nose into my cup of gingerale & orange juice! Since all the cats seem to be asleep, I think I'll hang the rest of the gold & silver balls on the tree and be done with it. Today my dad brought the poinsetta he'd placed in the church in Mom's memory. It's very beautiful. We may be in south Mississippi, but we have a fire in the fireplace today. It keeps the heater from running! LC

    Friday, December 19, 2003

    TGIF

    Oh, my aching back! Four and a half hours in a commercial truck with DH yesterday delivering cabinets. Yes, I got to knit, but I'm hurting today. Gee, I didn't hurt at all after my dance class, and now this. Toiling away on stepdaughter's scarf. Should finish it tomorrow. Otherwise being lazy: watching the tube & surfing eBay.

    Wednesday, December 17, 2003

    My Chauffeur

    The great thing about having (almost) grown children, is that they can drive when you are tired -- or want to KNIT! #1Son and I headed out with a long list today... we weren't totally successful, but we had a good day together, and were both amazed that the malls and stores were not very crowded. Today I did find both satin and chiffon for my costumes. Since we got home, I've been surfing eBay for instructions, patterns, and examples of harem pants & hip scarves. I picked up some 26-cent/yard (!) ribbon to do some embellishing on my stretch pants. I'd gotten white paint on them last year, but decided if I turned them inside out and embellished over the seam allowance they would be fine for class -- and make me feel a little more into the mood. Picked up a Yoga book (for warm-up/stretches) & also The Zen of Knitting. Met a knitter while looking at the books -- can't believe I didn't get her email or name! We cruised by the theatre before heading home; there were lots of folks out for the LOTR's opening day. DS said he'd go another day. Good boy. I'll go see Julia while my guys see LOTR... I'm content to read JRRT. LC

    Time's Flying! So am I

    Too much caffeine late Monday night kept me up until wee hours Tuesday morning, and then I didn't really sleep all that late, so, of course, by evening I was napping. A quick slip-out for Mexican and we were back home feeling very content. Now I'm up again, not able to sleep for having taken that nap. Oh, yes, and the iced tea. So, I'm pondering what have I acomplished. Got caught up on the KnitList digest, saw lots of nice eye-candy and learned a few things about elastic edges. Found some new free patterns/sites and made my first post to KL: why did my grandmother teach me to slip the first stitch of each row (or was it onlyl the first stitch of knit rows??) and then to go into the back of the stitch on the last stitch of each row??? "Met" a dancing knitter via email, and wrote my teacher to thank her for her kindness to me last night. I have finished several knitting projects (Christmas gifts), begun a few more, and totally ripped one big one apart and started over. I began with only a few stitches and am increasing to the adjusted width, hoping to eliminate the droopy corners. On the bright side, the yarn shows no distress. There was too much commotion tonight to work on that, so I kept on with the narrow scarf I began last night: two colors of Fun Fur (Hot Pink & Confetti) worked alternately on 11s. Son says it is "very Jenna." I'm not knitting it 'correctly' but it looks intersting. Will post a close-up photo. Off the needles is a Fun Fur (Tropical, Lion Brand) narrow scarf (two balls, size 11 needles, 15 stitches wide, straight knitting till I ran out of yarn) for my neice -- disgusted that I wasted so much yarn for fringe. What I had cut was too much, so I redid it with only one length per fringe instead of two. I just have to add some beads to the fringe now. What else.... oh, yes: two caps, each from one ball of Bernat's Boa (blue, purple), using the free pattern on the yarn lable. I like it because it just stretches out and stays there on your head without feeling tight. Spent much of last night and some tonight browsing the BD sites & eBay. Getting ideas about costuming and persona creation. Got four eBay packages off to the post this afternoon, too, so that's good. Would really be good if the rest of my stuff sells soon. Holy Sunrise, Batman! (that would be the GC variety, of course!) -- it's 5am, and I've got Christmas shopping to do tomorrow, errr, today... and maybe run #1Son to see LOTR:ROTK -- SCA will be there and there will be dancing. :D Oh, please, let me sleep well, but briefly, my angels!! LC

    Monday, December 15, 2003

    Shimmy shimmy

    It was a long day, but it ended on a wonderful note: I had my first Raks Sharki (commonly known as belly dancing) lesson. Other than feeling terribly uncoordinated, it went well. Teacher is wonderful, other students are so nice. Now I have to wait three weeks before I go back; no lessons over the holidays. Until then, I'll try to do lots of stretching so I'm more limber. These old bones and joints are pretty tight. I wonder how sore I will be tomorrow... I wonder more if this will aggravate or help my hip. DH, #1Son & I spent the time before class Christmas shopping, of course. I found 24 skeins of 100% virgin wool DMC Tapestry in the yarn clearance bin at Hobby Lobby: burgundy, navy and three shades of cream/off-white. Also 5 large balls of a thick 100% wool: black, navy, burgundy, & dark green. I think I'll try the Fuzzy Feet pattern as soon as I get my double-pointed needles from Clevenger Creations. The dance teacher showed us her harem pants, and how easy they were to make. I will keep my eyes open for satin (and chiffon for veil) as I remnant shop with #1Son for his LARP costuming. Too bad I wasn't watching for that today while we looked for fabric for his shirt. I had dug out my old FolkWear Patterns for him, so, of course, nothing he already had would work, thus we hit Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's, & Hancock Fabrics today. I had my knitting bag in the car and worked on Mandy's & Lisa's scarves; that's about all I managed to do today with all the running around. LC

    Saturday, December 13, 2003

    Numb Bums & Yum-yums

    Went to Jackson today for the monthly EGA (Embroiderer's Guild of America) meeting. I was late; we couldn't leave home until the storm had passed. Stopped for a soda on the way. I managed to dump a huge cup of fountain 7-Up on the floor. Fortunately not much splattered on me. I felt so bad that the clerk had to clean up after my mess. I'm such a clutz. Hubby, in his Santa Hat, of course, gave her both the girls a big candy cane. Funny thing about the meeting was that most of us were knitting! I finished Lisa's scarf on the drive up. During the meeting I seamed up the blue boa cap I finished a week or so ago using the free pattern on the yarn lable. I like it because it just stretches out and stays there on your head without feeling tight. We discussed what project to take on next. Looks like a canvaswork Petite Project called Spring Landscape. Not my favorite technique, but the group likes canvas so it's time we did one. Not enough time to kit it for January though, so Rissa will let us sample Boutis. The meeting broke up a bit early. Yummy cookies provided by Janet (Buckeyes, sugar cut-outs & some kind of powdered-sugar covered apricot/coconut one), and lively discourse all around, capped off with a delightful supper at Outback Steakhouse with our friends, Rissa & Ben. Best steak I've had in ages and a huge baked sweet potato! Word of warning: don't drink the water in Jackson. ;0 Knitted more on the way home on Mandy's Fun Fur scarf. I only stopped so I wouldn't run out of yarn before getting the fringes cut. Checked out the knitting books at BAM while waiting to go to supper. Celebrity scarves caught my eye. I love the one Daryl Hannah(?) did: wrapping the ribbon yarn twice around the needle every few rows and then dropping it on the return. Will have to try that with this skein of Patons Twister I bought. Also thumbed through a Christmas Stocking book, shaped like a stocking. Cute approach. Will watch for it on eBay or order online from BAM. Didn't buy either book though, just two magazines. To home in the misty rain to more of Food Network's holiday shows. BAM! The Christmas tree decorating is progressing in stages. Got the top bow and streamers (white & gold wired ribbons) done yesterday morning. Looks very nice to me so far. Took Lisa's scarf to my mirror and tried to see how it would look. HORRIBLE, is how!! The weight of all that yarn, and the large stitching (15s) has resulted in a piece that is twice the width I planned! It is more like a square than a rectangle. And the corners droop. Will NOT do, will not DO! I had the whole thing, 20+ hours, ripped out and the new first row cast on in less than 15 minutes, and have had to start over again already. How depressing. I just keep concentrating on what I think I needed to do to make it work. Needless to say, it will be much later when I go to bed. We have a house guest tonight, of the two-legged variety. LC

    Wednesday, December 10, 2003

    Hurry-scurry

    Frustrates me to no end when I can't seem to get away from the house when I plan!

    We didn't get off until noonish to run errands today, and, of course, the doctor's office was backed up. Took 40 minutes just to find out that I could see someone in two hours. Not quite time to run to NOLA for the LitterMaid, but we went anyway knowing the doctor was running an hour and a half behind -- and it wasn't *my* doctor I was supposed to see anyway. That added to my frustration level too. Then we got in heavy afternoon traffic. Oh joy.

    However, found the warehouse, picked up the new litter box and headed back (into traffic, hubby jokes). No time to stop to exchange the Clover Bamboo 15s I bought the other night. Maybe I will get to do it later in the week. Bad news was we were half an hour late; worse news was we hadn't eaten yet. Good news was I still only had to wait 30 minutes more. Better news was I did get to see MY doctor about the inflammation around my fingers from the acrylic overlays. He prescribed a strong steroid/anti-fungal cream -- expensive -- but it seems to be helping. Still unsure if I will try again with the acrylic, or move on to some other alternative.

    By the time we got my prescription and gathered up some groceries, it was dark. I did get way into the fourth ball of yarn on Lisa's scarf while on the road today! Yay! I may actually get it finished before Christmas -- won't get it mailed on time, knowing me though. Am anxious to start on her sister's hood. Have been searching a lot of websites looking for ideas and patterns. I have the Patons' Cha-Cha book of patterns coming from Oregon Trail Yarns, but I won't be making it in that yarn. I bought Bernat's Divine. It is really luscious. Didn't bother with the new litter box tonight.

    Tuesday, December 09, 2003

    Rio's Dancing Every Day!

    Perhaps an auspicious day to begin a BLOG: my dearest friend in all the world, my mother, passed away four years ago today.

     
     As usual on the anniversary of her death (and other days around and about it), I (imagined I) smelled cigarette smoke in the wee hours of the morning... she passed about 2:30 a.m., 12-09-1999.

    It has been cloudy all day, raining a bit now and then. I'm glad I put out new flowers at the cemetery for the holidays a few days ago. I'd burn a 24-hour candle if it weren't a city cemetery. Town 'father's might not like that. :P

    So... of course, I've been rather blue today. Had a quick call from my sister this a.m., before she left for work. Haven't talked to Dad though. Guess I should call... but what to say?

    On top of this, I am still disappointed from a futile attempt to get to a dancing class last night. Drove the hour+ to get there, was late in the first place, then couldn't find the place. Yes, there's always next week, or even next month. It just seemed very serendipitous that it worked out for last night (full moon, Mom's passing, the Ren Faire on Saturday, finding the instructor via the internet on Sunday, her e-mailing me promptly about the beginners class -- I was excited to be beginning something new).

    Life always comes down to choices. I chose to fiddle online yesterday afternoon, so I didn't leave until 2:15 p.m. Had no way to reach hubby to let him know, so I stopped by where he was working to tell him in person. Part of me wanted him to drive me; part of me wanted to do this alone. Then I chose to wander in Wal-Mart looking for 'exercise' clothes and other things... soon it was 5:15 and I hadn't gotten my nails done yet.

    Now, I know it takes a good while unless I walk in and there's no one there. I should have driven on to the class and been way early -- but I didn't. Went to the nail shop, and it was 6:15 p.m. when I was done. The drive I thought would be 25 minutes was actually 45 -- I was way late. It was dark, and the address was in a part of town with which I was unfamiliar. After driving up and down the street four times, seeing parked cars and lights on in one building, but being totally unsure and, for some reason, anxious about being alone, I headed home. Totally disappointed. Maybe mostly in myself for being so timid.

    Silver lining was, it was a lovely night for a drive. The moon was full and bright, I had good old rock 'n roll on the radio and almost no one else on the road. A pleasant surprise when I arrived home: hubby had made luscious spicy chili for supper. It turned out to be a good evening, except for the torment of my fingers reacting to the nail overlays.

    It gets worse every time. I was using cortaid like it was hand cream and finally had to down a couple of Benedryl -- which of course, really knocked me out! I slept all morning (after going to bed in the wee hours... something I've been out of the habit of doing lately, thankfully, but is typical for a night when my mind is centered on Mom). The fingers only itched a little through the day, but I just took some more Benedryl as the irritation is increasing again.

    I hope to stop by the doctor's tomorrow for him to take a quick look. I do hate to give up my nails. Then it's off to pick up the new Litter Maid box I bought off of eBay for our growing family of felines. Found a few Christmas presents today -- at the Dollar store -- after another wonderful meal at our favorite Mexican restaurant, El Mariachi's! Cute trousers for the grand-daughter & grand-niece, and a special goodie for my Beadie Secret Sister.

    It is way past time to knuckle-down and get organized for Christmas. The new, 9-foot, pre-lighted tree is assembled and in place, the ribbon trimmings are bought, but I just haven't been motivated to make the bow topper and streamers yet.

    Perhaps tomorrow. 'Til then (or later tonight).... LC