Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Patchwork Afghan

This is a very soft and cushy afghan and I don't know whether or not it can be called a baby blanket. When I bought the yarn, people kept saying what a lucky baby, but the pattern is for an afghan and not a blanket. I didn't have a baby in mind when I bought the yarn and when I set out to make a baby blanket with it, I didn't like it.

So I guess this isn't a baby blanket.
Unless someone buys it for their baby.

This was made with Bernat Softy Chunky and has stockinette, seed stitch, and cable squares. 3 different squares, 4 colors and it still came out in order. I don't know how it happened. It's very soft, but not overly warm so it might make a good ankle warmer. It will be placed for sale during the Pleasant Home sale next week and since it will be a very reasonably priced $30-$35, I know it is going to sell. The photo really doesn't do it justice. (I need to hone up on my skilz.)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Last Lecture

I just finished bawling like a baby. I just finished ready 'The Last Lecture' by Randy Pausch.
It's so simple and makes so much sense. And the reason it's a popular book is because we know it makes sense and yet we don't do what he says.

The tips on how to live your life are so breathtakingly simple and we don't give ourselves permission to follow them when we instinctively know what they are. I've always said for every new technology we create that brings us one step forward; it also comes with two steps back. We've created ourselves into too busy lives that leave little room for communication even though it supposed to give us greater contact.

I loved this book and right after I finished it and dried my tears, I got an email from someone I think is truly one of the most gentle, kindest souls I've ever met and I told myself to tell her that and I shook my head saying to myself I could never be that vulnerable. Then before I did this post, I made myself answer her email and tell her just that.

I'm going to take note of those tips and see how I can use them in whatever time I have left. Now that I am of a 'certain age' I know there are far less years ahead of me than there are behind and if I am aware of that, then I should be aware that I can make them wonderful for myself, my family and my community.

At the very least, I should give it a shot.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me..Happy Birthday to Me..There are winners in the contest..Happy Birthday to me!

It's my birthday and I am celebrating by announcing the two winners of the yarn giveaway.

The HB bought me knitting books for my birthday but they are still in the box unopened. I asked him if I could have one of the two days ago and he refused. My sister suggested I open them at midnight, but I was busy knitting a legwarmer and the HB was pouting because he doesn't want me to ask about presents until the day I'm supposed to get them. So there they sit.
(Don't worry, I will open them in a minute) but let's get on with the important stuff!!

The winners of the great yarn giveaway were selected by the HB at about 4 this morning before he went off to Menard's for the Black Friday rush.
And the two winners are:

Chelsea and Sue!! YEA!!!!

Send me an address and your box of yarn will be on the way!

Thanks so much to everyone who commented and stopped by. This was great fun. I have no doubt I will have yarn to do it again because I did buy some more yarn last week!! ( I needed it; I really did)

Hope your Thanksgiving was plentiful!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cute Little Boatneck Sweater

Yes, it's really that little. This is the cutest little infant sweater! Let me tell you, I had the front, back done and finished the sleeves t'other day so all I really had to do yesterday was to sew this puppy up.

Am I really smarter than a fifth grader? Because I didn't get the instructions on how they wanted this thing assembled. Now, this is not my first nor my second sweater so why I just didn't assemble it the way I had the others is beyond me. But I wanted to follow the designer's instruction but they didn't make any sense to me. So I did what I should have done..

I called Marilyn to read the instructions out loud to her to see if I was really as dense as I thought.

I wasn't. "Why do they want that sewn first? Just do it the way you think."
So I did. And about eleven last night I was doing the happy song:

"I have a sweater! I have a sweater! I sleeve upside down!"

What? Why are the stripes on one sleeve closer to the neck and on the other sleeve they're closer to the bottom? Somewhere a fifth grader is feeling quite vindicated.
Can I pass it off as a design feature? Should I just place it in the donate pile? Should I take the offending sleeve out and flip it over and reattach? I'll just donate it. No one will notice. I noticed and I don't notice anything. Ok, I'll take it out and redo it. Done.

"I have a sweater! I have a sweater! It's a cute sweater! Duke, let's take a walk to celebrate! I know it's midnight, but let's take a walk anyway." Duke is always up for a walk and so we did a midnight walk - it was only ten minutes, but it was a nice ten minutes.

And it's a sweater!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hurry, It's Almost Over

Simple Mom is doing a great giveaway for reusable bags but the contest ends in a few days...get on over to her blog and join the more than 700 people who have entered the contest. Hey someone has to win...why shouldn't it be you? (or me?)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's Your What?

So, I completed the HB's new scarf -putting my other wips on hold so he could be snuggly and warm. I thought I would put the scarf on his chair where he would see it in the morning when he got dressed. I was walking into the bedroom and he met me at the door because he was going to the bathroom. I told him his scarf was done and I was putting it on the chair.
When he came back to bed he said, "Did you say my scarf was done?'
"Wow. Thanks, babe."
Fast forward a few hours later when he's walking into the house from work. (He works from 5am to 9am because that's what you do after you retire.)
"How's the scarf?'
"It's upstairs."
"You didn't use it?"
"Oh no. That's my dress scarf."

Is your face looking now like my face looked then? Somewhere between what the___ and huh?

"It's your what?"
"My dress scarf for Sundays."
"Does it get cold only on Sundays?'
"What are you using on those days?'
"Just my coat."

There's not a chapter for this in Men For Dummies. I don't know what else to say.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A New Scarf for the Old HB

So, the HB wanted a plain, black scarf. No special stitches, no patterns, I couldn't even add just a touch of brown. A plain, black scarf.

I didn't want to knit that.

So, I crocheted it instead. I haven't done much crochet lately and there was a time I prefered crochet to knitting. I'm crocheting one of the wips and decided I would crochet his scarf. I just finished a few moments ago while watching Pride and Prejudice on my DVR. (Along with some episodes of Knitty Gritty and Needle Arts Studio.) He hasn't seen it yet. I will leave it on his chair so he will see it in a few hours when he wakes up. And he'll need it. Winter has begun in Chi-town and it's a little nippy out there at 4:30 in the morning when he leaves.

So, this is all single crochet (except for one row of double crochet I threw in just to be obstinate.) Used all of the skein of "I Love This Yarn" from Hobby Lobby. I do love this yarn. It's cushy and soft. And knit up pretty cleanly - though I did run into a knot where they joined some yarn. No big deal, it got lost in the scarf somewhere.

He told me he would probably find his scarf after I made this one. No matter, I told him he would have an option between the black scarf and the black scarf.

What a nice wife he has. And the stash is one skein lighter.
Y'all know I'm gearing up to go shopping, right?

Monday, November 17, 2008

What Goes Around

The H-B has been bumbling around for a few days grumbling because he cannot find his winter scarf. It was there one moment and gone the next and he doesn't know where he put it. It's not in his car. It's not in my car. It's not at his mom's condo. It's lost.

After a few days of this, I spoke up (well, the fun was gone for me so I had to move on)
"Would you like me to make you a scarf?" (While thinking - you have a wife who knits, you could have had a scarf an hour after you lost the first one.)

"Did you make the last one?" (Hmmm, couldn't tell if he was being sarcastic or not, but I think not, just surly.)

"No, but does it matter? Do you think it was lost because it might or might not have been homemade?" (Definately sarcastic)

"No." (Grumble, grumble. Open closet door for the umpteenth time, close closet door with no scarf)

"So, would you like me to make you a scarf?'

"Yeah, why not?'

"Would you like another black one?"


"I will check and see what black yarn I have in my stash."

"There's some in that box."

That box? "You mean in the box of yarn you're making me give away? I'm pretty sure I have more black yarn that won't turn me into a false advertiser. Would you like a scarf or a cowl?"

"A scarf."

Man, how I wish I didn't have those other skeins of black yarn in the upstairs stash. I could have turned that into a legitimate reason to shop.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Upstairs Stash

I've been working away on my wip's. (I started the cutest little baby sweater last night and it's almost done already. It's for a newborn and it's adorable!) I needed to go through the stash to see if I could find some more of the blue yarn I need for another project - and since we're in the midst of our yarn giveaway and I've been talking about the stash, I thought it might be interesting to show it.

This is the upstairs stash - most of it. That's right, there's an upstairs stash, a stash on the main floor and a stash in the basement. What you don't see are the drawers in the dresser in the bedroom that have yarn in them. The yarn on the top are some of the skeins going into the second box of yarn I'll be giving away. There's nine skeins there and more to be added from the other stash points. This mix of yarn can be best described as vintage cuz there are some oldies in there but there's also some Lion brand cupcake, some bernat softee chunky and lion brand jiffy. I don't know what else will make it in there, but something will by the 28th. So keep those comments coming and tell your friends about it - you may not win it, but they could and then you can guilt them into sharing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What A Wonderful (Knitting) World

Who knew there was so much out there in the blogosphere that has a knitting theme?
In addition to my giveaway; there one for a book on Stephanie's Written Word. You can name a colorway on Knit Lunabud Knit and you can find out about all kinds of contests on WiKnit.

When Marilyn and I started StitchCraft, we thought we would just get together with some other knitters/crafters at church and gab while knitting. Now, we are well on our way to making $2000 for the mission...the mission we didn't have any idea we would get into.

And I've met all you wonderful folks....that's the great thing. Who knew it would be one of those things where you get more than you give? Wow, what a great community to belong to.

So listen, hubby-bubby wasn't too keen on the box of yarn. He looked at it and said: "It's pretty small and it doesn't make a dent." I decided to ignore that comment until I looked into another storage bin that was just sitting in my office. I thought it had office supplies. It is full of...sigh....yarn. Man, when he's right, he's not gonna be around to hear me admit it.

I will be giving away two boxes of yarn to two different winners.

Drat that man.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Announcing the Great Yarn Give Away!!

Ok, maybe not great...but certainly not bad yarn give away.
Here's the deal. I have 13 boxes of yarn and I don't mean small boxes. I mean storage boxes, the kind you have to get a guy at K-Mart to pull down off the shelves. I have nearly 100lbs of yarn. It has taken over the house. So the box you see here is full of yarn from top to the bottom and this is the actual box with the actual yarn that can and will go to one of you.

To let you know: I don't do expensive yarn see The Great Yarn Debate so this is garden fare yarn some of it is sport weight, some chunky, most is worsted. Colors are all over the map: black, white, blue, different wines and red, pink, green, variegated.

There's Paton's Classic merino, Paton's Canadiana, Red Heart, Lion Brand Wool-Ease and Jiffy, Sensations boucle and mohair, Bernat's Softee Chunky and some that I don't remember the brand names.

There's at least a dozen skeins. There's enough for booties, hats, even a scarf or two.

So How Do You Get It?
Simple: you have to do 2 comments. One on any post in the blog and the other on this post to let me know which post your comment is on. In others words; say I am Anita Purl (get it, I need a purl? Oh, I crack me up.) I make a comment on 'The Head 2 Toe Project" (December 2007) and I come back to this post and say: Anita Purl: The Head 2 Toe Project.

That's it - I would be entered in my own contest. Wouldn't it be a hoot if I won?

Next, every one who comments will have their names placed in a hat and the hubby-bubby will select the winner. The winner will be selected and announced on November 28, 2008 (which happens to be my birthday.) The winner will give me an address to send the goods and off they go. Now my h-b would prefer I keep this box and give away the rest, but that's not gonna happen.

That's the whole deal. Trust me, if this goes well, there's more than enough yarn for me to do this again in May (to celebrate my wedding anniversary!)

Happy posting!

No, it doesn't count if you've commented before - you have to do a fresh one!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Two Down and More to Go

These pics don't do the projects justice. There are three colors in the afghan: orange, red and fire red and the shawl is a lilac color. I am considering retaking the pics with the items outside. I may do that sometime in the morning.
One of the things that happens when you have a bunch of wips on the needle and you alternate working them day by day - they tend to be completed in little sets or groups. These were done within a day of each other. I don't remember how the rest will shake out, but my guess is they will all be done within a week of each other. It's just how to goes. Yep, I will retake the pics. This is what I get from 3 in the morning.

I have no idea which one I will be working on next. I do know I got within a few cast off stitches before deciding there was a blanket I didn't like so it will be frogged and redone. Maybe I will start on that.

Well, it's late...and early. I need to get some sleep before getting up and doing some work. I'll get the new and improved pics up asap.

By the way - this is my 100th post!! I am going to use it to announce a yarn giveaway. I have to finish up the details and then I will do a formal announcement, but it's a chance to give away some yarn. (In case you don't have a problem receiving inexpensive yarn!)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Great Yarn Debate

I picked up knitting again after decades of not thinking about it because a friend and I decided we 'needed' to have a knitting group at church. There was no mission component or selling component; we were just knitting.

Then we had all this stuff and had to decide what to do with it - so the selling and the mission parts came in. This, of course, required the need to purchase more yarn.

I cannot wrap my mind around paying $12 for a skein of yarn. I've seen it. I've even touched it. I have trouble getting my mind around $10 for a skein of yarn. It could be because most of the knitting I do is for sale or to give away and the more expensive the yarn, the more care it requires. The items we give away need to have a wash and wear care tag because a lot of them are given to the homeless, who don't carry Wool-Lite with them and may not be able to launder it for a while.

Or they are given to people who are shut in who also don't have the inclination to 'lay it flat to dry'.

We price our items according to the yarn we use. (I have the task of pricing items for our sales) and we do not charge for the labor because that's the fun part and the reason we come together. The gathering is the mission - the items we create are an extension and the fruits of the mission. So we don't charge for the coming together or knitting when we're alone because we are connected through the group. So, I charge by finding out what yarn people have used and calculating from there the cost to make another blanket, hat, etc. plus and additional cost to help pay it forward and donate items to others.

A couple of things happen: some really labor intensive item can sell for a really inexpensive price because though the pattern was complicated, the knitter used yarn that was only $2.50 a skein. (Believe me, I've had this discussion with knitters who've said: "But it was a complicated pattern!" to which I have responded: "And that's your reward!")

We also get some rather expensive items. Use 12 skeins of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick and the lowest price charged for an afghan is $110. We have items like that and they are beautiful and we can display them as high end items. Whether they will sell at the last show of the year remains to be seen. If they do not sell, we will have to reduce the price, of course, so someone will want to walk away with it by the end of the week. You can see the $110 afghan here.

I was in Hobby Lobby the other day and was looking for a yarn that had slubs and bumps and I found one. It was so soft and so pretty and had about 90 yarns to the skein and I figured I would need maybe 8 or so to do a shawl. I looked at the price -$11.95. Put it back. Sigh.

Is there something wrong with me? I just can't see it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

What A Weekend!

We had our fall sale this weekend and boy, was it a success! I didn't get to leave the table to have any of the pancakes they sell at the pancake breakfast and at the end of the morning, we sold $663.00 of knit goods and an additional $180 in trinkets! Not bad for a day's work. Actually, it's pretty great considering that day only lasts four hours.

I know there were some people walking around taking pictures, but I wasn't one of them. It's also hard to say what the big sellers were. We do keep track of the sales and a cursory glance says the blankets/afghans and hats and scarves were big this year. I know a few of the things I made were purchased. What didn't sell as well were the prayer shawls - we sold a ton of them in the spring but only a handful on Saturday. For the first time, we held the sale over to Sunday and picked up more than $100 in that short hour after church.

I wish I had taken a picture of the room (I need to remember my phone is also a camera) we changed that parlor into a market place and we had sales people on the floor who helped bag and carry - we were a regular little bazaar.

We have one more sale this December at Pleasant Home. During last year's sale, we were the top sellers with a little over $500 for the entire week - for some reason, business was really slow. We will be there again and if we can do another $500, we would count ourselves as being very well pleased. If you happen to be in the Chicago area, come to the Pleasant Home Holiday sale from December 8 - 13. There are a diverse group of artisans and sellers and the house is a historical treasure. We'll be in the living room sitting at a table valued at $250,000. (We pray every day that we won't harm it in any way!)


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