Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Cushy Pillow

This is Amare and he is looking at my cushion. I don't think I've made a pillow quite this big and I must say I like it a great deal.

It's hard to believe we are about to leave this year and go into another one. I have lost friends and family this year and I have met new friends as well. Such is the cycle of life and we must all experience it.

The surprise of the year for me is how doing something like knitting can be a solitary and social thing. I hardly knit anything for myself and yet, make sure I knit every day because it has redemptive value for my soul. Through knitting I have made new friends in person and online (thanks to you all) and I have discovered a new way to serve my community and humanity.

I have also turned my house into a yarn barn...but that's a whole other entry.

So, I am looking forward to the new year with anticipation of where this craft/blessing/calling will take me. And I am curious to see where it will take you. There's inspiration out there and you have provided me with some. Knitting is art, music and sculpture all in one. We're lucky - you and I - to be possessed by it.

Monday, December 29, 2008

I'd Like to Thank the Academy...

This message appeared in my Ravelry mailbox:

"1:23 PM
Request to feature your photo: Very Thick - Not So Quick Afghan
Sent at 8:20 AM Yesterday

We’d like to feature your photo on the Ravelry page for Triple Wave Afghan by Martingale & Company."

I'm so farklemt. That would be 'choked up' for those who do not speak Yiddish. One of my favorite afghans will be the poster child for the Triple Wave afghan on Ravelry. This is enough to make one proud and humble all at the same time. I don't know if it's really a big deal but it feels like a big deal. I went over to Ravelry and did a search on Triple Wave and there she baby!

Excuse me while I get a little misty...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Move Over Aristotle

So, there I was, playing on Sweet Knittalicious' blog when I found the quiz. Not one to pass up a quiz when she sees it; I decided to see what role I did play and whether or not it rang true of me.

You Are the Philosopher

You love thinking things over and developing theories.
Learning is very important to you, and you pursue knowledge relentlessly.
You love to talk about the things you know, often in more detail than people would like to hear.
And you know a lot! You're always taking on new subjects, interests, and hobbies.
You are at your best when you are left alone to ponder your newest ideas and experiments.
You tend to withdraw from environments that are loud, contentious, or passionate.

I'm sure I do talk with greater details than some folks want to know (have you read some of my posts?!) Not sure I withdraw from loud, contentious or passionate environments - I'm more likely to get a bag of popcorn and watch the show!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Well, Merry Christmas

Whew! The Christmas Eve service is over and it was very nice. I didn't get to the sound engineer quickly enough to grab the CD last night, so I will try and get it Sunday. Music is always an important part of the services, but even more so at Christmas. We sang a lot. 'O Holy Night' went well. Even my choir director said it was quite lovely! I'm somewhere in the back row. This was from last year's service and I don't think it was Christmas Eve, but it was around that time.

Dinner and the family was fun. This was the HB's year to play Santa and he did a very nice job of it.
And the Christmas gifts were cool: a new necklace and a shawl, gift certificates for dinners, a jar of marmalade (reminded me of my mother-in-law), theatre tickets (from Marilyn), Irish Creme - which I told the HB we should add to coffee because that's the only way I will drink coffee
a John Legend (cute!) CD and five books from the HB:
Cables - Mittens, Hats and Scarves
How to Select Color Palettes for knitting
Knit to be Square
Picture Perfect Knits
Knitted Afghans and Pillows

The habit is enabled for at least another year! We're off to church to help serve lunch. I hope your Christmas Day is blessed and restful and will begin your renewal for the New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I've been staying up all night - literally going to bed later than my normal 2am; I've been going at 3 to 4 in the morning because I am excited about the new venture in my head where writing and knitting can combine and I can branch off into another area where passion lies and earn a living without ever walking back into corporate America.

This lead me to venture outside in the snowy, cold weather to purchase something I would never have purchased if it wasn't for the dream.

I bought this:
It is a steamer. A portable steamer, to be exact. A Sharper Image portable steamer because I'm classy! Now understand, I don't block. I never liked to block. Marilyn blocks. She says the least I should do is block seams. Marilyn blocks everything. I think she blocks yarn labels. But not me. I avoid it like a cheap plague. But something came inside my head and said. "If you are going to sell homemade goods, you should make sure they are homemade and not handmade."


That would mean getting out the iron and the ironing board and trying to figure out how the iron makes steam (cuz I don't iron, either) and then it hit me this morning: get a portable steamer and you won't need the ironing board or the iron. You can pin down blocks on the press board you have and the bigger items on the huge beach towels, steam those puppies, let em dry and call it a good day. It also automatically disinfects and makes em smell cleaner. It's a trifecta!

I'm friggin' brilliant.

I have a block afghan wip. I have three strips of five blocks each already sewn together. I am thinking of undoing them and blocking the squares. I am also thinking of blocking the strips themselves and then blocking the rest of the squares as they are made. I think I will opt for that - excited I am, but I'm not totally insane.

I brought my steamer home and showed the HB - he does ironing every week even though he's retired. I thought he would be totally underwhelmed. He looked at it and said, "Hey, I wonder if I can use that on my cotton shirts?"

I flipped the box over and showed him the picture of someone doing a shirt. "Nice." he said.

I do believe somewhere an angel got his wings.

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's Christmas Week

Ok, so there won't be hats for everyone this Christmas. I forgot just what a hectic schedule I have this week. But that doesn't mean there weren't hats made.
I did manage to get a few knit up, but since they aren't going to anyone in particular, I actually started playing with the idea of doing an Esty shop.
I went onto the site and looked it up, and by cracky, I think I will do it. I've set up another blog to load up some product (of which these two hats will be part) and I've registered my shop on the site. I talked to God about it and other than reminding me of how I get these ideas and then lose my attention, He seemed to think this was something I could do if I managed to deal with the aforementioned attention problem. And I think I can do that since I'm always knitting and I head up the sales we do and since it requires writing, it pulls all my stuff into one place. But hats aren't the only things that will be in store. There will be afghans, blankets, pillows, etc. like this feather an fan afghan I just finished.

Other than that, getting ready for Christmas meant singing rehearsals. I've done a solo on Christmas Eve every year for the past six years. This year I will be returning to my mother's favorite, 'O Holy Night' I'm a first soprano and that means hitting the B flat. It's a really beautiful song and our music director, Michael, plays it wonderfully. It's very majestic. If I can remember to grab the recording, I'll try and put it up - cuz, of course, you'll all want to hear it!!

I'll be spending Christmas morning in bed while the HB goes to his church for his service, then he'll come back home and we will open presents (He bought me five knitting related books and 1 CD. I bought him some baguette pans and a stand mixer - well, it's what he wanted!) and then we are heading off to my church to help serve lunch to some of the homeless.

In case I don't get to the computer - let me say to you all how happy I am to know you. It is a blessing to share the love of our craft with you and I enjoy reading your blogs as well. I wish you all a safe, blessed and fulfilling Christmas season and a wonderful New Year.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


This number has been appearing on the Caller ID for the past several days. We know people in Las Vegas, but certainly not well enough for them to call us but still we answered the phone just in case.

It was that annoying company that calls to tell you that you have a $500 credit for a trip to Florida you've never taken and they would like to book the trip so that money doesn't go to waste. They have called under several different numbers and each time I have asked them to take me off their call list. They take me off the list for that particular number and just send me to a different number. I hung up on them and they called back again today. The conversation went something like this:

"May I speak to the HB?"
"You can speak to me."
"Are you Mrs. HB?"
"My name is Lashandra and I am calling because you have a $500 credit on a Florida vacation you never took and we'd like to book a trip so you can use it."
"We've taken all the Florida vacations we've booked. I'm pretty sure we didn't book one."
"We show you have the $500 credit for the trip and the only way you can have it is if you booked a vacation or time share and you never took the trip."
"I see."
"So, would you like to use the credit?"
"No, send me my money back."
Pause. "I'm sorry?"
"Send me my money back. We're not interested in booking a trip, so we would like to have our money back."
"You said you never booked the trip."
"But you said I did. You said the only way I would have a credit is if I booked a trip or time share and didn't take it. So since you say I have the credit, I must be wrong in saying we've taken all our trips. So send me my money back."
"You can only get the money if you take the trip."
"Says who? It's my money so give it back."
"Would you like to forfeit the $500?"
"In this economy? I want my money. Hello?"

It's five minutes I'll never get back. But it sure was fun.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mad Hatting - Part 2

So, I've already done the first hat and I have another one on the needles when I told the HB what I was up to. "I'm not really into hats."

Like that matters.

He said he'd rather have a scarf. I gave him a scarf a few weeks ago and now he has put a cramp in my knitting mojo. Should I make a combination of hats and scarves? Could it be that others of the male persuasion will not be into hats? Could it be some females might not want a hat because it doesn't match the coat, dress, hair style?

Who really cares? It's a a gift, dangit. It's the start of a tradition. A hat is something you don't have to wear to the office or the movies. You can pull that sucker out on a day like today where the weather is cold and your car needs to be cleaned off. A nice warm hat can come in handy for something like that. It can come in handy when you need to go to the store and you don't want to comb out that mob that some folks call hair and it will hide it nicely.

It's the thing one gets and compares it with the ones the others got and then you start to trade for the color you want all the while knowing it's going to wind up in the bottom of a dresser drawer until that cold snap hits and then you don't care if someone see you in an orange and green hat with a big, old pom-pom on it cuz you will be warm! And maybe Aunt Bev wasn't all that crazy when she made you all hats.

That's what the giving spirit is all about.

No, the mojo is getting a little of his own back. He will not be second-guessed. The hat making will continue and we might not get them all done by Christmas and no one will get anything, but it will be a good start to the hat project or maybe I will open a store on Etsy.

But the madness goes on.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mad Hatting

I took a peek at the calendar. Christmas is next week. It is next Thursday. We celebrate with HB's familia on Christmas Eve. I go to my own church and join them at about 9:30pm. They've already eaten and they are waiting for me to come. I will arrive and I will eat a quick dinner and then Santa will arrive and we will pass out presents.

My mother-in-law was a knitter and crocheter and she made booties. At the Thanksgiving dinner at my B-I-L's house, he said I should pick up the tradition of making booties for everyone.

That is so not going to happen. I don't knit booties or socks. Haven't tried them. Have no urge to try them. Never been tempted to review a pattern. I don't even think long enough about making them to reject the idea of making them.

However, one week out of the family get together, I have the urge to make hats for everyone...and get this; I'm thinking of color-coding:
Purple for Joe & me (2)
Green for his sister and her family (8 - doesn't include the grandchildren)
Blue for his brother and his family (9 - doesn't include the grandchildren)
Yes, I am thinking I will actually begin to knit 20 hats and have them done by next week.

I am thinking a quick pattern with a simple stitch. I am actually thinking of reviewing hat patterns and getting started this evening and working on nothing else until they are all done so I can wrap them and the HB can take them to the gathering.

I'm not currently on medication, but I'm thinking I should start taking...something.'s a new disease and I fear I may have it. Go ask Alice.
Talk me out of this!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


During the year, StitchCraft has three sales. The spring and fall Pancake Breakfast and Bazaar and the Pleasant Home Holiday Sale. These are the fundraisers for our group. Monday was the last day for the Pleasant Home sale and I thought it would be fun to see what items I've made in 2008 that sold.

There's this friendly competition that goes on. We are curious to see what gets sold. We all have something we think people will punch each other out to get and we are anxious to see when it goes. For me, certain afghans are like children: I raise them to send them out in the world, and when they walk off in the arms of someone else, I want to cry. And when they hang around home too long, I wonder why they're still there.

The funny thing is: you never know what will sell. Last year, we ran out of prayer shawls, this year we've sold only a few. Hats and scarves went like pancakes in May and this winter, a bunch of them are sitting on the table lonely and waiting. At the Pleasant Home Sale, the first thing we sold was the doggy sweater and right after someone bought it, someone else came in asking for one.

We don't have rules about what to make in our group. People make whatever they feel like making. After all, the group was made for people to get together and knit. We didn't start out with the intent of selling anything. (That's also why we don't charge for labor.) I will put out a call when we've run low on things or when someone makes a request for the group to make hats for preemies, but other than that, the women of the group knit what they feel like knitting. I think that might be one of the reasons for our success (and we are successful) - our inventory changes with a planned randomness.

We've made some new connections! one of the things we look to do is connect with community organizations and use our craft as a way of helping locally. One of the other vendors at the sale is a Senior Citizen organization looking for knitters. It seems they have this over flowing stash of yarn ( you know I had to stop myself from drooling, right?) and they are looking for folks to come in and knit with their members and use it up. How could I possibly refuse such a need? It will provide the chance for the seniors to use their stash to either sell at one of our markets with the money going back to them and also to donate to the other connection we made.

The Infant Welfare Society was doing their annual meet with Santa. The Executive Director stopped by my table and mentioned they worked with a knit group in Michigan who gave all the kids hats last year. The group disbanded and the children were really disappointed not to get hats. I made an executive decision on my own and linked us to the group to get hats to the kids for the 2009 Christmas season. I seeing a bit of synergy..if we can get the seniors to make hats for the babies and children, I'm seeing a full circle.

I'm not quite sure how long this latest knitting craze thing will last, but I don't think we're a part of that anyway. It wasn't until we formed the group and I started looking into things that I found out knitting was so hot. My guess, is that it probably was also warm but more people know about it. It doesn't really matter - we do what we do because we love doing it and we've found a way to make that work for the transformation of the world. That's always hot!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Bon- Bon Cape from 'After Dark'

Because there is more to life than the latest scandal (and trust me, there is more to say on that) I have actually finished a project!

Here's the cape from After Knits by Jil Eaton. I tried it on my nephew's daughter who proudly told me she was too and it was a little too big. So, I'm guessing this will fit a 3 year old nicely.

Megan's mom asked me to make one in her size and I just might do that. This was a pretty quick knit. I think I worked on it for two knitting sessions which means if it were the only thing I was working on, it could have been done in a day. I blocked the heck out of the hemline and still it rolls, but I learned how to bobbles!

It was made with Red Heart Super Saver in Watercolor. It's a little rough, but should soften up. I believe I used number 9 needles, though it could have been 8. I added the pom-pom because I just like making them and will use them on anything I can. This will go right over to the last few days of the sale at Pleasant Home. (We didn't sell anything yesterday, but I believe we have already made what was my goal!) We're also doing the Sing-Along Messiah this afternoon, so I have to get a move on back to church!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Just when you're ready to turn off the t and v and get away from the political scandal, comes this bit of news: one of the people talked about in the sale of the senate seat is Jesse Jackson, Jr. He is the person referred to in the transcripts as Senate candidate #5 prompting some area newspapers to print the headline JACKSON 5 (because newspapers in this area are clever like that.)

So, what's a young congressman to do? Why stand in front of a camera and say, "It's impossible that I or someone on my staff would have that kind of discussion with the Governor." and then right after, let it be discovered you indeed spoke with Blagojevich about the seat.

I am left to decide if the only thing more stupid than selling a senate seat is trying to buy it.

Is Triple J through? He's not getting the Senate seat, that's for sure. His wife is a Chicago alderman and has been touted as someone to watch. She's bright, independent and isn't afraid to stand up to Daley - so they say. You know in the privacy of their home she walked up behind him and slapped him in the back of the head. Me? I would slapped him across the face cuz I wouldn't care if he saw me coming.

In the meantime, I will tell you about the Pleasant Home Holiday sale and I just finished the cutest little caplet for a little girl. I'll get to the pics and posts in a day or so. Now, if I can just watch the t and v and not trip over an Illinois politician.

Dang, there's another one.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

You, Too, Can Be A US Senator

I have been under no illusion that Illinois politics is a clean business. After all, four of the last eight governors have been to prison and we have the Daley family. Even having the President-elect from Illinois isn't enough to clean up our reputation (and being from Illinois, and although a great many of my fellow citizens won't admit it - Obama got a cake walk from the Illinois media.)

Our Governor was arrested yesterday morning (I guess this could make five of nine) in his home. He has been under investigation for the past five years of his eight years in office. He was arrested because he was bartering the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama. Caught him on tape. His wife, too. Caught going over several scenarios of who wanted the seat and what could be gotten in exchange for it.

Federal prosecutor Pat Fitzgerald said they acted quickly to arrest Blagojevich before he could appoint someone to the Senate seat and before he could act on withholding funds from Children's Memorial Hospital because they did not make a contribution to his campaign and before he could coerce the Chicago Tribune to fire members of the editorial board because they did not write favorably about him.

After details of his arrest were made known, the Senate seat appeared on Ebay. Well, why not?
One of the controversial things this governor has done is to live in Chicago as opposed to living in the mansion in Springfield. He's about ten miles from my house. Short enough for me to want to drive over and say 'What the hell....we just had a governor sent off to prison. Not one, but two of your cronies were arrested, tried and convicted. The only thing the Democrats and Republicans can agree on in this state is that they are all open to bribes, and just the day before yesterday, you bragged that it didn't matter if people taped you; everything you said was lawful. 'Let them tape me." you said. Mr. Governor, Gary Hart on line three.'

Is this going to touch the President-elect? I imagine some will try considering there was a connection between him and one of the governor's cronies though it was largely dismissed during the campaign. But we will have to wait and see. There was talk on the transcripts that a deal could possibly be made with the President-elect about the seat but that 's all it could be. Talk. I wouldn't be surprised either way. Which is pretty sad. I should still have the option of being shocked by things our elected officials do.

At this point, I'd settle for not being embarrassed.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Knitting Books - Or How The HB is an Enabler!

As much as the HB sighs over the yarn, needles and the time I spend knitting; he is not very good at pulling me away from my passion. In fact, he enables the addiction by purchasing knitting related items every time I ask.

So, sometime in October I was surfing the web when I came across Knit-Picks 40% book sale. Not being one to pass up the opportunity, I made a list of the books I wanted and put them on the HB's desk with a note saying: for my birthday and Christmas.

My birthday was the day after Thanksgiving and he handed a box.
A small box.

I didn't get all the books on the list obviously, but I did say birthday and Christmas so I imagine he split the list in two.(Well, there were about a dozen books on the list, so I'm expecting Christmas to be really big!) Here's what I got for my birthday:

The Prayer Shawl Companion is full of knit only prayer shawls and is a lovely book with some interesting patterns that go from beginner to intermediate. I didn't see anything in there that was scary.

Color Sense is a really good book for learning how to pull colors together. I am not very good at combining colors and this comes with a nice color wheel that explains it all nicely.

Natural Dyeing wasn't anything I expected. It talks about making dyes out of natural substances (well, that I expected) but some of those substances are: rhubarb, onions, cabbage and avocados. Who knew? It really got me thinking. I didn't have much luck dyeing with Kool-Aid; everything came out orange. But dyeing with fruits, veggies and herbs/spices may prove to be great fun. I am going to start experimenting.

The other books on the list are all pattern related so I am hoping has ordered them and has them stashed away for Christmas morning.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

So, What's The Story With Duke?

Here's what happened with Duke:

On October 30, 2006 I was in the choir loft at church when I felt a tightening in my chest. It was like a vise grip. Of course I thought to myself, "heart attack" except my heart rate was normal, no sweats, no light-headedness. I made it through church all right and I went home to watch the Bears game.

During the Bears game, the pain got really bad. It was so bad it almost knocked me off the sofa onto the floor. Joe was outside and I couldn't call to him so I managed to get myself over to the table where there was a bottle of aspirin and I took an aspirin thinking again, 'heart attack.' The pain eased a little, but it didn't go away and again, no other symptoms. I watched the rest of the game. (Which the Bears lost.)

The rest of the day, the pain stayed constant though I was functioning somewhat normally. Joe did come in and I told him about it and I said to him that if the pain kept me from sleeping we would go to the emergency room because the ER would be filled with Sunday night crazies, the best time to go would be in the early morning. (I was very confident there was no heart attack, however, pneumonia was now a thought.) So, at three in the morning, we went off to the ER and by now, I was feeling the pain and also a little 'off'.

Stick with me, we're getting to the dog.

The ER was empty so I was able to go right into the triage area where the attendant was doing my vitals. Blood pressure was normal, heart rate was about 80 (which is a little fast for me) and my temp was 99. I told him that 99 was high for me because my normal temp is below 98.6. Which he fluffed off with some trite explanation. But it had me worried. They put me in a room to run the EKG and all the other things they run when they think you're having a heart attack and it all came back normal. In the meantime, I told the nurse I was freezing. She thought it was because it was a cool morning so she wrapped me in a blanket while I was waiting for some other test. The blanket didn't help. I told her I was getting really cold. (I had been in the ER for about an hour.) She decided to take my temperature.


She walked over to the attending physician who said, "Her EKG and everything else is normal." The nurse said, "She has a temperature of 102." He said, "Wow, that's interesting. Let's get her lungs X-rayed, maybe pneumonia." (You think?)

X-rays came back showing no pneumonia, but there was a little spot on my lungs they couldn't figure out. So, they decided to send me for a CT. (Which looks like a big donut.) So, while I was there, I asked the administrator if the room was unusually cold and she said it was a little cool but not cold. I was freezing again.

I was returned to my ER cubicle and told the nurse I was freezing even more than before and I was feeling horrible. She took my temp again. (Two hours in the ER)

104. She rushed to find the doctor and tell him. He said, "Call ICU, we need to get her up there. All her tests are normal. I don't know what's causing the fever."

Of course, the rooms in ICU were all filled so my hubby and I stayed in the ER until they kicked someone out up there and then they took me up and put me in a room. Quarantined. Everyone had to wear a mask and be covered before they could enter. Including the HB who was already as exposed as anyone could be.

I'm getting to the dog.

The fever took a hold of me and here's the weird thing: I could still respond to people but there was music in my head. If someone said anything that was close to a song lyric, that song started to play in my head. There was gospel music, rock music, folk music, songs I didn't like from the 70's, songs I didn't even know I knew. Every single note and every lyric and the last song would play over and over in my head until someone said something that triggered a new song. I couldn't hear my voice - everything was a song (lyrics and music). My head was a contemporary/R&B/Gospel/Broadway music station.

After around the clock blood drawing and blood tests and two days in the ICU, three doctors came in to tell me what they suspected: Bug in my blood. That's what one doctor called it.
"Is that the medical term?"
"That's what we're calling it. We're trying different antibiotics to knock it out. We're looking to see what caused the infection."

I called my sister the nurse. "Yeah, they tell you it Bugs in the blood."
"You mean I have blood poisoning?'

I was in the hospital for a week. Three days in intensive care. They wanted to wait until my fever broke to move to the general hospital. (No pun intended.) I knew my fever broke on day three when I woke up and the music was gone. (With no disrespect to Don Maclean; I was happy the day the music died.)

I had to ask my overnight nurse what I had to get a straight answer because I figured she wasn't included in the shroud of secrecy surrounding the medical term for what I had. And she wasn't - she spilled like an over soaked sponge.

"You have sepsis. There was strep in your system and instead of going to your throat it got in your blood."
Oh, the condition that's 70-90% fatal. That explains the pain, the low blood pressure and the songs in my head and the different antibiotics.

I left the hospital cured of sepsis (but with a weakened immune system). My doctor also said I was a diabetic -(I tried to explain to him I had been drinking an inordinate amount of grape juice the whole week before and that's why my sugar level was up, but he would have none of it. So even though my last few blood levels have been below 5; a diabetic I remain.) and I came out 30 pounds lighter.

And with a bill of $60,000. But through the magic of insurance, my out of pocket was about $3200. (This is important to remember.)

The HB protested over the bill (this, too is important to remember) and asked me to call the hospital to see if we could get a discount if we paid it all at once. (They gave us 10% off.) So, with my signature on a check, my most serious illness was a thing of the past.

OK, so last year, Duke was playing in the backyard and hurt his leg. We took him to the doctor who said he ruptured his knee. We opted for stabilizing the leg with a cast to see if he would recover. And he did. Until a few weeks ago when he ruptured it again. The HB said to me he was thinking he would opt for the surgery this time because Duke is still a vital dog, full of energy and life and very healthy. And the doctor said the surgery was about $2000. We would have to be referred to a surgeon at another hospital.

So, off we went to see the surgeon armed with Duke's xrays and records. The surgeon examined Duke, looked at all the info and said the surgery was an option and Duke was a classic case and the surgery could be done that day and cost $3200. There's a big difference between $2000 and $3200. Both the HB and I said "Oh," but while my 'Oh' was followed by the word 'my', the HB followed his "Oh," with the letter 'K'.

OK? My bill for a week to cure a sometimes fatal disease was $3200 and you would have thought the Feds were raiding our account but the dog gets an OK? Not even, 'can you leave the room doc while I talk this over with the old ball and chain?' He just wanted to know if it had to be paid all at once so he knew whether or not he wanted to write a check or use a credit card. (He used the card.)

So, duke had surgery to place a pin in his leg so his bones don't rub together and cause further damage. He is recovering very nicely and I have to admit he is probably worth it because he does bring us great joy and because the child we call ours is 30 and on her own. I don't begrudge a penny of my inheritance being spent on the dog.

But the HB could have protested just a little.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Special Olympic Scarf - Completed

So, the yarn arrived on December 4 and I started working on it that evening after we came from dinner. I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning - watching something on the t and v and crocheting the scarf. I didn't finish it before falling asleep so I got up and got to it right after reading my bible passage and taking care of some other business.

So here it is. And it is going to make it's way to the Special Olympics this very day. I decided to do some Fibannoci striping and some fringe. I think this is a very nice idea someone had to do these scarves for the athletes and others on the Special Olympic team. It speaks to being an individual and a part of a team. And there are folks on Ravelry who have made 6 or more! WOW!!

I don't know if they have the opening ceremonies televised or not, but if I had known this project existed during the Olympics - this would have been my Ravelympic project. As it is, I'm really honored to be able to contribute.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Commiserating Avec Mes Amis Canadian

I am commiserating with our Canadian brothers and sisters while they go through political and government woes. We tend, well I tend, to think that no other country goes through what we have gone through and I have been reading on some blogs about the Prime Minister (in the UK) playing ping-pong with the Canadian government. Yarn Harlot has some explanations of how the government works. I think we should all take a trip over to Steph's blog and read how a government other than our own works and how it comes with it's own set of politicians who can play with it. And not play very nicely, either.

This is in no way a knock to their form of governing and an uplifting of our own - we have, in this decade alone, shown how we can lose a hold of our democracy and then get it back. We should not really be wearing the role model hat. Instead, this is a way of showing support to the people governments are supposed to serve. It shines the spotlight on how an individual leader can so lose sight of the basic principle of government that s/he alone can wreak havoc on an entire country (in this instance, two) and how the people have an obligation to put up their hands and say, "Whoa. Our system of government may not be perfect. But it not so imperfect that we will stand by and let you make a mockery of it."

Take a little time and read about what's going on in Canada and when you pray for our own government and the newness that is coming, let your soul stay on its knees for a few seconds more and ask God to look north and guide the leaders and be with the people there, too.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

That Little Can of Whoop A- -

Isn't this the cutest little lamp? I just opened it yesterday. It's a Christmas present from my brother-in-law and his wife.

I know what you're thinking but I did not open this present early. They gave me this gift two, maybe three, years ago. Yes, I just opened it yesterday.

I admit to being a little underwhelmed when I first tore off the wrapping paper and seeing the box with a lamp in it that required assembling. I had no idea what I was going to do with it. So it stayed in the box and was moved around the office. I decided this year I was going to donate it to the bazaar sale but somehow it never made it over to the church. Yesterday, I decided to open it. I looked in the box, pulled out the instructions, didn't feel like putting it together, took it into the bedroom where the HB was settling down for his nap with the following instruction: "When you have a chance, could you put this together?"

A few hours later, he walked in with this little lovely.

Now that I have more desks in my office, I am sure there will be a place to put it. In fact, I am mulling over several options. I am not going to use it as a lamp because it's so little and I don't want anything else plugged in - I have enough electricity flowing through this room to taizer the Incredible Hulk. But it's just too cute not to display. And to think I was ready to chuck it outta here.

Don't think my soul didn't kick me in the butt at my ungratefulness - it did. Pulled the tab right off that little can of whoop a-- and made me drink it.

And there's the lesson: Never be ungrateful until you're sure you have something to be ungrateful about and even then be gracious. You never know when you're blocking a blessing.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Main Floor Stash

Yes, the yarn is climbing out of the box trying to escape.
This is the main floor stash - this is most of the main floor stash because some of it has escaped and is running around the living room.

Is it any wonder why the HB wanted me to give away more yarn? To the left of the box is a big carry on bag the HB got me to hold my FOs to the right is a bag with yarn scraplets -that's right, I formed a word.

You can't see the bottom of the box, but it is a big box and it is filled to the brim with yarn. I admit it, I tend to be compulsive when I am in to something and I'm into knitting. Which is why I won't show you my needle collection.

It's not as neat as the upstairs stash because the upstairs stash and the basement stash are feeder stashes for the main floor stash because this is where I do most of my knitting - heck, it's the only place I knit now - and with as many as eight projects going, there was a lot of yarn that needed to be fed - and now the beast is gorging and threatening to eat the dog.

I am doing my best to get through the box. I have two afghans which are made of blocks and I am using some main colors but the rest are a hodge-podge and I'm using as many colors as I can. - Which reminds me, I have to tell you the books I got for my birthday present. Later.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What You Do When You're Supposed to Be Cleaning the Bathroom

1. I have cleaning the bathroom and hall on my schedule today.
2. I also have work on my schedule today and I did it.
3. I have a workout on my schedule today - and I did that, too. (Kendall Hogan is one hot dude!)
4. I earned a break after doing the work and the workout and not eating breakfast until noon.

I also have some work I need to do for a concert and church on the schedule and I need to stop at Marilyn's to fix her computer (it doesn't recognize her printer.) Then I have to go off to choir rehearsal. I also have to clean out my car. I could be doing any of that right now instead of being here. But I think it's important to show you the cute legwarmers I was working on instead of doing all the aforementioned things I coulda, shoulda been doing.

I love this color. It's claret from Caron By the Pound (eventually I will run out of the this yarn)
and I am using some Lion Trellis for the ribbon. The first legwarmer was finished on Thanksgiving Day when we were at my sister-in-law's house. I asked my niece to try it on and my sister-in-law pouted a little because I did not ask her to try it on. I have no reason for choosing one over the other; that's just how it happened. The other legwarmer was finished a little while ago and here they are. The pattern came from One Skein.

No, I am not going to clean the bathroom and the hall right now. I have to take a shower and get dressed and get to Marilyn's - I will get to the bathroom and all the other stuff I have to get to. But knitting waits for no one.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Knit Wide Scarf Prayer Shawl

I don't know what happens to you; but I get close to the end of a project and I just want to get it over with. I don't understand why, but it happens every time. This is a long prayer shawl. It was supposed to be 70' long before the fringe. I got to about 65' and just had enough. I haven't even worked on this every day and I just wanted it to end so I did the last rows, added the fringe and called it an early morning.

Here's the thing - this shawl is warm! Even with the open weave pattern, I placed it around my shoulders and felt the warmth of it. That's nice. And I love the fringe. The pattern (Prayer Shawl Ministry) wanted that double tied fringe and I finally figured out how to do it and didn't like it. So, I have this really thick fringe and I love it.
So, it's from The Prayer Shawl Ministry and I used Homespun in Sunshine State. The pattern called for size 10 needles and mine must have been in use because I used nines instead. It's an eleven row pattern but for the most part you will only use rows 6-11 and only two of those rows are pattern rows, the rest are straight purl rows.

I don't know exactly how long it took because I didn't work on it every day. I worked on it about once a week from October 22 so that's boils down to about a week total. It should be a faster knit than that but the thing is really long.

If it ends up on the sale table next week; I am sure it will find a nice home. If it goes to the chapel or sanctuary as a church prayer shawl, I know it will comfort many people - what more could a knitter ask?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Special Olympics Scarf Project

The Special Olympic Scarf Project! I saw this when I was on the knitters-warehouse website. I often go there to look at yarn I will never buy. I wanted to make sure it was more than just a way for Coats and Clark to get us to buy more yarn so I googled it and found that it is a legit project and they have over 1000 scarves already and are looking to get about 5000 for the athletes, sponsors and dignitaries.

Now, you know I will use almost any reason to buy some yarn, but I remember a long time ago being a volunteer for the Special Olympics and really enjoying the day and this is something that is tugging at me.

The rules are quite simple:
Use delft blue and white yarn by Coats and Clark
make the scarf approx. 41/2 by 50
crochet or knit any pattern you choose
include a note to the athlete but don't include contact info on the note
send off the scarf so it is received by January 15 to:

2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games Scarf Project
3150 W. Main Street
Boise, ID 83702

Use the link above to find out all the official info.

If you buy the super saver size, those two skeins will be enough to make two, maybe three scarves and depending on where you buy it, it's less than $10. This is right up the old alley in so many ways.

So, will I do it? I think I must. I have the knitting-warehouse screen up on another window and I am looking at the yarn. I am going to order it on line because I know they have it in stock as opposed to going store to store (besides, there's snow on the ground out there! My workout today will be to shovel to the car and clean it off!)

I am going to order the yarn and put my projects aside and knit up some scarves and send it to kids who have a great deal of heart and spirit and can add a little of mine to the pile. If you decide do it, send me a photo of your FO or a link to your blog with it and we can have a parade of scarves!


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