Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy Winter Solstice!

The Winter Solstice.  A celebration of the balance of the darkness and the light.  I think we have both in all of us, both in all our lives.  This month, we've been concentrating on the light.  We have had such joy this season.  I am loving our Little Duck, who brings us smiles and happiness.

There has been, simultaneously, so much and so little going on here.  We are practicing sitting up and tummy time, and visiting some specialists that have me in a tizzy.  I know just enough to be freaked out, and not enough to be pacified.  Nothing is wrong, but some things are not quite right.  In order to keep our sanity, we are doing what we can around the house.  For me, that means knitting.  For Mike, that means adding some light switches where there were none.  And we are visiting going to holiday parties and visiting Santa.  Because wishes do come true.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Happy 238th Marine Corps Birthday!

The Marine Corps birthday is kind of a big deal in the Marines.  All day long, Mike's phone has been buzzing with wishes of  "happy birthday, Devil Dog!"  Once a Marine, always a Marine, and Mike has been a Marine for 22 years now, so there were a lot of phone calls and texts.

And this year we celebrated with our little Devil Pup!

It's Sunday, so Mike isn't in cammies, but Camden is!  Complete with a little Eagle, Globe, and Anchor embroidered on his onesie.

So, Happy Birthday Marines!  No better friend, no worse enemy.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Still here! And still knitting!

Wow!  Time does certainly get away, doesn't it?  One minute I feel like I've just barely moved in, and the next I've been here for more two months but still have boxes to unpack.  This house is a bit bigger than the one we left, and has a bit different layout, so I've yet to figure out how we "live" in it.  We left a one story house with a FROG (Finished Room Over Garage--how cool is that name?!) and moved into a two story house.  How do you organize that?  Do you keep two sets of cleaning rags, one up and one down?  Et cetera, et cetera.  Terrible problems, right?

This is my season of learning.  Learning how to be a mama, learning how to balance a master's student's reading list, learning how to not do everything, and learning how to not feel bad about it.  Mike's position here is more time consuming, more that he realized it would be I think, and even he is learning how to let go a little.  Everything isn't always put away anymore, and sometimes the dishwasher stays full for a couple of days.  And some things we delegate more than we used to (pizza can be delivered, too, not always made at home).  But we are all fed, all clean, all happy.  Even the four-footed ones.

Despite the nursing theory reading load (and don't get me started on how I feel about nursing theory) I have managed to get some knitting done!
Five pair of socks.  This is kind of cheating, because I had finished up the knitting on these in the spring but left the Kitchener on all of them to the end.  Ten socks to Kitchener all at once.  I don't think I will do that again, but I now have great muscle memory on the Kitchener stitch. 
A pair of fingerless mitts.  The entire pair is completely finished now, so there will be a post on what they are and what mods I made.  Besides, you can't really tell what that pattern is because that yarn is LOUD.  But the color is as per the recipient's request and she loves it.
I started some vintage crewel work.  This is a kit I bought for about eight dollars from Etsy.  It's from the early 80s, I believe.  The pattern is cute, but man!  The colors!  Really atrocious!  The sun is a strange raspberry pink color, and the flower is hot pink.  If those two colors were toned down a bit it might be better.  I've been thinking about raiding another (Etsy-purchased) crewel kit for more appropriate colors. 

These vintage bark cloth kits are not the needlework to have during a great movie.  The needle makes a loud "whoosh" noise when you pierce the bark cloth and drag the yarn through.  "That's a loud craft" is how Mike put it.

Lest you think I have not been knitting little things, get a load of this.
That is a picture of the cutest baby in the world wearing a hand-knit, Mama-made hat.  Could I love him more?  Every day I think no, I could not possibly love him more and then I wake up the next day and he steals my heart again.

It was a great Halloween.

Friday, September 20, 2013

I've also been knitting!

In addition to hanging out with the little duck, moving, and studying, I have been knitting.  I have a sweater started for Camden (and yarn for a couple more), but I had to put that on hold for a bit while I did some deadline knitting.  The chick I drove back and forth with the school all of last year is pregnant and her shower was this past weekend.  Since I couldn't be there, not only did I have to finish this, but finish it early since it needed to be mailed.  Nothing like putting a little pressure on myself when I have 478 pieces of household goods to find a place for.

Of course, among those 478 pieces of household goods are probably 78 boxes of yarn.  Maybe more, maybe less.  Could I find what I wanted?  No.  So I had to order online from Eat, Sleep, Knit.  And of course, I threw in a little extra.  Since I was, you know, paying for shipping and all.
The yarn on the left, the purple, became a Baby Tea Leaves (Rav link).  The other two are for Camden.  I'm thinking that the red might be a charming little sweater vest, but I'm not sure.  It is all Madelinetosh and it is all lovely.

I had to wind the yarn for the Baby Tea Leaves the old fashioned way, between two chairs.
Because my craft room looks like this, and I can't find my ball winder and swift:
It wound up nicely into a roly poly little ball.
Which eventually became this:
That is after a blocking.  I made the smallest size, which I think is listed as "0-6 months."  It is so wee and adorable.  The next time I make it, though, I need to bind of the button band a bit more loosely.  As you can see, I wasn't able to properly straighten it out along the bottom edge.
But really, who is going to be looking at that when this is on an adorable little baby!  And the mother, being a non-knitter, probably won't even know it shouldn't really be like that, if she even notices.
The color in the last picture is off.  I wanted to take a final picture before I packaged it up and the day was overcast.  The color is much more clear and vibrant, and the previous pictures are actually pretty true, color-wise.  The pattern was great, too.  Clear instructions, easy to follow.  I'm already planning two more, one in the same size and another to fit a five year old.  Partly I just love working with this yarn!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Back from a "break"

Yes, it has been some time since I have been here.  I have some valid reasons, though.  

First, I finished Phase I of the nursing program I was in, meaning that now I am active in Phase II (the Master's portion) while simultaneously studying for the NCLEX.

Second, we moved.  Mike was transferred to MCAS Beaufort, so we are now living in South Carolina.  Mike has been down here since mid-way through July.  I got here in the middle of August.  We received our pack-up about three weeks ago.  I've only just today finished putting the books on the shelves in the living room.  Don't even ask about the craft room!

And third, I've been spending a lot of time with this guy:
This is Camden, and he joined our family in June when he was a month old.  He is the sweetest little boy ever and he has me wrapped around his tiny little finger.  He is a tiny little guy--he is just over three months old and is barely out of newborn-sized clothing--but he brings us so much joy.

The dogs love him, too.  Frosty is never very far from him.
My days are finally starting to fall into a pattern, so I am hoping to get here more often.  I have a lot to share!  I've been knitting a LOT and have some really fun and interesting things planned for the fall.  So here's to being "here"!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Finally, some time!

Oh my goodness, have I been busy!  Not that we all aren't, but man oh man, this last few weeks has just flattened me.  We have almost finished Summer I session.  Rumor had it that the summer sessions were easy, especially compared to the past two semesters.  I don't know where this information came from, or who started those awful rumors, but they were completely untrue.  We had a researched clinical encounter paper due, a reflection journal, three days of clincals, and one day of class every week.  And wow! those clincal encounter papers were no joke.  They were each over ten pages.  I couldn't face the computer after writing those every week.

But enough complaining.  I learned so much.  This was our community health rotation, and I was at the health department, a uninsured clinic (the MERCI Clinic), and the soup kitchen.  It was truly amazing.  I found it really inspiring and gratifying to working with underserved populations.  I hope to work in a hospital after I'm licensed, but after being at the MERCI Clinic I know that I want to volunteer time with something like that.

So I haven't had much time to knit lately.  I've worked on a few things, so hopefully I can get those on here soon.  My Little Oak cardigan is about halfway through the yoke.
I'm loving the way the leaves are starting to pop off the yoke.  The variations of brown in the yarn are just enough to give the sweater some interest without getting in the way of the detail on the yoke.  I've decided to add some ribbon backing to the button band (once I knit it).  I want something to give the buttons a little more stability, especially since I'm giving this to a non-knitter.  I don't want it to seem "too delicate" for every day use.
The monkeys are a printed satin ribbon.  Perfect for a little fun cardigan.  I can't wait to finish this.

In other news, I've been trying to play in the yard a bit.  I was turning the compost bin and sifting through the almost-dirt to see what I can pull out.  (I throw a lot of stuff in the compost bin "just to see" what will happen.  I don't use the compost on any flowers or vegetables, or I would be a bit more concerned about proper balance of nitrogen and green vs. brown compost.  Mainly, I'm trying to keep organic, compostable things out of a landfill.  I compost things like pizza boxes and movie popcorn bags.  I tossed the hepa filter from the vacuum in there, just in case the filter was paper, but it wasn't and I pulled it out six months later--looking exactly the same.)

But my point here is that sometimes I find interesting things in the barrel.  Like the plastic liners of to go cups and ice cream containers that some people don't even realize are there.  And this:
This is a pile of hems and elastics from a bunch of clothing that I tossed in the compost barrel a few months ago.  Clothing that was too worn out to go to a charity shop, or not really appropriate for a charity shop (boxer shorts, underwear), or clothing that I had cut up to use as dust towels around the house that had finally become too worn to use even as dust cloths.  I love this.  I really, truly get excited about seeing this.  The pile of clothing this came from would probably have filled a small trash bin.  Now it fits in two hands.  That is, really, very very cool.

And, to end, a cute dog picture of Charlie.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

In my absence

Well, I've been away from here much longer than I thought I would be.  I've composed many posts in my head but haven't had the time or energy to get them actually written.  Since I've been here last, I've finished my second semester of nursing school and started the summer session.  At this point, I am 61 days away from being eligible to take the nursing boards.  This is both exciting and terrifying.

Of course, other things have happened.

Like finishing Baktus.

I'm happy with how this eventually turned out.  I love the Noro against the navy yarn.  I had really hoped to be able to just wear it, but it turned out that it needed a pretty severe blocking.
Baktus, folded in half.  Note the "center" point is not in the center.

Baktus, folded on the the center point.  See the crazy difference in length?  Tension issues.
Baktus getting a severe stretching.
I love it.  The knitting, although boring, was great simply because it was boring.  I'm thinking of making another one.  I'm not sure if it will be a true Baktus, in the triangle shape, or simply a garter stitch scarf in two row stripes.  I'm thinking of these colors:
This picture is a bit washed out, but it gives the general idea.  I love the grey with the pink and green.  If you look close, you can also see a lovely lavender under the spring green.  But Noro.  Oh, Noro.  
Within Noro there lies a dark heart.  You see that rusty orange?  Yeah, not so much.  At least not with the grey.  I'm on the fence here.  Should I just go ahead with the grey and Noro as is?  Should I cut out the offensive color?  Or should I look for something other than the grey?  Oh the humanity!

I know this is just a quick check in, and I've got more to say, so I'm hoping to get back here tomorrow.  So until then, I will leave you with a gratuitous cute dog picture.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Dog's Life

I've started a new little project.  Little Oak (Rav link) by Alana Dakos of Never Not Knitting.  I'm making it in a hand dyed chocolately brown color that looks amazing in person, but is really hard to photograph.  I tried to get a good picture on the coffee table.
But the picture didn't show off the subtle variations of chocolate brown that really give the yarn some depth.  (And really, make it the reason for knitting with a brown yarn.  I can't think of any reason I would want to knit with plain, solid brown.  Especially on something where stitches must be picked up.  My eyes, while not poor, are not up to that particular challenge.)

So I moved to a table near a window with more sunlight.
Much better picture.  At least here you can see the depth of color.  But, as is wont to happen 'round these parts, a dog got a whiff of something new on the table.
So Fred popped up to investigate the yarn.  This is a really bad picture of Fred, because he is all white and the sunlight was directly on him.  But really, what he wanted wasn't the yarn.
Fred was really trying to get to the window.  Things outside must be investigated at regular intervals.  And of course, when one tires of looking out the window, the seat becomes a bed.
Yup, the dogs have a window seat.  The dogs were constantly on the end table to look out the window, so rather than try to change the dogs' behavior, I developed an alternate solution.  Take two little side tables, cover them with blankets--enough that the dog using the seat can still see out when said dog is lying down--and voila! no more dogs on the end table!  Or rather, one dog on the window seat and one dog on the end table, looking over the head of the dog on the window seat.

I think it is noteworthy, too, that in order to take this picture I had to scoot back into the corner of the room--and onto a dog bed on the floor.  These dogs are not in need of places to sleep.  There is a dog bed in every room, including the kitchen.  When Mike asked why we needed so many dog beds, I asked him if he had a place to sit in every room.  It seemed very logical to me.

This is to say that out house is extremely dog friendly.  We have baskets of dog toys, and hooks for dog things, half a closet devoted to dog stuff, and the dogs pretty much are allowed anywhere we go.  They can be trying, and they bark at things and sometimes have accidents when we are gone too long, but it sure is nice to come home to all that fluffy love.

And in a related story, I've finished my Baktus.
Details and better pictures to come.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Green Grocery Bags

My sister has been organizing swaps through Facebook.  Sometimes I've been able to join in, and sometimes I haven't.  The swap she coordinated for March was The Green Swap.  Because this swap fell during my spring break I was able to join.

I'm not sure what she had in mind when she picked green (I'm thinking she was probably influenced by St. Patrick's Day) but when I think of "green" I think of "eco."  I wanted to come up with something that incorporated the reduce, reuse, recycle mantra that I live by.  The project I decide on--t-shirt bags--is by no means original (Martha Stewart featured this in 2007, and I'm sure they are all over Pintereset), but because I used my own t-shirts, it is unique.

You start by cutting the arms off a t-shirt.
Then you cut out the neck.
Most of my t-shirts had a higher neckline, so I used a plate to trace a half circle cutting line.  You want the neck to be open enough to get stuff into the bag.
Then (and I don't have a picture of this part) you turn the shirt inside out and sew the bottom shut.  I think we can all imagine what that looks like.  You end up with a big cotton grocery bag.
I thought about zig-zagging the raw edge of the handles so they don't unravel like Lindsay Lohan on court day, but I didn't.  For one, it seemed like a lot of work for the dozen bags I made.  And two, I've never noticed a problem with t-shirt fabric unraveling before.  Most guys have (unfortunately) made muscle t-shirts out of regular t-shirts, and those always (unfortunately) hold up well.

The best thing about these grocery bags is they are washable, unlike the bag that most grocery stores sell (the ones made out of recycled soda bottles).  I also love that they take something that might have gone into a landfill and made it useful.  I think using t-shirts like this actually extends their life longer than if I had dropped them off at a charity store, where they would get used for a bit and then thrown out.  And I love having unique bags at the grocery.

And the whole whack of them, waiting to be packed up and sent along to the fabulous ladies in the swap.
I would love to go shopping with these colorful bags!