Toe Pain

Warning:  descriptions of pain ensue (no gross photos though)…proceed at your own risk.  (If you’re slightly squeamish and just want to see cute stuff, scroll on down until you see Tilly).

I’ve had babies and surgery, I’ve had minor cuts and burns that have left scars, I’ve broken my nose, I’ve been punched in the stomach and the arm (really hard…5th grade boy), and I’ve been stung by a wasp twice on the neck.  There have probably been lots of other painful incidents that I don’t recall, but none of them have brought quite the same effect or reaction as toe pain (except for maybe that time when I was in 9th grade and the orthodontist accidentally jammed one of those fairly thick wires into the gums in the back of my mouth).  Anyway…that’s right…toe pain.  Why is it that no matter how hard you stub your toe it always feels like it’s broken?  Maybe you remove your sock to check out the damage because, man, that was some really intense pain…your toe is probably purple and twisty…but, nope, the toe looks perfectly normal.  It feels the same whether you actually break it or not.  I know this from experience because last summer I ripped off half of a pinky toenail and possibly broke the toe by jamming it into some metal bit on the bottom of a Target cart.  I can’t even help out someone else with toe pain…it’s too painful by association (Ben can attest to this; after he nearly ripped off the end of his pinky toe by slamming it against the coffee table, I just ran away grimacing and shrieking “toe pain!”).

What does all of this have to do with knitting?  Well…

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It’s a different kind of toe pain.  One where I know I’ve messed up the sock’s toe pretty badly (on the first sock), but I’m too lazy to go back and fix it.  The toe on the left is just not really the shape of my toes.  Wanna see?

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Sorry…bad lighting for this one.

The sock on the left (sock #1 of pair #3) has issues.  I don’t know yet; maybe I’ll go back and fix it, or maybe I’ll just wear these guys like I wear slippers…it’s good for me to have slippers.  If I don’t wear slippers then I end up with more toe pain…possibly stubbing them on the bathroom door frame or the coffee table….yikes…toe pain!

Let’s talk about something cuter…how about Tilly in her new Penelope Vest:

captured_by_snapseed_665_1She got to wear it out today because the weather played along and decided to be cool and cloudy this morning.

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It turned out soft and cute and just the right size.

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Pattern and yarn details:  I mostly followed the 3-4 size of the Penelope Vest pattern from Lovely Knits for Little Girls (this Ravelry link doesn’t have a picture of the vest and the book was also published under a different name).  I added a bit of horizontal ribbing at the shoulders to lengthen the armholes, and I picked up and bound off two extra bits of knitting at the bottom of the vest for added length and charm.  Yarn is Debbie Macomber’s Gerbera Solid 100% wool…it’s probably discontinued…I enjoyed knitting with it.  Something like Paton’s single ply worsted wool or Lamb’s Pride worsted would make a good substitute.

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In the end, I still had a little bit of yarn left, but mostly it’s used up.  This is good because right now I have a lot of yarn, and I’ve told myself that I can’t buy more until I de-stash, like, a whole tote’s worth.  Sadly, this not only affects me, but also, those I knit for.  This means that Larissa’s baby will have to settle for more wool.  Though I promise to make it as summery a wool as I can. ;)

Have a lovely weekend!

 

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Balance

My small one graduated from Kindergarten yesterday.  I am convinced that the sole purpose for having a kindergarten graduation is to be overwhelmed with cuteness and to be able to say that your child has graduated at least once in their lifetime.  It feels very successful.

Tilly is home with me today, and today is also my son’s last day of school.  I’m pretty excited about summer vacation;  I really like all the fun.  I need to remember to balance everything though.  I have goals for this summer.  Goals to be a better example and teacher of my children with how I spend my time and how I want them to spend theirs.  For example: less electronics and tv, more maintaining cleanliness and daily chores, lots of reading, lots of playing outside and swimming and walking and bike riding…oh, and craft time of course.  Any advice on balancing? … any tips and tricks are very much appreciated. :)

It’s gonna be a great summer!

Speaking of summer, I realized awhile back that the little rainbow BSJ I knit for Larissa might be a bit warm for a Midwest, summer baby (air-conditioning can be brutal though, so I’m sure it’ll get a little wear), so I may have something in the works that’s less wooly.  I’ll show you all after I mail off the baby package…soonish.

For now, I have Penelope Vest progress to show you.

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It’s almost done.  It was all done (except for the seaming), but I ended up having an entire ball of yarn left…an entire ball!  Either my math is incredibly bad or the yardage/meterage on this pattern overshot the amount of yarn needed.  I decided to try to use up the rest of the yarn with some add-ons.  The vest seemed a wee bit small when held around Tilly, so I’ll be adding a little extra to the shoulder area to make the armholes roomier; I’ve also added on to the bottom.  I didn’t knit to the full 4 inches (10cm) that the pattern suggested the first time around because I was trying to conserve yarn, so I only knit about 2.5 inches.  So I’ve gone back to the bottom and picked up and knit all the stitches from the wrong side and bound off (I’m doing this part twice for effect).

captured_by_snapseed_657_1_1Tilly’s vest will not look the same as the pattern picture, which I’m a little sad about because I liked the simplicity, but it will still be cute and warm.  That’s another reason I’m making it bigger, so that Tilly can hopefully still wear this when Fall comes back around.  Here’s to not growing too much during the summer!

Happy Wednesday!

 

 

Rememberings

Brace yourselves; this post is a bit of a long, winding road.

Today was Memorial Day in the U.S.; its purpose is very much like Remembrance Day in other countries.  We remember those who have lost their lives fighting for our country and our freedom.

Veterans hand out fake poppies outside of businesses…I like that…it gives me a chance to say “thank you”:

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Memorial Day (to some) has also become a day to pay tribute to anyone that has passed away and is missed.

This day (and Veterans Day) remind me the most of my Grandpa Bob…my Dad’s father.  I was a child when he passed away, but there are things about him that I know and some things that I just remember (in no particular order):

He served our country in World War II and was injured; he walked with a cane because of this.  He was a farmer.  He was mayor of my hometown the year I was born.  He was practical and wise and respected.  He married a kind and beautiful woman.  They had five children together.  He smoked a pipe…I love the smell of pipe tobacco to this day…it may have been ‘cherry Cavendish‘.  He wore his uniform and marched in parades with other veterans (this was especially exciting when I was a kid; it meant that he cared a great deal for his country and was proud…so I was too).  It meant the world to him when my little brother, Dan, would salute him…I loved that.

So, on this day, I remember him and I thank him and all the friends he lost during that war and all the others who have fought and died for this country.

For the international readers: Many Americans celebrate this day (or the weekend) by spending time with family and friends, usually by way of grilling and barbecuing, possibly drinking beer, hiking, swimming, and generally having fun.   It is the unofficial start of summer.

We celebrated by driving to my husband’s hometown to visit and spend time with family.  It’s about a 2 and a 1/2 hour drive through the Rocky Mountains with some really beautiful views.

 

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It was a little difficult to properly capture the mountains with a phone camera while driving along, but I did my best.

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For those that have never been to the Rockies in Colorado:  The mountains that still have snow are at a high altitude.  Around here they are called “Fourteeners” because they’re over 14,000 feet (4.26km) above sea level.  The highway is on level(ish) land and is around 6,000-8,000 feet (2.1 km) above sea level.

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Ignore the power lines in this one…I had to get some forest pictures.  I love trees.

I took all three of my current knitting projects with me, and on the way down I worked on the Penelope Vest for Tilly.

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Yarn: Debbie Macomber Gerbera Solid 100% wool, single-ply, worsted

Tilly is 6, but I’m knitting the smallest size (3-4), and I’m using yarn that I don’t have enough of…this is going to turn out well, I’m sure of it.  I found the yarn at a discount store (Tuesday Morning…that’s the name of the store) for a very discounted price…go figure.  If this doesn’t turn out to fit Tilly I’ll just find someone smaller.

I worked on sock #2 a little when we got there, but mostly ignored the knitting in favor of eating, visiting, going to church, and climbing a small mountain.

We stayed at Uncle Roger and Aunt Carol’s house.  They’ve recently returned from Moscow, and I’m pretty happy about that.  I love these two. I feel like I get the best of them…hospitality, warmth, kindness, humor…they’ve also raised some pretty incredible kids.

Aunt Carol calls that her 'Paddington Bear hat'.
Aunt Carol calls that her ‘Paddington Bear hat’.

To top it all off, they are blog fans.  Uncle Roger even says he started reading this blog without knowing who was writing it…he started liking it honestly and is thusly a “true fan.”  :)  I love it.

Everybody got to hold Corrie’s little Lena,

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Tilly enjoyed some land-boating, and there was basketball,

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and, miracle of all miracles, my indoorsy, video game playing, 9-year-old climbed up an entire small mountain and back down…mostly by way of steep, rocky incline and not by the road.

captured_by_snapseed_640In this picture he is saying that he will never do this again.  Today though he told me that climbing down was “scary, but surprisingly fun.”

Since we were driving to the mountains, and the husband and I have been meaning to take the kids camping, we decided it would be a good opportunity for a camping trial run.  We decided this knowing that it was supposed to be cold and rainy.  We set up our tent in Carol and Roger’s back yard (with the help of Uncle Roger) in the rain (we were going for an accurate camping experience).  We learned a few things:

  1. our marriage is strong enough to survive putting up a tent in the cold rain
  2. our tent is huge
  3. our tent kept us dry throughout a night of never-ending rain…with a tarp over the top
  4. make sure you have plenty of blankets (if it is cold and raining and you are in a mountain town)
  5. don’t forget your socks
  6. if you are 30-somethings, padding is a very good idea…remember that for next time
  7. staying awake for half the night because you are too cold and the ground is too hard will make you so tired that by morning those things will no longer matter and sleeping will be possible once again

In Aunt Carol’s words, it was a “character building” night.

It was a great weekend.  I’m gonna go knit something.

Happy Memorial Day!

P.S. to my family:  Miss you guys and love you!

 

 

…I forgot

As life happens sometimes, I’ve recently had some twists and turns thrown my way.  Nothing life-threatening or even really life-altering, just something that takes up more time than it should and causes extra stress.  This is (partly) how I cope with stress:

captured_by_snapseed_582_1I sort through my yarn (this is not all of it, of course, just the stuff that could fit on the couch).  I reorganize and look and feel and imagine.  Very therapeutic.

I also find things that I had forgotten or abandoned.

Back in January, I was knitting pretty lavender baby things for Corrie and Lena. I purchased lots of different lavender yarn and started a few things.  One was a baby blanket with a lovely squishy, garter stitch middle, but I realized I wasn’t going to have time to knit the edging, so I went with bulkier yarn and a different plan.  The other night the garter stitch square resurfaced, and I decided to finish the blanket…for some unknown future baby.

I showed you a book the other day: The Magic of Shetland Lace Knitting by Elizabeth Lovick.  It’s a beautiful and interesting book.  It has a few patterns at the end, but it’s purpose is really to get the knitter to try designing things.  I’m using the book to help finish the blanket.  I’ve picked a pattern for the border–“small diamonds”–except I’m doing a stockinette stitch background instead of garter stitch background.  Then later, when I’ve finished that, I’ll pick an edging.  Fair warning: any time you design something there is going to be math involved…there’s just no getting around it.  I’m liking the results so far, but I haven’t done much yet.

captured_by_snapseed_584_1Did I tell you that I now have 3 different projects on the needles?  Progress…woo!  Slippers (there was a bit of a color change there after Tilly realized the colors she chose looked like a unicorn threw up on 70’s carpet), the last bit of sock #2 of pair #3, and the baby blanket.  I’m casting on a 4th one later.  It’s this:

captured_by_snapseed_587_1It’s an adorable vest from the book Lovely Knits for Little Girls by Vibe Ulrik Sondergaard.  Layering is a must here in Colorado, so vests are perfect.  50 degrees (10 celsius) can feel like 80 (27C) in the sunshine or 40 (5C) in the shade…it’s pretty crazy.   My favorite part of this little vest is the back.

captured_by_snapseed_588_1I really love that gathered little detail.  Very cute.  This will be for Tilly.

Speaking of Tilly, I better get going…field trip.  I get to watch a theatrical version of Lyle the Crocodile with about 60 kindergarteners.  It should be fun. :)

 

 

 

The End is Near…but so is the beginning

Is it just me or does this bit of Spring seem extra busy?  It’s been harder to get things done around here these last couple weeks.  I think it’s another of those transitional times that leaves everything a little disordered and chaotic.  I’m not really the kind of person that thrives on busyness.  I get weird (weirder?) and a little squirrelly.  I start worrying about missing things like appointments and field trips and bills and whether or not I was supposed to pick up that kid from Tilly’s class on the way to school.  I’m also trying to keep the end of school year stuff with the kids straight, but it’s getting mixed up with summery stuff like playgrounds and rolling around in dirt and swimming.  There’s finishing furniture projects and trying to cram doctor appointments into the free space.  There are the library books that need returning and the everyday chores that need doing.  There are fun things like family to spend time with and friends to hang out with and sleepovers and holidays and church.  And not so fun things like big and little bits of organization that need finishing and calling the cable company because the box doesn’t work, which only matters on Sunday nights when we watch “Cutthroat Kitchen” and somebody really needs to clean the gerbil cage, and the windows, and the desk…

And to top it all off… the icing on the cake of busy-ness and mental overload?…  that would be the slippers, which I’m happy to report, are done (phew).

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I even managed to choose the buttons myself this time.  Little pearly ones.  And then there are the cute little cat faces.

captured_by_snapseed_578_1 The slippers didn’t get finished without a few more missteps though.  The slippers I started last week…well, they were too big for 7-year-old feet.  They are so big that they are mostly too big even for me.

My feet on right, Tilly's on left
My feet on right, Tilly’s on left

In fact, they are big enough to fit the feet of a man who is 6′ 4″ and is wearing socks.  Wanna see?

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It takes the manliest of men to model glittery, super pink, little girl slippers. Thanks for the foot modeling, Benjamin!

Now I know that these sizing issues could most likely have been avoided with swatching (for gauge) and perhaps some math, but neither of those interested me, so I skipped them.  I guessed and cast on with a smaller needle in the smaller of the two sizes listed in the pattern.  The second time I had success…thank goodness.

I like this pattern. It’s stretchy, which ensures that the slippers will fit as the foot grows up and until the slippers fall apart from too much wear.  It really is a nice pattern.  I may be starting to like it even, which turns out to be a good thing since Tilly now has to have a pair.  Luckily, hers are not going to be cats, which means no fiddly ears or embroidering of cat features.  It does mean that I have to make slippers with these two yarn held together (as requested).

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They will also have puffballs on the toes (“just like Tinkerbell’s”).

I won’t be only knitting slippers this time though.  I’ve decided to cast on lots of projects.  I’m really gonna try to beat my “one-at-a-time” curse because it makes me a little sad when I finish a project.  And it makes starting another one seem daunting somehow.

So, I’ve been looking through a lot of my books and magazines and I’m planning on making something from each of these:

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And possibly starting a cardigan for myself…and maybe more baby stuff for Larissa…and probably more socks because I’m now to the point that I would be okay knitting plain ones without having to look at a pattern.  Good times are ahead.

…if I can just make it through the next week and a half of busyness then summer should be easy, right? Please tell me it will be so.

 

Nutshell

The lovely and talented Debbie (of the comments) called me out yesterday.  About the slippers.

So here’s how my week has gone down so far…slipper updates and all:

Monday:  still snowing. too cold. snow fell on me. blogged about benches.  knit almost nothing. body went into hibernation mode.  barely managed regular life stuff.

Tuesday: snow melting. still cold. not enough coffee. knit on third pair of socks.  split remaining yarn evenly for two socks.  ran out of red yarn at decrease stitches for toe.

I'll finish them off with a little bit of camping/army green.
I’ll finish them off with a little bit of camping/army green.

Wednesday:  snow gone.  brain and hands completely thawed.  avoid blog due to slipper shame. decide to start slippers.  same pattern as last kitty slippers only changing strap slightly this time.

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did laundry.  remembered to get haircut.  took Tilly to playground after sad outburst describing missed chances and monkey bars.  worked on slippers more. discovered ‘Life Unexpected’ on Netflix.  watched a lot of ‘Life Unexpected’ on Netflix.  stayed up late.  still unfinished slippers.  remember (too late) at 12:50am that it is (was) brother-in-law, Josiah’s birthday (happy late birthday, josiah! he is quiet, funny, and takes excellent photos).

Thursday:  do regular morning ‘life’ stuff.  text sister: ‘Happy 10th Anniversary.’  think about sister and her hubs, Will (aka: Vilhelm).  feel amused because they are funny.  drive to airport.  meet with bff, Charity, and her two lovely and charming girls as they have a longish layover.  have very nice visit with Charity.  note her bravery for navigating DIA (Denver Intl. Airport) to see me as it involves confusion and an underground train.  discuss Minecraft with her eldest.  am able to keep up with conversation due to my own 9 year-old’s proclivity toward all things Minecraft.  maybe i also play Minecraft.  so what.

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We no longer live in the same state, so it was fun to see them even for a short time. Have a great trip, ladies!

leave airport.  arrive at Costco.  think about calling Erika or my Dad.  decide against phone calls as it prolongs agony of love/hate relationship of being in Costco.  * put things in cart. decide too many things in cart. put some things back. *  repeat from * to * for an hour.  arrive home.  remember I forgot to buy olive oil. drink coffee.

Well, that’s it.  I would say that I hope to finish the slippers tonight, but I’m not making any more slipper promises or giving anyone (ahem…Debbie) any extra hope.  They will be done when they are done.  I’m hoping that somehow saying that I don’t care when they get finished will help me finish them…I’m ‘reverse psychology-ing’ myself.  I hope it works.

Have a Happy Thursday!

Oh, and as a last thought, a big ‘Welcome Home!’ to Aunt Carol and Uncle Roger!  It’s nice to know you two are back. Hope to see you soon!

 

 

A Lovely Weekend

Waay back in March, I bought two chairs for $6 from a thrift store.  Does anyone remember these?

thrift store chairs

I claimed that they were going to be turned into a wooden bench…with the help of my husband.  He’s a pretty busy guy, and we don’t always have a lot of free time on the weekends, so the project was put off for a couple of months.

Fast forward to (near) Mother’s Day, and we decided that getting this project up and running would make a wonderful gift.  (That and breakfast (not in bed…not a big fan of ‘breakfast in bed’)).

It was snowing for a good part of the weekend (snow?!… in May!?…grrr), so we mostly built this bench inside…in our living room.  This worked out fine until a little measuring error occurred and to correct it Ben decided it would be a good idea to drill through metal.  I think drilling through metal is freakish and scary, but he did it with very little problem.

However, I did ask him to “please” not set the living room on fire with sparks;  he kind of laughed that off, but later when we were vacuuming we found little metal chips melted to the carpet.  Lesson learned.

It’s actually never a super-good idea to do construction work in living rooms.  I learned this at a young age when my Dad (may have) cut a slash in the living room carpet with a power saw.  My mom got a very lovely coffee table out of  it.  I got my bench:

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Isn’t it great! It’s big enough to fit three people, or, the more likely scenario: me, knitting, and a cup of coffee.  It still needs to be sanded and clear-coated, but it’s a bench, and it’s fantastic.  Thanks to my love, the Benja-ninja.  :)

As a random bonus gift he agreed to help me haul this lovely bit of (free) furniture into our apartment from the curb.

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It’s a huge chest/seat.  It still needs to be sanded and repainted.  I don’t mind orange, but it’s chipping, and whoever painted it didn’t really do a great job.  So I’ve cleaned it up, Ben fixed a messed-up hinge, we removed the faux-drawer knobs, and we will soon have a place at the end of our bed to store blankets and linens.  Extra storage makes me way more excited than it probably should, but we have no linen closet, so I’ve just been storing all of those things in our bedroom closet.  You wanna see the inside?  It’s huge.

captured_by_snapseed_558_1 Lovely.

It was a great Mother’s Day…filled with benches and family.

The snow ruined my chances of getting to hold a cute, little baby though.  So, I had to comfort myself by starting another sock.

captured_by_snapseed_565_1My sister, lovely and wise woman that she is, suggested I procrastinate on the slippers (so I have, but just over the weekend).  Did I mention it’s snowing?! In May?!…the middle of May!?

It’s a good thing I knitted boot socks.  Too bad I’m wearing them in the Spring.