Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Hat for my husband...will it happen?

My husband kept saying, "I will need a hat soon". And I kept saying, "I can help you look for your hat from last year." 

It took me a while to figure out that he wanted a knitted hat! I'm a bit slow sometimes. 

So, I found an easy hat pattern and started to knit. I did not read the directions closely and now I am trying to figure out how to "creatively" finish the hat by making up part of the directions myself. This has happened before, so I am sure I can come out of this one smiling too:)

OK, so this is a simple skull cap type hat. It has a strip or two in it, totally open to the wearers discretion.

I casted on well. (I have been working my way through TKGA Basics Basics program. It has been great to fill in some gaps in my knitting knowledge. Especially since I don't always read directions thoroughly and end up finding my own way to the end of a pattern. It's not that I can't read directions, I must love the thrill of only relying on myself once I veer off the beaten path.) Anyway, I used the long tail cast on for the hat. I casted on to my circular needles and started to knit and knit.

Then I realized if I wanted to turn up the hat, for two layers of warmth over my husbands ears and for design purposes, my hat might be inside out.

Here is what I realized...

My very nice outer edge was so smooth, and the inner edge was a bit bumpy, because this is what happens with the long tail cast on. One of my favorite tid-bits from the Basics Basics class!

So here is the hat a bit further along with a few stripes...
And then, yes half way through knitting the hat, it hit me...If he wants to turn up the edge of the hat it will be half right side out and half inside out!

Of course, I will request that he turn up the beautiful, smooth edge so it shows on the outside. (Not sure he cares as long as the hat is warm, but I pridefully might care!)

I hope I am describing this well. You can see in the picture the bottom half, the turned up half, was the outside. However, the green peeking out of the top, is becoming the outside, which was the inside on the bottom half of the hat.
 Here is another view of the turned up edge showing the whole stripe.
OK, now I feel better, talking this through with visual aids. It looks very easy to start decreasing and finishing up the top!

As a knitter, I think it is good to walk through what has happened, review the situation, and then try to weave your way back to the paved path.

Monday, October 8, 2012

5th Avenue Infinity Scarf and Blocking

This pattern is available on Ravelry for free! It seems to be the thing to wear this fall.

I made this scarf last spring...just as the weather was warming up. So, what does that mean? It means I sort of finished it...except for the blocking. Which really, I didn't think blocking was that important until I wore this scarf without doing so!

As you can see it really, really needed some blocking...

So, I started to block... I have not done much blocking, and certainly never learned how from anyone. As I went I made up what to do.  And as I went I discovered, actually remembered, there was a small problem with my 5th Avenue Infinity Scarf. I twisted the yarn as I created the join for my circular knitting. However, as luck would have it, the scarf is supposed to twist, so I am pretty sure I can hide the problem:)

Round one of blocking was on a towel on the kitchen table. As you can see, it is pinned flat, except for the part where there is the twist.

Round two of the blocking happened the next morning. As I am very impatient, and it was the next morning, and my scarf was still damp, I moved it to my ironing board...

As I pinned the scarf to my ironing board I also rotated the fold of the scarf so the twisted part was now pinned, and a different part of the scarf was now twisted. It just seemed like the right thing to do.

It did dry more quickly on the ironing board, and here is the final product. The edges look pretty good...

 ...and look, when it is twisted around my neck, the small (OK really big error that every pattern tells you to watch out for) error will not be noticed by the untrained eye!
This looks so much better than with the rolled edges of the unblocked scarf. I have decided not to join the blockers whining club, but actually be glad I have a way to make my hard work look beautiful!! I am going to ask for a new pin cushion and pins for Christmas:)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Knitting a reptile!

Here it first knitted reptile. Yuck!! All for love I guess you could say.

 Actually, I think the eyes make the snake a little cuter, if a snake can be cute!

My daughter #4 thinks it would be fun to have a snake scarf. (Really, a reptile wrapped around your neck is comfortable?!) And, since I will not allow her to have a real snake. Yes, she has asked for one and has repeatedly received a clear and consistent no. This is the compromise.

Sometimes when my kids ask for things I may look like I want to say no, but am secretly considering their request. Like when daughter #2 asked for a bird. I would have said, "sure" right away, instead I gave her the "I'll think about it". My fabulous husband needed to be considered on this one. I knew the bird would stay in her room and I believe she would take care of it. I wouldn't have to worry about stepping on it, or finding it in an odd place in the house, like a heat vent (think gerbil here).  So, I started with, maybe, and it developed into a yes. "Thanks Sweetie!"

However, snake, NO! Even knitting it made me squiggly!

I am glad this one is done. Now on to knitting nicer things!

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Winter Hat

My head is ready for winter!!

I just finished this adorable slouch beanie.  I bought the yarn while I was in New York last winter visiting with friends. The pattern is from the Fall 2012 knit simple magazine.

I made it large so that I can fit all my hair under it when I go out in the cold. It is super soft alpaca. I might just leave it on all day. It feels like my head is being snuggled by a well loved blankie.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Guest Post from Heather...

It Takes a Village: The Lessons of Cancer

No doubt you're familiar with the words, "It takes a village." It's a common thing to hear when you have a baby. While I may have scoffed at the words before, I know they are true now that I am a mom.

My little girl came into the world on August 4, 2005. The pregnancy was problem-free, and I experienced no complications save for the unexpected C-section I had to bring my daughter into the world. Of course, all the people of our "village" surrounded us once Lily was born; there were so many friends and family who wanted to meet our little one in person and to wish us well. It was a great time in my life. I wasn't expecting the nasty storm that was to follow.

Things went downhill shortly after I returned to work. After my first month on the job, I felt tired all the time, breathless, fatigued. I comforted myself by saying that it was all just new mom stuff. Except deep down I knew it wasn't, so I made an appointment with my doctor and subjected myself to the poking and prodding necessary to have a round of tests done. The culprit for my lethargy emerged.

November 21, 2005--only 3 1/ 2 months after my daughter was born--I was told I had cancer--malignant pleural mesothelioma to be exact. It's a cancer that affects the lining of the lung, and it comes from asbestos exposure primarily. I had been exposed as a kid without knowing it, and 30 years later it had come back to haunt me. My symptoms weren't new mom symptoms at all; instead they were symptoms of mesothelioma.

As I absorbed the news, I thought about my baby, Lily. And I considered what life would be like for her without me. I was told that if I did nothing, I would live 15 months. My daughter would be too young to really form any lasting memories of me, and my husband would be left alone, raising our daughter.

I resolved then to do whatever it took to save my life.

The choice that we were offered to help me fight this thing was drastic, but then the prognosis for mesothelioma is grim, so I embraced the choice and moved forward. My husband and I hopped on a plane to Boston, where I came to be under the care of one of the best mesothelioma doctors. On February 2, I underwent treatment for the illness. It was called extrapleural pneumenectomy--doctor's speak for removing my lung. After surgery, I laid in the hospital for 18 days. Then the next round came. That was chemotherapy. Finally, I had radiation. It was a surreal experience. I was a new mom. I had cancer.

We could not have pulled this off it we didn't have a strong village around us to love us, support us and pray for us. Our village had lots of different people, who came from different parts and times of our lives. It was strange. Often the people who I would have never expected to help, stepped up. The ones I was sure would be there, bailed. I will say this about cancer, it's a great filter. It helps you filter out those who aren't going to support you and identify the ones who will.

While my husband and I called Boston our home base, Lily lived with my parents. Suddenly, they weren't grandparents--they were the surrogate parents for this tiny little girl. Thankfully, they also had a village to help them. I babysat a lot when I was a teen. Now those girls who I babysat became Lily's babysitter. They were married with their own children, but still they volunteered to help my parents. They were the daytime sitters when my parents had to go to their full-time jobs everday. People who I knew from church growing up and who I had looked up to, gave my parents some much needed love and support, and new friends we had made in Boston helped us get through our ordeal. We got through the day that way--with their love and support.

But it was still hard. My baby girl was back in South Dakota, my childhood home, and she was doing all the things that a growing baby does--learning to eat solid foods, scoot and roll around. She was becoming a little person. But I only witnessed these milestones through pictures. My mom would email pictures and my husband would make copies on the community printer. Lily's life was in full bloom back home, but I only saw it in grainy black and white photographs. The nurses were regular "picture admirers." They regularly cooed over her just like, while trying to hold back the tears. Just like me. But Lily was the reason I kept going. I was fighting for her. And she was in the best possible hands while I went through my own struggles so many miles away. Even to this day, my parents have a deep bond with her even with the extended miles and months that often exist between visits.

And as a family, we've learned to embrace the life we've been given. It's fragile. No one ever said it would be easy, and we did the best we could with the hand we were dealt. When I forget this, I remind myself of my favorite quote, “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.”

Therefore, embrace everything life throws your way. Cancer can be an interesting thing. There are bad things--plenty of them. But they bring unexpectedly good things. with my diagnosis--awful and as serious as it was--much good has come. For that, I am thankful.

Heather Von St James is a mesothelioma survivor and a guest blogger for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. Her story is one of hope and inspiration and she hopes to spread her message to anyone who may be going through similar situations to her own.
Check out Heather’s story on the
Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

What to knit?

I have found myself in a very odd position. What should I knit next? And, NO, I am not tired of knitting!!

I am waiting, just because, to start in on Latvian mitten number two. Here is the first one in progress...

I am tired of lace...I have to think a lot! 

And I am also tired of felting.

So, while I wait for something to inspire me, I have a fun surprise! Heather Von St. James will be a guest blogger on my site on Saturday. She is a survivor of Mesothelioma. Her blog, The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog is her way of turning her pain into purpose.

She reached out to me and has a wonderful message to share. I am excited to be able to host her post, (yes it's a fun rhyme).

Until Saturday...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Pink Pair of Felt Clogs pattern by Bev Galeskas knitting by Jo

It all started with a pattern by Biv Galeskas called Felt Clogs, published by Fiber Trends. These clogs looked so comfy I had to have a pair. I knit a pair for my husband, and then knit a pair for me. 

Add some Cascade 220 yarn and size 13 needles and I am set to go. I prepared the yarn, and left it on the coffee table...see picture below.

Next, meet Stella, my yarn loving corgi.

And now see that I have to start over before I have even begun!! Stella had a 
lot of fun while I was at the store:)

Because the yarn was so badly twisted in places I had to cut the yarn and roll it into several balls.

OK, so now I can start on one of the soles of a slipper. I had to make four of these. Two for each slipper for an extra thick sole.

You will have to imagine the knitting I did in the middle of this project. (I guess I decided not to photo journal the whole project.)
Here I have attached the two soles to each slipper and sewn up the inner sole.

Here I have sewn up the outer sole. At this point the slippers would fit a giant. I needed to felt them in a top loading washer. Thanks Christine!!!!
 And here they are on my feet:) Absolutely perfect.

Now even though it was not a very cold Minnesota winter this year I did wear them a few times. However, I may have left them at a friends house. If any of you find them at your house please return them to me. I am pretty sure I will need them for next winter!