March 31, 2008

If you are here for pictures...just move along...

My dryer has died. I knew it was coming. The moans from the laundry room were getting louder and louder. Finally the moans turned to a squeaky wailing. Could that be considered keening? Before it started to officially die, I should have seen the little hints it was leaving. Bites were being taken out of our towels. Washcloths were stuck in the rim. It just hasn't been a pretty sight. Saturday night was the final straw. It sounded like a choir of birds were singing their last opera. I couldn't bear it. I turned it off and went to bed. RL decided to take it apart last night and see what was inside - which is quite the feat since the laundry room is a catch all room. After cleaning out all the lint that had gotten past us, it still wasn't willing to work. I am a diligent lint cleaner, so I was shocked to see what had slid by. A sad, sad day indeed. So tonight we venture to Lowe's or Home Depot and see what they've got. L is on his last pair of jeans and we just won't mention how far down R's supply of unmentionables has gotten. I guess I could go to Mom and Daddy's and use their laundry room. It could prove to be entertaining since the cat wars are still continuing. Scout hasn't accepted her little brother yet. Gus has been getting into trouble and Scout just watches. She's probably enjoying not being the one in trouble for a change. True siblings! Mom said Gus weighed a little over a pound today. That would be a snack for our cat!
If you have a dryer and it works - love it. Cherish it. It won't last forever.

March 29, 2008

Look Who's Knitting Now!

You just can't leave your knitting alone around these parts anymore. I started working on a pair of socks last night - with my new Easter yarn - and look who has moved in on the action. The top picture must have been taken when she knew she was being watched. She's trying to be clever, but as you can see, she hasn't sufficiently distanced herself from the needles.
Now that she realizes that she's been caught, she's like, "Yeah, what's it to you?" You know, I don't mind if she knits on my socks. I just wish she would finish the two inches of ribbing so I could get on to the straight knitting!

March 28, 2008

Skippy Jon Gus

Mom and Daddy decided that Scout needed a sibling. One of their friends from Florida has a litter of eleven week old kittens - convenient, no? So, after some thoughtful consideration, they decided to adopt one. They decided to name him Gus. We had to go see the new baby this afternoon and the minute I saw him, I new what his name should be - SkippyJon Jones! I have got to get to the bookstore and pick up a copy of one of his adventures so they will know who I am talking about. They kept calling him Gus, but I am working on SkippyJon! This poor kitten will be so confused! Speaking of confused, Scout doesn't know what to think. She's been spending a lot of time in the basement. She did come up with much persuasion and met her little brother. She likes him as much as R likes her little brother, however, I don't think I've ever seen R hiss at L! That doesn't mean it hasn't happened, though.Here's Daddy and SkippyJon waking from a nap. See how they both have blue eyes and white hair? Coincidence? I think not. They will be big buddies.

Here's SkippyJon in R's lap. Yes, the poor baby does appear to have at least one eye crossed. Oh dear!

March 27, 2008

It Is Time For A Fiber Intervention

Spring normally brings spring cleaning with it. RL gave the kids a deadline to have their rooms clean by the end of this month. It's not going to happen. I've had a feeling it wasn't going to happen for some time, but now I'm pretty sure. I hadn't been upstairs in a while because I couldn't stand it! Ls rooms is full of Role Playing Game books and miniatures and posters and whatever else you can imagine. Rs room - well, her room is a different story. Shortly after we moved into this house, ten years ago, we discovered very small, brown bugs in her room. I had no idea what they were. We get inundated with ladybugs every year, so I thought maybe they were related. Nope. They might be distant cousins, but I seriously doubt it. They are fiber beetles or carpet beetles, whatever you want to call them. They love anything covered in cat hair - except the cat. They love fabric, clothing, carpet and let's not forgot their first love - yarn! Luckily, they don't come in like termites and eat everything in sight. They appear to be picky. Some yarns are not appealing to them at all - thank heavens! You would think since they are fiber eaters that they would love natural fibers. Not necessarily true. They will eat acrylic, which I don't understand at all. I try to check my personal yarn stash from time to time and even have a lavender sachet in hopes that they will stay away. I have some knitted articles in a cedar wardrobe. They got in there. They didn't eat anything from what I could see, but I did find one and where there's one, there are others not far behind. We thought that if the kids cleaned their rooms really good that we could have someone come out and spray. We've been thinking it for a long, long time and, apparently, RL and I are the only ones thinking it. The cleaning movement hasn't been going so well. Rumor has it that it is some form of punishment. I decided to go upstairs and offer some encouragement. I scoured the bathroom - yes, it needed it. We will not go into that right now. I started going through the boxes in the hallway. Rs room has had a tendency over the years to seep out into the hallway. During those years, she has developed a serious fiber problem which has encouraged the fiber beetles to invite new generations into our home. This is what I am dealing with: (WARNING: not for the weak of heart or those who don't understand the fiber addiction.)
This hamper is mainly full of acrylic yarn and some fabric - all waiting to be looked through.
More yarn waiting to be dealt with.
A hatbox with two layers of tightly smushed yarn.
Works in progress.
Already wound or brand new yarn and fiber beetle free.
This box could fool you. It's about a foot or a foot and half high and has about five layers of yarn shoved into it.
Yarn to dye.Yarn in a jar....and another unfinished project.
Newly wound yarn with fiber beetle damage.
Unfinished projects - yarn to be wound, future projects, yarn magazines....
It's quite overwhelming. I didn't even take pictures of the two drawers of yarn she also has. I have my own yarn, so I don't really have too much room to talk. However, most of it is sock yarn and cotton yarn for dishclothes. That doesn't count, does it? Alright, I'll admit it - I have a problem too, however not this extensive.

Let's move on to something a little more positive. Remember the socks I said were the 'bane of my existence'? Well, they are finished. YIPPEEEEEEE! I didn't think they ever would be. I didn't require as much help with the second sock as the first. R finally sat down and said, "Mom, this is not a hard pattern. What is your problem?" I guess that's all it took. I only needed her help about three or four times on the second which was a great improvement over the first. Here they are:

Turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself!

Oh! I forgot to show the yarn I got for Easter...

Isn't it pretty? I got two skeins of each so I need to get busy knitting some socks. Don't want any fiber beetles moving into my stash!

We also have some bad news to share. RLs Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer this past week. We don't have details. He has an appointment with an oncologist some time next month. I hope it's not too bad. Please pray for the best. Thanks.

March 22, 2008

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! While going through some old pictures today, I found this one from probably Easter 1995. That would put L at four and R at seven. They really look like they love each other. Hmmm, what happened to that? Look at L's little fingers. Gosh! They grow up so fast!

So, what are you plans for the big day? We will have Mom and Daddy over for lunch or dinner. Actually, whenever they get here, we will eat. RL and I took R shopping the other night for Easter. Normally she and L go together, but he was at game night with his buds. He said she did a good job. I think he was just relieved that he didn't have to go! He's not a big shopping, ya know. I finished up Easter basket stuff today. R sent me by the yarn shop with a mission: get yourself something you like because I haven't had the chance. So, I did. You don't have to tell me more than once to buy yarn. I can't show it to you yet because I don't know anything about it - wink, wink.

RL's dad is still in need of prayers. Last Thursday he went for a needle biopsy for the spot on his lung. They didn't tell him prior to his appointment that four out of five people have their lung collapse. Seems like a pretty important thing to tell someone. Sure enough, his partially collapsed. His hour long appointment turned into an all day affair. We'll know more on Tuesday. The doctor taking the biopsy said the spot was so small that he had trouble even getting two samples. I thought that sounded pretty promising. Got to keep remembering not to worry til there's something to worry about.

I leave you with yet another blast from the past. This is an Easter picture from 1994. Mom had made their clothes that year. L has on an Elvis shirt and white pants. We couldn't find blue suede shoes, so he wore white shoes! R was looking like the little lady she truly was/is. I miss those days!

March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!!!

Remember I mentioned I bought a couple of sock darners off ebay some time back? I forgot I was going to take pictures and post them! The box was staring at me this morning, so I figured I should make good on my word and get those pictures posted! It all started with trying to figure out where I could get a sock darner because some of the socks I've knit some time back are starting to show some wear. None of the yarn shops around here carry them or knew where I could get one. I knew of a couple of on-line shops I could order from, but I didn't know quite what I wanted. R saw a very unique darner in 'MaryJane's Ideabook-Cookbook-Lifebook' and started looking on ebay for one just like it. This is what she found:
I was just a little over $5.00 for all of it. The lighter one looks like it's seen more wear and tear.Apparently you put the wooden part in the sock and then put the metal band on the outside to keep it from slipping around. I haven't tried it yet, but I have some socks in desperate need of repair, so I hope I get a chance to work with it soon.
Here's closer look of the black one. I don't know if you can see the engraving on the side of the medal band or not, but it says PAT'D DEC 18-1900. I wonder how old these babies are? I'll let you know how well they work for me.
I would use them right now, but I am working on a sock that has become the bane of my existence. ARGH! When we went to Borders a week ago we picked up the latest Pieceworks magazine by Interweave. It had a beautiful sock pattern in it and I was anxious to try it. Is it a hard pattern? No. Is the yarn a pain? No, I'm using some Cherry Tree Hill from my stash and I love it! It's the first time I've used it and I definitely want to knit with it again. Have I enjoyed working this pattern? NO! Why? The pattern is easy, the yarn is great - what's the problem? Me. It's a simple answer and one I've come to terms Years ago I would start to knit something and if I messed up, I would just rip it all out and start over again. This was my knitting experience and it's no wonder I was never really fond of it. Then R decided to take up knitting and wouldn't let me rip anything out. She had this little trick up her sleeve - she truly understood knitting! She knew about gauge, how to rip back a row, how to read patterns. She could do things I had never even considered! Where did she come from and why was I blessed with such a talented daughter? Must skip a generation. In the beginning of this sock she would gladly rip back past my mistake and explain what I had done. Apparently my main problem is not paying attention to the pattern. I'm not one to memorize patterns and knit, knit, knit. I follow each repeat like it's the first time I've ever seen it. Last night I ripped back, yes, I'm trying to do it by myself now that I've seen it can be done. I just messed it up. She wasn't so eager to fix my mistake last night (apparently it cuts into her knitting time, go figure!), but after an hour or two of coaxing, she fixed it and let me know that I was making common mistakes and not to worry about it. Whew! I just wish I wasn't so darn common in my knitting! I'll keep you posted on the sock. Hopefully it will be part of a pair, but I'm not so sure right this second.....
Have a great St. Patrick's Day!

March 15, 2008

Spring Has Sprung

RL was out raking today and asked me to take some pictures of our plum tree. It is so pretty when it's in bloom. The leaves will come out soon and hopefully will not be followed by Japanese Beetles. The past two years they have eaten the leaves until the tree is bare. So we are trying to enjoy the tree while we can and hope for the best.
Today I managed to sneak out of the house by myself - when was the last time I did that????? I had some Easter shopping to do for the kiddos. Man, you would have thought it was Christmas! People were everywhere! I had to park in the back 40 at Target. I can't even imagine what Wal-Mart must be like today. I did enjoy my alone time and looking at whatever I wanted to. The kids are good about going places with me and not complaining, too much, but it's always nice to go somewhere and have the a/c on the temperature you want and listen to the music you want. A rare treat, indeed.

Here's a lone daffodil that started showing up every spring under our maple tree. I have no idea how it got there because we didn't plant it. You can see how hard the ground is. It is hard to imagine how anything so delicate looking could break through this ground. We noticed it about two or three years ago and were thrilled it decided to make it's annual appearance this year.

Kudos to my sister for getting her hair cut for Locks of Love. Her hair was almost to her waist and now it's 12 inches shorter. It looks great and bouncy. I told my kids that I needed to do that. R didn't say much and L immediately said NO! I don't think he remembers that I've have short hair most of my life and just let it grow when we moved up here ten years ago. I'll have to think about it and remember that I don't need anybodies permission! Right? Right??????

March 10, 2008

Socks for the boyby*

L, better known as the boyby, has been secretly admiring socks made from the self striping sock weight yarn that I've been knitting for a couple of years. I made him and RL some worsted weight socks knit on size 6 needles because the were quick, warm and they liked them. Then L started dropping some major hints that he would like some 'sock weight' socks. I didn't have a pattern, or so I thought, and started asking around. Then I got into my patterns and found a 'Beginner's Lightweight Sock' pattern by 'Knitting Pure & Simple'. Perfect! The needle size was 2, not too bad. The pattern called for approximately 416 yards. I told him I would make them but he would have to go in to the yarn store with me to pick out his yarn and not sit out in the car waiting for me. He agreed. Of course R is always up for a trip to the yarn store, so she went along too. After looking over the selection for a few minutes he found the above colorway. It's Lana Grossa and cost $15.85. Expensive socks, I know, but there is way more expensive sock yarn out there. I started knitting....and knitting....and knitting. They called for an 8" cuff. I normally do a 6" cuff for R and me. I also cast on 72 stitches instead of the usual 60 some odd stitches, so it was going to take some time. Luckily the needle size was bigger than I normally use, so these babies were turning out faster than I thought they would. The first one was finished in no time. Dreaded Second Sock Syndrome threatened, so I cast on as fast as I could. However, my yarn was dwindling rapidly. I did NOT want to buy another skein at $15.85! That would make these socks a little too expensive for my blood. I love the kid, but gee whiz! I happily knit my socks out of Knit Picks! I panicked. Back to the yarn store. Luckily they had at least one more skein in the exact dye lot I needed. I sucked up my thoughts of not spending that much money on a pair of socks and bought it. The pressure was on. He started asking a little too often for my liking just when those socks were going to be finished. I knit on. I told him probably by the end of the weekend. Who was I kidding? I was burnt out on those socks and wondering when I was going to have to join that new skein.
I never had to join that new skein. This is what I was left with. Can I return the new skein?
Not when it's been wound into a yarn cake! Oh well. L is happy. I am happy they are finished. I have given him the lecture of a life time of the proper treatment of his socks. He is so incredibly tough on socks that I'm glad I have that other skein. I might just be doing a lot of darning! (By the way, I bought an antique sock darner on e-bay last week. When it comes I'll share pictures with you!) I did finish them last night around midnight, so they were finished by the end of the weekend. What to knit now??????
Here's another pose. Do those look like proud feet or what?

Ginger saw the camera and had to get in on the action. It's hard to take a picture when a cat is head butting your hand and demanding attention.
*Boyby = Boy + Baby This is a word coined by my nephew. I asked my sister about it and she said that when her youngest was about four she called him her baby. He informed her he was not a baby - he was a boyby. It stuck and at 22 he is still her boyby - just like L will always be mine. We had to adjust the term for R - she's my girlby.

March 9, 2008

Happy Day Lights Savings Time

Yeah right! What's so happy about getting one hour less of sleep? Nothing I can think of. We did get some good news from Florida. It looks like things with RLs dad aren't quite as bad as we had feared. For that I am truly thankful. Some more tests and a biopsy and we'll know more. Keep praying!
L was devastated earlier this week when he heard of Gary Gygax passing away. Now, if you aren't very, very, very familiar with Dungeons and Dragons, you don't know much about him. However, if you have a D&D junkie in your house like we do, you know who he was. He was one of the creators of the best game of all time - according to our 17 year old. He even had R make him a black arm band to wear to his weekly game night. Gary Gygax passed away from an inoperable abdominal aorta aneurysm. Kind of hit close to home with all we've been dealing with the past few months. We were all so glad that RLs Dad was able to have surgery. So sorry to hear that this man was not.
I started knitting a pair of socks for L. He's been nagging me to make some out of sock weight yarn for years. He has two pair made in worsted weight, but wanted sock weight. Of course it takes twice as long to knit in sock weight. He is thrilled and I am thrilled that they are almost finished. I'm used to knitting a woman's size 8 - not a man's size 11. Sure does take a whole lot more yarn! I'll post a picture as soon as they're finished - hopefully very soon! I'm ready to start on something else.
R got an order for a cake this past week. Colorful and with an 18 on it were the only requests. She was very able to handle that. I think it looks kind of like tie dye. Very pretty and her customer was thrilled with the outcome.

Happy Birthday Rachel! Hope you like LOTS of icing!

March 3, 2008

A Birthday and Fourth Place

RL is the dapper dude closest to the VW. His younger brother is other dapper dude.
Yesterday was RL's birthday. Why didn't I blog about it sooner? Well, I was busy celebrating a birthday with him and the kids! We had such a nice weekend - which did not last long enough!
We normally ask him what he wants and he says clothes and we shop for boring clothes. This birthday he wouldn't tell me what he wanted. I kept asking and asking and we were getting down to the wire. Finally I asked on Thursday night. He got real quiet and looked like he was thinking very deep. I couldn't tell if he was thinking about what he wanted or how to tell me what he wanted! He never, ever, ever asks for anything expensive. He never, ever, ever indulges in anything expensive like ATVs, hunting, fishing, sports, tickets to big games or concerts - nothing. He's the most unselfish man alive! He finally spoke up and said he wanted a Compound Miter Saw and they were on sale at Sears. So, Friday night we ventured out to Sears and he picked it out. If it had been left up to me to buy, Heaven only knows what I would have come home with....probably some yarn! (You know, the LYS is just across the street and around the corner from Sears......) Now he is planning all the wonderful things he wants to do with it and I'm excited! I'm not allowed to use it. L already informed me of that. We had borrowed one from a friend and I had never used one before. I was cutting some wood and dummy me didn't realize you had to hold the wood in place. Down came the blade, the wood was cut and the piece I didn't want came flying and hit me in the neck. L sprang into action to make sure I was still alive and hasn't forgotten about it since - or let me forget either! That is why I am not allowed to use this one. Geez, you make a little mistake and nobody forgets!

Mr. Potato O'Head bids you all adieu. He came in Fourth Place over at Mason Dixon Knitting. We were hoping for a better spot, but he was in stiff competition with all those women. A guy just can't compete with two monkies, a rat, and a frog. Geez, how does a potato stand a chance? He's just lucky he didn't get eaten alive! If you voted for Mr. O'Head, thank you from the bottom of his heart. If you didn't, well, you should have! Yes, I am a little biased! I know his designer personally, having given birth to her.

See ya later, tater!