Sunday, January 31, 2010


On Friday night, the forecast was for Saturday snow showers with no accumulation. At about 11 AM the snow started, and didn't stop for about 8 hours. We had 6 inches of "no accumulation". It's a good thing that I love snow. ; )

I actually didn't get to take advantage, though. My back has been bothering me all week. I went into work for part of one day and that's all. It's been rest, medications and gentle stretching the rest of the time. That sounds good when you don't have to do it, but it's not much fun when you don't feel well enough to do much else. Even my knitting efforts were limited - it's hard to knit on a sleeve with the rest of the sweater attached when you have to be flat on your back to be comfortable. That sweater is heavy!

I did manage to get the sleeves done, mods (ribbing instead of garter stitch cuffs) and all, and the collar mod (also ribbing instead of a rolled collar), too. The He Gansey is waiting for a final fitting session and then ends will be woven in and blocking will happen. Yippee!!

My new project, the Mondo Cable Pulli has been started. The yarn arrived on Thursday and I cast on that night! LOL. This Angel Kiss yarn is so nice to work with. The yarn feels soft and cuddly, but seems to be fairly strong. I don't know how it will hold up under wear, but I did test my swatch with friction, and I didn't see an excessive amount of fuzzing and I didn't see any pilling. I have hopes that this will be a sweater that I wear often and love.

The color I chose, Ocean, is a wonderful blend of blues, some green and teal. That's the best I can do to describe it - it really does look like Pacific Ocean hues. I'd love to see an Atlantic Ocean colorway - shades of greens - for another sweater. I love the tonal shades in the yarn, though the solid colors are deep and true, also. I just prefer not quite solids.

I've gotten as far as the join at the center and am now knitting in the round. The rounds are long, but will get shorter soon, as I put the sleeve stitches on holders and knit just the body. So far I find the directions to be clear and easy to understand. This knitting in much easier to do on my back, which give me a great excuse to do more. : >

I do, actually, want to be a little further into the pattern when the KAL starts. I know that I am not responsible for "teaching" but if I've knit it I should be able to help troubleshoot better if someone has a problem. I'd like to knit the tank top version of this pattern also, and have some cotton/linen yarn that I purchased quite a while ago in mind for it. In fact, in the fall, I swatched and so I can knit on that if I feel the urge.

I had originally wanted to knit the cardigan version and changed my mind because I fell in love with this yarn, which is much more appropriate for the pullover. I am now considering spinning the yarn for the cardigan version. I had considered doing that for my own personal Olympic challenge (spinning it, not spinning and knitting), and I'd like to do that. However, between my back hurting and the KAL, I am afraid that I might be taking on too much right now. I may still do it - I'd really like to - just at a later date. It would be a great challenge for me to spin an Aran weight yarn, as my default yarn is more like sock weight. Also, to spin that much yarn would be a challenge due to the potential for boredom. To spin that much yarn a consistent thickness would be a great challenge. I really want to do it.

My car repair was even worse than I thought. The repair took 4 days instead of the two they originally promised (it's a good thing I didn't go to work much this week) and was over $1300! I need a reliable car to go to work in, though, and we don't want to take on a new car loan at this point. The economy is still unstable, as far as I can see, and the wonderful (NOT) state of Maryland is going to furlough us. Again. Public transpo in this area is terrible - only 3 buses going to and from Baltimore per day, not at workable times for me to utilize for commuting, given my work requirements. Again, thanks to the state of Maryland (NOT) for fulfilling the residents needs. So, the repair seemed like the best choice for us. Whenever I do go back to work I should have reliable heat and not have to worry about the engine just stopping dead on me. I guess that's worth $1300.

I think it's time to go take a rest period for my back. Have a great day.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Car Trouble

I forgot to add this to my earlier post.

The intermittent heat problem in the car was diagnosed. It's the head gasket. Yup, that's right - the "Oh s**t " problem. Everyone has the same response, whether they are knowledgeable about cars or not. We have no choice but to have it fixed, so that's about $1000 out of our pockets. major ouch. We are making do with one vehicle between us this week and it's tough for DH. He detests being home without a vehicle to get around in. That will be a very hard thing to deal with when his vision gets bad enough that he can't drive at all. He's getting a test run this week. It's already been longer than they said it would be for the repair. Let's just hope that it won't cost more than they said.


I am anxiously anticipating the arrival of the yarn for my KAL sweater. It's probably just as well that I didn't have it over the last weekend, though. I would not have gotten as much work done as I did. Saturday I was very productive - I did the great dish exchange - the Christmas dishes went back in the boxes and the every day dishes came out and went back into the cabinets. By the time I was finished with that and some clean out and elimination (to go into the Purple Heart collection box) I was tired and had a sore back. The next morning my back was more than sore. I was getting zings from the nerve that had been irritated the day before and had to be very careful how I moved. Hmmm. Maybe I wish that I had gotten the yarn - I would have been knitting instead of hurting my back. ; )

I spent the day doing gentle exercises and non-strenuous chores around the house. By the time Monday rolled around I was not able to sit for long and spent the day in/on the bed in various stages of reclining, trying (unsuccessfully) to get comfy. Tuesday I opted to stay home, also.I have an hour drive to and from work and most of my work requires that I sit at the computer and type. A lot. That was not happening. I found the recliner to be a better place to spend time.

Today I gave going to work a shot. The drive wasn't too bad - I wanted to stop and get out only once (I didn't - there was no safe place to stop where I was driving at the time) and got to work much later than usual. I had waited until after rush hour, and plan to leave for home well before rush hour begins this afternoon. I've been at the computer since I arrived but get up a couple of times/hour to change position. It seems that standing still isn't very comfortable, either. I'm shooting for a 3PM departure - that's two hours away and I hope I can make it. (I am on a meal break. I have to eat fairly often to protect my stomach from the ravages of high dose NSAIDs, so even on an abbreviated schedule I take a meal break.)

I was disappointed on Sunday with both football game results. There is no team worthy of my support during the Superbowl. sob. I don't like the Saints at all, and no self-respecting Maryland resident will cheer for the Indianapolis Colts, who should be (and were originally) the Baltimore Colts. I guess I'll find a non-Superbowl activity to participate in.

The Olympics start on Feb. 12. Will you be watching? Will you be participating in the Knitting Olympics on Ravelry or someplace else? Will you do your own, private challenge? I think the idea is a great way to get out of a rut - learn a new skill in an area you are familiar with or learn a whole new sport/craft/language, etc. I wanted to do a Knitting Olympic challenge for myself this year, most likely private rather than in a public forum. I was giving it thought when I realized that anything I might want to do would take away from knitting time for the KAL I will be leading during that time. Maybe my challenge should be to knit an entire sweater without re-knitting any part of it. LOL. I will be watching as much of the Olympics as I can manage for certain. The determination and dedication to each sport that the athletes must have to even get to the Olympics is so inspiring to me.

DH's neck problem is improving. He is on the taper part of the steroids, and most of his pain is gone. He still has alot of numbness in his hands, but that's getting better, too. I don't think he's doing his exercises, though. We'll have to have a talk about that now that I am feeling better. Exercises are better than medications IMHO.

Meeting time. More in a day or so.

Friday, January 22, 2010

color chosen then changed (sheepish grin)

With the input from the LYS Needle Exchange attendees, I chose cyan tones. During the early morning hours I changed my mind and chose Ocean. I am trying to balance the colors I love with getting colors that flatter me. It's very difficult doing that over the Internet. I hope this works. I can't wait to get started! I have to wait about a week, though, for it to arrive.

DH had an appointment with an ortho specialist this morning for his shoulder pain. I don't know how many of you have had or know someone who has had a kidney stone. If you do, you will understand the level of pain DH was in last Saturday - he felt like he had a kidney stone in his shoulder! The problem, it turns out, is arthritis and a bone spur in the cervical spine, pinching a nerve. He will continue his NSAID treatment, start a steroid taper today and (hopefully) do some exercises to help. If that doesn't work, we move on the an epidural steroid injection (injecting a steroid into the spinal column). Doesn't that sound like fun? I've had it done in my lumbar spine, and while it helped me quite a bit, I would be more hesitant to get it done in the upper spine. Fingers crossed, please.

The nasty weather that was predicted for last night and this morning has not materialized, thank goodness.

My car was dropped off for a check today - my heat works only sporadically and half-heartedly. That is not acceptable in January in Maryland. They think it is the thermostat. I hope that is all.

Send healing thoughts, please

Go see Joan and send her and her family some positive, healing and peaceful vibes, please.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Indecisive ... vacillating ... not sure which. giggle

I was going to knit the Mondo Cable Cardi. I was certain I wanted a cardigan, and I wanted something fairly sturdy because I wanted to wear it outdoors in the spring and fall, doing yard stuff or running to the store - nicer than a sweatshirt (which is my usual garb) but not a jacket. I was going to use this yarn to make it. That was after I decided to use this yarn (discontinued). Then I was going to use this yarn.

I was swatching with many yarns because I am going to lead a KAl at my LYS. People could choose to knit that sweater in the cardigan or the pullover version or a vest. As a result of all that swatching, I am now going to knit the pullover instead, with Angel Kiss yarn. This time I am really sure. I fell for this yarn and it's much more suitable for a near the skin garment that will not be subjected to as much wear and tear - that's why I switched to the pullover version. I have not yet chosen a color, though I prefer the "tones" over the solid colors but I am excited. This is going to be a soft, cuddly sweater that can be worn alone or layered. I'll be doing a gauge swatch tonight at the "needle exchange" at my LYS. It will take a week or so to get the yarn in once I settle on a color. It will be a very long week. I'll try to finish the sleeves on the He Gansey while I wait. I hope to get photos over the weekend. Only the neck treatment will remain ... another finished object is looming!

We are expecting anything from a rainy AM commute (the weather channel) to a wintry mix beginning this evening and continuing overnight (a local channel) over the next 24 hours depending on who you listen to. I think I will prepare to work from home tomorrow just in case. I wish I could stay in, knit and listen to audio books all day. Well, it is Friday tomorrow, so that means that the weekend is not far ......

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hump Day update

The Ravens are out of the playoffs. : ((
They did it to themselves - too many penalties and some missed tackles. Bummer.

On the knitting front, I have been swatching a lot for the Mondo Cable KAl that I will be leading at my LYS. I plan to make the cardigan, most others I think will make the pullover. I made a few swatches for me to try to decide on the yarn I will use and then I made several others for display and to advertise the activity.
I picked up the stitches for Bob's second sleeve on the He Gansey and have about 3 inches knit. It seems to take forever to see progress at the start of the sleeve, but I think things will move faster this week. The gusset is finished and I have begun the actual sleeve decreases.
The purple sock has 2 of the required 3 pattern repeats on the leg completed. The purple alpaca shawl edging is a little longer but has been put aside for now in the interests of finishing the He Gansey and purple sock. No spinning has occurred.

Outdoors, the shed that DH is building is nearing completion. The outside work is done and the shelving is going to be started on the interior. We will be able to start using it soon. That's very good because I have taken down the holiday decorations and sorted through them, organising and cleaning out. I would love to get those storage tubs out in the shed to make room for me to sort through clothes and other things.

The boat has finally been winterized and covered and is safely parked at the marina.

Work is busy - several new patients have been enrolled and this is the season of monitor visits - I am in the midst of my 3rd in the last month, with another scheduled for next month. Whew!

Speaking of monitor visits, the monitor is due any minute. Have a great day.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

They won!

The Ravens beat the Patriots! I wanted it to happen but had my doubts ....

I am so impressed. Indy, here we come!

On the knitting front, all during the football games I knitted on Bob's sweater sleeve. I had actually managed to pick up the stitches evenly enough the first time that I didn't have to rip and re-do it. I knitted 16.5 inches of double moss stich for one sleeve and then couldn't go any further. Apparently I reached my saturation point. I haveabout a half inch to go, then a decrease round, then the cuff. I wove in the ends on the sweater, finished Rob's earflap hat (it fits!) and wove in those ends. Younger son's hat has to be ripped. I thought it might - it felt kind of small while I was knitting it and I was able to catch younger son for a try on to confirm. That's OK - it wasn't a lot of knitting.

Last night I started a swatch for the Mondo cable sweater with Donegal Tweed. Tonight I hope to finish the sweater sleeve (I think I've had enough of a break that I won't feel nauseated when I pick it up to knit on) and pick up the stitches for the next sleeve. I'd also like to rip younger son't hat and recalculate what to do with it. The sleeve is the priority, though.

Work is busy these days. I have entered 4 patients into studies in the last month - that's a lot for my kind of studies. We lost 2 patients, too. Very sad.
I have a few monitor visits either going on or scheduled for the next month or so. That means lot so of tedious work to do - checking for blank spaces on the forms, going back to find missing information, and making copies of lots of papers after de-identifying them. Blegh.

The cold weather is very hard on DH. He is trying to complete work on the shed he's building in the yard, but it's hard to put up doors or shingles when it's 30 degrees and windy outside and you loose feeling in your fingers almost as soon as you get out there. He is persistent, though, watches the forecast and plans out his week, chosing the warmest days for the best chores to be done. He's a great guy.

Friday, January 08, 2010


I brought my swatches to the LYS last night for input. I settled on the Rowan Tweed, though it's a little different than what I had already swatched (which means an additional swatch). The yarn available now is Rowan Scottish Tweed Aran and I chose a navy blue. It's very deep, almost black - winter navy. Then next day I was checking on line for color options - just trying to see what else might be around, and found that the yarn has been discontinued. Bummer. Now I don't know what to do. I like the other yarns, but am not sure about the colors they are available in.


Monday, January 04, 2010


I have, as usual, spent time thinking about what I would like to do differently this year compared to last year. I don't make "resolutions" because that is a formula for feeling like a failure, but I do like to set goals and/or hopes for myself. I try to be realistic and still "improve" myself or something in my life. Goals are flexible, resolutions seem not to be.

I would like to be healthier this coming year. I am not certain of the best way to make that happen. I lost my walking partner last year (Hi, Karen) but I can't do that any longer anyway. Bike riding might be a good substitute - we'll see when the weather gets a little better. (the rear tire is flat and I am having trouble convincing eldest son to go outside in this weather to fix it) Meanwhile, I will try to do 30 minutes of exercise 5 days/week. I will also try to change my eating habits. I don't need a "diet", I just need to eat less junk food.

I would like to get and keep the house organised and neat. Bob is building a new and bigger shed, we are buying storage tubs and I plan to label them and use them. If I make storage simple and easy to use, I hope to be able to stick with the plan and get the others in the house to do the same. I want to de-clutter.

I want to be more interested in my work. I am a nurse. I work in research and would rather be doing direct patient care. I have to accept that I can't do that any longer (due to back pain) and fully invest myself in my work, acknowledging that it isn't as personally satisfying but it is important and doing it right is important and not "just paperwork". I need to read, take classes, something to spark my interest.

I want to spend time doing fun stuff with DH. He is becoming more and more limited in what he can do alone and I don't want him to become too isolated or frustrated when he tries to do something he can no longer do by himself. Also, when life in general gets tough (and in this economic climate, who isn't having a tough time) we tend to get more serious. We need laughter and fun to balance it all.

Knitting - I want to make sweaters and tops more than anything else (socks, scarves, etc.) I want to knit a few items with my handspun yarn and I want my purchases of yarn to be for sweaters. I want to work on the quality of my knitting (but not loose the fun of knitting). Knitting multiple sweaters and making, then fixing the mistakes should improve my knitting skills, don't you think? ; ))

Spinning - I want my spinning to be more directed instead of accidental. I want to be able to spin a specific yarn for a sweater of a gauge that I chose, not spin yarn and then try to find a sweater that I can make with that yarn. Now that is a lofty goal! One that I will need flexibility for. ;(

Now that I am exhausted from all of that thinking, I think I'll take a nap. :))

Think warm thoughts.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Wild Card!

They did it! The Ravens are in the playoffs as a wild card! WooHoo!!!

Knitting has been going on here today. I did some spinning yesterday and was able to finish up some deep blue fiber I had been working. Next I have to finish up the purple wool/silk blend and ply it. I need the bobbins to ply the blue fiber, so the purple has to be finished first.
I blocked my scarf. This is the 198 yards of heaven scarf that I completed a couple of weeks ago. I love it even more now that it is blocked - the lace shows up so much more and it feels softer than before, also.

A close up of the stitch pattern:

And a close up of the edge. Very nice, I think.

Here is the He Gansey a couple of hours ago - this is some of the front of the sweater. I have since finished the front and joined the shoulders. Next up - picking up around the arm for the sleeves.

I have been swatching for a KAL I will be leading at my LYS in February - the Mondo Cable Pulli/Cardi from Chic Knits. The swatches were knitted a while ago but I had not blocked them. Now they are blocked and measured. The gauge is very close - I can use any of the yarns for the sweater. These are my choices:
On Line Linie 208 nature-wool (not tweedy but not a smooth yarn, either, I like the texture)

Rowan Harris Aran ( a little tweedy and very nice)
Kathmandu Aran (possibly a little too tweedy?)
Which do you thing will work best for this sweater?

A newly opened amaryllis to end the night.

Let's go, Ravens!

I am so ready for this game. My Raven's spirit props and a blanket (it's very windy and cold out there) and, of course, my knitting.