Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A few knitting pics...

Here's a closeup of a simple triangular shawl I'm making. It's mostly stockinette, with purl ridges randomly spaced. And it'll have a very ruffley edging, because I like ruffles.
I'm using Paton's Decor, in Chocolate Taupe, and holding a silver thread along with it. This shawl was inspired by my hair; I recently found my first silver hairs. Yeah, I know that's strange, being inspired by my own hair. But I find inspiration everywhere. Anyway, the working name for this one is "Going Gray"... I haven't decided whether that will be the name when it's finished.
Here is Angel, wearing her Christmas Sweater, and an apparently radioactive necklace. ☺ The sweater fits her perfectly! And she loves it.
Here's Princess, wearing her shrug, and carrying the purse I crocheted to match it. Yes, I realize the shrug looks silly being worn over longer sleeves, but that's my 5-year-old. That's how she is.

And here's a bit of pure cuteness: Dolly, wearing her Christmas cape and mitts. It won't fit for very long, but I didn't figure it would anyway. She'll wear it until the weather gets too warm for it, then it'll go in her "special box".
Coming up in my next post: pics of Princess's poncho, which I finished last night.
I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, and that y'all have a terrific New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Whew! One more done!

I finished Angel's sweater! No pics yet; it's blocking at this moment, and the camera is missing. Will find it later and get a picture. I'm going to frog the purse I started for Princess; it's just going too slowly. I think I'm going to double the yarn and knit with bigger needles, or maybe crochet. I haven't crocheted much lately, but I do remember it being fairly quick, so that might be the way to go.

We're going to see Santa tonight at our neighborhood park. The girls are very excited. Two great photo ops in one day! We went and got portraits done this morning, and we were amazed at how well they turned out. Four shots yielded three good pictures and one that was just okay. We were done after about twenty minutes, so we went to IHOP for lunch, and finished up Christmas shopping. ☺ Here's a picture of the girls, wearing the cardigans I designed for them earlier this year...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Finished the first sleeve!

I haven't got a picture to post, but the first sleeve of Angel's sweater is done. And I started the purse I'm making for Princess, to go along with her shrug.

Yesterday was my birthday. It was a lot of fun. I got to relax and knit, and didn't do a single bit of laundry. ;) Even though it needed to be done. I'm catching up on laundry today and tomorrow. Anyway, I got a bunch of yummy presents; cookies and more cookies and chocolates...and Hubby gave me Sarah Palin's book. I've only finished the first chapter, but so far it's a really good book. :)

My allergies are driving me crazy today, and the benedryl is making me sleepy, so that's why this post is less-than-coherent. Signing off now...I'll post more, more-coherently, when I have time.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

More progress!

I just bound off the body of Angel's sweater! I'll start on the sleeves after she goes to bed. It's gotten to the point now that if she sees me working on it, she'll figure out what it is. I'm very happy with how it looks so far; exactly how I had planned.
I've used a skein and a half of the pink for the body, and will probably use a skein for each sleeve. It's taking less yarn than I'd anticipated. ☺ I still have three full skeins, plus some, so I'm going to have leftovers! I love this yarn. And I love this sweater; pretty, simple, and so soft. And I'm 98% certain it's going to fit.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Working on a new pattern...

I'm working on writing down the pattern for lace fingerless mitts that I'm making for my sisters for Christmas. I've got it written down, and now I'm knitting a set, using the pattern as I've written it, to make sure that I've got it right. I'm glad, because I've already found two glaring errors. So off I go now, to fix my mistakes, and hopefully I'll be ready to publish soon!

In the meantime, I'm also working on Princess's poncho, and planning a sweater for a new niece, who will hopefully not be arriving until February. She's been trying to come early, so I'd appreciate prayers for my sister Sara, and her baby Evellyn. Thanks!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Progress has been made...

I've finally picked up Angel's Christmas sweater again. Here's a picture of what it looks like today. I had Princess try it on, to make sure that the sizing was right, but I didn't take a picture of that. Anyway, it was slightly big on Princess, and came to her waist, so I think I'll do another inch or two, then increase a bit...Angel's shape is already beginning to change; she's got hips!

Anyway, that's all I've got time for tonight. Just wanted to get the update up. ☺

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Finished the mittens!

I finished Angel's mittens last night, and dyed them with grape koolaid today. Here's the before picture:

And the after:
I was a little worried that they were darker than she wanted, but when she saw them drying, she gasped and exclaimed, "I love them!" I like them pretty well, myself! They were easy, fun and quick. Of course, now Princess tells me it's time for me to work on her mittens. She doesn't know she's getting some for Christmas. ☺

Monday, November 9, 2009

Looks good, but doesn't fit...

I started this project yesterday. My oldest daughter's mittens from last year are too little, so we overdyed them and will give them to my middle daughter in her stocking at Christmas...and Angel needs new mittens!
I found this lovely cable pattern in "Vogue Stitchionary Volume 2", which is a book I'd love to get for Christmas. I've checked it out from the library numerous times, just to look through it and get ideas. Anyway, I thought this cable would look terrific on the back of a mitten. Okay, backing up...first thing I did was trace my daughter's hand in my knitting knotebook. Then I measured it, and wrote down all the important measurements: wrist, hand circumference, hand length, thumb circumference and length, etc. Then I started swatching. I decided I wanted a nice tight fabric for these mittens, so I picked size 6 needles to use with the worsted-weight yarn. I got 6 stitches per inch, over stockinette knitted in the round. Since her hand has a circumference of 6 inches, and cables tend to "pull in" the fabric, I decided that 38 stitches should be enough for nice, snug mittens. I cast on and started knitting. Several hours later, I set the mitten-in-progress down, thinking I probably should have her try it on before finishing. It's a good thing I did.
This morning, I had her try it on, and it's way too tight. The cable pulls in a lot more than I thought it would. My first clue should have been the fact that the stockinette-and-cable part was narrower than the ribbing. Oops. Back to the design notebook... I think I'm going to have to do some increasing after the ribbing in the area where the cable will be, and maybe go up a needle size after the ribbing. The good news is she loves the design!
In other news, we are keeping the cats. Nobody responded to my email about who owned them, except one neighbor who was of the opinion that the previous owners didn't take proper care of them and they'd be better off with us. So the girls and I sat down and came up with proper names for them. The fluffy orangey one is Cashmere, and the spotty one is Emily or Emmaline, depending on who you ask. I wanted to name her Intarsia, but the girls wouldn't hear of it. They live outside, for the time being; hubby put his foot down on that point. We'll just wait until he falls in love with them... poor kitties... it rained last night. I think I'm going to look through my pile of wood scraps in the garage and see if I can come up with some sort of shelter for them, for when the weather is bad.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I'm afraid we've been adopted...

Yesterday, two cats showed up in our back yard, and haven't wanted to leave. This one climbs up into my lap whenever I go out there. And he/she (haven't been able to get a good look yet) seems to be the jealous type...if I start petting the other cat, he/she gets in the way and even paws at my hands. The girls have been calling him/her "Milo", after a cat in a movie.
This one is smaller, maybe a year old kitten. I'm pretty sure it's female, which is good; Angel calls her "Elizabeth", Princess calls her "Felicity".
We haven't decided to keep them, exactly...I sent out an email to my neighborhood to see if we could find out who they belong to. But if I can't, I'll have to figure out what to do with them. I haven't ever owned a pet myself, and don't know a whole lot about cats. Advice, anyone?

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Now that Halloween is over, I've found time to upload the pictures! Here is Dolly, as Queen Lucy of Narnia. I made this costume a few years ago, for Princess. Dolly loves wearing it for dress-up, and she didn't mind not having a new costume.

Here's Princess, as Felicity, again...

And Angel, as Betsy Ross!

I sewed together some strips of red and white fabric, and put a few separate ones in her basket, as if it was her sewing basket, and she was working on a flag. She did a great job, explaining to the clueless neighbors who Betsy Ross was.

And here's one of all three girls, at the costume contest. None of them won, but that's okay. Their costumes were definitely the most original, and probably the most well-made, if I do say so myself. ☺
I thought of taking pics of the worst costumes I saw...like the approximately size 20 woman in the size 10 spandex "Robin"(of Batman and Robin) costume...Yikes! Or the very pregnant teenager in the much-too-tight-minidress...I think she was dressed as a hooker. But I decided it wouldn't be very nice to show that. And I'm a nice person.

Anyway, Halloween's over. Now I can get back to Christmas knitting! ☺

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Took a little break from knitting...

...to do some sewing... Here's Princess in her halloween costume(sans petticoat, because I've misplaced the fabric I intended to use to make it). She's going as "Felicity" from the American Girl Series. She looks a lot older than almost-five, don't you think?

...in motion...


This pattern was really a lot simpler than it looked. And I love the Colonial style; very pretty and feminine. I did most of the sewing with my machine, but did the blue trim on the front, and the hem, by hand. That was a lot of hand-sewing, though; the circumference of the skirt at the bottom edge is somewhere around 10 feet. It's a very full skirt, which makes Princess very happy. ☺

Thursday, October 15, 2009

From The Top...

Here's a sneak peek at my latest project, a top-down yoke-style sweater for Angel. This picture was taken last week, so now it's a lot further-along. I've joined the front and back sections and set aside the sleeves.
I love knitting in-the-round, and from the top-down. One of the biggest benefits is being able to try on your project while it's still on the needles. Of course, Angel won't be trying this on before Christmas, but I can have Princess try it on, as she's not much smaller than Angel. I also love knitting seamlessly, as my seaming skills leave something to be desired. Someday I'll focus on learning that skill properly...when I find a pattern that I love enough to make it worth my time to learn it. This sweater is a basic seamless style. By starting at the neck, knitting down to where the front and back sections are joined, then continuing in-the-round on the body, and lastly picking up the sleeve stitches and knitting them in-the-round, I will have no finishing except weaving in tails at the end. And blocking, of course. The only drawback is that I have to limit my time working on this to when Angel is not around, because it would be obvious what I'm making. She knows I'm making something pink, but that's all she knows. ☺
I've made some progress on Princess's poncho, but it's getting to the point where I'm wishing I had a longer circular needle. I may need to find one... I still need to knit it about 3 inches longer, with 8 increases every other row... 5 rows per inch... that means another 50-60 stitches by the time I'm done. Yikes.
I still haven't started on Princess's purse; I need to find a pattern or come up with my own idea...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Another finished project!

Here's the shrug I made for Princess for Christmas! I'm thinking I'll make a little purse to match, since this is a smaller project than the cape and mitts I made for Dolly, and the sweater I'm making for Angel.

Again, this is my own design, and I'm working on additional sizes before being ready to publish the pattern. It's a seamless raglan with elbow-length sleeves. I used one skein of Naturally Caron Spa, in "Rose Bisque" and a little tiny bit of the same yarn in "Misty Taupe" for the crochet trim around the edges and ends of the sleeves. I think that "Misty Taupe" would be better named: silver. Okay, it's not as creative a name, but that's what color it is. When I think of taupe, I think beige. This is a very shiny, silky silver. But anyway, that's not really important. What is important is that I absolutely LOVE Spa. This yarn is so silky and soft; it's a real joy to work with. I'm glad this project only used one skein; that means I have five skeins left for Angel's sweater. ☺ And Angel already told me that she wants a matching shrug(but not for Christmas, because it wouldn't be a surprise). But I'm going to do hers all in the silver, because she has several long, navy blue, sleeveless dresses, and I think the silver and navy blue will look really classy together. And, doing it all in one color makes it more versatile; it'll be able to go with her other dresses as well.

I've restarted on Angel's sweater, doing it exactly how I'd done it before. I had thought it wasn't shaping up well, but that's just because it was on such a short circular that I couldn't straighten it out and get a real feel for how I liked it. When I took it off the needle to frog it, I thought it didn't look so bad after all, but I frogged it anyway... and now, after thinking about it for a few days, I like it. So I started it again. I need to trust my original idea....I think it'll turn out pretty well.

Only 80 days left until Christmas!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A finished project!

I've finished Dolly's Christmas cape and mitts! I'll have to wait until Christmas to get a picture of her wearing it. I'm in the process of writing down the pattern, but I'll have to do some calculating to come up with other sizes.
Okay, the vital stats on this project: I used two skeins of Paton's Decor in "chocolate taupe" for the cape, and a little bit of a third for the mitts, and less than one skein of Lion Brand Fun Fur in "soft pink" for the trim. It's a little difficult to see in this picture, but there's a border of lace diamonds all around the cape, and three diamonds, lined up, on each mitt. I'll make sure to get a picture in the sunshine on or after Christmas. Hopefully, the weather will be cool enough by then. ☺
Now I'm working on Angel's sweater...well, actually, getting ready to start over on her sweater. I'm knitting it from the top-down, and started with the turtleneck collar. I cast-on enough stitches for it to fit easily over her head, and then realized, even with ribbing it'll be too big around for her slender little neck. So I'm going to start over with fewer stitches, and hope that it will stretch enough to fit her head through. Wish me luck!

Monday, September 28, 2009

I have the best friends!

I've gotten three packages in the past three "mail days" from my friends! These are friends I've never even met...yet, but I feel like we're family. BunkerBabes rock!
I got this from Andrea: six skeins of "Otto", a wonderfully soft merino wool, and two books of patterns! I plan on making a lace cardigan out of the yarn, and I can't wait to try out some of the patterns in the books! Thank you, Andrea!
I got this from Dawn. She sent six skeins of "Spa", a bamboo/acrylic blend. It is soooo silky! I'm going to use it for Christmas gifts for my girls. She also sent a magazine filled with baking recipes! I love to bake, and I intend to try out almost all of the recipes. ☺ We're going to have some bake-alongs; me in Texas and her in Florida. Thank you, Dawn!

And this package is from Christine. I participated in a coaster/warm beverage swap, and she's the one who got my name. She sent me two kinds of loose-leaf tea(they smell wonderful, and I'll be trying them out tonight), and a tea ball. Some dark chocolate from Ghirardelli...YUM! And a lovely cabled mug cozy and a felted coaster, both in my favorite color: burgundy! And the patterns for the coaster and cozy, and one for a lacy shawl called "Peacock Plumes"; it was one I had looked at recently, but hadn't printed yet. And, to top it all off, a book of "Portals of Prayer"! ☺ Thank you, Christine!

My friends are awesome! I love you all, BunkerBabes! You have cheered me up immensely! And this swapping thing is fun! ☺

Friday, September 25, 2009

Forced Frugality.

On Monday morning, my husband called me on his way home from work. He'd been laid off. I was on the way to Walmart, to get pictures taken. I decided to wait, as it didn't need to be done that day. Now, while Hubby occupies his time searching for a new job, I brainstorm ideas for saving money. Fortunately, Hubby did have the foresight to save up a bunch of money, but since we don't know how long he'll be without income, we want to make it last.
Friday night is our pizza picnic night; we eat pizza in the family room and watch a movie. Usually, the pizza is Digiorno, since ordering pizza is crazy-expensive these days. In an effort to be even more frugal, this afternoon, I made pizza crust dough in the bread machine, and the kids helped me put on the toppings. It was a little funky-looking, but it tasted really yummy! We borrowed a movie from the library (FREE) rather than renting it from Blockbuster.
I baked bread the other day, and it was really yummy, even though I baked it a little too long. I'm planning on doing a lot more baking, rather than buying cookies and treats like that. More fun for the kids (more work for me, but that's okay) and yummier, more nutritious snacks for all of us.
At the thrift shop today, I found the boxed set of the original Star Wars trilogy, and snagged that for a Christmas gift for the girls. Coincidentally, they like the movies with "Luke" better than the ones with "Anakin", so that'll work out well. I've done the shoulder decreases on Dolly's cape, now I just need to increase and knit the hood, and make some mitts to match; that'll take care of her Christmas gifts. I'm planning on handknitting and/or sewing all the Christmas gifts. Just because we're being frugal doesn't mean we can't still have a great Christmas.
Hubby canceled his gym membership, and we brought our Bowflex in from the garage. We bought it when they were first invented about 8 years ago, but we haven't used it much. We will now! Now I just need to get him some new innertubes for his bicycle, and he can use that for cardio workouts.
I'm going to weed through some of the clothes the kids don't need and see if any of them are nice enough to sell on ebay, to help bring in a little extra money. They tend to be pretty tough on clothes, so I'm not sure whether that'll help much.
These days, even if you are fortunate enough to have income, frugality is a good idea. So tell me your favorite frugal tips in the comment section below. ☺

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Introducing: my rejected pattern.

Well, I got the email today that the pattern I submitted to Knitty was not accepted. So I can finally post pictures here. I will, however, be reserving the pattern for my book. Anyway, this is "Julia Lynne". It's a top-down, seamless raglan cardigan with lace and ruffles.
And here are some pictures of my girls, in their cardigans.


And Angel

Friday, September 18, 2009

I am frustrated.

My hands have been hurting, a lot. I think I have tendonitis in my fingers. It's from too much knitting, but (of course) I still want to knit. Time is getting away from me. I have Christmas gifts and other things to knit. I want to knit, just for the serenity, the calmness, the joy it gives me. Yesterday I didn't knit a stitch. I did not like that, at all. My hands still hurt today. But I'll take at least the morning off, since it's library day anyway.

Another reason I'm frustrated is that people are having difficulties downloading my patterns from my pattern blog. I didn't consider the fact that not everybody is using Microsoft Windows Vista when I saved my patterns as "xps" files (whatever the heck that means). So some people are able to access the files (I assume they are Vista users) while others are not. I need to save the files as another file type and see if that makes them accessible. If you are one of the people having trouble accessing the files, please bear with me as I attempt to solve this problem. I'm just relieved at this point that the mistake was mine, and I don't need to find another file storage site. I apologize for my shortsightedness. I just wanted to let you know that I am, in fact, working on it.

Here's a sneak peek at what I'm working on...or at least what I want to be working on...

It's a top-down in-the-round poncho for Princess. I've only spent one evening and one full day working on it (which is partly why my hands hurt so much) to get it to this point. It's very easy...I started with my new favorite cast-on: the tubular cast-on(I love it because it's much stretchier than the traditional long-tail cast-on...did about an inch of ribbing, then began increasing, just like I would for a raglan sweater, with basic rope cables between the increases. I haven't decided yet whether I will continue increasing, because if I do, this thing is going to be huge; it will be a square if I lay it flat. But then, Princess is a very active little girl, and I think she might need that extra space to be able to play as hard as she'd like. So at this point I'm undecided. Anybody want to offer an opinion on the issue?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

knit, knit, knit, knit, knit

I realized that I haven't posted since last Friday, so I figured I should post something. I've been busy...knitting, of course. Did you know there are only 100 knitting days until Christmas?!? My baby sister's Christmas present is finished and ready to be photographed...or it would have been ready if my kids had left it alone while it was blocking. I need to reblock it. I've got the first part of my second-youngest sister's present almost done. I'm making the same gift for all of my sisters, just in different colors. I've started on a poncho for Princess, but it isn't a Christmas gift. I'm planning to get it done before we go visit family in North Dakota next month. I'm knitting it in a bulky yarn (Bernat Alpaca blend) so it's going pretty quickly. I need to measure her and decide how long to make it. I've decided to make a hooded cape for Dolly, for Christmas, and some mitts to go with it (from the same pattern I designed for my other girls' mitts; just have to size it down to fit her) I think I might have enough blue worsted merino left over from a sweater project for that. I started a "banana bag" for my baby sister...haven't gotten very far with it, though. Sorry, no pics today...I'll get some taken soon.
Oh, I posted a new pattern (for a coaster) on my pattern blog, so go check that out... the link for my pattern blog is over there. ----------->

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11

We're taking a day off from schoolwork today. I saw one flag flying at half-mast this morning...only one. I think I'll start patronizing Whataburger for that decision. Today is a day for remembering the approximately 3,000 people who died in the vicious terrorist attacks eight years ago. But why is it only today? We Americans said after 9/11/01 that we would "never forget". It seems like we have forgotten, most of the year.
Yes, today should be a day set aside for remembering, but we need to remember all year round. 19 evil men, taking their orders from another evil man, attacked us. They killed thousands of people. They made us afraid. We said afterward that if we live in fear, they win. American flags were everywhere. Patriotic music was on the radio 24/7. Americans pulled together as a nation. And we fought back. The Taliban, who supported Bin Laden in Afghanistan, fell. Saddam Hussein, whose government supported terrorism, fell.
But as time went by, the flags were put away. People began to doubt we were doing the right things. They forgot that we were attacked first. They forgot that America does not back down from a fight. On the anniversary each year, people say they will never forget. But some have.
I am still proud of our country...proud to be an American. And if that offends anyone, I don't care. The United States is the best country in the world. Even though a lot of things have "changed" and are "changing" in our country, it is still America (for the time being anyway). Let's remember those patriotic sentiments we expressed on September 12, 2001, and that we share today, all throughout the year. God bless the United States of America! And may He help us continue to "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity"!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

busy, bein' creative.

I've been meaning to write, but I've been busy working on this...

"Double Eyelet Rib Socks" by Wendy Johnson
My first toe-up, sockweight, adult-sized sock. It's actually much further-along than this picture; I just haven't taken any other pictures. I'm using the left-over yarn from my Ichthus shawl.
Yesterday, I made this:

It was intended to be a coaster. I learned a couple things with this project...firstly, that variegated yarn isn't the best for a "log cabin quilt" block...and secondly, that this was too big to be a coaster. So I gave it to Angel to use as a face washcloth.
Then, last night, I made this:

It is a coaster. It's the right size, and I designed it myself. I thought it looked kinda like a flag; at least, that was the idea. Hubby thinks it looks like a bullseye. What do you think? Flag? Bullesye? Goofy-looking in-the-round striped square?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ichthus is DONE!

Presenting the completed Ichthus shawl! Here it is, pinned to my carpet, blocking...about 5 minutes before my youngest daughter grabbed it and tried to use it as a blankie. Said child got a severe talking-to (I had just told her not to touch it) and an extended naptime. I got it smoothed back out and pinned back down, and I'm hopeful that it will be dry by morning, so I can take a picture of myself wearing it.

Okay, the vital stats on this shawl...I used 3 1/2 183-yard (50 gram) skeins of fingering weight bamboo/silk/cotton blend yarn. It is 64 1/2 inches wide at the top, and 32 inches long down the centerline(blocked measurements). It's a little smaller than I thought it would be, but since I'm a fairly small person it fits me well. I'm very happy with how it turned out!
The lace pattern itself is fairly simple, but with the combination of the lace and the techniques, I'd call it an intermediate-advanced pattern. I still have quite a bit of work on my hands, turning my little chart and my almost-nonexistent notes into a marketable pattern.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Praising God, and dancing with joy!

Laura went home from the hospital on Sunday, and on Monday she got the pathology results....there are "NO RESIDUAL CANCER CELLS!" No cancer. Anywhere in her body. At all. When I read the news on her Facebook page, I was crying tears of joy. I am so happy for her, and so thankful to God. Every step of the way, she has experienced the "best case scenario"; almost no side effects of the chemo and radiation, better-than-expected tumor shrinkage, and now she is recovering well, with the knowledge that she no longer has cancer. Any time that I see what looks like a miracle, I believe that it is one. God used the doctors and the medicine to heal Laura. All glory to God!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Beginning of a new week.

It's a new week. I really enjoyed the worship service this morning. I love my church; we worship passionately, and the Word is preached without being watered down. Speaking of my church, my pastor's wife, Laura, had her cancer surgery last week, and from the reports we're getting, everything looks good. The tumor had shrunk dramatically before the surgery, and the doctors are confident that they got it all out. Laura should be out of the hospital in another day or two. You can read more about her journey at http://www.laurashooksblog.blogspot.com/
We went to a church "splash party" this afternoon. It was a lot of fun....for the kids. Actually I had a pretty good time, too. But I don't think I need to go for a walk this evening, after chasing Dolly all around at church. She's pretty fast for a two-year-old. My legs are tired.
After a major tinking experience last night, I have regained my momentum with Ichthus. I've finished the second skein, and I'm on the last row of fish before I start the edging. I'm not sure if It'll take one or two more skeins. I'm just glad it looks like I'll have some yarn left over; I want to make some socks with this yummy yarn.
The kids are ready for more schoolwork tomorrow. Guess I need to get ready. Angel read "Swiss Family Robinson" today, in it's entirety. Yes, it was abridged, but even so, it's a fairly long book. I know she loves to read, but I was surprised with how quickly she finished it. Princess told me a few minutes ago, "I didn't do any schoolwork today!" She was very concerned about this oversight. I had to explain to her that we don't do schoolwork on Sundays. She showed me a little coloring book that Angel had drawn for her and she had colored. As I praised her coloring skills, she informed me that she had the "most fantastic" pictures. How many four-year-olds talk like that? It made me smile. And ask hubby to repeat what he had said earlier about our girls not going to "a real school". Our school is plenty real, thankyouverymuch! Time for me to sign off now; I need to go print some math worksheets for Angel to do tomorrow.

Friday, August 28, 2009


In the time after Jesus's death, resurrection and ascension into heaven, the early Christians were persecuted, imprisoned and sometimes even executed, simply because they were believers in Jesus Christ. It still happens today in some parts of the world. Believers could not simply come right out and say that they were Christians, because they didn't know who could be trusted. They had to devise ways of letting each other know, without alerting people who would turn them in.
Someone in the early Church came up with the idea of a fish symbol. The Greek word for fish is "ichthus". Each letter (Greek letters) stands for another Greek word, the translation of which would be "Jesus Christ, God's Son, the Savior". I'm writing it out in English even though I can pronounce it in Greek, because I can't spell it and don't have Greek letters on my keyboard anyway. The early Christians would draw the shape of a fish, and if the person who saw it was a Christian, they would know what it meant.
I have chosen "Ichthus" as the name for this prayer shawl I'm designing. The "ch" is not pronounced like it typically is in English words. Think of the movie/play Fiddler on the Roof, and the song, "Le Chaim"; it's more like that. Ichthus is now about 35 inches wide at the top, and 17 inches long down the centerline. I can hardly wait until I get it finished; it's going to be so nice to wear. I'm still figuring out the idea for the edging, but it'll be a little while before I'm ready for it anyway. I apologize for the sideways picture; it was right on my computer, and I don't know why it uploaded this way.

This is the only thing I'm actually knitting at the moment, though I am in the process of putting together some other design ideas...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sent in my pattern...

Last night I sent my pattern and what seemed like a gazillion attachments to Knitty. I submitted it for their winter issue, which goes live in December. I don't know if they'll tell me ahead of time whether they've accepted my pattern, but I do know they'll tell me if they reject it. If they reject it, I'll either publish it on my blog for a price(not really sure how that works, since I've only ever used free patterns myself), or I'll set it aside for an even bigger project... I want to write a book. I don't know anything about publishing, so I'll have to do some research on that subject. But that's my plan right now. I'll continue to post here about what I'm knitting, and offer simple patterns for free on my pattern blog. But the more involved patterns I intend to save for my book idea.

In the meantime, here's a little hint about a new project I'm designing. I don't know yet how I'll offer this pattern; it's more difficult and fancy than the other ones I've written so far.

It's going to be a triangular shawl, with "fishes all over", as one of my girls said. I'm using a gorgeous, soft, wonderful bamboo/silk/cotton blend. It's fingering-weight, and navy blue. I had planned on using some more of my recycled cotton, but when I was looking for a needle I found this yarn, which I had forgotten I had. When I bought it on ebay, last year, I didn't pay close enough attention to the details; I thought it was worsted-weight. When it arrived, I was surprised, and a little unhappy with my purchase. At the time, I was still a beginning knitter, and had no idea what to do with fingering-weight yarn. So I put it in my stash, and searched half-heartedly through patterns to figure out what I could make with it. I started two projects with it, but quickly got tired of them both. Then I was struck with the inspiration earlier this week, to make a triangular prayer shawl. I haven't ever made a triangular shawl before, but I had done a swatch a few weeks ago to figure out the technique. So I took that basic shape and did some charting and some swatching, and what you see above is the result of that. The picture was actually taken a few days ago, so it's quite a bit bigger now. I'd say I'm maybe 1/5 of the way done with it. I'll likely finish around the time when I'll be needing a warmer shawl than this one. So I'll probably make another one in wool.

We're nearing the end of our first official week of school, and it's been a pretty good week. Angel is doing some review-work in math until I get her new math book(which I still need to order), and is learning to write in cursive, and doing a vocabulary workbook. She is also knitting a scarf for Princess's birthday, and sewing Christmas gifts. And I plan on having her blog this afternoon, too. Princess is learning letters, and doing handwriting. She has a hard time sitting still for very long at a time, but when she does, her handwriting is excellent for a four-year-old. My plan is to have her reading independently by the end of the school-year. Dolly plays while we do schoolwork, and I think she enjoys having a little time by herself to play however she wants. When the girls all play together, the older ones pretty much control the game.

Whew! I think that's everything...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Knitting, knitting, knitting...

I've been knitting a lot this week, trying to convert some of the ideas in my head into designs. Angel suggested I design a cabled scarf for a little girl (specifically, her) and a matching one for her doll. Here's an in-progress picture of that scarf, done in Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool.

And here are the finished scarves, after koolaid dyeing. The color is called "Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade".

And a picture of Angel and "Hannah" wearing their matching scarves. Just ignore the summery background...it is August after all. We went outside for about 30 seconds, snapped a picture and ran back inside. August in Texas...the temperatures are still hovering near the 100 degree mark.
Yesterday I decided to try out a cast-on technique I'd heard of, the "Turkish Cast-on", and used it with this simple eyeglass case. I was going to do stripes with the cream Fisherman's Wool, but I decided I rather liked the funny pooling I got with this Lion Brand Print. The colorway is called "Autumn Sunset". So here's the "before felting" picture...
And here's the "after felting" picture. It shrunk less width-wise than I expected, but that's okay, since it was an experiment. Princess decided it was perfect for her purple sunglasses. I'm still working on the last size of my big project, and I'm getting close to being done. Which is good, because the deadline for pattern submission is fast-approaching. But I needed a few small projects...a little instant gratification. Now I'm focusing on finishing the big one. With a little luck, you just might see it in Knitty in December. Keepin' my fingers crossed...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Home again.

Well, we made it home safely, after driving a total of about 12 hours. It's good to be home. I had a lovely visit with my family, except for what I wrote about in my previous entry. After that, my brother did behave better, so we're still friends. ☺
I didn't get much knitting done while I was there, but I did write down a bunch of ideas my family inspired me with. More about that later...
Hubby is, naturally, very glad we are home. He was very lonely and bored without us. Fortunately for me, he took advantage of his boredom...he cleaned up the house, and vacuumed and shampooed the carpets. He also painted Princess and Dolly's room...purple of course. They were very surprised and very happy about their "new" room. It looks very cute.
And now I have to go get ready to go to the store...I had to make pancakes this morning, because we are all out of milk.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Just venting...

What do you call a person who teases your children until they cry, then tells you that you need to "toughen up" your children? I'd call him a jerk. Except that I can't, because he's my little brother.
He started out teasing my oldest, hiding all the snacks when she was trying to get something to eat...and she cried. Then he smacked my middle child in the face with a pillow. Sure it was just a pillow, but for crying out loud, she's four and he's 24! She cried. Then he started teasing my baby, which just about put me over the edge. She didn't cry, but kept scooting closer and closer to me on the couch and giving him the evil eye. I guess the fact that he couldn't get her to cry made him start back in on my middle child...grabbing her hand and refusing to let go unless she said, "Please let me go, Tim." I told her to say, "Let go of me, you jerk!" And he acted like I was the one being rude. He had the nerve to tell me to "toughen up" my kids. I wanted to tell him to grow up, along with a few other choice words, but I didn't, because two of my children were still in the room. My oldest did the smart thing; she left the room after he teased her. All I can say is that it's a good thing he isn't planning on having any kids anytime soon, because if he treated his own like he treated mine, they'd hate him. I love my brother, but sometimes I don't like him very much.

Monday, August 10, 2009

God really does answer prayer.

I know, some people don't believe that. Some say it, but don't mean it. Some people pray without expecting God to actually listen to them. To you, I say, He is listening. And He is speaking; you just need to learn to listen to Him.
The other night, I was in bed, tossing and turning, trying to get to sleep. But my back hurt. I have had back issues since I was a teenager, but this was more than just the usual. I had a sharp pain in the center of my back; it reminded me very much of when I had had a rib out of place. When it had happened before, it had gotten progressively worse, until I could hardly move. I finally went to the chiropractor. And it had taken several treatment before it was all better. Now, on Friday night, after the chiropractor was closed for the weekend, I was in terrible pain. I knew I was going to be driving all day Sunday, and wouldn't be able to visit a chiropractor in Kansas without paying the exorbitant first-visit fee. So I talked to my Abba, my heavenly Daddy who loves His little girl and wants the best for her(me). I told Him about the pain, where it was, how it felt, how I didn't want to have to deal with it all week...and by the time I finished describing the pain, it was gone. I wanted to laugh out loud, but Hubby was sleeping and I didn't want to wake him. God had answered my prayer before I was done praying it! Psalm 139:4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.
Yesterday, I started driving at 5:30 in the morning, so it was still dark, and I was in a part of the city I don't know well. And I saw a sign that said "Interstate closed at ______"... There was a major accident and they had closed the highway at that spot. I prayed that the accident would be cleared away and the highway reopened by the time I got to that spot. And I think God chuckled to Himself and said "I have a better idea." When I reached the place where the highway was closed I saw the flashing lights ahead. And then I noticed a little white car in front of me had pulled off the highway just before the accident. And I heard the inaudible voice of the Lord: "Follow." So I did. I followed the white car through a construction zone and back onto the highway a few miles from where we had left it. God had answered my prayer, but not in the way I had expected. Isaiah 55:8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My says," declares the Lord.
Add to that the fact that I had slept a total of about 30 minutes the night before our trip, then drove almost 12 hours in a row, and our safe arrival in Kansas was nothing short of a miracle. ☺

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Goin' to Kansas!

I'm going to be driving allllllll day tomorrow. I'm going to visit my family in Kansas. Hooray! I haven't been there since February, when my little sister got married. I really wish we lived closer. But then, even when we only lived three hours from them we rarely visited. I wish we lived in the same town; then we'd see each other all the time, like we did when I first got married. Most of the family is still living in that same town. Not us. We had to move once because of the military, then a bunch more times because of jobs. I really hate moving. But I'd love to move back to my hometown.
It's a decent-sized town; everything you need is right there, but it's not quite a city. Rush hour traffic there is like normal traffic here in the city where I live now. The only time you get stuck in a real traffic jam there is after a college football game. Downtown isn't a crazy maze of one-way streets like it is here; their "downtown" is a few square blocks, with nice little storefronts, and the mall at one end. The streets are lined with beautiful trees; the trees are so huge that they reach each other across the two-lane streets and form a green canopy. So pretty. I love my hometown. It's grown a lot since I lived there, so I don't know my way around as well as I used to (which, I must admit, wasn't very well to begin with; I've always had a terrible sense of direction). They have all the shopping and such that you could want, so people don't have to drive to Topeka or Kansas City unless they really want to. I'm looking forward to hitting the fabric/yarn stores and the thrift shops while I'm there. ☺
But mostly, I'm looking forward to visiting with my family, giggling with my sisters, discussing theology with my dad, hanging out with my mom and getting advice from her, seeing my brothers, watching my kids play with their cousins (note to self: pack earplugs! They can get pretty noisy), and getting a chance to finally hold Allyson (the newest baby in the family). I'll miss my hubby, but I'm glad the girls and I get this chance to go.
So anyway, today I'm doing laundry and packing. Got to remember to bring lots of DVDs...it's gonna be a long drive.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Itty bitty socks...

I have been knitting baby socks. I wanted to learn something new, and I picked socks. But I also wanted instant gratification, so I picked baby socks. I have a friend who is expecting her first girl, after having two boys. So she needs some sweet, feminine things for the new baby. She is learning to knit herself, and said that she was going to try making some bibs like the ones I made a few weeks ago. So I decided socks would be just the perfect gift. I'm close to finishing the second pair; I love how quickly these get done. I'm thinking I'll buy a little tiny pair of Mary Jane shoes to give her with the socks.
This sock was the first sockweight sock I ever knitted, and it only took a few hours. Of course, I already understood the basics of knitting lace, so I was able to focus on how to do the heel, which I did not understand. But now I do. ☺ The pattern for this sock can be found here: http://pickinandthrowin.blogspot.com/2007/04/free-pattern-for-lace-baby-socks.html

It was quite simple, but I don't think I'd have chosen garter stitch for the top of the cuff; it doesn't have a lot of stretch. I think if I make more of these, I'll do a few rows of ribbing instead.
And once I understood the basics of knitting socks, I was able to take this idea and run with it. I had seen a pattern for girls'/womens' socks in this general style, but not babies'. I tried knitting a little bit of the lace edging from that pattern, but it was way too wide for baby socks; 10 stitches wide at the narrowest part. So, after much searching for the perfect narrow lace edging, I had to come up with my own. I hadn't done much with lace edgings(actually none, except that attempt I just described), so that was my new skill for this one. I did the lace edging with larger needles than the socks themselves, and it turned out ridiculously ruffley, which I like. The result is this sweet little sock. One of my friends said it looks like something Shirley Temple would have worn.
I am refining the pattern, and will post it on my pattern blog soon.

Friday, July 31, 2009


Last night I finished "number 4". Hooray! I'm so happy, I decided to take a day off from knitting. My hands are tired. So this afternoon, I'm planning to work on Angel's second green nightgown. I cut it out several days ago, so now I just need to put it together.
I intend to have Angel write in her blog this afternoon as well. It's part of her schoolwork for this year. Instead of keeping a paper journal, she's keeping a blog. It's helping her learn to use a computer, and she types more quickly (and legibly, of course) than she writes. If you're interested in reading her blog, the address is http://thirdgradeangel.blogspot.com

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Busy...busy...frightfully busy...

Okay, you'll only "get" that title if your kids are into VeggieTales. It's from a song. Anyway, it about sums up my life this week. I've been cleaning, doing laundry, hemming shorts, knitting, killing ants, organizing for a trip, cleaning, organizing, killing more ants, doing more laundry and ironing...you get the idea.
I haven't had as much time for knitting this week, so I still haven't finished Number 4. Number 5 is sitting in a sloppy pile in my bedroom, waiting patiently for me to finish 4. But I started a fichu for part of Angel's halloween costume. I know, it's my own fault I'm not done with my big project. I keep letting myself get distracted. Actually yesterday I was looking up patterns for cute baby socks; I have a friend who is expecting her first girl, and all she has is boy stuff from her other kids. I thought of making her some bibs, but she's learning to knit, so she's going to try making some herself. So, I want to make some cute, frilly, feminine socks for her baby. I haven't made many socks, and I haven't done any at all with sock yarn. So I'm thinking baby socks will be a good introduction; I'll get them done faster than adult socks.
I think I'll bake some bread this afternoon. Maybe. I think homemade bread would go well with my Scotch Chicken. The chicken is already making my house smell wonderful. I put a bunch of chicken thighs in the crockpot with minced onion, minced garlic, and a little bit of Scotch whiskey. I turned it on low, and I'm just going to let it cook slowly, all day. I'll make some veggies and potatoes later to go with it.
Okay, enough rambling for now. Time to get back to work. ☺

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The pattern for "Laura" is finally available!

Y'all thought I forgot, didn't you? Well, I didn't. I was just trying to figure out how to upload it, since Blogger does not have an option for uploading PDF files. So I uploaded it to box.net, and linked to it on my pattern blog. This blog, "LovelyKnits" has turned out to be more about me than just my knitting, and will continue to be. My other blog will be just for my patterns. So if you want to knit your own "Laura", visit http://christineolsonoriginals.blogspot.com/ .

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Who says Christmas only comes once a year?

Look at this happy face. I think she likes it. ☺

Princess and Dolly told me that they wanted purple curtains, instead of the green drapes I had so lovingly sewn two years ago. So I got them some new curtains, but then I had four panels of this nice green fabric, and it was hardly faded at all...hmmm...what to do, what to do? Well, Angel has recently grown several inches, and her nightgowns were getting waaaay too short. But she said that she didn't want a green nightgown, unless it was Christmassy. Fortunately, I had some red ribbon and lace laying around, so all I had to buy was the pattern and some thread. She wanted it to come all the way to the floor, so I added a very ruffley ruffle to the bottom edge.
I still have two uncut curtain panels, so I have enough to make one more nightgown for her, but not enough red lace...I hope she'll settle for white lace...
I'm saving the white muslin I had used for the linings of the drapes, to make petticoats to go with the girls' halloween costumes. Angel is going to be Betsy Ross, and Princess is going to be Felicity, from the American Girl series. So they both need very puffy petticoats. Dolly hasn't yet let us know who she wants to be.

Now back to knitting...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Baby Bibs

I mentioned in my previous post that I was making some bibs for a friend. Here they are!
I made a total of six bibs: two each of bright blue, bright red, and olive green cotton yarn.
I started with the red garter stitch one, just to get the basic idea figured out. I cast-on 30 stitches and knit in garter stitch until I had a square. Then I bound off most of the stitches, leaving 7, I think. I continued in garter stitch until I had a strap long enough to go around a baby's neck and button on the other side. I did a yarnover and knit two together, to make the buttonholes, and I made three buttonholes on each strap, so that the bib could be adjusted to fit the baby's neck snugly. For the second red one, I cast-on a few extra stitches, to accomodate the "pulling in" nature of the cables. The cable on the left side continues all the way up the strap, so the strap was wider...9 stitches, I think. I didn't keep great notes, just figured it out as I went.

I don't know why this picture uploaded sideways. Oh, well. Again, I did a basic garter stitch one. The second green one is a slip stitch pattern I saw somewhere and liked. The stitch pattern is knit five, slip one, repeat. Then all the stitches are purled on the wrong side. I added a garter stitch border, to keep it from curling. The strap on this one was very wide: 11 stitches.

And here are the blue ones. The blue cabled one is my favorite. The wide cables are 4 stitches, the narrow ones are 2 stitches. All of the cables cross in front; the wide cables every 8 rows, the narrow ones every 4 rows. The background of the cables is just garter stitch, but there's only one stitch between each cable. The strap is 8 stitches, with the wide cable continuing all the way around.
I am very happy with how these bibs turned out. I was going to make some burp cloths to match, but the baby shower is next week, and I haven't enough time. So I'll just have to buy some. They won't match, but that's okay, too.