Sunday, May 31, 2009

Started another prayer shawl.

This morning, my pastor announced that his wife Laura has cancer. What a shock. She's young, and healthy, but she found out this week that she has colon cancer. Not what you expect to hear in a Sunday morning sermon. At the end of the service, we sang an awesome worship song; some of the lyrics are:

So I'll stand, with arms high and heart abandoned,
In awe of the One who gave it all.
I'll stand, my soul, Lord, to You surrendered;
All I am is Yours.

I couldn't sing; I was crying too hard. I was reminded of my mother-in-law, who passed away about a year and a half ago, from cancer. I don't even know Laura very well, but I still felt like we were about to lose another family member. So I cried for Laura, as I attempted to pray and to worship. And, again like before, I felt God speaking to me. He told me, "Make a shawl for her."

So this afternoon, I again searched through patterns, and I debated with my myself over which color of yarn I should use. In the end, I decided to design my own pattern, using an easy lace pattern that I have memorized. And I decided to use the same yarn I had used for Rebekah and Allyson's shawl; the variegated blue recycled cotton. I've only knitted a few inches on the "Laura shawl", so I won't post pics yet. But I will after I get it about halfway done. And I intend to put the pattern on my other blog, which I'm still working on. I want to have a separate blog, just for my original designs; when it's ready, I'll link to it here.

To anyone who reads this, if you believe in the power of prayer, I'd like to ask you to join me in praying for Laura. I'll be praying with each stitch of this shawl.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen...

May I present: my seven-year-old daughter, Angel, and her first yarn. With a little help from Mommy, she spun this yarn herself, on her own drop spindle. It's a wool single, and varies in thickness between worsted and super bulky. Obviously, she's very proud of herself. Not quite as proud as I am, though.

To anyone who thinks spinning is difficult...may I just say: if a seven-year-old can do it, so can you.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

One Down, Four To Go...

I have finished the size 2 of my pattern. This one fits my Dolly perfectly and looks exactly how I had envisioned it. :D I think I'll cast on next for the size 6, since I have the dark purple yarn that Princess wanted, and I don't even know yet what color my niece would like, for the size 4. The size 8 will be for Angel, and the size 10 will just have to go in her box and wait until it fits her. Once I finish all five, or at least finish the math, I'll ask for test knitters. Thank you, vovens, for being the first to volunteer! I can hardly wait to get the pattern all written down and submitted.

Monday, May 25, 2009

So thankful...

Today, let's all take a moment to remember the sacrifices of our Armed Forces. If it weren't for them, being willing to put their lives on the line, we would not have the freedoms we hold dear. God, bless our military; keep them safe, and bring them home when the job is done. Amen.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Terminator: Salvation

It's a very good movie. I fully intend to rent it when it comes out on DVD, so I can catch whatever I might have missed the first time around. In this movie, John Connor(played by Christian Bale: swoon!) is a soldier. He's not leader of the resistance, yet. The machines have taken over, and are in the process of eradicating all humans. The Terminators still look like machines, not like people. John hasn't yet met his father, Kyle Reese, who is still a teenager at this point. But the machines know who Kyle is and why he's important, so they're trying to get to him before John does. John is assisted in his quest by a human/machine hybrid, which the machines created for infiltration.

The original Terminator makes an appearance, but considering how he looks and the fact that he doesn't speak a word, I'm pretty sure he was computer generated. However, his famous line, "I'll be back" is heard, just not from him. It's a great story of bravery, trust, redemption, and insanity. And there are lots of awesome guns. All in all, a terrific movie. Go see it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Designing a pattern...

I am neck-deep in designing a pattern, which I intend to submit for publication. I have to keep it mostly secret for now, but I just have to share my excitement. And my exhaustion. I've designed several projects before, but none that I wanted to submit anywhere.

With this one, I was inspired by the yarn, which is unusual for me. I usually come up with an idea, then find a yarn to go with the idea. I saw this gorgeous yarn, at Walmart of all places, and knew I had to use it. I'm not generally a big fan of acrylics, but this one is so pretty. It's a Vanna's Choice Print yarn. It's variegated, but not in the same way most variegated yarns are. It's two colors, a dark pink on one side, and a lighter pink on the other side. So it knits up like double stranded yarn. The variegation is very subtle. It makes a lovely knitted fabric.

So I saw this beautiful yarn, and knew that it would be perfect for a garment for a little girl. Since it's acrylic, it's washable; a very important consideration for kids' clothes. And I've already said I love the way it looks knitted up. I'm not telling yet what type of garment I'm designing, but suffice it to say: it will include ruffles and lace, and it will be sized from 2 to 10, for girls.

I've spent the last couple of days swatching and calculating, and calculating some more. And I have to keep meticulous track of every stitch, so that it can be translated into a marketable pattern. I'm about halfway done with knitting my first sample, which will be just the perfect size for my youngest daughter this fall. After I finish hers, I'll recalculate for the next size, and the size after that, and the size after that. And the size after that. Fortunately, three of the sizes will fit my girls this fall; I may simply knit and save the other two sizes for when they will eventually fit someone. Or I may ask for test knitters. Actually, I'll probably ask for test knitters anyway, just to check my arithmetic; it is just basic multiplication and percentages, but still, a double-check is always good. I am very glad I have so many friends online who knit; I'm sure I'll have no trouble finding people who would like to try out my pattern in advance of its publication. It will be published, either by the online magazine I'll be submitting it to, or by myself here on my blog.

Anyway, I am exhausted from all this calculating, and knitting. My left wrist is sore; I need to take a little break from the knitting. So I'm going to a movie this evening with Hubby. We're going to see "Terminator: Salvation". I'm going to just turn off my brain for a little while and enjoy the movie. Note to self: don't forget the earplugs. Movies are so loud they hurt my ears, especially my favorite type of movies: action. I have hearing damage from shooting without ear protection last fall. I learned my lesson quick, let me tell you!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How do you tell someone their pattern is wrong?

Seriously. I want to know.

I spent a couple of hours last night, wrestling with what should be a very simple lace stitch pattern. I read the pattern. I tried charting the pattern, because I understand patterns better that way. But when I charted it as it was written, it didn't make sense. The yarnovers didn't end up where they were supposed to be, to look like the picture. Well, I thought maybe this pattern just doesn't lend itself well to charting, but in my heart I knew better. I decided to knit it exactly as written, as confusing as that was; and then to try charting it from my knitted piece. My swatch looked exactly how my chart had said it would. So I ripped it out and tried again. And again. Finally, I tossed the pattern aside, and charted it the way it made sense to me. My chart looked right. So I cast on and started knitting it just like I'd charted it. And it turned out right. My pattern works, and the original pattern from the big yarn company doesn't. And my pattern really was simple.

So how do I tell the big yarn company that their pattern is wrong? And will they even pay attention to me, a humble knitter? (or maybe not so humble sometimes) I mean, if I were the big yarn company, I probably wouldn't listen to someone who's been knitting less than a year and a half. I'd wonder who the heck she thinks she is, telling me, the big yarn company, how to do what I've been doing for goodness knows how long.

With that thought in mind, maybe I shouldn't even bother. But then, I think of all the other knitters who might try to use that stitch pattern and be as frustrated as I was. Most people would probably have given up and picked a different stitch pattern. I couldn't give up; the pattern had issued me a challenge, and I had to meet it, because I'm that kind of knitter. And I won. I'm glad I won, because now it means I can use the stitch pattern I wanted to use in a project I'm designing. But I'm also not glad I won, because I'm not an "I told you so" kind of person. I don't like making someone feel bad. Especially people who take the time to come up with stitch patterns and write them down for other people to use.

Any thoughts? Suggestions?

PS: I'm not mentioning the name of the pattern, or the yarn company that published it, because that is not important to my dilemma. I don't want to defame the company. I actually really like their yarns, and many of their patterns.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Decided I needed a new look...

I got my hair cut today! I've been wanting to do it for a little while. I've been dyeing my hair for so long that it's really damaged, except for the roots. The roots are nice and silky, like all of my hair used to be. So I've stopped dyeing it. But that didn't solve the problem of fried hair, so I decided to get it cut short. It's not quite as short as I had it when I was a newlywed, but pretty short. And it has a style! I haven't had a real style since I was pregnant with Princess...and she's four years old now. So now, I've got short hair, with style! I also got my eyebrows waxed since I was there, and they really really needed it. I'd never had them waxed before, but I think I will from now on. So much quicker than tweezing. And the pain is over with quicker too.

Now, if I could just lose 40 pounds...I'd be ready for summer! Okay, so I'm ready for summer as it is. But I am going to lose those 40 pounds. Starting now. Next summer, I'm going to need all new clothes!

Friday, May 15, 2009

I have a cold.

I thought it was just allergies. But now I'm pretty sure it's a cold. My nose is stuffy and runny. My throat is sore. And I feel very fatigued. I haven't even done anything today except take the kids to the library. So I should still have plenty of energy, considering I slept pretty well last night. But I need a nap. It's just past 10 in the morning, and I already need a nap. Bah. It's not fun to be sick.

I got a bunch of books at the library about knitting for babies; I'm thinking of knitting something special for Allyson. I won't get a chance to see her until October, so I'm trying to decide whether I want to make something for summer and send it, or make something for winter and bring it along when we go north this fall. I saw a pattern online for a pretty little short sleeved cardigan, which might work. But then, maybe long sleeves would be better. I can't decide. So I'm going to look through the library books and see if I find anything that strikes my fancy. To be honest, most babies' (or kids') patterns I've seen look like they're straight out of the 80s: oversized, boxy, too many colors, ridiculous patterns...if you knit, you know what I mean. No offense meant to anyone who likes that (outdated) style. ;) I'm looking for something sweet and pretty, probably with some lace, but nothing too intricate; maybe some either a very subtle variegated yarn, or a solid color. I might have to end up creating my own pattern. But I love doing that, so it's no big deal.

Now if I can just stay awake to look through those pattern books...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I must be crazy.

This morning, I took the kids to Ruckus Room, a local funhouse. It has four rooms, filled with those inflatable jumping things and slides. The kids love it. I love it too, but only for about an hour and a half. Today we stayed for almost 2 hours.
Here's Angel, hugging a snail...
Princess, about to slide...
Dolly, jumping...

Dolly, just after she went down the big slide, all by herself...

We had a great time, even though there were some bigger kids there whose mother was ignoring them. They were very pushy and rough, and my girls aren't used to that. At one point, they pushed past Dolly on the ladder of the slide, and she lost her grip and tumbled all the way to the bottom. She was more scared than hurt, but I was pretty upset. These boys were probably 5 or 6, and should know better than to be so rough with such a little girl. Sorry...getting down off the soapbox now... Aside from trying to avoid the little brats, we had fun. Princess found a couple other little girls about her age and played very nicely with them. Angel was very sweet to the littler kids, finding bouncy balls and giving them to the kids. Anyway, now I can check that off the list; the girls have been begging to go there for months. I'm exhausted.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention, I got a little more knitting done. Here's the first picture of the lace tank top I'm making for Angel. That safety pin near the bottom has beads on it and spells out "front". I did that because I'm knitting in the round, on two circular needles, and wanted to keep track of which side was the front and which was the back. That way I can keep my lace pattern straight; the beginning of the round is the front.

I need a nap...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Since this is a knitting blog, I thought I ought to post something about knitting.

Unfortunately, I haven't knitted much of anything in the past week or so. I've been reading instead. Of course, that's partly because I created a "reading corner" for myself. I may need to make it a "reading and knitting corner"...

Currently on my needles but not hibernating: a lace tank top for my oldest daughter, Angel. I'm using the same lace pattern I used for the shawl I knitted for my sister. And, actually, only the bottom half of the tank top will be lace. I'm trying to encourage her natural modesty; she doesn't want anyone to see her "nips", as she calls them. :) I'm using recycled turquoise cotton. It's worsted-weight, so a little heavier than what I'd like to wear in the summertime, but Angel assures me that it'll be perfect. I think the lace will keep it from being too warm. I'm knitting it in the round, because that's how I like to knit. Everything I design is knitted in the round, in one piece. And if I use a published pattern that isn't written that way, I modify it to make it that way. I'm weird like that. I like sewing, and I like knitting, but I also like to keep them separate...except in the case of those precious "Summerlin" dresses I made for the girls. And the very similar "Jane Austen dress" I have in my list of future projects.

I pledge to do some knitting today, in between laundry, dishes, ironing and reading. ;)

Monday, May 11, 2009

I have a new niece!

Allyson was born last night (on Mother's Day, how appropriate!), and she's 6 lbs, 3 ozs. Which is pretty big for being 6 weeks early. My Dolly was the same size, and she was less than 4 weeks early. Allyson is breathing on her own, praise God! And seems to be perfectly healthy! I haven't seen any pictures yet, but Rebekah said that she'll send some as soon as she can. She's doing great; thrilled to be off bedrest. Thank you to anyone and everyone who prayed along with me. I'm praising God this morning!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

It looks like I'm getting a new niece today.

My sister Rebekah is in the hospital today. She's been in labor for over 24 hours, and I guess the doctors decided that they couldn't hold it off any longer. So it looks like Allyson will be born this evening, or tomorrow at the latest. She's 6 weeks early. They did give her steroids to mature her lungs, but even so it's likely that she'll have to spend a week or two in the NICU.

So if you are the "praying type", please say a prayer for Rebekah and for Allyson. I'll update as soon as there's news. Thanks.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Before and After, Part 2

Okay, part 2. This is the former studio. I planned ahead and took the pictures before I cleaned it up. It was a disaster area. Looked like the aftermath of a tornado.
Here's the desk, covered in papers and junk. I'm still working on getting it all organized. I just shoved it all in boxes so we could get the desk moved over the weekend. It's amazing how disorganized I've been lately. But I'm working on it! That's got to earn me some points somewhere.
Next's the same room, after moving out the desk, painting the walls a medium purple, and bringing in the toys. I tried to convince the girls that we should go with pink, but they wouldn't hear of it. One color they all agree on, though generally in differing shades, is purple. So purple it is. Angel wanted lavender, Princess wanted dark purple. Dolly(seen in the following pictures) just loves this in-the-middle shade. It's hard to tell, but she was dancing when I took the pictures.
The room looks twice as big now, without the giant desk. But even so, it's less than half the size of the old playroom, so cleaning it should seem a lot easier to the girls. At least, that's my theory. I've made a new rule that they have to tidy up each time they are ready to leave the room. It doesn't have to be perfect; it just has to be decent. We'll see how that goes.

"Purple! Happy!"

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Before and After.

As promised, here are the first pictures of my latest projects. I forgot to take "before" pictures before we cleaned up the former playroom, so here it is, cleaned up and prepped for paint. It was lavender before.

I painted the room a nice medium blue. This next picture shows my new reading corner in the new studio. I haven't got a chair yet, but it will go right there in the lower right corner of the picture. And I still have a lot of books to put on the shelves. I also hung a few inspirational pictures on the walls this afternoon, after I had already taken the pictures.

Here is the enormous desk that was in the smaller room before. Yes, that is a standard-size computer desk chair. This desk is about 6 feet long on the tall side of it. The part that is at a right-angle to that is even longer. I'm glad I took this picture right after we moved the desk, because at this moment it is surrounded and covered with office supplies and sewing supplies. I'm still in the process of organizing all of it. I made a lot of progress today.
Coming up tomorrow...before and after pictures of the new playroom. It's purple!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Home projects...

I'm not ready to post any pictures yet, because the camera is upstairs, and my muscles hurt too much right now to walk back up there. So here's an update. I painted the former playroom/new studio on Saturday. Then I spent yesterday afternoon arranging furniture. Had to get Hubby to help me take apart, move and put back together the desk. Today I'm planning on painting the new playroom. This one will probably take two days, because the girls want stripes. So I'll paint the base coat, then wait for the paint to dry overnight before taping off stripes and painting them tomorrow.

Also on the schedule for today: cleaning, laundry, and a trip to the eye-doctor to pick up Angel's glasses. My to-do list grows by the minute. Better get to it.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Getting ready to do a few projects at home...

We currently have a very large, very open, very very messy playroom. We also have a very small, cramped home office/schoolroom; we call it the "Studio". And in the studio, we have an enormous desk; it literally takes up the entire room. So we are going to switch the two rooms. The huge desk is going in the big room, and the kids toys are going to be pared down and organized and put into the smaller room. I actually had this idea a long time ago, but never mentioned it because the desk is huge and heavy, and a real pain to take apart and put together. I figured it would never happen, so I just put the idea out of my head. The other day, Hubby had the same idea. And since it was his idea, it will happen. I'm moving forward on it quickly, before he changes his mind.
So I'm picking out paint colors. Might as well paint the rooms since we're moving furniture anyway. I'm a little tired of the lavender that is in the current playroom/future studio. So that room will get painted a lovely light blue, and will have navy blue accents. That way, it will be obvious to the girls that it's not their playroom anymore. I'm thinking the current studio/future playroom will go pink, but they might insist on lavender again. We'll see. I'm taking all three girls with me to the store today to get the paint, so they'll have at least some input regarding their playroom color. I should also go ahead and get paint for Princess and Dolly's room; it's still green from when Angel and Princess shared it. And Princess has informed me that she does NOT like green. So that room will go light purple, with dark purple accents. Princess would like it to be all dark purple, but I've vetoed that idea; I don't want it to look like a cave. I'll try to remember to get some before/after pictures taken and posted.