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
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 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'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:

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.