Friday, December 31, 2010

Last workout of 2010

I had another great workout this morning, despite having woken up in pain.  Worked my back because it hurt, and my abs to balance the back.  Then I did 20 minutes on the bike, and 10 minutes on the stair-stepper!  Two weeks ago, I couldn't even do half that on the stair-stepper!  I've built up my stamina pretty well so far!  I still look about the same, and my measurements haven't changed, but I'm getting stronger.  I'm even considering trying Zumba next week!  That might be just what I need to kick the actual weight-loss into gear.  I've gained five pounds; of muscle, I'm assuming.  And muscle burns fat, so I'm just waiting for that to start happening.  Come on, muscles, do your thing!

Hope y'all have a great New Year's Eve!  I'll be spending the evening with my best friends, chatting and knitting!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Working through the pain...

Went and worked my arms and shoulders this morning, since they were the only parts of my body that didn't hurt from my fall yesterday.  I only did 20 minutes of cardio, on the bike.  My back and ribs and hips are so sore.  I took a bath that seemed to have more epsom salt than water, and it helped some, except that my upper back slipped out of place again while I was pouring in the salt. Argh.  So this afternoon I gave up and took a nap.  I'm hoping hubby can pop my back when he gets home from the football game he and his dad went to today; the chiropractor is closed today, and probably tomorrow for the New Years holiday.  Okay, I'm off to beg Angel to put BioFreeze on my back.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What a fun day!

We went to Galveston today, to visit Moody Gardens with Hubby's dad.  We had a great time!  I made some progress on "Evellyn Anne" during the drive...
 One of the really fun activities we got to do was go ice skating!  I haven't been ice skating in years, so I was pretty excited about it.  I didn't get to go to the gym today since we headed out early, so I decided to count ice skating as my exercise for the day.  And believe me, it's good exercise!  My legs, back and backside are pretty sore, but that could also be partly due to my HUGE wipeout... I was skating pretty fast, and came around a curve, and didn't get my feet under myself quickly enough.  All 170 pounds of me went down HARD on the ice.  I'm gonna have a heckuva bruise on my backside, which nobody but hubby and I will ever see, but I survived the shock to my bum and the hit to my pride and got back up and skated for quite a while longer.  The girls fell several times as well, but not as spectacularly as I did.  

Angel had only ever gone ice skating once before, but had lots of practice with her rollerblades, so she did really well.  She skated all around the rink by herself the whole time!  She kept her balance fairly well, and had a lot of fun!
 I spent most of my time helping Princess.  It was her first time ever, and she did awesome!  She was scared at first; hubby took her around a few times and let her basically hang on his arm and make him do the work.  I refused to do that with her.  I held her hand but told her she had to push with her own feet.  Within twenty minutes, she was skating by herself!  She wasn't too graceful, but she refused to give up.  I'm so proud of her.
 The above can serve as my "two-and-a-half-weeks-exercising in-progress" picture.  I have a lot more stamina and range of motion than I did three weeks ago, and my thighs and butt aren't quite as chunky.  Can you believe that tall girl is my little Princess?

Here's a shot of the beach as we drove past...
 The waves were pretty wild.  It was rainy and windy, but we saw several crazy people out there surfing!  In December!

Here's a pic from the Aquarium at Moody girls in a shark cage!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

An Almost-Oops.

I had a great workout this morning.  Worked my abs and back, then did 20 minutes on the bike and 10 on the elliptical.  I pedaled faster and ran faster than I've been doing.  Got my heart-rate up a little too high.  I almost blacked out.  Felt dizzy on the drive home, stumbled into the house and collapsed on the floor.  Still feeling a little dizzy now, half an hour after finishing my workout.  I'm drinking ice water, which is helping.

This has happened before, but not in a long time.  It could have been really bad.  I'm glad I made it home.  And glad I had a terrific workout. Haha.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Yup, another post about exercise.

Went to the gym; worked arms and shoulders, then did 20 minutes on the bike and 10 on the elliptical.  I didn't want to do the elliptical, but I needed to.  It wasn't fun, but I'm glad I did it.  Time for a shower, and then I need to run errands. Blah.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Back to the gym...

Went to the gym this afternoon.  Worked back and legs, and did 20 minutes on the bike and 5 minutes on the elliptical.  My ankle and knee just didn't want to cooperate.  It wasn't an awesome workout, but better than nothing.  Now I want a nap.  So worn out from all the excitement and preparation for Christmas.  I feel like I could sleep until New Year.  I am so going to be better organized next Christmas.  I don't want to be so over-stressed at the last minute again.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Despite a dubious start, it's turning out to be a good Christmas at the Knitter house.  The turkey was delicious, the potatoes were absolutely wonderful(I'll be making them with Lactaid milk from now on!), and the kids were so stuffed that they didn't even think to ask about dessert.  Which I forgot to make.  Oops.

This has been a very disorganized season for me.  Angel's Christmas tree is still completely bare, because she was waiting for me to put the lights on.  Kinda moot at this point.  At this moment, the girls and I are watching Return of the Jedi on tv.  Hubby is skype-ing with his aunt, and Hubby's dad is, presumably, taking a nap.  A little while ago, Angel was "teaching Princess to sew".  They made a bookmark out of flannel, which was promptly given to Mommy.  It's terrific for a first project without grownup help! 

Angel is very excited about her gift from "Grandpa Claus"...a real sewing machine!  Tomorrow or the next day, we'll find some time to get it set up and figure out how it works.  I handed her the manual and told her to read through it, so she'll know, at least intellectually, how to use it.  Princess's old bike was officially too small for her, so "Grandpa Claus" got her a brand new one, without training wheels!  Kitty's gift from "Grandpa Claus" is a Leapster, which we will figure out tomorrow or the next day.  But her favorite gift was a little stuffed kitty that I picked up at Hobby Lobby as a gift "from daddy".  All three girls got lightsabers "from Uncle J" and they all agree they're their second-favorite gifts.  Santa filled the stockings with candy, so I'm predicting a few days of wired kids.  Hubby got me some Black Hills Gold earrings(which he kept secret since September!), and his dad got me the art I've been eyeing for months!  As soon as I can borrow a tall ladder from my neighbors, I'll have prints of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution gracing my front entry!  I did get a little yarny goodness, and I can hardly wait to cast on, but I need to finish a few projects first.

No workout today, as the gym is closed for the Holiday.  I was planning on going for a walk, but I'm still in my jammies at 4pm, so I'm not sure that's going to happen.

Anyway, Merry Christmas!  I hope you are having a happy holiday, and your stress level is low.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve workout

I had a pretty good workout this morning.  Worked abs and back, then did 20 minutes on the bike and 10 on the elliptical.  According to Hubby(who seems to think he's an expert in the field of fitness, despite the fact that he weighs 300 pounds) you don't actually burn any fat until you've had your heart rate up in the proper range for 20 minutes.  I don't know that that is necessarily true, but in case it is...that's why I came up with the idea of doing the bike first.  I can pedal for 20 minutes more easily than I can run on the elliptical for 20 minutes.  For some reason, my joints like the bike better.  So I get my heart rate up for 20 minutes on the bike, then switch to the elliptical, which burns more calories than the bike.  Of course, the weight training I do before cardio also gets my heart rate up.  Either way, I'm hoping to start seeing a real difference soon.

The gym is closed tomorrow, so I'll have to make do with my handweights and rollerblades.  Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Almost forgot to post..

I've been so insanely busy today that I almost forgot to post my workout, so without further ado...

Worked my arms and shoulders, did 10 minutes on the elliptical and 10 minutes on the bike.

And I hate Christmas shopping.

That's all I've got the energy to say.  Good night, internet.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A great workout

Went to the gym this morning(as usual, haha).  Worked my legs, abs and back.  Then did 20 minutes(7 miles!) on the bike.  I didn't use the heart rate sensors, so it didn't adjust on me this time.  After that, I had a little energy left over, so I did 10 minutes(almost a mile) on the elliptical.  I had to talk myself through the last couple of minutes, but I made it. ☺

Aside from my energy level and stamina, I haven't seen any major changes.  I haven't lost any weight, because I'm building muscle, and muscle is heavier than fat.  My hips and thighs have shrunk a little, but not much.  I'll wait to take an "in progress" picture until I can see more of a change.  Maybe by New Years Day; that'll be three weeks of working out every day.  Which reminds me I need to ask if the gym will be open on Christmas Day; I know the Kids Club will be closed, but I can leave the kids home with Hubby and his dad if the gym will be open.  If it won't, I'll just do some exercises at home, and go for a walk in the neighborhood.

I'm off to clean house some more; Hubby's dad's plane out of North Dakota was delayed, and he missed his connecting flight by five minutes, so spent the night in Colorado.  He should be here tonight.  I'm glad, because it gives me a little more time to finish cleaning.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I should not be swatching...

I should be working on this:
Excuse the color; it's actually much brighter green than this.  This is my Evellyn Anne blanket sample for Knit Picks; it's about 18 inches wide now.  There's still a lot of work to do on it.  But I got this:
I had the idea of making another in-the-round square blanket, this time with cables instead of lace.  I'm just swatching at this point, but I'm liking what I see.  Each panel started with the center plaited cable, then came the rope cables that twist toward that center braid.  And as you can see, I've just started the next columns of cables; ropes that twist away from the other ropes.  After that will come another set of braids....and ropes twisting towards the braids, and ropes twisting away from the other get the idea.  So far, I love it.  I'm using worsted weight "I Love This Wool" from Hobby Lobby and size 9 needles, so that the stitches are not so tight.  This yarn is great for cables, and it's very warm and snuggly.  In fact, I'm loving this so much, I might have to go buy some more of this yarn in this color, to finish it!  I had planned on just doing a swatch, and using it as a potholder, but I find myself wanting to see how it would look as a whole blanket.  I was thinking baby blanket, but now I'm wondering how much yarn it would take to make it 5 feet wide, so I can snuggle up under it!  I'm also wondering (naturally) whether Knit Picks would like it...
I had a much better workout this morning.  Worked my arms and shoulders.  I'll probably be a bit sore tomorrow, but that's alright with me.  I was able to pop my back last night, so that pain is almost gone, thank God.  I only did 10 minutes on the elliptical, and the last three were torture because my ankle and knee popped.  I made it to ten, and switched to a stationary bike, which I did for 13 minutes.  I was going to do 20 on the bike, but the darn thing automatically adjusted the resistance on me, and the last minute or so I was talking to myself: "Don't give up. Come on. You can do it. Don't give up. Damn this hurts. Don't give up. Don't give up. Don't give up. Don't..."  It didn't work, and I bet everyone around me thought I was nuts.  I gave up.  I'll do better tomorrow.  So long as the machines let me tell them what I want to do instead of the other way around.

I noticed in the mirror last night that my thighs were looking better, so I measured them this morning: 26 inches.  *Sigh*  My waist used to be 26 inches, once upon a time.  Okay, so that was a long time ago, but still...

Monday, December 20, 2010

What do you do when you don't feel like working out?

Ugh.  Woke up in pain, and feeling "off" in general.  Took a handful of Advil, and some caffeine to kick-start myself, then off to the gym.  I had decided to not work my back today, and do abs and legs instead.  But every movement was making my back feel worse, so I changed my mind and did some back exercises as well.  Felt unfocused the entire time, but the back exercises did help a little.  I also inclined one of the ab benches to as sharp an incline as I could (close to 45 degrees) and hung upside-down on it to stretch my back.  That was my dad's suggestion; I inherited back issues from him, so he knows whereof he speaks.  That helped some too.  Forced myself to do 20 minutes on the elliptical, because it's good for me.  LOL.

This is one of those days when I did NOT want to workout, but did it anyway.  I'm sure I'll be glad I did(someday), but right wasn't a good workout, I didn't enjoy it, and now I feel worse than before I went.  I'd better get some food in me; I feel like I might be sick if I don't.  I just want to go back to bed, but I can't.

I need to clean house today and tomorrow; my father-in-law is arriving tomorrow night to spend Christmas with us, and the house is a mess.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Exercise yes, Knitting no.

I forgot to knit yesterday.  Actually, my hands were hurting, so I didn't.  I hate when the weather changes; it makes my joints hurt. (There I go, sounding like an old person again!)  Add in all the exercise I've been doing, and my sore muscles....I wasn't even able to finish combing Angel's hair after her bath last night.  I felt so bad about it; her hair tangles so easily, and we haven't found a conditioner that works well enough to get it untangled easily.  And poor mommy couldn't do it.  I told her she'd have to finish, because I could hardly grip the comb.  Anyway, enough whining.  I'm going to try to knit today.  I need to make some more progress on that blanket!

Went to the gym after church.  I'm now a full-fledged member!  Worked my back again, and it felt good while I was doing it.  Still doesn't feel too bad; hoping that continues.  Also did some work on my chest and shoulders.  Then 20 minutes on the stationary bike.  That darn bike wouldn't register my heart rate, so I gave up on keeping track of it and just pedaled.  According to the machine, I biked over 6 miles in 20 minutes. ☺ It wasn't as strenuous a workout as the elliptical or the treadmill, but boy, did I feel it(and see it!) right after!  My leg muscles were bulging under my fat; my thighs looked enormous.  It felt like the muscles were going to explode right through the fat and the skin!  Haha.  I think I'm going to take some advil and a nap.  Then I'll try knitting afterward.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Since the only time my back doesn't hurt is when I'm using it, I decided to work my back today at the gym.  It seemed to help at the time, but it hurts now.  I did a little work on my abs too.  I only did 20 minutes on the elliptical, because my legs were already complaining before I got on it, thanks to the 30 minutes I did yesterday.  So it was a short workout, but a good one.  Tomorrow I'll have to wait until after church to exercise.

Haven't knit a stitch today.  Yesterday either.  Need to make time this evening.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Another day, another workout.

Today's workout: abs and legs, and 30 minutes on the elliptical.  It was good.  Then I stretched, and my back popped.  Yep, same spot as usual, right between my shoulderblades.  I'm hoping hubby can pop it back into place for me, so I don't have to go to the chiropractor.  I'm using the back massager right now to relax the muscles where it hurts.  But at least I had a good workout!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Today's workout

Worked arms and shoulders, and did 20 minutes on the elliptical.  My knee and hip did not like the elliptical for the last five minutes, but I pushed through.  I bet I'll regret that.  Oh well.  My seven-day free trial membership is nearing the end; I'll join the gym officially on Saturday.  And as of this morning, I've lost two pounds, and an inch off my hips.  Hooray!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Evellyn Anne is in progress!

I got the yarn on Monday for the Knit Picks sample of my Evellyn Anne blanket pattern!  Yes, it really is this green.  Haha.  The color is called "Parrot".  It looked a little more pastel on the website picture, but I still like it, and think this blanket will look terrific!
This picture is from Monday night.  I didn't get much knitting done yesterday, so it only has one more row(from the center) of diamonds completed now.  I just transferred it to a circular needle; I picked my shortest size US6, and it's actually a little too short at this point.  So I'll transfer it again on the next round to a longer circ.
I'm using KP Swish DK again; same yarn type as I used for Posy Patch.  I really like this yarn.  It's incredibly soft, and very nice to work with.  I hear that it's also great when it comes to washing, but as I've never washed anything made from it(just soaked and blocked) I can't speak from experience there.  I should knit up a swatch and wash it, just to see how it behaves.  Maybe I'll do that....when I'm done with this project.
I went to the gym this morning; worked abs and legs, and did 22 minutes on a stationary bike.  Good workout.  My shoulders are still a bit sore, so I put some BioFreeze on them; hope it helps because I want to work arms again tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Okay, I took a proper "before" pic of myself.  Workout clothes on, not sucking in the belly, no makeup, no smile.  Haha.
Notice the fat face, double chin, thick neck, untoned arms, big bazongas(actually they don't look too huge in this pic, probably because the shirt comes down to my hips), flabby flabby belly, wide-as-a-barn hips(and butt, though you can't see it in this pic), chunky thighs.  The calves are in proportion to the rest, but not too bad.  The scale said 172 this morning; heaviest I've ever been.

I went to buy some workout clothes, and discovered that they were even cheaper than what the markdown tag said, so I was very happy about that.  I think I've got all I need now.  Went and worked abs and back today, then did a couple minutes on the stairstepper and switched to the elliptical.  The stairstepper was just too much for me.  I'll try again in a week or so.  In the meantime, my arms still hurt like crazy from two days ago, and my legs are a little sore from yesterday.  My abs will probably hurt tomorrow.  No pain, no gain, so they say.

Monday, December 13, 2010

'Tis the season...

for getting in shape.  Yes, round is a shape, but it isn't the shape I want.  So yesterday I joined a gym.  It's a great gym, with an area where they'll watch the kids while I work out!  That's the main thing that's been holding me back; most other gyms don't have that, and I'd have to find a sitter so I could go work out, so I didn't.  Well, there's that, and the fact that I hate to exercise. Haha.  But I've decided that I hate how I look and feel more than I hate exercise.  Really.  I look in the mirror and I'm disgusted.  Yes, when I was skinny, I was one of those terrible people who were disgusted by fat people.  My perspective has changed.  Now I'm fat, and I'm disgusted by myself.  Not so much by other fat people now, unless they're morbidly obese.  Anyway, I'm tired of being this fat, lazy, depressed woman who has no energy and no stamina.  I'm 30 years old, and everyone always told me that when I turned 30 my metabolism would change and getting/staying in shape would be harder.  Well, I hope they were wrong.  Maybe it's just that 30-year-olds in general are too busy with everything else in their lives, and don't make time to take care of themselves.  I'm just a stay-at-home homeschooling mom, so really the only other stuff in my life is my family and my home.  And my knitting.  So I should be able to manage to go to the gym three times a week.

Anyway, the gym hubby picked last month when he decided to get in shape is where I went yesterday.  It's great.  Not only does it have the kids' area, but it has a pool and spa and wet sauna and dry sauna, and lots of cardio equipment, and all the other equipment is color-coded by what muscle group(s) it works.  And...all the classes are included in the membership fee!  So if I want to take Zumba or a spinning class or Yoga, all I have to do is show up!  I'm leaning towards Zumba, and maybe kickboxing. ☺ But first, I have to build up some stamina by just doing basic workouts.  Yesterday I worked arms and shoulders, and did 20 minutes of cardio on an elliptical machine.  I thought the elliptical was supposed to be easy on the joints, but my left knee and hip didn't like it. (I sound like such an old person!)  I'm going to use a treadmill today instead, and see if that's better.  Hubby told me that stairsteppers would be good for me, to work my backside.  I teased him and acted all upset that he was saying my butt was big.  I think I'll wait on the stairsteppers; maybe my joints will be better when I've built some muscle around them.

So I'm just waiting for the girls to get dressed, and then we'll head over to the gym.  The kidsitting service is only available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so that determines my workout schedule for now.  On the off days, we'll go for walks in the neighborhood, or I'll go in the evenings after Hubby gets home from work.  I promise I won't blog too much about my workouts, just the milestones.  And I will post what I work on what day, so that I can keep track, but I won't go on and on about it. ☺

EDIT:  I went. I worked my legs, and did 21 minutes on the treadmill.  It didn't seem like as much of a workout on the treadmill as the elliptical did yesterday.  So maybe I'll alternate.  Oh, and I was confused about the kids' area; they're open every day, not every other day!  Woot!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Football and Movies

Yesterday was the Army/Navy football game.  Since Hubby went to West Point, that game is bigger than the Superbowl for us.  Well, to be honest,  I still don't care all that much, since it is football.  But I do make an effort to watch at least part of it.  This year I only caught the first half.  And not really even the whole first half; we missed the cadets marching onto the field, and the National Anthem, and the kickoff, and the first 3 points...and I left the party before halftime.  But that was fine with me.  I didn't want to go to the party in the first place; I only went to keep peace between Hubby and me.  Army lost, again.  I think the last time they won was in 2003.

Anyway, the reason I left early is that I had promised months ago to take Angel and Princess to see "Voyage of the Dawn Treader", the new Narnia movie.  The original plan was to go on Princess's birthday, since that was the opening day for the movie, but Hubby reminded me that he would be at work on Friday, and of course we couldn't just leave Kitty at home alone, so we changed our plan and went yesterday.  Despite having to drive almost an hour from the party to the theater, through crazy traffic, it worked out fine.  Princess was particularly excited, because it was her first time to go to a theater.  Angel has only been once before, to see "Prince Caspian", when she was Princess's age.

The movie was good, better than I had expected it to be.  Actually, I was a little concerned last week, when I heard about some stupid comment that Liam Neeson(the voice of Aslan, who is basically God) made about Who Aslan is supposed to be.  Fortunately, his comment wasn't part of the movie itself, just something he said in an interview somewhere.  It was perfectly clear to me Who and What Aslan represented in the movie.  Anyway, enough about the stupid actor; back to the movie.  It was scarier than I'd expected(both girls were snuggled up to me, putting fingermarks on my arms), and the White Witch kept reappearing(she was in "Prince Caspian" at one point too) which she didn't do in the books, as far as I recall.  Other than that, I don't remember any huge, glaring "artistic license" moments in the movie, of which I'm glad.  I grew up reading and rereading the Narnia books, and I still love them, so I'd hate to see the general storylines or messages messed up by hollyweird.  I am glad it'll be months before it's out on DVD, because I think it's too scary for Kitty at this point.  In a year, though, it should be alright.

Friday, December 10, 2010

My new patterns are up!

My two new scarf patterns were uploaded at KnitPicks yesterday!

Both patterns are available to download, for $1.99 each.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Good news two weeks in a row!

I just realized I mentioned having sent the scarves and patterns to Knit Picks, but not the fact that they did decide to publish them!  So far, they've published all of my designs that they liked enough to have me make samples, but I still can't help thinking maybe they'd decide not to after seeing the sample.  Guess I'm just a paranoid-type of person.  Anyway, they said they will publish them, but it might be a week or two; they've got a lot of patterns in the works right now.  That was last week.  So they might publish them tomorrow, or next Thursday.  Either way works for me!

I sent the design proposal last week for my Evellyn Anne blanket, and got the response yesterday: they're interested in it!  So I'll be getting some yarn support in the mail, and then I can start on it.  I suggested Swish DK, in any of three nice pastels: a light yellow, a springy green and a lovely lavender.  I can hardly wait to see which color they choose!

And one of my dear friends is going to have a pattern published as well!  I am very excited for her!  It's a great design, and I'm so glad Knit Picks thinks so too!  I need to get back to work on that test-knit for her! ☺

Monday, December 6, 2010

I had a birthday!

Yesterday was my 30th birthday.  And aside from being hungover from my party on Saturday night, it was a good birthday.  On Saturday, we had a little cookout party in the backyard.  Hubby sent me to the store for a few last-minute things, and I didn't realize he did it for a reason.  Haha...I hurried to the closest store, got just what I needed, and hurried home....and caught him and the kids and the neighbors decorating the back yard!  There were streamers and balloons and confetti, and a very cool Happy Birthday banner, with the background of the banner being a pic of my Posy Patch blanket!  Hubby had bought me some beautiful, enormous wine glasses...I'm pretty sure you could fit a whole bottle of wine in one...and a couple bottles of cabernet, which is my favorite wine.  The neighbors gave me a cool ceramic wine mug that says on one side "Mommy needs wine" and on the other side "This is the only whine Mommy likes".  Hmmm...sensing a trend here...maybe I drink too much

Anyway, we stayed up late and partied the night away, then had to get up early for church yesterday, since we were scheduled to work in the nursery for the early service. (What in the world were we thinking?!)  We weren't feeling too terrific, so we didn't stay for the service afterward.  I'll look on our church's website for video of the sermon later today.  Anyway, we got home from church, and the kids gave me their presents: two books "America By Heart" by Sarah Palin and "Decision Points" by George W. Bush, two boxes of chocolates(which they've already helped me sample), and Hubby gave me some jewelry he had bought from my sister(she's a Premier Designs jeweler).  Great gifts, all of them. ☺ I took a nice long nap in the afternoon, which helped with the hangover. 

I've already started reading Sarah's book.  I really admire her.  I think if we knew each other personally, we'd be friends; we have a lot in common.  I'd love to be able to vote for her someday. ☺Which would drive my father-in-law batty. Haha.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Now that Upstream and Avonlea are done...

...and out of my hands...
I spent yesterday writing up another design proposal.  I finished this baby blanket back in September, but forgot to submit it for consideration...probably because I gave it to my niece right away.
 The name is "Evellyn Anne", after the recipient of the blanket.  I'll never forget the way she grabbed it and laid claim to it, before her mom (my sister) could say a word!
So I sent the design proposal to Knit Picks yesterday.  I explained that the reason I did stripes was because I didn't have enough of either yarn to make the whole blanket, and that I think it would look better in one solid color.  I hope they like it.  I think it has a good chance; there aren't a lot of patterns out there for lacy baby blankets knit in-the-round.

Monday, November 29, 2010


It's been a few days.  I've been really busy since my last post, and have hardly had any sit-down time at all.  Consequently, I haven't done much knitting.  I started yesterday on a test-knit for a friend, but have only gotten about one inch done so far. (Sorry, Sincero.  I'll focus on it more, and get it done.♥)

Anyway, I've been cleaning, organizing, decluttering, moving furniture, and putting up Christmas decorations.  Hubby and I have decided to rearrange some of the rooms in our house.  What has been the "living room" for the past three years, but not had much "living" done in it, is not going to be the "living room" anymore.  The "family room" has almost no furniture in it, and what is there is delapidated and old.  We're planning on getting some new furniture soon, probably right after we get our new floors(which has been postponed until after New Years).  But in the meantime, I'm moving furniture around, to make better use of the space.  I made the mistake of lifting with my back while moving an incredibly heavy piece of furniture on Saturday.  But I was alright after a few hot salt baths and a bunch of Advil.  I kept working, despite the pain, remembering that my back hurts less when I'm using it, and it actually helped.  So, now the front room is mostly clean, and the Christmas tree and Nativity scene are up.  The family room still needs a lot of work...there are currently two overflowing baskets full of clean laundry on the floor, and a bunch of miscellaneous stuff scattered around.  I swear, I want to just chuck most of the STUFF we have.  We have way too much, especially compared with people around the world who have so little.  Of course, when I say "chuck" I don't mean throw away, I mean give away whatever is worth giving.  But a lot of it is just junk that isn't even worth donating anywhere.

Anyway, that's why I haven't written anything over the weekend.  I was busy.  Busy like crazy. ☺ Maybe things'll settle down somewhat...haha, who am I kidding?  It's going to get crazier!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I was inspired by a friend of mine to post a real and honest list of what I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving.  I could post the typical, sappy I'm-thankful-for-everything list, but to tell the truth, this year I'm just feeling a bit off.  Can't figure out why exactly; things are going well in general.  But I'm just not in the mood for the Norman-Rockwell-painting, everything-is-perfect fakeness.  So here's my honest, real, half-serious, half-humorous, all-true list, in no particular order:

I am thankful for my dishwasher; I grew up without one and I was the dish washer(or dryer, some days).  And being part of a big family, there were a lot of dishes to be washed.  So I'm thankful that most of my dishes can go straight in the dishwasher, and all I have to do is load and unload.

I am thankful for my library; I love to read, and have since I learned at 3 years of age.  I wish I had wall-to-wall bookshelves all throughout my house, and could afford to fill them with books...lots and lots and lots of books. (None of this silly e-reader stuff, but actual books, with actual pages)  But I don't, and I can't.  So I'm thankful that my city has an expansive library system, and I can request almost any book that I'd ever care to read.  Currently, my book bag is filled with knitting books(big surprise, that, I know).

I am thankful for my washer and dryer; yeah, I know this one kind of goes along with the dishwasher one, except that we did have laundry machines when I was a kid.  I would just hate to have to do all that laundry by hand.  On the same note, I'm thankful that I have a dry-cleaner just down the street a bit, so I don't have to do all the ironing; I just drop it off and pick it up.

I am thankful for yarn; it calms me like nothing else.  There's just something so relaxing about the repetitive, mindless motion of drawing loops through loops.  And there's something so satisfying about conquering a challenging design, or mastering a new technique.

I am thankful that my state is homeschooling-friendly, and doesn't over-burden parents with requirements.  I admit, there are days when I wish I could send my children away all day, but I can't, because I don't trust the government school system.  So I am thankful that I have the option to homeschool, and to teach my children the important things that the schools let fall by the wayside, and ignore the junk that the schools seem to think is so important when it really isn't.

I am thankful that God gave me a creative mind; I love to make things, and be creative.  I'm not as good with words as some of my friends are, but I am able to express myself through my arts: knitting, sewing, building, etc.

I am thankful that I live in the USofA, where I have freedom.  Granted, the government is always trying to encroach on our freedoms, but that's a subject for another day.  We have the freedom to worship God, or to worship whatever or whomever else we want; it's so easy to take that freedom for granted, and forget that in a lot of the world, it isn't that way.  We have the freedom to protect ourselves and our families.  We have the freedom to speak our minds, even if what we say is stupid and makes no sense(I won't name any names).  We have so many freedoms.  Let's protect those freedoms, so we don't lose them.

I am thankful for my family; even though they drive me crazy a lof of the time, I'd be awfully lonely without them.

I am thankful for the internet; so much information, just a few keystrokes away.  Most of my friends are internet friends, and the ones that I know in person, I keep in contact with online as well.  Specifically, I am thankful for the Bunker, and the BunkerBabes (and the one BunkerDude).  They have been my lifeline to sanity the past two years. ♥ you all, Babes(and Dude)!  Along the same lines, I'm thankful for Facebook, which has allowed me to re-connect with old friends, and stay in close contact with my parents and siblings, even though we live almost a thousand miles apart.

I am thankful for my refrigerator, which should be able to hold all the Thanksgiving leftovers.  Because we like to have a lot of leftovers.

I am thankful that my husband has a good job and is able to provide for our family, so I have the option to stay home and raise our children.  Even though said children drive me nuts.

I am thankful that God loves me, and always forgives my shortcomings(a nicer word that means the same thing as "sins).  I am thankful that He never gives up on me, no matter how many times or how badly I screw up.

I am thankful that my oldest daughter knows how to cook simple foods, and is capable of making lunch, so I don't have to.  Speaking of which, I need to get her to start on that.

So I'll just stop here for now. ☺ For what are you thankful this Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Avonlea is on its way!

I've finished my Avonlea scarf and pattern, and both are on their way to Knit Picks today!  I did a photo shoot(photographer: Angel) on Saturday, which didn't go exactly as I'd planned, but turned out alright.  I had planned to wear a terrific dark green silk blouse, which would have looked awesome and Christmassy with the red scarf, but I could barely get it buttoned, and it showed every bump and bulge, so that one went back into the closet, on the lower bar with the other clothes that are just a little bit too small and will fit when I lose about 10 pounds.  Then I had to take a look at my other clothes and find something that would work.  I realized my super-easy, casual wardrobe, while being perfect for my homebody lifestyle, isn't right for modeling.  Even though it's only modeling my own designs.  Most of my nicer tops are red or pink, because those are great colors for me, but they wouldn't work with the red scarf.  I would have picked navy blue, but I only have that in t-shirts.  So I went with this gray-green, slightly-nicer-than-a-tshirt knit top.  I think it worked well enough.
 That first one is my favorite, since I cropped out my backside, and I don't look quite as chunky as I do in the following pic.

 And of course, here's the pic of the scarf being modeled by someone much more photogenic than myself: my deck.  Haha.  Just kidding.  Kinda.  I think the deck makes an awesome background for pictures; it's interesting without being distracting.  Once I get the deck stained, it'll be even better, I think.
Anyway, this scarf is headed to Vancouver today, after we have our geography lesson.  We're learning about Alaska, and watching "Sarah Palin's Alaska" is part of it.  ☺ I love homeschooling!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

How to read a knitting chart

I'm a very visual knitter, and I love charts.  As a matter of fact, unless it's very simple, I can't follow instructions for cables or lace without a chart.  I need to be able to see the design in black and white, and then I can knit it easily.
But I realize this isn't the case for everyone.  Some of my friends work better from instructions, and aren't sure how to make heads or tails of charts.  So I thought I'd do a little tutorial, for any of my readers who would like to work from charts, but don't know how.
First of all, knitting charts are read from right to left, and from bottom to top, because that's how we knit.  I'm using the chart from my most popular pattern "Laura" as an example.  You'll notice the row numbers on the right side of the chart, and that they are only odd numbers.  The reason for this is that the even numbered rows are the wrong-side rows, and they are meant to be simply purled across(which is stated in the pattern).  Each box in the chart is one stitch.  The key is important, so that you understand which symbols mean which kind of stitches.
So, looking at Row 1, which is the bottom row, reading from right to left, there are four empty boxes, which are knit stitches. Then you see an o, which is a yarnover, then a left-leaning \, which is a slip,slip,knit decrease.  Then there are four more knit stitches, before you come to the bold vertical line.  The vertical line denotes the pattern repeat.  So you will repeat what is between those bold vertical lines for as many times as the pattern tells you to.  Okay then, inside those bold verticals, still on Row 1, you have two knit stitches, a yarnover, a slip,slip,knit and four more knit stitches.  This sequence would be repeated until you come to the last seven stitches. Then you would finish out the rest of Row 1, with two knits, a yarnover and ssk, and three more knits.  With the first row completed, you would purl row two, before going on to the next row in the chart.  You just work one row at a time, using whatever method you like to keep track of which row you're on.  Just a quick look at Row 3, still reading from right to left: knit 2, k2tog, yarnover, knit 1, yarnover, ssk, knit three..then the repeating part: k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k3...then the last bit when you're down to the last seven stitches: k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k2. Row 4 would be purled, then on to Row 5...
Now, when you come to Row 7, you'll see that those bold vertical lines shift to the left by one stitch.  The reason is that it's easier to read the lace motifs, if they aren't split.  If the line went straight up, it would split the yarnover and ssk in row 9.  It wouldn't have any effect on your knitted piece; it's just for readability's sake.  Really all you need to remember is that what's between those bold lines is what you repeat.
I hope this makes sense; if anything is unclear, please leave a comment, and I'll do my best to clarify.  For the whole pattern for "Laura", go here:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Woohoo!  Knit Picks likes my Avonlea Scarf design!  I am shocked, because it's such a simple design.  But I'm thrilled, because they like it! *doing the happy dance around the family room*  So now I need to get the scarf finished and write up the pattern!  I'm nearly done with the scarf, though I have hardly started on the pattern.  So I'll cut this post short, and get to work! Hooray!

Monday, November 15, 2010

How To Recycle a Sweater

I like to recycle sweaters.  Not just for the sake of being "green", but for the sake of being frugal.  I can find nice big cotton sweaters for $3 at my local thrift shop, and get a whole lot of yarn from taking them apart.  Recently, I've had several friends ask me about the process, so I decided to do a little tutorial about it, in case anyone else is interested.
So, first of all, a few general pointers...when choosing a sweater to recycle:
the bigger, the better
stick with solid color sweaters(stripes and other colorwork are a pain to unravel)
check the seams; if they're serged seams, skip it(I'll explain in a minute)
I usually only use cotton sweaters for this, because of wool's tendency toward felting
And now, on to the tutorial!  Here's the sweater I chose: an Eddie Bauer, men's size large, 100% cotton, cream-colored ribbed sweater.  I washed and dried it before beginning to take it apart.
 Okay, I know this next one isn't a great picture; my camera wouldn't cooperate on such a close-up...but this is me checking the seams.  If you aren't sure what the difference between a serged seam and a simple, stitched seam is, go look at a basic t-shirt.  T-shirts are generally made by cutting and sewing knitted fabric.  To keep the edges from fraying, they're stitched with a serger, a machine that cuts the fabric close, and stitches over and over the edge.  If you attempt to take apart a sweater with serged seams, you'll end up with lots of short bits of yarn, not long enough to use for anything.  Trust me, I learned this lesson the hard way.
 Now then, on we go: the seams on this sweater are perfect.  Most commercially-made sweaters are not seamed using mattress stitch.  Which is a good thing when you want to take them apart.  The seams on this sweater are done like a crochet chain.  So you just need to find the end of the seam that was the finishing end, undo the knot, and pull.  The sweater will magically(or it seems so) come apart at the seams!
 Here are all the pieces.  Except the little bit of ribbing from the neck opening; I decided that tiny bit of yarn wasn't worth the effort.
Now that the pieces are taken apart, it's time to begin unraveling.  I picked a sleeve for the first bit.  I didn't take a picture, but I think y'all can figure out how to undo the bindoff edge and pull the yarn.  I wound mine  around a chair back as I unraveled it, so that I could measure it as I went.  This chair is 38 inches around the back, and the yarn from the sleeve went around it 495 times, so...495x38 divided by 36 gives me my yardage: 522.5 yards of fingering-weight cotton, from one sleeve!
 After it's wound around the chair and measured, I wind it with my ball-winder.  You could wind it into a traditional ball if you prefer that, but I like center-pull balls better.
 And here's the finished ball of yarn!  Now you just do the same with the other sections of the sweater!
I like to store my recycled yarn in ziploc bags; I can write on the outside what the fiber content is and how much yarn it is, in case I forget between winding the yarn and using it.
If anything is unclear, or you have any questions, please comment, and I'll try to answer them!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Got a pic!

I was finally able to get some good pictures for my Upstream pattern!  This one is my favorite.
I've come to the conclusion that I almost like the way I look when I'm wearing makeup.  I think I'll continue wearing it. ☺ I've been so busy lately, being "Mommy", that I've forgotten to be myself.  I've lost my separate identity.  Or at least the appearance of my separate identity.  If I'm going to be modeling my own designs, I need to work on that.  I'm tired of looking like "Mommy".  I said that I almost like the way I look...I need to lose some weight and get fit, then I'll like it more.  I'm about 60 pounds heavier than I was at my most confident.  I'd be happy with losing 50 pounds, because it's not likely at my age that I'd lose all 60.  I exercised yesterday and can hardly move today; my hips are killing me.  I feel about 20 years older than I am.  I'll be 30 in less than a month.  I should not be unable to move a day after exercising.

So.  This picture is not only my pattern picture for's my "before" picture.  I'm going to start exercising regularly, and cut back on the fatty foods and soda and alcohol.  I want to lose 50 pounds.  By April, if possible.  Yeah...we'll see how that goes.  Wish me luck...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cabling, cabling, cabling...

I've finally finished my Upstream scarf!  Now I just need to get the pattern finished and send it and the scarf off to Knit Picks.  I hope they accept this pattern too!
 I tried to get some good pictures of myself modeling the scarf, but I didn't end up with any that I really liked.  So I basically wasted an hour, putting on makeup and fixing my hair, then another hour taking pictures.  Oh well.  Hopefully, Knit Picks photographers and models will have better luck.
And now I'm off and running on the next design...
This is my Avonlea scarf, and I just sent the design proposal to Knit Picks on Monday.  I hope they like it!  I might not hear back about it for a couple weeks; they're a bit backlogged on patterns, from what they told me before publishing my second pattern last week.  Anyway, I'm using Knit Picks Capra yarn in "Scarlet" that I got from a friend in a swap. ☺ I am in love with this yarn!  I want to design a bunch more patterns using it!

Friday, November 5, 2010

My latest pattern is up!

"A Girl's Best Friend" is finally available on Knit Picks!  The download is $1.99, and I highly recommend Knit Picks yarns. ☺

Here's the pattern link:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hey, politicians, can you hear us now???

I stayed up really really late last night, technically really really early this morning, but whatever.  I was watching election returns, naturally.  I know, I don't talk about politics much, but that's not from a lack of interest or a lack of knowledge.  I am very interested in politics, and make a point to educate myself on the issues.  I spent several days googling all the candidates on my local ballot, to make sure I voted my conscience.  In the past, I would have just voted a straight party ticket, all the while wishing I knew who the heck these people were and whether they deserved my vote.  This year, I decided I wasn't going to do that any more.  It's too important to leave to chance.
All that said, I am THRILLED with the results of the elections!  Yes, a few races were disappointing, including several I really thought would turn out well.  But in general, the "good guys" prevailed, and I am happy.  I'm wearing red today, to celebrate.
And now the hard work begins.  We need to make pests of ourselves, never letting our representatives forget that they work for us.  We hired them and we can fire them.  They need to keep their focus, and not sit down and whine about how bad things are.  Yes, things are bad all over, but now it's time to get to work fixing them!  I have a list of things I want congress to do, but it's not like they read my blog, so I'll just leave it at that, for here.  I'll be contacting them directly, often.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I said something about getting more pumpkins, didn't I?

Well, the girls begged again....and I really did want to get more pumpkins I let them each pick one.  Kitty picked a tiny one, and Angel and Princess kept picking different ones, both trying to get the "biggest".  Finally I told them to just pick, and it turned out that Princess's was the biggest.
 I cut them all in half, and let the girls scoop out the seeds themselves, which they enjoyed, for the most part.
 We ended up with less pumpkin, about 5 cups...
 And more seeds; this is only half...
We took a bunch more pictures, but I'm going to have Angel blog about the whole project in the next few days, and she doesn't like it when I blog something before don't tell her.  And check her blog soon to see her "How To" post about roasting pumpkins. ☺
And just a reminder: Get out there and vote! Unless you're a democrat.  Y'all already screwed things up royally.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Well, it's Halloween again.  How did it come around again so quickly??  After last year, when I spent a week and lots of money sewing fancy one-of-a-kind costumes for the girls and then they didn't even win the costume contest...I decided to go with ready-made costumes.  Less work, and less money.
So this year, Angel is an "Enchanting Princess"...
 Princess is "Dorothy"...
 And Kitty is Snow White...

And, surprise, surprise....Angel won the costume contest at church!  Go figure.  The time all I have to do is hem the costume and fix her hair, she wins.  Sticking with store-bought costumes from now on.  Our neighborhood contest is later this afternoon.  I'll really laugh out loud if one of my girls wins that one too.

So anyway, have a safe and happy Halloween, y'all!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The official start to fall...

The girls begged me to buy a pumpkin the other day.  Actually, they've been begging since the pumpkins appeared in the grocery stores.  I finally gave in.  But not to carve scary roast it!  I've never cared for jack-o-lanterns, and the girls don't either.  But we love pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread!  And I'm going to attempt pumpkin cheesecake this time, too!
So anyway, I googled "how to roast a pumpkin", just to make sure I could remember how.  As I was cutting the pumpkin in half, Kitty was all excited.  When the two halves fell open on the table, she looked disappointed.  She said, "There's not a pie in it!" Hahahaha!  No, sweetheart, there isn't.  We have to make the pie ourselves. ☺  I discovered that I didn't have two baking dishes large enough to hold the halves of the pumpkin, so I had to roast one half at a time.  Next time, I will choose a smaller pumpkin.  In the first picture, the half on the right is done, and waiting to be scooped.  The half on the left is waiting to go in the oven.  Excuse my messy stove.
So after about three hours total roasting time, lots of scooping, chopping and pureeing....I ended up with only seven cups of packed pumpkin.  And a very messy kitchen.  Still working on getting it all cleaned up.
 And after the second half of the pumpkin was roasted, I turned up the heat and roasted the seeds!  Because we love roasted pumpkin seeds!  They're gone now.  Well, they're almost gone.  Hubby is going on a trip today, and he's taking the rest with him.  So, as far as the girls and I are concerned, they're gone.
I think I need to get another pumpkin...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Finished one project...

A friend commissioned me to make four sets of my "A Girl's Best Friend" mitts for her nieces.  I was going to use different yarn for each set, but my friend assured me all of her nieces would like the sparkly yarn.  So I went ahead and made them all with Hobby Lobby's "I Love This Yarn", which I don't love, but as acrylics go, it's not really as awful as Red Heart.  I had thought about using wool, but I don't like to make stuff for other people using wool, unless I know for sure that they know how to take care of wool properly, and that they want to.  So anyway, here's a pic of the four pairs of mitts!
The pattern will be available soon on and I highly recommend using Knit Picks yarn, over Hobby Lobby acrylic.  I'll post a link to the pattern once it's up. 
I'm doing some research these days.  Nope, not election research; got that done a while back, and voted early.  Now I'm doing research about flooring.  Hubby has finally agreed that we should rip out the carpet in our family room and bathrooms, and the linoleum in our kitchen, and the boring white tiles in our entryway, and get new flooring!  I am so beyond excited about this!  Soooo...
We're getting a nice neutral ceramic tile in the kitchen and bathrooms.....
 Wood in the entry and family room....

And a gorgeous granite tile for the fireplace surround and hearth.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Back to knitting...

Once my deck was done, and I'd finished test-knitting my friend's design, I decided it was time to learn a new knitting skill.  Since I recently learned Magic Loop, and I've printed out a bunch of gorgeous sock patterns, I chose to learn two-at-a-time sock knitting.  I was going to go ahead and learn it with Bayerische, but I figured that might be tempting fate a bit, to learn a new technique on a very complicated I'll save Bayerische for next.  I searched through all of my sock patterns, and picked "Popped".  I had printed it out months ago, when it was a free pattern.  Now it's available on Knit Picks:
The yarn I'm using is Fortissima Socka(superwash wool/nylon), in a nice dark gray.  I searched online for video tutorials demonstrating the technique for knitting two socks at a time, on one circular....but I couldn't find any.  So I looked for photo tutorials, which are almost as good.  I found this one, and it was very helpful to me:
Once I got past the first few rounds, when everything was fiddly and confusing, it got easy.  It's not much more complicated than Magic Looping one sock.  You just have to make sure that you're working with the right ball or skein of yarn, and not twisting them up together too much.  So far, so good...

 Here's a closeup of the stitch pattern.  Looks very subtle until you put it on...
 Once you put it on, the stitch pattern really opens up!
Hmmm...that's probably why it's called "Popped".
Anyway, I'm almost ready for the heels now; just a few more rows.  I think I'll try to get those few rows finished today, and maybe get the heels started.

Friday, October 8, 2010

My deck is done!

My deck is done! My deck is done! My deck is done! My deck is DONE!
Here's a picture from right after it was finished:
 And no, it isn't built on an angle; I guess I just wasn't holding the camera straight.  Oops.  The deck is perfectly level and straight.  And gorgeous!
Here's a picture with a few things on the deck:
We're gonna need a bigger table.  We got that one when Angel was a baby, so it was perfect for just Hubby and me.  We didn't think ahead.  I'm hoping to, at some point, get a table with six chairs, and an umbrella. ☺

Thursday, October 7, 2010


 Framing done...
 Digging post holes...
 Walkboards routered and put in place, but not nailed down...
Today we're going to nail down the walkboards, cut off the ends(see where they're hanging off the end of the frame?) and router them along that end.  And it'll be done! ☺