March 16, 2009

Computer Woes

Last week the backlight in my computer screen quit working. I've ordered a new one that won't be here for a few weeks, so I'll be away from my blog for a while. When I get back to blogging, I have a finished two finished cross stitches to share and a newly started cross stitch.

March 14, 2009

Belated Gifts

Because of a death in the family, we did not celebrate Christmas with my grandparents until late January. I made this beach tote for my Grandma, since she likes mine so much. The pattern is 'Girlfriends Beach Tote from Mary Mulari's book Accessories with Style. The best thing about this tote is that there is a layer of vinyl between the top lace and bottom tapestry sections. You can put your wet stuff in the top, and everything in the bottom will stay dry. The one problem I have is that the tapestry fabric ravels like crazy. I serged most of the seams this time, but there were a couple I couldn't quite get to.

I also knitted this washcloth and soap sack. The washcloth was not exactly square, and my attempt at knitting the edging from the book looked awful. My Mom kindly helped me out by crocheting an edging for me. The patterns are from the Spa Set in 100 One-Skein Wonders. The yarn is Naturally Caron Spa Yarn, an acrylic/bamboo mix.

March 11, 2009

March: National Kidney Month

This year I have once again chosen National Kidney Month for my March Awareness Ribbon. You may remember that my Dad was diagnosed with cancer and kidney failure in late 2005. Last year he had just started doing dialysis at home. It was a huge improvement over the hemo-dialysis treatment that he had been getting 3 times a week. This year, he is no longer on dialysis! Earlier this year he had a test to see how well the dialysis was performing. The test came back showing that he has enough kidney function to go off the dialysis. Dad has been off of dialysis for a couple of weeks now, and things seem to be going well. Thank you for all your prayers for my Dad!

We are still dealing with Dad's cancer, but that's a ribbon for another month.
Be healthy!

March 10, 2009

A Sock Story

When I started knitting these socks, it was November of 2008. When I finished them, it was February of 2009. They were supposed to be my Mom's Christmas present. However, my plans were waylaid. My pattern was from the book Sensational Knitted Socks; a book that claims to be the only book you'll ever need for knitting socks. Since I had a self striping yarn, I decided to try a chevron pattern designed for self-striping yarns. My first attempt turned out too small. I frogged, grabbed larger needles, and started again. This time the sock was too large. I frogged again, cast on a different number of stitches, and tried again. Way too small. I may have repeated the above process a few more times before I gave up on the pattern. I decided to try a toe up sock. That way I could make the leg longer without having to worry about frogging a lot of work. Just as I was about ready to start knitting the foot, I realized that the toe section looked a bit large, and tried it on. It fit over my slipper sock. 'Nuff said. Right around this time was Christmas day. My Mom got a box of yarn, an un-frogged 3 inches of a tiny sock and an IOU.

By this time I was very frustrated and gave up on any fancy design. I turned to the first pattern in the book, cast on, knit the ribbing, and let Mom choose the pattern. After knitting the pattern design twice, I discovered that it didn't look quite right. Turns out I messed up the pattern and made my own. 'Ok,' I thought, 'nobody will ever know the difference.' Things progressed fairly smoothly until I reached the heel flap. After knitting it, I laid the sock down to photograph it, and decided to make the leg a few rows longer. Put the heel flap in the second time, completed the heel turn, and realized the heel turn was wrong. Ripped it out, put it in again, and realized that I had forgotten to use the reinforcing thread for the heel. So, I frogged and re-knitted. The heel turn was successfully completed. After the heel turn the needles are re-numbered. After puzzling for a while (and getting nowhere) it occurred to me that I should look for corrections for the book. A quick internet search revealed 5 pages of corrections, and two pages that needed to be downloaded. The two downloaded pages were for the pattern I was working with. Doesn't that inspire confidence? The only sock book you'll ever need, along with 5 pages of corrections. However, I digress, after the little matter of re-numbering the needles was solved, the only other issue was that my gauge tightened considerably after I dropped the reinforcing thread. It made the foot look nice, at least. It wasn't the best sock in the world, but it was a sock. I showed it to my Mom, she tried it on, and said she would have liked the foot a bit longer. I offered to rip it out, but she wouldn't hear of it. So, I started in on the second sock. Now that I knew my gauge needed to be tight, everything went smoothly. The second sock took only a few weeks. So, there you have it; how I came to knit a pair of mis-matched socks.

March 3, 2009

Herrschners Order

Early in January, I received a catalog from Herrschners advertising their after Christmas sale. Being a sucker for sale prices, I placed an order.
I ordered some kitchen towels and some herb and spice iron-on transfers. I will be putting these in my hope chest when they are done. The top center package is the reason I wanted to order - it's a beaded snowflake kit. You see, every year I tell myself that I'm going to start making Christmas presents before November/December.  This year I'm actually doing it! I've already finished half the ornaments. The directions are easy to follow, and I can make several snowflakes in an evening. On the far right are two DMC Linen floss booklets.
 I also ordered the stitchers surprise box since it was half off. I figured that if I didn't like some of the things, I could use them for blog giveaways. So, the things I'm keeping are this cross stitch kit, and the bags of lace and embroidery floss. The things I'm not keeping are a secret, for now.