Monday, September 30, 2013

Row 5!

I finished the body of the afghan!  It's gorgeous and I love it.  And it's so incredibly cozy.

I've put on one border and have started the 2nd. I'll be at this border things for a while.  I hope I have the patience to see it through...I really want to finish by Friday so I can say I finished an afghan start to finish in 3 months.  That would be impressive, I think.

One day soon I'll have something else knitty to talk about...but until then.  It's black garter stitch borders...very long borders...very many stitches.

But I'll plug through it and the rewards will be so worth it.  I just know it.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Row 4

I'm chugging away...nothing like a lazy day of watching football to get some good knitting time in.

Row 4 is complete.  I've actually gotten the border knitted on and 3 of row 5's blocks put together.  Clearly I'll finish that part week maybe I'll have a finished, lovely, gorgeous and very warm afghan finished.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Heartbreak and Gratitude

Yesterday I received some very heartbreaking news.  The kind of news that rocks your world.  The kind that you look at and think, "wow, even though I saw that coming, I didn't realize it would hurt so bad."

I don't want to share the details of it yet.  I want to let the involved parties adjust a little better before they let me know if it's something they are ok with me talking about in a public space.

But, it was the kind of news that rallies the family together, that requires lots of phone calls, hugs and quiet thinking time.  It was the kind of news that makes one really mad at the world and wonder "why things like this happen?"

It was the kind of news that I know once I'm on the other side of it, I'll have an even more difficult time coping.  It was the kind of news that made me realize I have no answers, nothing to say, and even less that I can actually do about it.

It makes me feel very small, sad...not necessarily alone because I know I'm not, but somehow I also am.

Talking with Auntie J yesterday afternoon, she said, "go home and knit tonight.  You'll feel better."  So, I did.  I'd intended to anyway, but with her explicit instructions, I knew I had to.  I knew I had to make it make me feel better.

And of course it did.  Sitting with my blanket it my lap working those stitches over and over helped relax me somewhat, focused my brain away from the things that were making me sad, and helped me realize that we will all somehow manage, cope and figure this mess out.

Here's a picture of the Noro blanket with row 3 attached and Zora sitting on top.  She is very happy that I've made this blanket for her.

As I was going to sleep last night, I realized how hard it is to be grateful in the midst of heartbreak.  (See my entry from June 2012 about my practice of expressing gratitude each night.)  Finding one thing when so many things are falling apart is really hard.  

And as I was fussing and feeling sorry for myself Pearl came and snuggled with me.  Then a few minutes later Zora appeared.  And I smiled at the sweet purring kitties cuddled to my tummy and back and realized that I am blessed.  Sometimes knowing bad things is a blessing even if we don't like to know what we know.  But knowing allows us the time to do the things we need to do, take advantage of the blessings we do have and glory in them.  Being grateful for knowing (even when the knowing hurts) helps alleviate that hurt somewhat. 

Last night I was grateful for:
  • 2 purring kitties
  • being able to knit and feel calmer
  • creating beauty in the midst of chaos
  • having a loving wonderful supportive husband
  • seeing the deep love and caring that my daughters show so easily--and feeling proud that I've been able to help cultivate that beauty in their personality
  • being part of a big family who care so deeply for one another
  • having such wonderful parents 
Today I am grateful that I can express myself and hopefully touch and impact others to see the beauty in their lives as well.  We can create love and beauty in every thing we do if we're mindful about it.  And that is something that I will be eternally grateful for, especially in the midst of heartbreak.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Just to prove a point about that crazy optimist in know, the one that was totally deluded yesterday morning into believing that she was going to finish attaching row 3 to the blanket and start knitting on the strips connecting the blocks of row 4.

I didn't even finish knitting the long sashing strip which will attach row 2 to row 3.    I only knitted for a total of about 45 minutes last night.

I did knit my square a day (the blanket, half finished, is pictured at the bottom of this entry).  But, I also went out to dinner with David (where I drank 2 glasses of wine: I don't have the tolerance I used to) and then I came home and talked to mom for a good long time.

So, that meant that I didn't have much time for knitting, unfortunately.  And the optimist in me was screaming "no...stay up promised me on your blog today that you'd finish this row, get it know...make significant progress!"

And I had to look that optimist beast in the eye and say "you knit with black yarn at the end of a long day after drinking two glasses of wine and dealing with terrible allergies for about 3 months."  The optimist replied, "no problem...progress is progress...we NEED this thing finished."

At which point I told myself, "self, It's still 85 degrees outside, the forecast doesn't predict we'll be below 60 for the next 10 days, there are still almost 3 months until Christmas, and I'm tired.  Anything I do tonight will have to be undone because it won't look right...and undoing takes longer than no...I won't finish row 3 tonight.  I'll finish it tomorrow night...and still probably finish getting all these rows attached before the end of the weekend."

And my optimist self went off and sulked in the corner.  I'll pull her out tonight, dust her off, give her a big old hug and then knit until my hands hurt to prove that I'm serious.  I WILL get this blanket finished before moving on to other projects.  The motivation to work on it is too strong, the finish line too close...not to mention it looks more awesome in person that in does in pictures.

Pictured below is the square-a-day sock blanket at its half finished point.  It's made entirely of sock yarn--some heavier weight than others, but most at the fingering weight.  I LOVE this blanket so far.  It's terribly tempting to work on it more than one square per day, BUT I'm trying to make sure that the scrap effect remains true.  That as I finish one color that I'll have new colors to add.  I love how squishy the fabric is turning out and I can't wait to snuggle under it too.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The optimist in me...

...believes I'll be done with the blanket by next weekend.  I did the "figuring" on this this morning while I was waiting for time to leave to go to the dentist.  Here's how it worked:

I'll finish attaching row three tonight, then get started putting the blocks together for row 4.  I'll finish that easily and have row 4 attached by mid-day on Saturday.  Then it's just putting the last blocks together for row 5, attaching them, and then doing the borders.  I should have row 5 on by Sunday night, which means I can get each border done during the week nights.  Easily done by Sunday next week.

We'll see.  I crack myself up at how "easily" and "quickly" I knit in my "figurations."


Exciting diet news.  I got on a pair of size 16 pants today--they fit perfectly.  I'm wearing them to work tomorrow.  SO excited.  I mean, really really excited.

Today's pictures is of me in the same dress.  The first pic is from July 1st, the 2nd pic is from yesterday.  I'm amazed.

Monday, September 23, 2013


I am not a monogamous knitter.  Not even kind-of-sort-of.  Not even when I'm super-excited about a project.  I can't be.  It's not in my nature (I've never been a monogamous crafter, always having several projects on the go at once).

I guess I have ADHD when it comes to crafting.

That, or I'm a project slut.

Either way, about the ONLY times I can/want to work on a single project at a time are
1) at the very beginning when I'm so excited about it or the yarn that I can't stand not working on it, or
2) when there's a particular skill I'm learning--then I'm very absorbed in the process, or
3)  when the end is in sight.

And the end is in sight on the Noro blanket.  I told myself on Friday that I'd work on it exclusively (other than my square-a-day) and see how far I got and how I felt about long black rows of garter stitch.

And I find that I'm insanely motivated to work on this project.  Not only are the long rows of garter stitch not really all that bad--mindless knitting at its best--BUT the impact is so amazing that it's worth any level of boredom that might come my way.

So far, no boredom has reared its ugly head.

I'll show you row 1 attached to row 2.  I started on row 3 and got 3 blocks attached last night.  I foresee having that finished by the end of the week and then maybe, just maybe, all 5 rows finished by the weekend.

Sometimes monogamy isn't a bad thing.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Quickly on Sunday

Too much knitting to do today to talk much :)

I finished Block 20 yesterday morning while drinking my coffee.  I'm calling it Tail Feathers because it reminded me of a parrot AND because it is the TAIL of the project.  Funny, I know.  I had barely anything left of this skein.  Interesting.

Then I got busy knitting the sashing strips on.  Working with the black yarn wasn't as difficult as I feared, which is good.  I knitted to the right side of the square, then sewed on the next block, knitted on its right side and so on.  After I finished attaching 4 squares I knitted the sashing row on top of that. The final result is below.
Based on this photo, the finished result is going to be stunning.

I am selecting the blocks at random, so the fact that all 4 have lots of pink in them is simply a random effect (which is something I always find interesting).  I'll continue to do so and see how the finished product turns out.  I can't wait for it to be cool enough to snuggle under this thing.

Friday, September 20, 2013


It's almost done...the blocks are almost finished!  This has been such an exciting project.  Each new block is different and endears itself to me in its own way.  As soon as I finish one block I start the next.  And I just can't wait to see them all laid out with their gorgeous selves lined with black sashing strips that bring out all this gorgeous color.  Who couldn't be happy through winter sitting under such loveliness.

I think this one may be my favorite of the whole set.  I love the colors blue and brown together, especially if the brown is rich.  It reminds me of mod-fashion...I see polka dots on dishes or skirts.  So pretty and so fun to work on.

Happy weekend!  My goal is to knit myself crazy on the blanket this weekend.  I promise a full progress report on Monday!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Yarn Clubs

Apparently I am a sucker for a yarn club.  I don't know what it is about the thought of getting special, hand dyed yarn that only those who join the club can get.  Add in a few patterns to go along with it, and really, I'm hooked.

Regardless of the fact that my stash over-floweth.

Regardless of the fact that my "Rockin-Sock Club" yarn has resulted in only 2 finished projects (purple socks and a colorwork hat).

Regardless of the fact that Vesper stripes are becoming other things besides socks (shawls, gloves...thinking about a hat but not sure, definitely want to knit a cowl sideways).

Regardless of the fact that I seem to start new projects every other day with other yarn from the stash.

Regardless of the fact that both of my daughters have requested Christmas gifts in colorways or yarns that I don't already have in my stash (I'm honestly not sure how this is possible considering what I DO have in my stash).

Regardless of the fact that I've only a limited amount of time to knit, and apparently only a limited amount of physical ability to knit, which is really disconcerting.

Regardless of the fact that I'm not swimming in money...

But, I saw yesterday that Dragonfly Fibers has a yarn club.  I've never bought anything from them, but I've admired the lovely projects they post on FaceBook.  The yarns are gorgeous in pictures...and now I want to be part of their club too.  I love the creativity with which they name their yarns...and the colorways look amazing.  Then they tempted me even further this morning by posting a picture of this month's pattern from their yarn club.

It's hardly fair!  I mean really...I've given up the temptations of sweet foods, bread, pizza, fried chicken, french fries and hamburgers recently. I haven't had a bowl of ice cream in 6 months...chocolate has not passed my lips.  I haven't even eaten a strawberry or peach this summer.

I've been so good on my food diet that it's extremely difficult to pay heed to the self-imposed yarn-diet.


Today's picture is of the Amish furniture we bought in Ohio when we visited in May.  It was custom made per our requests (stain color, wood type, upholstery).  I thought you'd like to see that the kitties have staked a claim on the new territory.

I find it to be a very comfortable couch and chair.  What you don't see is the glider that we also bought.  I intended for it to be mine, but I'm sitting in the couch where I sat before...perhaps it's a location thing...perhaps I need to move all my knitting stuff to the glider...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Feverish Sprint to the End

While I'm not technically nearing the end of the Noro blanket, I'm ALMOST finished knitting the blocks.  Last night I bound off the final side of Block 18 (pics of 17 and 18 are at the bottom of this post) and I got really excited, started #19 and thought...OH MY...I'm almost done with this blanket.

Which kind of made me want to skip sleeping and knit all night, except that I'm so tired lately that I can't skip sleeping and my hands were really hurting from knitting on Harold that I physically couldn't.

I'd put a good bit of my money on the fact that I WILL be finished with block 20 before the end of this week.

And then I'll begin what I'll probably find one of the most interminable knitting experiences ever.  Knitting the sashes.  We shall see if I hate it or not...I'm hoping not.  I'm hoping that the excitement of sitting under this blanket come November or December when the house really starts to cool off will spur me onward through the miles of black garter stitching.  I'm hoping I don't lose momentum in the face of dark yarn and old allergic eyes.  I'm hoping that the contrast between the brightly colored blocks and the black sashing strips will inspire me to finish the next strip so I can sew them together and see how awesome they look.

I'm definitely hoping that this feverish spirit survives the marathon that I know is upcoming.

At least I have a Saturday full of football to keep me entertained while knitting...and Thursday my friends are coming over for stitch and bitch night (though we really don't bitch...we're a really happy group).

I am curious how y'all get through the "never ending" feeling of a project.  Do you do little bits per day (that's what I typically do)?  Do you sit down and just make yourself finish even though you hate it?  Do you put it away and not look at it and then feel guilty that it'll never get finished?

What inspiration or motivational tricks do you use to keep yourself going?  (no m&ms at the end of row for me...I've lost too much weight at this point to go back to that kind of food! :) )

The pics below are blocks 17&18:  New Furniture and Mold.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Making Monsters, Wool Experiment and a Football Weekend

I thoroughly enjoyed our football weekend.  The Aggies played very well, and from all the news reports I'm seeing, the Aggie fans were their typical nice, hospitable and welcoming selves.    "Hard to hate you" said some Alabama fans.

Good.  I'm glad we can show class on and off the field.  For me, that's what being an Aggie has always been about.  Leadership through example and hard work.  Very good indeed.


I knitted during the game, of course.  I knit almost all day on Saturday.  This game I decided I needed something I didn't need to think about so I worked on the Noro stained glass afghan.  I'm on block 18 and almost finished it during the game.  It's really quite lovely...and I'm getting so close to finishing all the blocks that I'm about to get "obsessed" about working on it again.  I think I've made terrific progress for only starting it on July 4th.  We'll see how I feel once I'm knitting black sashing strips...


I'm almost finished with Harold, my red monster.  He's absolutely adorable and coming to life quite nicely.  See his picture below--he doesn't have arms or legs yet, but still you can see his personality.

The pattern called for a 3 needle bind-off at the top of his head, but I decided that I didn't want that.  I wanted him to have hair, so as I was drifting in that space between sleep and awake, I had a great idea.  Why not knit the front and back together like I would in the 3-needle bind off, but instead of binding off, continue up with a ribbed tuft of hair.  It would be more appropriate for Harold than the i-cord tendrils I've done in the past.

So, I combed through my monster yarn stash and found this lovely variegated blue, teal and purple yarn and make Harold some hair.  He's quite special.  I then dug through my buttons to find some blue eyes and belly buttons.  His mouth is a purple jagged line (made by doing a zig-zag embroidery stitch).

I've made both of Harold's legs and feet and one of his arms.  He has one green toe, which when I saw him sitting on my couch this morning, I decided made him just about perfect.

My thoughts on knitting monsters.  I find it quite addictive.  I want to knit and knit and knit and end up making my hands hurt.  Both of my hands are very sore this morning, so I'm clearly going to have to pull back on my enthusiasm for making monsters...I'm hoping I can keep up to the 30 minutes per day like I like to do...but I don't know.  Anyway, Harold is sweet and a total charmer.  I can't wait for you to meet all of him.


TGWE #8 is underway.  After seeing the very first photo of the project, my mom said, "I want those" so I won't be showing any more photos of this project.  I'll talk about it a little, though, as learning about the different types of yarn has been a big part of why I'm doing this experiment in the first place.

I really love the Louet Gems that I chose for this project.  It's truly a springy yarn (4 ply but almost looks like 2).  It's a nice round yarn with just a hint of fuzz (not sure what that's from).  The color is very muted, but rich (an unusual combination).

I find that in looking at all my hand-knit socks, I haven't made many that are solid, but I love the ones that I've made.  I think this pair will be special too...and too bad you won't be able to see a picture of them until Christmas!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

1/2 a year

  • 1/2 a year ago David and I started our weight-loss journey.  
  • 1/2 a year ago I looked like the picture on the left.  
  • 1/2 a year ago I was 4 sizes bigger in the top, 6 sizes bigger in pants and 71 pounds heavier.  
  • 1/2 a year ago I was cranky, tired and my back ached a lot of the time.  
  • 1/2 a year ago I didn't deal with stress well, felt very frustrated with a lot of things, and was overwhelmed with many many things (not just the weight).  
  • 1/2 a year ago I was  addicted to sugar.  
  • 1/2 a year ago I was also probably addicted to wheat products (which were causing a bevvy of symptoms I was quickly able to eliminate).
  • 1/2 a year ago I was terrified of failure (again) but determined to give this weight-loss thing one more try
  • 1/2 a year ago I didn't think I could do it, but decided "what the heck."
My what a difference 1/2 a year makes.

I don't think I look like the same person any more.  I don't recognize myself as I looked 1/2 a year ago and I don't recognize myself as I look today.  I'm clearly somewhere in the middle, or not....maybe I simply don't know what I look like any more.

What I do know is that:
  • I now look like the picture on the right (even if I don't see it)
  • I'm now shopping in the regular sized store for both pants and tops
  • I don't feel cranky anymore and my back no longer aches.  (I am tired a lot still, but I think that's the result of few calories.  It will go away once I'm in maintenance)
  • I'm dealing with stress very well.  Things don't seem to faze me anymore.  I'm still a little stunned by this development.
  • I cringe at the thought of eating sugar.  My addiction is gone and I'll never eat sugary things again.
  • I have decided to stay away from wheat products too.  After getting genetic testing and knowing that I have the markers to develop Celiac, I have decided that this is one food group I can live without.
  • I know I'm going to succeed...probably by the end of the year if not the beginning of 2014 I'll be at my ideal maintainable weight (still wondering what that will be).  And I KNOW it's going to happen.
  • I'm grateful every single day (EVERY single day) that I decided "what the heck" and plunged into this journey.
Honestly, I don't promote programs or companies on my blog.  My business here is to share my thoughts about arts and crafts and a few personal things along the way.  But Ideal Protein has opened my eyes to what was going on with my body and its reactions to sugar and starches.  I can now see that I wasn't weak or hopeless--just misguided.  I'm so happy to be in the place that I am and to be succeeding.  I can't tell you what it feels like.  When people say "don't you feel great?"  I always answer yes...but for so many reasons that someone who has never been significantly overweight can understand.  I feel great because everything in my body seems to be working right, not fighting the constant fluctuations in blood sugar.  I'm happy, at peace and in general coping well with everything that's going on around me (just take a quick peek at the past 6 months in my blog...LOTS has been going on around me).

1/2 a year.  It's life-changing when you think about it.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

TGWE #7: Finito

(I'm currently reading Blood and Beauty by Sarah's about the Borgia Pope--Alexander VI--so the finito seemed to fit)

I was happily knitting away on TGWE #7 last night when I realized that if I stayed up a tad past my typical bedtime I could finish...and wear these lovely socks to work that point, I was no longer tired, I totally ignored how sticky and weary my eyes were getting and I knitted as fast as I could to finish up these beauties.

And I love them, don't you?

I love the colors, I love the variegation, I loved working the pattern.  I love how the socks feel on my feet--perfect fit in all areas.  I love how the cuff has points to it.  I love the pooling at the foot.  I love the yarn, too, and I loved working with my signature needles on this project.  It was great fun and a perfect project to go to everyday.

I was too tired to start TGWE #8 last night, but I will tonight.  The next pair of socks in the Knitters Book of Wool...can't remember the name right now, but I'll post a picture tomorrow.  I've chosen a very sedate color for this project.   These will be beautiful socks, but a totally different look than these socks.  These socks are just happy lovely socks that make me want to pull up the cuff of my pants every now and then so I can look at them and make sure they aren't sagging (they aren't).

My next project will use Louet Gems yarn in replacement of the Hand Jive yarn that is no longer available.  I chose the color "champagne" because I like champagne so much and I thought that it would be nice to wear something champagne on my feet.  I'm impressed with the springiness of the yarn that's evident in the skein.  I can't wait to see it knitted up.  A report will be forthcoming, of course.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


I have two frames of mind about e-mail.  Part of me loves the ease of it.  We can e-mail our friends and get responses within a relatively short period of time.  Unlike texting we can go into great detail and write "letters" electronically.  We can document things from work easily, file them away in a folder and move on.  I can use e-mail to remind myself to do things (or others), I can send pictures to whomever I choose.  In short, e-mail has really made our lives easier, more productive and definitely more connected.

That said, I hate e-mails.  I hate all the junk e-mails we get.  I hate that people can hack into our e-mail account and create spam messages.  I lost everything I'd collected for years through my yahoo account for this very reason.

The thing I hate most about e-mail is that it piles up.  While it isn't a virtual piling of papers (like on my desk right now), it is a piling up of unread e-mails, mostly junk or simply unfiled, that eventually we have to deal with.  It's a frustrating and boring task and it makes me long for the days when talking to people was enough to get things done.

Guess what I'm doing today?  I've whittled my e-mail inbox down from over 400 e-mails last week, to just over 100 right now.  By the end of today that will be 0.  David said I just need to "select all" and delete, but I do feel compelled to keep a few of those e-mails, so I'm going through them one by one and making the decision whether they can be deleted or not.  The fact that I finally have the time to do so, says something about how my work has been over the past few months.

Today's pictures are blocks 15 and 16 of the Noro blanket.  I'm calling them "Pocket full of Posies" and "Slate."  I've slowed down a bit in my enthusiasm for working on this blanket.  I still love it, but I have other projects pulling on me too.  My goal is to get one "log" completed per day, but I will sometimes do more, especially on weekends.  I think I'll have the blocks completed by the end of the month, which will allow me to start working on the sashing strips (which I'm just going to knit and sew together rather than grafting...while I don't mind grafting, an entire row of 200 or so stitches to graft looks to me about as much fun as the dental visit I have for tomorrow...)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Zee Monster and a Hat

I did a lot of knitting this weekend.  It was so nice to put on pjs on Friday afternoon and keep them on (changing of course each day) until this morning.  I think having pjs on really helps in the whole stress-reduction resting part of the weekend.

It was nice watching football on Saturday too.  I love football.  I really enjoy watching the Aggies, of course, but I do enjoy watching other games.  I like seeing the athletic prowess and amazing things the guys can do.  Plus it's really fun when teams you don't like lose.

Because I don't have any major deadlines coming up (except Christmas, but I'm planning ahead now and I really don't consider that a deadline as much as a suggestion), I've been flitting between projects trying to find the one that interests me.  I'm still plugging away on the Noro blanket.  I'm getting at least one "log" completed per day.  TGWE #7 is also going well.  I love the Koigu KPPPM yarn I'm using.  It's very soft and springy.  The colors are gorgeous.  It wasn't the best choice for this pattern as I figured out too late (wasn't going to buy MORE since it was experiencing new yarn that was the purpose behind this particular experience), but they are really pretty anyway.  I find I really like the pattern.  I'm in the gusset decrease section and should have the second sock finished by this weekend.  Very excited.

I finished this hat:

It's knitted out of handspun yarn that has, in addition to all the fun daisies throughout, bits of lace and fabric as well.  It slightly variegates from bright aqua to white.  The pattern is a "super simple hat pattern" which is really just a ribbed brim and a stockinette body.  Nothing fancy for this fancy yarn.  I am totally ready for the first cold snap.

I also finished Zee Monster.

She's "Gabby" from Rebecca Danger's "Big Book of Knitted Monsters" and she's about as precious as she can be.  If you've been following me for a couple of years, you may recognize this yarn as the yarn I used to make my very first knitted project.  That was a super-simple hat pattern as well...and ended up being too big, so I frogged it and made this little calico monster.  She's sitting on the credenza above my desk right now and will greet my visitors when they come in.  I love Zee...She has lots of personality from the tuft at the top of her head to her pink eyes and blue belly button.  Fun fun.

So, in the spirit of "doing what I want to" this weekend, I started another monster.  I have no plans for this one.  It'll be about 6" high in the body so if someone wants a medium sized monster, holler.  It can be yours (it's made out of red yarn...if you want it for a little critter, tell me soon so I can avoid the button eyes and belly button).

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Sitting Side by Side

For those of you who know me and David, you'll know that though we've been married for almost 23 years, we are still kind of sappy, romantic and touchy.  We like holding hands.  He rubs my back and neck or shoulders when we're sitting together on the couch.  We thoroughly enjoy spending time together and spend more time together with each other than we do with any other people out there.  I can't imagine going out on weekends and doing something that he isn't also doing.  It would seem crazy because I so enjoy the time we spend together.

We also tend to do major life-things together, like going on this journey to lose weight.  We have started diet after diet together and succeeded and failed together.  We are rocking the Ideal Protein diet, and I'm so happy to say that we are.  I haven't felt better in years and years.  And I can't remember when I last fit into regular sized pants (1993 maybe?).  I have weighed less than I currently do, but I didn't fit into regular sized pants at the time.

This last fact tells me a couple of things: 1) I'm losing more size (fat) than weight which is really awesome because 2) that means that I'm keeping my muscle mass which is a really good and necessary thing.

I still don't have the extra energy in the day to exercise.  I will definitely start that after we're done losing the weight and add more calories to our diet, but for now, I'm losing continually each week (and so is David) and feeling great and loving life.

I wanted to share this picture with you of me and David in our oversized chair.  We've never fit in it sitting side-by-side and now we do.  A perfect emblem of our life and journey together.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The proper fit of a hat

I finished a hat over the weekend. I love the hat and my idea of doing it in self-striping yarn rather than using different colors for each stripe.  I'm not a picky knitter, so the fact that the stripes begin in different places doesn't bother me.  What's important is that each of the purl bumps are a different color.  And wow do they look great.

But I need to talk about proper fit of a hat.  This one is pretty neat in that you knit the brim side to side, graft it together, then pick up around the top edge and start knitting the body of the hat.  I like that because I could ensure that the hat would fit exactly right even though I'd substituted yarn.

I suspected that the yarn was slightly smaller than that suggested for the pattern, but my rows for the brim matched the rows for the pattern, and then once I'd picked up around the brim I had the same number of stitches.  The pattern calls for 3 repeats of the stripe pattern before starting to decrease for the crown...however...I did 5 because my head is bigger than the usual woman's head and because I didn't want this to look like a skull cap.

I probably should have done 7 repeats.  It still looks fine when I'm wearing it and it covers my ears (just barely) and when this hat is sitting off of my head all by its looks awfully small.  Like something that would fit a kid...and it probably would.

I do love it, though, and I finally got to use one of those special amazing buttons that my Aunt Janice bought for me a long long time ago.  I forget what kind of wood it is, but they are all stained different lovely colors and are shaped very interestingly.  This one matches the orange stripes towards the crown pretty well and helps to marry the break in the colorway that happens sometimes with Noro yarn.

So far this summer I've made a hat that was way too big--it's extremely slouchy, but that's ok.  I made this one which is too small.  I made one that I had to give to Alyssa because it was too small for my head.  Others have been just right but have gone to various other people who will enjoy them...and this one which is passable, but not perfect.  I was hoping for perfect because this is such a lovely pattern and a lovely hat.  I may have to make it again with more pattern repeats and give this hat to one of the daughters who fortunately didn't inherit my big noggin!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Two cowls today and a hat!

I spent the weekend with Mom and Dad and it was really nice.  We celebrated mom's 70th birthday where she got this cowl.
It's made from Trendsetter's Phoenix yarn and the pattern is Sanibel (free from Berroco).  I loved the pattern and the yarn and will be making more Sanibal cowls.  It's a perfect project for any slinky yarn you have.  I didn't even wash/block the cowl when I finished because it looks so perfect.

The other project I knitted this weekend was this cowl for my friend Stacey.

It's made from the Bijou Basin Ranch yarn that I made her hat from (yak and cormo blend, super soft and luxurious, called Bijou Spun).  The hat is pictured below.

The cowl pattern is Cashmere Neckwarmer by Elvira Massa (free on Ravelry) and the hat pattern is Leaves Long Beanie by Melissa LaBarre in Weekend Hats (one of my favorite hat books).  They were both super quick knits and between the two used up about 1.7 skeins of the Bijou Spun yarn.

This weekend I also finished up another hat (for me) and started an iPad cover for Elizabeth's Christmas I worked a bit on my Windjammer socks (TGWE #7), my block-a-day blanket and the Noro stained glass afghan.  Turns out I can get a lot of knitting done while sitting around watching football and talking...and having an extra day off of work.