Sunday, November 30, 2008

It fits, but....

What's one more little section of 'redo'? We had cake (Duncan Hines Carmel with Carmel frosting - her favorite) with little ice cream before the big reveal.

The buttons picked were the first ones, the Celtic Knots. They went the best with the cables on the sweater. However, to quote Mom, "when you get to being this age (81) your fingers don't work as well with little, fiddly buttons." So, it was a good idea NOT to use the hearts. I'll keep those for Kitchen Towels or baby sweaters.

And here's another picture.

Here she is in the sweater, before I redo the neck/button band. I think we're going to add in a couple of more stitches, make it a wider band for her, and she wanted fewer and larger buttons. If I get the knitting done tonight (thank GOODNESS I don't have to wait until she goes to bed!) I'll take her with me tomorrow to pick out her own buttons. *sigh* all that stress. Oh, well, since it's a sweater for her, I'm much happier to have her input on it anyway. Nuts, I should have taken a picture of the back of the sweater while she had it on. It's a perfect fit in the back! Very nice to know I picked the right size when I wasn't here to measure her or her other sweaters when I had gotten started. Oh, yes, she loves the sweater. After she opened it her first words were, "I love cables!" Now, they both have sweaters/vests with matching cables.

Now, check out the earrings that Dad gave her tonight! See? This is why I couldn't have worked on it in front of her and told her it was for someone else. We all know it's her favorite color! The earrings match perfectly!

Oh, and it's started to snow outside and it should last for about 24 hours. Who is taking bets on my flight at dinner time? Right now, it's all slushy and the temps are dropping. Syracuse daughter is praying for a snow day. She's trying to finish up her papers. Snow-good for her? Not so good for flights.

I know it's blurry, but I was taking it through the screen and didn't want to go outside and use a flash...

2:05 AM-Hiding a sweater

At 2:05 AM, I cut the last thread and then went to lightly block the sweater. The front button band is a little tighter than I'd like so over night I hung a pair of scissors to pull it down. If it doesn't 'feel' right after she tries it on, I have no problem pulling it out and reknitting it. I won't have to wait until midnight to get started on it. I'll be able to do it at 6pm. However, the next step of the drama here, was how to hide the sweater.

Mom gets up several times a night and since I was crawling into bed around 3:00-4:00am on a good night here, her 6am wake up time was wayyyyyyyyyyyy too early for me. That meant that I had to find a place to hide the sweater after I'd used the spray bottle on it to 'encourage' the lengthening of the front button placket. I couldn't lay it flat on the dryer or on the dinning room table. And since she likes to come into the bedroom while I'm still asleep to get things out of her desk I was left with only one solution (there is no closet in that room...)

What appear to be ordinary very dark drapes really are terrific hiding places. Can't see the sweater here? Look again...

I retook the pictures today in daylight. The sweater is hanging from the center frame of the window, behind the blinds. Then I pulled the curtains shut and while it was still dark outside, you couldn't see a thing! Sneaky huh?

Next time, I'm starting the sweater 6 months before her birthday. Not 29 days.

Oh, pa-lease...Stop laughing...who am I kidding?

Now, here's where I need some help. I'm too tired to think this one through. While they're still at church for a 90 year old's birthday luncheon, I came home early to bake her cake. I need to sew on buttons but can't decide. Help?

The first thought I had was for the Celtic knots going well with the cables ..but then...

I found the hearts. Hearts are always pretty for girls, but wasn't so sure they'd be easy for her to manipulate. Her hands were a today, I noticed. bit shaky in church this morning.

The last ones I found were these hearts. They're really pretty, but would they be 'too busy' a pattern on the sweater with all the cables?

Click on the pictures to make them bigger to see. I have until 3PM EST today to make a decision. And my brain is a wee bit tired....

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sleep is for Sissies

While I'm waiting to make sure Mom isn't going to get up again, so I can hopefully finish her sweater, I bring to you my niece's scarf. That I was able to finish before dinnertime sitting here with Mom and Dad. The hat, well, hopefully she won't come over before 4pm tomorrow, so I can get that done before leaving on Monday.

This scarf is proof-positive that I love the's in her high school colors of purple and yellow. They were my high school rivals back in the day. *sigh*...if only they'd kept my high school opened...this is like a U of Michigan fan (that would be me....) knitting in OSU colors, or a UCLA fan, (me again...) knitting in USC colors. True love for my niece I tell you..true love!

Here's a close up of the scarf. It's on a rocking chair that is quite old. I wanted to 'pose' it in the picture as it's leaving Mom and Dad's house soon for a new life at my brother's. What's so special? Well, it was our 'toddler' rocking chair when we were little. But, not just ours. It had also been not only ours, but our Dad's and his Dad's toddler rocking chair as well. Don't you wish everything today was made as well and last over 100 years like this has? No, my niece didn't get to use it much growing up (she's 14 now..) because of it's age. So, brother thought it best to wait until she was older for it.

One last look at the scarf on Grandpa's window rocking chair.
Here's the particulars:
Flaunt Your Colors Scarf pattern (<---over there)
Lion Brand Wool Ease, worsted weight
Purple, 3 skeins
Buttercup, 2 skeins
(US) 8 (5.0mm) needles
73" x 7" finished size
took me far too long to knit, between everything else. But is a perfect 'cover' knit in front of Mom while trying to get her sweater done.
Now, speaking of the sweater....
While they were at the mall today, I got the other sleeve finished, faux seamed the 2nd side and started picking up stitches for the neckband/button band area.

Another good reason to get the skills of continental knitting down. It's so much easier to pick up stitches that way!

Up the front...

across the back....

When I started it with a fresh strand of yarn, I made a slip knot on the end and have it clipped to the bottom ribbing of the sweater. Last thing I have time for on this marathon knitting quest would be to have the yarn come loose and pull out all 172 stitches at 2am. That would not be good.

Here's what the sweater looked like before starting to pick up the stitches. Now that I THINK Mom is sound asleep, for heaven knows how long before her midnight trips to the bathroom...I'm going to try and teach myself how to count once again. Evidently, I've forgotten how to count past 20. I went up the right front and across the back just fine, but can't figure out how I came up with 2 extra stitches on the left front. I'm trying to mirror the pick ups stitches on both sides, by counting in the same rows. They came home from the mall when I was nearly finished. I begged Dad all day long to take her to dinner. But nope, she wanted soup for dinner tonight and wasn't going to budge. I tell you, helping your very independently minded parents some times, is enough to make you nuts! Church is in the morning, and her birthday dinner is at 4pm and I still need to make her cake. At this point, all I can say, is that sleep is for sissies.


Tuesday, I'm sleeping in!

Friday, November 28, 2008 much better!

It's almost like being able to move again after you've eaten Thanksgiving Dinner. That ability to move and breath without pains in your stomach.

I enlisted Dad's help last night. He was so cute about it. While sitting in the living room after returning from my brother's house, Mom disappeared into the other room for awhile. I had hoped that maybe she went to lay down for a nap. Nope not so, but Dad went to investigate. He came back and said that she'd been looking for a recipe. Darn I told him, I need her 'out of here' so I can work on the sweater. OHHHHHHHHHH...he said..OK...

Little while later, when she went to get ready for bed, he came back out tip-toeing to the living room and in his best stage whisper he says...'OK! The coast is clear!' and then he made movements with his hands like he was knitting. ahhhhhh..teamwork! So, here are the sleeves all fixed! Oh so much better. (sorry for the blurry pictures. Tried to go no flash to keep from waking up my parents)

The next step was to attach the first sleeve. Now that it's not 3am here, I found one little spot that wasn't making me happy with the mattress stitch. The beauty of taking pictures of your knitting. It seems to make those 'blips' pop right out, at least it does for me. (The perils of seaming at 2:30 am with less than stellar light.) With a bit of yarn I've been able to go back over that section on the right shoulder and it is much closer to my liking. Again, like on my Dad's vest, I'm so thrilled with the way the mattress stitch works up! All those years in the past that I never knew about it. Thank you Internet groups and y-tube! You're making my knitting much better! It's beginning to look like a sweater now.

After attaching the sleeve to the shoulder, I seamed up the sleeve again with the mattress stitch and went down my 'fake seam'. Remember, I knit this sweater in one piece from the bottom up. The first picture shows the two edge stitches knit side by side between the ribbing. Can you see it?

Well, it certainly made it so much easier to pick up and mattress stitch the seam. It will give the sweater a bit of stability on the sides to have the seam in there. The beauty is, that if the seam should ever pull out, which I'm sure it won't but I'm a worry-wort over that type of thing, the sweater will not unravel!

Now, can you tell where the seam is from this angle? True, I have more to learn and practice but I can see improvement here. And that makes me happy.

Here are the insides of the two sleeves. The one on the left is attached to the sweater, the right one is the next on my list of sneaky knitting things to do.

When I went to attach the sleeves, the first thing I did was to measure out stitch by stitch and row by row each section (front and back) into fourths. I used those clip stitch markers and it lines up really easy and it all falls into place.

Now while Mom and Dad are out shopping I'm going to take advantage of the time to knit in the front window with great daylight helping with those mattress seams I need to get done. Here's hoping that they find a lot of GREAT things to look at! Can you believe I'm sitting here with a stack of coupons and I'm not shopping? Ahhhhh...knitting in daylight...who'd have guessed it would make your eyes see stitches oh so much easier!

Whoda thunk?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Here is how it ended...much better than it started...

How did it start? Well, let me explain that for starters I've been trying to knit at night AFTER Mom and Dad go to bed(my niece, too..she's been here for 3 nights)...hard when the two projects I'm working on are Mom's Birthday sweater and niece's Christmas scarf...Last night I was trying to get the 2 sleeves done, so all I'd have left to do is sew them into the sweater and do the neck/button band and be finished by her Birthday dinner on Sunday.

All looked really well, as my niece wasn't going to be spending the night..her bedtime is 9pm so the house had to be quiet by then and sitting on the bed in the bedroom is very uncomfortable to knit that way. I THOUGHT I was home free...until ABC announced that Barbara Walters had a 10pm interview with Obama. rats. So, as the interview was nearly over I was thrilled, again...until they said...and I quote..."We'll have more of Barbara's interview later tonight on NIGHTLINE." GRRRRRRRRRRRR...

So, I trudged into the bedroom where I discovered I had 3 inches to finish - not the one inch I thought I had. double grrrrrrrrrrrr... I got started and knit until 3:30am when I couldn't keep my eyes opened any longer.

I woke up at 9am-ish and got right to work. After working both sleeves on one needle at the same time...I was nearly there. I ended up doing the last 10 rows, one sleeve at a time. The first one was finished (yipee!) and I'd cut the thread...onto the last one..1 hour 15 mins left to go before leaving for my brother's for Thanksgiving Dinner. About that time, Mom started knocking on the door REPEATEDLY. She was telling me the buss was leaving. I it's not...I'm fine...yadda yadda yadda. Then she opened the door as I shoved the sleeve under the blankets and had the scarf out on the bed...JUST IN CASE as a decoy. When I picked the sleeve back up ...I was certain (insert the music) I was home free.

Ok...start laughing now...(or just pour me a double Jack and Diet coke)....

I got the 2nd sleeve done and had cut the thread. I was ready to do some back flips..cartwheels and wanted to shout from the heavens. I had (see...past tense here)...planned on giving the sleeves and quick block while we were out of the house so they'd be ready to sew in tonight.

Wrong....look at this first pictures...can you tell what's wrong on the left sleeve?

Here's a close up of the problem....can you see it now? The 2nd cable from the top was crossed in the wrong direction. GRRRRRR.....

This is how the sleeve looks right now. I'm NOT happy for this 'blessing' to re-knit this sleeve tonight. Heaven only knows WHEN they'll go to bed tonight.

Here's hoping your Thanksgiving is filled with lots of Blessings so numerous you run out of fingers and toes to count them all on! (and your knitting won't need to be ripped...)

Miss you kiddos! Hugs and love and blessings to you all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Boys and girls, say "Hello" To...

Sharon! all together now, HI SHARON! And for those of us from home...HI MRS. B!

Let me explain what this is all about. Last night I had the pleasure of sitting with "Mrs. B" and 8 of her knitting friends who are called the 'Hearts and Hands of Westminster Knitting group". They've been meeting on Tuesday nights at the church knitting hats for the homeless, sweater sets for babies, and lap robes for Brian's House. Sharon is standing here in front of their storage area where they temporarily hold the yarn that's been donated and the bins which carry over flowing items to the local charities. And are they ever the nicest group of knitters! And eager to learn. Last night I had the pleasure of introducing cable knitting to one of the members. Here she was knitting a hat on double points thinking cables would be difficult. Nope...not so much anymore! I met with the ladies last March when I was home for Dad's surgery, and you can bet I'll be happy to knit with them anytime. Lovely ladies, lovely pre-Thanksgiving discussions, and do they ever knit some wonderfully warm lovies to pass out where there is a need. If you're in the area...hop on over and lend a hand. They'd welcome your gifts with opened arms. Can you see the stack of baby sweaters in Sharon's hand? They will be delivered this week to warm up lots of little ones!

Here are the chemo caps that I've been working on as a surprise for Mom. Now that she's got her hair growing back post chemo, she's back to wearing hats for the season. So, after all the times she's talked to me about the hats she wore that I'd made for her, I thought in the spirit of the season and in Thanks of the blessing of her continued healing, she might like to take these to her Doctor's office to share with other chemo patients. I still have one more on the needles to finish off. But, I've got two 'secret' projects that I'm trying to finish while I'm here. Do you know how hard it is to make Mom's sweater and my niece's scarf when they're still in the same room all the time? shhhhhhhhhh you never heard me speak of those 'items'. And, yes, she was surprised..even if she didn't quite cooperate when I asked her to sit, close her eyes and open her hands to give them to her. *sigh* I really tried. But she wouldn't close her eyes! ho-hum....

The 'first hat' maker, has now made a 2nd hat in a smaller size. And can't wait to make the next one. *pst....think we have another one 'hooked'? Once we get her familiar on those looms, I'm hoping we can get her on the needles down the road. The seeds have been planted!

A few weeks ago, while I was busy eating cake, my parents sent me a little money and I saved some for the trip. There is a Local Yarn shop here in town that I like to frequent. After all if we don't shop, they don't stay opened for long. My 'New Year's Resolution' is to make myself at least one sweater just for me. Check out this yarn that I picked up today. It's by Ella Rae, the company who made the classic wool that I made the first Norwegian Star hat (sadly that did not fit) with. However, this is called Amity and it's a 75/25 blend of acrylic and wool blend yarn. It's really soft and a dark maroon/black mix that is very different than what I generally have in my black/blue wardrobe. I can't wait to get some things off the needles and the to-do list and get it started. I forgot to take a picture of the pattern I'll be using, but it's a v-neck, cabled, pullover designed by 'Lisa Knits' . This is a new company/designer that I've found. And her work is just adorable. I also picked up a baby sweater pattern, too. You can find out more at in case you're interested. Love to find new things!

Well, time to get some needles going in another room. I'm just about a inch away from finishing up the sweater sleeves for Mom's sweater. Then after attaching them, I'll knit the neck/button band and pick some buttons. Looks like I'll get done in time for her birthday after all. That is, if we go to the hospital for more tests and unlike yesterday, I remember to bring my glasses so I can see to knit! OY! Live and learn. One would think I'd have that figured out by now. Nope. Some of us, learn the hard way I guess.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who will celebrate tomorrow. My brother's cooking the dinner so I'm very relaxed tonight! Hip hip..hooray! (miss you my kiddos! miss you a lot!)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Some of my favorite people!

Here we have a "Mary Martin as Peter Pan", the 'first hat' maker, and the "man" with the vest(look familiar?).
Mom had her CT scan this morning. Here's hoping that the results come back saying NO MORE CANCER! We'll know more next week...or so...
Looking good!

Monday, November 24, 2008

First hat!!!!!!!

This is a first hat ever knit by one of my favorite people.

This is the favorite person on the phone telling her Dad that she just finished the hat for a former teacher's new baby boy.

This is a proud Aunt of the favorite person who helped her figure out strange directions from the kit she had to make the first hat.

The first hat is on the left. The red in the middle is the one that I spent 3 1/2 hours trying to figure out how to make the blasted thing from instructions that ended up being printed upside down and backwards. The one on the right is the one that I made while favorite person was making hers side by side, so she could understand the 'less than perfect' directions she'd been fighting with for the past year or so.

These are the looms we used to make the collection of hats.

My hat's off! to those of you who loom knit. I think I'll leave the loom knitting to my favorite person while I go back to my sticks and string. I can go faster with them.

Much faster.

However, favorite person now has the 'knitting' bug and wants to learn more and more and make more and more now that she's figured out that she can DO it! (heheheheheeh....) I'm thinking it won't be long now before the sticks and string that she's had for the past several years, might actually get used soon! After all, she's already had a teaching video made JUST for her! Now, she might understand it better! (yes, I do have my motives!)

This is the snow we had after 3 hours of snowfall this afternoon. It's been snowing more since, and isn't going to stop until 7am. Help us hope and pray that snow will be kind to us-this has been very wet and could be slippery when we take another certain favorite person to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning to have a CT scan done to see if the Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma has been finally chemo blasted out of her system! I don't want her to fall trying to get into the car! Yes, I spent some time shoveling the nearly frozen ruts away from the back door to the garage area. I'm not taking ANY chances on any one falling. Now, I'm wheezing and 'ticked' off that the 'management' who KNOWS the average age here is 75+years, actually closer to 79+ hasn't seen fit to do any shoveling that amounts to tiddly winks. I'm trying really hard NOT to loose my cool in front of the 3 favorite people who are trying to sleep right now while I'm trying to clear my lungs. I want only positive energy surrounding tomorrow's very important events. Today she had her blood test. Results due mid week next week. Prayers, hugs, hopes and dreams are all welcomed!

Friday, November 21, 2008

3-2-1 GO!

Mom's Birthday is in 10 days.
As of late last night her sweater looks like this.
Today I need:
3 plane rides
2 sleeves
1 neckband
Can I do it?
And still keep it a secret?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Opps...I forgot

Now that I've been back online and trying to catch up, I realized that I've forgotten a new 'treasure' that I found while visiting the Syracuse area. I found the Knitting Connection while I was there. What a cozy and lovely store! I sat and visited with the ladies while they were having their Saturday afternoon knit group. They were so friendly as they answered my questions while I was perusing their full shelves. I can't wait to go back and visit some more! Can you see the poster on the door? It's for the new Opal Harry Potter yarns. Wanna see some?

Check out what 'followed' me home from 'school' today mom! Aren't those colors pretty? Can't wait to get my 'list' down so I can figure out how to make socks that will fit my ankles without wearing 'floaties' to keep them up. But for now, I'm knitting away on Mom's sweater.

Remember that I'm knitting this in one piece for the body from the bottom up. I've gotten up as far as the sleeves need to be put in, so I've divided it into three sections, and have added additional skeins of yarn to keep knitting it all at once. However,.....

It appears that a stitch was dropped...from the CAST ON row!!!!! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.....figures. Well, I'm not going to rip it out and start over again, but I will figure a way to get it woven in at some point. My flight brings me home Friday night and I'd rather not have to keep knitting on it in front of Mom, so I've got to get cranking this puppy out.