Thursday, December 28, 2006

It's not too late.

I think everyone knows Stephanie. I mean, the woman is practically a household word, at least in knitting circles. I actually know a couple of other people named Stephanie but if someone says Stephanie to me, it's always that Stephanie that comes to mind. She's absolutely one of the most inspiring of bloggers that I know. She gets way more comments in a single day than I get hits in a week.

Remember the Knitting Olympics from earlier this year? That was her doing. And remember how she got a lot of people motivated to donate to Doctors Without Borders during the tsunami disaster two years ago? Well, she's up to it again. You can read all about it on her blog. Just search her December 2006 archives. I think it's somewhere around the 6th. (Forgive me but I'm too old and lazy to figure out how to do the permalink thing.) In essence she's asking us to imagine that we've added a new family member and that we need to include them in our gift giving. Which I think most of us would really try to do even if we could only spend a small amount.

Now, imagine that this new family member was someone you didn't know personally but you could still include them on your list of people you want to gift. You can make a donation to Doctors Without Borders (just Google it) or you can find a link on Stephanie's blog that will take you to a page that gives you all the information you need on how to make a contribution. It's really easy. I mean, I did it and I had no problem so you know it's got to be simple.

It's never to late to remember the plight of others. But if you can do this before the end of the year it's also a great tax deduction. (If you're motivated by that sort of thing.)I think the goal is getting closer and closer. Maybe you'll be the one that puts it over the top.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A happy group! Here's everyone that was at our Thursday night knitting group party. There are two people in the photo who were not in the original shot. Ain't technology grand! Thanks, Judy, for sending the pix.

Today won't be such a fun day for Patrick. He's going to see the vet for his annual booster shots. I dread it. It's not the vet part. It's the ride in the car. He really doesn't like it and wails and cries the whole way there and back. No matter how much I talk to him and reassure him that everything is going to be all right and that this is just temporary he continues to whimper and sob about how terrible it is to have to ride in the car. He's okay with the vet though. Doesn't seem to mind how much she pokes and prods him. I will probably get a lecture on how important it is that I brush his teeth on a regular basis. Patrick doesn't like having his teeth brushed. Even more than when I brush the back of his legs. So I don't do it as often as I should.

I pulled out an old project last night and worked on it for a couple of hours. Once I figured out where I left off it was easy. I'm almost done with the second sleeve. I have to redo the cap shaping on the first one though. It doesn't fit the armhole. Sweater Wizard really let me down on this one. But there's a pattern in Ann Budd's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns that's almost identical to what I need so I'll just use that, plus a bit of fudging if necessary. It's raining today and I don't have anything scheduled other than the vet visit so I might even finish both sleeves and get them sewn in.

Or I might just rearrange the furniture.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Things are getting back to normal. Today was Dulaan knitting day. I spent four hours making a simple, rolled brim hat. I'm almost done with it. The hat is way too big. It's even loose on me. I'll be starting over. Like I said, things are getting back to normal.

I forgot my camera yesterday. I left it at Lisa's. The pictures of my holiday knitting are in that camera. So there'll be an indefinite delay. Maybe I'll see her this weekend and she will bring the camera, along with the two or three other things that I forgot. This whole forgetting thing is getting to be normal.

There's talk of rain for tonight and tomorrow. Not such a good thing for right now since the grandstands are still being set up for the Rose Parade. But if it does rain it's supposed to be over by tomorrow and we're scheduled for sunny weather through the weekend, including New Year's Day. Last year it poured all morning long and the parade was pretty messy. I may walk over and watch it this year. I can no longer see it from my balcony since the neighbor's palm tree has grown and now blocks my view. Or I may just stay inside where it's warm.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas! That about sums it up. Everything is done. All that's left is to load everything in my car and head out to Lisa's house. I need to be there around nine this morning. I'm looking forward to it.

I spent Christmas Eve in the kitchen. It was wonderful. I rarely have occasion to bake anymore but I do enjoy it. All the presents had been wrapped. All the knitting was done. I had the whole day to do nothing but bake. I made three different kinds of quick breads. All my favorites. Zucchini raisin nut, applesauce and carrot. I have to make the carrot bread because it doesn't call for nuts of any kind. My friend Robert doesn't like nuts in things so he'll get a loaf of that. The other two are loaded. Big chunky walnuts pieces. Mmmm!

I was going to try a new recipe, peanut butter bread. Knitting patterns aren't the only things that have errors in them. The list of ingredients doesn't include butter but the directions tell you to add it. No idea about how much. So I didn't make that one. I'll find something else to do with the peanut butter I bought. Or I'll just have it on toast.

I don't work this week until Friday. That gives me some time to clean house and get things put away. I don't think my little tree will last until New Year's. Lots of dried needles all over the place. So that will probably go tomorrow or Wednesday. Tomorrow is Dulaan knitting day. Wednesday Patrick goes to the vet for his annual booster shots. (I haven't told him yet. He does not like riding in the car.) Thursday is open except for the evening knitting group. So I have stuff to do but there's still lots of time for knitting. What to do first?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Part of what I got in the white elephant exchange last night. Three skeins of Manos del Uruguay, about 400 yards total. It's a beautiful yarn and I'm probably going to make a scarf, once I get over all the scarves I've done for gifts.

The other part of my haul. A hank of Schaeffer Helene, a 50/50 wool/silk blend. Another candidate for a scarf since there's only 218 yards. Or maybe some wrist warmers.

It was a fantastic party. Lots of really delicious, interesting food and free-flowing wine. Who knew knitters could be so wild and silly! There were actually three different yarn exchanges. One person destashing two times. So those weren't technically yarn exchanges. We drew numbers for our turn at picking what we wanted from the wide assortment. I didn't participate in those since I really, really don't need any more yarn. I took a couple of hanks of Colinette Isis for the white elephant exchange that were much admired and lusted after. I think the person who won them was very pleased.

It's finally turned cold enough here for people to think seriously about Christmas. It was 36F when I went out for my morning walk. That may not be cold where you live but it is here. It's a bit warmer now and I'm trekking back and forth to the laundry room. Gotta take care of the mundane. When that's done I have nothing specific to do the rest of the day. I think I'll check out my recipe file and decide which cakes and breads I want to do for Christmas morning. And try to finish one more scarf.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Brown paper packages, wrapped up in string, or in my case, red ribbon. Couldn't find any string. I've just spent the last four hours wrapping fifteen packages, including one birthday present and the white elephant gift. I sure hope there are no surprise guests tonight because I'm fresh out of knitted items.

How's your holiday prep going? I'm nearly done except for some more wrapping for Christmas morning. I don't think I have anything else to buy. One package is yet to arrive but I have faith in FedEx. I'm pleased that I got all this done in time and that now I can get back to my regularly scheduled projects.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Find the cat. Lisa's cat, Jeremy, rarely makes a public appearance. I guess he thought this year's tree trimming was an appropriate time. Give up?

There. Can you see him now? I don't think I've seen this cat more than three times in all the years he's lived with Lisa and her mom. I hear he's very cranky.

Speaking of cranky. I'm getting there myself. Seems like the more projects I finish the more they keep popping up. But I am almost done with the holiday stuff. Finished some hand warmers and a hat over the weekend. One more scarf is past the half way point. I'm working today so probably won't get a lot done but tomorrow is the day I have to wrap some of these things for our knitting group's holiday dinner party. I think I'll be ready.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

As it turned out, yesterday's errands didn't take all that long. Traffic wasn't as bad as I expected and I didn't even have to wait in any lines to make my purchases or to pick up the package. So I was out and back in just over and hour. I still have a couple of items to go but those I can get at work.

I worked on some wrist warmers yesterday until I realized there was a problem with the pattern. At least I had a problem. I've written the designer and am waiting to hear back. So I found a different pattern on line. It too had some major errors. Typos mostly. And I changed a couple of things. I made SSKs where the pattern called for SKPs and made an SSSK where the pattern called for SK2P. I almost never use the SKP anymore and wonder why anyone would. But that's just me. And I used a one row buttonhole instead of binding off on one row and casting on on the next row. I think it's neater and firmer.

So I just finished the first of the wrist warmers and am getting ready to cast on for the second one. I think I'll take the time to chart the pattern as it will be easier than reading text and I'll have it in case I want to make another pair sometime.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I don't know what happened to yesterday. I remember thinking I'd sit down and blog even though I didn't have much to say. Just a quick hello sort of thing. Next thing I know it's way late and time for bed. Someone even reminded me that my blogging has been kind of sporadic.

It's hard to blog about knitting when everything you're working on is a secret as most everything I'm working on is for someone who visits this blog from time to time. I know. That's stating the obvious. But that's how it is right now.

I started a pair of fingerless gloves for someone and I worked on a hat for someone else. I'll get back to those today. We didn't have our Tuesday Dulaan knitting because Mendy is still trying to recover from whatever virus that's been wrecking havoc with her. I did knit a small hat for the project though. I had started it the week before and needed to finish it so I could use the needle for the other hat.

I had worked about half of that hat before I realized that it just didn't look all that great. So that's started over. If this comes out better I have three more just like it to make before Christmas. If it doesn't I'll just go back to my basic stocking cap pattern and get them done.

I have to go to Petsmart today. Patrick is down to the last few nibbles of kibble and we could certainly use some new litter. I dread going. Petsmart is in the same shopping complex as Best Buy and Old Navy. I just know it's going to be a madhouse. And another trip across town, in the opposite direction, to pick up a package that USPS didn't leave. I'm bracing myself and plotting the least likely to be crowded routes.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Roger's Gardens has lots of interesting things to see. I was especially tickled by this bank of ornamental cabbages. I'm tempted to get some and put them on my balcony but since it's already overcrowded out there I'll probably just forget it.

It was a beautiful, cool day. There was talk of rain but there wasn't any. Well, it did rain later that night but while we were out and about it was all sun, all the time.

A planter filled with anemones. You can see how sunny and bright it was.

There were lots of temptations. Rooms filled with every kind or tree ornament, wreathes, garlands, whimsical dishes. Just lots and lots of stuff. I don't want or need any more stuff but I love to look at it.

Holiday knitting proceeds apace. I spent half an hour looking for a size 8US, 16" circular. I know I have several but they're all hiding somewhere. So I'm using a set of dpns to make a hat for one of my most frequent students. I don't like the way it looks so I'll be starting that over once I get another circular. I finished a couple of other things and have started some more that I may or may not get finished in time. Or maybe I won't need them once I make a definitive list. Some people will get a package with just the yarn and a promissory note.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Me: Ugh! I don't feel like walking today.

Other me: You have to go walking. It's important for you to do it every day.

Me: I'll take a longer walk tomorrow. I have the day off.

Other me: You can't. You're going to Roger's Gardens

and you have to be in Fullerton by 8:30. Come on! Get going!

Me: But I'm tired and I want to sit and knit for a while. Besides, my gluscose readings are really good now so I think I can afford to skip a day once in a while.

Other me: Your glucose readings are good because you walk every day.

Me: I hate it when you talk sensibly.

I have this conversation, or a very similar one, every morning. All the while though I'm getting dressed and ready to go out. Some days are harder than others. And today, for some unknown reason, my legs were really feeling fatigued. Sort of an overall ache and maybe a cramp in my right calf. It got better about half way through the walk. Maybe just because I knew I was on my way home.

No time to knit this morning though. I have to do a couple of things on my way to Stitch in Time so I have to leave earlier than usual. I'll get to knit while I'm at work. Still making progress on the Christmas gifts. And mentally sorting my stash for the white elephant yarn exchange.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

My sister sent me a Christmas tree from Maine. The tree's from Maine. Not my sister. She lives in Arizona. They have trees there but not this kind.

Patrick had to check it out. I don't think he's ever seen a Christmas tree. I haven't put one up since way before he came to live with me. I think he ended up being kind of neutral about it. He didn't try to eat it so I guess it'll be okay.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Still plugging away on the Christmas knitting. No pictures yet. Not until it's all gifted. And I keep thinking of things I'd like to knit and people I'd like to do something for. Must stay focused and finish what I've started.

We're having a White Elephant gift exchange at our Thursday night knitting group. We're supposed to bring a yarn that we love but know we will never knit. That's hard. How do I know I'll never knit something? How do I know I won't live to be 175?

I tell you, it's really nice to have three days off in a row, plus the two day weekend. Working two days a week is going to suit me just fine. Today is knitting and chores. Yesterday was Dulaan knitting. Tomorrow I'll figure out when it gets here.

Friday, December 01, 2006

So. I finished the socks that I've been working on for the last few weeks. Picture after they're gifted later this month. I also started another pair using some bamboo sock yarn that I've tried several times before. I don't think I like working with bamboo all that much. Not much give and it splits and frays easily. I've only done the ribbing and the first two rows of the lace pattern so I'll wait until there's some visible progress to take a picture.

A nice leisurely day yesterday. Knitted until eleven the went to meet my friend Mendy for lunch. Stopped on the way to pick up my prescription at Kaiser and then to the property management company to drop off a check for my association fees. Went to the barber shop since I had some time before meeting Mendy. He was too slow so I left and walked across the street to The Peach. After lunch we went next door to Unraveled and had an impromptu sock knitting lesson.

Back to the barber shop and got my hair cut. Back to Unraveled and stayed there and knit and chatted until time to go to Thursday night knitting. Worked on my current multi-directional scarf.

It was really great to just be able to take my time and not be rushing to get somewhere.

Today starts the big sale at Stitch in Time. I'm curious to see how that goes. I went last year as a customer and it didn't seem all that frantic. So I hope I have time to work with a couple of people who have said they'd be in for a lesson.