Monday, December 14, 2009

A Quick Scarf for Ben

For my friends who are not on Ravelry: Here is the scarf I made for Ben. He actually requested it after years of not wanting anything knitted by his mom (aka me!) I was thrilled to make it. Here's Ben and a close-up of the scarf:

I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick in Pewter.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

February Lady Sweater

For my friends who are NOT on Ravelry (why not?), here's my February Lady Sweater.


December, Already?

So my last rant was about how I disliked the gray and barrenness of November. Somehow that month just blew right by. I like any month that gives me a few days off. Thanksgiving was great! My mother was here and we had a great visit. The dinner was delicious and the company was fine. I just froze the last of the turkey soup because we're a bit sick of it. I'll appreciate it in January! Now that December is here, do I have anything to complain about? Well, not until yesterday. We had three inches of snow. I wasn't mentally prepared for it. We had a few days of unusually warm weather and then BAM! Snow! Good thing my mother left on the 2nd! The poor woman had to go back to temperatures in the 80's. SIGH!

Here are some pictures of what the first snowfall of this season looks like. Shadow, the wonder poodle, liked the snow very much. He came in with a white beard!

I think it's time for a cup of tea!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A November Post

I don't love November. I love Thanksgiving but I don't love November. The trees become bare and gray. I miss the green leaves. The leaves litter the lawns. I miss the green grass. We have daylight savings time. I hate when it gets dark early but as my husband likes to remind me: Once it's winter, the days start to get longer minute by minute. All I want to do is come home after work and hunker down. I miss the warm sunshine and the brightness of the foliage. Maybe I have a slight case of seasonal affect disorder. Maybe I just prefer spring and summer.

With the advent of colder weather, one thing is for certain. I knit with my warm wool and make heavy duty sweaters. I don't mind the warm-weighted project on my lap. It keeps me warm, like Shadow. My pup spent the morning lying on my lap while I listened to my radio show "10 at 10" and read a book. I love having a work day off! Thank you, Veterans. So what if my fingers are cracking with the cold, dryer weather? Who cares that I'm wearing a sweatshirt around the house to keep the chill off my always cold shoulders? What's another dead leaf to pick up after it's blown into my front entrance? So what if my steering wheel is cold in the morning and I wished I had a pair of gloves to wear? What about that frost on the car? Huh? When's spring arriving?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Trick or Treat for My Colleagues

When one doesn't have a major project on the needles, one needs to knit something or one will start to go crazy. This could have been me. I tried to start Ene's Scarf 5 separate times. It wasn't happening. I decided the project was not ready to be knitted yet. I needed to find something else. I wanted to start my husband's Cobblestone Pullover but I didn't have the 32" size 7 needles. They should be arriving from Hong Kong any day now. Chris, my friend, was making coffee cup cozies for her church. That sounded do-able. I looked up some patterns on Ravelry and came across POISON! coffee cozies. Now they should be made with wool and felted but I had a lot of acrylic so I dropped the needle size down and knitted away. I finished one in about an hour and decided to make one for the women I have coffee and tea with in the mornings. I made a green one for Marina and a purple one for Luba. Ortencia gets red because she looks good in red lipstick. The rest are for whoever wants that color. Here are some photos of them. Here's a coffee cup modeling one of them.
Here's all eight:
So I think I'll give them to my friends on Monday. They could cover up the boring white Styrofoam cups that our comforting beverages are served in down in the dingy teachers' cafeteria. Boo!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New York State Sheep & Wool - 2009

The weather is changing. The leaves on the trees are changing. No matter how many times I beg them to stay on the trees as I cross the Croton Reservoir to go home, they disobey me and fall. Now I see patches of gray branches between the oranges, reds and yellows. Summer is gone. The bright green of the foliage is gone. I resign myself to a shift in the temperatures and the morning frost on my car's windshield. I try to look for a bright spot in the up and coming cold winter and I find it. The New York State Sheep and Wool Festival. Now it's okay to celebrate the crisp weather, the apples ready for picking and a warmer jacket.

My friend Chris and I made our annual Saturday foray up the Taconic to beautiful Rhinebeck, New York. She graciously offered to drive and I took up up on it. First, we dropped our sons off at the high school at 7:30 AM so they can take their PSAT's. My son, who is only in 10th grade, is taking it as a practice test. Chris' son is in 11th grade. His will count. Either way I sort of feel sorry for both of them since their moms are teachers and are probably annoying about stuff like this. (Yes, I am!) I stayed up with Ben the night before so he can go over the types of questions the PSAT's has. While he was reading and calculating, I pored over two of my newest knitting books, Simple Style (Ann Budd) and Reversible Knits (Iris Schreier)to see if there's anything I want to make and if I can find the yarn at the festival. I made a cheat sheet for myself with a little sketch of the project and the yarn requirements. (People complimented my organizational skills at the festival but I told them that it filled up the time while I helped Ben. BUT I would definitely do it again!0

We reached the admission gates at 8:45. It wasn't supposed to start until 9 but we were let in. You could feel the excitement in the air. One woman commented, as she was walking through the gates, that this was her drug. We could all relate to that! Chris and I have a habit of walking through every booth and exhibition hall and then we go back to buy what we liked. For some reason we are both hesitant shoppers. Maybe it's the economy or maybe it's just us. It gives us an excuse to see everything twice. We quickly ran into one of our Knit-Out people, Carol, whose birthday was coming up. For a birthday gift, her husband told her to "Shop with Abandon!" We liked that! I was not going to shop with abandon this year but I can live vicariously through Carol's purchases. In fact, Chris and I were there when she made her purchase of a beautiful hand-dyed cherry red yarn that she'll make a sweater out of. We separated soon after and Chris and I went our merry little way.

I ran into Karin, a KnitTalk person, who was at her usual booth. It's an annual tradition to say hi to her. It's like that old play, "Same Time, Next Year". She looked as well as ever. It was amazing how much Chris and I talked during our walking around. First, the people watching aspect is amazing there. People are wearing some beautiful things they've made and some very questionable ones, especially hats. Kathy, another Knit-Out person, who was waiting on line for the famous Chicken Pot Pies, had her camera out with a big zoom lens. She was taking pictures of the crazy hat people and trust me, there were many. I hope she makes a slide show of her unknowing subjects.

We walked through all of the buildings and noticed in the totally enclosed structure, after all the buildings with animal stalls, that only one side of the top floor was being used. It use to be both sides with a very narrow space to walk through. I guess this year the organizers felt it was too crowded and had the festival spread out into other buildings. Personally, it was a great idea. Less congestion, happy people. It's funny how vendors usually stay in the same space year after year and it's even funnier how I remember where they are. We realized, after running into my friends Lori and Sandy from temple, that we forgot to run to the Socks that Rock booth. That booth usually has people lined up out the door with their arms full of colorful sock yarn. We hit it later but I didn't feel like spending so much for sock yarn. I also didn't need it. The colors are gorgeous and their exclusivity makes them a hot commodity. You can only get some of their colors by being a member of their Rockin' Sock Club.

One of our traditions when we attend the Sheep & Wool is buying Chris' husband fudge. There is a building where non-wool things are sold. Believe it or not! There's wine, cheeses, hot sauces, cookies and more. Then there's the fudge lady. I'm not ta big fudge person. It's like sticking sugar into my fillings. I'm also not the biggest chocolate person either so I would like to taste non-traditional flavors. We both bought some hot sauce that's more like a condiment. It tasted great. My husband is a big fan of things hot and spicy so I knew he would be interested in something like this. Then we went for lunch. Another tradition Chris and I have is that we eat a baked potato for lunch. It's at the same booth as the chicken pot pies but we get ours first since the demand for the potatoes is far less than the pies. But we broke tradition! We didn't feel like standing on that line. We decided to eat something new! (Do we sound like little old ladies or what?) We went Cajun! It was so delicious and more filling because we had protein! And it was so warm! (Did I mention that it was getting nippy?) We also had a band play while we ate: banjo, bass, guitar and drums. I felt like we were at Splash Mountain in Disney World!

We were ready to make our way back through the stalls and buildings to start purchasing yarn. We hooked up with Carol again who was truly shopping with abandon. She bought some beautiful yarn to make herself a sweater. It was a snowy white with subtle strands of grays and blues. We called Edie, our intense shopper and hooked up with her and the four of us made it to Wild Apple Hill Farms. That's where Carol bought this apple red worsted weight yarn. I thought it would be good for the jacket I wanted to make. I chose a blue/teal color and bought up the last 5 skeins they had. When I turned around, there were two more of my friends, Lori and Sandi, who I know from temple. Then there was Loren, another temple person who is so creative in so many different media. Chris called me the mayor but I told her that I had a lot more knitting connections than she does. That's why I knew so many knitters. I turned back to where the yarn was and there was Edie with her arms full of garnet and Carol was holding a granite color. We pooled our purchases together to get the maximum discount and that was my first purchase. What a rush! Then I found some merino yarn to make a scarf out of. It was perfect because I needed two different colors and I didn't have to worry about matching colors. These were probably the ends of dye lots. I was feeling great. I also forgot that I bought a very cool shawl pattern. I didn't like the color they used in the kit but once I found out that I could just buy the pattern, it was mine. It uses sock yarn so I'll get some elsewhere. Here's a picture of the pattern: I had some projects covered, I had fun with my friends, I was now able to say goodbye to Sheep & Wool 2009.

Chris and I decided to leave at this point and decided that getting their early was the best way to go. I really didn't want to come home yet. I was enjoying myself so much but all good times must end. I'm sooo looking forward to next year.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Happy October

It's been a whole month since my last entry and I'm pretty disappointed in myself that I didn't keep up my twice a week blogging. September is a very busy month for this hipknitta with school starting, schedules getting made and an all-around "I wish I prepared more during August" lament. But here I am. Ready, acclimated to going back to work and successfully juggling everyone's schedule. But the big question is: What's up with my knitting?

In my quest to be like Alison Hyde, I created 10 market bags for our pediatrician's office. This was a great project because the bags were so quick to make. I finally mailed them out yesterday. I had a hard time writing the appropriate words to thank them with. They should be getting it tomorrow or Tuesday. Then I made the Diamond Blossom Scarf from Iris Schreier's Modular Knits. This project has been languishing in my closet for 4 years. I couldn't even remember what type of yarn I used. Actually it is ribbon yarn and I think it's from Blue Moon Fibers but I wouldn't bet money on it. I started and stopped this project at least a half a dozen times but now it is an FO! (Finished object!) Here's a picture of it:

I'm trying to start Ene's Scarf. I have beautiful Lorna's Laces in Watercolor that I got as a gift for becoming a bat mitzvah (actually she gave me a gift certificate and I added a bit more to get the yarn). So, this project was keeping the other projects company in my closet. I started it for the first time on Sunday. The second time on Thursday and today may be the third time. You know the saying, "Three times the charm!" I'm not getting through the first row correctly. I have too few stitches left over. I made sure when I cast on those 375 stitches, I put a marker every 25 stitches. I'll figure it out. So honestly, I haven't done much knitting. I've been tinking and casting on. I'll let you know how it goes.

This weekend we are babysitting our neighbor's dog, Rusty. It's been interesting watching the two males interact. There are happy moments and then some tense ones. Rusty pooped once on our kitchen floors and peed around the house 4 times. He even lifted his leg on me to mark me but nothing came out! Right now we are all quiet and resting. This pup is adorable and affectionate. Just the accidents are making him a bit of a nuisance. So far we are having a dry and clean day! I'll miss him but now maybe when he sees me, he won't run away from me. I think he had a great weekend with us with lots of affection and exercise. But, I also think Shadow is looking forward to him leaving but I bet he'll go looking for him later when he's gone. We briefly toyed with the idea of having two dogs but quickly nixed the idea. Let Shadow be the king of this house! Here's Rusty!

Now here's Shadow!

Saturday, September 05, 2009


I came home from my Thursday night Knit-Out at Panera to find this little guy by our garage door. I ran in to get my camera got this great picture of him (or her-I didn't inspect the underside of this amphibian). It looked like he was waiting for the garage door to open to let him in. Maybe he had a little toad car inside. Whatever it was, he was kind enough to let me snap his picture. Hop away little toad. Hop away!

Doing an "Alison"

My cyberfriend, Alison, has become a verb. She gifts people with her lace scarves and shawls. Sometimes she'll sit in her church and sees someone there who she feels needs one and will gift them right there. She has also had some medical issues recently and has gifted the nurses and doctors who have taken care of her. On our list, KnitTalk, those who have followed her example call it, "Doing an Alison". I am doing an Alison to my pediatrician's office.

This year has been a tough one for our family, especially for our younger son. From appendicitis to an infection to surgery for a broken nose, our pediatrician's office was always there for us. Linda, the receptionist who would take my phone calls and probably heard the tears in my voice to both Dr. Lasser and Dr. Meir who got on the phone with us when we were at the ER again to answer our questions and visited Elijah each time. Finally, the nurses who would answer my non-emergency medical questions and would call to find out how we were all doing. I once called them from the recovery room after the nose surgery because a nurse upset me so. Dr. Lasser came on the line and told me that everything was fine and not to worry. Hearing his voice telling me that made me feel so much better. Little did he know at the time that I was in the nurses' bathroom crying my eyes out because that recovery room nurse scared me so. The whole practice was there for us. I hope I will never have to use them again in the capacity we used them in this past year but it was so reassuring to know they were there for our whole family.

I decided to do an Alison. I got it into my head that I wanted to make everyone something, like Alison does, but I thought scarves would take too long to make. I decided to make them market bags. They are colorful, easy and fast to make and "green". I started to make them a few weeks ago and when I completed bag #6, I decided that I should call the office and find out how many people are on staff in total. I left a message on the non-emergency line asking if I should want to send something for everyone in the practice, how many of those items would I need? I got a call back from one of the nurses who told me that the magic number was 10 and she wanted to know what was I doing? I told her not to worry about it.

Today I finished #10. Here's a picture of my environmentally-friendly market bags.
I'm going to pack them up in a box with a thank you note and send it to the office. I hope they like them.
(Here they are all piled up)

I'm going to take all the scraps and make some for myself. I realized while knitting these bags, the ones I made I gave away or our dear Shadow destroyed them.

Thanks again to our pediatrician's office. You guys are great! Thanks Alison for the inspiration!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Knitting is My Drug of Choice

Today I spent countless hours in an ER again with my husband. He woke up with the dry heaves and insisted that he had a strep infection in his blood AGAIN. (We've been through this two times already!) I called the doctor, got him an appointment and hoped that all he had was a stomach virus or something like that. The doctor felt that he may be suffering from diverticulitis. Remember that sketch from SNL when the couple from New Jersey (what exit) would go out to eat in a restaurant and all they ordered was macaroni and cottage cheese because they had diverticulitis? I actually felt sorry for Neal because if he had it, he would have to give up his beloved berries and other seedy/nutty things. We had to go to the ER, not our usual place, but one this doctor was affiliated with. Thank God I had my knitting with me along with a mini-shopping bag of all the medications my beloved takes. I couldn't believe that I was in an ER again! Once he was given his IV to increase his fluids and some drugs to take away the pain and nausea, I whipped out my needles and knitted my heart out.

I was so stressed out that when the lady came with the pet therapy dog, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this cute bug-eyed pooch. She asked me if I would like some lavender on some cotton to help me relax at night. I told her I would take it now because I was on the verge of asking a nurse if they could throw me some kind of anti-anxiety pill. The lavender actually worked. I picked up my needles again and knitted away on my Diamond Blossom Scarf. Score one for this hipknitta!

After his CT scan, we found out that Neal did not have diverticulitis but possibly a virus. That was a relief. I don't know how I would of reacted if he needed to stay over or have surgery. So, after a few days of light eating and rest, let's hope that Neal would be as good as new and that I'll be able to find more time to knit...outside of an ER that is!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Shawl is DONE!

Karen's Water Turtles Shawl
Started: December,2007
Finished: August, 2008
Blocked: August, 2009

What took me so long? I think I know. This was the last thing I knitted when I saw my father before he died. I spent 5 days in Florida last year at my parents' house. Just me. No kids. No husband. It was great. Dad and I hung out in the den watching The Deadliest Catch and other TV shows. I sat on the couch knitting away on the shawl. It was a great time spent with him. I finished it at the end of August and my Dad passed away on September 24, 2008. The shawl was stuffed into a basket on my dresser and I didn't have any interest in blocking it. Too much stuff happened this past year and it was the last thing I wanted to do - until this month. I was skimming Annie Modesitt's book "Confessions of a Knitting Heretic" and came to the part on blocking. I decided that I was going to block that sucker that day. I used tons of pins to make sure there wouldn't be any spaces left unblocked. After soaking it for a few minutes, I laid towels down on the bed and began the task of figuring out how I was going to start. About 20 minutes later, this giant pink circle appeared. I put the fan on high and left the room. The shawl was dry by the evening and I carefully unpinned it. It looked beautiful. I'm going to wear it tomorrow to my father's unveiling to "show" him I finished it completely. I know he would have been happy for me and probably would have made fun of my knitting like he use to do. All I can say is, "Yeah!"

Note to Alison: Thanks for the pattern. You are a great designer!

Friday, August 07, 2009

The Countdown Begins...

In ten days, my darling boys will be coming home from seven weeks of fun at camp. I missed them dearly this summer but I'm not ready for them to come home. I need more time. More time for what you may ask? I don't know. This has been my summer of being a complete vegetable. Hey, I had a very hard year from September to May. I was waiting patiently for the nervous breakdown to happen but it never did. I'll take it as a good sign that I am a stronger person than I thought I was. I will also attribute this to my friends and family who were there for me when I cried, complained or just whined and bitched. My knitting became my security blanket. It went with me wherever I went. Most of the time I just liked seeing the bag in the car on the passenger seat next to me. If I needed some calming down, all I had to do was take out my knitting.

I'm sorry to see the July and August pass by. I'm don't want to get into the "back-to-school" routine which I'll have to do the minute those boys step off the bus. Buying supplies, clothes, getting them haircuts, that damn TDap vaccine for Elijah, his orientation, dental appointments, etc. I got very lackadaisical about my overall well-being. I ate what was around and didn't really make the best choices all the time. All that seemed important to me was waking up in time to listen to the "10 at 10" on the radio (a great show on 107.1, The Peak) and then hanging out with the dog while he napped on my lap. I also felt compelled to knit everyday and before you knew it, it was evening. I didn't venture from the house. I was afraid that I would spend money that I didn't need to spend. We ate from our freezer because we didn't have to worry about the kids complaining about the "leftover" factor. Then at night, I would watch some TV and knit some more. It seems that knitting is the "thread" (no pun intended) that's holding me together. I was finally able to go to the Monday morning knit-out for those who don't work as well as our famous Thursday night knit-out. I started counting down how many Monday mornings I have (4 or 5 if I include Labor Day). My mother is coming up and it seemed like ages ago we talked about the dates. The countdown is in motion.

It's time for me to clean Ben's room and then knit on my February Lady Sweater sleeve. For that, I'm counting down the 13.25" I have to knit to get to the end. Roger, Houston. That's a go.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mid-Summer Rants and Raves

It is the two month anniversary of my very significant birthday. Here's a hint: I just made my colonoscopy appointment. Yum! It'll be okay. The prep isn't as bad as it use to be. BUT it's almost August and that means the summer is halfway through. I pause to think about what have I accomplished in these past 4 weeks. The answer is-NOT MUCH! I've made a big effort to get lots of sleep, at least 8-9 hours. I've started to become neater-when something is taken out it is put away when finished. I had my darling niece over for a sleepover and she and Shadow got along famously. (Neal thinks that the dog was thinking, "If you two didn't like her so much, I'd eat her!"), I cleaned Elijah's room and now I have to tackle Ben's. It's not as bad as in the previous years so it should take me a week instead of the usual two. I have been extremely creative with my knitting and other crafts so that's pretty fulfilling in my book. I've been reading like crazy. I cleaned the bottom of the den closet of my knitting stuff so I'm going to make a little crafty corner for myself in the basement. Since I'm home with the dog a lot, I feel a less sarcastic. I noticed that the dog doesn't get my jokes.

Raves: Monday morning knit-out
Thursday night knit-out
Eating from the freezer because Neal and I like everything
Having the time to make oatmeal with fresh blueberries
Letting Shadow nap on my lap for 45 minutes without having to rush anywhere
Getting all of my doctors' appointments scheduled at any time
Seeing the boys at camp and having a weekend away with Neal
Discovering TCM and watching tons of old movies
Realizing that I've got a crapload of yarn and projects to keep me busy
Rediscovering my knitting books that were in the back of the closet
Gazebo concerts in town
Listening to the radio all day

Rants: Messy dresser
Starting to feel that the summer is going to be over sooner than I want it to
People who aren't picking up after their doggies
Poor daytime TV which really is a blessing in disguise
Missing my boys
Going to bed too late sometimes
Not loving the wardrobe

Okay, nothing earth-shattering under the rant column but it needed to be said. Let's hope the next half of summer is longer than the first!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Thuja Socks for Neal

Again, for my friends who are NOT on Ravelry, here are the Thuja socks for Neal who likes to keep his feet warm and cozy when sleeping. You can find the pattern at These socks are knitted on #4 needles with worsted weight yarn. They are quick and easy. I used Artyarns Ultramerino 6 (the same stuff I made my square holes sweaters with). Happy Warm Feet, Neal!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Monkey Socks

This is for my friends who are NOT on Ravelry...yet. Here are Cookie A's Monkey Socks. I got the pattern from Knitty. Cookie A just came out with her own book of patterns called Sock Innovations. I decided to try one of her patterns before buying the book. This pattern was so much fun and easy to do. I started it on June 13th and finished it today, June 30th. I used KnitPicks Palette in Verdant Heather. It knitted up very nicely. I would like to publicly thank Edie for turning me on to Cookie A. She made these socks during our Knit Out at Panera. (Click on the title to get you to the pattern!)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Justice in Mudville (or What Goes Around, Comes Around)

Last night we witnessed the "What goes around, comes around" theory. It was a beautiful moment for Ben and for his baseball team. But first, a little background. Ben started to play baseball when he was in first grade. He was on a team whose coach was his friend's father and this woman S. It wasn't good. She was out to win, win, win. Ben, who was just a beginner, wasn't that great and she never helped him out. He was always the last in the batting line up and was stuck way outfield. At one point, the father felt that Ben was batting the wrong way. At the end of the season, Ben told us that he didn't want to play baseball anymore. That was okay with us since he was playing soccer and basketball.

Fast forward to September, 2008. The day my father died, Ben was in Hebrew School. When he got home, we told him the news and he sat on the couch with me with his arm around my shoulders. As we sat there, he blurted out, "I want to play baseball in the spring." I told him that was fine but why now? He felt that he loves the game and that he shouldn't have let S. ruin it for him. Did I mention that I never liked this woman after this? She's a cut throat who only wants to win. Unfortunately, my friend is good friends with her so I sometimes wonder about that.

I signed Ben up and he was placed in the Pony League. There were only 4 teams and there were 14 boys on each team. The coach was fully aware of Ben's absence from the game for 8 years. Ben was playing with boys who probably played yearly since they were little. When Ben was up at bat, Neal and I hoped that he would make it to a base. When he was in the field, we hoped he would catch whatever ball came his way. The first time he made it to first base, I unfortunately missed it because Elijah had his baseball game at the same time. It was against S.'s team and she came up to congratulate him. He wanted to tell her off but he didn't. They gave him the game ball. He was nicknamed "Base hit Ben."

Last night, after many delays, the championship game was played at 8:15. For this knitter, it was wonderful because the lights on the field made it easy for me to knit while watching the team. Ben's team took an early lead. By the 4th inning, they were ahead 7-2. I held my tongue but others didn't. Many parents do not like S. for the same reasons I do. We sat through a light drizzle and the a very cool breeze. It felt more like the end of August instead of the second day of summer. Ben was walked the first time he was at bat. The team kept scoring and scoring. 9-2, 10-2, 12-2. Then Ben is up at bat again. I said a silent prayer that he would hit the ball. But no. S. called "Mercy". Since our team was up by 10 runs and it was the 7th inning, there was no way they could catch up. Ben's team won the championship! Neal and I laughed about how it took Ben eight years to return to baseball and he ended up on the champion team! The team chanted, "Base hit, Ben" a few times. The coach was very sweet. Ben told us that he was the comic relief on the team but he also told us that he told the team why he was away from baseball for so long. They understood and were very happy that they won against S.'s team. So congratulations to the team. The trophy is beautiful! Justice prevailed in Mudville last night!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sock Crazy

I've been into knitting socks lately. I received an e-mail from The Knitters' Brewing Company for Sockaholics and they had a mystery sock KAL (that's knit-a-long for you civilians). I never did one of these things before. I know people who have done mystery shawl KAL's but the sock one really appealed to me. First, socks are quicker to knit than shawls. Secondly, they were going to be beaded socks. I signed on to the Ravelry group and anxiously waited for Clue #1. There was some prep work involved like stringing the beads onto the sock yarn but that was a snap AND I had all of the materials in my stash. I decided to use KnitPicks Palette in Ash (that's an artsy way for saying gray) and clear beads lined in black. I was biting at the bit.

These socks were so much fun to knit. I was jonesing when the clues weren't published fast enough. Plus, there was a contest. Post a picture of one sock by June 10th and I'd be entered into a drawing for sock yarn. Since I didn't use Knitter's Brewing Co. yarn, I wasn't eligible for the Grand Prize. That's okay. I could have bet money on it that I would win. I didn't. Oh well. The best part about this sock was that I was totally psyched to knit the second one. Many times I have dreaded knitting a second sock. Not this time. It was great!

Here's a picture of my beaded sock! This was when I finished the first one and felt it belonged on the flowers my family got me for my birthday.

Now I'm knitting Cookie A's Monkey sock. I got the pattern from I am loving this one as well. What is it about socks? Is is the fun yarn? The fact that one can knit tightly and get such satisfaction with each pull of the yarn? Could it be the compactedness of the whole project-that it fits so nicely in my bookbag for work? Whatever it is, I love it!

Things I Learned From My Dog and Other Ramblings

I had a very significant birthday. I still have a problem saying my age. My good friend Chris, who turned the same age 4 days after me, and I figured out that when we were growing up, people our age looked and acted really old. We realized that since we have young children, we look and act much younger than our chronological age. Plus the fact that when I tell someone how old I am, they are shocked! Even with my gray hair!

It has been a very difficult year for us. Neal was very sick in September, my father passed away right after Neal got out of the hospital, Elijah had his appendix out in March and then was back in the hospital 2 weeks later with an infection. And if that wasn't enough, his nose was broken on Ben's birthday and he had surgery 10 days later to fix it. Now we're dealing with the flu. First Ben woke up with 103 fever last week. Elijah decided this would be a competition so he woke up with 104 fever this morning. Guess who didn't go to work? I am way over my limit of sick days. Family comes first! I can't tell if I get teary-eyed because it's been too much stress or having major hormonal fluctuations! (Speaking of hormones, I had to go for a second Pap Smear because my first one was lost. Unbelievable!)

So what does this have to do with my dog? This animal wakes up everyday with a wagging tail and lots of love to share with everyone. He doesn't carry over baggage from the day before. It's always a clean slate with him. He taught me that touching another living thing is very therapeutic when you have had a very rough day. If you had a good day, it just lifts your spirits even more! It's absolutely amazing how your troubles disappear after petting him for a while.

When I take him out for a walk, I get to appreciate the beautiful weather and my tiredness leaves me. He sees everything up close with his nose to the ground. He inhales the scents of everyone and everything. Luckily, I don't have as sensitive a honker as he does so I choose to smell only the nice smells. Even when it rains, it's still nice to be outside. No one is usually out and it's as if the world belongs to only us at that moment. Also, the scenery looks different in the rain. There are sharper contrasts and deeper colors. I learned to look at that from my dog.

People ask me, "Could you live without the dog?" and I say that I most certainly can. The real question is, "Do I want to?" Today, while Elijah took a long nap and insisted that I sit on the couch with him, Shadow jumped up onto my lap, plopped down and promptly fell asleep. So did I! I guess he taught me that sometimes you have to slow down. I was tired to from waking up half a dozen times seeing if Elijah was okay. (he wasn't) He also kept checking on Elijah by literally walking on him and sniffing him. He knew "his boy" wasn't up to par.

All I can say is "Thanks, Shadow". I'll make you a hipper sweater next time.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Shadow's First Doggy Sweater!

I finally finished Shadow's sweater. I kept putting off the sewing part and if I had to do it again, I would make this sweater in the round. This yarn was very thick and I hated the seams. Shadow was sweet enough to model the sweater for the family. I gave him two treats. It could have been a bit longer but in the future, I'll get it right. I call this his "Prep School Sweater" because it reminds me of a tie. Don't worry. For his next sweater, this hipknitta is going to make him something wild!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Me and My Shadow!

I finally downloaded pictures of Shadow and the family. Here's one of us together. My hair use to be his haircolor! This was right after he was groomed at PetSmart on Poodle Day. He got a toy, which he ripped apart in less than an hour, and a bandana. We let him wear it for one day and then the damn thing disappeared somewhere in the house.

I'm making the pooch a sweater and finished knitting the whole thing. I just have to sew the bottom panel to the top and haven't had a moment to do it. Let's face it: I'd rather knit than sew. By the way, I did NOT make the sweater I'm wearing. I bought it years ago at TJ Maxx for $20! It's mohair and a steal as far as I'm concerned. You couldn't buy the yarn for $20!

My furry baby is taking a nap while I'm writing this. He's going to meet his red-headed cousin today. My niece is coming over just to meet him. She's 5 and it will be interesting how they get along.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Rumblings of an Empty Stomach

"It wouldn't be so bad to work in Dunkin Donuts," she said as her car headed down Route 132. The hunger in her stomach reminded she that she needed to eat something and she should get it before she got onto the parkway. "I could enjoy that job," she thought. "I wouldn't have to worry about anything once I took care of a customer. If there's a line of customers, I would just serve each one and when there wasn't anyone left, I know I succeeded. Then I would clean up their little messes like spilled sugar on top of the garbage , stirrers lying there with the remnants of a light coffee on the end of them. Push them through the swinging door into the trash."

As the car drove down road in the morning rain, the thought of not getting onto the parkway and changing careers excited her. "I'd work closer to home. That would save me gas. i would wear a uniform. I wouldn't have to worry about what I would wear everyday."

The idea was beginning to form a concrete plan. Never having to work in the school with incompetent people was looking better and better to her. No more paperwork or letters in her file about paperwork. She smiled to herself.

Then she pictured her students from her first class of the day. She really liked them. She enjoyed the easy banter between them and the very funny jokes they made. She liked their care and concern for each other. She would miss watching them grow from immature little ninth graders to hopefully mature, taller seniors.

She arrived at Dunkin' Donuts and walked in. She ordered her tea and a breakfast sandwich of triangle-shaped bread and egg whites. She looked around the place as if she was sizing it up for a decorating job. She looked at the peole behind the counter and tried to picture herself there. As nice as they were, she knew she couldn't do it: apply for a position. She couldn't give up those same faces she saw everyday. Yes, she would see the same faces at this job but she knew at that moment, she needed those kids more than they would ever know.

She took her bag and tea and walked back to her car smiling. She pulled out of the parking area and onto the road. She stayed in the right lane which would lead her onto the entrance to the parkway. As she accelerated to the speed limit, the thoughts of her new career faded away like the scenery she was passing.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


This has not been a great month. If you talk to some of my friends, they'd be quick to tell you that I haven't been having the best of years either! I just got home this afternoon with Elijah who spent 3 nights at the hospital. He had his appendix out on March 6th and recovered very quickly. He resumed his regular physical activity on March 16th. Three days later I had to pick him up from school because he was complaining of abdominal pain. I tried to keep constant positive thoughts in my head while driving up the Taconic in the rain from my job. "Please let it be a pulled muscle from basketball" I kept saying to myself. After frantic calls to my pediatrician and then the surgeon, I was told to take him to the ER for a CT scan just to make sure it wasn't serious. What were the odds that it would be something serious? Well, the way things have been going for me lately, the odds were definitely pointing to a problem.

The nurses in that ER are the nicest. We had Linda who was so funny and couldn't stop commenting on how handsome Elijah was. He was a trooper drinking that contrast solution AGAIN! She let him stop when it was about 3/4 empty. We were sharing a room with a woman who had been there since 9 the previous evening! Her family was coming in with bags of McDonald's and poor Elijah hadn't eaten since that morning. I didn't either. My body went into emergency mode. We finally were called up to radiology where he was popped into that donut of an x-ray machine. About 1/2 hour later we got the news. He may have an abscess or a hematoma at the site of his former appendix. Something was filling with fluid. He didn't have a fever and his white blood count was only 13,000. When it's over 15,000, that meant the infection was definitely there. The problem was what do we do with it? Our surgeon was off for the weekend. Our pediatricians weren't on call. The ER doctor was considering transferring us to a children's hospital about 30 minutes away because they had a pediatric surgeon on call. It ended up that they spoke to the doctor there and he/she said that we should start with IV antibiotics. We found a pediatrician to admit him. The ER wouldn't let us go up to a room until he got a full round of antibiotics in him. Neal went home around 10 because Ben was all alone with the dog.

I fell asleep with my head resting on Elijah's bed. The lady next to us was already in a room. The nurse woke me about 3:30 AM to tell me that we're going to be going up to a room on the floor Elijah recovered on when he had his operation. I felt relief knowing that I was going to see familiar faces. As we were wheeling out of the room, the doors from the ambulance bay opened and we heard this loud noise. The helicopter was taking off the take a patient to a hospital in Albany. The debris that flew into the place was like from a tornado and the sound of that copter was so loud.

We got settled into a room that had a bed for me! I was thrilled yet very upset at the same time. I couldn't believe this was happening to my son. The nurse was so kind and told me to sleep in the next bed. She promised that no one would be coming into the room and that they want me to stay with him. The last time I slept at the hospital is was stretched out over 3 chairs and I used my coat as a blanket. I laid down in my clothes and covered myself with my coat again. I didn't want to go under the blanket. I don't know why. I do know that as I laid there, I started to feel sorry for Elijah and myself. I blinked away the little tears and I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I knew there was a nurse taking Elijah's vital signs. I sat up to ask her if he was okay and she assured me that he was.

For the next 2 nights, I was Elijah's roommate in the hospital. I helped him go to the bathroom while towing his IV contraption. I walked with him in the hallways to get his blood moving and to help the antibiotics get through his system. Neal came and relieved me for 4 hours so I could go home, shower and pack clothes. I slept in sweatpants and a t-shirt and finally went under the covers. I would wake up at 6 AM. The surgeon on call came in and told us that she wasn't sure he needed surgery. We would have to wait until Sunday for him to have another CT scan because the radiologist on duty would be able to drain whatever was in Elijah if necessary. I knew they were going to wake him up early that morning so I made sure I popped out of bed and got dressed as if I was working alongside the nurses. We got Elijah up around 6:30 but had to wait for the kitchen to open so Ramil, the best nurse in the world, to sweeten up the contrast solution so it goes down easier. This would be Elijah's third scan. The boy is a trooper. He swallowed down three-quarters of the liter and at noon, we went to radiology. In less than 10 minutes, we got the good news that whatever was there shrunk and he would need no drainage or surgery. It was the best moment. I called Neal quickly and told him! We both called everyone and spread the good news.

When Elijah was back in his room, our pediatrician called to tell us that he could be discharged that day. I wasn't expecting this. I thought we would have to stay until Monday. This caught me off guard. I spoke with Ramil to get his opinion and he said that we could definitely stay but he would like to see Elijah leave. He said that the nurses loved him but he should go home. So, we started the discharge process. My sister, brother-in-law and niece stopped by for a visit around two. My niece was thrilled to sit on my bed and watch the little TV that came right to your face. They still haven't met Shadow. They will. He's not going anywhere.

So I just want to thank Shibi, Mahdavi, Ramil, Marcela, and everyone else who was so nice to my son, not just once, but twice. They treated him like he was a king and put up with a mother who lost it a few times. I'm glad we're home.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Body Language

Today our temple's brotherhood sponsored a breakfast featuring a speaker who is an expert on body language. After a delicious meal, executed by my husband, the main chef, we listened to this man talk about his life and how body language "speaks" volumes about the person. My main concern was how should I sit while listening to him speak without him thinking about my body language. OR was I really over-analyzing the situation and just sit the way I wanted to sit? Finally, I pulled out my knitting and decided that this was exactly the way I wanted to be!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Random Thoughts

It's been a weird few days. I get these wonderful thoughts in my head and think that I am just brilliant only to realize that maybe I'm just normal. I was thinking about my birthday the other day. This is going to be a big one. Now, if we use the glass is half full analogy, is my glass half full? Or do I want it to be half empty? If it's half full then I don't feel that I have a lot of time left. If I think of my glass being half empty, I feel that I've got a lot of living to do. My mother told me that it's just a number, not a reflection of who I am. She reminded me that I have a young face and even though my hair is gray, I don't look my age. Moms are good for stuff like that.

Today was the end of Ben's basketball season. Elijah was unable to play because of his appendectomy but his team won. That means he has another game on Wednesday. I like basketball season because it's indoors; it's weatherproof! Could baseball and soccer be right around the corner? Brrr!

It's been a bit chilly but our crocuses are beginning to pop up. I don't think they're flowering yet but there are bright green, little stalks sticking out of the
ground. I don't know if I'm 100% ready for spring. There's something comforting about snuggling up in a warm blanket, sipping hot tea. Maybe I'm just said that the year is going by quickly. It will be six months since Dad has passed away. Hard to believe. I don't hear his voice as often as I use to. We have had Shadow for 5 weeks. We all feel that he's settling in just fine. Elijah has recovered so quickly from his surgery that we keep forgetting that it was just a week ago that he was discharged from the hospital.

My eyes are closing. I need to go to bed.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

New Fans

This dog is amazing. Because of Shadow, I now have new readers of my blog. My father-in-law is one of them! People are so anxious to see what this pooch looks like that Neal has been giving out my blog address, which he knows by heart now, so that people can see the him. AND they are reading it! Now I wonder how interested they are in my knittng?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I Can Knit Again!

Here's proof! I can knit with the dog next to me. All it took was a few stern "No's" and I think Shadow got the message. I'm not letting my guard down completely. But I'm knitting! Yeah!

I Think I Miss the Fish!

It's been one week and 4 days since Shadow has entered our family's life. I haven't knitted because he took one look at my project and went for it. I have to knit in my bedroom or during Elijah's piano lesson or while waiting for an appointment. My cyberfriends on KnitTalk have given some good suggestions about how to train Shadow to sit with me while I knit and NOT eat it. I'm going to try the good old "No" and use negative reinforcement. Then it was suggested that I squirt him with water. Wish me luck. I really miss knitting. It's affecting me. Even Ben has noticed. He knows I get cranky without my knitting. (Actually, how could he tell the difference? Ha Ha!)

After spending a lovely afternoon shopping with Ben which really translates that we are opposite sides of the store, we had to go to PetSmart to buy Shadow some stuff. We felt he needed his own stuffed animal. There was a package of 3 loofah dogs which looked cute. It seems that all these toys have a squeaker in them so Ben tested them to find the one with the quietest squeaker. Then we bought him some treats and another flosser which he seems to like and makes his breath minty fresh. When the total appeared on the register, I looked at Ben and said that I missed the fish. Ben said it was so "bad ass" to buy dog stuff instead of a container of fish food. Wow! I'm bad ass! (Little does he know of my life before kids!)

We got home and gave Shadow one of his stuffed animals. We cut off the tags to make sure the puppy wouldn't choke on it. In less than 30 minutes the dog got the stuffing out of this poor yellow loofah dog. I had to take it away from him. Elijah said that this face was so sad! I gave him the stringy flosser. He seemed happy enough.

Tiger, wherever you are, you are missed!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Heeeere's Shadow!

So here's the dog. I've never had a dog before. My husband grew up with a Sheltie. Elijah and I are allergic but I've been symptom free since I was dating a guy years ago who had 3 terriers. Neal and I did have 7 ferrets so that puts us on the exotic animal list. My friends' reactions? One called me an asshole and another asked if I was drugged. Hmmm, what do you think they really mean by that?

This dog is very, very sweet. Neal picked him up from the family and met Elijah and me at PetSmart. Ben and a friend were at a basketball tournament. The dog smelled of vomit. He threw up on himself in the morning and I guess his previous owner didn't do such a great job of cleaning him up. Good thing the groomer allowed him to come in earlier. Then the three humans spent a good hour and a good amount of money getting a collar, a leash, food, treats, poop bags, an ID tag, etc. We took Elijah to grab something to eat because he had to be at his basketball game at 7:40. He couldn't wait to get back to the store to see the dog. And there he was! He looked so pretty!

Now the problem was who was going to take the dog home and who was going to the game. Of course Elijah wanted Neal to be at the game so guess who took him home? Yup, me. I was a little tense but I figured I took two babies home from the hospital that a dog has to be a lot easier. He laid on the seat behind me and when we pulled into the driveway, he perked up a bit. I immediately took him for a walk to make sure there wouldn't be any accidents in the house. He seemed to enjoy himself but he doesn't lift his leg. What could that mean? I'll have to google that one. Then I took him and the packages into the house and hoped for the best. I gave him a bit of food and water and one of his new toys. He seemed pretty happy. He went around sniffing every nook and cranny and then settled down in the den with me.

Elijah came home and couldn't wait to hang with Shadow. The dog's tail wagged when he saw him walk in. However, every time I passed by, the dog would follow me; it was as if he patterned himself onto me the way a duckling does to the mother duck. About an hour later Elijah and I walked him and then Ben and his friend took him out around 11:00. I was so ready to sleep. The boys came back and he put Shadow in his crate. We said goodnight to him and I think I crawled into bed and fell fast asleep. We didn't hear a peep out of him. In fact, I haven't heard him bark at all.

This morning Neal took Elijah to Hebrew school. First he took Shadow for a walk. Then about an hour later I took him. We had a very long walk. This dog has gotten me out to walk 3 times in about 18 hours! Amazing. My cardiologist will be pleased. I sat down to pay bills at the computer and Shadow put his paws on my lap. I picked him up and he snuggled against my head. I guess he was having some anxiety. I could understand that. What we discovered is that this dog loves socks...just like the ferrets! So we have to make sure the laundry gets put away and Elijah, especially, puts his socks away since he takes them off all over the house.

When Neal got home I told him that I'm ready for the dog to go home now. Whoops! I forgot. He's ours.

Stay tuned for more Shadow adventures. Tomorrow will be the true test of how he does when we all go to work and school!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Another FO!

Again, for my friends who are not on Ravelry. Here is the shawl I made using Mas Acero by Brooks Farm. It was my only purchase at the NYS Sheep & Wool Festival. My good friend Chris picked out this skein. I was pleasantly surprised about how it came out because while knitting, I couldn't picture how the shawl would lay around my shoulders. The fringe is made by dropping 5 stitches on each side and I knotted them as recommended in the instructions.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sushi, Anyone?

Today was a very snowy, icy, icky day. I chose not to venture out and go to work. This gave me time to finish up some knitting projects including the Sushi Wallet. I saw this wallet years ago in the LionBrand catalog. Every so often I would look it up on their website and think about buying it. One day I walked in A.C. Moore and there was the Sushi Wallet by Coats & Clark! I had a 50% off coupon so I bought it! The yarn is bamboo and was extremely soft to work with. The wallet was a cinch to knit up. Those little sushi pieces were a bit of a pain because I had to change the colors very often but I got it done. The felting process took some time. I had to reset the machine 3 times until I got the desired effect. I let it dry for a few days pinned to a thick towel. Today was sewing day. I first sewed the sushi pieces onto the wallet. Then I had to put in the zipper. Since I'm not much of a sewer, I had no clue on how to do this. The directions were very clear but something wasn't right. I even looked on the internet on how to put in a zipper. When I looked at the printed directions that came with the kit, I never read the part that said, "Open zipper." Oh, now it makes sense. How did I miss those two words? I did it correctly and it looks great. Here are some pictures:

Wasabi, anyone?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Catching Up with Me!

So, here it is. It's Inauguration Day. I greeted the day by walking into work and noticing on our weekly calendar, someone wrote "Inaugeration Day". Can you believe that I work at a school? Seriously! I hate that!

What's been happening to me. Fifteen helmet liners were completed by me and my knit-out friends Toni and Edie. They were gratefully accepted by Nancy, the mother of the Marine in Afghanistan. This allowed me to finally make a swatch for the February Lady Sweater. (see Ravelry for this pattern or google it). I ended up starting a very easy shawl with yarn I bought at the NYS Sheep & Wool Festival.

We had some bad news. Our fish, Tiger, died on January 8th. Here's the stats on this beast of a fish. First, Tiger was 10.5 years old. We got him for $.25 from Wal-Mart when Elijah was six weeks old. The fish was originally silver and with a black tail and black lips. He looked like Tim Curry in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Ten years later and a twenty-gallon tank, he was 11 inches long and weighed 11 ounces. I insisted that we do the post-mortem measurements. Here's a picture of our dear, departed Tiger.

He's in our freezer now waiting for the ground to thaw. I had to shove him to the back because every time I opened the freezer, there he was staring at me.

Now back to knitting:
My cyberfriend, Alison, is ill but she is on the road to recovery. Elizabeth, one of our KnitTalk people asked for a bunch of knitters to make a square for a blanket. I thought of ways I can make a square and how Alison would know it's from Robin of Yorktown Heights, NY. I finally figured it out:

It's my signature line for my e-mails. It's also one of my favorite Talking Heads songs! It will be mailed out by tomorrow!

Finally, in my need for instant gratification, I decided to make a small project. I mean this is truly a small project. Berroco posted a pattern to make a "jamb", a key sweater. I had to make a few. Here's my first one. My other one is on my car keys.

My Knit-Out friends made fun of me but you know what? I have received so many comments on these little sweaters and requests for the pattern!

That's all the news for now! Later for you!

Friday, January 02, 2009

What's David Byrne Doing on My Blog?

One of my favorite songs is "Once in a Lifetime" by the Talking Heads. You can see it on YouTube. I just love the beat and I always loved the Talking Heads. I remember seeing them way back in 1977 when they were touring and came to Binghamton. My friends and I paid a big $4 to see them at a very little venue called The OP (the Other Place). They just came out with their first album with the infamous "Psycho Killer" song but we use to dance to all the songs on that album on our dorm floor.

David Byrne got back together with Brian Eno and came out with a new album. I love the first song that was released, "Strange Overtones" and if you go to the box area on my blog, you can advance to that song and listen to it. It's so David Byrne!

Remember, I use this blog to write about knitting and everything else on my mind. I think I'm just damn proud that I was able to embed this music onto the blog. What's next for me?

You can sit and knit while listening to the music. It's really good. You can also go to the website and download the song for free. I just added it to my iPod. I'm happy! I'm a hipknitta!