Thursday, October 30, 2008

Turn A Square one

Turn A Square

Yarn: Noro & Cascade 220 Grey

Modifications: I started out with a cast on of 80 stitches. I read where a few people on ravlery sized down. The next one I will make as written.

For: Joy #2 and now I know why. The Noro went from grey to navy to orangish purple. The rest of the skein is a mix of green, black, and grey which will be better colors for my nephew.
Concerns: It fits me fine and Joy #2 is at school right now so I won't be able to try it on him. My concern is that his afro is so huge that it might not be big enough. It will stretch but seriously that afro is huge! At least I know that when he decides to shave his head (which he always does) it will fit.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wool wonderful wool

I started a Turn the Square hat last night. Casted on just before bed and I almost couldn't stop knitting. Now if your not a knitter/crocheter my next few statements will sound wacko! I couldn't stop because the fiber felt so good in my hands. I am using Cascade 220 & Noro for this hat. I didn't realize how long it has been since I've knit with worsted weight wool. My Ivy League vest is wool but finger weight wool is so thin you don't really get the "feel" of wool. The other projects over the weekend I used cotton and (gasp) acrylic blend yarns.

There was a feeling of peace, joy, relaxation? while working on the hat. I got it again today. This is my first time using both Cascade & Noro. There will be more Cascade in my future for sure. It's affordable and lovely.

And while I'm confessing all kinds of craziness today, I realized that this hat I'm knitting, which is supposed to be for my nephew, is actually for Joy #2. Does that ever happen to you all? The project changes it mind (or my mind) and becomes destined for another recipient? Initially, I thought I'd make my nephew the hat first and then Joy #2 with the left over yarns. Somehow, I the order is reversed. I'll have plenty for both of them so I'm not sure why I have a strong feeling that this first hat is for Joy #2.
In my normal life, I cooked my first pumpkin of the season last night and roasted its seeds. Now to decided what to make with my pumpkin puree...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I just had to finish something!

I went a little crazy this weekend. I'm a project knitter remember? I love the finished project and the anticipation of finishing something up. Well, my Ivy League is not at the finishing it up stage so I jumped into a project that would satisfy the project knitter in me. Crochet.
In 12 hours I crocheted 4 baby hats and one scarf. And then I knit the final thumb in my mitered mitts. The ones I was going to give away but that I can't know because they are awesome and go perfect with my new scarf. I used Debbie Mumm's Traditions yarn for the scarf and mittens. The yarn was meh to knit with but crocheting was just fine. Which is great because i like the colorways of this yarn. I could crochet more scarfs just like this one if I had more of this yarn.

The mitered mittens remind me of elves. Like real elves not Santa elves. Ok, like storybook elves, I know elves aren't "real". It must be because of symmetry and pointy tip. Or because I've been listening to Brisingr all weekend.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Snap Shots

The current status of my Ivy League Vest. I'm a few rounds past the beginning of the arm hole steek. Does it look any bigger? We have been playing furnace wars the past 2 weeks. Last night Joy #1 was super whiny about not having the furnace on. Nothing like a teenager on a mission. Here she is warming up over a pot of potato soup.

And then the oven after the shortbread came out...

And as soon as I left to go to knit night her and Joy #2 staged a coup and turned on the furnace. I lost furnace wars. It was 58F when I left so not terrible. I do not want to discuss that what she was wearing when I got home! A tank top and sweatpants. Really!?! I think I was duped.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Formulating a Plan...

My business partner and I are big into budgets. Personal and business. I live on a budget every month and it is a good thing. Knowing where my money goes and why is empowering. Self control is a fruit of the spirit after all and my budget keeps me in control. Tess (my business partner) and I have recently sat down and looked at the numbers for the rest of the year and unfortunately we are going to have to suck it in for about 3 months. "Sucking it in" in small business terms means the owners take a hit.

It would be really easy to get discouraged over the finances but if God has taught me one thing through owning my own business is that He has taken me through the lean times of those first years and He can take care of me through this season too. I'm counting my blessings. I am thankful that because of my business I am able to be a more hands on parent. My desire for being a stay at home mom is not possible but this is the next best thing. I can pick up and drop off after school. I can be there anytime rain or shine they need me and they can come to the office and hang if they choose.

I am thankful that thanks to my super fab budgeting skills everything should get paid. There won't be any extra and December is questionable but I think I can squeeze by.

I am thankful for my family. Because of them (my mom especially) Joy #1 will get her yearbook and Joy #2 will get a winter coat. They were the only things I was really concerned about.

I am also thankful for spiritual growth. In the past I would just sucked it up. Live in denial, went without and pretend everything is fine. I've recognized that it is pride and even if I wind up with a part time job at Walmart that's ok. Being honest and earning a living for my family is nothing to be ashamed of. I'm not asking for a hand out. I'll work for what I have and God will provide.

And...I'm thankful for the never ending Ivy League Vest knit using finger weight yarn and small needles. This project keeps growing and the yarn barely looks touched.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rainy Day

I wanna go home and knit on my vest. I picked it back up and am working on it as much as time allows. I've started the arm hole steeks. I'm back to feeling like I'm progressing. I'm also enjoying listening to Brisingr while knitting. Love the Eragon series!

Ok, done whining...back to work.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My weekend summed up

  • The Liberty church of Christ hosted a wonderful weekend. Their theme was Fruit of the Spirit: Gotta catch them all. A play on words from Pokemon. Great lessons, classes, and singing. And those kids are so much fun!
  • I stayed at a members house by myself. Well, the host couple was there but, other than that just me. I slept so well!! And get this, they had house guests earlier in the week. They had come up from MO to see the Yarn Harlot. Crazy!
  • I ventured off to a yarn shop Old Mill Stitchery.I picked up a skein of Noro 1/2 price and some grey Cascade 220. I plan on making my nephew a Turn the Square hat. This will be my first time with both these yarns. I'm hoping to have enough left to make Joy #2 one too.
  • Did a little knitting but wound up going with some ladies to the goodwill. Actually that took awhile because we used Stephanie's GPS and hit every thrift shop in a 20 miles radius. It was fun but can you believe I didn't find anything? GPS are cool.
  • Finished one baby hat and a few rows on the Ivy League Vest.
  • I chaperoned 9 kids and they were all perfect. I didn't even have to tell anyone to please stop horsing around in the church building. This was also Joy #2's first "official" youth rally. He has been attending with us for 4 years and now he is "of age" to really be apart of it all.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Grape Jelly and Yarn

This weekend I am taking our youth group to the Liberty Youth Rally. Liberty is only 45 minutes away but we will stay there the whole weekend. I am so not ready to go. Big shock. The past two days I have been in constant motion only really sitting still while I was at knit night last night. I plan to get a lot of knitting done this weekend but have been kicking projects back and forth. I think I've decided to bring the Ivy League Sweater and some baby hats. At first I wasn't sure I wanted to deal with 8 balls of yarn on the sweater but really, I won't be moving around much so it shouldn't matter. If I can work on it at knit night I can work on it there. And the baby hats will be the simple project for when the sun goes down and the lights are low.

Last post I decided to host a little contest. The lucky Learning to be Thankful blog reader will receive a skein of Knit Picks Shimmer Turquoise splendor 440 yds and a pint of Jennifer's spectacular grape jelly. Excuse me while I hope over to

I'm back and our lucky number is...3 Tracey from Wool Windings. Congratulations. Tracey, will you send me your address again. I can't find it. Oops. Debbie I can hear your disappointment all the way from Canada. Maybe you'll find something cool in your post office box too.

Have a good weekend. Enjoy the cool weather and put on some wool.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How about a little contest

How about some more Yarn Harlot pictures? These were taken by CurliSue. Stephanie asked if she was my paparazzi. Funny!
And this guy made my day when he politely interrupted our chit chat to find out what kind of yarn I knit my clapotis in. He was featured on the Yarn Harolt's post about KC too. He was so nice. Are we all nice? Surely there are crazies that are apart of our group too. I wish I knew what his ravelry tag said. BTW- I used knit picks shimmer tripled. Turquoise Splendor.

Back at the homestead...the other day I put all the jars of jelly on the dining room table to snap a picture. They are still there but I have noticed that every day they are arranged differently. They were in a circular pattern Monday evening and last night they were in a three dimensional eight shape display. I think I'm going to leave them out just to see what they will be next. I suspect Joy #2.
So since I have managed to talk about grape jelly in just about every post for the past 2 weeks I'm going offer a little contest. You all deserve something for me going on and on! Comment on this post, only this post by Friday to enter. I'll randomly draw a name and the prize will be a pint of Jennifer's amazing grape jelly and a skein of KnitPicks shimmer in Turquoise Splendor (plus a little left over from the clapotis project). Enter to win! Tell all your friends or not. It may increase your chances of winning.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fun only knitters can have.

Top L-R:Sandra, Mary Ann, Me, Renee, Mary :Bottom L-R Colleen, & Laura

The Leavenworth Yarnies had a fabulouso time at the Yarn Harlot event. Well, I think we've decided it was more like an adventure. We started our adventure to the city with dinner. We ate at Maker's Mark which was very cool. It is in the middle of the power and light district and thanks to Mary's husband we got the chef's table. I splurged on my meal and it was very good! Striped bass stuffed with crab and some fancy sauce. Yum. We relaxed and enjoyed each other's company so much that we were a tad late for event. Oops.

We arrived at around 7:15 or 7:20pm. The Yarn Harlot was already well into her speech. She was witty and spoke with much love about herself, knitting, and the value of what we do. I really look forward to reading this book! If you look really close she is there in the photo. All blurry and yellow. I don't know why my camera couldn't take a decent picture in the hall but it couldn't. Use your imagination.

Next, it was onto the signing. We all had ordered our books and tickets separately so we were in the signing line at different times. Here's my ticket. Do you you see...

I had ticket #1. Out of ALL those knitters I was the first. Not that we stood in line by number or anything. But I was so excited to be the first person in KC to purchase her book from the event. I felt like I had the golden ticket from Charlie in the Chocolate Factory! Which is nuts because the ticket really didn't mean anything except that I was in the first group. I guess it's like being number one to comment on her blog.

We all got our books signed and she told me that she loved my Clapotis. I didn't say anything special or tell her how much I love her blog or anything. I just said hi. I should have rehearsed something witty ahead of time.

Then we hung out and visited with other knitters. Admired all the lovely handknits and try to recognize people off of Ravelry. Met up with Sue who came all the way from Oklahoma City by herself. That's a great knitter right there!

It was a great time. I really enjoyed an evening out on the town with my knitting peeps. They are great ladies and I'm glad I was able to see the Yarn Harlot with them. If I didn't have them I wouldn't have eaten a great meal, at an exclusive table. Or looked like a maniac running around a parking garage looking for the car. Or navigate to the event while loosing half the caravan we had. Or listen trying not to laugh while 3 people tried to tell Laura how to get back on track to the event via cell phone. Or enjoy their company and conversation while listening to a knitting icon. Things are so much better when you share them and even better when you share them with knitters.

PS)Bloglines hates me. It hasn't recognized my blog in over a week. I hear I'm not the only one.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Yarn Harlot Day!

Tonight I get to go see the Yarn Harlot! I am so excited she is stopping in Kansas City. Our knitting group is going out to dinner and then to see "the show". Full report tomorrow!
I finished the Gretel hat for my niece. It turned out lovely. I hope she likes it. I made the fitted beret version. Next time I make one I think I'll go for the in between version, somewhere between fitted and slouchy.

In grape jelly news, I think I may make 2 more batches and call it quits. Then I will have about 41 pints. Enough to give away and enough to keep. We have already gone through one pint at home and it's only been 2 weeks since the first batch. I'm not sure if it's because it's really good jelly or because I've been baking a lot from the River Cottage Cookbook. I made shortbread for breakfast Sunday morning and it was so good the dog ate the leftovers while we were at church services.

Well, I'm off to work. Gotta be productive since I'm skipping out at 2:30 pm.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Up before 6 am

Somehow, I managed to awake before 6 am. Instead of making a lovely breakfast for my lovely family before church services, I'm online.

Saturday Recap: I managed to do some stuff on my list for the weekend. The grape jelly count is up to 21 and I have a little less than a gallon of juice left. Plenty for more jelly! I think I may have enough to start gifting. Maybe. I do plan on making one more batch and then maybe I'll feel comfortable enough with gifting. Reality says I do not need 32 pints of grape jelly but somehow my head and heart is having trouble with that message.

I knit some more. I have 16 more rows left on my Gretel hat. A lovely design. Ysolda's pattern are beautiful and very well written!

And, hmm I bought some shoes, ate some ice cream, and used my new reusable grocery bags at the grocery store.

Yep, that sums up my Saturday! I'd take pictures but it still looks like the dead of night outside. If I calculate right I can knit for 1.5 hours before I have to get ready for Bible Class. Sweet.

Friday, October 10, 2008

No thank you.

This weekend I could be doing lots! Fall festivals, ice cream socials, downtown fun. But I've not committed to anything this weekend. Not. one. thing.

The past 2 weekends I've bowed out of a lot. Social, civic, and just plain fun events. I've bowed out because I don't want to be so busy doing, that I don't get done things that I'd like to do at home. Last fall, I fell into this trap. (ha read that sentence again, last fall...i fell...into this trap. I crack myself up!) This fall I'm hoarding my time and actually being productive around the homestead. The yard is in pretty good shape. More to do but I'm leaps ahead of last year.

So this weekend I'm thinking...

  • more grape jelly
  • pumpkin butter
  • apple pie
  • clean floors
  • clean bedrooms
  • lounging
  • knitting
  • planning my Yarn Harlot outfit

And if I get all that done then I may wander out of my own space and enjoy the cool stuff going on.

On a random note (as if I had a topic)I scored a futon for Joy #2's bedroom off of Craigslist. $40 and get this. The people selling the futon live 2 blocks from me!

I hope you enjoy your weekend too!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Whoa is me

Excuse the picture I was too lazy to take the vegetables out of the bags. Just one more week and our CSA season will be finished. What am I going to do?? This week fresh eggs, green beans, tomatoes, green peppers, patty pan squash, some other kind of greens, apples, and radishes were delivered to my front door. Just one more week of lovely farm food and then what? Shop at the grocery store?? Buy substandard vegetables? I don't know if I can do it. The way I cook and look at food or meals has changed so dramatically since April. My pantry which used to be stocked with canned goods and boxed foods is down to nothing. I have one can of stewed tomatoes and one can of sweet potatoes, some pasta and rice and baking stuff. A drastic difference. Everything else is fresh or baked fresh.
I will say it does take some thought and time in the kitchen but I find that I really enjoy cooking this way. And those kiddos, though they grumble and almost cry when we pass the cookie isle, are coming around. Joy #2 loves cooking for us. Joy #1 not so much but we've had a lot less whining about nothing to eat. She's even cooked a few things for herself recently. See while we were transforming our ways, she was at camp being feed 3 times a day like clockwork with no effort on her part.
So, back to the original question. What do I do now? I'll have to start making plans because right now I just cook what shows up. Anyone else having end of season anxiety?

Very Cabley Mittens

Finished Object: Very Cabley Mittens, KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Tidepool Heather.
I loved these mittens. They turned out perfect. I highly recommend the pattern.They are for my niece's 18th birthday. I also plan on making a Gretel hat to go with these. I haven't knit on my Ivy League Vest in a week. I really want to get back to it. It just sits there and begs me to knit on it. I am so anxious to get it done. But the Gretel hat is calling...her birthday is Oct 30th. Oh the drama...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Everything can be traced back to that Cookbook!

My fascination with the River Cottage Family Cookbook led me online. Of course! There I found Hugh's (author) UK TV shows. Awesome. The one that really hooked me was the Smallholdings. They took a few families, gave them space in a city and they had to turn it into a small holding. The space to begin with was overran by weeds and brambles. The families spent a little time and got the space all cleared out so they could plant vegetables and raise pigs and chickens.

Standard TV right. But not for me. The thing that impressed me was that they cleared all this out using hand tools, nothing special, and a lot of hard work. Once again, right down my alley. I don't have many tools and don't really care to spend my money on them.

This short clip really inspired me. I have a lot behind my house. It has been the baine of my existence for 7 years. It is overgrown, weedy, and brushy. I can never keep it under control, even though it is at the top of my yard work list constantly. In addition to the lot I have this hill. Ugh. This hill has so many little trees and yucky weeds (all of which I am allergic to) and it is too steep to mow. The hill is such an eyesore that I pretend I don't own it.

All that said, I love this bit of land. I can imagine it a beautiful garden with a gazebo or something cool. A little oasis in the middle of town. Joy #2 pictures it as an awesome skate park, throw down some concrete and ramps and whatever else skaters need, and my neighbor would love to build a garage on it, but it's mine not his. :)

Soooo guess what I did on Saturday?? I cleared off the hill! Yes, I did, thanks to that hard working boy of mine and some determination on my part. We worked from 8:30- 2:30, well Joy #2 went until 3:30 pm. Using branch cutters, a weed eater, and lawn mower we got the entire hill finished! It is beautiful, and a major step in getting the rest of the lot in tip top condition. In order not to get overwhelmed, I mentally broke the hill into sections and just worked a section until it was clear of growth. My plan worked and I am anxious to start the rest of the lot. Wouldn't it be awesome if I could get it looking nice by the end of October!?!

I went out to take a picture for you but the camera battery was dead. Instead I present a representation of the actual hill...
God Bless Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

What up?

I have been very good at staying on task at work. I think I just needed to "put it out there" for no one but myself to get motivated. Nothing like a little confessing to cleanse the soul.

{This is not a staged photo. Jaeda opened The river cottage family cookbook and started looking}

In spring, I find myself asking why did I waste all those good weekends in the fall? I should of been working in the yard and getting it under control! Well, now I know. There are tons of stuff to do in the fall. We get invitations to all kinds of neat things and every charity or organization I belong to has some major fall fundraiser that I attend. Last weekend I had several things I was invited to. All really cool and fun but I skipped them all. I told myself that I had things at home I wanted to finish and when I was done I'd go hang out. By the time I finished the jelly and a few other things I didn't want to go anywhere so I didn't. I'm taking notes and plan on doing the same thing this weekend. I really want to work on my lot that is overgrown and needs lots of tending to. I'm allergic to everything on it but I think I will feel so much better when it is cleaned up.
The twins on Saturday

I also want to harvest the rest of my basil and get the gardens pruned out a bit. I've also been kicking the idea of planting a couple apple trees. Now is the time if I'm going to do it. And plan a few more raised beds. (are my incomplete sentences driving you nuts yet?)

So much to do but such worthwhile stuff.

As for the knitting. My Ivy League Vest is still coming along. I'm am at the neck decreases, while continuing the bust shaping, and paying attention to the armholes that are coming up. So much going on at one time! It is challenging but I love it. I will not be able to take it to knit night though so I'll start something new. Mittens for my niece! Oh and did I tell you that I will be going to see the Yarn Harlot in 2 weeks?!? I think our whole knitting group is going now!

I think that is it. I have successfully emptied my brain. Have a happy Thursday.