Saturday, September 12, 2009

Catching up...

I know, I know!! I haven't updated in a while!!! It's been a busy summer full of teaching ESY (extended school year - that's summer school for special ed), having family visit, taking Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University class, and of course knitting!!!

ESY was great and the extra money was nice to have :) I had a great group of kids this summer of who I may end up teaching next school year when they move up to middle school.

I ended up not able to go down to Florida to visit my mom, but even better, she came to visit me along with my sister from Chicago! We celebrated Mom's 50th birthday at the aquarium and a great dinner in Buckhead called Kyma - it's a Greek seafood place with excellent food...not your usual Greek restaurant with dancing, plate breaking and a whole lot of "Opa!", but classy. It was a great weekend to end my summer before school started back up.

I started back to work for the new school year realizing the awful truth of the times we are in...because of budget cuts from the state trickling down to our school system, we will be subjected to pay cuts and furloughs. I'm used to furloughs because Jon has one every month. Learning what we did at the Dave Ramsey FPU class, we'll do our best with our budgets and do what we can to cut unnecessary expences.

And to knitting....

With the summer in full swing, I had several opportunities to expand my knitting skills and experiences. At the beginning of my summer vacation, I took a 2 day workshop and felt empowered to take my knitting with me. I was going to knit in public!! OH MY!!! How adventurous of me!!!! I thought about taking my sock out a few times during the workshop, but was a little embarrassed and thought the other would think I was rude for doing so. Well, during one of our many breaks, I pulled out my my knitting and another teacher came up to me and was thrilled to see another knitter at the workshop! She and another teacher behind me were knitting away the entire time! How empowering!!!! I never would have thought of the benefits of knitting in public during presentations and lectures...but darn it, I was going to try! I actually concentrated more on what was being said by having my hands moving! The other knitters and I talked during our breaks and I learned that they were part of a yahoo group for knitters and handspinners. There were several meetings during the week to accommodate different schedules and I decided to join. I started going to meetings on Monday nights and some Saturday afternoons and quickly met new knitters...most of them are work as teachers, parapros and secretaries in my school district. When the school year started back up, I learned that it was easier for me to go Monday nights since Saturday afternoons were reserved for mommy and toddler time while Jon is working.

I also worked on a winter hat for my son....

In August, I attended a class at my LYS on how to knit 2 toe up socks on 2 circs. It was fabulous! I learned the cast on for the toes and the toe increases during the 1st class and then needed to knit up to my ankles to be ready for the 2nd class. The big mistake I made that I could have caught at this stage and re-done was that my socks were way too loose. I didn't listen to the instructor to stop increasing once I got to the top of my little toe when I tried them on. I ended up realizing how loose they were when I was in the middle of working the foot. I compensated by decreasing the necessary amount of stitches at my arches to give me a better fit at this point. Hopefully when I block, they'll draw up a little bit and fit just right... I didn't have quite enough and spent the entire class getting caught up. During the 3rd class, I learned the Sherman heel eliminates the need for a gusset and I like it a lot! I'm pretty sure I like it better since it saves time and once you are done with the heel, you're ready for the leg and cuff. Right now I'm working on the ribbing for the cuff. I don't have an updated picture, but here's what I had when I worked on the toes. You can see how they are already a little loose fitting.

Being at my LYS for my class has really been terrible for me. I was seduced by all the yarn and temptation! I found some gorgeous Ultra Alpaca yarn by Berroco that I want to use to knit my first sweater for myself.

I also found a bunch of Noro yarn on display where the sale shelf was...that's right!! DISCOUNTED YARN ROCKS!!!!!! So I bought my first Noro be specific, Kureyon Sock yarn!

Aaaahhhhhh....Summer was fabulous....

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

podcast and sock mania

My knitting has taken on new heights with the motivation of Kelley Petkun's KnitPicks podcast. I started listening to her podcasts a few weeks ago and I'm pumped and newly inspired about all the possibilities:)

I finished my first cable project (Irish Hiking Scarf) a few weeks ago - a bit late for the cold weather...or shall I say, early for next winter?

I'm working on my first pair of socks! I've turned my heel and I'm on the gusset stitches...not without difficulty, though - this is my 5th attempt!!!!! Well, technically, I've knitted a sock (not a pair), but that was just practice on worsted yarn and size 5 dpns to get used to the process. This pair I'm on now is like "knitting hair on toothpicks!"* I'm using real sock yarn (Araucania Ronco - Mauve) and size 1 dpns.

*My friend Susan, who taught me how to knit, calls sock knitting this:)

Friday, June 5, 2009

It's been a while!

Well, a lot has happened since January!!!

As an update to my last post, I'll let you know about my family life...

Unfortunately, Pappou passed away on February 8th. He spent the last couple weeks of his life in a nursing home where he was taken care of by wonderful nurses. His health deteriorated very quickly on top of his dementia. It was sad that I didn't get to see him one last time, but I'm glad my last memory of him was when he visited a month after Harrison was born and he got to meet his first great-grandchild! The picture above is that first meeting...That was a happy memory!!! He is now at peace with Yiayia and Uncle George:)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Getting a couple things off my chest...

Ok so this isn't about knitting...

Going through some stuff right now that I have to get off my chest:

My Pappou is here in the states from Greece and he's not doing well. At first he stayed with my mom in FL, but things got so bad that he ended up moving up to NJ to stay with my aunt. We think he has Alzheimers and now that the honeymoon period is over, he's starting to act up again. I'm really hoping for a diagnosis real soon so that reality can set in for him and he can take some meds that could help him get better. This has taken a toll on my mom and not being able to physically be there to HELP them is a bit frustrating. Having my ear open helps, but I still wish there was more I could do.

On top of that, I'm getting mixed messages about some things and I'm a little confused. If only dh will be a little better in communicating to me what he REALLY wants, it will make things a lot easier. I'm not a mind reader and I refuse to try to be one. I've learned to not expect him to be a mind reader and I have to be blunt with him sometimes. I just wish it worked both ways.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I know it's been a LONG TIME!! I haven't had the chance to post anything recently because I've been SO BUSY!!

Knitting went on the back burner for a while...more on that later. I finished a hat for Jon so he can be warm when he is working as a valet at the hospital. Here is a link to my ravelry page with that project:

I'm still working on that cardigan for Harrison which I started in October. I hibernated it to finish Jon's hat. All I have to do is graft the sleeves, sew a couple of seams and sew the buttons...pretty simple, huh? Well, not exactly. I have to learn the kitchener stitch to graft the sleeves, and the mattress stitch to sew the seams. I'm making swatches to practice the techniques.

On my queue for my next project? I bought yarn almost 2 months ago to make my first pair of socks. I'll be using a basic sock pattern I picked up from my local yarn store...but I promised myself I won't start that project until I'm finished with the cardigan.

So the reason I haven't been knitting in a while:
I started reading the Twilight series and now I'm an addict. Edward Cullen is my drug of choice :) I was listening to the other teachers at lunch talk about the series and how awesome it is...they all heard about it through their students. So because of my curiosity, I asked to borrow the books. I immediately fell in love with Edward and Bella's story. I finished the first 3 books (Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse) and I'm waiting to get back to work after Christmas break to borrow the 4th book (Breaking Dawn). I keep wanting to cheat and buy the book myself, but of course, they are nowhere to be found unless I go online...but I'm too impatient and cheap to buy it online. On top of that, I promised my husband that I wouldn't buy anymore books since there is no room on our shelves.

Anyway, enough for now...Happy Knitting and Happy Twilight!!!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

My dabble in crochet and a new knitting project

I took a break from knitting for a few weeks to concentrate on getting myself back into a school year routine. The summer was fun trying to get back into knitting and I realized it has become my sanity - you can take that any way you like...if you are my husband, I've become insane trying to get that bag finished.

Anyhoo...Way back when I wanted to find my craft, I went to wally world (yes, walmart) and picked up the Boye kits on knit and crochet. Crochet seemed too complicated for me at the time, so I started knitting. Well, I decided to try it again...I thought it was going to be the DEATH OF ME!!!! I'm a visual person and I have to see someone do it for me to get it. It felt SO STRANGE to have only one hook and I couldn't find my grip on the yarn. I kept leaving the stitches on the hook!!! I had to find SOMETHING to help me. Well, thanks to my MIL, I found my grip on the yarn :) Thanks to hobby lobby, I found a tutorial CD-ROM to help me see the light.

And I did it! After a lot of patience and practice, I made a bookmark:) Well, it came out horribly, so I made a second one and it looks so much better...can you guess which one is which?
So my newest project I started is the Tote Around by I had the hardest time trying to do the circuluar cast-on. I went to youtube and found a great video the Emily Ocker cast on method which is one of the recommended ways to cast-on in this pattern. The pattern’s directions were confusing to follow.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I'm blocking!!!!

I started to work on at a pocket for my Oregon Tote before I began felting. I wanted it to go in the inside of the bag so that I would have a place for my cell phone. I started on it a couple weeks ago, but I had to suspend my knitting for the time so I could pack for my trip to FL. I left on the 19th and came back last night. Harrison and I went to visit my mom for her birthday and my sister joined us from Chicago :) I packed up my knitting, but I didn't seem to have the time or patience to work on it...long days and chasing a newly walking 15 month old took all my energy!!

Since I didn't get to work on the pocket much, I began to be impatient and wanted to start using my bag soon, so I decided to scrap it for now and begin the felting process. I was SO pleased with how it looked right out of the washing maching. I took two boxes of 12 packs of sodas and put a Target shopping bag over them and shimmied the bag over it to block. I couldn't get over how tight the bag was...I thought it would be more plyable, but it took so much effort to get it over the boxes...

I'm hoping my bag will be ready for me to use tomorrow...they say it could take a couple days, but the bag seemed so dry already when I got it out of the machine.

I have to say one more thing...I'm so excited about my invitation to join Ravelry!!! I found the site while reading other knitting blogs a couple weeks ago and now I'm setting up my project notebook on there!! For anyone not familiar with Ravelry, it takes a couple of days to get the invitation and then you're in!

Happy knitting!!