Monday, December 31, 2012

Catching Up ~ End of the Year ~ FO's 17 & 18

FO # 17 - Scarf for my mom

I had planned to spend this vacation catching up.  Move the last of my items from my mom's house and get it all settled in at our hew house, daily trips to the barn, and LOTS of knitting, but those were not in someone else's plans.

I came down with a NASTY cold just before break, took the last two days off from work to deal with the nasty cold hoping to knock it out before Christmas.  Am still coughing, sputtering, and dealing with the after math of a nasty could.

I have manage SOME knitting.  Above my mom is pictured with the scarf I knit quickly in a couple days while nursing my cold.    It was knit from yarn she picked out a year or so ago for a scarf.

I also managed kick out the following Christmas day for Dennis knit from hand spun yarn.

FO # 18 for Dennis

My belongings are still at my moms.  We did make a trip and got all my horse tack and other stuff, but I have only managed one trip to the barn.  Now that I have my saddle, helmet, saddle, etc., that should change as the half mile trip to the barn no longer involves a 10 mile round trip drive to my mom's to get my horse things first!

Tonight we will go to my mom's play cards, have finger food, and enjoy the family.

I return to work January 7, so MAYBE I can get some trips to the barn, and move the rest of my belongings here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

FO #16

A quick knit using up some of my own hand spun yarn. Had to make it a little smaller (no folding 2x2 rib stitch over).  Now I am attempting the pattern in reverse (top down), with some of my handspun for Dennis.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

FO #15--Test Knit Finished

Test knit is finished.  Here they, photo taken in "natural light" if you can call it that.  Here in the shadow of our mountains, we get direct sunlight for only about 90 minutes, despite 5 1/2 hours of day light (give or take a few minutes).

Friday, December 14, 2012

Test Knit Continues

Almost finished with my test knit, when I slipped on my "Adult Large" and realized it was more of an "Adult Medium".  Hmmmm?  Checked my gauge and, oops.  

I DID do a swatch and a I WAS spot on with my gauge of 9 sts/10 rounds per 2 inches, but now?  10 stitches/14 rounds per two inches.

How did that happen?

The only thing I can figure is that I swatched with acrylic needles and was going to knit them one at a time.  I hate knitting identical items one at a time, so I frogged and switched to two-at-a-time and when I did that I switched to my wood size 7 needles.

Lesson learned -- knit swatches WITH the needles you plan to use!  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Test Knitting Snag

Test knitting is harder than I imagined.

You really SHOULD follow the pattern. How is one to find errors if they make up things as they go (which is often how I knit)?

Knitting a pair of socks and don't like the CO and toe increase? No problem when you are knitting for yourself. BUT, when testing a pattern, you have to follow the directions.

I kind of forgot this and when I read part of the pattern that wasn't working for me, I continued on as I thought it should be. Then I remembered, "I am testing this pattern" and I shouldn't do that.

So a post to the designer, set the gloves to the side and now I wait for a reply.

In the mean time, I have picked up my socks.

I really should be knitting on the Every Way Wrap if I am to finish it before the end of the year.

I keep telling myself I will knit it and finish is over Winter/Christmas break. BUT, if I am honest, I know that won't happen.

I need to discipline myself if I am ever to finish that wrap!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Enter - World of Test Knitting

As if I don't have enough keeping me away from knitting the Every Way Wrap (which I would like to get done before the end of the year), I decided to enter the world of Test Knitting.

These are another atter of fingerless gloves.  I HAVE to have them done before December 13, or was it the 18th?  Oh well, they need to be done quick.

Cast on yesterday, was going to do it one at a time, but I know myself well enough to know that might be an issue.

Being a test knitter is hard.  You have to follow the pattern.  You can't go "Oh, you know, I don't like this part, I think I'll knit it this way!"

Okay, as soon as I get these off the sticks, and finish the socksI started last week, maybe THEN I will  get the Every Way Wrap.....

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Knit One, Chore Too

Yesterday was spent running errands, today is catch up before returning to a full work week. 

The problem is I cast on for a new pair of socks and I would LOVE to sit and knit all day.  Love the pattern, can't wait to see more as the slip-stitch pattern moves along!

But I have a ton to do!

There is the Turkey stock I need to can (after it cools and the fat can be removed). 
Reading for a class I'm taking:  Why Gender Matters by Dr. Leonard Sax.  A very interesting read.  I am so glad I am not raising kids now.
Lesson plans for the week.
So, it has become a "Knit One, Chore Too" day.
Knit a row, then go do a chore for 1/2 hour or so, or until it is completed.  It does seem to work, as long as I put the knitting down after I complete a row.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

FO #14

A very quick knit, this pair of fingerless gloves (Smashed Grapes). Instead of doing the "Black Friday" thing (which I have done once and will NEVER do it again as I HATE crowds), I sat down and started these fingerless gloves.  Played around with one, then attempted to catch the other one up.  I frogged them both and started them two at a time.

They are a gift, and am sure their future owner does not read my blog.

Wonder what else I can knit for a gift from my stash!?

Friday, November 16, 2012

About that Birch Leaf Shawl.....

Birch Leaf Shawl, bottom left with FO #10 Green Boot Socks, and FO #11 Ribbed Garter Sock.

I am not really enjoying knitting with lace weight yarn on my Birch Leaf Shawl and the last week or so has caused me great frustration.

While pulling the needle further down the stitches, I pulled a couple stitches off, while picking them up, some unraveled up to 4 rows.  I have since been "de-knitting" (aka:  un-knitting), which has been frustrating.  If I had only had a life-line!

I was tired last night and really shouldn't have been trying to fix this error, but I did!  I dropped yet more stitches, got even more frustrated and, well, off the needles it went and frogged it.....

Birch Leaf Shawl starts over....
Started over, here we go, I will be attempting life-lines shortly! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

FO # 12 & 13

We have moved in and there hasn't been much time for knitting.  We had a Professional Development (PD) day Monday.  I have two projects on the sticks right now, the Birch Leaf Shawl and my Every Way Wrap, neither easy, mindless knitting.  I sat next to my knitting friend from work while she knit on a hat.  I couldn't stand it!  During our lunch break, I dashed off to the store, purchased cotton yarn and needles and upon returning to the PD, I knit myself one dish cloth and started the second which I finished at home after dinner.

So, it is a streatch, but above are FO's 12 & 13.  I have enjoyed mindless knitting, which I haven't had in a long time!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

 FO #11 DONE!!!!
I need a photographer or someone with the same size feet!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Almost FO # 11


Yesterday I got a call from my mom.  She is flying out to visit her brother in England Monday and she had called her doctor in regards to a medical issue that popped up the night before last.  He wanted to her to go the Emergency Room to get it checked out.  A quick schedule change at work, and I was off to take her to the ER.  First stop lunch (because we knew we were in for a long wait).

Nothing major, but we did sit in the ER for 6 hours, 20 minutes (not that I was counting). 

I am sitting here this morning, with only about 5 more rows to complete on the toe decrease and the socks will be finished, but they will have to wait!

FO # 11 is almost complete! 

Work calls......

Sunday, October 28, 2012

FO #10

Dennis with his new socks
Am thinking I may need to work on teaching my sock model better modeling skills
Or, maybe it was the photographer!?
They are done, ends weaved in, and are on the feet intended for as I type.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

On the HOME stretch!

Appraisals, home inspections, septic inspection, everything is done!

Paperwork has been sent to the banks, we should have a date for closing soon!!!!!!

In the midst of all this chaos, I did finish the second pair of boot socks for Dennis!!!  YAY!  FO #10 for 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

Taking a break from home buying stress!

Dennis and I with Matanuska Glacier in the background
We have had an incredibly wet summer and fall.  This Sunday, we were going to go hiking, to get away from the stress of "house buying limbo."

Dennis suggested we take a drive up to his friend's cabin up near Matanuska Glacier.  So, in the car, about 2 hours and 80 some miles later, we were sitting down at a table in Long Rifle Lodge for beer, a burger, and a beautiful view of the glacier!  I managed to almost complete Dennis' green boot socks (the twisting, winding road does not make a good drive for knitting).  Between Saturday's knit2gether and the drive, I managed to knit to the point of doing the decrease for the toe.

It was a beautiful sunny day, if not a tad cold. 

Dennis with the frost and snow on the flood plain of the Matanuska River.

I am so lucky to live in such a beautiful state!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Knit2gether and Yarn Swap

What would you call a collection of hand knit socks?
Our twice-yearly "yarn crawl" this year ended up being a knit and yarn swap at MeMaw's new house.

There were ten of us and we were told to bring three things: hand knit sock (if you have them) for a photo op, food, and of course, something to knit.

Only one of us didn't have hand knit socks to wear (hence 9 feet).

The group (minus the hostess/photographer)
enjoying a rare sunny day in Alaska as well as each other's company.
We also did a yarn swap, and although I didn't bring yarn to swap, I ended up taking home a huge bag of yarn that I'm sure I will knit into a cardigan.

On the sticks--WIP

Background - Every Way Wrap
Clock wise from top -- boot socks, garter rib socks, birch leave shawl.

It has been over three months since I shared my WIP.  School started back in the middle of August, and, well, work has a way of cutting into my knitting!  If only I could be independently wealthy!  I have been good at sharing FO's but not so much with new projects, or the progress on old ones.

I ripped out the yellow mock turtle neck, finished the basic cowl, Jenny socks, and purse (which is still waiting for a lining), as well as started and finished gray Boot Socks for Dennis

The Every Way Wrap has been neglected, as well as the Birch Leaf Shawl.  I have been dividing my time with socks.

Dennis LOVES his gray Boot Socks, so I started another pair of socks for him in green.  I have also been working on a pair of socks from Sensational Knitted Socks book, Garter Rib socks. 

Garter Rib Socks from Sensational Knitted Socks
knit from Plymouth Yarn Happy Feet, color 11
I am loving the combination of the yarn and the pattern.  The Pattern has a garter stitch along the heel flap that makes a great transition for the gusset pick up.

I completed gusset decreases on both pairs of socks, so I really am on the home stretch to the toes.

Today is a knit2gether at a fellow JitterKnitter who is also a member of FiberHounds.  I really need to get off the computer and get some work done.  Thursday and Friday are Parent/Teacher conferences so I have to get Special Education Progress Reports done on all my students.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Small things can bring huge joy!

Who would have thought a simple handle-less cup could bring me such joy!

Dennis gave this to me this week.  A small ceramic artisan cup with no handle.

It fits perfectly in my hand.  It is smaller, so my tea is hot to the last sip.

I enjoy it, and enjoy the tea all day.
The only problem is that I am drinking more
and that means more trips outside of the classroom......

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Last Hike Before Winter becomes FIRST Hike OF Winter!

South Fork of Eagle River
Taken from South Fork Bridge, about 2 miles from the parking lot

 We have had a terribly wet summer and autumn, so when the weather has been nice we've been busy getting the outside of my mom's house ready for winter.  No hiking or enjoying the Alaskan outdoors.

The forecast this weekend was sun and highs in the 40 Saturday, with snow moving in Sunday.

Looking out over the valley, still hoping the
low clouds burn off.
Dennis and I had been talking of hiking to Symphony Lake before the snow falls, so decided this was the weekend to do it.
My summer hiking partner, Rosemary, called with the same idea: let's get out on the trails before the snow falls!  She and her husband joined Dennis and I for our last hike before winter.

It was a very brisk morning, was hoping the weather man would pull through with the sun and warm temps, but Dennis and I packed for the worse, "just in case."  Very little is worse than being cold and wet on a hike, especially a long one into the wilds of Alaska!

Rosemary and I hiking almost to the South Fork Bridge
No one was surprised when I announced there were geocache's along the trail and I had down loaded them to my gps!  So....our first "stop" was at the bridge to find a geocache.

Rosemary, Scott, and myself at the South Fork Bridge geocache.
Snow was just beginning to fall (we were still trying to
convince ourselves the sun would burn off the clouds).
The bridge just less than half way to Symphony Lake, and a nice stop, and a very quick geocache find!
We continued on, still no sun, but we were having a great time, snow had just begin to fall before we reached the bridge.  It really was beautiful out there!  Gorgeous, big snow flakes fell.

We continued on, should have turned back, but we wanted to get to out destination, Symphony Lake. 

No one ever wants to be THAT person to call UNCLE, and someone really should have.

Standing on the moraine between Eagle Lake and Symphony Lake.
Though not obvious in this picture, most of the rocks were HUGE, and
covered with a couple inches of wet, slippery snow!
We reached Eagle Lake and traversed the bridge to the huge rock moraine, and began winding our way over the rocks, following the cairns.  We were 0.4 mile (as the crow flies) for the destination, but the rocks were hard to traverse, I had twisted my knee crawling over a large rock, it was hurting, but I was not going to tell anyone, and I soldier on until, jointly, we all agreed it was time to turn around!

We hoofed it pretty hard, and after about 2 miles of pretty fast walking, I ran out of steam.   Poor Scott was chilled, so he kept on marching on, but there was no way I could keep that pace for the remaining 3 miles!

We stopped at the bridge again, for a quick bite, and then continued on.  The Snow was over the top of the toes of my boots, we guessed 3 to 4 inches.  Scott, cold, but just not willing to admit it to us, couldn't stand the slow pace I had to go.

I guess I'm not as young as I thought I was.  I just kept chugging along, getting slower and slower.  Dennis convinced me to let him carry my pack (about 10 pounds), and it made a huge difference.

Our "last hike before winter" became our "first hike of winter."  It was beautiful, despite the pain, I'd do it again!  I want to hike back there next summer, with a tent, and spend the night!!!!!!

We estimated we hiked 10 miles.  I'm feeling a little stiff, but nothing like I was when we got home last night!

I did bring Dennis's socks, but it wasn't one of our hikes where we sit and chat, enjoy the scenery.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Home Buying

The day I have to go through this home purchase again will be too soon, no matter how far away into the future it is!

Both homes were supposed to have had their appraisals yesterday, which means the closing dates can be set (or so I've been told).

I have used knitting to relieve the stress, but last night, I used sleep.  Came home from work bone tired; even too tired to knit!  I felt it was too early to crawl in bed, so took out the contacts, put on my pj's and brought the pillows out so I could lay on the couch to "watch TV."  I watched the inside of my eyelids and after 3 hours sleeping on the couch I moved to bed.  I was afraid that, falling asleep a little after 6pm would leave me wide awake at 2 am, but that didn't happen and I slept all night.

Need to post pictures.  I am knitting Dennis another pair of 100% merino wool, super wash, worsted weight socks -- he loves them, he said they keep his feet just the right temperature!  For some reason, the three skeins of yarn are not enough, despite following the same pattern.  His next socks will be knit toe up, so I can knit until I run out of yarn, instead of placing yet another yarn order with KnitPicks!

I am also knitting a pair of socks for myself out of the book Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch.  Am liking the garter stitch along the heel flap -- makes a nice join with the pick up for the gusset.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Moving Nightmares!

Oh the dreams!  YIKES!

The most recent move dream nightmare is about the boxes.

First we end up at the wrong house.  Put all boxes back in truck and get to the right house.

Unload the truck and low and behold, wrong boxes!  They aren't ours!

Eventually get our boxes in our new house, and the "movers" keep putting the boxes in the wrong rooms.

Finally, get the right boxes in the right house, in the right rooms and I begin to unpack.

The evil moving trolls have played havoc yet again.

The labels on the outside of the boxes don't match what is inside the boxes!

The Kitchen boxes contain clothes, bathroom boxes contain pots and pans.....

Alarm goes off, I get up, look around at all the work yet ahead and want to crawl back in bed -- but the fears of the dreams returning keeps my feet moving towards the coffee pot!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Spin, Spin, Spin!

There is so much going on right now, it makes my head spin!
  • September 10, Dennis texts me one morning with a picture of the above house.
  • September 14, Dennis lists his house with a realtor
  • September 17, Dennis and I look at the house -- we LOVE it.  It meets 90% of the items on our "dream home list"
  • September 18, we take my mom to see the house, she loves the fact that she can live on the main floor and not have to navigate stairs.   She will have her own master bedroom suite, with attached bath.  We have the upstairs with two bedrooms and a shared bath.  We agree to meet late the following evening and draw up an offer
  • September 19, NOON -- we find out an offer had been placed on the house, the sellers were going to counter offer, but would wait to look at our offer first.
  • September 20, we find out they accepted our offer!!!!!
  • September 21, Dennis' townhouse sale goes live
  • September 23, Dennis sells townhouse!!!  No more worries about carrying two mortgages!
In two weeks we went from looking, to actually having found one house, sold the other, and now we have to move!

Mom will move with us, her house is paid for, so we will declutter 20+ years of "stuff" over the winter and put it up for sell in the spring!

ETA:  you thought this would be about spinning yarn...didn't you!!!!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

FO #9 for 2012

Well, my cell phone doesn't always take the best pictures, but these socks have been completed, ends weaved in, washed and blocked and were grabbed by their new owner as soon as they were dried and he promptly placed them on his feet and wore!
I think he likes hand knit socks!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Last Day of Summer

At 4000 feet above sea level looking down at the inlet and across to Wasilla, Alaska.
Today is it.  It is my last day of summer.

Those of you who work year round do not feel sorry for me, I know.

But, tomorrow I will return to the classroom "officially" -- I have already spent two days in the classroom getting it organized and ready.  Have spent hours on the couch going through my student list and reading their Individual Education Plans (IEP) and getting that information organized. 

So today is the last day.

I have already spent two hours this morning finishing up going through IEP's, completed that which I wanted to before I head to the classroom tomorrow.

I have the rest of the day to......

I would love to sit and knit all day, but I really should do the last little bit getting my desk cleaned off and ready (despite the goal to NOT bring anything home, I'm sure I will and I moved my desk/office area to a spare bedroom).

The lawn needs to be mowed (so tired of the rain up here in Alaska).

My horse NEEDS to be ridden.

Car packed with the last of my personal items for the classroom.

It is Thursday, so Jitters Knitters after 4.

The day is ticking away, so I'm off........

oh no...panic is beginning to set in!  Will I have time to get all my projects done?!  I have such a long que of items to complete for Dennis and I!  Two pairs of heavy winter socks for him (they are out of worsted and do knit up fast), and a pair of "hiking socks" for each of us!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Knitting on Top of the World!

Knitting at Geocache site called "Blacktail Rocks" at 4000 feet above sea level!
Thursday we hiked up to Mile Hi - I took the panoramic that I'm now using as a banner across the top of the page.  Our goal was to Blacktail Summit (4400 feet), but my legs would not make it as I am new to this hiking up mountains thing.  We brought my springer/brittany spaniel cross, Abby, with and she had a blast.   Next time, we will make it to Blacktail Summit!

It was a killer hike and I really had to push it, but the views were AMAZING!

Abby and I on the way up.  The mountain behind and to the right is the one we climbed Thursday.

The trail to base of Blacktail
At the base of the final run towards Blacktail Summit
My hiking partner and dog are much faster at climbing than I am.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sitting on Top of the World

"Mile Hi Summit" Eagle River, Alaska
Felt like I was sitting on top of the world while having our lunch here!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but some pictures just don't do the actual sights justice!  This summit allowed almost a 360 degree view of the valleys and mountains surrounding us.

Resting on the summit.  That little bump was the only thing blocking a full 360 view!
Yesterday we went in search of 5 Geocaches, with our final find being on the summit, or peak, called Mile Hi.  At around 3,000 feet above sea level, it is only a couple thousand feet short of a mile, but it sure does feel like you are up one mile!

While sitting at the site of the "Mile Hi" cache relaxing and eating our lunch, I couldn't help wishing I had my knitting. SO, it will go in the pack today. I cast on a pair of socks and they will be perfect project to take with me Geocaching.

Signing the log and checking out the
SWAG (Stuff We All Get--or the junk we find in the caches)
at the "Eagle River Saddle" Cache we found on the way up to the summit.
I am stiff from yesterday's hike, but we are going to hit it again today.  We don't have many sunny days, so we are taking advantage of the good weather!

Baldy to Blacktail

 Above is our destination today.  We will start with Baldy (first peak, left), cross the ridge to the last peak on the right (Blacktail).  We will then fallow another ridge back and around.  If we are able to reach all 10 caches, we will put in over 7 miles!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


These two items bring my total for the year to 8, so I'm ahead a month!!!!  Both are listed on my FO 12 in 2012 page

Basic Cowl - knit from unknown (gifted) yarn
Knit for:  TBD

Jenny Socks - knit from sock yarn purchased from JoAnn Fabrics
Knit for:  Cousin Tracie
These darn socks took me over a year!  Were cuff down, was trying on as I knit them, but when I tried them on after turning the heel, I couldn't get the over my heels!  YIKES!
Frogged and started knitting toe up, life got it in the way (not sure how much knitting will be done once school starts as there are only so many hours in a day......) and I just didn't get to knit like I'd like to.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Introducing Geocaching to Friends!

Aileyn and two young boys we met (picture taken by their mother)
on the way up Baldy in Eagle River, Alaska
My most recent endeavor is Geocaching.  For those not familiar with Geocaching, let me see if I can explain it.  People hide 'caches' everywhere, use their GPS's to determine the coordinates, then enter that information at  Caches can be tiny (the size of the tip of your pinkie) or as large as an ammo can.  The best way to describe the larger ones is a junk drawer and can have nothing but junk or very cool treasures!

My fiance and I have been exploring geocaching and when my friend, Rosemary, called and wanted to go on a hike, I said sure, loaded up my GPS with from caches in the area we agreed to hike in and when she picked me up, I asked her if we could also do some Geocaching.

As we headed up the mountain, I explained to my Rosemary's Granddaughter, Aileyn, how to work my GPS and off she went.  We met a woman (Alison) who was taking a hike with her two young boys.  While Aileyn stopped to wait for us to catch up, Aileyn shared with Alison what we were doing.  Aileyn didn't know this is supposed to be done in stealth, and that you have to be aware of "muggles" (those NOT geocaching)!

I am not in shape, so I had to rest, A LOT!  It was a very steep climb, and as we ascended all three of the adults were worried about the trip down! 
The youngest of our crew on top of Baldy, before going off to find our first cache of the day.
We had a blast and Rosemary and Alison got hooked too!  I need a better camera to haul with me in my back-pack, though my phone did a nice job of taking pictures!
Our first cache of the day. All the kids had a blast!
Enjoying lunch with our first cache of the day and new friends
After putting the cache back, we went back to searching for the other caches!  It was a blast.  My friend and I will be going out again tomorrow.  One of the Cache's are called "Mile Hi" because the peak of the mountain is a mile high....yikes!!!
The only negative, I don't think I can Geocache and knit.  The climb up Badly required ALL my attention!  I did know of a different trail down the moutain on the back side, so we took that, but even that trail was not one I could knit and walk on!

Other notes -- I think I passed the test (will know in 3 1/2 weeks).  I have managed to complete some knitting projects so will have to add them to my FO for 2012).