Monday, July 30, 2012

Adventures in Motherhood

This past week has been a lot of fun.  We took a week of vacation, visiting the grandparents for a few days and then Hubby and I went off on our own seeking adventure.  Well, not really.  We did go to the alpaca farm (Adonai's Alpacas, and I really can't say enough wonderful things about them) and we rented a cabin for a few days to spend some quality time together.  And yet, in all this, life was calm and quiet.  Until we headed home.

We were driving back yesterday afternoon, and suddenly Princess, who is hardly ever really sick (fever, throwing up, crying inconsolably) just threw up.  Out of nowhere.  She wasn't running a fever, she hadn't been refusing food, no sign of illness anywhere.  I'll spare you any pictures of this, as first, I didn't take any, and second, let's face it: that's just gross.  I had just been saying recently that I hardly ever remember her throwing up at all.  Like maybe twice in her almost 2 years.  Then yesterday, that bit me in the butt.  Not only did she do it, but it was of course, in the car on the way back home.  So, we had to hurriedly pull over into a KFC parking lot, get out, try to get as much cleaned up as possible, and then get back on the road.  After this fun adventure of having hubby take her to the bathroom and change her clothes, while I tried to clean and air out the car while Little Man sat in his seat trying not to think about the smell and stay cool in the 91+ degree heat, you'd think we'd get back on the road with no trouble.  Au contraire,  mon frere.

Once we got back on the road, the car suddenly decided it just didn't want to go anymore.  Nothing major, but it was just a definitive "no way Jose" (funny because we were in Gainesville, GA).  So once again, we had to pull over into a random parking lot (this time in the shade) and sit and wait.  We made a couple of frantic calls (one to Hubby's parents, one to mine) and decided the best thing to do would be to wait a minute, try to crank it again, and see what happened.  Fortunately, it cranked.  And then, it decided to go.  We made it home then with no incident, unpacked the car, cleaned everything we could on the car seat (thank goodness all of the pads are removable and washable) and I even got a can of compressed air to blow out the crevices of the car seat so it won't smell anymore.

With that, I'll leave you with these pictures of them: happy, healthy, and clean:

Friday, July 27, 2012


I spent most of today in bed.  I'm not sick; I'm just relaxing.  Hubby and I have been spending some quality time together, and we've just been hanging out.  I finished sewing the bottom on the Playful Stripes, and am working on the button bands.  I finished one, and am working on the other.  Sorry I haven't taken pictures, but I've been lazy.  I thought I'd give you a few more pictures though from the alpaca farm, because, let's face it, those animals are just so darned cute.  I promise to take some pictures tomorrow, and maybe I'll get something accomplished on the Crossover Lace Sweater math as well.  Here are a couple of more pictures of the girls:

This one is a male; his name is Celebrate (I could be wrong - there were so many, it's hard to remember all their names).  He was in a pen by himself, because he was old enough to try to assert dominance over the others males (read: start a fight to be the alpha male).

Here's a couple more shots of some of the males.  This one had just gotten angry and was spitting at another male.  Although they do spit, it's usually at each other and someone human gets caught in the crossfire.  Moral of the story: if there are males fighting, don't get close unless you want to get hit with alpaca spit (kinda gross).

I can't remember if this one was Emmanuel, or Chavez.  It's one of the two.  He was sweet though.  Most of the males weren't as friendly as the females, but they were very placid and docile.  They just didn't walk up to you and sniff you.

They may look like they're brown, but most of them are actually an off-white/natural color.  They have lovely Georgia red clay on them, from where they've been rolling around in the dirt.

The farm was very lovely, and surprising clean.  Adonai's Alpaca Farm makes sure the fields are kept cleaned (they remove manure twice a day) and the alpacas are fed and watered frequently.  They have fans that run in the shelters for the heat, and they even hose them down on their legs and bellies during the summer.  If you hose the alpacas off on top, it just creates steam and makes them hotter.  These are such wonderful creatures and I look forward to seeing some yarn and fleece!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I haven't given up completely on the Crossover Lace Sweater, but almost.  I have to figure out how to deal with decreases in a lace pattern.  There has to be some way to get it together.  For now it's stuck here:

I managed to gently take out the first repeat of the lace pattern with the decreases - I wasn't really happy with them anyway.  I have some math to do and will come back to it.  Instead, I picked this little number back up and started on it:

It's the Playful Stripes Cardigan from Alana Dakos of Never Not Knitting.  It's a sweet little cardigan for Princess, and I've been working on it since September of last year.  It got put down for Christmas knitting, then school stuff, then other deadlines, and now I've picked it back up again and I'm almost through with it.  I did have to rework the yoke (what you see here is after I ripped back to the first decrease I had made, to move it up, since I hadn't really reached the 2.5 inches the pattern called for).  It really helps to read directions some days.

Today, I had an adventure.  My wonderful hubby took me to an alpaca farm.  It's called Adonai's Alpacas, and it's local here in Georgia.  Here is one of the first sights to greet you at the farm.

It was really humid, and the camera fogged up, but that little guy is Job.   He's a cria, just about 6-8 months old.  He was extremely friendly, but he didn't care for you to touch him.  Here are a few others:

This one is Beauty.   I'm pretty sure she would have come home with me, except we couldn't fit her in the trunk.  She came right up to me, let me pet her, and then she gave me what I assume was the equivalent of a hug (she rested her head on my chest).  She was obviously sweet and very friendly as well.

The females were more genial than the males, but they were still sweet nonetheless.  Unfortunately, the lady who runs the farm (Nicole) was on vacation, and so we didn't get a chance to check out the fleeces and yarns.  Her husband (Hartwell) was wonderful enough to give us an early morning tour (around 8 a.m.).  It was a lovely farm, and expect to hear more about them.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Slow growth

Well, this is like growing up when you're little; you know you're making progress, but it's just not as fast as you want.  We all want to grow 5 inches in overnight, and that's just not going to happen so we can ride the Batman roller coaster at Six Flags.  But I have made (slight) progress:

I finished one pattern repeat after the first decrease, so I only have 4 rows left until the second decrease.  It's not a huge change, but every row helps.

I tried to work on it last night, I really did!  But, and I should know better, a lace pattern and Knit Night just don't mix!  It is better to take a knitting/crochet project that doesn't need much supervision when you're sitting with a bunch of other knitters.  Talking seems to prevail concentration, and you hardly get anything done, unless it's something like stockinette.

I can't remember if I told you what I was using for this sweater.  So, here it goes, just in case I forgot (I'm prone to do that occasionally):  the pattern is the Crossover Lace Sweater from Juniper Moon Farms, and I'm using Findley in black.  The yarn is lovely.  I believe it's a 2-ply lace weight yarn, and it hardly ever splits - as a matter of fact, I don't think it has ever split on me.  I'm usually a little rough on yarns.  There's generally some pulling and tugging and tinking and even frogging that happens when I start a pattern.  Findley seems to hold up to my abuse pretty well.  It feels lovely too.  It's soft and silky, which is probably because it's silk and merino.  I could easily see this knit or crocheted up into lots of lovely things: baby items, sweaters, blankets, hats, gloves, you name it!  It is a wonderful yarn to work with, so if you're looking for a lovely lace weight, check out Findley.  They have beautiful colors, and I'm sure for fall they'll have gorgeous colorways.  I just checked out their website, and they have Findley Dappled: same great yarn, in some gorgeous colorways!  Please go check them out (no, I'm not paid for the ad, but they are a Made in the USA product, and we should support our neighbors).

In being slightly discouraged on the progress above, I have toyed with the idea of not finishing this sweater first before casting on.  I've been of two minds: should I finish the one half of the Koguchi shawl that just has the crocheted bind-off?  Or should I cast on for another sweater that would go faster?  Here's a picture of the shawl:

All I have to do is the crocheted bind-off, which you wouldn't think is that big of deal for me, right?  I mean, I'm fairly comfortable with crochet.  It shouldn't be a big deal, but it is to me.  I haven't done crochet from knitting straight like that (there is no bind off before jumping in to the crochet).  Am I just getting too scared of new things?  I mean, it IS just knitting and crochet, and if it doesn't come out right, I can always rip back and start again.  I think though, what scares me the most about it, is that it's on LACE.  I mean beautiful LACE.  If I screw it up, then the whole panel could go *poof* in an instant.  I think I'll insert a lifeline first.  Maybe that will calm my fears.  Oh, that would be a great new sign: Keep Calm and Insert a Lifeline.  LOL!  This is the other sweater I've been wanting to cast on:

Yep, it's Little Man's sweater.  I did the math yesterday, and I think I have it so it won't be gigantic on him for 3 years. :)  If it is, no worries: we'll roll up the sleeves and he can grow into it.  Fortunately, in being a lovely shade of blue, and a size 6 (hopefully, if my math is right), his baby sister can wear it when she's his age too.  Of course at the rate Princess is growing, she might wear it sooner!  What have you cast on recently?  Anything new?  Or are you just working on your current WIPs?

Monday, July 16, 2012


Math seems to be a dirty word sometimes.  Math is not bad.  Math helps in everyday life.  Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are necessary.  I'm not talking about derivatives, calculus or geometry.  I happen to like geometry, but could do without the rest.  And just in case you're wondering, no, being good at geometry does NOT mean you are good at pool.  I'm terrible at pool, but wonderful at geometry.  I think physics would have helped me more at pool than geometry.  In any case, math can definitely be your friend when knitting.  For example, gauge is all about math.

Gauge is what makes sure a sweater fits.  It's what makes sure all your clothes fit, to be honest.  It's a good thing we have math, and gauge, otherwise we'd never make anything to fit ourselves and have to give everything away to someone with 10 foot arms and a 20 inch chest.

I am about to endeavor the math for Little Man's sweater.  I have my gauge swatch, and a "fill-in-the-blanks" pattern for a top down raglan in multiple sizes.  It even comes with a chart for sizes, including his.  So, despite the fact that I'm still participating in this:

I feel the need to feel like I'm getting something done.  I have the distinct feeling I chose the wrong sweater to start.  I feel horribly behind, and now I'm at a slight hurdle, because I have to decrease on the sides for some waist shaping, while keeping the lace pattern going.  Part of me says "go grab some other yarn and cast on for a top down simple raglan so you can see some really fast progress."  Another part of me says "hang in there, you're already at the decreases, and you've worked out which rows they're on; just a little more and you'll whiz through the rest."  It does actually help that I'm getting up early to work on it.  I get up, eat breakfast and work on the knitting.  It's a nice quiet time of the day.  It guarantees that I make a little progress.  It gives me some peace to start my day.  It's like a meditation, just without the words repeating over and over in my head.  Instead, my hands repeat a rhythm.  There's an interesting connection - music and knitting.  Another interesting connection is knitting and religion, but that's for a whole different post.  So, how do you fit in your knitting every day?  Do you make an appointment with yourself, or do you just steal moments here and there?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

My time of day

If I don't get up early in the morning, I feel like my whole day is off.  Ever have those?  If I don't get up before my kids, I feel like I start the day behind.  Even as I type, my first child is waking up and calling me.  Fortunately, he's old enough to get up and climb out of bed all on his own.  Here's my last piece of deadline crochet:

This was a blanket crocheted by someone, and apparently it was sitting for a while and started to come undone.

It's made of basic granny squares, the center in bright colors and the outside in black or navy (some squares were in black, while others were in navy).  This became confusing to me, as I was repairing it and at first couldn't tell. :)

The edging was just a basic single crochet with a double crochet on top of every other one.  I think it was then topped off with another round of single crochet, so it was a basic plain edging.  It was just right for the Technicolor squares.  I was rather impressed with them to be honest - it made something that would have looked appalling and turned it into something wonderful.  It could have easily looked like a clown, but instead, was functional and non-garish.

Have you seen these?  Aren't they adorable?  They are from Blue Sky Alpaca, and they are new "vintage" patterns.  These patterns are written up and published as though they are old, but they're not.  They are all new designs and Blue Sky Alpaca has done a wonderful job of packaging.  The yarn you see beside the pattern is their Royal Alpaca, and it's soft and yummy.  The color is a little hard to see, but it's a dark grey with a hint of green.  Kind of an olive-y grey.  This continues the accumulation of Christmas projects - #3.  This one is for my dad, who was left out of last year's knit-apalooza.  I'm trying to get everyone in this year who didn't get something last year.  Maybe one year I'll get everyone with a handmade gift.  But for now, it's one at a time.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Finally finished by the deadline

Well, I completed the 2 patterns for Christmas in July.  Wanna sneak peek?

There's one.  It should look lovely.  It turned out really well.  Can you tell what it is?  It's a lovely crocheted shawl.  Here's the next one:

This one is harder to tell from the picture, but it's a headband.  I created two crochet patterns for Christmas in July.  I have a feeling they'll be some of the few, but crochet is growing.  The sweater for the summer knit along has to wait a little longer.  There's a repair that has to be made.  I'll post a quick picture that one later.  I've been so busy with finishing school that I hadn't had time to work on it, but now I promised it would be at the shop tomorrow, so I need to finish it.  If you get the chance, stop by The Whole Nine Yarns next weekend and check out Christmas in July - only $5 and so many free patterns!

What are your plans this weekend?  Anything fun?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lagging behind

I've noticed that SO many people on the Summer Sweater Knit-along have already finished their sweaters!  I am no where near complete with mine.

I've finished one more repeat, mainly because I've been working on the Christmas in July project.  Here's a close up of the pattern, pre-blocking:

I have a terrible habit of starting something else when I'm under pressure, because in some weird way, it makes sense to add more stress when you are stressed.  Doesn't it to you?  See my latest habit:

This is a lovely trindle from Jeremy.  He makes them, the ingenious man that he is.  They are wonderful.  He's got to be smart - he's a science teacher at a local high school (and incredibly brave!).

He has trindles on all seven continents.  No, really - someone who spends time on Antarctica actually bought a trindle from him and uses it while she's there!  See that wrapped around the shaft?  That's my very first attempt at yarn.

I'm using a lovely Corriedale fleece that a generous sheep gave, and I purchased.  I'm hoping to pick up something a little different in a couple of weeks.  After I finish the Christmas in July project, I'm hitting the sweater, and then it's time to start Christmas knitting!  Look for more details coming up!

What's your latest obsession?  Find any hidden treasures?

Monday, July 09, 2012

Almost done

I'm almost done with the Christmas in July pattern.  I say "almost" like in 30 minutes I'll be done.  Ha!  That's wishful thinking.  I'm almost done with the main part, and then there's the finishing.  Here's another picture for you:

Can you tell what it is?  Check out a close up of the stitches:

I'm still learning on the camera, but I think I'm doing pretty good, all things considered.  I'm using this book:

to help with the finishing touches on the project.  So, have you decided to come to Christmas in July yet?

Here's another quick announcement: July 27th, Helen, GA - I decided to have a meet-up.  If you can make it, please come!  Hopefully it won't be too hot (we're meeting at 10 a.m.) and we can move indoors to the coffee shop (I doubt they'd have a problem being invaded if we buy something to drink!).  Helen offers some great diversions from Atlanta.  There's all kinds of fun things to do: horseback riding, tubing, shopping, great restaurants, and a relaxing atmosphere.  It's a whole lot of fun, so if you've never been, or it's been a while since you've been, or you just went, please come join me!  I look forward to seeing you.  What occupies your time this week?

Friday, July 06, 2012


Thanks to Molly at DeepBlueRenegade for the header!  She's awesome and smart, and I'm not just saying that because she designed a rockin' header for me.  She really is.  Go check her out.  I also realized that I forgot a WIP yesterday:

It doesn't look like much now, but it's most of the Koguchi Shawl from The Whole Nine Yarns blog, designed by JennaB.  I just have the edging to go on this side, and then I have to finish the other side with chart 3 and 4.  Once that's finished, I can block it.  There's a reason you block lace: it makes it MUCH prettier.

Thanks for coming by and seeing what's happening!  I plan on posting an update on the Crossover Lace Sweater at least once a week, as part of the Luvinthemommyhood WIP check-in.  

I got some unexpected time today to work on it.  I was going to take my Christmas in July WIP with me, but I left it at home!  So, I got to finish another repeat.  I'm now up to 5 inches on the sweater back, and should start the shaping, but I still want to add another 3 inches to the bottom.  Hopefully, leaving details on the blog will help me remember when I start the sides! :)  We're having a good time.  Tomorrow, I'm picking up these two books from my LYS:

They are WONDERFUL books.  The encyclopedia is by Robyn Chachula, and is better than any other stitch dictionary I've seen.  The Curvy Girl Crochet book has some really good crochet sweater patterns, although personally, I'd change up the yarns.  Some of them would be better in a thinner yarn, with a smaller hook, which of course would change the gauge.  But the concept is there.  At any rate, it's a step in the right direction.

Maybe, just maybe, I can post tomorrow another picture of Christmas in July progress.  Have you guessed what it is yet?  Yes?  No?  Maybe?  Take a guess!  What are you working on now?

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Works in Progress

Hey!  What do you know?!  I'm posting two days in a row!  Mark the calendar - it's a landmark!  :)  Okay, so here are my WIPs.

First up, the Crossover Lace Cardigan:

I finished the ribbing at the bottom, and have done 2 complete repeats of the lace.  The pattern calls for 5 inches before the shaping starts, but I'm modifying it to 8 inches.  I'm just working more repeats of the lace pattern before the shaping.

Now, for the swatches:

The one on the left is KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Bulky in Nevermore.  That's going to be the body of a Cathode for me.  The blue swatch is Ella Rae Classic, and it will be a custom sweater for Little Man.  Are you ready for a tease?

Both are new patterns for Christmas in July at The Whole Nine Yarns.  If you'd like to see the finished results, you'll have to come by the shop on July 22nd.  Or, you can wait until I post the pattern here.  Whichever. :)  I'm hoping to have a lot more designs coming.  So, what about you?  What are you working on?

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Independence Day everyone!  Minor history lesson for you: this day was when independence from Great Britain was declared.  However, it was actually July 2nd , when the Continental Congress actually voted on the declaration, penned by Richard Lee.  It took 2 days for the Congress to debate over the issue and revise the wording - proving from the beginning that nothing in Congress was easy. I do think that 2 days is significantly faster than how our Congress operates - perhaps they could learn a lesson from those who debated the most significant issue ever faced.  It makes the current problems seem petty in comparison, doesn't it?  Be thankful for those who originally penned the act of freedom, and those who have defended it over the years.  Tonight, we're setting off fireworks

 and fixing S'mores.  We won't have a campfire, and although we could use a tea light candle for the roasting of the marshmallows, we're taking the easy route and doing them in the microwave.

We have to wait until it's dark, which means around 9 p.m. here before we can set them off.  We found out that in Georgia, it's illegal to sell any fireworks that shoot up over 6 feet.  Which means our display will be WAY less than the one in the picture.  But, it should be fun.  We have a bag of old ones that my brother and I bought YEARS ago, which makes them about 50 years old (not really, but in some ways it feels like a lifetime ago).  These were ones we bought across the border in South Carolina or Tennessee or Alabama or somewhere that doesn't have such silly limitations on the height of fireworks.  Little Man is excited because this is the first year he'll be outside to set them off.  I hope the old ones work, but we got a few extras in case they don't.  The bad thing about the old ones is even if they do go off, most of them are the ones my brother liked, which means they just make loud bangs, no pretty colors.  He liked to make things explode (typical boy) instead of pretty colors (typical girl - me).  We'll put Princess down and go outside to have some fun, provided it's not raining.  It's threatening to do so now, with the dark clouds and the thunder and such.  We'll try it anyway, and if we don't get to do it tonight, we can always try Friday night.  Everyone likes some fireworks.

Here's another little interesting fact for you: I learned this week from a lady at work that in Ohio, during November, which is raining most of the time, they have something called November Rain (song title anyone?!).  During this celebration, they set off fireworks in November, kind of like we do in July, but it helps break up the monotony of the raining season for them.  I thought it would be great to add fireworks to all our birthday celebrations.  What do you think?  Would you do that for your kids?  Hope you all have a safe and happy Fourth of July, even if you're not in the U.S.A.