Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hubby's Medical Emergency

Hi all! Just wanted to let you know that my husband spent Monday night at Sanford for observation. Monday morning he had experienced some stroke/heart symptoms during his jazz band rehearsal. The school sent him by ambulance to the local hospital in Sioux Center, Iowa, which sent him by ambulance to Sanford. We came home yesterday, but as you might imagine, I was not up for a return trip to Sioux Falls for Knit Night.

Larry was tested and examined by neurology and cardiology and everything looks really good, no damage. What probably happened was his heart went into an arrythmia, not quite a heart attack, and this caused a lack of proper blood flow to the brain, which brought on the stroke-like symptoms.

He is feeling better, just very weak and tired. He plans to return to work on Thursday if all goes well today.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Watch Knit and Crochet Today Online

Watch Knit and Crochet Today Online: "

PBS has a show called “Knit and Crochet Today” where they do fun crochet and knit projects. Each episode is about a half hour long and is filled with tips and tricks from people in the crochet and knit industry. I was never able to catch it on my PBS station, but now I realize that it’s available to watch online for FREE.

I’m so excited to start watching it! It feels like I’ve been missing out on a great show and now I have some catching up to do.

Here is the link if you would like to catch up on the old episodes too: Watch Knit and Crochet Today Online

knit and crochet today

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Been a while

So I realized it has been a while since my last entry, sorry about that. Katherine came down with H1N1 and I was pretty occupied for the last week.
The big news is Katherine started a new school today!
From the time she started school at 5 years old until last week, she had gotten up at 5:30 am most mornings in order to commute with Larry to his school 20 miles away, and they didn't get home until 4:30 pm or later. What a long day for Katherine! It was necessary until recently because I was working various places out of town, so it was easiest for Larry to care for her by taking her with him.
However, this year we've noticed changes in Katherine that indicated she was not in the best situation for her health and wellbeing. She was tired all the time, and we ruled out medical problems, so we know she was not getting enough sleep. Also, she didn't fit in with the kids in the other school, and she knew it. Different ethnic background, different religious background for the majority of the students. In four years, she was invited to another girl's house once. ONCE! And I know it's not her personality at issue, because she gets along great with other people.
SO... when she came home a week ago and had had a struggle at school that involved a discussion with the principal and guidance counselor, Larry and I discussed it and decided to investigate what it would take to switch schools and how soon it could happen. Last Monday, Larry found out that since she is open enrolled and would simply be coming back to our home district, it was just a matter of doing it... then I called the principal here and he said she could start anytime.
Now, Katherine had been awarded a vocal solo in her school Christmas program, and was possibly going to play it on her new accordion as well, and she was very excited about this. HOWEVER, she was so eager to start the new school and get away from the problems discussed above, that she willingly, although hesitantly, gave up that solo in order to start the new school right away.
SO... as soon as she was recovered from H1N1, I took her up and got her registered at the new school, and this morning I dropped her off. When she got up at 7:00 this morning (!), she said, "I feel naughty getting up this late!" She was ready to go in 10 minutes, and I had to put the brakes on her so we wouldn't go too early :)
I am so happy for her!

~Remember, it is better to love than to be right!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Socks are done... on to... err... "bigger" things?

Well, I got about an inch and a half of ribbing done on my socks and decided I was done. I was eager to move on to my gloves with the Mini Mochi. It's so soft! Going back to finishing the socks felt like going from angora to coarse-spun raw wool. I still like the socks, don't get me wrong, I just don't know how much of the "cheap" stuff I am going to buy from now on.
You know what they say about "once you go black?" Well, once I went to the merino...

So far, I have started and frogged the gloves a couple times, not ever happy with the beginning of a project until it is just right (curse my perfectionism!), and now I'm moving right along on the cuff of the Left Glove. I never thought double pointed needles were for me, I would fumble them around, but somehow they are working for me now. Maybe I just needed the right yarn? Hmmm.....

Here's a preview of my progress:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Socks, Hats, and Gloves... I love fingering weight!

I have actually completed the socks to the ribbed cuff, just need to k1p1 round and round until I think they're long enough, or until I run out of yarn. I am guessing the former will come first. I am kind of looking forward to having left over sock yarn enough from several projects to make something kind of crazy. Since I tend to use the self-striping yarns, I wonder what kind of fair isle look I can achieve with them? And just how crazy will I be willing to go?

Sock/Fingering Weight yarns I have used so far:

Mini Mochi in Violets Rainbow

I am making "Sock It To Me" gloves with this, my first knitted glove pattern.

Lion Brand Sock-Ease in Cotton Candy:


I made the "Happy Valentines Day" Hat in tapestry crochet for my daughter with this.

and Yarn Bee's WalkAway in Toe Hold, which I used for my socks, "Two at Once, Toe Up, Magic Loop Socks" from KnitPicks.

The Mini Mochi is my first "luxury" yarn purchase, not from a box store, but from a LYS, that I purchased with my own money, for me. Yay!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

socks 2009 10 29

socks 2009 10 29
Originally uploaded by idlehands1969

Here's the first picture from my socks... toes are done, working across foot.
I'm using Walk Away yarn by Yarn Bee from Hobby Lobby. When I find the wrapper I will list the colorway as well. I am using a size 3 (3.25 mm) 29" circular needle and the Two at a Time, Toe Up Magic Loop Socks pattern from KnitPicks.
The directions are pretty easy to follow, although I had to pull up some video tutorials on the web to make sense of some of it. I haven't knit in many years, after all.
I used a different cast on than called for because I found it easier. Also, for the second side of the round it says to pick up and knit from the purl bumps. I had a heck of a time until I got out a skinny crochet hook and picked up the stitches with that, then slipped them onto my needle. Worked great! XD

"Remember, it is better to love than to be right."

Reading with your ears

So I was at the local library the other day, checking out audio books, 'cuz I like to listen while I crochet (and now knit). That way I get my two favorite hobbies at once. I know I'm not the only audiophile around, and I wanted to share what I found... online audiobook lending for free! The website to get started is Now I can listen to just about anything I want for free, on my computer or mp3 player! YAY!

Knitting Socks

So I started this on 10-27, late at night. I can't seem to put it down. It's my first (knitted) socks, and I have tried several techniques and patterns before settling on this one. I don't like dpns or two circs for sure... too "fiddly" to deal with. Magic loop rocks! I have frogged my work at least 15 times now, finally got the hang of the cast on and increases, gonna keep going... further bulletins as events warrant! Pics to come.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Good instructions for the pattern challenged



Wow... really!?!

Got this from a fellow crocheter:

Thought I would share this with my fellow yarnies, hope it makes you smile, I sure did.

"Remember, it is better to love than to be right."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Knit Night

I realize this is a few days overdue, but I wanted to talk about Knit Night. I went to Barnes & Noble for my first Knit Night on Tuesday, and I had a blast! I was the only crocheter, but I felt very welcome.
Colleen was teaching Elizabeth to knit, and they are the pictured duo from the post [here]. They were having so much fun! I think Elizabeth is going to be a regular knitter with the group.
I had forgotten my white yarn, so could not work far on Katherine's gloves, but I spent the evening talking with my new friends Lori (sp?), Alaina, Elissa, Lisa, Colleen, Elizabeth, Peg, Judy, and Mary (did I forget anybody?).
Thanks to all for a great time... wish I could come every time!

 Remember, it's better to love than to be right!

New blog posting

I am so excited! I got a call from my lawyer this morning, and I have finally been approved for Social Security Disability benefits! YAY! WOOT! XD
The timing could not have been better. I had started thinking about which car to sell, what stuff we could sell, and where we could move to after selling the house, and now we don't have to do any of that!

Remember, it's better to love than to be right!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Knit Night at B & N!

From Drop Box

From Drop Box

Carrie (sp?) Colleen, and Elizabeth
Remember, it's better to love than to be right!

Monday, October 12, 2009

New crochet tricks

Well, I was planning one of my Christmas gifts, a sweater for my mom. I had thought of her when I first saw the pattern last December, kept it in the back of my head, and when she asked me to make another sweater for her, I showed it to her and she loved it. She even ordered the yarn!

So, anyway, the yarn came this weekend. It is Patons Classic Wool in Peacock, which is lovely. I decided to play with it a little, and work a gauge swatch. It felt so nice, and while working with it, I tried out a few new tricks I had read about this last week. Boy, do they work well!

The first was standing double crochet, which can be modified for any tall stitch. It simply allows one to eliminate a chain to bring the yarn up to the height of the stitch. In place of the chain, fasten off the yarn, place slip knot on hook, yarn over and double crochet into the appropriate stitch. Easy, huh?

Then the author of the blog where I was reading about it issued a challenge. Figure out a way to do the standing double crochet with no slip knot on the hook. So I did! I've always hated slip knots in my work, because they look terrible and are hard to work around. This method allows me to start any project, or add yarn, without the horrible knot. If you want more information on how I do this, leave a comment and I will update. It's too late at night for me to work it out in words; I have only visuals in my head of what to do.

The last little trick has to do with getting a decent tension on the yarn. Usually I wrap the working end of the yarn over my index finger, under my middle finger, over my ring finger, then finally under my little finger. This worked fine, but at times became a little unwieldy. The solution? Run the working yarn through a ring on my ring finger, then over the top of my index finger to control it. It's the slickest thing. The one caveat: I can't do this with my wedding ring unless I am going to cut the yarn when I need to put my work down, and I typically don't wear any other ring. I suppose I could get something cheap to wear just when I am crocheting, that could be taken off my finger and left on the yarn when I am not? I'll have to give that one some thought.

On to the real triumph of the weekend!

The sweater pattern for my mom has two different stitch patterns. One is alternating single and double crochet for a textured pattern, the other is a lace pattern. In the pattern notes, instructions are given for each. The seed stitch one is very easy, no problems. I work up a gauge swatch in no time. However, I get to the end of the 3rd row of the lace pattern, and the end of the row is really goofy. I mean can't make sense of it no matter how many times I read it, try to crochet it, rinse and repeat. It's the weekend, so I doubt I can call the magazine publisher for details, errata, etc., so what do I do? I decide I will try to chart it out with crochet symbols to see if I can find the problem and work a fix on my own. Here's the problem with that: I don't chart well with pencil and paper and I don't know all the correct symbols anyway (or even some of them, for that matter).

WELL! I just got out the old internet and started searching. First for the symbols; I needed a chart that was as complete as possible. I found the craft yarn council of america's website, which had not only the chart I needed, but size charts for all kinds of apparel for all kinds of people. WOOT!

Then I got the bright idea that I would use the computer to chart the pattern. I have a drawing application, so I opened it up and got started creating each of the stitch symbols I would need. Hours later, I am still working with this, but I have a cursory working model, so I stop and take a look at it. I hate it. The drawing and copying and rotating all takes waaayyy toooooo looooonnnngggg! So, I started a new search: a software download that would let me do this chart quickly. After all, I only need to clarify the end of a row of pattern stitch, not solve the mysteries of the universe!

Anyway, I found several items of interest and downloaded them (the free ones or the demos), and NOT ONE was any good to me. Even if they were really good programs, most would only work in the round, as if working a doily or motif of some kind. The others were for filet crochet, which I do not do. None of these would help me.

I was getting pretty frustrated. Then I read a post somewhere that talks about fonts. AHA! I say to myself, "This is what I should have been searching for in the first place!" It took a little bit of digging, but I certainly found one worth having, and it only cost $3.

I played with it in a word processor, but decided a graph look was more what I needed, so moved to spreadsheet. I made all the cells squares and got to work with the new font. It took a couple hours, but I charted the six rows I needed to find the problem. I got pretty good at typing out the symbols without looking at the keyboard layout that came with it (capital O is a chain st; + for single crochet; capital D for double). I only wish I would have thought of this when I first decided I needed to chart the pattern!

"Okay, so what was the problem with the pattern?" you ask. Well, it turns out there was an extra multiple in there that, by leaving it out, everything worked fine.

All in all, a lot of effort this weekend that payed off BIG TIME! I zipped through the new gauge swatch quicker than you can say, "Frogging is my favorite past-time".

Remember, it's better to love than to be right!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cute Crochet Joke

Just found this on Ravelry, think it's a stitch!

A man and woman had been married for more than 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoe box in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about.
For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover.
In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife’s bedside. She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box. When he opened it, he found two crocheted dolls and a stack of money totaling $95,000.
He asked her about the contents. ‘When we were to be married,’ she said, ’ my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll.’
The little old man was so moved; he had to fight back tears. Only two precious dolls were in the box.. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness.
‘Honey,’ he said, ‘that explains the doll, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?’
‘Oh,’ she said, ‘that’s the money I made from selling the dolls.’

Remember, it's better to love than to be right!

My crochet is for sale!

Here is a link to a number of items I have crocheted in the last year:

I will crochet any item to order; contact me with details of what you want:
Do you want an afghan, scarf, hat, sweater, etc.?
Color(s)? Fiber content if important? Size?
and I will get back to you with time and cost estimate.

Remember, it's better to love than to be right!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Oacoma was awesome

I had such a good time this last weekend. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis one year ago, and it has been a year of ups and downs. One of the ups has been my association with the local program director for our chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Nancy . She has done so much for the people in our chapter, and she has such a passion for helping us. Most recently she organized a weekend retreat for those diagnosed within the last year or two.
I didn't think I'd be able to go, financially there was no way we could afford it, so I emailed Nancy. She said not to worry, grant money was available for that. Then my husband had a schedule conflict and I knew I couldn't handle that long a drive, so Nancy offered me a ride out with her. She is so great!
We arrived Friday night about 7 pm and went down to dinner in the restaurant. We had so much fun talking we didn't head up to our rooms until 9 pm. The next morning I enjoyed breakfast while the sun arose over the grand Missouri River, sparkling and waving against the shore. Absolutely beautiful! I definitely want to come back with my family someday.
The program started about 9:30am, and there were about 12 of us; plus presenters and sponsors: a PA who specializes in MS, an MS certified nurse, a nutritionist, and a nurse representative of one of the pharmaceutical companies who manufactures MS meds. The ages of those attending ranged from early twenties to sixties or seventies. Some were very lively and outgoing, others held back, there were varying degrees of severity of disability, but we came together and learned a lot about each other and our disease.
There was a young girl there who will be getting married to her fiance in less than a month. She had lots of questions, he spent his day in the hotel lounge. She was so sweet. I don't think he was. I invited her to join us at our monthly support group meetings. I hope that she can find a way to get there. Due to her seizures, she is not allowed to drive, and I doubt that man of hers will bother himself. However, I explained the bus system to her, and she later asked me for the details again of where and when. Hope springs eternal...
There was a mother of three who had taught herself to play nine different musical instruments from piano and organ to flute and trumpet. She loved to play, but is no longer able to do it. The anguish on her face told the story better than any words could do. When I couldn't sleep the next morning, I found her page on Facebook and sent a friend request, and then told her at breakfast. Her face lit up like I had given her the most wonderful gift... maybe to her I did.
I am a big fan of action movies, especially those involving secret service, witness protection, and the like. Well, I met a real life character that could easily have come from any one of them. Her voice had the timbre of a man's and the accent of a Brooklyn Jew; her heart was easily as big as the Grand Canyon. She lives with her sister, who has ms, and it was obvious she would do anything for her, up to and including give her life.
Saturday evening we were playing a people bingo game involving finding out unusual things about each other. I was sitting and visiting with an elderly lady and her husband, filling out our bingo sheets, and I got up to go back to my seat for dinner. Later, she said, "I thought you were going to sit with me." So I told her I would sit with her at breakfast in the morning. The next morning I came down and sat with her, and she looked so surprised, like she didn't think I would remember, or that she thought I had been joking. She hugged me several times before she shuffled away to go home.
Each one of these people touched me so deeply. I crave continued contact with them. I would love to be able to get together with them every year for a weekend, to continue to support each other in this journey our bodies have undertaken. I will do everything I can to support them in whatever way I can.

Remember, it's better to love than to be right!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

It's 4:30 am and I am awake... again

What is it with me? No matter how much I try to get a good night's sleep, it just doesn't happen without drugs. So this morning I am in my room at the Cedar Shores Resort in Oacoma, SD, on the Missouri River. This is a weekend getaway for those newly diagnosed (within 1-2 years) with Multiple Sclerosis. I am having a great time. However, after finally getting to sleep at about 12:30am, I awoke abruptly at 3:00 am and have only been fitfully dozing and jerking awake since. Now, part of it is the whacked out AC noises (I think it was freezing up), but this is part of a growing trend since the summer. I will go to bed, fall asleep, and wake 2-4 hours later unable to get back to sleep until the sun is up and the family has left the house. Then I am miserable the rest of the day.
After talking to my neurologist last summer, I started taking lorazepam (Ativan) at bedtime when I was not able to fall asleep, and I just had a refill approved, but I am not to take it every night. When I do take it, I generally sleep a considerably longer time, but even then I feel fairly groggy the rest of the day. And what about this waking up in the wee hours? I can't take one that early in the morning, because I won't be able to function the rest of the day.
If this continues, I am going to ask for something I can take as a matter of course, like cymbalta or something. If you have had success with anything, I'd love to hear about it.

Remember, it's better to love than to be right.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

How did I come up with the name for this blog, you ask? Well, I love to read (books), crochet (hooks), and play Wizard101 (magic wands), and that is how I spend the majority of my time, although I will blog about whatever comes to mind on a given day.
This blog is an experiment for me. Please feel free to comment and let me know how I can improve; anything from content to style to appearance, whatever you like. I have been following a few other blogs lately, so thought I would give it a try. I am hoping it will give me a therapeutic boost and a venue for expressing myself in writing on a regular basis.
I have always enjoyed writing, but never was very disciplined about keeping a journal or anything like that. Now I have Multiple Sclerosis and am unable to work. As a result, one day often blends into the next, so again, blogging might be a good exercise for my mind.
I hope that you enjoy what you read and let me know what is on your mind, too.

Remember, it's better to love than to be right!