Saturday, June 29, 2013

Online Community Cover-Up

Not long ago, well 6 years ago, I joined an online community called Ravelry. It's a social networking site for yarnaholics of all persuasions, all over the world. About a year later, I joined a slightly smaller community within this network...the group known only as the Oddballs. That's right, they are my kind of group! 

I love online communities for many reasons. Facebook keeps me in touch with some people I know, or have known, "in real life;" Twitter and Blogger give me snippets of the real lives of people I may or may not know in real life; and Ravelry connects all of those things to fiber and to people who love fiber crafting! Of all the social networking I do, I think I like Ravelry about the best. :)

So, when one of the Oddballs fell on some hard times, there was only one thing to do. Even though she lives "Down Under," on the other side of the world, some of the North American Oddballs got together to make a yarn hug to send on a very long journey, just in time for our Northview's winter. And, since I have heard of it's safe arrival there this week, it's time for me to tell the story of our Online Community Cover-Up...

Once upon a time, there was a Yarnigan who lived in Australia. She was sad, so her friends decided to get together to make her happier. They all took out their yarns and their crochet hooks and their knitting needles, and they made squares of love to send to their yarny friend.

When the squares were all made, one of the Yarnigans (named Pretty, who lives in Ohio) collected them all, and made a note of how many there were, who sent them and where they came from. The Yarnigan's black cat took note of which packages came from homes with pets.

Black Cat tried to get White Cat involved (it was a big job), but White Cat was not very interested...

After the squares were collected and cataloged (there were 18 total), Pretty crocheted a border around each one, and laid them all out on the living room floor to see how they should be put together. All the while, that black cat kept track of her favorite square.

When the design was decided, Pretty put them all together into a lovely little cover-up, 4 squares wide, by 4 squares tall...

...with a little pocket on the back (for cozy feet!).

It was about this time that White Cat decided she'd like to get in on the fun...

...but it was time to launder the afghan, admire it one more time...

...and package it up for it's journey to the southern hemisphere!

Well, I've heard from our Northview that the afghan arrived this week (it was my Thursday when I heard, but I'm not sure if it arrived on her Wednesday or Thursday? or Friday? International time lines have always kicked my pretty butt...), so I knew it was safe to share on Saturday the saga of the Online Community Cover-Up, perpetuated by a bunch of North American Oddballs! We love you, Northview, and we hope you are happier these days! But, even if you're not quite feeling 100% yet, now we know that you have a blanket of love to hide under when you have "one of those days" (or weeks, or months...).
Look! An "action shot" of the comfortghan, in the wild,
after it's journey around the world!
What are you covering up these days? With summer here, I'm sure we are all covering up less than we did last winter! I hope that you are having fun and enjoying the sunshine!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Knitting Mittens and Thanking God...

First things first, and according to the title, the first thing is mittens. After that bulky afghan, I have moved onto the smaller projects for summer, and one of those projects is mittens for Peanut! Here they are...

Aren't they CUTE?!? And yes, I have mittens on my desk at work. Doesn't everyone? I won't see Peanut's hands again for a few weeks, so I'm just carrying them around with me everywhere...and that is not weird, get it? Not weird at all. Really.

Now that this pair of mittens is finished, I am already planning another pair in my head. I still have to check the stash to see what yarn I already have...I guess I might have to go shopping...I'll let you know. Now, on to Part 2 of that title...

Remember how I told you that I've started running? Remember how I said that I am uncoordinated, and I was probably the most surprised at my decision to start running? I don't think I ever told you about the falling down see, I fall down. I have fallen down while walking, while going down the stairs, while going up the stairs, even while standing still. I fall down like it's my job some days...and I've been kindof living in fear of my first fall while running since I started this whole adventure, but I'm not waiting for that first fall anymore!

On Friday, I got my Saturday blog post all ready to go (I work ahead sometimes), changed into my running shoes, and out I went for a 25 minute run with Sweetie. Seven minutes into the run...well, I am guessing 7 minutes, I kinda lost track of minutes in, I kissed the sidewalk. Tripped on who-knows-what, pitched forward and landed on my face... I broke a tooth...

...and my glasses...

...because that's what I landed on.

"So, where's the 'Thanking God' part in that, Pretty???"

I'm really glad that you asked, because I didn't see it at first either. But when I fell, I never even put my arms forward. Sweetie was behind me, and I pitched forward, so he was powerless to do anything to break my fall. I landed on the concrete, on my face, with all I it was my job...and all I got was a broken tooth and broken broken face, no black eye (just a tiny cut where my glasses hit my face, and an itty-bitty bruise on my chin that is almost gone now), some little scrapes on my hands and chest where I may have "skidded" into the grass at the edge of the sidewalk...nothing else!

When I got up off that sidewalk, I had to shake off the stunned, and I will not lie to you, I was a little shook for awhile. I cried. Sweetie surveyed the damage, there was a little blood, but all of my limbs worked, and I was fine. We walked home where I cleaned up, calmed down and called the dentist, who made arrangements to fix my tooth Saturday morning.

Aside: I don't know if I've said this before, but I love my dentists! They are the best in normal circumstances, and better than that in special circumstances! Just look at her handiwork:

It was after the dental repair, and after I'd ordered new glasses, that I really started to thank God for taking care of me when life had dealt me such a blow. But it wasn't until Sunday morning, while I was in church singing and praising Him, that I really grasped the whole of it. You see, it must have been the hand of God himself that reached out and caught me before my face hit that sidewalk. I didn't catch me, Sweetie didn't catch me, and I was RUNNING...a middle-aged, uncoordinated, "fluffy" woman, running...yet I am totally ok! No emergency room visits, no visible injuries, nothing! I even went back out on Friday night and ran that 25 minutes after I called the dentist and found some spare specs! I've always heard and read about the mighty right hand of God, and I am pretty sure that I fell on my face, squarely into that hand last Friday. I didn't even know it was there...

Thanks God, for catching me. I don't know why you did it, you've got bigger fish to fry for sure, but I'm grateful to you for keeping me from harm last Friday night. I don't know what's in store for me from here on out, but I'm going to give You the glory in all my victories because I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made* in Your image.** And even though I sometimes fall down like it's my job, thank you for always picking me up and sending me in the right direction, so that I can be doing the things you have prepared for me to do in this life.*** You are good, all the time. Praise God!

So, there you have it. I am knitting mittens and thanking God this week. I wonder what kind of mitten yarn I have left in the stash...

I hope that you are having a good week, and that you are Knitting in Good Health!

*Psalm 139:14     **Genesis 1:27     ***Ephesians 2:10

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Monday to Friday

Sometimes in the summer, I want to knit a blanket. This makes no sense. It's hot outside, and I am a woman in the middle of life, so it's often hot, Hot, HOT! inside as well, and I want to knit a blanket! What's the solution? I really don't know...perhaps it involves cranking the AC to 68 degrees (F), and then knitting a blanket. Perhaps the solution is to knit a doll blanket. Maybe the solution involves soaking my head and forgetting the knitting. I did none of those things. On Monday, I went out and bought some SUPER BULKY YARN (Bernat Softee Chunky, 6 skeins in the color linen) and I dug out my size 17 needles...

Yes. Those are 14" straight needles...they are the only 17s I had. I don't know why I did not check the pattern before I bought the yarn. If I had checked the pattern before I bought the yarn, certainly I would have also picked up a set of circular needles... Who knits an AFGHAN on 14" straights?!? Apparently I do. Two skeins into the work, though, it became too much for my wrists, and I did venture out for the circular needles...they were harder to find than I thought they should be, but I did find them by day 3. Size 17, 29-inch, green, aluminum circulars...

Five skeins and four days into the project, it became clear that I would finish about the time of our first real heat wave of this summer, which arrived just this morning. I am so thankful that I am not spending this afternoon under the weight of this bulky afghan!

Yes I finished and laundered this afghan on Friday, and then White Cat and I did a photo shoot for you.

An afghan in 5 days, Monday to Friday, not too shabby for the summer knitting!

I even had a tiny bit of yarn leftover...

But I'm not knitting any more bulky yarn this summer! I think I'll go work on some hexipuffs (I'm up to 110!), or a dishcloth, or maybe a tiny Peanut sweater...but NO MORE BULKY YARN!

I'm not sure what you are knitting this summer, but I hope that you are keeping cool, and Knitting in Good Health!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Once Upon a Time...

Bogged down with the stuff of summer this week, but here's an old family photo...
Back row: Pretty, Pop Pop, and Pretty's Sister
Front row: Dollface, Pretty's Mom, Mork
Wow! We are all so YOUNG!!!
Taken at Cedar Point (in 1990-something) I noticed this on display at my mom's house the other day, so I thought I'd share it with you! Don't we look like a happy (and hot, sweaty, and tired) bunch of amusement-park-goers? We've always had fun at Cedar Point, and I went with my family every summer, up until just a few years ago. When I was a little girl, I wanted to live there, and some of my favorite summer memories are in that park! I think I'm feeling the itch again this year, but even if we don't get to go, it's fun to remember all the years we spent running from ride to ride, and then teaching the next generation to love those rides AND plenty of new ones, too!!! If you haven't been to Cedar Point, it is a worthy destination...even if you are a state or two away!

While I'm thinking about how to fit in a trip to Cedar Point, I guess I'll get back to the grind...maybe there will be time to knit today, and maybe not. Either way, it's going to be a busy summer!

What is your favorite summer memory?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Left leg. Lazy lion licks a lollipop.

I know. That's a weird title. And why is my first picture a pair of shoes?

Well, let's back up the train a little...say, about 6 weeks. Wait, let's go back even farther.

Do you remember when you learned to read? The first time you looked at a book, without your mom, or dad, or brother, or opened that book, and YOU read the words...and it was MAGIC! Or, at least, that's how it was for me! I even remember that most of my first books were of the Dr. Seuss variety, and I have clear faves from my this one:
That Marco had quite the imagination! 
I LOVED that book, with it's simple and colorful illustrations, and I often wished that I could see such spectacles on my way to and from school! I still own my childhood copy, and while my children didn't love this classic as much as I did, I am holding out hope that perhaps Peanut and I will share it as a favorite someday...I've even bought the app!

I read a LOT as a kid, and I had many favorite books. Some might even say that I was a lazy kid, much preferring a quiet corner and a good book to a game of tag, or kickball, or a bike ride, or anything that did not include reading. The adults in my life were all so impressed that I loved to read, none of them insisted that I just go out and play I didn't. I grew up "fluffy" and uncoordinated, and I've been pretty content with that for most of my life.

Another of my favorite Seuss books (which became more of a favorite as I taught the kids to read) is Dr. Seuss's ABCs...but it's not just a favorite book, I have a favorite letter, the letter "L." It stands for "Little Lola Lopp. Left leg. Lazy lion licks a lollipop." Wait! That's me! I'm lazy and I LOVE lollipops! Little Lola Lopp should be my BFF!"

When our own kids were small, Sweetie would handle all the playtime. I was often there, even if I was on the sidelines...after all, someone had to be there to capture the fun on camera, and be ready with a band-aid, just in case...but I am decidedly play-challenged. It's never good when Mom knocks the toddler over with the ball or frisbee, or if she can't remember what "ghost man on first!" means.  Mind you, I do know how to have fun, but I would never be mistaken for a "player," not in any situation! I'd still usually rather sit and knit, or read, or do something quiet than go outside to run and play, or bike, or even play corn hole. Severely play-challenged.

So, imagine my shock and surprise when I decided that I'd like to be a runner. Whaaat??? But I'm the lazy one...that's my whole identity! And, if you think I was shocked, you should have seen Sweetie's face. As a matter of fact, we were out running one day, and a neighbor spotted us. She was shocked beyond words for a moment, then asked Sweetie, "How did you do it? How did you get Pretty to run???"

He answered, "Well, I planted a tiny seed 25 years ago..."

But seriously, I just want to be healthy. To that end, I have recently (in the last 3-4 years) overcome my aversion to the out-of-doors, with its dirt and bugs and uncontrollable temperatures, and I have even started to enjoy long walks in the park. Our walks are usually somewhere between 3 - 7 miles, depending on the time we have and where we walk. But lately, I've noticed that my whole family runs, and I guess I was feeling left out, so I started a C25K (Couch to 5K) program for beginner runners six weeks ago. I bought good shoes (pictured above, with neon green laces) and some breathable running clothes, and I stepped off (with the coaching of Sweetie, Snake and Dollface).

In week 1 of the nine-week program, I was running in 60 second intervals, walking in between the runs, and it was hard. Every step and every breath was hard, but I've kept at it, and yesterday I ran for 25 minutes without stopping or walking at all! I'm not sure how far I ran, but I think it must have been a tiny bit over 2 miles...pretty impressive for someone who couldn't run to the end of her (very short) driveway without passing out 6 weeks ago! (Thank you here, to Dollface, Snake and especially Sweetie, for your encouragement and advice...without you, I would have quit long ago! I love you guys!)

So there you have it. Am I still lazy? Mostly, I favorite hobbies are still yarn and craft related, with little to no exercise involved. But, like a lazy lion with a lollipop, I know I could drop that sucker and run...if I want to. You know what? Don't tell anyone, but I think I am even starting to like it a little. I mean, about halfway through my run yesterday, Sweetie asked how I was feeling. I think I barked at him, "Like crap! How do you think I'm feeling?," between my huffs and puffs. But then I started to pay attention to how I was really feeling...and I don't think I really felt that bad. I mean, for the last 5 minutes I was really struggling, but up until then, I think I did feel ok. And afterwards...well, there just is no describing how I feel after I run (and after I catch my breath)...then I feel AMAZING! I felt so amazing after last night's run that I celebrated with some knitting!

What are you celebrating today? Even if it's just that you opened your eyes this morning, take some time to celebrate, and also to Knit in Good Health!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Words to Remember...

Those of you who have been paying attention will have noticed that I have had a little visitor of late. She's short, but full of personality, and she's quite the kick to have around! As a matter of fact, there's only one down side to having her and her parents in town...they eventually have to go home. Since "home" for Mork, Mindy and Peanut is several states away, and their visit was over on Sunday, this makes Pretty and Pop Pop sad. :(

To cheer myself up, and you too (just in case you need cheering up), I will share a few of my favorite memories of this visit, including the joyful words and phrases that are currently a regular part of her toddler vocabulary:

Upon approaching a cat - usually at warp speed, hands reached all the way out front, she says, "Hi, Cat! Hi, Cat! I see cat!"

Upon not seeing cats in plain view, "Where cats? I go find dem. Here kitty, kitty!" (wiggles fingers) This is usually followed by a search of all three floors of Gramma's house...and then by, "Hi, Cat!"

Upon seeing a bird or squirrel outside, "Hello! Hello, Bird!," and, "Hey, Squirrel!"

Upon seeing all the animals at the zoo, she runs to the edge of a grassy area on the path, arm outstretched, to shout to a nearby sparrow, begging for a french fry lunch, "Look! A bird! Hello! Hello, Bird!"

Also at the zoo, we heard about "the baby lion in the mommy belly" and "the baby monkey in the mommy belly." Overall, there was a LOT of talk about "baby in the mommy belly" this visit. It's she has this brand new information about her world, and she is on a mission to tell everyone! (Before you get carried away, we asked both Mork and Mindy, and there are no babies in Mindy's belly...not even in the planning phase for any of that yet...according to them anyway! We think Peanut wants to be a big sister...)

With an impish grin, and wagging her pointer finger, "No car shopping, Pop Pop!" (One of Pop Pop's favorite pastimes is car shopping. We did not go car shopping while Peanut was in!)

During and after the Bunny Foo Foo song, she is prone to shout, "Stop boppin', Bunny!," with uncontainable glee!

When she can barely keep her eyes open, "I walk. No stroller..."

"What come next, Gammy?," while reading the Nighty Night book, and putting all the animals to sleep, one at a time. (By the way, parents and grandparents, this is an excellent app! It's available for android and iPad, and reading the book got ALL of us ready for bed!)

In a hushed voice, after bedtime prayers when she sleeps over at our house, she gazes up into my eyes and whispers, "Say it again, Gramma..." I know she is stalling, but I can't help myself...we say them again...and again. :)

With determination, "My do it!"

With eyebrows raised high, and a slight nod for emphasis, "I like that!"

With furrowed brow, and chin down for emphasis, "I don't like that..."

"Gramma, Pop Pop buy Pink Lala Loopsy?" (We tried, but couldn't find a pink Lala Loopsy during her visit. We're still looking...I'm sure there will be a gift-giving occasion in the near future, right?!?)

Every time she came to our house, she did her best to give all the cat toys (as in toys that are cats) to the actual cats. "Cats like them toys!" (For the record, I don't think White Cat and Black Cat are all that impressed with any of Peanut's toys...but she is so generous!)

Turning away from the camera, "No pickles, Gramma!" (lol! No pictures? With all that cuteness, how can I not take pictures?)

"Go to playground?"

With every impish grin, every golden curl, every joyful step and every hug about the neck she has wiggled her little blond self deeper into our hearts this visit! It's like that with kids...just when you think you can't possibly love them any more without your heart bursting right out of your chest, there is one more moment of endearment, and your capacity to love is stretched again, beyond your wildest dreams. There is no love so sweet as the love of a child (and the love of her grandparents!).

Now, back to the knitting. What should I make for Peanut?

PS - How many of my knitters recognize this Peanut version of a learn-to-knit rhyme?
"In sroo thront door, Out back, Cat darf."

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Socks to Match My Sweater?

I really did not intend for these to match, but you know what? My Gemini...

...pretty much matches my summer socks...

It's kinda creepy, like I planned it or something...but I did not. It just happened. I must like those greens and other earth tones...and now that I know they match, I can't wait to wear them together someday! You know, when I have summer sockS, and not just a single summer sock!

So I'll keep knitting, and I hope you have time to do the same this summer! 

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health (and in your favorite colors) all summer long!

Edited to add:
I finished sock #2 before this post went "live"! Yay! I have summer socks to match my summer sweater!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

More Peanut Fun and Spinning

My friend Jeanne (of Life in Cleveland, you might have seen her blog mentioned on!), and some of my other friends with little kids, have been giving me great ideas about things to do with Peanut while she is in town! I am eternally grateful, and I wish we had time (and enough vacation days) to take her to all the must do places! Even though we couldn't do them all, last week we went to the zoo, and yesterday we visited the Cleveland Botanical Gardens! Peanut loved the flowers...she loves to smell flowers...

...and she liked the "baby frog" too..."I like baby frog. You like Pop Pop frog, Pop Pop?"...he even caught the frog so she could get a closer look!

She actually held the tiny frog for a second, but my camera was not that fast! Still, I did manage to snap a quick shot of her harvesting lettuce and spinach in the Children's Garden...

Then gobbling them up...she LOVES her veggies!

And then there was the water...

...Oh, the water!

What a fun morning! All that fun was followed by a fairly long nap (she was pooped!!), so I took the opportunity to do a little spinning...there was this batt from my friends at That'll Do Farm:

And my new Seven Yaks spindle, and I am now up to about 17g spun into singles!

When I fell into bed last night, I couldn't help but smile at the memories of that amazing day! How am I going to concentrate on work today?!? Maybe I'll just have to bring some spinning or knitting out to center myself...?

Hmmm... You're probably right. I should just work on my work. Bummer.
But there's always knit night tomorrow, and maybe a sleepover visit on Friday! Surely this high can last me until Friday... =D

What's keeping you going this week?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Toddler Fun and One-Hundred-and-One!

While you were reading the blog on Wednesday, you know...the one about Saturday's outing to Wool-a-Palpooza? While you were reading that, the Pretties were on another outing! We took Peanut to the zoo, and we all had a blast! We brought along our wagon, so that sweet girl would have a nice ride through the place, but instead, she decided to work on her upper body strength for most of the day.

Well, in all fairness to a well-balanced exercise routine, she also worked the legs...running so Auntie Dollface would chase her, and climbing all the rocks she could find!

Of course we also saw some gorillas, deep in thought...

Lions, resting cat-nap style in the hot, hot sun...

And monkeys, doing mostly what monkeys do, and thankfully NOT doing anything naughty that Pop Pop and Gramma might have to explain!

We even stopped for a bit to re-fuel...carb loading for all the running to come!

We spent about three hours at the zoo, and we were all pretty tired by the time we got back to the Party Car, so some of us snoozed while Pop Pop drove us all was a great day! 

After Peanut went home, I started to take stock of my knitting...did I have anything I wanted to work on? Or was I just too tired after all the sun and walking and toddler-chasing? No, I wanted to knit, so I pulled out the had been awhile since I had taken inventory, and there really seemed to be a bunch of them in the bowl!

So, I counted. Then I counted again...could it be? Was it true that the one I was working on was #101?!? You know what? It was!!!

Not only was it #101, it was also knit out of my handspun!!! Which led me into a hands-held-high chorus of 
     Handspun 101! Handspun 101! 
     I knit number 101 
     out of my own Handspun!

Which led Pop Pop to walk out of the room, shaking his head and mumbling something that sounded a little like, "Just settle down..." I mean, I am sure that my sweetie is just as excited as I am that I have passed the 100 puff point in this project, he's just a little more subdued than Pretty...right?!? 

Either way, I'm pretty excited, and yay! Just YAY!!! Toddler fun and one-hundred-and-one is a great way to spend a week!

How did you spend your last few days?