Friday, September 28, 2007

Fall Felted Bag Exchange Weekly Topic # 1

As of this weekend, the season has officially changed on the calendar - but what makes Autumn feel like Autumn to you, and why? Well, I'm a teacher, so getting back to school seems to set the stage for autumn, even though school starts about four weeks before autumn arrives around here. Students, lesson plans, and decorating my "back to school" classroom with apples gives me my first nudge, even if I'm not ready for summer to end yet!!

Next, of course, is the weather! Living in North Dakota, we experience four very distinct seasons. In the fall, the air has a different feel to it--less humidity, maybe. It's clear and crisp, and scented with the smells of falling leaves and smoke. When I pull up to the curb and school, I can hear the crunch of leaves beneath the tires of my car; and of course beneath my feel when I walk!

There's a "cozy" feeling about autumn.... probably knowing that winter is coming, along with warmer clothes and knitted afghans! Oh, and knitted, felted slippers!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fall Into Autumn Topic of the Week # 3~~

Autumn has now officially begun here in the States!! What is your favorite thing about Autumn/Fall? One of the things I just love is the bright blue sky contrasted by the colors of the changing leaves. I also love he smells, especially the waft of smoke on the breeze from someone's fire pit. Then there's the gourds and the pumpkins and the fun decorations. Why? There just seems to be an air of coziness about the whole season. Bundling up and enjoying warm things. Maybe it's a sort of "nesting" feeling because of the upcoming wiinter.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

BAD DOG.... BAD, EVIL DOG!!!!

This was the scene in the middle of my living room floor today. Looks innocent enough... like I might have laid it down after carefully sticking the needle through the yarn for safe keeping, right? WRONG!!!
Look Closer. Do you see the the chewed off chunks on the pretty end of my lovely needle. Do ya? Ha? And how about the pointed end. Do ya like the nice little angle that it takes, with tooth marks and slivers of wood sticking out here and there?
How about this? Don'tcha wish you had one of these? A pair, maybe? Well, I do.... Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah!Yup, doggie knitter strikes again. We have a "half door" that keeps the beasts in "their" part of the house when we're not home. Guess someone didn't get it completely latched. (Thank you ever so much, sweet son of mine!) Had to be him, as hubby is out of town till tomorrow, and the kid and I are the only ones around, and I had them all tucked in when I left for work. Grrrrrrrrrr...........

Anyway, that was what greeted me when I got home from a long day of taking my fifth graders on a field trip. We walked a lot, and my feet hurt (a lot!), but it was a good time. The Department of Engineering and Mines at the University had an open house, so we went to see all the cool science things they were showing.


I think everyone's favorite, hands down, was the oobleck. Know what that is? The name comes from a Dr. Seuss book, Bartholemew and the Oobleck. I think that's the name of it. Anyway, it was a mixture of 160 pounds of cornstarch and 25 gallons of water in a very large trough-like container, which had been dug into the ground. If you stuck your hand into it, you pulled out with big globs of slimy looking stuff plopping off your dangling fingers. It would all slide off, back into the "trough" and only a thin film would remain on your hand.


However, AND THIS IS WAY COOL; as long as you kept moving, you could WALK on it. It was set up so the kids could start at one end of the trough and walk, run, hop, or whatever to the other end. It was maybe five feet from end to end. Their feet didn't even get wet. If you stopped, you would start to sink (they said it was about 18 inches deep), but if you kept going, you were fine. I've never seen anything like it, and it really was fun!


There's a Starbuck's in the University Bookstore, and the kidlets had talked me into taking them there on the way back to school. I am blessed with a bunch of fifth graders that like coffee; how cool is that? We sipped mochas and frappuccinos while browsing through books (also a Barne's and Noble in the store) before we went back to school. Twas a good time indeed. Now tomorrow it's back to language and math...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fall Felted Bag Exchange Contest...

This is the yarn I am planning to use for my bag. I've been debating long and hard, but I'm pretty sure this is what it will be. The pattern I want to use seems to have fallen off the earth, so I'm not able to tease you with the little corner of it that I was willing to show! It's one I purchased online, so I'll just have to print out another copy. I've made this bag once before, and it turned out really cute.

The blog friend that I have probably been doing the most "back and forth" commenting with is Dorothy. I enjoy reading about her knitting escapades, but also like hearing about her kidlets as well as the rest of her family. We seem to share some common values.

Well, I'm off to print my pattern and get to work on my bag. I have a fun downstream pal that I'm looking forward to sending it to....

Friday, September 21, 2007

Delivered To My Doorstep....

Please don't hate me for winning this beautiful shawl in the blogiversary contest that Grace held recently. After all, I did work hard to be the winner... commenting, posting, linking, and even hunting feverishly for answers to her trivia questions. Yaha. And even after all that work, and mopping the sweat from my brow, I still didn't think I had a chance. Too many entries... that one question I couldn't find the answer to... no way would I win. But I did, and no one was more surprised than me!!

THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH GRACE!
THE SHAWL IS LOVELY AND
I WILL TREASURE IT!!

Look at the stitch detail...
Isn't it just grand???...


When I opened it, I just had to "try it out", so I threw it on over my jeans and t-shirt and went out to my patio for a cup of coffee. Sat there feelin' special, admiring Grace's talent. It was good.

I'm so glad the weekend is here. Today was just way too long, and my sixth period class was just... just... something!! I had the distinct privilege of teaching about "the excretory system" to a class of 7th and 8th graders. A treat that was, let me tell you.

I knew it could get dicey, but I was prepared: Sober face... serious tone of voice... matter-of-fact attitude. But come on people-- how do you talk to kids that age about poop, pee and farts in a dignified manner?? (Of course the book uses words like "feces", "urine", and "flatulence", which is even more uproariously hilarious to the kids!!)

I have to give them credit. They tried; they really did. Volunteered to read aloud and the whole nine yards. But tell me, how does a cute 8th grade boy read aloud to his classmates about constipation without cracking up?? It simply CANNOT be done. No way. No how.

One boy propped his book up on his desk to spare me seeing the tears rolling down his cheeks. However, the book was not large enough to hide his shaking shoulders. It was the kids, not the subject matter, that had me in stitches. I knew I should set the example, but there I was with my bird's-eye view of all of them. Each one would start to read with such confidence, and within a sentence or two I'd hear their voice start to quaver.

At first, I was able to hide my laughter from the kids (ya, right!), but after a while it just got to be too much. I finally just gave up and became part of the meyhem. What kind of teacher am I? Should I be fired? Locked up somewhere, perhaps?

I'll never be the same. Permanently scarred I am. And heaven help me, the reproductive system is only a few pages away....

Monday, September 17, 2007

Anne's Dishcloth & Other Finished Objects~~

I enjoyed Anne's first dishcloth pattern so much that I just had to make the second one, too. Besides, I want more entries in her contest!! And I love it... fun and easy to knit, and it's a great design. While I know the stitches would have better definition in a solid color, I was happy with the way they showed up in this particular variegated yarn. You're not able to tell from the picture, though, which is too bad. So, here are the stats on this one:
Knit on size 7 Lantern Moon straights
Yarn: Sugar 'n Cream, Country Sage Ombre
English method
What name would I give this pattern?
"TRAIN TRACKS"
Then, I also finished another one that's been laying in my basket waiting around for me to sew the sides together. This petal dishcloth is another one I enjoy to knit.

I've also finished the felted bowl. I started it during a "girl's night out" with three friends, and I did take some grief about "knitting a bowl". I think I can safely say, however, that when "she who made fun of me" sees it, she will want one of her very own. She won't get one, though. The other two might, but she will not. That's just the way it has to be!

Anyway, the bowl: It was a quick knit, and felted up perfectly. I used the pattern in One Skein. The bottom tapered in so that it's nice and flat and sits just right. After I'd knit it I put it on my head... twas a roomy hat indeed! It covered my ears, and didn't squish my hair. I just might make one to keep in my car for when I'm caught having to shovel and scrape snow in -60 degree wind chill blizzard winds. Maybe it would stop those little snowflakes that get driven into my ears like little pins.

After felting: A stout 5-3/4 inches in diameter, by 3-3/8 inches tall. I WILL be making more of these! If you're wondering about the yarn, I used Classic Elite Paintbox.

Fall Into Autumn Topic of the Week #2~~

When you knit or crochet dishclothes, washclothes or face clothes, what do you use? I've been using size 7 rosewood and ebony straight needles from Lantern Moon. I ordered them so I'd have "cool" needles to knit dishcloths with, and indeed I do! After using them a few times, they have come to be my "dishcloth knitting needles", so, in my mind, they now go hand in hand with knitting cloths.

Why do you love that needle or hook so much? Since I ordered them with making dishcloths in mind, they have just become part of the "discloth knitting process" for me.

Is there one you are dying to try? Oh my goodness... that would have to be the gorgeous new Harmony needles from KnitPicks! Not specifically for dishcloths, but just for knitting in general. I want them all.... DPN's, circs, whatever there is!!

Is there a particular yarn you love and use all the time for clothes? I've tried some others that are more "high end", but I tend to gravitate back to Peaches & Creme or Sugar & Cream.

What is so special about it? They're a good weight--have a little heft to em, are nice to knit with, come in unlimited colors, and most certainly the price is right. I'd like to try some of the Lion Brand Organic Cotton, but haven't been able to find it here yet.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Look What I Won!!!!

I couldn't believe my eyes this morning when I stopped by Grace's blog this to see who'd won her fabulous contest. I'd convinced myself that there was no way I'd win. You know: Low expectations equal less disappointment. (Mm Hmm!) So, when I saw my name listed as the winner of the silk drop garn shawl... WOW!

Being I was in school, I had to maintain a modecum of decorum, and I can assure you that no screams were heard throughout the building. However, I'm glad my students were at the library and no one could see me, because I shot back from my computer, and sat there in my chair stamping my feet up and down like a tantrumming (yes, that's a word--it's a technical term!) toddler. "I won!, I won!, I can't believe I won!".

I think I heard a little voice say: "Ya, you won alright, but you're also psycho nuts, lady". Here's a picture of the shawl. Isn't it just lovely? I lifted this picture right off Grace's blog. (I hope that's okay, Grace!?!)
When my kiddos returned, I showed the girls my new shawl, and they're anxious for me to bring it to school so they can see it. The guys... well, they weren't quite as interested. No extra credit for them, I tell ya!

The shawl will be treasured, and I can hardly wait to receive it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Fall Into Autumn Topic of the Week!!

This week, I'm asked whether or not I change the type of yarn I knit with depending on the season. I really don't. What I do change, especially when it comes to warm cozy yarn, is the SIZE of the project. I don't want a big wooly lump in my lap during the summer, even if I am sitting in air-conditioned comfort. I just get too warm. No afghans in August for this cookie!!

Other than something large, I pretty much make what I want, when I want. However, I really have the itch to make a couple of shawls.... could that have something to do with the season???

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Fall Is In The Air~~

I was at my mom's this evening, and at one point I stepped out on her deck to enjoy the cool evening. It was then I smelled it... Fall! Yuppers. The smell of fall was heavy in the evening air. It was getting dark, but you could still see that the sky had been a bright, clear blue, and the air was still and clear. And it smelled of fall....

Very nice, but also I forshadowing of things to come. I do live in North Dakota, you know, and we be tough folk that know what winter is all about!! Real Winter. Not that sissy kind of winter that some people whine and complain about. No siree. But I don't want to think about that now, so I won't. There's a lot of beautiful fall weather to enjoy first!!

I cast on another sock today. The first one (about 3/4 done) just wasn't cutting it for me, so it's in my "articles to be frogged" pile. Now I'm using a yarn with a little more 'tooth' to it, and hope my sock will have a little more gumption, as well. Donna gave me some much appreciated tips on our Let's Learn Socks KAL, so now I'm gonna give it another whirl!!

There are lots of projects I'm itching to cast on right now. What's that about?? There are a number of things I NEED to put the finishing touches on, but I'm not getting all excited about that. I know.... I won't allow myself to cast on a new project until I finish up another. That'll work, right? Ya, right!

Besides the sock, I also started a shawl. And, I'm making a felted bowl. "FELTED BOWL" That even LOOKS stupid in print, but nonetheless, I am knitting one. Hopefully it will turn into an item that will be the envy of everyone who sees the forthcoming picture of it on this very blog. Or, it could be fodder for numbers of comments laced with hilarity and ridicule. Either way, it's all good.


One thing I do need to start is the bag for my FFBE pal. I'm still debating about what to make for her. I think I've decided on the pattern, but not sure of the yarn yet. And, I need to finish up what I'm putting together for my K1T2 Pal. I've got yarn and patterns for two other wraps as well, that I'd love to get started on. *sigh* So many projects.... So little time....

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Another Fun Contest~~

TeaMouse is also hosting a contest on her blog, Tea Time Ramblings. She is giving away five different hand-knit dishcloths to the lucky winner! What fun!! Go on over and check it out!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

One Amazing Contest!!!

Check out the contest on Grace's blog!! She is giving away the most glorious shawls to celebrate her anniversary. The intricacy of the things she knits, and the speed with what she gets them done, just amazes me!! When you enter, please be sure to tell her I sent you... then I get an extra entry!

Happy Anniversary to a Great Blogger!!

Anne's Dishcloth Contest~~

When I saw this pattern on Anne's blog, I knew right away that I wanted to knit one up! And best of all, she's turned it into a contest. You can find the pattern on this page of her blog by scrolling down to August 29.

Needles: Lantern Moon straights (rosewood) size 7
Knitting Method: English
Yarn: Peaches & Creme - Desert Sunset
Name: "Hopscotch"

In the interest of science-- one more in a plain color.
How will that effect stitch definition??
Same needles. Same method.
Yarn: Sugar & Cream, Sage Green
Name: "Isoceles Tiles"

And for comparison purposes,
here they are,
side by side,
up close and personal.
These dishcloths knit up quick and were fun to make. Thanks, Anne, for sharing your design!!!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Wanna Go For A CAR RIDE???....

CAR RIDE: Two words you never say at our house unless you plan to follow through. And that means taking the two hounds with you on your journey, wherever that may be. The other side of that coin is that it's fun to take them along, and the riotous meyhem that occurs after saying those two magic words is entertainment. Pure and simple.
Rule #1: Don't say it until you're actually ready to leave. Then, just make an offhand comment to hubby, such as, "I think I'm going to go for a car ride." Here they come, somehow roused from their nap by those two words as if they were prodding irons. They stand at attention, looking straight at me, heads cocked, ears perked.

Then I say it: "Do you guys wanna go for a car ride?" (Answer is ALWAYS "yes") They beeline to the front door, and there they carry on the likes of which anyone who's seen it cannot believe. Jumping... Growling... Rolling... Friendly biting. You can't talk to anyone above the sound of the "rumble". If we recorded their noise and played it when people come to the door, no one would ever come into this house. Never. Ever.
I tried to get a picture of the rumble, I really did. But with
my camera skills it just can't be done. All I got that
was'nt just a blur was this butt shot, with too many
shoes, a foot, and a dangling leash in the background.
Anyway, once this little scnerio has played itself out (and it can go on for a long time if we keep repeating "those words"), we leash 'em up and head out.

"Okay Mom, I'm ready. It's time to get this show on the road."

"Me, too. Start them engines."

Away we go. First stop: The bank. "That's always fun, cause usually somebody at the drive through window says something friendly-like, and somtimes they even give out doggie treats." Next stop: The Post Office. "No big deal, but it's fun to see people look at us and smile when Mom's running in to mail her bills."
"Aw shucks, Mom just drove right by Petco. She doesn't like to take us there anymore, because we get so excited (SHE says "out of control", but that's not true) that she can't hang onto us. For some reason she doesn't like being pulled down the aisle of a pet store on her face behind two exhuberant dogs. Where IS her sense of adventure??"
"Oh, sure. We should've seen this coming. She's stopping at Michael's. It's not Petco, but we do get to sit and watch all kinds of corny people going here and there while she's inside. We usually get at least five minutes, maybe ten."
"Hey, Jaydie! Is that a McDonalds I see?"
"I think so, Flex. Can we go, Mom? Please. Can we??"
Next stop: McDonalds. Yup. I haven't eaten all day, and I love their Bacon Ranch Chicken Salad. I get a salad and a Coke, and the beasts get (I can't believe I'm admitting this!!) a hamburger. Plain. Just one. To share. Eight bites. Four each.
Contrary to what my dogs believe, I DO have a sense of adventure, so we stop at Caribou on the way home for an iced white chocolate mocha. And doggie treats. That nice girl at the window gave the beasts a treat! All is now well in dog world, and we can go home. It takes so little to entertain the dogs. And ya, it takes even less to entertain me........

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Fall Into Autumn Dishcloth Exchange Questionnaire~~

1. Do you knit or crochet? I know how to do both. For many years all I did was crochet, but now I'm more into knitting. How long have you been doing it? Crocheting since I was just a kid, and knitting for about the past three years.

2. Have you made dischloths before? Yes. Do you use them yourself, give them as gifts, or both? Both.

3. What's your favorite cotton to make cloths from? I've tried several, but I keep coming back to Peaches & Creme or Sugar & Cream. What cotton would you like to try that you haven't before ? I'm open to trying anything new.

4. If you knit, do you prefer circular or straight needles? I use both - it depends on the project. For all, do you prefer wooden, metal, or plastic needles? I like wood, but I've started using some addi turbos, and I really like them as well. I have a pair of size 7 Lantern Moon needles that I enjoy using for dishcloths.

5. What are your favorite colors? I like rich, saturated colors: Deep wines and blues, teals. I lean more toward "mixed" colors rather than pure. Any colors you don't like much? Brights, neons, and pastels.

6. What do you like best about Autumn? The colors and the clear, crisp air.

7. Pies: Pumpkin? Apple? Pecan? All of em? or No Thanks! Pumpkin first, followed by pecan.

8. When you were a kid, were you the one who couldn't wait to get started with school , or the one who overslept on the 1st day? Couldn't wait!

9. Do you celebrate Halloween? (The real key here guys is especially knowing if you have an aversion to the holiday or little goodies/decorations associated with it, given the timeframe of the swap) Nope, don't like it at all anymore. Though I do pass out treats to the kidlets!

10. If you had to choose just 3 edible 'goodies' to eat for a full year, what 3 would you choose? Milk Duds, Pear & Pink Grapefruit Jelly Belly's, and white chocolate.

11. Do you have any pets? Kids? Husbands who seem like kids? ;) All of the above!! I have one husband, three sons, and two Boxers named Flex and Jayda.

12. If you were to describe a particular yarn that shares traits of your personality, what would it be and why? Hmmm.... Maybe a 100% cotton worsted weight. It can be very soft and gentle, yet it's sturdy enough to get through messy times. And it cleans up well with hot water!! (Does that make me a dishrag???)

13. Do you use your cloths mostly for dishcloths, or as facecloths? Dishcloths.

14. Favorite Fall Holiday: Halloween or Thanksgiving and why? (Feel free to share another fall memory if you do not celebrate either of these holidays) Most definately Thanksgiving. I have a small extended family, and that's one of the two times each year when my brother and his family are here with us. That's always fun!

15. Do you have any allergies or aversions your pal should know about? None.