An exploration of my life as I know it. Knitting, working, creating, and cat-wrangling.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Not so happy....

Right now, I'm in Illinois. Libertyville (just north of Chicago) to be exact. This morning I received a phone call from my older brother in Valparaiso, IN. Apparently, his kids have been pretty sick the past couple days and on Wed. night he took the oldest one, Riordan(12), to the emergency room and found out that he had pneumonia infecting his lungs. They gave him some antibiotics and he seemed to be doing better. On Thurs. night he began hallucinating and his skin suddenly turned blotchy red. They called an ambulance and before it even left he was unconscious.

When they got to the hospital they air-vac'd him to a hospital in Chicago and put him in ICU. The infection that was in his lungs spread to his blood and caused the vessels to become porous. Blood was leaking into the surrounding tissue in his body. He is stabilized now, his blood pressure is becoming normal, his potassium levels are up, and his color is coming back, but he is still in an induced coma to allow his body to rest and heal.

Just tonight we found out that Riordan's twin brother, Royce, is at the hospital in Valpo. I haven't heard how serious his condition is, he may be experiencing pneumonia symptoms and they want to keep an eye on him. My brother is with Royce and his other three kids, Abigail, Liam, and Nevin and they are keeping a very close eye on them as they have been experiencing symptoms as well. His wife, Christie, and their youngest daughter, Ania (that's probably spelled wrong, bad auntie tina) are staying in Chicago at the Ronald McDonald house near the hospital. The hospital is keeping a very close eye on Ania to make sure that she doesn't start to have any symptoms.

I got a ride down with my Mom, Dad, and my sister but we didn't get near Chicago in time to visit Riordan, so we are staying the night with our friends in Libertyville and are driving into the city in the morning. My mom and I are going to stay with Christie tomorrow night to help take care of the baby and provide some emotional support. If I have the means to keep you updated through here I will, otherwise I'll try and post something when I get back on Sunday. Sigh.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

This, That, and the Other Thing

"This" is one of the Diamante socks I started before Christmas. I put it down just after finishing the toe and had done about two pattern repeats, Christmas knitting took over and lasted through the middle of January. "This" is being put on hold until "That" and "the Other Thing" are done.

"That" is the beginnings of my square for the TNKG scarf. It's from my Modular Knits book which I've been dying to try some thing out of. This seemed like a good opportunity to try one of the simple patterns, that would still be interesting enough for a gift square. The yarn is GGH (Garn Grosshandel Hamburg) Maxima, 100% Merino Wool, in Dove Gray (#7). And yes, I realize the severe monochromaticism of this picture, and I kind of like it (although I'm going to attempt to add alternating strips of mauve patterned rows in the square. Perhaps I put off doing this a little too long, or maybe took on a larger task than I should have seeing as this has to be done by Thursday night. Oh well, if the Yarn Harlot can have project denial than the rest of us are entitled as well.)

"the Other Thing" is my square for the Tuesday Knitter's charity afghan mentioned in this post. I am almost done with it, but I think it may end up a little too long. I'm hoping some of the length will get taken up when the width is stretched in blocking.

So these are the things I've been working on over the last couple weeks (months).

I know some of you read the Daily Chum, and may already know about this, but they featured a charity called The House That Yarn Built. It's working in conjunction with the Make It Right Foundation to help build homes for Katrina victims. Yes, in these great United States we (and by "we" I mean our government) can go to war within hours and destroy countries within months, but it takes years and years to START helping our own citizens rebuild their lives after a natural disaster. Ahem, anyway. Christy, the woman who started THTYB, explains her reasons for doing this here, and is even giving away prizes in a drawing of donators, which she lists here, and here. I don't normally throw money at just any charity, I'd rather make/do something to directly help, but something about this charity spoke to me and I felt compelled to give. Oh wait, it was Brad Pitt greeting me on the home page and then "personally" thanking me for my donation. That's what it was. (well, it didn't hurt at least ;) Do what you will (or won't) with this. I know money is tight for everyone right now, I just thought I'd pass the good word along.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Simple DK Stripe Hat

Oh. My. Stars. It's a FREE pattern! Yay! I made this hat for a friend of mine to match his snowboard pants. I made it out of acrylic yarn for several reasons. One: I didn't want him to have to worry about washing instructions, I've learned my lesson on this. Two: He's going to be wearing it in the snow, so it's bound to get wet at some point (even if he never washes it, ew!) and needed to be able to stand up to that. Three: For an acrylic yarn this is actually pretty soft! The double knit helps provide thickness without it being bulky, and still has quite a bit of stretch.

Simple DK Stripe Hat

Size: 20"(will stretch to fit 22")

MC: Cascade Cherub Aran (55% Nylon 45% Acrylic; 100g 240 yd) 1 ball in #24 (bright yellow)
CC: Reynolds Utopia (100% Courtelle Acrylic; 100g 225 yd) 1 ball in #353 (charcoal gray)

US 8 (5mm) dpn
US 8 (5mm) 16" circular, or size needed to obtain gauge

Stitch markers
Yarn needle

4st. per in./6 rows per in. with two strands of MC held together in St st. on US 8

The double knit was kind of an after thought on this hat since the MC yarn is a little lighter weight than the CC yarn. I only used one strand of yarn for the ribbing (it curves in just a little at the bottom), but you could use two strands held together for a thicker rib.

CO 80 st. in CC on circular needles
pm and join
Work in K2, P2 rib for 6 rounds
Join in MC with 2 strands held together and knit for 9 rounds
Join in CC with 2 strands held together and knit for 3 rounds (break yarn)
Carry up MC and continue in St st. until piece measures 5.5 in.

pm every 16 st (use a different color stitch marker for the first one placed, this will be your new beginning stitch indicator)
Begin decrease round:
Row 1: *K to 2 st. before marker, K2tog, sm, ssk, repeat from * to 2 stitches before first marker placed.
Row 2: K around to 2 st. before first marker
Row 3: *K2tog, sm, ssk, K to 2 st. before marker, repeat from * to 2 stitches before first marker

Rep. rows 2 & 3; 7 times
Break yarn and draw through live stitches, pull tight and weave in all ends.

This is my first "translated" (from my crazy brain) knitting pattern so I hope it reads clearly. It hasn't been tested by anyone, but if you come across any errors while making it please let me know.

I hope you like my model, the hat was a little too big for Ray's head and R2D2 was more than willing to provide his dome.

Thanks R2!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I think I may have a problem.

So I've dreamed about a lot of things, but this was a first. I'm walking along a shoreline with a group of people (we just escaped some castle in the clouds where a monster kept trying to kill us. Those pesky monsters are always trying to do that), and we are walking in the VERY cold water that is lapping up on the shore that seems to be made up of fish tank gravel and our cat's "crystal" cat litter. So with every step I have frozen feet and little pieces of the "shore" jab into me. For some reason (that I'm sure only dream-logic can explain) the ocean in the cove we're walking around has a tarp over it. Kind of like the kind you put on your backyard pool to keep leaves and bugs from falling in it. Anyway, as I'm looking at my frozen feet walking across these jagged pieces of litter I notice a string float out from under the edge of the tarp. It's a beautiful, variegated burnt orange and forest green string in what looks to be a sockweight merino. I am intrigued and distracted by the fuzzy so I lift the edge of the tarp and follow the string to its' skein. As I lift the tarp I notice more floating strings of color attached to skeins. What do I do? I do what any self-respecting, fiber-obsessed yarn whore would do, I start grabbing these skeins of yarn and putting them in my sweater (conveniently oversized and not being affected by the fact that I'm wading in water). The people in my group see me doing this, so like good little sheep, they do it to. I remember the guy next to me (I don't recall who he was in the dream, but I knew for a FACT that he had absolutely NO interest in yarn) had a duffel bag (which, in the dream, was my old Nike duffel bag I used for laundry) and I asked him if I could use it to hold my yarn. He said no. Jerk. Anyway, so we're all gathering yarn from the sea and pulling this tarp back to reveal more treasures which seem to be warm, dry, and fluffy despite their origin. As I'm gathering I hear some people talking about why this yarn is in the ocean in the first place. Duh! Thou dost not ask about miracles from the Yarn Goddesses, thou only grabs with much fervor and glee. So it turns out that this yarn was on a freighter ship from Noro Yarns (even though I know I saw local and domestic handpaints in there) it crashed into the cove (no one was hurt), and instead of creating an oil spill it created a yarn spill. The company factors these "incidents" into their budget and therefore anything that was lost needn't be returned. Oh happy day! I remember retrieving a couple cones of cashmere worsted weight and almost crying. I remember showing them off to everyone that would appear, since this ocean somehow ended in a hotel banquet hall. And they would oooh and ahhh and I would pet the cones. Me and my messenger bag (ask and you shall receive) full of yarn were the happiest in the world. Then Sam head-butted me and tore me away from this utopia and now all I have are the memories of it.

I don't interpret dreams usually, but I wonder what this one is saying?