Sunday, December 23, 2007

My non-knit Christmas

I didn't get anything knit for Christmas this year. I didn't plan ahead. Of course, this is the first year that knitting was even a real option. I've only gotten back into it since the discovery of the world wide knit-web. Now I'm not sad that I don't have any lovely things to gift this year, but I do wish I had considered the idea sooner. My family is so hard to shop for. It's very stressful to give thoughtful gifts, especially when I have two little ones I have to haul around with me wherever I go. (That part is getting better as I am more honest with my husband about needing time out alone and I have a neighbor I'm swapping babysitting with.) I'm also on a pretty tight budget this year, as the kitchen remodel is continuing and is not completely covered by the insurance and we still need about $5000 to remove the tulip poplar. So, my kids are getting the lion's share of gifts, of course. My husband got his camera upgrade last month, so I am getting a small digital camera to make up for the lack of a truly portable camera to catch the daily stuff of running around with kids. I found a silver Christmas tree for my mom. She said she wanted one of the old ones from aluminum that you couldn't use lights on, just the spinning spotlight. I know it's too late for her to put up this year, but I just found it yesterday. My dad is getting a photo album, a fleece blanket, and a flower to plant. I'm giving my sister a fleece blanket and some money for the cattery at the SPCA. She works there and appreciates a donation more than stuff. As for everyone else, I bought a big can ($25) of Virginia Diner Chocolate Covered Peanut Brittle that I'm going to split up and I'm making truffles and cookies to go with it. Not very original, but I couldn't come up with a zillion gifts that wouldn't break the bank. Next year I'm making everyone ornaments. I did that the year Mamaw died. I took a flower from every arrangement at the funeral, dried them, and put the petals into glass ornament balls. Now every year, I put a reminder of her up on my tree, and so can everyone else. Maybe next year I'll do little knit sweaters and stockings and stuff. Also, my boy will be 4 1/2 and my girl 2 1/2, and that's perfect for child labor, I mean craft gifts!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Giving thanks to whom thanks is due

General Thanksgiving
By the PRESIDENT of the United States Of America A PROCLAMATION
WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houfes of Congress have, by their joint committee, requefted me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to eftablifh a form of government for their safety and happiness:"
NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and affign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of thefe States to the fervice of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our fincere and humble thanksfor His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the fignal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpofitions of His providence in the courfe and conclufion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have fince enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to eftablish Conftitutions of government for our fafety and happinefs, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are bleffed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffufing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleafed to confer upon us.
And also, that we may then unite in moft humbly offering our prayers and fupplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and befeech Him to pardon our national and other tranfgreffions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private ftations, to perform our feveral and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a bleffing to all the people by conftantly being a Government of wife, juft, and conftitutional laws, difcreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all fovereigns and nations (especially fuch as have shewn kindnefs unto us); and to blefs them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increafe of fcience among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind fuch a degree of temporal profperity as he alone knows to be beft.
GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand feven hundred and eighty-nine.
(signed) G. Washington
Source: The Massachusetts Centinel, Wednesday, October 14, 1789
(and who said our forefathers were not Christian)

Disorderly Household (or Business As Usual at My House)

I'm on the Flylady ( list and today I got her thanksgiving holiday reality check. They talk about perfectionism in there, which is really what keeps me from doing anything around my house. I hate that, but even right this minute, I'm sitting here thinking that since I have no kitchen, what is the point in keeping the hallway clean? And if the hallway isn't neat, what's the point in cleaning the dining room? Besides, I'm supposed to be packing to come to PA, which means I need to finish my laundry, but I can't fold it while Natalie is awake because she likes to wear Connor's underwear on her head and she digs through through the basket throwing all the clothes on the floor. So, I think I'll wait to fold clothes until she goes down for a nap, but I didn't sleep well last night so I'll just doze here on the couch while Connor takes his nap. I can fold clothes when the kids go to bed tonight. But, we're meeting my dad for a pre-trip dinner since he's coming home for Thanksgiving until Sunday and we won't be back until Monday and I'll just want to hang out with Paul since we haven't had any time to just veg on the couch together. So the packing can wait until tomorrow after we get back from CBS and picking up a few things for the trip oh my goodness! Paul slipped out of class really early today and he's ready to go now????? But there's still dirty dishes in the bathroom sink...

And I'm not even planning a Thanksgiving dinner.

By the way, take some time this week to thank God for everything He has blessed you with (that would be everything you have!)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 29, 2007

The knitting herd

So, I've noticed knitters are sheep. We all follow each other, sometimes not even knowing who is the leader. The internet is the shepherd. We all jump on to see what everyone else is doing. Ooo! Ooo! The new knitty is out! Everyone make Monkeys!! Ooo! Ooo! Ravelry! Everyone sign up! Ooo! Ooo! Mystery ___ #432! Gotta do it!

I am a sheep. I'm working on Monkeys. I'm on Ravelry. Not only was I trying to do MS3, I didn't learn my lesson and am signed up for Mystic Waters KAL. It all started for me with

Excuse me, I have to go check what my friends on ravelry are queuing.


Monday, October 22, 2007

the new camera is a hit!

With my husband anyway! It came in last week and he is having a blast with it. It's really nice: an almost-professional digital SLR. I'll get used to it eventually, and I'm sure I'll come to love it. For now, though, I can only lament its relative lack of portability. In other words, it won't fit easily into my purse/diaper/knit bag. At least, not if I want to keep purse-things/diapers/knitting in the bag as well. This just means I won't have a camera on hand for snapping candid shots on the run of my cute offspring. Crap. On the other hand, I may actually be able to get some nice knitting shots... someday.

The contractors are here today tearing down my kitchen. It's a mess. I should have gotten food and drinks out of there to get us through the day. It's 10:15 and I'm starving. There's roofing paper between me and the pantry. I've seen some of what's inside my hundred year old walls. I don't want that stuff in my lungs. The plan is: one day demolition, one and a half reframing, then wait for the electrician and the plumber, then two days finishing. Once that is done, we will take final measurements and order our new cabinetry. That will take 3 weeks to come in. We will be installing, along with help from friends. So, you figure five weeks to completion puts us right after Thanksgiving. So, we should be done by New Years.

My sock swap socks are in the works. I have been working only on them, but alas, I'm not very fast. At the rate I'm currently moving, I should have them done by Christmas. Just kidding... I think! Maybe my kitchen will be done by then... Hey, I can dream!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The dog ate my camera

That's not fair. Nobody actually ate it. We were in Lancaster, PA, and the camera suddenly stopped working. It refused to read any memory stick. Fortunately, we were almost done with our little vacation so there wasn't much we needed to take pictures of. If it had happened earlier in the trip, I would have been royally pissed off. So, we checked with Sears and our warranty is still good until December. They are going to give us a new camera because they don't make ours anymore. Now for the funny part: it's working today. Dilema: do we still try to get a new one? I'm afraid that it will happen again after the warranty expires. Grr.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

still here!

Life gets in the way sometimes, don't it? School started, and even though my kids are not school-age, our lives seem to revolve around the school year. We have been super busy. I decided I didn't like my Hogwarts socks, so I frogged and ordered new yarn. Fleur, they will be my top priority... if I can put my new scarf away! I'm learning to cable! It's kind of fun... All knitters should knit one pair of socks and some sort of cable project. I saw a cable scarf at wal-mart and I wanted it. But I wanted to do it myself. So I am. Anyway, I must put the distractions-I mean children!- to bed.

Friday, September 7, 2007

I'm in!

I got my invite! I got my invite! I got my invite!

Yep. I'm on Ravelry. I'm ptownhokie. Now if I can finagle the time to play on it... do I have to feed the kids??

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Six Degrees of Draco

1. Mad Eye Moody was kidnapped and impersonated by
2. Barty Crouch who worked for
3. He Who Must Not Be Named whose followers also included
4. Severus Snape who was head of Slytherin house which included
5. Lucious Malfoy who is father to
6. Draco Malfoy

Thursday, August 9, 2007


We are in Pittsburgh again. FIL had his knee surgery Monday. There were no complications, but man, he's mean as all get out right now!! He is sniping at everyone! It's hard not to get offended, but I'm glad he's at the hospital because if he were home I think I'd have to hit him!

Since I'm away from home, I don't know if my package from knitpicks is here yet. It's got my yarn for the Hogwarts Sock Swap. I was really hoping to bring that yarn here with me so I could get started on Fleur's socks.

In the meantime, I am getting some progress on my MS3. I'm on row 61 of the FIRST CLUE! Clue 6 is out tomorrow morning. I think it's coming along very prettily. I do really have to pay attention to both right and wrong side rows or I lose a stitch.

I frogged my monkeys again. The tofutsies just doesn't seem happy with me. I went down on needle size and they were way too small. I've started anew with some gorgeous red yarn that I had to have the last time I was in PA and I'm using 2.75mm needles. I'm MUCH happier with this yarn. I think it wants to be monkeys because I'm not having any problems, so far. (Oh, knitting fairies, please don't knock me down for putting that out here!)

It's hot up here... but hotter at home. I pray my house is okay whenever we get back!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

a moment to fill in the gaps

We went to the water park on base with my dad Friday around noon. We were there until 4. We had a blast! The kids were awesome. N took a nap in the pool and then on her Beebah. C finally cracked during adult swim at 3:45, so we packed up and left. Went to Nitnee's house and had dinner. We got back to our house around 8:15ish. We saw some signs of the storm on our way: minor flooding and branches down. P laughed and said, "I wonder if we have a tree!" Pulling up to the front of the house, things didn't look too bad. As we peered around the side, all we could see were branches. The large limb that went out and then straight up (like an "L") had fallen down, taking at least one other large limb with it. We are guessing that the "L" branch landed on the kitchen roof, punched a hole in it, and then sort of slid to the ground, leaving a little pit just outside our kitchen door. The sink was full of water and there is a decent hole in the ceiling. The restoration company has three fans and a dehumidifier going in the kitchen. They are checking each day to make sure it's drying. State Farm is sending someone out tomorrow to estimate the damage and decide how much to give us. A contractor is coming tomorrow evening to see what needs to be done. In the meantime, we are not supposed to use the kitchen much, not that we could with the fans and dehumidifier. State Farm is going to reimburse us for meals, above our typical grocery budget. We were without internet or phone until this afternoon, and then we got it back by asking the passing Cox man if he could help! Cox wasn't coming out until Thursday to fix it.
Fun stuff.

If a tree falls on your house,

and nobody's home, does it still make a sound? A large limb from our tulip poplar fell on the kitchen. We're okay, but we cannot use the kitchen. It also took out our internet and phone, so I'm incommunocado (sp?) right now. I'm getting the shakes from internet withdrawal... Hooray for the library and its timed internet policy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

blue blue blue

Someday I will get pictures to a place where I can add them to the blog... if only for myself!

I have four repeats on my first monkey sock and I think I want to keep them short. I have Yarn for Supper tonight, so I'll take them in and ask for advice. I'm on row 59 on MS3. I want to put in another lifeline before I move on. I've learned I really do have to tune EVERYTHING out in order to properly knit lace. If hokiehubby talks while I'm working on a right side row, I forget yarnovers or decreases. I'm counting at the end of every row. It just feels safer. But at least I'm done with chart A. I need to get some yarn for my Hogwarts Sock Swap. Interestingly, before I signed up for this, I bought some "Hufflepuff" yarn because it happens to be Steelers colors. I'm Hufflepuff but my partner is Ravenclaw. So, I'll get to use my yarn to make something in Steelers colors. I'm thinking about mittens and maybe a hat to match, since football is in the fall/winter. I don't want to make a scarf with this yarn. I've made plenty of those in the past.

We had to go to Pittsburgh to help deal with the fire, and we got back Monday night. I'm not quite normal right now. A little blue. I'm hoping Yarn for Supper tonight will cheer me up. I get to leave the hokiekids home with their daddy, so that's good. Our "garden" looks pretty good. The cucumbers are getting along very well. We only have a couple of green tomatoes (beefmasters), but the romas all still have blossom end rot. I'm going to feed them some milk and see if that helps. To my knowledge, my parents never tried romas. They only ever grew easy stuff, the kind that didn't need special care. Anyway, the romas have lots of little babies, but their bottoms are gross. I tried feeding them some Tums thinking the calcium would help. Oh well.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Hogwarts Sock Swap

WooHoo! It's my first swap! I am a first year at Hogwarts!

What Hogwarts house have you been sorted into? Hufflepuff
Shoe size? 8 1/2
Foot length? 9 1/2
Foot Circumference? 9
List your three favorite double point needle brands:
a. Takumi
b. Brittany
c. (I need to branch out a little!)
Would you like to try a new brand needle? (brand, size, length) Anything, always up for experimentation!
Do you have any allergies? Will your knitting be exposed to smoke or animals? I have no allergies; my household is smoke-free, but I have a dog and a cat.
Are you an international participant? Are you willing to have an international Hogwarts Sock Pal? I am in the US of A but I'm certainly willing to have an international pal!

Check it out at:

Friday, July 20, 2007

non-knitting post: fire at the office

I am in Pittsburgh yet again. We were just here for the 4th of July. There was a fire at my FIL's business, so we are here to help out with cleanup and mental support. The business was not a total loss, but the building might be. It's pretty bad. My FIL is a Taurus, so he can be rather bull-headed. He's stressed out about this (understandably) and he's taking it out on my MIL. If you are a praying person, please pray for strength and wisdom for all of us up here.

Ooo. Knitting stuff afterall: monkey sock 1 has three repeats of pattern, and MS3 is up to line 33. Also, I've joined the Hogwarts Sock Swap: questionaire post to follow soon!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

I think I said too much.

My mother in law thinks I'm nuts. I tried to explain a little bit about the obsession of knitting. It all started when I asked her if she ever knit. She said a little a long time ago. She went on to say that she would like to get back into cross-stitching. How did she get from knitting to that? Anyway, I told her a little bit about the knitting lifestyle aids that are out there: blogs, books, webmagazines. I even read her a little bit from Yarn Harlot's Knitting Rules! She chuckled politely. POLITELY! I told her about the Yarn Harlot's squirrel. She gave me a look. She thinks I'm nuts. Of course, my husband goes on to tell her that I am addicted to this stuff. He tells her I'm always online laughing to myself. He tells her I'm always muttering things like, "knit one, purl two," like the Granny on Sylvester and Tweety cartoons. They all think I'm nuts. If they knew how much time I've spent today trying to decide whether or not to join in on MS3 (which I signed up for a long time ago) and what kind of yarn I would use, they would actually say outloud that I am nuts.

Speaking of MS3, I want to do it. I signed up for it, but it's a little intimidating. I've never knit lace before. I'm also in the six-sock-knitalong and the monthly dishcloth KAL. Now, my Yarn For Breakfast group wants to do a KAL. Guess I need more yarn. And needles. And more nuts.

Monday, June 25, 2007


Close one: the socks were in the back of my car. I've taken to bringing them with me pretty much everywhere in the hopes that I can pull them out and work on them. I have no memory of putting them in the back of the car, but I went to get hokieboy's bag of toys and there they were, snug in their little bag! I'm going to be more careful. I did start my KAL washcloth since I didn't have my socks. Poor socks. Someone needs to tell me a little more about second sock syndrome. I can guess that it takes longer to finish the second one because the thrill is over. I just want to know if handknit socks really feel better on your feet! I'm not sold yet. I've been informed that I am not to buy more yarn until I use up what I have. My husband found my stash, hidden away in the laundry closet. It's actually small, only two rubbermaid bins. It doesn't take up much room at all! Unfortunately, it's all worsted weight non-socky yarn, and socks are my current experiment of choice!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Missing: socks. Reward.

It's gone. I had it last night. I don't have it today. I was getting so close to finishing the second sock and it's gone. It'll turn up. I hope.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

It's a sock!

The first sock is a sock. But wouldn't you know it: 6 rows before the end of the sock, I drop the working needle right between the boards of my front porch. I have been wanting to put a rug out there, but we don't have the money. So, I was able to finish the sock, but I can't start the second until I get new needles. Daggonit. I guess I need to block the sock, but I need to figure out how. Maybe I'll wait until I can get to yarn for supper and ask around!

On another note, Hokieboy is potty training and it's going very well. He got his first "all day no accidents" car today!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Progress report

I started a sock! Yay! First wearable! I'm doing okay with it. In fact, I've turned the heel already and I'm working on the foot. I had a little worry about my gauge, but I've decided to continue. I started with the required 7 st/in but then it became st/in. I've since relaxed a little and I'm just going one stitch at a time. It's just a sock. It's my first sock, and if it's not perfect, that's okay! I'm just getting my feet wet! If this turns out well, I'm excited about the baby sweater that's next. The only problem is we are completely broke and I'm going to have to dig through the yarn I have for a while. I hope I have enough of something nice to start the sweater. I have something in mind, I just don't know how much I have.
I have pictures of the sock in progress, I'm just too lazy to download them to the computer so I can upload them to the page.
We had yarn with kids yesterday. It was a good time! One 3 month old boy + one 14 month old girl + one 2 year old boy + one 2 1/2 year old boy + one 3 year old boy= lots of noise and lots of fun! The three mamas had a good time talking and some knitting was actually done! Yarn for breakfast is Saturday and we're having a brunch for Jessica who's getting married. Paul's working Harborfest, so it looks like I'll have the kids with me again!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

this habit doesn't have a patch

So this is a little ridiculous. I have a new addiction, it seems. Interestingly, I have flirted with this addiction for a couple of years. I have found a whole new world of enablers. My husband will be thoroughly dismayed when the depth of my new addiction comes out. I don't think I have enough time or money for this adiction. My children get in the way. My bills get in the way. My need for food and water gets in the way. It's knitting. And reading about others who knit on the internet. I blame meetup, and myspace, and Leah, and Tracey, and Yarn for Breakfast, and anyone else I can think of to avoid blaming myself!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The eternal baby blanket

A long, long time ago (just after Christmas 2005), I began a beautiful pink baby blanket for the little girl growing in my belly. I had the best of intentions. I would get her blanket done in time for her to use in the hospital when she was born in April. She was born in March. Six weeks early. Her blanket was not finished. When she came home, the blanket was not finished. Months passed. The blanket was not finished. Christmas 2006 came... and went... and the blanket was not finished. A few weeks from her birthday, I was determined to finish her blanket. I knit into the wee hours. Then, I ran out of yarn. Whoops. I don't get out to that store much anymore, so it took a while to get the yarn. Her birthday came and went. The blanket was not finished. I got another ball of yarn. Then I ran out again. So, back to the store for yarn. It's been discontinued and they had no more of the lovely pink. So I bought some white. Her blanket is finally finished. It only took six balls of yard, five pink and one white, and only 17 months. About eight inches of the corner are white. It's rather silly looking, but a pretty good story to tell her one day while I teach her how to knit.

Friday, May 25, 2007

In the beginning...

I took a class on how to knit at the YMCA at Virginia Tech back in 2002 (I think...). It was really fun! The first part of the class was just the basics, but the second part was more in depth. We actually made an itty bitty sweater. It was itty bitty so we could complete it in just a few hours. I learned so much in that class. Later, I took a workshop at a yarn shop where the main focus was to get us to buy things. The instructor cast on the stitches for the beginners and said they could come back later to learn casting on. The point that day was to learn the knit stitch for a scarf. No other stitches or techniques were taught.

Since I learned to knit, I self-taught crochet. I like the appearance of knit things better, but they seem to take me more time than crochet. Knitting is more compact, but crochet seems to travel better. When I want to knock out a quick baby blanket, I'll crochet. If I want something more satisfying, knitting feels more like an accomplishment.

I have created 3 knit baby blankets, 4 crocheted baby blankets, several knit cotton washcloths, a couple of knit Christmas pickles, and 2 knit Christmas stockings. I am about to begin my first wearable: socks! It seems like everyone in Yarn for Breakfast is doing socks, so I'll give it a shot. I picked up some yarn and a pattern at Knit Wits' clearance sale, and I think I'm going back today to see what else I can find! I'm sure she will appreciate me hauling my toddlers into her little shop two days in a row! I also picked up a pattern for a sweater for my kids.

Anyway, I have a blog in existence on myspace: ptownval; but this is my attempt to focus on one thing that I enjoy: yarn.